"The challenge of putting together a television show for the first time was especially intimidating because of the traditions and the expectations for Star Trek.
(Michael Piller, co-creator, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
It might be hard to believe, but there was a time when launching a new Star Trek series was considered a risky venture. Maybe it was just luck that Stark Trek: The Next Generation had succeeded. Could another show capture the imagination of the viewers?
The creators of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine built a cast of characters totally different from the more comfortable, familiar ones that had been seen on previous incarnations of Star Trek. One of the writers observed, "You can see right away they're not perfectly engineered humans....They seem more real....They represent a different way to tell a story." The setting for the show was a space station, a dark, almost sinister, alien placethe diametrical opposite of a bright, reassuring starship. This new Star Trek series set every expectation on its headand it succeeded. Deep Space Nine created some of the most visionary, emotionally charged and critically acclaimed hours of television ever made, and at the end of seven years it could boast of ranking at the top of the syndicated ratings year after year.
The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion is the official guide to all 176 spectacular episodes of this revolutionary series. Detailed synopses, behind-the-scenes information, and in-depth interviews with the cast and crew are provided for each show. Hundreds of photographs and illustrationsmany never before seenfill the pages of this book. For the casual reader or the fan who wants to knowmore, this is the definitive book on this groundbreaking series. From its explosive beginning to the heartrending conclusion, relive it all and see why TV Guide called it "the best acted, written, produced, and altogether finest...Star Trek series."
Chapter One: First Season Overview
Putting It All Together
What are the most important elements required in the development of a television series? A concept, certainly. A look. A tone. A personality, if you will. But in actuality, it's the people involved with the series, both on-screen and off, that form the skeleton upon which the entire production takes shape. And if the skeleton of the newborn television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were to resemble the space station itself, there is no doubt that Ops, the station's nerve center, could be represented in those first critical days only by co-creators Rick Berman and Michael Piller. It was late 1991 when Berman, executive producer of Star Trek: The Next Generation, received the clarion call from Brandon Tartikoff, then head of Paramount Pictures, to create a new science fiction television series for the studio.
"I was asked to create and develop a series that would serve as a companion piece to The Next Generation for about a year and a half, and then TNG would go off the air and this new show would continue," recalls Berman. "So I asked Michael Piller to get involved, and we put our heads together. I really never had the opportunity to discuss any ideas with Gene [Roddenberry]. This was very close to the end of Gene's life, and he was quite ill at the time. But he knew that we were working on something, and I definitely had his blessing to develop it."
Tartikoff had mentioned the possibility of the new show being a kind of Rifleman in space -- the concept being that if Star Trek was originally conceived of as a Wagon Train to the stars, then the new show would be The Rifleman, a man and his son living together in a frontier town. And the station itself, of course, would be a high-tech version of Fort Laramie, or Dodge City, or any of a variety of classic American Western towns located at the edge of the new frontier.
Sounds simple enough -- but remember, this wasn't to be just any science fiction series.
"The challenge of putting together a television show for the first time was especially intimidating because of the traditions and the expections for Star Trek," admits Piller. "And yet, coming with the wind at our backs [from The Next Generation, where Piller also held the title of executive producer], it really felt as if we had figured out what made Star Trek work, and that we could bring all of the vision that Gene Roddenberry had about space and the future to a different kind of franchise. We didn't want to do the same thing again. 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 kinds of issues that people in space ships are not forced to confront."
In a series that focuses on a starship like the Enterprise, Piller explains, you live week by week. "You never have to stay and deal with the issues that you've raised," he says. But by focusing on a space station, you create a show about commitment
"...about the Federation's commitment to Bajor and DS9," he notes. "About the commitment that people have to make when they go to live in a new environment, and have to coexist with other species who have different agendas than they have. 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."
As they developed the bible for the show, Berman and Piller decided that the "town" -- or rather the space station -- would be a darker and grittier environment than fans of both the original series and The Next Generation were accustomed to seeing. And the inhabitants of the space station, while still reflecting all the best qualities of humanity, a factor that had been so important to Gene Roddenberry, would be...less than perfect.
"Everybody in the original series was heroic, but they weren't pure in the way that Gene Roddenberry decided to make the characters in The Next Generation," explains Writer Joe Menosky, who served on staff for TNG and freelanced several scripts for DS9. "It's a mystery to me as to how that worked on TNG, but it worked great. On paper you would think that these people have had every shred of human pathology that makes humanity interesting bled out of them, everything that makes one feel compassionate towards people, their weaknesses that make them human. And yet it worked."
But of the characters on DS9, notes Menosky, "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."
"Gene's major rule was to avoid conflict among his twenty-fourth-century human characters," says Berman. "But we needed this conflict for decent drama, and we didn't want to have to always bring the conflict into the stories from the outside. So the idea we came up with was, what if we create a cast of characters that have amongst them non-Starfleet people? There can be conflict amongst the non-Starfleet people, and there can be conflict between
the Starfleet people and the non-Starfleet people. And then, what if we put it on a Cardassian space station that's very inhospitable, to say the least. So by having characters like Quark and Kira and Odo in this inhospitable setting, we were able to create a conflict with the environment, so to speak."
"We really set out to create conflict on every level of this show," says Piller, "conflict between the Federation and Bajor; conflict between Starfleet and the environment in the space station that was not particularly comfortable for humans; conflict with the religious aspects of the Bajoran people; conflict with the Cardassians and the beings our characters would encounter on the other side of the wormhole; conflict between us and the humanist values of Gene Roddenberry's futuristic humans. All of these things were to make life on this space station challenging."
The irony, of course, was that this concerted effort would create conflict with some of the most hardcore Star Trek fans, who didn't take kindly to the attempt to tinker with the magic formula.
"People talked about the show being 'edgier,' a word I hate," says Berman. "People talked about the show being 'darker,' which it really was never intended to be. But I think it's all because they didn't see that group of loving family members that existed on the first two Star Trek shows. You had a much more contemporary group of characters that had been plopped down in this space station. And I think that after a year or two, a lot of fans who appreciated what Star Trek was about saw that this series was Star Trek at its core, although it was also very unique."
It was Piller, primarily, who guided the writers in developing the facets of the characters' personalities at the initial stages. "Michael had a very clear voice for each of them," recalls Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who came aboard the series as story editor and departed (at the end of Season 5) as a producer. "He had a pretty good vision of what he wanted and then eventually the actors started to bring their own stuff in."
But unlike Athena, that vision did not emerge full-grown from Piller's mind. "When I got there, Michael was working on the pilot," says Peter Allan Fields, a veteran of the Next Generation writing staff who was brought in as co-producer during the preproduction period. "And I began trying to think up stories on this or that, and line up other writers, explaining to them what I thought we would want. But Michael would keep changing this character or fixing that detail, altering this and picking up the hem and changing the inseam. So I'd have to call up the same writers and say, 'Forget what I told you.' My first couple of months were unproductive because there wasn't that much for me to do until Michael had a firm grasp on what he wanted out of the show. He'd had a pretty good idea when I got there, but for Michael it wasn't good enough. He's got a wonderful knack of taking something and giving it just enough twist, something that we can still relate to but that's far and away alien. Or something that we haven't seen but have felt. Human emotion and character are...well, galaxy wide."
Like Fields, Ira Steven Behr was a TNG veteran, albeit a shell-shocked one. "I did not enjoy writing TNG," he admits. "I did not like the lack of conflict, the kind of stodginess, the tech solutions to a lot of problems." Behr's relationship with the TNG staff, particularly Piller and Berman, remained good, and when work began on their new "baby," he yielded to their requests that he return to the fold. "Mike said to me that 'the new show is going to have more humor, more conflict, it's going to be a little more bizarre.'"
Behr came on board as supervising producer. And like Fields, he found working with the outside writers during the preproduction period to be a difficult task, primarily because the thumbnail characterizations of the crew kept evolving. "I'm sending writers off, telling them to think Clint Eastwood for Odo. Then they cast Rene Auberjonois, and it's not quite the same thing." Still, the final mix turned out to be even better than imagined. "Any time you cast a show, the actors bring in something different," Behr comments. "For example, Sisko was supposed to be a cross between Kirk and Picard. And Avery Brooks brought to it a much sterner air of authority. He's much more a military leader."
The friendship between Bashir and O'Brien was something that occurred to Behr only after Siddig El Fadil -- who later changed his name to Alexander Siddig -- was cast as Bashir. Behr had always liked Colm Meaney's character on The Next Generation and longed to do more with him. "Bashir was supposed to be this arrogant hothead, this young turk," he recalls. "But as soon as the role was cast, and I saw that Sid was this proper English gentleman, and we already had Colm as the Irish man of the people..." Behr knew instantly that he had a classic pairing, one that would provide great fodder for the writers.
Slowly, the skeleton grew, with many of the key crewmembers being solicited from The Next Generation. However, in tackling Deep Space Nine, their mandate was to create the look of something very different from their previous efforts. Marvin Rush, who had served as director of photography on Seasons 3, 4, and 5 of TNG, embraced the challenge of establishing the look of a brand-new series. "Even though I was already involved in a very successful show, it was clear to me that it was a good opportunity to do something new and different," Rush says. "I didn't start TNG and did not create the look of that show, although I had an effect on it. DS9 was a chance to do something for which they wanted a very different vision. They wanted a darker, more sinister place. The station is, in fact, an alien design. So it had a different aesthetic and a different point of view."
Following some overall directives from Rick Berman, Production Designer Herman Zimmerman, who had worked on the first season of TNG and several of the Star Trek films, was largely responsible for carrying the Cardassian aesthetic originally established in the TNG episode "The Wounded" throughout the DS9 production. The distinctive lines and shapes of the station ultimately would reward Zimmerman and his crew with an Emmy nomination, one of six for which the series was nominated during its first season.
"The marching orders for the station were to make it bizarre," recalls Zimmerman. "It was to be recognizable from a long way off. If, from the corner of your eye, you saw the station very small on a video screen across the living room, you were to know instantly that it was Star Trek: Deep Space 9 that was about to happen. Deep Space 9's shape had to be like no other."
The task of making the station's magnificent sets look terrific for the television camera fell to others, like Rush. "Deep Space 9 is a dark, shadowy place, and we had to find ways to introduce higher levels of contrast than we normally had on TNG," says Rush. That meant using both different lighting techniques -- a lot of "blown-out practicals," or lamps exposed beyond their normal range to create an extreme style, as well as a lot of smoke and a lot of cold, blue light -- and placing lights in unusual locations. Quark's bar and the corridors on DS9 are examples of sets designed with no obvious spaces for lighting. In both cases, Rush worked closely with Zimmerman to fashion something unique to complement Zimmerman's designs.
"Herman designed Quark's bar as a three-story set with no lighting grid and no real initial attempt to put in any specific lighting positions for me," Rush notes. "He wanted a set where we could shoot in every direction. And he came to me and asked what I could do with it. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do something that I've done a few times in the past, but on a much larger scale -- which is to light the entire set from outside of the set, literally lighting through the steel grate floors." Rush's team created a grid of lights that were placed above the third floor, which shine through the floor down onto the set. "The entire set is lit from internal and external hidden sources, and you can literally pan a camera in every direction and not see a light," Rush says proudly.
The corridors were handled in a similar manner. According to Rush, the initial design called for blue fluorescent tubes to be a part of the set. In addition to giving the hallways a certain look, they would provide Rush with 80 percent of the lighting required to illuminate those scenes. "But when I showed Rick Berman some initial footage of the corridors with smoke and filtration on the camera, he thought it was a little extreme and we were asked not to use the neons."
This, again, meant that primary lighting would have to come from above, and that, in itself, was a problem. "Most stage sets, particularly for television, are ceilingless, because you're trying to work real fast and you don't want to be concerned with the intricacies of getting low and seeing ceilings," explains Assistant Chief Lighting Technician Phil Jacobson. "But Mr. Berman had a very big concern about ceilings. He wanted them."
Rush discussed the problem with Zimmerman and the designer came up with some rectangular portholes -- approximately two inches by six inches -- in the ceiling for light to appear through. When that proved to be inadequate, Rush asked him to put some additional holes in the ceiling. The following day, Rush came in to find a series of circles, about three inches in diameter, cut into the ceiling. "We put lamps up there, aimed them very carefully and created this sort of polka-dotty kind of light," says Rush. "It looks alien."
A similar technique is used in lighting the crew quarters, which can obtain different looks via the use of mirrors placed above the ceiling to project light in different corners of the set. "You can't see them because they're up above the grid ceilings," Rush continues, "but the mirrors allow us to tilt the light in whatever direction we want. It's very fast and very easy and it looks unusual."
"O'Brien, Sisko, and Dax's quarters are all the same set," says Zimmerman. "That's a technique I developed when I did The Next Generation. We build five bays in a roughly circular format and divide the bays up, say three bays for a living room, one for each bedroom, according to the officer and rank. If you're an officer you may have a larger living room than a junior officer, or you may have two bedrooms. Then we literally redress the space with different wall treatment, furniture, and some architectural elements. Sisko's quarters are pretty much the same as O'Brien's, except for the props.
As hard as it sometimes is to shoot the space station, the veterans of TNG appreciate the contrast from the flat lighting that characterized sets like the Enterprise bridge. "The bridge is a very easy set to shoot," says David Livingston, supervising producer for Deep Space Nine's first three seasons. "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 and the directors have found ways around the pitfalls." In general, Livingston estimates that the extra complexity makes DS9's shooting day run about an hour or two longer than TNG's.
After the so-called creative decisions were out of the way, casting commenced, and eventually a mixture of well-known faces, newcomers, and people-who-might-have-been-familiar-except-they're-always-under-makeup were brought together. For Armin Shimerman, who was the first person called in to read for the role of Quark, the concept of acting anonymously under a lot of latex is something he's learned to live with, a fact he illustrates with an anecdote. "At the end of the first season, Rene Auberjonois suggested that some members of the cast go out for dinner," he recalls with a smile. "And we were eating in a restaurant when a little boy ran up to Rene and asked, 'Uh, are you Odo?' And Rene said, 'Yes, I am,' and told him that, in fact, we were all from Deep Space Nine. He pointed to Terry Farrell and said, 'That's the lady who plays Dax,' and then pointed to Nana Visitor and said, 'That's Major Kira,' and then pointed at me and said, 'And that's Quark.' And the little boy looked and looked at me and finally said, 'No way!'"
But Shimerman doesn't mind. "I consider myself a prosthetic actor," he says. "I've probably done as much makeup as any actor in Hollywood," including, as most fans know, a performance as the very first Ferengi seen in a Star Trek production, in the TNG episode, "The Last Outpost."
Fellow cast member Auberjonois hadn't done quite as much work under makeup, but he had played his share of oddballs over the years. Still, it was Auberjonois's stage background, rather than film or television appearances, that served him best in his transition to becoming a "prosthetic actor." As the look of Odo's "unfinished" face evolved, crew members worried how the actor underneath would be able to play the character without the advantage of having pliable features to convey a range of emotions. "But I'd done a lot of mask work over the years," says Auberjonois. "In fact, I taught mask at Juilliard. And once they saw that I was going to be able to be expressive with something that completely covered my face, they were able to move further in the direction they wanted." In fact, over the course of seasons, Odo's makeup would eventually go from several pieces to one whole mask face.
Auberjonois has nothing but praise for the makeup team who work on his alter ego: Makeup Department head Michael Westmore, who designed it, Craig Reardon, who developed the face, and Dean Jones, who applies it. Odo's makeup, which Auberjonois likens to "a pebble that's been rolled by the ocean on the beach for years, so that it's all sanded down," appears deceptively simple but is actually an extremely difficult guise. "Most of the exotic makeups on Star Trek are very craggy and bumpy, with lots of places to hide the seams and the places where the makeup joins the face, like Cardassians and Klingons and Ferengis. But most people think that Odo's face is some sort of camera trick."
While Odo's makeup was to become more complex as it evolved, the look of the space station's beautiful Trill, Dax, was radically simplified from its original concept. "I shot for two days with a prosthetic forehead, like the original Trill [in TNG episode, "The Host"]," says Terry Farrell. "And then they kept reducing it with each test, until it really looked like someone had just hit me in the forehead. But Paramount didn't want to make me look strange." Eventually the producers chose to scrap the footage they had shot of Dax with a prosthetic and opted for a different look. "Finally we went to the spots," says Farrell, noting that they were influenced by the makeup created for Famke Janssen in the TNG episode "The Perfect Mate."
Janssen had, in fact, been offered the role of Dax prior to the casting of Terry Farrell. But the beautiful Dutch model-turned-actress turned down the role with a rationale that echoes Michelle Forbes's decision not to carry the character of Ensign Ro Laren over to DS9 from TNG. "I wanted some kind of guarantee that I could do feature films on the side," remembers Janssen, who has since appeared in a variety of movies, including a memorable turn as Xenia Onatopp, the sexy villainess who tormented Pierce Brosnan's James Bond in Goldeneye. "Also, while I felt it was a great opportunity, I felt that I would get lazy as an actor if I didn't keep challenging myself with different parts," Janssen adds.
So it was Terry Farrell who inherited Janssen's spots, which, viewers may be surprised to hear, were not stenciled. "Michael Westmore did my makeup personally with two different colors of watercolor," she says. "The first season we experimented with art pens, but they would take me two or three days to get off of my skin -- not pleasant!" The daily "tattooing" generally took a little over an hour, although Farrell allows that it would probably have taken less time if she and Westmore didn't have so much fun talking. "I love Michael to death," she says. "He tells the best stories."
Farrell was the last actor cast. By the time she made her first appearance before the camera, filming was well under way. It was, according to Unit Production Manager Bob della Santina, a time when the overall mood across the set was, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" "It was a huge undertaking!" he says. The contrast to his sixteen-year stint working for Aaron Spelling Productions was, to say the least, noticeable. "I was accustomed to doing things quick and dirty. 'Let's get done. Let's make believe. How can we do this for seven dollars, on budget, under hours, and all that.' It was difficult for me to let go of that. But there is no question that the money spent here gets on the screen; it's never wasted."
Della Santina shakes his head when he thinks back to the filming of the pilot. "At the end of that experience, I was enlightened. I remembered being interviewed for the job and sitting in David Livingston's office. I don't think I really believed him when he talked about twenty and thirty makeup people and five-hour makeup sessions and an hour for makeup take-off and turnaround problems and the optical time involved in shooting the show and blue screen and how much second-unit work was involved. I said, 'Okay, fine,' but I really had no idea. David said, 'You're going to be overwhelmed, and you're going to remember this conversation.' And I do, often. And now I realize exactly what it takes to make this show and what makes it successful. It didn't just happen!"
All the effort paid off big time. Primed by the snowballing strength of Star Trek: The Next Generation, then in its sixth season, the launch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in January 1993 came on like gangbusters. The two-hour-long pilot scored a whopping 18.8 percent of the syndicated audience, and was, at the time, the highest-rated series premiere in syndication history. "Emissary" ranked number one during its time period in a number of key markets, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. The first season's ratings averaged out at a respectable 9.1 percent, or about 8.7 million households.
Deep Space Nine spent its entire first season in the top ten portion of the syndicated ratings chart and quickly became the darling of the much sought-after male 18-49 viewing audience.
But the show would find more and more competition in the once barren landscape of hour-long syndication that The Next Generation had pioneered. As a result, ratings would shift over the following six years.
Rick Berman shakes his head in bemusement. "In a way, Star Trek created its own competition, which affected everything that came after The Next Generation," he says. "At the point that TNG began to get really popular in 1989, we had virtually no competition. We were it. We were loved by a dozen million people a week or more."
But by the time Deep Space Nine made its debut, that position was being encroached upon by newcomers. Hercules, Xena, Baywatch. Suddenly syndication was the place to be. And so-called alternative networks like Fox and the WB also were coming up with new hour-long dramatic products. "You can probably sit down and name twenty television series, most of which did not succeed, that were in that same vein of science fiction or fantasy-adventure," says Berman. "And we were also competing with ourselves, with The Next Generation and the original series reruns, and later with Star Trek: Voyager."
For now, however, ratings looked very promising. Even members of the Television Academy seemed to be watching. With six Emmy nominations, the series garnered more nods than any other syndicated series during the 1992-1993 television season, receiving nominations for Outstanding Art Direction, Outstanding Sound Mixing, and Outstanding Special Visual Effects (all for "Emissary"), Outstanding Hairstyling (for "Move Along Home"), Outstanding Make-up (for "Captive Pursuit"), and Outstanding Main Title Theme Music. It won for Dennis McCarthy's title theme; the makeup designed by Michael Westmore and team members Jill Rockow, Karen Westerfield, Gil Mosko, Dean Jones, Michael Key, Craig Reardon, and Vincent Niebla; and a juried win for the special effects magic performed by Robert Legato and team members Gary Hutzel, Michael Gibson, and Dennis Blakey.
Teleplay by Michael Piller
Story by Rick Berman & Michael Piller
Directed by David Carson
Special Guest Star
Picard/Locutus Patrick Stewart
Kai Opaka Camille Saviola
Jennifer Sisko Felecia M. Bell
Gul Dukat Marc Alaimo
Gul Jasad Joel Swetow
Nog Aron Eisenberg
Tactical Officer Stephen Davies
Ferengi Pit Boss Max Grodénchik
Cardassian Officer Steven Rankin
Ops Officer Lily Mariya
Conn Officer Cassandra Byram
Vulcan Captain John Noah Hertzler
Transporter Chief April Grace
Alien Batter Kevin McDermott
Cardassian Officer Parker Whitman
Cardassian Officer William Powell-Blair
Curzon Dax Frank Owen Smith
Doran Lynnda Ferguson
Chanting Monk Stephen Rowe
Young Jake Thomas Hobson
Monk #1 Donald Hotton
Bajoran Bureaucrat Gene Armor
Dabo Girl Diana Cignoni
Computer Voice Judi Durand
Computer Voice Majel Barrett
Stardate 43997. The Federation starship U.S.S. Saratoga is among a number of Starfleet vessels attacked by the Borg at Wolf 359. The Borg are led by Locutus, known to Starfleet as Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Starship Enterprise, who has been kidnapped and altered both physically and mentally by the Borg. Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko, serving aboard the Saratoga, manages to get away in an escape pod with his young son, Jake, but a part of him will never leave that burning ship where he left his wife, Jennifer, who was killed in the attack.
Three years later, Sisko, now a commander, is assigned to oversee the Bajoran space station Deep Space 9, a former Cardassian outpost orbiting the planet Bajor. The Cardassians have recently withdrawn occupational forces from Bajor, leaving its inhabitants on their own for the first time in decades. At the request of Bajor's provisional government, Starfleet has agreed to establish a Federation presence in the system -- hence, Sisko's assignment, which he has accepted with reluctance. This war-torn region is not an ideal place to raise Jake.
