(written from a Production point of view)
Sisko tries to regain contact with the Prophets. (Part One of Two) (Season premiere)
Three months have passed since Jadzia's death and Captain Benjamin Sisko left Deep Space 9. On the Promenade, newly promoted Colonel Kira and Odo worry that he won't be coming back as they observe members of the cult of the Pah-wraiths, identified by red armbands. The cult has become very influential since the Prophets became disconnected from Bajor by turning the orbs black and locking the wormhole entrance.
Meanwhile, the USS Defiant returns to the station from convoy duty, which is now becoming a regular mission for the ship. When Ensign Nog comments that he'd rather be on convoy duty than in battle, Worf, who is frustrated at having to protect shipments of stem bolts as well as the fact the Federation's invasion of Cardassian space has made no progress since the First Battle of Chin'toka, takes offense and angrily leaves the bridge. Bashir and O'Brien assure Nog it wasn't personal, and that Worf is hoping that some combat might help him get over his wife Jadzia's death.
On Earth, at Joseph Sisko's restaurant/home in New Orleans, Jake watches his father play piano and tells his grandfather (Joseph) that he is worried because Sisko has been doing nothing and going nowhere since they arrived. Joseph is concerned but suggests that they leave him alone. Suddenly, the baseball sitting on top of the piano (the one Sisko took from his desk on DS9), rolls off and lands on the floor. Moving over to reach for it on the floor, Benjamin has a vision of the desert planet Tyree, where he digs in the sand with a shovel to uncover a woman's face. Coming out of his vision, Sisko tells Jake that he knows why he has come to Earth; he has to find this woman.
Admiral Ross informs Kira that the Romulans will be setting up an office on DS9 led by Senator Cretak. She is concerned about Romulan soldiers on the station, but Ross says Cretak is cooperative and supportive of the Alliance. The Federation needs to do all they can to support her in turn. Furthermore, only twelve Romulans at most would be on the station. Kira is still uneasy, but Ross pulls rank, stating he doesn't need her acceptance. Ross compliments Kira on taking over for Sisko, but Kira obviously thinks it's temporary.
On Cardassia Prime, Weyoun and Legate Damar discuss the war effort. They plan to contain the Alliance in their newly-claimed Chin'toka system. Damar is pleased, so he celebrates with a drink of kanar, knowing that Weyoun won't join in. They are pleased that the closing of the wormhole has somehow shifted the war in their favor. Nevertheless, Weyoun expresses worry about Damar's constant drinking.
Back on Earth, Sisko recreates the woman's face on a PADD, and Jake recognizes it from a photo he found while cleaning a storage space. Joseph is in it, so they show the photo to him and ask who she is. Oddly, he is dismissive and angrily refuses to reveal her identity.
In his quarters, Worf is in his and Jadzia's bed and finds himself unable to sleep, his mind is full of thoughts of his late wife. After looking at a photo from their wedding, he gets up and goes to the holosuite and activates the Vic Fontaine program asking the singer to perform "All the Way". Vic attempts to refuse, but Worf orders him to sing. As Vic reluctantly sings the sad song, Worf's face is a mixture of fury and indescribable sadness. Halfway through, he slowly stands and then, with a roar of anger, begins to trash the lounge.
Later, Kira goes to the office set up for the Romulans to greet Cretak. She's cautious in her greeting, but Cretak is surprisingly cordial, acknowledging Romulans' reputation for being arrogant and looking forward to the common goal of defeating the Dominion. Kira agrees.
Sisko asks his father about the woman again, and when Joseph stonewalls Ben again, the captain gets frustrated and shocks his old father by grabbing and shaking him. Joseph sadly reveals that the woman is Sisko's real mother Sarah (the woman who raised him having actually been his step-mother).
