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Battle Lines (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"Battle Lines"
DS9, Episode 1x13
Production number: 40511-413
First aired: 25 April 1993
12th of 173 produced in DS9
12th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 173 released in DS9 Remastered  
264th of 728 released in all
Sisko with Ennis and Nol-Ennis
Teleplay By
Richard Danus & Evan Carlos Somers

Story By
Hilary J. Bader

Directed By
Paul Lynch
Unknown (2369)
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For the unrelated novel, please see Battle Lines.

A runabout carrying Kai Opaka crashes on a planet of eternal war, where it is impossible for the combatants to die.

Summary

Teaser

Jadzia Dax and Miles O'Brien tell Benjamin Sisko about finding the personnel files kept by the previous DS9 prefect. O'Brien tells Sisko he should probably warn Kira Nerys about her file before she can see it. Kira walks in at that moment and asks what should she be warned about; Sisko tells Kira he might find her file disappointing, and Kira assures him she can handle it, only to storm out of the room immediately after seeing it. In the meantime, Julian Bashir tells Sisko that Kai Opaka is at the station and wishes to have the tour of the station that previously Sisko offered her. After showing her around the station, Opaka asks to be taken through the wormhole. Before departing, she gives O'Brien a necklace and asks him to give it to his daughter for her.

Act One

Sisko takes her into the wormhole after she subtly expressed she wanted to see it. While they are there, Kai Opaka insists on investigating a narrow band subspace signal they pick up in the runabout USS Yangtzee Kiang while they were in the Gamma Quadrant. Following the arrival at an inhabitable moon, Sisko, Kira, Bashir, and Opaka are then shot down by an automatic orbital defense system orbiting the moon.

On the planet's surface, Sisko, Bashir, and Kira leave the runabout, carrying out the body of the Kai. Bashir pronounces the Kai dead, and Kira mourns. As they stand by the runabout, they realize they are not alone.

Act Two

The crew is approached by the Ennis, a humanoid species. The Ennis explain that they live along with their enemies the Nol-Ennis on the moon, which serves as a penal colony to which both groups were banished after their homeworld's mediators were unable to negotiate peace between the two factions. The Nol-Ennis suddenly attack the caves where the Starfleet officers and the Ennis are located. Several soldiers are killed from each faction before Kira puts an end to the skirmish by bringing down part of the cave ceiling.

Just then, the silhouette of the Kai unexpectedly appears in the cave entrance.

Act Three

Bashir examines the Kai, who appears normal and remembers nothing since the crash, and finds an inexplicable biomechanical presence. The other fallen soldiers similarly begin to revive. When Kira questions Shel-la about the Ennis' lack of defenses, he responds that since both sides have realized that they cannot die, their tactics have changed. Sisko suggests that a Starfleet rescue team might be able to transport both of the factions to different planets, where they could live separately instead of continuing their endless fight. Bashir returns to the runabout, protected by the Ennis, to repair the computers so that he can investigate the artificial microbes further.

Act Four

In the meantime, O'Brien and Dax arrive in the Gamma Quadrant in a second runabout and begin a searching for Sisko and the others. O'Brien manages to devise a method to scan for the Yangtzee Kiang's hull signature in the nearby systems.

The Ennis and the Nol-Ennis agree to meet at a neutral site near the Runabout. Kira stays behind with Opaka, who helps her overcome her feelings of guilt for her actions during the occupations. Sisko begins negotiations between the factions, and Sisko proposes to transport both parties to separate planets for resettlement. Unfortunately, neither side takes the negotiations seriously and the fighting breaks out again. Bashir pushes Sisko out of the way of a weapon that was coming towards him, claiming that they can't afford to die here, not even once.

Act Five

Bashir explains to Sisko that the biomechanical devices that bring the Ennis and the Nol-Ennis back to life cannot survive in any other environment besides that of the moon, which also means Kai Opaka can never leave again. The Kai herself seems preoccupied and tells Kira that ever since she entered the wormhole, she sensed that she would not return. She asks Kira to tell the others that she has answered the call of the Prophets, and that she was brought there because it is time for the people on the planet to begin their healing process, just as Kira was brought there to begin hers.

The second runabout arrives in orbit around the satellite-moon and attempts to find a way to transport the survivors off of the planet. O'Brien manages to find a way to beam the marooned crew away by distracting one the satellites with a probe thereby creating a hole in the defense grid established by the satellites. Before leaving, Bashir suggests finding a way to reprogram the microbes so that they would stop functioning after death, allowing the inhabitants to die for good and end their torture. However, when Shel-la expresses his intent to use it in order to defeat the Nol-Ennis for good, Bashir disappointedly abandons the idea. Sisko begins to tell the Kai that if they ever find a way to bring her back, they'll be back for her. Opaka interrupts him and tells him that her work is now on the moon, but that her and Sisko's pagh will cross again. The crew gladly returns with Dax and O'Brien leaving the warring Ennis and Nol-Ennis behind, and the Kai with a lot of work to do.

