O'Brien tries to re-integrate to life on the station after serving 20 years in a virtual prison.



(based upon "Star Trek" created by), (created by) | 4 more credits »

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video



1 video »


Episode credited cast:
Hana Hatae ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


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. Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

15 April 1996 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This takes place in 2372. See more »


Rinn: We punish our offenders by giving them memories of incarceration - modelled to fit each offender's personality. It's more efficient and much more effective than maintaining an extensive prison system.
See more »


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Main Title
Written by Dennis McCarthy
Performed by Dennis McCarthy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Civilized treatment?!
3 January 2015 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

When the show begins, a much older Mile O'Brien is shown in a prison cell. He has a very long beard and tattered clothing and it's obvious he's been there for many years. However, soon you realize that this prison was a virtual prison and instead of being for 20 years, it actually only lasted a few hours. So what gives? Well, it seems a planet's government think that O'Brien was involved in espionage and they sentenced him to this 'humane' treatment-- implanting very, very clear memories in O'Brien. However, despite being released, it soon becomes obvious that the alien world did TOO GOOD a job on him--and they left him with horrible post-traumatic stress disorder and he's only a shell of his old self.

This episode is truly amazing. The idea is very novel and it really gave Colm Meany (O'Brien) a great chance to act and even further expand his character. Well done and a very sick sort of punishment, to say the least...and a bit heartbreaking as well.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Fanfiction rhapsodos-31629
OMG what was I missing! chumface
Odo, worst ST series character... doktorx-43136
Having Ro ryhoyarbie
A missed opportunity. obsidianproductions
This or Voyager? SpaceRanger06
Discuss Hard Time (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: