DS9- The Final Pitch
Like many fans, I was disappointed with the seventh season and really hated the finale. After all that set-up… the mystery of the prophets, the Celestial Temple… what was the pay-off? Throw the book in the fire because “the book was the key.” Dip-shit, dumb-ass and totally Un-Roddenberry-Like! More than a waste, it was a miss-spent opportunity.
Consider the compelling and evocative set-up of Bajor and its people. Here’s an entire planet of one culture and one religion that lasted continuously for 35,000 years. That alone is damn suspicious. Their Gods seem to actually be there and capable of supernatural acts even upon Starfleet personal. Their supernatural realm is given a scientifically fancy if not plausible gateway in the form of a doorbell operated wormhole. Roddenberry uses this device to suggest a doorway between religion and science with Sisko the Emissary as the one who will step through and bring the two together. We assume Sisko and Starfleet will demystify the Prophets and we’ll have fun watching. But no…
The last season shows the supernatural clearly winning out over reason and science. Pah-Wraith light shows, space alien moms, the ever-boring battle between good and evil… yuk.
There were some great sub-plots that were left abandoned: bickering alpha and gamma Jem’HaDar, saving the Alamo, the corruption of Odo… And that suck-fest of a finale- “The Things You Leave Behind”. Yeah, right. Starting with Gene’s vision of Star Trek… and mine.
In my frustration, I cooked up an alternate ending. I have made it as brief and compressed as possible. It could be blown out to include all the characters and plots I’ve omitted here.
To set it up, imagine a seventh season without Sisko’s ridiculous mom or Gul Dukat’s romance with Winn or Julian’s excessive enhancements or anything depicting a struggle of good against evil.
In their place, imagine that these sub-plots have been folded into the seventh season:
The Alpha and Gamma Jem’HaDar went to war, with the Klingons backing the wrong side. All the Gammas in the Alpha Quadrant are wiped out by making alpha White indigestible for them. All dominion forces in the Alpha Quadrant are loyal to Odo, who is seen as the only Alpha Founder. He is basking in the attention and slowly turning into a religious guru who wants to lead a new Dominion based on justice but finds he must be more brutal than the old Dominion to achieve it. Like in the show, Odo has been confused and corrupted by his seductively porous girlfriend. Together, they run the new Alpha Dominion from a rogue planet in the Badlands. They are never seen together because she is a forbidden Gamma type founder. She appears to her Klingon allies, but never with Odo. One of them is always the planet.
In a holodeck simulation, Miles and Julian manage to defend the Alamo with a moat. They back up four years in their program and convince the locals (posing as development huskters) to divert the river. Using primitive electrolytic technology, they separate the hydrogen from the oxygen and make an eternal ring of fire around the fort.
Kai Winn struggles with her faith as the Prophets never speak to her and the Orbs do not give her visions. After punishing herself endlessly for being unworthy, she begins to wonder if everyone who tells of orb experiences is really telling the truth, and hiding their own unworthiness behind a facade, like she always has.
Here is an alternative series finale for Deep Space Nine.
THE FINAL PITCH
Two Vediks come to Sisko’s office because it was foretold that on this day the Emissary would experience the Orb of Conundrum. Sisko opens the orb’s box and finds Q’s head inside. Q tells him, “Red Alert, Benji! The Prophets are in clear violation of their lease, and I’m here to fix it. You’ve got 36,000 Jem’HaDar ships headed your way unless you can convince all of Bajor to stop believing in the Prophets. Today. Do you still want to be the Emissary?”
Q comes out of the box and explains that 25,000 years ago, when the Bajorans first ventured beyond their solar system, they were put on trial by the Q continuum in the same court as in the Next Generation pilot. Q was the prosecutor. The Bajorans lost.
