* Journey of the sleaziest war criminal in sci-fi through 7 seasons of DS9…
Conversation between Gul Dukat and Sisko, on a runabout, during Season 2 episode ‘The Marquis’
Dukat: Redemption…it’s just punishment, isn’t it, Avery?
Sisko: We’re entering Cardassian Space.
Dukat: Yes, yes. [Pause] But it is, isn’t it?
Sisko: [Sighs] Punishment is punishment. Redemption is redemption. There’s a difference.
Dukat: I don’t know, Avery. It all seems the same to me.
Sisko gets up and walks over to the replicator. Dukat waits a few minutes then follows, looking over Sisko’s shoulder to see what he ordered.
Dukat: Did you ever get any redemption, Avery?
Sisko: No. I don’t need it.
Dukat: Me neither.
Sisko: The Bajorans might argue that point.
Dukat: What? Which Bajorans?
Sisko waves away the conversation, goes back to his seat, puts earphones on his head and pretends to listen to jazz.
Dukat follows him, ignoring the lack of attention.
Dukat: Ah, forget the Bajorans. My theory…just don’t fuck up in the first place…right? Just be good and don’t fuck up in the first place.
Dukat lives for the next two seasons of DS9, making decent episodes, shaking hands, trying to stay tolerant.
But the Bajorans, they won’t let him be.
Those damn Bajorans, he thinks.
It looks like they’re not as bad as you think they are, but then you realise that’s bullshit, they’re everywhere, and they’re exactly as bad as you think they are…victims, pretend farmers, terrorists…blowing up Cardassian ships even though the occupation’s over.
Those damn Bajoran terrorists.
Damn Bajoran victims.
A meeting between a captured Dukat and Sisko during the Season 6 episode ‘Dukat is evil, no debate’.
DUKAT: Hey Avery, how’s tricks?
DUKAT: Yup. The sane version, I swear.
SISKO: Sane, huh?
DUKAT: That’s correct.
SISKO: Well, I’d say allying yourself with the Dominion and spending all your free time with Weyoun wasn’t the sanest thing in the…
DUKAT: How’s Jake?
SISKO: Don’t change the subject.
DUKAT: Nah, I’m interested, really. How is he? Still growing?
SISKO: Dukat, this is not a social call.
DUKAT: What about Kira? Still your second in command, I presume.
SISKO: She is.
DUKAT: Good, good. She was always a very capable officer. [Pause] I miss her quite a lot, actually.
DUKAT: I hope she’s okay. I really do. [Pause] Say, does she ever talk about me? Those six episodes we shared, does she say anything about them? No, I suppose not. Though we did sit on a couch together once, looking at Zee…looking at some pictures. It was a nice evening. I never told her this, but every time she leaned forward, I could almost see down the front of her dress.
SISKO: Why are you talking like this?
DUKAT: I don’t know. To pass the time, I suppose. Why? What would you like to talk about?
SISKO: How about guilt…apologies…redemption…
DUKAT: Really, Avery, I’m surprised at you. We both know I have nothing to apologise for. Or feel guilty about. Or…sorry, what was the third one?
SISKO: You enslaved Cardassia. You sold out to the Changelings. You betrayed your people just to regain power and sleaze around with Cardassian pseudo models.
DUKAT: Me? I didn’t do that. I love my country…I mean, my planet. I would rather fist Morn than betray Cardassia. You must know that, surely…
SISKO: What do you want, Dukat?
DUKAT: Ah, nothing. [mumbles] Paycheck.
SISKO: Very well.
Sisko turns to leave.
SISKO: I’m a busy man, Dukat.
DUKAT: You still got that baseball you used to play with?
DUKAT: You wanna give it a spin? Maybe me and you go down the holodeck and have a knock-a-round?
SISKO: I don’t think that’s a good idea.
DUKAT: Come on, Avery…
DUKAT: Oh, I see. Now that I’m in here…prison…you want to forget all the good times. Well, you can’t erase them all, Avery, there were too damn many. Remember that time when I helped you get inside the Klingon base? No? Remember that time I…the time when we were…the time when…the Klingons, Avery…those damn Klingons would’ve cut you into shreds if I hadn’t…you see, I saved you. And that fat engineer too. And Odo, Worf…Jake. I saved your child, Avery, your strangely gigantic teenage son and now you won’t even play a simple game of baseball with me?
