Jun 18 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The Forsaken”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken“The Forsaken”
Written by Jim Trombetta and Don Carlos Dunaway and Michael Piller
Directed by Les Landau
Season 1, Episode 16
Production episode 40511-417
Original air date: May 23, 1993
Stardate: 46925.1

Station log: A delegation of Federation ambassadors are on a fact-finding mission to the wormhole. Sisko has fobbed off the duty of taking charge of the diplomats—from Arbazan (Taxco, a haughty woman who insists on taking Bashir’s quarters, since the guest quarters aren’t satisfactory), Vulcan (Lojal), Bolarus (Vadosia, who has lots of ideas on how to do other people’s jobs and is oblivious to how unwelcome that advice is), and Betazed (our dear old friend Lwaxana Troi). Bashir, who is obviously under strict orders to keep the ambassadors the hell away from Sisko, tries to say that the commander is busy with a recalibration of all systems. Sadly, Lojal finds that intriguing and would like to observe it.

Bashir’s thumphering is interrupted by Lwaxana, whose hair brooch—a family heirloom—has been stolen while she was playing dabo. Lwaxana demands that the bar be sealed and everyone strip-searched—a request made while holding the most painful part of Quark’s ear (she obviously learned a lot while she was DaiMon Tog’s prisoner)—but then Odo shows up. After Lwaxana says she senses no guilt telepathically from anyone in the room, she adds that she can’t sense Ferengi. However Odo knows that Quark wouldn’t resort to petty thievery (which Quark of course takes as a compliment), but a quick glance around the bar reveals a Dopterian pickpocket. They’re offshoots of the Ferengi, so they also can’t be sensed by Betazoids. After Odo returns her brooch to her and takes the pickpocket into custody, Lwaxana—with a smile we’ve seen before when she’s set her sights on Jean-Luc Picard, a holographic bartender, and Timicin—asks Bashir for every snippet of information he can provide about Odo.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken

O’Brien and a Bajoran engineer, Anara, are trying to get the fusion reactor up to Starfleet specs, but they keep hitting a brick wall with a computer that is only up to Cardassian specs, which is very much not acceptable for O’Brien. And when he tries to fine-tune the reactor, the computer shuts it down for fear of an overload that O’Brien knows won’t happen. He complains to Sisko, who—after a lengthy tirade from O’Brien on the subject—authorizes him to do whatever he needs to do to make the computer work properly.

Bashir then brings Lojal, Taxco, and Vadosia to ops, to Sisko’s obvious consternation. They’re interrupted by a probe coming through the wormhole, which they observe and then Sisko makes it clear that they’re not welcome in ops after that.

Dax, O’Brien, and Anara download the data from the probe, which has a ton of computer processing power, but nothing else.

Lwaxana visits Odo in his office, complimenting him on his efficiency as “the thin beige line between order and chaos.” She starts flirting with him in her usual not-particularly-subtle fashion and Odo is at a complete loss. He runs away to ops before it can get any more uncomfortable for him and goes straight to Sisko. But Sisko refuses to help him by ordering Lwaxana to leave Odo alone, saying Odo needs to handle it himself. (Sisko obviously is taking considerable joy from how flustered Odo is by her.) Lwaxana refuses to leave Odo alone, following him in a turbolift to upper pylon 3 and insisting on having a picnic with him, despite his insistence that he doesn’t eat.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken

And then the turbolift breaks down between decks. Because of course it does.

The turbolift systems have failed, and when Dax tries to beam them out, the transporter is down, too. Yet there’s nothing actually wrong with any of it that anyone can find. O’Brien starts the process of rerouting the EPS taps, but he has no idea how long it’ll take with Cardassian systems.

Odo insists that they pass the time in the turbolift quietly, but Lwaxana doesn’t do quiet very well. (“Things could be much worse,” she says, to which Odo mutters, “Really?”) She starts babbling on the subject of the events of “Ménàge à Troi.”

After Sisko tells Bashir that, no matter how much it sucks, he has to keep the diplomats happy, he gets a report from O’Brien. The chief thinks that the computer is being more friendly, not resisting commands or giving arguments. And every time O’Brien leaves ops, there’s another failure that brings him back.

