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This article refers to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine pilot episode. For other meanings, please see Emissary (disambiguation).
Benjamin Sisko, Emissary of the Prophets
Series: DS9
Season: 1
Original Airdate: Week of 03 January 1993
Production Numbers: 401-402
Year: 2369
Stardate: 46379.1
Story by: Michael Piller & Rick Berman
Teleplay by: Michael Piller
Directed by: David Carson
Starfleet engages the Borg.

On the edge of explored space, a new crew takes command of an abandoned space station and makes an incredible discovery that will change the galaxy.



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 2367 (a few days after stardate 43997, or very close to stardate 44001.4) Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko is a crewmember of the USS Saratoga while it battles the Borg led by Locutus, the former Captain Jean Luc Picard, at Wolf 359. When the ship takes a direct hit, which kills most of the bridge crew and causes the start of a warp core breach, Sisko helps civilians get to the escape pods. In the crew quarters he finds his son Jake buried under a pile of rubble, but Sisko manages to free him. Sisko tries to save his wife Jennifer as well, but she has already been crushed to death by the falling debris. Despite this Sisko tries to free her body in vain, and is ultimately dragged away by a crew member to an escape pod. Together with Jake and other survivors, Benjamin flees the doomed Saratoga while the pod is jettisoned from the ship moments before the Saratoga explodes.

Stardate 46379.1: Three Years Later

Commander Benjamin Sisko approaches Jake, now a teenager, who is fishing in a lake. Jake asks his father questions about the Cardassian space station they're going to and why they can't just live on Bajor, the planet the station orbits. Commander 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.

Act One

Commence Station Log, Deep Space Nine. 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.

Commander Sisko and Jake arrive at Deep Space 9, the former Cardassian space station Terok Nor, in orbit around Bajor. The station is in a state of disarray because the Cardassians ransacked it after ending the Occupation of Bajor, the planet Bajor is in a similar state. Neither Benjamin nor his son find the place, or their quarters, accomodating but they decide to "rough it" for the time being. Chief of operations Miles O'Brien reports to Sisko that most systems are offline and a lot of equipment is missing or severely damaged.

Next, Sisko meets Major Kira Nerys, the Bajoran liaison officer to DS9 and former member of the Bajoran Resistance. She is quite abrupt with him and tells him she does not trust him nor the Federation's motives for involving itself with Bajor. Responding to an alarm on the promenade, 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, urges Sisko to release Nog into his custody, but Sisko appears to have something else on his mind.

Act Two

Sisko recieves his orders from Captain Picard.

When Sisko meets with Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise, 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. He tells Sisko that their top priority at DS9 is to ensure Bajor's prompt entrance into the Federation. Sisko accepts his assignment, but hints to Picard that he is thinking of resigning his Starfleet commission to return to Earth.

Sisko and Odo try to convince Quark to stay on DS9 and keep Quark's Bar open to aid in the station's overall rehabilitation. As Quark is less than eager to stay, Sisko uses the incarcerated Nog as a bargaining chip, offering to free Nog if Quark stays and reopens his establishment.

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 Bajoran Provisional Government intact. When Sisko meets the Kai on Bajor, she urges him to explore his Pagh, or life-force, and discovers 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, which grants him his first vision: 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.

File:Kai opaka.jpg

Bajoran spiritual leader, Kai Opaka

As Kai Opaka shuts away the Orb safely in its container, she explains that this Orb is one of nine known Orbs; the Cardassians have plundered the other eight in times of war. 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

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.

Back aboard DS9, Sisko 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. Julian offends Kira by referring to his new assignment as "frontier medicine"; to Kira, Bajor is home, not some frontier in the wilderness. Benjamin 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.


The Dax symbiont is transfered 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 deciding whether to go inside or not. He decides not to, and heads to transporter room 3. Upon entering, he wishes Maggie good luck, and just before he transports to the station, Captain Picard walks in, and dismisses the ensign. Captain Picard says that just the other day he called down to transporter room 3 and asked for him without thinking, and how it won't be the same without him. Captain Picard transports Miles to the station, operating the panel himself. The Enterprise then sets off for the Laporis system.

