According to Memory Alpha's original in Universe Timeline, the story sequence is: Chain of Command Part 2 : A Man Alone : Babel.


Odo is enraged when he meets Ibudan, a Bajoran who was convicted of murdering a Cardassian but was released from prison by the new Bajoran government. When Ibudan is murdered in a holosuite, Odo is the main suspect because evidently no other humanoid entered the holosuite. As a restless mob of the station's denizens gather to confront Odo, Bashir makes the startling discovery that the murder victim is in fact a clone, created and subsequently murdered by the real Ibudan in order to implicate Odo. In a final twist of irony, Ibudan is swiftly apprehended by Odo, and is accordingly charged with the murder of his own clone. Meanwhile, after Jake and his new Ferengi friend, Nog, are caught playing pranks on the promenade, Keiko O'Brien decides to open a school on the station.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. The Bajoran couple apparently not noticing Nog when he places the box on the floor. Perhaps they are deliberatly ignoring him. CdnTim 1250 EST 3 Feb 2021 - perhaps they are engrossed in their conversation, perhaps Bajorans have poor peripheral vision, or perhaps he just didn't register as noteworthy - they are a couple casually chatting, not sentries on guard duty!
  2. Bashir concentrating on hair follicles. Hair without follicles would contain little or no DNA.
  3. The story apparently covering two weeks. It would take a while to fully grow and prepare the clone.
  4. Keiko being allowed to operate a school. She may have a acquired a teaching certificate during her career as a botanist, in order to pass her skills and knowledge to others in the profession. CdnTim 1252 EST 3 Feb 2021 - She clearly has some advanced education if she was a botanist on the Enterprise, and some schools allow teachers to teach based on that. Also, educational software in the 24th century may be so advanced that a teacher primarily monitors the lessons, guides periodic discussions, and coaches students.

Changed Premises

  1. Ibudan - a black marketering and murderer - only being imprisoned, while O'Brien was threatened with execution for mearly being suspected of smuggling weapons, and Tom Riker initially facing execution for 'invading' Cardassian space. Maybe Cardassian society considers weapon smuggling and carrying out an invasion to be more serious. CdnTim 1254 EST 3 Feb - Also, Ibudan was probably doing some smuggling for key Cardassians as well, playing both sides, so the Cardassians may have been more kindly disposed towards him, like the Bajorans were as well.
  2. Apparent reduction in the time before Odo needs to regenerate, from 18 hours here to 16 hours in The Storyteller. Possibly a reaction to his increased workload following the discovery of the wormhole, especially if his conversation with Quark is anything to go by. CdnTim 1255 EST 3 Feb 2021 - There may also be rounding involved, in Bajoran or Ferengi counting...perhaps one of those numbers is the equivalent of a dozen in English, so would be used casually instead of a more precise time.
  3. When Odo captures Ibudan at the end of the episode, he tells him that killing your own clone is still murder. Apparently, the Bajorans are much more enlightened than the Federation. In Up the Long Ladder (TNG), Riker killed his own clone, apparently, without any legal ramifications. The UTLL clones were illegally created using cells stolen from Riker and Paulaski, and were destroyed before they were fully formed.

Equipment Oddities

  1. Absence of DNA from other holosuite users. Either it had been cleaned before Ibudan's session, or no-one else had used it recently. CdnTim 1257 EST 3 Feb 2021 - I think the holosuites must be self-cleaning: the technology exists in Star Trek, and I can't imagine anyone would use them otherwise!
  2. At one point someone throws something at Odo's window & it cracks. A beautiful effect...but what happened to Transparent Aluminum? Either the Cardassians didn't have access to Transparent Aluminum, or they didn't consider it necessary for the internal doors. CdnTim 1258 EST 3 Feb 2021 - The Federation uses a lot of shatter-able glass too, perhaps it has become a common designer feature, for aesthetic reasons, or because people like things old-fashioned?