Dax theorizes that it may be a mechanical life form of some sort—Kira analogizes it to someone leaving a puppy at their doorstep. O’Brien tries uploading the probe data back to it, but his first attempt doesn’t work, and the second attempt kills power on the station.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken

Lwaxana then asks Odo to talk about himself, and despite his insistsence he is a private man, he opens up a bit: he “grew up” in a laboratory on Bajor, and patterned his hairstyle after that of the Bajoran scientist who was assigned to him. He tried to fit in by changing his shape to please other people, but he lost his taste for it pretty quickly. Also of concern: Odo is now getting very close to his regenerative cycle.

At ops, Sisko, Dax, Kira, and Anara all ask the computer for a bunch of complicated operations while O’Brien tries to manually transfer the probe data to a set of isolinear rods. The computer fights back, causing several power surges, and also a big-ass fire in the habitat ring right where Bashir and the three remaining ambassadors are.

O’Brien extends Kira’s puppy metaphor and realizes that they need to keep it in the computer where all the action is. It obviously doesn’t want to leave. So he decides to build a doghouse.

Odo is starting to become liquid, and stands with his back to Lwaxana. Aside from the Bajoran scientist, no one has seen him like this. So Lwaxana takes her wig off—nobody’s seen her like that, either. Odo thinks she’s fine like that, but Lwaxana doesn’t like it because it’s ordinary. When Odo can’t hold his shape any longer, she catches the liquid in the folds of her dress.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken

O’Brien and Anara transfer the probe data to a sub-program, through which all computer functions are routed so that the “puppy” can be occupied with everything that happens on the station without it interfering with daily life in the station.

It works. Sisko and Kira get the bulkhead open, only to find the corridor ravaged by plasma fire. Just when Kira thinks they have to call Starfleet Command to alert them of the death of three ambassadors, they and Bashir come out of a service crawlway, which Bashir got them into before they were crispy-fried. All three diplomats are very impressed with “Julian’s” performance under extreme circumstances.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken

Meanwhile, Odo and Lwaxana are at last freed from the turbolift. Odo says he appreciates her discretion and sensitivity—two words that have never been used to describe Lwaxana ever.

O’Brien and Dax explain the solution (“He adopted it,” Dax says with a smile), and O’Brien promises to keep it occupied. Sisko says to just keep it off the furniture.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: Cardassian turbolifts have exposed multiphase alternating currents running through the positioning mechanism, so Odo can’t shapeshift his way out of the ’lift in which he and Lwaxana are trapped. (Besides, doing so would be rude, as Lwaxana points out to him.)

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko’s primary goal in this episode is to have as little contact with the four ambassadors as possible, and he takes great (and unconcealed) glee in giving that job to Bashir.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken

Rules of Acquisition: Quark’s has a strict policy that the management is not responsible for any personal items that are lost in the bar. Said policy is on a very small sign that is very high up over the main doorway, which is damn near impossible to read.

For Cardassia!: The Cardassians built the station corridor doors with duranium inlays that can’t be cut through with phasers. It was no doubt done to be proof against rebel weapons. (Kira says they need a “bipolar torch” to burn through, which I guess is a torch that hasn’t been taking its meds...)

The slug in your belly: When Sisko was Curzon Dax’s adjutant, he used to delight in giving Sisko crap assignments very much like the one Sisko gives Bashir. When Bashir exasperatedly asks how he “graduated” from this duty, Sisko replies that it was when he hauled off and belted a VIP who was trying to get an unwilling ensign to go back to his quarters. Bashir gets a faraway look in his eyes, no doubt imagining that circumstance transplanted to his own situation, but Sisko puts the kibosh on it, as he’s less understanding than Curzon. Bashir is very obviously disappointed at having the hauling-off-and-belting option being taken off the table.

In addition, Lojal tries to insert himself into Dax’s scientific inquiry into the probe, thinking her too young and inexperienced. Bashir stops him, pointing out that she has three centuries’ experience.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Lwaxana hits all over Odo. She’s particularly interested in meeting a man who doesn’t need to be molded and shaped, but can do it himself. Odo, on the other hand, finds the entire series of mating rituals that humanoids go through to be incomprehensible and rants to Sisko at great length on the subject.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: For the first time, we see Odo losing cohesion and being forced into his liquid form to regenerate, with Lwaxana catching him in the folds of her dress, a special effect that is utterly unconvincing either visually or scientifically. (Seriously, how did she keep it all in there? How was she able to support his weight?)

