Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 01 E 05 Babel

O'Brien has been having a bad day. He's been run ragged all across DS9, fixing one broken system after another. While fiddling with the main floor replicators, his day gets worse. He is infected with an aphasia virus, a disease which leaves him babbling incomprehensible gibberish. Said disease was left in a booby trap planted by Bajoran terrorists during the early construction of DS9.

And the virus is spreading, in part thanks to Quark who, with a malfunctioning replicator killing his business, decides to use a replicator in an empty set of crew quarters to provide his menu. With O'Brien suffering a heavy fever, it's become apparent this virus is fatal.

Doing a little digging, Kira traces the disease back to its creator, a Bajoran terrorist named Dekon Elig. Problem is, he's dead, having been killed trying to escape Cardassian confinement. With that lead a dead-end, she seeks out Surmak Ren, the doctor who signed Dekon's death certificate. At the first mention of the virus, he terminates connection.

Almost all of DS9 is infected, with only Sisko, Odo, and Quark unaffected. With Kira leaving to "persuade" doctor Surmak to assist her, Sisko and Odo deal with another problem: A panicking cargo captain named Jaheel attempts to leave the station. Sisko insists he can't be risked spreading the virus, but Jaheel, who fries his ship trying to tear loose from the docking ring. Now his ship is a ticking time bomb about to take the docking ring with it.

Beaming Surmak straight from his office to a Runabout, Kira reveals to the good doctor that she's infected, and now he is too. This more than convinces him to get working an an antidote.

Sisko finally gives in to the virus, leaving Odo alone at Ops. Enter Quark, who works the transporter for Odo so he can rescue Jaheel and jettison his ship before it explodes.

With that, the virus is cured and life aboard DS9 returns to normal.

Tropes:

  • Blatant Lies: Quark tries claiming Rom fixed the bars replicator. Odo doesn't buy this for the obvious reason.
    Odo: Rom is an idiot. He couldn't fix a straw if it was bent.
  • Butt Monkey: Starting his long tradition of being DS9's punching bag, O'Brien is the first infected with the virus after being worked to the bone repairing malfunctioning system after malfunctioning system.
  • Closest Thing We Got: With most of the Starfleet and Bajoran personnel incapacitated by the virus, Sisko recruits Odo to fill in, despite his protestations that he's trained for security, not station operations.
  • Curse of Babel: The effect of the bioweapon.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Quark quotes an 'old Ferengi saying' instead of a Rule of Acquisition.
  • Ironic Echo: Sisko admits that Odo is probably right about being unqualified for station operations, but it's necessary anyway because "you're all I've got". When Kira presents her plan to kidnap Surmak Ren, Odo suggests that Sisko go along with the idea because "she's all you've got".
  • Spanner in the Works: Thanks to Quark, the virus spreads that much more quickly through the station.
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