Production no.: 573
Written by: Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Directed by: Steve Posey
First satellite airdate: May 15, 1999
Andrew J. Robinson .....
Jacqueline Schultz ........
William Sadler ..............
Kate Asner ..................
Tom Holleron ...............
Kira and Garak have brought Odo back to DS9, where he now lies in the infirmary, in a bed with a device designed to alleviate his pain. He presses Bashir for a time frame on how long he has to live, and Bashir reluctantly says a week, perhaps two. "Let me emphasize, Odo, that I haven't given up hope, and it's very important that you don't give up either." Odo says he understands. He wants to see Kira.
When Kira comes in to sit with him, Odo tells her she should be going soon. He overrides her protests; she's the only one who can help Damar with his resistance movement. Odo insists that he wants her to leave. "You watched Bareil die in this very room. I know how that's haunted you. I don't want your last memory of me to be witnessing my death." "Isn't that my choice?" she asks. Odo acknowledges that maybe it is, and maybe he's being selfish. "But I don't want the last thing I see to be pain in your eyes." Kira tells him, "You'd be surprised how well I can hide my feelings when I need to." Odo knows better. "Not from me," he says.
Finally, reluctantly, she agrees to leave. Odo shies from her kiss, knowing what an awful sight he is right now. "I don't care how you look," declares Kira, and kisses him soundly. Tears roll down her cheek. "I've got so much to say. I don't know where to begin." "Just say you love me," Odo tells her softly. "That's all I've ever cared about." She looks deeply into his eyes for what may be the last time. "I love you, Odo." "I love you, Nerys," he replies.
Outside, O'Brien tells Sisko he has forwarded the schematics of the Breen weapon to Starfleet Engineering. Kira comes out to say she and Garak should be underway shortly. As they're leaving, Kira pauses. "Julian -- " "I'll do everything I can," says Bashir.
When she's gone, Sisko asks if there are any more resources from Starfleet Medical he can help with getting. O'Brien speaks up. "Sir, we should inform you that research is not the only avenue we've been pursuing." Though Bashir is reluctant, they both explain to an incredulous Sisko their belief that Section 31 created the virus. Bashir has sent a false message to Starfleet Medical announcing that he has found a cure to the disease. When the operative, whoever it is, comes to destroy his research, Bashir and O'Brien will capture him/her and use a Romulan memory scanner (an illegal Romulan memory scanner) on him/her. "Setting aside all the legal and ethical issues involved, I still think this is a pretty long shot," Sisko observes. "I do too," Bashir says. "But I'm afraid it's the only shot Odo has."
O'Brien finds Bashir throwing darts at the dartboard in Quark's, after hours. Bashir couldn't sleep; he says he was reading the same page of A Tale of Two Cities over and over. "I kept thinking just how many people had to have been involved in the conspiracy to infect him with the disease. Computer experts, doctors, security officers, admirals, clerks. In the end, I came up with at least seventy-three people...This organization, this thing that's slithered its way into the heart of the Federation -- it has to be destroyed." O'Brien agrees, but says for now the focus has to be Odo.
Bashir wakes in the middle of the night, the book on his chest. Sloan is there, sitting in a chair. He says he has another assignment for Bashir. "Really?" Bashir says. "What a coincidence. Because I have an assignment for you." He switches on a forcefield around Sloan, who plays it cool. Bashir calls O'Brien, and gets a phaser. Finally Sloan realizes that Bashir doesn't really have the cure. He says that turning him over to Starfleet Security will be a waste of time, as there's no evidence against him; Bashir retorts that he's not interested in turning Sloan over to anyone. He turns off the forcefield, and stuns Sloan.
Sloan comes to in a biobed in the science lab, with Bashir and O'Brien setting up equipment nearby; Sloan is in another forcefield. He tries taunting Bashir for shooting an unarmed man, and when that doesn't work, he makes a veiled threat against O'Brien's family. Bashir taunts back, saying Sloan isn't usually so blunt. "So, am I supposed to guess what's going on or do I have to lay here in terror waiting for you to tell me?" asks Sloan. Bashir says he wants the cure, and Sloan is going to help him find it. After all, Sloan wouldn't have come here to destroy Bashir's work if he didn't know what he was looking for. True, he could have just destroyed the lab, but Bashir knows that Sloan prefers surgical precision. He also knows that Sloan will resist telling him. However, Bashir shows him the Romulan scanning devices he has obtained. Sloan points out that they're illegal in the Federation. "I hope you can appreciate the irony of that statement," says Bashir as he puts the devices on Sloan's head.
The head of Section 31 is in trouble, and he knows it. He insists he doesn't know anything about the cure; "Then I won't find anything, will I?" says Bashir. Sloan mentions Sisko's possible reaction; Bashir informs him that Sisko knows. "I misread you," Sloan says at last. "I thought you were just a misguided idealist. But you're a dangerous man. People like you would destroy the Federation if given a chance. Fortunately there are people like me who will die to protect it." With that, he collapses. Bashir realizes that Sloan has activated a neuro-depolarizing device in his brain; he's trying to kill himself. Frantically, the doctor works to stabilize Sloan before he suffers irreversible damage.
