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Production no.: 468
Teleplay by: René Echevarria
Story by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Cliff Bole
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: May 6, 1995
Marc Alaimo ...........
Bari Hochwald ........
Chase Masterson .....
Gul Dukat
Dr. Elizabeth Lense

Bashir is sitting at the bar in Quark's when a pretty Bajoran Dabo girl named Leeta approaches him with a somewhat obviously fake cough. The doctor willingly plays along, ordering toddies for each of them, and prepares for a nice evening of flirting. Then Dax interrupts. Bashir types on a PADD and hands it to her; it says "go away". Dax starts off, but before she goes, mentions that the Lexington will be docking here in a few days. Startled, Bashir excuses himself and dashes after Dax to ask her when it's arriving. "Don't you have a friend aboard?" Dax asks innocently, meaning Dr. Elizabeth Lense, who was valedictorian of Bashir's class at Starfleet Medical while Bashir was salutatorian. Bashir tries to shrug it off.

Jake is working at a PADD when his father enters their quarters after having spent some time on Bajor, during which he grew a goatee. Sisko also attended the reopening of an old library, and shows him a blueprint of a ship that was used by the Bajorans to explore their star system 800 years ago, propelled by the pressure of light on solar sails. "Some scholars think they made it all the way to Cardassia." "I wonder if a ship like that could really fly," says Jake. "I don't know," answers Sisko. "That's why I'm going to build one."

Sisko is truly jazzed about this. He wants to use the material and tools that the Bajorans had available when they were building these ships. O'Brien is a bit nonplused by his commander's enthusiasm. "I'm not sure this design is spaceworthy, and I'm positive a ship like this could never have made it from Bajor to Cardassia." It would have taken them years; the sails could easily be torn apart by ion storms; and they could only store a few weeks worth of air. "You sound just like a Cardassian," says Kira. "They have denied the possibility of ancient contact for decades because they cannot stand the idea of Bajor having interstellar flight before they did." O'Brien counters that she's sounding like the Romulans, who claim first invention of every technological advance in existence. Sisko says he just wants to build one of these ships and prove that it's spaceworthy. "A computer model could do that," points out O'Brien. "Why go to all that trouble?" Sisko's face lights up. "Why? Because it'll be fun."

For some time, Sisko works on his project. When he talks to Jake about the trip at dinner one night, though, Jake doesn't seem terribly interested in coming along, and Sisko can't help but be somewhat disappointed.

Sisko is welding part of the ship, which is taking shape around him, when Dax brings him some food. She is impressed by the detail he's put into it, making it an exact replica, except for the gravity net in the floor. Dax hasn't seen him so caught up in something since he built a nursery for Jake. "You're disappointed he's not going with you on this trip, aren't you?" "He has other things he'd rather be doing, friends he'd rather be with," Sisko admits with regret. "It's funny -- a year or two ago, nothing would have stopped him from coming with me on an adventure like this. I guess I waited too long."

However, after Jake comes home to a communication from Wellington, New Zealand, he goes to see his father, who is putting a Starfleet communications unit on the now-complete ship. "It's wonderful. Maybe a bit small for two people, but I think I could get used to it. That is, if you still want me along." Sisko happily embraces him, touched.

Dax catches Bashir boning up on medical journals so as not to be shown up by Dr. Lense when she arrives. He admits that the two of them were competitive. "We were neck and neck right until the final exam. Then I blew it." Now Lense is on the Lexington, a post that was coveted by their class. Although Bashir chose DS9, he's still bothered by the fact that Lense could have taken it from him if she had wanted to. "No matter what I accomplish while I'm here," he confesses, "somehow, that will always make me feel second best."

As Sisko is giving his final orders before leaving, he gets a message from Gul Dukat, who knows about the trip he's taking. "I can't believe that a man of your intelligence would take stock in Bajoran fairy tales about ancient contact." He urges Sisko to reconsider; the solar vessel is very fragile, and they might run into trouble, such as the Maquis. "Why would the Maquis have any quarrel with an unarmed ship sailing toward the Denorios Belt?" asks Sisko. "They have nothing at stake here, nothing to prove -- or should I say, disprove." Dukat claims to be simply concerned for Sisko's safety. "Since I don't seem to be able to dissuade you from undertaking this little voyage of yours, I'll wish you luck instead. Let's hope you don't need it."

