Random (but not really)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Re-Watching Deep Space Nine: It’s the Little Things

One of the things I enjoy about Deep Space Nine is the banter between the characters. I think it starts with running jokes about Dax being a terrible gossip, then we start to see Dax gossiping with Kira and quite soon we see short bits of back and forth, and I love those bits.

But the other thing we get with the scenes is in the background, the little things that allow a space station or fighter ship to function.

Take this scene:

Chief O’Brien: Dilithium matrix is aligned and calibrated. – Just be a bit more careful, that’s all I ask.
Colonel Kira: Opening antimatter injector ports. – Trouble in paradise?
Doctor Bashir: It was nothing. – Emergency life support and damage control systems standing by.
Chief O’Brien: I wouldn’t call it nothing.
Lieutenant Ezri Dax: Autonomous guidance system initialized and active.
Chief O’Brien: He lost Travis.
Colonel Kira: Hm – sounds serious. – Verify astrometric database.
Doctor Bashir: Miles built this Alamo model, replete with small figures. Quite spectacular, actually. – Data sets loaded and verified. – Anyway, he was showing it to me in Quark’s when we – rather I – accidentally misplaced Colonel Travis.
Nog: Phaser safeties engaged. – Can’t you make another one?
Chief O’Brien: What, so he can lose it again? – Field stabilizers online.
Colonel Kira: Well, that’s what happens when you share your toys. – Synchronizing warp plasma flow…
Chief O’Brien: It’s not a toy! It’s a model, built to scale.
Doctor Bashir: He really did a fantastic job.
Chief O’Brien: Nacelles holding at pre-warp threshold.

These scenes feel real–the conversations people would have while going through checklists or other regular tasks. They’re taking the tasks seriously, but they are also joking around and teasing each other and generally being normal people.

It’s something that was brought up in the episode “In the Pale Moonlight” where they are trying to create a fake meeting between Damar and Weyoun.

GARAK: That’s it. Freeze programme. That’s all the new material. The rest of the programme plays exactly as you saw it before. What do you think?
SISKO: It’s better. They seem more real.
GARAK: Yes, and all I had to do was add a little petty bickering and mutual loathing.
TOLAR: So, you are happy?
SISKO: It’s satisfactory.

It’s the similar principle that makes me love the scenes of teasing and general chatter between the characters on DS9. It makes them seem like real people.

It’s a tiny thing, but I it delightful.

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