Bashir gets Sloan stable, but his brain is damaged, and his higher cortical functions will fail within an hour. O'Brien asks what if Bashir used the mental probes now; Bashir says the memory pathways have been scrambled. "There must be some way to retrieve that data." Suddenly he tells O'Brien he needs a multitronic engrammatic interpreter.
O'Brien's game. They go to work. When they're done, they've cobbled together a mass of equipment, and Sloan has a device on his head. Bashir is going to link his mind with Sloan's; the experience will be processed into stimuli his conscious mind can understand. Sloan's neuronal pathways will be like streets or corridors. "Oh, so you're just going to wander around these streets looking for a little box labeled The Cure?" asks O'Brien. Bashir says it actually could be that simple.
A bed is set up beside Sloan, for Bashir, who tells O'Brien that he can control his own vital signs to break the link. If Sloan dies, the worst case scenario is that Bashir dies too, but he thinks the risk is manageable. "I'm going with you," declares O'Brien. "...If you're determined to go on this lunatic mission inside Sloan's head, then somebody with an ounce of sanity has to be with you." "You just want to come because you don't want Captain Sisko to find out what we're doing," Bashir accuses. "Well, there's that too," agrees O'Brien. They get another bed.
There are 43 minutes left before Sloan's brain dies. The two men take the plunge, and find themselves in what looks like a DS9 turbolift, going down. As they talk, the lift descends faster and faster. "Aren't you glad you came along?" Bashir asks O'Brien, who replies, "Oh, I wouldn't have missed it for the world." The lift stops, suddenly but gently. They cautiously let go of the railing; the lift drops again, and lands with a crash. The doors open to reveal Sloan, in a corridor of the habitat ring.
Sloan smiles warmly. "Doctor! Chief O'Brien. Welcome. I can't tell you how happy I am to see you." He says he would like nothing better than to give them the cure, but first he wants them to meet some people. Seeing that they're not inclined to do so, Sloan says, "I see. You're afraid that if I die while you're still in here, you'll die, too. Well, we can't let that happen, can we? We'd better hurry." When Bashir says they're not going anywhere without the cure, Sloan finally says it's a simple nucleotide marking sequence. He names the vital elements involved, but the words come out garbled. It seems that there's a part of Sloan that is preventing him from telling them, until they come with him. Reluctantly, Bashir and O'Brien do so, knowing there's not much time to waste on further suspicion.
On the way, O'Brien asks why Sloan's mind looks like DS9; Sloan says he wanted them to feel at home. They enter the wardroom to find a party in progress. Sloan addresses the group, his tone full of genuine emotion. He tells them, his friends and family, how sorry he is for the pain he's caused them, and for cheating them out of being in his life. "No tears, please. My death isn't a tragedy, it's a celebration. In death, I can finally step out of the shadows and prove to myself that I existed. That I lived."
A woman comes over to him, and they kiss. Sloan introduces her to O'Brien and Bashir as his wife, Jessica. She thanks them for what they've done for "Luther". "Frankly, being married to him was a living hell. But thanks to you, that's all changed." "Doctor, you've been a beacon of light to me," Sloan continues. "You're living proof that ideology is a poor substitute for kindness and decency, and that at the end of the day, it's our actions, not our beliefs, that define who we are -- what we are." Bashir finally reminds him of the cure; Sloan says gladly, and his wife rummages in her purse for the PADD he gave her. She hands it to him, but as Sloan is giving it to Bashir, he is shot dead by a phaser. Another Sloan is standing behind him. "I'm sorry, Doctor, but I can't let you have that." He slips away. The room is now empty except for Bashir and O'Brien. They leave, finding themselves in a Starfleet corridor; the door they just came through has vanished.
Outside, the unconscious bodies of Sloan, Bashir, and O'Brien have been found in the lab by Ezri. Neither she nor Sisko know what's happening. Sisko calls for a medical team.
Bashir and O'Brien make their way down the corridor; they have less than 20 minutes to find the cure. All the doors are locked, and they have no idea where Sloan is. "He's not going to be found unless he wants to be found," O'Brien points out. "It's his playing field." They are stopped by a Section 31 operative, who tells them they're in a restricted area, and Sloan is unavailable. When Bashir takes two steps toward him, the operative fires, hitting Bashir in the shoulder. "He was a threat to the Federation," the man declares. O'Brien grapples with him, and is also shot; the operative vanishes.
The two friends lean against a wall, recovering, and discussing why their injuries hurt. O'Brien suggests that Bashir get them out, but Bashir can't. He just tried; his body may be too weak. "So, this is it?" says O'Brien. "It does look that way," Bashir agrees. O'Brien regrets not telling Keiko what he was doing. What will hurt her is the fact that he did it for Bashir. "She always said I liked you more than I liked her." They talk about the possible truth of that, and the fact that they have a lot in common. "I love my wife," O'Brien declares. Bashir says, "And I love Ezri, passionately." It's the first time he's acknowledged it. He will tell her when he's ready. "It's just that I like you a bit more. You see? There, I've admitted it." "Yeah, well, I love my wife," O'Brien insists.