What happens on the holosuite stays on the holosuite: Bashir tries to convince the ambassadors to try a holosuite, but Taxco is horrified by the notion of indulging in a disgusting Ferengi sex program. Bashir assures her that other programs are available even as Vadosia snidely says that such a program might loosen Taxco up a bit.

Lwaxana, though, does take advantage of the holosuites, reserving one for her and Odo to have a picnic, to Odo’s horror, not just at the notion of a picnic with Lwaxana, but Quark knowing about it.

Keep your ears open: “I don’t eat! This is not a real mouth. It is an approximation of one. I do not have an esophagus or a stomach or a digestive system. I am not like you. Every sixteen hours, I turn into a liquid.”

“I can swim.”

Odo trying to put off Lwaxana’s advances by pointing out their severe biological differences, which doesn’t even slow Lwaxana down.

Welcome aboard: Majel Barrett makes her annual appearance as Lwaxana Troi, and also her first appearance on DS9. She appeared once a season on TNG for the first through fifth seasons, but her lone guest turn in the 1992/93 season was this episode. She’ll return to TNG for its seventh season in “Dark Page,” then appear once each in DS9’s third and fourth seasons in “Fascination” and “The Muse.”

The other three ambassadors are played by Michael Ensign (making his second Trek appearance as Lojal; he was Krola in TNG’s “First Contact,” and will be a bard in Voyager’s “False Profits” and another Vulcan in Enterprise’s “Stigma”), Jack Shearer (making his first of many Trek appearances as Valdosia, including as Admiral Hayes in Star Trek: First Contact and a couple of Voyager episodes, as a Romulan named Ruwon in “Visionary,” and as Admiral Strickler in Voyager’s “Non Sequitur”), and Constance Towers (as Taxco). Benita Andre makes her only appearance as O’Brien’s assistant Anara; this was intended to be a recurring role, but Andre was replaced by Robin Christopher as a new character named Neela, who will appear in both “Duet” and “In the Hands of the Prophets.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Forsaken

Trivial matters: It was established back in “Ménàge à Troi” that Betazoids can’t read Ferengi minds, and that apparently extends to Dopterians as well.

At one point, Odo exits a turoblift and looks around furtively hoping he won’t see Lwaxana only to have her pounce on him as he walks down the corridor. This was a match for a similar scene with Picard in TNG’s “Half a Life,” which was also directed by Les Landau.

When we finally meet the Bajoran scientist who “raised” Odo, Dr. Mora Pol, in “The Alternate,” we’ll see that he and Odo do, in fact, have the same hairstyle.

The “pup” is never referenced again, and one wonders if the Cardassians or Vorta found it when the Dominion takes over the station in the early sixth season.

Odo’s early days of doing “party tricks” will also be discussed in the flashbacks in “Necessary Evil,” with that episode referring to a “Cardassian neck trick” that Odo can apparently do really really well. In general, this is the first episode to refer to how Odo was “raised” on Bajor.

The odd relationship between Odo and Lwaxana will continue to recur in her other two DS9 appearances, as well as in a couple of bits of tie-in fiction, notably William Leisner’s The Insolence of Office eBook, part of the Slings and Arrows miniseries, and your humble rewatcher’s The Brave and the Bold Book 2, which has Lwaxana asking after Odo to Worf.

Walk with the Prophets: “They are the ambassadors of unhappy!” This is actually a much better episode than I remembered, and one of the stronger Lwaxana episodes (for which, to be fair, the competition is not fierce). Unlike Q, who didn’t seem to fit into DS9’s milieu very well, and Lursa and B’Etor, who were truly only minor characters in their guest appearance, “The Forsaken” really makes good use of a TNG guest. Watching Lwaxana’s usual overbearing pursuit of a man modulate into a truly touching set of revealing scenes on the turbolift is a nice inversion of the usual formula of Lwaxana episodes. The pairing of these two is ridiculous on the face of it, but it’s sold by the common ground the script finds between them, as well as some simply stellar performances by Majel Barrett and Rene Auberjonois.

