Wed
May 8 2013 2:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Babel”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Babel“Babel”
Written by Sally Caves and Ira Steven Behr and Michael McGreevy and Naren Shankar
Directed by Paul Lynch
Season 1, Episode 4
Production episode 40511-405
Original air date: January 24, 1993
Stardate: 46423.7

Station log: O’Brien is overwhelmed with work. People are trapped in an airlock, a cargo captain named Jaheel has been kept two days for repairs, the lab is emitting a high-pitched squeal, the navigation computer doesn’t work, and the replicators aren’t working right. It is that last repair that proves to be of note, as his maintenance activates a device that has been placed inside the replicator....

Business is very slow in Quark’s as his replicators are down—he’s on O’Brien’s waiting list for repairs. Unwilling to keep waiting, Quark hacks the station records and locates the replicators that have been fixed, then announces a celebration that the replicators have been “repaired” in order to lure customers back in.

In ops, O’Brien starts speaking in gibberish. Bashir analyzes him and says he’s suffering from a form of aphasia, but there’s no damage to indicate why he’s suffering it. Dax then starts to suffer the same symptoms. When comparing Dax and O’Brien, Bashir discovers a virus that’s altering the temporal lobe, mimicking aphasia. As Bashir explains this to Sisko, two more Starfleet officers come in with aphasia. Sisko immediately puts the station on quarantine lockdown.

Captain Jaheel begs Sisko to let him break quarantine, as he has a shipment to deliver and he’s also afraid of getting sick. However, Sisko refuses.

Quark’s remains open despite the quarantine, as a place where people, nervous about the virus, can blow off steam. Quark claims to Odo that Rom fixed the replicators, which makes Odo suspicious (Odo points out that Rom’s an idiot and “couldn’t fix a straw if it was bent”), and he later catches Quark using a replicator in an empty crew cabin to fulfill orders.

Bashir reports that food from the command-level replicators is infected with the virus, despite biofilters that should screen it out. But since Quark fulfilled orders from those replicators, it’s spread all throughout the station and has now mutated into an airborne variety. The whole station’s infected.

Kira finds the device that caused this, which she’s convinced is Cardassian. Bashir, however, determines that it’s Bajoran in origin, and Kira and Odo establish that it was put there, probably by the Bajoran underground, when the station was constructed. Sisko tasks Kira with finding who created it and getting an antidote. But after eighteen years, there’s no guarantee that the creator is still alive—and since it was part of an apparently abortive terrorist plot, no guarantee that there is an antidote.

O’Brien runs a fever and lapses into a coma, and he’ll be dead in twelve hours unless Bashir can figure out how to stop it. Kira now has a ticking clock to find the person responsible. One of her contacts says the best bet is Dekon Elig, but he died while trying to escape from a Cardassian prison. However, he had a medical assistant who’s still alive: Surmak Ren. He was in the same prison, but survived and was repatriated to Bajor when Cardassia pulled out. When she tracks him to a hospital in the northeast district where he’s now an administrator, he quickly and suspiciously denies having any knowledge of an aphasia virus.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Babel

Quark is reduced to playing dabo by himself, as most of the station is down with the virus. So is Odo’s entire staff, so when he’s summoned to ops, he tells Quark that if anything goes missing while he’s away, the constable will hold the Ferengi personally responsible.

While in the midst of trying to find a cure, Bashir contracts the virus. Kira takes a runabout to Bajor to kidnap Dr. Surmak (Sisko is reluctant to let her break quarantine at first, but Odo convinces him that it’s their only chance, and she never leaves the runabout, so if you view the vessel as part of the station, she doesn’t really break quarantine, exactly). Jaheel decides to try to leave on his own—his crew’s down with the virus—but he only succeeds in wrecking his ship. Sisko gets the virus, leaving Odo alone to run the station—with the surprising help of Quark, who beams Odo to the docking ring so he can manually blow the clamps before Jaheel’s ship explodes.

