“Inquisition” is the 142nd episode of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It is the 18th episode of the sixth season.
Starfleet counter-espionage units make the rounds at Deep Space Nine as the war with the Dominion drags on.
An intelligence leak may be coming from the station and they are investigating. The story is told from the perspective of Julian Bashir, who is of special interest due to having been a prisoner of war in Season 5.
The episode introduces Section 31.
Dr. Bashir, scheduled to leave for a conference the next day, tends to Chief O’Brien, who has dislocated his shoulder while kayaking in a holosuite. Bashir wakes up the next morning feeling tired, and is summoned to a meeting of the senior staff. Sisko introduces Sloan, the deputy director of Starfleet Internal Affairs. Sloan suspects one of them of being a Dominion spy, and confines them to quarters.
Bashir is escorted to the ward room, where Sloan treats him cordially while asking a few light questions and seems satisfied. Upon returning to his quarters, Bashir suspects they have been searched. O’Brien secretly contacts Bashir, informing him that his interrogation with Sloan lasted hours and focused entirely on Bashir.
Bashir is then brought back to Sloan, who has changed his tone. He accuses Bashir of being a traitor, pointing out various questionable acts, including his sympathy for renegade Jem’Hadar trying to cure their Ketracel White addiction (“Hippocratic Oath“), lifelong dishonesty about his genetic enhancements (“Doctor Bashir, I Presume?“), and his handling of a group of genetically enhanced outcasts who tried to convince the Federation’s to surrender (“Statistical Probabilities“).
Sloan presents a theory that, during Bashir’s time in a Dominion prison (“By Inferno’s Light“), he was persuaded to become a Dominion spy, but using a technique that would allow him to hide these memories even from himself, allowing him to truly believe he was a loyal Starfleet officer, then retrieve the intelligence later. Bashir refuses to accept Sloan’s theory, but Sloan condemns him as a traitor and has him marched through the Promenade in handcuffs to a holding cell, where he is treated with contempt by Sloan’s staff.
Sisko attends Bashir’s next interrogation, pointing out holes in Sloan’s arguments to no avail, but later privately suggests to Bashir that Sloan’s theories are plausible. Sloan then informs Bashir he is being moved to another starbase without Sisko’s knowledge. However, when the cell’s forcefield is lowered, Bashir is suddenly beamed away and finds himself aboard a Dominion ship, where he is greeted warmly by Weyoun.
Weyoun confirms Sloan’s theory, and when Bashir refuses to accept this, asserts they have been through the same conversation many times prior. Weyoun tells Bashir he was not tortured, but made a moral choice to help the Dominion end the war quickly and save lives. Bashir then wonders why Weyoun and Sloan are trying to convince him of the same thing, and concludes that Sloan himself is the traitor. At that moment, the ship is attacked, and Worf and Kira rescue Bashir.
On the Defiant, Sisko demands an explanation for the Dominion’s involvement, and, uncharacteristically, the entire crew refuses to listen to his suggestion that Sloan is a spy or possibly a Founder in disguise, branding Bashir a traitor. Desperate, Bashir grabs O’Brien, who pulls his arm away. Bashir is surprised the Chief’s injury has healed already, and tricks him into revealing he is unaware how he supposedly hurt it, realising the entire situation is not real. The Defiant bridge dissolves and Bashir finds himself in a holographic simulation room with just Sloan and two guards.
Sloan informs Bashir that his loyalty was being tested. Sloan explains that he is a member of Section 31, a secretive autonomous Starfleet intelligence agency. Bashir questions the legality and ethics of the operation, but Sloan justifies their actions as necessary to protect the Federation. He attempts to recruit Bashir, who refuses and threatens to expose them, but Sloan seems unconcerned, and has him knocked out by hypospray.
Bashir relates the events to the DS9 crew. Sisko reports that Starfleet Command neither confirms nor denies Section 31’s existence. He predicts that Sloan will try to recruit Bashir again, and orders him to accept, so they can find out more. Odo is amused that Bashir’s spy fantasies have become real.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Michael Dorn.
- Writer(s): Bradley Thompson and David Weddle.
- Release Date: 08 April 1998.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.