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Q-Less (episode)

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DS9, Episode 1x07
Production number: 40511-407
First aired: 7 February 1993
6th of 173 produced in DS9
6th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 0 released in DS9 Remastered  
252nd of 728 released in all
Q and Vash DS9
Teleplay By
Robert Hewitt Wolfe

Story By
Hannah Louise Shearer

Directed By
Paul Lynch
46531.2 (2369)
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Archaeologist Vash arrives from the Gamma Quadrant as Q plagues the station and an unknown force threatens to destroy it.



In the Replimat on Deep Space 9, Dr. Julian Bashir recalls when he fought the "toughest battle of my life" to an attractive Bajoran woman, while Chief Miles O'Brien sits in the background, listening and occasionally rolling his eyes. Bashir remembers that during his Starfleet Medical exam, he was the last person in the room and there was no one else to turn to for help. Bashir says that he considered quitting the exam, as he could feel the seconds ticking away. Then, he says he closed his eyes, took a deep breath and he remembered the answer, a pericardial membrane. He entered the answer in just before it was too late. He tells her that it is the stuff that salutatorians are made of. The Bajoran woman wonders why he only made salutatorian. In response, Bashir tells her that during the exam, he mistook a pre-ganglionic fiber for a post-ganglionic nerve. If not for that trick question, Bashir tells her he would have been valedictorian. Bashir begins to tell her more, but then Commander Benjamin Sisko calls both Bashir and O'Brien to landing pad five. At the docking hatch, Sisko and Major Kira Nerys are desperately trying to open the door to the runabout USS Ganges. The Ganges has lost all power and oxygen levels have dropped dangerously low since the ship emerged from the Bajoran wormhole. Inside the Ganges are Lieutenant Jadzia Dax and Ensign Pauley. Bashir scans with his medical tricorder and asks Sisko how many people are inside the runabout. Sisko tells him that there are supposed to be two, but Bashir tells him that he is reading three. Kira suggests firing her Bajoran phaser at the door, but Sisko tells her the door hatch is made of duranium composite; it will take her an hour to burn through. O'Brien then tells Kira to hand him an EPI capacitor, which will re-energize the servos and thus open the door hatch. The hatch opens, with assistance from Sisko and Kira. The crew enters the Ganges. O'Brien helps a woman get to her feet and realizes it is Vash, whom he knew from the USS Enterprise-D. O'Brien asks how she got on board. Dax replies that they found her in the Gamma Quadrant, where she has been residing for the last two years. Sisko advises Bashir to take everyone to the infirmary. O'Brien asks Vash how she got to the Gamma Quadrant by herself. She replies that a friend brought her there. As everyone leaves for the infirmary, Q turns around and grins.

Act One

In the infirmary, Bashir scans Vash and finds her to be in perfect health for someone who has been in the Gamma Quadrant for two years and has not had touch with civilization for that long. Vash tells Bashir that the Gamma Quadrant is hardly uncivilized, as there are cultures that have been around for millions of years. In Sisko's office, Sisko discusses with Dax how Vash got to the Gamma Quadrant, as she knew nothing about the wormhole and did not use it to get there. Sisko orders Dax to look into it. In the station's assay office, Vash brings in valuable objects she acquired from the Gamma Quadrant for safe keeping, as she is leaving the next day. Sisko walks to the office and begins talking to Vash. They walk out of the assay office into the Promenade. Sisko tells Vash that the Daystrom Institute will be disappointed not to hear from her, as they are anxious to hear what life is like in the Gamma Quadrant. Sisko also discreetly tries to inquire how Vash ended up in the Gamma Quadrant, but she tells him it is a personal matter and she does not want to talk about it. One of Vash's old professors, Woo, wants to speak with her again, which Vash finds ironic, since Woo suspended her membership, twice. Sisko hopes she'll make an exception in this case. Vash replies that it has been twelve years since she has been at Earth and she thinks she may go back. Sisko promises to arrange passage for her.

While conducting repairs on the Ganges, O'Brien cannot find out why the ship lost power so suddenly. The runabout is now in perfect condition, despite what happened to it earlier. O'Brien replies that once new power reserves are put into the Ganges, it should be fully operational. O'Brien tells Sisko that it is like something drained the ship dry. Sisko asks O'Brien how well he knows Vash. O'Brien replies that he hardly knows her at all, apart from the one time she was on board the Enterprise. Sisko asks what she was doing there. O'Brien tells Sisko that Vash and Captain Jean-Luc Picard were very, very close on the Enterprise, ever since they first met on Risa. Sisko tells O'Brien that Vash does not seem to be Picard's type, but O'Brien tells him that Picard likes a good challenge. Suddenly, the power goes down in the corridor O'Brien and Sisko are standing in. The power returns. Sisko and O'Brien make their way to Ops, where Sisko asks for a status report. Kira tells him that power has drained. Dax tells the crew that the station's power drain is exactly what happened to the Ganges.

