For the TNG episode with a similar title, please see "The Emissary".


On Stardate 43997, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise was captured by a sinister race called the Borg. The Borg altered the captain's appearance and mind and forced him to lead an attack against the Federation, during which the U.S.S. Saratoga was all but destroyed. One of the Saratoga's officers, Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko, managed to escape with his young son Jake. Unfortunately, his wife did not survive.

Three years later, Commander Benjamin Sisko is assigned as the new commander of a plundered space station orbiting the planet of Bajor. Having liberated themselves from sixty years of Cardassian rule, the newly established Bajoran provisional government is seeking Federation assistance for the task of rebuilding their pillaged planet. The discovery of the first stable wormhole into the Gamma Quadrant adds a strategic significance to the station, and when it is moved to the "mouth" of the wormhole, it becomes an attractive target for the Cardassians to recapture. The wormhole itself is inhabited by a non-corporeal species that have a religious significance to the Bajoran people to whom they refer as the "Prophets". It was prophesied that their "Celestial Temple" (the wormhole) would be found by an emissary, who in this case is none other than Commander Sisko himself.

Later, a changed Sisko speaks with Picard about the events of the past few days. He decides to keep his post on Deep Space Nine, and Picard agrees. Later, he speaks with Kai Opaka, who informs Sisko that this is not the last time he will work with the Bajoran prophets to secure the future of the space station inhabitants.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot oversights

  1. During the flashback at the beginning, why are there civilians on board the starships attacking the Borg? There may not have been enough time to remove them all – assuming they would be willing to leave!
  2. During his first encounter with the Tear of the Prophet, Sisko flashes back to the day he met Jennifer – the woman he would marry. He is standing on the beach, holding a tray of lemonade, when he realises the sand is burning his feet. He hops around, eventually kicking sand on his wife-to-be. They flirt for several moments, and then take off for a walk down the beach. It looks like they are walking on dry sand – dry, hot sand – which no longer seems to be burning his feet. The burning effect could be due to the concentration of the sun's rays through the lemonade glasses. CdnTim 1229 EST 3 Feb 2021 - It may only have felt hot after standing in one place for a while.
  3. Why isn't Kira torqued about the new name for the station? Wouldn't she be upset that Starfleet named it Deep Space 9? She probably regards the Starfleet name to be an improvement on the original Cardassian one!
  4. When did Starfleet officers become fluent in the written Cardassian language? Those assigned to DS9 would need to understand Cardassian script in order to get the station operational again.

Changed Premises

  1. Existence of survivors from the Battle of Wolf 359, despite Data reporting in The Best of Both Worlds Part 2 that there were no active subspace fields, negligible power readings and – in response to Riker's question – no life signs. It's possible that some ships managed to evacuate the few survivors after the Borg ship left, but before the Enterprise arrived.
  2. The Saratoga having it's registry as NCC-31911, and not NCC-1937 followed by a suffix letter, in honour of the ship from Star Trek IV The Voyage Home. Perhaps the suffix letter policy only applies to Enterprise at this point, due to that ship's status as the Federation flagship.
  3. Kira describing DS9 as a god-forsaken place, despite Bajorans worshipping beings known as the Prophets. Bajorans regard the Prophets as being akin to gods.
  4. Problems with the conservation of matter, with regard to Odo's shape-shifting. Perhaps Odo's people can subconsciously alter the specific density of their body cells. CdnTim 1231 EST 3 Feb 2021 - Star Trek physics...Changeling are demonstrated on multiple occasions to be able to change their mass, we have to lump it with the warp drive, universal translator, etc. as the way the universe works.

Equipment Oddities

  1. Locutus only using a tractor beam against the Saratoga, as opposed to the more powerful weapon used against the Melbourne moments earlier. There are three possibilities.
    1) As Phil suggests, the more powerful weapon used against the Melbourne is out of power, and needs to recharge.
    2). The Borg recognised the Melbourne as being the command vessel, and used the more powerful weapon against it to disrupt the effectiveness of Starfleet's attack.
    3). The Borg singled it out due to Picard's subconscious resentment at Riker being offered command, thus taking the latter away from Picard's side. [N 1]
  2. The Borg energy weapon damaging decks 1 to 4 of the Saratoga, despite impacting the lower part of the saucer section. The energy from the weapon could have travelled along the power transfer system before inflicting the damage.
  3. The station retaining working transporters and monitors, despite O'Brien claiming the Cardassians took everything of value when they left. Either they didn't have time to remove these items, or they underwent quick repairs between the Cardassian withdrawl and Sisko arriving. CdnTim 1232 EST 3 Feb 2021 - By the 24th century standards, the monitors may not have been valuable enough to be worth removing, like the faucets in a house. The larger systems, like the computer core, transporters, etc. may be too integrated in the station to remove in time the Cardassians. Alternately, or complimentary, there was clearly a Bajoran-Cardassian treaty at the time of the withdrawal (in Season 2, all prisoners had supposedly already been released), so leaving the station broadly functional may have been required. The Cardassians, being jerks, took everything they could get away with, and trashed the rest, making sure to meet the narrowest definition of leaving a functioning station.

