(written from a Production point of view)
|DS9, Episode 1x01|
Production number: 40511-721
First aired: 3 January 1993
|1st of 173 produced in DS9||→|
|1st of 173 released in DS9||→|
|←||245th of 728 released in all||→|
|A feature-length episode|
Michael Piller & Rick Berman
On the edge of explored space, a new crew takes command of an abandoned space station and makes an incredible discovery that will change the galaxy. (Series Premiere)
- On stardate 43997, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise was kidnapped for six days by an invading force known as the Borg. Surgically altered, he was forced to lead an assault on Starfleet at Wolf 359.
In 2367 (around stardate 44002.3) Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko is the executive officer of the USS Saratoga as it battles the Borg, led by Locutus (the former Captain Jean-Luc Picard), at Wolf 359. Its shields drained by the Borg cube, the ship sustains a direct hit, which kills most of the bridge crew save Sisko and an unnamed Bolian lieutenant and causes the beginnings of a warp core breach. Sisko orders the lieutenant to help the surviving civilians to the escape pods and goes in search of his own family. In his quarters he finds his young son Jake and wife Jennifer buried under a pile of rubble. Although he is able to rescue Jake, Jennifer remains trapped. As Sisko digs through the rubble, the Bolian lieutenant scans Jennifer with a tricorder and finds she is already dead. Sisko ignores the lieutenant's desperate pleas to escape and continues trying to rescue his wife; he is ultimately dragged away screaming to an escape pod. Together with Jake and the other survivors, he watches from the escape pod as the Saratoga is destroyed.
- Stardate 46379.1: Three Years Later
Commander Benjamin Sisko approaches Jake, now a teenager, who is fishing from a lake in an Earth-like setting. Jake seems dismayed they will be soon living on a space station rather than Bajor, the planet the station orbits. Sisko assures Jake that he will have fun and meet lots of new friends, but they are interrupted by a voice from the bridge, informing Sisko that they are approaching Deep Space 9. Sisko ends the program and they leave the holodeck. Walking past a window, Sisko and Jake get their first look at Deep Space 9, the former Cardassian mining station which will now be their home.
- "Commence Station Log, Deep Space 9. Commander Benjamin Sisko, Stardate 46388.2. At the request of the Bajoran Provisional Government, Starfleet has agreed to establish a Federation presence in this system following the withdrawal of the Cardassian occupational forces. The first contingent of officers, including my Chief of Operations, Miles O'Brien, arrived two days ago on the Enterprise."
Sisko and Jake arrive at Deep Space 9 and are dismayed to find the station in a state of disarray, ransacked by the Cardassians following the Occupation of Bajor; the planet itself is in a similar state. Neither Benjamin nor his son find the place, or their quarters, accommodating but they decide to "rough it" for the time being. Chief O'Brien reports that most systems are offline and a lot of equipment is missing or severely damaged. O'Brien also notes that Captain Picard wishes to meet with Sisko, a prospect the latter does not seem to relish.
Ascending to Ops, Sisko enters the prefect's office and finds his Bajoran liaison officer, Major Kira Nerys, in heated argument with one of the Provisional Government's ministers, whom she hangs up on. Kira, a former member of the Bajoran Resistance, is openly hostile to the idea of another foreign power occupying Bajor. When Sisko says the Federation is only there to assist the Bajorans, she retorts that the Cardassians said the same thing when they arrived sixty years earlier.
Their conversation is interrupted by an alarm from the Promenade, where Kira and Sisko capture a thief and his accomplice, a young Ferengi named Nog. Here, Sisko also meets Odo, the station's security chief, who aids in the apprehension of the two criminals. Quark, Nog's uncle and the proprietor of the local bar, urges Sisko to release Nog into his custody so the Ferengi may evacuate, but Sisko refuses, appearing to have something else in mind. Before he can continue, he is reminded that Captain Picard is waiting to meet with him. As he cannot put it off any longer, he heads for the Enterprise.
When Sisko meets with Picard, it is now Sisko's turn to be brusque and distrusting. He begins by "re-introducing" himself, mentioning that he has already "met" Picard (or rather Locutus) at the Battle of Wolf 359. Picard is obviously troubled by his memories of the event, so he begins discussing the havoc wreaked upon Bajor by the Cardassians. Bajor has applied for Federation membership, however their entrance will not be simple; with the Cardassians gone, several factions are now fighting for control of the planet. He tells Sisko that his mission aboard the station is to do everything short of violating the Prime Directive to secure Bajor's entrance into the Federation. Picard then notes that Sisko had objections to taking the assignment, and Sisko tells Picard with barely-restrained anger that he's raising his son alone and that a damaged space station is not the ideal environment. Sisko also says that he is thinking of resigning his Starfleet commission to return to Earth, but until he makes the decision he will do his job to the best of his ability. The conversation is dominated by thinly-veiled hostility on Sisko's part, as he faces the man he holds responsible for the death of his wife.
In Odo's security office, Sisko and Odo interview Quark, encouraging him to stay on the station and reopen his establishment. The Promenade is the vital heart of life on the station, and someone has to step forward and lead the other vendors in rebuilding. As Quark is less than eager to stay – citing that "when governments fall, people like me are lined up and shot" – Sisko uses the incarcerated Nog as a bargaining chip, offering to free Nog if Quark agrees to his terms. Odo starts to warm up to the new Starfleet commander.
While discussing Bajoran politics, Kira expresses her belief that Kai Opaka, the spiritual leader of Bajor, is their only hope to unite the people and keep the Provisional Government intact. When Sisko meets the kai on Bajor, she urges him to explore his pagh, or life-force, and declares Sisko to be the Emissary of the Prophets, though she doesn't tell him everything at first. She leads Sisko to the Orb of Prophecy and Change, which grants him his first orb experience: he is mentally transported to Gilgo Beach, years earlier (circa 2354), at the time and place he met Jennifer, his wife. He re-lives the moment of their first encounter in vivid detail, promising to prepare his father's famous Aubergine stew for dinner, and is distraught when the vision ends.
