Production no.: 433
Written by: Morgan Gendel
Directed by: Winrich Kolbe
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: January 29, 1994
Rosalind Chao .....
Darleen Carr .......
Peter White .........
Larry Cedar ........
Bill Mondy ..........
The Harvesters are a deadly biomechanical gene-disruptor used by both the T'Lani and Kellerun as a weapon in their centuries-long war. Now the two races have made peace, and Bashir and O'Brien are on a T'Lani cruiser, where for a week they have been helping T'Lani and Kellerun scientists in their search for a way to destroy the stockpile of Harvesters. O'Brien, at a monitor, sips at a mug of coffee as Bashir and the scientists prepare to test yet another method. They're all tired, though Nydrom, a T'Lani scientist, points out that it took ten years to develop the Harvesters; they've only been working to eliminate them for a week. This time, though, the latest sequence works, and as everyone exchanges triumphant smiles, Sharat, the Kellerun ambassador, pays a visit.
"I knew if our people stopped killing each other and worked together, we could put an end to these horrible weapons," says Sharat. "This is a symbol of the new future we have embarked upon." He thanks Bashir and O'Brien for their assistance. "But eliminating the Harvesters is only half the task. We must make certain that all scientific data concerned with them is wiped out as well." O'Brien says he's purged all files in the databanks of both races pertaining to the Harvesters. All that is left to do is to destroy all the remaining canisters.
Bashir and O'Brien call the station with the good news; Sisko says he's already heard from the T'Lani and Kellerun ambassadors, and congratulates them. They've been invited to a celebration on T'Lani Prime, and Sisko will expect them back the day after tomorrow.
Later, O'Brien watches from a circuit control panel as Nydrom hands Bashir the last canister, saying it's ironic that the war would finally end here, above T'Lani III, a planet decimated by the Harvesters. Just as the canister is placed in the genetic bath, two Kellerun soldiers burst in with phaser rifles and begin shooting, killing Nydrom and the rest of the scientists. During the attack, O'Brien ducks behind the genetic bath as it shatters; a blotch of gel splatters the arm that he has put up to protect himself. The attackers are knocked unconscious, and O'Brien disables the door mechanism. He calls the Ganges for transport, but communications to the runabout are being jammed. O'Brien uses the transporter pad in the lab, programming it to overload after he and Bashir beam down to the surface. They dematerialize as more soldiers bang on the door.
Sharat and the T'Lani ambassador, E'Tyshra, arrive on DS9 with some sad news: O'Brien and Bashir are dead, killed in an accident when O'Brien apparently inadvertently tripped a security device in the computer. Everyone in the room was killed by a pulse of radiation. Sharat says he returned to the ship afterwards and checked the internal security sensors; he gives Sisko a data clip with a recording of the incident. Both Sharat and E'Tyshra express their profound sorrow, and say that Bashir and O'Brien will both be honored as heroes on their worlds.
The dead heroes, meanwhile, find a deserted military command center in the middle of a bombed-out city on T'Lani III, stocked with food and medical supplies which O'Brien checks out with his tricorder and pronounces safe. Bashir says they have to find a way to warn the T'Lanis that the Kelleruns have broken the treaty. O'Brien wonders why the Kelleruns waited until the Harvesters were destroyed to make their move. They guess that perhaps the Kelleruns hadn't turned over all their Harvesters, or they may believe they can defeat the T'Lani with conventional weapons. O'Brien advises that they stay put; if they run, they will be easier to pick up on sensors. They have to stay alive long enough for Sisko to find them, but that won't be for at least another day, since Sisko thinks they're on T'Lani Prime celebrating.
O'Brien finds a com system in the room. It looks dead, but perhaps he can get it working and they can contact the T'Lani from here. He looks for a backup power supply. Bashir, who took engineering extension courses at Starfleet Medical, wants to help, but O'Brien says the best way he can help is to let him do his job. Bashir busies himself inventorying the supplies.
On DS9, Sisko shows the recording to the other officers. In it, things unfold more or less as they did in actuality, except that O'Brien is working at the monitor instead of the circuit control panel. Just after he sips from his coffee, an alarm goes off, signaling that a security program has been activated. O'Brien tries to shut it down, but then the screen whites out. And the DS9 officers stare at the monitor in shock and grief. Sisko tells Kira quietly to contact Bajoran medical officials to send them a doctor until they can get a replacement from Starfleet. Dax is to tell Starfleet about the accident and that they will need a new CMO and chief of operations. Sisko will handle informing Keiko of her husband's death.
