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Star Trek Deep Space Nine Pre-Premiere Bible
Star Trek Deep Space Nine Pre-Premiere Bible
[Editors Note: The following ran in issue #24 of CCSTSG Enterprises, the monthly newsletter of the Central Connecticut Star Trek Support Group (7 Quarry St./Vernon, CT 06066, for more info), a few weeks ago. At Shore Leave 14, in Hunt Valley, MD, on the weekend of July 11-12, 1992, Majel Barrett Roddenberry addressed the large audience on the subject of Deep Space Nine by reading extensive excerpts out of the writers bible and answering questions. She also made some interesting comments on other issues surrounding Trek in the post-Gene era. I captured Majels presentation on tape and transcribed it for my newsletter. Note: I have verified the spelling of proper names where possible, but some discrepancies may exist.]
Majel Barrett Roddenberry speaking: The first thing Id really like to do is to thank all of you who did send cards and letters last year. Ive come to tell you that I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. Ive tried to send back thank-you notes to everyone. I hope you all got them. The second thing I want to thank you for is having me back here again. I think it was probably about four or five years ago that I was here before. It could be twenty eight as far as I know -- I dont know, Ive been hanging around Star Trek that long.
Now, I dont talk, I dont give speeches or anything like that. Gene did that. And I dont sing -- Michelle does that. Jimmy tells jokes with an accent. All I do is gossip, so... So basically, Im here for you to ask me questions and Ill try to answer them. If I dont know the answer, Ill make one up. What I am going to do, though, in w ver order youd like it, is to tell you about Deep Space Nine. I have the Bible with me. You cant have it, Im not allowed to sell it to you or give it to you, or let you look at it, but I certainly can read it to you. If you would like me to start with that I will.
[Applause] Okay. It would take me a long time to read it word for word, so Im going to do a little bit of skipping, but youre going to get the general idea:
[Reading from the series bible:] Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the series, set in the next generation of Star Trek lore, follows a team of Starfleet officers who take command of an alien space station situated near the Bejoran Worm Hole, one of the most strategic locations in the galaxy. The Bejoran Worm Hole. Worm holes, simply put, are shortcuts through space. You go in one end, come out the other in seconds to find yourself billions of kilometers away. All known worm holes previously encountered in the Star Trek universe have been unstable. Their ends can whip randomly around the universe, and they last for brief periods of time before collapsing. But in our pilot episode, the first stable worm hole is discovered near the Denarias asteroid field close to the planet Bejor. Like other worm holes it is only visible when an object enters or exits through it. A brief journey through the Bejoran Worm Hole will take a starship to the Gamma Quadrant, normally a sixty-year journey at warp 9. The ride is a spectacular light show: very brilliant colors surround the ship, while inside, strange visual distortions affect perceptions as passengers tear through the space-time continuum. This worm hole is a new passage way to hundreds of unexplored sectors of space and it will turn Bejor into the leading center of commerce and scientific exploration in the sector, attracting travelers from all over the galaxy. In the first episode, we learn that the worm hole has been artificially created by a species of aliens that do not live in the same space-time continuum as we do. Thus, we encounter them unexpectedly within the worm hole itself. They have been sending out orb-like probes from the worm hole, one orb every century for a thousand years, seeking contact with other life forms.
The Backstory. The Cardassians and Bejora are known to Star Trek audiences. A century ago the Cardassians conquered the planet Bejor, an ancient society dedicated to spiritual pursuits. The mysterious orbs that have arrived each century are among the fundamental sacraments of the Bejoran religion. Bejoran terrorism during the last several decades has been a significant problem for the Cardassians. Just before our series begins, the Cardassians have completed mining operations on Bejor, stripping the planet of all its resources. They have decided to unilaterally withdraw from Bejoran space and give up the headaches that the Bejoran have caused them. Well, they have not left quietly and in revenge for the years of terrorism, the Cardassians ravaged the planet, poisoned the wells, scorched the ground and, striking at the heart of the Bejoran people, have desecrated the ancient monastery that is the center of spiritual life. The Bejoran desperately need help. Theyve asked for membership in the Federation and have been granted preliminary acceptance. But the political situation on the planet is terribly unstable: factions that have been united in opposition to Cardassian rule have resumed age-old conflicts. The Starfleet teams mission is to spearhead the arduous diplomatic and scientific efforts that accompany the lengthy entry procedure. All of this is about to be complicated by the discovery of the wormhole.