The other two thirds of the plot vary in quality wildly. It’s frustrating to once again have O’Brien do most of the heavy lifting while Dax stands around a lot, but since the computer program specifically imprinted on O’Brien, it’s more forgivable (and Dax’s “He’s adopted it” at the end is beautifully delivered by Terry Farrell). The plot itself is a mostly harmless (much like a puppy) technobabble nonsense plot that wouldn’t be at all engaging without the other two parts of the episode.

Leaving us with Bashir and the snotty ambassadors (the name of my next band). This is just as bog-standard a plotline as the computer puppy (and the two-people-get-stuck-in-an-elevator notion, for that matter), but most of it works mainly because the viewer gets the same perverse satisfaction in watching Bashir squirm that Sisko does, with the added bonus of enjoying watching Sisko enjoy watching Bashir squirm. It’s a mode we can all appreciate—suffering through something in our youth forced upon us by superiors/elders and then getting the chance to pay it forward when we’re older/in authority by doing the same to the next callow youth to come along. Again, the performances help, as Avery Brooks and Siddig el-Fadil are magnificent.

This part of the story, unfortunately, has too perfunctory (and off-camera) a resolution. The corridor explodes, everyone panics, we don’t know what’s happened, and then we find out that Bashir got them into a crawlway, and apparently they bonded while trapped in there, because they’re all friends now. I would rather have been shown that than told it. (Although the look on Kira’s face when she realizes that Bashir saved the day is priceless, and a particularly good example of how great Nana Visitor is with facial expressions.)

Still, the heart of this episode is Odo and Lwaxana, as the episode reveals a great deal about both characters, allowing us to understand both of them a good deal more.


Warp factor rating: 6

Keith R.A. DeCandido is one of the guests at PortConMaine in Portland this weekend. If you’re in Maine’s capital, come see him!

Christopher Bennett
1. ChristopherLBennett
Yup. The Odo-Lwaxana stuff is great, a very good use of her character and a deepening of his. The rest is forgettable. It annoys me that the Pup was never mentioned again.

Although the Pup is referenced again in the anthology Strange New Worlds 10, the story "So a Horse Walks Into a Bar" by Brian Seidman. I think there might have also been a DS9 novel that mentioned it at least briefly, but I can't remember which one.
George Salt
2. GeorgeSalt
I've never been a fan of the Lwaxana Troi character and while I find these Lwaxana-on-a-manhunt stories wearisome, I must concede that Majel Barrett brought a certain charm to the character. I give her a lot of credit for taking what was a poorly conceived character and making it interesting. Whenever I watch Majel Barrett's performance as Number One in the TOS pilot episode "The Cage" I imagine what she could have done with a more substantial character.

The idea of an artificial, computer-based lifeform on the level of a puppy is interesting. Too often, HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey is the template for artificial intelligence in TV sci-fi: a malevalent entity that exhibits a quirky personality and speaks impeccable English. The Professor Moriarty character in TNG is HAL with a British accent. The idea that there may be an ecosystem of artifical lifeforms with organisms exhibiting various levels of intelligence and self-awareness is refreshing, although this episode is just a faint nod in that direction.

My biggest beef with this episode is the restoration of the status quo ante. The idea that an alien artificial lifeform took up residence in the station's computer and everyone just shrugged their shoulders is hard to believe. Also, it is disappointing that the entity is simply forgotten and never appears again.

Overall, not a bad episode; in fact, a little better than I recall.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
3. Lisamarie
I got really excited when I saw Lwaxana appear - so far DS9 has struck me as a bit more 'serious' than TNG, so I was in the mood for some fun.

However, the first part of the episode really did not use her well and fell into the various tropes my least favorite Lwaxana episodes follow. It may just be that, as a woman, I can't help but watch things without imagining what would happen if genders were reversed or if I were in the protagonist's shoes, but I found her sexual aggressiveness towards somebody who wasn't interested VERY uncomfortable, especially when Odo goes to his superior and is basically brushed off and told to deal with it (and really, even for a man, I can imagine that being uncomfortable without having to play the reverse genders game). Edited to add - this is actually even more irritating, given Sisko's story later on in the episode about punching an ambassador trying to force himself on a female Ensign!

