Recap: Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 02 E 01 The Homecoming

At Quark's, after getting the best Changeling rendition of a Tsundere from Odo in thanks for busting some criminals, the Ferengi is approached by a Boslic freight captain named Rionoj. She had a package to deliver: a Bajoran earring. All she knows is that she was supposed to deliver it to DS9... and that it was picked up on Cardassia IV.

Wondering of its value of course, Quark seeks some appraisal on it from Kira. The second she sees it, she's shocked. It's the earring of legendary Bajoran rebel Li Nalas, who has been presumed dead for years. Kira goes to Commander Sisko and asks for a runabout to rescue Li. She cites the increasing factionalization of the Bajoran provisional government, and she believes that Li is the one person who can unite the factions. Sisko can only tell her that he'll think about it.

In the meantime, he's called to a habitat ring on the promenade. Graffiti of a radical Bajoran movement called "The Alliance for Global Unity" - also known as "The Circle" - has been found on the Promenade. The Circle advocates a "Bajor for Bajorans Only" policy. A worried Sisko orders security around the station to be beefed up in the meantime.

Sisko seeks advice from Dax regarding the Bajoran situation, being vague about Kira's request, but Dax comes right out and tells Sisko that he ought to give Kira the runabout. While Sisko is concerned about how he'd have to explain this proposed incursion to the Cardassians, Dax points out that the Cardassians will have a harder time explaining why they still had Bajoran prisoners when all of them were supposed to have been released after the occupation.

Sisko decides to let Kira have the runabout, and sends O'Brien with her. She's concerned that the chief's presence could put Sisko in a bad light with the Cardassians, but he insists that O'Brien is there to make sure he gets his runabout back. As they set out, Kira makes it clear that they're not coming back without Li Nalas, a condition that O'Brien accepts.

After a close call with a Cardassian patrol, fooled thanks to a combination of them being out of visual range and some good lying, they arrive on Cardassia IV. They discover twelve Bajoran lifesigns in the camp, but because they can only beam two people up at a time, they have to get inside the camp in order to ensure they get Li before the alarms are raised. After tricking the dipstick guard by offering Kira as a fake slave purchase, they grab Li and his fellow prisoners as a firefight breaks out. Li is injured in the fight, requiring four of his fellow prisoners to remain behind so they can escape.

The runabout returns to DS9 safely, and Li is treated for his injuries. Gul Dukat even contacts Deep Space Nine, claiming the prion camp he was at was a violation of protocol, and the remaining prisoners are being transported to the station. Li is happy to be free, but he seems almost annoyed by the adoration of the Bajorans on the station.

Bajoran minister Jaro pays a visit to the station, and chastises Kira for nearly starting a war with the Cardassians, one which he is thankful they've chosen to decline. After pointing out that a repeat of such a stunt would cost Kira her military career, he offers his personal thanks for a job well done.

Quark is assaulted and branded in his bar late at night by masked members of The Circle. Li is told they need someone to speak out against these radicals. That someone of course, being Li Nalas himself. Unfortunately, he's not interested, as revealed when he's caught trying to stowaway on a vessel bound for the Gamma Quadrant.

In private, Li reveals the truth behind his "Legend": While fighting in a minor resistance cell, all but three of his group were wiped out. And being the only one with a phaser, he took the lead. Slipping down a steep embankment, Li was surprised to find a bathing Cardassian in his skives. As the surprised Cardassian reached for his weapon, Li was forced to shoot him. The mans body fell on top of him, and his companions assumed he killed him in a great struggle. That someone happened to be a high-ranking officer named Gul Zarale.

Li became a legend, a rallying point for Bajor. Many battles were attested to in his name. Li, however, is tired of being a slave to his mythic reputation. Sisko sympathizes, but notes the days of battle are over. Bajor doesn't need some legendary warrior; they just need a legend to focus them.

Very reluctantly, Li notes he's correct. Returning to Bajor, his legendary status has earned him the newly-invented title of Navarch. With this title comes a new job: liaison officer on board DS9 - Kira's job.

Sisko: "I already have a liaison officer."
Jaro: "Not anymore, you don't. Major Kira is no longer assigned to this post. She's been recalled to Bajor"

To Be Continued...

Tropes

  • Accidental Hero: Li shot a Cardassian he had surprised in his undies. Later retellings turned it into an epic clash.
  • Badass on Paper: Li was a capable resistance fighter, yes. But he's nowhere close to the almost godlike figure the resistance turned him into.
  • Humble Hero: Li was telling the truth when he told his comrades that he simply shot Gul Zarale, whom he caught unaware and unarmed, but as he tells Sisko, they were already convinced he was just being modest.
  • Metaphorically True: Li says the popular account of his fight with Gul Zarale is a lie. Sisko encourages him to think of it as a legend, instead.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sisko tells Li to return to Bajor and help guide them. And summarily makes Kira lose her job.
  • Refusal of the Call: Not long after being rescued, Li tries to skip town after realizing the responsibility his inflated reputation entails. Fortunately for everyone except him, he doesn't succeed.
  • Slave to PR: Li has been shackled by his fame since he gunned down the defenseless Gul Zarale. And he can't stand it.