FANDOM


Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
For the TNG episode with a similar title, please see "The Emissary".

Three years after his wife died at the hands of the Borg and following the Cardassian withdrawal from the planet Bajor, Commander Benjamin Sisko and a new crew of Starfleet and Bajoran officers take command of an abandoned Cardassian space station and make an incredible discovery that will change the galaxy and Sisko's future. (Series premiere)

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

USS Saratoga viewscreen

Locutus of Borg

Borg cube destroys the Melbourne

Starfleet engages the Borg

Benjamin Sisko, 2367

Benjamin Sisko on board the USS Saratoga

On stardate 43997, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise was kidnapped for six days by an invading force known as the Borg. Surgically altered, he was forced to lead an assault on Starfleet at Wolf 359.

In 2366 (around stardate 44002.3) Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko is the executive officer of the USS Saratoga as it battles the Borg, led by Locutus (the former Captain Jean-Luc Picard), at Wolf 359. Its shields drained by the Borg cube, the ship sustains a direct hit, which kills most of the bridge crew save Sisko and the Bolian tactical officer and causes the beginnings of a warp core breach: they have five minutes to evacuate the crippled vessel. Sisko orders the lieutenant to help the surviving civilians to the escape pods and goes in search of his own family. In his quarters, he finds his young son Jake and wife Jennifer buried under a pile of rubble. Although he is able to rescue Jake, Jennifer remains trapped. As Sisko digs through the rubble, the Bolian lieutenant scans Jennifer with a tricorder and finds she is already dead. Sisko ignores the lieutenant's desperate pleas to escape and continues trying to rescue his wife; he is ultimately dragged away screaming to an escape pod. Together with Jake and the other survivors, he watches from the escape pod as the Saratoga is destroyed.

Stardate 46379.1: Three Years Later

Commander Benjamin Sisko approaches Jake, now a teenager, who is fishing from a lake in an Earth-like setting. Jake seems dismayed they will be soon living on a space station rather than Bajor, the planet the station orbits. Sisko assures Jake that he will have fun and meet lots of new friends, but they are interrupted by a voice from the bridge, informing Sisko that they are approaching Deep Space 9 and will be docking in seven minutes. Sisko ends the program and they leave the holodeck. Walking past a window, Sisko and Jake get their first look at Deep Space 9, the former Cardassian mining station which will now be their new home.

Act One Edit

"Commence Station Log, Deep Space 9. Commander Benjamin Sisko, Stardate 46388.2. At the request of the Bajoran Provisional Government, Starfleet has agreed to establish a Federation presence in this system following the withdrawal of the Cardassian occupational forces. The first contingent of officers, including my Chief of Operations, Miles O'Brien, arrived two days ago on the Enterprise."

Sisko and Jake arrive at Deep Space 9 and are dismayed to find the station in a state of disarray, ransacked by the Cardassians following the Occupation of Bajor; the planet itself is in a similar state. Neither Benjamin nor his son find the place, or their quarters, accommodating but they decide to "rough it" for the time being. Chief O'Brien reports that most systems are offline and a lot of vital equipment is missing or severely damaged. O'Brien also notes that Captain Picard wishes to meet with Sisko, a prospect the latter does not seem to relish.

Ascending to Ops, Sisko enters the prefect's office and finds his Bajoran liaison officer, Major Kira Nerys, in heated argument with one of the Provisional Government's ministers, whom she hangs up on. Kira, a former member of the Bajoran Resistance, is openly hostile to the idea of another foreign power occupying Bajor. When Sisko says the Federation is only there to assist the Bajorans, she retorts that the Cardassians said the same thing when they arrived sixty years earlier.

Their conversation is interrupted by an alarm from the Promenade, where Kira and Sisko capture a thief and his accomplice, a young Ferengi named Nog. Here, Sisko also meets Odo, the station's security chief, who aids in the apprehension of the two criminals. Quark, Nog's uncle and the proprietor of the local bar, urges Sisko to release Nog into his custody so the Ferengi may evacuate, but Sisko refuses, appearing to have something else in mind. Before he can elaborate to Kira, he is reminded that Captain Picard is waiting to meet with him. As he cannot put it off any longer, he heads for the Enterprise. Sisko assures Kira that the meeting will not take long.

Act Two Edit

USS Enterprise-D docked at DS9 while orbiting Bajor

The Enterprise arrives

When Sisko meets with Picard in the observation lounge, it is now Sisko's turn to be brusque and distrusting. He begins by "re-introducing" himself, mentioning that he has already "met" Picard (or rather Locutus) at the Battle of Wolf 359. Picard is obviously troubled by his memories of the event, so he begins discussing the havoc wreaked upon Bajor by the Cardassians. Bajor has applied for Federation membership, however their entrance will not be simple; with the Cardassians gone, several factions are now fighting for control of the planet. He tells Sisko that his mission aboard the station is to do everything short of violating the Prime Directive to secure Bajor's entrance into the Federation. Picard then notes that Sisko had objections to taking the assignment, and Sisko tells Picard with barely-restrained anger that he's raising his son alone and that a damaged space station is not the ideal environment. Sisko also says that he is thinking of resigning his Starfleet commission to return to Earth for civilian service, but until he makes the decision he will do his job to the best of his ability. The conversation is dominated by thinly-veiled hostility on Sisko's part, as he faces the man he holds responsible for the death of his wife. Picard dismisses Sisko.

In Odo's security office, Sisko and Odo interview Quark, encouraging him to stay on the station and reopen his establishment. The Promenade is the vital heart of life on the station, and someone has to step forward and lead the other vendors in rebuilding. As Quark is less than eager to stay – citing that "when governments fall, people like me are lined up and shot" – Sisko uses the incarcerated Nog as a bargaining chip, offering to free Nog if Quark agrees to his terms. Odo starts to warm up to the new Starfleet commander.

Benjamin Sisko and Kira Nerys, 2369

Sisko with Kira on the damaged Promenade

While discussing Bajoran politics, Kira expresses her belief that Kai Opaka, the spiritual leader of Bajor, is their only hope to unite the people and keep the Provisional Government intact. When Sisko meets the kai on Bajor, she urges him to explore his pagh, or life-force, and declares Sisko to be the Emissary of the Prophets, though she doesn't tell him everything at first. She leads Sisko to the Orb of Prophecy and Change, which grants him his first orb experience: he is mentally transported to Gilgo Beach, years earlier (circa 2354), at the time and place he met Jennifer, his wife. He re-lives the moment of their first encounter in vivid detail, promising to prepare his father's famous Aubergine stew for dinner, and is distraught when the vision ends.

As Kai Opaka shuts away the Orb safely in its container, she explains that this Orb is one of nine known Orbs that have appeared in the skies over Bajor in the last ten thousand years; the Cardassians took the other eight. She also informs Sisko that his destiny, whether he believes it or not, consists entirely of finding the Celestial Temple of the Prophets, from where the orbs originated. To help him in his task, she gives him the Orb for further study.

Act Three Edit

Back on DS9, Sisko finds his son sleeping on the floor, still thinking of the image of his wife. Kira soon calls him to the Promenade, where he finds Quark has indeed unpacked and is entertaining the very diverse array of people on the station. He gets a drink and Quark implies he agrees to Sisko's terms.

"Station log, stardate 46390.1. The Enterprise has been ordered to the Lapolis system. They're scheduled to depart at zero-five hundred hours after offloading three runabout class vessels. Meanwhile, our medical and science officers are arriving… and I'm looking forward to a reunion with a… very old… friend."
Kira, Bashir, Dax, and Sisko, 2369

"You and Dr. Bashir go ahead. I'm afraid I have to put Lieutenant Dax to work right away."

Sisko then greets his new chief medical officer, Doctor Julian Bashir, who is obviously smitten with Jadzia Dax, the station's new chief science officer. Sisko's meeting with Dax is really a reunion, because Dax is a Trill symbiont whom Sisko knew as Curzon Dax years earlier. Bashir offends Kira by referring to his new assignment as "frontier medicine"; to Kira, Bajor is home, not some frontier in the wilderness. Sisko quickly puts his old friend Dax to use, asking her to conduct research on the Orb and leaving her alone in the science lab. When she touches the Orb, it grows extremely bright and gives her a vision of her own.

Curzon Dax, Emissary

The Dax symbiont is transferred from Curzon to Jadzia

From high above, she sees herself (as the un-joined Jadzia) lying on an operating table, receiving the Dax symbiont from a dying Curzon, realizing the first moment of her new self-awareness. The vision has a noticeably powerful effect on her emotionally, as strong as Sisko's vision of Jennifer.

On the Enterprise, Miles O'Brien stands outside the captain's ready room on the bridge, deciding whether to go inside or not. He decides not to, and after a final look at the bridge heads to transporter room 3. Upon entering, he asks Ensign Maggie Hubbell to beam him to the transporter pad in Ops. Just before he transports to the station, Captain Picard walks in, and dismisses the ensign. Picard notes that transporter room 3 is the chief's favorite one to use, and says that just the other day he called down and asked for him without thinking, and how it won't be the same without him. O'Brien smiles, and tells Picard that "it's just a transporter room", and requests permission to disembark. Picard operates the transporter console and beams O'Brien to the station. For a moment, Picard quietly laments the loss of his long time transporter chief and leaves the room. The Enterprise then sets off for the Lapolis system.

Act Four Edit

Barely has the Enterprise left orbit than a Cardassian warship enters the system, transmitting fulsome good wishes from its commander, Gul Dukat – the former Cardassian Prefect of Bajor. Sisko hosts Dukat in his office (which used to be Dukat's office just two weeks prior, when the station was still under Cardassian control). With great diplomacy, Dukat "welcomes" the Federation to the region and pledges his "support" to their efforts to rehabilitate Bajor (especially in light of the fact that the Enterprise has departed the region). In his unctuous manner, Dukat fishes for information about the Orb Sisko brought to the station, as he had believed that the eight "acquired" by the Cardassians were the only ones in existence. He offers to share what the Cardassians have learned from those eight, but Sisko coolly says he knows nothing about any Orb. Smiling politely, Dukat says his ship will remain in system for a few days, in case Sisko changes his mind, and asks Sisko's permission for his men to enjoy the services on the Promenade.

In her lab, Dax has plotted a central location common to the pathways of all the known Orbs, the Denorios belt, a charged plasma field. Sisko is intrigued and wants to take a closer look, but is wary of being followed by the Cardassians. So he concocts a ruse…

In Quark's, the Cardassians are winning heavily at the dabo tables, when Kira strides in and announces the bar is being closed until further notice. Quark assures his customers that it is only temporary, and one of his waiters hands them a tote bag to carry their winnings back to their ship. The "bag" is actually Odo; once aboard the ship, he sabotages their computers, disabling their sensors and engines, allowing Sisko and Dax to depart in the runabout USS Rio Grande. Kira tells O'Brien to beam Odo back to the station, but O'Brien is having trouble operating the Cardassian transporter. When the machine refuses to respond to his commands, he kicks it in frustration – which works, energizing Odo back.

Act Five Edit

Bajoran wormhole interior

The discovery of the first stable wormhole

The coast is now clear for Sisko and Dax to embark toward the Denorios belt, the coordinates of the focal point of the Bajoran Orbs. As Dax steers the vessel toward high proton counts and the external wave intensifies, while internal wave intensifies remains unaffected, a wormhole suddenly opens directly in front of them. They are pulled into it, as DS9 loses contact with them, picking up only major subspace disruptions. The Rio Grande emerges in the Gamma Quadrant, some 70,000 light years from its previous location. Sisko suspects that the wormhole is the source of the Bajoran Orbs, and realizes that they have discovered the first stable wormhole known to exist, so they turn around and attempt to return to the Alpha Quadrant.

However, the Rio Grande loses power and velocity while in the wormhole; they land on a "planet" with breathable atmosphere. To Sisko, it appears to be a barren wasteland, raging with electrical storms; to Dax, however, the planet appears beautiful, like an idyllic garden setting. A hovering Orb appears and scans their bodies; it engulfs Dax and takes her through the wormhole safely, and she materializes in Ops on DS9. Sisko is transported from the imaginary planet to the Celestial Temple, where he begins another vision, this one being his first communication with the Prophets of the Celestial Temple.

The Prophets are non-corporeal entities, appearing to Sisko as people in his life: his late wife Jennifer, Picard, the kai, and Jake. They seek contact with other lifeforms, but do not consider him worthy, since he is corporeal, and relies on crude linguistics for communication. As he tries to defend himself and his species, Sisko seeks to develop some form of communication protocols with them.

"First officer's log, stardate 46392.7. We're preparing to launch a rescue mission to find Commander Sisko, but first, our navigational sensors must be recalibrated to work under the conditions reported by Lieutenant Dax."

Once Kira realizes what Sisko and Dax discovered, she recognizes its tremendous importance and orders the entire DS9 space station to be moved to the mouth of the newly-found wormhole. With only six functional maneuvering thrusters, O'Brien states that it would take a month to cross the 116 million kilometers to the wormhole. Kira replies that it has to be done by the next day, stating that the Bajorans have to stake a claim to the wormhole, then in an apparent change of attitude, notes that the Federation's presence would strengthen the claim. Dax suggests they lower the inertial mass of the station with the deflector array; O'Brien begins work on this endeavor. Dax contacts Starfleet for assistance; the nearest starship is the Enterprise, which is two days away. Kira, Dax, and Doctor Bashir decide to set out toward the wormhole in another runabout, the USS Yangtzee Kiang, to rescue Sisko. Odo insists on joining their expedition, citing his own discovery in the Denorios belt and how his origins may be related to the wormhole phenomenon.

