Kira learns she may not be who she thinks she is in the episode that originally aired on October 24, 1994. This is Second Skin.
Station log Stardate Undetermined: Second Skin.
Captured by Cardassians, Kira finds herself facing the fear that, this whole time, she may actually have been a Cardassian sleeper agent made to look like a Bajoran.
Arriving late for her Holo-sailing date with Jadzia, Kira finds herself pulled away by a call from the Bajoran central archives. She is shocked to learn that Cardassian records indicate that a Kira Nerys fitting her description was held in the Elemspur prison, a place Kira has never been. Meanwhile, a stranger looks on as the Kira grapples with this strange occurrence.
Visiting Odo, Kira tries to determine how she could have been at two places at once. Although the records indicate that she was at the prison sharing a cell with three others, she vividly remembers being trapped in caves with her resistance group. Contacting one of the cellmates, she is shocked to learn that he remembers her being drug away by Cardassians never to return. Knowing that something is amiss, Kira decides to travel to Bajor to seek answers.
Not long after Kira’s departure, Sisko is notified that she has gone missing and has not met with her rendezvous on Bajor. Soon Kira awakes and finds herself surgically altered to look like a Cardassian with a Cardassian man claiming that they have brought her home, to Cardassia. The man, identifying himself as Entek, informs her that she was an undercover operative of the Obsidian Order named Illiana Ghemor, who is now going through the transition in returning to her old life. Soon he hands her a personal statement she made before departing on her mission.
Back on the station, the crew begin searching for Kira. It becomes clear that someone has kidnapped or killed their crew-member and Ben is determined to find her. Before long, Julian is confronted by Garek who informs him that he has information about Kira.
Kira is soon visited by a man who claims to be her father, Legate Tekeny Ghemor. Despite Legate Ghemor’s insistence otherwise, Kira refuses to believe that she is his daughter and that she is really a Cardassian. The Next morning, Ghemor returns with Hasparate, a Bajoran delicacy, in the hopes that she will warm up to him. He tells her that she is a great artist who should have never left to join the Obsidian Order. He tells Kira that she is as stubborn as her mother, another person she does not remember. He regrets letting his daughter go on the mission to Bajor but knew that she would be dissapointed if she found out he prevented it. She still refuses to listen, determined to find a way out.
Garak informs Sisko and Odo that Kira is being held by the Obsidian Order and will not be able to get away. Sisko informs Garak that they will head to Cardassia Prime to rescue Kira causing the Tailor to refuse. Sisko informs Garak that the Tailor has no choice and, should he refuse, Garak will be removed from the station. Reluctantly, Garak agrees and they head off to save Kira.
Back on Cardassia, Entek begins his debriefing of Kira, informing Legate Ghemor that she has information they require. After it becomes clear that she is not going to cooperate Entek requests an item to prove his word. He soon has the body of Kira Nerys beamed into her room where she comes face to face with herself. Soon, Entek informs her that certain memories Kira has were implanted by the Obsidian Order. Entek then tells her that, if she does not remember who she is soon, the Order will have to deal with her. That night, Kira tries to make her escape but is stopped by her father, Legate Ghemor. Informing her that he will not try to stop her, she will only make things worse for herself by running away. He implores her to watch the videos she made so that maybe she will remember who she is. She complies and begins to have doubts that they may be telling the truth.
On their way to Cardassia, the Defiant is confronted by Cardassian warships who are determined to investigate them. The warship’s Captain is about to board them when Garak requests that they drop the holo-filter so he can speak to them directly. Garak informs the captain that they are on an Alpha Red mission and, should the captain not comply, he will find himself facing the central command.
Kira finds herself being interrogated by Entek only to be interrupted by her father. She is soon shocked to find that she is beginning to believe she is in fact Illiana Ghemor despite her hatred for Cardassia. Vowing to help her escape, no matter what it costs him, Legate Ghemor gives Kira her mothers bracelet. He has made arrangements for Illiana/Kira to escape and learns that Legate Ghemor is in fact one of the Cardassian Dissidents. It is them that Kira realizes what is going on. Entek set this situation up in order to trap Legate Ghemor working with the Dissident movement.
Just as she informs Ghemor of her suspicions, Entek arrives confirming everything she believes. Entek firmly believes that with Ghemor’s death, the Dissident Movement will end allowing the Obsidian Order to regain control. Just as things look bleak, Garak and team arrives and rescues Kira and Legate Ghemor, much to Entek’s surprise. Garak, ensuring that they are not followed, then kills Entek.
Back on the station, Kira is pleased to learn that her genetics are 100% Bajoran. Talking with Legate Ghemor, they discuss the real Illiana and whether she is still alive. He believe she is but warns her to never trust Garak at no circumstance. Apparently, the two have a history. In the end, Kira realizes that Ghemor is an honorable man who represents the best in the Cardassian people.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a great Kira-centric episode that really pits the character against the one thing she hates over all others, Cardassians. To make her believe, even for a moment, that she is in fact a Cardassian agent is possibly the worst thing anyone could do to Major Kira Nerys.
The thing that makes this episode even more impactful is that is really shows just how far the Obsidian Order is willing to go to ensure their control over Cardassia. They were not only able to capture and alter a well known Bajoran officer, but had the foresight and resources to place information well beforehand, information they knew would be found by an innocent researcher on Bajor nonetheless. For an empire such as Cardassia to have this powerful of a government branch, it is surprising that we have not heard of Cardassian infiltrators in Star Feet itself.
One other interesting bit is that the sleeper agent method is revisited again with a character on Star Trek Voyager. I wont go into detail yet, but let’s just say, it is a pretty big plot point.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Garek indicates that he has not left the station in many years, implying that he may be killed if he should depart DS9.
This is the second time we have head of the Cardassian Dissident movement and will not be the last.
This is also not the last time we see Legate Ghemor, he’ll be back!
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Late To The Game 4/25/2021 (Originally published 6/19/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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