As O'Brien pokes into the com system -- seeming weary and a bit warm -- and Bashir keeps watch, they get into a conversation about women and marriage. Bashir mentions that he has been in love, and that he doesn't think marriage is fair to the wives. "I mean, look at us. Our lives are constantly in danger. There's enough to worry about without worrying about the wife and kids at home worrying about us. I'm sorry, Chief. I just feel that way. A lot of career officers feel that way." "Well, you career officers don't know what you're missing," says O'Brien. Bashir steers close to dangerous territory when he brings up the subject of O'Brien's marriage, but backs off when he sees how annoyed the Chief is by his too-personal observations.
O'Brien covers himself with a tarp, arousing Bashir's curiosity. The Chief feels cold, but the room is warm, and he is also looking pale. Bashir scans him, and finds the spot on his arm where he was splattered. "You've been infected by the Harvesters," he tells O'Brien gravely.
Sisko breaks the news to Keiko, who takes it with apparent composure. She wants to see the recording, and Sisko says he'll have it sent to her. "Miles was a fine officer and a fine man," Sisko tells her sincerely. "I'll miss him." He leaves Keiko alone, at her request.
O'Brien continues to work feverishly at the com panel, and Bashir gives him another anabolic supplement. Finally, though, the Chief has to quit; his eyesight is getting fuzzy. Bashir makes him sit down while he takes over, and O'Brien begins talking the doctor through the repairs.
Kira and Dax share a quiet drink at Quark's, with O'Brien and Bashir on their minds. Dax remembers that she still has Julian's medical school diaries, which he had given to her to read, so that she could understand him better. "He told me that they were about his innermost thoughts -- his struggle to graduate top of his class, his dreams of having a career in Starfleet, his constant fear of failure." But Dax never got around to reading them. "I suppose I should send them to his parents," Dax says, but Kira tells her she could keep them. "I think he'd like that. He cared a great deal about you." Dax agrees, and says she cared about him too.
Quark comes up to them with three drinks, two of which he gives Dax and Kira on the house, so they can toast the memory of the doctor and the Chief. "To our dear departed comrades. We may have had our differences, but I'll say this for them -- and it's the highest tribute I can think of. They were good customers. They always paid their bar bills on time." He then quotes the 57th Rule of Acquisition: "Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them."
Later, Keiko enters Ops with the data clip, and an urgent expression on her face, asking to see Sisko. She shows him, Kira, and Dax what she has spotted: the moment where O'Brien sips the coffee. According to the time index, it's late afternoon, and Keiko says that Miles never drinks coffee in the late afternoon, because it keeps him up all night. She is adamant about this, and Sisko decides to explore the possibility that the recording was altered. He and Dax will leave right away to bring the Ganges back.
Bashir is still working on the panel, with the guidance of O'Brien, whose condition is worsening. To keep alert, he asks Bashir about his past love. Bashir tells him the story of his romance with Palis Delon, a brilliant, gorgeous ballerina, as he manages to get some power into the console, though there is still no response from the transmitter. He begins retuning the RF oscillators, and finishes the story. When he graduated, he was offered a job by Palis' father, the head administrator of a medical complex in Paris. But he chose to stay in Starfleet. "Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I think to myself, will I ever find anyone that wonderful again?" He reports that the oscillator is working, but the frequency is fluctuating. When O'Brien tries to rise to take a look, he can't feel his legs.
Dax and Sisko arrive at T'Lani III, and Sisko tells E'Tyshra, who is aboard the T'Lani cruiser, that he wants to see for himself where the accident took place. The ambassador agrees. Dax says while Sisko is on the cruiser, she will take a look around on the Ganges.
Bashir finally gets the com system working, though the signal is still weak, and sends a distress signal, set to repeat every two minutes. They'll just have to hope that the T'Lani find them before the Kellerun do. O'Brien is now fading fast, and he tries to give Bashir a message for his family; Bashir, determined to be optimistic, doesn't want to hear it. O'Brien tells him he's wrong about marriage. "You're the one who's always talking about adventure. Well, marriage is the greatest adventure of all. It's filled with pitfalls and setbacks and mistakes, but it's a journey worth taking, because you take it together. I know Keiko's been unhappy about us coming to the station. We still argue about it. But that's all right, because at the end of the day, we both know we love each other. That's all that matters."
