According to Memory Alpha's original in Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
Visionary : Distant Voices : Emanations.


An alien named Altovar attempts to steal biomimetic gel from the infirmary and stuns Bashir with an electric discharge. Bashir wakes up on a dim station, and with his hair beginning to gray. He also perceives strange whispering sounds. After escaping another assault by Altovar, Bashir joins Kira, O'Brien, Odo and Dax. O'Brien repairs the station's systems, and now the whispering voices clear up: It is the crew who are discussing Bashir's condition.

When Bashir scans himself, he finds that he is in a coma, while everyone else exists just in his mind. Each of the other individuals represents a part of his personality, and Altovar is killing them one by one. With Bashir being around 100 years old and only Garak left to support him, the doctor goes to the infirmary and sets up a trap for Altovar. After successfully disabling the alien in his dreams, Bashir wakes up in the real infirmary.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. At the beginning of this episode Bashir worries that he's turning thirty. He tells Garak that the age of thirty signals the end of youth and a slow march into middle age. In Emissary we learn that Bashir is twenty-seven. Emissary begins on star date 46379.1. Although we do not have a star date for this episode, it succeeds the episode "Destiny," which carries a star date of 48543.2. It's safe to assume, then, that this episode has a star date later than 48543.2. Guess what? Bashir really could be turning thirty! If he had a birthday shortly after coming to the station, this would make perfect sense. (Yes! Yes! Way to go, creators! Clap, clap. clap, clap.) It is fascinating, however, to see how traditions continue for hundreds of years even though the reason for them has disappeared. In our day and age, the average life span is about seventy years. A thirtieth birthday really does signal the start of middle age But in Star Trek, humans apparently live full and productive lives of well over one hundred years. Yet apparently the stigma of thirty has remained. Perhaps it also signals the end of youth! CdnTim 1311 EST 5 Feb 2021 - Given that we've seen people age in roughly real time, they still seen to be "over the hill" by the high double digits. So 30 still seems to be convenient marker for when people peak physically, and age starts gradually taking its toll. 0-18 = childhood, 18-30 = youth, 30-60? = middle age, 60+ = older years.
  2. I suppose Bashir is just being a nice guy when he doesn't immediately report Altovar's attempt to buy biomemetic gel. True, it is a felony even to attempt to obtain the substance, but he's a doctor, not a policeman, right? He probably wanted to wait until Altovar actually tried to steal the gel, thus providing enough evidence for a prosecution.
  3. Bashir really should know very quickly that the reality he's experiencing is an illusion. Shortly after awakening, he looks in a mirror and sees that his hair is starting to turn gray. Note that the length of his hair has not increased, nor does the graying occur only at the roots. A large number of hairs have instantly turned gray over their entire length. As a doctor, Bashir should know that this can- not happen naturally. Even a virus cannot do this. Hair must grow out gray from the roots. Bashir should have suspected the work of a prankster makeup artist. It could be a side effect from the attack.
  4. Though this is all happening in Bashir's mind, you would expect it to conform to his knowledge of medical science, wouldn't you? Fleeing from the Lethean in Quark's bar, Bashir falls down and promptly pronounces that he has broken his hip. (This occurs just before a commercial break and heightens the tension of the show—no doubt to help ensure that viewers won't go channel surfing and forget to return.) As the episode continues, however, Bashir seems to improve, and eventually, he walks again! (Maybe in the twenty-fourth century broken hips mend themselves?!) Assuming the hip was actually broken, and not sprained.

Equipment Oddities

  1. At one point Bashir finds a malfunctioning replicator. A liquid pours from the top like one of those hot-beverage vending machines that's out of cups. This surprised me. I guess Cardassian replicators work differently from Federation replicators. In Evolution (TNG) we see a Federation replicator malfunction. A glass sits on the materialization grid, and liquid bubbles out of it—as if it is constantly being materialized inside the glass. The utensil production subroutine could have been corrupted.
  2. The doors on the wardroom where Bashir first meets Kira, Dax, O'Brien, and Odo don't open all the way.This could be a power supply fault.

Nit Central

  1. Keith Alan Morgan, representing Dr. Bashir's nitpicking on Saturday, May 08, 1999 - 7:51 am: Why Dr. Bashir didn't hit his combadge when he saw the Lethean in Sick Bay? He probably wanted to try and stop the Lethean himself.
  2. REFERENCE TO DR. BASHIR, I PRESUME When the 'Lethean' is going over Dr. Bashir's secrets, why didn't it mention Julian's genetic enhancements? Disbelief? (Maybe the Lethean race are the result of secret genetic engineering in their ancient past.)
  3. Kathryn Ramage on Monday, January 17, 2000 - 12:31 pm: Not necessarily a nit, but it struck me as interesting. In the opening scene, Quark interrupts Bashir's lunch to ask him to perform an illegal act (supplying the Lethean with biomimetic gel); Quark annoys Bashir; Quark apologizes to...Garak. Mark Stanley on Monday, January 17, 2000 - 3:22 pm:That always struck me as funny. Even more interesting, Garak accepts the apology as if it's his due.Seniram Bashir senses that Quark is acting under duress from the Lethean.
  4. dotter31 on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - 8:42 pm: If Letheans are so dangerous (the only two we've seen on Star Trek both attacked people with their powers) why was one allowed to board the station, let alone try to purchase a restricted substance? LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - 9:33 pm: All races are potentially dangerous. Klingons are dangerous. Romulans are dangerous. Humans are dangerous. Someone who is a trained killer can be dangerous, regardless of their race. Every time you or I walk out the front door, the fellow humans we encounter are potentially dangerous. But we accept that risk, because most of us will not encounter someone like that, since most of us are not dangerous. Should they institute a policy of passage aboard DS9 based on race? It's also possible that not all Letheans have the same telepathic skill, just as not all humans are good martial artists, sharpshoots, etc. (Peter David made this point with the Betazoids in Imzadi.) dotter31 on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 7:01 am: Thanks, Luigi for your point about how not all Letheans are the same. I hope they are not all thugs. I wasn't trying to suggest a race-based entrance policy(though I sounded like it) I guess I was just wondering if there was any way to prevent any individual with a built-in energy weapon from using it. LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 9:50 am: And Changelings are another possible example, given what we saw in Chimera.


  1. According to the episode list, the provisional stardate for this episode is 48667.

Deep Space Nine Season 3
The Search Part 1 I The Search Part 2 I The House of Quark I Equilibrium I Second Skin I The Abandoned I Civil Defense I Meridian I Defiant I Fascination I Past Tense Part 1 I Past Tense Part 2 I Life Support I Heart of Stone I Destiny I Prophet Motive I Visionary I Distant Voices I Through the Looking Glass I Improbable Cause I The Die is Cast I Explorers I Family Business I Shakaar I Facets I The Adversary
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