The elections for Kai are just around the corner. And Kira and Vedek Bareil have been spending the time as expected: Banging each others brains out.
And since Bareil is on DS9, that means a certain slimy Bajoran is hot on his heels as usual. Yes, Vedek Winn is back again. And no one around the station is thrilled about it.
Between accusations and not so veiled contempt between her and Kira, an old Bajoran enters the station, harmlessly bumping into another. He waves it off for a moment, but then notices the man. He's not just any Bajoran. He's Kubus Oak, former Cardassian collaborator during the occupation.
A burgeoning lynch mob of Bajorans surrounds the man before Odo steps in. And instantly places him under arrest. As he's dragged off, he catches the eye of a nearby Vedek Winn.
Locked inside a cell, Kubus tries defending his actions as a traitor. Claiming the situation on Bajor would have been even worse without the collaborators. He also tries using his age, claiming there's no harm in letting an old man live his final years on his home world.
That's when Kira comes in. Slapping down every excuse he tries. His name is number four on the banishment order named the Ilvian Proclamation. She also reminds him of his clerical work. Effectively signing death warrants when he sent Bajorans to die in the ore processing mines.
Vedek Winn meanwhile is doing her usual thing. Namely trying to get Sisko to speak with her at the Vedek Assembly. Sisko is smarter than that, knowing this is just a ploy to try and sway votes in the coming election.
She's not done causing people misery just yet. As Kira finds out when Kubus Oak tries leaving on a ship for Bajor. Turns out Winn has granted the traitorous Bajoran sanctuary. Heading for Odo's office, she finds out Winn spent ten minutes talking with Kubus before accessing something on Odo's console.
That something was information on the Kendra Valley Massacre, the death of 43 Bajoran resistance members, including the son of Kai Opaka, when a collaborator named Prylar Bek sold them out. Winn saunters into the office again, asking to speak to Kira alone.
Kira is of course pissed about her offering a collaborator sanctuary. Well, the shifty Vedek has her reasons. Kubus has given her the name of the collaborator who caused the Kendra Valley Massacre. Turns out it wasn't Prylar Bek after all. The traitor is none other than Vedek Bareil.
Kira naturally doesn't buy a word of this. Between a traitor like Kubus and a snake like Winn, she has little reason to. The two strike a tentative deal. Kira will investigate these claims, and she'll report her findings to Winn.
Questioning Kubus in the cargo bay, he claims Bek was just a simple messenger between the Cardassians and the Vedek Assembly. In the time leading up the massacre, Bek became panicked and erratic. Along with being in constant communication with a then-unknown source within the Assembly.
The day after the massacre, however, Vedek Bareil visited Bek for several hours, during which time Kubus could hear shouting coming from Bek's quarters. Bek hanged himself on the Promenade shortly thereafter. Based on this, Kubus believes that Bek wanted to confess his betrayal but Bareil forbid him to do so which led to his suicide, a theory Kira regards as incredible.
Kira insists there could be any number of explanations for this. And Winn informs her it's her job to find out.
Kira contacts Bareil, who admits coming to the station to meet with Bek on the day in question. While he denies any involvement in the massacre and seems sure Winn will not be able to prove anything, Bareil cannot reveal what he and Bek talked about due to confidentiality between monks and their Vedeks.
She tries going for Cardassian logs next, but the communications between them and the Bajorans were wiped during the withdrawal. Odo accesses the Bajoran Central Archives for any more info. And info he finds. Specifically, the records between Prylar Bek and the Assembly for the week prior to the Kendra Valley Massacre have been sealed.
And the security seal placed on them could only come from a Vedek. And when there's possible illegal data to obtain, there's only one person to go to: Quark.
Quark rather reluctantly assists the two of them. But there's not much to show for it. The file has been blanked. With some assistance from O'Brien next, Kira searches for any shred of data leftover. He's got one thing: Tidbits of residual data from a retinal scan.
This is pay-dirt. Piecing it together, the eraser of the logs is revealed: Vedek Bareil.
It's time to confront Bareil over this. With as much reluctance as can be expected, he reveals why he sold the resistance out. It was either sacrifice 43 resistance members, or let 1200 civilians perish.
Kira relays this information to Winn. But she knows already, due to Bareil withdrawing from the choosing. But something about the situation is still irking Kira.
