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Deep Space Nine: Season 1 Episode 1

"Emissary"

The Deeper Stuff     Best Quotes     Points to Ponder

The Story:     Stardates: 46379.1 - 46393.1

The setting is "deep space" where the inhabitants of the planet Bajor have recently driven out the occupying forces of the Cardassians, who for many years systematically stripped Bajor of its natural resources. Bajor, impoverished and ravaged is now on the brink of civil war. The United Federation of Planets has been invited by the provisional governement to take over a space station orbiting Bajor, Terok Nor, abandoned by the retreating Cardassians. The station, renamed Deep Space Nine, has been trashed by the departing Cardassians.

Commander Benjamin Sisko is sent by the Federation to take command of the station and make it functional while helping Bajor work towards membership of the Federation. . Sisko is accompanied by his young son, Jake. Jake's mother had been killed three years previously when the Borg, led by the assimilated Jean-Luc Picard, attacked a starship defending a federation outpost.

Sisko's team on the station includes a Bajoran first officer, and veteran resistance fighter from the Cardassian occupation, Major Kira Nerys, a science officer, Jadzia Dax who is a Trill (a species where two entities are joined in a symbiotic relationship), a shapeshifting security officer, Odo, who has served in that role for the Cardassians, a chief of operations, Miles O'Brien, recently transferred from the USS Enterprise and a newly-qualified chief medical officer, Dr Julian Bashir.

Shortly after Sisko takes up post, he discovers a wormhole in space near the station. A wormhole is a shortcut in space. This one allows spacecraft to travel 70,000 light years to a distant part of the galaxy, in the Gamma Quadrant, in moments - instead of the usual 65+ years....

The discovery of the wormhole has been long foretold on Bajor. They regard it as the celestial home of their deities, the Prophets and the spirtual leader of Bajor considers Sisko to the messneger or "emissary" of the Prophets whose coming has long been predicted in Bajoran folklore and religious life.

Travelling through the wormhole, Sisko encounters the beings who live there. The wormhole aliens live in non-linear time. They cannot conceive of a universe or species which expereiences past, present and future as separate states. They initailly wish no contact with such an inferior species. Sisko manages to show the aliens the challenge of living with a future which is unknown, and convince them of the qualities of faith, courage and hope this requires and nurtures in species which live in time. Impressed, the aliens agree to allow passage of vessels through the wormhole.

Sisko's encounter with non-linear time makes him realise his life and emotions have been stuck at the point of his wife's death. He accepts he has to move on from his intense and unyielding grief and try to make a new life for himslef and his son on Deep Space Nine.

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"Emissary"

The Story    Best Quotes     Points to Ponder

The Deeper Stuff

This episode should be compulsory viewing for all Christians, all theologians and everyone struggling with the notion of eternity. Most people find the idea of eternity difficult. Some people worry that experiencing "endless time" in an afterlife might become wearisome. The portrayal of the wormhole aliens' existence "outside time" is excellent. This is about as close as our finite minds can get to understanding the concept of eternity.

When Sisko and Dax arrive in the timeless realm of the aliens, Dax, who is at peace with herself and her past lives, experiences the area as a beautiful, sunny gardens. Sisko, still traumatised by the death of his wife and unsure about his commitment to Starfleet experiences the same area as a sunless, storm-lashed wilderness. (The scene has echoes of the crucial encounter between Orual and Psyche in CS Lewis' "Till We Have Faces". Psyche who has been true to herself and her faith sees a palace in which her every need is provided for. Orual who has hidden her true self and denigrated all that is not rational, sees only a bare hillside.) Until we are at peace with ourselves and open to letting God be God, we can only see in the universe and in the spiritual dimension, a poor reflection of our own inner turmoils and aspirations.

The wormhole aliens experience the events of Sisko's life, past, present and future, all at once rather than as a series of successive events. They interact with him at the event where it appears to them he is currently living: the death of his wife. Although in Sisko's universe four years have passed since the tragedy, his inner life has stuck at that point. He is emotionally paralysed, unable to forget, to forgive or to move on. To the aliens, for whom time has no meaning, it seems Sisko is living in this event as it so affects who he is and how he responds to his world. When Sisko tries to explain he lives at a different point in time, the aliens point out: "you choose to exist here."

The realisation of how restricted and dominated he has been by dwelling in the past, causes Sisko to decide to try to accept his wife's death and move on, still grieving, but focusing on the future not the past.

 

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The Story     The Deeper Stuff     Points to Ponder

Best Quotes...

'What comes before now is no different from what is now and what is to come'

'In linear existence we can't go back to the past to get anything we've lost'

'I cannot give you what you deny yourself'

 

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The Story     Best Quotes     The Deeper Stuff

Points for Pondering.....

Are you emotionally stuck at an event somewhere in your past?

If you encountered the wormhole aliens, where would they perceive your life being lived?

What do you need to say good-bye to, or forgive, or accept forgiveness for in order to move on?

 

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