Sarah married Joseph after only three weeks of courtship, meeting in Jackson Square in June of 2331. The two were together for two years and soon bore Ben, however she suddenly left Joseph two days after his first birthday. Joseph doesn't know why she left, and explains that he tracked her down after three years only to find she had died in an accident. As for why the Prophets sent Sisko the vision of Sarah, he concludes that finding out the truth about his mother may be the first step to recovering from recent events.
Kira, on the Promenade, curiously observes Cretak buying a jumja stick, finding it unexpected. Cretak sees her and they pleasantly exchange their opinions on it, Cretak suggesting she try a tart osol twist. To business, Cretak informs her of a squadron of warbirds coming, but also asks about building a hospital on Bajor's fourth moon, Derna. Kira promises to ask the Council of Ministers. Cretak is impressed with the efficiency and accommodation being shown. Kira smiles after Cretak leaves, pleased with having such a cordial conversation.
O'Brien, armed with bloodwine from 2301, approaches a reluctant Worf in his quarters for some conversation, including their time serving together on the USS Enterprise-D and recalling Reginald Barclay with the intent of bringing him out of his depressed state. Later, while nursing a hangover, he informs Bashir and Quark that after a few bottles and talking about several unrelated subjects he finally found out why Worf is so upset; Jadzia will not enter Sto-vo-kor because she was murdered instead of dying in combat. In order to get her there, Worf must win a great battle in her name. With the Defiant mired in convoy duty they decide to ask General Martok for help, who is scheduled to arrive at the station the next morning.
Sisko is washing clams behind the restaurant when Joseph gives him a necklace that belonged to Sarah, which Sisko is surprised to discover is engraved with ancient Bajoran text.
Sisko is able to translate the necklace's writing as the words "Orb of the Emissary." There is no such orb mentioned in Bajoran religious texts, but he guesses that it exists, and is buried on Tyree and that it may not have gone dark along with all the others.
On the station, the casualty reports come in from the counterattack on the Chin'toka system. The Alliance successfully fended it off, but the price was high. Cretak takes comfort in the victory, and also praises Kira for helping approve the hospital, saying Romulus owes her a debt of gratitude. Kira is again impressed with her, but later, Odo informs Kira that a Starfleet ship was turned away from the hospital. Kira thinks it is because most of the wounded were Vulcans (historical enemies of the Romulans) before Odo shows her a scan indicating high trilithium levels. It appears there was some deception.
Meanwhile, Martok stealthily enters a holosuite where Worf is practicing bat'leth form and attacks him. He asks Worf to be his first officer on a very dangerous combat mission, promising the victory will ensure Jadzia gets into Sto-vo-kor.
Later, again in the dark alley behind the restaurant, Sisko is approached by a young Bajoran man wearing a red hood who praises him and mentions the orb. Sisko is polite and turns away before the man pulls a knife and stabs him, claiming he will never find it. Jake drops the attacker with a heavy sack of clams he was bringing out to be washed. He runs over to his bleeding father and yells at Joseph for help.
Sisko recovers and comes back to the restaurant, but not before reporting the incident to Starfleet Security. He explains that the man was a member of the Pah-wraith cult and declares his intention to go to Tyree and find the orb. Joseph is worried, not because of the cult, but because of the Pah-wraiths.
At Quark's, O'Brien tells Quark and Bashir that Martok's lone ship will try to destroy a Dominion shipyard located at Monac IV. Bashir declares he will accompany Worf to honor Jadzia's memory, and O'Brien decides to go for Bashir's protection. Quark thinks both of them are crazy.
Kira barges in on Ross and Cretak in the wardroom with proof that the Romulans have armed the hospital with plasma torpedoes. Cretak claims it is for defense, but the Bajoran government will not allow the Romulans to have weapons on its moon and have ordered them to leave the moon immediately. The news reaches Dominion Headquarters on Cardassia Prime. Having halted the Federation's advance into their territory, Damar and Weyoun revel upon hearing of the Romulans' treacherous action, the kind of action that could destroy the Alliance.
