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A three-hundred-year-old Bajoran ship comes through the wormhole, and its passenger claims that he is the Emissary of the Prophets.



As Chief O'Brien and Doctor Bashir enter the cluttered O'Briens' quarters, having just won the Battle of Britain in the holosuite, they lament that O'Brien must return the quarters to normal in preparation for Keiko's return (after her six-month absence on Bajor). Bashir remarks that it is a shame for them to clear up the clutter, it feels like dismantling a monument to the chief's six months as a bachelor; O'Brien soberly tells him that if they don't, Keiko will dismantle him.

O'Brien greets Keiko and Molly warmly at the airlock and receives a surprise: during Keiko's last visit to Deep Space 9, they "got lucky" and Keiko is pregnant again.

In Ops, Major Kira welcomes Vedek Porta, escorting a young Bajoran couple who are hopeful that Captain Sisko, as the Emissary of the Prophets, will bless their recent marriage. Sisko invites them into his office and recites a brief prayer in the Bajoran language. Kira, watching, is very moved, and the couple positively glow, thanking Sisko profusely before they leave. Before following them out, Porta compliments Sisko on his improved accent. After they are gone, Sisko sighs and confides to Dax how exhausting it is to be a religious icon to an entire planet, on top of all his Starfleet duties. Then Kira alerts them that something is coming through the wormhole: a Bajoran lightship, which appears to be three hundred years old. The passenger, a lone man, is beamed directly to the infirmary. When Sisko and Kira get there, the man lying down on the biobed introduces himself as "the Emissary."

Act One[]

Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko listen to Akorem Laan

Kira and Sisko speak with Akorem

The mysterious man is Akorem Laan, a famous Bajoran poet from the 22nd century whose unfinished poem, The Call of the Prophets, has become legendary. He explains that, while traveling in his lightship, he was injured and thought he would die. Then he discovered the wormhole by mistake and was healed by the Prophets, who he believes delivered him to DS9 in order to be their Emissary. He is surprised at Kira's presence upon learning her family name, as it indicates she should be an artist. Kira explains to the others that the Bajorans used to follow a strict caste system known as the D'jarras which dictated their occupation based on their family name, but abandoned it during the Cardassian occupation in order to allow them to become soldiers. Akorem is shocked to hear about the Occupation, and realizes his people have suffered great hardships while he was gone.

Sisko talks to Dax about Akorem's claim to be the Emissary, a claim he is all too happy to support. He even uses some of the prophecies surrounding the Emissary (which he has never believed in) to try and justify his position, although he admits he is just using them to convince himself as, aside from having the burden of the position removed, he adds that Starfleet Command has always been uncomfortable with one of their officers occupying a central role in the Bajoran religion. Porta has already endorsed Akorem and is confident the Bajoran people will accept the change as long as Sisko makes it clear he's stepping aside voluntarily. Sisko feels a massive weight off his shoulders and couldn't be more relieved to rid himself of the title.

As Chief O'Brien walks home from work, Bashir arrives to offer his congratulations on the baby and convinces him to have a celebratory drink in Quark's. There, the two raise a pint of beer to the upcoming arrival, as Bashir notes that the second baby is usually easier than the first for parents as they know what to expect. When they tell Quark the news, the Ferengi muses back to when Nog was a baby and read See Brak Acquire. Worf then arrives for a drink and stiffens up when he hears Keiko is having a baby. O'Brien explains to Bashir that Worf delivered Molly since the Enterprise had been damaged and he was the only person available when Keiko went into labor. As Bashir jokes that he'll call on Worf if he needs any help, Worf decides to schedule some leave to visit his parents on Earth when the baby is due.

The Promenade is crowded as Bajorans wait for the new Emissary to give his first speech. Kira and Odo watch from the upper gallery as Akorem emerges from the Bajoran temple, and Odo gently asks Kira whether she sees the inherent contradiction in Akorem's accession: before he appeared, Kira was entirely convinced that Sisko was the Emissary, but now it's as if he never was. Kira says that her faith allows her to reconcile the contradiction.

