The Quickening
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: 20 May, 1996

[Wardroom]

O'BRIEN: Looks like he used some sort of encryption program to bypass the access protocols.
KIRA: Unbelievable. The nerve.
(Odo enters, bringing Quark.)
QUARK: Major, you wanted to see me?
ODO: Don't pretend you don't know what this is about.
KIRA: Maybe this'll jog your memory. Engage monitor.
(And an advert for Quark's comes up.)
QUARK: Come to Quark's, Quark's is fun, come right now, don't walk, run! Oh, I love the part where my name rotates around.
ODO: Tampering with the station's comm. system is a class three offence.
QUARK: It's just a little advertisement. I didn't put one up in Ops.
ODO: I'm sure the magistrate will take that into consideration when he calculates your fine.
(Worf enters, with a mug in his hand.)
WORF: You!
QUARK: As you can see, we're very busy here. Station business.
WORF: How did you do it?
O'BRIEN: Do what?
WORF: I ordered a glass of prune juice from the replicator in the Defiant's mess. This is what it came in.
(The mug is emblazoned with Quarks. Free refill. Limit one per customer. When tilted, the jingle plays.)
KIRA: If all your little advertisements aren't purged from our systems by the time I get back from the Gamma Quadrant, I will come to Quark's, and believe me, I will have fun.
(Kira leaves)
QUARK: Er, let me help you with that, Chief.

[Runabout]

(WHOOSH! Through the wormhole.)
BASHIR: According to Chief O'Brien the scan resolution on the new sensors is amazing. We could practically do the entire bio-survey from orbit.
KIRA: Suits me. The sooner we get out of the Gamma Quadrant, the better.
BASHIR: How can you say that? Those little points of light out there are the great unknown, beckoning to us. I wish I could visit every one.
KIRA: You might want to skip the ones with Jem'Hadar bases on them.
BASHIR: Is it my imagination or are the stars a little brighter in the Gamma Quadrant?
DAX: Is it my imagination, or has Julian lost his mind?
KIRA: Setting course for the Gavara system.
(Later)
KIRA: I'm picking up some kind of emergency signal. It's fragmented. They say their homeworld's been attacked. Massive destruction, heavy casualties. They're asking any passing vessel for assistance.
DAX: Looks like the signal's coming from somewhere in the Teplan system.
BASHIR: That's just outside Dominion space.
KIRA: Let's hope the Jem'Hadar know that. Setting new course.

[Ruined town]

(Bashir and Dax beam down onto a hillside near a wrecked town. They walk along the main 'street'. The civilisation has gone back to pre-industrial, but the locals don't really bother about the strangers.)
BASHIR: What happened here?
(A woman with red prominent facial veins staggers out and collapses.)
NORVA: Help me. Don't let me die here. Take me to Trevean.
BASHIR: Trevean?
NORVA: Hospital.
DAX: I'll try to find out where it is.
BASHIR: I'm going to give you something for the pain.
EPRAN: (a young man) You're not from this world.
BASHIR: No.
EPRAN: The Blight's quickened in her. There's nothing you can do. You should leave here. now. Go back to where you came from and forget about this place.
(After the credits, Dax returns with her hair loose.)
BASHIR: The painkiller I gave her isn't having much effect. But their physiology's so different from ours, I doubt this blight is any danger to us.
DAX: I got us transportation to the hospital.
BASHIR: How did you manage that? These aren't exactly the friendliest people I've ever met.
DAX: I gave her my hair clip.