The morning he is about to leave for Tyree, Sisko finds the restaurant closed and Joseph and Jake packed and ready to go. He agrees to let them accompany him when there is a knock at the door. A young female Trill Starfleet ensign enters and happily greets Sisko, who does not recognize her at all. She introduces herself as Dax.
"A lot of people feel abandoned by the Prophets."
"Believe me, I know how they feel. It's no excuse to turn to hate and fear."
"In times of trouble, some people find comfort in hate and fear."
- - Odo and Kira
"Romulans. So predictably treacherous!"
- - Weyoun
"Sing the song."
"I don't think that's such a good idea."
"Sing the song."
"C'mon, pallie, why rub salt in an open wound?"
"You are a hologram. You are programmed to do exactly as I say. Sing the song."
- - Worf and Vic Fontaine, about the song "All the Way"
"I just never thought I'd see a Romulan eating a jumja stick."
- - Kira
"Who better than a Klingon to help a Klingon?"
- - Bashir
"Worf did this?!"
"With his own two bare hands. And it's not the first time he's busted up the joint. I don't care how much he threatens me; that's the last time I ever sing 'All the Way'. If he wants to hear it again, let him buy a Sinatra album."
"'All the Way'? That was Jadzia's favorite song! I'm sorry, Vic, but you're going to have to forgive him. He's having a hard time accepting her death."
"So am I, but you don't see me busting up the joint."
- - Julian Bashir, Vic Fontaine and Quark, on Worf
"I had to give a report to Starfleet Security."
"And the Bajoran that attacked you, who was he?"
"He was a member of a cult that worships the Pah-wraiths. They believe the disappearance of the Prophets will herald a new era for Bajor."
- - Benjamin Sisko and Joseph Sisko
"So, what'd you find out?"
"That you should never try to match drinks with a Klingon."
- - Quark and O'Brien
"Then what makes him think she's not in Sto-vo-kor?"
"Well for one thing, she never ate the heart of one of her enemies."
"She always was a little squeamish."
"And secondly, she did not die in glorious battle."
"You mean being murdered by a Pah-wraith in cold blood doesn't count?"
- - Bashir, O'Brien and Quark, on Worf's determination of Jadzia's status with Sto-vo-kor
"So... how do you like convoy duty?"
"Good, I was afraid you might be getting soft!"
- - Martok and Worf
"Miles, I don't know what to say. I'm touched."
"You're both touched!"
- - Bashir and Quark
"You wanna get Jadzia to Sto-vo-kor fine, fine, go for it. But can't you do something more sensible? Make a donation in her name! Or bribe someone!"
"It doesn't work that way, Quark."
"It'd be nice if it did."
- - Quark, Bashir, and O'Brien
"Emissary, I've come a long way to see you. This moment is sacred, one that will be long remembered. Meeh rak dorah pah wran. Ee toi velah slah. Pah wran amar. Pah wran evak to."
"That's ancient Bajoran."
"The Emissary is wise."
- - Bajoran man and Benjamin Sisko
"I don't suppose I can talk you out of going to Tyree."
"If you're worried about the Cult..."
"I figure you can handle them. But if the Cult knows you're looking for the Orb of the Emissary, chances are the Pah-wraiths do as well. And that does worry me."
- - Joseph Sisko and Benjamin Sisko, about the Cult of the Pah-wraiths
"Do I know you?"
