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|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6|
|Directed by||Anson Williams|
|Story by||Pam Pietroforte|
|Teleplay by||René Echevarria|
|Featured music||David Bell|
|Cinematography by||Jonathan West|
|Original air date||November 22, 1997|
"Statistical Probabilities" is the 133rd episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the ninth episode of the sixth season. Bashir takes on a group of genetically engineered misfires, comparable to savants. This episode guest stars Jeannetta Arnette as Dr. Loews, Tim Ransom as Jack, Hilary Shepard as Lauren, Michael Keenan as Patrick, Faith Salie as Sarina Douglas, Casey Biggs as Damar and Jeffrey Combs reprising as Weyoun. Meanwhile, Deep Space Nine hosts Dominion talks.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station located near a stable wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. In this episode, Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig) attempts to help four fellow augments start becoming useful and productive members of society.
In the Star Trek science fiction universe, parents who allow their children to be genetically manipulated attempt to keep the procedure secret: It is illegal, and augmented human beings are prohibited from joining most professions and may not join Starfleet. However, the problems developed by these four augments forced their parents to seek medical help for them. The four have been institutionalized for most of their lives, and as such are very close to each other, but mistrust outsiders, even their own doctor, Dr. Loews (Jeanetta Arnette).
The reason augmentation is illegal is because of the devastating Eugenics Wars, which took place in the 1990s in the Star Trek universe.
The four augments are:
- Jack (Tim Ransom) is a male in his thirties, perhaps a little older than Bashir. His mental and physical abilities are significantly superior to the average human. However, his great abilities are matched by extreme anxiety, which often manifests itself as paranoia, assertiveness and physical aggression. He generally feels superior to other people, and as a result has little empathy for the suffering he causes. Because of his proactive nature, he generally feels himself to be the leader of his group of compatriots.
- Lauren (Hilary Shepard) is female, almost 40. She is extremely intellectually developed. She is prone to inappropriate sexual behavior, which often manifests itself as her being sure almost all men are madly in love with her.
- Patrick (Michael Keenan) is a man in his fifties with obvious mental abilities, although he is just as obviously not athletic. However, despite his age and intellect, he has the emotional responses of a child. When something annoys him (such as a minor noise amplified by his genetically improved hearing) he becomes petulant. He is prone to emotional outbursts. When threatened with punishment, he becomes highly anxious.
- Sarina Douglas (Faith Salie) is a woman in her late twenties who does not communicate, either speaking or writing, although she can understand both.
With Federation/Dominion peace negotiations in the background, Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig) decides to take time to help less fortunate augments with their problems. He is introduced to four augments who, due to unintended side effects, are unable to function in society.
Bashir realizes that his patients' primary problem is boredom. As Jack (Tim Ransom) has pointed out, they are forbidden from pursuing any profession where they could put their brain power to work. Meanwhile, Damar (Casey Biggs) has become the new leader of the Cardassian Union and offers peace talks with the Federation. Watching his speech, the augments make several incredibly accurate guesses about Damar and how he came to power, including that he murdered the "princess" (Tora Ziyal) of the "deposed king" (Dukat). Bashir convinces Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks) to allow the augments to review the peace negotiations to see if they can determine the Dominion's agenda.
The project works beyond Bashir and Sisko's wildest dreams. Based on subtle grammatical clues (the augments learn the Dominion language overnight), intimate knowledge of Dominion tactics (their negotiators offer something valuable to cover the fact that they are after something even more valuable), and behavioral idiosyncrasies (they notice Damar avoids certain star systems with his eyes), the Federation learns that the Dominion wants to draw the border to secure a planet that has many of the raw materials needed to make Ketracel White. Knowing this gives the Federation negotiators a huge advantage in the talks.
As such, the Federation agrees to provide the augments with further intelligence information which they use to develop a statistical historical model to predict the future. The augments soon come to the conclusion that the Federation is doomed to lose the war and suffer casualties in the hundreds of billions. As a result, they recommend surrender, which will save those lives and still leave the Federation in a position to rise up against the Dominion in the future. Bashir is convinced the augments are right and pleads the case before Captain Sisko. However, Sisko and Starfleet reject the suggestion out of hand.
Faced with what they feel is the equivalent of a decision to commit suicide, the augments decide to try to leak Starfleet's strategic plans to the Dominion negotiators on board DS9, hoping to shorten the war and minimize the casualties. Bashir rightly sees this as foolhardy, but Jack, Lauren (Hilary Shepard), and Patrick (Michael Keenan) overpower him. Bound hand and foot, and left alone with Sarina (Faith Salie), Bashir convinces Sarina that her fellow augment's actions will result in their imprisonment and separation. Bashir plays on the fact that he has determined that Sarina is in love with Jack (something the other augments have failed to realize). Sarina frees Bashir in the nick of time, and alerts Constable Odo (René Auberjonois), who intercepts the augments on their way to the meeting with the Dominion negotiators.
Later, Bashir realizes that hubris primarily drove their belief that the Federation would lose. Rather than believe they might be wrong about the course of the war, they decided they couldn't possibly be wrong because of their superior intellect. The key point is that despite all of their intelligence and the presumed infallibility of their statistical historical model, the actions of one person (Sarina) altered their plan, which in turn completely altered history (changing a turkey shoot by the Dominion into a drawn-out slog at worst).
Bashir returns to his duties, and the augments return to their institution, promising to continue work on a plan for defeating the Dominion (albeit without classified information).
In 2011, this episode was noted by Forbes as one of the top ten episodes of the franchise that explores the implications of advanced technology, in the case genetic manipulation. They praised the episode for exploring the tragic implications for technological enhancement gone wrong. Forbes also suggested the episode "The Masterpiece Society" for its exploration of a genetically engineered society encountered by the Enterprise D. Forbes notes that one reason the Federation has banned genetic augmentaion, was because of a large war in the 1990s called the Eugenics war, in the Star Trek timeline. They tied the exploration of Bashir's character, the Star Trek story, and the other augmented character's under a concept that despite the promises of a technology's benifit, things can go wrong.
- Knapp, Alex. "The 10 Best Singularity Themed Star Trek Episodes". Forbes. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVD set, volume 6, disc 3, selection 1
- Space Seed (famous Star Trek episode involving genetic augments)
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982 film sequel to Space Seed, one of the most acclaimed Star Trek films)
- Brent Spiner guest stars in the Borderland trilogy about augments on Enterprise (2001-2005) TV show
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