Deep Space Nine. The station designated DS9 by Starfleet was assembled haphazardly over several years by Cardassian and Bejoran work teams and anybody else who happened to offer services at a premium. It was used by the Cardassians primarily to monitor mining operations on Bejor and to service incoming and outgoing crews. About two hundred people, mostly Bejorans, still live there. By episode three, there will be about fifty Starfleet officers and crewmen stationed there. When the Cardassians abandoned Bejor they stripped the station of all advanced technology and defense capability and the Starfleet team has a huge job of making it operational again. In fact, it will never work up to our re-quirements and will always be causing the engineering crew a lot of headaches. The Ops controls are a hub of activity; there are shuttle bays for smaller vessels. On a given day there might be anywhere from 10 to 300 visitors to DS9, as ships come through with foreigners, scientists, merchants, and spies. Most of the visitors stay on their ships but there are special quarters for some guests. In the first episode, we learn that the ships power sources are destructive to the ionic field that is home to the aliens who created the wormhole and live within a different timeframe. During t xperience, we are told how to travel through without harming them. One aspect of life on the space station hasnt changed since the departure of the Cardassians. During their tenure they sold commercial concessions to the highest bidder to provide services to the mining crews. The result is the Promenade. Unlike any space interior ever seen on Star Trek, its somewhere between a free port and a flea market, bustling with aliens of all sorts when a ships in, intriguing and unusual characters at every bend. Theres gambling and smuggling, alien grifters at work here, bars with holo-suites upstairs. Right next to the traditional ships stores are the Bejoran temple and the kiosk serving live food. Part of the job of the Starfleet team will be to try to tame this honky tonk atmosphere. They will have Runabouts [ed: a new class of smaller ships], which allow our characters to travel to numerous star systems with a maximum speed of 4.7, operated by a two-man crew, with a single pilot in control if necessary. They can transport up to forty people, but thats a crowd. There are cramped, uncomfortable sleeping quarters for six people.
Bejor. Bejor is the world we will visit most often because of its proximity to the space station. Striking architecture with rounded domes and spherical shapes mark the landscape. The ancient Bejora were great architects and engineers before humans were standing erect. The people are deeply mystical. On their planet we will find monks who meditate and chant in chords. They are people who believe in spiritual phenomenon, are devoted to a nonsecular philosophy that goes against the Federations logical, scientific way of life. Their religious leader, known as the Kai, is curious and insightful and develops a strong bond with our Commander.
The Characters. Benjamin Sisko, human Starfleet commander with a twelve year-old son, whose gentle, strong, soft spoken demeanor belies the temper that he is constantly trying to control. And when he loses it, he gets furious with himself. Hes a man of action who gets impatient with too much talk, but as he has become more mature, hes learned to stop and think twice about losing control. He has a weakness for baseball, a sport that died out in the 22nd century and he frequently goes to a holo-suite to have a chat and a catch with one his legendary ballplayer heroes. Sisko was on a starship with his wife and son at the famous encounter with the Borg led by the Borgified Picard, and his wife was killed. That leads to bitterness toward Picard. Picard: Have we met before? Sisko: Yes, we met in battle. Since that tragedy, he has been assigned to shore duty on Mars where he was on the team reconstructing the fleet at Utopia Benecia Yards. Sisko objected to being assigned to DS9. He told Starfleet he had a son to raise and had been asking for an Earth assignment, not this. His important work on DS9 gives him a new direction, but his is still very much a life framed by tragedy.
Major Kira, a former major in the Bejoran underground. Kira is now an outspoken critic of the provisional government. Having fought for freedom all her life, it has angered her to see the older leaders throw it all away through their petty dissensions. She has been trying without success to reach the Kai herself to air her grievances. It is very possible she was sent by the government to be the Bejoran administrator at the space station simply to get her outspoken voice out of ear shot. [Addressing the audience:] This part was to have been played by Ensign Ro, but Michelle decided she wanted to try to be a movie star instead, so she turned it down. And its a shame because it was a good character. But the characters just been renamed, the character will still be there -- it just wont be Michelle whos playing it. [Reading again:] Kira loathes the Cardassians. She committed atrocities against them in the name of freedom, some of which bother her. But others in the Bejoran underground begin a new wave of terrorism and she is forced into a moral quandary about tracking them down and bringing them to justice. Former terrorists consider her a turncoat.
