Captain's personal log, stardate 517...
4? Computer, what day is it?
- Stardate 51721.3. - lt's only been two weeks.
l need to talk about this.
l have to justify what's happened, what l've done.
At least to myself.
l can't talk to anyone else. Not even to Dax.
Maybe if l lay it all out in my log, it will finally make sense.
l can see where it all went wrong. Where l went wrong.
lt started two weeks ago while l was posting the weekly casualty list.
Every Friday morning, l post the official list
of Starfleet personnel killed, wounded or missing in the war.
lt's become a grim ritual.
Not a week goes by that someone doesn't find the name of a loved one,
a friend or an acquaintance on that damned list.
l've grown to hate Fridays.
Who is it, Dax?
- Leslie Wong. - The skipper of the Cairo?
- She was an Academy instructor. - What happened to the Cairo?
She disappeared on patrol in the Romulan neutral zone.
l'm sure it's the same old story.
The Jem'Hadar crossed the Romulan border and caught them by surprise.
l can't believe the Romulans allow them to violate their territory.
The Romulans have a treaty of non-aggression with the Dominion.
They're willing to turn a blind eye to almost anything.
We need to bring them into the war on our side.
With the Klingons and Romulans, we could go on the offensive.
That's the last thing the Romulans want. They're in the perfect position.
They get to watch as their rivals slug it out in a long, bloody war.
Why should they risk their necks?
There's simply no reason for them to get involved in our war.
That was the moment l made the decision.
l was going to bring the Romulans into the war.
lt's in their own best interest to join the war.
That's the reason the Romulans will finally take action -
to protect themselves from the Dominion.
Let's say l'm the Romulan Proconsul. The Dominion isn't a threat to me.
l have a non-aggression pact with them.
- You put your faith in a piece of paper? - Not at all.
l've been watching them very closely
and so far they've kept their part of the bargain.
They're violating your territory almost every day.
They cross my backyard to give the Federation a bloody nose.
That doesn't make me sad.
The Dominion won't stop with the Federation.
- They'll come after you. - That's speculation.
The Founders see it as their duty to bring order to the galaxy.
You think they'll sit by with your chaotic empire next to their perfect order?
lf you watch us go under, you're signing your death warrant.
Before l plunge my people into a conflict
that will kill millions of loyal Romulan citizens,
l need more than the self-serving argument of a Starfleet officer.
l need proof of Dominion duplicity. Not more words. Proof.
Very good, old man. You would have made a decent Romulan.
l prefer the spots to the pointed ears.
OK, you've convinced me. They're going to need evidence.
But if there is evidence of a Dominion plan to attack Romulus,
it's probably buried deep in their headquarters on Cardassia Prime.
Not exactly the most accessible place in the galaxy.
There is someone on this station
who specialises in gaining access to places where he is not welcome.
l'm flattered, Captain.
l had no idea you held such a lofty opinion of me.
Your faith in my ability to retrieve classified information is most gratifying.
Let's dispense with the repartee and concentrate on the issue.
Can you do it or not?
No one wants to see the Dominion destroyed more than l do.
But to go to Cardassia Prime, penetrate a heavily guarded facility,
steal top secret war plans and return them safely to you
is not just another job. lt's more like a suicide mission.
And that is well outside my field of expertise.
l didn't say you had to go there yourself.
l have to believe that a man like you still has a few contacts at home.
A colleague from the Obsidian Order, an old friend, a reliable informant.
- Someone who owes you a favour. - Perhaps.
- l'd say it's time to call in a favour. - lt would mean calling in all my favours.
To do what you're asking
would use up every resource l have left on Cardassia.
And it may be a very messy, very bloody business.
Are you prepared for that?
l posted my 14th casualty list this morning.
l'm already involved in a very messy, very bloody business.
The only way l can see to end it is to bring the Romulans into the war.
l will do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal,
but l can't do it alone. l need help.
Now, are you in or out?
My father used to say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
l laid the first stone right there.
l'd committed myself. l'd pay any price, go to any lengths,
because my cause was righteous.
My intentions were good.
ln the beginning, that seemed like enough.
There's one thing l've learned:
bad news comes in the middle of the night.
- Kira to Captain Sisko. - Go ahead, Major.
We just received a communication from Starfleet Command.
