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Hippocratic Oath (episode)

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Bashir tries to help members of a Jem'Hadar unit free themselves of their addiction to the drug the Founders use to control them. Meanwhile, Worf tries to adjust to life aboard DS9.

Summary Edit

Worf sits alone in Quark's, his eyes shifting between a PADD and a Markalian across the room. When Quark observes the poor quality of the Markalian's mugshot on the PADD, Worf is not amused. The Markalian is a known criminal, but Quark claims everyone is welcome at his bar. The Ferengi goes over to talk to the Markalian as Major Kira approaches and sits down with Worf. She agrees with Worf's observation that Quark is likely plotting something with the Markalian, yet she seems unconcerned, reassuring Worf that Odo keeps Quark in check. Worf agrees, but adds that Quark is not in prison.

Worf and Quark, 2372

Worf, trying to avoid speaking to Quark

"Medical Officer's Log: Stardate 49066.5 Chief O'Brien and I have concluded our bio-survey of Merik III in the Gamma Quadrant. We are on course back to the wormhole and should arrive at the station two days ahead of schedule."
Bashir, surprised

Bashir is surprised by O'Brien's admission

Meanwhile, on the runabout USS Rubicon, O'Brien and Doctor Bashir are discussing Keiko O'Brien's return to Deep Space 9 after spending several months on Bajor. Keiko is upset that her husband set up a workshop in their bedroom while she was gone, as she thinks it is a subconscious attempt to push her out of his life; although Miles does not think he has any motive, Bashir claims the opposite is true: Miles' desire to be closer to his wife is the reason, for the bedroom reminds him of her. O'Brien is relieved to hear this and wishes his wife was more like Bashir – though he tries to hide it. The conversation is interrupted when they detect a magneton pulse emanating from a nearby planet, likely the result of a damaged warp drive. However, a plasma field prevents the runabout's sensors from scanning the planet. The field causes them to crash land in the process.

The officers emerge to find themselves prisoners of the Jem'Hadar.

On the planet, Bashir and O'Brien are taken to a holding complex, while discussing the fact that the Jem'Hadar look rather "jumpy". Before their conversation can go further, the lead soldier, Goran'Agar, comes and takes Bashir to an isolated section of their complex and tells him that he is now working for the Jem'Hadar. Bashir refuses, but is then told of a story that he can't believe. The lead Jem'Hadar has freed himself of his need for ketracel-white. He believes that some aspect of the planet has freed him from his addiction, and wants Bashir to find a way for all Jem'Hadar to live without the need for ketracel-white.

Worf discusses with Captain Sisko and Odo the Markalian aboard the station and how he is likely plotting an illegal activity. Odo doesn't appreciate Worf attempting to interfere with his duties and assures Captain Sisko that he's already conducting an investigation. Sisko allows Odo to proceed and, while understanding Worf's position and appreciating his vigilance, reminds the Klingon that he is no longer a security officer but is in charge of coordinating all Starfleet activity in the sector. Worf promises not to let the incident interfere with his duties.

Bashir is still a little hesitant to help the Jem'Hadar, so he is led to an area where there are several soldiers obviously in withdrawal stages. A slight touch to any one of them results in excruciating pain. Upon seeing this, Bashir is once again asked if he will help. He says yes, but only with Chief O'Brien's assistance. The soldiers then receive the white necessary to relieve their symptoms.

Worf continues to observe the Markalian, becoming convinced that he is planning an illicit deal with Quark. He confronts Odo, questioning his ability to do his job, but Odo dismisses him. Worf later acts on his own initiative to arrest the Markalian during an exchange with Quark, only to discover that the "deal" was actually a sting operation masterminded by Odo to infiltrate the smuggling operation. Odo had posed as a bag of payment, and had intended to gather information once he was on board the Markalian's ship, but is content to merely arrest him and confiscate the goods from Quark.

Doctor Bashir comes to the decision that the Jem'Hadar deserve freedom, and feels that, once free of the drug, they may no longer be as murderous and could live peacefully. Despite his research, he was no closer to discovering why the lead Jem'Hadar did not need ketracel-white. Meanwhile, Chief O'Brien makes a pair of escape attempts from the Jem'Hadar, despite Bashir ordering him to help. When O'Brien finally meets up with Bashir to bring him to the runabout, Bashir refuses to leave, insisting that he can find a cure. O'Brien then destroys Bashir's equipment, and informs Bashir that charges can be filed against him when they return to DS9.

