To Boldy Sew: Star Trek Deep Space Nine S01E04: “Babel”

To Boldly Sew is a recap of DS9 episodes, with a specific focus on the fashions of the many aliens and other characters that make up the series. Feel free to discuss matters of plot and general Star Trek things in the comments. 

I’m getting all these screenshots from, which is the same place as the original TNG fashion blog (

Some aliens are stuck in an airlock. They’re pounding on the door. Chief tells them to relax, they’ll get them out ASAP.

He goes to talk to some other engineers and gives them some technobabble advice.

Another alien comes up to him – Captain Jaheel. Jaheel wants his ship fixed, now.


I’m not sure if it’s the actor who plays him or it’s supposed to be part of his character, but Jaheel doesn’t seem like he looks anyone in the eyes as he speaks. It’s kind of creepy. He also looks like he needs a haircut or maybe just to wash his hair.

O’Brien tells him the people are stuck in the airlock for more than an hour and he should wait.

Jaheel says he’s been waiting for two days. He doesn’t want to wait any longer because he needs to get his shipment delivered before it spoils. O’Brien promises to send a repair crew by EOD. Jaheel is not happy.

Dax has a problem also, so Chief heads over. Dax is in the hallway outside her lab because there is a loud screeching noise coming from inside. Chief asks her a few technobabble questions which she’s already tried. He then pushes a few buttons and the noise stops but the lights go out.

Kira is having problems with the navigational computer. It’s giving her the wrong star charts, when it works at all. O’Brien seems to have fixed it. He yawns, clearly tired. Kira comments he could use some sleep. He says he’d settle for 5 minutes of peace and quiet.

Sisko orders a drink and it tastes horrible. He says he thought Chief was planning to fix the replicators. Chief makes a bunch of snarky comments and heads out, surprising Sisko. He mumbles to himself as he works in the midst of some wires and tubes. Then he climbs out and tries the replicator for himself. It sparks a bit. He uses a flashing wand thing and then orders a hot coffee, black, double sweet.

I don’t drink coffee (just occasional cappuccinos and lattes), but I’m going to channel my dad here for a moment. Black coffee is not sweet. My dad drinks black coffee. He doesn’t put anything in it. No milk, no sugar. Sometimes he orders a black coffee and they put sugar in it, and he insists that this makes it no longer “black” coffee. So I’m not sure how “double sweet” makes it black coffee. Chief seems content with the coffee, though he takes his initial sips tentatively.


Afterward, he pushes a button to close some panel on the replicator, and the camera pans into the inside to show glowing tubes and wires and…a funky little device. It starts beeping and flashing a green light. This is Chekov’s tech device?

It’s a thingie. It might be fiendish.


Quark’s is quiet. Odo mocks him for this. Quark says the past three days business has been nonexistent.


Quark seems to be a fan of orange shirts with black stripes, but this might be a different orange shirt than the last few episodes. His jacket is also paisley instead of upholstery.

There is a single alien sitting at the bar eating. He shouts at Quark because his Kohlian stew is not acceptable.


It looks like this guy is wearing a plain long-sleeved shirt with maybe a kind of robe thing in the middle? The leather (or leather-like) straps around his arms and chest add some interesting visual thing. I like the detail work on these; they also seem to be laced and tied together where they meet. The end result kind of makes it look like he’s wearing a harness, though.

Quark offers to exchange it. The guy challenges him to taste it. The guy wants to force Quark to eat it. It’s obviously disgusting. Odo steps in before the guy can make Quark eat the stew and kicks the guy out.

Quark blames the replicators. Odo tells him to ask O’Brien as the replicators on command level work perfectly. Quark says he’s on the waiting list. Odo points out that Chief is very busy, and gloats a bit.

After Odo leaves, Quark goes to his computer and tells it to show the repaired replicators. The computer says he doesn’t have access, so he goes to a secret box under the bar, finds some sticks, and inserts them into the computer. The computer then displays the info he’s looking for.


Chief triumphantly presents a mug to Sisko, who is quite pleased. He says there are lots of replicators that still need to be worked on, though. Chief looks tired, and raises a hand to his forehead. Sisko asks if he’s all right, and Chief says he’s just hot and maybe the environmental controls are acting up. Sisko says to send his regards to Mrs. O, as Jake says she is a great teacher. (Oh look, that’s a nod to continuity)

Chief says his wife is flower units about the lad herself. Sisko is confused. Chief restates that she is quite fond of him.