Sisko stares at him, not knowing if he should laugh, cry or shout like a nut. Finally, after a few seconds of silence, he decides to overact.
SISKO: We are not friends, Dukat. We were never friends. We were never even close to being friends, never, not for one single second, and you’re sitting here, telling me…you’re sitting here about to face trial on charges of war criminal…of being a war criminal…a murderer…and you’re telling me you want to hang out and play baseball?
Sisko collapses on the floor, struggling to breathe.
DUKAT: I think you may have overplayed a little there…
Sisko brings his breathing back under control.
DUKAT: Seriously, you sounded asthmatic.
SISKO: Shut up.
DUKAT: Okay, big man, relax. [Pause] All I’m suggesting is…maybe tone it down a bit for the racism episode…
DUKAT: …otherwise you’ll be in danger of stretching, and you don’t need to do that, not with a scene that good…it’s all in the script, it’s right there, all you need to do is just live it…experience the scene, Avery, don’t stretch. And the breathing, the whole asthma thing…skip that, don’t do it. I know it’s tempting, but you have to be better than…
SISKO: The day I take advice from a war criminal is the day the Bajorans stop being fundamentalists.
DUKAT: War criminal?
SISKO: That’s what I said.
DUKAT: Really, you’re gonna go down that street again? I told you countless times, Avery, the occupation wasn’t my fault. It was backstory. In fact, if you’re objective, you’ll notice I was quite lovely in the flashbacks.
SISKO: You killed thousands. Hence the name ‘war criminal.’
DUKAT: What? It was backstory. I didn’t actually kill them. Come on, Avery…let’s aim for a little speck of honesty, shall we?
SISKO: War criminal, that’s what you are. And that’s what you’ll always be. Accept it.
Dukat puts his head in his hands and then comes back up laughing.
DUKAT: Oh, well then, if Captain Avery Sisko says it then it must be true. Of course I’m a war criminal. Of course I am. Of course I am. Of course I am. Of course I am. Of course I am. Of course I am.
DUKAT: But isn’t it interesting how it fits me and only me…but someone like Gowron, he’s okay, isn’t he? And Martok…and your precious Worf…and let’s not forget the Romulans…
SISKO: You’re talking in riddles.
DUKAT: Am I? The Klingons have an empire as do the Romulans, do they not?
DUKAT: They occupy worlds, they execute dissidents, they’re more brutal than Cardassia ever was. Well, except for certain episodes of TNG. Actually, David Warner no longer works for us, he was kicked out, so…
SISKO: The Klingon situation…is different.
DUKAT: How so?
SISKO: Numerous ways.
DUKAT: Name one.
SISKO: We never see their victims. What you can’t see, doesn’t exist.
DUKAT: What? That’s not fair. That’s ludicrous. [Pause] How about I write a pitch for a new Trek TV show, focusing on victims of Klingon occupation? Gowron can play my role, evil bastard with no pity. How do you like them baseballs, Avery?
SISKO: I gotta go.
SISKO: This scene is going on too long.
DUKAT: No retort for my Gowron point?
SISKO: See you later, Dukat. Have a nice trial.
Sisko walks away, but…the ship is attacked and he ends up in a deserted cave with Dukat, Dukat’s cooking and derivative manifestations of madness.
DUKAT: How is it?
Sisko runs his fork through the food/sludge in a bowl.
DUKAT: You’re not the only one who can cook, you know? I never told you this but I used to be a university student.
DUKAT: There’s not one thing in this whole quadrant I haven’t stir-fried. [Pause] So…tell me, how is it?
SISKO: Not good.
DUKAT: What? It’s exactly what my mother used to make.
SISKO: Needs more salt.
DUKAT: For humans perhaps. For a Cardassian, it’s quality grub.
SISKO: Actually, Dukat, my Dad was a chef so…I kinda know what I’m talking about.
