It’s a murder mystery aboard space Station Deep Space Nine and there is only one man who can solve it…but he may be guilty himself. Originally airing on January 17,1993 this is A Man Alone.
Station Log Stardate 46384: A Man Alone
When a man from Odo’s past is killed, it soon becomes a race to prove the shapeshifter’s innocence as all of the evidence points to the Security Chief as the primary suspect.
Story A: Odo’s Past
After witnessing an argument between Kaiko and Miles O’Brien, Odo makes it clear that he is not interested in ‘coupling’. As he discusses the matter with Quark, Odo notices a Bajoran man at the Dabo table that concerns him. Confronting the man, Odo insists that the man leave and begins to forcibly remove him from Quark’s bar. After a brief altercation, Odo informs the man that he has 26 hours to leave.
Odo explains the situation to Sisko, explaining that the man, named Ibudan, was a smuggler and profiteer who was once imprisoned by Odo for killing a Cardassian Officer. Now out, the man poses a threat to the station and Odo wants him gone. Sisko calmly explains that it is not up to Odo to dole out justice, that, if Ibudan commits a crime then he can be arrested or removed, not a moment before.
That evening, someone kills Ibudan in the holosuite. The next morning Sisko and team find the body and begin to launch an investigation. Sisko asks that all of the ships on the docking ring be grounded until they can find the culprit. Later in Sisko’s office, a Bajoran named Zayra informs Sisko and Kira that, prior to Ibudan’s death and his altercation with Odo, Ibudan stated that ‘he was afraid’. The businessman indicates that it may have been Odo himself that committed the crime.
Odo beings to investigate the crime and finds Ibudan’s personal logs where he finds an entry that shows the dead Bajoran had planned a meeting with the shapeshifter himself. Continuing the investigation it is determined that no one was in the room with Ibudan when he was killed. Immediately Odo begins to suspect that a shapeshifter is involved and he worries that he himself will be charged for the murder as he has no alibi.
Zayra begins to spread rumors at Quark’s bar about Odo, trying to cause distrust in the Bajoran locals. Even though Quark immediately comes to Odo’s defense, the seeds have been planted. Zayra takes his concerns to Ops where he and his group of dissidents confront Sisko with their problems. Sisko dismisses their claims but recognizes that he needs to relieve Odo of duty until the investigation is over so as not to make it appear that they are showing favoritism to Odo. Sisko informs Odo of his decision and it is clear that the Security chief is not happy with the situation. Upon returning to his office, Odo finds it vandalized and destroyed by the very people he had been protecting on the station. Soon a mob begins to form around Odo’s office blaming him for the murder of Ibudan and things begin to look bleak.
As things begin to get violent, it becomes clear that someone will need to control the violent crowd. Like a sheriff out of the Old West, Sisko steps in front of the crowd and demands that the crowd disperse. When it appears that they will not listen, Sisko fires his phaser and exposes the crowd for the mob that they are.
After investigating Ibudan’s ship, Julian discovers DNA fragments on the ship that Ibudan had attempted to destroy. In order to determine what it was that Ibudan was disposing, the Doctor begins to regrow the cultures. As the cultures grow, it soon becomes clear that this is certainly out of the ordinary. Just as the mob begin to demand Odo’s death, Julian discovers that Ibudan had cloned himself and killed his clone to frame Odo for murder. Odo realizes that Ibudan has been alive this entire time and, when the Bajoran tries to escape, Odo confronts him exposing him as none other than the real Ibudan.
Although he has proved himself innocent, Sisko notes that none of the mob had apologized for their transgressions.
Story B: Keiko finds a Purpose
Miles O’Brien is dealing with the fact that his wife Keiko is unhappy aboard the station. She feels useless and is unsure of her place at her husband’s new assignment. As Keiko tries to determine her future, Jake Sisko and Nog begin an unlikely friendship by releasing Garanian Bolites on the Promenade that causes people to change colors. They are soon caught by Bajoran security and Keiko witnesses the entire event.
After talking with Miles, Keiko visits with Sisko and requests that she be allowed to setup a school on the station. She is aware that she will need to create a unique curriculum for the various species aboard the station but is up for the challenge.
Keiko visits with the various parents aboard the station asking for their children to attend. She soon begins the class even though no one seems to be in attendance. However when Sisko delivers Jake and Rom delivers Nog, others begin to file in, realizing that this is a great option for their children aboard the station.
Sisko stands back and smiles, recognizing that, even though there are challenges ahead, life on the station is starting to normalize.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This season is really starting off strong, three episodes in and it has not failed yet. This one takes a good old fashioned murder mystery with a sci fi twist. It really gives Odo a cool showcase as the local constabulary but also shows how easy it is for people to fall into a mob mentality.
Odo is clearly an impartial and honest lawman who has been running security for the station in a non-biased manner for years. When his integrity comes into question however, all it takes is one person to begin spreading the seeds of doubt among the inhabitants of DS9. Sadly, these seeds sprout very quickly and, like most mobs, becomes violent in no time at all. I used to question just how fast the mob in this episode escalated but, after recent events in my own country, I can see just how volatile people can be. People, even Bajorans it seems, always gravitate to an injustice, whether that injustice is real or just perceived. It is in our nature to want to belong to something, to find a common voice in something, sadly, more often than not, that common voice is usually one of violence. We, as a people are so easily riled up and all it takes is one person or a group of people to tell us why we should be angry.
We also get a chance to see how non-Station Personnel deal with their time on the station while their family works. In the case of Keiko, we find that she is without purpose or duty so she is having trouble acclimating to Station life from her time aboard the Enterprise. It wouldn’t be long before she realizes that the station is lacking a key component for a place with families, a school. This school would become the backdrop for future stories.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
The soft opening finds Bashir flirting with Dax over a brain teaser on the holodeck. This will not be the first time that Bashir attempts to woo the 300 year old Trill.
This episode establishes the beginnings of the friendship between Nog and Jake. It also begins a rather interesting story arc for the young Ferengi boy.
Odo mentions for the first time that he sleeps in a bucket and has an 18 hour sleep cycle where he turns into his liquid state.
We see Molly and Keiko O’Brien for the first time on the series.
The evolution of Rom. This episode seems to be a bit of an anomaly for Rom, the brother of Quark and Father of Nog. In this episode, Rom is clearly seen as an intelligent and even cunning Ferengi. Later in the series he is ‘dumbed down’ to appear as Quark’s ‘Stupid Brother’. Knowing Rom’s fate at the end of the series, I have to wonder if this was all part of his plan…
We get a little more on the relationship between Dax and Sisko. While some of the crew believe that Sisko is romantically interested in Dax, it is clear that he sees her as his old friend Curzon and only wants to continue that friendship. This history will continue to be revealed as time goes on.
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Late To The Game 11/21/2020 (Originally published 3/1/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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