Dax and Kira are walking down the promenade and getting lots of catcalls. Well, not catcalls exactly, but lots of “Hello” and “Ladies” from random strangers. Kira is not amused, but Dax is kind of enjoying the attention. She comments that it’s different being female, as she hasn’t been one in 80 years, and she is enjoying it.

Kira is less enthused.

Quark interrupts and asks them to join the party. He says they are celebrating the repair of the bar’s replicator system. Behind him, the place is bustling and busy. He asks if he can interest them in some pudding. Kira declines, but Dax agrees.

Back at Ops, Kira calls out for Chief, and his response is kind of slurred. Has he slept at all? He brushes off her concern. Kira tells him that the turbolift has broken, but then admits it’s a joke. Chief responds, “Major, lark’s true pepper.” She is confused, so he says, “Let birds go further loose maybe.” And then “Shout easy play.” He continues to say nonsensical things while Kira and a few others stare at him in confusion and then he runs off.


We even get a nice shot of some extras staring at him. The guy standing has mastered the “what?” expression, while the guy sitting has a more neutral expression, like he’s used to people telling him nonsensical stuff. They’re only in uniforms, though. Bo-ring.

Bashir looks over Chief. He has the computer run a neural imaging scan. Everything seems physically okay.  Chief takes a pad and tries writing a message, but this makes no sense either.

Could work for emo song lyrics? Maybe?

He tries to leave, but the doctor and Kira convince him to sit back down. Bashir explains to Kira that it looks like Chief is suffering from aphasia, which is a perceptual dysfunction in which aural and visual stimuli are incorrectly processed by the brain. Bashir explains that Chief is still thinking clearly but is unable to express himself or to understand others. So presumably from Chief’s point of view, others are speaking the same kind of nonsense that he is speaking to them.

While they talk, Chief keeps shouting nonsense to try to get them to understand.


Kira and Bashir explain this to Sisko, who is confused as all the tests have come back negative. Dax asks “isn’t aphasia usually the result of some kind of trauma?” and the Doctor replies that yes, it’s often the result of a stroke or a blow to the head, but there’s no evidence of that here, and there’s no mention of any precedents in the medical library. Bashir has no theories yet.

Sisko tells Kira to see where and what Chief has done over the last 52 hours. Kira has already done so; Chief has been everywhere on station. He tells her to retrace all his steps, then tells Dax to assume Chief’s duties temporarily. Dax doesn’t look too happy about this, but she agrees, and then apologies and she also begins speaking nonsense. This is getting weird, because she clearly has not suffered head trauma while they were speaking to her.

Bashir explains to Sisko that spontaneous development of aphasia is virtually impossible, but they saw it happen, so he has concluded that they are dealing with a disease that only mimics aphasia. He ran a comparison between their brains and found a virus in the temporal lobes of both patients. Apparently it imposes itself in synaptic pathways and then randomly reroutes them.

I always love these shots of people looking at photos of the virus, like that helps explain it to non medical people. 

A nurse comes in with two random Starfleet officers who are also speaking gibberish. Sisko tells Bashir to put the station under emergency quarantine ASAP.


I’ve noticed the nurse’s outfits briefly in previous episodes, but this is the first time where there’s been a screenshot. It’s kind of a two-toned version of the usual Bajoran outfit, sort of styled like one of Jake Sisko’s favorite jumpsuits. Maybe the Bajorans felt obligated to include some blue in the medical uniforms? Maybe they ran out of yellowish-brown fabric and blue was on sale?

Odo looks in to Quark’s and sees it is very busy.


(spoiler?) The guy on the right in the foreground is a recurring character, but I haven’t yet noticed anyone name him, so I’m not going to yet, and I’ll just say he’s a guy who looks like his outfit is made of carpet, duct tape, and maybe garbage bags. The person he’s talking to has a much more interesting robe type outfit that looks like it maybe has shells or shell-shaped beads on the collar?

There’s also a woman wearing purple with an interesting updo walking through the shot.

Odo asks Quark what’s going on, as all shops and businesses are supposed to be closed until further notice. Quark argues that his bar is an essential station operation, and why shouldn’t people enjoy some harmless diversion? Odo argues that everyone would be safer in their quarters.

At the bar, the alien who tried to force Quark to eat horrible stew now comments that the same dish is “magnificent.”

If it was terrible last time, why would you order it again?