They see a bright light, and know it's the tunnel to the great beyond. O'Brien decides that they can't let it end like this; he pulls Bashir to his feet, and they go to investigate one more door. But when they open it, they wake up, back on their biobeds in the science labs, with Sisko, Worf, and a nurse present. They've failed. Bashir wants to go back in; Sisko tells him Sloan is dying. "He can't die. Not yet!" Bashir declares. He works feverishly, but Sloan slips away. "He's gone," O'Brien tells him as Bashir tries to revive the body. Finally Bashir stops. "And so is any hope of curing Odo," he notes, defeated.
Bashir breaks the bad news to Odo, who takes it with dignity. "I understand, Doctor. You've done everything you could, more than I would have thought possible. I appreciate it." Bashir asks if there's anything he can do to make Odo more comfortable. Odo says he simply wants to be alone, and Bashir leaves, finding O'Brien outside. There's nothing O'Brien can say to comfort him.
In bed that night, Bashir starts to read A Tale of Two Cities again -- and notices something odd. He brings the book to O'Brien. For some reason, the first line of the book ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times") recurs on page 294. Bashir realizes they're still in Sloan's mind. Sloan is using their memories to make them think they're back in reality, but since Bashir doesn't know the rest of the book, Sloan couldn't fill it in. Bashir and O'Brien realize that the cure must have been behind the door they were about to open when they "woke up". As they come to this conclusion, the room shakes. "Sloan's dying," says Bashir. "His mind's shutting down. We haven't got much time."
They go down the Starfleet-style corridor again, and find the door. It opens on a cluttered room full of PADDs, books, and paperwork. Sloan is behind a desk, looking weak. He welcomes them to Section 31. Since he won't help them, Bashir and O'Brien start hunting through the debris.
As the room quakes, Sloan starts trying to distract Bashir by pointing out a report on Jaresh-Inyo, the former President. Bashir learns from it that Section 31 had a man in his cabinet. There is also a binder containing data on current operations on Qo'Nos. O'Brien finds what they're looking for, and gives it to Bashir. They can leave now. But Bashir hesitates. This room contains information that could bring Section 31 down for good, and Sloan tells them that there is nothing like it in the real world; it's all contained in the minds of only a few people. "If you really want to destroy Section 31, it's now or never." "He's right," says Bashir. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, Miles. We can't pass it up."
Bashir starts grabbing files, but O'Brien slams him against a wall. "Listen to me! He wants us to die with him. And if we die, Odo dies too!" "All my secrets, yours for the taking, Doctor, if you want them badly enough," Sloan invites. Bashir wavers; O'Brien tells him, "Odo needs you, Julian. He's counting on you." It's those words that enable Bashir to finally make his choice. He drops what he's gathered. Sloan says, "You're making a terrible mistake, Doctor." "I don't think so," replies Bashir.
He brings himself out of Sloan's mind. Ezri is bent over him. "Ezri, you look so beautiful," he says; she gives a startled smile. Bashir tells Sisko there's only one way to know if he has the cure or not. Sisko says Sloan died about two minutes ago, and almost took them with him. O'Brien, also sitting up, has just one thing to say. "Hey Julian, next time you take a trip inside someone's mind, you're going on your own."
A short time later, Bashir is ready to administer the cure to Odo, warning him that he might feel some discomfort. "If you mean it's going to be painful, just say so," Odo tells him; Bashir says, "It's going to be painful." Odo says to go ahead. Bashir gives him the hypo. After a moment, Odo's entire body ripples as he lets out a groan and goes liquid. But then he is humanoid again, his skin once more as smooth as ever. He is now free of the disease.
O'Brien again finds Bashir tossing darts at the board after hours at Quark's. Odo should be back to normal in a few days. To celebrate, O'Brien gets a bottle from behind the bar. Bashir observes that it's older than he is. "I'm drinking with a child," grumbles O'Brien. Bashir proposes a toast. "To aging gracefully." "Very funny," O'Brien says. "To Odo." They drink.
There's something on O'Brien's mind. He wonders if they could really have brought Section 31 down with what was in that data room. Bashir muses that they'll never know for sure. But he does know that it was the perfect bait for Sloan to use. However, Sloan failed to consider O'Brien. Bashir lifts his glass again. "To Miles Edward O'Brien." "To friendship." After one more drink, O'Brien says he has to get home to dinner. "You wanna come?" "Sure," says Bashir. As they leave, the doctor throws his last dart, which scores a bullseye.
The original title of this episode was "Night Tremors". At first, it was to have been Odo who would have journeyed into Sloan's mind; however, the episode was turned into a Bashir/O'Brien story instead. Also, there were plans to reveal that Dr. Mora had created the Founders' virus (not meaning for Odo to get sick), but that plot element was dropped. A scene was filmed in which Quark visits Odo at his bedside. It was unfortunately cut so that we could see O'Brien and Bashir walking down a couple more corridors.