Miles OBrien... will be played by Colm Meany. [Applause] OBrien has been the transporter chief on NexGen for five years. This assignment represents a promotion to Master Chief of Operations, and a tremendous career opportunity for him. [ed: Not to mention Colm Meany.] He has a wife, Keiko, and a three year-old baby girl, Molly. Molly just happens to be Rick Bermans three year-old daughter. He will be in charge of the comings and goings of vessels, plus the nuts and bolts maintenance of the station. Hes constantly frustrated by the jerry-rigged way this place is put together. He saw the Cardassians commit unspeakable atrocities and lost a close friend at the massacre at Setma III. The war changed and hardened him. The first man he ever killed was a Cardassian who jumped him on patrol. As he tells the story to another Cardassian in the NexGen episode, The Wounded, I never killed anything before. When I was a kid I would worry about having to swat a mosquito. Its not you I, Cardassian: I what I became because of you.
Jadzia Dax is a science officer ranked lieutenant, an alien woman, very attractive, late 20s. Dax is a Trill, the joint species first encountered in the NexGen episode, The Host. A Trill is comprised of two separate but interdependent entities -- a host and a symbiont. The host provided the humanoid body, the symbiont is an invertebrate, androgynous life form that lives within the host. It looks like a short, fat snake. Many centuries ago [on the Trills home world], the symbionts lived underground while the humanoids were on the surface. Due to an environmental disaster, they were forced to join to survive. As time went on this mutual support evolved to become a biological dependency, and thus two individuals became one. They speak with one voice. The symbionts life span is far longer than the hosts and, as a result, one symbiont will be combined with several hosts during its life. When a host dies, doctors surgically remove the symbiont. The worm then burrows itself into the new host. Daxs host was joined with her when she was an adult. The symbiont part of her is 300 years old, a brilliant scientist with an innate wisdom who can draw upon a library of knowledge built of six lifetimes of experience. Kira forms a very close relationship with Dax and often tells her to loosen up. Dax admires Kira for her youthful energy, her purpose and her drive and becomes something of a mentor to her. Dax and Sisko have worked together before; the only problem is that back then, Dax was still in the host body of an elderly man and was something of a mentor to Sisko. Her ly appealing new form will create a certain tension between her and Sisko, which they will both resist. After all, hes still having a hard time getting used to the fact that shes a 300 year-old worm. But he does not hide the respect and affection he has for her.
Odo, an alien male, middle-aged curmudgeon, and a shape-shifter. In his natural state he is a gelatinous liquid. He was Bejoran law enforcement officer on the space station under the Cardassians. Starfleet decides to have him continue in that role, since hes extremely savvy about the Promenade and all who frequent it. His back story is: 50 years ago, with no memory of his past, he was found alone in a mysterious space craft that appeared in the Denarias asteroid belt. He was found by the Bejoran and lived amongst them. At first he was sort of an Elephant Man, a source of curiosity and humor as he turned himself into a chair or pencil. Finally he realized he would have to take the form of a humanoid to assimilate and function in their environment. He does it, but resents it. As a result, Odo performs a uniquely important role in the ensemble: he is a character who explores and comments on human values. Because he is forced to pass as one of us, his point of view usually comes with a cynical and critical edge. But he cant quite get it right, this humanoid shape, though he continues to try. So he looks a little unfinished in a way. Hes been working on it a long time. Someone might ask him: Why dont you take the form of a younger man. His answer: I would if I could. He has the adopted child syndrome, searching for his own personal identity. Although he doesnt know anything about his species, he is certain that justice is an integral part of their being, because the necessity for it runs through every fiber of his body -- a racial memory. Thats why he became a law man. He has a couple of Bejoran deputies; he doesnt allow weapons on the Promenade, and once every day he must return to his gelatinous form.