The Dominion has invaded Betazed.
According to reports, the invasion force came from the Calandra Sector.
Did Starfleet know about the build-up?
They believed it was too far from the Dominion supply lines to be a threat.
The Tenth Fleet was supposed to be protecting Betazed,
but it was on a training exercise.
Betazed's defence systems are obsolete and undermanned.
The planet was theirs in less than ten hours.
The Dominion is in a position to threaten Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, Alpha Centauri.
lf we ever needed a new ally, it's right now.
Mr Garak. lt's been three days. Have you made any progress?
That depends on how you look at it.
Betazed has fallen. We need to get this operation under way.
l share your desire for swift action. After our last conversation,
l made a few inquiries among my former associates on Cardassia.
They shared my loathing for the current government
and were willing to take on any assignment to destroy it.
- That sounds like progress. - Doesn't it?
- Unfortunately, they're all dead now. - What?
Yes. All killed within one day of speaking with me.
That's a testament to the effectiveness of Dominion security.
- One should admire such efficiency. - l'm sorry.
l hope you're not giving up.
The stakes are much higher than a few dead operatives.
The fate of the entire quadrant hangs in the balance.
- That's the case you made to me. - Do you have another plan?
As a matter of fact, l do.
- But l suspect you won't like it. - Try me.
lf you want evidence of a Dominion plot to attack the Romulans,
l suggest that we manufacture that evidence ourselves.
Maybe l should have said,
''Thank you, Mr Garak. l will take your suggestion under advisement'',
and forgotten the whole thing. But l didn't.
Because in my heart, l knew what he was saying made sense.
His name is Vreenak.
He's a key member of the Romulan Senate.
He is Secretary of the War Plans Council
and a trusted advisor to Proconsul Neral.
He negotiated the non-aggression pact with the Dominion.
l'll skip the rest of his biography.
He is one of the most ardently pro-Dominion voices in the Senate.
lf we convince him that the Dominion is a threat, the entire Senate will follow.
ln ten days, Vreenak will visit Soukara for a meeting with Weyoun.
l am certain that he can be persuaded to make a secret detour to DS9
if he were invited by one Captain Benjamin Sisko.
- How do know he's visiting Soukara? - Some things l'd rather not discuss.
When Vreenak arrives,
you will show him a recording of a secret meeting of the Dominion
in which the invasion of Romulus is being discussed.
You will tell the senator that this information was obtained
at great cost to the Federation.
Ten good men lost their lives bringing it across the line.
He will suspect it's a forgery, but you assure him that's impossible.
''Senator, this is an official Cardassian transcript.
''lt was recorded on an optolythic data rod.
''These rods are manufactured only as needed on Cardassia Prime.
''lnformation can be transcribed on them once and cannot be altered.''
- He'll want to examine it. - Of course.
And he will discover that it is completely genuine.
- At least, so it will appear. - But in reality?
You will hand him a genuine data rod,
but it will contain the most perfect forgery ever fashioned.
l'm working on the data rod,
but l have the man to create the recording.
l can't authorise this. l have to clear it with Starfleet.
Of course, but with the fall of Betazed,
they'll do whatever it takes to bring the Romulans into the war.
- l'll let you know. - One last thing, Captain.
The man we need to forge this holo-program
is in a Klingon prison awaiting execution.
To save time and, incidentally, his life,
perhaps you could contact Chancellor Gowron and arrange a pardon?
- What's his name? - Grathon Tolar.
l cannot tell you how grateful l am, Captain.
The Klingons were going to execute me tomorrow.
They say that every day. lt's one of the games they like to play.
You do understand the terms of your parole?
l have to promise to stay away from the Klingon Empire.
That'll be tough.
And l have to create some kind of a special holoprogram for you.
l can hardly wait. l've never worked for Starfleet before.
You're not working for Starfleet. This entire matter is off the record.
As far as you're concerned, you're working for me.
Oh. A personal matter.
Something special, for your eyes only?
Something with, perhaps, five or six Orion slave girls and...
Mr Tolar, l suggest you go and wait in your quarters.
Mr Garak will provide you with the information you need.
- Garak is here? - That's right.
Well, that's different.
l'll wait in my quarters.
Why didn't l listen to the voice telling me not to believe a word?
But it didn't take long for me to realise that l'd made a mistake.