I still can’t quite figure out what’s going on with his outfit, though. What I thought were leather straps around his chest and arms now just look like ribbons, and I have to wonder how much movement they allow. Can he raise his arms above his head? I’m not sure. It also looks like he has some sort of wide belt around his waist, with maybe a flame motif on it?

Quark is clearly feeling guilty, but he tells Odo and the alien that his assistant Rom was able to fix the replicators. Odo nods but is skeptical.

The station is fairly empty for the moment. Jake wearing a green jumpsuit is looking at things.


This jumpsuit is my favorite of his outfits so far – it doesn’t have a lot of bright colors or anything like that, and the sleeves and color blocking remind me more of the subtle color tones of the Bajoran uniforms; it seems more like something an older kid would wear than a little kid. I think part of the awkwardness of Jake Sisko is that he is pretty tall, so it’s hard to be convinced that he’s a young child when he’s tall, and since he’s tall, he ends up looking awkward in jumpsuits that maybe look more natural on little kids.

Sisko says he expected him home an hour ago. Jake is nervous about the quarantine. Sisko says it is just a precaution.

Captain Jaheel approaches Sisko and says he wishes he shared his confidence. Sisko tells Jake to go straight home.


We don’t get a good view of Jaheel’s outfit, but he kind of looks like he’s wearing an orange sweater. That plus his kind of disheveled hair and distant stare remind me of someone’s goofy, absent minded uncle or grandfather, who gets strongly insistent on minor things but can’t be bothered to get a haircut.

Sisko tells him that visitors are confined to their ships. Jaheel officially requests permission to leave the station. Sisko denies it. Jaheel says none of his crew has been affected, and he needs to leave now or his cargo will be ruined. Sisko tells him to go back to his ship. Jaheel says he doesn’t want to get sick. Sisko apologizes but tells him everyone has to stay put until they find a cure.

Quark is pushing a cart down an empty hallway.


Quark is totally winning the fashion wars so far, in my opinion. His shirt and jacket pairings are a little flamboyant for my taste, but when you pull back the jacket just looks dark gray and purple rather than crazy paisley, and while it’s not a color pairing I’d see often, it looks okay. The plain green pants, though high waist, present a nice calming contrast, and the silhouette of this general design is pleasing to the eye. He has these nice gold buttons here as well, just because Ferengis gotta have some bling.

He goes through a door and finds a replicator, then begins ordering a drink. He turns back to find that his cart has morphed into Odo, who informs him that unauthorized access to crew quarters is a crime.


He also says that Quark could have just asked to use the replicators. Odo tells him that Rom is an idiot who couldn’t fix a straw if it was bent, so his claim that Rom fixed the replicators was suspicious.

Bashir says he thinks the virus is spread through ingestion. Kira says this is impossible as all the food is replicated, and all the replicators use biofilters. They screen out contaminants including viruses. Bashir says he’s analyzed samples from all over the station, and all the food on the command level is contaminated. Sisko points out that they’ve all eaten from those replicators. Why are they not all sick? Bashir says that the virus is adaptable, and the incubation period seems to vary from person to person. Kira notes that the last thing O’Brien did before he got sick was fix the command level replicators. Sisko tells her to get a repair crew to the replicators to see if they can figure it out, and shut down those replicators.

Bashir points out that he’s been getting aphasic patients from all over the station, not just the command level. Sisko is confused until Odo appears to inform them that Quark was using a replicator in one of the vacant crew quarters and replicating his entire menu there. (Why did O’Brien fix a replicator in vacant quarters?) Bashir takes an air sample and they find the virus has mutated into an airborne variety.

Kind of looks like broccoli to me, but okay. 

So now it’s pretty much guaranteed that everyone will get sick and the whole station is infected.

Sisko updates his log to inform us that almost 60% of the population is sick with the virus. They’ve advised all incoming ships to stay away.

Kira studies the replicator’s glowing tubes and wires. She reaches behind and finds the fiendish thingie that we saw at the beginning of the episode.

Looks…pretty evil to me, Commander. 

She and Sisko theorize that O’Brien must have accidentally triggered it when he repaired the system. Apparently it did some technobabble that resulted in the virus being basically built directly into the replicated food at a molecular level. They conclude it is Cardassian technology and sabotage left there by the previous residents of the station.

Bashir interrupts to call Sisko to the infirmary. Sisko arrives to find Jake has been struck with the virus. They’ve converted empty crew quarters into an infirmary; Sisko takes Jake there.

It’s okay, son, I’ll get you away from the medical technobabble.