Q takes Sisko through a series of scenes including the dwarf-filled courtroom that show how the Bajorans went into space to spread the message of Ba’Halla and its moral superiority to the rest of sentient life. Their defense was that this was their true and never changing purpose in the cosmos. For being frozen in dogma, The Q sentenced the ruling council of Bajor to loose all sense of time and be imprisoned in a timeless vortex in space. Even the Bajoran’s progressive opposition party was declared spineless and became the Pah-Wraiths trapped in the fire-caves. The Bajorans were sentenced to worship their new prophet-gods forever and their world was filled with enough puzzles and supernatural effects to keep endless generations of them busy for eons.
Q and Sisko end up in Ops with the rest of the crew. Q explains that the prophets have always bent the rules but freezing the Jem’HaDar fleet in the wormhole was the last straw. It must be undone. “They’re not supposed to change things. They don’t even know what change is.” A fancy clock appears. Q says it’s twelve hours to midnight when the fleet will be released and that they will be really pissed.
Chief O’Brien protests that The Q did not make the wormhole and that it is a natural phenomena and they can destroy it to protect themselves. Q explains that the Celestial Temple is a little piece of the Q Continuum dumbed down for morons that he stuck into a wormhole that happened to be passing by at the time. That froze the wormhole in place and it can’t be destroyed. Q explains that everything in the wormhole and the religion of the prophets is a load of crap and he tells O’Brien that it is all made of unchanging particles called crapitrons and he flashes some equations onto the chief’s handy screenpad. Without crapitrons, Q says, it would be just another boring wormhole.
Sisko orders Kernal Kira to contact the Vedik Assembly. “All I have to do is explain it to them?” Q snorts at Sisko. “Just tell them the truth. How hard can that be? You have science on your side. All they have is a load of crapitrons.”
The Kernal is freaked out by this and slips away to steal a runabout. She heads off to find Odo to beg him to stop the gamma fleet from destroying the Alpha Quadrant and the Emissary from destroying her faith. Along the way her ship is crippled by Gul Dukat’s pimped-out Bird of Prey. He decides her mission is worthy of his support and he takes her to the Changeling Planet.
They beam down to find Odo’s girlfriend who, after several disagreeable comments about Cardassians and Bajorans, is impulsively and simultaneously blasted by Kira and Dukat. Unable to handle two different kinds of weapons fire, she crumbles into a black ash. Odo’s upper torso emerges from the planet and he wades through the ground like water to cradle the ash in his hands. He looks up at Kira and says, “She never really liked you.” The Kernal responds, “I was going to tell you the same thing.”
Dukat rolls his eyes and draws a breath to express his impatience when suddenly, a blue misty cloud rises from the black ash and leaps into Dukat’s body. His shock quickly becomes a big smile. He breaks into a trot, sheds his crinkly uniform and morphs into a giant lizard-bird who shrieks and flies away into space.
Kira tells Odo how Q deceived Sisko by pandering to his scientific prejudice. The Gods of Bajor must be protected and she is convinced that this is the moment of her true purpose in the cosmos. Feeling special himself, Odo agrees.
With Kira in command, Odo orders the entire Alpha fleet of Jem Ha'dar to DS9 to attack the station and kill the Emissary.
With Dax in orbit, Sisko beams down to the Bajoran Assembly Chamber. In a very Roddenberry-like speech, Sisko tries to explain how faith and religion were overcome on earth by the slow process of science brushing away our ignorance and slowly showing us how we didn’t need to fill in the gaps with myths and fanciful explanations. Then he tells them that the prophets are just alive like them and need to be understood and reasoned with. He says, “Ask them. Pray. I’m sure they will tell you the truth if you just ask the right question.”
A Vedik in the front row responds, “You’re testing us, Emissary, as it was foretold that you would on this very day.”
Sisko explodes into a mad rant. In a confused jumble of sentences, he tries to explain Q and the trial and how he’s got a clock on his desk that says the world ends at midnight. The entire assembly is laughing merrily except for Kai Winn. She believes him. It’s the first time in her life that she has really believed anything. She stands with Sisko and tries to quiet the assembly. The Vediks respond with a volley of Junja Sticks and the two of them are transported away.