Act Four

Sisko hosts Gul Dukat in his office, which used to be Dukat's office. Formerly the Cardassian prefect on Bajor, Dukat is the former commander of DS9, too. With great diplomacy, Dukat "welcomes" the Federation to the region and pledges his "support" (especially in light of the fact that the Enterprise has departed the region). Dukat is really only interested in garnering information regarding the Orb; he promises an exchange of information with the eight Orbs "acquired" by the Cardassians.

Meanwhile, Dax has plotted a central location common to all the known Orbs, the Denorios Belt, a charged plasma field. She and Sisko board the runabout Rio Grande to investigate this location, but they dare not depart the station, for fear of raising Cardassian suspicions. While Quark distracts the Cardassians with a generous payout from his casino, Kira closes the establishment; to carry their winnings back to their ship, the Cardassians are given Odo, disguised as a tote bag. Once aboard the vessel, Odo morphs into his normal self, and begins his acts of sabotage.

Having crashed the Cardassian vessel's computers, Odo morphs his way back to Ops aboard DS9. 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, the Bajoran 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 that it is a stable wormhole, so they turn around and attempt to return to the Alpha Quadrant.


The discovery of the first stable wormhole.

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. Benjamin is transported from the imaginary planet to the celestial temple, where he begins another vision, this one being his first communciation with the prophets of the celestial temple.

The prophets are non-corporeal entities, appearing to Benjamin as people in his life: his late wife Jennifer, Picard, the Kai, Jake. They seek contact with other life forms, 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, Benjamin seeks to develop some form of communication protocols with them. They return Dax to DS9 in a burst of light, preferring to deal with only one life form at a time.

Act Five

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, Dax suggests they lower the inertial mass of the station with the deflector array; O'Brien begins work on this endeavor. Kira, Dax and Doctor Bashir decide to set out toward the wormhole in another runabout, the 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

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

Back inside the wormhole, Sisko finds that since the wormhole aliens have no concept of linear time and consider his presence disruptive. He tries to explain the concepts of past, present, and future, via the memories of his life's history.

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. 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, which appears to collapse behind him. Dukat's passage through the wormhole momentarily interrupts Sisko's "conversation" with the prophets as the wormhole seals itself.

Act Seven

When communication resumes, the prophets reveal how they are injured whenever someone travels through the wormhole; in fact, the very nature of Sisko's linear existence confounds the prophets. Sisko attempts to explain why corporeal life forms value their "ignorance" of what is to come by using experience of what is past. However, the prophets do not understand why Sisko continues to exist at the point in time most painful for him: Jennifer's death.

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.

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 20 hours away, Kira knows that surrender is not a viable option.

Act Eight

Kira launches six Photon torpedoes -- the station's entire compliment -- 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. Odo calls for medical assistance on the promenade from Doctor Bashir. Dax reports that their shields are down to 18 percent and falling, then she suddenly reports a huge neutrino disturbance -- the wormhole is back.


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 Cardassian 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 prophets, known to the Federation as the "wormhole aliens", 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 life-forms 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.

The Enterprise returns to Deep Space Nine.

Meeting once again with Captain Picard, Commander Sisko 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 never forwarded the information up the chain of command, nevertheless asks Sisko if he is sure about staying at the helm of DS9. Sisko guarantees him that he knows he is the man for the mission; Picard shakes his hand, and disembarks to the Enterprise, wishing Sisko good luck.

As the crew continues repairs and settles into their new home, so begins the command of Deep Space 9 by Commander Benjamin Sisko, the Emissary to the prophets of Bajor.

Memorable Quotes

"It's good to see you, too... old man."

- Commander Sisko to Lieutenant Commander Dax

"Computer.... You and I need to have a little talk."

- Chief O'Brien, after the computer refused his command override at a critical moment in time

"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

"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

"I suppose you want the office."

"I thought I'd say hello first. And then take the office."