Surmak was only Dekon’s medical assistant, and he insists he’s not responsible, but Kira isn’t looking to assign blame, she just needs a cure. Surmak is still reluctant, right up until Kira reveals that he’s now infected. Kira brings him to the infirmary just in time for her to get aphasia. But Surmak is able to continue Bashir’s work and find a cure.

Sisko goes to the ops replicator to get a cup of coffee, and it tastes like absolute crap. So everything is basically back to normal....

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Babel

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko is devastated when Jake contracts the virus. Bashir, to his credit, lets Sisko take Jake to the additional ward in crew quarters before giving his report.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Babel

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira shows some investigative chops—tracking Surmak through his signing of Dekon’s death certificate—and her underground training in doing whatever you need to do to get the job done via her basically kidnapping Surmak from his office. (She makes sure he’s alone in his office before beaming him out, and it’s an open question whether or not she’s doing it to avoid anyone else being transported or to avoid there being any witnesses.)

Kira also assumes that the device is Cardassian, but when further investigation reveals that it’s Bajoran, she’s completely unapologetic about the conclusion to which she originally jumped.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark cites an “old Ferengi saying” that you should never ask when you can take. It certainly sounds like it should be a Rule of Acquisition, but those haven’t been conceived on the show yet. Quark is also immune to the aphasia virus.

He also mentions that he served on a Ferengi freighter for eight years.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Babel

The slug in your belly: After being given appreciative looks by several men, Dax comments on how she hasn’t been a woman for eighty years. This will be verified in “Facets,” when we learn that the host Audrid died in 2284, which is 85 years prior to this episode; Dax had three hosts after that, Torias, Joran, and Curzon, all male (Torias and Joran were short-lived).

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo disguises himself as one of Quark’s food carts in order to catch him using a replicator on the command deck. Quark comments that he thought the wheels were sticking a bit...

Keep your ears open: “Glass lunch judge a bin to let it!”

Bashir with aphasia.

Welcome aboard: Ann Gillespie makes the first of four appearances as Nurse Jabara, having previously played Ensign Hildebrandt on TNG’s “Pen Pals.” Jack Kehler, Matthew Faison, and Geraldine Farrell all put in appearances as Jaheel, Surmak, and Galis, respectively. Also visual effects supervisor Dan Curry provides the image of Dekon Elig.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Babel

Trivial matters: This episode establishes that the station was built eighteen years earlier, in 2351. This will be contradicted by “Wrongs Darker than Death or Night,” which establishes the station’s construction as being in 2346. Odo also states that he wasn’t head of security when the station was built, which tracks with what Quark said in “Emissary” about Odo having served as security chief for only four years, and will be firmly established in “Necessary Evil.”

This is a rare case where the same person directed two episodes in a row where it wasn’t a two-parter, though it’s in part due to flipping “A Man Alone” and “Past Prologue.” Even with that, though, it’s unusual for one person to direct two out of three episodes in a row, but Paul Lynch does it here.

This is the first DS9 writing credit for Ira Steven Behr, who will take over as DS9’s show-runner in the second season. The story was originally a pitch for TNG that Michael Piller bought from Sally Caves, who also wrote “Hollow Pursuits.” Behr reworked it for DS9 and then the script was given to Michael McGreevy, with Naren Shankar doing a polish.

The particular brand of aphasia that the station suffers here is called “global aphasia.”

Surmak Ren is a play on Ron Surma, the assistant casting director for all the modern Treks.

Over the course of the show, Rom will be revealed to be an engineering savant, so in fact he probably could have fixed the replicators. Odo trailed Quark solely on the basis of Rom’s idiocy, which we’ll later learn is not as bad as everyone thinks. Not Odo’s fault really, but it’s amusing to watch in retrospect.

Walk with the Prophets: “Other support strong courage.” On the one hand, this episode’s roots as a TNG problem-of-the-week episode are pretty obvious. This is exactly the sort of story that space operas do all the time, and it’s a perfectly adequate example of the breed.