Act Six Edit

Sisko explains linear time

Sisko watches his memories unfold as he tries to explain linear time

Back inside the wormhole, Sisko communicates with some non-corporeal aliens who take the form of several people he knows; Jake, Picard, Locutus of Borg, Kai Opaka, Jennifer, and the Saratoga crew, among others. The aliens discuss destroying the intruder, while Sisko insists he was sent by the Bajorans. In order to prove he means no harm he offers to allow the aliens to share in his experiences and his past. However, it turns out the wormhole aliens have no concept of linear time. They refuse the idea that the past, present, and future are in any way different from one another.

As Sisko and the wormhole aliens try to understand one another, O'Brien and the crew attempt to find a way to safely move DS9 to the mouth of the wormhole, but the Cardassian computer is less than cooperative to the point where it refuses to cooperate with some of his requests. With great difficulty, O'Brien manages to move DS9; however, Dukat has become aware of the wormhole's presence.

Suspecting Sisko of already striking a deal with "whomever" in the wormhole, Gul Dukat races toward the wormhole himself; his Cardassian vessel, easily out-pacing Kira and the runabout, proceeds through the wormhole.

Meanwhile, Sisko is showing the aliens a moment in his past when he and Jennifer were sharing a picnic. The aliens mention that Jennifer is a part of Sisko's existence, but Sisko tells them that while she was a very important part she is not anymore as she is no longer alive… he lost her. The aliens are now very confused, unable to understand what "lost" means. Sisko tells them that when in linear time, people are unable to go back to the past, when something is lost it is gone forever. The aliens cannot understand how any species could possibly survive in this manner.

Sisko goes on to explain that this day is important as it affected every one that followed; it is the day he and Jennifer decided to have a child. As the two echoes kiss, Sisko starts to explain about touch and pleasure when suddenly…

…he finds himself back on the Saratoga, standing over his wife's body. The aliens explain this is his existence. Sisko tells them that this memory is more difficult than any of the others because this is the day he lost Jennifer. The aliens don't accept this, and they ask Sisko why he exists here. Sisko doesn't understand what they're asking, but they insist that he exists here.

Suddenly, everything stops. Gul Dukat's ship is traveling through the wormhole and emerges in the Gamma Quadrant. In anger, the aliens seal the wormhole, preventing the Yangtzee Kiang from following.

Act Seven Edit

The aliens explain to Sisko that whenever someone travels through the wormhole their existence is disrupted, therefore they have closed it. The aliens tell Sisko that his linear nature makes him naturally destructive and he doesn't understand the consequences of his actions, a charge Sisko denies. He tells them he is aware that every choice he makes will have a consequence, even if he doesn't know what it is. To help, he uses past experiences to guide him. For example, he cites the day he met Jennifer on the beach and how their past experiences helped them realize they had a future together and when they got married they accepted any of the consequences that would come from that act… including the birth of their son.

The aliens are starting to understand but still need help, so Sisko decides to use the game of baseball as an example. He tells the aliens that when he throws the baseball anything could happen, the batter could swing and miss or he might hit the ball perfectly. A person prepares for every consequence as they happen, and as a result the game will start to take shape even though no one knows what the outcome will be. Now the aliens start to get it, but now can't understand why Sisko values his ignorance of the future. Sisko tells the aliens that the unknown is what drives his species, that they are always exploring and looking to the future to expand the boundaries of their knowledge. He explains that he isn't there to conquer them, but to co-exist and share their knowledge.

"If all of this is true, why do you exist here?!"

Sisko is once again on the Saratoga looking at his wife's body under the debris, confused why the aliens keep returning him to this point.

"First officer's log, supplemental. We've rendezvoused with the space station at the former coordinates of the wormhole. Unfortunately, our scans have revealed no trace of either the wormhole or Dukat's ship. A few minutes ago three Cardassian warships crossed the border, no doubt on their way to search for Dukat."

In light of Dukat's disappearance, the station is soon approached by three Cardassian warships, which take a threatening posture. Gul Jasad demands to know the location of Dukat's vessel; he refuses to believe Kira's "wormhole" explanation, since there is no sensory evidence of such. Jasad allows Kira one hour to prepare for surrender, but with the Enterprise still twenty hours away, Kira knows that surrender is not a viable option.

Act Eight Edit

Sisko and Locutus in Prophet Vision

The Prophets in the form of Locutus

Inside the wormhole, Sisko demands to know why the aliens keep bringing him back here to the Saratoga but the aliens tell him they are not bringing him here, he is taking them there. Sisko asks for the power to take them somewhere else, but the aliens tell him that he already has the power but is denying himself it and should look inside himself for the answer. Sisko then looks back, and sees himself from three years earlier, desperate to free his wife despite the knowledge she was dead. Sisko notes that he was ready to die with her.

Sisko is clearly in pain at recalling the most horrific of his memories, and the aliens sense this and try to comfort him. As he sees his past self dragged away he realizes inside that he never completely left the Saratoga. As he looks down at his wife, and through his tears, he tells the aliens that the moment he looked down at Jennifer's dead body has always been in his mind, he sees the same image when he is in the darkness or when he closes his eyes. The aliens realize that none of Sisko's past experiences helped prepare him for this consequence and Sisko confesses he's never been able to get over losing her and that inside he does still exist here. But finally Sisko realizes that Jennifer is really gone and he has to let her go forever. He grieves properly this time, letting go of his emotions, but finally starts to leave the trauma of his wife's death behind him.

Kira launches six photon torpedoes – the station's entire complement – as a bluff, to make Gul Jasad believe that Starfleet has replenished DS9's weaponry after taking over the station. The bluff fails, however, as the Cardassians begin assaulting the station, easily penetrating its weak shields and causing an explosion on the Promenade which leaves many people injured. Odo calls for medical assistance from Doctor Bashir who immediately leaves Ops to tend to the wounded. Dax reports that their shields are down to eighteen percent and rapidly falling, then suddenly reports a huge neutrino disturbance 15 kilometers off the docking ring; the wormhole is back.

Prakesh under tow

Gul Dukat's ship being towed

The wormhole opens in an explosion of brilliant, neon-like light; the Cardassians, shocked to see it for the first time, immediately cease firing on DS9. To everyone's surprise, Commander Sisko emerges in the Rio Grande, towing Gul Dukat's disabled vessel from the wormhole to safety. Once securely back in the Alpha Quadrant, Dukat orders the Cardassian vessels to stand down.

Luckily there were no fatalities on DS9, just various injuries being treated by Doctor Bashir and Odo, who has been pressed into medical duties, for the time being. Sisko, back aboard DS9, joyously greets Jake. The aliens living in the wormhole, whom the Bajorans believe to be the Prophets, have granted Sisko and all other corporeal beings free passage through the wormhole. And with the return of the Enterprise, the Cardassian vessels retreat back to Cardassian space.

"Station Log, Commander Benjamin Sisko, Stardate 46393.1. The lifeforms who created the wormhole have agreed to allow safe passage for all ships traveling to the Gamma Quadrant. With the arrival of the Enterprise the Cardassians have left the area."

Meeting once again with Captain Picard, this time in Commander Sisko's office, he is congratulated on finding the wormhole; Bajor will now undoubtedly become a commercial and scientific hub, as well as a strategic military focal point for the Federation. Sisko retracts his earlier conversation with Picard, about possibly resigning his commission. Picard, who had not forwarded the information up the chain of command, nevertheless asks Sisko if he is sure about staying at the helm of DS9. Sisko assures him that he is; Picard shakes his hand, and leaves for the Enterprise, wishing Sisko good luck.

Kira warns Quark to not cheat his customers anymore, but allows him to keep his bar open. As the repairs continue, Dax and O'Brien inform Sisko about the impending arrival of three Frunalian science vessels and a related problem with the airlocks, as the station and its crew begin their new roles in galactic affairs.

Memorable quotes Edit

"Resistance is futile. You will disarm your weapons and escort us to Sector 001. If you attempt to intervene, we will destroy you. file info"

- Locutus of Borg, at the Battle of Wolf 359 (first spoken line of the series)


"I suppose you want the office."
"I thought I'd say hello first, and then take the office, but we can do this in any order you'd like."
"… Hello."

- Kira and Sisko


"It's been a long time, captain."
"Have we met before?"
"Yes, sir. We met in battle. I was on the Saratoga at Wolf 359."

- Commander Sisko and Captain Picard


"Your job is to do everything short of violating the Prime Directive to make sure that they are. I have been made aware by Starfleet of your objections to this assignment. I would have thought that after three years spent at the Utopia Planitia yards, that you would be ready for a change."
"I have a son that I'm raising alone, captain. This is not the ideal environment."
"Unfortunately as Starfleet officers, we do not always have the luxury to serve in an ideal environment."
"I realize that, sir, and I'm investigating the possibility of returning to Earth for civilian service."
"Perhaps Starfleet Command should be considering a replacement for you."
"That's probably a good idea."
"I'll look into it. In the meantime, however…"
"In the meantime, I will do the job I've been ordered to do to the best of my ability, sir."
"Dismissed."

- Commander Sisko and Captain Picard


"You know, at first, I didn't think I was going to like him!"

- Odo, after seeing what Sisko thinks of Quark


"Nine Orbs, like this one, have appeared in the skies over the past ten thousand years. The Cardassians took the others. You must find the Celestial Temple before they do."
"The Celestial Temple?"
"Tradition says the Orbs were sent by the Prophets to teach us. What we have learned has shaped our technology. The Cardassians will do anything to decipher their powers. If they discover the Celestial Temple, they could destroy it."

- Kai Opaka and Benjamin Sisko


"I can't unite my people until I know the Prophets have been warned. You will find the Temple. Not for Bajor, not for the Federation, but for your own pagh. It is, quite simply, commander, the journey you have always been destined to take."

- Kai Opaka, to Benjamin Sisko


"How's the local synthale?"
"You won't like it. I love the Bajorans. Such a deeply spiritual culture, but they make a dreadful ale. Never trust ale from a god-fearing people, or a Starfleet commander that has one of your relatives in jail."

- Benjamin Sisko and Quark


"This is going to take some getting used to."
"Don't be ridiculous. I'm still the same old Dax. More or less."

- Benjamin Sisko and Jadzia Dax


"I'll be honest with you, commander. I miss this office. I was not happy to leave it."
"Drop by any time you're feeling homesick."

- Gul Dukat and Commander Sisko


"You value your ignorance of what is to come?!"
"That may be the most important thing to understand about Humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives day by day, and we explore the galaxy, trying to explore the boundaries of our knowledge, and that is why I am here – not to conquer you with weapons or with ideas, but to coexist… and learn."

- The Prophets and Commander Sisko


"Red alert! Shields up!"
"What shields?"

- Kira and O'Brien


"I see her like this, every time I close my eyes. In the darkness, in the blink of an eye, I see her like this."

- Commander Sisko


"You don't think Starfleet took command of this space station without the ability to defend it, do you?"

- Major Kira


"Major? Remind me never to get into a game of Roladan Wild Draw with you."

- O'Brien, to Major Kira after she bluffs belligerent Cardassians


"Bloody Cardassians! I just got the damned thing fixed!"

- O'Brien


"We're not done with the Cardassians yet. Not with the strategic importance of that wormhole."

- Sisko, to Picard


"Good luck, Mister Sisko."

