Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999): Season 4, Episode 18 - Hard Time - full transcript

O'Brien has been accused by the Argrathi of espionage and has already been sentenced: twenty years jail time in a artificial reality. While O'Brien felt like he was twenty years in a cell, only a couple of hours has passed. But the memories sure feel real for the chief. The crew of Deep Space Nine do their utter best to let O'Brien re-adjust to the 'new' situation, but it is clear the happening has had a major impact on him. He gets increasingly more violent to even his closest friends and refuses to go to a psychiatrist. O'Brien even purposely tells he was alone in his cell, while this clearly isn't true. Something about his cell-mate Ee'Char is bothering him immensely. The fact that a hallucinative Ee'Char hunts him is driving him mad.

All offenders, prepare
for decontamination.

Decontamination will proceed

Miles Edward O'Brien.

The Argrathi Authority

has been conducting
a review of your case.

Do you wish to add anything
to the official record?

No matter.

Your correction is completed.
You are free.


The crime

of espionage requires

a minimum of 15 cycles
of correction.

You've been here for 20.

It's time for you to go.


I can't leave.

Where would I go to?

That's not my concern.

Remove him.


It's done.


It's me, Chief.

It can't be.

It's been 20 years.

You... you
haven't changed at all.

Only a few hours have passed
during your correction.

I don't understand.

Chief, I know this is going
to be hard for you to accept

but you haven't been in prison.

What you experienced
was an artificial reality

an interactive program

that created memories of things
that never actually happened.


The Major is correct.

We punish our offenders
by giving them memories

of incarceration

modeled to fit each
offender's personality.

It's more efficient
and much more effective

than maintaining
an extensive prison system.

Which means that what
you think you experienced

in prison--
the things you remember--

didn't happen.

It wasn't real.

It's real to me, Major.

It's real to me.

He apparently got curious
about some Argrathi technology

and asked
a few too many questions.

The Argrathi Security
arrested him

and charged him with espionage.

But Miles would never
break the law intentionally.

I know that

but by the time the Argrathi
told us what had happened

they had already
carried out his "correction."

Can the memories
that they implanted be removed?

The Argrathi claim
it's impossible

but Dr. Bashir will do his best.

When can I see him?

As soon as Dr. Bashir
gives the okay.

I used to dream about this--

being in a runabout,
coming through the wormhole

seeing the station again.

Now I keep expecting to wake up

and find myself
back in the cell.

Being in your cell
was the dream.

This is the reality.

I'd forgotten
how beautiful it was.

Come on.
Let's get you home.



is it really you?

It's me.

He's all yours.

I never thought
I'd see you again.

I was pretty worried
about you, too.


She'll, um, see you
in a little while.

I want to run some tests first

see what we're up against.

And, as for everyone else,
they send their best.

They would have been here

but I didn't want you
to get overwhelmed.

You should take things
easy for a while.

Get used to this place
again, all right?

Doctor's orders?

Oh, absolutely.

I can't imagine what it
would have been like--

20 years in that cell.

It was bad.

In all that time

were you able to talk
to anyone, see anyone?

I was alone.


All offenders refusing to comply
with dormancy period

will be subject
to habitat reprogramming.

Eat this.

It'll help you feel better.

It's chee'lash fruit.


I'm the one
who should be thanking you.

I've been alone in here
for six cycles.

Six years?

I know. It's a wonder
I'm not insane...

but you find ways to survive.

Let me guess--



Oh... it looks like
we're going to be

in here together
for a long time.

My name is Ee'Char.

Miles, Miles O'Brien.

Hello, Miles.

Welcome to hell.

Completely alone.

The bottom line is
there isn't much I can do.

The Argrathi didn't just
install memory implants.

They ran Miles through
a highly realistic

time-compressed simulation
of the prison experience.

In his mind,
he lived those 20 years.

He reacted to everything
that happened.

He felt pain, fear, hatred.

He made choices and decisions
that affected the outcome.

As a result,
those memories are real.

The only way I could rid him
of the memories

would be to wipe
his entire memory clean

and, clearly,
that isn't an option.

I understand.

Listen, Keiko...

Miles has been through
some terrible things

in his life, as you know--

during the war
on Setlik Ill...

that time he was taken
prisoner by the Paradans...

during his trial
on Cardassia Prime--

and he's always survived.

In the long run,
he's going to be okay.

It's just going
to take some time.

Computer... a piece
of chee'lash fruit, please.

Replicator pattern

for requested fruit
is not available.

Please provide specifications.

Well, it... it's sort of, uh...

I don't know the specifications.

Cancel the request.



Oh, Miles.