Upon his arrival, Sisko begins to meet his staff. His chief operations officer, Miles O'Brien, a recent transfer from the Enterprise, quickly apprises Sisko of the terrible state in which the Cardassians left the station. Major Kira Nerys, the Bajoran attaché assigned to the station to serve as Sisko's first officer, is a former freedom fighter harboring reservations about the Federation's presence. Sisko encounters Security Chief Odo, an alien with shape-shifting abilities, as the latter apprehends some thieves who've broken into the station's assaying office. One of the two criminals is Nog, a teenage Ferengi boy whose Uncle Quark owns the station's bar and gambling establishment.
Sensing an opportunity, Sisko uses Nog as a pawn to force Quark to remain on the station and keep his business open. But in the midst of dealing with that situation, O'Brien informs Sisko that the captain of the Enterprise has asked to see him. It is an invitation that Sisko does not relish, a point he makes quite clear to Picard, whom he blames for the death of his wife. The meeting, which Picard had intended as a briefing regarding the Bajoran situation, is tense. Sisko lets Picard know that he will do the best job he can while he is there, although he is thinking of returning to Earth and resigning from Starfleet.
Back on the station, Sisko speaks to Kira about the conflicts among the disparate factions of the Bajoran people. Kira feels that only Kai Opaka, Bajor's spiritual leader, stands a chance of unifying her people, but the kai rarely meets with anyone. At that moment, an old monk approaches Sisko and offers to take him to the kai.
Sisko is surprised when the kai informs him that his arrival -- or, rather, that of the "Emissary" -- has been greatly anticipated. When Sisko says that he cannot help her people until they are unified, the kai responds that she cannot give him what he denies himself, and that he must look for solutions from within. She shows the commander a mysterious orb, which seems to transport Sisko back in time to the day he met his wife. Sisko is emotionally shaken by the experience, which demonstrates the power of the orb -- a relic the kai says was sent to her people from the so-called "Celestial Temple." Eight other such orbs were taken by the Cardassians during the occupation, and the kai fears that the Cardassians will invade the Temple in order to discover the secret of the orb's power. She asks Sisko to warn the Prophets and gives him the last orb in the hopes that it will help guide him to the Temple.
Not long after, Sisko greets two new members of his crew: Julian Bashir, a cocky young physician who will serve as the station's medical officer, and Jadzia Dax, the science officer. Sisko is especially pleased to see Dax, a Trill -- a joined species that consists of a humanoid host and a wormlike symbiont that lives within the host's body. Sisko was good friends with the Dax symbiont's previous host, an older man named Curzon; discovering that the new host, Jadzia, is a beautiful young woman with all of Curzon's memories is somewhat bemusing for the commander. Nevertheless, he's grateful to have someone with her technological know-how around to help him analyze the Orb he received from Opaka.
Dax sets out to study the orb -- in the process experiencing a journey back to the day she received her symbiont from Curzon -- while Sisko receives a visit from Gul Dukat, the Cardassian who once served as Prefect of Bajor. Dukat attempts to convince Sisko to "share" whatever information he may elicit from the last Orb, but Sisko denies any knowledge of the relic.
Dax's research indicates that the Orb may have originated in the nearby Denorios Belt, a plasma field that periodically produces severe neutrino disturbances. Sisko and she decide to investigate the region in a runabout and are startled when the small vessel passes through what appears to be a rip in the fabric of space. After a short, turbulent ride, they find themselves some seventy thousand light-years from Bajor, in the Gamma Quadrant. It seems they have passed through a wormhole -- possibly the first stable wormhole known to exist. As they turn the runabout around and head back, their speed slows, and they eventually find themselves landing on something inside the wormhole.
Since sensors show that the region, contrary to all logic, contains an atmosphere capable of supporting life, the two emerge from the runabout to look around. But when Sisko attempts to communicate with whatever lives there, Dax is caught up in a ball of light and transported back to Deep Space 9. Left alone, Sisko again tries to communicate with the entities that inhabit the wormhole, a process made difficult by the fact that they have no concept of reality as Sisko knows it and that they are suspicious of Sisko's motives in coming there.
On the station, Dax attempts to explain the wormhole to the rest of the crew. They grow excited at the possibilities a stable wormhole leading into a new quadrant may represent for the future of Bajor, and when O'Brien determines that the Cardassians are heading for the Denorios Belt, Kira orders him to move the space station to the mouth of the wormhole before the Cardassians arrive. Bajor must stake a claim on the wormhole first, she says, and the Federation must also be there to back up that claim. A message is sent to Starfleet, requesting assistance. In the meantime, Kira takes a runabout with Dax, Bashir, and Odo -- who was found in the Denorios Belt years earlier -- to the wormhole. Once there, she attempts to warn Gul Dukat's ship away, explaining that there seem to be hostile entities inside the passage. But Gul Dukat is unimpressed.
Inside the wormhole, Sisko continues his confusing dialogue with the aliens. Just as he seems to be making some headway, Dukat's ship enters the wormhole. Alarmed by the intrusion, the aliens close the wormhole, trapping the Cardassian ship.
A few hours later, the space station arrives at Kira's position near the closed passage. Kira returns to the station to face the inquiries of several Cardassian warships, who want to know the location of Dukat's ship. When Kira's honest answer fails to satisfy them, they demand that she surrender the station or risk destruction.
In the meantime, Sisko tries to explain the nature of a linear corporeal existence to the aliens, hoping to prove to them that he and his kind mean them no harm. Again and again they look at key moments in his life, trying to comprehend. The one moment Sisko does not want to relive is the death of his wife, but when he asks the aliens to stop leading him there, they tell him that he is the one who keeps returning to that point in time. He exists there, they explain, and, as Kai Opaka told him earlier, they cannot give him what he cannot give himself; he must look within for solutions. Sisko finally reaches some common ground with the aliens when he comprehends that by remaining anchored to this terrible moment, he is not living his life in a linear manner -- and that he must let go of it in order to continue his existence.
Outside the wormhole, Kira has managed to hold off the Cardassians for a time with O'Brien's help. But just as the escalating battle threatens to destroy the station or force its surrender, the wormhole reappears and Sisko's runabout emerges, towing the Cardassian ship. The battle is over.
A few days later, a changed Sisko reports to Picard. The life-forms in the wormhole have agreed to permit ships to travel to and from the Gamma Quadrant via the wormhole, which should improve Bajor's economic outlook. It also confirms the need for a permanent Starfleet outpost in the region -- and Sisko assures Picard that he is now prepared to take on that responsibility.
Shooting a television pilot always requires a minimum of 110 percent of effort from everyone involved in the production, particularly a two-hour-long pilot. "In many ways, it's like shooting a feature film," explains Director David Carson. "You're creating and inventing the circumstances in which the whole series is going to go forward." But because the director of the pilot will not be responsible for the show after he completes his brief stint behind the camera, all of those creative aspects are developed in conjunction with the producers of the series, he says. "After you leave, it's their show, and you have to make absolutely certain that you don't leave them with people or things that they can't build on."
That mandate made Carson's duties in directing "Emissary," the pilot for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, much different from his earlier assignments directing episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. "As a director on an established episodic show, you're very much a guest of the team that has been working and playing [together] for some time," he explains. "You try to interpret what the team has already established and contribute what you can to keep their show going; on schedule, on budget, and, at the same time, provide a bit of excitement. But with a pilot, you have to make sure that the sets are going to work properly for your camera. You have to deal with casting from scratch, and you're actually interpreting the script by your casting. The whole thing is worked out in rehearsals. It's like the alien land that Sisko finds himself in. It becomes a question of taking an interpretation from the page and turning it into actuality, so all those things, like Sisko's command style, and Kira's temper, and the interaction of Odo and Quark were invented and developed from the germ of the idea that went from the script to the screen."
Fleshing out a character, or the relationship between characters, is an evolutionary process. Interviewed separately, Rene Auberjonois and Armin Shimerman have a remarkably similar take on the relationship between Odo and Quark, which had its seeds in a brief exchange that takes place in the pilot. During that scene, says Auberjonois, "Odo is very hard on Quark. I call him a thief, and there is very little humor, really. It's just a hard-nosed attack. But it evolved. It was probably something they had every intention of doing. In all television series, characters begin as a writer's vision, and then the actors are in place, and over the course of time, the actors become sort of unwitting collaborators by their personalities and the way they work. Armin and I have worked together on the stage. We've had the same kind of background as actors. We like to work the same way, and we enjoy each other immensely. So it just naturally evolved, and it is particularly gratifying to both of us that it became such a popular part of the show."
"The impetus for the relationship came from a very small moment in 'Emissary,'" recalls Shimerman, "when I'm talking to Sisko and Odo is there, and he calls me a thief, and I say, 'I am not a thief,' and he says, 'You are a thief.' That's where it started. The writers had set up some common comic elements: a tall man and a small man, a man who was emotionless and a man who was overly emotional. It's a natural affinity. And Rene and I had an affinity. I didn't know any of the other actors when we started, but Rene and I had worked together in the play The Petrified Forest. So there was already this chemistry. It's a little like Bogart and Bacall. And my teeth aren't Bogart."
It was a bit harder for Actor Terry Farrell to establish that chemistry with her costars during the pilot. While the rest of the cast and crew had been actively involved in preproduction rehearsals and camera tests since early August 1992, Farrell was not cast as Dax until filming was well underway. "She was the last character hired," recalls Casting Director Ron Surma. "Dax was a tough character to find. We needed a beautiful woman with the intelligence of all those accumulated lifetimes. It's not an easy role to understand, and we finally narrowed our choice down to Terry."
Farrell made her first appearance before the camera on September 1 -- officially, the eleventh day of production. "It was really hard for me," she says. "I was the last person in, and I was very intimidated. I got all my stuff the last few weeks of filming."
With no time to practice her lines with the other actors, Farrell suddenly found herself in the middle of a blocking rehearsal in Ops. "It's a complete set, and you really feel like you're in this huge room with all these people," she says. "It's not the intimacy that you usually feel on a set. And they'd all worked together for weeks by this point, so they were very comfortable with each other. But everyone was very overtired, and I was taking fifteen takes to get all this technobabble and they were getting frustrated and rolling their eyes. Every take made me more nervous. I was like, 'Please, fire me. I can't handle this.'"
Farrell got to play a scene with her predecessor -- or rather, Dax's predecessor -- for the scene in which Jadzia recalls receiving the symbiont from a smiling Curzon. However, the validity of her memory of that day would be called into question a few years later, ironically by the writers themselves, when they chose to reveal that Curzon had died while engaging in jamaharon with his old friend Arandis ("Let He Who Is Without Sin").
Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who cowrote the latter episode with Ira Steven Behr, does a bit of fancy footwork in explaining how Curzon could die on Risa, yet still be alive when he relinquishes the symbiont to Jadzia on Trill. "Well, we didn't exactly say he died while having sex with Arandis," he says with a grin. "He died from having sex with her. She killed him, but it was a slow death. He had a heart attack and was hovering on the brink of death while they zipped him home to Trill. Then he died."
The pilot officially shot for twenty-eight days between August 18 and September 25, 1992; it was preceded by a preproduction period the week of August 11. As often happens, there were a few rough edges that would be smoothed out during the eleventh hour. Dr. Julian Bashir's character was still known as Julian Amoros during the week of preproduction, and the role of Gul Dukat would be recast after the producers determined that the original actor's performance lacked a certain presence. "It was either Mike Piller or Rick Berman who finally said, 'Let's get Marc Alaimo,' who had done a bunch of TNG episodes for them in the past," recalls Ira Behr. And, in fact, Alaimo had played a Cardassian -- Gul Macet -- in "The Wounded," the TNG episode that introduced the species to viewers. Adds Behr, "Marc came in and, of course, he was Gul Dukat."
In another interesting stroke of casting, an actor known as John Noah Hertzler was assigned the role of Sisko's Vulcan captain aboard the doomed Saratoga. It was a small role -- the captain dies almost immediately -- and not particularly noteworthy...except for the fact that it represents the first DS9 appearance of the actor who would later be known to viewers as J.G. Hertzler!
"I can't stand the name John," Hertzler explains. "It was my dad's name, and it fit him very well, but it's the most common name in the fifty states. So for a while I used John Noah Hertzler, Noah being my grandfather's name, which I like. And then I went to J.G. Hertzler, using initials like my friend [actor] J.T. Walsh." Hertzler would continue to confuse DS9 viewers by using yet another name -- Garman Hertzler -- when he appeared as Laas in Season 7's "Chimera."
There were dozens of carefully constructed scenes in the pilot episode, but for Marvin Rush, director of photography on Deep Space Nine for the first two seasons, picking a favorite is easy. In fact, he remembers it like it was yesterday, and in surprising detail.
"It was the very first shot of the very first day," he recalls. "David Carson and I designed the shot with a servo-remote-controlled camera crane. It's the first time you see ops in the pilot. It starts in a pit, on a guy working on some fiber optics, and all the monitors are fritzing and frapping, and there's flashing lights and stuff's not working properly, because the Cardassians wrecked the place when they left. The camera starts on this guy and it comes up, catches an extra carrying some equipment, which pans the camera over to the left, toward the turbolift, where Sisko and O'Brien have just arrived. They come down the staircase, and the camera pans with them and it does a couple of little gyrations, which the audience probably doesn't notice. They pass very close to the camera, and it composes a two-shot, and then another two-shot, and then a three-shot, and then it takes them up the staircase and they go around one console, and it follows them around. It continues on and drives right into Sisko's office, where it sees Major Kira Nerys for the first time, yelling at this guy on a monitor in the office."
Rush pauses briefly. "That is really my favorite, because it is a very interesting, clever shot. It uses a very wide-angle lens because it photographs the entire set and shows every place that I could have possibly hidden a light, yet you never see a light. It was a great piece of work and very well-executed by my camera operator, Joe Chess, and my gaffer [chief lighting technician] Bill Peets." Rush notes that the first part of the sequence was cut a bit for time, but the rest of the shot is there, intact, on the screen, which made the amount of time invested all the more worthwhile. "We knew it would take all day to get it, and it did."
Rush's inspiration in dealing with that particular scene was mainly logistical. The Ops area of Deep Space 9 is comparable to the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise as a primary location on the series. The challenge was to introduce that key area to viewers in an interesting manner, presenting them with all the details in a deceptively casual way that masks the complexity of the shot. But for other scenes, Rush's inspiration in his setups came from the world outside the studio gates, or as he himself puts it, "from being a patient and deliberate observer of the natural world."
The lighting for the scene in which Sisko meets Kai Opaka, for example, was triggered by a pleasant memory from Rush's past. "Years ago, I was sitting and talking with my wife in our backyard Jacuzzi, and suddenly I just quit speaking and began looking at her face," he says. "There was a fluorescent light on in the kitchen behind and above her that formed a perfect backlight that lit her hair, and the Jacuzzi had a light in it that was filtered through the water, casting a very soft diffused uplight on her face. And there was a tiny bit of moon out, and it was a kicker on her cheek. I realized I was looking at a perfect lighting setup, and I remember thinking to myself that I would want to use it someday.
"And I used it in 'Emissary,'" he says with a smile. "Kai Opaka is sitting next to Sisko by a pool of water, and she grabs his ear to explore his pagh." Observant viewers will recall that in the scene, Opaka is backlit by bright light, with a softer source of illumination highlighting her face. A third source of light is provided by a mirror at the bottom of the pool, which bounces a light pointed in its direction up at the kai's face.
Not all of the setups were quite so idyllic. The conditions for Sisko's introduction to the wormhole aliens were positively hellish. The scene called for Sisko to look like "he was suspended in this limbo, but at the same time, was actually a part of it, almost attached to it," says Director Carson. "We wanted to bleed the edges of his image into the white space around him."
To accomplish that, says Rush, "we used these incredibly bright lights and overexposed the film like crazy. We needed an extremely large depth of field, because we wanted to go very, very tight on Sisko's face and yet have no focus depth at all, so that his ear was as sharp as his nose. That took a tremendous amount of light, and it was brutally hot," he admits. "Avery was a good sport about it. He put up with a tremendous amount of discomfort, and you would never know it from his performance. He knew what we were doing and why, and the fact that it was totally driven by the needs of the scene and the script."
The production traveled to San Marino's beautiful Huntington Gardens for Dax's perspective on the wormhole terrain. (Sisko's point of view, described in the script as "brutal terrain," was filmed on Paramount's Stage 18.) Pasadena's Oak Grove Park was used for the sequence at the baseball diamond. L.A.'s picturesque Leo Carillo Beach was the setting for the Orb-induced oceanside flashback scenes where Sisko encounters Jennifer. Finally, north to Newhall and the Golden Oaks Ranch, also known as the Disney Ranch, for two different scenes: Sisko's picnic with Jennifer, and the holodeck fishing sequence with Jake.
Although Star Trek fans considered themselves fortunate to be permitted at last to witness a portion of the infamous Battle of Wolf 359 (Only the aftermath of the battle was depicted in the TNG episode "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II," because the cost of creating the battle was deemed prohibitively expensive.), few of them realize that the scene was originally much more complex.
Robert Legato, then visual effects supervisor for Deep Space Nine, was instructed to shoot the battle sequence before live-action production had commenced on the pilot. "It was fun to do because I was allowed to make it up from scratch; there was no backlog of stock footage for it," he says. "The script said that they were right in the middle of this big fierce, ugly battle, and I had tons of debris in all the shots. Ships that were burning, on fire, flying past the camera. I made sure that all of the debris had the correct names on it, the names of the ships that were mentioned in 'The Best of Both Worlds' (The Starships Tolstoy, Kyushu, Melbourne, and Saratoga were among those described as lost in the battle), so the episodes would tie together."
But fate stepped in when the decision was made to shoot the live action as if the ships were about to enter into battle with the Borg, rather than joining them in mid-fray. "I had to go back and take all the extraneous ships out," he laments. "It was a heartbreaker, because it was a ton of work and very good-looking stuff -- much bigger than anything seen on a TNG show."
There was distinct consolation, however. The aired pilot went on to receive the 1993 Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, an award that Legato shared with Gary Hutzel, Michael Gibson, and Dennis Blakey.
Teleplay by Michael Piller
Story by Gerald Sanford and Michael Piller
Directed by Paul Lynch
Keiko Rosalind Chao
Zayra Edward Laurence Albert
Rom Max Grodénchik
Bajoran Man #1 Peter Vogt
Nog Aron Eisenberg
Ibudan Stephen James Carver
Old Man Tom Klunis
The shakedown period on the space station continues as its inhabitants come to terms with their new lives and each other. Dax attempts to refocus Bashir's amorous thoughts with meditation techniques, Jake tries to befriend Nog, the only boy his own age on the station, and Keiko wonders what she can do in her new home to feel useful. In the meantime, Odo makes a troubling discovery: Ibudan, a Bajoran that he once arrested for murder, is back on the station. Although Odo wants the criminal off the station, Sisko insists that he has no legitimate reason to make him leave. Not long after, Ibudan is found stabbed to death in a holosuite.
As Odo mounts his investigation, Sisko is distracted by a different problem. With too much free time on his hands, Jake has managed to get into trouble with his new pal, Nog. But Sisko's problem seems to provide a solution to Keiko's dilemma; she'll start a school on the station, thus giving Jake and the other children (and herself) something meaningful to do with their time.
The evidence associated with Ibudan's death seems to finger Odo as the prime suspect, and the Bajoran residents of the station become suspicious and hostile toward the shape-shifter. Although the station crew doubts the theory, Sisko reluctantly relieves Odo of his duty as security chief. In the meantime, Bashir analyzes some odd DNA fragments that he found in Ibudan's quarters, which seem to indicate that the Bajoran was performing some kind of medical experiment.
The tension aboard the station grows worse as angry residents vandalize Odo's office, and a volatile mob demands justice. But suddenly Bashir appears with startling news -- the dead man was not Ibudan! He was a clone, created and later killed by Ibudan, in order to frame Odo for the crime. The real Ibudan is quickly discovered by Odo and arrested for the murder of his own clone.
"A Man Alone" was filmed prior to the episode "Past Prologue," despite its later air date, and contains much of the expository information that one would expect of a series' first regular episode. Viewers are provided with information regarding Trills, and Sisko's relationship with Curzon Dax, that didn't make it into the pilot, and the station school is started by Keiko, thus providing a fertile setting for stories featuring Jake and Nog. The two boys become friends in the episode. Little Molly O'Brien makes her first appearance on DS9, as does her mother, Keiko. Rom, who appeared in the pilot but was identified in the credits only as "Ferengi Pit Boss," is established as Nog's father and Quark's slow-witted brother.
"I originally read for the role of Quark," says Max Grodénchik, previously seen as a Ferengi in The Next Generation episodes "Captain's Holiday" and "The Perfect Mate." But Grodénchik thought that the reading went poorly. "I was so depressed that I went out and sat on the steps at the Gower Street walk-in entrance to the studio. And in a little while Armin came out and befriended me. He said, 'You know, I think it was between you and me for the role of Quark.' And I said, 'How do you know?' And he said, 'Well, we were the only two short people there.'"
The pair went on to discuss all things Ferengi, with Shimerman mentioning the planned character of Nog, and the fact that he'd heard that Nog would have a father. Shimerman suggested that if Grodénchik didn't get the role of Quark, that Nog's father might be a nice part. After Shimerman was cast as Quark, Grodénchik says, "Armin actually recommended me for Rom, and they gave it to me."
Drawing from a list of directors they already knew and respected, the producers scheduled Canadian-born Paul Lynch to direct five episodes for the first season of the series, beginning with "A Man Alone." Lynch had already directed five episodes of TNG, starting with the second installment, "The Naked Now." At that time, the director had predicted that TNG would air for at least five or six years, and when he began working at DS9 across the lot, TNG was beginning its sixth season. "I guess they thought of me as a kind of good luck charm," Lynch laughs, "and my feeling was that Deep Space Nine would go seven years."
A comparison with the episode that aired a week earlier points up some differences in Odo's facial makeup and Kira's hair ("Past Prologue"), which had not yet made their evolutionary turn toward the look with which viewers are most familiar. On the other hand, from a makeup point of view, Quark came into his own -- nose, that is! According to Makeup Artist Karen Westerfield, who was responsible for Quark's makeup throughout the entire series, the final face and nose for everyone's favorite Ferengi was being sculpted during the filming of "Emissary." As a result, Quark actually appeared in the pilot wearing a proboscis that had been made for Max Grodénchik. Quark received a nose of his own in "A Man Alone," but Armin Shimerman was disappointed that the first season's gallery shots -- the product of a yearly photo session set up by Paramount's television publicity department -- portrayed him in his brother's nose!
Shimerman admits he found a lot to worry about in the early days of the show. The fact that "A Man Alone" did not air until the week after "Past Prologue" -- and that he did not appear in the latter episode -- concerned him a great deal. "I thought, 'I'm not in the first episode to air after the pilot. Oh, they hate me.' I used to sit backstage with Nana [Visitor], and we'd talk about the fact that if we didn't do a good job they could fire us, because my contract said that if they didn't like me after the fourth or fifth episode, they could get rid of me."
