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The Muse

Production no.: 493
Teleplay by: René Echevarria
Story by: René Echevarria & Majel Barrett Roddenberry
Directed by: David Livingston
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: April 27, 1996
Majel Barrett ........
Michael Ansara ....
Meg Foster ...........

Jake watches passengers from a transport enter the Promenade through an airlock, using them as inspiration for characters in possible stories. One of them is an alien woman of an unknown race. She looks up at Jake, their gazes lock, and then she disappears into the crowd.

Meanwhile, Odo enters his office to find Lwaxana Troi there, weeping. Surprised not only by her presence but by her distressed mood, he asks why she's crying. "Because...I'm pregnant," she tells him tearfully, standing up and revealing that she is indeed quite with child. It's not the thought of having another baby that has her depressed, but the fact that her husband, Jeyal, wants to take her baby from her, and she has fled him. Jeyal is Tavnian; his people believe in strict separation of the sexes, with children raised only by the parent of the same sex. And Lwaxana's unborn child is male. She had been led by Jeyal to believe that their marriage would be different, but she ended up feeling like a piece of property, a prisoner in her own house. "I'm so tired. I've never needed a friend more than I do right now."

"I appreciate your situation," Odo begins carefully, "and I would like to help -- " She interrupts. "I knew you would. You're such a dear, sweet man." Lwaxana tells him she doesn't want to be a burden to him; all she wants is a place to have the baby in peace. But when Odo offers to find her a transport to Betazed, she objects, since that's the first place Jeyal will look for her. "That's why I came to you. Because I knew you'd protect me. You will protect me, won't you, Odo?" And Odo is stuck for it.

As Jake is sitting in the replimat, working on a story with his PADD and stylus, the woman from the transport approaches him. "You're a writer," she observes. "I could see you were somewhere else. Someplace you were inventing." Jake is obviously intrigued, and she smiles. "I can spot a creative soul a galaxy away." The woman tells him her name is Onaya; he introduces himself as well, and they chat a bit about the architect Tavor Kell, who designed the station, and whom Onaya says she knew. "Most people would never notice someone like him, but I have a weakness for artists." She looks directly at Jake as she speaks. "...I've found artists have a weakness for me as well. At least, I hope they do."

Jake can't help but be a little uneasy at the subtext in her words, and steers the subject back to Kell; he says he wonders what Kell would have designed if he had lived longer. "He accomplished more in the years that he had than most people could in a dozen lifetimes," declares Onaya. "His name is known throughout the quadrant. His buildings will stand for centuries to come. Isn't that what an artist wants, to be remembered? Isn't that why you write?" Jake demurs at first, but then admits it. Onaya tells him, "You already have the talent inside you. I can see it. You just need someone to help you bring it to the surface." She invites him to her quarters tonight, so she can show him some "exercises" and "techniques".

Later, Sisko is all packed and ready to go off on a three-day trip to the Bajoran outback with Kasidy and Jake, but to his surprise, Jake wants to stay home, even though the trip was his idea. He makes the excuse that his dad and Kasidy will have a better time without him, and besides, he's working on a story and doesn't want to lose his concentration. Sisko finally accepts this, and leaves.

Lwaxana is sitting in Quark's with Worf, Dax, and Kira, telling them her sad story and making them all miserable in the process. Quark isn't happy, either -- Lwaxana's gloom is affecting the whole bar, and therefore his profits. He has called Odo to remedy the situation. "Either cheer her up, or get her to leave. Because if you don't, I'm going to throw her out." Resigned, Odo walks up to Lwaxana and offers to take a walk with her. She accepts, and they leave. "I'm so depressed," sighs Dax.

Odo and Lwaxana wind up outside his quarters, as she finishes telling him about the daughter she lost, which gives Odo some inkling of why she's so determined to keep this baby. Lwaxana says her replicator is acting up, so Odo reluctantly lets her into his quarters to get a cup of tea. He is rather pleasantly surprised when she easily guesses that the "jungle gym" he keeps in his quarters isn't a mere sculpture but is for shapeshifting. She asks him gently if he's over Kira. "Major Kira and First Minister Shakaar are involved now," Odo replies (not really answering the question), and claims that he's happy for her. As they're talking, the baby kicks, and Odo helps Lwaxana down to the floor so she can rest a minute. She offers to let him feel her belly, and puts his hand there before he can respond. Odo is amazed at the sensation of the baby moving under his touch. Lwaxana begins to droop in exhaustion, sagging against him with her head in his lap. "Someone once said that life is a search to find the peace you once had when you were safe inside your mother." "I didn't have a mother," Odo says. "Don't worry, it's all right," she murmurs. "You'll find your peace, just the same."

"Lwaxana -- your replicator isn't really broken, is it?" "No." Odo realizes that his standoffish attitude toward her forced her to lie to him just to have his company for a while. "I'm sorry if I made you feel unwelcome," he tells her. "It's just my way." Then he realizes she's fallen asleep. Quietly, Odo fashions his arms into a blanket and pillow for her.