Quark is trying to get some of his customers to pay. He says he is trying to confirm they are not faking the illness to avoid paying. This mostly takes the form of him waving his arms around and shouting things like “YOU. GOLD. PAY. ME!!!!” and I don’t think it’s working. He kind of reminds me of one of those people who seem to think that they can get people to understand a language they’re not fluent in by simply SHOUTING IT at them. Oh, you don’t speak English? WELL. HOW. ABOUT. NOW?

YOU. GOLD. ME!!!!!!!

Sisko tells Dax and O’Brien and Jake that they’re working on it and he’ll be back, which I guess they can’t understand, but they seem reassured by his tone of voice.

Bashir informs Sisko that the virus is synthetic.

Yep. I can tell that by looking at this image. Absolutely. Thanks for the visual aid.

He doesn’t think it was created by Cardassians. He starts to technobabble an explanation, but Sisko doesn’t have time for that and tells him to get to the point. Bashir says the virus was created by the Bajorans. He thinks it was a plot to sabotage the Cardassians when they owned the station.

Kira reports that the device was built around the same time as the station itself. 18 years prior. Odo supposes that the Bajoran underground smuggled it aboard during construction – before he was head of security, of course. But why did they not set it off? Kira thinks the creator was captured or killed before they could set it off. Sisko says they need to figure out who created the virus, and asks Kira to try to figure it out. It’s a long shot. 18 years was a long time ago, and the person might not be able to help them, or might not have created an antidote.

Kira tries calling up some old friends. A woman suggests a man named Dekon Elig, who was last seen in a Cardassian internment camp, 9 years earlier.


She’s got an interesting hairdo, but nothing remarkable about her clothes. Dark blue jacket over dark blue shirt.

Jake goes to get a nurse, who comes running. Dax tries to explain what’s wrong, and finally just puts her hand on O’Brien’s forehead, forcing the nurse to realize that Chief is running a high fever. The nurse calls Bashir for help.

O’Brien is not doing well. Apparently the virus has attacked his nervous system and Bashir cannot lower the fever. He estimates that Bashir will be dead in 12 hours if he can’t counteract the virus. He hasn’t made any progress. He’s got 7 other patients with similar symptoms as O’Brien. Bashir says he thinks the virus is a work of genius and he’d like to meet the person who created it.

Kira is investigating Dekon Elig. The computer confirms he was at the camp, but also says he was killed attempting escape, and there’s a death certificate as well.

Tell me you don’t hear some disco playing in the background when you see this dude’s photo?

Dekon Elig had some awesome facial hair. Is it just me, or was this photo taken in the 70s?


Sisko arrives to tell her the bad news and she has 12 hours to find some help before people start dying. Kira studies the death certificate, and sees that it was witnessed by Surmak Ren, a Bajoran medical assistant. He was repatriated to Bajor, but current status is listed as Unknown.

I give him props for the purple carpet shirt in this photo. An improvement over what we see later.

Quark is playing Dabo alone. He finds it not very fun as a single person player. Odo appears. Quark invites him to play, and Odo admits he doesn’t know how to play Dabo. Quark comments that this must be why Odo looks so bored, and offers to teach him. Odo says he has to go to Ops, though. He’s the only security person not sick. He gives Quark a warning that he’s holding him responsible if anything turns up missing.

Bashir is studying samples. He is tired. He tells the computer to “replay morning,” and the computer does not comprehend. He then looks at the screen and realizes it is displaying nonsense.

“Excuse color away.” No, I think we’ve done enough of that.

Great, now the doctor is sick. He at least seems sensible enough not to just shout gibberish at the monitor, but understands what’s going on.

Kira is still searching for information on Surmak Ren. She finally finds him at a medical complex and calls him.

Save money! Reuse your old upholstery to make clothing!

He seems to be wearing a shirt made out of your grandmother’s couch. It’s actually quite similar to the shirt worn in the file photo Kira found, only with less color. He answers immediately, but then when she asks him about Dekon Elig he claims he doesn’t know what she’s talking about and hangs up on her.

Odo is with Sisko, telling him that he’s not qualified to run station operations. Sisko agrees, but has no choice; everyone else is sick. Kira runs in and says that she’s found a scientist she thinks can help. She’s going to find him. Sisko doesn’t want her to break quarantine, and she says she’s not going to. She runs off and Odo says he hopes there will be someone left to greet her when she returns.

Kira takes a runabout and flies off.