As Kai Opaka shuts away the Orb safely in its container, she explains that this Orb is one of nine known Orbs that have appeared in the skies over Bajor in the last ten thousand years; the Cardassians took the other eight. She also informs Sisko that his destiny, whether he believes it or not, consists entirely of finding the Celestial Temple of the Prophets, from where the orbs originated. To help him in his task, she gives him the Orb for further study.
- "Station log, stardate 46390.1. The Enterprise has been ordered to the Lapolis system. They're scheduled to depart at zero-five hundred hours after offloading three runabout class vessels. Meanwhile, our medical and science officers are arriving... and I'm looking forward to a reunion with a... very old... friend."
Back aboard DS9, Sisko greets his new chief medical officer, Doctor Julian Bashir, who is obviously smitten with Jadzia Dax, the station's new chief science officer. Sisko's meeting with Dax is really a reunion, because Dax is a Trill symbiont whom Sisko knew as Curzon Dax years earlier. Bashir offends Kira by referring to his new assignment as "frontier medicine"; to Kira, Bajor is home, not some frontier in the wilderness. Sisko quickly puts his old friend Dax to use, asking her to conduct research on the Orb and leaving her alone in the science lab. When she touches the Orb, it grows extremely bright and gives her a vision of her own.
From high above, she sees herself (as the un-joined Jadzia) lying on an operating table, receiving the Dax symbiont from a dying Curzon, realizing the first moment of her new self-awareness. The vision has a noticeably powerful effect on her emotionally, as strong as Sisko's vision of Jennifer.
On the Enterprise, Miles O'Brien stands outside the captain's ready room, deciding whether to go inside or not. He decides not to, and heads to transporter room 3. Upon entering, he asks Ensign Maggie Hubbell to beam him to the transporter pad in Ops. Just before he transports to the station, Captain Picard walks in, and dismisses the ensign. Picard says that just the other day he called down to transporter room 3 and asked for him without thinking, and how it won't be the same without him. O'Brien smiles, and tells Picard that "it's just a transporter room", and requests permission to disembark. Picard transports O'Brien to the station, operating the panel himself. The Enterprise then sets off for the Lapolis system.
Barely has the Enterprise left orbit than a Cardassian warship enters the system, transmitting fulsome good wishes from its commander, Gul Dukat – the former Cardassian Prefect of Bajor. Sisko hosts Dukat in his office (which used to be Dukat's office two weeks prior, when the station was still Terok Nor). With great diplomacy, Dukat "welcomes" the Federation to the region and pledges his "support" to their efforts to rehabilitate Bajor (especially in light of the fact that the Enterprise has departed the region). In his unctuous manner, Dukat fishes for information about the Orb Sisko brought to the station, as he had believed that the eight "acquired" by the Cardassians were the only ones in existence. He offers to share what the Cardassians have learned from those eight, but Sisko coolly says he knows nothing about any Orb. Smiling politely, Dukat says his ship will remain in system for a few days, in case Sisko changes his mind, and asks Sisko's permission for his men to enjoy the services on the Promenade.
In her lab, Dax has plotted a central location common to the pathways of all the known Orbs, the Denorios belt, a charged plasma field. Sisko is intrigued and wants to take a closer look, but is wary of being followed by the Cardassians. So he concocts a ruse...
In Quark's, the Cardassians are winning heavily at the dabo tables, when Kira strides in and announces the bar is being closed until further notice. Quark assures his customers that it is only temporary, and one of his waiters hands them a tote bag to carry their winnings back to their ship. The "bag" is actually Odo; once aboard the ship, he sabotages their computers, disabling their sensors and engines, allowing Sisko and Dax to depart in the runabout USS Rio Grande. Kira tells O'Brien to beam Odo back to the station, but O'Brien is having trouble operating the Cardassian transporter. When the machine refuses to respond to his commands, he kicks it in frustration - which works, energizing Odo back.
The coast is now clear for Sisko and Dax to embark toward the Denorios belt, the coordinates of the focal point of the Bajoran Orbs. As Dax steers the vessel toward high proton counts and the external wave intensifies, a wormhole suddenly opens directly in front of them. They are pulled into it, as DS9 loses contact with them, picking up only major subspace disruptions. The Rio Grande emerges in the Gamma Quadrant, some 70,000 light years from its previous location. Sisko suspects that the wormhole is the source of the Bajoran Orbs, and realizes that they have discovered the first stable wormhole known to exist, so they turn around and attempt to return to the Alpha Quadrant.
However, the Rio Grande loses power and velocity while in the wormhole; they land on a "planet" with breathable atmosphere. To Sisko, it appears to be a barren wasteland, raging with electrical storms; to Dax, however, the planet appears beautiful, like an idyllic garden setting. A hovering Orb appears and scans their bodies; it engulfs Dax and takes her through the wormhole safely, and she materializes in Ops on DS9. Sisko is transported from the imaginary planet to the Celestial Temple, where he begins another vision, this one being his first communication with the Prophets of the Celestial Temple.
The Prophets are non-corporeal entities, appearing to Sisko as people in his life: his late wife Jennifer, Picard, the kai, and Jake. They seek contact with other lifeforms, but do not consider him worthy, since he is corporeal, and relies on crude linguistics for communication. As he tries to defend himself and his species, Sisko seeks to develop some form of communication protocols with them.
- "First officer's log, stardate 46392.7. We're preparing to launch a rescue mission to find Commander Sisko, but first, our navigational sensors must be recalibrated to work under the conditions reported by Lieutenant Dax."