The episode provides one of the DS9 art department's first opportunities to indulge in the kind of behind-the-scenes in-joke humor that was such a trademark of TNG. An Okudagram (the term generally employed to describe a graphic turned out by the scenic art group, which is supervised by Michael Okuda) viewed by Odo in Ibudan's quarters aboard the Bajoran transport ship displays a number of interesting entries in Ibudan's personal calendar files. Among them are a reference to the ship's departure from Alderaan spaceport (the motion picture Star Wars is one of Okuda's favorites; Alderaan was the home planet for the film's Princess Leia); and a lunch date with "Della Santina."
The latter came as a surprise to DS9 Unit Production Manager Bob della Santina, better known to those on the set as "Bobby D." "I frequently go into the art department and look at the graphics and signage they come up with," notes Bobby D. "The whole gang up there has a wonderful sense of humor, and I usually notice the stuff they do, like using the name of one of the executive producers or the prop guy or the guy who makes the coffee. And I've thought, 'It'd be nice if they used my name once, just for fun,' but I never verbalized that. But I didn't even know about this!"
The name "Zayra," given to the rabble-rouser portrayed by actor Edward Albert, previously seen in TV's Beauty and the Beast, is a tribute to Zayra Cabot, an assistant to Jeri Taylor, then serving as producer on The Next Generation and later becoming executive producer on Star Trek: Voyager.
"I think they decided to use the name Zayra because it was so odd," recalls Cabot. "When I started working here, everyone was talking about how 'Star Trek-ish' my name was." This fascination with Cabot's first name was apparently shared by the writing staffs of both series, as it was also used as the name of a planet in a sixth-season TNG episode.
Written by Kathryn Powers
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Tahna Los Jeffrey Nordling
Garak Andrew Robinson
B'Etor Gwynyth Walsh
Lursa Barbara March
Admiral Rollman Susan Bay
Gul Danar Vaughn Armstrong
A quiet cup of Tarkalean tea turns into an exciting encounter for Dr. Bashir when the station's last remaining Cardassian, a tailor named Garak, introduces himself to the physician in the Replimat. Recalling that the Cardassian is rumored to be a spy, Bashir rushes to Ops to inform Sisko of the meeting. But Sisko and the others are distracted by the appearance of a small Bajoran craft that is being pursued by a Cardassian war vessel. When the Bajoran requests assistance, O'Brien beams the badly injured pilot to Ops, and Kira recognizes him as Tahna Los, an acquaintance of hers from the Bajoran underground.
The captain of the Cardassian ship, Gul Danar, demands that Sisko turn over Tahna, whom he says is a member of the Bajoran terrorist group Kohn-Ma. But when Tahna claims to have renounced his association with the group, Sisko has no choice but to grant his request for asylum.
Not long afterward, Odo alerts Sisko to the fact that the Klingon sisters Lursa and B'Etor have arrived at DS9 -- and that they seem to be awaiting something -- or someone. Sisko asks Odo to keep an eye on them, while at the same time, Garak hints to Bashir that the doctor should do the same. Disguised as a rat, Odo observes the sisters meeting with Tahna and demanding payment for an undisclosed item.
Sisko gives Kira approval to help two more Kohn-Ma members obtain asylum, but when Odo tells Sisko about the conversation between Tahna and the Klingons, the commander can't help wondering if there is a connection. In the meantime, the two sisters visit Garak to discuss what price the Cardassians might be willing to pay for the return of Tahna. And in Tahna's quarters, Kira is stunned to discover that her old ally is still loyal to Kohn-Ma, and that his purpose in coming to the station was to gain her assistance in a plan to free Bajor. Troubled, Kira turns to Odo for advice; their conversation makes her realize that she is no longer the person she once was, and that she must choose new loyalties.
Garak again goes to Bashir, this time alerting him to potential Kohn-Ma activity on the station. The Cardassian suggests that Bashir may find out more if he visits the tailor shop that evening. And that night, hidden from view, Bashir listens as Garak gets the sisters to reveal that they are selling Tahna a cylinder of bilitrium, a component required for the construction of a powerful bomb.
The command crew discusses the situation, and Sisko agrees to let Kira take Tahna to meet the Klingon sisters for their agreed-upon exchange. Sisko and O'Brien will follow in a different runabout. The exchange is made and Cardassian forces, alerted by Garak, appear and threaten to fire upon Kira and Tahna. In return, Tahna threatens to explode his bomb right there if either the Cardassians or Sisko approach, and they are forced to allow him to proceed. Tahna informs Kira that his real target is the wormhole, which he plans to destroy with the bomb, thus diminishing Bajor's importance to both the Federation and the Cardassians, and forcing both groups to leave the planet alone. But Kira is able to delay the release of the weapon long enough so that the bomb is detonated harmlessly in the Gamma Quadrant. Tahna is arrested, and Kira is left to ponder if she made the right decision for her people.
Although "Past Prologue" was the first episode of Deep Space Nine to be broadcast following the pilot, it was actually shot after "A Man Alone," which helps to explain a few of the inconsistencies observant viewers may have noticed between the two episodes. Odo's makeup, for example, which would continue to metamorphose over the course of the series, went through a refinement between "A Man Alone" and "Past Prologue," as did Kira's hairstyle, which began to move away from the fluffy do of the pilot to a "no-frills-all-business" close-cropped style. "That was my doing," admits Nana Visitor. "I pushed for it. I just didn't feel that Major Kira would style her hair every day. She wouldn't care! I wanted a hairstyle that looked like she just woke up in the morning looking like that."
Of Odo's new look in the episode, then-Co-producer Peter Allan Fields notes, "I remember [makeup department head] Michael Westmore turning to me and saying, 'Do you think it looks better?' and I said, 'Yes, absolutely.' I thought they did a superb job right from the beginning, but every job needs a polishing, a wax, and a finish."
"Past Prologue" featured a guest appearance by the popular Klingon sisters Lursa and B'Etor from The Next Generation, who were written into the story at Michael Piller's suggestion. It also introduced viewers to Starfleet Admiral Rollman, played by Actor Susan Bay. Bay, who would reprise the role in the second-season episode "Whispers," has worked as a director, a producer, and a development person in the entertainment industry, but she may be best known to fans as the wife of actor Leonard Nimoy. Nevertheless, Bay believes that it was her long-standing relationship with Executive Producer Rick Berman (whom she met prior to his association with TNG) and a previous working relationship with casting director Junie Lowry-Johnson that got her the role on DS9, rather than her real-life role as "Mrs. Spock."
The episode is also notable for establishing the close relationship between Odo and Kira, which would become increasingly significant as seasons passed, and for introducing the character of "plain, simple Garak," the mysterious Cardassian tailor. Although Kathryn Powers received sole writing credit for "Past Prologue," both of those contributions have been attributed to Fields. It is well known that Star Trek's producers are accomplished writers who frequently leave their mark on scripts that catch their fancy. Comments Fields, "It was terribly important to put in a scene between Odo and Kira that establishes trust between them, and the idea that she would turn to him when she didn't know where else to turn or what to do." Fields later would delve into the background of that relationship in the second-season episode "Necessary Evil".
And as for Garak, Fields recalls, "We needed a character whom Lursa and B'Etor would come to as a kind of go-between. But we didn't want to make him an out-and-out spy, because then what would you do with him after the episode? You'd have to put him in jail on Bajor. So we tread a pretty thin line."
The producers always liked the idea of making Garak a recurring character, although they weren't quite sure that they'd be able to justify keeping a Cardassian on the station. "We needed a Cardassian who didn't act like one, so I finally put him in a tailor shop, and nobody hit me, so we kept him there," Fields recalls with a chuckle. Of course, putting a possible spy in a tailor-shop setting was a natural for Fields, who started his writing career working on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., a show that used Del Floria's Tailor Shop as the front for television's most famous spy operation ever, the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. (Not so coincidentally, a store called "Del Floria's" is listed on the Promenade directory, a tribute to the earlier series by the Art Department.)
That the character of Garak clicked so well with viewers is due in no small way to the man behind the makeup, Andrew Robinson, who may be best known to audiences for a number of offbeat portrayals, including the Scorpio Killer in the first Dirty Harry movie and the title role of Liberace in an ABC-TV movie. "I have to admit, I thought it was really off-the-wall casting at first," recalls Director Winrich Kolbe. "Then I saw him go into the show, and suddenly the whole thing began to blossom. He's not what you expect of a Cardassian. They're the Prussians of the universe, always 'kill, kill, kill.' And then there's Garak, a little bit on the effeminate side, totally different from what you expect of a Cardassian."
Robinson was allowed to create his own characterization for Garak, according to Kolbe. "We agreed that he could push the envelope, but he couldn't leave the Cardassian platform. We had long talks about wardrobe and makeup, but we also talked about attitude, so that he would retain that stiffness that you see in all Cardassians."
Despite his initial reservations, Kolbe has nothing but praise for Robinson's performance. And Robinson, who works constantly in films and episodic television, was equally impressed with the quality of the material he was given to work with on Deep Space Nine. "You're only as good as the writing," the actor says modestly. "I wish there was more writing like this for television. I think we'd have a much healthier industry." The writing was so good, he explains, that Garak practically created himself. "From the moment I read Garak, I had an image in my mind. I could actually visualize the guy; he's all subtext," says Robinson. "If a smart guy like Garak says that he's 'plain and simple,' you realize that he's not plain and not simple. And that there is a lot going on. Regardless of how innocuous or simple each line is, there's always something going on underneath that belies the line. And his eyes and the tone of his voice say something different than the words he's speaking. It's not an easy thing to work with subtext, but when you do it well, you really get people's attention."
Michael McGreevey and Naren Shankar
Story by Sally Caves and Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Paul Lynch
Jaheel Jack Kehler
Surmak Ren Matthew Faison
Nurse Jabara Ann Gillespie
Galis Blin Geraldine Farrell
Asoth Bo Zenga
Aphasia Victim Kathleen Wirt
Aphasia Victim Lee Brooks
Bajoran Deputy Richard Ryder
Businessman Frank Novak
Federation Male Todd Feder
Plagued by a recent rash of mechanical breakdowns, O'Brien finds himself inundated with maintenance requests from every quarter, including Commander Sisko, who wants the station's replicators to provide palatable coffee. O'Brien wearily attends to a replicator, and, to his surprise, manages to coax it into producing a perfect cup of coffee. In the process, however, the chief unknowingly triggers a long-dormant device in the station's food replicator circuitry.
Not long after, Kira is startled when O'Brien, who appears sweaty and pale, begins to speak in gibberish. Bashir's examination of the chief is puzzling. He shows no signs of physiological damage but appears to be suffering from an unusual form of aphasia. When Dax is struck with the same malady, Bashir determines that both of his patients have contracted a virus that affects their neuro-synaptic pathways. On the heels of that discovery, two more crewmembers become aphasic, and Sisko places the station under emergency quarantine.
Odo's subsequent investigation of some suspicious activities on Quark's part leads to the discovery that the Ferengi has inadvertently been spreading the virus by illegally accessing station-crew food replicators to serve his customers. But when Bashir discovers that the virus has mutated into an airborne strain, it becomes clear that they will soon be dealing with an epidemic, and that no one on the station is safe.
As the virus continues to spread, affecting Sisko's son Jake, Kira finds the device that triggered the outbreak. Because it is based on Cardassian technology, they assume at first that the planned epidemic is an act of Cardassian sabotage. But Bashir's analysis of the virus's genetic structure proves it was actually part of a Bajoran plan to destroy the Cardassians who once controlled the space station. With the virus becoming more deadly by the hour, their only hope is to find the Bajoran who created the virus -- and hope that he also created an antidote.
Kira discovers that Dekon Elig, the inventor of the virus, is long dead. However, Surmak Ren, who once served as Elig's medical assistant, is not. On a desperate hunch, Kira departs for Bajor, and beams the unwilling Bajoran aboard her runabout, in the process exposing him to the virus. Reluctantly, Surmak agrees to return to DS9 and help discover an antidote.
Back on the station, a panicky alien captain attempts to break quarantine by leaving the station without permission. His attempts to pull away from the station with the mooring clamps still attached doom his ship and endanger the docking ring. But with Sisko incapacitated by the virus, Odo is forced to rely on Quark to help him save the captain and release the ship from the clamps just before the vessel explodes.
In the DS9 Infirmary, Surmak follows up on Bashir's research and discovers the antidote, allowing life on the station to return to normal, and the coffee to revert to its previous nontoxic but impotable state.
Actor Armin Shimerman has fond memories of "Babel"; it was the episode in which he feels he truly hit his stride in his characterization of Quark. "It was the first time that Quark was ever in Ops," recalls Shimerman, "and it was the first time that Armin was in Ops. I had passed it, but it wasn't really my home. My home was Quark's bar. And I remember just looking around and thinking, 'Yeah, I'm in control of Ops -- I like this.' And I realized, 'Ah, this is the character, this guy who likes to have a good time, who enjoys life and who feels that no problem is insurmountable.' And that fun-loving spirit and delight became ingrained in my character at that moment."
The episode is notable for other moments of characterization, as well. Like "A Man Alone," it offers a tantalizing glimpse into the Quark/Odo relationship, so abrasive on the surface and yet clearly enjoyable to both characters at a deeper level. Both Shimerman and fellow performer Rene Auberjonois are pleased with the way the writers have employed this engaging chemistry in the scripts. "They basically use us as comic relief to heighten the dramatic effect of the story," observes Auberjonois. Over the course of the series, the writers would continue to employ the the relationship like "...a spice, or perhaps like Stilton cheese -- a little bit of it goes a long way," laughs the actor. In the fifth season, however, he and Shimerman would finally be treated to a script that focused on their relationship for the entire episode ("The Ascent").
Sisko's deep bond with his son, Jake, is also well-conveyed in this episode, thanks to the tender physicality of Avery Brooks's interaction with Cirroc Lofton. "I love seeing their relationship," comments Supervising Producer David Livingston, who sees a lot of his own relationship with his sixteen-year-old son in the portrayal. "Avery is so warm and connected with this kid. The Sisko character is not connected with many other people, in fact, maybe with nobody else. This man is out there alone with a lot of stuff going on inside of his head. The one person with whom he can reveal his emotional self on a continuing basis is his son. It makes for such a wonderful contrast with the rest of his character. And the two actors are so fabulous. The moments when Cirroc and Avery are together are just terrific. It's real and genuine, and it affects me because I'm in that same place with my son."
"It wasn't a thematic element," says Actor Avery Brooks. "I don't have any trouble being physical with my children. That's a part of my nature, as opposed to something they wrote about Sisko and Jake. The first day I met Cirroc, I hugged him. And I hug him every time I see him."
Close observation of the episode reveals, once again, a number of behind-the-scenes in-jokes and obscure references designed to amuse those in the know. "There are a lot of Ren & Stimpy jokes in the readouts and some of the character names," notes Mike Okuda. "Ira Behr is a big Ren & Stimpy fan."
Behr pleads guilty to the charge. "During the early days of the series, there was tremendous pressure on us. We were writing these shows, but we didn't know what the heck was going on with them. So to keep the writing staff together, I would do anything I could to break the tension." And one of those things was dragging members of the staff into his office to watch Ren & Stimpy episodes, which, notes Behr, "seemed like a wonderful comic find at the time."
Another subtle reference aimed toward fans -- this one toward aficionados of the original Star Trek series -- is found in the name of the cargo carried by Jaheel, the alien captain, who was transporting a shipment of Sahsheer to Largo V. Viewers with long memories will recall that Sahsheer was a term used by the Kelvans to describe a rapidly growing, beautiful crystal-like formation native to the Andromeda galaxy in the original series episode, "By Any Other Name."
And the image of Dekon Elig, the creator of the aphasia virus (whose first name, not so coincidentally, bears a humorous resemblance to a certain brand of bug killer), is none other than Dan Curry, at the time visual effects producer for The Next Generation (he would become the visual effects producer for DS9 in that series' second season). "They needed faces to put in, and Mike Okuda thought it would be fun to use me," says Curry. "I guess he thinks I have a nasty countenance." Actually, notes Okuda, "Dan really got into it. He even went down to Wardrobe to help pick out the clothes." Curry, who was in the process of prepping to direct the sixth-season TNG episode "Birthright, Part II," didn't need to waste time in the makeup chair to receive the traditional Bajoran wrinkles on the bridge of his nose; those were digitally added to his computer-scanned mug shot by DS9 Scenic Artist Doug Drexler. Curry's image would be recycled for the second-season episode, "Necessary Evil," once again depicting a shady character -- this time, Ches'sarro, a Cardassian collaborator apparently murdered by the Bajoran underground.
Teleplay by Jill Sherman Donner and Michael Piller
Story by Jill Sherman Donner
Directed by Corey Allen
The Hunter Gerrit Graham
Tosk Scott MacDonald
Miss Sarda Kelly Curtis
As Sisko patiently listens to a new dabo girl's account of sexual harassment by her employer, Quark, he receives a communication from Major Kira. A vessel is coming through the wormhole -- and it's not one of the logged transports that originated in the Alpha Quadrant. DS9 is about to receive its first visit from an inhabitant of the Gamma Quadrant.
The alien vessel, which is damaged, contains a reptilian being who refers to himself as Tosk. Although initially suspicious, Tosk allows O'Brien to tow in the ship with a tractor beam. Sisko suggests that O'Brien greet the visitor at the airlock and, if possible, find out what Tosk is so nervous about.
Despite O'Brien's friendly overtures, Tosk continues to be wary, but he allows the chief of operations to initiate repairs on his vessel and hesitantly accepts the hospitality of the station. Through casual questioning, O'Brien learns that Tosk requires little in the way of sleep or nutrition, although he fails to determine whether the word Tosk is the being's name, species, or vocation. And while he senses no criminal intent in Tosk, it seems clear to O'Brien that his new acquaintance is on the run from someone or something.
Sisko decides to have Odo keep a watchful eye on their visitor, a precaution that pays off when Odo discovers Tosk tampering with a security grid in a remote corridor. Tosk refuses to explain his actions, and, to O'Brien's dismay, Sisko orders him confined in a holding cell, reasoning that someone may show up looking for Tosk.
Not long after, several someones do show up: three visitors from the Gamma Quadrant, who deactivate the station's shields and beam on board. The aliens easily fend off the station's security measures and strong-arm their way to the holding area. All fighting ceases, however, when the aliens find Tosk -- their prey, according to the lead alien, who describes himself as a Hunter. Tosk's people, he explains, have been bred solely for the purpose of the hunt. It is their only reason for existence. And although Sisko is disgusted by the concept, he realizes that the Prime Directive will not allow him to interfere with this ritual.
O'Brien, however, has his own interpretation of "the rules of the game," and he rigs a security checkpoint to momentarily stun the Hunter, providing Tosk with an opportunity to get a head start back to his now-repaired vessel. After Tosk makes a narrow escape, Sisko gives O'Brien the obligatory lecture about his displeasure at the chief's manipulation of the rules. O'Brien accepts the dressing-down, then expresses curiosity that he was able to help Tosk get away, despite the fact that there were a few inherent weaknesses in his strategy that could have allowed Sisko and Odo to stop him. "I guess that one got by us," responds Sisko, poker-faced.
Out on the edge of the final frontier, Starfleet officers sometimes find themselves in situations where they have to make hard decisions about rules that no longer seem as clear cut as they were in the clean, sterile environment of a Federation starship. "Captive Pursuit," originally titled "A Matter of Breeding," brought such a decision to Miles O'Brien, pointing up many of the differences between Deep Space Nine and its predecessor, The Next Generation.
"In general, the DS9 shows are not as squeaky clean as the TNG scripts were," observes Corey Allen, a veteran director who has worked frequently on both series. "The characters are allowed to be more flawed and that allows for more latitude in interpretation. In TNG, it always seemed to me that the people were wonderfully and heroically bent on the 'unbent' -- they were straight arrows. But in 'Captive Pursuit,' there's this wonderful moment of realization -- almost without words -- when O'Brien is sitting at the bar with Quark, and he discovers the possibility that it's conceivable to break the rules of the Federation, which hitherto had been inconceivable to him. And suddenly he says, 'Of course -- change the rules.'"
There were other breaches -- and near breaches -- of Starfleet etiquette in "Captive Pursuit" that never would have happened on the Enterprise, according to Allen. At one point, the teaser was to have included some friendly repartee between dabo girl Miss Sarda and Sisko, implying that she was inviting the commander to "come by and see her some time." As Allen recalls, "We had long conversations on that and ultimately came down on the conservative side, but we'd never even had that kind of conference on TNG."
Sisko's decision to skip formal first contact procedures with the first alien visitor from the Gamma Quadrant was another break in protocol that Allen thinks Captain Picard would ever have been allowed to contemplate within the tighter structure of Deep Space Nine's predecessor. Yet, as Allen points out, none of these breaks simply happened. They were thoroughly discussed by the director, writers, producers, and actors. And even as the DS9 staff consciously chose to break with Star Trek tradition in some areas, they diligently reestablished touchstones that resonate in fans' collective memories in other areas, as when O'Brien recapitulates a familiar old proverb to Tosk, "As the Vulcans say, 'We're here to serve.'"
"Captive Pursuit" marks the first time viewers discover that Odo doesn't personally believe in carrying a weapon. The idea was there from the pilot, recalls Actor Rene Auberjonois, where Odo's first discussion with his new commander concerns the fact that he doesn't allow weapons on the promenade. Auberjonois was pleased when the writers carried that theme over into "Captive Pursuit," and had his character turn down a phaser offered by Kira, noting, "Thanks anyway, I don't use them."
"That's been the only reference to my never using a weapon," says Auberjonois. "I like that, and on the basis of it I've been very vigilant about following up on the idea. There've been a couple of times when the prop man innocently will start to stick a holster on me, and I'll say, 'Oh, no, no -- I never carry a weapon.' And they take it away. I've only used a weapon once, and that was in 'Crossover,' where I'm really another character."
Does that mean Odo's a pacifist? While Auberjonois admits that he himself is by nature a pacifist, Odo isn't. "He's quite willing to really throw people around and use his own powers of morphing to his own advantage, but I guess it's just a point of pride with him that he doesn't use one. Using a weapon seems like such a humanoid thing to do."
The episode also featured some interesting special effects. The forcefield effect seen when the Hunter's ship blasts the station is reminiscent of an effect used in the pilot episode. "It was generated on a paintbox type system, combined with another type of effect that makes a 3-D globe that you can texture map," explains Robert Legato. "You can create a three-dimension object in the computer and take a skin, say an animating sparkle effect, and throw this skin on top of this ball, and then you superimpose it over where the station is and do some retouching. When you time it right, it looks like something gets hit, and has this sparkly animated effect around it."
The transporter effect used by the Hunter species was part of Star Trek's ongoing effort to always make alien technology look at least somewhat different from that of the Federation. In this case the effect, says Legato, was inspired by the scene in the classic science fiction film Metropolis where the "Maria" robot undergoes its transformation into humanistic form.
The character of Tosk was well played by actor Scott MacDonald, who would return to the series under Jem'Hadar makeup as Goran'Agar during the fourth-season episode, "Hippocratic Oath." Tosk's look -- inspired by an alligator -- won Michael Westmore's team an Emmy Award for Outstanding Makeup.