Miles, what's wrong?

You're pregnant?

That's right.

It's been so long,
I'd... I'd forgotten.

Oh, Miles...

it's all right.

Everything's going
to be all right.

I'm done.
Can I go color?

Sure. Make sure
to put your plate

in the replicator, sweetie.


Do you want to come
color with me?

Maybe in a little while.

Must be strange

to suddenly have a family again.

It's just...

I've been alone for so long.

Talking about it with
Counselor Telnorri should help.

Julian says you'll be
seeing him for a while.

Three counseling
sessions a week.

I can hardly wait.



What are you doing?


I mean, with your food.

It's just a habit
I picked up in prison.

The guards didn't care much
whether I lived or died.

Sometimes they wouldn't
deliver food for days

weeks even.

When they did feed me

I ate as little as possible
and saved the rest.

That's horrible.

You get used to it.

All food rations

will be suspended
until further notice.

Any offenders caught with
rations will be disciplined.

For later.

How did you manage?


Six years in here
all by yourself.

Oh, you find ways.

I'd... exercise

tell myself stories...

draw eseekas on the ground.


Geometric patterns.

Drawing them is a way
to relax your body

and... occupy the mind.

That helps?

Helps me.

Show me.

It's not easy.

I have plenty of time to learn.


This is a good spot.

Start... by drawing a circle.

Now... gaze into the circle.

You want to learn or not?

I'm gazing.

Relax your mind.

Imagine that the circle

your whole existence.

Let it become a part of you.

Now, without thinking

allow your hand to make a mark
inside the circle.

Now expand on the mark.

Let it grow organically
until it becomes... a pattern.

What are you laughing at?

You look like a reeta-hawk
picking at a corpse.

How do you do that?


No! Laugh...

after six years in here.

Well, after six years
in a place like this

you either learn to laugh...

or you go insane.

I prefer to laugh.

All offenders prepare
for dormancy period.

Any offenders still active

during the dormancy period
will be disciplined.

Illumination will be suspended
in 20 seconds.

Sleep well, Miles.

And if you feel like laughing

in the middle of the night,
go ahead.

I'm a heavy sleeper.

Dormancy period initiated.


Your throw.

Do I need one 17 or two?

I am not sure.

Yeah, neither am l.

We could start again.

No, that's all right.

I know darts
isn't really your game.

To be honest, I don't feel
much like playing myself.

We could go kayaking
in the holosuite.

You're a good friend, but...

Hold on a second.

Is everything all right?

It's fine.

I just thought I saw
someone I used to know.

Interphasic coil spanner.

ODN recoupler.

You got it.

It's a...

No, no, don't tell me.
I'll get it.


a quantum flux regulator.

Mark Three.


Let's go through it again.

Chief, you know this stuff.

You don't have
to worry about it.

I don't want to be embarrassed
in front of the repair crews.

Even if you get one wrong

no one will think
anything of it.

You may be a little rusty,
but you're still the Chief.

Well, if I'm still the Chief,
I say we go through it again.

All done here.

That was quick.

I reconfigured the
magnetic wave guides.

Saved us replacing
the whole unit.

Good as new.

We're about done here.

If it's all right with you

I was going to dismiss
the crew for lunch.

You go ahead.

There's a couple of things
I want to look at down here.

Brush up a little more.

Keep up the good work, crewman.

Another week or two,
you'll be running the place.

Don't you forget it.


there you are, Chief.

Hello, Julian.

Come to check up on me?

To be honest, yes.

Counselor Telnorri says

that you haven't been
to see him in ten days.


So you're supposed to see
him three times a week.

What for?

All Telnorri ever wants to do

is sit and listen
to me tell stories

of what it was like to be
in an Argrathi prison.

How often did they beat me?

Was I distressed by
the lack of toilet facilities?

If you ask me, he's the one
with the problem.

You can talk
to a different counselor--

someone you might like better.

Julian, I don't want
to talk to a counselor.

I just want to forget about
what happened on Argratha

and get on with my life.

Just like that?

Yes, just like that.

I don't need counseling

or relaxation,
or time to adjust.

I just want to be left alone.

I'd have thought after being
alone for 20 years

you'd want someone to talk to.

If there's one thing
I haven't missed

in the last 20 years

it's your smug,
superior attitude.

Now, I have told you
I want to be left alone

and I meant it.

So, if you know
what's good for you

you'll stay the hell
away from me!


Tell me about Keiko again--

about how much...
you like her eyes.

I've told you about her
a hundred times.

What more is there to say?

Well, I like hearing about her.

If I had a beautiful wife

I'd, I'd talk about her,
believe me.

