Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 05 E 21 Soldiers Of The Empire

Martok: On the bridge, during the fight, when you dropped your guard - how did you know I would not kill you?
Worf: I did not know.

Upon returning from captivity Martok is given a new command, the run-down bird of prey Rotarran. His mission is to rescue a Klingon ship lost patroling the border. As they set out Worf is asked to come along as first officer, and Dax volunteers to come along as well.

They soon find that the crew's spirits are down through lack of victory and lack of, well, spirits. The second ailment at least is solved when Dax provides a large supply of blood-wine for the crew, but that hardly solves the problem. And being Klingons, low morale can easily lead to violence.

Another problem comes up when they find Martok's morale is down; indeed he seems to have had his courage crushed by his captivity. The first indication is when they spot a Jem'Hadar ship and Martok refuses to pursue. Worf rationalizes this by saying they needed to continue on their mission. Whereupon Dax points out that that would be true on a Starfleet vessel but here on a Klingon ship that is almost cause for mutiny. A chance for a token victory absolutely cannot be thrown away and Martok's judgment if not his courage must be questioned.

They continue their voyage until they reach the border and find the distressed ship. Whereupon Martok again refuses battle. This time is enough. Worf challenges Martok for command. During the fight Worf deliberately lets his guard down. Whereupon Martok wins the fight but spares Worf's life. In his excitement at his victory, Martok gathers himself together and leads the Rotarran to victory completing his mission and destroying a nearby Jem'Hadar ship in the process. When they return, Martok is grateful to Worf for helping him regain his courage and offers to adopt him into his clan which Worf accepts.