What makes the episode stand out a bit from the been-there-done-that-edness of the plot are the uniquely DS9 elements: the interactions between the Siskos, the Quark-Odo banter, O’Brien’s mounting frustration with the endless repair schedule, and Kira basically steamrolling her way to getting Surmak to the station to synthesize a cure.

But the best part is the virus’s origin: instead of just a boring ol’ technobabble malfunction, this virus comes from a leftover terrorist device from the bad old days of the Cardassian occupation, one that was never set off due to the cell being all captured. The occupation of Bajor is a deep wound that is unlikely ever to heal, and it continues to be one of the more compelling elements of the series.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Babel

The episode is far from perfect. It’s a little too convenient that Sisko and Kira are the last to get the virus by virtue of being the two leads, the oldest cliché in the book; the actual solving of the problem once Kira gets Surmak to the infirmary is disappointingly quick and perfunctory; and the danger to the station from the whiny Captain Jaheel is a horribly constructed bit of artificial suspense.

Still, the character set pieces alone make this a worthy episode. I could watch an hour of just O’Brien dashing about the station trying desperately to keep up with all the systems failures while he does a slow burn of sleep-deprived snark, and it’s pretty much impossible for a scene between Rene Auberjonois and Armin Shimerman to not be delightful, and this episode has several. (I love the revelation that Odo doesn’t know how to gamble.) And there are few better father-son relationships in the history of television than that of Ben and Jake Sisko, and it’s on magnificent display here.

 

Warp factor rating: 6


Keith R.A. DeCandido will be part of the “I, Reader Special Edition: Star Trekking Into Darkness” event on Thursday at 7pm at Singularity & Co. in Brooklyn, alongside fellow Star Trek novelist David Mack, former Star Trek novel editor Marco Palmieri, Tor.com’s Emily Asher-Perrin and Ryan Britt, and Singularity’s own Cici James. Keith will be reading from his Trek novel Articles of the Federation.

37 comments
Lee VanDyke
1. Cloric
This is, hands down, in my Top 10 DS9 episodes that I love to watch. I just find it a great deal of fun. Even if that bit at the end about the coffee tasting bad again doesn't make much sense, since it wasn't the device that made the coffee taste good in the first place, was it? And I guess I thought that Ben always drank raktdajino (I've discovered I have absolutely no idea how to spell that), but maybe Dax introduces that to him later.
bhebert
2. bhebert
One thing about Avery Brooks's acting always bothered me in this episode. The scene in which he confronts Jarheel is incredibly wooden (though that is as much Kehler's fault as it is Brooks's), and in some instances, his lips keep moving after he stops talking - as if Brooks is mouthing the next line in his head.
Christopher Bennett
3. ChristopherLBennett
The language problem rears its head again. On that graphic about Dekon Elig, you could believe the computer just translated it from Bajoran -- but Surmak Ren signed his name in the cursive Latin alphabet! I wonder, had they not yet designed Bajoran script at this point in the series?
bhebert
4. matt s
I just can't take Avery Brooks seriously sometimes. Whenever he gets too excited (happy/amused/angry/sad) it sounds like he's having an asthma attack. Also, in both scenes where he drinks the poorly replicated coffe (as well as when the sand in his Prophet vision is burning his feet in Emissary) his "cry of suprise" is "AyyyAyyy". It's just silly.
Phil Parsons
5. Yakko
@2

It's not just here, bhebert. In many of the early episodes (including the pilot - watch the scene where Sisko is manipulating Quark into staying on the station) Avery Brooks would do that odd thing where his lips keep moving after his line is delivered. He's always come across to me as a pretty eccentric fellow in any interview I've seen or read so I thought perhaps it was just another bizarre acting choice on his part. I never thought about it being a mnemonic device. Maybe he wasn't even aware he was doing it. I never watched Spencer For Hire so I don't know if that quirk showed up earlier in his career.