Quark is the Ferengi bartender. The Ferengi race has been a part of NexGen since the very beginning. They are ugly, sexist, greedy little aliens who are interested only in profit and getting their hands on anything of yours they happen to fancy. Quark runs many of the entertainment concessions on DS9, including the bar, restaurant, gambling house, and the holo-suites upstairs where your every fantasy can be played out. He spends most of his time behind the bar. If there is some scam being run in the sector it often involves him.But beyond the mal-evolence he is a charming host, in a Ferengi sort of way, and forges an interesting relationship with Sisko. They actually enjoy sparring together now and then. The Ferengi lends a hand to dissolve a problem for the commander -- as long as theres something in it for him. His completely sexist attitude makes Kira an obvious advers , d he is consumed with passion for Dax.
Then we have Dr. Julian Amoros -- human male, mid 20s, rank of lieutenant commander, fresh out of Starfleet, graduated second in class, brilliant specialist in multi-species medicine. He arrives at DS9 with gung-ho expectations about adventures in Starfleet. Hes naive and charming and y all at the same time. Hes chosen this remote outpost instead of the cushy job he was offered at Starfleet medical because this is where the action is, where heroes are made, in the wilderness. Dr. Amoros is still wet behind the ears and has a lot to learn. He is the antithesis of Kira who is street wise savvy but wiser and cynical. OBrien becomes Amoros confidant As a man who has seen combat and a decorated veteran of Starfleet duty, OBrien represents an ideal to the young doctor. Julian greatly respects Sisko, but is terrified of him. He is anxious to live up the commanders expectations. Sisko is amused by Julian and is very patient with him.
Recurring Characters. Jake Sisko, the commanders son. An Army brat who doesnt remember life on Earth, has been aboard four different starships, and stationed on two planets. This transient life style has taught him how to scope out a new terrain and assimilate quickly. At the same time he has an inner fear of forming new friendships because he loses them so easily. He dreams of going to live on Earth. He collects holodeck programs of various places on Earth that he uses to try to fulfill his fantasy. Deep inside he knows that his mom would still be alive if they did not live in space, and he has a suppressed bitterness about it. His father promised there would be other kids on the station; as it turns out there are only a handful of various alien species. Only one is his age, Nog, a Ferengi teenage boy who is a bad influence. Jake is close with his dad; they are buddies. The boy has no technical expertise at all [great applause]. He struggles with his homework but is dedicated to doing his best.
Keiko is OBriens wife. She wondered what a botanist would do on a space station -- she was happy on the Enterprise -- but she agreed that the promotion was an incredible opportunity for her husband. Shes not entirely happy on DS9, and in the early episodes she sees serious shortcomings in the educational facilities and volunteers to be the station's tutor.
Then theres Lwaxana Troi. [Loud applause: Im with you!] Lwaxana is Deannas mother, established on NexGen as the Auntie Mame of the galaxy. When circumstances bring her to the space station she forms a romantic attachment to Odo and finds reasons to come back to see him. He tries to discourage her: Maam, I turn into a liquid form at night. Lwaxana: I can swim. [Audience glee: Boy, were off and running.]
One of the other Ferengi who works for Quark is his teenage son, Nog, who becomes friends of the commanders son. Nog is a bad boy, the kind of kid your parents didnt want you to associate with.
And Gil Ducket is a 40s male, deceptively amiable Cardassian commander who represents the continuing threat to our people. The military empire and its borders are only a short distance away from Bejor and DS9. He used to be the Prefect of the Bejoran province when it was under Cardassian denomination. Thus he is the former landlord of the space station.
Kai Apaka is the spiritual leader of Bejor, who provides sharp counterpoint to the secular nature of Starfleet. She challenges conventional human logic. The Kai seems to have an awareness on a higher plane of consciousness and knows things she cannot possibly know. Although our people do not accepts her powers at face value, we cannot always explain them, either. She speaks in vague, mystical indirect language, forcing her listeners to seek her meaning.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine brings into the Star Trek universe an original set of characters as diverse and memorable as the crews of the first two series. It also provides far more interpersonal conflict than weve seen before in the 24th century. If, as Gene Roddenberry always said, Star Trek is wagon train to space, then think of Deep Space Nine as Fort Laramie on the edge of the frontier.