Teleplay by Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Story by Hannah Louise Shearer
Directed by Paul Lynch
Vash Jennifer Hetrick
Q John de Lancie
Bajoran Clerk Van Epperson
Kolos Tom McCleister
Bajoran Woman Laura Cameron
Bashir's attempt to woo a pretty Bajoran woman with tales of his medical school travails is cut short when he receives word of an emergency at one of the station's landing pads. The Runabout Ganges, just returned from the Gamma Quadrant, is so low on power that its hatch cannot be opened, and its oxygen levels are also dangerously low. After O'Brien quickly jury-rigs a method to open the hatch, he is surprised to discover that one of the occupants is an archaeologist named Vash, whom he had previously encountered while serving on board the Starship Enterprise. O'Brien is even more surprised when Dax relates that the Ganges found Vash in the Gamma Quadrant, where she'd been living for over two years -- dropped off by "a friend," Vash claims. Unknown to the station crew, that friend has also arrived on DS9. It's Q, the curious omnipotent being so frequently encountered by the Enterprise.
Despite persistent questioning by Sisko, Vash remains mysterious about her journey to the Gamma Quadrant. She stores some exotic artifacts at the station's Assay Office -- which attracts the attention of the opportunistic Quark -- and decides to take up an offer extended by the Daystrom Institute to travel to Earth and brief the scientists there on her recent exploits.
As O'Brien fills Sisko in on Vash's relationship with the Enterprise and Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the station is briefly struck by a sudden loss of power, which Dax points out is similar to the phenomenon that disabled the Ganges. Meanwhile, Q pays a visit to Vash and unsuccessfully attempts to revive their previous partnership. She is more interested in a proposition from Quark; he volunteers to stage an auction of her artifacts for a percentage of the profits.
When O'Brien spots Q on the Promenade, the anomalies aboard the station seem to make sense. But Q denies creating the continuing power outages, and, seeing an opportunity for an interesting method of sizing up his new Starfleet adversary, places Sisko and himself in a boxing ring to duke it out. Amazed when Sisko decks him -- after all, Picard never hit him -- Q withdraws from the action temporarily. Yet even in his absence, the station continues to experience power outages, followed by increases in the graviton field that are causing increasingly dangerous breaches in the hull. At his wit's end, Sisko allows Dax to flood the station with a small amount of tridium gas to trace the source of the power drain.
Q returns to taunt Sisko's efforts and suggests that the real threat to the station may actually be Vash, who is down at Quark's for the auction. The graviton field continues to increase, to the point where the station is actually being pulled out of its normal position -- and heading straight for the wormhole!
At last Dax manages to trace the power drain to one of Vash's artifacts from the Gamma Quadrant, and O'Brien beams it off the station just as the object explodes in a brilliant flash of light. Then, out of the flash emerges a winged energy creature, which soars away toward the wormhole as the astonished inhabitants of DS9 watch.
With the life-form gone, everything returns to normal at the station. Q reluctantly bids Vash farewell and leaves her in only slightly more reputable hands than his own, as Vash opts to forget about her trip to Earth and strike up a partnership with Quark!
"Q-Less" brought several veterans of Star Trek: The Next Generation to the Deep Space Nine universe, most conspicuously, of course, the popular character Q (John de Lancie). Also returning was Captain Picard's old flame, Vash (Jennifer Hetrick), who previously had appeared in two episodes of TNG, "Captain's Holiday" and "QPid," both penned by Ira Steven Behr (the story for the latter episode is cocredited to Randee Russell).
"At the beginning of the series, we were directed to 'show that we're still part of the Star Trek universe' by bringing over people from the other series," recalls Behr. "By second season, though, we said, 'Hey, this is a pretty good show. We don't need to bring anyone over.' Although on occasion we'd do something really interesting, like bring over the three Klingons from the original series" ("Blood Oath").
The story for "Q-Less" was written by another TNG alumni, Hannah Louise Shearer ("The Price" and "We'll Always Have Paris"), and the teleplay gave yet one more TNG scribe-for-hire, Robert Hewitt Wolfe ("A Fistful of Datas"), a permanent position on DS9. "I wrote the first draft, they liked it, and put me on staff," Wolfe recalls happily. "I did the rewrite while they were negotiating my contract."
According to Wolfe, the original story by Shearer featured the character of Vash, but not Q. Wolfe was asked to add Q to the plot, which he found to be a mixed blessing. As other writers would discover during the first season of the series, it was difficult to write for the new characters, particularly because there was precious little episodic footage of them that the writers could study. "But I knew exactly what to expect of Q and how to write him," recalls Wolfe. But the bad thing, adds Wolfe, is that Q is so established, so TNG-oriented, and so Picard-specific, "that it's difficult to write stories about him and make him have relationships with the DS9 characters. Here he is, an omnipotent being, running around causing trouble, but our characters just look at him as a pain, a nuisance. They don't have the emotional attachment that, in a way, the Enterprise crew did."
Ultimately, Wolfe hit upon the idea of using the character to demonstrate the non-similarities between Sisko and Picard, an aspect that Actor John de Lancie felt was the major point of his appearance. "Q's relationship with Picard had always been a battle of wits, but I come into Deep Space Nine, and Sisko just bopped me on the nose!" observes de Lancie. "From a character point of view, that's a very big difference."
Wolfe concurs. "Picard is an explorer, and in some ways, very much an intellectual. Sisko is a builder, a different kind of guy. He wears his heart a little more on his sleeve, and he acts on emotion, on instinct, more than Picard."
Although he was pleased with the way the episode turned out, Wolfe notes that he probably would have written it differently later on. "I'd concentrate less on Vash and Q and more on the regulars. It's not really good to center episodes on your guest stars."
A diminished emphasis on the relationship between Vash and Q might have made less obvious one of the elements that also troubled de Lancie. Q's interest in Vash has never really been explained, and his motivation in wanting them to remain together is unclear. Although the actor has speculated in the past that Q's interest in Vash might be connected to her relationship with Picard, that element wasn't relevant in "Q-Less," where Picard was nowhere in sight. "I think that Q is best used when he deals with large philosophical issues," states de Lancie. "And skirt-chasing just isn't one of them."
Bringing characters from TNG to DS9 might have made some viewers think they were watching The Next Generation, but it didn't feel that way to the director. "Shooting TNG was never as complex as this," says Paul Lynch. "Those shows were a breeze by comparison. I mean, we might have had some special effects makeup and the odd beam on or beam off, but on DS9, it's endless. There was one scene in 'Q-Less' where Q not only appeared and disappeared from one chair to another chair to a third chair, but he also changed costumes as he went. It looks effortless on film, but it took a great deal of time to shoot John de Lancie in different costumes, changing all the way around the bar.
"It's because Rick Berman wants everything to be the absolute best," Lynch continues, "and that's why the quality is so high. Everything has been planned to the last given point when we come in to shoot. It's just incredibly complex."
Although the guest stars received most of the attention, Wolfe did have the opportunity to let at least one of the regulars have a bit of fun with his character -- even if it was at the expense of an American politician!
Is Quark's encouraging cry of "Bid high, bid often!" at the auction a deliberate evocation of the old line, "Vote early, vote often!" attributed to Chicago's late Mayor Richard J. Daley?
"Guilty," says Wolfe with a grin. "I just thought it'd be funny. You can do that with Quark -- put words in his mouth that are definitely from other sources and then give them a little twist. And he can get away with it, because he's a comic character."
Then, could "Bid high, bid often," be considered an unofficial Rule of Acquisition?
"Definitely not," says Wolfe. "A Ferengi would never encourage another Ferengi to do something like that. An applicable Rule would be something like, 'Bid last, bid low.' Quark was just trying to encourage his bidders to do stupid things and pay more than they should. "
Teleplay by D.C. Fontana and
Peter Allan Fields
Story by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by David Carson
Ilon Tandro Gregory Itzin
Judge Renora Anne Haney
Selin Peers Richard Lineback
Enina Tandro Fionnula Flanagan
As Lieutenant Dax returns to her quarters one evening, she is identified by a male Trill and then abducted by Ilon Tandro, a humanoid from Klaestron IV who is backed up by two Klaestron officers. Bashir intervenes in the struggle but is overpowered; nevertheless, he is able to alert the officers in Ops. As Sisko, Kira, and Odo attempt to locate and rescue Dax, they discover that the kidnappers have carefully planned their escape, avoiding the security-tracking grid, deactivating force fields, and disabling the station's tractor beam. Only Sisko's last-minute reactivation of the tractor beam allows the crew to force the return of their captured compatriot.
When Sisko and Odo face Ilon Tandro at the airlock, Tandro informs them that this is an extradition procedure and that he carries a warrant for Dax's arrest. The charge: treason and the murder of General Ardelon Tandro, Ilon's father, some thirty years earlier on Klaestron IV. It is clear to Sisko that the accusation must be against Curzon Dax, rather than Jadzia Dax, but Jadzia refuses to provide him with any information about the events on Klaestron IV.
Frustrated, Sisko plays the only card he can. Since the space station is technically Bajoran, Tandro cannot remove Dax without an extradition hearing. At the hearing, Sisko attempts to convince the Bajoran judge, Renora, that Jadzia is a different person than Curzon and cannot be held accountable for any crimes that might have been committed by her previous host. The judge rules that Tandro must prove the person named in his warrant is indeed the same person as the young woman seated before her, thus giving Sisko time to work on Jadzia's defense.
As Sisko, Kira, and Bashir attempt to build their case, Odo goes to Klaestron IV to research past events. He contacts Enina Tandro, widow of the general, who informs Odo categorically that Curzon was not responsible for the death of her husband. However, of the five people who might have been responsible for sending the transmission to the enemy that resulted in the general's death, Curzon is the only one without an alibi for the time period in question.
The hearing resumes, and the Trill who identified Dax for Ilon Tandro testifies that a crime committed by a joined Trill would be remembered by each new host body of the symbiont. Sisko parries by establishing that each new pairing of symbiont and host is essentially a different person, whether it carries the old memories or not. However, when Bashir is called to the stand, he reluctantly admits that he cannot determine whether or not the brainwave patterns of the Dax symbiont have changed since it was joined with its new host, Jadzia.
During a recess in the proceedings, Sisko receives word from Odo: he has discovered evidence that Curzon and Enina Tandro had an affair thirty years ago, which gives Curzon a motive for murder. When confronted with this information, Dax admits that Curzon participated in the affair, but will neither confirm nor deny his involvement in the general's murder.
Dax takes the witness stand, and Ilon Tandro attempts to establish that when Jadzia accepted the responsibility of becoming a joined Trill, she also accepted the consequences of criminal acts committed by Curzon. But he is interrupted by the appearance of his mother Enina, who has decided at last to come forward and clear Curzon's name. She knows that Curzon did not send the transmission that was responsible for her husband's death -- because Curzon was in bed with her at the time the transmission was made. Curzon had sworn that he would never tarnish the Klaestron people's cherished memory of the general by revealing the indiscretion, but Enina has decided that her own reputation is not worth as much as Jadzia Dax's life.
"Dax" marked the return of writer D. C. Fontana to the Star Trek fold. Long known for her contributions to some of the best-remembered episodes of the original series ("This Side of Paradise," "Charlie X," and "Journey to Babel"), and for her involvement in the first season of The Next Generation, Fontana was brought to DS9 by Peter Allan Fields because he wanted "a good science-fiction writer" to handle the teleplay for "Dax." Fields remembered Fontana from his days on The Six Million Dollar Man, where they both had worked with a future Star Trek affiliate, Producer Harve Bennett.
"I was given a very sketchy story," recalls Fontana. "There wasn't going to be a lot of action. It was going to be all character revelation and interaction. That was what I liked about it."
Still, "it was a difficult script to write, as all early scripts in a series are," admits Fontana. "You don't have an ear for the way the actors deliver their dialogue, and you don't know the characters that well, and in some cases you're beginning to invent facts about them that may or may not work."
The fact that Fontana's teleplay was about a character as complex as a Trill didn't help. "Michael Piller came up with the idea that once they were joined, the symbiont and the host became as one, and you couldn't just cut a piece out of the pie, or rather, remove the symbiont, because they had become intermingled," explains Fields. "That's a pretty hard concept to express on the screen. And there was something more we wanted -- heart, character -- 'Who is this Dax? Is she old? Is she young?' We were exploring it ourselves."
After Fontana worked on the teleplay, Fields had another go at it, "making it up as I went along," and received a partial credit for the teleplay in addition to the story credit. "It was awfully complicated to do," says Fields. "Originally the thought was to make Dax this complacent wise old owl with all these lives behind her/him/him/her. But then we realized, here's a soul who's got to be at war with parts of herself many times. And rather than making her a character [at peace with herself] like Guinan, why not make her a person who can have periods of turmoil based on the number of people inside of her?"
The challenge of portraying a character like that is part of what attracted Actress Terry Farrell to a role in a Star Trek series. "It's so exciting to be part of something where you can confront things in society and in human behavior that make us all feel a little uncomfortable." Case in point, says Farrell, was the scene in "Dax" where Enina and Jadzia say goodbye. "The first time we did the scene, there was a moment there where you didn't know if I was going to kiss her or not, or if she was going to kiss me. Then they decided that wasn't appropriate, so we did another take where we pulled back some. But it was an interesting moment, because it really would have worked. The Curzon personality in the worm must have missed her terribly, and Jadzia must have felt that and known exactly what was going on."
Both writers have expressed satisfaction with the way the scene was ultimately filmed. "I thought it said something about old relationships and some of the things you do for old relationships -- the kind of love that carries forward, even though you can't physically carry it forward," observes Fontana.
"It's an affectionate scene," notes Fields. "Enina says, 'Live, Jadzia Dax. Live a long and fresh and wonderful life.' She touches Jadzia's cheek, and then Jadzia touches her own cheek where Enina's hand was. There's nothing wrong with it, whether the audience knows that Curzon was a lover of this woman or not."
The tantalizing theme of a character who only coincidentally conveys its physical desire in male or female terms -- depending upon the body it occupies at the moment -- is one that Star Trek writers have returned to again and again. From the first Trill episode, "The Host" (and, in a non-Trill but similarly themed episode, "The Outcast"), on TNG, to "Dax," the writers kept pushing the envelope of what they hoped viewers would be willing to accept. But it would not be until the fourth-season Deep Space Nine episode, "Rejoined," that Star Trek would break through its own steadfast limitations and permit expressions of desire -- and kisses -- between same-sex characters.
Teleplay by Morgan Gendel and
Robert Hewitt Wolfe & Michael Piller
Story by Morgan Gendel
Directed by Paul Lynch
Ty Kajada Caitlin Brown
Lieutenant George Primmin James Lashly
Durg Christopher Collins
Rao Vantika James Harper
Returning from a medical mission in the Runabout Rio Grande, Kira and Bashir pick up a distress signal from a disabled Kobliad transport vessel. They beam over to discover an injured security officer, Ty Kajada, whose ship has been sabotaged by her prisoner, a murderer named Rao Vantika. Although Kajada warns them to stay away from Vantika, who has been badly burned, Bashir attempts to aid the criminal. Suddenly Vantika grabs Bashir by the throat, entreating the physician, to "Make me live." But Vantika dies a moment later.
Kira and Bashir take Kajada and the body of Vantika back to Deep Space 9, which, Kajada notes, was Vantika's original destination before she captured him. Despite Bashir's assurances, Kajada refuses to believe that Vantika is dead, and she insists he run tests to confirm his demise.
In the meantime, Odo is surprised to discover that a Starfleet security officer named Primmin has been assigned to the station to help oversee an anticipated shipment of deuridium, a rare substance that the Kobliad require for survival. It seems likely that Vantika was planning to hijack the shipment. But although the criminal is dead, it is probable that he had help planted on the station -- thus the presence of the additional security personnel. Odo is offended by the implication that his services are not satisfactory for the assignment but is reassured when Sisko asserts that Odo is in charge of the operation.
When Odo finds that his security plan, along with everything else in the active memory of the station's computer system, has been accessed and purged, Kajada's belief that Vantika may still be alive no longer seems so farfetched. Dax's subsequent discovery that a complex map of the humanoid brain was among Vantika's belongings also raises suspicions. And that night, Quark has an encounter with a shadow-shrouded figure who claims to be Vantika. The figure tells Quark to follow through on Vantika's prior instructions to hire mercenaries to assist in the theft of the deuridium.
The next day, Dax tells Bashir that there is a possibility that although Vantika's body is dead, he may have found a way to transfer his consciousness to another person's brain. The pair speculate that Kajada is the most likely suspect and convince Sisko and Odo to leave her out of the security plans and keep an eye on her. Later, as Quark and the mercenaries he has hired haggle over payment in Quark's bar, they are interrupted by a scream, and Kajada falls from the third-floor balcony. In the Infirmary, barely conscious, Kajada tells them Vantika is responsible.
Uncertain what to believe, Sisko returns to Dax, who has discovered the method by which Vantika transferred his neural patterns: a tiny device hidden under his fingernails. They plan to scan Kajada for the telltale signs that will confirm their theory as soon as Bashir stabilizes her condition. Shortly thereafter, Quark and the mercenaries prepare to meet Vantika in person at a runabout to which the criminal has somehow managed to gain access -- and are shocked to discover Dr. Bashir awaiting them.
As the freighter carrying the deuridium approaches the station, the crew is startled to see the Rio Grande heading toward it; at the same time, they discover that Bashir is missing. Bashir and the mercenaries commandeer the freighter, but the DS9 crew -- who, thanks to Primmin, were able to deactivate a plan that would have shut down the station's defense array -- lock a tractor beam onto the vessel before it can escape. Sisko contacts Vantika, who is indeed occupying Bashir's body, and the criminal threatens to destroy the freighter, along with the doctor, if the tractor beam is not released. Because the freighter's shields are up, the station cannot beam Bashir/ Vantika off the vessel, but Dax is able to transmit an electromagnetic pulse through the tractor beam that disrupts Vantika's neural energy patterns just long enough for Bashir to regain control of his body and drop the shields.
Back on the station, Dax transfers the cells containing Vantika's neural patterns from Bashir's body to an energy-containment cell and Kajada destroys the criminal's remains at last with a single phaser blast.
"A lot of my stuff has to do with what's happening in the mind, as opposed to what's happening in reality," reflects writer Morgan Gendel. Gendel, who initiated the story for "The Passenger" and received a partial credit for the teleplay, delved into similar straits in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Inner Light," a fan favorite that won the 1993 Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation at the World Science Fiction Convention. "I don't really think about it, but at some subconscious level, it keeps trickling into my ideas. 'The Passenger' was a variation on that theme, that a [physically deceased] entity could continue to exist, could coexist in somebody's mind, to be reconstituted in a body at some later date."
Gendel's original pitch had an interesting twist that didn't make it into the final version of the story. "I really liked the idea of this cop from the future who's obsessed with chasing this one bad guy, and at the end it turns out that she herself really is that bad guy." While that possibility is hinted at briefly in the aired episode, Bashir ultimately is given the dubious honor of playing host to Vantika's consciousness.
The concept of the "transfer" gave the episode's writers a chance to touch upon viewers' memories of the motion picture Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in the scene where Bashir observes that he's never heard of synaptic pattern displacement being done by a non-Vulcan. According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who worked on the polish of the teleplay with Michael Piller, "We've seen Spock's consciousness influence McCoy, so we can't just ignore that." In any event, incorporating an established bit of Star Trek lore never is seen by the staff as diminishing an episode. "It's fun for the audience, the long-term audience," notes Wolfe. "It gives them the opportunity to say, 'Oh, yeah, I've seen that happen.'"
Appearing in an effects-laden series like Deep Space Nine frequently forces an actor to broaden his repertoire, an aspect of the job that comes to Actor Siddig El Fadil's mind when he recalls "The Passenger." "Anybody you see working well with effects is probably a consummate technician," he says. "You have to know when to get up, when to duck, what angle to have your head at, because sparks are flying and things happen, and you can't afford to do too many takes because you have one big explosion, and you can't afford to do another one."
El Fadil found the "technical" experience required for "The Passenger"'s teaser, in which Kira and Bashir enter Vantika's holding cell, to be rather harrowing. "Kira goes in with a fire extinguisher, and I've got to get past her and deal with this guy on the floor, who is just inches away from this gas fire they've got going," recalls El Fadil. "These gas fires are very carefully controlled so they don't actually reach us, but they have to be put out after each take. So when they turn the tap, it always goes 'Whoosh!' and comes at you again. That was probably the hairiest of the special effects I had to do, because there was literally fire all around us; they didn't just draw it in afterward in postproduction. We did that scene about four or five times, and each time we were in there for about three minutes. It was a bit Backdrafty!"
Teleplay by Frederick Rappaport and
Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci
Story by Michael Piller
Directed by David Carson
Falow Joel Brooks
Lieutenant George Primmin James Lashly
Chandra Clara Bryant
Following a disconcerting conversation with his son about the birds, the bees, and the Ferengi, Commander Sisko heads to one of the docking bays to officially greet a delegation from the Gamma Quadrant. The meeting with the Wadi, as the humanoid species is known, represents the Federation's first formal contact with representatives from the other side of the wormhole, and Sisko is determined that his crew give a good impression -- even if Bashir has misplaced his Starfleet dress uniform.
However, the Wadi have no interest in either formalities or pleasantries. They're interested in games, and they've heard that Quark's bar is the place to find them. Disappointed, Sisko delivers the party to the Ferengi's establishment, and Quark, motivated by the promise of Wadi gemstones, introduces them to the game of dabo. When the Wadi win too often, Quark resorts to cheating. But the Wadi catch him at it and their leader, Falow, offers Quark the chance to engage in a Wadi game. Quark accepts and is introduced to the game of chula. Falow declines to tell Quark anything about the game beyond the fact that he must move his four game pieces through the various levels, or shaps, of the game board.
As Quark begins to play, a peculiar thing happens. The four station representatives who greeted the Wadi -- Sisko, Dax, Kira, and Bashir -- suddenly find themselves inside a peculiar maze, prompted to "Move along home" by the image of Falow. And each time Quark moves one of his game pieces to a new shap, the crew encounters a new challenge within the maze.
Alerted by Jake that the commander is missing, Odo soon discovers the disappearance of the other three senior officers as well. As he begins his investigation, Sisko and company encounter Chandra, a little girl who is chanting a rhyme while she plays a game that resembles hopscotch. Noticing that there is a door on the other side of the room, the four attempt to get to it, only to be bounced back by a forcefield. When Dax realizes that Chandra is able to pass back and forth through the field, they repeat her rhyme and emulate her movements, and successfully reach the door.
Back in the bar, Quark receives a nice pile of gemstones for reaching the third shap, and Falow tells him he can double his winnings by doubling the peril of his game pieces. Odo arrives to ask if Quark knows anything about the four senior officers. Remembering that he has four game pieces, Quark glances at Falow, and something in the Wadi's expression tells Quark that he is playing for more than gemstones. Alarmed, Quark chooses the safer path for his pieces.