DUKAT: I see. Was your Dad the only chef in the Universe? Did he cook Cardassian food?
SISKO: Food is food.
DUKAT: A very human-centric viewpoint, but it’s what I’ve come to expect from you, Avery.
SISKO: War criminal.
SISKO: You heard.
DUKAT: Not again.
Weyoun and Kira appear behind Dukat and tell him to ask Sisko if he thinks he’s evil.
DUKAT: Okay. Forget the name-calling, it belittles us both. I want to go back to my Gowron point…
SISKO: Go to Hell.
DUKAT: Avery, please…
DUKAT: Jesus, it’s like talking to that racist engineer of yours. Nothing I say gets through. [Pause] You truly believe I’m evil, don’t you?
DUKAT: Why? Everything I’ve done has been justified from a Cardassian perspective. I didn’t go out of my way to kill people. I didn’t point at Bajor and say, ‘hey, a planet of hippies, let’s occupy.’
SISKO: You see, you’ve proven it, you’re evil.
DUKAT: In what way?
SISKO: The more you argue, the more evil you become.
DUKAT: But…it’s not…that doesn’t make any sense.
DUKAT: You can’t just shout insults without any kind of…
SISKO: War criminal.
DUKAT: Avery, stop…
SISKO: Butcher. Playboy. Parasite. Sleaze.
Weyoun, Kira and Damar gather round Dukat’s shoulder pads.
FAKE WEYOUN: Admirable traits.
FAKE KIRA: He’s right, you’re a monster.
FAKE DAMAR: Where am I? Ah, the star trek cave set. [Pause] Yeah, Dukat, you’re a dick. But a great dick. He’s just jealous of all the ass you got last year. Kill him.
RICK BERMAN: Yeah, kill him, Dukat.
Dukat throws his little bowl of Cardassian stew across the cave.
DUKAT: I said stop. [Pause] Okay, you’re right. I’m evil. I’m evil, I’m mad, I’m a sleaze. I’m soon to be quasi-religious.
They fight. Sisko runs out of the cave and tries to get on the runabout but Dukat catches up and drags him back down into the dirt.
DUKAT: I just want to say…this is all your fault. If you’d been a bit nicer to me over the past five years, maybe I wouldn’t have been such an irredeemable motherfucker.
SISKO: War criminal.
Dukat calls Sisko a Bajoran and throws him against the cave wall. He runs outside and gets into the runabout. After getting off the planet, he sits down, shouts at Fake Weyoun, cries and drinks some Kanar. He picks up his mask, ‘Dukat, Terok Nor Halloween party 2356’, and puts it on his face.
Those damn Bajorans, he tells himself.
A year later, he sits in front of a monitor, watching an old Earth film called Caligula.
After it’s done, he decides he’d like some of that [again].
Two weeks after asking how, he finds himself set up nicely on the old Cardassian station that isn’t Terek Nor. Bajoran couples and children walk around him not really doing much, just existing. Some of them seem to have stores, but who the hell are they selling to?
In fact, how did this whole thing get organised? He can’t remember a thing. Theoretically, he would’ve had to persuade the first few to come here, but…he’s Dukat, he looks like Dukat, he talks like Dukat…why would they follow him?
He rubs his head, notices a pretty Bajoran woman with a weak-looking man, and smiles.
Fuck it, does it matter? I’ve got sex on tap here.
He stands up, leads the guy to the nearest airlock, then chases the girl back to her quarters and fucks her up against the replicator.
Just like back in whogivesafuck province.
The fire caves are fiery and so is Kai Winn.
Dukat rages like a nut and demands shit he didn’t know he wanted. ‘The Alpha Quadrant will burn and the Pah Wraiths will…just float around, I guess.’
In his head, he wonders how Space could burn. He also wonders other things, like what happened to his regular character voice and why he had to share a bed with Kai Winn. But he doesn’t think too hard. Why bother, this thing is about to end. Whatever’s been making him do out of character things for the last two seasons is about to lose funding and…and finally he’ll be able to go back to being the old Dukat.
Sisko enters, muttering something about ‘can’t die, single mother, bad example, can’t die, single mother, bad example.’