Act Two

O'Brien escorts Vash to her quarters. Vash asks O'Brien how Picard is doing. O'Brien tells her that the last time he saw him, he was fine. Vash tells him that now she is back in the Alpha Quadrant, she will have to look him up. Vash enters her quarters and finds Q there, who cannot believe that she is still pining for Picard, whom he still believes to be a "self-righteous do-gooder".

Vash wants to part ways with Q, but Q does not want to leave her. He suggests they still explore the galaxy, as there is still the Delta Quadrant and many other exotic planets to see. Then, Vash's door opens to Quark, the Ferengi bar owner on the station. Q tells him to go away and makes him disappear. Vash makes Q return Quark, which he does. Quark tells Vash that he has heard that she has several items from the Gamma Quadrant that may have enormous financial value. Quark believes he may be able to arrange an auction for Vash's items, for a fifty-fifty split of the profits. Vash, unsatisfied, goes over to Quark and performs oo-mox on him. As she does so, he lowers his cut of the profits in gold-pressed latinum to twenty-two percent. Q reappears, telling Vash that if Quark was the kind of man she was with before, it is no wonder she was attracted to Picard. The doorbell rings and Q disappears again. Vash answers. Dr. Bashir enters and asks Vash out to dinner at Quark's. She accepts, but asks Bashir to wait for her, so she can freshen up. While Bashir is waiting for Vash in the Replimat, Q, disguised as a Bajoran waiter, tells Bashir not to meet with Vash. Bashir takes offense to this and tells Q that it is none of his business and he will be seeing her soon. Q tells Bashir that he looks tired and makes him yawn. Bashir, now very tired, leaves and goes to bed. O'Brien sees Q walking away and exclaims "Bloody hell".

At Ops, O'Brien tells Sisko that Q is on board the station. Kira is unaware of who Q is. Sisko replies that he is a powerful and extremely unpredictable lifeform. Sisko wonders what Q might want with them. O'Brien suggests Vash might know. Sisko asks how they know each other. O'Brien recalls that they met in Sherwood Forest, when Q played a game with the Enterprise crew. Then, the station's power drains, yet again. O'Brien suggests, since the there has been nothing wrong with the systems for the first time in a month, that Q must be playing a game with them. At Quark's, Vash and Quark inspect one of Vash's items, a large crystalline jewel. Vash and Quark discuss what the crystal will be worth at the auction, until Sisko enters Quark's, demanding to talk to Vash. Sisko wants her to tell him about Q. However, Q is already in Quark's and asks Sisko if Starfleet is punishing Sisko or if he actually requested command of Deep Space 9.

Act Three

Embryonic lifeform crystal

The Gamma Quadrant crystal

Commander Sisko orders the Q to vacate DS9, but Q intends to bring excitement to the droll Cardassian construct. Q then notices the new uniforms that the station crew wear, accordingly altering his own attire. But Sisko isn't impressed by Q's abilities and demands the cessation of power outages afflicting DS9. Q accepts blame for this if it makes the commander feel better, subtly hinting that he is not responsible. In the course of their conversation Q causes every person on the space station to disappear with the exception of himself and the station commander. In a fit of alarm, Sisko violently grabs hold of Q demanding the immediate return of everyone. Entertained and seeking to further antagonize Sisko, Q suggests they settle the matter man-to-man. Temporarily transforming Quark's Bar into a boxing arena, he begins bouncing about Sisko and landing blows. Humorously, Quark and Vash wager on the sideline. Q keeps insisting that his opponent fight back, ultimately an annoyed Sisko knocks him down. Upon being struck to the ground a seeming bewildered Q says, "You hit me. Picard never hit me."; Sisko answers, "I'm not Picard." Q is very pleased to find a command-level Starfleet officer who is easier to provoke than the USS Enterprise-D's captain, and he vanishes in a flash.