- Jean-Luc Picard's departing words to Sisko

Background information Edit

Story and script Edit

Piller and Berman, DS9 set

Michael Piller and Rick Berman – who wrote this episode together – on the Promenade set

  • The first discussion about this episode concerned taking inspiration from Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot "Encounter at Farpoint". Michael Piller later remembered, "The first day we sat down to meet about this, Rick [Berman] said that somehow this story must have the philosophical ambition that the 'Encounter at Farpoint' script had and that Star Trek represents." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 19) After viewing "Encounter at Farpoint", Piller set to work on crafting this pilot's story. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 32)
  • Devising the plot for this episode was a long, intricate process. "When you create a premise pilot, which is what we did with Deep Space Nine," Rick Berman explained, "you create a two-hour show where you have to set up an entire world and an entire group of characters and what brings them together, and at the same time tell an entertaining and meaningful story. You have a big job cut out for you. Michael Piller and I started creating […] what sort of story would unfold, spending months working on it." Piller noted, "We spent a number of months coming up with the premise before the story was written with the earliest bible of the show: what the location would be, what the backstory would be, and so on." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 411 & 416)
  • Rick Berman and Michael Piller collaborated with each other to write the pilot story. Noted Berman, "I did a tremendous amount of work on the pilot in terms of the bible and the story with Michael." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 18; Trek: Deepspace Nine, pp. 19 & 20)
  • For Rick Berman, the challenge of writing this episode was made slightly easier by the fact he had spent five years producing Star Trek: The Next Generation. "What that did was allow me to know what was possible and what wasn't," he stated. "What our visual effects guys could give us and what they couldn't. What sets we could expect and how much we could expect to get done and what was pie in the sky." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 32)
  • After deciding to set the new series on a space station, Rick Berman and Michael Piller used this pilot episode to start accentuating conflict, building upon conflict which had been already set up (in Star Trek: The Next Generation) between the Cardassians and Bajorans as well as between the Bajorans and the Federation. The latter consideration led the writing duo to establish that the Bajorans, rather than sharing the Federation's humanist ideals, had a highly religious belief system that involved Orbs and Prophet worship. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 412, 416-418)
  • Although Rick Berman and Michael Piller initially considered giving the space station a designation like "Starbase 362", they finally decided to name it "Deep Space 9" instead. (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 13)
  • Michael Piller very much wanted this episode to start with a "bang". The episode's teaser, featuring the Battle of Wolf 359, harkens back to the TNG outing "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". "It was, of course for me, who wrote the original Borg two-parter, a great opportunity," related Piller. "To go back and do some more was just too irresistible." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 431) It also seemed to make sense to tie the incident into Commander Sisko's backstory. "To make that a backdrop to this man's life was not unusual," explained Piller, "because it was a backdrop in my life, and in Rick's life. And we knew it would resonate with the fans. Furthermore, we hoped that Patrick Stewart would agree to do a guest shot. And the thought of putting our new hero in direct conflict with Picard because he blames him for the death of a family member just made us grin!" The reason Piller and Berman were happy to put the two commanding officers into conflict with each other was that they expected it would defy audience expectations that the pair of characters would immediately get along. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 15)
  • "Encounter at Farpoint"'s philosophical content ended up inspiring Sisko's storyline with the aliens residing inside the Bajoran wormhole. Michael Piller commented, "Ultimately, what we created was this interaction and confrontation between alien and Human that is not so different from 'Encounter at Farpoint', but, of course, on a weekly basis we are exploring issues and philosophies through encounters with aliens. What we have in the pilot is aliens who have no understanding of a linear existence. What does that mean for Sisko, who is trying to deal with the context of his own personal crisis as it comes out through this philosophical explanation of here's why you don't have to fear me? 'We are not a threat to you, and we're different, and differences can be good,' he says, echoing the same theme – that humanity has overcome and we can coexist in the universe." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 19-20)
  • Michael Piller originally suggested that, at the start of the episode, all the main characters were already present and at work. However, he found that a more effective method of introducing the characters was to take inspiration from the pacing of "Encounter at Farpoint". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 19) For Piller, the task of breaking this episode's story was therefore assisted by that TNG pilot. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 32) He commented, "There's a great deal about the structure [of 'Emissary'] that's similar to 'Encounter at Farpoint'. One of the tricks I learned from watching 'Encounter at Farpoint' again was that they didn't introduce Riker and Geordi and [Beverly] Crusher until two or three acts in. I said to Rick when we were structuring this, 'Let's hold off the arrival of two of our regulars late enough that I can do something with the other characters.'" (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 19)
  • The episode's script wasn't written yet when Michael Piller decided to bring others into the project, telling Ira Steven Behr about it and giving him a copy of the series bible while they were at a baseball game one night. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 418)
  • At the end of TNG Season 5, Michael Piller and Rick Berman were away writing this pilot episode. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 422) Piller was continually working on the installment when Peter Allan Fields arrived. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 5) Berman and Piller were working on it in a building on the Paramount lot while Fields spent a long time sitting alone in another building of the lot, waiting for other writers to join the new DS9 writing staff along with him. "Michael and Rick were somewhere over in the other building writing the pilot," Fields recalled, "and I was sitting there, wondering what I was supposed to do [….] The pilot kept changing, which was pleasing because everything was developing." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 422)
  • An early story treatment of what ultimately became "Emissary" was titled "The Ninth Orb" and was dated 8 April 1992. In it, Ro Laren met Benjamin Sisko for the first time just before his meeting with Captain Picard. Another plotline this treatment featured was a black market on the station, controlled by an individual named "Rulod". Sisko promised Opaka he would stamp out the black market and later confronted Rulod. Said Rulod owned a base in the Denorios Belt and was the person who informed Gul Dukat about the Bajoran wormhole, information which later reached Odo via Quark. This entire plotline was removed in later revisions.
  • Paramount instantly approved of the pilot story. "The studio loved it," remarked Michael Piller. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 23; Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 20) However, Piller himself modestly remarked, "It would have been fine." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 18)
  • Michael Piller started developing the story into an initial draft of the script. "The story for the first episode was forty pages long and extremely well-defined when Michael sat down to write the teleplay," remembered Rick Berman. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 423) He and Piller spent many late nights writing the episode's script, during TNG's fifth season. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 19)
  • Michael Piller and Rick Berman developed this pilot episode's narrative without being entirely sure how the forthcoming series would develop. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 51) "When Michael wrote 'Emissary', he clearly had no idea where the Sisko story would be heading in later years," explained Ronald D. Moore. (AOL chat, 1998) Added René Echevarria, "Michael did not know what it meant that Odo didn't know where he was from. His instincts told him, that can be mined. This whole Emissary thing, I think for Michael, it was just an interesting thing to him. What some people call God in the Star Trek universe, others would just call an alien. That was an interesting theme to him. He just threw all these things into the mix, I don't think with an idea of ultimately where it was going." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 52)
  • As much as this episode was influenced by "Encounter at Farpoint", it was equally inspired by "The Cage", particularly one specific scene from that episode. "I haven't seen 'The Cage' in years," commented Michael Piller, "but what brings to mind the memory of it is the imagination that takes you out of that locked cage – Gene's imagination. It takes you into green fields and the picnic and Susan Oliver and those wonderful moments. I would be lying if I did not say that image was with me when I wrote ['Emissary']. I don't remember much about it. I don't remember the story, but I remember that friendly green pasture. I think ['Emissary'] is definitely inspired by Roddenberry, and if people who have missed something in the new Star Trek feel that some funny bone or some nerve ending is being addressed, I know Rick and I will be delighted." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 19) This was despite the fact that Rick Berman had never seen all of "The Cage" and had only seen small parts of it. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 22)
  • This episode had to be changed, so as to omit the character of Ro Laren, when Ro actress Michelle Forbes declined to participate in the forthcoming series. After allowing Forbes one last chance to change her mind, Michael Piller and Rick Berman decided to write Ro out of the episode. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 18) Fortunately, when Forbes opted out of the project, Piller was working on a rewrite of the pilot to strengthen the episode's first act. This made it easier for him to change the role of Ro to a newly created Bajoran character: Kira Nerys. "It was really a matter of rewriting two or three scenes that defined where she was from and a couple of speeches in other scenes, which were mostly action-type scenes," Piller explained. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 448) However, Berman added, "It's not like we took Major Kira and plugged her into a spot that had been held by Ensign Ro. Basically, once we knew that Michelle wasn't going to be joining us, we sat down and developed our story, and one of the characters that was created was Major Kira." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 160) Piller found that having a Bajoran character who, unlike Ro, wasn't in Starfleet had more opportunities for conflict between her and Sisko – because she did not have to follow his orders – than there would have been between Sisko and Ro. "Immediately you have different priorities and agendas, and the two people immediately have a conflict with each other the moment they step onto the station," he observed. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 337)
  • There was limited duration to firmly define the regular characters in this installment. "We couldn't do it all in the pilot. We did Sisko in the pilot, we did some Kira in the pilot," pointed out Michael Piller. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 459)
  • The process of rewriting the episode included Michael Piller increasing Nog's involvement in the plot. "We had always had a shape-shifting gag for Odo in the end of act one and we had always had a Ferengi boy, Nog, that would become a friend of Sisko's son. In the rewrite, using all the elements that we had that were waiting to be thrown in," Piller remembered, "I put Nog at the scene of a crime and put him in trouble. I realized that when Sisko arrives at the scene where Odo is shape-shifting – where they meet at the end of act one – there is a situation where the Ferengi kid is going to jail for being an accomplice to a crime that has been committed." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 20) In his own words, Piller also realized that, when Sisko "sees the Ferengi guys who used to run the bar and the gambling facilities, packing up their gear, ready to leave, he could use this to his advantage." (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 22)
  • Michael Piller used the same dramatic situation to his own advantage by establishing the conflictual relationship between Odo and Quark, discovering that he enjoyed writing the dialogue between them. "In that scene where Odo is watching Sisko in action and Sisko is doing this number on Quark, I suddenly found myself writing these asides between Odo and Quark [….] I realized there was magic there," Piller reminisced. "There was a relationship there. They get off on this trying to one-up each other, and there's a love that comes from within for one another between the good guy and the bad guy, and we really explored that. That's the discovery of character and interaction Rick and I wanted to have. It was a conflict that was fun and restored to Star Trek something that hadn't really been in evidence since the original show." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 445) Piller also clarified that, rather than the Quark-Odo relationship originating in the DS9 series bible, it was writing the aforementioned scene, with Quark in Odo's office, that provided the foundation for their quarrelsome bond. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 3, p. 8)
  • On 2 June 1992, Michael Okuda and Rick Sternbach sent Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Herman Zimmerman a memo regarding the script. Their suggestions included Bashir (at this point named "Amaros") commenting that he mistook a preganglionic fiber for a postganglionic nerve, that Jaros II had been misspelled as "Javos II", and, in response to Kai Opaka's line that the Orbs had first appeared on Bajor over a thousand years ago: "In 'Ensign Ro', we have established that Bajoran civilzation flourished before humans were walking erect. Since Homo Erectus dates back about 450,000 years, this might mean that the Bajora go back at least that far. If this is so, then a 1000 year old sphere seems like a rather recent event for such an ancient culture. Suggest the first orb might have been discovered 'Over 100,000 of your years ago.'" (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, p. 124)
  • The first draft of the episode's teleplay was written by Michael Piller, who explained, "In the first draft of the script, our guys essentially come to the Beverly Center mall in Los Angeles and decide to stay. I thought that was great, and the studio said, 'We want to open with a shot of the Promenade and people gambling.' So I wrote it that way." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 423 & 424) The first draft teleplay was submitted on 12 June 1992.
  • Rick Berman was quick to embrace the initial draft of the teleplay. "What happened was I had written the first draft of the script," Michael Piller explained, "which we had not sent to the studio yet, and Rick read it, and a lot of people liked it." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 19 & 20)
  • In the week beginning 15 June 1992, Michael Piller was still working on the writing of this episode when, separately, Ira Steven Behr and Peter Allan Fields began initiating story development for the later first season installments. "Mike was off doing pilot rewrites on DS9," said Behr, "when I was off with Pete Fields trying to get freelance writers to write the first episodes […] To tell you the truth, I think they [Piller and Berman] were trying to get a pilot onto the air and struggled to come up with something different." Behr also reckoned that, during the pilot rewrite process, Berman and Piller were entirely uncertain what was in the Gamma Quadrant nor how the show would be told. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 422 & 423)
  • Meanwhile, with the first draft of the pilot script having been written, Rick Berman and Michael Piller were working on revising it. Berman recollected, "He and I spent about a month working on it. We discussed it, we made changes, draft after draft, and finally we got it to a point where we were pretty happy with it. But no one had seen it except the two of us." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 423-424)
  • Michael Piller subsequently became dissatisfied with an aspect of the pilot script. "We had worked on it for a few weeks and Michael then became unhappy," Rick Berman related. "We were looking for a direction and, as is typical of Michael, he was frustrated and felt that something wasn't working." Piller himself stated, "When I looked at the teleplay, I was really troubled […] and I was extremely critical. Rick will tell you that throughout the process he had said to me things like 'It must be terrible waking up every morning and being as negative as you are.'" (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 424) Piller also stated, "Something was really bothering me [about the teleplay], and I couldn't figure out what the devil it was." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 20) Piller's dissatisfaction with the script reminded him of how he had responded to the TNG episode "Unification II" when he had first seen that installment. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 33)
  • There were actually several concerns with this episode's script that were frustrating Michael Piller. "What it turned out to be was [that] the first hour wasn't good enough," he recalled. "Through the introduction to Sisko we saw things on the station, and it scared the hell out of me [….] I was not falling in love with my own dialogue and my own characters [….] But I felt very strongly […] that the first hour was flat, that nothing happened and that it was basically dealing out the characters for everyone to see." Piller came to the opinion, too, that the characters existed without purpose in his first draft. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 20) He critiqued, "For me the first hour of the pilot [in the first draft] just lay there. It was flat and talky. It was all about introducing the characters and showing off Engineering and the Promenade, which looked like the Beverly Center [a glitzy Los Angeles mall]. It had no drama at all…." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., pp. 157-158) Piller felt not only that the depiction of the space station as essentially a comfortable resort "didn't work" but also that Sisko wasn't being portrayed heroically enough. Continued Piller, "I had also started thinking that it was not a dramatic situation for a man to come to the Beverly Center. It's not very dramatic for someone to go to their favorite mall and decide to stay." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 424)
  • Michael Piller came up with several solutions to these problems. "Finally, I went to Rick and said, 'We've got to throw out the first hour' [….] There's no drama in a man coming to the space station and deciding to stay [….] You can't show the beauty of the set and have this concept.'" (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 158) Instead, Piller wanted to have Commander Sisko behave more heroically. "I said, 'Sisko's not [yet] a hero. Sisko's got to come in and have something to do and have a problem that he has to deal with as a hero.' While our mystery is unfolding, which would ultimately blossom in the second hour," explained Piller, "Sisko must take this situation by the hand." Piller also opted to increase the dramatism of Sisko's arrival at the space station by having the facility be in ruins when he got there. The executive producer reasoned, "For a man who goes to South Central Los Angeles and finds it in ruins and decides to stay, that's dramatic." While Piller was going through his agonizing period of being frustrated with the script, there were riots in Los Angeles. The episode became an allegory for that disaster, as Piller and Berman wanted to include, as part of the alien interaction in the second half of the installment, something about humanity co-existing and uniting. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 424) Clarified Piller, "Rick was the first to verbalize it. He said, 'There is something our show has to say about humanity co-existing and coming together. We need to build this into the alien interaction that we have in the second hour of the script!'" (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 21) This approach would facilitate the notion of Sisko rounding up the other characters to help rebuild. Piller continued, "I said, 'That's drama and that will carry the first hour, […] but you have to blow up the set and then rebuild it during the first show in order for this to work.'" (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., pp. 158-159)
  • There was some initial dispute between Rick Berman and Michael Piller about whether the station was to be in ruins when Benjamin and Jake Sisko arrived there. Piller attested, "Rick will agree that I dragged him into this rewrite kicking and screaming [….] I argued with Rick that we should come to a space station that's in ruins and that Sisko must begin the rebuilding process in the first hour in order to be driving the story." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 424) Piller also recounted about this debate with Berman, "He said I was crazy [….] That was our one major argument during the script's development." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., pp. 158 & 159) Piller concluded, "I won that argument because I felt very strongly that this was something that had to be done." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 3, p. 6)
  • Inspired by the Los Angeles riots having highlighted the issue of divisiveness in contemporary society, Michael Piller accentuated the theme of coexistence in the second draft of the script. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 20)
  • Ultimately, both of the pilot's two co-writers were pleased with how the teleplay had been revised. "[Michael Piller] did a rewrite that was not a major rewrite at all," Rick Berman stated, "but it was a rewrite that brought into it the ideas that we had discussed all along that had to do with the 1992 Los Angeles riots; the idea of people rebuilding and of people living in an area that had been damaged and had been violated. And the spirit that goes into the rebuilding of it. It was a good change, but not a major change. More important than being a good change, it was a change that made Michael happy." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 424)
  • The revised final draft script was submitted on 10 August 1992. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library) This was merely weeks prior to the start of production. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 431)
  • One subsequent alteration which was made was the change of the doctor's surname from "Amoros" to "Bashir". This modification was done in the week between 11 and 18 August 1992. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 16) Indeed, Michael Piller continued to issue rewrites weeks into production on this episode. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 25 & 26)
  • A scene was cut from the teaser that had Sisko notifying the Saratoga's captain that the USS Gage, USS Kyushu, and USS Melbourne were deployed by Admiral J.P. Hanson. The latter two vessels were mentioned in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"; however, the Gage was a new reference (and went on to be included in the Star Trek Encyclopedia). The script also mentioned that Jake Sisko's birth occurs in 2360. However, this is contradicted in future episodes where his birth is said to have occurred in 2355. (A 2360 birth would make him only about nine years old in the first season.)
  • In the script, Sisko had some trouble getting onto the station, since the Cardassians had stripped the airlocks of essential parts and stray radiation prevented transporter activity. O'Brien finally managed to open an airlock manually and introduced himself to Sisko. The finished episode has both of them touring the damaged Promenade as the very first scene set aboard the station. The transporter is used later in the episode without problems, though the last scene of the episode still mentions difficulties involving the airlocks.
  • Another line cut involved Sisko talking to a university official on Earth, who had offered him an assignment, which Sisko seriously considered. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library) Director David Carson noted, "I think it was felt by the studio that we should tilt the balance back to more affability; certain things were taken out of the script, like looking for other jobs." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 40)
  • The script stated that a "knife-like" weapon was to be thrown at Odo during the looting scene on the Promenade. This was replaced with a weapon similar to a flail, thrown like a bolo. Additionally, Odo was to shift his upper mid-body out of shape. However, this was replaced with him only shifting his head.
  • During Sisko's first meeting with the Prophets, the script stated that any extras within fifty feet of the camera's position were to stop whatever activity they were doing and pay curious attention to Sisko. Any extras beyond the fifty-foot range were to act like "atmosphere" and continue "human activity". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
  • The script didn't feature any description nor any mention at all of an ATM machine which was designed as part of the Promenade set. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 429)
  • Prior to DS9 premiering, documentation which detailed this episode's plot was given to freelance writers who were interested in writing for the series, many of whose story ideas ended up never being produced. "All they had to read was this pilot with all these new characters and a new environment that none of them knew," observed Ira Steven Behr, of the limited research material available to the freelancers. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 29)