An then the thought of being locked in a turbolift - and then the com going down - actually triggered some anxiety in me in a physical way, as if I were watching a horror film.

Thankfully, the rest of the episode made much better use of her and highlighted what I LIKE about the character, so I can forgive it a bit.

The other thing that I really found jarring was her reminiscing about the events in Menage a Troi (which is actually one of my least favorite TNG episodes ever) and that whole experience and how flattering the Ferengi attentions were, which, in my mind was basically sexual assault and rape (did we know, at the time, that they actually had sex? I don't remember that from the episode).

I definitely laughed out loud at Odo's reponses to the picnic/holosuite - and the knowledge that Quark new about it. Heh.

The B plot with the pup...meh. Maybe they can have it play with Moriarty trapped in the tiny holodeck ;) I don't know why, but that's what I thought of.
Alan Courchene
4. Majicou
Hilariously, PUP is used by McAfee to mean "potentially unwanted program."

Kira seems to imply dangerous consequences if Odo re-liquifies without a container, but what exactly was going to happen? He soaks into the carpet? His "liquid" form seems to be very viscous, and it doesn't look like he's in any danger of spreading out to fill the bottom few centimeters of the turbolift. And of course, in later seasons he abandoned the bucket altogether.

Lwaxana becomes the 24th-century Mrs. Slocombe here, sporting her pink, red, and blonde wigs. If not for the trapped-in-the-elevator plot, they might've gone for blue, green, and purple as well.
Matt Stoumbaugh
5. LazerWulf
I'm not surprised that the "puppy" is never mentioned again, but since the puppy was the one making the Cardassian compueters more complient, I'd be interested to see if it reverts back to its belligerent self now that the puppy's been locked in the doghouse.

Also, was I the only one who imagined "Daisy, Daisy" when they were trying to remove the data crystals?
Christopher Bennett
6. ChristopherLBennett
@4: Given that the turbolift cab had no door and the shaft walls were electrified, Odo could've been in danger if he'd been left to spread out on the cab floor. If he'd spread out to the forward edge, he could've been electrocuted.
David Levinson
7. DemetriosX
I've never liked Lwaxana episodes. In fact, my usual reaction to them is somewhere between Deanna's and Picard's reaction to her appearance: a desperate desire to just get it over with already. Still, the elevator scene comes very close to working very well and showing us a different side of her. Alas, it is greatly hampered by the CGI effects and also Majel Roddenberry's interaction with those effects. Something just feels off about it.

Sisko's tweaking of Bashir is fun, and since the good doctor is still in super obnoxious mode we get to really enjoy it. I see two reasons for him taking the same approach with Odo's problem. Firstly, if Lwaxana is fixated on Odo, it takes some of the heat off of Bashir and increases the chances that Sisko won't have to interact with the ambassadors. Secondly, I have the feeling that O'Brien had an opportunity to tell him all about Lwaxana and Picard, so he would have seen much of the same humor in the situation that the viewers do. Also, if she's aimed at Odo, she won't be aimed at him (although I'm sure she would find him too young).
Eben Brooks
8. Eben Brooks
"It’s a mode we can all appreciate—suffering through something in our youth forced upon us by superiors/elders and then getting the chance to pay it forward when we’re older/in authority by doing the same to the next callow youth to come along."

