1.1 Emissary

The first episode of DS9 is perhaps one of the most important, for obvious reasons. It introduces a number of plot points and characters, as well as covering a fair amount of foreshadowing for the next couple of seasons.

The episode was a double-length episode, clocking in on my DVD player at just over an hour and twenty.

It starts with Locutus of Borg attacking the Federation fleet at Wolf 359. One of the 39 ships destroyed there was the USS Saratoga, the attack resulting in the death of the ship’s first officer’s wife, Jenifer. Now, three years later, that first officer is being given his next assignment by Jean Luc Picard.

That first officer is Commander Benjamin Sisko, now the single father of Jake Sisko. The duo ship out to Deep Space 9, what was once Terok Nor, a Cardassian-run ore refinery/processing plant/political prison/plot device. While there, they meet the main characters of the series:

Major Kira Nerys, ex-terrorist freedom fighter;

Quark, bar owner and capitalist;

Odo, changeling Chief of Security;

Jadzia Dax, a smoking hot woman with three hundred years of memories;

Doctor Julian Bashir, young, enthusiastic and a little unpolished;

Chief Miles Edward O’Brien, a man with no idea what he’s letting himself in for;

Gul Dukat, the duplicitous and utterly fantastic villan, and

Kai Opaka, the Bajoran spiritual leader.

This isn’t the place for an analysis of all these characters – that will happen on their own character pages, as will a discussion of the Bajoran religion which plays such a major role in the early seasons.

The main plot of the episode is the discovery in the Denorios Belt of a stable, probably artificial wormhole, connecting the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants. This incalcuably valuable resource is snatched by the protagonists by flying their space station to it, while Commander Sisko negotiates with the aliens who live within the wormhole.

Sisko successfully persuades the aliens that they are not a threat, and the aliens agree to permit vessels to pass through the wormhole. This kicks off the “trading hub” storyline that powers the next half a season’s worth of episodes.

Major Kira serves a second purpose in this episode – she explains the Bajoran feeling towards the Federation. The basic gist is this – after 60 years of Cardassian oppression, represented by their control of this station, she and her fellow terrorists freedom fighters finally freed their people… only for another powerful, non-Bajoran force to seize control of Terok Nor.

The Bajoran quest for independence is one of the few arcs that covers the entire seven seasons of DS9. As a people, they seek to take a similar level of prominence as the Cardassian Union – except the smaller but vocal faction that seeks safety in obscurity. It’s an interesting fact that, as soon as hostilities are concluded, revolutionaries are free to focus on their true enemies, i.e., those who disagree with them on the correct interpretation of paragraph 94 of the Revolutionary Manifesto. This infighting is one of the main factors hampering the development of Bajor, and the writers thankfully resisted the urge to have one of the main characters beam down to the Council of Minsters and make them all agree on something. It would have removed one of the most interesting examples of an alien power struggle I know of.

We also see the start of Captain Sisko’s bonus career as the Emissary. It’s not a role he is initially happy with, and we see his deep displeasure most apparent in this episode. Kai Opaka, a reclusive religious zealot, grabs him by the ear, murmurs some words about life force and then thrusts a deeply sacred artifact into his hands. Sisko is understandably a little confused by all this,

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