Akorem uses the speech to drop a bombshell; he believes he was returned after so long by the Prophets as the Bajorans have "lost their way" by abolishing the d'jarras. Akorem intends to revive the d'jarras as, he believes, it is the best way to heal Bajor's wounds after the Occupation. There is some scattered applause from the crowd, but several, including Kira, look deeply troubled, as does Sisko, who is watching the speech in his office on his desktop monitor.

Act Two[]

In conference with Akorem and Vedek Porta in the wardroom, Sisko says that adopting a caste-based discrimination system will make Bajor ineligible for Federation membership. Akorem sees it as an acceptable sacrifice, as does – not surprisingly – Kai Winn. Akorem assures Sisko that he does not expect Bajor to make the change overnight; for instance, First Minister Shakaar, whose d'jarra marks him as a farmer, will not be expected to resign immediately; instead, Akorem is confident that, by the time of the next election cycle, few will vote for him. Sisko tries to persuade Akorem to reconsider giving up Federation membership, however Akorem grabs Sisko's ear and reads his pagh saying it's strong, and he understands why Kai Opaka thought he was the Emissary and why Kai Winn feared him.

In the Replimat, Kira is looking for a place to sit with her mug of raktajino, but the place is full. Just as she is about to move on, Gia, a Bajoran woman interrupts her meal and surrenders her seat, saying that Kira's d'jarra outranks hers. Sisko, sitting nearby, says similar things have been happening all over the station. Both of them are troubled, but Kira says it is not her place to question the Emissary. Sisko is still disbelieving about how readily Bajor is making such drastic changes on Akorem's word, and Kira tells him that Sisko never fully grasped just how devoted the Bajorans are to the Emissary – Sisko could have said the word, and they would have done anything.

Unable to sleep, Sisko wanders about the Promenade at night, where he has visions of Kai Opaka who proceeds to ask who he is several times. Confused, he says she should know him, but she responds cryptically that she can't know someone who does not know himself. She disappears and the lights turn back to normal before he can respond.

Act Three[]

When Sisko asks Bashir about the vision, he describes it as an orb shadow, which the Bajorans believe occur when a person is not following the will of the Prophets as shown in the orbs. Religious explanations aside, it was caused by an over-abundance of neuropeptides, and Sisko readily accepts treatment to make the visions stop.

Kira attempts to follow her d'jarra, which dictates that she resigns her commission in the Bajoran Militia and become an artist. Unfortunately, despite her best attempts, she ends sculpting a "flock of flightless birds" in her quarters. It is clear that Kira has no aptitude or talent for artistry, and she tries to make Vedek Porta see this, but Porta is nonetheless stern in his belief that d'jarras are correct and that the Prophets have chosen for Kira to be an artist.

The O'Briens are enjoying time together at home. Miles plays with Molly, teaching her darts. Keiko has found the fur coat that Miles wears to the holosuite, and comments on the amount of time he spends there with Bashir. Miles responds jokingly that it keeps him out of trouble and kisses her. Keiko needs to get back to some work, so O'Brien goes back to play with Molly, but her mood has changed, not willing to play darts and content to draw by herself. With nothing to do but watch, O'Brien eyes the fur coat.

Sisko and Kira have their regular meeting in his office going over station business and the duty roster, but Sisko is troubled as things are going from bad to worse when he received a communiqué from Starfleet Command responding to his report on the Bajoran situation. Although there is no direct statement of it, he can tell they are unhappy and he feels he had failed in his mission to ensure Bajor's entry into the Federation, which he finds ironic considering they never wanted him to be the Emissary in the first place. It then gets worse as Kira explains that she has decided to resign in order to follow her d'jarra. As soon as Sisko can find someone to take her post, she'll leave and move back to Dahkur Province. Sisko tells her that her position may be filled by someone else, but he considers her irreplaceable. There is an extremely sad moment between them as reality sets in.