Um ... no. Maybe that's how some people work--heck, maybe it's how *most* people work--but not me, and not most of the people I deal with on a day-t0-day basis. Paying misery forward is despicable, plain and simple.
Eben Brooks
9. Hakainokami
I think its more that in some jobs there is always the newbie job. It's not fun but you need the experiance of doing it on your own, so everyone goes through it. So then when your past that and you get to give it to the new person you feel a little nostalgic..and like happy its now a job you get to give to someone else.
Rob Rater
10. Quasarmodo
A major missed opportunity here. Pair up Lwaxana with the horndog doctor, and everything's right as rain.
Matt Hamilton
11. MattHamilton
@8, I think you're taking that a little too harshly. It's more like, it made Sisko understand a few things when he was under Curzon's tutilage and he's paying that foreward. Kind of like how our parents laugh and laugh when our children make us pull our hair out because we made them do the same thing so now it's just funny to them. It's a life ritua, really. This episode is pretty cool. Just a break from the serious technobabble and everyday seriousness and Space Opera that happens on the station. I'm not surprised the Pup isn't referenced again (thought I guess SPOILERS: it is dead since the station, I believe, was destroyed in the more recent DS9 novels, or when it was completely retrofitted with Federation computers in the DS9 relaunch novels) because there have been half a dozen galaxy shaking technologies never referenced again and we're only halfway through the first season...why would they mention something so insignificant if not those other things? Also, WA-HEY (I miss the use of that from the TNG rewatch, though here I'm not using it theway you did, KRAD) THUMPHERING has made it's triumphant rerturn! Good on you, sir, good you on!
Scientist, Father
12. Silvertip
@8 geez, he's not waterboarding the man, just giving him the job of babysitting the VIPs that nobody wants to babysit ...

Eben Brooks
13. Haggis
I always liked to picture molly playing a fun little computer program with Pup. Like how ghostwirter could play word games with the kids.

And I always liked the scene in the elevator with troi telling oda she throw a party where everyone would entertain him.
Joseph Newton
14. crzydroid
I'm not sure I'd ever buy a story about the Commander being busy if I were an ambassador. I mean, I get the fact that maybe a junior officer would be responsible for carting them around on a daily basis, but the commanding officer should at least meet them. Sisko would never keep an admiral waiting. I feel like ambassadors should at least have the same courtesy of having the commanding officer meet them when they come on board. Also, what's with the trope of ambassadors being really unpleasant people? Shouldn't the nature of their job demand the opposite?

Also, when they downloaded the probe data, they seem to have really downloaded it...as in it was removed from the probe, instead of just downloading a copy. Again, the implications of keeping a potential new lifeform in the doghouse seem too monumental for them to never mention it again.
Chris Nash
15. CNash
I've always found Lwaxana to be more bearable on DS9, when she's away from her daughter and the TNG crew and nobody has any preconcieved expectations about her. Here we see Odo reacting in what we, as people familiar with TNG, know to be the "usual" way to Lwaxana's unwanted advances... but then, they're forced together, and he realises that she's not so bad after all! If only she'd been trapped in a lift with Picard or Worf on TNG...
Rob Rater
16. Quasarmodo
@3 When I watched all my TNG episodes on DVD (S2-7), I did notice that Lwaxana had sex with her Ferengi captive, and thought that was pretty weird. I guess when you're in an adverse situation, you turn to your strengths.
Christopher Hatton
17. Xopher
It's funny what bothers different people -- in terms of realism, I mean; Lwaxana's behavior is the sort of thing that gets people banned from conventions these days.

krad, why should Lwaxana have to hold Odo's humanoid body mass? He changes size and weight all the time. Maybe his liquid form is small and doesn't weigh very much.

To me, the fact that he "doesn't eat" is more of a conservation* of mass/energy issue. Where does he get the energy for moving around, talking etc., if he doesn't eat in any sense? He's never (as far as I can recall) shown absorbing matter or sucking up energy from any source. His level of activity would make him get smaller and smaller as time goes by, if he's renewing his mass somehow.

Once I've suspended my disbelief to accept THAT, him liquefying into something that fits in Lwaxana's lap doesn't really add any additional weight to speak of.

*take the tirade about 'preservation' as read, OK?
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
18. Lisamarie
@16, heh, I try and pretend that episode doesn't exist in my head, so not surprising that I don't remember the details.

Although not sure if I'd consider that 'turning to your strengths' as opposed to a situation where true consent can't be given, but...maybe in some way it can be considered both?

@17 - maybe he does some kind of photo or chemosynthesis. Bacteria don't eat either ;)
Christopher Hatton
19. Xopher
Oh, and: these obnoxious insensitive people are the Federation's AMBASSADORS to the Gamma Quadrant? Itching for war, are they?

...which reminds me: Lwaxana's a telepath, or at least an empath. How can she not sense the horror and revulsion in the minds of the people she keeps hitting on (especially since we the audience can SEE it)? If she does...then she's a true creeper.
Christopher Hatton
20. Xopher
18 - Possible, I suppose, but he isn't green or anything, and he's a little too massive to absorb nutrients from the environment (as bacteria do). Also they never say anything of the kind. He doesn't go outside the station to sunbathe or anything, or step into a regeneration alcove.