- Odo to the Captain. - Go ahead.
Do you know a man named Grathon Tolar?
- Yes. Why do you ask? - He just tried to kill Quark.
Sit still, Quark. You'll be fine.
All right, keep an eye on him.
Mr Tolar came in two hours ago, ordered a bottle of Whelan bitters.
15 minutes later he ordered a second bottle and then a third.
Halfway through his fourth, he decided to dance with M'pella.
She was running the dabo wheel and declined his invitation.
He decided to force the issue. A brief struggle ensued
and Quark, in an uncharacteristic display of chivalry,
attempted to intervene, so Tolar stabbed him.
He'd be sitting in a cell, but he claims he's a friend of yours.
He's no friend, but he is working for me.
lt's a sensitive matter concerning Federation security.
l can't have any record of him being on the station.
l am aware of the need for special security measures during wartime,
but as a matter of law, if Quark chooses to press charges against Tolar,
l have to make an arrest.
May l speak to Quark?
- How is he? - l just had a brush with death.
His ribs deflected the knife. Bleeding was superficial.
Superficial? Do you know how much this shirt cost?
- Will you excuse us, Doctor? - l'll check on you tomorrow.
- Do you intend to press charges? - You bet l do.
What will it take...
...to convince you otherwise?
Are you offering me a bribe?
l knew it. Captain, l've always liked you.
l suspected that deep in your heart there was a tiny bit of Ferengi.
- What's your price? - Well...
Let's start with my clothes and M'pella's clothes.
- All right. - l'm not finished.
l should be compensated for the loss of business l suffered today,
which l calculate as no less than...
five bars of gold-pressed latinum.
l'm also having a problem with station security.
They're holding some cargo containers l'm waiting for
because of some missing import licence or something.
l'll handle it. Anything else?
No. l think we can call it a bribe.
And thank you for restoring my faith in the 98th Rule of Acquisition:
''Every man has his price''.
That was my first moment of real doubt,
when l started to wonder if this whole thing was a mistake.
So then l went back to my office
and there was a new casualty list waiting for me.
People are dying out there every day!
Entire worlds are struggling for their freedom
and l am still worrying about the finer points of morality.
No, l had to keep my eye on the ball.
Win the war, stop the bloodshed. Those were the priorities!
So every time another doubt appeared before me,
l found another way to shove it aside.
- Mind if l join you? - Be my guest.
- Ops. - Hold. The less seen there, the better.
- l couldn't agree more. - You seem angry.
- Who's watching Tolar? - l've locked him in his quarters.
l left him with the impression that if he forces the door, it may explode.
- l hope that's just an impression. - Best not to dwell on such minutiae.
We have far more important matters to discuss.
l've located a gentleman willing to sell us a genuine data rod.
- How do you know it's genuine? - l trust the source.
l will confirm the rod's authenticity before l make payment.
- How much does he want? - He's not interested in latinum.
The gentleman requested to be compensated
with 200 litres of biomimetic gel.
One would assume it has something to do with genetic experimentation.
- Offer him something else. - l wouldn't relay this request
if he'd take something else.
Biomimetic gel is strictly controlled and not for sale at any price.
Find someone else to sell us a rod.
l wasn't exaggerating about the near impossibility
of obtaining a genuine Cardassian data rod.
lt's a miracle that l was able to locate this source.
l'm virtually certain l won't find another.
l'm afraid we either give him what he wants
or forget the whole enterprise.
Then let's forget about it. Ops.
Hold. 200 litres is out of the question.
There's not that much gel in the sector.
l believe the quantity is open to negotiation.
Biomimetic gel is an extremely dangerous compound, as you know.
lt could be used to make biogenic weapons, organic explosives...
Doctor, this is not a request. lt's an order.
You will package 85 litres of biomimetic gel
and deliver them to cargo bay 3. Understood?
Yes. l'd like this order in writing, please, sir.
l thought you might.
l shall note this in my log and file an official protest.
That is your right. But l want the gel by the end of the day. Dismissed.
The Founders have decided to implement stage two.
The invasion of Romulus? lt's too soon.
We're engaged in heavy fighting with the Federation. The Klingons...
The Founders have better vision than you.
They see the opportunities when you cannot.
The Romulans don't expect an attack from Cardassia.