Cast and characters Edit

  • When Michelle Forbes declined to appear in this pilot (and the subsequent series), she was fully aware of what was written in the episode's script. "We showed it to Michelle," revealed Michael Piller, "and she said, 'It's a great script, but I really just don't want to commit to a long-term deal. I don't want to be in a series.'" (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 18)
  • Michael Piller noted that this installment represents a pivotal moment for the character of Sisko, about whom Piller explained, "He is sent on a quest and in this whole pilot episode it is a personal quest for a man who has lost his way and must conquer the dragon, but in this case he must conquer his personal dragons in order to move on with his life and to grow as a man and to be a good father and to be a good officer. And so what we will find in this show is a man who is coming to Deep Space Nine, but is coming to find himself." (Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Unauthorized Story, pp. 9-10)
  • Ronald D. Moore likewise observed that the degree to which this episode concentrates on the characters helped set it apart. "The characters were front and center right from the pilot," he remarked. "'Emissary' was about Benjamin Sisko. You won't find such a deeply personal journey for the lead character in pilots of TOS, TNG, or VOY." (AOL chat, 1998)
  • When it came time to cast the role of Sisko, Producer David Livingston gave Casting Director Junie Lowry-Johnson the task of sending the script for this episode to Avery Brooks, who was meanwhile on vacation in the Caribbean. "I said, 'Send him the script on his vacation,' which she did and the rest is history," noted Livingston. It was Brooks' agent who actually gave the script to the actor. "He said I have a script you might want to read," Brooks remembered. "I read it and I was thrilled about it. The writing was extraordinary, the story very compelling, and so I pursued it." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 434-435) The actor also stated about this episode, "The pilot was about a man trying to find peace in the face of personal loss. I was moved by the beauty and complexity of the story." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 0) He also termed it "a very complicated story, as a matter of fact." ("Deep Space Nine Scrapbook Year One", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features) Even from the very start, Brooks was aware the teleplay was following on from a long legacy of storytelling. "Indeed, when I first read the script, it was very clear to me," he acknowledged, "that Rick Berman and Michael Piller were continuing this… vision." ("Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features) According to Rick Berman, Brooks was given sides to audition with. (What We Left Behind) He was cast mere days before the episode entered production. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 330)
  • Avery Brooks especially approved of how the story features a black man as the series' lead character. "The strength of the pilot 'Emissary', in which a single human being must defend all humankind against some other intelligence in the universe, was especially appealing," he commented. "That the human being selected is a person of color says a lot about the spirit of this entire series, and gives hope to children of all races that they can affect positive change, both in their lives and in the lives of others." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 52) Brooks also appreciated how the episode portrays the interaction between his character of Sisko and that of Kai Opaka. "If you think 400 years hence and then look far back at the history of African people, there has always been a connection to the divine, to the spiritual. So, this Kai Opaka, this exchange Sisko has with her, is fascinating," he remarked. "Sisko's spirit is not quite at peace yet, so the exchanges with her are quite extraordinary." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 2, p. 15) Brooks additionally liked how the episode's story brought together various cultures. "The kind of message it presents, again, of course, about this intersecting of cultures, the need for us to find a way to live together. In an allegorical way, to, you know, bring positive messages about our contemporary society. I mean, all those things are in the script." ("Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
  • On the other hand, Avery Brooks found it very difficult to perform in this episode, since much of it was shot on Paramount soundstages. "Working inside requires that you not lose your energy or your focus or your concentration," he said. "After 12 or 13 hours, your body wants to go home. The pilot was particularly difficult." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 27; Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 15)
  • In general, Avery Brooks was pleased to participate in the episode's making. "I must say that although the pilot was very grueling, to be involved in that very compelling story was wonderful," he reflected. "I enjoyed telling that story. It fascinated me." (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 29)
Nana Visitor and David Carson

Nana Visitor and David Carson during the filming of this episode

  • The episode's script was also sent to Kira actress Nana Visitor. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 17) She found that, when she first read the teleplay, it fully presented Kira as an imperfect character who nonetheless had a powerful presence. "That was one reason I was so excited when I read the script," Visitor said. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 451) She clarified, "I was attracted to the script right away by the strength of my character." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 176) Visitor also commented, "This script jumped out from among all the other silly sitcoms and weirdo things of the season. All I saw was this incredibly strong woman, great writing and emotionally connected scenes." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 21)
  • Bashir actor Alexander Siddig first received the script for this episode while the role of DS9's chief medical officer was still to have the surname "Amoros" and was Hispanic. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 439)
  • The episode's teleplay was also sent to Odo actor Rene Auberjonois. (Section 31 hidden file 04, DS9 Season 1 DVD) He was immediately astonished by the quality of the script. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., pp. 173-175) "When the pilot script of Deep Space Nine came to me and I read it and I saw this wonderful character, and the script itself, I was very excited," he said. "I see a lot of scripts, and this was something special." (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 30) In particular, the way the script portrayed the Odo character appealed to Auberjonois. "When I first read the pilot script, even though Odo's character was quite sketchy, the fact that he didn't know where he was from and didn't know if there were any others like him was what was most fascinating to me," the actor explained. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 476) Auberjonois was cast as Odo very soon before the episode entered production. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 95)
  • Quark actor Armin Shimerman described the presentment of his character in this episode as "darker" than usual, which he commented was "good," as Shimerman always felt more confident playing drama than comedy. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 90)
  • After originally being asked to audition for the Jadzia Dax role on a Friday morning, Terry Farrell – time-pressured because she had other auditions scheduled that same day – had to collect and read the sides, rather than the full script, only an hour before she went in for her first audition. At the audition, Rick Berman asked her to read the second scene. "I said, 'I didn't know there was a second scene. I don't have the second scene,'" recalled Farrell. The news that she was unaware of this second scene frustrated Berman, but he requested that she read it after attending her other audition, which she proceeded to do, going on to be ecstatically cast as Dax. (Section 31 hidden file 06, DS9 Season 1 DVD)
  • The way that the role of Jadzia Dax was written in this episode put Terry Farrell under pressure when she was trying out for the part. "That was some heavy-duty stuff to throw at someone, that dialogue and everything," she commented. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 453) What particularly flummoxed her was the technobabble in the script. "That's what really upset me during the pilot because I didn't even know where to start. What am I talking about? I'd try to relate it to a car, and it wasn't working," she reflected. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 26) Farrell also stated, "I felt lost with all the technobabble. I was running around the set yelling, 'I… don't… get… it!' I was so miserable I wanted them to fire me." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 0) Added Rene Auberjonois, "When she came into the show, she did not know what she was doing. She didn't know how to act, she didn't know how anything. This was her graduate school." (What We Left Behind) However, Farrell was pleased with how the episode turned out, being particularly affected emotionally by the relatable storyline involving Sisko's grief. "Every time I see the pilot, I start to cry," she admitted. "I must have watched it at least six times." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 41)
  • To audition for the role of Kai Opaka, Camille Saviola read the scene in which Opaka reads Sisko's pagh. Casting her mind back to the making of this outing in retrospect, Saviola remarked, "I remember how interesting it was to shoot certain scenes. In one scene I went down these spiral steps, but then, with the green screen and effect, I was descending through water. Or when I opened the housing for the orb, there was nothing there, so I had to fill in the blanks. It was interesting to see the episode and how, in post-production, they transformed those things and made them real." [1]
  • Max Grodénchik, credited as the Ferengi pit boss, later played the recurring character Rom, Nog's father and Quark's brother.
Vulcan Saratoga captain

J.G. Hertzler

  • J.G. Hertzler, credited as "Vulcan Captain" under the name "John Noah Hertzler", is well-known for his later portrayal of Klingon General/Chancellor Martok. He also played Laas in the seventh season episode "Chimera", under the name "Garman Hertzler". Before winning the role of the Saratoga's Vulcan captain in this episode, he had no expectations of even heading to Hollywood, planning instead to do theater in Washington, D.C., one reason he was thrilled to appear in this outing. "It was pretty exciting," he enthused, "because I think I had a little scene with Patrick Stewart [….] Doing that first show, it was pretty incredible to me. This was Star Trek. The fact that I'd ever come to work on a Star Trek show and drive through the arches of Paramount Pictures to get there? It hadn't occurred to me that, as an actor, that would ever happen [….] That was just a remarkable experience. Being a part of the big dream factory called Hollywood, I never thought I'd go there." [2]
  • This episode reunited Hertzler with Patrick Stewart. They had spent several summers working together, because Stewart had run a Shakespeare workshop on the lot at Paramount on Saturdays. [3]
  • Majel Barrett, as the Saratoga and Rio Grande computer voice, was participating in her third (out of three, at the time) live-action Star Trek series, having played Nurse Chapel in The Original Series and Lwaxana Troi (and, of course, the Enterprise computer) on The Next Generation.
  • This was the first of thirty-five appearances of Gul Dukat in DS9. The character was played by Marc Alaimo throughout DS9's seven-year run, although he was not the original choice for the role. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 16)
  • This was also the first of forty-five appearances of Nog. The character was eventually transformed from petty thief to Starfleet's first-ever Ferengi officer.
  • Marc Alaimo, Aron Eisenberg, Max Grodénchik, Hertzler and Mark Allen Shepherd (as Morn) are the only actors, apart from the regulars, to appear in both this series-opening episode and the series finale, "What You Leave Behind".
  • This is the second of two Star Trek premieres in which Patrick Stewart delivers the first spoken lines. He previously delivered the opening captain's log in TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint" as Jean-Luc Picard (as well as the first spoken line on the bridge during that episode), and then spoke the opening lines of this episode as Locutus. "Emissary" is Stewart's only Star Trek appearance without Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker).
Shooting on the runabout set for Emissary