It's easy to invent retcons for it (his bucket is also an energy-feeding unit, for example), but they just ignore it on the show.

Also, it's at least as easy to retcon solutions to the problem of Lwaxana's lap. Maybe Odo only masses nine pounds, like the Flying Nun. His humanoid form is mostly hollow, or spongy, or something, but he becomes much denser when he liquefies.
Christopher Hatton
21. Xopher
Note: Giant insects, a staple of SFF, are not actually physically possible. Insects "breathe" by diffusion, which at small scales works fine; the giant ants in Them would have to have lungs (so the mods are a lot more extensive than just making everything bigger). Yeah, there are insect 10 inches long. I'm not absolutely sure where the boundary is, but Odo's above it...unless, of course, he's actually a sponge and/or the visible surface is all there is of him.
Christopher Bennett
22. ChristopherLBennett
@20: Not every photosynthetic chemical is green. That's just the way evolution played out on Earth. In fact, it's kind of a paradox, since the Sun's peak wavelength is slightly into the green part of the spectrum (it looks more yellow-white to us because of the way its light curve is shaped, the way our eyes process the information, and the way the atmosphere filters the light), so a pigment that reflects green light, thereby rejecting the highest intensity of light available, is kind of a counterproductive adaptation. The theory I've seen is that the first photosynthetic algae were red/purple, absorbing the peak green/yellow light and letting the rest pass through, so the algae living below them had to adapt to use the red and blue parts of the spectrum since that was the only light they got, and so they evolved to use chlorophyll, a pigment that absorbed red and blue light and reflected green. And somehow, by a fluke, they ended up getting the evolutionary edge over the red/blue algae. But it could've gone the other way and left us with a planet where plants had red or purple leaves and stems.
Eben Brooks
23. Lsana
The "puppy" definitely showed up in one of the DS9 novels, because I remember I actually read that novel before I saw this episode, so I was somewhat confused by all of the references to it. I don't remember the name of it, but the plot was roughly along these lines: something invades the DS9 computers, they initially suspect the pup has gotten loose again, but O'Brien confirms the pup is still in its doghouse, trouble ensues, and they eventually get rid of the new invader by turning the pup loose on it. Does anyone else remember this one?
Christopher Hatton
24. Xopher
@22: That's what I meant by "or anything." There's no show-canonical evidence of photosynthesis by Odo at all.

That said, I didn't know that about chlorophyll. That's fascinating, and I mean that quite without irony.
Eben Brooks
25. Avatar
@22: Actually there are a quite a lot of trees, bushes and plants with re or purple leaves, like the Illawarra Flame Tree for instance; I guess the green tree's didn't entirely "win" at evolution.
Christopher Bennett
26. ChristopherLBennett
@25: Well, not every victory requires the extermination of the competition. Probably every category of life form that's ever evolved still survives in some form, but some are much more successful and widespread than others.
Eben Brooks
27. Nix
Avatar@25, the purple leaves are a purple colouring atop ordinary green chlorophyll. Nothing big enough to see uses other photosynthetic pigments -- but a lot of photosynthetic bacteria do. This is probably just a chance dependence on the sort of bacterium that originally entered into the ancient endosymbiosis with early eukaryotic plant life...

Xopher@21, insects do not *entirely* rely on diffusion. Look at a bee or a wasp when it's stationary one of these days. It pulses its abdomen to force air in and out of its spiracles and reduce water loss. The insect respiratory system may not scale very well, but it's staggeringly efficient -- they are *never* out of breath and have no problem with oxygen debt even if they are working all their muscles constantly. There's a reason flies can dodge you so easily, and it's not just 'cos they're small.
Eben Brooks
28. scinatfilm
I have to say, as much as I don't like this episode, watching Sisko get amused by Odo's predicament makes it watchable.

"Have you ever thought about letting her.... catch you?"
Eben Brooks
29. Greasy Mud Fart
Disturbing episode. Never figured you could hold liquid into a dress - it looks more like she's funneling him into her privates for safe keeping.

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