Act Four[]

O'Brien and Bashir meet by chance in Quark's and realize they no longer have time for one another now that Keiko and Molly are back on the station. O'Brien mentions playing darts with Molly in their quarters, and Bashir is trying to teach Morn how to play in the bar, but it is not the same for either of them. When Quark archly informs them that they are late for their weekly holosuite reservation, they realize that is something else they have had to give up.

Sisko gets a call from Constable Odo to come to the Promenade immediately, where a vedek has just been killed. The man, Vedek Imutta, fell from the second level and his neck was broken on impact. As Odo prepares to start an investigation, Vedek Porta comes forward and calmly announces that he pushed the man simply because he had an "unclean" d'jarra and was unwilling to resign as vedek to follow his d'jarra. Sisko, furious, orders him taken into custody.

This is the last straw, and Sisko summons Akorem from Bajor for an urgent meeting, making it clear that the murder was just the tip of the iceberg. Akorem is unwilling to change his position, causing Sisko to declare that he regrets giving up his role as Emissary and is intent on challenging Akorem's claim to the title. However, both men know there will be chaos if they force the Bajoran people to choose between them, Sisko asks Akorem to enter the wormhole with him to ask the Prophets to choose. The two board a runabout and fly into the wormhole, at which point Sisko stops the runabout and the two men wait.

Act Five[]

Benjamin Sisko and Akorem Laan confer with Prophets

"Tell him that I fulfilled the ancient prophecies!"

Eventually, Sisko and Akorem are transported to the realm of the Prophets. Akorem remains convinced that he is the emissary, but as usual, the Prophets appear largely unconcerned. Akorem reminds them that he met the Prophets first, but to the Prophets (who have no concept of linear time), there is no first. They claim Sisko and Akorem's linear nature limits their comprehension, though Sisko states the two want to understand. They agree that the d'jarras are a part of the past, which "the Sisko" has taught them means, it is no more, and it can never be again. Akorem is confused, and asks why, then, did they send him into the future? They reply, "for the Sisko" – to remind him of the responsibilities he bears. Akorem, realizing that he is not the Emissary, says he's been wrong about everything and that he should have been left to die. The Prophets state they could return him to the point they found him (injured and dying), but Sisko requests they return Akorem to his own time as he is now, uninjured. After silently conferring with each other, the Prophets state Akorem will have no memory of his trip to the future, which the poet finds more than acceptable as it will allow him to reunite with his wife and family. Telling the Prophets that he's ready to go home, they return him to the past. Sisko still has questions; however, the Prophets remind him that just as they are "of Bajor," they emphasize that he is also of Bajor. On Sisko's silent acceptance of this, he is returned to the runabout.

Back on the station, on the pretext of getting her husband treatment for his depression, Keiko arranges for Miles and Bashir to spend time together again.

In Quark's, Kira ironically presents Sisko with the gift of one of her "sculptures" and tells him that his earlier speech, in which he explained what happened to Akorem and that the Prophets do not wish the Bajorans to return to the d'jarras, went over very well. Sisko is reading The Call of the Prophets, which Kira is surprised to learn has now been finished. Kira fails to understand how she can still remember Akorem's work as unfinished when the Prophets have changed the past and in the new timeline, his work had been finished all along. Amused, Sisko notes that "The Prophets work in mysterious ways," to which Kira grins.

They are interrupted when a Bajoran man and his daughter approach the officers to ask Sisko if he can bestow a blessing on the girl at her upcoming birthday/coming-of-age celebration called the ih'tanu. Sisko happily agrees to the request, having now fully accepted his role as the Emissary.

Memorable quotes[]

"I thought you said you'd started straightening this place up!"
"You should've seen it before."
"Look, Keiko's shuttle'll be here before we know it. We should've left the holosuite hours ago.
"What? And let the Jerries cross the Channel? Never!"

- Bashir and O'Brien, upon entering O'Brien's messy quarters

"No more ceremonies to attend, no more blessings to give. No more prophecies to fulfill. I'm just a Starfleet officer again; all I have to worry about are the Klingons, the Dominion and the Maquis. I feel like I'm on vacation."