As for the episode I agree with krad that it's definitely the kind of plot that might have been tiredly delivered on latter day TNG (or even more tiredly delivered in early Voyager) but the character touches and show mythology aspects give it enough satisfying Ds9 flavor to save it.
Bethany Pratt
6. LiC
Didn't Brooks have a lisp or stutter when he was younger, and that's why his delivery is like that?

I'd like to know what the translations for the "babble" was - the cast weren't allowed to improvise, the dialogue they delivered had actual meanings.
K R
7. soupytwist
For me this is the episode where it started to become apparent JUST how different DS9 was, and I will always love it for that!

I never really engaged that much with O'Brien on TNG, so this is also the episode where I properly started to appreciate him. His grumpiness in the face of all the problems is just so relatable and well done. Plus, funny!

The Siskos are always best in scenes with each other, and I love these. Ow.

I really hate Quark for some of the things he does (I am so glad Rom isn't actually an idiot for that reason alone!) but I really love him as a character. Armin Shimmerman is just AMAZING - it takes a lot to act through that much latex and makeup and whatever else they put on him, but he really does. Even this early when they've not figured it all out yet, he stands out as incredibly watchable.
bhebert
8. Patrick Depew
Clearly the crew was suffering from a more advanced, lethal version of Thripshaw's Disease. Who knew that that disease would advance to such a state and that Bajoran freedom fighters/terrorists would learn of it and attempt to use it against the Cardassians.

Also I'm so far into the series now (latter parts of Season 4), that I completely forgot the depiction of Rom as a complete idiot. I like that they gave him the technical expertise since he'd obviously never have his brother's smoothness and the character would just get incessantly irritating as the show progressed.

The fact that they seemed to be able to keep the recurring characters interesting and develop them over time was a strong point of this show. They didn't always have as much luck with the "of the week" characters, like this episode showed.
David Levinson
9. DemetriosX
Meh. The biggest problem is that with absolutely everyone coming down with it, we know that not only will it be stopped , but that it's also reversible. As a result, there's just no tension. It has its moments, but everything around them is weak.

Of course, later canon makes this episode even more problematic. If the dialog was indeed carefully scripted so that the lines weren't just random assemblages of words, then the universal translator ought to have been able to do its job. No one would have even noticed there was a problem and the disease would have spread all over the Alpha Quadrant.
Keith DeCandido
10. krad
DemetriosX: There was a pattern to the script insofar as it wasn't just gibberish, which is why when O'Brien said, "Way link complete! Way link!" he repeated "way link" because he meant the same thing both times. (Based on context and character, I'm guessing he was saying, "I'm fine, really! I'm fine!") But the words still came out as wrong. After all, the UT is translating Dax's dialogue from Trill and Kira's from Bajoran, it's just a different brand of gibberish. McGreevy also picked words that matched the general cadence of intent.

Christopher: It's funny, I didn't even notice that the signature was in Latin characters until Chris put the image up here on the blog. It went by quickly enough on screen that I didn't pay close attention to it. The English on the computer screens didn't bother me generally for the reason you state, but yeah, the signature should've been in a different script....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
bhebert
11. Happytoscrap
Good episode and good review of it.

I liked this episode. It definitely had it's share of plot holes, but it was fun to listen to O'Brien, Bashir, Dax etc strew off a litany of words in an incoherant mess.

I agree with #9 comment DementriosX about the universal translator issue. Actually, when I was first watchign this episode, I thought it might have been some sort of bug in the universal translator...but then it wouldn't have made sense why O'Brian was the first person no one could understand as he is presumably speaking English to other English speaking invidivuals at the time.

Also, I am guessing the universal translator translates sentences, not intentions. So just because the crew was intending to say something coherant, they are still in command of their word choices. If they weren't in command of their choices of words, Picard would have never been quite as flawless with his poignant moral soliloquys.

Also, appreciated the title of the episode. Very Biblical. Although this episode had nothing to do with building a structure too high....was hoping they could tie that in there somehow.