With Bareil out of the running, the expected happens. Vedek Winn becomes Kai Winn. After some hollow platitude from Winn, Kira confronts Bareil with new evidence. Namely, the transit files he forgot to erase. He was stowed away in a monastery in the weeks leading up to the massacre. And there's only one transmission log. Made a week after the incident.
Bareil took the fall for the real collaborator. The one person who he cares for more than Kira. The true collaborator in the massacre was none other than Kai Opaka.
Her faith in Bareil renewed, the two of them walk away together to go pay their respects to the new Kai.
- The Alibi: Comes out too late, but Bareil had an ironclad alibi - transit logs show he was secluded in a monastery for weeks before the massacre, and the only communication log from that monastery during that time was after the massacre occurred. Bareil either forgot to erase them, or did not have access to them.
- As You Know: Kira describes the Kendra Valley Massacre to Odo, ending with "You were here, you must have read [the suicide note]."
- The Bad Guy Wins: Treacherous, backstabbing and manipulative Vedek Winn becomes the new Kai.
- Backhanded Compliment: Winn has a biting one when Bareil offers a different viewpoint on whether the Prophets' love is conditional or not. She thanks him in her usual saccharine way for reminding everyone how easy it is to misinterpret prophecy.
- Les Collaborateurs: Several Bajorans worked for the Cardassian government during the occupation. Their punishment for this is permanent exile from Bajor. Kira thinks that's way too generous.
- Downer Ending: Bariel thinks preserving the good memory of Kai Opaka is worth letting the blackhearted Smug Snake Winn become her successor. Kira clearly disagrees, but still has to suck it up, smile at that treacherous Smug Snake and pay her respects.
- The Exile: Many Bajorans who collaborated with the Cardassians fled with them to Cardassia Prime.
- Foreshadowing: When Kira expresses her feelings for Bareil to Odo, his body language betrays his shock, although he quickly covers himself by claiming he already knew. This is the first time we've gotten any indication that Odo's own feelings toward her aren't strictly professional.
- Hidden Disdain Reveal: When Odo sardonically notes that Gul Dukat called Kubus "his favorite Bajoran," Kubus snaps "I never could stand that arrogant tyrant."Odo: You hid your feelings well.Kubus: It kept me alive.
- Honor Before Reason: Bareil's actions provide a rare example of someone not upholding his own honor; instead, he protects Opaka's by Taking the Heat for the massacre, even if that ensures that Winn becomes Kai.
- I Did What I Had to Do: How Kubus lives with his actions working for the Cardassians. Notably, he clearly is just hanging onto this rationalization.
- The Needs of the Many:
- Between 43 resistance members and 1200 innocent villagers, Kai Opaka made the hard choice — especially hard, given that one of the former was her son.
- This also applies to Bareil Taking the Heat for Opaka, as he decides that her legacy is more important to Bajor than his reputation.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Rule of Acquisition #285.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: The first meeting between Winn and Bariel is absolutely covered in this.
- Persona Non Grata: Under the law following the Cardassian withdrawl, any Bajoran who collaborated with the Cardassians is exiled from the homeworld.
- The Power of Legacy: Bareil believes that it is more important that the Bajoran people's belief Kai Opaka remain unshakable and unblemished by a scandal than prevent a politically-motivated rival from becoming her Sucksessor.
- The Quisling: Subverted, ironically enough. Everyone involved in collaboration either claim to be or actually were trying to save Bajoran lives.
- Kubus is, arguably, a Downplayed example of this as he's clearly grief stricken and remorseful about his actions. None of this matters to Major Kira, though.
- Rebuilt Pedestal: Once she realizes why Bareil did it, Kira admires his willingness to sacrifice his own good name for the greater good.
- Taking the Heat: Prylar Bek and Vedek Bareil both do this to protect Kai Opaka - Bek because he was already a collaborator, and Bareil to preserve Opaka's memory as unblemished.
- Too Dumb to Live: Kai Opaka knew the location of the resistance base because her son was a member. The logical conclusion is that her son told her of his whereabouts, which is a huge no-no when fighting a guerrilla war.
- Undying Loyalty: Bareil to Opaka, so much that he takes the fall to preserve her legacy.