Once Kira realizes what Sisko and Dax discovered, she recognizes its tremendous importance and orders the entire DS9 space station to be moved to the mouth of the newly-found wormhole. With only six functional maneuvering thrusters, O'Brien states that it would take a month. Kira replies that it has to be done by the next day, stating that the Bajorans have to stake a claim to the wormhole, then in an apparent change of attitude, notes that the Federation's presence would strengthen the claim. Dax suggests they lower the inertial mass of the station with the deflector array; O'Brien begins work on this endeavor. Dax contacts Starfleet for assistance; the nearest starship is the Enterprise, which is two days away. Kira, Dax, and Doctor Bashir decide to set out toward the wormhole in another runabout, the USS Yangtzee Kiang, to rescue Sisko. Odo insists on joining their expedition, citing his own discovery in the Denorios belt and how his origins may be related to the wormhole phenomenon.
Back inside the wormhole, Sisko communicates with some non-corporeal aliens who take the form of several people he knows; Jake, Picard, Locutus of Borg, Kai Opaka, Jennifer, and the Saratoga crew, among others. The aliens discuss destroying the intruder, while Sisko insists he was sent by the Bajorans. In order to prove he means no harm he offers to allow the aliens to share in his experiences and his past. However, it turns out the wormhole aliens have no concept of linear time.
As Sisko and the wormhole aliens try to understand one another, O'Brien and the crew attempt to find a way to safely move DS9 to the mouth of the wormhole, but the Cardassian computer is less than cooperative to the point where it refuses to cooperate with some of his requests. With great difficulty, O'Brien manages to move DS9; however, Dukat has become aware of the wormhole's presence.
Suspecting Sisko of already striking a deal with "whomever" in the wormhole, Gul Dukat races toward the wormhole himself; his Cardassian vessel, easily out-pacing Kira and the runabout, proceeds through the wormhole.
Meanwhile, Sisko is showing the aliens a moment in his past when he and Jennifer were sharing a picnic. The aliens mention that Jennifer is a part of Sisko's existence, but Sisko tells them that while she was a very important part she is not anymore as she is no longer alive... he lost her. The aliens are now very confused, unable to understand what "lost" means. Sisko tells them that when in linear time, people are unable to go back to the past, when something is lost it is gone forever. The aliens cannot understand how any species could possibly survive in this manner.
Sisko goes on to explain that this day is important as it affected every one that followed; it is the day he and Jennifer decided to have a child. As the two echoes kiss, Sisko starts to explain about touch and pleasure when suddenly...
...he finds himself back on the Saratoga, standing over his wife's body. The aliens explain this is his existence. Sisko tells them that this memory is more difficult than any of the others because this is the day he lost Jennifer. The aliens don't accept this, and they ask Sisko why he exists here. Sisko doesn't understand what they're asking, but they insist that he exists here.
Suddenly, everything stops. Gul Dukat's ship is traveling through the wormhole and emerges in the Gamma Quadrant. In anger, the aliens seal the wormhole, preventing the runabout from following.
The aliens explain to Sisko that whenever someone travels through the wormhole their existence is disrupted, therefore they have closed it. The aliens tell Sisko that his linear nature makes him naturally destructive, a charge Sisko denies. He tells them he is aware that every choice he makes will have a consequence, even if he doesn't know what it is. To help, he uses past experiences to guide him. For example, he cites the day he met Jennifer on the beach and how their past experiences helped them realize they had a future together and when they got married they accepted any of the consequences that would come from that act... including the birth of their son.
The aliens are starting to understand but still need help, so Sisko decides to use the game of baseball as an example. He tells the aliens that when he throws the baseball anything could happen, the batter could swing and miss or he might hit the ball perfectly. A person prepares for every consequence as they happen, and as a result the game will start to take shape even though no one knows what the outcome will be. Now the aliens start to get it, but now can't understand why Sisko values his ignorance of the future. Sisko tells the aliens that the unknown is what drives his species, that they are always exploring and looking to the future to expand their knowledge. He explains that he isn't there to conquer but to co-exist and share their knowledge.
"If what you say is true, then why do you exist here?!"
Sisko is once again on the Saratoga looking at his wife's body under the debris, confused why the aliens keep returning him to this point.
- "First officer's log, supplemental. We've rendezvoused with the space station at the former coordinates of the wormhole. Unfortunately, our scans have revealed no trace of either the wormhole or Dukat's ship. A few minutes ago three Cardassian warships crossed the border, no doubt on their way to search for Dukat."
In light of Dukat's disappearance, the station is soon approached by three Cardassian warships, which take a threatening posture. Gul Jasad demands to know the location of Dukat's vessel; he refuses to believe Kira's "wormhole" explanation, since there is no sensory evidence of such. Jasad allows Kira one hour to prepare for surrender, but with the Enterprise still twenty hours away, Kira knows that surrender is not a viable option.
Inside the wormhole, Sisko demands to know why the aliens keep bringing him back here to the Saratoga but the aliens tell him they are not bringing him here, he is taking them there. Sisko asks for the power to take them somewhere else, but the aliens tell him that he already has the power but is denying himself it and should look inside himself for the answer. Sisko then looks back, and sees himself from three years earlier, desperate to free his wife despite the knowledge she was dead. Sisko notes that he was ready to die with her.
Sisko is clearly in pain at recalling the most horrific of his memories, and the aliens sense this and try to comfort him. As he sees his past self dragged away he realizes inside that he never completely left the Saratoga. As he looks down at his wife, and through his tears, he tells the aliens that the moment he looked down at Jennifer's dead body has always been in his mind, and whenever he closes his eyes he sees the same image. The aliens realize that none of Sisko's past experiences helped prepare him for this consequence and Sisko confesses he's never been able to get over losing her and that inside he does still exist here. But finally Sisko realizes that Jennifer is really gone and he has to let her go forever. He leaves the quarters again, but this time he walks away finally leaving the trauma of his wife's death behind him.