Solid episode. Definitely one of the top 10 from season 1.
Chris Nash
12. CNash
@9 - the UT wouldn't be able to translate the aphasia virus sufferer's jumbled speech. It's clear from the episode that aphasia victims can't communicate with unaffected people or other victims, indicating that everyone is substituting different words for the same thing - as if each victim were speaking his or her own unique language.

@2 - I've heard of actors sometimes mouthing the lines of other characters in the scene, in order to help them keep the pace of the conversation and get their own timing right for their next line. I can't say I've noticed Avery Brooks doing it overtly, but I may well start picking up on it in future now that you've mentioned it!

I'll say a little more on Babel later on, when I'm not using my phone to type, but I'll leave you with a quick bit of trivia: freeze frame the bio of Surmak Ren and you can spot several references to Ren & Stimpy, including the names of Surmak's parents and "Gul Spumco"!
Chris Nash
13. CNash
Apologies for the double post, but a number of comments came in while I was typing... I can see how the UT may have worked (insofar as the UT is a magical plot device anyway), based on what we've seen it do in other episodes; it's translated alien speech based on one person just talking at it before. But I'd like to think that it would ideally need speech samples from several speakers in order to provide an accurate translation.
K R
14. soupytwist
CNash - And if it somehow picks up the language 'from the brainwave patterns' or something, it's not too difficult to handwave 'oh the virus masks that/messes with it in some way which renders the UT useless'. :)
bhebert
15. Scavenger
Putting the story aside, this episode points out, to me, some serious problems with the infrastructure/world building of the show...two big ones....

1) Why is O'Brien running around fixing every problem? He's the Chief of Operations, he's supposed to have crews of engineers to fix stuff, not being the only guy with needlenose pliers. And I can't really buy that the station is understaffed...this is the new "top strategic point" in the galaxy, the gateway to the gamma quadrent and all of that. There should be, if nothing else, crewmen on temporary assignment to get things in order. This is a problem that lasts for quite a bit of the show.

2) Replicators. If the quarters have replicators, why do people go to Quark's? If there's a replimat next door, same question. What does it matter if Quark uses replicators in an unoccupied room? This goes into the problem with suddenly needing to have an economy on a show that's been all about everything being free.
Christopher Bennett
16. ChristopherLBennett
@15: For 1), it's the same reason the Enterprise bridge crew always beams down to planets even though they're supposed to have hundreds of scientists onboard. The shows have to be about their main characters, the ones they pay lots of money to show up every week.

For 2), we have grocery stores and frozen dinners and microwaves, but we still go to restaurants and bars. It's not about the food, it's about the desire to socialize or get a change of scenery.
George Salt
17. GeorgeSalt
Not a bad sci-fi premise. Aphasia is a real medical condition that is often brought on by stroke. It is plausible that a bioengineered virus could bring about the same condition.

We get to see more of the aftermath of the Cardassian occupation and the actions of the Bajoran Resistance. This situation is similar to the problem of unexploded ordnance, which can to be a threat for years after a conflict ends. The suffering doesn't end when combat operations stop.

@15: Agree. It is a little hard to believe that as Chief of Operations, O'Brien runs around the station with a repair kit in hand. He should be the chief of a sizeable engineering department. I suppose that O'Brien's mostly Bajoran engineering staff isn't in place yet and he is forced to do everything himself.

Not a great episode, but it's about par for the first season.
bhebert
18. Mac McEntire
Every genre show just has to do the “deadly virus” episode, so here’s DS9’s turn. I find it interesting that Kira and Odo are the ones who save the day, when you’d think medical weirdness would make this a Bashir-centric tale. I’m thinking the creators didn’t go this way for two reasons. One, because the writers were pushing in these early episodes to get us invested in and caring about the non-Starfleet characters, primarily Kira, and two, because it ups the stakes considerably when you take Bashir out of the picture with the virus still running amok.

