It’s a mystery of who to trust in the episode that originally aired on February 6,1994, this is Whispers.
Station Log Stardate 47581.2 Whispers
O’Brien returns from the other side of the Wormhole only to find that everyone on Deep Space Nine may have been compromised while he was away.
Chief O’Brien leaves DS9 through the wormhole on a solo mission to the Parada system. According to his personal log it appears that something has happened to cause him to return to the Parada system after his prior mission there. He begins a personal log explaining that someone may be after him and he needs to set the record straight.
Fifty Two Hours Earlier:
O’Brien awakes alone in his quarters only to find his wife and daughter have gotten up early, both seeming irritated at him for some unknown reason. Keiko inquires about O’Brien’s mission but when he offers to help with Molly, she becomes agitated for no apparent reason. Later, O’Brien finds one of his staff working on a project without his permission, upset he storms out to speak to Sisko only to see his Commander having what appears to be a heated conversation with Keiko on the promenade.
O’Brien arrives in Ops only to find Bashir insisting that he take a physical. Even though he doesn’t want one, Sisko insists that he comply and also apologies for assigning O’Brien finding one of his staff working on the Commander’s orders. Sisko and O’Brien begin talking about the Paradas with Sisko drilling the Chief Engineer about his trip. O’Brien is upset to learn that he will have to repair the upper pylons once again and asks Sisko about his meeting with Keiko. Sisko explains that Jake is having issues with his grades and O’Brien reports to the Infirmary. After a prolonged stay with Bashir, the Chief runs into Jake where he finds out that Jake’s grades are fine and Commander Sisko lied to him.
Reporting to the upper Pylons, O’Brien begins repairs. Disappointed that the security updates for the Parada delegation will have to proceed without him, the Chief reports to the Parada quarters to check his staff’s work. He is disappointed that, after spending a week with these people he has nothing to do with the security arrangements and it appears that everyone is attempting to keep him at arms length for some reason. Running into Jake, he begins to talk with the young man about a school project when Kira informs Jake that Commander Sisko was looking for his son.
Upon arriving home he soon learns that Jake is unable to visit to work on their project together. He also soon finds that his daughter is spending the night at some friends quarters, leaving the evening to just O’Brien and Keiko. O’Brien soon finds that his wife is acting strange, acting as if she is not interested in romance and even cooking him a completely separate meal for dinner. Immediately he begins to suspect that the Keiko before him was not the woman he knew.
Suspecting that something is wrong, O’Brien begins listening to station logs to determine what may have occurred while he was away. After hours of logs he discovers that he has been locked out of his level one security clearance for all logs that have happened since his return. Determined to get to the truth of the matter, the Chief begins to clandestinely reroute security access in his favor. He soon finds that the staff has been quietly investigating him. Odo returns to the station and O’Brien informs the shapeshifter of his findings, hoping for assistance.
Soon Odo informs O’Brien about his findings and begins to inquire about the Paradan Government and the Rebels involved. Soon O’Brien realizes that Odo may also be compromised and he is suddenly attacked by Kira, Sisko and Bashir. Using a device he built for just such an occasion, O’Brien temporarily blinds his attackers and works his way to the runabout Rio Grande making his escape. Upon escaping, O’Brien contacts Star Fleet and soon learns that Star Fleet themselves may have been compromised as well. Maybe the aliens from Conspiracy have come back?
Caught up to the beginning of the episode, O’Brien finds himself in the Parada sector and heads to one of Parada Four’s seven moons. Being chased by the Runabout Mekong, the Chief manages to lose them in the magnetic poles of the Parada Four and follows the Mekong to Parada two, hoping to find some answers.
Beaming down, O’Brien finds himself in a cave system where he finds Sisko and Kira working with the Rebels. Just as he is distracted, one of the Rebels attacks and a hatch opens revealing the real Chief O’Brien. It is soon made clear that the real O’Brien had been captured and a replicant sent back to DS9 in order to kill the Paradan delegation. After the real O’Brien approaches, the Replicant dies leaving the mystery of why this replicant would risk failing it’s mission in an attempt to learn the truth.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a pretty solid one with a twist on the Manchurian Candidate story. This time the viewer is along for the ride thinking that they are following the hero of the story. I particularly liked how the story is told from the perspective of the events having already passed allowing O’Brien to be the narrator of the tale. The story does little to advance the overall narrative of the series but does establish just how good of a person Miles is. I mean, for his evil clone to try to do something good instead of fulfilling it’s mission, that’s saying something! We also get a little more insight into O’Brien’s character so it is not a total loss. The problem with the story itself is that, it’s really a one use episode that loses it’s luster after you know the surprise twist. I remember the shock that the O’Brien we were following was not the real deal, all that is lost on subsequent viewings. While it is a good episode as it is, it is somewhat of a one trick pony.
One thing occurred to me though, why is it that Chief Engineers in Starfleet are the ones that are picked on for events such as this? I mean, back in Mind’s Eye, La Forge goes through brainwashing to be used as a weapon and now O’Brien gets replaced by a murderous replicant? WOW. Come to think of it, they both served on the same ship at one time so maybe it’s the Enterprise itself that is cursed…
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We never see nor hear from the Paradans again.
We learn that O’Brien’s mother died 2 years prior, placing it around season five of Star Trek The Next Generation.
Rule of Acquisition #194: It’s Always Good to know about new customers before they walk in your door
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Late To The Game 2/28/2021 (Originally published 5/10/2019)
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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