Kira launches six photon torpedoes – the station's entire complement – as a bluff, to make Gul Jasad believe that Starfleet has replenished DS9's weaponry after taking over the station. The bluff fails, however, as the Cardassians begin assaulting the station, easily penetrating its weak shields. Odo calls for medical assistance on the Promenade from Doctor Bashir. Dax reports that their shields are down to eighteen percent and falling, then suddenly reports a huge neutrino disturbance – the wormhole is back.
The wormhole opens in an explosion of brilliant, neon-like light; the Cardassians, shocked to see it for the first time, immediately cease firing on DS9. To everyone's surprise, Commander Sisko emerges in the Rio Grande, towing Gul Dukat's disabled Cardassian vessel from the wormhole to safety. Once securely back in the Alpha Quadrant, Dukat orders the Cardassian vessels to stand down.
Luckily there were no fatalities on DS9, just various injuries being treated by Doctor Bashir and Odo, who has been pressed into medical duties, for the time being. Sisko, back aboard DS9, joyously greets Jake. The Prophets, known to the Federation as the "wormhole aliens," have granted Sisko and all other corporeal beings free passage through the wormhole. And with the return of the Enterprise, the Cardassian vessels retreat back to Cardassian space.
- "Station Log, Commander Benjamin Sisko, Stardate 46393.1. The lifeforms who created the wormhole have agreed to allow safe passage for all ships traveling to the Gamma Quadrant. With the arrival of the Enterprise the Cardassians have left the area."
Meeting once again with Captain Picard, Commander Sisko is congratulated on finding the wormhole; Bajor will now undoubtedly become a commercial and scientific hub, as well as a strategic military focal point for the Federation. Sisko retracts his earlier conversation with Picard, about possibly resigning his commission. Picard, who had not forwarded the information up the chain of command, nevertheless asks Sisko if he is sure about staying at the helm of DS9. Sisko assures him that he knows he is the man for the mission; Picard shakes his hand, and leaves to the bridge of the Enterprise, wishing Sisko good luck.
Kira warns Quark to not cheat his customers anymore, but allows him to keep his bar open. As the crew continues repairs and settles into their new home, so begins the command of Deep Space 9 by Commander Benjamin Sisko, the Emissary to the Prophets of Bajor.
- - Locutus of Borg, at the Battle of Wolf 359 (first spoken line of the series)
"I suppose you want the office."
"I thought I'd say hello first, and then take the office, but we can do this in any order you'd like."
- - Kira and Sisko
"It's been a long time, Captain."
"Have we met before?"
"Yes, sir. We met in battle. I was on the Saratoga at Wolf 359."
- - Commander Sisko and Captain Picard
"You know, at first, I didn't think I was going to like him!"
- - Odo, after seeing what Sisko thinks of Quark
"I'll be honest with you, Commander. I miss this office. I was not happy to leave it."
"Drop by any time you're feeling homesick."
- - Gul Dukat and Commander Sisko
"Red alert! Shields up!"
- - Kira and O'Brien
"I see her like this, every time I close my eyes. In the darkness, in the blink of an eye, I see her like this."
- - Commander Sisko
"You don't think Starfleet took command of this space station without the ability to defend it, do you?"
"Defend it? Your space station could not defend itself against one Cardassian warship."
"You're probably right, Jasad. And if you were dealing with a Starfleet officer, they'd probably admit we have a hopeless cause here. But I'm just a Bajoran who's been fighting a hopeless cause against the Cardassians all her life. So if you want a war, I'll give you one."
- - Kira and Jasad
"Major? Remind me never to get into a game of Roladan Wild Draw with you."
- - O'Brien, to Major Kira after she bluffs belligerent Cardassians
"We're not done with the Cardassians yet. Not with the strategic importance of that wormhole."
- - Sisko, to Picard
"Good luck, Mr. Sisko."
- - Jean-Luc Picard's departing words to Sisko
- When Brandon Tartikoff first approached Rick Berman in 1991 about doing a new Star Trek show, he stated that he wanted it to have a classic western format; specifically, a man and his son arrive at a frontier town on the edge of known civilization. Berman brought this concept to Michael Piller, and together they set about creating a western in space. As Robert Hewitt Wolfe explains, "We had the country doctor, and we had the barkeeper, and we had the sheriff and we had the mayor, we had it all, it was all there. We had the common man, Miles O'Brien, the Native American, Kira." Indeed, the producers initially discussed setting the show at a colony on an alien planet rather than a space station. This idea was ultimately rejected because it was felt that it would involve too much location shooting, and because they felt that fans of Star Trek wanted to see story lines set primarily in space, not on a planet. (New Frontiers: The Story of Deep Space Nine, DS9 Season 2 DVD special features)
- Being set in a specific place, as opposed to a show on the move, "Emissary" and its subsequent series presents the first (and so far only) Trek premise in which the main setting is not a starship, being set instead aboard space station Deep Space 9. This change of venue was largely intended to differentiate DS9 from The Next Generation, because the producers felt that having two shows about a starship airing simultaneously would be unacceptable. As co-creator and executive producer Rick Berman explains, "Because there were two years of overlap with The Next Generation, we could not create a show that took place on a spaceship. It just seemed ridiculous to have two shows and two casts of characters that were off going where no man has gone before. It was a land-based show, it was a show that in a sense was taking place on a space station. So it had to be an entirely different concept." (Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning, DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
- The decision to set the show on a fixed station rather than a traveling starship was also based upon a desire to look deeper into the actual workings of the Federation and to see how it dealt with the type of problems one wouldn't find in a show set upon a starship. Michael Piller felt that by having the characters standing still, they would be forced to confront issues not usually applicable to people on a starship. Whereas on The Next Generation, issues raised each week could simply be forgotten about the following week as the ship visited somewhere else, on a space station, events couldn't be forgotten or left behind, but had to have implications for the future. As Piller explains, "We didn't want to have another series of shows about space travel. We felt that there was an opportunity to really look deeper, more closely at the working of the Federation and the Star Trek universe by standing still. And by putting people on a space station where they would be forced to confront the kind of issues that people in space ships are not forced to confront. In a series that focuses on a starship, like the Enterprise, you live week by week. You never have to stay and deal with the issues that you've raised. But by focusing on a space station, you create a show about commitment. It's like the difference between a one-night stand and a marriage. On Deep Space Nine, whatever you decide has consequences the following week. So it's about taking responsibility for your decisions, the consequences of your acts." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Similarly, in 2002, Piller stated, "If you look at The Next Generation, it's really about movement. You don't ever stay in one place long enough to get to know anybody. Well Deep Space Nine is a show where everybody is forced to stay week after week, so each episode, each show, is fundamentally dealing with the people who have to learn that actions have consequences, and they have to live with the consequences of their actions on a weekly basis." (New Frontiers: The Story of Deep Space Nine, DS9 Season 2 DVD special features)