David Carson with Avery Brooks and Terry Farrell, whose respective roles of Sisko and Dax were cast late

  • Costume Designer Robert Blackman noted, "They cast early." However, there were actually significant delays in the casting of this episode. "Everybody had the necessary patience to not say yes because we had to start shooting," stated David Carson. "In fact, some of the roles weren't cast until we were three weeks into [filming] it." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 431, 432 & 449) Carson himself was deeply involved in the casting process. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 329) Most of the main roles, apart from Sisko and Dax, were cast by the time the production start date was set and began looming over the pre-production efforts. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 23)
  • During pre-production, the majority of the cast rehearsed this episode, with rehearsals begun in early August 1992. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 14) However, David Carson felt that the late casting of some actors was a hindrance for filming their performances in this installment. He commented, "One of the great weaknesses we had because our casting was left till so late was we did not have enough time to rehearse. Normally that doesn't matter in television because you're not dealing with things that are rehearsable, but this project was so complicated in some of its philosophical content and so difficult, it would have benefited all of us greatly and helped in the graduation of the characters through the scenes." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 39)

Pre-production Edit

  • Pre-production on "Emissary" began the week of 11 August 1992. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 16)
  • That this double-length episode would be extremely challenging was evident to David Livingston, who had originally been hired to work on "Encounter at Farpoint". "I had the same anxieties and hesitations about even wanting to do 'Emissary'," Livingston expressed, "because I knew what a struggle it was going to be [….] It was a pilot, and we had all forgotten what that was like." Livingston notified the rest of the DS9 production team that, whereas working on TNG had been much easier, things were about to change. "I told everyone it was going to be tough [….] I said it's all going to change," he recalled. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 431 & 432)
  • When pre-production talks that included such topics as the make-up requirements for the then-new show started, no script had yet been submitted. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, p. 27) The teleplay wasn't immediately provided to Herman Zimmerman either; for quite a few weeks while he was designing the DS9 space station, he had no access to the script for this episode, nor for any other DS9 installment. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 427)
  • An extremely high budget was allocated for the making of this episode. Referring to the set construction budget, Production Designer Herman Zimmerman commented, "We spent more money on Deep Space Nine's pilot than we were allowed to spend on Star Trek VI." Reportedly, the episode had a budget of approximately US$12 million, of which US$2 million were used for the sets. These extraordinarily high costs meant the episode was one of the most expensive TV pilots ever produced. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 10, 18 & 39) Ronald D. Moore referred to this as one of the most expensive installments of the entire DS9 series. (AOL chat, 1997) The episode's budget of over US$12 million was used for such elements as designing and crafting, from scratch, all the sets for DS9's interior, as well as new designs and sets for the runabout. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 0, "'Emissary' Datafile")
  • As it turned out, David Livingston believed that the creation of many new elements – including the sets, the cast, the wardrobe, and the makeup designs – indeed made the episode's creation very challenging. "The pilot was hard," he admitted. "Fortunately, I didn't have to deal with the day-to-day minutiae of a production manager and I could sort of sit back a little bit." This was because Livingston hired Robert della Santina as production manager, and found he "took care of everything" for Livingston, though the making of the episode was still hard to pull off. "It was tough [….] It wasn't like just doing another episode or a double episode," Livingston continued. "It's doing a whole new thing again." As such, he felt validated in his earlier claims that everything was about to change. "That was true. It did. It was very difficult," Livingston concluded. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 431-432) In agreement, Santina exclaimed, "It was a huge undertaking!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 8)
  • The delays in the creation of this episode were not only in the casting but also in the set construction. "There were so many dynamics working: building all these new sets and a whole new cast and new wardrobe," related David Livingston. "Michael Westmore had to create a bunch of new makeups, including Odo's, which was very difficult." Robert Blackman recalled about the problematic unavailability of the cast, "We couldn't get them [for fittings] until one week before the show started shooting. The principals arrived pretty much at the same time, but for an episode where there was a lot for them to do and a lot of multiple costumes, it was difficult. Sisko had six or seven outfits to wear in the pilot." Moreover, a total of twelve Cardassian costumes were created, by Blackman's costume department, for this episode (eleven of which were hereafter used in TNG). (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 430 & 432)
  • The assortment of props required for this episode included the case for a Bajoran Orb. Knowing Bajoran religion would play a major role in the forthcoming series, a lot of care was taken in creating the prop. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 145)
  • Three huge soundstages on the Paramount lot were needed for the making of this episode. (Deep Space Nine Chronicles) The set of the Saratoga's escape pod was a redress of the front section of the runabout. To film Jake's birth scene, the Enterprise-D sickbay set was selected.(citation needededit)
  • While working on the sets for this episode, Herman Zimmerman had a conversation with Michael Okuda. "He said something very poignant when we were probably halfway through the set construction of the first two-hour [DS9 episode] and very heavily into doing all the details," Zimmerman revealed about Okuda. "He said [the show is] beginning to have a life of its own." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 6)
  • David Carson was invited to direct this pilot episode and was pleased to be given the opportunity. "I have a feeling that the darker, grittier tone is one of the reasons they wanted me to direct the pilot," he reckoned. "They wanted my experience with grit in Star Trek. This was a much grittier environment than the Enterprise, which was part of the attraction." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 420) Rick Berman countered, though, that noir hadn't entered the equation for selecting the director and that it was more due to the fact that he had worked on TNG beforehand. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, pp. 30 & 31) Regarding the invite itself, Carson remembered, "Rick came up to me and said, 'Would you like to do it?'" [4]
  • For David Carson, the challenge of filming the episode was another part of the appeal. "It was […] wonderfully challenging because you've got a lot of people you mustn't let down," he said. "But it's a good challenge." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 21)
  • The part David Carson was given in creating this episode was clear to him. "Unlike a lot of shows, where you're sort of stabbing in the dark, here you had a lot of background," he explained. "I think if they had decided to make major departures from the way everything had been, it may have been a different kettle of fish. Because the producers made sure they were sticking very closely to Gene Roddenberry's mapped-down path, we were really continuing the inheritance, as it were. My job as director rather than as writer was to make it look better, be bigger, be more effective and communicate better than it had before." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 21) Clarifying what missions he was given in terms of what the pilot had to accomplish, Carson also stated, "Well, my first mission was to stay within budget. And then we had to make sure that 'Emissary' was really, really good, that it satisfied the fans and, at the same time we had to make a sequel that was going to broaden the Star Trek universe [….] So we had to make a production that would allow us to make it as varied as possible in terms of style and atmosphere. All of it was designed to make it clear that we were going to a darker place with the series and that it was therefore going to [be] different from TNG and TOS, yet hopefully adhere to the same principles." [5]
  • Due to the complexity of this episode's script, David Carson was granted an extensive pre-production period to determine various technical issues. "Some of the things that had to be dealt with were complex optical and special FX sequences," he remembered, during the production phase, "so I had to be well prepared ahead of time with all the departments working together. We had to plan it like you would plan a feature film, holding meetings to develop things, dealing with the complexity of the various sets and the cost of items. As we started realising that many things couldn't be done because of the large, prohibitive cost, we had to find imaginative solutions and clever ways of achieving the same emotional and physical effects from a different way around. It was like approaching an enormous jigsaw puzzle." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 0, "Directing 'Emissary'")
  • When he joined the project, David Carson sensed the creative personnel were nervously excited about the episode's creation. "I think everybody knew they were going to do this brand-new series and that it was going to be the first without Gene Roddenberry," Carson observed. "So there was a certain amount [of] anticipation or apprehension about it because it was very much the goal to do something that would not just carry the franchise forward, but would at the same time perhaps move the whole thing into places where none of the series had gone before. That sounds like the slogan for Star Trek, doesn't it? To boldly go." [6]
  • The arrival of David Carson had an impact on the creation of the sets. He recalled, "The sets were a little way along when I joined the project because they were so enormously complicated and cost so much money. I found I was able to make suggestions Rick and Herman liked, particularly with a view to the ease of shooting the sets." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 14-15)
  • David Carson was careful not to get too involved in the responsibilities of the other production personnel, including Rick Berman. "You have to be aware that if you're doing a pilot, as I was with Deep Space Nine, all of these people are planning for seven years of work," Carson reasoned. "You're doing two hours of material, but after those two hours, it's 'Thank you very much. Good-bye.' Therefore, they have to make decisions which affect your two-hour show, because they are making their decisions for the future of the series [….] In Rick's and my relationship, we […] worked closely and happily together on […] the pilot of Deep Space Nine, but within the parameters that I described." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 324)
  • David Carson characterized the making of this episode by comparing it to the illusory alien land Sisko sees while in the wormhole, since that relied on personal interpretation, just as with the elements from the script page. "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," Carson related. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 12)
  • Quark's prosthetic nose wasn't ready in time for the filming of this episode, so Armin Shimerman had to wear the nose made for Max Grodénchik. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) There also wasn't time, due to the late casting of Rene Auberjonois, to do the kind of extensive makeup tests that the role of Odo ideally called for. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 95)
  • Nonetheless, a few months after David Carson was invited to direct this episode, the creative staff moved ahead with the installment's creation. [7]

Production Edit

Filming Emissary

Filming "Emissary" – Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton look out on what will become a shot of Deep Space 9

  • This episode entered production on Tuesday, 18 August 1992. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 39; The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, p. xiv) On that day, Nana Visitor had a make-up call at 4:45 a.m., and fellow Bajoran-playing actor Gene Armor had a make-up call at 5 a.m., whereas Avery Brooks as well as Colm Meaney were to report to the make-up department at 6 a.m. All four actors then had a set call at 7 a.m. There was also a crew call at the same time on Paramount Stage 4, where all the scenes that day were to be shot. The filming started at 7:30 a.m. (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, p. xiv)
  • The newness of Ops to the audience as well as to the cast of characters was emphasized, as was the sense of tension, by lighting the set with relatively lower light levels and with more contrast than it went on to have. "In the pilot, it was broken down and wasn't working," stated Marvin Rush. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 12)
  • This episode's production involved using a camera crane. "On the pilot, we used an Enlouva with a hothead, which is essentially very similar to the python and to the Louma," Marvin Rush specified. Setting the equipment up took a lot of time. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 93)
  • The first shot of principal photography was filmed on the Ops set – the scene where Sisko enters the command center for the first time. Marvin Rush's inspiration in dealing with the scene was primarily logistical. The task was to introduce the primary setting of Ops to the viewers in an interesting way, presenting to them all the details of the area in a deceptively casual manner that hid the intricacy of the shot. "David Carson and I designed the shot with a servo-remote-controlled camera crane," noted Rush. A very wide-angle lens was also used to film the shot, which proved to be a time-consuming task. "We knew it would take all day to get it, and it did," said Rush. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 16-17)
  • To film footage of DS9's Promenade, Make-Up Supervisor Michael Westmore needed the participation of every makeup artist he could find. "I had about 15 makeup artists and we had to start at 4 a.m. in order to have everybody ready on time," Westmore remembered. "There were over 40 people in appliances for the Promenade; that includes Bajorans, Cardassians, Ferengi and everything else. There were also many different alien races running around that weren't from any particular civilization. They didn't have any dialogue; we just made them up for a couple of big days, and that's all they worked. We filmed in the exterior of the Promenade for about three days." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, p. 29)
  • On the first day of production, ten alien characters, who had been newly designed with the intent of appearing on the Promenade or in Quark's Bar, paraded across the Promenade. At that point, David Carson saw the alien which, much later, became Morn and said he wanted him to be a character in the bar. Carson told the actor playing the part, Mark Allen Shepherd, to sit on a stool at the end of the bar, where Shepherd proceeded to stay. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 148) He was told that Morn was telling "the funniest joke in the universe" when the character is seen in Quark's Bar. (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
  • For the scene in which O'Brien shows Benjamin and Jake Sisko their quarters on DS9, A-camera filmed close-up footage, at least three takes, of Colm Meaney on 21 August 1993. On one of the takes, he jumped in feigned shock when the clapperboard was shut. (What We Left Behind)
Shooting on the Promenade set for Emissary