In the maze, the four officers face another challenge and successfully reach the fourth shap, while in the bar, Quark receives more jewels. Suspicious, Odo leaves the bar and has a security officer beam him over to the Wadi ship, where they have picked up a strange energy reading. But Odo has barely begun his investigation when he finds himself back in Quark's bar!
Certain that the Wadi game has something to do with the crew's disappearance, Odo orders the game stopped, but Falow states that stopping the game will cause Quark to "lose" the players. Quark continues, but an unfortunate roll of the dice causes Bashir to be swept away from the others by a swirling energy field. As Falow removes a game piece, Quark opts to take the remaining pieces on a shortcut, which he hopes will make the game end more quickly. But the move results in the loss of another game piece, and within a cavernous portion of the labyrinth, Dax injures her leg. Sisko and Kira refuse to leave her behind, despite the threat of an impending earthquake. The heroic gesture is to no avail, however; the three fall helplessly into an abyss -- and find themselves at Quark's place, along with Bashir! Falow tells them that although Quark lost, his players were never really in any danger, since they were, after all, only playing a game.
Although it may strike viewers as a somewhat simplistic story, "Move Along Home" followed a tortuous path to the screen. Director David Carson, taking his second turn at the helm of a Deep Space Nine episode, recalls it as "...an extremely difficult show to do," primarily due to a variety of internal disagreements behind the scenes. "They'd basically designed this enormously complex and expensive show, which the writers, Piller included, wanted to do, and which the production couldn't afford," he says.
DS9's pilot, which Carson had also directed, had been very expensive; as a result, the production staff was charged with the unpleasant task of trying to save money throughout the rest of the first season. When the time came to film "Move Along Home," this policy led to a compromise that, in Carson's opinion, "watered the show down to such an extent that it didn't pack the punch it should have had." Carson describes the final product as "disappointing" and notes that it was the first such experience for him in working with Star Trek. Still, there were no hard feelings on either side. Just a few months later, Carson would be invited to direct the film Star Trek Generations, giving the British director his first opportunity to take charge of an American feature film.
"There was a lot of blood in people's boots by the time that show was completed," says Ira Behr. "A lot of writers fought and failed, and the production staff had a hell of a time trying to make that thing work. But in its own cracked way, it's an okay show. You know -- 'Allamaraine!' For the rest of the season, anytime something got screwed up, or seemed inconceivable or insurmountable, somebody would peep up 'Allamaraine!' And you'd nod and know exactly what he meant."
Although the episode was not a big hit with viewers -- it has the dubious distinction of ranking dead last in Entertainment Weekly's evaluation of the series' first two seasons -- it was noteworthy for several people. For Actor Armin Shimerman, "Move Along Home" offered a welcome character expansion. "It was the first time the writers allowed Quark to get somewhat serious," he says. "As Quark, I was once again screwing up, but they had given me a wonderful, almost heroic speech. They allowed Quark to, if not be a hero, at least have aspirations of doing something heroic. It's one of my favorite episodes."
The writing team of Lisa Rich and Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci contributed to the episode. According to Carrigan-Fauci, providing Quark with great dialogue was not a problem. "Armin's character is so delightful that it's fun to do stories where he's pivotal to things. It's wonderful to write the words that he says on the screen and especially exciting in this case because it was the first thing that we had written that was televised."
Prior to the launch of Deep Space Nine, Carrigan-Fauci and Rich had pitched to the writers of TNG several times. Their ideas went unproduced, but they were good enough to get both women spots as Writers' Guild interns, one on TNG, and one on its newly developed sibling. "We worked on the big storyboards for the shows, doing the whole beat breakdown on each episode, and we were there every time they'd brainstorm out a script," remembers Carrigan-Fauci. "We'd also read the scripts submitted to both series and do synopses and recommend the writers, yea or nay."
"Move Along Home," originally titled "Sore Losers," started out as a story idea by Michael Piller, who, according to Carrigan-Fauci, received at least partial inspiration from the old Prisoner episode "Checkmate," where residents of the Village were required to serve as human game pieces in a life-sized chess game. "The original idea was that the crew got caught up in sort of a 'Village'-like atmosphere, sort of surreal," she says. When the cost of building sets to suit that concept was deemed prohibitively expensive, alternatives were sought. For a while, Piller even considered shooting on Paramount's "New York Street," which had found occasional use in TNG. But that idea didn't pan out either.
In the meantime, the story began to evolve. "Michael gave the idea to one freelance writer [Frederick Rappaport, who shares teleplay credit], and then someone else had a go at it," recalls Carrigan-Fauci.
Rappaport, who would go on to write the teleplay for the second-season episode "Sanctuary," managed to introduce some of the personal touches to the episode, such as Jake's concern about his father. But other elements -- the idea that the game was not just a gag -- were lost. In an early version, "our people win the game" recalls Rappaport, "but they discover that Bashir has not been returned to the station. So Falow strikes a deal -- Quark must return all his winnings if they want Bashir back."
Paul Coyle, who had worked with Piller on Simon & Simon, was the second person to tackle the teleplay. But ultimately his version -- written when the producers still had those ambitious aspirations for the scale of the episode -- was not used. Coyle, however, was given the opportunity to write "Whispers" during the second season.
Finally, Carrigan-Fauci and Rich worked up the courage to ask Piller if they could try their hands at a rewrite, incorporating an idea they had been discussing -- setting the game in an unfamiliar (but easy to build) mazelike environment -- and Piller agreed. Although the Wadi's favorite game, chula, seems to owe a debt to the popular role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, Carrigan-Fauci says the game has far more ancient origins. "We did a lot of research into very old games, going back to Egypt and Rome, and some really early Elizabethan games, and we took some ideas from those." But the primary influence on the game came straight from childhood. "When we decided to make it a multilevel game, we made up a three-dimensional form of Chutes and Ladders!" laughs Carrigan-Fauci. "And that's where the name chula came from. I don't even think the people at Star Trek know that!"
Teleplay by Ira Steven Behr
Story by David Livingston
Directed by David Livingston
Rom Max Grodénchik
Krax Lou Wagner
Nava Barry Gordon
Gral Lee Arenberg
Nog Aron Eisenberg
Maihar'du Tiny Ron
Zek Wallace Shawn
When Grand Nagus Zek, the elderly leader of the Ferengi business empire, comes to Deep Space 9 with his son Krax and his Hupyrian servant Maihar'du, Quark is more worried than honored by the visit. He fears that Zek, a Godfather-like figure, might just be there to make him an offer he can't refuse: the purchase of Quark's bar for a pittance of its real value.
As it turns out, Zek does want the bar -- but only temporarily, for an important business conference concerning Ferengi interests in the Gamma Quadrant.
Meanwhile, Commander Sisko has problems of his own. Chief O'Brien has warned him that Quark's nephew Nog seems to be a bad influence on Sisko's son Jake. Sisko resists the temptation to split up the boys but can't help wondering if he's made the right decision. Nog's father, Rom, has no such qualms when Zek expresses his disapproval of the Ferengi boy's attending the Federation school on the station. Stung, Rom orders Nog to stay away from the school.
Quark is surprised when Zek asks him to sit in on the gathering of powerful Ferengi businessmen. He's even more surprised when the grand nagus announces his retirement, and that his successor will be...Quark! But Quark has barely begun to relish the power that comes with the title when he discovers another attribute of the job: death threats from Enterprising Ferengi who seek to enhance their own financial futures in the Gamma Quadrant.
Quark goes to Zek for advic e, but the former nagus dies in the middle of their conversation. Quark makes Rom his bodyguard, laughing at his brother's desired preference to take over the bar. Not long after that, Quark narrowly escapes an assassination attempt. Although there are numerous suspects, Odo focuses on Maihar'du, who hasn't been seen since Zek's death.
While Odo conducts his investigation, Sisko worries about Jake's frequent absences; once again, Nog is to blame. When Jake misses dinner one night, Sisko follows Dax's advice to track the boy down. Much to his surprise, he finds Jake in an empty cargo bay, teaching Nog to read. Proud of his son, Sisko steals away without disturbing the lesson.
Another attempt is made on Quark's life, and the new nagus discovers that his foes are none other than Zek's son Krax and his own brother, Rom! Just as the duo is about to eject Quark into space, Zek appears, along with Odo and Maihar'du. The nagus's "death" was a charade, assisted by Maihar'du and staged to test Krax's worthiness to be Zek's successor. Noting that Krax has failed miserably, Zek decides to remain grand nagus for a while longer. Quark, however, is impressed with Rom's part in the treachery, and rewards his brother by making him Assistant Manager of Policy and Clientele at the bar.
With a special effects-laden series like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it's easy for any single element to go over budget. "It's hard not to say, 'Oh, let's add just a few more optical effects, or add some more costumes or make the set a little bigger,'" notes Mike Okuda.
Ensuring that the filmmakers achieve the dramatic look they want in a fiscally responsible way was then-Supervising Producer David Livingston's day-to-day goal during the first three years of the series. (He would leave the staff positon after Season 3 to focus on his directing career.) "David's job was critically important in making sure the show is doable," says Okuda. "He took pride in his ability to be vociferous -- that's how he described himself."
But what happens when the financial watchdog actually directs an episode, as he did with "The Nagus"? "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," laughs Okuda. "Normally, in crowd scenes, when a director wanted twenty extras, David would let them have five. But of course in 'The Nagus,' David got a lot more!"
"Directing crowds is a lot of fun," admits Livingston. "But I've done scenes with just two people, say Avery Brooks and Nana Visitor, where they get into a conflict, just the two of them talking and relating to each other, and there're just as many sparks flying as with fifty people running around. But obviously, when you have a lot of extras, you feel like you're doing something."
"It's amazing how he was able to turn the hat completely around and be focused and work only as the director when he had to," confirms Bob della Santina. "It was good because he cared about the picture and forgot about what it would cost, because at that point, that wasn't really his job. His job was to make the picture better, and it became my job to go and fight with him and ultimately lose. He got more crowds and more effects and more stunts than anybody, but we love him dearly."
In addition to directing the episode, Livingston also wrote the story for "The Nagus," originally titled "Friends & Foes," although he credits Ira Steven Behr with many of the teleplay's cleverest touches, including the introduction of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. "Little did I know that this episode was to change the course of my Star Trek life," sighs Behr, "so that I am now identified with the Ferengi as much as Ron[Ald D. Moore] is with the Klingons. Who would have thunk it? Certainly not me!"
Behr recalls the fine-tuning he performed on Livingston's story. "David's story was about a Godfather-like meeting of a number of alien races that were going to use the station to hold a high-level crime summit. There was to be a Vulcan, a Klingon, a Romulan, and some players to be named later. But with all those characters, who was going to be the head of the syndicate? It didn't seem quite believable. I don't remember exactly why, but I came up with the idea of making it a Ferengi show, and it became a fun show to write."
The decision to turn part of the story into a not-so-subtle homage to Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, however, started at the top, with a suggestion from Rick Berman. "And we went for it totally," recalls Livingston.
The tribute is primarily confined to a scene in Act 4, in which the new nagus Quark holds an audience with Nava in his quarters. Everything about the scene was deliberately designed to parallel the opening frames of the classic film, from the dialogue (Quark's line, "Yet now you call me 'Nagus'") to the "pet" in Quark's lap. The affectionate cat that sat in Godfather Don Corleone's lap has here become a Corvan gilvos, the endangered species that first appeared in the TNG episode "New Ground." The same puppet was used for both episodes.
Even the blocking, the set dressing, and the lighting were part of the effort. "Armin's posture, the way he sat, the actual focal length of the lens, the style of the shot, the venetian-blind effect behind him, it all completely aped The Godfather," notes Marvin Rush. "It's an adoringly loving copy, with apologies to all."
Livingston chuckles, "The venetian blinds were kind of a hard sell to Rick [Berman] and Michael [Piller], but they finally bought it; they could justify that there might be something like that out in space."
Credit also goes to Actor Armin Shimerman, who, despite being sick during the filming, found the episode "a sheer joy." Livingston recalls sitting the actor down with a video of the movie and asking him to emulate Brando, then watching in delight as Shimerman translated a hand gesture of Brando's into a more Quark-like flick of the ear. "He nailed it totally," says Livingston.
We were having trouble finding the right person to play the grand nagus until someone brought up Wallace Shawn's name," Livingston recalls. "I thought he would be good for a different part, but Rick Berman said, 'No, what about him for Zek?' And, of course, he's been fabulous in the role. He's one of those actors who's totally fearless, and he just goes for it. Nothing holds him back. No inhibitions. He just bowls me over. Sometimes when I'm watching him I have to be careful, because I start to laugh during the take. He is just so...so much Zek."
But not, however, 100 percent Zek. "I did model the grand nagus on someone, but I'm not going to say who," Wallace Shawn says with a sly chuckle. "So when 'The Nagus' first aired, I didn't see the resemblance to me. But over the years I came to see the character more and more as me, and now I'm quite vain about Zek. I get upset if I see photographs of him that I find unattractive."
Shawn has appeared in over forty movies, from Manhattan, to The Princess Bride, to playing the voice of Rex, the nervous dinosaur in Toy Story. "I had never used an odd voice before," the actor states, "even when I did cartoons. And I hadn't planned to do it this time, but when I put in Zek's teeth and looked at myself in the mirror, the voice just came along with it. That was just on day one! I didn't know I was going to have to use that voice for seven years!"
Livingston's only regret about "The Nagus" is that audiences at home didn't get to enjoy the same version of the episode that he keeps in his personal collection. "I get tapes of all the shows, and I'm watching my copy of this at home, and all of a sudden this scene comes on, and the background music is the actual Godfather theme, played on the zither! I was ecstatic! And Rick [Berman] calls me up and says, 'How'd you like the show?' and I said, 'It's fabulous. I can't believe you got the rights to put the Godfather music in.' And Rick says, 'It's a joke.' Kind of a cruel joke, because it was so good! But at least my personal copy has that music on it."
Written by Sam Rolfe
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Croden Cliff DeYoung
Ah-Kel/Ro-Kel Randy Oglesby
Rom Max Grodénchik
Hadron Gordon Clapp
Vulcan Captain Kathleen Garrett
Yareth Leslie Engelberg
Computer Voice Majel Barrett
Odo is curious about the unexplained presence of several new patrons in Quark's bar: Croden, a quiet man who recently arrived from the Gamma Quadrant, and Ah-Kel and Ro-Kel, a pair of twinned Miradorns, whom Odo suspects of being raiders. When Quark insists that Odo is simply being paranoid, the shape-shifter decides to investigate, disguised as a glass that Rom delivers to a holosuite where the Miradorns are about to engage in a transaction with Quark. But the transaction goes awry when Quark attempts to back out of a previously agreed-upon arrangement for a valuable artifact of dubious origins and Croden enters, brandishing a Ferengi phaser and demanding the artifact.
A scuffle ensues, and Croden inadvertently kills Ro-Kel before Odo can intervene. Although Sisko suspects that the Miradorns were attempting to sell stolen merchandise, he has no proof, and therefore no reason to hold Ah-Kel, or, for that matter, Quark. But Croden is another matter, and Sisko and Odo attempt to interrogate him. The alien refuses to discuss the failed robbery, although he makes some intriguing comments about the existence of shape-shifters like Odo in the Gamma Quadrant. Sisko decides to locate Croden's homeworld, Rakhar, to notify authorities.
In the meantime, following Ah-Kel's threats of revenge, Odo increases security around Croden's cell and quizzes the alien about his comments regarding shape-shifters. Croden offers to take Odo to a colony where some "changelings," as he refers to them, still exist, and he gives Odo a locket that supposedly came from that place. The locket, which fascinates Odo, contains a stone that has the ability to morph into an intricate metallic shape, then revert back to its original form.
Bashir's analysis of the stone indicates that it is an amalgam of organic material and crystal, perhaps a transitional stage between organic and inorganic matter. The only life-form bearing even a passing resemblance to the substance is Odo. Croden tells Odo that the stone came from an asteroid in an uncharted nebula called the Chamra Vortex, and that only Croden can guide Odo to it. But when Sisko informs Odo that Croden's people have demanded his return to Rakhar, where he is wanted for myriad crimes, that option seems out of the question.
Odo and Croden leave for Rakhar in one of the station's runabouts. While en route, Croden seeks to gain Odo's understanding by disclosing the nature of his crimes on Rakhar, where he is considered an "enemy of the people," and, as a result, his family has been slaughtered. Odo remains impassive, but the circumstances change quickly when his vessel is attacked by another ship; Ah-Kel has followed the runabout from the space station and means to kill Croden.
Odo will not surrender his prisoner, but he knows he has little chance of evading the Miradorn ship. When Croden suggests that Odo allow him to pilot the runabout through the Chamra Vortex, Odo relinquishes the controls. Hoping to lose Ah-Kel, Croden lands on an asteroid, allegedly the home of the changelings he'd mentioned. But he soon admits that he doesn't know the true origin of the locket and that it serves as a key to the only thing that matters to him -- a stasis chamber located in a cave on this asteroid. Inside the chamber is the only surviving member of Croden's family, his daughter.
Odo permits Croden to revive his daughter, but as the trio return to the runabout, Odo is knocked unconscious by the impact of one of Ah-Kel's blasts. Rather than trying to escape, Croden saves Odo, and when Odo awakens, he finds himself back on the runabout, with Ah-Kel's ship in pursuit. Taking control, Odo manages to trick Ah-Kel into destroying his own ship in the treacherous Vortex. After they leave the Vortex, Odo surprises Croden by allowing the Rakhari and his daughter to transport themselves to a nearby Vulcan science vessel. In return, Croden gives Odo the locket and wishes the changeling luck in finding his true origins.
"We wanted to do a show that was very much like one of those old Jimmy Stewart westerns, like the The Naked Spur," says Peter Allan Fields, "where the good guy takes the bad guy from point A to point B." Recalling that the classic Western had been written by Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom, and knowing that Fields had a long association with Rolfe that dated back to their days together at The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Michael Piller suggested that Fields call Rolfe and see if he'd be interested in writing a Deep Space Nine episode. "He'd written a script a few years earlier for TNG ("The Vengeance Factor")," recalls Fields, "and Sam was delighted that we had considered him for this. So we had a meeting, and he went to work. A wonderful man."
The quirky, circular nature of show biz makes the memory of this episode particularly poignant for Fields. It was Rolfe (who passed away shortly after "Vortex" aired) who had given Fields his first professional writing assignment, a rewrite on an U.N.C.L.E. teleplay. Three decades later, here was Fields looking over Rolfe's first draft on "Vortex," and discussing the changes that would be needed for the second draft. "I had sat at his feet on one side of the desk learning when I first started, and now I was behind the desk trying to tell Sam what to do," says Fields. "I was afraid he would be uncomfortable, but he thought it was terrific, and we both had a great time. He said, 'I taught you very well!' And that was a good compliment."
While inspired by the action/adventure genre, the episode takes time for the moments of humor that one has come to expect from a good Star Trek episode. The barfly Morn (whose name is reportedly a Fields-inspired anagram for a certain character from Cheers) is accused of talking too much, despite the fact that viewers have never heard him utter a word. "That became our standard running gag for Morn," explains Robert Hewitt Wolfe. "He's apparently a very loquacious, talkative guy who never shuts up. But we just never see him talk [on-camera]. It's a fun bit for people who watch the show closely."
Another fun bit is Odo's line, "I'm a security chief, not a combat pilot," which is a tribute to Dr. McCoy's running "I'm a doctor, not a (fill in the blank)" lines from the original series. "It's fun to do stuff like that," admits Wolfe. "And it was appropriate here."
The episode is noteworthy for two interesting points that it establishes about Odo -- one that both the writers and Actor Rene Auberjonois have ingrained into the character, and the other a point of physics that the writers have chosen to dance around, depending upon the circumstances called for by a particular storyline.
"Vortex" introduces us to Odo's first on-camera smile -- in response to a comment by Croden's daughter Yareth -- and establishes the first hint to viewers that Odo likes children. "He does," confirms Auberjonois. "And he's nice to them, even though he's sort of harumphy and grumpy with Jake and Nog." The smile came about at Auberjonois's suggestion. "By the time 'Vortex' was being filmed, I had been experimenting with different things I could do with this rubber face," he says. "I never smile as a character, and I like that. But [by this time] I knew that I could, although it's sort of tricky to do and not look goofy. I don't want Odo to look totally goofy. But I liked the idea that a smile might be sort of a gift that Odo gives only on very special occasions. The smile was not called for in the 'Vortex' script, so I suggested to the director that we shoot it two ways, one without me smiling, in case Rick Berman and Michael Piller hated the idea. But they liked it, and now it is something that they actually write in when they want me to smile. They give me the cues to do it."
Because Odo's ever-evolving physical abilities are often an integral component in the writer's toolbox, it is unlikely that there will ever be a definitive treatise on Odo Physics 101. There is, for example, the question of just what his mass is, a point that can be debated within the confines of this episode. He's light enough to become a glass that is indistinguishable from the other glasses on the tray Rom easily carries, yet he's heavy enough in humanoid form that Croden remarks, "You're heavier than you look."
"This is a signature episode for that debate," admits Wolfe. "Obviously his mass changed during the course of the show. What I would say is that Odo exists on more than the normal four dimensions we are familiar with. He may not even be aware of this. He turns into something like a glass or a rat, and shunts a portion of his mass into subspace, or some other dimension we don't know about. So when we look at Odo, we're seeing the four-dimensional part of a five-dimensional being. That's how I look at it."
Of course, that interpretation would be subject to change the next time the writers need to do something different with the character. Needless to say, no one ever dared broach the subject of what happens to his communicator when Odo morphs.
Teleplay by Richard Danus and
Evan Carlos Somers
Story by Hilary Bader
Directed by Paul Lynch
Kai Opaka Camille Saviola
Zlangco Paul Collins
Computer Voice Majel Barrett
Shel-la Jonathan Banks
The crew is surprised when Kai Opaka, the spiritual leader of Bajor, pays a trip to Deep Space 9. Not only is it her first visit to the station, but also her first journey from Bajor. Although the kai says she is simply accepting Sisko's prior offer for a tour of the station, Sisko and the others can't help noticing that she seems strangely preoccupied. When the kai expresses an interest in the wormhole, Sisko offers to take her through it. Accompanying the pair on the Runabout Yangtzee Kiang are Kira and Dr. Bashir.
In the Gamma Quadrant, Kira picks up a narrow-band subspace signal, and the kai encourages Sisko to investigate it. Against his better judgment, Sisko acquiesces, and they follow the signal to a moon orbited by dozens of artificial satellites, one of which fires upon the runabout. Malfunctioning, the vessel crashes to the surface of the moon, and the kai is killed by the impact. Before Kira, Sisko, and Bashir can begin to assess their options, they are surrounded by a group of heavily armed battle-scarred humanoids.