- In relation to the decision to set the show in a fixed location, Ira Steven Behr, speaking in 1996, commented; "We have certain advantages that I think no other Star Trek series has had, because we do have a base of operations that doesn't travel through space, which is the space station. Every story we do, the repercussions, the consequences don't disappear. It's not like the other shows where you have an adventure and then you zoom off into the great unknown. We are here, we have made a home, what we do has consequences. And I think we're able to do this mosaic, this fabric of life in the future, which I like." Similarly, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, speaking in 2002 stated; "I think if Next Generation and The Original Series were about going out there and discovering new things about other races, Deep Space Nine is about staying in one place and discovering new things about ourselves. Not that we didn't go out there and discover things, but we had the same characters, we didn't change location every week. Sisko couldn't just solve a problem and sail off into the sunset, and never have to go back to that place again. That place was always there, and that problem could always come back to haunt him. So, in a lot of ways, it was a more complex show." (New Frontiers: The Story of Deep Space Nine, DS9 Season 2 DVD special features)
- Setting the show in a fixed location also meant that a large cast of recurring characters could be built up with relative ease; much more so than in The Original Series or The Next Generation before it, or Voyager or Star Trek: Enterprise since. As Rick Berman, speaking in 2002, states; "The show was land-based, but the benefit we got from that was that by staying in one place, it enabled us to create twenty or thirty secondary and recurring characters, which really enriched the show because of all the multi-layers of relationships that have existed over the years. It's a very character driven show as a result, and I think that makes it quite unique." (Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning, DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
- The main cast was intentionally assembled to create conflict (Quark and Odo, Kira and Sisko, etc) so as to contrast the relatively tranquil atmosphere aboard Federation starships. This was another very specific decision taken by the producers. Gene Roddenberry's golden rule was that there was to be no conflict among Starfleet characters, so the producers decided to introduce non-Starfleet characters so conflict could come from within the show rather than always coming from outside (as it did on TNG). As writer Joe Menosky explains, "You can see right away they're not the perfectly engineered Humans of TNG. They seem more real. I don't know if that makes them as attractive to viewers or not. But they are really different, and they represent a different way to tell a story. And it was definitely a conscious choice to create that potential for conflict." Similarly, Rick Berman states, "Viewers didn't see that group of loving family members that existed on the first two Star Trek shows." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Michael Piller also comments on this, somewhat controversial, aspect of the show; "One of the primary goals of the development process was to come up with a show that had more inherent conflict than The Next Generation. In order to do that, you have to understand that Gene Roddenberry had a very specific vision for humanity in the 24th century. What that meant for The Next Generation was that everybody gets along remarkably well on the Enterprise. There's very little room for interpersonal conflict between those people. In this series, we set out to create a situation that would provide natural conflict. We've populated the show with several aliens, primarily Bajorans, as we are stationed on the edge of the Bajoran star system. And the Bajorans are very different people than we are. They are people who are very spiritual and mystical and have a whole different way of looking at life than the 24th century humanist views which many of our Starfleet people will have. So immediately, there are conflicts. And then there's additional aliens from elsewhere who are thrown into the mix. So, as regular characters, not all the people are Starfleet, not all the people are human, and as a result, you have this continuing conflict, because people who come from different places, honorable, noble people, will naturally have conflicts." (Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning, DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
- From the very beginning, DS9's darker aesthetic (see below), more antagonistic characters and less utopian setting was somewhat controversial amongst die-hard fans of Gene Roddenberry's universe. As Ira Steven Behr, speaking in 1996 (about half way through the show's seven year run) states, "At the beginning of Deep Space Nine's life, there was feelings that this was not a show that Gene would approve of by some of the fans, feeling that, you know, we had gone away from the image of the future as a paradise, that we had much more conflicts between our people, life isn't always great. But I think Gene, just by his very nature as a creative individual, as a writer, as a forward-thinking person, knows that any franchise has to move forward like a shark, or it dies. And I think he would understand what we're doing, and I think he would like what we're doing, and I think we're in the pocket of the Star Trek universe, and we try to push the envelope. And I see nothing wrong with that, and I have a hard time believing that Gene would see anything wrong with that." (New Frontiers: The Story of Deep Space Nine, DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) Interestingly, the sense that DS9 was too 'dark' to be a Star Trek show would only increase over the years, with episodes such as "Nor the Battle to the Strong", "In the Pale Moonlight" and "The Siege of AR-558", and topics issues as Section 31 charting territory never before seen on a Trek show, and creating a great deal of controversy amongst fans of both The Original Series and The Next Generation.
