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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 03 E 14 Heart Of Stone

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"Come on, Odo, it's pretty ridiculous, don't you think? The two of us being outsmarted... by a chunk of crystal?"
Odo and Kira are returning to the station after attending a security conference. Kira discusses security measures over the recent Bajoran-Cardassian peace treaty, but Odo is testy because Kira turned down a dinner request without consulting him. Their awkward conversation is interrupted when they stumble across a Maquis attack in progress, which threatens the treaty. They give chase to an unstable moon that is impenetrable to sensors, so they beam down to resume the chase on foot.

On the station, Nog receives an audience with Sisko and formally presents him with a sack of latinum. He's completed his Attainment Ceremony and is now a man in need of a mentor. He wants Sisko to be that mentor so that he can apply to Starfleet Academy. Sisko is nonplussed and only agrees to think about it.

Back on the unstable moon, Odo and Kira run after the Maquis through a network of caves, but seismic activity makes falling rocks a perpetual hazard. They separate, and Kira calls for Odo's help. She's gotten her foot stuck in a crystal of some kind. It seems harmless at first, but they quickly realize that no amount of force seems to dislodge it, and it's growing. Odo tries to beam Kira out of it, but the moon's atmosphere makes it impossible. He can't even send a message to the station. Instead, he has to send out a probe that will take at least two days to reach the station. Kira doesn't have that long.


On the station, Nog and Rom are getting bullied by Quark to fix the replicators that broke due to his own negligence. When Nog learns that Jake told Sisko that his desire to join Starfleet was a joke, he becomes irate and insists that he was serious. Nog bumps into Sisko and reiterates his interest, but Sisko is still dubious, noting Nog's mediocre grades and brushes with security. Nog begs for an opportunity to prove himself, so Sisko assigns him to inventory a cargo hold with no one looking over his shoulder as a test. Dax gives a glowing report of Nog's inventory, saying that he finished in record time and found things even the previous report missed. But there still remains the mystery of why Nog wants to join Starfleet.

On the moon, Odo rejoins Kira in the aftermath of a phaser fight with the mysterious Maquis. He tells her the bad news, but says that he hasn't given up. He's going to try to use an ultrasonic oscillator and find a frequency that will shatter the crystal. To distract her, Odo tells Kira about his upcoming plans to go to the holosuites with O'Brien for some kayaking, something he actually enjoys even though it's quite hazardous. When another quake rocks the area, he transforms into a canopy to shield Kira from falling rocks.


The crystal has almost engulfed Kira, and the ultrasonic generator has failed to work for some unknown reason. Kira realizes that she's doomed and begs Odo to keep talking to ease her mind, suggesting that he explain the origin of his name. Odo says that the original Cardassian who discovered him described him as an "unknown sample," but this got transcribed as Odo'Ital, meaning "nothing." When the Bajorans took over, they named him Odo Ital as a joke, which ultimately got shortened to Odo. Odo always took it as a reminder that he was "nothing," but now that he has Kira... and the rest of his friends on the station, he feels like himself.

Sisko summons Nog and tells him that he is denying Nog's request, saying he can't risk Nog screwing up and damaging his reputation. Nog again gets irate and begs Sisko to reconsider, but Sisko demands that Nog explain why he wants this so much. Nog finally breaks down and admits that he doesn't want to end up like his father. Rom is a genius engineer but never pursued it because Ferengi culture values profit over all. Like his father, Nog has no lobes for business, so he want to become great in some other way. Sisko agrees to help Nog join Starfleet, and Nog assures him that he's ready to do whatever it takes.

On the moon, Odo refuses to abandon Kira even after she orders him to leave. She demands to know why, and he finally admits that he loves her. Kira professes her love for Odo as well. But Odo starts to get suspicious. After a long period of silence, Odo puts it all together. He states that the phaser fire from Kira's offscreen firefight does not match her account of events. Further, the Kira he knows has never once displayed a romantic interest in him. He asks who Kira really is.

Before his eyes, Kira transforms into the Female Changeling he's already met. She explains that this whole episode was a test to see why Odo was so committed to siding with the humanoids. She assures him that Kira is nearby and unharmed. Odo demands that she hand over Kira. As no Changeling has never harmed another, Odo is allowed to leave. He retrieves Kira from a stasis pod, and they return to the station. When Kira asks what tipped Odo off that the Changeling wasn't her, Odo will only say that it was a "slip of the tongue" and dismisses it.

