Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1997): S06E09 – Statistical Probabilities


Introduction

“Statistical Probabilities” is the 133rd episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the ninth episode of the sixth season.

Bashir takes on a group of genetically engineered misfires, comparable to savants. This episode guest stars Jeannetta Arnette as Dr. Loews, Tim Ransom as Jack, Hilary Shepard as Lauren, Michael Keenan as Patrick, Faith Salie as Sarina Douglas, Casey Biggs as Damar and Jeffrey Combs reprising as Weyoun. Meanwhile, Deep Space Nine hosts Dominion talks.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station located near a stable wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. In this episode, Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig) attempts to help four fellow augments start becoming useful and productive members of society.

Outline

With Federation/Dominion peace negotiations in the background, Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig) decides to take time to help less fortunate augments with their problems. He is introduced to four augments who, due to unintended side effects, are unable to function in society.

Bashir realises that his patients’ primary problem is boredom. As Jack (Tim Ransom) has pointed out, they are forbidden from pursuing any profession where they could put their brain power to work. Meanwhile, Damar (Casey Biggs) has become the new leader of the Cardassian Union and offers peace talks with the Federation. Watching his speech, the augments make several incredibly accurate guesses about Damar and how he came to power, including that he murdered the “princess” (Tora Ziyal) of the “deposed king” (Dukat). Bashir convinces Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks) to allow the augments to review the peace negotiations to see if they can determine the Dominion’s agenda.

The project works beyond Bashir and Sisko’s wildest dreams. Based on subtle grammatical clues (the augments learn the Dominion language overnight), intimate knowledge of Dominion tactics (their negotiators offer something valuable to cover the fact that they are after something even more valuable), and behavioural idiosyncrasies (they notice Damar avoids certain star systems with his eyes), the Federation learns that the Dominion wants to draw the border to secure a planet that has many of the raw materials needed to make Ketracel White. Knowing this gives the Federation negotiators a huge advantage in the talks.

As such, the Federation agrees to provide the augments with further intelligence information which they use to develop a statistical historical model to predict the future. The augments soon come to the conclusion that the Federation is doomed to lose the war and suffer casualties in the hundreds of billions. As a result, they recommend surrender, which will save those lives and still leave the Federation in a position to rise up against the Dominion in the future. Bashir is convinced the augments are right and pleads the case before Captain Sisko. However, Sisko and Starfleet reject the suggestion out of hand.

Faced with what they feel is the equivalent of a decision to commit suicide, the augments decide to try to leak Starfleet’s strategic plans to the Dominion negotiators on board DS9, hoping to shorten the war and minimise the casualties. Bashir rightly sees this as foolhardy, but Jack, Lauren (Hilary Shepard), and Patrick (Michael Keenan) overpower him. Bound hand and foot, and left alone with Sarina (Faith Salie), Bashir convinces Sarina that her fellow augment’s actions will result in their imprisonment and separation. Bashir plays on the fact that he has determined that Sarina is in love with Jack (something the other augments have failed to realise). Sarina frees Bashir in the nick of time, and alerts Constable Odo (René Auberjonois), who intercepts the augments on their way to the meeting with the Dominion negotiators.

Later, Bashir realises that hubris primarily drove their belief that the Federation would lose. Rather than believe they might be wrong about the course of the war, they decided they couldn’t possibly be wrong because of their superior intellect. The key point is that despite all of their intelligence and the presumed infallibility of their statistical historical model, the actions of one person (Sarina) altered their plan, which in turn completely altered history (changing a turkey shoot by the Dominion into a drawn-out slog at worst).

Bashir returns to his duties, and the augments return to their institution, promising to continue work on a plan for defeating the Dominion (albeit without classified information).

Star Trek TV Series

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Anson Williams.
  • Writer(s): Pam Pietroforte.
  • Release Date: 22 November 1997.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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