[Hospital]

(More like a hotel lounge or restaurant, with soothing music, dimmed lights, people sitting around in groups.)
DAX: This is a hospital?
ATTENDANT: She's quickened. Take her to Trevean. You're from another world.
(Another attendant carries Norva away.)
DAX: Yes.
ATTENDANT: Well, don't worry. We'll take care of her now.
DAX: I haven't seen a single person that doesn't have lesions on their face.
BASHIR: His look inflamed. So do that woman's over there.
DAX: Like the woman we brought in.
PATIENT: Trevean. Thank you for this.
TREVEAN: You deserve nothing less.
TAMAR: Yesterday, when I woke up, I saw that it had finally happened. I'd quickened. I always thought I'd be afraid but I wasn't, because I knew I could come here. Last night I slept in a bed for the first time in my life. I fell asleep listening to music. This morning I bathed in hot water, dressed in clean clothes. And now I'm here with my friends and family. Thank you, Trevean, for making this day everything I dreamed it could be.
(Tamar toasts the doctor with his goblet and drinks deeply.)
TREVEAN: You brought Norva here?
DAX: How is she?
TREVEAN: It was too late for her. If only she'd come sooner, I could have helped.
BASHIR: Then there is a treatment for the Blight?
TREVEAN: There is no cure. It's always fatal.
BASHIR: I'm sorry, I don't understand. I thought you said you could have helped her.
TREVEAN: Why are you here?
DAX: We received a distress call. We're here to help in any way we can.
BASHIR: I'm a doctor, and I have access to sophisticated diagnostic equipment.
TREVEAN: We had sophisticated equipment once. Do you think our world was always this way? Two centuries ago, we were no different from you. We built vast cities, travelled to neighbouring worlds. We believed nothing was beyond our abilities. We even thought we could resist the Dominion. I see you've heard of them. Then take care not to defy them or your people will pay the same price we did. The Jem'Hadar destroyed our world as an example to others. Bring me Milani's child. More than anything, the Dominion wanted my people to bear the mark of their defiance. So they brought us the Blight.
(The baby has blue veins.)
TREVEAN: We're all born with it. We all die from it. When the Blight quickens, the lesions turn red. Death soon follows. Some in childhood. Most before they can have children of their own. Only a few live to be my age.
BASHIR: Trevean, if you tell us what you know about the Blight, we may be able to help.
TREVEAN: No. You should go. If the Jem'Hadar find you here
DAX: We're willing to take that risk.
(Tamar has a seizure.)
TREVEAN: Don't.
BASHIR: Make some room. I'm a doctor.
ATTENDANT: Leave him alone. You don't understand.
BASHIR: Can't you see he's dying?
TREVEAN: Of course he's dying. He came here to die. People come to me when they quicken. I help them leave this world peacefully, surrounded by their families and friends.
BASHIR: What are you saying?
TREVEAN: The herbs I give them causes death within minutes.
DAX: You poison them?
TREVEAN: The Blight kills slowly. No one wants to suffer needlessly. Not like that woman you brought me.
BASHIR: You killed her?
TREVEAN: I did what she asked.
BASHIR: I thought this was a hospital and that you were a healer.
TREVEAN: I am. I take away pain. Now you've disrupted Tamar's death. I'm going to have to ask you to leave.

[Ruined town]

(People trundle wrapped bodies along on carts. A young girl is staring at Bashir who is sitting on his own.)
DAX: I found the distress beacon in an abandoned building not far from here. It has its own power source. My guess is it's been repeating the same message for over two hundred years.
BASHIR: Well, there's nothing for us to do here. We should go.
EKORIA: (pregnant girl) Are you really a doctor?
BASHIR: Yes.
EKORIA: I've never met a doctor before. They say there's a woman in Nykalia who makes a medicine that helps people withstand the pain of quickening so they can live longer. I'd go there, but Nykalia's so far away.
BASHIR: When are you due?
EKORIA: Not for another two months.
DAX: That's not very long.
EKORIA: We never know when the quickening will come.
BASHIR: I'm Julian. What's your name?
EKORIA: Ekoria.
DAX: I'm Jadzia.
EKORIA: Did you come here to help us?
BASHIR: Nobody around here seems to want our help.
EKORIA: I do. And I know others who would welcome it too.
KIRA [OC]: Kira to away Team.
DAX: Go ahead.