On the trip back to the station, Sisko explains the situation in more detail to Kai Winn. She is shocked but seems strangely relieved. Returning to Ops, Sisko shouts at the ceiling and pleads to Q to stop the clock. He asks Q to make him a hundred feet tall or give him a golden glow or something to make it a fair challenge for him. Q fails to appear and Sisko orders the crew to prepare for an attack.
Tension-filled trombones fill the room when suddenly; O’Brien realizes that, just like the Alamo, he could defend the station with a moat using crapitrons from the wormhole and, of course, the deflector array. In Colm’s masterful tone, to Sisko, “We can surround the station with a sub-space inversion field that peels layers of space apart and make a moat of quantum chaos. Any ship that crosses it would be torn apart or folded into itself… including ours. The real trouble is, it will leave us blind. You couldn’t see through it. In or out.” Sisko tells him to do it.
With less than an hour to midnight, Miles discovers that it would take four years to prepare the necessary equipment to create a subspace moat. Everyone has a we’re all gonna die moment. Suddenly, Julian brings him his birthday present early- a box of chronotrons. Using the transporter, O’Brien manages to interact with himself from a previous time-shifting episode four seasons earlier (Visionary), and convinces himself to begin the necessary work for the moat. When he returns, the station has shiny new crapitron collectors on it. Midnight has struck. The wormhole is open. Sisko tells the chief to switch it on.
The Gamma fleet emerges from the wormhole and arrives at the station just in time to see it vanish into a black patch of nothing. The first ships to get close to the station are destroyed in a manner worthy of several billable hours of CGI time. The rest hold their ground just beyond the moat. The lead ship fires several shots into the darkness. Nothing happens. Moments later, several shots come out of the darkness and one of the second row ships is destroyed. All the ships open fire in a fierce barrage until their commander says whoa. Nothing happens.
Then the space around the darkness fills with the flashes of the Alpha fleet coming out of warp. They immediately open fire on the darkness. Almost instantly, thousands of shots come out of the darkness in all directions and both fleets engage in a giant battle against the nothingness and Alphas and Gammas against each other.
A third of both fleets are destroyed before they realize that it is their own weapons fire returning from the moat in random directions and at random times. They try to fight each other without shooting into the darkness. Kernal Kira is killed.
Back inside the station, the windows are all black and no one knows what is going on outside. The clock has stopped. With a flash, Q takes the place of the clock. “I guess you won’t be needing this anymore. What use would you have for a device that measures change?
“Look what you’ve done. You’ve created your own little forever in here. And, you used what you believe about the universe to do it. You were supposed to end this, Mr. Emissary, not repeat it!”
Q stands atop a control panel and exclaims, ”Eternity has begun and I’ve got all day. Let’s invite the neighbors over.”
The whole room flashes as The Prophets appear in Ops. They appear as glowing members of the entire cast, all slowly swaying their heads side to side. There are two glowing Kiras. Q turns to the Kira on the left. “Congratulations, my dear. I felt this was an honor you truly deserved.” Turning to Kai Winn, Q says coldly, “You don’t.”
The Chief approaches the new Kira with his tricorder. “She’s brimming with crapitrons.”
Sisko is enraged. “Q! End this! For all we know the Jem’HaDar are attacking Bajor right now! At least let us see what’s happening!” Q strokes his chin. “Hmmm. Jean-Luc once used an inverted tachyon pulse to peer beyond the sub-space realm. Why don’t you try that?” Sisko turns to O’Brien. “Chief?” O’Brien shrugs. “Sure. We could use the deflector array but not while were generating the moat.”
Q raises his voice. “You know the game, Benji. The final pitch has been thrown. It’s time to see what happens next. There’s still time to convince the Bajorans. I’ll take you back there for another try if you’re up for it.”
“Q, it’s impossible. I spoke to a thousand Vediks and I don’t think I swayed any of them. You’ve filled them with your crapitrons and they’ll never listen to reason.”