Filming a scene on the Promenade's upper level with a camera crane and dolly

  • The scene in which, on the Promenade's upper deck, Odo stops Kira, while Dax and Bashir accompany her, and insists he go with them on an away mission to the Bajoran wormhole was filmed with a camera crane and dolly. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 25)
  • The lighting for the scene in which Sisko meets Kai Opaka on Bajor was inspired by a sight Marvin Rush had seen years earlier. While sitting with his wife in their backyard Jacuzzi one night, he had been struck by how she happened to look, illuminated by three light sources. These were: a fluorescent light from their kitchen behind and above her that backlit her hair; a light in the Jacuzzi that was filtered through the water and cast a very soft, diffused uplight on her face; and light on her cheek from a very small segment of the moon, which was visible in the night sky. Rush planned to use the same lighting setup one day. He eventually did so in this episode. To film the moment when Opaka touches Sisko's ear with the intention of exploring his pagh, actress Camille Saviola was backlit by bright light, with a softer light source illuminating her face. Meanwhile, there was a mirror at the bottom of a nearby pool of water that bounced a light aimed in its direction up into her face, thereby creating a third source of light. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 17)
  • Making this episode look as good as they could on-screen was a shared goal of all involved. "We made tremendous efforts in the two-hour show to put a lot of production value on the screen," explained David Carson, "to make it seem not like a TV movie but a really big, thunderous movie that you would sit in the movie house and see – and to give it a feeling of scale and complexity in the way that we shot it and the way that I directed the actors." Agreed Michael Piller, "We […] used all the effects and gags at our command in the pilot." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 21 & 32)
  • The filming of this episode was an extremely arduous process, complicated by the delays in casting and set construction. These made it a far more difficult shoot than "Encounter at Farpoint". (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 431) The grueling nature of working on this episode, shooting late into the night, was despite the fact that the project had a multi-million dollar budget. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 88) According to David Carson, however, the making of this episode was very pleasant. "It was an extremely enjoyable experience," he reminisced. "We all had a great time doing it." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 39) From his own perspective, Carson acknowledged, "I really loved working on the script, trying to bring it to life and working with [the cast]." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 0, "Directing 'Emissary'"; Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 23)
  • The production schedule was affected by the troubled casting process. "We had to change the schedule around to accommodate it," stated David Carson. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 449)
  • The first week of production was particularly difficult for the costume department to keep up with the demands that the shooting schedule had on the creation of new costumes. "We had a lot of the background costumes started, but the shooting schedule started changing when they didn't have Dax cast," Robert Blackman explained. "The more they would pull stuff up from the fifth week of shooting and stick it into the first week, the more you're completely unprepared. It was amazing […] we pulled it off." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 432)
  • The filming of the episode was made more difficult due to the myriad script changes, especially because it was a conceptually challenging teleplay exploring relatively complex subjects. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 41)
  • Owing to the last-minute script revisions, the delays in the casting process and the constant shifting of the production schedule, the DS9 production staffers were prone to refer to the difficult project as "Deep Shit Nine". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 88)
  • Midway through an arduous evening of filming this installment, TNG stars Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner enthusiastically arrived, surprising the DS9 production crew, and started to sing, dance and perform vaudeville routines, attempting to raise the crew's spirits. The shooting company was indeed highly appreciative but, after the trio finished their schtick, they just as quickly departed, having exhilarated the fatigued cast and crew. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 88)
Terry Farrell make-up tweak during Emissary production

During a break in the filming of this episode, Terry Farrell has her make-up tweaked

  • Terry Farrell didn't begin to shoot her scenes until 1 September 1992, the eleventh day of principal photography, by which time most of the cast and crew had gotten to know each other. Left no time to practice her lines with the other actors, she initially found the whole experience intimidating to the point of being overwhelming, taking up to fifteen takes to get some of the technobabble correct. At one stage during a blocking rehearsal on the Ops set, she actually hoped she would be fired. "Everyone was overtired, […] and they were getting frustrated and rolling their eyes," Farrell remembered. "Every take made me more nervous." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) She also remarked, "First day in Ops, I was a nervous wreck." (Section 31 hidden file 06, DS9 Season 1 DVD) Nevertheless, Farrell proceeded to shoot all her scenes during the last few weeks of filming. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 14-15) "I was stressed to death," she admitted. "They did all my stuff in one week, and I had the flu and my period and was shooting sixteen-hour days." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 25) Farrell went on to say, "It took me about four weeks […] before I felt like I was, 'Okay, I'm at work now.' I felt like it was happening to somebody else. It was just one of the most exciting things that's ever happened to me, and everybody was so… excited, and everything was so rushed, and… I was so overwhelmed. It was great," she said, smiling. (Section 31 hidden file 06, DS9 Season 1 DVD)
  • With the cast now finally assembled, the production crew went into overdrive during the filming of this episode. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 181) The overall mood on the set, in Bob della Santina's words, was, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 7-8) The principal photography continued even though some of the sets were still being completed. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 26)
  • Part of the scene in which O'Brien shows Sisko his first view of the Promenade went before the cameras on 3 September 1992. On that day, B-camera shot the first take of this footage with Avery Brooks and Colm Meaney. (What We Left Behind)
Dax TNG Trill

Footage of Terry Farrell wearing a Trill facial prosthetic

  • At first, one scene involving Terry Farrell included a prosthetic appliance that represented the Trill facial design. The episode's production was ongoing when the decision was made to redesign Farrell's Trill makeup scheme. "We had only shot one of her scenes, which they wanted to redo for some other reason," recalled Michael Westmore, "so they took a new look at the makeup and basically decided on going with a pattern on her skin, as opposed to an appliance." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, p. 28) Two days of the production schedule were used for reshooting the scene. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 25)
  • As the production of the episode wore on, the actors tried to get the dynamic right between Dax and Sisko, bearing in mind the longevity of the Dax symbiont and how mature the character of Jadzia Dax was therefore meant to be. "The first scene I had with [Avery Brooks] where he called me 'old man', I had to pull Avery aside," Terry Farrell remembered. "He was saying it to me so stern [….] So, I pulled him aside and I said, 'Avery, I am so sorry but… you're so much more mature than I am, and I'm only twenty-eight. I can't top you, and I need your help. I'm really nervous about this, but, I can't be your mentor, it's clear.'" Regarding how Brooks thereafter changed, Farrell stated, "His performance wasn't as intense, it wasn't as intimidating. He pulled back a little bit." (What We Left Behind)
  • The Dax flashback scene required Michael Westmore to hand-draw more Trill spots on Terry Farrell's body than he usually needed to. "I had to continue the spots down her body," he noted. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 31)
Filming fishing scene from Emissary

Filming the episode's holographic fishing scene on location

Post-production Edit

Effects Edit

  • Two hundred and fifty special effects shots were created for this episode. (Deep Space Nine Chronicles) Eighty-one of those were visual effects. (Movie Magic – "Space Effects: The Space Race")
  • Visual Effects Supervisor Robert Legato was told to film the Battle of Wolf 359 prior to the start of live-action production. With no stock footage of the battle, Legato was given free reign to make it up from scratch, so he enjoyed devising the sequence. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 17) The battle, specifically the visual effects passes, went on to be one of the first sequences filmed. (Movie Magic – "Space Effects: The Space Race") "We just made as huge a fight as we could make in our time frame," noted Legato. ("Deep Space Nine Scrapbook Year One", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features) The battle sequence was originally more complex than it ended up, however. "I had tons of debris in all the shots," Legato said. "Ships that were burning, on fire, flying past the camera." Legato even ensured that all the debris was marked with the same names as the vessels which, in "The Best of Best Worlds, Part II", are referred to as having been in the battle. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 18) The work that went into designing the battle sequence also included the destruction of the Saratoga, which was shot on a Paramount soundstage, rather than at Image G due to the use of explosives. (Movie Magic – "Space Effects: The Space Race") Filming the battle sequence took approximately thirteen or fourteen days, whereas only four days were usually used to shoot the visual effects for a regular episode. (""Deep Space Nine Scrapbook Year One", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features) After the filming was done, it was made clear to Legato that this episode would concentrate on only the start of the battle, rather than joining the starships mid-fray. As a result, he had to return to the sequence and take out all the ships that were deemed extraneous, much to his disappointment. "It was a heartbreaker," he lamented, "because it was a ton of work and very good-looking stuff." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 18)
  • The views of the Deep Space 9 space station in this episode were filmed with a variety of four newly built, large-scale miniatures of the starbase, the largest of which was six feet by six feet. These four models were used by Rob Legato and his team to shoot the relevant visual effects shots. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 32)
  • The uses of this episode's budget included not only the high cost of staging footage of the Borg offensive at Wolf 359 but also special new effects to depict the Bajoran wormhole. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 0, "'Emissary' Datafile") Although the scene in which the wormhole is discovered only takes about six seconds of screen time in this episode, it was shot over an extensive fourteen-week period. The sequence was achieved by depicting the wormhole with CGI, rendered in full resolution on Silicon Graphics Indigo workstations. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, pp. 111 & 124)
  • Live-action footage for the sequence of Dax and Sisko within the wormhole, shot on a blue-screen stage, was one of the last sequences filmed, on 22 September 1992. (Movie Magic - "Space Effects: The Space Race")
  • For the scene depicting Sisko inside the wormhole with the Prophets, Director David Carson and Director of Photography Marvin Rush used diffusion filters as well as incredibly bright lights and overexposed the image so as to achieve the effect of the white light "bleeding" onto Sisko's face. Recalled Rush, "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." Despite the extraordinary filming conditions, Avery Brooks put up with the discomfort, not even letting it noticeably affect his performance, in the knowledge that it was motivated by the requirements of the scene and the script. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 17) As Sisko's conversation with the Prophets progresses and tension mounts, Sisko is shown several times staring forward intently and engulfed by the extremely bright white light. With each shot, the camera zooms progressively closer on Brooks' face until immediately after the Bajoran wormhole closes, when it shows only his eyes.
  • The scene in which Odo, played by Rene Auberjonois, morphs to avoid a knife thrown at him was another sequence that required visual effects. "Rene was shot against blue screen and the knife was shot against blue screen; then we composited those together, with the knife apparently going through him," explained Visual Effects Supervisor Gary Hutzel. "In effect, we had a 3D representation of Rene, which was revealed by the 2D skin wipe, and then we transitioned him into a blobby state and from there we put him wherever he needed to be (away from the knife), and then changed him back into whatever he needed to be (whole again)." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 164)

Soundtrack Edit

  • "Emissary" required a considerable amount of dialogue looping, mainly due to how many scenes had been shot on location. David Carson commented, "We had to do a tremendous amount of looping in the pilot. Even the scenes we did on the beach. I wanted a high sea in the background, but the pounding waves drowned out the dialogue, so you get all these conflicts between sound and picture which on normal television cannot exist. One these things you make sure that the picture has all the qualities in it that you need, even though those qualities – like fire and water – make a lot of noise which interferes with the dialogue." (The Deep Space Log Book: A First Season Companion, p. 27)

Reshoots Edit

  • Michael Piller noted that, at his insistence, Rick Berman ultimately authorized the reshooting of "major sequences." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 40)
  • All of the reshot scenes were from the first half of the episode. Several of these scenes, including Sisko's first scene with Kira and part of the scene with Sisko and Jake in their quarters, involved Avery Brooks. From Michael Piller's perspective, the reshoots were because he wanted to make Sisko a more personable and likable character early in the episode. "We asked Avery to go back in with Nana and reshoot a couple of things and make a few changes that softened him," said Piller. Rick Berman added, "The stuff that we reshot is very normal on a pilot. We probably did less than most two-hour pilots. It wasn't a question of making [Sisko] more sympathetic, as far as I was concerned. I think Michael and I had very specific ideas about what we wanted, and the actors were just getting their feet wet." The reshot footage Berman had the clout to order was filmed by David Carson, who was happy to reshoot the scenes. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 40) The reshoots also included several with Terry Farrell. Addressing the need for those scenes to be reshot, Michael Piller stated, "She had a cold." Not reshot was Sisko's scene with Quark, even though Piller wanted to reshoot it. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 100) Ira Steven Behr cited the reshoots as one of multiple results of Paramount granting their money and support to the start-up of the new series, to the point of giving the launch of the show "every chance in the world" to succeed. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 30)

Concluding the filming Edit

Editing Edit

  • Rick Berman was heavily involved in the editing of this episode. "Rick spent week after week in the editing room recutting, trimming, patching and fixing," recalled Michael Piller. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 40)
  • Reviewing the first few days of dailies involving Terry Farrell as Dax was what influenced the Paramount executives to issue the ultimatum that her makeup needed to be changed. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 26)
  • Twenty-four minutes of footage were cut out of "Emissary". Many of the scene deletions were from the installment's teaser and took place aboard the USS Saratoga. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 40) According to Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 182), the reason the extended version of the Borg battle sequence was trimmed down was to save expenses. However, David Carson implied that the trims were in order to shorten the episode to fit the right time, remarking, "When you try and bring it down to time, everybody loses something." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 40)
  • Hoping the deleted scenes might be restored at some point, David Carson felt he missed the absent footage. He commented, "I think there are sections of ['Emissary'] I would like to see back [….] There are details of storytelling I liked having in there. I always liked the balance of the teaser at a slightly longer length with some more details of exactly how Sisko finds everybody during the Borg attack and where they all are. As far as television is concerned, the special-effects people did such a wonderful job that its excitement was sustainable for longer." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 40-41)
  • The shot showing Sisko arriving in Ops for the first time was trimmed too; the first part of the shot was slightly cut so as to save time. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 16)
  • Another of the deleted scenes featured Sisko meeting with Opaka again, to return the Orb. In this scene, he told her that fourteen planets had contacted the Federation to open trade links through Bajoran space. He tried to tell her that he believed the Prophets to be wormhole aliens, but she told him she did not wish to hear this. She then advised him, "That is why a disbeliever was destined to seek them – one should never look into the eyes of his own gods…." She also told Sisko that his journey was only beginning. Rick Berman considered this to be "a wonderful scene" and one he regretted had to be removed for time: "I miss it all. There's a wonderful scene where Sisko goes back down to Bajor to return the Orb to Kai Opaka that we took out. Cutting is horrible, especially when it's something so close to you as the pilot was." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 40)