Sisko goes to visit Jake, and they hug like they haven’t seen each other in decades.


There are some people talking to each other in the background; I wonder if they are just spouting nonsense at each other or if they’re unaffected. One is wearing a neon orange shirt under a brown something; kind of reminds me of an old Girl Scouts uniform. The other is wearing a red turtleneck under a brown sweater. Lots of layers – is the future terribly cold?

Sisko says some comforting words to Jake that he probably can’t understand.

Odo is in Ops, and sees that Jaheel is attempting to leave. Sisko tells him that the mooring clamps are locked. Jaheel says he is taking his ship to half thrusters. Sisko tells him to stop or he’ll rip his ship apart. Jaheel doesn’t care. He says his crew has been confined to the hospital and he needs to leave now while he can still function. Sisko tells him he’s better off here than being alone when the virus hits him. He starts to argue his point, but Sisko cuts him off.

Sisko plans to release the clamps and then grab the ship with a tractor beam, but when he tries to do that, he finds there’s too much stress on the clamps and they won’t retract. The main power core of the ship has been ruptured. The ship might explode and take the docking ring with it.

Kira heads toward Bajor. She tells the computer to scan Surmak’s office and then calls him to confirm he is the lone life form present. Surmak prepares to hang up again, but she beams him aboard.

This place needs more upholstery. Good thing you called me – I’m just the guy to do it! 

He seems to be wearing a shirt of grey carpet over a jumpsuit or maybe pants and a turtleneck of slightly darker grey. Definitely your grandma’s living room.

Jaheel’s com lines are down. Sisko tells Odo to try some technobabble which Odo manages to do despite claiming to not really be qualified. They manage to get the ship on screen and see that it’s on fire. Sisko puts out a general call for help throughout the station. He is starting to not feel well. Odo suggests exploding the mooring clamps, thus pushing the ship away from the station. They’ll need to do this manually. Sisko starts to stand up but feels bad so sits down.

Odo volunteers for the task. Sisko agrees, and advises him to “cross barrels. All job appalled.” Okay, then. Sisko is down for the count.

Surmak is pissed. He says he’s going to have Kira thrown in prison for the rest of her life. She says okay, but they need his help with the virus first. Surmak says he had practically nothing to do with the virus, that Dekon Elig created it, and he was just his assistant, only working in the underground for 6 months before being captured.

“You need more upholstery!” *sigh* “yeah, yeah, old man.”

We can see here that his over-shirt is sort of a similar construction as the Bajoran uniform in terms of the way the sleeves are attached to the main body. Maybe this is just a style the Bajorans are fond of, or the way they developed their clothing manufacturing.

He also does not know of an antidote. Kira tells him she has a station full of dying people. He says he sympathizes but can’t help. She tells him she’s infected with the virus, and so he’s infected, so can he help himself?

Odo calls out for help; Quark responds.


He looses some points for tucking his pants into his boots.

He says he will beam Odo to docking port 5. Odo is skeptical. Quark says he served on a Ferengi fighter for 8 years. Odo is reluctant but agrees. Quark then says he’s witnessed the procedure hundreds of times. Odo is alarmed, but before he can back out, Quark calls out “energizing!” in a gleeful tone, and Odo vanishes. Quark waves goodbye.

Odo appears in the right spot.

Kira approaches the station and is astonished to hear Quark greeting her. She and Surmak head directly to the medical lab. Kira says she is planning to head back to Ops and if he needs her to “use this string impact. Lots show red intense.”

Sounds like she found Surmak just in time.

Meanwhile, Odo drags Jaheel from his sheep as he mumbles “Dog fellow distance.” Quark chimes in to say that he’d better hurry up as he has one minute until the ship explodes.

Surmak is mumbling medical technobabble to himself as he works on Bashir’s computer, and has apparently already found an antidote. (Bashir did most of the work)

Odo manages to close a door, then opens another panel in the wall, and then another panel. Then then runs outside the airlock and closes the door and then pushes a button. The ship flies away from the station and then explodes.


The shockwaves cause the station to shake, but everything is okay. Quark requests hazard pay. Odo grabs Jaheel and drags him off.

Sisko updates the station log to note that Surmak found an antidote with the help of Bashir’s notes. They are continuing to administer the virus.

At Ops, Sisko orders a black coffee. Chief watches with concern. Sisko drinks the coffee, then makes a face as it doesn’t taste quite right. Oh well.

The face of a man who needs better coffee.