- - Ezri Dax and Ben Sisko
Story and script
- In relation to this episode, Ira Steven Behr comments that he and Hans Beimler were trying to achieve something very specific with it; "As we started the final season, we made a very bold and perhaps stupid choice, although I'd do it again. We wrote the quietest opening episode we've ever done on the show. If you look back at the first episode of every season, after the pilot, you'll see "The Homecoming", which was the first hour of a three-parter, then "The Search, Part I", "The Way of the Warrior", "Apocalypse Rising" and "A Time to Stand". All big shows with a lot of stuff going on. But this time, we decided we were going to play with the audience's expectations and give them something smaller, more intimate, quieter. A reflective breath, so to speak." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- This is the first appearance of Nicole de Boer as Ezri Dax, the ninth host of the Dax symbiont. The process of creating and casting this new character was not an easy one. According to René Echevarria, "Terry Farrell's exit was a big low for us. Once we knew for certain that she wasn't going to return, we decided to take the opportunity to create a new Dax." Ira Behr continues, "We knew we needed a female. We couldn't have Kira Nerys be the only female regular character. So we started the casting process, and all I saw was a lot of people who couldn't play the part. There was absolutely no one in the running." Echevarria picks up the story, "Initially, Ira was looking for someone who had a kind of spooky quality. We talked about it several times as a group, and I wasn't quite getting what he was going for. Finally, one day at lunch, I said, 'What if we make the character a little more complicated? What if she wasn't an initiate? What if she wasn't planning to be joined, but she was the only one available because of some circumstance? And she was completely unprepared for it." (That this was even a possibility had been catered for in the third season episode "Equilibrium", where it was revealed that being joined wasn't as difficult as previously thought). After hearing this idea, Behr redefined the character; "She's neurotic! She hears voices! She doesn't know which way is up!" This made the casting process much more focused; "We wanted someone vulnerable, because Jadzia, as the show went on, became a stronger and stronger character. And someone young." Of the eventual casting of de Boer, Hans Beimler had worked with her on Beyond Reality and TekWar, and he called and asked her to send an audition tape to the Deep Space Nine producers. She did so, and they invited her to Los Angeles to audition in person. Of her audition, Behr comments, "We got a good vibe off her. She knew the part. She got it. And that was it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Deborah Lacey makes her first appearance as Sarah Sisko, Benjamin Sisko's mother.
- This is the first episode to establish that Admiral Ross' first name is Bill. This confused actor Barry Jenner because diploma and award props, though illegible on screen, were made for Ross' office on Starbase 375 listing his first name as Cliff. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- By the time of the episode, Kira has received a promotion to Colonel, which took place in the interim between the end of the sixth season and the start of the seventh. Promoting Kira was Nana Visitor's idea; "I asked for it to happen. I thought it was high time for it after six years of good service. Everyone around her had been promoted – Sisko, Bashir, Jadzia, and even Nog – so why not?" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- This episode is the first to mention the Cult of the Pah-wraiths. The idea behind this cult, which would be revisited in the episode "Covenant", was to show that not every Bajoran was a disciple of the Prophets; as Ira Behr explains, "We wanted to show that, like war, religion can be a dangerous thing. We'd spent six years portraying the Bajoran religion, celebrating it, in a way, and establishing that there is something greater than technology. And that's good. But faith can be subverted very easily. It's what you put your faith in that ultimately matters. A lack of faith, I think, is bad. But unthinking religion is also bad." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Tyree was named after the Richard Harris character, Benjamin Tyreen, in the 1965 Sam Peckinpah film Major Dundee. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Tyree was also the name of the main character in TOS: "A Private Little War", but that appears just to be a coincidence.
- The Monac shipyards are named after special effects supervisor Gary Monak. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The scene with Sarah Sisko's face in the sand was accomplished by the use of elaborate clay masks. Deborah Lacey commented: "This experience was so exciting for me. There was a clay mask made of my face. I had to go to the makeup department at Paramount and sit in a chair with my hair covered, eyes closed and straws through my nose so I could breathe. They placed the clay over my face and I sat for a little while until it hardened. I don't think it was very long. They made two of them. The masks were clay colored, so they had to apply makeup to match my skin tone and makeup for masks to make them look like my face. They looked like a sculpture of my face... pretty amazing. I still have one of two that were made. These masks were used to create the special effect of seeing my face appear in the sand. So, on a sound stage on the lot, they made a medium sandbox and they first filmed the masks in the sandbox. They had both masks to work with where my eyes were closed. After they shot the mask in the sand, I was then asked to lay down face up in the sandbox, and they shot my face in a very tight closeup, just to get my eyes to open. So, I did a few takes of opening my eyes, with the direction that I was opening them to speak for the first time. So, this is the amazing work of the special effects (team), who then interchanged the opening of my eyes with the shots of the masks in the sand to make it look like there was a face in the sand that opened its eyes. Pretty cool. I was blown away when I saw it. It felt so real, and it really helped set me up for the performance of a celestial being. I loved it, and it was spooky at the same time. The masks look exactly like me, like seeing myself in a quiet peace". 