The trio is captured and taken to a man named Shel-la, leader of the Ennis people, who informs Sisko of the war between his group and the other inhabitants of the moon, the Nol-Ennis. Both sides of the battle are kept prisoner on the moon by the orbiting satellites. Sisko explains that he can take no sides in their dispute, but Shel-la says that won't matter to the Nol, who will assume by the crew's presence in the Ennis camp that they aligned themselves with him. Soon after, the Nol, led by Zlangco, invade the camp, killing Shel-la and many others. Kira uses her phaser to drive off the Nol, and they begin to attend to the wounded. Suddenly a newcomer arrives at the camp -- Kai Opaka, returned from the dead!
Bashir determines that Opaka's physiology has been radically altered and that her metabolic processes are being controlled by a cellular-level bio-mechanical presence. Then, as the group witnesses the revival of Shel-la and the other "dead" Ennis, Bashir finds that their bodies have gone through the same kind of transformation, and, indeed, have died many times before.
Shel-la explains to Sisko that the Ennis and the Nol have been fighting for many generations. Unable to mediate a peace, their planet's leaders banished them to this moon, to serve as an example to the rest of civilization. Refusing to accept the hopelessness of the situation, Sisko suggests that Shel-la initiate a cease-fire with Zlangco, and stop the fighting long enough for the DS9 crew to be rescued. After that, Sisko promises he will transport both sides away from the moon and end the battle.
Shel-la agrees, but Sisko discovers that the Ennis leader went along with the plan only to lure Zlangco and the Nol out of hiding, so he could slaughter them. As the fighting begins anew, Bashir saves Sisko from a death blow and informs him that he has discovered that they can't afford to die on this moon -- not even once. The alterations that occur after death force the "dead" to remain in the moon's environment. If they were to leave, they would truly die, once and for all -- even the kai.
In a second runabout, Dax and O'Brien have been searching for the missing vessel and have traced it to the moon. Avoiding the attack that downed Sisko's ship, O'Brien manages to raise Sisko on his communicator. As Dax and O'Brien work on a method to get a transporter signal through the satellite net, Sisko prepares to tell Opaka that she cannot leave. But the kai seems to know that already, just as she knew that she was destined to come to this place, never to return to Bajor. The kai believes the Prophets have directed her to help the embattled inhabitants of the moon begin a healing process. When O'Brien signals that he has found a way to divert one of the satellites and beam up the crew, Opaka bids her three friends good-bye and prepares to face her future.
For fans of the original series, the words "red shirt" meant more than an article of clothing. They were a classification. Trekkers knew that if a "red shirt" -- a non-regular cast member garbed in a red Starfleet tunic -- was assigned to a landing party with Captain Kirk, the odds were very much against him or her returning from that mission. "Red shirts" were the expendable members of the crew, and viewers were never really surprised if the poor innocents were snuffed by the episode's end.
Thus, when Hilary Bader, whose stories formed the basis for the TNG episodes "The Loss," "Hero Worship," and "Dark Page," first thought of sending a previously unseen DS9 crewmember on a runabout mission along with several members of the regular crew, the staff writers shook their heads. The story called for the death of one of the people on the runabout, explains Bader, "and as with all episodes, if you have a bunch of regulars and one expendable guest star, everyone knows in advance which person is going to die. So the staff thought, well, it'd be nice to surprise the audience by killing a regular, and suddenly someone said, 'We could kill Kai Opaka.'" It made sense, says Bader, because "she was the most expendable recurring character that they had, and it would make the story more effective, since no one would expect it."
The nut of Bader's story pitch -- which originally concerned a battle between Cardassians and humans -- was a tale of ongoing war between people who have been fighting for so long that they don't even remember why they're fighting. "It's a bit like Dr. Seuss's Butter Battle book -- 'do you butter the top side or the bottom side?'" notes Bader. "There clearly must have been a more meaningful cause for this battle, but it's so long ago that it's not the issue anymore; it's not what they're fighting about. They're fighting about 'You're this and I'm not!'"
According to Bader, there was never any discussion as to whether or not to reveal the genesis of the war. "In the beginning, when the characters were humans and Cardassians, it was obvious, but as soon as we decided that we wanted these characters to have experienced an eternity of fighting, the people became a new species, and the original motivation disappeared." The staff realized then that "the less our people knew, the less important it would seem to them," Bader continues, "and the less tendency there'd be to take sides. And finally the point was that it didn't really matter why they fought. The act itself is more important than the issue that started it."
The notion of the resurrected kai being trapped forever in a kind of nether world surrounded by violence is not unlike the ending of the original series episode, "The Alternative Factor," wherein a character named Lazarus is trapped for eternity in an interdimensional corridor in combat with his insane counterpart from another universe. But while Bader is a longtime fan of Star Trek, she says the episode did not influence her concept for the DS9 episode. Perhaps more relevant to "Battle Lines" is the original series episode "Day of the Dove," which, like the DS9 episode, had embattled characters rising from the dead to fight again. "There are certain themes that reoccur in Star Trek, and the fact that war is pointless is one of them," observes Bader.
"The futility of war is definitely at the heart of 'Battle Lines,'" agrees Evan Carlos Somers, who worked on the teleplay based on Bader's story. "It takes viewers through the paces of seeing the sheer futility of it and gets into the mindframe of opposing forces so you can see how little provocation is necessary to reignite old hatred."
Like Lisa Rich and Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci ("Move Along Home"), Somers was a Writers Guild intern with the show when the opportunity came along to have a go at a script. "There's no better way for an unproduced writer to get launched," he notes. Somers had been around for every phase of the story, from the original pitch -- which Somers recalls didn't have an ending -- through its various drafts. Richard Danus is a skilled writer who had worked on The Next Generation, but the intern wasn't intimidated when the producers let him take the next turn at bat. "I knew I could do it," Somers says.
And his confidence was well placed. On the basis of his script for "Battle Lines," the producers brought Somers on staff for the rest of the series' first season. Although he was not renewed as a staff writer for Season 2, he was encouraged to come back and pitch -- which resulted in two additional sales, the second-season episode "Melora" and the third-season episode "Meridian."
One interesting detail from the final teleplay is a definition of the Federation provided by Sisko, who states that the Federation is made up of over one hundred planets whose people have allied themselves for mutual scientific, cultural, and defensive benefits. In all of Star Trek's thirty-year history, there have been few attempts to pin down just what the United Federation of Planets is.
According to Ira Behr, "We are always trying to push, to see what you can get away with, what you can't, what you can say about the Federation. Is it military? Not military? Rick Berman felt very strongly that it is basically a trading alliance. So we say that here, and now the viewers know. A lot of people think of the Federation in basically military terms, but that's not really what it is."
In addition to the loss of Kai Opaka, the episode marked the destruction of one of DS9's three original runabouts, all named after Earth rivers. The Yangtzee Kiang would be replaced by the runabout Orinoco -- which makes its first appearance in the second-season episode "The Siege."
Teleplay by Kurt Michael Bensmiller and
Ira Steven Behr
Story by Kurt Michael Bensmiller
Directed by David Livingston
Hovath Lawrence Monoson
The Sirah Kay E. Kuter
Varis Sul Gina Philips
Faren Kag Jim Jansen
Nog Aron Eisenberg
Woban Jordan Lund
Woman Amy Benedict
As Sisko plans his opening strategy to help defuse a potential civil war between two rival Bajoran factions, O'Brien faces a potentially unpleasant encounter of a more personal nature -- a medical mission to Bajor that pairs him with Dr. Bashir. The two men depart in a runabout and the commander and Major Kira head for a docking bay to meet Varis Sul, the leader, or tetrarch, of the Paqu delegation. Because the Paqu avoid contact with outsiders, Kira explains that she knows little about the tetrarch -- and she is as surprised as Sisko to discover that the leader is a fifteen-year-old girl.
They soon discover that while Varis is young, she is as tough and stubborn as her opponent in the dispute, Woban, the gruff leader of the Navot contingent. Sisko's attempt to bring the two together for an informal discussion of the issues they must resolve quickly falls apart, and Varis storms away from the proceedings.
In the meantime, O'Brien and Bashir arrive at their destination and are met by Faren, the village magistrate. Although they have been advised that the entire village was in peril, they discover that only one man is ill -- the Sirah, who serves as spiritual leader to his people. Bashir quickly determines that there is little he can do for the Sirah, who is dying of old age. Alarmed, Faren explains that the Sirah is needed to protect the village from the Dal'Rok, a terrible creature that attacks for five nights each year at the end of harvest. If the Sirah cannot face the Dal'Rok on this, the fourth night of the cycle, the village will be destroyed.
Back on the station, Jake and Nog spot Varis in the Promenade and the Ferengi boy is immediately infatuated. He convinces Jake to help him meet her, and the two soon show up on her doorstep and attempt to befriend her.
That night, against Bashir's advice, the Sirah goes to the village square to face the Dal'Rok, which appears to be a large, threatening energy cloud. Curiously, it doesn't register on O'Brien's tricorder. As the Sirah tells the story of the Dal'Rok, strange, stormlike conditions begin to whip the village. The villagers respond as a unit to the Sirah's words, and as he speaks of their strength, a white light arises from the villagers, pushing back the Dal'Rok. But then the sirah collapses, and the Dal'Rok begins to rage anew.
O'Brien and Bashir rush to the Sirah's side and the old man tells O'Brien how to finish the story; O'Brien repeats his words, and the Dal'Rok is driven away, after which the Sirah dies. To the cheers of the crowd and the befuddlement of the two crewmen, Faren declares O'Brien the new Sirah.
On the station, the negotiations between the Paqu and the Navot are not going well. Varis refuses to give up the land that Woban's people claim is rightfully theirs. When she shares her frustrations with Nog and Jake, Nog suggests that she can turn the problem into an opportunity if the Navot have something she wants in trade for the land.
In the village, O'Brien attempts to figure a way out of his predicament. He has no intention of remaining on Bajor, but he can't leave the villagers defenseless. In any event, he has no idea how to prevent the attack of the Dal'Rok. When he tries to speak to Hovath, a young man who served as the late Sirah's apprentice, Hovath attempts to kill him. Hovath knows that O'Brien is not meant to be the new Sirah -- he is!
Calming Hovath down, O'Brien and Bashir learn that the Sirah's bracelet contains a piece of one of the orbs from the Celestial Temple. By using the power of the bracelet under the guise of storytelling, Sirahs over the years have periodically channeled the villagers' fears into the manifestation of the Dal'Rok, and similarly, their thoughts of hope into the defeat of the beast. The ritual has served to unite the villagers, Hovath explains, but only the Sirahs have known this secret. Hovath was in training to become the new Sirah, but his uncertainty during an earlier encounter with the Dal'Rok allowed several people to be injured. Now the people's lack of confidence in Hovath prevents him from taking over as the sirah.
That night, O'Brien awkwardly tries to tell the story in the village square, and although the Dal'Rok appears, he can't control it. As the villagers begin to panic, Hovath gains confidence in himself and steps forward to calm the people and tell the story. He succeeds in banishing the Dal'Rok, and O'Brien gratefully relinquishes his title.
At the station, Varis suggests an exchange -- free trade access in return for the land -- that seems as if it will work for both Bajoran factions. As she prepares to leave, she thanks Nog for his advice with a kiss on the cheek.
Kurt Michael Bensmiller's original script for "The Storyteller" was submitted to the staff of Star Trek: The Next Generation during that series' first season. "I think it was similar to something they had under development," says the writer, "so they didn't go ahead with it but instead asked me to pitch some other ideas," one of which became the second-season TNG episode "Time Squared." But the script for "The Storyteller" remained in the TNG offices, and after Michael Piller came on staff during the third season, he read it and liked it. "For a variety of reasons, it never got made for TNG," says Bensmiller, "but when DS9 came around, Michael remembered it. He said he had kept it in his mind and had me adapt it for the new show."
Bensmiller notes that the choice of O'Brien as the central protagonist in the new version was based on staff suggestions that the chief would be the character least likely to want to be proclaimed the new storyteller, "a techie elected to a position of leadership in a community," as Bensmiller describes it. Similarly, the decision to pair him with Bashir was also an in-house suggestion. "You have to understand that I wrote the episode around Christmas 1992, and the show didn't even premiere until January of 1993," says Bensmiller. "A lot of writing depends on seeing what the actors do with their characters, and there were no tapes to look at. In this case, I think they wanted a script that would focus on those two guys, to establish their relationship."
"It was a chance to do the Bashir and O'Brien thing, finally," says Ira Steven Behr, who shares the teleplay credit. "It was our 'The Man Who Would Be King,' -- and who else do you make king but O'Brien," a character whom Behr considers a quintessential man of the people. Behr notes that while he was somewhat disappointed with the finished episode's special effects, he was pleased with the relationship established between O'Brien and Bashir.
Actor Siddig El Fadil, who plays Bashir, was also pleased with that development, and even more pleased that the writers of subsequent episodes picked up on it. "O'Brien and Bashir didn't get along back then," he says. "They loved not getting along. Over the course of the episodes, Colm and I developed the relationship purely out of what we thought we'd most enjoy hating about each other. And after that we were forever doing the same stuff to each other off set as we did on set, making life hell for each other, in the nicest possible way."
The episode established a number of other elements. One -- more visual than story-related -- was Jake and Nog's habit of sitting on the floor of the Promenade's upper level and dangling their legs over the edge. According to David Livingston, who directed the episode, Ira Behr had established that the Promenade was the boys' hangout, "but I felt that their standing up there wasn't right. They would have their place where they sat and would dangle their legs over. It's like guys in our century standing around the trash barrel doing doo-wop songs."
"The Storyteller" also gave a name to "legendary" baseball great Buck Bokai, who had been alluded to in the TNG episode "The Big Goodbye." (Bokai would actually appear on DS9 in "If Wishes Were Horses" two episodes later.) And it gave viewers their first glimpse of Odo's bucket (which Odo would turn into a planter in the third-season episode "The Abandoned.") "We decided it wouldn't be real fancy," recalls Livingston, "because it's a bed, and Odo's not a guy with a lot of pretensions about him. He just needs a place to be able to rest."
Adds Behr, "Odo is a stripped-down man. He's as spare as a Samuel Beckett hero." And as for the idea of inflicting a character like this with the indignity of a bed -- or rather, a bucket -- full of oatmeal, Behr can only smile slyly and say, "We are shameless."
Curiously, the almost slapstick humor of some episodes of Deep Space Nine seems to have escaped many critics. "I hear people talking about how Star Trek: Voyager is so funny, and The Next Generation used to be so funny, but Deep Space Nine is dark and somber," complains Behr. "But there's never been a Star Trek show before or since that has as much humor as DS9. For some reason, the press has gotten into this 'We are the dark, dismal, slimy show of bad breaks in space!'"
The Bajoran village was created on Paramount's Stage 18, with the Sirah's living quarters set in the same room that had served as the meeting place for Sisko and Kai Opaka in "Emissary." Livingston was especially fond of shooting the village scenes there, because it gave him the opportunity to "feel like a director," he enthuses. "There were a lot of people -- not enough people, actually, but we had a big set and it was exciting to shout through a bullhorn, because we had wind and lightning effects that created a lot of noise. I had no voice left by the end of the show."
Written by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by Les Landau
Mullibok Brian Keith
Nog Aron Eisenberg
Lissepian Captain Nicholas Worth
Toran Michael Bofshever
Baltrim Terrence Evans
Keena Annie O'Donnell
First Guard Daniel Riordan
Overhearing a conversation at Quark's bar, Jake and Nog discover that Quark has been stuck with a huge supply of Cardassian yamok sauce, which no one except Cardassians can stomach. Sensing an opportunity, Nog suggests that he and Jake can turn Quark's problem into a profit for themselves. Bewildered, Jake follows his friend's lead.
In the meantime, station personnel are making preparations to assist the Bajorans in a massive energy transfer by tapping the molten core of its fifth moon, Jeraddo. Kira and Dax make an orbital inspection of the moon from a runabout, hoping to confirm that all Jeraddo's inhabitants have been evacuated. But the sensors pick up signs of humanoid life-forms, and Kira beams down to investigate.
Materializing near a small cottage, Kira is confronted by a pair of Bajoran farmers brandishing threatening-looking farm implements. From inside the cottage comes a third Bajoran, who appears to be the spokesperson for the group. When Kira attempts to point out that they all should have been evacuated by now, he puts her off by inviting her to supper, and Kira sees no choice but to send Dax on and accept the offer.
On the station, Nog makes some initial queries and discovers that a Lissepian freighter captain who has dealings with the Cardassians would be willing to purchase some yamok sauce. The captain counters Nog's request for five bars of gold-pressed latinum with an offer of a trade: one hundred gross of self-sealing stem bolts. Nog reluctantly accepts, and then he and Jake tackle the problem of obtaining the yamok sauce from Quark.
As Kira helps prepare dinner with the farmer, Mullibok, she learns that he and his two friends, who were both rendered mute by the Cardassians, fled to the moon years ago to escape the Cardassian Occupa- tion of Bajor. Kira tries to explain to Mullibok that the three can now return to Bajor; what's more, if they remain on Jeraddo once the energy transfer begins, they will die. But Mullibok insists he'd rather die than leave his home.
After a clever exchange with his uncle, Nog officially takes possession of the yamok sauce, then exchanges it for the self-sealing stem bolts. He and Jake are at a loss as to what to do with them until it occurs to Nog that they can sell them -- at a discount -- to the Bajoran who initially ordered them from the Lissepian. Unfortunately, the Bajoran has no latinum either, and Nog and Jake are forced to accept seven tessipates of land in exchange for the bolts.
Kira explains the situation with Mullibok to Sisko and the Bajoran energy minister, hoping to find a compromise. But the minister is firm; the project must proceed on schedule. Kira returns to Jeraddo with two security guards and attempts to reason with the farmers. But the situation deteriorates quickly, and Mullibok is injured by one of the guards. Kira calls for medical assistance, and Bashir arrives to tend to Mullibok's wounds. With his two friends forcibly evacuated, Mullibok is the only remaining obstacle to the energy transfer project. Bashir offers to remove the Bajoran, but Kira declines and sends Bashir away. At last, Sisko travels to the moon and appeals to Kira as both her commander and her friend. Her career is on the line. Mullibok's fate is already decided -- but hers isn't. That said, Sisko leaves her to her duty.
As Kira ponders her responsibilities, Jake and Nog overhear another interesting conversation at Quark's bar. The Bajoran government wants to buy their land. Unfortunately, the government doesn't know that the owners are two young boys. They assume Quark is involved, and Quark makes it clear that he would like to be involved. Quickly, the two boys approach the Ferengi and offer to cut him in on a business opportunity that will cost him only five bars of gold-pressed latinum...
The next day, Kira makes her decision and tells Mullibok that he must leave Jeraddo. The Bajoran refuses, declaring that as long as his cottage stands, he'll remain. Kira sets fire to the cottage and tells Mullibok that it is time to get on with his life. But Mullibok says he'll die if he leaves. Kira assures him that he won't and reaches out to comfort him. But the old man shrugs off her hand. Saddened, Kira calls to the runabout above to beam them up.
Although the late Brian Keith's rich performance as Mullibok helped to make "Progress" one of the first season's more popular episodes, the well-known character actor would not have been writer Peter Allan Fields's first choice for the role. "Brian Keith played Mullibok as a lovable old curmudgeon," says Fields. "But I didn't want that! I wanted a character who wasn't so lovable, someone who, when Kira puts her hand on his shoulder at the end, would look like he really means it when he shrugs her off and looks his own way. I wanted a strong guy who did not change at the end. There are too many old guys in television dramas who start out nasty and then get meek and gentle at the end. That's not what I wanted."
Mullibok's ultimate "meekness" is open to interpretation. The ambiguity of the ending -- a Fields trademark -- left many viewers wondering whether or not the old Bajoran would forgive Kira for her actions or even if she forced him to beam up with her! Nevertheless, Fields feels that the gentleness of Keith's interpretation worked against his personal vision of Mullibok throughout the episode. A number of details just didn't come across the way the writer intended: for example, Mullibok's use of Kira's first name, Nerys, which marked the first such usage in the series. To many viewers, this seemed to signify the warmth Mullibok felt for Kira. But according to Fields, "He said it because he was trying to con her." (And, in fact, the script for the episode clearly indicates that many of Mullibok's seemingly charming lines are delivered in an attempt to manipulate -- and even "sucker" -- her.)
Fields is quick to note that he doesn't fault Keith's performance, only that it made Mullibok "less of an adversary than he ought to have been. He was less of a mountain for Kira to climb."
On a lighter note, in what would become a running motif in the relationship between Kira and Dax, "Progress" includes a scene where the two women discuss men -- or at least males. Dax comments that though she recently turned down a dinner date with Morn, she finds the "seven or eight little wiry hairs sticking out of his forehead...kind of cute," much to Kira's amazement. While many viewers took that, and the subsequent conversations the two women had about the somewhat bizarre traits that Dax finds attractive in males, as an indication that Dax is drawn to the galaxy's more exotic types, Actor Terry Farrell says they're on the wrong track.
"The intention in that scene was to try to break into Kira's shell," explains Farrell. "I wasn't serious. I was trying to mess with her head, trying to get her to be herself around me. You haven't seen Jadzia with Morn, she doesn't date him. But as Jadzia, I think that Kira puts too much emphasis on what a guy looks like, so I'm teasing her about her youth, and her naivete about what people are really about. I'm trying to be funny, but I am also trying to get Kira to laugh at herself."
Although that may have been true during DS9's first season, by Season 6 it was quite clear that her feelings for Morn were genuine, despite the fact that the feeling wasn't, alas, mutual ("Who Mourns for Morn").
Many of the terms used in Deep Space Nine were created by Peter Allan Fields -- gold-pressed latinum, for example, which has the honor of being the first commonly used medium of exchange in the Star Trek universe. Establishing a Federation-wide standard of currency had been strenuously avoided for nearly thirty years, in part because creator Gene Roddenberry wanted to give the impression that the Federation is not profit-driven. The Ferengi, on the other hand, certainly are. "I had to have some kind of currency in the episode 'Past Prologue,'" Fields recalls. "I wanted something that sounded expensive. 'Gold-pressed latinum' just came out. And it stuck."
In "Progress," Fields gets credit for the invention of "self-sealing stem bolts," the commodity that Jake and Nog receive in exchange for Quark's yamok sauce. But don't ask Fields to tell you what they are or how they work. "I haven't the foggiest idea," he admits. "I just sat there and it came to me. Everybody on Earth has asked me what deep, dark place in my mind it came from, and the truth is, I just wrote the first thing I thought of."
"Pete gave us latinum, Pete gave us Garak, and he gave us self-sealing stem bolts," notes Ira Behr with affection in his voice. "And there's something about those things -- the stem bolts in particular -- that are the most indicative of the Pete Fields that I know. You just can't figure out what self-sealing stem bolts are -- and Pete lives his whole life that way. We love throwing his ideas into the scripts." And, in fact, long after Fields retired from the show at the end of Season 2, the writing staff continued to throw in references to stem bolts, as well as create other terms that sounded "Fields-like," as an occasional tip of the hat to their former comrade.