[Runabout]

KIRA: The sensors just picked up two Jem'Hadar ships headed this way.
(Bashir and Dax beam back up during the break.)
KIRA: The Jem'Hadar are leaving the Kendi system and looks like they're heading for the Obatta cluster.
DAX: Sounds like they're on a patrol route which means this system is probably next.
KIRA: We'd better go. Stand by to get underway.
BASHIR: Hold on, Major. We can't just leave these people. They need our help.
KIRA: And they'll get it. As soon as we get back we'll notify Starfleet so they can put together a relief mission.
BASHIR: But that could take weeks, maybe even months. We're here, now. Remember the plague on Boranis Three? People were dying by the thousands and nobody there knew why. It took us one hour to identify the pathogen, and three days to dose the watertable and inoculate the entire population.
DAX: We might be able to do the same thing here.
KIRA: All right, it's worth a try. We can't risk the Jem'Hadar detecting the runabout. I'll take it to the Jenkata Nebula.
BASHIR: Come back for us in a week. With any luck, we'll have a cure by then.

[House]

CHILD: They're here. They're coming.
(Ekoria leads Dax, Bashir and their equipment to a curtained-off area of the communal room.)
DAX: Thanks.
EKORIA: (to curious children.) Go. Go on. I'm sorry I can't offer you more space.
BASHIR: Oh, don't be. This is fine. Can I use this table to set up my equipment?
EKORIA: Whatever you need.
(Dax picks up a painting.)
DAX: Did you do this?
EKORIA: My husband did. He died last winter. It's what he imagined our world used to be like. He painted a mural similar to that on a building near here. He traded a good pair of boots for the paint he needed. He wanted to show people the way things were, he thought it might give them something to work toward.
DAX: Maybe later you can take us to see it.
EKORIA: All right.
DAX: Well, it looks like we have ourselves a clinic.
BASHIR: The first thing I need to do is run a complete biospectral analysis on an asymptomatic individual.
DAX: Loosely translated, that means he needs a volunteer. Great. Now, if you'll just have a seat, the doctor will be with you in a moment. They love to keep you waiting. It makes them feel important.
BASHIR: How would you like to see a picture of your baby?
(Later, samples are being tested and analysed.)
BASHIR: There it is!
DAX: Let me see.
EKORIA: What's happened?
DAX: We've isolated the virus.
EKORIA: Is that a good thing?
BASHIR: It means we can start analysing its molecular structure, look for binding sites so we can tailor an antigen.
DAX: In other words, yes, it's a very good thing.
BASHIR: I'm going to start mapping nucleotides. Can you run a protein sequencer?
DAX: I think so.
EKORIA: I hope you two are hungry.
BASHIR: Starving.
EKORIA: Good.
(Ekoria takes jars from a case she had kept in the sideboard.)
DAX: That looks like a feast.
EKORIA: It was supposed to be.
DAX: What do you mean?
EKORIA: Nothing. Do you like Takana root tea?
DAX: Ekoria, where did you get all this food?
EKORIA: I've been saving it for the hospital, for my death. Something tells me I'm not going to need it anymore.

[Ruined town]

