The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: One Little Ship

Whilst investigating an anomaly that has the effect of shrinking matter, the Defiant is attacked by the Jem’Hadar. With the ship now in the hands of the enemy, only a tiny runabout containing miniaturised versions of Dax, Bashir and O’Brien can stop the Jem’Hadar from taking the Defiant back to Dominion territory.

When I first heard about this episode back in the day, it sounded very silly. Could Star Trek, which maintains the pretence of scientific credibility, really pull off a Fantastic Voyage story? I was sceptical, and indeed, one could argue that this is DS9’s take on Rascals. That being said, Rascals was so awful that, even though this is far from my favourite instalment of DS9, it is still reasonably entertaining.

Small notes

  • Props to the episode for acknowledging that the miniaturised crew would have been unable to breathe normal oxygen molecules. However, wouldn’t they have still been buffeted by those molecules when they beamed onto the Defiant? Every slight air current would have seemed like a gale.
  • Then again, if we’re going to go into that, we have to start thinking about the whole miniaturisation phenomenon. Presumably it affects mass as well as volume, but how? Can we even start to consider how this might happen, and how it could also be reversible? I’m not sure I see a way in to discussing this scientifically.
  • Similarly, trying to understand what’s going on with the Defiant’s encryption is probably not worth it. But you’d think that a warship would have some kind of emergency provision for hostile takeover.
  • This episode introduces a new breed of Jem’Hadar – those bred in the Alpha Quadrant, specifically for this war. There is tension between these new Alpha Jem’Hadar and the original Gamma stock, but this is never developed in any future episode.
  • In this episode, O’Brien seems particularly grumpy, whilst Bashir seems more inclined than ever to troll and provoke him.
  • Note how leisurely Sisko strolls from one console to another whilst the Jem’Hadar are shooting at him, secure in the knowledge that they can’t kill the main character.

Summary – One Little Ship: It’s just as well that the Jem’Hadar, crack troops of the Dominion, can’t even shoot straight.

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