The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Inquisition

Bashir is about to head off to a medical conference when his plans are interrupted by the arrival of Luther Sloan from Starfleet Intelligence. Sloan believes that there is a traitor aboard DS9, and from the looks of things, he seems to think that Bashir is the guilty party? Can the good doctor convince Sloan that he isn’t a secret Dominion agent?

In hindsight, Section 31 felt like a very prominent part of DS9, so it’s actually a little odd to be reminded that Luther Sloan and his secretive division of Starfleet only show up this late in season six. As with many episodes boasting a story twist, the surprise element of ‘it’s all a dream holodeck program’ doesn’t really hold up on repeat viewing, but overall this is a solid episode when taken on its own. Unfortunately, for me, it also feels like it changes the fundamental nature of Star Trek in a way that makes me uncomfortable.

It’s not like I can’t accept that, in any situation with multiple state powers, even the ones you might call the ‘good guys’ are going to be doing spying and sneaky stuff – it would be foolish not to, after all. But somehow, the world of Star Trek has always been above such sensible precautions – for all that I complained about the Enterprise-D letting hostile aliens wander freely about its corridors, it displayed a naivete about the 24th century that was almost charming. Starfleet is filled with idealists who always think the best of everybody – what need have they of the kind of pragmatism of DS9 and Section 31?

Points of note

  • Bashir is looking forward to a conference on the pleasant planet of Casperia Prime. This planet was also where Dax was hoping she and Worf could have a luxurious honeymoon.
  • Sloan questions, as I did, why the Jem’Hadar left the runabout conveniently orbiting the interment camp in By Inferno’s Light.
  • Why would the Dominion have even bothered turning Bashir when the whole point was to replace him with a Changeling? I guess you could argue that the Changeling might have been there temporarily whilst Bashir was being reprogrammed.
  • Section 31’s holodeck is the same set as the Voyager holodeck.

Traitor Bashir

Sloan has a pretty good case against Bashir. Let’s look at the evidence.

  • In Hippocratic Oath, Bashir becomes fascinated with the Jem’Hadar – although freeing them from their ketracel white addiction would have been counter to Dominion principles.
  • I already questioned why Bashir and the others were being kept alive in the internment camp to start with – could one of the reasons have been to turn him into a Dominion agent?
  • Bashir did try to get Sisko to recommend that the Federation surrender during Statistical Probabilities.

Summary – Inquisition: Bashir is a doctor, not a traitor.

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