Isn’t it established somewhere that, although O’Brien often seems overworked and put upon, he actually likes rolling up his sleeves and doing the physical work himself – that he chooses to be hands-on where other chief engineers are not? (I’ve skipped ahead by a bunch of episodes now, and I’m pretty sure I prefer overworked O’Brien to racquetball O’Brien, but we’ll get to that soon enough.)
bhebert
19. Sanagi
I'd be willing to give this one a seven for being one of the first DS9 episodes to hint at how good the series is going to become. As mentioned, it's full of great character moments that elevate it above a standard disaster-of-the-week plot. Imagining just how by-the-numbers it would've been as a TNG episode makes me appreciate it even more. Data would obviously have saved the Enterprise like always, but on DS9 it's more complex. Odo and Quark are immune but they can't help find the cure. Each character who gets knocked out by the virus makes things seem more hopeless, and being set on a space station raises the stakes too.
Chris Nash
20. CNash
Right then, "Babel". I've often heard it said that this episode is just another example of DS9's mediocre season 1 "disaster-of-the-week" stories, and had it been filmed as a TNG episode years before, it might well have been. But like many overlooked season 1 episodes, it contains valuable character moments - cementing Ben and Jake's relationship, further defining the Odo-Quark pairing, and giving O'Brien more development in one episode than he typically got in one season on TNG.

It does have its flaws - the virus becoming fatal (and yet conveniently not killing anyone) and the crisis with the paranoid Capain Jaheel both seem artificial; the threat of a virus that destroys the ability to communicate in any form is enough, I'd say. Then there's the question of whether or not the Universal Translator could somehow make sense of the aphasia victims' speech...

I also quite enjoyed watching "Babel" because I love surreal humour, and the scene where a couple of random officers rush into the Infirmary shouting gibberish always makes me laugh! And Quark trying to communicate with aphasia victims by the typical "trying to talk to a foreigner" method of shouting at them in his own language and gesturing wildly never fails to amuse, too.
Joseph Newton
21. crzydroid
I was surprised that the Quark and Odo dynamic had them secretly chummy this early on, and in "Man Alone" too. Not having seen the entire series, I would've guessed that was a development of later seasons, and that the beginning of the arc would've had them actually outright hating each other. And Quark sure got the new Starfleet security clearance rods pretty quick! That was probably the first thing he set about.

At the very beginning, I thought Jaheel was supposed to be a Tellerite, and so the episode title was going to be a reference to the Babel Conference.

As for the UT, one might surmise that it is not setting up a translation matrix based off of brainwaves, as it DOES recognize the words as part of its established dictionary. So it is not seeing the speech as anything needing to be translated into English, just into other languages, which it does word for word (though that's where something should go awry; it should attempt to translate English syntax into say, Bajoran, but since it doesn't make sense, it should compensate somehow. Or maybe it's "smart" software thinks the gibberish is intentional or code).

@19: Partway through the episode, I commented to my wife that if this were TNG, Data would have to save everyone!

Ok, so I'm just going to bring this up here...so what is up with the uniforms? It's one thing to say that Starfleet is getting new uniforms, and I like the way that Generations transitioned them as if crewmembers still had clean pairs of the old ones in their closets before recycling them. But the Enterprise crew doesn't get them for another two years. Were they originally intended to be a special uniform for DS9, and then later adopted by all Starfleet(in universe and out)?Were certain space stations field testing the new uniforms first? In "The Visitor", future Nog is wearing one of the old-style uniforms, so if it was intended that this was going to be adopted by all Starfleet, shouldn't he be wearing the new one? It implies that the intention was that just DS9 would have these (though maybe they didn't want the expense of tailoring a smaller new version). The uniforms thing never seemed to be explained on screen, unless I missed it in "Emissary."
bhebert
22. MikeKelm
@15. I agree with you that O'Brien should probably have an engineering staff in place, but like CLB says, all those extras cost money. It could have been explained by O'Brien saying that none of his engineers are experienced on Cardassisn systems which is why he feels he has to do it himself.

