Division by Zero

23/10

In 1993 I had an amazing opportunity. I connected online with another area writer named John Passarella to develop an idea of mine for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Working through his agent at the time, we submitted our spec script and were invited in to pitch to then-story editor Robert Hewitt Wolf.

We never did manage to sell a pitch to DS9 (although one of our “B” plots eventually formed the basis for the seventh season story Take Me Out to the Holosuite) but we were both given an open-ended invitation to pitch to both DS9 and Voyager, which was in development at the time. (I’ll talk about my Voyager experiences later on, if you ask really nicely.)

Although I’ve held on to the second (and I think better) spec script that we collaborated on, as well as a copy of John’s own solo spec script for DS9, I had thought that the script that had gotten us through the door was forever lost.

Until I started trying to recover some of my old floppies this week.

At the time I was actually still writing on an Atari 130XE. My PC days were months away, and I went through hell trying to convert files back and forth between Atari’s own proprietary data format and something readable by Jack’s PC. To facilitate the conversion process, I dumped the script as a generic text file onto a PC-formatted floppy disc using a kludge program to let Atari users read and write DOS floppies. I forgot about that backup copy, and ended up dumping it into a box with other floppies that I never bothered to look at.

Today, I found it.

The date on the disc is August 21, 1993, and while the label says “Acts 1-4,” it also included a copy of the full merged script, revised on August 27, 1993. I can’t remember which one of us did the last revision: Jack or I. In any case, I’m reasonably sure that was the version that we submitted, and since neither of us can profit off of it, I’ve decided to put it out into the wilds for those who might be curious.

I had the story concept in the early days of DS9’s first season, and Jack and I wrote it during the closing days of that season before we even had a chance to look at the series bible. A lot of things we touched on were eventually negated, retconned, or even ignored as the series continued. (The main story comes from facts about Trill physiology from TNG.) We got the news that our script had been formally rejected but we had been invited to pitch, oddly enough, a week before one of the episodes doing those retcons actually aired.

So if you can ignore the fact that this was written before most of what we now know about the characters of DS9 was firmly established, and that we wanted a chance to do some of that character development, go ahead and read it. But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t feel like the DS9 you remember; you probably aren’t thinking about what the first season felt like.

You can read the script by clicking here.

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