(Bashir is failing to get red-vein people to help his research.)
BASHIR: Well, thanks anyway. She's not interested either. I hope Dax is having better luck.
EKORIA: I don't understand why you need people who've quickened to make your cure.
BASHIR: Well, I need to chart the progression of the viral (the young man bumps into him) I'm sorry.
EPRAN: (red veins) Oh, you're still here.
BASHIR: Yes.
EPRAN: I see the Blight has spared you. Maybe it doesn't like the taste of your blood.
BASHIR: Unfortunately it seems to like yours.
EPRAN: I'd invite you to my death, but we don't know each other that well.
BASHIR: What if I told you there was a chance you didn't have to die? I'm a doctor.
EPRAN: Don't tell me. You have a cure.
BASHIR: I'm working on one.
EPRAN: Yeah? What will it cost me? A good coat? A tilo of oil?
BASHIR: It won't cost you anything.
EKORIA: He can help us. Listen to him.
BASHIR: I need volunteers, people who have quickened.
EPRAN: What will you do? See how loud we scream when the Blight burns through us?
BASHIR: I have medicines that can dull the pain. I have equipment unlike anything on your world. (to a boy) How would you like me to fix that arm so you can play with your friends over there? I'm not going to hurt you. (gets out the tricorder) You have got a fracture right here. I bet it hurts.
(Bashir runs a bone knitter over it and removes the sling.)
BASHIR: Better?
(The boy flexes his arm, grabs the sling and runs over to his friends. The crowd are impressed.)
EPRAN: How did you do that?
EKORIA: Does it matter? He can find a cure for us if we help him.
TREVEAN: Fixing a broken bone and curing the Blight are two different things.
BASHIR: I know that.
TREVEAN: Others have come here with promises of a cure. They stirred up hope, took food and clothing in exchange for their elixirs. But their promises were always lies. And all those who believed them always came to me in the end, begging for release.
BASHIR: I just want to do what I can to help. I'm not making any promises.
TREVEAN: Take care that you don't. Because we've dealt with those who give false hope before. Believe me, their deaths make the Blight look like a blessing.

[House]

EKORIA: What's wrong?
BASHIR: I'm trying to chart the life-cycle of the virus. It would be a lot easier if I'd gotten more tissue samples.
EKORIA: Maybe you should go home. Maybe my people don't deserve your help.
BASHIR: They've just been suffering so long they've lost hope that things can be better.
EKORIA: It's more than that. We've come to worship death. I used to wake up and look at myself in the mirror, and be disappointed that I hadn't quickened in my sleep. Going to Trevean seemed so much easier than going on living.
BASHIR: But you don't feel that way anymore.
EKORIA: Not since the baby. My little boy. Can your machines tell me what he's going to look like when he grows up?
BASHIR: Oh, no, not really.
EKORIA: Maybe he'll look like his father. I want to be here for him. To hold his hand when he takes his first step. Kiss his knee when he scrapes it in a fall.
BASHIR: Well, with any luck, you'll see him have children of his own.
DAX: Julian. There are some people here who'd like to see you.
(Epran has brought two other quickened people.)
EPRAN: I suppose you're going to want to bleed me?
BASHIR: Oh, a little.
EPRAN: I cancelled my death for you. I was really looking forward to it.
(Time passes. It is night and the divisions in the room have come down to make a full scale ward)
BASHIR: All right, everyone gets three milligrams, including you. (Ekoria injects herself.) Perfect.
(Epran is in great pain, so Dax puts the device on his forehead.)
DAX: There this'll dull the pain.
EPRAN: I like your spots.
DAX: You told me that yesterday.
EPRAN: I still like them.
DAX: Julian. Epran has stopped responding to the cordrazine. I had to put him in an inhibitor field.
BASHIR: He's further along than everyone else. I'm hoping he'll be the first to respond to the antigen. Think of it. She may well be holding the cure in her hands. Do you think we should tell her what she's giving them?
DAX: She's nervous enough about using the hypo. It's better if we wait until we're positive.
BASHIR: I suppose.
DAX: You should take a break. You've been working non-stop for days.

[Outside the house]

