Monday, April 04, 2022

3 in Dramatis Personae (Deep Space Nine S01-E18)

This is a Bajoran station - Kira

Even with a half-baked plot device the episode, Dramatis Personae, was interesting. The story could mean two things.

Its title, dramatis personae, is Latin for characters in a play. There was a recreation of a past event (the Play) of which the senior crew (the Characters) of Deep Space Nine was caught in its web.

Or, the episode wants to be philosophical. Shakespeare said: “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” 

This episode was an excuse to bring out a different side to the senior crew of DS9 and their relationship with each other. These are the roles of the station officers if things played like a Shakespearean tragedy or if the station was run like the Klingons. We can also use another pop culture reference, the Game of Thrones.

The episode failed to stick the landing because the plot device explained what made them fight, what wasn’t explained was how it is making them fight. 

There are the 3 things that stand out in the episode.

Don't bother me - Sisko


Telepathic Historical Record

I find autobiographical works and journals interesting. Historians with their research and benefit of hindsight have their uses, but the journal would be the first person point-of-view, the word on the street, so to speak – or for lack of a better analogy, a social media post.

What if there is a way, outside of reading, to inhabit the mind of the historical personality and feel what they felt? 


Violence is caused by the spheres - Klingon


I assume the Saltah’nans had that in mind when they created their telepathic energy spheres which serves, according to the research of the Toh’Kaht – a telepathic historical archive.

Odo theorized directly to Doctor Bashir:

Could that energy matrix have somehow caused them to re-enact the power struggle that destroyed the Saltah'nans.

Because Toh’Kat exploded on approach to the station, Odo was naturally investigating the cause up until strange behaviour was detected on Deep Space Nine, then his investigation became one of survival – to prevent DS9 from sharing fate with the Klingon ship. 

Odo managed to isolate the problem to the spheres noted by the Klingons as an archive of an ancient destructive war.

The problem with that theory is the lack of any Saltah’nan context. Both the Toh’Kaht and Deep Space Nine crews fought in a manner that was natural to them. It’s not a body snatcher type of situation like Bashir in The Passenger. 

So, if there’s no remembering who, why or how they fought, how does it then serve Saltah’nan history? It’s working more like a weapon than an archive. Then again, if indeed the spheres are an archive and they would have worked differently on a Saltah’nan brain. 

Real World Applications?

Still the Saltah’nan archives remind me of the phrase ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’.  History is about facts and events but it is also about perspective. It would be the highest understanding if we all could live accurately in the shoes of our contemporaries or of the many sides in history.


If Deep Space Nine was run like the Klingons, or lived like the Game of Thrones

It is also possible that the telepathic historical archive acted like the virus in the Next Generation episode The Naked Now

The senior crew of DS9 became more political, more sinister and lethal instead of acting drunk like in the TNG episode. Distrust was high, people were just unwilling to compromise. Whatever caused the change in behavior was more natural to the crew.

Commander Sisko himself looked bored and disinterested, yet every bit a fighter if you ever got on his bad side. Which would be consistent with the Pilot episode. Deep Space Nine was a hardship post before meeting the Prophets, before having friends among the crew. 

It can be argued that Siko hasn’t fully taken root on DS9 and he thinks of better stations to be assigned to.


Anyone against Sisko is against me - O'Brien


I can only guess the alien clock Sisko built served a symbolic purpose which escapes my understanding. At first glance his tinkering feels unrelated to his character, but if you recall that he is a cook, the building machines can be argued as an extension of wanting to work with his hands.

Major Kira Nerys was the most natural of all. You gotta wonder if this is her every day; resentful of foreign presence of Bajor, just waiting for a chance to kick them off the system. 

Her desire to protect her planet was on beast mode and that set her against the visiting Valerians, a race who has had businesses with the Cardassians. When Commander Sisko was asking for probable cause instead of treating the Valerians as enemies on sight, Kira was only too willing to take up arms for Bajor again.

If Kira was fiercely protective of Bajoran interests, then O’Brien was fiercely protective of Benjamin Sisko. The Chief’s zeal in protecting Sisko was a little surprising.  On the Enterprise he felt like a fly on the wall watching passers-by in the Transporter Room.

On Deep Space Nine he is the husband dealing with issues involving a posting far from the home. While he can be an overly protective father, it is presumed that fatherhood gives one a sense of perspective if not entirely taming one’s wild side. Supporting Sisko amid a hostile Bajoran takeover was unexpected, it would have made more sense had he escaped DS9 with his family.


My disagreement with Sisko is no secret - Major Kira


The O’Brien we saw is closer to the one who served aboard the USS Rutledge. He was or is the battle hardened NCO who never leaves his Commanding Officer’s side despite the odds, like those war movies which has a lieutenant character and a battle hardened sergeant.

The weakest parts of the The Naked Now argument are Jadzia Dax and Doctor Bashir whom I cannot rationalize why they sided with Kira. Why was Jadzia acting chill like she’s high on weed? Doctor Bashir, I would guess, is cut off from Bridge politics considering location of sickbay so his loyalties in this crisis went to the Bajorans instead of Starfleet. Maybe.


Is it Energy, is it a Soul, is it Gas?

The Klingons describe it as “telepathic energy spheres”. It is energy of a telepathic nature with a lock on the humanoid brain. When Odo managed to extract those ‘energies’ away from the brains of the senior crew, it floated in the air. He then opened the airlock – they were in the Cargo Bay – and then the energy got sucked out into the vacuum.

Can energy do that, be sucked into space by venting atmosphere? There are just too many ways to put holes in the archive’s back story.

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