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Image in the Sand

Production no.: 551
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by: Les Landau
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: September 26, 1998
Jeffrey Combs ......
Casey Biggs .........
Barry Jenner .........
J.G. Hertzler .........
Megan Cole ..........
Aron Eisenberg .....
James Darren .......
Brock Peters ........
Johnny Moran .......
Admiral Ross
Vic Fontaine
Joseph Sisko
Bajoran Man

Colonel Kira Nerys is looking over the Promenade when she is joined by Odo. Admiral Ross is on the way; Kira isn't sure she'll like whatever he has to say. A group of Bajorans with red armbands are gathered near the shrine. They are members of the Cult of the Pah-wraith, once considered a joke but now gaining followers. "A lot of people feel abandoned by the Prophets," Odo notes. "...In times of trouble, some people find comfort in hate and fear." They haven't heard from Sisko in three months. Odo tries to raise his lover's spirits by telling her there's always hope. "When did you turn into an optimist?" she asks. "Must have been that day in front of Quark's, when we kissed for the first time," Odo replies, and Kira smiles. "That was some kiss, wasn't it?" "Changed my life."

The Defiant is returning to the station after a long convoy mission, and Nog comments that such duty is at least safer than the front lines. "Is that the reason you joined Starfleet, Ensign? To be safe?" challenges Worf, who has been surly as of late. He resents not being able to fight, but of course it's more than that. Nog confides to O'Brien and Bashir that he wishes Captain Sisko were here. On that, they all agree.

Meanwhile, Sisko is still hanging out at his father's restaurant, moodily playing piano under the worried eyes of Joseph and Jake. Joseph believes the best thing is still to leave him alone to sort things out, but Jake says they've been doing that for the last three months. As Sisko continues to play, his baseball rolls off the piano mantel. When he stoops to pick it up, suddenly he is in a desert, digging in the sand, until he uncovers the face of a beautiful black woman, whose eyes open. Sisko then finds himself back in the restaurant. He tells Jake about the curious vision. "I've never seen her before. But now I know why I came back here, Jake. I have to find her. I have to."

On DS9, Admiral Ross assures Kira that she has nothing to be concerned about, in re: Senator Cretak, the Romulan who will be in charge of their military presence on the station -- which is what the admiral is here to brief her on. Kira is more than a little dubious, but Ross tells her the decision has already been made. He also compliments her on the job she's done taking over for Sisko. "I'm just keeping his seat warm," Kira says, outwardly certain that Sisko will return.

On Cardassia, Damar notes to Weyoun that they have halted the Klingon advance against Monac IV. The Federation/Klingon/Romulan forces have been unable to continue their invasion and are bottled up at Chin'toka. Damar sees this as an occasion for a drink, of which Weyoun disapproves; but they do agree that they owe Dukat gratitude, for when the pah-wraith was released into the wormhole, it seems to have shifted the momentum of the war back into the Dominion's favor. "The Prophets and the pah-wraiths locked in some form of celestial battle -- it's fascinating," muses Damar, causing Weyoun to comment dryly on his vivid imagination. "Just remember, too much imagination can be dangerous."

Sisko is working on a composite picture of the woman's face from his vision when Jake gets a look at it and realizes he's seen her somewhere. He goes and gets a photo, and gives it to his father. The picture shows the same woman, standing next to none other than Joseph Sisko, looking very much as if they're a couple. Sisko is thunderstruck. "Where'd you get this?" demands Joseph when he sees the photo; Jake says he found it last week in a storage room. When Sisko asks who the woman is, Joseph exclaims vehemently, "No one at all, you hear me? She's no one at all!" Then he storms out.

Unable to sleep, Worf looks at his and Jadzia's wedding picture, then goes to a holosuite, where he insists that Vic "sing the song". Reluctantly, Vic acquiesces and sings "All the Way", during which Worf sits there listening until finally he erupts and trashes the place.

Senator Cretak is in her new DS9 office, which is just being set up, when Kira enters, finally meeting her. The Romulan is surprisingly personable. "The admiral and I have a good working relationship," she says. "I hope to have a similar one with you." "I'd like nothing more," Kira agrees, and Cretak smiles. "Then I look forward to working with you toward our common goal -- the destruction of the Dominion."