Arriving at Deep Space 9, numerous aliens who are attending Vash's auction head towards Quark's, which catches the suspicious eye of Constable Odo. Yet again station power levels drop and the atmosphere in Ops begins to vent, fortunately though O'Brien is able to activate shielding. Investigating one of the hull breaches that happened, Dax scans with her tricorder and finds that the damage was caused by a focused graviton pulse, concluding that Q is the cause although Sisko thinks otherwise. As per Odo's request Quark arrives at the station security office, where the constable informs the bartender that he is aware concerning the upcoming auction of Gamma Quadrant artifacts. Quark reacts with surprise to this and is a bit angered at being spied on by the local law enforcement, surmising that Odo had shapeshifted into an article of furniture or perhaps the liquor bottle. Odo remarks that the devious Quark cannot keep secrets from him. Quark defends his business venture, but Odo is actually interested in the clientele. In their conversation Odo mentions that he fails to fathom the logic of materialism and greed; the Ferengi then proceeds to tempt the ever spartan Odo with material desire: a suit made of Andorian silk, a ring made of surax, a latinum-plated regeneration bucket. Odo momentarily considers the bucket, but rejects it. On the Promenade, Q walks with Vash and again attempts to persuade her to stay with him, pointing out the safety she's had due to him. Vash tells Q that she does not require him or his protection in a dangerous universe. Q thus painfully reminds her of a harmful insect bite she received on Erabus Prime which he cured, then causing Vash to physically react as if bitten again. First she experiences irregular balding and her remaining hair becomes lighter in coloration, then something like hives appear on various areas of her body, finally her skin becomes pale and her hair greys as she collapses to the floor from weakness shaking and moaning. Q departs from Vash and allows her to reconsider their so-called friendship, restoring her to health. A man helps the woman up and she continues to Quark's as onlookers gawk.

Act Four

In Sisko's station log, he notes that the station's power is continuing to be drained and is being converted into gravitons. If the drain continues, Deep Space 9's life support system will go offline in less than fourteen hours. The station's Cardassian sensors are not sensitive enough to detect where the power outages are coming from, according to O'Brien. Dax suggests that they flood the station with ionized tritium gas, they could trace the particle flow to the source of the power outages. Sisko orders it done. Then, Q appears on Ops and remarks that Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D would have solved this problem ages ago. O'Brien tells Q to go do something constructive, like tormenting Cardassians. Q asks if he knows O'Brien. O'Brien tells him he was from the Enterprise. Q remarks that he must have been one of the little people. Q gives Sisko a hint of where the power outages are coming from and tells the crew that Vash is far more dangerous to DS9 than Q is.

In Quark's, Kolos, one of the alien bidders, walks up to Quark. He remarks that the Gamma Quadrant merchandise had better be legitimate, or else he will throw Quark out of the nearest airlock. Quark assures him that each item has been authenticated by Vash, who is the Federation's expert on the Gamma Quadrant. Since that is now out of the way, Kolos asks Quark for a synthale. Quark talks more with Vash and proposes a lucrative business venture with her. Vash insists to Quark that she has slept in her last tent, as she is looking forward to living on Earth again. Then, the station shakes. At Ops, Kira, at her station, is reading that DS9 is being pulled out of its normal position. Sisko orders that thrusters be used to stabilize the station, but that does nothing to stop it from moving. O'Brien suggests that the station's reactors be shut down order to stop the feeding of the station's power to the graviton field. Sisko orders it be done. This, however, does nothing to stop the movement of DS9. Sisko asks Dax to ascertain where the station is headed. The coordinates have Deep Space 9 heading straight for the Bajoran wormhole.

Act Five

Embryonic lifeform

The Embryonic lifeform in its spaceborne state

At Quark's, the alien bidders are unaware of the station approaching its impending destruction. Quark reminds everyone that payment must be in gold-pressed latinum and that all transactions are final. Vash then holds up a statue of Drohlak from the Verathan civilization in the Gamma Quadrant. She proceeds to go into a long discussion about the history of the Verathan civilization, which begins to bore the bidders. Quark tells Vash that this is not the Daystrom Institute, she does not need to put the statue in its proper historical context, rather Quark tells the bidders that it is rare, beautiful and it is an original Gamma Quadrant piece. The bidding begins. O'Brien starts to flood DS9 with tritium gas and Dax begins a sensor sweep. The first part of the station to be cleared is the docking ring. The tritium gas is draining toward the central core of the station, but O'Brien cannot pinpoint its exact location. Kira notes that the station will collide with the wormhole in eighteen minutes. During the bidding, Kolos has won the statue of Drohlak for thirty six bars of gold-pressed latinum. Bidding continues with a dagger. Q, sitting casually behind the bidders, tells them that the station is hurtling toward the Bajoran wormhole and that they will not live long enough to enjoy their purchases. Quark attempts to calm the bidders down by assuring them that everything is under control. The bidding resumes, with Quark's cousin Stol winning the dagger for a hundred and five bars of gold-pressed latinum.

