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The Ship (episode)

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"The Ship"
DS9, Episode 5x02
Production number: 40510-500
First aired: 7 October 1996
98th of 173 produced in DS9
98th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 0 released in DS9 Remastered  
429th of 728 released in all
Sisko and Kilana
Teleplay By
Hans Beimler

Story By
Pam Wigginton & Rick Cason

Directed By
Kim Friedman
50049.3 (2373)
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Sisko fights to keep the wreckage of a crashed Jem'Hadar fighter.


"Captain's log: Stardate 50049.3. We're conducting a mineral survey of Torga IV, an uninhabited planet in the Gamma Quadrant believed to contain vast deposits of cormaline. Our mission is to determine the feasibility of establishing a mining operation on the planet's surface."

As the away team conducts their planetary survey, Chief O'Brien and young Crewman Muniz tease one another. They appear to be forming a close working relationship. Captain Sisko determines that, despite being a long way from supply lines, the planet is a good place to mine. He and Lieutenant Commander Dax are discussing the matter when a ship of some kind crashes on the planet's surface. The runabout beams Sisko and the others to the site of the crash, where they discover a Jem'Hadar warship.

The crew find that the warship has landed upside down and enter through a hatch that would normally be used to land troops. Inside, they find numerous corpses, but according to Dax's tricorder, the troops have been dead for hours. O'Brien suspects an inertial dampener failure, which means that when the ship sped up, every bone in the men's bodies was crushed instantly. Although Sisko is excited about the discovery of the ship, he wonders what it was doing so far from Dominion space. Realizing the runabout's tractor beam will be insufficient to tow the ship, he sends for the USS Defiant to tow it back to the Alpha Quadrant.

Aboard Deep Space 9, Odo has arrested Quark and his "co-conspirator," Dr. Bashir. The trio enter Sisko's office, where Major Kira learns that Quark ordered a shipment of Regalian fleaspiders for Bashir without a permit. However, the Ferengi took the opportunity to smuggle illegal Regalian liquid crystals along with the spiders. An impatient Kira announces she is taking the Defiant to the Gamma Quadrant to retrieve Sisko and the others, and she will be back in a week.

Meanwhile, Commander Worf informs Sisko that they have buried the bodies of the warship's crew, 42 Jem'Hadar and one Vorta in all. Suddenly, Ensign Hoya contacts Sisko from the runabout and announces that another warship has just come out of warp; within seconds, the runabout is destroyed killing Hoya and the other two crewmembers aboard and Jem'Hadar soldiers beam to the surface. There is a shootout in which another away team member is killed and Sisko and the others take shelter inside the crashed ship, but Muñiz is shot along the way.

Oddly, the Jem'Hadar do not follow the Starfleet team into the ship. O'Brien dresses Muñiz's wound while they regroup and formulate a plan. The crew explores the ship and find it minimalistic at best. Among other things, there are two headsets – one for a Vorta and another for the Jem'Hadar First – which seem to be the Dominion equivalent of viewscreens. They are interrupted when Kilana, the Vorta in charge of the newly arrived ship, contacts Sisko over the Dominion comm system. She offers to meet Sisko face to face with one guard each.

Sisko agrees to meet Kilana, who is quite amicable in person. However, she does not recognize Sisko's claim to salvage rights for the ship and wants it back. As she and Sisko talk, a lone Jem'Hadar beams into Sisko's ship, intent on stealing something. Meanwhile, Kilana offers to take Sisko and the others back to Federation territory, but Sisko firmly refuses. O'Brien finds the Jem'Hadar and there is a brief struggle before Muñiz manages to shoot the soldier, saving the chief.

With Kilana aboard her ship and Sisko back inside his, O'Brien continues to tend to Muñiz, who suspects he is dying. They realize there is an anticoagulant in his blood, an apparent side-effect of the Jem'Hadar weapon, and Muñiz's wound requires immediate attention. Worf and O'Brien have a difference of opinion over this; while the Klingon believes Muñiz should be told to prepare for death, O'Brien is convinced that Muñiz's only chance is to keep fighting.

Kilana contacts Sisko again and apologizes for her deception, offering to meet him unarmed and alone (a condition to which she does not hold him) as a show of good faith. When they meet again, Kilana acknowledges the obvious: there is something aboard Sisko's ship she wants. However, neither trusts the other and Sisko refuses to let Kilana retrieve it, while Kilana refuses to tell Sisko what it is. She realizes their conversation is going nowhere, so she beams off the surface as her ship begins to bombard the surface. In the meantime, Muñiz has begun to die.