Nit Central

  1. Murray Leeder on Wednesday, March 10, 1999 - 1:21 pm: So how come the word "Shifter" is visible in Odo's trashed office, even though the angry mob didn't have any humans in it? Rene on Thursday, March 11, 1999 - 6:50 am: Because the UT somehow knows that there are humans watching the logs of this incident in the 20th century, :) Seniram This may be an example of Bajorans using Federation Standard to get their point across.
  2. Dan R. on Sunday, March 14, 1999 - 5:21 pm: I saw this ep again this week on a repeat on UPN 20 in DC...I can't believe how different Rom was!!! Rom seemed kinda nasty or at the least: Rude! He didn't act as idiotic and dingy as he does later on....I love the Rom we see today better than the old one that was in this episode… He obviously learned to improve his behaviour ! CdnTim 1259 EST 3 Feb 2021 - Obviously (in-universe, since we know the real reason was an evolving character), at this point Rom is deeply committed to maintaining a charade of being a "proper" Ferengi in public. As the Federation settles in, he becomes more comfortable behaving more naturally.
  3. Aaron Dotter on Saturday, October 23, 1999 - 5:21 pm: Bashir is called to the holosuite for "medical assistance". A stabbing sounds like a medical EMERGENCY, not something that needs assistance. Or did Sisko alrady know that Ibudan was dead? Perhaps whoever called Bashir expected the good doctor to be able to revive the recently deceased victim. CdnTim 1301 EST 3 Feb 2021 - Perhaps a language issue that slipped by the universal translator? There was a Columbian airliner that literally ran out of fuel circling and crashed in Long Island, because the pilots kept using the word "priority" instead of "emergency", so word choices can be important and varied between different languages.
  4. NarkS on Thursday, August 17, 2000 - 3:56 pm: Odo asks how long "he" has been on the station, looking in a general direction at a bunch of people standing around a dabo table. How does Quark know who he's talking about? Cybermortis on Sunday, May 04, 2008 - 5:47 pm: Odo and Quark have known each other long enough that they can often figure out what the other means. In this case Quark knows Odo well enough to know that 'He' means Ibudan. Seniram Perhaps Ibudan was the only immediately recognisable person in the group.
  5. Why would Ibudan put something like "Odo" in his personal calendar file, knowing he would look there? Duke of Earl Grey on Thursday, February 15, 2001 - 1:44 pm: I thought Ibudan put "Odo" in his personal calendar to suggest that he was going to meet with Odo at the time of his "death" as part of his framing scheme. dotter31 on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 6:17 pm: The better question is, why would he need to put anything about it in his personal calendar? Would he have a problem remembering his big plot that he set up? It's not like he would forget that he's framing someone.
  6. Isn't it possible that someone entered the holosuite but just didn't leave any DNA evidence? Is the investigatory process so complete that they can completely rule out someone else? How could they do that? Beaming in would have left a trace in the transporter system.
  7. Out of the 500 people that don't like Odo, there isn't one on the station? Does everyone there like Odo because they have to? Brian on Sunday, August 20, 2000 - 12:00 am: Odo didn't say the 500 people did not like him. He said that they hate him so much that they would try to kill or frame him. The people on the station who do not like him just trash his office and say bad things about him.
  8. Is Bashir really an expert in forensics? Why is he the one sweeping for evidence? For that matter, why is Bashir still using a microscope and sample dish? This is the 24th century! dotter31 on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 6:17 pm: I would imagine that some forensic classes are available at Starfleet Medical, even if Bashir is not an expert. As for using a sample dish, Bashir would need to collect any physical evidence for a trial, not just readings and an analysis of them. Jean Stone on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 12:48 am: Two explanations. The Reality one: It's more interesting for the recurring characters to do these things than to get some extra for a few shots. The In-universe one: DS9 isn't a starship with a big crew; Bashir may well be the person best qualified to gather forensic evidence among the limited staff. CdnTim 1303 EST 3 Feb 2021 - Further to Jean's points, it is well established that Starfleet officers have a MUCH broader range of knowledge then us lowly 21st century humans can achieve.
  9. Keith Alan Morgan (Kmorgan) on Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - 11:47 pm: Phil listed the first Stardate for this episode as 46384 from Ibudan's diary. However, in his Ruminations, he mentions an earlier Stardate of 46383 from Ibudan's diary. Why not list that as the first Stardate, instead? That diary entry may be from before the events depicted in the episode.
  10. Jadzia says that sex is a weakness of the young. Curzon Dax didn't seem all that young to me. He's still young compared to the symbiont!
  11. On the top left of the school board is a diagram of either Sylvia or Korob from the Classic Trek episode Catspaw. The interesting thing is that if you watch Catspaw, nobody is recording Sylvia & Korob's true appearance and their bodies dissolve so no autopsy can be performed. So how can there be a picture of them? (Another contact with that species perhaps?) It could be a computer simulation, based on the physical descriptions in the post mission reports submitted by Kirk and the others.
