Sunday, March 07, 2021

3 in Emissary (Deep Space Nine S01E01-E02)

Kai Opaka has found the Emissary, a non-Bajoran

This is to start a new writing exercise. Let’s see if I can finish all 7 seasons.

For every Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode I will highlight 3 things, anything of interest good and bad. About month ago, I finished watching the entire series for the first time and I have to say, it is the best spin-off in the franchise. 

As I watched episode upon episode, my mind was asking is DS9 really this good or did Star Trek Discovery put me too much in a bad way, that anything else would be good. Repeating and writing it down will be a way of reassuring myself that I am not mistaken in my appreciation. 

It also means that what I highlight is born out of a second viewing, not the fresh ‘oh wow’ moment, maybe influenced by the bigger (knowing all 7 seasons) picture, but I will certainly try to limit it to just the episode.

In the backdrop is the USS Saratoga pulled in by the Borg cube

The Emissary is a two-part pilot episode opening in a battle at Wolf 359 during the Borg invasion. The USS Saratoga, which had on board Lt. Commander Benjamin Sisko, was among the fleet of ships defending the Earth, only 8 light years away. And at the head of the Borg cube was the assimilated Captain Jean-Luc Picard as Locutus.

The customary passing of torch scene later on would be between Capt. Picard and Commander Benjamin Sisko but in a peaceful setting, appropriately discussing on whether Sisko would accept his new station. Despite 3 years since Wolf 359, Commander Sisko still grieves the loss of his wife who went down with the Saratoga. The hope of Bajor and the promise of a new adventure depends on Sisko.

The Prophets of Bajor appearing in Sisko's nightmare that was the Saratoga

You Are Not Living Linear Time

I love that this scene is an allegory to ‘moving on’. But for a pilot episode, the dialogue might as well be alluding to the fans unable to let go of the original crew, or those who find that a Star Trek story on a stationary base is a preposterous idea. Yes, I am more in line with the latter.

In the scene the Prophets was pointing out inconsistencies with Sisko’s definition of time and the way he has lived his own life. How do humans live with past, present, and especially not knowing the future?

The transcription provided is from

JAKE: Then how can you take responsibility for your actions?
SISKO: We use past experience to help guide us. For Jennifer and me, all the experiences in our lives prepared us for the day we met on the beach, helped us recognize that we had a future together. When we married, we accepted all the consequences of that act, whatever they might be, including the consequences of you.
SISKO: My son, Jake.


JENNIFER: The child with Jennifer.
JENNIFER: Linear procreation?
SISKO: Yes. Jake is the continuation of our family.
JENNIFER: The sound of children playing.

In the italics above is Commander Sisko’s explanation how humans live despite not knowing the future. That explanation can work for anything in life including trying new Star Trek spin-offs. Deep Space Nine is the continuation of the Star Trek family.


SISKO: What is the point of bringing me back again to this?
JAKE: We do not bring you here.
JENNIFER: You bring us here.
TACTICAL: You exist here.
SISKO: Then give me the power to lead you somewhere else. Anywhere else.
OPAKA: We cannot give you what you deny yourself. Look for solutions from within, Commander.
SISKO: I was ready to die with her.
TACTICAL: Die? What is this?
JENNIFER: The termination of their linear existence.

(and she puts her hand on his cheek)

TACTICAL: We've got to go now, sir.
SISKO 2: Damn it, we just can't leave her here. Oh, no!
SISKO: I never left this ship.
JENNIFER: You exist here.
SISKO: I exist here. I don't know if you can understand. 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.
JENNIFER: None of your past experiences helped prepare you for this consequence.
SISKO: And I have never figured out how to live without her.
JENNIFER: So you choose to exist here. It is not linear.
SISKO: No. It's not linear.

(and he finally starts to grieve properly) 



You exist here…I never left this ship…

When I first saw Deep Space Nine in the 90s it was on a Starlog Magazine. I even bought the copy. 

As much as I was hypnotized by the new characters, aliens, and an exotic looking space station because it wasn’t a starship, the line ‘to boldly go’ popped into my head. To charge into the unknown on a ship is the spirit of Star Trek, and besides how does one wait for adventure in a stationary station. There had to be a starship!

Commander Sisko too has particular attachment to a ship and in one particular room where his wife died.

Then give me the power to lead you somewhere else. Anywhere else.

Quite literally we would not have a series, no new adventures, if Commander Sisko and ultimately the audience, does not get off a starship. Put it in another way, give Commander Sisko the power to lead you to a new adventure.

So you choose to exist here. It is not linear...No. It's not linear.

Being stuck in one point in time, unable to appreciate new experiences and expand one’s horizons is not how humans exist. The Prophets have pointed out Sisko is not living the way that humanity should, or being a member of Starfleet should. Star Trek is always about trying new things, learning, whether you’re on a starship or not.


Quark, the community Leader

Technically, Major Kira Nerys is the official Bajoran representative under Sisko’s command, and because of that she is the first alien to greet her. But Nana Visitor, who plays Major Kira, is a beautiful woman and beautiful still as a Bajoran, so much so that she's looks boring without her nose ridges nowadays.

The welcome, if it can be called that, which says that this is no longer a Federation Starship with all its rules, was a scene with the Ferengi Quark, the shape changing Station Security Chief Odo, and Nog, Quark's nephew. Basically the scene was an intro of the most alien looking of the cast meeting in less than friendly circumstances. It says that this is a community comprised of many different people or aliens whom you have to win over. 

Nog will be freed Sisko said, only if Quark stays as 'community leader'.

Starfleet rules go only so far. What’s great is that Sisko acknowledges it. He negotiates a settlement between Odo and Quark. Nog had been caught stealing and Sisko would let him go for Quark remaining on the station. Despite Quark’s dubious character which Odo was only too happy to elaborate, Sisko understands what the Ferengi’s endorsement of the provisional government is worth.

Personally, I’m just appreciative that Sisko sees the worth of having a bar. Food and especially alcohol, which to say bars and restaurants have as much worth to the community as any formal social hierarchy. In fact I dare say it is better.


Benjamin Sisko, the father

I love this scene: Commander Sisko playfully assuring to his son Jake that the first impression of Deep Space Nine, the fact that they’d have to live on rations for a few days, is not as bad as it looks. That look says ‘we can do this together’ despite being a commanding officer of a station left in tatters.

It is a big contrast with the pilot episode of The Next Generation where Captain Picard was bad with children. Now I wasn’t looking for a father and son story, and neither did I take it against Captain Picard that he wasn’t good with children. But for Picard that seemed to have affected everything.

Would he be as fascinated if you looked the way the last time I saw you, old Man?

Coming from the Original Series where Kirk, Spock, and McCoy had a playful relationship, seeing Picard so formal with that Shakespearean demeanor somewhat put me off. Seeing Benjamin Sisko playful with his son and calling Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax ‘old man’ was a step in the right direction.


  1. Believe it or not, they published a novel based on the first two episodes of DS9 season 1. The book is also called "The Emissary". I have a copy of that book and I think the book was written in a way that made it better than the show.

    1. Could the screenwriter have written the book? Or at least the author has a reason to expound on the script. I don't doubt a book is better cause it almost always is.

      My only Star Trek experience on that was Star Trek Generations. I think I read the book first which is why, for more reasons than one, that movie didn't hit the mark. The way Kirk died still sucked but that book had a better TOS side of the story, which carries better to when Kirk was found by Picard.

      Can't recall the relationship between script to book rights though.