Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993): S01E05 – Babel


Introduction

“Babel” is the fifth episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.The episode aired on television on 24 January 1993.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station in orbit of the planet Bajor. In this episode, the crew begin to have problems communicating.

Outline

An overworked Chief O’Brien is attempting to repair numerous malfunctions throughout the station, including most of the station’s food replicators. He unknowingly activates a device hidden in one of the replicators. Shortly afterwards, O’Brien begins showing signs of aphasia: he becomes unable to speak coherently, or comprehend spoken language.

Lt. Dax soon becomes aphasic as well. Dr. Bashir discovers that the aphasia is caused by a virus in the food created by replicators on the command level. People all over the station begin showing signs of infection. In addition to aphasia, the virus causes a dangerously high and potentially deadly fever in its victims. The station is put under quarantine to keep the virus from spreading.

Odo discovers that Quark has been selling food from a functional replicator in an unoccupied room on the command level, resulting in the contaminated food being spread all over the station. The virus mutates to become airborne, endangering the entire population of the station.

Major Kira soon finds a module in the last replicator O’Brien had worked on; Bashir discovers that it wrote the aphasia virus into the molecular pattern of any food being replicated. Bashir determines that the virus was engineered by a Bajoran terrorist during the time of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor.

The doctor who created the virus is long dead, but one of his fellow resistance fighters, Surmak Ren, is now the administrator at a Bajoran hospital. Kira believes Dr. Surmak may have knowledge of the virus, so she decides to bring him to DS9. At first, Commander Sisko refuses to allow Kira to leave, but she assures him she will not break quarantine. Kira flies to Bajor and transports Surmak directly to her runabout. Initially, Surmak refuses to help, but relents when Kira reveals that by being aboard the runabout, Surmak is also infected with the aphasia virus.

Meanwhile, virtually the entire crew is incapacitated. A freighter captain, desperate to avoid infection, tries to leave DS9 without clearance, and ruptures his ship’s power core in the process. To prevent the resulting explosion from destroying half the station, the ship must be ejected from its dock. Odo recruits Quark, who is unaffected by the virus, to assist him in jettisoning the ship, and it explodes at a safe distance. Surmak is eventually able to create a vaccine for the aphasia virus.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Paul Lynch.
  • Writer(s): Sally Caves and Ira Steven Behr.
  • Release Date: 24 January 1993.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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