[Closing the Bible...] This one is going to have a lot more humor, a lot more probably what youd call action, and a little sex and violence. Were going to mix it up a little bit. I hesitate to use the word violence -- youre all going to get the wrong idea. But I think you know what I mean. Its not going to be even as cerebral as Star Trek. So... Im going to take questions now.
Q: Did Gene have anything to do with this?!
Majel: [Laughing] Uh, he knew about it, but he was not about to become involved. He had done what he wanted to do and that was it. He just wished them Godspeed and go ahead. And as long as the name Star Trek is on it, yes, the estate will have a part of the action.
Q: Will there be NexGen movies?
Majel: NexGen actors have all signed on for a seventh year -- at least most of them have. There will be a seventh season, for sure. They were trying to get everybody to go for eight, but theyve so far resisted it. I have a feeling that if were still in the ratings the way we are now -- which is just incredible -- I cant see Paramount letting it die. What really could happen is, when this group graduates to movies, they might keep some of them on and fill in the other parts with new people. You know, captains change, and other officers change -- or they could go for a whole new cast and just keep on filling it in. I think Paramount is now at the stage where they feel that its the vehicle that is the important thing -- and theyre just going to keep it going as long as you guys want it... Under these circumstances, the 7th movie wouldnt happen for at least another three years. I can't see Paramount letting it go that long. There was some talk -- again, its only a rumor -- about perhaps trying to do another one with the old cast. Excuse the expression! They [the NexGen actors] work 8-9 months a year now, and only get two and a half months off, which isnt enough time to do a movie. And when you sell to syndication, those people buy 26 episodes, youve got to make em 26 episodes. Thats your contract and thats what has to be delivered. You cant say, Well, fellas, well only give you 20 this year. With Deep Space coming, what theyll be doing is running them in tandem. The NexGen will introduce Deep Space Nine, so in your home town, w ver station is carrying the NexGen does not have it backed up with Deep Space, yell at em. Theyll listen to you. Really! It is being offered to the stations that are already carrying Next Generation. Other stations were coming in and saying, Well give you more money than you were asking for, and for a while I think Paramount toyed with it, then decided this was not real good public relations. So they went back and offered it on the same basis that the Next Generation is picked up on. And most of them have picked it up. If your channel has not, honest, yell at em! They listen to things like that.
Q: Since Genes death have you had different relations with the studio than before? i.e., Are you filling in where Gene was?
Majel: No, not really. Thats not my job, thats not my input. I stay away from all the creative heads of it and just go ahead and let them do their job. Gene had a marvelous machine going, and its well-oiled and beautifully trained and its working like magic and all they need is someone to stick their nose in. I have no contractual arrangements in any capacity -- at all.
Q: Last November or December the Star Trek office was closed. What is the status of that? Is there any hope of getting it opened?
Majel: Oh, the Star Trek office? Its not closed. Its just not Genes office anymore. Its up in Rick and Mikes office. I mean, you ask for Star Trek and thats what youll get. So his office was not really closed. Its just that his physical office was closed. You know, there was really no need to keep it open. You know, why have somebody sitting there doing nothing. All the mail comes to the house anyway, so... No, there arent any real big changes.
Q: Will Deep Space Nine be carrying a handicapped character?
Majel: Not the way it is right now. They had, at one point, a very, very interesting character they said they worked and worked and worked on, and they just couldnt get the character to work. It was a doctor, and it was a female, and she was wheelchair bound because, theres no gravity on her original planet, and everybody floats. When everybody came to see her in her lab, they would have to be in a wheelchair, because there would be no gravity. It was a very interesting character, but they said they just couldnt make it work in connection with the other characters.
Q: My question is a little personal. I dont want to make it too difficult for you, but you probably know better than anyone else how to answer this question: Do you think Gene was happy being remembered mainly for Star Trek? Or did he ever sometimes wish that people would remember the other things that he did in his life?
Majel: Oh, Ill tell you that for awhile it was kind of touch and go. He said, I dont want to go away with my epitaph saying, this is a tribute to the man who created Star Trek. And then it got to the point where Star Trek became a world and he could work on other projects and other things. And then it became a challenge. And then he worked so hard to get you people interested and get his ideas and everything across. And it finally became his life. By the end he really loved it. He was very, very appreciative of everything that had happened and I think its rather remarkable that he was allowed to live long enough to see and reap some of the benefits of this, too, and to know how much people loved him and his show and his ideas and how part of his vision was coming true. I think that was the most important part. If there would be one thing that would be put on his epitaph, this is what he said: I would like to see it say that He loved humanity. I would say that by the looks of everyone here, humanity loved him too.