- Sisko, after renouncing his role as Emissary

"Daddy! Daddy! I have a little brother!"
"Really? Is that him? (Points to Molly's doll)"
"No. He's in there. (Points to Keiko's tummy)"

- Molly telling Miles that Keiko's pregnant


- Keiko O'Brien, announcing to Miles she is pregnant

"Quark! Did you hear? Chief O'Brien is having a baby."
"I thought your females carried your young."
"My wife. My wife is having a baby."

- Bashir, Quark, and O'Brien

"It's just hard getting used to being a religious icon."

- Sisko

"Congratulations! I remember when my nephew Nog was a baby. Cutest thing you ever saw. Heh. You know babies. Every little thing they pick up goes straight into their ears. Ohhh, I used to love reading to him. You know, 'See Brak acquire. Acquire, Brak, acquire!"

- Quark

"Did you hear? Keiko's gonna have another baby."

- Quark and Worf, remembering the last time Keiko had a baby

"Well, I'll be sure and call you when she's ready to deliver; you can lend a hand."
"Seven months? Unfortunately, I will be away from the station at that time. Far away. Visiting my parents. On Earth. Excuse me."

- Bashir teasing Worf, in reference to the events of TNG: "Disaster"

"Forgive me, Major, I don't mean to be difficult, but your faith seems to have led you to something of a contradiction."
"I don't see it as a contradiction."
"I don't understand."
"That's the thing about faith. If you don't have it, you can't understand it. And if you do, no explanation is necessary."

- Odo and Kira

"What about you, Doctor? The Battle of Britain awaits and you know my policy on cancellations, NO refunds." "Go ahead! Maybe Morn's better in the cockpit of a Spitfire than he is at darts."
"Ah, it wouldn't be the same"
"Hm, you're right, Morn probably doesn't even know where England is!"

- Quark, O'Brien and Bashir

"If you don't hit it off with Major Jatarn, I can think of a few other people, shouldn't be that hard to find someone to replace me."
"I don't doubt that I can find someone to fill your post. But to replace you…"

- Kira and Sisko

"You killed him because of his d'jarra?"
"I had to. If a vedek can't do what the Emissary has asked of us, how can we expect anyone else to?"

- Sisko and Vedek Porta

"If the d'jarras belong in the past, why did you send me into the future?"
"For the Sisko."

- Akorem and the Prophets

"I'd like you to have this. It's an original Kira Nerys. It might be worth a lot someday."
"I hear she didn't make many."

- Kira, presenting one of her "sculptures" to Sisko

Background information[]

Story and script[]



  • This episode is considered to be Part II of the "Emissary Trilogy", with Part I being "Destiny" and Part III being "Rapture", and as with "Destiny", Sisko is initially very clear in this episode about how uncomfortable he is in his role as Emissary of the Prophets. (citation needededit) However, this episode represents an important turning point in his attitude to his position. It is the second time the phrase "The Sisko" has been used (it was first used in the episode "Prophet Motive") and it is the first time we hear the phrase "You are of Bajor". Both of these phrases would come to have great importance in the future. As well as that, this episode marks the point at which Sisko finally begins to accept his role as Emissary (in "Destiny", he accepted that there may be more to the Prophecies than he has allowed for, but he didn't change his opinion about his own status in Bajoran religion). Throughout the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons he becomes more and more accepting of his position, something which can be seen most clearly in the fifth season episode "Rapture" (where he not only accepts his role, but embraces it and allows it to guide him), and in his interactions with the prophets in episodes like "Sacrifice of Angels", "Image in the Sand", "Shadows and Symbols", and, most importantly of all, the series finale "What You Leave Behind".
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Camille Saviola (Opaka) on the series, with Opaka appearing first to Sisko in an orb shadow and then later as the form assumed by a Prophet.
  • During her meeting with Sisko, Kira mentions the four-shift duty rotation she suggested to him in "Starship Down". Since then, it went through a probationary period and Kira notes that it's improved the performance of crewmembers and they've made less mistakes due to fatigue, so Sisko decides to make the change permanent.
  • Bashir and O'Brien tease Worf about when he delivered Molly in 2368 in TNG: "Disaster". Worf is so uncomfortable about this that he schedules leave so he will not be present when Keiko is due, just to make sure it does not happen again. (Ironically, Worf does appear in "The Begotten" but avoids helping with the birth.)
  • In the scene in Quark's where Bashir and O'Brien talk about playing darts without each other, a laboratory squeeze bottle can be seen under the bar, redressed as some kind of alien drinking glass.
  • Kira's line "That's the thing about faith. If you don't have it, you can't understand it. And if you do, no explanation is necessary" is a paraphrase of a quotation often incorrectly attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas, which reads "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible." It is more plausibly attributed to Father John LaFarge, S.J., circa 1934. [1]
  • Bashir and O'Brien order several pints of ale during this episode and never finish any of them. In one case, O'Brien leaves after having no more than a single mouthful.
  • Quark's statement about everything babies handle "goes straight into their ears" is one of the few times that a Ferengi says "ears" instead of "lobes."
  • Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode, though he is mentioned by Miles when he tells Keiko about a book he gave Molly that she really loves.
  • Kira's lack of artistic skill was first mentioned in Season 2's "The Circle", where Kira stated she had "no artistic ability whatsoever."


  • David Warner was approached for the role of Akorem. Ira Steven Behr commented "Personally, I wanted David Warner as Akorem. He wanted to do it, but his wife talked him out of it because he was on vacation and she didn't want him to work. To this day I still wish David Warner was in it. I think it's a really interesting script and idea, and it leaves us with a nice, interesting mystery. It's a good show, and Avery was great, but I wanted him to have a better opponent". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)
  • Actor Colm Meaney was unhappy with the decision to have O'Brien's quarters in disarray due to Keiko's absence. Meaney states that, "It was expedient to have some sort of what's considered humor in the script, but I object to saying this man is incapable of keeping his apartment tidy when his wife's away. That's a cliché." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 320)
  • Jane Espenson commented: "The whole Trek experience, at TNG and DS9, was incredibly positive. Thank you, Star Trek!" [2]

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Also starring[]

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22nd century; 2358; accent; Akorem's brother; Akorem's grandfather; Akorem's parents; Akorem's wife; apprentice; aptitude; artist; bachelor; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran capital; Bajoran language; Bajoran interceptor (Bajoran interceptors); Bajoran lightship (Akorem's lightship); Bajoran transport (transport); Bajoran wormhole (aka Celestial Temple); Battle of Britain; biology; bird; Brak; Call of the Prophets, The; caste; canvas; coloring; Daedalus-class; Danube-class; darts; Dahkur Province; Denorios belt; deportation; depression; diaper; disorientation; d'jarra; Earth; election; Emissary of the Prophets; England; English Channel; ensign; Enterprise-D, USS; faith; family name; farmer; Federation Charter; First Minister; Gaudaal's Lament; heart; holosuite; Horizon, USS; icon; icon painting; ih'valla; ih'tanu; ion storm; Jatarn; Jerry; keep; King of Leinster; Kira; Kitara's Song; Latara's husband; Lieutenant; Lupi; magnet; Maquis; medical tricorder; merchant; monk; Nash, USS; neuropeptide; Nog; non-believer; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; Occupation of Bajor; Opaka; orb; orb shadow; order; pace; pagh; path; piece of art; pint; politician; pony; priest; Promenade; promoted; public appearance; Quark's; raktajino; religious figure; Rozhenko, Helena; Rozhenko, Sergey; Rubicon, USS; runabout; sanction; Shakaar Edon; shift rotation; soldier; Spitfire; stanza; te'nari; Thursday; time travel; toast; Winn Adami; winter; Yridian yak

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External links[]

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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