With the situation getting worse, Dax suggests returning the station to full power, so they will generate enough energy to create a power drain to trace the source of the station's problems. Seeing no other choice, Sisko orders O'Brien to bring the station to full power. Quark brings out the final auction item, the large crystalline jewel. The starting bid is two hundred bars of gold-pressed latinum. Soon, the bidding reaches six hundred bars of latinum. At Ops, the crew is desperately trying to find the source of the station's power drains. Dax finally locates it, on the Promenade. Kira and Dax leave, Sisko accompanies them and leaves O'Brien in charge. At Quark's, the bidding has reached 2,500 bars, which astonishes Quark. Q then proceeds to bid 2,501 bars. Sisko, Kira and Dax reach the Promenade and scan with tricorders. Dax locates the item in Quark's. Kolos makes a final bid with three thousand bars. Q then bids a million bars on the item. Sisko, Kira and Dax head over to the item up for sale. Sisko removes his combadge and places it on the jewel. He orders O'Brien to shut down the reactors and beam the object into space. The object is beamed five hundred meters away from the docking ring and begins to transform. Sisko, Kira, Dax, and Vash look outside the Promenade's windows as the creature they have just released heads into the wormhole and back to the Gamma Quadrant.

Vash is preparing to leave DS9 for Earth. Quark entices her with news that a Rokai provincial capital has just been uncovered at Tartaras V. Vash decides not to go, as she has her mind set on Earth. Q appears again, calling Earth an abysmal place, although he notes that Earth once had a lot of character a thousand years ago, with the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and Watergate. Q tells her she would be much happier exploring Tartaras V instead of being on Earth. Q then decides to leave Vash and admits he is going to miss her. Q vanishes again. Vash grabs Quark's lobe and asks him what the quickest way is to Tartaras V. Quark leads her away, just as Bashir awakes from a long sleep induced by Q. He walks up to Dax and asks "Did I miss something"?

Log entries

"Station log, stardate 46531.2. The station's power is continuing to be drained and converted into gravitons. At this rate, our life support systems will fail in fourteen hours."

"Station log, stardate 46532.3. With the embryonic lifeform off the station, graviton levels have returned to normal. We've used the control thrusters to return the station to its original position."

Memorable quotes

"How did you end up in the Gamma Quadrant?"
"A friend dropped me off."

- O'Brien and Vash, declining to explain how she arrived in the Gamma Quadrant before the wormhole was discovered

"Bloody hell!"

- Miles O'Brien, upon spotting Q on DS9

"What does he want with us?"
"Whatever it is, you can be sure we won't like it."
"You might ask Vash..."
"Why Vash?"
"They know each other..."
"From the Enterprise..."
"I believe they actually met in Sherwood Forest...(Sisko and Dax's faces suggest they don't believe him) was one of the little jokes he played on the Enterprise crew."

- Dax, Sisko and O'Brien, alerted to Q's presence

"I'll never understand this obsession with accumulating material wealth. You spend your entire life plotting and scheming to acquire more and more possessions until your living areas are bursting with useless junk. Then you die, your relatives sell everything, and start the cycle all over again."

- Odo

"Starfleet medical finals. Gets them every time."

- Julian Bashir, to Miles O'Brien, after leaving a date with an impressed Bajoran woman

"It's got to be Q, another one of his stupid jokes."
"I'm not laughing."

- Miles O'Brien and Benjamin Sisko

"I must admit, I, I like your new tailor..."

- Q, to Sisko, before changing from a TNG- to DS9-style uniform

"Why don't you do something constructive for a change, like torment Cardassians!"

- Miles O'Brien, to Q

"You hit me... Picard never hit me."
"I'm not Picard."
"Indeed not. You're much easier to provoke. How fortunate for me."

- Q and Benjamin Sisko

"Enterprise? Oh yes, weren't you one of the little people?"

- Q, to Miles O'Brien, on their last meeting

"Mr. Quark, I believe you are trying to take advantage of me."

- Vash, to Quark

"They're honest collectors of antiquities, every one. "
"How honest? "
"As honest as you and I. "
"Then we'd better keep a close eye on them. "

- Vash and Quark

"An abysmal place, Earth. Oh, don't get me wrong. A thousand years ago it had character: the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Watergate. Now it's just mind-numbingly dull."

- Q

"These mating rituals you Humans indulge in are really quite disgusting."

- Q

"My God, you're an impertinent waiter!"

- Bashir, to Q after the latter tells him to stay away from Vash while Q is posing as a waiter at the Replimat

"It's over Q! I want you out of my life! You're arrogant, you're overbearing, and you think you know everything!"
"But... I do know everything."
"That makes it even worse."

