Change of Heart

When Dax and Worf are sent to the Badlands to meet with a Cardassian double-agent, they receive an encrypted subspace transmission from Lasaran, the operative. He has information about where the Founders are located in the Alpha Quadrant, but before he will reveal anything, he wants Dax and Worf to help him defect. In three days, he plans to walk into the jungle on the planet Soukara. Since Dax and Worf will be unable to beam him off the planet, they are to rendezvous with him in the jungle. Seeing no alternative, they agree to the plan.

Dax and Worf head immediately for the Soukara system, successfully landing the runabout in the middle of the jungle. They have just under two days to reach the rendezvous point, and although this is about 20 kilometers away, they will have to penetrate the Dominion's sensors and get past their patrols.

Reconfiguring their tricorders to mask their lifesigns, Dax and Worf are able to begin their trek through the jungle. They hike the entire day, finally stopping to make camp after night falls. Despite the difficulty of the journey, it is almost like a honeymoon for the newlyweds, who enjoy talking and joking together. However, they soon realize they are in the path of a Jem'Hadar patrol.

With no way to escape, they quickly formulate a plan of attack. They manage to kill all three Jem'Hadar, but Dax is shot with a disruptor that leaves an anti-coagulant in her wound — meaning the bleeding cannot be stopped. With the help of painkillers and regular plasma transfusions, they continue their trek, but Dax's injuries impede their progress, and eventually she loses the ability to walk.

Worf realizes that Dax's only hope for survival is surgery. Since they cannot abandon their mission, Dax and Worf both decide Worf must keep going, leaving Dax behind to die. The newlyweds share a kiss goodbye, and Worf heads off into the jungle. But as he gets farther and farther away, Worf realizes he cannot complete the mission. Instead, he rushes back to the now-unconscious Dax, reaching her just in time to save her life. Back on Deep Space Nine, he learns she will recover, but their mission is a complete loss — Lasaran has been killed. Sisko informs Worf that, as Captain, he must tell Worf he made the wrong choice, but as a man and a husband, he probably would have done the same thing.