Quark and Bashir survey the damage to Vic's. "I don't care how much he threatens me," Vic declares, "that's the last time I ever sing 'All the Way'. He wants to hear it again, let him buy a Sinatra album." Bashir remembers that that was Jadzia's favorite song. He also realizes that there's something wrong with Worf. "Klingons usually have a much shorter mourning period than humans. They accept death more readily than we do." Vic tells him Worf needs some serious help, and Bashir says he'll see what he can do.

Sisko finds his father brooding, and tries again to get him to open up about the woman in the photo. He tells him that she was the woman whose face he saw in the vision. "That's impossible," Joseph insists. He does not want to talk about it. But Sisko won't let him escape. He actually grabs his father and starts to shake him. "You have to tell me. I need to know who she is!" Shocked by his own actions, Sisko then lets go and sits down. "Her name was Sarah," Joseph says at last, painfully. He proceeds to tell his son that he was married to her. This is the first time Sisko has ever heard that his father had had another wife. "It's a little more complicated than that, Ben," Joseph says. "You see -- Sarah was your mother."

Joseph continues. They were married for two years, and Sarah seemed happy; then, two days after Benjamin's first birthday, she left, and Joseph never knew why. He eventually did find out what happened to her: after three years, he tracked her to Australia, but by that time, she had died in a hovercraft accident. "I loved that woman, and she loved me. I know she did." Naturally, Sisko wants to know why Joseph never told him about her. Joseph confesses that he didn't want it to get in the way of Benjamin's relationship with his stepmother. "Life is full of choices," he says sadly. "You make them and hope for the best. Sometimes you're right, and sometimes you're not. I made a mistake."

The question now is why the Prophets would send Sisko a vision of Sarah. "I came back here to clear my head," Sisko says. "To try to figure out what to do next. Maybe learning the truth about my mother is the first step of this journey." "Well, from here on out, I hope the Prophets keep their noses out of my business," Joseph replies ruefully. His son asks if there are any other secrets he should know about. "Just my gumbo recipe, but I'm taking that to my grave," Joseph declares.

On the Promenade, Kira sees an unusual sight: a Romulan, Cretak, trying a jumja stick. Cretak admits to being curious. She then tells Kira about a squadron of warbirds that will be arriving for refitting. Then she mentions Bajor's uninhabited fourth moon, Derna. Cretak wonders if the Bajoran government would allow the Romulans to set up a hospital there, as their wounded tend to die on the journey back to Romulus. Kira promises to ask the Council of Ministers about it.

Bashir and O'Brien put a plan into motion, to get Worf talking about Jadzia. The plan consists of a bottle of good vintage blood wine. When O'Brien chimes Worf's door and suggests that they share it, Worf is courteous but obviously does his best to get him to leave. However, O'Brien is as stubborn as they come. He proposes reminiscing about their old friends on the Enterprise. Finally, Worf lets himself be drawn into the conversation.

The next morning, O'Brien reports to Bashir and Quark at the bar. He and Worf talked about many things; at the end of the third bottle, they finally got around to discussing Jadzia. Worf's problem is that as far as he's concerned, Jadzia was Klingon, but her soul is not in StoVoKor. She never ate the heart of one of her enemies, and she didn't die in glorious battle. The only way Worf can ensure that she enters StoVoKor is to win a great battle in her name, and all the convoy duty the Defiant has been getting doesn't cut it. They decide to talk to Martok.

Joseph brings his son a locket that belonged to Sarah. Looking on the back, Sisko is startled to see an inscription in ancient Bajoran. Both men are mystified as to why Sarah would have had a locket with Bajoran writing on it. Sisko finally manages to translate the inscription: "Orb of the Emissary". He has never heard of this orb, which was never mentioned in the ancient texts. But, "What if the Orb does exist? What if it didn't go dark like all the others when the wormhole disappeared?" He decides that he is going to find it, and he will start his search on Tyree -- the world he saw in his vision.

The Romulan hospital complex has been built on Derna, in time for Romulan casualties from the Dominion counterattack at Chin'toka. Cretak thanks Kira for her help in convincing the Council of Ministers to allow the hospital to be built. However, Odo later gives Kira some disturbing news: a Starfleet transport filled with wounded was denied permission to dock at Derna. Most of the wounded were Vulcans, a race with the same physiology as the Romulans. While it's true that Vulcans and Romulans distrust each other, there are also sensor readings of trilithium isotopes -- indicating the presence of Romulan plasma torpedoes. Kira will look into it.