DUKAT: Avery, what the fuck?
SISKO: [Sighs like Bruce Willis during most of ‘Cop Out’] Dukat…I should’ve known it’d be you.
DUKAT: What are you doing here? How did you find me? Weren’t you just in the holosuite? Doesn’t it take at least 3 hours to get to Bajor?
DUKAT: Ah, I see. Bad writing has brought us back together again, my old friend.
SISKO: We’re not friends, Dukat.
DUKAT: We were once…the episode with the other Riker…you came with me to Cardassia, that Obsidian Order bitch wound me up a lot…remember?
DUKAT: Come on…you found out I had a son, just like you. You empathised with me…or sympathised…I forget the difference.
SISKO: Didn’t happen.
DUKAT: No, it did…it…
SISKO: War criminal.
DUKAT: Not again…
DUKAT: Look, for the last time, I didn’t actually kill anyone, I just ordered it. And they were shot, not butchered. Do you understand degrees of violence?
DUKAT: Arrgghh…you’re impossible.
Dukat looks down at the sound stage. The Pah wraiths whisper in his ear, telling him to burn more of the caves and then maybe the nearest village outside the cave, but he’s not interested.
SISKO: I’m gonna throw you down that big hole.
DUKAT: Fine. Do it. I don’t care.
SISKO: I will.
DUKAT: Really, I don’t…what’s the point? I told them this was bullshit, but they won’t…they don’t even let you in the room. Just get the script, say the lines, don’t rock the boat. Tell me, Avery…is this what you really want?
SISKO: Generally, yes. Leaving Jake in a single parent family…no.
DUKAT: You want me to die?
SISKO: Sure. You broke my arm. And you talk a lot.
DUKAT: But…wasn’t it more interesting before? I mean, Seasons one to five…wasn’t it more…
SISKO: Forget it, Dukat. You’ve done too many evil things. You just burned Louise Fletcher alive…
DUKAT: I did.
SISKO: And you killed Jadzia…
DUKAT: Terry? She wanted to leave the series…
SISKO: …in a runabout, not a bodybag. Now she can’t do guest spots.
DUKAT: Okay, fine. I killed her. But it wasn’t…I never would’ve done that in Season Four.
SISKO: It doesn’t matter. Rick Berman has led us here, things have to end the way they’ve been scribbled. It’s not like we can just walk out of this cave and go back to DS9…
DUKAT: Can’t we?
SISKO: Time to die, Dukat.
DUKAT: No. I…hang on. [Pause] I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe, Avery. Or things you might believe, I don’t know. We’ve both seen some pretty odd shit. But me…I’ve seen Klingon ships flying in Space. I’ve seen C-beams bouncing off Damar’s head. I’ve seen Bajorans eating their own shit on Terek Nor. I almost saw Nana Visitor’s tits once…
Sisko runs forward and rugby tackles Dukat into the big hole. They fall for a while until a spiritual white light overwhelms the screen [and the last seven seasons of the whole show].
Sisko dies a hero, Dukat dies a wretch…
In 2355, before joining the Cardassian military, Dukat rode his Cardassian version of a horse out into the Cardassian desert and got himself lost.
After three days of seeing no one, he finally came across a cauldron tended to by three witches.
He nodded and said hello.
They ignored him.
He asked what they were doing there.
They told him it was a local production of King Lear.
He asked them if he would be a Legate or something in the future.
They said no.
He asked if anything bad would happen to him.
Yes, they said. You will kill many people in the next 15 years and become known as a monster.
But I’m against all kinds of violence, he protested. I would never harm anyone.
It will come to pass, they said. And later you will betray your own people to an empire run by tyrants with bad make-up.
‘What? No. I don’t want any of that to happen, it’s terrible.’
It shall be so, they said again.
He asked if there was anything he could do to avoid it.
Yes, they said. Learn to distrust the Bajorans.
He asked what was wrong with the Bajorans.
Everything, they said.
‘But I’m against the occupation.’
Everything, they repeated.
He thanked them for their advice and rode on, eventually finding his way out of the desert and safely back home.