Before long, the crew realizes Kilana is not trying to hit the ship, as the ultritium concussion shells her ship is firing should destroy them in one hit. They continue to search for whatever Kilana wants, while Muñiz's condition continues to deteriorate and he becomes delirious. Tensions continue to mount as the Starfleet group, tired, hungry, and filthy, become increasingly apprehensive. Sisko becomes fed up with the bickering and orders them to pull themselves together. He also orders Muñiz to stay alive.

"Captain's log, supplemental. The Jem'Hadar barrage has continued on and off for ten hours. Chief O'Brien has restored main power and helm control. If we can bring the ship's engines online, we may be able to lift off and escape from here."

O'Brien does his best to get the ship up and running, but when they attempt to take off from the planet, the power circuits overload and the condition of the ship's systems becomes even worse. Finally, Muñiz dies, causing a deafening silence to wash over the crew. As Dax comforts Sisko, something begins to drip from the ceiling. They look up to realize one of the bulkheads is actually a Founder. However, it is not attacking but dying, no longer able to hold its form and apparently injured from the accident that killed the ship's crew. As it dies, it cries out, loud enough for Kilana and her men to hear.

With the Changeling dead, Kilana beams directly aboard Sisko's ship, alone. She informs him that her soldiers killed themselves for allowing one of their gods to die. It is revealed that both she and Sisko were genuine in their offers (she to let the Starfleet crew go and he to give her whatever was on the ship), but Muñiz and the others died because neither was willing to trust the other. Sisko allows Kilana to take some of the Founder's remains with her as she leaves.

The Defiant arrives and tows the Jem'Hadar ship back to DS9. Starfleet is of course very pleased with the find and awards the crew medals, but Sisko laments the death of Muñiz, Hoya, and the others. Dax reminds him that, while their deaths are certainly tragic, they all knew risks when they joined Starfleet, and that while the captured ship might have cost five people their lives, it could help save thousands more. O'Brien holds his own vigil over Muñiz's casket. Worf enters as he does so and reveals that, in Klingon tradition, O'Brien's activity is called ak'voh, or keeping the dead safe from predators while they make their journey to Sto-vo-kor. He offers to help O'Brien protect Muñiz, to which the chief responds, "I'm sure Quique would have liked that."

Memorable Quotes

"We have you completely surrounded. And outnumbered. Would you like something to eat?"

- Kilana

"How many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me "sir"? I'm not an officer."
"No, you know more than they do."

- O'Brien and Muniz

"Don't you trust me?"
"I'd like to, Captain. But I can't, not under these circumstances. There's simply... too much at stake for us."
"We've got a lot at stake, too. I won't risk the lives of my crew."
"It seems we're approaching an impasse."
"We've already arrived."

- Sisko and Kilana

"It is only a matter of time."
"So we should just kill him, right?"
"If you truly are his friend, you will consider that option. It would be a more honorable death than the one he's enduring."
"I'm not some bloodthirsty Klingon looking for an excuse to kill my friend."
"No. You are just another weak Human, afraid to face death."

- Worf and O'Brien, on Muñiz

"What is it?"
"It may have been the Vorta's computer console. I found it in one of the upper compartments, but the powergrid is offline in that part of the ship."
"So you ripped it out of the wall. Very nice. So, what do we do with it now, Use it for a door stop?"
"I do not care what you do with it.

- Worf and Dax

"I know it's hot. We're filthy, tired, and we've got ten isontons of explosives going off outside. But we will never get out of this if we don't pull it together and start to act like professionals!"

- Sisko

"My offer was genuine. All that mattered to me was the Founder."
"Then you should have told me about him."
"You might have killed him, or made him a hostage."
"No! All I wanted was the ship."
"And I was willing to let you take it."

- Kilana and Sisko

"Do you have any gods, Captain Sisko?"
"There are... things I believe in."
"Duty? Starfleet, the Federation? You must be pleased with yourself. You have the ship to take back to them. I hope it was worth it."
"So do I."

- Kilana, Sisko

"We will both keep the predators away."