Besides, uh, talking about
her always relaxes you.

And your pacing

is getting a little distracting.

Oh, yeah?


Well, your drawing
is bothering me.

Since when?

Since now.

You didn't need to do that.

Don't tell me what I need.


Don't "Miles" me!

I'm sick of it!

I'm sick of this place,
I'm sick of your drawing

and most of all,
I am sick of you!

Try to be calm.

I don't want to be calm!

I've had it with this place.

I don't belong here!

Do you hear me?!

I don't belong here.

I didn't do anything wrong.

I know you're listening!


I don't belong here!

Let me out of here!

I didn't do anything wrong,
and you know it!

All offenders
in Detention Area Four

if you do not cease
this disturbance immediately

you will be disciplined.

Discipline this!


Be quiet!

Chief, how are you doing?

I wish people would stop
asking me that...

I'm sorry, Constable,
uh, everything's fine.

I've just had a tough day.

That's one Black Hole
straight up, right?

Synthale, please.

Be right with you, Chief.

Quark, what about that synthale?

Just another minute.


Look, Chief, I'm a little busy

right now.

I'm in no mood for games, Quark.

So why don't you
give me my drink

or I break every bone
in your worthless little body.

Chief, just because

your life's in
shambles right now...

One synthale coming right up.



What are you doing here?

I've never really
been gone, have l?

You're not real.

You're just in my head.

That's all I ever was.

But I'm real to you

and that's all that matters.

Go away.

I can't.

I'm your friend.

You need me.

You are the last thing I need.

You're wrong, Miles.

You need me, now more than ever.

What are you doing?

I'm going to work.

Miles, as your friend

I have to tell you
I'm worried about you.

Don't be.

I'm home.

I'm working

and for the first time in
as long as I can remember

I feel good.

Then why am I here?

Sisko to O'Brien.
Please report to my office.

On my way.

Look, I don't know
why you're here

and I don't care.

Have a seat.

I understand
you had a confrontation

with Dr. Bashir yesterday.

Oh, that's a...

That was nothing.

Not according to Dr. Bashir.

We had a little argument.

Julian and I are always arguing.

According to Constable Odo

you also had
an incident with Quark.

Did that little...?

Look, sir,
I may have let things get

a little out of hand, but...

it won't happen again.


Dr. Bashir also tells me

that you've stopped seeing
your counselor.

Sir, I've been very busy lately.

The agreement was

that you were going
to see a counselor

on a regular basis.

You're right.

I'll make an appointment
to go see him tomorrow.

You'll see him today.


I have a lot of work
to do today, sir.

The work can wait.

As of now,
you're relieved of duty.

I want you to report
to Counselor Telnorri

and begin attending
daily counseling sessions

for as long as he thinks
it's advisable.

Sir, you're blowing this
all out of proportion.

You know that's not true.

What happened to you
on Argratha

affected you a lot more
than you're willing to admit

and it's not going
to get better overnight

no matter how much
you want it to.

You need help.

Please, Captain.

I'm asking you
as a personal favor to me.

Give me one more chance.

I wish I could.

But right now

in the judgment of this
station's Chief Medical Officer

you're unfit for duty

which means
you're on medical leave

effective immediately

and if you don't begin
attending counseling sessions

on a regular basis

and cooperating in every
other way with your physician

I will have no choice

but to have you confined
to the lnfirmary.

Is that clear?

Yes, sir.


Chief, I was just about
to head down to the Replimat...

Not now, Commander.


What the hell
did you say to him?!

I take it you talked
to Captain Sisko.

I talked to him, all right.

He relieved me of duty.

It's for the best, Miles.

How do you know
what's best for me?

You have no idea
what I've been going through!

You're right.
You were alone in that cell.

I wasn't there with you.

I didn't see
what they did to you

but I do know you suffered

and that you're
still suffering now

and I'm trying to help.

I never asked for your help.

You didn't need to ask.

I'm your doctor
and your friend.

You should listen to him, Miles.

He cares about you

just like I did.

Don't make
the same mistake with him

you did with me.

Don't you get it?

You're not my friend!

Not anymore!

The O'Brien that was your friend
died in that cell!

He's not dead.

He just needs a little help,
that's all.

Stay away from me.

I don't want your help,
I don't want your friendship

I just want to be left alone!

Where are you going?

I told you to go away!

Miles, please, don't do this.

Go back there and talk to him.

He wants to help you.

Like you did?

That's right.

We're both your friends.

Yeah-- and look
what happened to you.

Habitat Ring.

You know, sooner or later

you'll have to tell
someone about me.