Worf, meanwhile, has approached Captain Sisko in order to inform him about his part in disrupting Odo's investigation. Sisko is sympathetic, and reminds him that things on the station are not always as black-and-white as they might be on a starship, "and Quark is definitely a shade of grey." He tells Worf that he will need time to adjust to the unwritten rules of the station, but is confident that Worf will eventually fit in.

Goran'Agar finds Bashir and O'Brien, and escorts them away from the research area. As they approach the runabout, another Jem'Hadar named Arak'Taral spots them, but Goran'Agar shoots him. When O'Brien confirms that he has been a soldier, Goran'Agar asks him to explain to Bashir what he intends to do for his men once they're safely away. He sends the officers off on the runabout, and returns to his men to ease their withdrawal from ketracel-white the only way left open to him: by killing them. As they return to the station, O'Brien apologizes and says that he took the only course of action that would save Bashir's life, while Bashir restates his responsibilities as a doctor and that O'Brien condemned the men to death. They decide to cancel their weekly darts game, but agree to take it up again in a few days.

Memorable quotes Edit

"You are a soldier?"
"I have been."
"Then you explain."

- Goran'Agar and O'Brien

"I have fought against races that believe in mythical beings that guide their destinies and await them after death. They call them gods ... The Founders are like gods to the Jem'Hadar. But our gods never talk to us, and they don't wait for us after death. They only want us to fight for them... and to die for them."

- Goran'Agar

"He's their commander. They trusted him. He can't leave them."

- O'Brien, explaining to Bashir why Goran'Agar stayed to kill his men

"Good work, Chief. Keep this up, you may make a fine officer some day."
"Oh, thank you Lieutenant. Coming from you, that means a lot to me."

- Bashir and O'Brien

"So we do not help them and that's the end of it!"
"No, that is not the end of it. I am the senior officer here and I have decided what we're going to do. Now, I need the bio-spectral phase discriminator from the runabout's sensor array. I haven't got the technical skills to remove it, so I'm ordering you to do it. Now, is that clear?
"Yes, sir."

- Miles O'Brien, arguing not to help the Jem'Hadar while Julian Bashir pulls rank

"Odo keeps him in check."
"Yes... but not in prison."

- Kira and Worf, discussing Quark

"A lovely place. Smells like a garbage dump!"
"I'm sorry I couldn't find a nicer place to crash land. Well, should we try again?"

- Bashir and Miles O'Brien, on Bopak III just after crash landing

"You are what Starfleet refers to as a non-com."
"That's right."
"You must have a great deal of experience."
"I've been around."
"That makes you a priority target. We will kill you first."

- Goran'Agar and Miles O'Brien

"Keiko only spends a few days at a time on the station. I'm the one living in those quarters. And if I wanna set up... a little workshop in the bedroom..."
"You set up a workshop in the bedroom?"
"Yeah. I don't use it when she's visiting."
"No, of course not."
"She says that I'm trying to live like a bachelor again. That I'm expressing a subconscious desire to push her out of our quarters."
"Now, that is ridiculous! I mean, if anything, by spending your free time in the bedroom, a place you intimately associate with Keiko, you're actually expressing a desire to be closer to her, during her absence. It's quite touching, really!"
"Exactly! Exactly! See, you understand! Now why can't she see that? Why can't she be more like, uh..."
"More like...?"
"Err, um, a man, more like a man."
"So. You wish Keiko was a man."
"I wish I was on this trip with someone else, that's what I wish."

- O'Brien and Bashir

"I'd hate to think what would make the Jem'Hadar jumpy."

- O'Brien

"When I served aboard the Enterprise, I always knew who were my allies and who were my enemies."
"Let's just say DS9 has more shades of gray. And Quark definitely is a shade of gray. He has his own set of rules, and he follows them diligently. Once you understand them, you understand Quark. I'd say that's true of everyone here. You'll fit in, commander. Give it time."