Fields enjoyed writing the Jake and Nog subplot for the episode. "They are two young people who are alien to each other in every sense of the word," he says. "But, as young people go, they don't necessarily know that. They learn it as they go. When I wrote this, I was thinking that often when you see a situation like the one they get into, you naturally expect that the kids are going to lose everything and be in trouble. So I just flipped it, and they become incredibly successful without knowing gazooch!"
"Progress" and "The Storyteller" were episodes that marked the beginning of "an intense period of trying to turn Jake and Nog into the Laurel and Hardy of DS9" according to Ira Steven Behr. "It was a lot of fun to use those kids." Although Cirroc Lofton's ever-increasing height (by the fourth season the actor had grown taller than Avery Brooks) and Aron Eisenberg's age (thirty in DS9's final season) forced a change in the types of stories that would work for the pair, Eisenberg always liked to think of them as "a futuristic Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer."
Still, even Huck and Tom eventually grew up, and once Nog made up his mind to join Starfleet in Season 3 ("Heart of Stone"), light storylines for the pair became few and far between, with the exception of "In the Cards."
In a casting sidenote, Actor Terrence Evans (Baltrim) may not have delivered any lines in "Progress," but he would get to speak the next time he appeared. He would show up as the adoptive father of a Cardassian war orphan in second season's "Cardassians."
Teleplay by Nell McCue Crawford &
William L. Crawford and Michael Piller
Story by Nell McCue Crawford &
William L. Crawford
Directed by Robert Legato
Keiko O'Brien Rosalind Chao
Buck Bokai Keone Young
Rumpelstiltskin Michael John Anderson
Molly O'Brien Hana Hatae
Taking advantage of a quiet day, Chief O'Brien reads the story of "Rumpelstiltskin" to his daughter Molly, Jake Sisko heads to a holosuite to play baseball, and Dr. Bashir indulges in a romantic dream about Jadzia Dax. In Ops, Commander Sisko, Major Kira, and Dax note unusually high thoron emissions registering from a plasma field outside the station. As they wonder if the emissions will create any problems, unusual things begin to happen: Rumpelstiltskin appears in Molly's bedroom, long-dead baseball player Buck Bokai follows Jake out of the holosuite, and Bashir is awakened in his quarters by an unusually affectionate Dax.
The senior officers gather in Ops, where they discover that the flirtatious Dax is one of the mysterious manifestations -- all of which seem to have been conjured up by the imaginations of station personnel. While Odo attempts to deal with additional outbreaks of fantasy on the Promenade, the real Dax works against time to seal a rupture that she has discovered in the plasma field, one that she believes could destroy them all.
On the verge of annihilation, Sisko solves the mystery. Realizing that the threat to the station was first surmised by Dax, Sisko suggests that the rift in the plasma field, like the appearance of their "visitors," has been the product of their imaginations. Sure enough, as soon as they cease believing they are in danger, the rift disappears -- along with Rumpelstiltskin, Bokai, and the amorous Dax duplicate.
The manifestation of Bokai returns later to explain his presence to Sisko. He and his companions have recently traveled through the wormhole as part of an extended mission exploring the galaxy. Apparently unfamiliar with humanoids, and struck by the uniqueness of their vivid imaginations, the aliens had been attempting to "figure out the rules" of their behavior by observing and interacting with the station's inhabitants. Although he declines to provide an explanation of his own species, "Buck" departs with the suggestion that he might return to do so in the future.
Although it could have been just another "mysterious-aliens-play-head-games-with-the-Star Trek-crew" story, "If Wishes Were Horses" metamorphosed into a delightfully whimsical episode thanks, in part, to some inspired behind-the-scenes discussions.
The DS9 producers liked the basic concept of the story, "A race that didn't approach first contact like the Federation folk do, which is direct, friendly confrontation," recalls cowriter William L. Crawford. "They were a little more shy. And they would use their ability to reflect the fantasies or unconscious of individuals they ran into to bring out their good and bad points, so the aliens could make a decision if they wanted to go further." However, the original pitch offered by Crawford and writing partner Nell McCue Crawford placed a heavy emphasis on the use of a holosuite. When the producers pointed out that sister show The Next Generation was deep in development on "Ship in a Bottle," an episode with a similar emphasis, the holosuite aspect was drastically reduced. "The holosuite was actually a red herring anyway," says Crawford. "The characters on DS9 thought these beings were coming from the holosuite, that it was a malfunction, but they were really an alien race. In the end the stress was less on the holosuite and more on the aliens."
Some of the guises those alien characters took were dropped along the wayside as well, among them an Alice in Wonderland manifestation who was to interact with Jake, and a leprechaun. "There was a perception that, since this leprechaun was interacting with O'Brien, there might be some ethnic insensitivity there," recalls Crawford.
Actor Colm Meaney heartily concurs. "The American idea of Ireland is that it's rural and full of thatched cottages," he says. "And the reality of the Ireland that I grew up in was that seen in The Commitments(a gritty urban rock and roll comedy in which Meaney, coincidentally, costarred). It's not Darby O'Gill and the Little People, and from my personal point of view, enough of that stuff goes on -- we don't have to reinforce it. Using caricatures or cliche�s of any nation is not something Star Trek is or should be into."
The character was replaced by the fairy-tale character Rumpelstiltskin and played by Michael John Anderson, a longtime Star Trek fan.
The appearance of baseball player Buck Bokai has a more complicated genesis. Although the Crawfords, Michael Piller (who also worked on the teleplay), Michael Okuda, and even professional model maker Greg Jein had a hand in his creation, the "Buck" stops -- or rather starts -- at the desk of Ricardo Delgado, a junior illustrator during DS9's first season.
According to Okuda, "Ricardo was coming up with ideas of decorative items that might sit on Ben Sisko's desk, and, being a big baseball fan, as is Sisko, he thought Sisko might have some kind of collectible baseball card on his desk." But who should the player be? Babe Ruth? Joe DiMaggio?
"I wanted it to be the [previously unnamed] shortstop for the London Kings, referred to in the TNG episode "The Big Goodbye," recalls Okuda, "but I suggested that he check with Michael Piller, since Piller's the one responsible for Sisko's interest in baseball."
Piller suggested a twenty-first-century baseball player of Asian descent. Remembering that they had photos of Jein on file, Okuda asked the model maker if they could use one for the card. But Jein did them one better, providing the art department with a roll of pictures of himself in a baseball jersey he had retouched to read "London Kings." Jein, a fan of the cult film Buckaroo Banzai, even gave the player a name: Buck Bokai. The card appeared on Sisko's desk in several episodes. When the time came to cast a real "Buck Bokai" for "If Wishes Were Horses," crewmembers were astounded by actor Keone Young's physical resemblance to Greg Jein. However, according to the show's producers, the similarity was a coincidence; they simply cast the performer with the best acting ability.
The tricky visual effects of the episode, which included duplicate Daxes and characters appearing and disappearing, presented no challenge to Robert Legato, a visual effects master who had switched hats to direct. But while Legato also wasn't a stranger to directing, having directed two episodes of TNG ("Ménage à Troi" and "Nth Degree"), he'd never directed creatures as stubborn as emus, who didn't particularly care to run, or do anything else, on cue.
"The only way you could get them to run was to actually push them, so you'd have to have someone in the scene pushing them across, and then they'd stop when no one was pushing them anymore," says Legato. Thus the avian actors required special motivation from their coperformers. One emu handler doubled as a Bajoran monk to help provide nonclerical inspiration. And Actor Rene Auberjonois was asked to improvise something that would trigger a more interesting performance from one of the birds. "He went out and did this little bit where he's just studying this bird, and he moves his head down and the emu moves its head down, and he moves his head up and the emu moves its head up," Legato remembers with a smile. "It turned out to be a charming bit." Auberjonois reports that the scene reminded him of a peculiar character he played early in his career, in the motion picture Brewster McCloud. "I was a character who turned into a bird over the course of the story. It's a pretty special film."
Legato's special effects experience came in handy when setting up the alien appearances and disappearances. Hoping to avoid the telltale, so-called I Dream of Jeannie-jump caused when the camera is locked off, and the scene is shot with the actor present and then again with the actor not present, Legato tried something a little more creative for the scene where "Sisko" appears behind Jake.
"I wanted the two characters to be really close, so I shot it with Avery there behind Cirroc, and then we rotoscoped Avery out for the beginning of the scene. That way, he seems to pop on directly behind him without the usual jump in the film."
But is one to assume that the character who appears behind Jake is one of the aliens or his real father?
Legato admits that he's not sure himself; the episode was running a little short, and the scene was added at the last minute. However, he chose to play it as if the character were one of the aliens, trying to learn more about how people are by playing devil's advocate with Jake. "That's why I have him positioned right over his shoulder, as if he were Jake's conscience, a Jiminy Cricket kind of thing," says Legato. "Avery wanted to play it standing up and towering over Jake, but that would have made it more like it was really his dad."
Special effects aside, Legato's greatest challenge in directing the episode may have been getting a performance out of his smallest cast member: little Hanna Hatae, who plays Molly O'Brien. According to Legato, four-year-old Hanna had a cold the day they were to shoot the scene in which she comes out of her bedroom to announce the presence of Rumpelstiltskin. "She didn't feel good, and she was tired, and she didn't want to play," recalls Legato. "And she simply would not do it. Her mother came in to talk to her, and the assistant directors and the studio teacher, and she still wouldn't do it. After forty minutes of absolutely nothing, I had a talk with her and told her if she didn't come out, I'd get in a lot of trouble. They'd be really mad at me. Then I told her that if she'd do the scene like she was supposed to, I'd be really appreciative and give her one of the nice toys in Molly's bedroom set. At that point, I didn't care how much they cost or if they were rentals or what!" Then, notes Legato, they crossed their fingers, set up the scene once again, turned the camera on, and called "Action!"
"The door opens up, she comes running out and says her line like a champ, and the camera man was so surprised that he blew the shot!" laughs Legato, who says they finally got the shot in "four or five takes" -- and four or five toys later.
Teleplay by Don Carlos Dunaway and Michael Piller
Story by Jim Trombetta
Directed by Les Landau
Lwaxana Troi Majel Barrett
Ambassador Taxco Constance Towers
Ambassador Lojal Michael Ensign
Ambassador Vadosia Jack Shearer
Anara Benita Andre
When Deep Space 9 is "honored" with a visit by a delegation of Federation ambassadors on a fact-finding mission to the wormhole, Sisko places the assignment of shep- herding them about in Dr. Bashir's hands. While three of the ambassadors pester Bashir with constant requests, the fourth, Lwaxana Troi, the Betazoid mother of Starship Enterprise Counselor Deanna Troi, proves to be far more self-sufficient, at least when it comes to finding her own entertainment. After Odo helps her to recover a latinum hairbrooch stolen during a dabo game at Quark's, Lwaxana is impressed -- so impressed that she sets her sights on making the shape-shifter a close personal friend.
As Bashir escorts the other three ambassadors around the station, a frustrated O'Brien tries to deal with the station's uncooperative Cardassian computer. At the same time, Kira notes the arrival through the wormhole of an unidentified alien space probe. Cautious despite his curiosity about the object, Sisko has it towed to a position a few hundred meters from the docking ring and asks O'Brien to set up a computer interface that will allow them to download information from the probe.
Elsewhere on the station, Lwaxana, dressed to kill, tracks down Odo and attempts to flirt with him. Odo nervously puts her off and heads for Ops, where he tries to get Sisko to do something about the problem. Sisko, however, is amused rather than concerned, and he offers Odo only the advice to treat the situation "delicately." A short time later, Odo encounters Lwaxana on the Promenade. Although he tries to retreat in a turbolift, Lwaxana follows him. Suddenly the power to the pylon turbolift fails, as does the transporter, and the two are trapped together, which Lwaxana takes as the perfect opportunity to get to know Odo better.
In Ops, O'Brien is puzzled by the breakdowns and subsequent malfunctions all over the station. He points out to Sisko that the computer's personality seemed to change after they downloaded the information from the probe. It has become more obedient, but it seems to crave constant attention, like a child -- or a puppy. The Ops officers discuss the possibility that they may actually have downloaded some kind of nonbiological life-form into their computer. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any way to communicate with it directly. And when O'Brien tries to upload the transmitted files back to the probe, the station's computer system balks and creates further breakdowns.
In the turbolift, a weary Odo -- who is quickly approaching the point where he must allow his body to revert to its natural liquid state -- slowly lets down his guard in response to Lwaxana's constant barrage of friendly chatter and shares some personal revelations about his past. Touched by his candor and vulnerability, Lwaxana shares some revelations of her own, convincing him that he can trust her enough to be himself, in every sense of the word. As Odo allows himself to liquify, Lwaxana catches him in her skirt, creating an improvised basin to safely contain him.
O'Brien continues to work on the computer problem, this time attempting to manually transfer the probe's data, but the effort triggers a plasma explosion in the station's guest quarters, trapping Bashir and the three ambassadors in a fiery corridor. Realizing that the alien life-form, which O'Brien is now referring to as the "pup," doesn't want to leave, O'Brien creates a subprogram that can safely house it -- a "doghouse," so to speak. The strategy works, and the station's systems come back on line.
In the fire-scorched corridor, Kira and Sisko find that Bashir resourcefully managed to save himself and the ambassadors by leading them into a wall compartment to wait out the conflagration. Odo, once again in humanoid form, and Lwaxana are retrieved from the turbolift. As they part, Lwaxana suggests that they'll have more to discover about each other the next time they meet. And back in Ops, O'Brien promises Sisko that he will keep his new "pet" happy, busy -- and out of trouble from now on.
Originally called "Only the Lonely," after the classic Roy Orbison song, "The Forsaken" brought original series actress Majel Barrett into a recurring role in her third Star Trek series, as the character Lwaxana Troi. Of course, prior to her acting appearance in "The Forsaken," fans already had heard her on Deep Space Nine, as the voice of the Starfleet computers used on the runabouts. (Barrett also vocalized the Starfleet computers on the original series, The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Voyager).
Both Barrett and Actor Rene Auberjonois report that "The Forsaken" seems to be a favorite with fans, at least according to the feedback they've received at Star Trek conventions across the country. "In part, I'm sure that's because of Majel's popularity with the fans, and the popularity of her character Lwaxana," offers Auberjonois. "It was a real bonus for me to be paired with her in the show's first season. It helped to establish Odo and give him more dimension than he'd had up to that point. Through his relationship with Lwaxana, the audience was introduced to an aspect of him that made him endearing, and they really connected with him. And the script was wonderful."
Barrett concurs. "The episode was extremely well written. It brings out all sorts of new facets in Lwaxana's character, which, as an actress, I love, of course."
Auberjonois calls the episode "pivotal" in terms of Odo's characterization. "There are little odds and ends that I make up myself about Odo, but a lot of the important details I learn when I get my script," he admits. "For example, that I don't have a sense of smell or that I've never coupled before. And oddly enough, most of those things I tell Quark, who is supposed to be my nemesis, although it gives you an indication of what our real relationship is, that I tell him these incredibly personal things. And it isn't until 'The Forsaken' that I express anything that personal to anyone but Quark. I was glad when I heard they would be bringing Lwaxana back again." Ultimately Barrett would reprise her character in two more episodes, Season 3's "Fascination" and Season 4's "The Muse".
"The Forsaken" does indeed establish a great deal about Odo: that he doesn't have a real mouth, or, for that matter, an esophagus, stomach, or digestive system; that his early experiences in the Bajoran laboratory where he was studied for so many years made him loath to reveal his private side to outsiders; that the Bajoran scientist who "raised" him had a strong influence on him. (A theme that would be further developed in the second-season episode "The Alternate," and the fifth-season episode "The Begotten.") And that he can, in Sisko's words, "handle thieves and killers but not one Betazoid woman."
To comment on that last quality, Auberjonois relates a story: "Odo has this incredibly rigid and formal kind of assurance. When my dad, who lives in London and doesn't know Star Trek from Adam, first saw a picture of the character in a fan magazine I'd sent him, he wrote me a note that said, 'Why are you playing a fascist?' That's the way he looks to people. But the Lwaxana character allows me to do the kind of thing that I always try to do with a character. When I'm doing a tragedy or playing a serious character, I concentrate on finding as much humor in the character as possible. And if I'm playing a comic character, I look for the sad side. Because that's the way you get an audience's emotions going, by making the pendulum swing in as great an arc as you possibly can. So Odo's vulnerability is something that interests me a great deal."
The idea of putting Odo into a situation where he'd be forced to seek refuge in a woman's skirt came from story writer Jim Trombetta. "The bible for the show said that after x-number of hours Odo had to go into this tin bucket," says Trombetta. "But then you think about what would happen if he didn't have a bucket. That's the one thing another person could help him with. It was a very female thing for Lwaxana to do, to make it safe for him."
The psychological implication of Odo's actions interests Trombetta. "It goes back to the Renaissance, and the characters referred to as 'gentlemen.' They had to be hard warriors with a hard shape, like armor. There's an anxiety if men become soft. They become helpless, babylike. Men don't like that. So here that caption works very vividly. Odo's a constable and a very tough guy, but he has to undergo that process and allow someone else to help him. He has no choice."
For those more fascinated with the physical than the psychological, the episode demonstrates for the first time what happens to Odo if he doesn't get to revert to liquid form in sixteen hours. Of the goop applied to his face as Odo begins to melt down in the turbolift, Auberjonois notes, "I asked Michael Westmore what it was, and he said, 'Oh, you don't want to know.' It's some sort of alginate, a natural foamy, tasteless substance that they use in fast-food restaurants to thicken milkshakes. They put my skin coloring into it, and then they sort of ladle it onto my face with a tongue depressor and let it drip off."
The slimy effect was limited to Odo's face and hands because the costumes are too expensive to mess up. But since Odo's clothes are apparently part of his body, isn't that an oversight? "We're talking about the willing suspension of disbelief here." Auberjonois laughs.
One other minor costuming note: "The Forsaken" establishes a small change in Kira's uniform, which loses the flap bottom of her tunic, thus turning the two-piece ensemble into a one-piece spandex jumpsuit, reportedly to better show off Nana Visitor's figure.
"The [original] uniform wasn't terribly becoming," admits Visitor, although the problem lay more in the fact that she'd recently had a baby than in Robert Blackman's costume design. "I had no idea I would be in a military uniform six weeks after giving birth!" she laughs.
Written by Joe Menosky
Directed by Cliff Bole
Hon'Tihl Tom Towles
Valerian Stephen Parr
Guard Randy Pflug
Ensign Jeff Pruitt
Kira balks when Sisko tells her to allow a Valerian transport to dock at the station. The Valerians had run weapons-grade dolamide to Cardassian forces during the occupation of Bajor, and she believes that they continue to supply the Cardassians with weapons. Sisko says he will intervene only if Kira provides him proof of such activities. But prior to the Valerians' arrival, a Klingon ship blasts through the wormhole and explodes. The vessel's first officer, critically injured, manages to beam aboard the station, but dies a few seconds later, uttering the word victory. Since the ship was known to be on a routine bio-survey mission, the crew is baffled both by the circumstances of the Klingon's death and the destruction of his vessel.
While Dax and O'Brien search for the Klingon ship's mission recorder, Kira and Sisko butt heads once again over the Valerian freighter. At Quark's place, Odo learns that the Klingons told the Ferengi they were bringing something back through the wormhole that would "make the enemies of the Klingon Empire tremble." But before Odo can puzzle out the statement, he is struck by agonizing pain and his head briefly splits in two. Horrified, Quark calls for Dr. Bashir.
After Odo regains consciousness in the Infirmary, he's struck by an odd change in Bashir's personality, and is concerned when the doctor hints that the friction between Kira and Sisko is likely to intensify. At the same time, Sisko and Kira have a confrontation about the Valerians, and Kira discovers that Sisko doesn't intend to interfere with their affairs after all. O'Brien and Dax, still looking for the destroyed Klingon ship's mission recorder, also begin to show personality changes, and O'Brien questions Dax about her loyalties to Sisko. When Kira attempts to get Odo to go behind Sisko's back to help her cause, the security chief is certain that something is very wrong.
Dax and O'Brien present a nearly incomprehensible portion of the dead Klingon's journal to Sisko, Kira, and Odo; the report hints at mutiny aboard his ship and the presence of some alien energy spheres. Sisko is uninterested in the report but tells the others they can follow up on it if they want to -- as long as they don't bother him. A short time later, Kira attempts to enlist Dax's allegiance against Sisko, whom she intends to eliminate. When she realizes Quark is eavesdropping, Kira attacks the Ferengi.
Quark complains about Kira's behavior to Odo, filling the security chief in on the conversation he overheard. Odo decides that it's time to have a conversation with Sisko, but when he gets to the commander's office, he finds that O'Brien seems to have settled in for the duration. Although he is working on piecing together the mission recorder's log entries, O'Brien seems more interested in Major Kira's activities. Odo finds Sisko in his quarters and expresses his concern over the behavior of the crew. But Sisko, engrossed in a clock he is designing, asks Odo to take his concerns to O'Brien.
Returning to his own office, Odo finds Kira waiting for him. She tells him that the Valerian freighter isn't leaving until she says it is -- and that she plans to take over the station. After she leaves, Odo discovers that Kira and O'Brien have made it impossible for him to contact anyone outside of the station for assistance, so he turns to the now-reconstructed journal of the dead Klingon for a possible solution. The journal reveals that the Klingons found a collection of energy spheres that contained a telepathic archive; the archive described an ancient power struggle that destroyed a race known as the Saltah'na.
Playing upon the doctor's new political aspirations, Odo enlists Bashir's help in figuring out the rest of the pieces of the puzzle. They theorize that the energy matrix from the spheres could have caused the crew of the Klingon vessel to reenact the Saltah'nan power struggle and that the Klingon who made it to DS9 brought the matrix with him. Of the people who were present in Ops when the Klingon arrived, only Odo, with his nonhumanoid brain, was able to throw off the effects of the matrix. Convincing Bashir that the person who finds the way to control the energy matrix can control the station, Odo gets Bashir to work on a method of blocking the influence of the field from those affected.
Tensions rise to a head as Sisko foils an apparent assassination attempt, and Kira arrives with an armed guard. But O'Brien manages to beam himself and Sisko out of harm's way. When the two men seek Odo's assistance, the shape-shifter sends them to Docking Port 4, then directs Kira and Dax to the same area. Arriving with the doctor, Odo activates the interference signal developed by Bashir and forces the energy influence from the crew's bodies and into space, where it disperses harmlessly.
"Dramatis Personae," originally called "Ritual Sacrifice," was written by the "Star Trek Italian Bureau," otherwise known to his friends as Joe Menosky. After serving as executive story editor during The Next Generation's fourth season and writer/co-producer in the series' fifth season, Menosky decided to move to Italy for an extended period of research and study. Before he left, however, Executive Producer Michael Piller told him that he expected Menosky to function as a kind of branch office for the staff. So Menosky continued to do episodes for the last two seasons of TNG and also for Piller and Rick Berman's brand-new baby: Deep Space Nine. Eventually, he returned to the U.S. to join the staff of Voyager on a full-time basis.