Memorable quotes

"You might want to warn Kira before she sees her file."
(Walking in) "Warn me? About what?"
"Oh, uh, Dax and Mr. O'Brien discovered some of the last Prefect's personal files. There's a file on you, but you may find it disappointing."
"I'm a big girl, Commander."
(Later, storming out) " 'A minor operative whose activities are limited to running errands for the terrorist leaders' ?!"
"Major, when you're through feeling under-appreciated, perhaps you'd join me in welcoming the Kai aboard."

- O'Brien, Kira, and Sisko.


"The magnetic deflection of a runabout's hull is extremely weak. The probes will never be able to detect it."
"They will if I outfit them with a differential magnetometer."
"A differential magnetometer?"
"Mm-hmm."
"I've never heard of a differential magnetometer. How does it work?"
"I'll let you know as soon as I finish making one."

- Dax and O'Brien


"I've discovered we can't afford to die here. Not even once."

- Bashir


"Nice work, Julian."

- Bashir to himself after fixing one of the runabout's computer


"When you cease to fear death the rules of war change."

- Golin Shel-la

Background Information

Story and script

  • The original concept involved a group of Humans and Cardassians, although this was changed to the Ennis and the Nol-Ennis so it would not look like the main characters had chosen sides. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • The writers had also considered creating a new character to be killed and resurrected (see redshirt) but this was changed to Kai Opaka as she was considered to be the most expendable recurring character. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • The original series episode "Day of the Dove" was one source of inspiration for this episode for the late Hilary J. Bader, although mainly due to it showing the futility of war, not as a new concept. Indeed, the primary focus of Bader's pitch was to expose war as utterly pointless. This is emphasized in the fact that the Ennis and the Nol-Ennis don't even remember why they are fighting. According to Bader, "there must have been a more meaningful cause for this battle, but it's so long ago that it's not the issue anymore; it's not what they're fighting about. They're fighting about "You're this and I'm not!"...the point was that it didn't really matter why they fought. The act itself is more important than the issue that started it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Bader also commented that "there are certain themes that reoccur in Star Trek, and the fact that war is pointless is one of them." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

Production

Reception

  • Michael Piller commented "We had a show in the first season that I thought was a terrific script and was not a terrific show and it was "Battle Lines". I thought it was terrific concept, but the nature of the direction and the performances in that show made it feel operatic". (The Deep Space Log Book: A Second Season Companion, p 7)

Trivia

Apocrypha

Video and DVD releases

The video sleeve appears to render this episode's title as "Battlelines", although the small case font makes it difficult to tell for certain.

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

And

Co-star

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles

References

airlock; Alpha Quadrant; antimatter pod; artificial microbe; artificial satellite; asteroid belt; attitude control; Bajor; Bajoran; Bajoran death chant; Bajoran prophecy; Bajoran transport; Bajoran wormhole; binary star system; bio-pattern; Cardassian; cease fire; cell; Class 2 probe; crash landing; damping field; Danube-class; day; Deep Space 9; defense net; delta radiation; Differential magnetometer; directed-energy weapon; ecosystem; encryption system; Ennis; Ennis and Nol-Ennis weapons; Federation; field triage; flight stabilization; forward thrusters; fuel cell; Gamma Quadrant; hour; hull; hull temperature; hysteresis curve; Idran; Idran system; impulse; impulse generator; induction field; jailbreak; Kai; knife; Kohn-Ma; lifeform; light year; long range scanner; magnet; magnetic field; magnetic resonance pattern; M class; mediator; medical tricorder; medkit; megawatt; meson; metal; Milky Way Galaxy; minute; moon; mutual induction field; nanite; narrow band; necklace; needle in a haystack; neuromuscular scan; nightmare; Nol; Nol-Ennis; O'Brien, Molly; ops protocol; orbit; pagh; palm beacon; penal colony; pendant; phaser; photon torpedo; power reactor; prefect; Prime Directive; probe; Prophet; pulmonary collapse; punishment; Rio Grande, USS; runabout; runabout pad C; second; secondary booster; sector; sensor; shields; shoulder; space station; square kilometer; starship; straw; subspace; subspace signal; Tahna Los; ternary star; terrorist; thoracic vertebrae; thrusters; tomahawk; torture; transponder; unnamed asteroid belt; unnamed moon; Vayan horn fly; war; warp; warp eddy; week; Yangtzee Kiang, USS; year

External links


Previous episode:
"Vortex"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 1
Next episode:
"The Storyteller"

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