The little ship is launched at last, with Sisko and Jake aboard. They crank the winches, and the sails are deployed. Looking like some beautiful alien butterfly, the ship sails away from the station. Jake notes the tiny bathroom, designed for zero-g, while his father works out their flight plan. "It's almost like being on the deck of an old sailing ship," Sisko declares contentedly, "except the stars are not just up in the sky, they're all around us. Imagine how the ancient Bajorans must have felt, heading into space in a ship like this one, not knowing what they were going to find or who they were going to meet."

Jake finally reveals the reason he decided to come: there's something he wanted to talk to his father about. First, though, he gives him a PADD to read, which contains a story he wrote. "That's why you kept putting this away every time I walked into the room," Sisko says with a smile.

Bashir is in the infirmary, fussing with things, when Odo lets him know the Lexington has arrived, and that Dr. Lense is in Quark's. A bit later, sitting at a table with O'Brien, Bashir tries to work up the nerve to approach Lense, who is chatting with some fellow officers. Quark stops by. "Morn gave me three-to-one odds that you'll exchange awkward pleasantries for a few minutes, then say goodbye. I'm betting that your charm will take you further." When Lense finally gets up, Bashir casually rises as well, prepared to nonchalantly "run into" her, but then she walks right past him, as if she doesn't even see him. Bashir is stunned.

Jake watches his father read until he can't take the suspense any more, and asks what he thinks of the story (which is about the Maquis). Sisko says sincerely that he liked it. "I think it shows a lot of promise...In a few places you're writing about things you haven't actually experienced. At least, I hope you haven't experienced. Unless you've joined the Maquis without telling me." Jake pretends for a moment that he has, then gets serious. He breaks some news to his dad: he's been offered a writing fellowship by the Pennington school in New Zealand. He had shown a story he wrote to Mrs. O'Brien, who showed it to a friend of hers who knows someone at the school.

As he is talking, a mast support gives way, causing a spritsail to fall half off and block a mainsail. Sisko decides to jettison it. He's not sure they'll be able to make it to the Denorios Belt like this, but Jake points out, "The ancient Bajorans probably ran into these kinds of problems...Did they give up and go home?" "Seems to me we're here to prove that they didn't," says Sisko. They press on.

Bashir and O'Brien have repaired to the Chief's quarters and gotten thoroughly lit, singing "Jerusalem" at the top of their lungs. Bashir suggests that they go sing it for everyone in Quark's, but O'Brien thinks they should switch to synthale. "This isn't a synthale kind of night," Bashir says morosely. "She walked right past me, Chief. Acted like I wasn't even there." "D'you know what I think?" says O'Brien. "I think she's in love with you...It's the only explanation. Unless," (snort of laughter) "unless she really ignored you because she can't stand you." Bashir, he explains, is "not an in-between kind of guy...People either love you or hate you." O'Brien himself used to hate him, but now..."now, I don't." "That means a lot to me, Chief, it really does," Bashir says with emotion. "Really," the Chief affirms. "Now, that is from the heart. I really do...not hate you any more." He advises Bashir to confront her, and Bashir is about to do so, but O'Brien saves him from himself by telling him to wait until tomorrow. "Why not right now?" Bashir demands. "Because you can barely stand up right now," O'Brien tells him. "Good point," says Bashir, and they resume singing.

After Sisko and Jake bring the ship about, they take a break and talk. Jake tells his dad he's turning down the fellowship. He doesn't feel ready to go, and has the option of deferring admission for a year. Sisko tells Jake about how homesick he felt during his first few days at the Academy. But Jake says it's not himself he's worried about, it's his father. "I appreciate you thinking about me, Jake," Sisko replies, "but please don't turn down this opportunity on my account. I'll have plenty of people to keep me company. I can always eat dinner with Dax, or Dr. Bashir, even Quark." "I guess," replies Jake, "but I'd feel a lot better if you had someone -- you know -- someone special. Like a girlfriend." Sisko hasn't had a date for over a year. "You've got to make time for these things," he urges.