- Worf and Sisko

Background informationEdit

Story and scriptEdit

  • This episode came from two separate story pitches by two different writers. The first, from Nicholas Corea, was based around the story of a group of Jem'Hadar who were trying to free themselves from their addiction to ketracel-white, the first time the name is used as previously it had been described as a "missing enzyme" in "The Abandoned" and simply as a drug to which the Jem'Hadar are addicted to in "The Die is Cast". The second, from Lisa Klink, was about O'Brien and Bashir taking opposing sides in a conflict on an alien world – O'Brien sided with the natives, Bashir with the non-natives. The producers liked the idea of Klink's concept, putting O'Brien and Bashir on diametrically opposed sides, but they felt that the details weren't quite right and they got Klink to re-pitch the story several times with different plot elements in place. Producers referred to her story as their The Bridge on the River Kwai episode, and they likened Bashir to Col. Nicholson, the character in that film played by Alec Guinness, who effectively helps the 'enemy'. The problem with Klink's story was that producers couldn't decide exactly what it was that Bashir was trying to do for the enemy, what was causing the conflict between himself and O'Brien – what was the 'Bridge'? Eventually, it was René Echevarria who suggested putting Klink's story together with Corea's, thus providing the Bridge – Bashir was trying to help the Jem'Hadar beat their addiction, and O'Brien was against this idea. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • As Lisa Klink had recently completed an internship with the staff, she was given the chance to write the teleplay. Klink wrote the first and second drafts, and Ronald D. Moore provided an uncredited polish. Klink was pleased with Moore's work, calling it "great". [1]
  • The writers saw the B-story of this episode as an important indication of how DS9's Worf was going to be different from TNG's Worf. As Ronald D. Moore explains, "He used to be a cop, more or less, on the USS Enterprise-D, but it's not going to be like that anymore. We wanted to keep emphasizing, 'this is not TNG. The station doesn't work like the Enterprise. Worf is going to have some troubles fitting in, but he's going to learn.'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • In the episode "To the Death", it is established that the Jem'Hadar don't eat, sleep or have sex, but in both this episode and "The Abandoned", there are references to Jem'Hadar consuming food. In the earlier episode, the Jem'Hadar child aboard Deep Space 9 says that he is hungry and demands to be fed. In this episode, Goran'Agar claims that his men have "eaten the same food as me". Ira Steven Behr, with tongue firmly in cheek, explains this slip by saying that Goran'Agar was being "metaphorically stupid, as Jem'Hadar so often are!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

Production Edit

Rene Auberjonois directing 'Hippocratic Oath'

Auberjonois directs Scott MacDonald on the set of "Hippocratic Oath"


  • In an interview with the official Star Trek website in 2011, director Rene Auberjonois thought this episode was the one that stood out the most for him out of the eight he directed throughout Deep Space Nine. [2]
  • Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay was the prop Tallonian crystal. [3]



  • The aftermath of Bashir and O'Brien's disagreement in "Hippocratic Oath" is followed up in the Prophecy and Change short story "Broken Oaths".

Video and DVD releasesEdit

Links and referencesEdit


Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Co-stars Edit


addiction; Alpha Quadrant; Bajoran Intelligence; Bajoran sector; Bajoran wormhole; bedroom; Bopak III; Bopak system; Cardassia; chlorophyll; Danube-class; drug addiction; EM interference; Enterprise-D, USS; Federation; Federation law; femoral artery; Ferengi; Founder; Gamma Quadrant; Gowron; isogenic enzyme; Jem'Hadar; joint; Kar Zartkaar; Ketracel-white; Klingons; Klingon-Romulan border; knee; latinum; major; Markalian; Markalian Law Enforcement; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; mitochondria; mutant; noncom; O'Brien, Keiko; pain medication; plasma charge; plasma field; Quark's; red giant; Rakonian swamp rat; Rubicon, USS; runabout; strategic operations officer; Tallonian crystal; Tallonian homeworld; Tarkalean; Tarkalean tea; trachea; tricorder; Type 4 Tallonian microscanner; Vorta; workshop

External linksEdit

Previous episode:
"The Visitor"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 4
Next episode:

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