Continuity and Production Problems

  1. Dax's tricorder being in it's holder when Dax is returned to the station by the Orb, despite it being in her hand when she is snatched. Perhaps the orb put it back when Dax was grabbed.

Nit Central

  1. ScottN on Friday, May 14, 1999 - 4:59 pm: How come Jadzia was awake during major surgery (implanting the symbiont)? Robert P. Smith on Friday, May 14, 1999 - 5:08 pm: The only other reference to that I can recall was when Riker had that "trill" parasite put in him. They kept him awake to keep an eye on his vitals but that was for different reasons. Sven of Nine on Saturday, December 15, 2001 - 3:49 pm: Perhaps it's a Trill custom, that the joining of a Symbion into its new Host has a cultural symbolism, in that by having both parties awake, the whole can appreciate its new existence - either that, or wonderful 24th Century local anaesthetic. Seniram Maybe the new recipient has to be awake, to ensure the implantation goes smoothly.
  2. Keith Alan Morgan (Kmorgan) on Sunday, September 03, 2000 - 12:30 am: So why didn't the Cardassians take the station with them? Have you any idea how hard it would be to tow a space station from Bajor to Cardassia?
  3. Teral on Saturday, August 04, 2001 - 7:05 pm: Odo calls Quark a gambler and a thief in a very negative intonation. But isn't gambling legal on the station? So why would Odo use the term gambler as a bad thing? Brian Fitzgerald on Saturday, August 04, 2001 - 10:36 pm: Even though it's legal, it doesn't mean Odo thinks highly of it. You can call someone a drunk in a negative way even though it's legal.
  4. Sisko allows the Cardassians to come to the Promenade for some leisure time. This is a very poor decision on Sisko's part. The Bajorans remaining on the station is bound to react very hostile to the Cardassians. And what about Sisko's relations with the Bajorans? As one of his first actions as station commander he invites their arch-enemies onboard for a bit of fun. He's hoping to build a lasting peace between the two races. CdnTim 1237 EST 3 Feb 2021 - He's also trying to gather information on the local power, both in general and regarding their specific immediate plans. As we saw with Nog and Quark, Sisko is capable of making plans for the long term, even if he intends to resign shortly.
  5. When the Cardassian picks up the bag that is Odo, he should have noticed that the bag had the same temperature as a humanoid body. Or is Odo able to lower his body temperature to approx. 15-20 degrees celsius without jeopardizing his health? He's a shapeshifter – anything's possible!
  6. Cableface on Thursday, December 17, 1998 - 12:29 pm: The whole reason for Odo looking like he does is because he can't fully recreate a human face.But as the series has progressed, he's become less human looking.In this episode, he has wrinkles and doesn't look too different from the actor who plays him.But seven years later, he looks very little like a human.Granted, it look better but it just doesn't make much sense. ScottN on Thursday, December 17, 1998 - 5:53 pm: He has become more comfortable with who he is,.
  7. Chris on Friday, February 26, 1999 - 11:11 am: About the wormhole aliens not seeming to know the future perhaps they can see it but chose not to. Perhaps linear time to them is like a book is to us. You can hold a book in your hand and have access to every page in it but you can't see the page if you don't open the book. They didn't know Sisko was coming because they hadn't read that page yet. Mike Konczewski on Wednesday, January 06, 1999 - 7:23 am: I think it's even more complicated. They didn't know Sisko was coming because they've always known that they would be surprised. For the Prophets, everything is predetermined, even their own reactions. CdnTim 1239 EST 3 Feb 2021 - This may also be part of why Sisko and Dax frighten them, they may "trail" linear time into the Prophet's realm, forcing them to experience those interactions at least partially linearly.
  8. Christopher Q on Friday, March 05, 1999 - 3:44 pm: Some Cardis came to investigate the disappearance & apparant distruction of a fellow Card ship. They don't believe that the ship went into the wormhole because it temporary collapsed. My question is: Why aren't the Cardis surprised to find DS9 hanging way out in space instead of in Bajor's orbit? Don't they wonder why the Feds & Bajorins bothered to move the station? Natural Stupidity? CdnTim 1240 EST 3 Feb 2021 - Who's to say they weren't surprised? We don't follow the episode from their perspective, just see a few glimpses at their bridge.


  1. Jason Krietsch submitted this explanation to the Nit Central board for the episode on Saturday, February 27, 1999 - 11:31 am:

Deep Space Nine Season 1
Emissary I Past Prologue I A Man Alone I Babel I Captive Pursuit I Q-Less I Dax I The Passenger I Move Along Home I The Nagus I Vortex I Battle Lines I The Storyteller I Progress I If Wishes Were Horses I The Forsaken I Dramatis Personae I Duet I In the Hands of the Prophets
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