Q: Im a really big virtual reality fan and Im really glad that you guys put the holo-deck on the Next Generation. Ive heard a lot of rumors about the Elementary, My Dear Data episode. Why wasnt there ever a sequel to it? Are they planning one?
Majel: No. Cant. Its the Arthur Conan Doyle thing. I thought it was absolutely delightful and charming. And they wanted to do more with the character, but the estate came in and said uh-unh, not on your life. I think its a big, big mistake. It gave new life and dimension to the characters. Its the same thing as when Gene wrote Tarzan. He did a combination of Tarzan and John Carter from Mars -- seeing as how the same author wrote them both. So he put them together and it got very, very . Course I tell you, he went overboard on the Tarzan thing. There were green monsters and all sorts of ..... well I cant even talk about it in todays market. The Burroughs estate took one look at it and said, Are you crazy? They said they werent going to let this squeaky clean character that they had built for so many years be tarnished by to strange green women in the middle of the jungle. Which is what Gene had them doing. But some of them get very protective. And I think, basically thats what you writers here might keep in mind, also. I think to a certain degree, I know that you didnt like the idea that Gene did as much supervising on your scripts or as much tearing apart on your scripts or your stories as he did. But, he had a vision, too. And I have a theory on that. I almost have to go along with the Doyle Estate and the Tarzan Estate. If you dont like the world that Gene created, if you cant live within his universe, go write your own. Leave his alone. Dont write in brothers and sisters and things like this. It had gotten to the point where everybody kinda thought that these were real people. And they say what happened to so and so? Its like whos that? Its Spocks sister. Spock doesnt have a sister! We never wrote that in. But you guys did, and thats what Gene took objection to. Work within the framework of it. I think thats what the estates are trying to say, too: We created the character; dont screw it up.
Q: Youve invented so many marvelous characters. Where did these characters come from? And what are their pasts? And how did they get to where they were and everything?
Majel: I think that this particular show, after five years, has done a rather remarkable job of exploring some of those things, whereas the original show did not. Theyre two entirely different shows. They have very little similarity. I think the way to describe them is that the first one is more of a fantasy type of thing. If this kind of space travel were possible in the future this is the way we would like it to be. In the Next Generation I think were a little more realistic to say if this kind of space travel were possible this is the way it will be. And I think thats one of your basic, main differences. You see, cause Star Trek the television series was just that. It was seventy-nine episodes of a television series made for the purposes of entertainment and to sell soap and toothpaste. But Star Trek the legend --now that was an ideal. Thats a vision. That was Genes vision and it encompassed humanity, unity, peace and love. And to quote Genes own words, Civilization will reach wisdom and mat-urity on the day it learns to value diversity of character and ideas. To be different is not necessarily to be ugly. To have a different idea is not necessarily to be wrong. The worst thing that could possibly happen is for all of us to look and think and act alike. For if we can not learn to appreciate the small variations of our own kind here on earth, then God help us if we get out into space and meet the variations that are almost certainly out there. I think I rambled on that. Did I get anywhere near the question? I think we have done a lot of exploration of the characters.
Q: When will Deep Space Nine be on the air?
Majel: It will be on January of 93. We start filming in August. The sets are already being built. And were taking up three stages, which means that the Star Trek productions will have six permanent stages on the Paramount lot -- something unheard of.
Q: Do you think the two series running together will take anything away from either one?
Majel: I dont think so. Supposing you liked one and didnt like the other? You know how to use the on and off button. No, I dont think so.
Q: Will ILM be doing the special effects?
Majel: Everything is crossing over. So, what we use on one well be using on the other. Its going to be one big happy family. Itll be two shows, but one group. Michael is going to oversee the makeup on both of them. Bob Blackman is going to oversee the costumes on all of them. Itll have the same beautiful, marvelous technicians. We hired the best, now we just sit back and let them do their work.
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