The Line: A Note on Canon
As the episode states, "The Line" is set during "the darkest days of the Dominion War." For those of you who, like me, are extreme Star Trek canon buffs, you'll probably be interested to know that, specifically, the episode takes place in approximately the second week of February, 2374, during the events of the Deep Space Nine episode, "A Time To Stand." At almost the same moment when Dr. Bashir was estimating their percentage chances of survival at approximately 32.33% (repeating, of course), Brahms was planting the grenade to break into the facility on Veloz Prime. By the time Brahms and Rol are beaming off Loval with the viral culture, Sisko and the crew are crashing on the planet from "Rocks and Shoals."
Some small easter eggs: Veloz Prime, where our heroes sing "The Good Work," is a former Maquis colony, whose atmosphere was poisoned by Michael Eddington in "For the Uniform." That's why there are no Cardassians in the first scene - the planet is poison to them. The Jem'Hadar are the only living things on the planet now.
Loval, delightfully enough, was actually singled out in "Return to Grace" as a top-secret Cardassian weapons research facility, so secret even many top Cardassians didn't know it was anything more than a subspace relay station. That made it the perfect site for a super-secret base where the Cardassians research last-resort countermeasures against their Dominion "allies."
The morphogenic virus -- the anti-Founder superweapon which causes the central conflict of the episode -- is, of course, the very same superweapon that Section 31 used against Odo and the Great Link during the final season of Deep Space Nine. As "The Line" finally explains, that weapon is actually a Cardassian weapon, stolen by Federation agents, acquired by Section 31, and finally deployed by 31's agents aboard Terok Nor within the next few weeks -- before Operation: Return. They infected Odo first, an easy target; then Odo linked with the Female Founder, infecting her; the Female Founder's next link sent it on a direct course for the Great Link. Draw your own conclusions about Brahms and Rol's relationship with that darkest organization in the Federation. A couple of people have questioned this, pointing out that, in "When It Rains..." Dr. Bashir calculated that Section 31 had deployed the virus all the way back in "Homefront," which is several years before the war started. In fact, Bashir stated he was "absolutely certain" that he was right. Quite simply, we dismiss his claim -- not just because it gets in the way of our story, but because it's silly. He says, "[Stardate] Four nine four one nine. That's the day that Odo was at Starfleet Medical," when a quick check of the Captain's Logs from "Homefront" shows that Bashir is off by at least three months! Genetically enhanced, ha! The whole scene has the air of wild speculation, backed by a very sketchy test (which itself is based partly on some heavily obfuscated data from Commander Hilliard) and some wild assumptions about how 31 operates. We certainly don't deny that Section 31 infected Odo -- indeed, "The Line" relies on that assumption -- but we believe that Dr. Bashir was mistaken about when the infection began.
As a final note, we believe this is the first-ever original episode of Star Trek that was a musical without being a parody. We've been wrong about claims like this before (like when we wrongly claimed to be "the first Trek drama based on an RPG"), but we invite anyone who can to challenge us on this. "The Line" is a piece of Trek history. And a pretty cool one, at that. :D
5 June 2010