Miles O'Brien

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For the CNN news broadcaster, see Miles O'Brien (journalist)
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Miles O'Brien

Miles Edward O'Brien is a character in the fictional Star Trek universe, played by Colm Meaney. He was a secondary recurring character as a transporter chief on the USS Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a primary character as Deep Space Nine's chief of operations on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

In the DS9 episode "Bar Association", O'Brien jokingly claimed to be a direct descendant of Irish High King Brian Boru. Later on in the same episode, and more seriously, he spoke of his ancestor Sean Aloysius O'Brien, who participated in the 1902 coal miners' strike in Pennsylvania, and was shot over 30 times and dumped into the Allegheny River.

Miles O'Brien was born in Killarney, Ireland in September 2328. His father, Michael O'Brien, wanted him to be a cellist. His audition tape was sent to the El-Dabran Music Academy and he was accepted, but a few days before he was scheduled to start classes there, he joined Starfleet.

O'Brien participated in war against the Cardassians in the massacre of Setlik III, when he served aboard the USS Rutledge, commanded by Captain Benjamin Maxwell. After various assignments he was posted as transporter chief to the Enterprise, commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Miles married Keiko Ishikawa aboard the Enterprise in the TNG episode "Data's Day". They had a daughter, Molly (TNG episode "Disaster"), and after transferring to Deep Space Nine, commanded by Commander Benjamin Sisko, they had a son, Kirayoshi, through a surrogate pregnancy by their crewmate Major Kira. Chief O'Brien also served aboard the USS Defiant under Captain Sisko and Lt. Commander Worf.

Miles O'Brien exists in the mirror universe first discovered by James T. Kirk in the original series episode "Mirror, Mirror". In the DS9 episode "Crossover", Dr. Julian Bashir encounters the mirror O'Brien as a Terran slave working the ore processing machines at Terok Nor. The mirror Sisko did not like the name "Miles" so he calls the mirror O'Brien "Smiley".

In the episode "Visionary", O'Brien had an accident in which he was poisoned by radiation and experienced several time shifts, each five hours into the future, witnessing a bar brawl, his own death twice, and the destruction of the station. At the end of the episode, he deliberately subjected himself to more radiation in order to time shift to the future to see exactly what caused the destruction. But the radiation was too much, and the past O'Brien died, while the future O'Brien went back in time to tell Sisko that there was a cloaked Romulan D'deridex starship circling the station, plotting to destroy it.

When visiting Argrathl, O'Brien asked too many questions and was quickly convicted of espionage and sentenced to 20 years simulated incarceration compressed into a short time span (in the episode "Hard Time"). In the simulation, Ee'char was his cellmate, and, eventually, his friend. O'Brien killed Ee'char in a jealous rage upon discovering one night that Ee'char had a small food stash that he'd kept secret from their captors (and from O'Brien as well, in the process) but afterward O'Brien realized that Ee'char had been planning to share it with him. When O'Brien came back to DS9, he felt such intense guilt at having been capable of violently murdering his best and only friend - even if it was all only a simulation - that he was constantly haunted by visions of Ee'char and seriously considered suicide. Dr. Bashir gave him a medicine to prevent future hallucinations, but told him he'd still have to go to a counselor to deal with the feelings of guilt.

At the end of Deep Space Nine, O'Brien moved back to Earth to become a professor of engineering at Starfleet Academy.


During his appearances on TNG, he was shown as being of officer rank, initially an ensign, subsequently a lieutenant, sometimes wearing one silver pip, sometimes two. However, in the episode "Family", Worf's father Sergey Rozhenko called him a "chief petty officer". O'Brien did not object to this, although he could have held his tongue in politeness.

On DS9, he was presented (and explicitly described himself) as being of enlisted rank. He consistently wore on his collar a black square with three chevrons on it, analogous to a present day US Navy chief petty officer insignia. If he was indeed a chief petty officer at the time of the meeting with Sergey, it is likely that he could have been promoted to a higher enlisted rank upon transfer to Deep Space Nine.

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