- Kira sports a considerably different hairstyle from the previous season.
- The show's opening credits are once more changed to include "Nicole de Boer as Ensign Ezri Dax", placing her alphabetically right after "René Auberjonois as Odo". Ezri Dax's rank is changed later to Lieutenant in the opening credits of the episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", after her promotion at the end of the episode "Afterimage". Nana Visitor's character now appears as "Colonel Kira". The typeface on the credits has also been modified slightly.
- Early in this episode, Admiral Ross informs Kira that there is to be a permanent Romulan presence on the station. When it seems as if Kira is about to protest, Ross says, "Let's get one thing straight, Colonel. I came here as a courtesy to you. This decision has already been made," to which Kira responds, "And I have to live with it." This would imply that the decision to have Romulans come aboard Deep Space 9 was a Starfleet decision and not something discussed with the Bajoran government (something which is confirmed in the following episode, "Shadows and Symbols"). However, as has been clearly established numerous times, Deep Space 9 is a Bajoran station, and the Chamber of Ministers has the final say in terms of what does and doesn't happen on the station. This issue is clarified in such early episodes as "Emissary", "A Man Alone", "Dramatis Personae" and "The Circle", and is also seen in the episode "Call to Arms", when all Starfleet personnel have to leave the station because the Bajorans have signed a nonaggression pact with the Dominion. As such, it remains unexplained how Starfleet could take such an important decision without first getting the approval of the Bajoran government. It maybe means that Bajor implicitly gave carte blanche to the Federation and Starfleet (after all, they have reconquered DS9). Kira, though being promoted to colonel, is just acting commander of the station while Sisko is on leave, so she cannot dispute political choices, and being a friend and confidant of both Sisko and Garak, she should have at least a glimpse of how it was difficult to gain Romulan alliance.
- The events of TNG: "Hollow Pursuits" are referred to in this episode by Worf and Miles O'Brien. Geordi La Forge and Reginald Barclay are also both mentioned by name. It is the only time that O'Brien refers to Geordi by his first name.
- In the scene in which Ben Sisko returns to his father's restaurant after the stabbing, David B. Levinson can be seen as a waiter emerging from the kitchen carrying two plates. Levinson is more regularly seen in Ferengi make-up as Broik, a waiter in Quark's
- The song Sisko plays in the restaurant before his vision is "Round Midnight", by Thelonious Monk.
- This episode has one of the longest teasers in Star Trek, lasting just over eight minutes.
Video and DVD releases
- A significant redesign of the video sleeve is seen from this volume on. The traditional "character-in-the-wormhole" image is replaced with episode-specific art, with the episode titles contained in a gold surround, with images of Sisko, Kira and Worf.