Sisko has to smile. "I cannot believe that I am getting advice about women from my son." "Don't think of me as your son right now," Jake says. "Just think of me as another guy. Another guy who happens to know a very attractive lady who wants to meet you." Sisko is reacting in surprise to the notion of Jake trying to set him up when something hits them. One of the mainsails is torn off, and as Sisko and Jake hang on, out the windows they can see stars streaking past. Impossible as it seems, they're at warp.

As another sail falls off and Sisko fights to regain control, the ship finally drops back into normal space. Sisko and Jake have no idea what happened, until Jake notices tachyon eddies marked on the starchart. At first Sisko says tachyons don't have enough mass to affect a ship of this size, but then he realizes that this one has a lot more surface area relative to its mass, because of its sails. Since tachyons travel faster than light, their impact on the sails could have accelerated them to warp speeds. They're off course, and the sextant is broken, so they have no way of figuring out where they are or where they're going. Sisko tries to contact the station, but gets no response. Apparently they're out of range. "They'll find us eventually, right?" Jake asks; his father says, "Sure", but his expression is concerned.

In Quark's, a sober if slightly hung-over Bashir finally gathers up the courage to go up to Lense and introduce himself. She looks at him in astonishment. "You're Bashir?" It turns out she had thought he was Andorian; someone had pointed him out to her at a party when Bashir was with an Andorian friend of his, and Lense got them mixed up. She didn't see Bashir give his salutatorian's speech at graduation because she was waiting backstage to give her own speech. Lense adds that she knows if Bashir hadn't gotten that one question wrong, he would have been valedictorian instead of her. Bashir makes a remark about her assignment on the Lexington and how fascinating it must be, but Lense tells him that actually they've been on a charting mission with very little in the way of new life forms. "Don't take this the wrong way," she confides, "but there were times when I regretted not taking your assignment." She has read his paper on his immuno-therapy project on Bajor, and thinks it was brilliant. Soon they are chatting away most amicably, and Bashir leads her off to the infirmary to show her his latest results. Quark and Morn look on. "I believe the odds were three to one," the Ferengi says.

The lightship is limping along, and to take their minds off the situation, Sisko asks about the woman Jake wants him to meet. Jake says she's a freighter captain; Sisko's first reaction is dubious, but Jake assures him, "Dad, trust me, you'll like her." Sisko agrees to meet her on one condition, "that you agree not to base your decision about going to Pennington on how our date turns out." Jake tells him he's already decided to wait at least a year. "I've heard that you can only write about what you've experienced. And you've got to admit, Deep Space Nine is a pretty good place to get experience."

Suddenly they see out the porthole that three Cardassian warships are moving toward them. They are hailed by Dukat, who looks a bit annoyed by something. But he congratulates Sisko, and informs him that they have just entered the Cardassian system. "The tachyon eddy," Jake says. "It must have taken us past the Denorios Belt and brought us here." "The same thing must have happened to the ancient Bajorans," Sisko realizes. They hug in excitement and wonder.

Dukat says he hates to interrupt, but he's been asked to convey a message from his government. "Your voyage is a testament to the spirit of the ancient Bajorans who first ventured out into space. It could not be more appropriate that your arrival coincides with the discovery here on Cardassia of an ancient crash site -- a site that our archaeologists believe contains the remnants of one of the Bajoran vessels whose journey you have just recreated." "What an amazing coincidence," Sisko remarks drily. Dukat gives a forced smile. "Yes, isn't it? Welcome." And in honor of the occasion, the Cardassian ships begin shooting photon torpedoes that burst into fireworks.

  • The story originally was supposed to feature O'Brien rather than Sisko and Jake.
  • The episode is notable for the first mention of a bathroom on Star Trek.
  • The song "Jerusalem", which is sung by O'Brien and Bashir during a drinking binge, was chosen by Colm Meaney after the producers were unable to get the rights to "Louie, Louie", "Rocket Man", or "Major Tom".
  • Sisko's goatee makes its debut in this episode, though it's not until "The Way of the Warrior" that he began shaving his head.