- The noticeable change in Starfleet uniform to a black design with the division color on the shoulders and a gray undershirt underneath the uniform was mostly implemented as a continuation of Trek's pattern of changing uniforms over time, although factors such as the discomfort of wearing TNG-style uniforms played a role as well. What would come to be known as the "DS9-style" uniforms were more of a variant than a switch, however, due to the cost of producing all-new uniforms. This is why, for example, the DS9 crew themselves have "TNG-style" uniforms in the beginning of this episode and, even after TNG had gone off the air, the dress uniforms on DS9 (as well as uniforms on Earth, as seen in the fourth season episodes "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost") were TNG style, while the "DS9-style" uniforms were also later used in Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: Voyager. These discrepancies were corrected with the later switch to a unified, "gray-on-black" format with the division color undershirts, which was used through Star Trek Nemesis.
- Jadzia Dax and Trills seen after this episode are distinctly different from the Trills in the TNG episode "The Host". There is considerably more depth to the relationship between the host and symbiont in Trill joining than described in the TNG episode. The fact that Trills now have spots rather than prosthetic make-up is because the producers felt Terry Farrell was too attractive to cover her face up.
- Another significant change is the relationship Ferengi have with Humans. As most fans know, the Ferengi on TNG were originally intended to be a new adversary comparable to the Klingons in TOS, although the writers quickly realized how ridiculous the Ferengi were as villains. As of "Emissary," the Ferengi are mainly entrepreneurs and the Ferengi Alliance is a politically neutral economic power.
- Miles O'Brien was brought aboard DS9 in this episode and made a part of the senior staff because the producers felt that Colm Meaney was too talented an actor to confine his character to a transporter room. Additionally, they hoped the TNG crossover would help boost the new series' ratings.
- The first officer aboard DS9 would have been Ro Laren, but she was replaced by Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) because Michelle Forbes did not want to commit to a six-year contract working on DS9. Indeed, the reason the producers had decided to set the show on Bajor in the first place was because of Ro.
- The Prophets and Sisko's new status as their Emissary constitute Trek's first venture into the area of religion from a dramatic, rather than scientific, perspective.
- Runabouts made their first appearance in this episode. They were specifically designed for the new series to make it unique, although a runabout made a sole appearance on The Next Generation in "Timescape", as well as Voyager in "Non Sequitur".
- The revised final draft script was submitted on 10 August 1992.
- A scene was cut in the teaser that had Sisko notifying the captain that the USS Gage, USS Kyushu, and USS Melbourne were deployed by Admiral J.P. Hanson. The latter two vessels were mentioned in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"; however, the Gage was a new reference and would be included in the Star Trek Encyclopedia. The script also mentions that Jake Sisko's birth occurs in 2360. However, this is contradicted in future episodes where his birth is said to occur in 2355.
- Another line cut involved Sisko talking to a university official on Earth, who had offered him an assignment, which Sisko is seriously considering.
- The script stated that a "knife-like" weapon was to be thrown at Odo during the looting scene on the Promenade. This was replaced with a weapon similar to a flail, thrown like a bolo. Additionally, Odo was to shift his upper mid-body out of shape. However, this was replaced with him only shifting his head.
- During Sisko's first meeting with the Prophets, the script states that any extras within fifty feet of the camera's position were to stop whatever activity they were doing and pay curious attention to Sisko. Any extras beyond the fifty foot range were to act like "atmosphere" and continue "human activity".
- A scene in the script that was filmed but eventually deleted featured Sisko meeting with Opaka again, to return the Orb. He tells her that fourteen planets have contacted the Federation to open trade links through Bajoran space. He tries to tell her he believes the Prophets to be wormhole aliens, but she tells him she does not wish to hear. She tells him "that is why a disbeliever was destined to seek them - one should never look into the eyes of his own gods...". She also tells Sisko that his journey is only beginning. Rick Berman considers this to be "a wonderful scene" and one he regretted had to be removed for time. However, in the first season finale "In the Hands of the Prophets," Vedek Winn tells Sisko that, when she once asked Kai Opaka why an outsider was chosen to seek the Prophets, the Kai said to her that "one should never look into the eyes of one's own gods."
Cast and characters
- Max Grodénchik, credited as the Ferengi pit boss, later became the recurring character Rom, Nog's father and Quark's brother.
- J.G. Hertzler, credited as "Saratoga Captain" under the name "John Noah Hertzler", is well-known for his later portrayal of Klingon General/Chancellor Martok. He also played Laas in the seventh season episode "Chimera", under the name "Garman Hertzler".
- Majel Barrett, as the Saratoga computer voice, was participating in her third (out of three, at the time) live action Star Trek series, having played Nurse Chapel in The Original Series and Lwaxana Troi (and, of course, the Enterprise computer) on The Next Generation.
- Marc Alaimo reprised his role as Gul Dukat throughout DS9's seven-year run, although he was not the original choice for the role.
- Aron Eisenberg's Nog character was eventually transformed from petty thief to Starfleet's first-ever Ferengi officer.
- Alaimo, Eisenberg, Grodénchik, Hertzler and Mark Allen Shepherd (as Morn) are the only actors, apart from the regulars, to appear in both this series-opening episode and the series finale, "What You Leave Behind".
- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, Michael Piller explains the rationale behind each of the principal cast members, why each character was chosen, and what each one was to bring to the mix;
- Jadzia Dax: "The Trill is a great race. They had some interesting ramifications on TNG. A Trill character would provide great potential for dichotomy and paradox."
- Odo: "We knew that we needed some kind of Data/Spock character who looks at the world from the outside in. And the idea that an alien entity would have to find some way to pass as human was fascinating, and seemed to give us an avenue into the kind of 'complexion of humanity' stories that we wanted to tell."
- Quark: "A Ferengi would provide the show with instant humor and built-in conflict. I saw Quark as the bartender who is a constant thorn in the side of law and order, but who has a sense of humor about it. He'd be someone who could obviously throw lots of story dynamics into play."
- Julian Bashir: "We decided to create a flawed character. He'd have to be brought down to size in order to grow. And we wrote him as kind of a jerk for much of the first season."