But this does bring up (again) the troubling issue of O'Briens rank. It's been established that he is a chief petty officer (later on in the series he gets annoyed when Nog calls him sir). Chief of Operations sounds like a post that should be staffed by an officer, not a CPO. It sounds in essence to be the starbase combination of engineer and operations officer, both of which were held down by LT. Commanders on the Enterprise. I get that he's a very talented engineer, but this still should be an officer function.

@19. I figure that Starfleet has different uniforms to denote Starship and Starbase personnel. That was the most logical explanation to me. The "starship" uniform seems to be a one piece, like a flight suit. I figure its because starship personnel would be more likely to do different functions... Man a duty station, a battle station, be available for away teams, etc. I figure the starbase uniforms are a little less versatile because there is less variance in duties day to day. Out of continuity though, I sort of figured the producers just wanted a visual way to distinguish the difference between DS9 and TNG
bhebert
23. Scavenger
On O'Brien:

@16: Sorry CLB, I don't buy "because it's the cast" as an excuse. That's just poor writing. Just changing dialog from "I fixed.." to "my guys..." or "one of my crews..."

@18: If O'Brien likes rolling up his sleeves to do the work himself rather than send teams, he's failing at his job as a Chief of Operations and should request to be assigned (or fired) to be part of an engineering team.
@22: yeah...the non-com aspect of O'Brien is, to me, never really explained, or even explored, except for when they need Julian to order him to do something stupid or so.

On Replicators:
@16: Even if it's just the "change of scenery", why is it a problem that Quark uses the unused replictors? (And I'd argue that one of the reasons you go out to eat is indeed for the different cuisine, as opposed to the stuff you cook at home...but replicators take that out of the question).

On Uniforms:
@21: I seem to recall...maybe from action figures, the DS9 uniforms were called "ultility uniforms" but i can't remember for sure, or why that would be.
Lee VanDyke
24. Cloric
@23 RE: Replicators and Quark...

I'm going to guess that under the Cardassians, and very possibly the Bajorans/Federation, Quark has to pay rent for his bar, which probably includes the use of resources for the replicators. As magical as they seem, Voyager will establish (at least in early seasons) that they aren't an unlimited resource, and require still other raw materials (CHON) to produce "stuff." Since Quark was using replicators not located in the space he was (presumably) paying for, he was comitting theft, and breaking and entering. If you break into an unoccupied home you don't own, you're still commiting a crime.
Lee VanDyke
25. Cloric
*Duplicate post deleted*
bhebert
26. tortillarat
I'm surprised the universal translator came up as an issue here. The infected are using real words, so the translator doesn't have to think of it as a new language. It's not going to look at the syntax in these cases - if it did, then it would really screw up music, poetry, games, slang, and anything else that doesn't form a standard complete sentence.

Yes, there's the scene where O'Brien repeats two words, but look - they were spoken so close to each other that it's totally plausible that he would think the same words both times. As the virus progresses and it turns out he's going to die, I think it's even more plausible since he was still in the early stages at the time he said it. An hour later he may have said something completely different but meant the same thing. I thought it was pretty clear that was the nature of the virus; people aren't creating a new language, they're speaking gibberish.

This one was better than I remembered, despite the overly quick resolution. I like that Kira's investigation actually feels like an investigation. The whole Jaheel thing was fine by me; it wasn't the focus of the episode, it was just another nuisance which someone needed to deal with (and Jaheel being stupid like this isn't far-fetched - go work retail if you disagree). Quark and Odo have some good moments here, and the nonsensical babble was amusing. Yeah, Sisko and Kira stay unaffected for awhile, but viruses do affect people differently...so I just attribute it to that. I'd probably give it a 7, but it really needs a longer ending. Even another minute or two would've given them room to improve it, but such is the nature of TV production.
bhebert
27. Erik Dercf
good it episode characters was where balanced well were cheers a
Christopher Bennett
28. ChristopherLBennett
@21: The thing about Odo and Quark, though, is that they've already known each other longer than most of the other regulars have. They're the veterans in this environment where everyone else (except Garak) is new. So it's natural that they'd already have an established relationship at this point.