- Kira, Sisko

"New rules... ?"

"You're can't cheat every customer who walks through your door anymore, Quark... you're a community leader now."

"Very well. Very well. Perhaps we could discuss these new rules over a drink..."

"If you don't take that hand off my hip, you'll never be able to raise another glass with it."

"I love a woman in uniform..."

- Quark, Kira

Background Information

Distinguishing DS9

  • "Emissary" presents the first (and so far only) Trek premise in which the main setting is not a starship, being set instead aboard space station Deep Space 9. This change of venue was largely intended to differentiate DS9 from The Next Generation, because the producers felt that having two shows about a starship airing simultaneously would be unacceptable.
  • Runabouts made their first appearance in this episode. They were specifically designed for the new series to make it unique, although Voyager made limited use of runabouts as well.
  • The noticeable change in uniform to a black design with division color on the shoulders was mostly implemented as a continuation of Trek's pattern of changing uniforms over time, although factors such as the discomfort of wearing TNG-style uniforms played a role as well.
  • The main cast was intentionally assembled to create conflict (Quark and Odo, Kira and Sisko, etc) to contrast the relatively tranquil atmosphere aboard Federation starships.

Jadzia Dax sports the "new" Trill look.

  • Jadzia Dax and Trills seen after this episode are distinctly different from the Trills in the TNG episode "The Host." There is considerably more depth to the relationship between the host and symbiont in Trill joining than described in the TNG episode. The fact that Trills now have spots rather than prosthetic make-up is because the producers felt Terry Farrell was too attractive to cover her face up. Most fans simply rationalize this by disregarding the events of "The Host," much as with the VOY episode "Threshold."
  • Another significant change is the relationship Ferengi have with Humans. As most fans know, the Ferengi on TNG were originally intended to be a new adversary comparable to the Klingons in TOS, although the writers quickly realized how ridiculous the Ferengi were as villains. As of "Emissary," the Ferengi are mainly entrepreneurs and the Ferengi Alliance is a politically neutral economic power.
  • Miles O'Brien was brought aboard DS9 in this episode and made a part of the senior staff because the producers felt that Colm Meaney was too talented an actor to confine his character to a transporter room. Additionally, they hoped the TNG crossover would help boost the new series' ratings.
  • The Prophets and Sisko's new status as the Emissary constitute Trek's first venture into the area of religion from a dramatic, rather than scientific, perspective.


  • An alternative idea would have placed Sisko's new assignment at a colony on an alien planet.
  • According to Avery Brooks' official web site, out of the seven years he was on Deep Space Nine, the time he spent working on this episode made it his favorite.

J.G. Hertzler

  • Marc Alaimo would reprise his role as Gul Dukat throughout DS9's seven-year run.
  • Two hundred and fifty special effects shots were created for this episode.
  • The set of the Saratoga's escape pod is a redress of the front section of the runabout.
  • In this episode only, prior to the discovery of the wormhole, it does not appear at the end of the opening credits.
  • A scene in the script that was filmed but eventually deleted featured Sisko meeting with Opaka again, to return the Orb. He tells her that fourteen planets have contacted the Federation to open trade links through Bajoran space. He tries to tell her he believes the Prophets to be wormhole aliens, but she tells him she does not wish to hear. She tells him "that is why a disbeliever was destined to seek them - one should never look into the eyes of his own gods..." She also tells Sisko that his journey is only beginning. Rick Berman considers this to be "a wonderful scene" and one he regretted had to be removed for time.

Links and References

Special Guest Star

Guest Stars



antileptons; antilepton interference; Aubergine stew; Bajor, Bajoran wormhole, baseball, Battle of Wolf 359, Borg, Cardassian Union, Celestial Temple, Denorios Belt, Emissary, Enterprise-D, USS, Frunalian, Frunalian science vessel; Gamma Quadrant; George; Idran system; Laporis system; Ops, Orb, Promenade, Prophets, Quadros-1 probe, Quark's Bar, Saratoga, USS, Wolf 359

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