- Miles O'Brien: "After we decided we were bringing him over to the new show, we thought, 'How do we use him?' We'd already decided to focus on Bajor, with this long backstory, establishing his bitterness towards the Cardassians, so it worked very nicely together."
- Kira Nerys: "We liked the idea of having somebody working with the commander of the station who would be a thorn in his side, who would represent a different point of view. We knew we'd get conflict and interesting dynamics between the two characters."
- Benjamin Sisko: "Every hero needs a journey. You want to take your leading man on a quest where he has to overcome personal issues as well as whatever space stuff happens to be out there. The idea of a man who is broken and who begins to repair himself is always a great beginning for drama."
- Preproduction on "Emissary" began the week of 11 August 1992, with principal photography running from 18 August 1992 to 25 September 1992. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- One of the first sequences to be filmed was the Battle of Wolf 359, specifically the visual effects passes, including the destruction of the USS Saratoga, which was shot on a Paramount soundstage, rather than at Image G due to the use of explosives. (Movie Magic - "Space Effects: The Space Race")
- The scenes of the Siskos' holodeck fishing program were filmed at the Golden Oak Ranch. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The first shot of principal photography was filmed on the Ops set - the scene where Sisko enters the command center for the first time. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The sequence of Dax and Sisko within the wormhole was one of the last sequences filmed, on 24 October 1992. (Movie Magic - "Space Effects: The Space Race")
- In this episode only, prior to its discovery, the wormhole does not appear at the end of the opening credits. However, it is shown in syndication as well as in some foreign language versions.
- During the pre-production of this episode, the producers were especially keen to ensure that the aesthetic of the show was very different from anything yet seen in the Star Trek universe. For example, director of photography Marvin Rush said the producers told him that they wanted "a darker, more sinister place" than the Enterprise-D. Rush himself describes the final look as "dark and shadowy." Similarly, production designer Herman Zimmerman has said, "The marching orders for the station were to make it bizarre." Finally, supervising producer David Livingston has summed up the differences between DS9 and TNG by comparing the Enterprise's bridge with Deep Space 9's Ops; "The bridge is a very easy set to shoot. It's a three-wall open set with a lot of room, big and cavernous. Ops, on the other hand, is a multilevel set with a lot of cramped areas and very contrasty lighting. It's more interesting visually." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion). As Colm Meaney elaborates, "Because it was an alien space station, it gives the whole thing a very different feel I think to Next Generation or the original show, where you have the Enterprise, which is this very perfect environment. This is much more kind of dark and eerie, and also nothing works, the whole thing is a terrible mess." (Deep Space Nine Scrapbook: Year One, DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
- For the scene depicting Sisko inside the wormhole with the Prophets, director David Carson and director of photography Marvin Rush used diffusion filters and overexposed the image so as to achieve the effect of the white light 'bleeding' onto Sisko's face. As Sisko's conversation with the Prophets progresses and tension mounts, Sisko is seen several times staring forward intently and engulfed by extremely bright white light. With each shot, the camera zooms progressively closer on Avery Brooks' face until immediately after the Bajoran wormhole closes, when it shows only his eyes.
- Two hundred and fifty special effects shots were created for this episode. (Deep Space Nine Chronicles)
- The set of the Saratoga's escape pod is a redress of the front section of the runabout.
- Mark Allen Shepherd was told that Morn was telling "the funniest joke in the universe" when the character is seen in Quark's bar. (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- Jake's birth scene was shot on the Enterprise-D sickbay set.
- Terry Farrell didn't begin to shoot her scenes until the 11th day of principal photography, by which time most of the cast and crew had gotten to know each other. Initially, she found the whole experience overwhelming, taking up to fifteen takes to get some of the dialog scenes correct, and at one stage she actually hoped she was going to be fired. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Jennifer and Jake Sisko's presence aboard the USS Saratoga makes this the first occasion a Miranda-class starship is known to carry families aboard. This was previously known only to occur on Galaxy-class starships.
- This episode features flashbacks to the Battle of Wolf 359; the aftermath of which was seen in TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". The battle itself occurred mainly off-screen aside from viewscreen communication with Admiral Hanson during the battle.
- The Battle of Wolf 359 flashback after the opening crawl in the teaser lasts only about 4 minutes 12 seconds.
- This is the USS Enterprise-D's first of two known visits to Deep Space 9. The second was in TNG: "Birthright, Part I".
- This episode has a very similar title to that of TNG: "The Emissary", in which Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) and Colm Meaney (Chief Miles O'Brien) also appear.
- The Next Generation-style command uniform Avery Brooks wore in this episode was auctioned off in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction (item #2778).
- This episode marks the only appearance of the Borg on Deep Space Nine.
- Although in later shows the relationship between Quark and Odo would become almost comic relief, in this episode, when Odo accuses Quark of being a thief, there is no humor in the scene whatsoever, and there is no discernible camaraderie between the two throughout the entire episode.
- Quark's prosthetic nose wasn't ready in time for the filming of this episode, so actor Armin Shimerman had to wear the nose made for Max Grodénchik. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The scene where Odo assists Doctor Bashir in treating the wounded on the Promenade is a tip of the hat to a scene from the movie M*A*S*H (1970). Rene Auberjonois's character, Father John Mulcahy, is asked to assist a military surgeon in the operating room and awkwardly complies.
- Patrick Stewart delivers the first spoken lines in two Star Trek premieres. He previously delivered the opening captain's log in TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint" as Jean-Luc Picard (as well as the first spoken line on the bridge during that episode), and then spoke the opening lines of this episode as Locutus. "Emissary" is Stewart's only Star Trek appearance without Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker).