- As part of the DS9 Season 7 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Nicole de Boer as Ensign Ezri Dax
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Colonel Kira Nerys
- Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun
- Casey Biggs as Damar
- Barry Jenner as Admiral Ross
- J.G. Hertzler as Martok
- Megan Cole as Kimara Cretak
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
Special guest stars
- Majel Barrett as Narrator
- Ivy Borg as Peliar Zel native
- Uriah Carr as operations crewman
- Amy Kate Connolly as civilian
- Brian Demonbreun as sciences officer
- Kathleen Demor as operations lieutenant
- Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax (photography)
- Lisa M. Getto as restaurant patron
- W. Gordon as restaurant patron
- Luther Hughes as holographic band member
- Randy James as Jones
- Deborah Lacey as Sarah Sisko
- Mark Lentry as civilian
- David B. Levinson as
- Dan Magee as operations lieutenant
- Mary Mascari as Bajoran woman
- Angus McClellan as operations ensign
- James Minor as civilian
- Robin Morselli as Bajoran officer
- Mark Newsom as Bajoran pah-wraith follower
- Chuck Shanks as operations lieutenant
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- James Lee Stanley as Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
- George Colucci as stunt double for Johnny Moran
- Brennan Dyson as stunt double for Michael Dorn
- Tom Morga as stunt double for J.G. Hertzler
- John Lendale Bennett – stand-in for Avery Brooks
- Uriah Carr – stand-in for Alexander Siddig
- Amy Kate Connolly – stand-in for Nana Visitor
- Dominique – stand-in for Nicole de Boer
- W. Gordon – stand-in for Brock Peters
- Mark Lentry – stand-in for J.G. Hertzler, Rene Auberjonois, Barry Jenner, and utility stand-in
- David B. Levinson – stand-in for Armin Shimerman and Aron Eisenberg
- James Minor – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Robin Morselli – stand-in for Megan Cole, Johnny Moran, and Jeffrey Combs
- Randy Pflug – stand-in for James Darren, Colm Meaney, and Casey Biggs
- Todd Slayton – stand-in for Cirroc Lofton
47; album; "All the Way"; ancient Bajoran texts; Armstrong Park; Australia; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran government; Bajoran wormhole; Baldwin Piano Company; barbecue; Barclay, Reginald; baseball; bat'leth; belch; Bishop, Joey; blackjack; bloodwine; bribe; Cardassia Prime; Cardassians; Chin'toka system; clam; colonel; convoy; convoy duty; craps; crawfish étouffée; combat duty; Council of Ministers; cuckoo; Dax, Jadzia; Derna; desert; dime; Dukat; Dominion; Dominion War; donation; Emissary of the Prophets; Erdmann, Terry P.; facsimile construction program 047; Federation; Federation Alliance; first officer; front line; gagh; Gamma Quadrant; gumbo; heart; holo-photograph; hologram; holosuite; hospital; House of Martok; hovercraft; Invasion of Cardassia; isotope; Jackson Square; jazz; Jem'Hadar; jumja; kanar; Klingons; La Forge, Geordi; leave of absence; loitering; Monac IV; murder; Neral; Orb of the Emissary; osol twist; Pah-wraiths; photograph; piano; plasma torpedo; Promenade; Prophets; Quark's; raktajino; recipe; Romulans; Romulan Senate; Romulan underground movement; Romulus; Rozhenko, Alexander; Russia; Saltah'na clock; shrimp; shrimp creole; Sinatra, Frank; Sisko's Creole Kitchen; Sisko's stepmother; squadron; Starbase 129; Starfleet Security; stem bolt; stepmother; Sto-vo-kor; swill; system module; Third Fleet; Third Order; Three Musketeers, The; Trills; toast; tongo; toothbrush; trilithium; Tyree; Vulcans; Yaltar
Akagi, USS; Aj'rmr, PWB; Bajoran interceptor (Bajoran interceptor); Cochrane, USS; D'deridex-class (warbirds); Defiant, USS; Enterprise-D, USS; Fek'lhr, IKS; Galaxy-class (starships); K'mpec, IKS; Koderex, PWB; runabout; Preceptor, PWB; Starfleet transport; Tecumseh, USS; Tomal, PWB; T'Tpalok, PWB; Vor'cha-class (attack cruiser); Victory, USS; Wyoming, USS
- "Image in the Sand" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Image in the Sand" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Image in the Sand" at Wikipedia
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