  12. Rene on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 2:48 pm: Wouldn't the fact that the murder happened while Odo was in his bucket be a good defense? Why wouldn't it? I mean, it's a fact he has to return to a liquid state on a regular basis. Brian Fitzgerald on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 8:08 pm: Because he could have returned to his previous state at any other point during the day that he was not around others, but claimed that he was in the bucket during the murder. Surely he doesn't have witnesses who saw him every other moment of the day. CdnTim 1305 EST 3 Feb 2021 - Odo's regeneration seems to be broadly comparable to solids having to sleep (note that Odo is eventually tortured by being forced to remain solid, just an prisoners are sometimes tortured by sleep deprivation); Odo's "alibi" of being in the bucket is therefor about as solid as a CSI suspect's claim to have been alone asleep. Even if Odo's regeneration is technically deeper than sleep, no one would really know that, or trust it.
  13. Anonymous on Thursday, March 21, 2002 - 11:24 am: During the investigation, no one seems to consider the posibility, that the murderer was a hologram. Someone could have reprogrammed the holosuite and there wouldn't have been any traces of DNA either. That would require the person responsible to alter the holosuite computer without Quark and O'Brien realising.
  14. Cybermortis on Sunday, May 04, 2008 - 5:47 pm: If I get murdered I think the last people I'd want investigating would be anyone on DS9. They make this great point that only Odo could have slipped into the holodeck and stabbed Ibudan without opening the rather large problem with this that no one, from the stations detective (Odo) to the resident scientist (Dax) to the genius that is Bashir wonders is how, exactly, Odo could have oozed through the door carrying a knife. Everyone also seems to overlook the fact that Odo doesn't need to take a knife with him. He's a shapeshifter, he can turn his arm into a knife if he really wanted to kill someone. What would he do with the blood?
  15. A clone of Ibudan shouldn't have any memories from the original, in fact it would be a very large baby and incapable of doing anything for itself. If the clone does have Ibudan's memories (for sake of argument lets assume you can record memories and put them into a clone) then how come the clone doesn't know he's going to be killed? I mean, the only reason Ibudan created the clone in the first place was to kill him and place the blame on Odo, and if the clone has Ibudans memories then he should know this. Did Ibudan strike anyone else as being so obsessed with framing Odo that his clone would be willing to be killed for it? Did the clone look even slightly worried knowing he was going to die very shortly? Ibudan probably modified that part of the memory, just as Lister did in Red Dwarf when pasting part of his memory into Rimmer.
  16. Luigi_novi (Luigi_novi) on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 3:17 pm: What was Sisko planning on doing for Jake’s education before Keiko came up with the idea of the school? Jake talks about being bored studying alone on a computer. Are you telling me that officers on space stations like Sisko expect their children to educate themselves? Why doesn’t Starfleet provide schools for crewmen with children stationed on bases and space stations? Maybe the Federation uses an updated version of the remote learning system used in Australia.
  17. At the end of Act 2, Odo, Kira, Dax and Bashir go over the facts regarding Ibudan’s murder: The computer logged only two times in which the holosuite doors opened (once when Ibudan entered, and once when the killer left), the only biological residue Bashir found in the holosuite was Ibudan’s, and there were no beamouts. Odo concludes that the only way someone could have gotten in was if someone could slip through the cracks in the door, like a shapeshifter. While I appreciate Odo’s honesty and objectivity in admitting that he is a suspect, this is not exactly true. First of all, if Odo or some other shapeshifter slipped through the cracks in the door to kill Ibudan, it makes absolutely no sense that the shapeshifting killer would then open the door and walk through it when leaving, rather than simply slipping back through the cracks. Second, there is another way someone other than a shapeshifter could’ve killed Ibudan without entering the room through the door. Someone, either Quark or one of the other Ferengi operating the holosuites, or a hacker, could’ve hacked into the holosuite computer, disengaged the safety protocols, and reprogrammed the holosuite program to create a holocharacter to kill Ibudan. Third, Odo later tells Kira in Act 3 that because of his regeneration cycle, he was in his pail in his office at the time of the murder, and Kira comments that the killer may have planned the murder around Odo’s regeneration cycle. Odo comments that this makes a neat package. Well, it would make a neat package if it occurred today, since the lack of witnesses to corroborate Odo’s alibi, but since Odo’s regeneration cycle is known, the fact that the murder occurred during it means that Odo couldn’t have committed the murder. Moreover, doesn’t the computer track everyone’s movements? Couldn’t its logs confirm where Odo was at the time of the murder? If a hacker had managed to reprogram the holosuite, there would have been evidence of this in the computer system. As for the tracking system, this may not be 100 percent reliable at this point, assuming the timings in the records couldn't be edited.
  18. When creating a clone, don’t the cells turn into an embryo, and then a fetus, and so one? The second clone of Ibudan seen in this episode essentially looks like a blob of organic material, and when it takes the shape of a humanoid, it is of the size of an adult. This is probably a side effect of the accelerated growth.


  1. The first stardate is the earliest mentioned by Odo while investigating Ibudan's logs. The second is from Sisko's last log entry of the episode.

Deep Space Nine Season 1
Emissary I Past Prologue I A Man Alone I Babel I Captive Pursuit I Q-Less I Dax I The Passenger I Move Along Home I The Nagus I Vortex I Battle Lines I The Storyteller I Progress I If Wishes Were Horses I The Forsaken I Dramatis Personae I Duet I In the Hands of the Prophets
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