- The holographically-hidden stairs used by Sisko and Kai Opaka to descend to the Orb room beneath the Bajoran temple are reused from Brunwald Castle in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In that film, the stairs are also hidden, but are revealed when Henry Jones leans back in a nearby chair and the stairs unfold into the well below, enabling he and Indiana Jones to escape from the castle. (citation needed • edit)
- "Emissary" first aired in the United Kingdom (on Sky One) as a two-parter on 15 August 1993 and 22 August 1993. (The New Trek Programme Guide)
- "Emissary" scored an 18.8 percentage of the syndicated television market making it one of the most watched television episodes in syndicated television history. It was number one in the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, and Boston markets. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- On the 2nd of October 2007, "Emissary" was the first Star Trek episode to be shown on the UK's then-new Virgin 1 channel. Part one of the episode was watched by two hundred and twenty six thousand people, around 1.2% of the total television audience at the time.
- Rick Berman commented "I think we were all happily surprised at the response. I knew that we had created a show that had wonderful potential and, slowly but surely, I knew that it was coming together and was going to be wonderful. We were in Time and Newsweek and the ratings have been really good". (The Deep Space Log Book: A First Season Companion, p 53)
- David Livingston commented "We were just flabbergasted! When I went to the screening here on the lot, I hadn't seen it with all the music and effects and opticals, and I was blown away by it. To know the audience responded the way they did was very gratifying. Rick's and Michael's vision, and then David Carson's execution and the wonderful cast we picked, all clicked. It's great to know you can strike gold twice now". (The Deep Space Log Book: A First Season Companion, p 54)
- In his review of "Emissary" in 13 February 1993's TV Guide, Jeff Jarvis commented "Brooks is a mighty presence; this could be his breakout role... Terry Farrell is cool and alluring as a wise old beast wearing a beautiful woman's body. Armin Shimerman has a wonderfully rodenty quality as Quark the casino owner, the Donald Trump of space. This cast is at least as strong as The Next Generation. But this series is far stronger, for it is more than just a spin-off - it's a wholly new show with its own vision and its own message for our new world". (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- In Star Trek 101, Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block list "Emissary" as being one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- This episode was nominated for four Emmy Awards, a distinction it shares with only three other episodes of Trek. It won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects and was nominated for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Series, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Editing for a Series, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series. The series also earned composer Dennis McCarthy the award for the theme music.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 1, catalog number VHR 2763, 2 August 1993
- UK VHS special collector's edition: 8 November 1993
- As part of the UK VHS release Star Trek - 30th Anniversary Trial Pack: 2 January 1996
- US VHS The Collector's Edition, 1996, released through Columbia House.
- UK VHS release Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Movie: 23 October 2000
- As part of the DS9 Season 1 DVD collection
- As a bonus feature on the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete TV Movies collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
Special guest star
- Joel Swetow as Gul Jasad
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Stephen Davies as a Saratoga tactical officer
- Max Grodénchik as Ferengi Pit Boss
- Steven Rankin as a Cardassian officer
- Lily Mariye as a Saratoga Ops officer
- Cassandra Byram as a Saratoga Conn officer
- John Noah Hertzler as the Saratoga captain
- April Grace as Transporter Chief
- Kevin McDermott as an alien batter
- Parker Whitman as a Cardassian officer
- William Powell-Blair as a Cardassian officer
- Frank Owen Smith as Curzon Dax
- Lynnda Ferguson as Doran
- Megan Butler as an Enterprise-D lieutenant
- Stephen Rowe as a chanting monk
- Thomas Hobson as Young Jake
- Donald Hotton as Bajoran monk #1
- Gene Armor as a Bajoran bureaucrat
- Diana Cignoni as a dabo girl
- Judi Durand as the DS9 computer voice
- Majel Barrett as the Starfleet computer voice
- Scott Barry as a Bajoran officer
- Mike Cassidy as a Human DS9 resident
- Robert Coffee as a Bajoran civilian
- George Colucci as a Human DS9 resident
- Brian Demonbreun as a Starfleet science officer
- Nick Dimitri as the Markalian thief
- Christopher Doyle as an operations division officer
- Jeannie Dreams as an operations division ensign
- Red Horton as a Bajoran worker
- Randy James as Jones
- Robert Jodlowski as a one-eyed alien
- Mark Lentry as a command division lieutenant
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Dennis Madalone as an alien DS9 resident
- Buck McDancer as a Human DS9 resident
- Cole McKay as a Bajoran worker
- Robin Morselli as a Bajoran officer
- Tyana Parr as
- Michael J. Sarna (stunt actor)
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Benjamin Svetkey as a Peliar Zel native
- Michael Zurich as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
- Christopher Doyle as stunt double for Rene Auberjonois
- Unknown stunt performers as
- Stunt double for Avery Brooks
- Stunt double for Terry Farrell
- Randy James as stand-in for Colm Meaney
- Mark Lentry as stand-in for Rene Auberjonois
- Dennis Tracy as stand-in for Patrick Stewart
Alpha Quadrant; antileptons; Aubergine stew; Automobile; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran Resistance; Bajoran space; Bajoran wormhole; baseball; Battle of Wolf 359; USS Bellerophon; Borg; Bus; Cardassian Union; Cardassian warship; Celestial Temple; Celsius; Cochrane, USS; Denorios belt; Earth; emergency rations; Emissary of the Prophets; Enterprise-D, USS; escape pod; Fourth Order; Frunalian; Frunalian science vessel; Gamma Quadrant; George; Idran system; kiss; Lapolis system; Lemonade; Melbourne, USS; Moravian Lane; O'Brien, Keiko; Occupation of Bajor; "Old Man"; Ops; Orb; plasma field; Prefect; Prime Directive; procreation; Promenade; Prophets; pulse compression wave; Quadros-1 probe; Quark's; replicator; Rio Grande, USS; Roladan Wild Draw; Runabout-class; Saratoga, USS; Setlik III; Seventh Order; Starfleet Academy; theology; tricorder; Wolf 359; Yamaguchi, USS; Yangtzee Kiang, USS
- Emissary at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Emissary at Wikipedia
- Emissary at the Internet Movie Database
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