A dying Cardassian, Gul Trelar, arrives on the station, and no one likes him. Then he gets murdered. Odo must find the perpetrator, but with so many suspects, easier said than done.
Sisko announces to his staff to expect the arrival of a visitor, Gul Trelar, a Cardassian General, to the station. No one is particularly happy; according to O’Brien, Trelar is known as “The Butcher of Bajor.” This isn’t just any visit, though – Trelar is dying, and his last request is to see his birthworld, Bajor (he was born during the Cardassian Occupation).
Later, Sisko meets with Odo to discuss Trelar, who was once commander of Deep Space Nine/Terok Nor during the Occupation (this comic was written before it was established that Gul Dukat was the commander). Odo tells the tale of an incident back then, where Trelar randomly killed a suspected Bajoran terrorist (one of three) without any proof whatsoever.
It turns out, one of these three suspects was Kira, who remembers the incident very well.
The Guest Arrives
A Cardassian ship docks at the station. Sisko and the rest of his staff stand in their dress uniforms, ready to greet Trelar and his family – his son, his daughter, and his second wife, Shiri, who removes her veil to reveal that she’s Bajoran. More than that – she, like Kira, was also one of the three terrorist suspects
Sisko takes Trelar to the holosuite, which had been made to recreate Trelar’s childhood room on Bajor. Shiri visits Kira in her quarters and it doesn’t go very well; Kira believes Shiri has turned her back on her people. Bashir meets with Trelar’s son, who criticizes the medical equipment in the Infirmary, while Dax meets with Trelar’s daughter to talk about meditation.
In the Briefing Room, Trelar talks about his exploits as a starship captain, and Kira starts arguing with him about the Occupation. Trelar believes it was a good thing, that it civilized the “savage” Bajorans. Trelar decrees, “We gave you purpose!”
Trouble for Trelar
Kira, Odo, and O’Brien storm out one-by-one. Trelar demands an apology from Sisko for Kira’s behavior but is suddenly stricken by a heart attack.
Bashir stabilizes Trelar in the Holosuite (why take him back there instead of the Infirmary?) then leaves him alone for the night. When Bashir returns the net morning, he discovers that Trelar has been murdered! Stabbed three times with his own dagger, a ceremonial weapon, to be exact. According to the computer, though, no one had entered the room that night.
After questioning Kira and Shiri, and dealing with a fire in the holosuite, Odo discovers the identity of the murderer – Trelar’s son, Orm. Orm reprogrammed the holosuite, specifically a hologram of Trelar’s mother, to stab Trelar when he asked her to sing a lullaby.
Why did Orm do it? Because he was offered a position on another ship as a medical officer, and his father, whose ship he served on as a science officer, wouldn’t let him go.
There is a lot going on and a lot to like in this issue, notably the murder mystery. Having the murderer reprogram the holosuite to kill the victim is certainly an innovative idea. We’ve seen homicidal holograms in Star Trek before but usually as a result of a malfunction – here, it’s intentional.
The first half of this issue, before the murder mystery, reminded me a bit of Necessary Evil, which dealt with flashbacks, revisiting the station’s past when it was Terok Nor. This issue predates the airing of that episode by about a month.
I liked Kira’s disapproval of Shiri’s marriage to Trelar, and part of me wishes it was explored a bit more. It could have been an issue all on its own.
Because the issue was packed, it felt a bit rushed, especially at the end, where it got so fast, it nearly lost me. Also, it was unclear why Orm murdered Trelar if he was going to die, anyway. I feel like the murder weapon, being a ritualistic dagger, was important, but nothing came of it. Overall, though, it’s much better than the first two issues.