- Worf, to O'Brien as he joined him in guarding Muñiz' body

Background Information

  • The exterior scenes for this episode were filmed at Soledad Canyon, a gravel pit north of Los Angeles, which had also been used for Cardassia IV in the second season episode "The Homecoming" and for Dozaria in the fourth season episode "Indiscretion". Soledad would also be used for the sixth season episode "Rocks and Shoals". As had happened during the shoot for "The Homecoming" however, temperatures became much hotter than anticipated, reaching as high as 124°F/51°C. According to director Kim Friedman, "We had bottles of water to pour over our heads. I'd call 'Action,' and by the time the take was over and I'd call 'Cut,' our clothes and hair were totally dry. I felt sorry for the actors. The rest of us were wearing shorts and almost nothing, and we couldn't stand it. About five o'clock someone said 'Oh my God, the temperature's gone down a little bit.' It was like ninety-nine or one hundred, and we'd noticed!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) During the shoot for "Rocks and Shoals", it would be even hotter again.
  • The character of Kilana was written to be Eris, the female Vorta from the second season finale "The Jem'Hadar", but actress Molly Hagan was unavailable. This was the second time the producers had tried to bring Eris back. They had originally written the role that became Borath in "The Search, Part II" for her, but, again, Hagan was unavailable. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • The Jem'Hadar attack ship captured here would later reappear in "A Time to Stand" and "Rocks and Shoals", where it is used to enter Cardassian space to destroy a ketracel-white installation.
  • Ensign Hoya is the first Benzite female seen on Star Trek, and the first Benzite seen without visible breathing apparatus. Mike Okuda explains the absence of the apparatus by pointing out "there's been some advances in Benzite technology!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) The Benzites were introduced in TNG: "Coming of Age".
  • The nickname Miles O'Brien uses for Crewman Muñiz is spelled Quique (pronounced KEE-kay), a common Spanish nickname for Enrique.
  • The scene when Muñiz teases O'Brien about Ireland having only hills but no mountains seems to be a nod to 1995's "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain", starring Colm Meaney.
  • The idea of Klingons keeping vigil over the bodies of the dead seems at odds with prior portrayals, wherein a corpse was considered a worthless shell immediately upon death (TNG: "Heart of Glory"). However, Worf calls the ak'voh an "old Klingon tradition"; perhaps it is no longer commonly practiced, but Worf was familiar with it due to his studies of ancient Klingon culture.
  • Although this was a popular episode amongst fans, the producers were less than thrilled with the final product, and felt that the episode could have been so much more than it was. According to Ira Steven Behr, "the whole point of doing that show was that we wanted to make everyone tense. We wanted to see our people hot, and uncomfortable, but it didn't come off quite as well as we would have wanted. We wanted to do the Alamo thing, thirteen days of constant bombardment gets your nerves on edge, but somehow we weren't doing it. We weren't rocking the boat enough." Similarly, Hans Beimler reflects that "the one thing we shouldn't have done was go outside the ship. I would like to have stayed inside and just kept the female Vorta as a voice, saying 'Come out Captain, you've got to trust me. You've got to trust me.' The pressure, the steam, would have built up a little more on the ship. But in the episode Sisko actually beams out and has a confrontation with the female Vorta, causing the tension to dissipate." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Similarly, the producers didn't feel that bringing back the character of Enrique Muñiz fulfilled what it was supposed to; as Ira Steven Behr explains, "the whole idea was to show that the engineers, the tech guys, have a brotherhood. We wanted to bond O'Brien with this guy and have it mean something. But the scenes didn't play the way they should have. They didn't play like two guys who were really comfortable with each other. It wound up being about O'Brien and a guy who's dying. The audience never came to care enough about Muñiz because they didn't see O'Brien's investment in Muñiz." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Despite his feeling that the tension didn't live up to expectations however, Hans Beimler is extremely proud of one aspect of this episode; the second last scene, between Sisko and Dax, where Sisko reads the list of casualties. According to Beimler, "It's amazing that in all these years of Star Trek no captain had ever sat down and talked about those consequences. In the Star Trek universe, where we blow people up cleanly with phasers, war seems almost antiseptic. But I think it's nice to periodically remind ourselves that the casualties are real people, and that when our characters discuss them, they're talking about people who exist for them. That, to me, was one of the most important moments in that episode, and a great moment for the series." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) This theme, of the real people behind a list of casualties and the loss of life during times of war, would be revisited several times over the rest of the show's run, in episodes like "Nor the Battle to the Strong", "The Siege of AR-558", "What You Leave Behind" and "In the Pale Moonlight".
  • Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.

Video and DVD releases

Links and References


Also starring

Guest stars


Uncredited co-stars


ak'voh; anticoagulant; aphrodisiac; Benzites; Carnival; cormaline; Defiant, USS; Dominion; fireworks; Founder; Gamma Quadrant; hyper spanner; inertial damper; isoton; Jem'Hadar; Jem'Hadar attack ship; Klingon; magnetic flux coupler; meter; "Old Man"; osteonecrosis; plasma injector; poison; professor; Q'lava; Quark's; Regalian fleaspider; Regalian liquid crystal; runabout (unnamed Danube class starships); Somak; Spanish language; Starfleet Academy; Sto-vo-kor; suicide; Tiburon; Torga IV; transporter burn; tricorder; ultritium concussion shell (ultritium); wake

External links

Previous episode:
"Apocalypse Rising"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 5
Next episode:
"Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places"

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