(Bashir warms his hands at a brazier.)
EKORIA: Doctor?
BASHIR: Oh?
EKORIA: Dax wanted me to tell you that Epran's white blood count is up another twelve percent.
BASHIR: That's great news.
EKORIA: It is?
BASHIR: Trust me.
EKORIA: I do. I did from the start. I don't really know why.
BASHIR: Well, I'd like to think it's my bedside manner. Doctors and nurses are supposed to project an air of caring competence. You were doing it in there.
EKORIA: Me?
BASHIR: I was watching you. You're very good with patients.
EKORIA: I was just trying to be kind.
BASHIR: Well, some people don't like to be around the sick. It reminds them of their own mortality.
EKORIA: It doesn't bother you?
BASHIR: Sometimes. I prefer to confront mortality rather than hide from it. When you make someone well, it's like you're chasing death off, making him wait for another day.
EKORIA: But death comes to everyone in the end.
BASHIR: Except Kukalaka.
EKORIA: Kuka-who?
BASHIR: My first patient. A teddy bear.
EKORIA: What's that?
BASHIR: Oh, it's a sort of a soft puppet. Anyway, when I was a boy I took him everywhere I went. After a few years, he became a little threadbare until eventually his leg tore and some of the stuffing fell out. My mother was all set to throw him out, but I wouldn't have it, because at the tender age of five, I performed my first surgery. I re-stuffed him and sewed his leg closed. From that day on, I did everything I could to keep Kukalaka in one piece. I must have sewn and stitched and re-patched every square inch of that bear.
EKORIA: Why were you so determined to keep him together?
BASHIR: Well, I wouldn't be much of a doctor if I gave up on a patient, would I?
EKORIA: Where's Kukalaka now?
BASHIR: Oh, in a closet somewhere. (the truth) On a shelf in my room.
DAX: Julian! Something's wrong.

[House]

(Epran is in agony.)
DAX: Julian.
BASHIR: Something's causing the virus to mutate.
DAX: Could it be a reaction to the antigen?
BASHIR: I don't see how. I need a micro-cellular scanner.
EPRAN: Help me, Bashir.
EKORIA: He's going to take care of you. You're going to be all right.
(The scanner makes the red veins spread.)
BASHIR: My God! It's the EM fields from our instruments! (a woman screams) Shut everything down! Now!
(Patients start crying out.)
DAX: All right, everything's off.
BASHIR: The mutation rate hasn't slowed. The effect must be cumulative. Give everybody four milligrams of cordrazine.
(Epran fits, then stops.)
EKORIA: His heart stopped. His heart stopped!
BASHIR: (giving CPR) Come on breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
DAX: Julian. Julian.
BASHIR: Breathe!
DAX: Doctor!
(Bashir stops.)
TREVEAN: What have you done?
LATIA: Help me! Trevean, please.
TREVEAN: Get out of my way.
LATIA: Trevean!
TREVEAN: She's asking for me. You have no right to interfere.
LATIA: Thank you.
(Trevean gives her a vial of poison.)
MAN: Trevean. Trevean, help me.
(More people call for the quick and easy way out of their pain, and Trevean obliges them. The dawn rises on a ward full of shrouds.)
BASHIR: I remember running a haematology scan on Epran the other day. There were changes in the viral base-pair sequence, and I didn't know why.
DAX: There's no way you could've known it was because of our instruments.
BASHIR: I should have put it together.
DAX: That's not fair.
BASHIR: Isn't it? I'm going to tell you a little secret, Jadzia. I was looking forward to tomorrow, to seeing Kira again and casually asking, how was the nebula? And oh, by the way, I cured that Blight thing those people had.
DAX: It's not a crime to believe in yourself, Julian.
BASHIR: These people believed in me and look where it got them. Trevean was right. There is no cure. The Dominion made sure of that. But I was so arrogant I thought I could find one in a week.
DAX: Maybe it was arrogant to think that. But it's even more arrogant to think there isn't a cure just because you couldn't find it.

[Ruined town]

(Bashir walks through the street, and the people are not pleased to see him. Eventually he arrives at the mural.)
EKORIA: I'm glad you got a chance to see it before you left.
(She's quickened)
BASHIR: Ekoria.
EKORIA: I thought I'd make it. I really did.
BASHIR: I'm sorry.
EKORIA: Don't be. You gave me hope. I haven't felt that since before my husband died. Goodbye.
BASHIR: Ekoria, wait.

