September 26, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “One Little Ship”

Bashir, O'Brien, and Dax are in a very tiny runabout when the Jem'Hadar take over the Defiant.

So, this being season six, I’ve seen the season start off with a six part introduction to the war, Worf and Dax’s wedding, Quark lead a commando crew, Sisko and Dukat match wits on an otherwise barren planet, and a vision of Sisko as a 1950s sci-fi writer.  That’s just a smattering of episodes that are memorable and well-done for one reason or another, the sort that show why Deep Space Nine is remembered as fondly as it is.

And then there’s this episode.

Now, to be clear, “One Little Ship” is not by any stretch of the imagination a bad episode.  It just feels more like a forgettable given the weight or creativity of the other episodes so far in season six.  That said, I figure it this way:  they needed to do 26 episodes for a season of the show.  I shouldn’t expect every single last one of them to be all-time classics.  That I got this far in season six without hitting an episode that feels this inconsequential.  Not that every episode this season has necessarily been that great–the Mirror Universe episode for this season was a bit meh–but this is the first episode that is both perfectly fine and not particularly memorable at the same time.

Instead, it’s just a fun premise run over a full episode.  On a scientific mission involving Dax, Bashir, and O’Brien enter one of those weird space anomalies that do stuff with physics that aren’t possible while most of the rest of the main cast stays on the Defiant.  The anomaly in this case will actually shrink the trio’s runabout, with them inside of it, and they should be able to return to their regular size if they exit the way they came in.

Small problem:  the Jem’Hadar show up and manage to capture the Defiant.  The attack damages the ship’s warp drive, and though they took most of the crew alive, they also don’t know how to repair the warp drive.  Then factor in in-fighting among the Jem’Hadar.  One experienced fighter is the second because he was born in the Gamma Quadrant while the first is an Alpha, specially bred to serve in the Alpha Quadrant.  That actually leads to conflict within the Jem’Hadar, arguably the episode’s most memorable plotline, at least for me.

But see, Dax, Bashir, and O’Brien are all OK.  They didn’t get caught.  They’re just very, very small.

Basically, it means Dax in the pilot’s chair, O’Brien’s knowing stuff about the ship, and Bashir there to sometimes offer some health tips can sneak aboard the Defiant and offer some covert help to the others.  Essentially, the bridge officers (Sisko, Kira, Worf, and Nog) are working to supposedly fix the warp drive for their captors while, O’Brien quickly realizes, Kira is the only one fixing the engines and she’s working slowly.  Instead, the other three are working to shift control of the ship to Engineering, all while under the watchful eye of Gamma Ixtana’Rax.  He doesn’t for a minute trust Sisko, and he’s smart enough to see through Sisko’s basic attempts to drive a wedge between the Jem’Hadar.

Instead, well, the episode makes it fairly obvious Ixtana actually knows what’s he’s talking about.  If not for his superior, he would have killed Sisko at the start, but he can’t.  “Obedience leads to victory” is a Jem’Hadar motto for a reason.  His superior, Alpha Kudak’Etan is clearly portrayed as a self-important boob, and that all seems to exist to either help Sisko or help create tension.

Mostly because Dax and her group are flying around the Defiant and secretly helping Sisko and the others finish a job they’ve started but can’t possibly complete in time.  Bashir and O’Brien have to go for a walk outside their tiny ship, and in the end, the runabout ends up flying around and shooting Jem’Hadar when Sisko and the others finally do fight back.  A little anesthetic gas to knock out the ones in other areas, and Sisko can tell Ixtana how right he was all along for all the good it did the guy.

By the by, Worf takes out two Jem’Hadar with his bare hands, snapping one’s neck in a single move from behind before fighting another in hand-to-hand combat while the others are shooting at each other.

So, the tiny get their regular body sizes back, and Odo of all people plays a prank on O’Brien and Bashir by suggesting they may be a couple centimeters shorter than they used to be.  A Changeling can tell, he says, to the discomfort to the two humans and the great amusement of both himself and…Quark?  Odo and Quark shared a laugh after pranking Bashir and O’Brien?

Maybe there’s more to remember here than I thought.