DS9: S3E13: “Life Support”

In which Berial is injured, Jake and Nog suffer culture clash, and Winn gets a Win. 

Bashir is mostly just shocked that she said something selfless.

Bashir is mostly just shocked that she said something selfless.

Back in the Alpha (or is it Beta) quadrant, Jake’s met up with a girl who was on Bajor for a while. She’s broken up with an ex that wasn’t Jake, so they’re going on a date to the Klingon restaurant. His reverie, however, is interrupted by O’Brien, Odo, and a bunch of nameless extras responding to some sort of emergency. An incoming Bajoran transport had some sort of accident, and interference prevented an emergency transport. Kai Winn is one of the walking wounded, Vedek Berial is carried out with some nasty burns all over his chest. Kira won’t be happy at all.

The fault in the transport was due to a maulty maintenance line, and Kai Winn immediately suspects sabotage, and takes Sisko into the back room to discuss it. Meanwhile, Bashir and his medical team are in those all-red surgical scrubs trying to save Berial and meeting several obstacles. Winn tells Sisko about her and Berial’s secret plans to set up a treaty with the Cardassians to mend the rift between their peoples. The project seems to have been largely Berial’s brainchild – Winn is eager to heap him with praise for this initiative.

Bashir gives Kira some bad news – Berial’s injuries were too severe, and his brain was irreperably damaged by radiation. He’s been kept in stasis until they’re ready to fit the Death Crown on him to begin an autopsy. On deeper examination, however, Bashir finds that some of his neurons are still firing. So he’s only mostly dead, which means slightly alive. There’s a possibility that they might be able to revive him by jump-starting his brain. Bashir’s surgical assistant is being a tad silly – if pushing the limits of normal tissue with their technique damages whats left of his brain, it’s not like they can make him much worse.

Winn is eager to continue the peace talks now that Berial is awake, and promises to do the negotiations herself so as not to tire out Berial. All in all, things seem to be going swimmingly.

"If you're bailing on this game, then either you found me a date or we're doing a devil's three-way. You choose."

“If you’re bailing on this game, then either you found me a date or we’re doing a devil’s three-way. You choose.”

Jake has to break the bad news to Nog about his girlfriend, and Nog seems to understand as he creepily fondles his lobes. He also takes it as read that Jake is going to find him a date as well. Nog is being pushy, but Jake is being a bad friend.

Berial gives Winn advice about what order to take the negotiations and how to slow-roll the Cardassians on the peace process. Furthermore, Berial’s treatment caused some damage, which Bashir wants to spend some time figuring out while keeping the Vedek in stasis. I occasionally forget that Star Trek has basically perfect stasis because it’s the subject of fewer the-tech-done-exploded episodes than any other tech. Anyway, Stasis isn’t an option, because the negotiations are critical, and honestly try to imagine leaving them up to Winn. There’s an experimental drug which Bashir recommends against based on a high risk of complications with the side effects, but as Bashir has an oath to hold the safety of his patients paramount, Berial has his own duty that supersedes his own personal well-being.

Now that Legate Terell is here, the negotiations can begin, and Sisko gets to sit in and bring that iron-fist-velvet-glove speaking voice he has to the table. The first discussion we see is one of war reparations – the Cardassians will pay for everything they burned and mangled, in exchange for the return of all their equipment from Bajor. I’ll point out that he specified on Bajor here, so the Cardassian-built station definitely doesn’t count… right? Winn can smell the con coming once the Legate expands this stipulation to ‘an agreement on principle’ but she doesn’t know what the trick is going to be, and she needs Berial. Although when she says she was ‘chosen by the prophets’ I feel like she’s forgetting a lot of what went on during the papal election.

Jake and Nog’s double date is not going well at all. Nog… comes from a planet with different social mores. It’s kind of terrible. Very deliberately the most cringe-worthy thing since the last time Geordi went on a date.

Berial explains, with some difficulty that Legate Terell is playing the ‘if one parent says no, ask the other’ game for some vital concession.  Winn tries to force Bashir to pump Berial full of more drugs, but Bashir stands firm – the drug is degrading Berial’s organs and he’ll need replacements, and continued use will only make things worse. And Bashir has to go to Winn to tell her to start refusing Berial’s help so he’ll focus on healing up. Winn doesn’t appear to be cooperating, because she needs a scapegoat if the talks fail. Bashir has made an Enemy today.

Ben Sisko remains the one of the best fathers on television – despite his initial disapproval of Nog, he’s here helping Jake get over the initial fight and save a friendship.

"I don't know what happened, Doctor! He saw her stupid-looking hat and just started seizing up!"

“I don’t know what happened, Doctor! He saw her stupid-looking hat and just started seizing up!”

Berial is getting worse. He called Winn in to discuss the talks some more and the stress damaged his brain irreversibly. Even 24th starfleet science doesn’t understand the brain well enough to be sure of fixing it. It’s as if they still believe in souls. However, Bashirs objections based on the Will of the Patient die as soon as Kira backs up Winn, given that at this point I’m not sure Kira hates even Dukat more than Winn.

To get Nog’s attention, Jake asks Odo to arrest both him and Nog on false charges so that they can talk while they have a ‘common enemy’ and no escape route. Odo seems to be having fun with the role.

Berial now has a positronic implant in his brain – another advance likely based on Maddox’s work with Data. Possibly the dissection of Lore. Either way, Berial feels the difference in his thinking from the inside and seems quite a bit robotic.

Nog figures out the trap pretty handily and they get over their little spat and decide that their romantic lives should never intertwine again. A wise decision. The Legate has also signed the peace treaty, which is great news, but Bashir is still moping around, but he’s called away from the party because the other half of Berial’s brain is dying. Now that the negotiations are over, Winn is fine with letting Berial’s meat-prison expire. Bashir won’t do the replacement anyway – the phrase ‘you are your brain’ doesn’t quite make it through, but close enough. This has been your reminder that Star Trek is humanist, and emphatically not transhumanist. It’s not clear whether Bashir would be willing to do a brain replacement if the technology were there to give him full quality of life. We end with Kira standing vigil as he dies. I came back from Voyager for this?

Did we miss something awesome?