The bulk of the Romulan fleet is still deployed along the neutral zone.
The Founders estimate we could be on Romulus in three weeks.
l heard the same estimate before we attacked the Federation.
Those plans were ruined by your predecessor.
- Gul Dukat is a great man. - He is an egotist and a fool.
We offered him the Alpha Quadrant
and all he could think about was his daughter.
Shall we get back to the business at hand?
That's it. Freeze program.
That's the new material. The rest plays exactly as you saw before.
- What do you think? - lt's better. They seem more real.
All l had to do was add a little petty bickering and mutual loathing.
So, you are happy.
You may record the program onto the data rod now.
l received a message. Senator Vreenak is on the way.
Done. Who gets it?
Just put it in the case.
Well. lt has been a pleasure doing business with you, gentlemen.
- Call me if... - You're not going anywhere.
What do you mean?
You're not leaving until your work is accepted by our client.
You can't keep me here against my will.
l haven't done anything wrong. We had an agreement!
lf that program passes inspection, you walk free.
But if there is the slightest flaw, l will send you back to prison
and tell Gowron to take his time while he executes you.
All right. lt will pass. You'll see.
- lt will pass. - l sincerely hope so.
Go back to your quarters. l'll be along shortly to say hello.
Maybe l was under more pressure than l realised.
Maybe it was really starting to get to me.
But l was off the hook.
Starfleet Command had given the plan their blessing.
l thought that would make things easier.
But l was the one who had to make it happen.
l was the one who had to look Senator Vreenak in his eye
and convince him that a lie was the truth.
While you're entertaining the senator,
l'll make a quick search of his ship's database
for any information he may have picked up on the Dominion.
- What if you get caught? - That's unlikely.
The senator will be travelling with four bodyguards.
Two will stand watch outside the wardroom, two in the landing bay.
They'll never know l was near their ship.
Just make sure you don't get caught.
Sections 52 Baker through 62 Baker have been secured.
l have scanned all compartments for surveillance equipment.
Very good. Maintain current security measures until further notice.
No one is to enter this area except Mr Garak and myself.
Always a pleasure to see you, Mr Worf.
- Ops to Captain Sisko. - Go ahead, Major.
We've received the signal you were waiting for. Should l reply?
No reply, Major. Sisko out.
l'll take my leave of you now, Captain. One last thing.
Vreenak believes he's on the winning side
so you may have to put up with a certain acerbic attitude.
Mr Garak, after having spent a week with you,
l have developed a very thick skin.
Welcome aboard, Senator. l'm Captain Benjamin Sisko.
So you're the commander of Deep Space 9,
Emissary to the Prophets,
decorated combat officer, widower, father, mentor.
And the man who started the war with the Dominion.
- l thought you'd be taller. - Sorry to disappoint you.
My opinion of Starfleet is so low
you'd have to work hard to disappoint me.
l'll show you to your quarters.
l look forward to seeing your station. While it's still here.
The way the war's going, it may not be around much longer.
A fair approximation, but somewhat lacking in aroma.
Real "kali-fal" should forcibly open one's sinuses before the first sip.
We don't have much experience in replicating Romulan beverages.
All of that would change if we became allies instead of cold warriors.
You are persistent, Captain, l'll grant you that.
But dogged determination won't change the reality of your situation.
Time is definitely not on your side.
The Dominion shipyards are operating at 100% capacity.
Yours are still being rebuilt.
The Dominion is breeding legions of Jem'Hadar soldiers every day.
You're experiencing a manpower shortage.
But most important,
the Dominion is resolved to win the war at any cost.
We both know the Federation has put out peace feelers.
lf you were in my position, which side would you choose?
l'd pick the side most likely to leave us in peace when the dust settles.
Maybe the Dominion will win in the end.
Then the Founders will control Cardassia,
the Klingon Empire and the Federation.
lnstead of facing three opponents with three separate agendas,
you'll be facing the same opponent on every side.
There's a word for that: surrounded.
lt really is a good replica. The aroma's starting to grow on me.
l almost forgot it wasn't the real thing, but only for a moment.
You make some very good points, Captain,
but it's still speculation and theory,
nothing that would warrant plunging the Empire into war.
What if l told you that the Dominion is planning an attack
on the Romulan empire at this very moment?
l'd want proof.
