This is the play, and these are the characters. Tensions always run high on Deep Space Nine. Odo wants to run the station like a military prison. Kira wants the freedom to pursue investigations should she suspect corruption. Sisko wants to keep the peace, and he will often bend to the wishes of those he detests. O’Brien is loyal to Sisko and Starfleet. Dax just wants everybody to be happy. I know how she feels. Taken to extremes, these qualities can overpower. A Klingon ship returns from the Gamma Quadrant with only one survivor. He is beamed to the station and says one word, “Victory.” He then dies. The investigation is conducted at a slow crawl in the wake of unusual behavioral changes in the staff. A strange energy comes over Odo and knocks him unconscious. When he comes to, Dr. Bashir informs him that alliances are being forged on the station. Kira with the Bajorans, and Sisko with the Starfleet personnel.
All of this seemed to have started when a Valerian freighter docked at the station carrying dolemide, which could be used to make weapons. Kira wants the ship impounded and inspected, but Sisko doesn’t want to make any new enemies. The antipathy mounts. Sisko becomes bored and listless, retiring to his office to make a bizarre clock. O’Brien takes on Sisko’s duties and starts weeding out possible threats. Kira successfully manipulates Dax, who has taken to moments of nostalgia remembering the good old days. Bashir gets sneaky, playing both sides because of the neutral territory he works in the infirmary. As with “Babel,” only Odo and Quark seem unaffected. As it happens, Odo discovers that the Klingons charted a planet with a “telepathic archive” that may have released a virus-like matrix, infecting the brains of the Klingons. Since the Klingons are given to violence and intrigue, nobody seemed to notice or care about any behavioral changes.
This telepathic matrix may have been responsible for a war on the planet the Klingons were studying. So the matrix, in effect, is the play and it places the characters of that play, the “dramatis personae” into the action. Only the names are changed, but this is a typical struggle for power. I love it when established characters go batty. This is nothing new for Star Trek, but the execution always seems to be fresh. Sometimes it’s a virus. Sometimes it’s a malevolent entity. Sometimes it’s a pre-programmed script as in this case. Avery Brooks gets some fantastic moments to chew the scenery with an almost Shatnerian glee. When confronted with Kira and her goons, he says, “You know what disturbs me? The ingratitude. I offered you my kindness, my help, my leadership, and how do you repay me? With betrayal. BUT you won’t get rid of me so easily. You see, unlike you, I UNDERSTAND history. My name will blaze across the stars long after your PETTY treacheries have been FORGOTTEN.” This is top-notch Brooks!
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