Jake arrives at Onaya's quarters, carrying his PADD and stylus. He tells her he brought some stories for her to read, but she says she doesn't need to. "It's what you're going to be writing next that interests me." The setting is very soft and sensual, and Jake can't help but be a little nervous, wondering what she really has in mind. "Whatever you're thinking, put it out of your mind," Onaya tells him. "You're here to work." Jake relaxes somewhat. She asks him what's the most ambitious story he ever wanted to write; he uncertainly tells her about an idea he's had for a semi-autobiographical novel. Onaya guesses accurately that Jake is intimidated by the scope of it. "But I'll bet you know what the first line is." She gives him an old-fashioned ink pen, which she says was used by Revalus to write The Wait, and also a stack of paper; she is going to show him Revalus' technique of "visceral writing".

Onaya settles behind Jake as he writes down his first line, then tells him to keep going, creating a stream of consciousness. He starts to write, and she massages his neck, continuing to speak almost hypnotically. Jake finds himself getting into it. He keeps writing, unaware of the fact that wisps of energy are beginning to rise from his head and into her fingertips. She takes them in as if she's somehow literally feeding off his creativity.

Odo has actually become relaxed enough with Lwaxana to play a game with her, a Changeling version of hide-and-seek. It does wonders for her spirits, and Odo finds he enjoys it as well. Then he gets a call from one of his deputies, who tells him a ship has just arrived with the man he was having them look out for. It's Jeyal. Odo tells Lwaxana he'll handle this.

He has Jeyal brought to his office. When Jeyal learns Odo is the chief of security, he realizes that this is the Changeling who broke Lwaxana's heart. Odo tells him Lwaxana doesn't want to see Jeyal, but the Tavnian is determined to get his son back. However, Odo has been studying Tavnian law, which says that a male child is considered the property of the mother's husband -- not necessarily the father. "By the time Lwaxana gives birth, you won't be her husband."

Lwaxana is astounded when Odo tells her his plan. If they get married, her marriage to Jeyal will be automatically annulled, and Jeyal will lose all claim to the baby. They can annul their own marriage after a few months, long enough to satisfy Tavnian law. "It's not as if I was planning to marry someone else," Odo says, though he does wonder why Jeyal insisted on staying and witnessing the ceremony. Lwaxana tells him that in a Tavnian wedding, the groom must proclaim his love for the bride in front of his family and friends, and convince her to accept him. The problem is that if anyone present doubts his sincerity, they can challenge the validity of the marriage -- so Odo needs to convince Jeyal that he truly wants to marry Lwaxana.

Jake is still writing furiously, ideas coming thick and fast, with Onaya still happily consuming the energy. Suddenly he gets a nosebleed. But it stops, and he's determined to go on.

There is a gathering in Odo's quarters of a group of rather surprised senior officers, plus Quark and a few deputies. Jeyal is also there. "I think he's Lwaxana's husband," Kira whispers to O'Brien. "Good of him to come," O'Brien says. Odo comes in, wearing a Tavnian wedding robe, and Jeyal speaks to him. "It's not too late to call this off. Your dignity is important to you. I understand that. I would not want anyone to see me go through a charade like this." "If you don't mind, this is a very special moment for me," Odo says.

Lwaxana enters, also in Tavnian garb, and Odo helps her up onto the small dais. He makes a wedding speech consisting of a few stock remarks, before offering his hand to Lwaxana, but Jeyal objects. "Am I the only one here who finds this a pale declaration of love? He could be talking about any woman." "Lwaxana is not just any woman," Odo retorts. "Not to me." He begins again, this time speaking from the heart. "Before I met her, my world was a much smaller place. I kept to myself. I didn't need anyone else, and I took pride in that. The truth is, I was ashamed of what I was, afraid that if people saw how truly different I was, they would recoil from me. Lwaxana saw how different I was, and she didn't recoil. She wanted to see more. For the first time in my life, someone wanted me as I was. And that changed me forever. The day I met her is the day I stopped being alone. And I want her to be part of my life from this day on." He speaks the words that continue the ritual. "Marry me, Lwaxana. Let me into your light."

The bride is so touched that Odo has to prompt her to play her role. She takes his hand, and he steps up beside her. "I give myself to you, forever and always." Odo completes the ritual, declaring Lwaxana to be his; when he asks for any who challenge his claim to do so now, Jeyal is silent. "I present to you my beloved wife," Odo says, and it's over. He and Lwaxana step down to accept the guests' good wishes, while Jeyal tells Lwaxana, "Take care of our son. When he asks, speak well of me."

Quark announces he's throwing a party; Odo and Lwaxana take a few moments alone to bask in their victory. "You were wonderful," Lwaxana says. "For a minute there, I really believed you wanted to marry me." Odo's expression falters a little. It seems that perhaps he believed it too.