Menosky describes the process of writing long distance as a "funny phone-fax thing. Since I was in Italy, I was separated from the follow through and the rewriting that normally goes on when you're on staff. I'd send them a first draft, and if it was close enough, they'd make whatever changes they needed during the week of preproduction. If it needed another draft, I'd do it and send it on to them. But no matter how it worked out, there was always a fairly large gap between what I turned in and what was shot. And I can't even tell you what the differences were, because I never got to see any of the shows I wrote during that period!"
"Dramatis Personae" began with an "abstract intellectual idea," recalls Menosky. "I was thinking about behavior patterns and the idea that people tend to get trapped into certain ones that are common to everyone. Take, for example, falling in love. Everybody's gotten a phone call from someone who's just fallen in love, and they all tell you the same damn story. When you're in one of those behavior patterns, no matter how powerful and unique the feelings are, there's this feeling of doing something 'expected.'"
Menosky set out to put the whole idea of this "psychological/cultural programming" into DS9 terms, which translated most logically as a space virus. "I wondered if there could be something like a telepathic virus, a little packet of telepathic energy containing something that works in the same way that a virus coopts the genetic code of a living cell and then changes its biology according to its design," says Menosky. "This would do the same thing, but according to a kind of theatrical complex that it carried, transmit a little drama. Each one of these telepathic viruses represents a little play, containing a bunch of character dramatics and emotions and traumas that had happened. In this particular case, the little play was a power struggle that led to the fall of a race or a civilization."
The results of the virus allowed the cast -- with the exception of Odo and Quark -- to behave in some very nontraditional ways, which pleased the actors and the crew as much as the fans. "It's always fun for the actors when you give them a chance to do something out of the ordinary, when you let them put on a play within a play," says Menosky. "And the writers tend to think about that when they come up with an idea -- 'Oh, won't so-and-so have fun doing this!'"
"I had fun giving Avery Brooks the opportunity to dive away from his normal character on the show," concurs Director Cliff Bole, a longtime veteran of TNG, who had worked with Brooks previously on the series Spenser for Hire. "I remember going to him and saying, 'Here's a chance for us to dance and have some fun.'" Bole notes that the Sisko character, as originally conceived, was always under tight emotional control, quite unlike some of Brooks's earlier performances, including the character of Hawk that he portrayed in Spenser. As a result, he says, "the public didn't know the extent of his abilities for a long time. This man is awesome."
The manipulation of the characters' personalities was a challenge Ira Behr relished. "What I like about it was that it was a third-season show that we had the nerve to do in the first season," he enthuses. "Anybody else would say, 'You need to know the characters better before you twist them like this.' But seeing Kira come on to Dax -- I don't care if it's first or third season, people are going to be interested in that! And O'Brien as Iago and Sisko with his clock! All kinds of fun things!"
The episode also gave behind-the-scenes personnel the opportunity for some fun when it came to designing the Saltah'na clock, which Sisko works on in his quarters throughout the episode. "The point I was trying to make was that Sisko's 'persona' was an obsessive quirky Emperor Rudolf-type, one of those guys that you find throughout European history who were nuts, collecting weird little mechanical birds that they fussed over," says Menosky. "That was the idea."
From Menosky's original suggestion in the script ("I think what I initially had was an absurdly complicated huge, weird clock," he recalls.), the development of the clock fell primarily to Director Bole, Property Master Joe Longo and members of the Art Department, including Senior Illustrator Rick Sternbach and Junior Illustrator Ricardo Delgado. "We came up with all these different ideas of what this clock should look like and submitted them to Rick Berman," says Longo. "He liked one best, and we zeroed in on that."
Actually, three clocks were developed for the episode, each showing a different stage of construction. "In the show, we see Sisko drawing something, then we see him tinkering around with some pieces of something, then part of a clock, and finally a whole clock," says Longo. "We had all of the versions off to the side of the set while we were filming." The finished clock, which later became part of the permanent set dressing for Sisko's office, was constructed from pieces of brass and bronze. "I brought it over to Rick Berman's office when we figured it was done," notes Longo, "and Rick liked it a lot, but he wanted to know if there was a way that we could get the little carousel-type thing on it to turn. Of course I said yes, and then we went back and got it to turn!"
According to Bole, the clock doesn't really keep time, but he has faith that the crew could solve that problem. "Give Special Effects and the Prop Department a few more weeks, and they could do it. It's a treasure!"
Teleplay by Peter Allan Fields
Story by Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci
Directed by James L. Conway
Gul Dukat Marc Alaimo
Neela Robin Christopher
Lissepian Captain Norman Large
Kainon Tony Rizzoli
Kaval Ted Sorel
Special Guest Star
Aamin Marritza Harris Yulin
When the captain of a Kobheerian freighter docking at the station requests medical assistance for one of its passengers, Kira's interest is piqued. The captain says his passenger is suffering from Kalla-Nohra, a syndrome that Kira knows is limited to the survivors of a mining accident at a Bajoran forced-labor camp that she helped liberate. She heads for the Infirmary and is startled to find that the survivor is a middle-aged Cardassian male -- which means that he was part of the military operation at the Gallitep camp, and therefore, according to her, a war criminal.
After Kira has the Cardassian, who says his name is Aamin Marritza, arrested, Sisko visits him in a holding cell. Marritza denies he ever served at a labor camp and claims that he suffers from Pottrik Syndrome, not Kalla-Nohra. Dr. Bashir, however, disagrees; the ailment is Kalla-Nohra, which once again links the Cardassian with Gallitep. A short time later, Sisko is contacted by the Bajoran Minister of State, who says in no uncertain terms that if Marritza was at Gallitep, the Bajoran government expects Sisko to hand him over.
Sisko agrees to let Kira handle the investigation into Marritza's background, and Odo runs an initial background check that confirms at least part of the Cardassian's claims. Unconvinced, Kira interrogates Marritza, who eventually admits that he did serve at Gallitep -- as a filing clerk under the camp's merciless leader, Gul Darhe'el. But when Kira refuses to back off, Marritza finds a chink in her armor, pointing out that she isn't interested in the truth -- just vengeance.
Sisko allows the investigation to continue, despite a request from Gul Dukat that the Cardassian -- who has yet to be charged with a crime -- be released. Odo obtains an image of Marritza from the Bajoran Archives, but the officers realize that it doesn't look anything like the prisoner. However, another Cardassian in the image does resemble him, and that man is identified as Gul Darhe'el.
When Kira confronts "Marritza" in his cell with this information, he gleefully admits that he is Gul Darhe'el, and then goes on both to brag about his countless atrocities and demean the efforts of Bajoran resistance fighters like her. Shaken, she discusses the conversation with Odo, who immediately picks up on one intriguing point. How did Gul Darhe'el, if that's who he is, know that Kira was in the Bajoran resistance?
As Odo checks into this detail, Kira returns to the prisoner to ask him herself. "Darhe'el" has an explanation, but it doesn't quite ring true. In the meantime, Odo discovers that an Aamin Marritza requested information on Kira Nerys several months ago. And the security chief finds out from Gul Dukat that Gul Darhe'el is dead and buried on Cardassia. And there is one last bit of important evidence: records show that Gul Darhe'el was not at Gallitep on the day of the mining accident. Thus, the real Gul Darhe'el could not have contracted Kalla-Nohra.
The other pieces of the puzzle fall into place quickly. Marritza resigned from a teaching post several months earlier and put all of his personal affairs in order. He then specifically requested passage to the Bajoran station where Kira was posted. And Bashir, who has checked into Marritza's medical records, has discovered that the Cardassian has been receiving doses of a drug used by patients who alter their appearance. It is clear to everyone that the file clerk Marritza orchestrated the entire masquerade so that he would be arrested as a ruthless war criminal. But why?
Kira confronts Marritza with the information, and he breaks down at last. Marritza wanted to be tried before the Bajoran people as Gul Darhe'el, the Butcher of Gallitep, so that Cardassia would be forced to admit to the terrible crimes committed during the occupation of Bajor. But Kira refuses to let the blood of yet another innocent person be shed, and she releases him. As she prepares to send him back to his home, a Bajoran man breaks through the crowd on the Promenade to plunge a knife into Marritza, killing him instantly. When Kira protests that Marritza was not a criminal, the Bajoran claims that being a Cardassian was reason enough to take his life. Kira, shocked to recognize an attitude that was once her own, responds softly that it was not.
Ask a television series actor what his favorite episode is, and the odds are that he'll name an episode in which his character was featured prominently. The only time this rule ever seems to vary is when an episode airs that is of such high quality that it would be foolish to deny that it is, indeed, worthy of the highest praise -- even if a cast member didn't play much of a part in the production.
"My favorite episode, ironically, is one that I had very little to do with," affirms Armin Shimerman. "And that's 'Duet.' That, I think, is a wonderful episode, with the writing and the directing and the acting all coalescing perfectly."
Understandably, the primary actor affected by the show was Nana Visitor. It was her favorite episode, too -- but for an unusual reason. "I came away different," she reflects, "with a different perspective. I grew up in New York City, and racism is a subject that I'm familiar with, but I never had to deal with it in any real way."
The writing started with a very simple story pitch by Lisa Rich and Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci, the same writers responsible for "Move Along Home." "The basic premise," says Carrigan-Fauci, "was, 'What would happen if you had to defend your worst enemy? What if you had to be responsible for his life?' There's so much conflict inherent in the concept. And of course it was only natural to use Kira and a Cardassian in that situation and to have them both learn something about each other."
While "Duet," originally known as "The Higher Law," clearly has its roots in dramas about the Holocaust -- in particular Robert Shaw's powerful play, The Man in the Glass Booth, which the executive producers suggested the writing team look at before they got started -- much of the episode's strength came from the decision to craft the show almost entirely around Kira and the Cardassian, Marritza.
Part of the rationale behind that decision was budgetary. "We'd spent a lot of money on the pilot and 'Past Prologue,' and we went hither and yon on location for several episodes," notes Peter Allan Fields, who wrote the teleplay based on Rich and Carrigan-Fauci's story. Thus, as the series approached the close of its first season, Fields understood that it was to everyone's advantage to create what's known as a "bottle show." "You stay right there," he explains, "and you don't spend a lot of money going hither and yon!"
With very little action and a lot of "talking heads" scenes, "Duet" could have been a very dull, if well-meaning, episode. But Director James Conway and key Actors Nana Visitor and Harris Yulin rose to the challenge, winning kudos from cast, crew, and critics alike. The casting of Yulin was a particular delight for Fields, who'd been a fan of the actor for years. "I'd always wanted to write for him," Fields says. "I was delighted that he wanted to do it."
Fields is quick to give credit to Ira Behr for his "really great input" into the script. "I'd be less than fair if I didn't say that without Ira's contribution, particularly in Marritza's reactions, I don't think I could have tricked it out like that."
Behr, speaking tongue-in-cheek, comments, "I gave as fine a performance as Harris Yulin up in Pete's office. We would go into those long monologues and stand and rant and scream, and actually a lot of it, word for word, is in there." It was the beginning, Behr adds, of what the writers now refer to as "Cardassian monologues." Says Behr, "Cardassians love to speak. Garak loves to speak, Enabran Tain loves to speak. Dukat loves to speak -- very slowly -- and certainly Marritza loves to speak."
Fields is also grateful for the fact that Director Conway didn't change the ending he had written. "Usually, no matter what you write, the director shoots the ending the way he wants to. And in this episode, I wanted that camera to pull up -- and back -- and just leave the characters there. And Conway did it. That tickled me."
Not that Fields has had particularly poor luck in that area. The hallmark of many Fields scripts is a quiet, yet emotionally resonant ending, sometimes deliberately ambiguous ("Progress" and "Necessary Evil") and sometimes hauntingly poignant ("Duet" and TNG's "Inner Light"). And that hallmark is clearly distinguishable on the screen in each of those episodes.
As a side note, this episode introduces the character of Neela, a Bajoran woman who works with O'Brien. Although viewers can hardly be faulted for overlooking her debut amid the heavy emotional threads of "Duet," Neela (Robin Christopher), would go on to play a far more significant part in the action of the season finale, "In the Hands of the Prophets." Interestingly, her character, or rather, that of a female assistant for O'Brien, was supposed to have appeared in three episodes, making her debut in "The Forsaken."
"We planned for O'Brien's assistant to be in two episodes prior to 'In the Hands of the Prophets,'" says that episode's writer, Robert Hewitt Wolfe. "We wanted to set her up way ahead of time and get the audience to think she was a new recurring character. Then, when she turns out to be the assassin in the finale, it would be a great surprise." Unfortunately, the actress who played O'Brien's assistant (then named Anara) in "The Forsaken" didn't work out, according to Wolfe. So the role was recast and the future assassin, now renamed Neela, made only one appearance prior to her denouement.
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by David Livingston
Keiko O'Brien Rosalind Chao
Neela Robin Christopher
Vedek Bareil Philip Anglim
Vendor Michael Eugene
Special Guest Star
Vedek Winn Louise Fletcher
A new day begins on Deep Space 9, and Chief O'Brien escorts his wife Keiko through the Promenade on her way to the station school. O'Brien pauses to purchase a snack at a kiosk and impresses Keiko with his knowledge of Bajoran jumja sticks, although not quite in the way he'd intended. The trivia about jumja came from his new assistant, Neela, and O'Brien is startled when he realizes that Keiko thinks he might be attracted to the pretty Bajoran. After a bit of teasing, Keiko heads on to the classroom.
As Keiko attempts to explain the scientific principles behind the construction of the nearby wormhole to her students, she is interrupted by the arrival of Vedek Winn, a spiritual leader from Bajor. Winn observes the lesson, then calmly states her opposition to Keiko's secular method of instruction, which does not touch upon Bajoran beliefs regarding the Prophets who reside in the wormhole. Keiko reports the incident to Commander Sisko, and Kira expresses some support for Winn's point of view. When Keiko rejects the idea that she incorporate religious beliefs into her curriculum, Kira suggests that there may be a need for a separate school for Bajoran children. Sisko doesn't like that idea either, since he wants to see Bajoran and Federation interests unified.
Uncertain how to resolve the matter, Sisko goes to see Winn, who warmly greets the "Emissary," as the late Kai Opaka referred to the commander. But Winn refuses to back down from her stance that Keiko has dishonored the Celestial Temple with her teachings. Winn informs Sisko that she won't be responsible for the consequences if the teacher does not recant.
Working with Neela, O'Brien is concerned to discover that one of his tools is missing. The tool can be used to access every critical system on the station. Curiously, an ensign named Aquino is also missing. A search of a power conduit leads O'Brien and Neela to the remains of both the tool and the unlucky ensign. The working theory is that Aquino had attempted to repair a plasma flow irregularity in the conduit and got caught in the power flow, but O'Brien is unsatisfied with that answer.
He is even more troubled when he finds out that Winn's veiled threat has come to fruition. Some of the Bajorans on the station have begun to treat Keiko with contempt. Winn continues to stir up the Bajorans with her superficially passive rhetoric and confronts Keiko at the door to the school. She will accept Keiko's decision not to teach the students about the Prophets if Keiko promises not to teach anything about the wormhole at all. Keiko can't accept that alternative, and she watches in dismay as Winn leads the Bajoran children and their parents away from the school.
Concerned, Sisko pays a visit to Vedek Bareil, the leading candidate to become the next kai, on Bajor. Sisko hopes that Bareil can help him arrange an audience with the Vedek Assembly so that he can discuss the school. But while Bareil's ideology is very different from Winn's, he does not want to risk his political future by appearing to take sides with Sisko. Frustrated, Sisko returns to the station, where he discovers that several Bajoran crewmembers have failed to report for duty. When Kira refuses to offer her support in resolving the situation, Sisko has some sharp words with her. A short time later, Odo and Bashir report the results of their investigation into Aquino's death; the ensign was killed by a phaser blast.
Odo has made an additional discovery. On the night he was killed, Aquino did not head for the power conduit, as his log indicates. He went to Runabout Pad C. O'Brien and Neela investigate the pad but find nothing. After Neela leaves, O'Brien runs an additional diagnostic on the other runabout pads, and finds that someone has placed a security bypass module at Pad A. He informs Odo and the shape-shifter quickly deduces that Aquino was killed when he interrupted someone tampering with the security net at Pad C. The murderer then switched his efforts to Pad A to avoid detection. As the pair attempt to figure out the motive behind the subterfuge, they hear an explosion and discover the empty schoolroom engulfed in flames.
Angered by Winn's insincere concern over the incident, Sisko accuses the vedek of instigating the animosity and resulting violence on the station in an effort to increase her following among the Bajoran people. But her attempt will fail, he tells her, because the majority of Bajoran people on the station have come to know that, for all their differences, the representatives of the Federation are not the enemy.
Later, Neela approaches Winn in private, and tells the vedek that the officers have found out about the runabout, leaving her no method of escape. But Winn suggests that it is the will of the Prophets that the plan continue, even if that means a sacrifice on Neela's part.
In the meantime, Sisko is pleasantly surprised when Bareil arrives at the station to help the commander "clean up" the situation. As Kira and Sisko escort Bareil through the Promenade, Dax and O'Brien find a mysterious subprogram in the computer that has created a series of forcefield overrides from the Promenade to Runabout Pad A -- an escape route for someone. Other clues suggest that the weapon detectors on the Promenade have been disabled -- by Neela.
Bareil and Winn address a throng of Bajorans outside the remains of the school, and Bareil counsels tolerance and acceptance of new ideas. After O'Brien alerts Sisko about the weapons detectors and his suspicions about his assistant, the commander spots Neela in the crowd with a phaser in her hand. He knocks her to the ground, causing her to miss her target: Bareil. Stunned, Kira realizes that all of Winn's activities were a ruse to bring Bareil to the station, where he could be assassinated before he became kai. But Neela insists that she acted alone, following the will of the Prophets. Later, a humbled Kira tells Sisko that she heard his earlier words to Winn and agrees with him, and Sisko happily observes that they've made some progress after all.
Guest appearances from distinguished stage and screen performers Philip Anglim (who originated the role of the Elephant Man on Broadway) and Louise Fletcher (winner of a Best Actress Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) highlight the first-season finale of Deep Space Nine, and set the stage for more political intrigue in the series' second season.
The obvious quality of "Duet" led the writing team to struggle to top themselves in "Hands," according to Ira Behr. "All through 'Hands,' Michael Piller kept saying, 'It isn't good enough. It's got to be as good as 'Duet.' We've got to find more levels.' It was a challenge, and I think it is a terrific show. It gave us even more grist for the mill than 'Duet' did, and together they provided a great one-two punch to the end of the first season."
While it's easy to brand the tone of this episode "anti-fundamentalist," Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe says the message is actually much simpler, and very much in keeping with Gene Roddenberry's philosophical mandate for Star Trek in all its various incarnations. "I have no argument with someone having a fundamentalist belief in Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Buddhism or anything else, but I do have a serious objection to people trying to impose their values on other people," states Wolfe. "And that's what this episode is about. No one has the right to force anyone to believe the things that they believe. That's one of the beautiful things about Gene Roddenberry's vision of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), and that was one of the things that we really wanted to hammer home here. Sisko does everything he can not to impose his values on the Bajorans, but Vedek Winn is determined to impose her values on everyone."
The episode establishes the basis for much of what viewers have come to understand of the Bajoran political/religious system. Wolfe suspects that some of that came out of his Catholic upbringing but even more from his fondness for history. "The system isn't specifically Catholic as we think of Catholicism today," he observes. "It's fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Catholicism, when the pope held much more of a political office than now, and when the Medicis and the Borgias and the French kings and every other powerful family in southern Europe was fighting to get their guy to be pope."
The third of Deep Space Nine's David Livingston- directed episodes, "In the Hands of the Prophets" once again shows the Livingston touch with its large crowd scenes. Explains Wolfe: "It was the last episode of the season, so we gave it a bigger budget, allowing David to be able to use more extras."
The larger budget also allowed Livingston to take the production on location for a day of filming at Fern Dell, a beautiful section of Hollywood's Griffith Park. "The series is designed budgetarily to have five or six location shoots per year," says Bob della Santina. "So we're very selective about the episodes, and rather than spend the money to go and just do something on location, we might prefer to build a small 'green' (as in foliage) set for one particular show and save the money for later on. And proximity is important, of course. Fern Dell is close to the studio, and it has a wonderful lush look to it."
"I had always thought it was a fabulous location," comments Livingston. "[Director] Corey Allen shot the first day of the pilot for The Next Generation there, and I wanted to go there for Bareil's sanctuary. Marvin Rush did a beautiful job of photographing it, and we added atmosphere and smoke to give it an ethereal quality."
Ethereal or not, Fern Dell isn't the easiest location for a director to work with. "It has a narrow path that restricts movement," points out della Santina. "That prohibits wider shots." What's more, the Fern Dell sequence was Livingston's first location shoot. "It was difficult," the director recalls. "But I got through it."
Also difficult -- although for different reasons -- was the explosion and subsequent fire in Keiko's school. "We had to drywall the entire Schoolroom, which has all these weird little corners that we had to fireproof," says Gary Monak, who handles physical special effects on the series. "And then Odo and O'Brien come running in right after it blows up. It was already burning, and we had to do a big fireball explosion. We did that in full scale. That surprised them." But then, Monak and his crew had surprised the staff before. "On Star Trek, they're used to doing a lot of effects optically, and we're used to doing them live on camera. We'll be lighting a fire, and they're going, 'What are you doing? We don't do those. Is it safe?'" So Monak was prepared for the response when he set off the fireball. Still, Monak feels his fiery special effects, which are always carefully controlled, add something to the production. "It works better for the actors, because they can react to the effect."
Writer Wolfe gets the credit for at long last giving an official name to the peculiar Bajoran confection hawked on the station's Promenade. Long referred to by behind-the-scenes staffers as "glop-on-a-stick," Wolfe toyed with Yum Yum sticks and Jum Jum sticks before settling on the word jumja -- which, as everyone knows, is made from the vitamin C-rich sap of the Bajoran jumja tree.
One aspect of the episode that Wolfe doesn't take credit for is Vedek Winn's peculiar headgear. Has he ever noticed that Winn's hat...
"...Looks like the Sydney Opera House?" he concludes the query. "No, I didn't notice that." Following a burst of laughter, Wolfe notes that he is unsure as to whether or not the costume people intended Winn's hat to resemble the Australian landmark, but, he adds, "It is a cool-looking hat."
Costume Designer Robert Blackman is somewhat cryptic about the design. When asked if the resemb- lance to the opera house was intentional, subconscious, or a coincidence, Blackman responds, "Yes -- to all of those," although he leans toward the coincidence factor. "You know, you're trying to come up with interesting and curious shapes that viewers haven't seen. It's about rhythm and other things. But I didn't sit down and say, 'Oh, the Sydney Opera House -- let's make a hat out of it!'"
Copyright © 2000 by Paramount Pictures