Sisko scans the lab on the T'Lani cruiser, and asks if E'Tyshra has been able to learn more about the device that caused the accident. She says not yet, but they're working on it. Sisko then asks if the clip could have been altered before Sharat showed her the recording, and E'Tyshra innocently wonders why Sharat would alter the clip. "Commander, the T'Lani and the Kellerun have finally made peace. That peace cannot survive unless both sides trust each other." Sisko beams over to the Ganges, where Dax has found that someone has wiped five seconds from the runabout's log. However, there were traces of a remote transport command in the memory core. The time index shows that the command took place three minutes after the accident -- which means that either O'Brien or Bashir was alive at that time.
O'Brien is still declining, almost on the verge of death, and Bashir gives him something to help him breathe. Then E'Tyshra arrives with two T'Lani soldiers. Bashir greets her with relief, and then Sharat enters the room with a few Kellerun soldiers. Bashir realizes, to his shock, that the two ambassadors are in this together.
E'Tyshra and Sharat explain that the scientists were killed to ensure the success of the peace agreement. "It's not enough to simply destroy the Harvesters," says Sharat. "We have to be sure no one can ever recreate them." E'Tyshra adds, "The only way to do that was to eliminate everyone who possessed such knowledge, including the two of you." Bashir protests that he and O'Brien have no use for the Harvesters, but the ambassadors are determined. They do not want to take even the slightest risk of the knowledge being used. Bashir and O'Brien will, however, have the consolation of knowing they died for a noble cause.
O'Brien demands to be allowed to die on his feet, and Bashir helps him up. "Been an honor...serving with you," the Chief wheezes to Bashir, who is touched. "Thank you, Chief. That means a lot to -- " And both of them are beamed up to the Ganges by Sisko and Dax.
Bashir is immensely relieved to see his commander, but O'Brien is now unconscious and will be dead inside of an hour unless they can get him back to the station. Bashir stabilizes him, and tells Sisko and Dax of the plot between the T'Lani and Kellerun governments. They ignore the hails of the T'Lani ship, and try to send a distress signal, but subspace communications are being blocked by a broad band inversion. Sisko asks if the inversion is affecting sensors as well, and Dax confirms this. "Which means theirs are useless too," Sisko says.
E'Tyshra and Sharat, on the T'Lani cruiser, see one of the runabouts veer off, and order a warning shot fired. Sisko hails them. By firing on the runabout, he informs them, they have committed an act of war. Bashir and O'Brien have no intention of using their knowledge. "Their intentions are irrelevant," Sharat says. "The fact is, the threat remains as long as the knowledge exists." Sisko asks if they're willing to kill him and Dax too; they know nothing about the Harvesters. Sharat tells him they'll do whatever they have to. E'Tyshra gives Sisko one minute to turn over Bashir and O'Brien. "You want them? You're going to have to take us all," says Sisko.
The runabout turns back toward the cruiser, and the T'Lani captain detects that it's preparing to fire. The cruiser shoots it, and the runabout explodes. As the cruiser is about to take the other runabout in tow, however, they find that it's not there. E'Tyshra and Sharat realize that Sisko and the others must have transported to it while the cruiser's sensors were down, and piloted the first runabout by remote. They've lost.
O'Brien convalesces in the infirmary on DS9, as Keiko hands him a coffee mug painted by Molly. Bashir tells O'Brien how much he appreciated what the Chief said back on T'Lani III, "that it was an honor serving with me." He returns the compliment. "You know, Mrs. O'Brien, they say that when two people face death together, it creates a bond that cannot be broken." O'Brien interrupts, annoyed, and Bashir leaves him alone with Keiko, who is reproachful. "He saved your life, you know." "He's never going to let me forget it," O'Brien grumps. Spending all that time with Bashir was hell, he says. He could use some coffee. Keiko looks at him in surprise. "Miles, you never drink coffee in the afternoon." "Sure I do," he says.
Morgan Gendel's original pitch involved aliens deliberately encoding a doomsday weapon into O'Brien's DNA. The episode received an Emmy nomination for outstanding achievement in hair design, for the T'Lani and Kelleruns' hairstyles. The matte painting establishing T'Lani III was a re-worked version of one used in "Legacy" (TNG).