With the Cardassians protecting their flank,
the Jem'Hadar will begin their thrust across the Glintara Sector.
They should begin the invasion of Romulus on the following day.
Resistance will crumble as outlying colonies look out for themselves.
Consolidation of the entire empire will take three months at most.
What if they pull forces from the border at the first sign of attack?
l place my faith in the Founders.
They say the Romulans will not react fast enough once war begins.
Do you wish to dispute their judgment?
No, of course not.
- l serve the Founders. - As do we all.
l'd like to examine that data rod.
So all l could do was wait
and see how masterful Tolar's forgery really was.
So l waited, tried to catch up on my paperwork.
But l found it very difficult to focus on criminal activity reports,
so l went back to pacing and staring out of the window.
l'm not an impatient man.
l'm not one to agonise over decisions once they're made.
l got that from my father. He always says,
''Worry and doubt are the greatest enemies of a great chef.
''The soufflé will either rise or it won't.
''There's not a damn thing you can do about it
''so you might as well sit back and wait and see what happens.''
But this time the cost of failure was so high
l found it difficult to take his advice.
lf Vreenak discovered that the data rod was a forgery,
it could push the Romulans even farther into the enemy camp.
lf worst came to worst, they could join the war against us.
l felt that victory or defeat would be decided in the next few minutes.
lt's a fake!
So it all blew up in my face.
And all the lies and compromises,
the inner doubts and rationalisations, all for nothing.
Vreenak was furious.
l can't say l blamed him. l'd have reacted the same way.
After telling me that he would expose this deception to the entire quadrant,
he got back in his shuttle and headed home.
There didn't seem to be more to do, so l went back to work.
Two days later, l got the news.
- No one for me today. - l had one. Wounded in action.
Friend of a friend. l only met her once.
Friend of a friend. l'd say we're off to a good start today.
Captain, we just received word that a Romulan shuttlecraft
carrying a senator has been destroyed.
- Which senator? - Senator Vreenak.
He was returning to Romulus from Soukara when his shuttle exploded.
Preliminary reports point to sabotage.
The Tal Shiar believe that the Dominion is responsible.
The Dominion assassinated a Romulan senator.
- On a diplomatic mission. - That changes everything.
lt could even bring the Romulans into the war.
You killed him! That's what you planned all along.
You just wanted to get him on the station to plant a bomb on his shuttle!
l did have hopes that the rod would pass inspection,
but l suspected Tolar may not have been up to the task.
Did you kill him too?
Think of them both as tragic victims of war.
lf you let your anger subside, you'll see that they did not die in vain.
- The Romulans will enter the war! - There's no guarantee of that!
There is. When they finish examining the wreckage of Vreenak's shuttle,
they'll find the burnt remnants of a data rod
which somehow survived the explosion. After forensic examination,
they'll discover that it contains a recording of a Dominion meeting
at which the invasion of Romulus was being planned.
- They'll discover that it is a fraud! - l don't think they will.
Any imperfections will appear to be a result of the explosion.
So, with a seemingly legitimate rod in one hand
and a dead senator in the other, l ask you, Captain.
What conclusion would you draw?
That Vreenak obtained the rod on Soukara
and that the Dominion killed him to prevent him from returning with it.
The more the Dominion protests its innocence,
the more the Romulans will believe they're guilty
because it's what the Romulans would have done in their place.
That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain?
Because you knew l could do those things
that you weren't capable of doing.
You'll get what you want: war between the Romulans and the Dominion.
Soothe your conscience with the knowledge
that you may have saved the entire Alpha Quadrant
and all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator,
and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer.
l don't know about you, but l'd call that a bargain.
At 0800 hours, station time,
the Romulan empire formally declared war against the Dominion.
They have already struck 15 bases along the Cardassian border.
So this is a huge victory for the good guys.
This may even be the turning point of the entire war.
There is even a ''welcome to the fight'' party tonight in the wardroom.
l bribed men to cover the crimes of other men.
l am an accessory to murder.
But the most damning thing of all,
l think l can live with it.
And if l had to do it all over again...
Garak was right about one thing.
A guilty conscience is a small price to pay
for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant,
so l will learn to live with it.
Because l can live with it.
l can live with it.
erase that entire personal log.