Martok joins Worf in his holosuite bat'leth exercises. As they fight, the general informs Worf that he needs a first officer for a dangerous mission. "Dangerous enough to assure Jadzia a place in StoVoKor." Surprised that Martok knows of his concern, Worf immediately accepts.

Sisko is outside the back of the restaurant when he is approached by a young Bajoran man, wearing robes. "Emissary. I've come a long way to see you. This moment is sacred, one that will be long remembered." Approaching Sisko, he chants in ancient Bajoran. Sisko tries to be gracious, but indicates he has to get back to work. "Your work is finished," the man tells him calmly. "The Orb you are seeking, the Orb of the Emissary -- " "What did you say?" Suddenly the Bajoran whips out a dagger and slices it into Sisko's stomach. "You're never going to find it," he hisses. He is about to move in for the kill when Jake comes up from behind and knocks him out with a sack of clams. Cradling his father, Jake calls for help.

Recovering from the assassination attempt, Sisko returns to the restaurant. The Bajoran was a member of the Cult of the Pah-wraiths. "I don't suppose I can talk you out of going to Tyree," Joseph says. He's worried that if the cult knows Sisko is after the Orb of the Emissary, then the pah-wraiths themselves know as well.

At the bar, Bashir and O'Brien drink to the success of Worf's mission, which is to destroy the Dominion shipyards at Monac IV -- a task that an entire Klingon fleet failed to accomplish. It's suicidal. But Bashir reveals that he plans to go along, to help Jadzia get into StoVoKor. "What makes you think she wants to spend eternity there?" Quark demands. "I know I certainly wouldn't. Imagine what it must be like -- hordes of rampaging Klingons, fighting and singing, sweating and belching." "Sounds like this place on a Saturday night," Bashir quips. But Quark points out, "Would you want to spend eternity here?"

Still, Bashir is determined. "This gives me a chance to honor her memory, and I'm going to take it. And that, my friend, is my final word on the subject." And to make sure he comes back in one piece, O'Brien declares that he'll go too. Quark thinks they're both crazy. "You want to get Jadzia into StoVoKor? Fine, fine, I'm all for it. But can't you do something more sensible? Make a donation in her name, or bribe someone." But Bashir tells him it doesn't work like that.

Admiral Ross and Cretak are in the middle of a meeting when Kira interrupts, with a message for Cretak from the Council of Ministers. The Romulans are being asked to leave Derna, because of the 7000 plasma torpedoes that they've deployed there. Cretak claims they're for defensive purposes only, and refuses to call for evacuation. "This is ridiculous. I regret not informing your government about our weapon emplacements. But I didn't think it was necessary. We're your ally." However, Kira is firm. Bajor can guarantee the hospital's safety; Cretak says that's not acceptable. "Either you remove those weapons, or we will," warns Kira.

On Cardassia, Weyoun tells Damar about the Romulans having taken over and fortified a Bajoran moon. "This is the sort of unfortunate situation that could destroy an alliance...Romulans -- they're so predictably treacherous."

Sisko is surprised to find the restaurant closed, and Joseph and Jake waiting for him. They've decided they're coming along to Tyree. "Have you both lost your minds?" asks Sisko; Joseph replies, "Apparently, it runs in the family." Sisko can see there's no persuading them otherwise. Then there is a knock on the door. Joseph looks past the curtain, at a young female Trill, wearing a Starfleet uniform. He tells her they're closed. "That's all right, Mr. Sisko," she says. "I'm not hungry. I'm here to see Ben." Joseph lets her in, and she focuses on Sisko. "Hello, Benjamin."

Sisko looks up from the piano. "Do I know you?" She smiles. "It's me. Dax."

To be continued...

  • At one point, the producers had considered making Sarah an actual Prophet, rather than a human woman possessed by a Prophet.
  • Admiral Ross' first name, Bill, is spoken for the first time in this episode. However, one of the diplomas on the wall in his office, shown during the last season (though not legible to the audience), refers to him as Admiral Cliff Ross.
  • Monac IV was named after Gary Monak, who did the show's special effects. Tyree was named after, not the character in TOS' "A Private Little War", but a character in the film Major Dundee.