Like hell I will.

You can't run from me forever.

You're dead

so why don't you go away
and leave me alone?

You want me to leave?

I'll leave!

Send me away!

Don't you see?

If I keep coming back

it's because some part of you
keeps bringing me here!

Miles, Julian's been trying
to contact you for an hour.

Where have you been?

Walking. Thinking.

I know. I heard.

I'm sorry.

I know how much
your work means to you.

Try telling that to Julian.

Daddy, come see what I drew.

Not now, honey, okay?

I'm sure it's only temporary.

You'll be back at work
before you know it.

Daddy, you have to come see.

Look, can we talk
about this later?

Daddy, come on!

Not now.

Please, Daddy, please!

I said not now, right?!

-I said not...!

What are you doing?!

Oh, shh, shh.

I didn't mean to...


I'm sorry.


Get out of here, Julian.

You don't want to do this,

The hell I don't.

Look, I don't claim to know
what you're going through

but whatever it is,
it's not worth dying for.

You don't understand at all.

I'm not doing this for me.

I'm doing it
to protect Keiko and Molly

and everyone else
in this station.

Protect us from what?

From me.

I'm not the man I used to be.

I'm dangerous.

I nearly hit Molly today.

All she wanted
was a little attention

and I nearly hit her.

But you didn't.

You're a good man,
Miles Edward O'Brien

and whatever it is you think
you've done wrong

you don't deserve to die.

You sound like Ee'Char.

Who's Ee'Char?

He's... not real.

He's just a memory, that's all.

A memory from Argratha?

Who was he?

Another prisoner?

A guard?

He was my cell mate.

You told me you were alone
in that cell.

20 years with no one to talk to.

I was at the end--

a week...

two maybe.

But the rest of the time...

there was Ee'Char.

What happened to him?


Why'd you do that?

It wasn't helping.

You need to concentrate more.

It doesn't matter
how much I concentrate.

I'm still starving.

So am l.

You sure there's nothing left?

Not unless you have a hiding
place I don't know about.

We ate the last of the food
I put away a week ago.

We should have stockpiled more.

We should have prepared
for this.

They've never let us go
this long without food before.

Maybe they've forgotten
about us

or just decided to finally
let us die.

Then we die.

All offenders prepare
for dormancy period.

Any offender still active
during the dormancy period

will be disciplined.

Illumination will be suspended
in 20 seconds.

What are you doing?

I'm going to sleep.

How can you sleep
at a time like this?

Maybe I'll dream about food.

You're crazy.


just hungry.

Dormancy period initiated.

You pretended to be my friend

and all the time you were
holding out on me.

Now who's acting crazy?

After everything
I've done for you

you ungrateful...


you were saving it
for both of us.


Ee'Char, wake up.

Ee'Char... Ee'Char...

You killed him?

The worst part of it was...

the next day, the guards
began feeding me again.

I killed him for nothing--

for a scrap of bread
he was going to share with me.

But it was a mistake.

You didn't mean it.

I meant it.

I wanted him to die.

I keep telling myself...

it doesn't matter.

It wasn't real.

But that's a lie.

If it had been real,
if it had been you

instead of him

it wouldn't have made
any difference.

He was my best friend

and I murdered him.

When we were growing up,
they used to tell us...

humanity had evolved

that mankind had outgrown
hate and rage.

But when it came down to it

when I had the chance to show

that no matter what anyone
did to me

I was still an evolved
human being...

I failed.

I repaid kindness with blood.

I was no better than an animal.

No. No, no, no.

An animal
would've killed Ee'Char

and never had a second thought,
never shed a tear

but not you.

You hate yourself.

You hate yourself so much
you think you deserve to die.

The Argrathi did
everything they could

to strip you of your humanity

and in the end,
for one brief moment

they succeeded.

But you can't let
that brief moment

define your entire life.

If you do,
if you pull that trigger

then the Argrathi will have won.

They will have
destroyed a good man.

You cannot let that happen,
my friend.


Be well, Miles.

30 milligrams twice a day.

Take it religiously
for a month.

And if all goes well

we'll experiment
with a lower dosage.

You sure this'll work?

It's a treatment, not a cure.

It'll prevent hallucinations

take the edge off the depression

but that's all it'll do.

It won't take away
the memories or the feelings.

You mean the guilt.

Well, that'll take time.

Now's the part where you tell me

I have to start seeing
Counselor Telnorri again.

Unless you want to talk to me.

Telnorri'll be fine.

Thanks, Julian...

for everything.

What are friends for?

Daddy's home!
Daddy's home!

That's right.

Daddy's home.