Reception Edit

  • How this episode would be received was a highly important factor in the potential success of the DS9 TV series. As such, this installment carried the responsibility of not just retaining viewers who were interested in the new show, attracted by the hype preceding its initial broadcast; the episode also had to prove to established Star Trek fans that a show set in Gene Roddenberry's sci-fi universe but without the input of Roddenberry himself could be as good, if not better, than the two Star Trek series he had created. This outing also had the additional obligation of familiarizing viewers with a totally different Star Trek cast. This included endearing the new ensemble to jaded Star Trek viewers who were ready to denounce the DS9 cast as not meeting the standard set by the previous crews of the USS Enterprise. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 32)
  • Michael Piller ultimately regarded this episode as successful. He stated, "Everybody seemed to love [the script]." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 23; Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 20) From his own perspective, he remarked, "I thought we had a very ambitious pilot. I think the script that I wrote attempted to do things you don't ever see on television; that's really what you have to try to do if you want to be doing interesting, creative things. We took a lot of risks, and it was very ambitious [….] When I saw it on film for the first time, I was blown away and realized it finally worked." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 40) Piller specifically thought highly of the installment's teaser. "It's a great backstory for our hero, and it's a piece of action that our audience has heard about and heard on the sound monitors and never seen [….] What could be a better way to open the show than to have Jean-Luc Picard as Locutus on screen saying, 'You will surrender, resistance is futile?'" (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 431) The sophisticated nature of Sisko's relationship with Picard delighted Piller too. "It was a wonderful way to introduce this character, destroying all the viewers' expectations that Picard would come in and slap our new hero on the back and say, 'Good luck!'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 15) Piller was also satisfied that the post-production work invested on this episode made "things look good" and was happy with the reshot footage involving Avery Brooks. "I think [the changes] helped enormously," he concluded. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 40)
  • David Carson was likewise pleased with "Emissary". He commented, "Perhaps the most striking thing about Deep Space Nine is the immense strength of the two-hour movie's storyline, which had a universality that was quite striking." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 327) Carson elaborated, "It was very interesting [….] I think the story went a long way beyond where Star Trek normally goes. The decision was made not to pander to new audiences but to play to the strengths of the Star Trek audience. As a result, the story didn't take any prisoners. If you're not on that wavelength, then I think there are a lot of people who may have been confused by it. But if you have the patience to sit with it, then I think it all becomes clear as to what's going on." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 21) Indeed, the director was confident that the episode's storyline wouldn't turn the audience off. During the installment's production, he commented, "The epic sweep of the whole story is going to carry the viewer along on an ever-developing wave of surprises, laughter, sadness and excitement they haven't encountered for some time." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 0, "Directing 'Emissary'") Carson further remarked, "I always thought that the film was rare, even in Star Trek terms, because of its philosophical content and the way it went about solving the emotional problems that it had in it. The show was very unique and very intelligent. Such a complicated and complex piece of work that was challenging on so many levels made for an extremely complex pattern for the audience to follow. You would think from time to time that it was like something out of European television in its content. Is America ready for this? As is often the case, television underestimates its audience – particularly the networks. I think the success of DS9 goes another step to prove the audience is challenged and titillated by exciting and interesting and penetrating work [….] One of the things that appealed to me about the script was that it was very unusual to tell a story like this." Carson went on to say that he meant in regard to the plot about Sisko being reluctant to accept his new job as station commander and bitterly resenting, to a murderous extent, the officer who orders him to take the job because he blames that officer for his wife's death. "That's a pretty strong story you have there," the director remarked. The tweaking that Rick Berman and Michael Piller did to the episode, particularly in regard to the characterization of Sisko, had Carson's support too. "I think Michael and Rick were rightly very careful to keep the basic elements that have always been very common to Star Trek stories and characters," he said. Carson was also pleased with how the script called for some location work. "It was very cleverly woven into the strangeness of the story, which was very good. It was good that they were earth locations and as down to earth as baseball games and stuff like that." He felt they gave "great width and depth" to the show. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 39 & 40) Carson added, "I think everybody at Paramount was pleased with the pilot of Deep Space Nine." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 323)
  • Rick Berman commented, "I think we were all happily surprised at the response. I knew that we had created a show that had wonderful potential and, slowly but surely, I knew that it was coming together and was going to be wonderful. I expected it would be successful, but I didn't expect it would be as successful as it was and I was a little bit amazed. We were in Time and Newsweek." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 41) Berman also acknowledged, "The ratings have been really good." (The Deep Space Log Book: A First Season Companion, p. 53)
  • Herman Zimmerman commented about this episode, "It was brilliantly directed and, I thought, set up the entire series." [8] He said further, "The two-hour pilot was stunning and it's every bit as good in its way as the original pilot for the original series was back in 1966. 'The Cage' was a brilliant piece of science fiction work – especially for when it was done. 'The Emissary' is equally as good." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 40-41)
  • David Livingston commented, "We were just flabbergasted! When I went to the screening here on the lot, I hadn't seen it with all the music and effects and opticals, and I was blown away by it. To know the audience responded the way they did was very gratifying. Rick's and Michael's vision, and then David Carson's execution and the wonderful cast we picked, all clicked. It's great to know you can strike gold twice now." (The Deep Space Log Book: A First Season Companion, p. 54)
  • Casting Supervisor Ron Surma commented, "I would imagine the pilot was darker and sexier than anything we had seen," an opinion which Junie Lowry-Johnson agreed with. (What We Left Behind)
  • Michael Westmore noted, "I feel it's a very emotional show, especially the pilot." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, p. 29)
  • Rob Legato was ultimately proud of the sense of scale which was accomplished for the episode's teaser. "It's enormous," he commented. "It's one of the biggest scenes we've ever done." ("Deep Space Nine Scrapbook Year One", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
  • Many of the production personnel considered the footage of DS9's Promenade to be a highlight of this episode. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, p. 29) On the other hand, there was also some dissatisfaction with Camille Saviola's portrayal of Opaka in this installment. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, p. 104)
  • Marvin Rush was happy with the footage of the beach scenes. "We did a nice job with it; it was a beautiful beach on a beautiful day with two very attractive people," he enthused. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 39) However, Rush's favorite scene from this episode was the one which features Sisko arriving in Ops. "That is really my favorite, because it is a very interesting, clever shot [….] [It] 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." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 16)
  • Ira Steven Behr was another advocate of this outing. Michael Piller noted, "Ira loved the pilot and really thought we had created the circumstances to do something special there." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 419) In fact, it was this episode that persuaded Behr to get involved in the making of the series. Although he was initially doubtful that DS9 could be different enough from TNG, this installment influenced him to start thinking otherwise. "I was a bit skeptical," Behr admitted, "but then I read the pilot and I started to say, 'Hmm, this has some potential.'" Commenting on one particular story point from this episode, Behr stated, "Sisko losing his wife […] is a nice television convention." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 9)
  • Winrich Kolbe was impressed by the way this episode introduces the character of Sisko. "Anybody who saw the pilot has to be aware of the fact that we had an unwilling leader of the group," said Kolbe. "Now that was intriguing." Kolbe went on to emphasize that what specifically appealed to him was how the installment established Sisko as an unpredictable commander. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 433)
  • Ronald D. Moore once expressed that something he wished had been established in this episode was DS9's own monologue at the beginning of the show, like TOS and TNG did. (AOL chat, 1998)
  • René Echevarria was impressed by this episode. "What Michael and Rick came up with in the pilot of Deep Space Nine , in my mind, were the instincts of great story telling," Echevarria remarked. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 52)
  • Jeri Taylor critiqued the episode by saying, "[It] was sort of heavily metaphysical and philosophical and intensely devoted to one character." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 122)
  • When Mark A. Altman was visiting the DS9 sets, his publicity escort to the set mentioned, "In the pilot they have these Ferengi chasing women." Altman's guide then proceeded to clarify that the women couldn't be referred to as "prostitutes" nor their environment referred to as a "brothel" or "sexual holosuites". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 16)
  • Upon its initial airing, "Emissary" received extremely high ratings and enthusiastic reviews. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 181) The episode scored an 18.8 percentage of the syndicated television market, making it one of the most-watched television episodes in syndicated television history. It was number one during its time period in the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. markets. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 8) [9] It was also the highest-rated premiere of a syndicated show up to that point. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 181)
  • "Emissary" first aired in the United Kingdom (on Sky One) as a two-parter on 15 August 1993 and 22 August 1993. (The New Trek Programme Guide)
  • Some British fans were so eager to see "Emissary" that tapes of the episode were recorded in America and sent to the UK before the official VHS release. [10]
  • On 2 October 2007, "Emissary" was the first Star Trek episode to be shown on the UK's then-new Virgin 1 channel. Part one of the episode was watched by 226,000 people, around 1.2% of the total television audience at the time.
  • Fans considered themselves fortunate to, at last, see scenes from the Battle of Wolf 359 (after it having been obliquely established in the "Best of Both Worlds" two-parter). (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 17)
  • Many people had a problem with the plot point about the apparently non-linear wormhole aliens being able to use "linguistic communication", since language is time-based and time-dependant. (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 96)
  • J.M. Dillard, who wrote the novelization of this episode, enthused, "I can say with perfect frankness that Michael Piller's script was excellent." Dillard also described one of the scenes which features Picard and Sisko as "a wonderfully tense, dramatic scene." (Trek: Deepspace Nine, pp. 62 & 63) In her book Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before (paperback ed., p. 181), Dillard stated, "'Emissary' provided all the action and adventure an audience could hope for."
  • Writer David A. McIntee opined, "'Emissary' requires reading the novelization to understand fully." (Delta Quadrant, p. 13)
  • In his review of "Emissary" in 13 February 1993's TV Guide, Jeff Jarvis commented, "Brooks is a mighty presence; this could be his breakout role… Terry Farrell is cool and alluring as a wise old beast wearing a beautiful woman's body. Armin Shimerman has a wonderfully rodenty quality as Quark the casino owner, the Donald Trump of space. This cast is at least as strong as The Next Generation. But this series is far stronger, for it is more than just a spin-off – it's a wholly new show with its own vision and its own message for our new world." (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
  • Variety's review of the pilot episode (by Tom Bierbaum) included: "But so what if Deep Space Nine is not, like the first two Trek shows, a Wagon Train to the Stars? The latest Trek need not be limited by its space station than, say Gunsmoke was by its Dodge City setting." (Variety, 4 January 1993)
  • Critic Matt Roush commented about this episode, "Fulfilling and furthering the tradition with admirable invention comes the two-hour pilot of Deep Space Nine, which triumphs as deluxe entertainment [….] The opener thrives on an edgier dynamic of humor and conflict, and a more boisterous climate of adventure, than the often serene Next Generation." (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 18)
  • In Cinefantastique (Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 3), the magazine's editor, Frederick S. Clarke, remarked about this episode, "[It] proved to be a sensational, entertaining and intellectually engaging two hours of television." In another issue of the magazine (Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 51), Cinefantastique staff writer Anna Kaplan regarded the installment as "a unique and compelling beginning for a new series," providing "fertile soil for what what would eventually become a seven-year, epic story."
  • In Star Trek 101, Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block list "Emissary" as being one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • In the reference work The New Trek Programme Guide, the authors write that "Emissary" is "the most assured Trek debut yet and a flawless exercise in storytelling on a grand scale. Everything from the staggering opening sequence onwards is a delight. And it's lovely to have a decent theme tune at last." (The New Trek Programme Guide, p. 286)
  • In their reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 180), Mark Jones and Lance Parkin gave this installment a mixed review. At first, they commented, "Avery Brooks […] wasn't helped by the story requirements that Sisko couldn't fully impose his authority on the situation, or by being shown in head-to-head scenes with a sparkling Patrick Stewart in the first episode, which practically invited the viewers to think he was a poor comparison." The book's authors later positively described the installment as "a solid start to the series – better than 'Encounter at Farpoint'. Sisko's emotional storyline, building on 'Best of Both Worlds', is powerfully done. Looking back, it's amazing how much is set up and how many tantalising hints are left in the air. From the outset, Deep Space Nine is thinking long-term, heralding a distinctly new approach to Star Trek." (Beyond the Final Frontier, pp. 181 & 183)
  • In their book The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years (p. 430), authors Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross refer to this episode's teaser as "sensational" and "one of the most memorable aspects of the pilot." Impressed by how the episode establishes Sisko's backstory, Altman commented, "He had that interesting dilemma in the pilot, of course, with his wife being killed." While witnessing the episode's creation, Altman fully expected the project would be successful. "I read the script and I really liked what they were doing with the characters," he recalled. "I had a problem as I watched it with the whole linear existence stuff the second half of the pilot, as many people did. It was the old science fiction thing, the aliens who don't understand and are being judgmental and want to destroy humanity. We had too much of that, but it works, you get through the two hours and it wasn't a total waste." (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 71) Altman additionally characterized the episode as "the most ambitious pilot ever filmed for television." Rating the episode three and a half out of four stars, he went on to comment about the installment, "It's beginning [is] far more compelling than the ponderous 'Encounter at Farpoint' that launched The Next Generation. Top heavy with mystical New Age mumbo jumbo, executive producer Michael Piller's script aims for the cerebral resonance of the best moments of Gene Roddenberry's original Star Trek pilot, 'The Cage'. The first of two hours is top-notch Trek, establishing the premise of the new series and introducing its intriguing army of new characters, sparked by a powerful and enticing teaser. The second hour is considerably less involving, mired in Sisko's metaphysical journey into his 'pagh'. Production values are outstanding on every level with the exception of a new main title sequence and musical themes that lack punch." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, No. 3/4, pp. 88 & 91)
  • This episode was nominated for four Emmy Awards, a distinction it shares with only three other episodes of Star Trek. It won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects and was nominated for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Series, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Editing for a Series, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series. The series also earned Composer Dennis McCarthy the award for the theme music.