“No, no, no… I did not. The Bajoran believers make their own crapitrons every day. They chose their unchanging position with only a little help from me. But I’ll make it easier for you, Benji. If you can find fifty disbelievers, I will spare them all.”
Sisko cringes. “I don’t think I can find fifty in one lifetime, Q! And you’re going to let the entire population die for it?”
“That does sound harsh when you put it that way. All right, if you can find ten honest post-believers, I will spare them all.”
“Even ten would take years of education and counseling. You’re going to kill them all today!”
“You pathetic pusillanimous primate!” Q shouts. “Fine! Bring me just one disbeliever or are you telling me that in all your time on Bajor you could not find even one, single hypocrite?!!!”
“Just one. Someone who can lead Bajor into the world of change… someone who has struggled with belief all her life and never quite fit in with the rest. Someone clever… even devious…a skeptic who truly cares for Bajor and is already eminently placed to take over your old job, Mr. Emissary.”
“Eminently placed… devious… Chief, give me your tricorder.” Sisko approaches Kai Winn. “Eminence, I don’t measure any crapitrons from you. You never really believed, did you?”
Winn looks ashamed. “Emissary, I am not worthy. My whole life, I have lived a lie.”
Sisko looks at her deeply. “No, you haven’t.”
Sisko turns to Q with determination. “Alright, Q. Here is your disbeliever. Now, end this!”
Q grins with magnanimity. “I already have. I just beat the crap out of an old friend of yours.”
O’Brien dashes to a beeping control panel. “There’s a signal coming in through the moat. It’s a Dominion audio channel modulated on an inverted tachyon pulse!” Sisko sighs. “That must be our Dominion friends outside. Let’s hear it, Chief.”
“This is Odo, your Founder and God speaking to all Dominion ships everywhere. I have good news. Thanks to all of you, Alpha and Gamma alike, and your many years of faithful service, I now have everything I want. The Universe is perfect. Your mission… your purpose in the cosmos… is accomplished. Shut down your ships and extinguish yourselves. And again, thanks.”
“The signal’s getting real strong now. It’s off the scale!” exclaims O’Brien. A loud buzzing sound stops as Odo morphs into his familiar form in the middle of the room. He straightens his collar and says, “I’ve never been an inverted tachyon pulse before. Very interesting. You can turn off your new toy now, Chief, everything’s fine.”
O’Brien begins to drain the moat’s crapitrons back into the wormhole which reveals the space around the station is full of lifeless and drifting ships.
Q flashes into his courtroom robes. “I hereby render the verdict of this Court undone. The sentence is lifted. Bajor may change if and when it chooses to, and soon, we hope. And, to show you that even the Q can be charitable, I will leave behind just enough crapitrons to keep your Gamma wormhole in place. Here end-eth the lesson.”
Q flashes back into a Starfleet uniform two inches behind Sisko’s ear.
“Well, Mr. Ex-Emissary, you’ve done it. I am impressed. You have slightly mitigated my disappointment in you. If you’re really lucky, someday, I’ll give you another chance to redeem yourself. See you around.” Q vanishes in a flash with a clap of thunder.
A series of quick scenes show life at the station returning to normal. Then we see the former prophets back on Bajor in a classroom learning about clocks. The new Emissary is leading the Vediks into a science class. Then, in one quick aside, we see Ensign Nog with a Starfleet survey team peering through some bushes at a primitive humanoid society. They are watching the natives carve a statue of a giant lizard-bird.
In the final scene, Rom bursts into Sisko’s office interrupting a conversation with O’Brien. “Something’s wrong! I was reading Leeta’s book of Bajoran Prophesy and it’s all wrong! Even things that were right before are wrong now!”
Checking the old book with his tricorder, the Chief says, “No more crapitrons.”
Sisko sighs with relief. “That’s fine, Chief. Let’s not take any more crap from anybody.”