Date: 7/2/97 23:11:31
<<What are the permenant standing sets on DS9? How does the set business
work, anyway? If you know that you're gonig to need a certain set again later
in a season, but MUCH later, and not until then, will it be dismantled and
rebuilt to make room for something else on the soundstage?>>
Our standing sets (the ones that are always there) are:
The Promenade (2 levels)
Quark's (2 levels)
Surgery (also redressed as Holding Cells)
Replimat (really a part of the Promenade) -- all of the above sets are
Habitat Ring Corridor
Sisko's Quarters (also redressed as Wardroom, and other quarters)
Kira's Quarters (also Quark's quarters and other quarters)
Defiant Transporter Room
Defiant Engine Room
Defiant Mess Hall (also Defiant Sickbay)
Sets that are in storage, like the Klingon Bridge, can be brought out and set
up when needed, but there is still a substantial cost involved to break out
the sets, assemble them, wire them, paint them, disassemble them and store
<<What happened to the holographic communicator on the Defiant. Now the
table is back there. Has it been moved in front of the view screen (which
would make more sense to me)?>>
The plan is to put the holo-communicator in a different location, possibly
the Captain's Ready Room (a new set that we may or may not establish this
<<Have you been unofficially dubbed by Ira or someone "The one who we'll
stick writing all the KLINGON based storylines because he's so good at it."?
Or is it that you enjoy writing about Klingons more or just coincidence?>>
I'm not the only one who's done Klingon shows, but I do like writing for them
and so many of the storylines have found their way to my desk either by
direction or my own request.
<<Firstly, can we look forward to more interaction with psionics in upcoming
This always comes up in discussions and we have some stories planned for this
season that might involve various psionic notions.
<<Why is the Dominion making a direct attack on the Federation. It seems
unlike them. I would have thought that they would have tried to undermine
the Federation by planting changlings, causing some kind of Civil war, then
they would strike when the Federation was weak. WHy would the Dominion make
a direct strike against tthe Federation? It seems out of character.>>
The Dominion probably would've preferred to conquer the Federation by
subversion and manipulation, but Sisko's mining of the wormhole forced their
hand by cutting off both reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant and the
lifeline of White needed by the Jem'Hadar.
<<On that same note, will we see any Changlings next season?>>
<<And will we ever see the Female "Spokeswoman" of the Changlings again?>>
A very strong possibility.
<<In the season finale, the Tholian race was mentioned. I thought it was cool
to see that The Tholian race is not forgotten and still is a force to contend
within the Alpha quadrant. Any chance of Actually seeing them or thier ships
in the coming season?>>
This is something I've wanted to do for a while, but I don't have a good
story yet that would justify spending the $$$ it will take to truly realize
the Tholians onscreen (CGI).
Date: 7/2/97 23:45:33
<<Could you please clarify just what the concept behind self-replicating
mines is? If they could self-replicate, why did the Defiant need to keep
laying more and more mines? Couldn't they have only layed two mines, then
each mine would replicate one new mine, then all four mines would replicate
one new mine and all eight mines would replicate one new mine and so forth?>>
These are good questions, but the truth is that Robert came up with the
notion and I'm not sure what the technical answers are. Presumably there are
technical limitations in the design that prevent the scenarios you're suggesti
ng, but it wasn't necessary to explain them in the episode.
<<Any thoughts about taking another crack at an animated series with the
Sounds like a natural for you. I like your points of view regarding TOS.>>
That's a fun idea, but not one that's being considered at the moment.
<<Does DS9 (the show, not the station) have a fixed annual budget, and does
that budget vary from year to year based upon ratings and potential ad
revenue? Also, when you produce an episode substantially more expensive than
the average episode (such as "Trials and Tribble-ations" ep.), do you have to
skimp on the budgets of subsequent episodes throughout the season in order to
meet the bottom line? Or does Paramount authorize an extra increase in funds
for "event" episodes hoping that increased ratings and revenue will make up
for spending the additional money? Finally, if the ratings are down during a
particular season, does Paramount allocate less money the show for the next
The ratings are unrelated to the budget. We have both a per episode budget
and a budget for the entire year. We often go "over pattern" on an episode
and then have to go "under pattern" on subsequent shows with the
understanding that at the end of the year we will still meet our overall
budget. Paramount is very flexible in these matters and they will on
occasion authorize additional monies for "event" shows like "Trials &
<<Just curious, Do you consult ant military sources for your strategic and
tactical plotlines of DS9?>>
I haven't yet, because I have a decent amount of military reference material
of my own, but I am aware of the various websites and might go there in the
<<Can changlings actually mate with solids? In ASI, Odo is able to mate with
Arissa, but in the TREK universe, could that translate into offspring???>>
While Odo can have intercourse with a solid by assuming the proper.... forms,
it would not be possible to conceive offspring since that would require him
to actually fertilize an egg and he clearly doesn't have the authentic...
gear to make that possible.
<<Now that UPN will have a weekly sci-fi movie, any possibility of DS9 movies
after the series ends (or is it too soon to speculate), or Voyager movies
(both would do well during the sweeps).>>
While anything is possible, none of this is under consideration at this time.
<<What were your favorite episodes of Season 5, both of those you wrote and
those you didn't? Least favorite?>>
My favorites were "Trials & Tribble-ations" "The Assignment" "The Darkness
and the Light" and "A Call to Arms". I wish we could've taken another crack
at "Let He Who is..."