AftermathEdit

Continuity and trivia Edit

  • This is the fourth and final consecutive pilot (fifth, counting "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which references stardate 1312.4) to mention a stardate as part of the first few words of the series proper. The others all started with a captain's log entry by an Enterprise captain. The previous episodes in which this happens are "The Man Trap" (mentioning stardate 1513.1), "Beyond the Farthest Star" (referencing stardate 5221.3), and "Encounter at Farpoint" (making mention of stardate 41153.7), the latter two if excluding a regular introductory monologue in each case. The practice of mentioning a stardate within the first few words of the series was never done again, although the date is extensively talked about by Michael Burnham immediately following the teaser of "The Vulcan Hello" (in which Burnham states, "First officer's log, stardate 1207.3. On Earth, it's May 11th, 2156, a Sunday.")
  • This episode features flashbacks to the Battle of Wolf 359, the aftermath of which was seen in TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". In that installment, the battle itself occurred mainly off-screen, aside from viewscreen communication with Admiral Hanson during the battle. By comparison, the Battle of Wolf 359 flashback in this episode, after the opening crawl in the teaser, lasts about four minutes, twelve seconds.
  • This episode marks the only appearance of the Borg on Deep Space Nine.
  • The presence of Jennifer and Jake Sisko aboard the Saratoga makes this the first occasion a Miranda-class starship is known to carry families aboard. This was previously known only to occur on Galaxy-class starships.
  • After this episode's airing, there was a lot of discussion about whether any members of the Saratoga crew, other than the Siskos, would reappear in the series. "This comes up all the time and I don't know if we'll revisit the Saratoga backstory or not before the series is over," stated Ronald D. Moore, in a 1998 interview. "It's always been an interesting area to explore, but we've never found the right story." (AOL chat, 1998)
  • This was the first of two consecutive Star Trek pilots to begin with an opening crawl followed by a space battle, the second being VOY: "Caretaker".
  • An ultimately unused line of dialogue from the second draft script of "Accession" would have established that the ship which Benjamin and Jake Sisko arrive at DS9 on, in the teaser of this episode, was Excelsior-class.
  • Runabouts made their first appearance in this episode. They were specifically designed for the new series to make it unique, although a runabout made a sole appearance on The Next Generation in "Timescape", as well as on Voyager in "Non Sequitur".
  • In this episode only, prior to its discovery, the wormhole does not appear at the end of the opening credits. However, it is shown in syndication as well as in some foreign language versions.
  • This is the Enterprise-D's first of two known visits to Deep Space 9. The second is in TNG: "Birthright, Part I". Shortly after the making of this episode, Herman Zimmerman commented, "We did have the Enterprise on the [Deep Space Nine] pilot, but in the [DS9] series we probably won't see the Enterprise very often." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 43)
  • This episode has a very similar title to that of TNG: "The Emissary", in which Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) and Colm Meaney (Chief Miles O'Brien) also appear. On several instances, this episode has mistakenly been referred to as "The Emissary". For example, in Star Trek: Communicator (issue 103, p. 52), writer Gayle S. Stever, Ph. D., referred to it with that title. Likewise, in an amended complaint of copyright infringement in the case of Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios vs. Axanar Productions and Alec Peters (the court document was filed on 11 March 2016), the first episode of DS9 was erroneously referred to as "The Emissary, Part I".
  • Many of the sets were missing some elements that were present in later episodes. These included: Quark's replicators (some bottles, pitchers and glasses are in their place), as well as most of the glassware on the shelves around his counter; the wanted lists in Odo's security office wall, where there are only lamps; and the monitors in the station walls were circular and undecorated, matching the Cardassian tendency for ovoid screens. Later, all of these monitors were square, with some white detailing around the outside.
  • David Carson believed the degree of conflict between Sisko and Picard in this episode was relatively rare for the 24th-century Starfleet officers depicted in Star Trek. "So you suddenly had some strife, some unhappiness, certain emotions that had really only been available, on TNG, on the holodeck, because of the discipline," he said, "and the way that the Star Trek universe worked before then." [12]
  • Noting the mission statement which Picard delivers to Sisko in this episode, Ira Steven Behr commented, "Season one, episode one was, 'Ben, you're here to get Bajor into the Federation.'" (What We Left Behind)
  • Rene Auberjonois and Armin Shimerman cited the scene from this episode in which Odo accuses Quark of being a thief as "the impetus" for the evolution of their quarrelsome relationship. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 13)
  • This episode establishes a relationship between Sisko and Quark that was further developed in second season finale "The Jem'Hadar". In light of that installment, Armin Shimerman stated, "I think there was a promise in the pilot that is being fulfilled." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 59)
  • Gilgo Beach, where Sisko met his wife Jennifer, is, in reality, located on Long Island in New York.
  • During his Orb experience, Sisko refers to his father in the past tense when speaking to Jennifer, saying he "was a gourmet chef." The elder Sisko's later appearance in "Homefront" shows that he was neither deceased nor retired at this point.
  • Ira Steven Behr, while enthusing about Star Trek and Las Vegas, once joked, "Few people know that the true pilot episode of DS9 was the movie Ocean's Eleven. And if you watch the DS9 pilot ('Emissary') on one TV and Ocean's Eleven on another TV you'll be amazed by what you'll find." Behr mentioned this when asked what he thought of Star Trek: The Experience, a Las Vegas attraction that included a recreation of DS9's Promenade and Quark's Bar, both of which first appeared in this episode. (AOL chat, 1997)
  • This episode essentially reestablished the Trill, after they had first appeared, albeit with a different physical appearance, in TNG: "The Host".
  • This installment also established a first name for heretofore-recurring TNG character Maggie Hubbell. Her first name was a homage to then-TNG writers' assistant Maggie Allen.
  • In production order, this episode marks the debut of the new Cardassian military uniform, seen in every subsequent appearance of the Cardassians in the franchise. Audiences first saw the uniform in TNG: "Chain of Command, Part I", which was filmed after "Emissary" but aired first.
  • The portrayal of what Sisko experiences in the wormhole, surrounded by white light and the sound of his own heartbeat, is similar to some footage in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Trek: Deepspace Nine, pp. 95 & 118) As Michael Piller acknowledged, the same illusory environment also harkens back to a simulation of Mojave in TOS: "The Cage", and Q's illusory courtroom in TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", as well as serving as a precedent for an illusory farmyard in VOY: "Caretaker". [13] The discussion in which a male Starfleet commander tries to educate aliens about Humans, even though the aliens are allegedly of higher intelligence than he is, likewise echoes Captain Picard's interactions with Q in "Encounter at Farpoint". (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 118) However, at least in Mark A. Altman's opinion, this episode was more similar, in tone, to "The Cage" than "Encounter at Farpoint". As Altman obliquely pointed out, both this installment and "The Cage" feature a male commander (in that case, Christopher Pike) having an encounter with a race of aliens (in "The Cage", the Talosians) who, not understanding a particular aspect of humanity, force him to relive his best and worst memories. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 22)
  • The illusory picnic scene between Benjamin and Jennifer Sisko similarly harkens back to an illusory picnic between Christopher Pike and Vina in "The Cage" (the aforementioned Mojave recreation).
  • O'Brien mentions the Federation-Cardassian War (referring to it as "the border wars") and the Setlik III massacre, both of which he was involved with, first mentioned in TNG: "The Wounded". He also notes that Kira, having lived under the Occupation, knows how Cardassians treat their prisoners.
  • The battle between a Cardassian armada and Deep Space 9 in this episode is indirectly referenced in the fourth season opener, "The Way of the Warrior". Whereas in this episode, DS9 is poorly armed and therefore attempts to hide that fact from the station's opponents using thoron fields and duranium shadows (with the Cardassians mistakenly detecting, at one point, an estimated five thousand photon torpedoes aboard the station), in "The Way of the Warrior", General Martok incorrectly accuses Sisko of using thoron fields and duranium shadows to make it seem, to a Klingon fleet, as if DS9 is highly armed (with five thousand photon torpedoes).
  • The scene where Odo assists Doctor Bashir in treating the wounded on the Promenade is a tip of the hat to a scene from the movie M*A*S*H (1970). Rene Auberjonois' character, Father John Mulcahy, is asked to assist a military surgeon in the operating room and awkwardly complies.

Remastered versionEdit

Video and DVD releases Edit

Merchandise gallery Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Special guest star Edit

Guest stars Edit

Co-stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

Stand-ins Edit

References Edit

10,000 years ago; 22nd century; 2309; 2354; airlock; ale; Alpha Quadrant; Ambassador-class; antileptons; atmosphere; attaché; attack formation; aubergine stew; automobile; auxiliary power; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran religion; Bajoran Resistance; Bajor sector; Bajoran system; Bajoran wormhole; baseball; baseball; baseball bat; Battle of Wolf 359; battle stations; bearing; Bellerophon, USS; "bloody"; Bolian; Bonestell, USS; Border Wars; Borg; Borg cube; break-in; bridge; brig; bunk; bus; Captain's ready room; Cardassian; Cardassian Union; Cardassian Guard; Cardassian warship; casualty; Celestial Temple; Celsius; character reference; cheating; chef; Chicago Cubs; Chief of operations; children; civilian; civil war; class M; Cochrane, USS; commanding officer; community leader; computer; constable; containment failure; control thruster; corporeal lifeform; cushion; customer; dabo; Dahkur citizens; damage report; database; death; deflector generator; deflector shield; Denorios belt; designer; desk; dinner; docking ring; dog; duranium; duranium shadow; Earth; egg; emergency rations; Emissary of the Prophets; energy distribution net; engineer; Enterprise-D, USS; environmental control; escape pod; Escape pod 10; Escape pod 17; explorer; FGC; Federation; first officer; first officer's log; fishing; Fourth Order; frontier medicine; Frunalian science vessel; fuel conduit; Galaxy-class; Gamma Quadrant; gambler; gambling; game; Ganges, USS; George; ghost town; Gilgo Beach; glass; gourmet; government; handshake; heart; hero; hip; holosuite; homesickness; Human; Idran; Idran system; ignorance; impulse power; inertial damper; infirmary; ionic pattern; Ishikawa; Jasad's warship; Jasad's sister ships; junior officer; kai; kilometer; kiss; kph; Kumamoto; laboratory; Lapolis system; lawn; league; lemonade; lifeform; light year; linguistic communication; looter; madame; map; marriage; mass; medical officer; Melbourne, USS; metaphor; military history; Milky Way Galaxy; Miranda-class; Miranda-class escape pod; monastery; monk; musical instrument at Quark's; navigational report; navigational scan; navigational sensor; Nebula-class; neutrino; O-type star; O'Brien, Keiko; Oberth-class; ODN; Occupation of Bajor; office; officer; "Old Man"; Ops; Orb; orbit; ore; outpost; pagh; park; party; phaser; phaser bank; photon torpedo; pit boss; planet; plasma field; plea bargain; politician; pond; Prakesh; prefect; primary system; Prime Directive; prison; procreation; Promenade; Prophets; proton count; pulse compression wave; Quadros-1 probe; Quark's Bar; quarters; red alert; refugee camp; replicator; research grant; resonance wave; retrofit; Rio Grande, USS; robbing; rock; Roladan Wild Draw; Runabout-class; safety protocol; sand; Saratoga, USS; science officer; Sector 001; security array; security field; sensor; Setlik III; Seventh Order; shop; shore duty; Sisko, Joseph; Sisko's transport; slug; space station; star; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Command; star system; station log; storage bay; storm; summer; subspace; subspace disruption; subspace field; supergiant; swimming; synthale; Taluno; Taluno's ship; theology; thief; thoron field; time; torpedo bay; towel; tractor beam; transporter; transporter room; tricorder; trinary star system; Trill; unconditional surrender; uniform; Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards; velocity; war; warp core; wave intensity; Wolf 359; Wolf 359 cube; wormhole; Yamaguchi, USS; Yangtzee Kiang, USS; yellow alert

Unreferenced materialEdit

Admiral; chancellor; currency; evasive maneuvers; Gage, USS; gold; Hadas IV; Hanson, J.P.; interlock servo; junkyard; Kyushu, USS; mine pit; Moravian Lane; nucleonic emission; onion soup; sulfur; travelers voucher; university

External links Edit


Previous episode:
None
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 1
Next episode:
"Past Prologue"
This is a featured article. At the time it was featured (September 2005) it was considered one of the best examples of the Memory Alpha community's work. This article was featured more than five years ago though, and its status should be reviewed. The links below can be used to check how the article has changed in that time.
Featured revision (166355)Diff to currentBlurb
Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.