Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1996): S05E05 – The Assignment


“The Assignment” is the 103rd episode of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the fifth episode of the fifth season.

Keiko O’Brien, possessed by an evil Pah-wraith, plans to eliminate the Prophets. The Pah-wraith forces Miles O’Brien to use DS9’s systems to fire chroniton radiation at the wormhole – destroying both it and the Prophets – or else he loses his wife and his daughter Molly.


Rom is finding working waste extraction on the night shift hard, but is still proud of the work he does despite Quark trying to talk him into returning to the bar. Quark is further put out when Rom asks for a fried breakfast instead of the usual pureed beetles.

Keiko O’Brien returns from a trip to Bajor and tells Miles that she is not actually Keiko but an entity possessing her body. She proves this to an incredulous Miles by stopping her heart for a few seconds. O’Brien is given a list of modifications to make to the station, but isn’t told what the entity’s ultimate goal is. The entity makes is clear it is willing to kill Keiko as well as their daughter Molly if he tries to tell anyone. When O’Brien tries to alert others to what’s going on, the entity anticipates this and makes Keiko fall from the promenade’s second level. Keiko is just injured, but the entity manages to secure O’Brien’s silence.

Being under an impossible time limit, O’Brien tricks Rom into assisting him with the modifications. He explains to him that this is a top-secret upgrade, and that he is to tell no one about what he is doing and why. Dax spots the modifications, and thinking there is a saboteur loose alerts the Operations staff. O’Brien realises that the entity inhabiting Keiko is probably a Pah-wraith from Bajoran legends but this doesn’t help him devise a way to stop it, knowing it only needs a fraction of a second to kill Keiko.

O’Brien is forced to point Odo in the direction of Rom to divert suspicion from himself. Rom is incarcerated but refuses to divulge anything about what he was doing and why. He explains that he will only speak to O’Brien alone. While they are talking, he asks Miles why he is trying to kill the Wormhole Aliens, and Miles is finally able to understand what is going on; the Pah-wraiths are the Prophets natural enemies and the one possessing Keiko is using him to kill them all at once having O’Brien modify DS9 to fire a chroniton beam at the wormhole.

Odo is still suspicious, however, and confronts Miles while he is performing the last modifications. Miles knocks him unconscious, finishes the modifications, and calls “Keiko” to tell her it is done, and to meet him at a runabout. However, Miles actually fires the beam at the runabout, killing the Pah-wraith and leaving Keiko uninjured.

O’Brien rewards Rom for his hard work and help by promoting him to the day shift. Miles and Keiko later talk about the experience. Keiko knows the Pah-wraith would never have left either of them alive, and both are relieved their ordeal is over.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Allan Kroeker.
  • Writer(s): David R. Long and Robert Lederman.
  • Release Date: 28 October 1996.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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