<<Now that the final Season 5 episode has aired, how would you compare it to
the 4th Season?>>
I think that Season 4 had a higher batting average overall in that there were
no real dogs among that group -- a first in all my years at Trek -- but that
Season 5 had "higher highs" along with "lower lows". Personally, I felt that
"Our Man Bashir" from Season 4 and "Darkness and the Light" were my two best
<<Can you tell us who is writing (or has written) the season premiere?>>
Ira and Hans are writing the premiere, I'm writing the second episode, the
new team of Bradley Thompson & David Weddle will write the third, Rene will
do the fourth and then Ira & Hans will do the fifth.
Date: 7/3/97 00:03:45
<<With the time costraints of producing a weekly hour-long series - do you
get much time to strive for that kind of layering and "art" - or do you have
to fight to meet the deadlines and hope that the muse step in at the right
It's a delicate balance, but we always strive to deliver the very best
quality show we can, every single week and fight like mad to keep the
budgetary and time considerations from interfering with the creative process
any more than absolutely necessary.
<<Ron, this has been a great season, but one of the things that has
disappointed me is the fact that several of the cast have had so little screen
-time, and we seem to have lost many
of the strong relationships which used to exist between the crew. Do you
think that by concentrating so much on romance this year, you may have lost
something in the mix?>>
I don't think the romantic threads got in the way per se, but I would say
that our preferences for stories focusing on certain characters and certain
plotlines did preclude us from exploring other, equally valid stories. We
try very hard to do a mix of shows, both in tone (comedic and dramatic) and
in which of our regular characters are featured. But each season there are
usually one or two characters that get shortchanged and seem "lost" by the
end of the year. This isn't something we like, but it is to a certain extent
unavoidable. We, as writers, tend to write what we like and sometimes our
preferences lead us away from some characters for a while and towards others.
We *do* sit down and say "Hey, we really need a good Dax (or whoever) story,
she hasn't been well serviced yet," but unless we come up with something we
like or hear a pitch that we like and feel comfortable pursuing, we'll tend
to go with the good stories in hand and keep hoping that a good
(fill-in-the-blank-character) tale will come along. If possible, we'll even
take a story away from one character and give it to another, but you can
quickly see the limitations of that approach -- there aren't many Quark
stories that can be easily changed into Sisko stories or vice-versa. In the
end, balancing the needs of all the characters is an imperfect science and
it's something we continue to struggle with.
<< the Treaty of Algernon seems to be eroding away to nothing. I thought
"The Pegasus" was one of the best episodes of TNG's final season. When Ron
wrote that, he had Picard's sense of honor triumph over Pressman's political
pragmatism. Now, it turns out, Pressman as been vindicated. How do you feel
about this turn of events, Ron? Is a sequel to "Pegasus," featuring
Pressman's reinstatement and return to honor on the horizon?>>
I wouldn't look for any reinstatement of Pressmen in the future, but there
has clearly been some kind of amendment made to the cloaking agreement that
allowed the Defiant to have a cloak only in the Gamma Quadrant since she now
clearly cloaks at will. I keep forgetting to put in a reference somewhere to
this effect, but I'll try to remember this year.
<<You said you did not see the Federation/Klingon task force until the final
product. Were you aware of the fact that there were three Defiant class
Yes, and there are now officially other Defiant class ships in Starfleet.
<<During the evacuation of the drive section of the Enterprise-D there were
many kids being herded into the saucer section. Aren't they suppose to be in
the saucer section to begin with? >>
I believe the children were actually being rushed to their "crash stations"
or "emergency stations" or something, not being brought up from the battle
section. The same goes for the patients in Sickbay.
Date: 7/3/97 00:31:21
<<During the battle with the Bird of Prey, Riker tells Worf to fire a spread
of torpedoes, yet only one torpedo is shown once the BOP begins to cloak. >>
This is just a trick of editing. We cut outside to see only one torpedo
while presumable all three were fired. Why didn't we choose to show all
three? Money. I know it's hard to believe on a $35 million + movie, but the
VFX budget was so tight on Generations that we were literally counting every
single torpedo and every single phaser shot and trying to wring every last
cent we could to stay within the margins.
<<I have the Star Trek: Day by Day Calendar. Recently it showed a picture
of Picard, Worf, and Geordi in front of the shuttle craft Hawking. I was
unaware that this scene existed. What other scenes were cut from
I'd forgotten about this brief scene when Worf and Geordi picked up Picard at
the end of the picture. There was a scene featuring Chekov and Scotty
awaiting Kirk's arrival after "orbital skydiving" that was cut at the
beginning of the picture, also some reactions to Kirk's "death" on the
Enterprise-B bridge, some dialog between Soren and Geordi during Geordi's
torture scene, and some other nips and tucks in dialog that I can't recall.
<<In the D&L where Kira reminisced about her acceptance into the resistance
cell, was that scene based on urban gang subculture? >>
That's an interesting analogy, but it wasn't something I was thinking about
consciously when writing the scene. I just... I don't know... wrote it.
<<On the subject of Leeta and Rom, I would just like to say that I hate the
way these two have been given so much attention when other more interesting
characters like Bashir and Dax have hardly had anything to do. The Leeta &
Rom sitcom just 'dumbs down' the show with weak comedy and bad acting.>>
Well, we of course, disagree. We like Rom & Leeta, think they're valuable
members of the DS9 family and we'll continue to use them in the future. As
I've said before, I think the true strength of this series is its variety,
but by the same token we don't expect everyone to like everything.
<<I just noticed recently that there's a new line of books authorized by
Paramount which serializes the adventures of an entirely new Federation crew
aboard an Ambassador-class ship. If you have any information on this
subject, can you fill us in on what Paramount plans to do with this new crew?
Are there any plans to do a crossover of any kind with Paramount's Trek
television productions and/or video games?>>
As far as I know, these characters are limited to the novels and there are no
plans to expand them into any other areas, but you might want to ask John
Ordover for more information.