Quark has learned of Nog's intention to join Starfleet and forbids it. Rom finally stands up for himself by stating that decisions concerning Nog are his responsibility. He proudly congratulates Nog on his goal to become the first Ferengi in Starfleet. Nog embraces his father, saying, "Like father, like son!"


  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Odo has taken a liking to Earth detective novels, being loaned some by O'Brien.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Odo finally makes his feelings clear to Kira when she seems doomed to die, except it turns out that it isn't really Kira.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Sisko goads Nog into finally coming clean about his reasons for wanting to join Starfleet, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him while asking "Why?!" Nog finally admits that he's afraid that he'll wind up failing like Rom.
  • As You Know: Odo explaining to Kira how Bajoran scientists were supervised by Cardassians during the occupation.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Odo doesn't use weapons as a rule and dislikes the idea of carrying phasers on principle, but when he sees through the fake Kira's story, his response is to grab a phaser, aim it at the imposter, and demand to know where the real Kira is. Even when the imposter reveals herself as the Female Changeling, Odo doesn't lower the weapon, ignoring her assumption that he wouldn't harm one of his own people.
  • Continuity Nod: O'Brien's kayaking hobby, first mentioned in "Transfigurations", is mentioned by Odo. This includes how often he dislocates his shoulder.
  • Character Development:
    • Nog is finally given a character trait that is distinct from simply being a juvenile Ferengi: He wants to be a Starfleet officer and not simply a flunky like his father.
    • Sisko continues his development of being more open-minded about Ferengi. The previous episode had him admit that he was wrong to discourage Jake from befriending Nog. Here, he gives Nog a chance to become the first Ferengi in Starfleet, though only after being convinced that his intentions are true.
  • Determinator: Nog is bound and determined to join Starfleet, despite everyone thinking it's a joke or a prank. He spends the whole episode pursuing Sisko's recommendation for his application, and gets it when he proves he's serious.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Female Changeling assumes that Odo's love for Kira is the only thing keeping him from joining the Founders, blindly ignoring his contempt for the Dominion's tyranny.
  • Exact Words: Sisko tries to dissuade Nog by telling him that, as a non-Federation citizen, he'll need a letter of recommendation from a command-level officer. A command-level officer... like Commander Sisko.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Subverted; Quark is a fantasy forbidding uncle, but Rom refuses to fall in with his brother's wishes, giving Nog his blessing in joining Starfleet and expressing pride in his son.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Odo is unable to get a good reading on the crystal that's slowly encasing Kira, and notes that it's almost like the crystal is mutating continuously to keep them from finding out what it is. That is exactly the case.
    • For that matter, after separating for their search, Kira calls out for help awfully quickly—hardly enough time, it would seem, for her to have gotten stuck in the crystal genuinely.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Rom established in Season 1 that he's got a lot more technical ability than Quark gives him credit for, but that aspect of his personality was not developed much until this episode, in which Nog states that he's an engineering genius and has the capacity to run a starship. Rom's acumen will remain an Informed Ability until Season 4
    • Odo reveals that he enjoys kayaking on the Holodeck with Chief O'Brien in addition to his already-established interest in detective novels.
  • I Am Not My Father: Why Nog is so dead-set on joining Starfleet. He doesn't want to waste his engineering skills like his father. Toyed with in the final scene, when, after Rom gives him permission to go to Starfleet Academy and Quark declares them both insane, Nog proudly replies, "Like father, like son."
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Jake hears Nog wants to join Starfleet, he immediately assumes it was a joke and tells his father as much. It wasn't a joke, and Nog's reasons are not a laughing matter.
  • Inopportune Impersonation Failure: Odo's Anguished Declaration of Love prompts "Kira" to admit that she loves him too - and Odo is immediately suspicious: in all the years they've worked together, Kira has never given any indication of being attracted to him, and he knows for a fact that she would never lie to him just to make him feel better. From there, it doesn't take long before Odo starts putting all the other pieces of the jigsaw together, forcing "Kira" to revert to her true form.
  • Kick the Dog: The Female Changeling takes a moment to express her belief that Kira could never come to love Odo before beaming away.
  • Kill and Replace: Implied to be the fate of the original owner of the Maquis Raider used by the Female Changeling.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: Nog is scared that he'll become this trope, knowing that Rom's life hasn't turned out so great.
