DS9: “Status Quo” summary
A summary of a story outline by Nick Corea, which became the basis for the DS9 episode “Hippocratic Oath”
Due to some necessary repairs, space station DS9 was being manned by a “skeleton crew”, with nearly all the station’s personnel temporarily evacuated to Bajor. Still present were two children: Jake Sisko, and the Ferengi boy Nog. Nog began daydreaming about an attack on DS9 and the two of them becoming the saviors of the station. At that moment, a Jem’Hadar warship came through the wormhole and entered into orbit around DS9.
Having witnessed the Jem’Hadar’s brutal destruction of the USS Odyssey, Miles O’Brien wanted Commander Sisko to immediately take action against the warship… but Sisko refused; as long as the Jem’Hadar were treading softly, so would they. The Jem’Hadar leader, Tal’Katan, beamed aboard the station and declared he was there simply to pick up cargo that was being held for the Jem’Hadar.
Sure enough, there was cargo waiting for them: a plentiful mix of non-illegal chemicals and enzymes. Its arrival had been arranged by Quark, who claimed to have no knowledge that he had been dealing with the Jem’Hadar, and had brokered the deal through an intermediary: a renegade Bajoran merchant named “Sartra”.
Before the cargo could be inspected, a delegation of Vorta, intending to block the Jem’Hadar’s receipt of the cargo, arrived at the station: Eris, whom Sisko had met once before, under less than ideal circumstances, and her companion Casiru, an elderly but imposing male.
Sisko discovered the cargo contained a synthesized form of a particular drug the Jem’Hadar were addicted to. The drug was a result of their genetic engineering by the Founders. Tal’Katan made it no secret that the Jem’Hadar disliked being at the mercy of the weak Vorta and that having the drug synthesized would give the Jem’Hadar the ability to break out from Vorta control. As punishment, Eris and Casiru, using telekinesis, tossed Tal’Katan across DS9’s Operations deck.
Odo arrived, defusing the conflict. Both Tal’Katan and the Vorta agreed to return to their individual ships, but before leaving, Eris let Sisko know that the Jem-Hadar crew had only a few hours’ worth of their drug left, and, as their time ran out, they would become “most unreasonable.” Eris insisted it would be in Sisko’s best interest to dismiss the Jem’Hadar and refuse to release the cargo.
Commander Sisko suspected the Vorta hadn’t notified the Founders of the Jem’Hadar’s attempt to manufacture their own version of the controlling drug. If Sisko released the cargo to the Vorta, that could result in open hostilities with the Jem’Hadar, but releasing the cargo to the Jem’Hadar could mean that the Vorta, and thus the Founders, could lose control over the Jem’Hadar, and that control was preserving a very delicate balance of power in the quadrant.
Impatiently tapping into DS9’s computers, Tal’Katan transported Nog as well as Sisko’s son, Jake, aboard the Jem’Hadar warship, taking them hostage so he could exchange them for the drug. To stall, Sisko sent Major Kira Nerys and Odo to negotiate with Tal’Katan.
Next, Sisko paid a visit to Eris and Casiru and demanded they request assistance from the Founders. Though the pair of Vorta protested that contacting the Gamma Quadrant-residing Founders from the Bajoran side of the wormhole was impossible, Sisko told Eris and Casiru that he already knew they were able to use their extra-sensory powers to communicate over great distances. It was a bluff, based on research Sisko and his science officer Dax had done.
When the Vorta pair had used their telekinetic powers to toss Tal’Katan across the room, it had gotten Sisko curious. He and Dax had used the station’s main computer to predict what other abilities the Vorta might possess, and it had guessed that communicating over vast distances, using their extra-sensory powers, was high on the list. And if that was true, he insisted they do so immediately.
Odo and Major Kira meanwhile confronted Tal’Katan, with whom “negotiations” turned out to be particularly difficult due to the drug withdrawal he was currently experiencing. Nog and Jake bravely escaped confinement, took a Jem’Hadar weapon, and rushed onto the ship’s ordinance deck, where Odo, Kira and Tal’Katan were meeting. Jake told Tal’Katan that he was now their prisoner, but the Jem’Hadar commander just smiled, promised Jake a quick death out of respect for his courage, and started for the boy. At that point, Sisko, Eris, and Casiru beamed into the room.
Known as a “Sender” among the Vorta, Casiru was in a deep trance, using himself as a transmitter/receiver so that the Founders, who were phantom-like (almost like holographic images), could be in the room to communicate with Tal’Katan. With Sisko having already explained to them what was happening, the Founders were ready to mediate. The Jem’Hadar, according to the Founder whose image hovered in the room, would, from then on, share in all aspects of the drug distribution with the Vorta. Tal’Katan would be the liaison officer, and when the Jem’Hadar could prove themselves capable, the Founders might give them full control.
Tal’Katan agreed to the Founder’s decision, Eris provided some of the actual drug that she’d had on her ship, and Sisko reunited with Jake and Nog, reminding the boys of a conversation they’d had earlier, on the empty deck of the station, about fear being a good thing and how a brave man uses that fear.
The incident wasn’t going to change the coolness the Founders had toward the Federation, but, because Sisko had (at great personal risk) been instrumental in solving their Jem’Hadar “problem,” the Founders realized they needed to reassess their low opinion of all solid lifeforms, including Humans. The Founder then dissolved, leaving Casiru to return to assist Eris.
Meanwhile, back on DS9, Sisko and his skeleton crew watched, with some relief, as the Jem’Hadar and Vorta ships departed. Chief O’Brien groused that he never thought he’d see the day when they’d be refereeing trouble between two avowed enemies of the Federation. Sisko reminded his entire Ops crew that it was better to be an umpire than a battle-stat in a Starfleet log entry, any day.
Read more about how DS9: “Hippocratic Oath” evolved from this story outline by Nicholas Corea (which had the working title “Status Quo”) by reading 2 articles by Lisa Klink, here and here.
A theatre professional, Daniel Munson has worked on Broadway, off Broadway, and at some of the best regional theatres around the United States. As a playwright, Daniel has been published with three different play publishing companies (including one which translated one of his short plays into Frisian). In 2021, he was commissioned to write a one-woman play which premiered at the Denver (Colorado) Fringe Festival and will be presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August of 2021. You can find Dan (when he’s not writing) on Facebook.