- Vash and Q

"Still chasing your own tail? Picard and his lackeys would have solved all this techno-babble hours ago. No wonder you're not commanding a starship."

- Q, to Sisko, who is trying to figure out what converts DS9's energy to gravitons

"But it's not going to be the same without you. When I look at a gas nebula, all I see is a cloud of dust, but seeing the universe through your eyes I was able to experience... wonder. I'm going to miss that."

- Q, to Vash

Background Information

Story and script



  • This is the only episode of the entire DS9 series in which John de Lancie (Q) appears. It also marks the last appearance of Vash.
  • This is the second of John de Lancie's three appearances on Star Trek during the 1992-1993 season. He previously appeared in TNG: "True Q" and appeared again in TNG: "Tapestry" just one week later.
  • This episode contains Deep Space Nine's third reference to the animated television series Ren and Stimpy. The name of the planet Hoek IV in the episode is named after the main character "Ren Höek." The first two Ren and Stimpy references are found in "Babel", where the Ren and Stimpy inspired names Surmak Ren and Spumco are referenced.
  • Armin Shimerman's line "bid high and bid often" is a reference to a quote attributed to the late Richard J. Daley, "vote early and vote often". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Robert Hewitt Wolfe makes his writing debut on Deep Space Nine with this episode.
  • Julian Bashir relates the story about his final exam when he confused a pre-ganglionic fiber with a post-ganglionic nerve for the first time.
  • Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
  • This episode features seven characters who also appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Chief O'Brien, Dr. Bashir, Quark, Q, Vash, Morn, and Broik (although only O'Brien, Q, and Vash originated on TNG).

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars


Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles


30,000 years ago; airlock; Andorian silk; archaeologist; artifact; assay office; atmosphere; auction; authorization code; auxiliary power; Bajoran; Bajoran wormhole; barbaric; bed; Betazed; book; boxer; boxing; boxing ring; Brax; broad spectrum power drain; bronze; bucket; bulkhead; buzzer; captain; Cardassians; centimeter; central core; central power linkage; chair; combadge; confinement shield; containment field; control thruster; couscous; crossover bridge; crown; Crusades; dagger; damage report; damping field; day; Daystrom Institute; Daystrom Institute Archaeological Council; decompression protocol; deflector; Delta Quadrant; dinner; docking bay; docking ring; duranium; earring; Earth; embryonic lifeform; Enterprise-D, USS; EPI capacitor; Epsilon Hydra VII; Epsilon Hydra system; Erabus Prime; Errikang VII; Errikang system; exam; Federation; First Mother; fisticuffs; force field; fusion reactor; galaxy; Gamma Quadrant; Gamzian wine; Ganges, USS; gem; Gentleman Jim; god; gold; graviton; graviton field; gulag; habitat ring; hand-held clamp; hatch servo; Hoek IV; Hoek system; holosuite; hour; hull breach; Human; Human mating rituals; infirmary; insect; internal sensor; kilogram; kilometer; Klingon scout ship; Kolos' species; landing pad; Lantar Nebula; Latin; latinum; level 1 diagnostic; life support system; living quarters; luxury; main power grid; malnutrition; Marquess of Queensberry rules; mattress; medical tricorder; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; mint tea; minute; MK-7 scanner; MK-12 scanner; molecular density; month; Mulzirak; Mulzirak transport; Mundahla; museum; mustache; Myrmidon; nebula; necklace; oo-mox; ops; oxygen; parasitic infection; pericardial membrane; Picard, Jean-Luc; postganglionic nerve; power recalibration; preganglionic fiber; prime ossemite; profit; Promethean quartz; pugilism; pylon; Q; Quark's; reactor core; refraction index; repair crew; replicator; replimat; resolution filter; retinal print; retinal scanner; ring; Risa; Rokai; Rokain; Royal Museum of Epsilon Hydra VII; runabout; salutatorian; Sampalo relics; scientist; self-defense; sensor; sensor sweep; Sherwood Forest; Spanish Inquisition; star dancers; Starfleet; Starfleet Medical; starship; station log; statue; status report; storage locker; student; subspace emission; suit; surax; synthale; table; tailor; Tanesh pottery; Tartaras system; Tartaras V; technobabble; Teleris Cluster; tent; toad; tridium; troll; upper core; Vadris system; Vadris III; Vadris III native; valedictorian; Verath system; Verathan; wager; waiter; warp drive; Watergate; wine bottle; Woo; wormhole

External links

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