In which Worf kills his brother twice.
Worf is in tactical gear, carrying a sword through some caves, when he is attacked by a rampaging Jadzia Dax. This is a spar which Worf is using to prove the advantages of the mek’leth, or single-bladed sword, over the bat’leth. It’s maneuverable and encourages caution, whereas the bat’leth leads to overconfidence. Worf also hangs a lampshade on Jadzia’s… impractical battle attire. Their flirting is cut short as Worf is called to the airlock to deal with a drunk Klingon.
That drunk Klingon is Kurn, Worf’s brother. Kurn’s been off the grid for months, and is now here to receive mauk-to’Vor from Worf. It’s not as dirty as it sounds, but it’ll probably get messy. Kurn’s suffering nightmares and a wicked hangover. And he’s disgusted by Worf’s use of cushions in his quarters. Worf never gets any respect among Klingons, and Kurn’s bitter because Worf chose Starfleet over the Klingon Empire and brought dishonor on the House of Mogh. He brought it from being a powerful house in contention for succession, to a landless shipless failure. Being ritually killed is all Kurn has left to look forward to, although saying he never asked Worf for anything might be stretching the truth a bit.
Meanwhile, O’Brien is in this episode. He and Kira are returning from a Bajoran colonial inspection. An exhausting one, by the sound of it. This is noteworthy because they observe an energy discharge consistent with an exploding cloaked ship just outside of Bajoran space. When they investigate, they’re met by a Klingon ship undergoing military drills, and hightail it back to the station.
Jadzia is alerted to Worf’s plans when he doesn’t show up for calesthenics and Quark tells her that Worf wanted some special incense, and Odo confirms that Kurn is his brother. They speed off to Worf’s quarters, but not before Kurn gets a big old knife in the chest. Now Kurn is in sick bay and Worf is facing a murder charge if he dies.
It’s hard to say whether this is the least amused Sisko’s ever been, but it’s probably in the top five. And though Kurn is going to live, Sisko demands answers. This goes beyond the pale of what Sisko is willing to tolerate in the name of cultural diversity. But after that cathartic yelling session he’s in a decent mindset to consider the sensor readings from the Klingon drills. He orders Kira to deploy the Defiant to run some scans and snark off at the Klingons if they object.
Kurn’s stable in a Cardassian-made biobed frame, and none too pleased about being alive. Worf’s Federation training is rippling outward and infecting Kurn’s choices too. Jadzia swings by to apologize, but Work is more concerned with going forward. Kurn would need tasks to keep him useful, and Jadzia suggests training with Odo’s deputies. Odo’s willing to give it a try, but not without extracting a favor. On his first day on the job, Kurn starts out by earning Odo’s seal of approval, but he’s finding the ‘uniform’ uncomfortable. Gee, if only there was a tailor on the station who was also full of cheeky life advice about changing careers involuntarily.
Aboard the Defiant, O’Brien finds the cloaking trails of Klingon ships, immediately followed by the wrecked-out husk of a vor’cha cruiser spinning out of control away from an explosion. The sudden burst of light on the catastrophic failure of a cloaking device is rather interesting, as it seems to imply that the device does slightly more than just bend light around itself. The Defiant offers help, but the Klingons refuse it at first, then request medical help and are towed back to the station.
Kurn has been wounded in the line of duty after finding some contraband on the ship he was inspecting. The captain pulled a disruptor and Kurn let it happen. This is not the sort of person Odo wants on the team, and all Kurn really has at this point is obeying the strictures of Klingon familiar hierarchy.
Investigation into the Klingon ship’s damage leads to the suspicion that the Klingons are working with a cloaked minefield, which is completely undetectable. The power output of a mine for station-keeping and detonation sensors is so minimal that their cloaking device is able to completely mask them. Klingon mines can remain dormant until activated by remote, which allows the Klingons to seed a minefield Just In Case, and then activate the mines in case of war. The Starfleet crew needs to map of the minefield in order to deactivate them, and Work asks Kurn to help.
Kurn was against the decision to break the treaty with the Federation. Not for any noble goals about interstellar community, but because Kurn knows that the Federation isn’t as soft as Gowron thinks it is, and attacking the Federation will be the end of the Empire. Therefore, Worf spins this as a chance to save the Empire from it’s politician-in-chief. Work and Kurn go undercover, assisted by a little Federation magic that can temporarily change their DNA on any scans they might have to go through.
The Klingons have obviously learned something about counterespionage since Worf last had any insider information. I mean, granted they’re relying on the same security procedures a teenager uses to hide the porn folder, but if a spy is in a hurry, a fake directory could be sufficient. They’re interrupted by a nosy lieutenant, and Kurn has to kill him before Worf takes a knife in the liver. This isn’t doing anything for Kurn’s sense of honor, though. However, the mission was successful.
Worf agonizes over not seeing the attack coming. This is when he accepts Kurn’s judgement – that he wasn’t able to see it coming now makes Worf realize he could never live in the Empire again, that he’s too Starfleet. Of course, Kurn doesn’t even have Starfleet and will probably seek suicide agian, but as usual, it’s Jadzia’s job to have better ideas.
Kira and the Defiant fly out to the minefield, issue a general warning that they’re about to detonate the minefield. First a warning, then a warning shot, then a broad sweep. The Klingons fly away in a sullen rage. Speaking of sullen rages, Kurn’s about to burn his skull open with his sidearm, but it’s dishonorable and Worf makes him put it down. Instead, Worf has Bashir wipe Kurn’s memory, undergo cosmetic surgery and DNA therapy. Thus, Kurn will be able to live as an honorable Klingon once again, even if ‘Kurn’ will, in fact, be dead. I wonder how the Guardian at the Gates of Sto-vo-kor or whatever will interpret that. He awakens as Rodak, son of Noggra (a friend of Mogh from way back) and goes off to live his new life. Worf has saved his brother, but may finally have finished cutting his ties with all of the Klingons on this side of the galaxy.