  • Mandatory Line: Bashir appears briefly to talk about a Mister Seahorse officer on the station, a conversation that is completely unrelated to the rest of the episode.
  • Mister Seahorse: Sisko and Bashir discuss an upcoming baby shower for one Ensign Vilix'pran, who is pregnant and about to become a father.
  • Most Writers Are Human: Odo states several times that he is an expert on "human nature" even though his background means that he would be most familiar with Bajorans and Cardassians, while his interactions with humans would have been fairly limited before the station came under Starfleet control. He's using "human" as a generic catch-all.
  • Name One:
    Odo: After all, we've been in worse situations than this one and come out all right.
    Kira: Name three.
    Kira: I can't think of any either.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Nog starts his application for Starfleet by formally offering Sisko a bribe to become his mentor, as per Ferengi tradition. One could generously describe it as a payment, but know Ferengi, it could go either way.
  • No True Scotsman: A Ferengi who isn't good at business is no Ferengi at all; there's even a Rule of Acquisition saying this. So what do you do if you don't have the head (or lobes) for business?
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Odo knows Kira doesn't love him, and neither would she lie just to make him happy.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Odo never uses phasers. When he points one at the Female Changeling, you KNOW he's pissed.
  • Planet of Hats: Harshly Deconstructed. Rom may be a Gadgeteer Genius, but he's gotten nowhere in life because he fails to live up to the Ferengi ideals of business. Nog realizes that about himself as well, which is why he's decided to join Starfleet.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Inverted, as the sight of Kira being slowly engulfed by the crystal and Odo struggling to free her calls this trope to mind.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sisko is as skeptical as everyone else about Nog's sudden desire to attend Starfleet Academy, but when Nog makes it clear that he’s deadly serious about it, he goes out of his way to give Nog a chance to prove himself before making up his mind.
  • Running Gag: Nog repeatedly insists on shaking Sisko's hand to formalize their meetings.
  • So Proud of You: Rom defies Quark and proudly lets Nog enlist in Starfleet.
  • Spotting the Thread: Aside from his observations of Kira in the past, Odo's first clue that all is not right is that the phaser marks from the supposed Maquis are directly behind Kira, meaning she should have been hit.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Jadzia invokes this trope on Nog, bringing him to the cargo bay and giving him hours of inventory work to do. Her point, of course, is that Starfleet, for all the adventure and discoveries, is often just hard work. Subverted when Jadzia reports back to Sisko that Nog finished the inventory in record time, and he found some things that previous reports missed! It seems that all the time Nog put in at Quark's bar actually paid off.
  • Techno Babble: Odo comes up with some involving an ultrasonic generator. It doesn't work.
  • That's an Order!: Kira to Odo, when she's trying to get him to leave her behind so that he doesn't risk being killed by the seismic tremors causing the cave to collapse. He doesn't listen.
  • They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason: When Jake asks Nog why he really wants to join Starfleet, he simply says "I have my reasons" but refuses to elaborate. Commander Sisko ends up prying the answer from him.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Odo attempts to transmit an emergency message from the Badlands, and the computer informs him that they should receive the message in approximately two days, because the plot depends on Odo and Kira being stuck where they are with no hope of outside help.
  • The Trickster: The Maquis vessel was the Female Changeling all along. She lured Odo and Kira out to the Badlands, then kidnapped Kira and impersonated her in an attempt to get Odo to come join the Dominion.
  • Wham Episode: A minor example. Odo reveals that he's been in love with Kira for years. Meanwhile, Nog's climactic scene with Sisko changes his whole arc, and Rom's by proxy, for the rest of the series.
  • Wham Line: Nog proving to Sisko, once and for all, that this whole Starfleet thing is no joke.
    Sisko: (shaking Nog by the shoulders) Come on, Nog, tell me! Why is it so damned important that you get into Starfleet? Why are you doing this?!
    Nog: Because I don't want to end up like my father!
  • What Have I Done: Commander Sisko after Nog reveals the reason he wants to join Starfleet: he's ashamed of his father. Commander Sisko looks like he got a Gut Punch from himself for not believing him and making him reveal it.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Sisko assigns Nog the task of inventorying a cargo bay, by himself. Sisko knows exactly what is there, but by assigning Nog the task by himself, he will see how serious Nog is about joining an organization that has exactly zero chance of profit.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: The Female Changeling says this when Odo points a phaser at her, reminding him that no Changeling has ever harmed another. Odo's response? "There's always a first time."