As for the uniforms, I always figured the DS9-style uniforms were "fatigues" and the TNG-style were "dress." But that wouldn't explain why the "fatigues" ended up being used on VGR.

@23: I'm not saying the casting issue is an "excuse." I'm saying that it's a persistent departure from reality throughout Star Trek, having the main cast do work that would realistically be done by their subordinates. You see the same break from reality in countless cop shows -- the same detective team investigates every homicide instead of having multiple teams pursuing parallel cases, and the hero team seems to get cases from all over the city rather than just its own precinct or district.

@24: You're right, the problem is that Quark is trespassing. It's one thing to use the microwave in a convenience store to heat your burrito, but a whole other matter to break into somebody's house and use their microwave.
Mike Kelmachter
30. MikeKelm
Another idea on uniforms...

There was an article today in the Washington Post about how the US Military currently has 10 different camo patterns in service right now. Some of it is environmental, but a lot of it is that the different services each are doing their own design for uniforms and have given guidance for how their to be worn to their own people.

What if Starfleet is rolling out its uniforms not by service, but by fleet. The Enterprise belongs to one fleet, Deep Space Nine to another, Voyager to a third... So the First, Third, Tenth, and 18th fleets wear the TNG uniforms, the Second,Fourth, Fifth, etc. wear the DS9 Uniforms.
Rowan Blaze
32. rowanblaze
I'm surprised no one brought up "Darmok." The UT heard the words as English, or at least legitimate words in the speaker's native language. That doesn't mean that, when strung together, they form understandable sentences. Of course, as pointed out by CNash @13, the UT is really just a magical plot device. Google Translate does a decent job though. ;)

Also, Chief of Operations does seem to be Data's job as opposed to Geordi's as Chief of Engineering. O'Brien seems to do both.
Joseph Newton
33. crzydroid
@28: Oh, I agree that they've known each other for a while, so it makes perfect sense. I was trying to express that, not having seen many first season episodes, my guess at the character arcs was different, so I was a little surprised/impressed is all.
Christopher Bennett
34. ChristopherLBennett
@32: In fact, Data's (and Harry Kim's) job title is Operations Manager or Operations Officer. Chief of Operations is a space station-specific title that basically means the equivalent of chief engineer. After all, a station doesn't really have engines, so it doesn't need a chief engineer in that sense. Rather, it has an operations division, the goldshirts (in the TNG era) responsible for maintenance, repair, tech support, and everything else needed to keep the facility running smoothly, and the Chief of Operations is their department head.

Note that when Worf comes aboard in season 4, his title is Strategic Operations Officer. Sort of a similar job to Data's and Harry's, coordinating Starfleet operations and resources, but for the whole sector rather than one ship.
Lee VanDyke
35. Cloric
@31 RE: Puzzles

That's a GREAT name for a bar!

Yeah, I know, wrong re-watch, but too good to pass up.
Dante Hopkins
36. DanteHopkins
I always liked this episode because it showcases DS9's uniqueness among the Trek universe. The crew and civilians aboard DS9 are still dealing with the consequences of the horrible Cardassian occupation, and it makes this one all the more relatable and realistic. That factor makes any plot holes or whatever completely and utterly irrelevant. I truly enjoy the father-son moments between the Sisko men, a definite draw for me as I never had such moments in my own life. Just another great example of why I was glad I got in on this series from the beginning in 1993.
bhebert
37. Oldwizard
I will not go into why, but after brain surgery I had a bad case of aphasia and though I am much better now (thirteen years late it had better be :-) ) but it can still manifest if I am seriously stressed or tired. I forget words I am about to say, or can say the competely wrong word, not whole sentences as it is not as bad as this episode, but it was still bad for a while. Just so you know that this episode resonates strongly with me as I know just how frustrating it is when your words will not come out. :-) I am sure many have had the same experience as me, and know the feeling.
Keep trucking, it mostly gets better,
Oldwizard

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