Onaya is sated, but Jake wants to keep writing, even though he seems drained and exhausted. Finally, she grabs his hand to stop him. "You're pushing yourself too hard," she admonishes. Jake is excited. "No, I'm not. My mind has never been so clear. Everything is coming together. At this rate, I can finish this novel in a few days." However, Onaya insists that he rest. So Jake agrees, and leaves her quarters. He goes to the Promenade, enters the replimat, orders a drink, and collapses.

In the infirmary, Bashir explains his findings to Sisko, who has just returned from Bajor. It seems something has stimulated Jake's brain functions to the point where his cortex was on the verge of synaptic collapse. But he will be all right; Bashir will keep him in a neural stabilization field for a while. Jake, semi-conscious, murmurs Onaya's name. "Where is she?" Then he goes under again. Sisko decides to see if Odo knows anything about this Onaya.

Later, a nurse is checking on Jake when Onaya appears through the wall, half-substantial. She knocks the nurse out, and removes the neural stabilizer from Jake. "Come with me, Jake. It's time to finish what we started."

The scene is investigated by Sisko and O'Brien, who picks up psionic energy at the point where the nurse saw an entity come through the bulkhead. Bashir says his tests indicated Jake's mental activity was stimulated by a psionic phenomenon, possibly telepathic. They have to find this entity and get Jake back into the neural stabilization field. Search parties will have to reconfigure tricorders to scan for psionic residue.

Onaya is with Jake in a conduit junction, feeding feverishly off his energy as he writes, near the point of collapse. "The moment I saw you, I knew you were worthy of what I could give you, but I can't stay with you forever. This is your chance to create something that will live on, long after you're gone." He gets another nosebleed. Sisko, though, is searching, and picks something up on his tricorder. Onaya has nearly drained Jake completely of his lifeforce, when he falters. She starts to guide his hand. Suddenly, Sisko bursts into the small room, holding a phaser on her. "Get away from him!"

Jake loses consciousness when Onaya stands up. He can't be beamed to the infirmary due to interference from the nearby reactor core, so Sisko calls for a medical team. "What are you?" he demands. "It's not what I am that matters, it's what I do," says Onaya, defiantly. "You don't know the minds I've touched -- Catullus, Tarbolde, Keats -- a hundred others. I unlocked their potential...They all die in the end, but look what I gave them in return -- immortality. Their names will live on forever." Sisko asks what she gets out of it. "What I need to survive," she replies, "so I can go on, find others, and unlock their talents as well." She looks at Jake. "He was the youngest I ever found. So eager, ready to give everything he had in one great burst. What a waste. I will never forget you, Jake." And she transforms into pure energy, passes through the bulkhead, and out into space.

Odo is in his office when Lwaxana enters with some news -- there's a transport leaving for Betazed this afternoon. Odo is surprised; he had thought she would have the baby here. She says that if she did, she'd end up being here for months, and she's imposed on him long enough. Odo points out that she could deliver any time, and it's a long way to Betazed. "I'll miss you, too," Lwaxana says. "Then why leave?" asks Odo.

Lwaxana looks at him with sympathy. "You've gotten used to having me around, haven't you?" She touches his face. "Oh, you dear, sweet man. Don't you see? What you want is company, someone to take care of." "Is that so wrong?" Odo asks. "No, of course not," she tells him. "The problem is, I want much more than that from you. You see, I can't help it. I'm still in love with you. And as much as I wish that you were in love with me, I know you're not. I could stay, I could try to make you fall in love with me, but we both know that won't happen. Then I'd end up resenting you. And our friendship is far too important for me to let that happen. That's why it's better for both of us if I leave now." Odo looks into her eyes, and knows she's right. Lwaxana kisses him for the last time. "Goodbye, husband." "Goodbye, wife," Odo replies, and watches her rather sadly as she leaves him behind.

Jake is recovering at home, and Sisko has read what he wrote when he was with Onaya. It's a good start on a novel, he says. However, Jake has trouble taking any credit for what he's done. "You wrote these words, not her," Sisko tells him. "But she got them out of me," Jake protests. His father sets the pages aside. "Which means they were somewhere inside of you. And all you have to do is to learn to find them for yourself." Jake understands, but he still doesn't know whether to feel pride or not. Sisko tells him to take it easy for a while, and someday he'll get back to the story and finish it.

After Sisko leaves, Jake picks up the pen Onaya gave him and considers the story for a moment. He has already titled it Anslem, and under the title, he now writes, "By Jake Sisko."

  • The original title of this episode was "Playing House". Majel Barrett's pitch involved Lwaxana showing up pregnant and claiming the baby was somehow Odo's.
  • Anslem was a famous novel that Jake wrote in the alternate future portrayed in "The Visitor".
  • This episode received an Emmy nomination for costume design.