March 2, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Weekend Trek “Accession”

Sisko realizes how much he may really want to be the Emissary.

Deep Space Nine has, gradually, over this season been building up something more than most Star Trek shows have done before.  But one thing that hasn’t come up too much of late is Sisko’s feelings on his status as a religious figure to the Bajorans.  He didn’t ask for that position, but he has it.

What could change that?

Actually, before I go much further, I want to take a moment to appreciate the O’Brien plot.  Keiko and Molly are returning to the station after time away, and he’s been enjoying the bachelor’s lifestyle with Bashir.  He’s initially dismayed to learn Keiko is pregnant again because he was hoping for some alone time with his wife and maybe some more time with Julian, but finding out Keiko is pregnant as quickly as she is worries him a little.  He’s sure he’ll change his mind over time, and Keiko on her own finds a rather delightful way to make her husband feel better with some intuitive thinking of her own.  But this plotline did lead to what was for me the episode’s highlight, in light of which episode of TNG I just watched with Jimmy as of this typing, was Worf’s reaction to the news:

But the main plot focuses on Sisko finally deciding whether or not he really wants to be the Emissary of the Prophets.  As the episode starts, he’s largely indifferent to the whole thing at best.  He’s doing blessings for Bajorans, a little begrudgingly, and at best, he could be said to be humoring the Bajorans, particularly a priest named Vedek Porta who does stop to compliment Sisko’s improved accent.  And then the oddest thing happens:  a Bajoran poet comes through the wormhole.  He’s a literary icon, it turns out, one Akorem Laan.  Kira’s a big fan, and the show tends to always use Kira as the stand-in for Bajor at-large.  It makes sense, and Laan is a revered figure in Bajoran society.

He’s also been missing for centuries, and the first thing he figures is, according to prophecy, he is the actual Emissary to the Prophets.  He did, technically, meet them first, and he fits the criteria better than Sisko does at any rate since, you know, they saved his life.  Sisko, for his part, is more than willing to let the guy have the job.  He never really felt comfortable with it anyway.

But then Laan asks about the Bajoran caste system.

Yeah, it seems Bajor used to have a caste system, but fifty years of Cardassian occupation effectively put an end to it when everyone had to be a soldier.  Kira, for example, came from an artist caste, and if she’s a true believer in the Emissary, she’ll have to resign her commission and move to an art commune to work on her sculptures or something.

Yes, she will do that.  No, she isn’t good at it.

Now, I think Deep Space Nine has often done a good job portraying the vast differences between Bajoran traditionalists and more progressive ones.  Kai Winn is nowhere to be seen in this episode, but unsurprisingly, she supports the return of the caste system.  No surprise there.  First Minister Shakaar, likewise unseen, Laan figures can finish his term but the people surely won’t vote for a man from the farmer caste to be the First Minister because that would be just plain silly.

Sisko, for his part, is a little uneasy about all this, and he sees that it’s going to cause a lot of conflict within Bajor.  He likewise knows he’s expected to get Bajor into the Federation, and the Federation has rules against things like a caste system.  Plus, he’s having bad dreams involving Kai Opaka asking him if he truly knows who he is.  Sure, he renounced the Emissary position, but maybe he can talk Laan out of the caste stuff.

You know, until Porta murders a man for refusing to give up his job as a priest and go learn the fine art of gravedigging.

Um, did that guy get punished for that?  I’m not even sure.

Now, me, when I don’t get something, I find it best to ask.  Sisko figures the best thing to do is take Laan back to the wormhole and ask the Prophets what they want.

Turns out they want Sisko.  Laan can be sent back to the time he left without any memories of what happened, even finish off a poem he never finished, and because the Prophets are involved, this will be something people just found and it won’t be like it was already there.  The whole scheme was set up to make Sisko want to be the Emissary.

And…it worked.

Huh.

Well, duty is very important to Ben Sisko, so that works for me.