[Runabout]

(Bashir and Dax have beamed up. Kira stays sitting down to hide her growing bump. Nana is visibly pregnant with Sid's child by now.)
KIRA: You're sure about this?
BASHIR: I can't leave these people. Not now.
KIRA: Whenever you're ready, contact the station. We'll have a runabout here within days.
DAX: You know what worries me, Julian, is that without me you won't have anyone to translate for you. Good luck.
BASHIR: Major.

[Ruined town]

(Bashir beams down with three cases of supplies.)

[House]

(Ekoria is bedridden and Bashir is doing things the old-fashioned way with bubbling beakers and a Bunsen burner .)
EKORIA: What is it?
BASHIR: There isn't a trace of the antigen I gave you in your bloodstream. Your immune system must've rejected it.
(Ekoria gasps with pain.)
BASHIR: Is it bad? I can give you another hypo, but you've so much cordrazine in your system already it might be hard on the baby's metabolism.
EKORIA: I'll wait.
(And one morning.)
EKORIA: What is that smell?
BASHIR: I'm making a salve.
EKORIA: As long as I don't have to drink it.
BASHIR: How do you feel?
EKORIA: I've been better.
BASHIR: Can you sit up?
(He uses a tube to listen to her chest.)
BASHIR: Breathe. Again? Now let's see how the baby's doing. His head's over here now.
EKORIA: I'm not surprised. Feels like he's turning somersaults in there.
BASHIR: His heart's getting stronger every day. I'd say another six weeks.
EKORIA: I'll never make it that long.
BASHIR: Well, I can induce labour in two weeks. The baby will be old enough by then.
EKORIA: Two weeks.
(And later, one night, Trevean is painting the salve on her lesions.)
EKORIA: Trevean. Am I dead?
TREVEAN: Is that what you want? I can end your suffering. Your child will have known nothing but peace.
EKORIA: No. He deserves a chance to live.
TREVEAN: The Blight will take him in the end.
BASHIR: Trevean. I didn't realise you made house calls.
TREVEAN: I was concerned that she might be too weak to come to me.
BASHIR: I don't understand why you're so obsessed with death. From what I've heard, you've lived with the Blight longer than anyone.
TREVEAN: Yes, and I've seen more suffering than anyone else. Goodbye, Ekoria. I hope you live long enough to see your baby.
(Trevean leaves.)
EKORIA: Trevean means well. He's a kind man, in his own way.
(And now Ekoria is giving birth.)
BASHIR: Push! Good. Good. Now breathe. Don't stop breathing. Don't stop breathing. Breathe. I can see his head. And push! Push! Yes, push. Yes. Yes.
(New life has arrived, crying, and with no lesions.)
BASHIR: My God. That's why there's no antigen in your system. It's all been absorbed through the placenta. Ekoria, he doesn't have any lesions. He doesn't have the Blight.
(Bashir gives her the child. She looks at him and dies.)

[Hospital]

(Bashir shows the baby to Trevean and his attendants.)
TREVEAN: You found a cure.
BASHIR: It's not a cure, it's a vaccine. Every pregnant woman should be inoculated with it as soon as possible. It won't help them, but it will protect their babies.
TREVEAN: Our children won't have the Blight?
BASHIR: The vaccine isn't difficult to make, but seeing that everybody gets it will be a huge task.
TREVEAN: Oh, not a task, a privilege. Can you show me how to make it?
BASHIR: I was hoping you'd ask that.
(Bashir hands the child to Trevean.

[Ruined town]

(The people run to see their newborn saviour.)

[Infirmary]

COMPUTER: Nucleotide sequencing complete. Viral reproduction normal.
BASHIR: Let's try an A to C base pair reshuffling.
SISKO: Doctor. I read your report. Good work.
BASHIR: Thank you, sir.
COMPUTER: Nucleotide sequencing complete. Viral reproduction normal.
BASHIR: People are still dying back there.
SISKO: Yes, but their children won't.
BASHIR: That's what I keep telling myself, sir.
(Sisko leaves.)
BASHIR: Initiate reshuffling sequence.

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