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Shadows and Symbols

Production no.: 552
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by: Allan Kroeker
Stardate: 52152.6 
First satellite airdate: October 3, 1998
Jeffrey Combs ...............
Casey Biggs ...................
Barry Jenner ..................
J.G. Hertzler ..................
Deborah Lacey ..............
Megan Cole ...................
Brock Peters ..................
Lori Lively .....................
Cuauhtemoc Sanchez .....
Damar/Dr. Wykoff
Admiral Ross
Joseph Sisko
Bajoran Crewman

Continuing from "Image in the Sand"...

In a breathless torrent of words, the Trill explains that she is Ezri Dax. "You're probably asking yourself, who is this person? How did she get the symbiont? Do I even want another Dax in my life? Does she always talk this much? These are all very good questions. And I wish I had good answers for you." "The answers can wait," Sisko tells her. "Right now, I'm just glad to see you." Ezri is so relieved she almost starts to cry; she's having difficulty containing her emotions.

She tells them about the unusual set of circumstances under which she ended up succeeding Jadzia as host. Having chosen not to become joined, she was living life as part of the crew of the USS Destiny, when the ship was assigned to take the Dax symbiont back to Trill. Then the symbiont went into critical condition, and had to be placed in a host immediately. Being the only Trill on board, Ezri was elected. She was totally unprepared to cope with joining, however. "My parents, my friends, my crewmates -- it's like they don't even know me anymore. Which is understandable, since I hardly even know myself. That's why I took a leave of absence to come here. I knew that if there was anyone who could help me through this, it would be you."

Sisko informs her that he'll do all he can, but they're leaving for Tyree. Ezri promptly decides to join them, even though she doesn't know the purpose of the journey. It doesn't matter to her. Sisko acquiesces. "Great," Ezri grins. "It'll be just like old times. Except different."

On the bridge of Martok's ship, Worf speaks ceremonially in Klingon, dedicating the mission to Jadzia's memory. Just as the Klingons (plus O'Brien and Bashir) are about to shed blood to seal their vow, Quark unexpectedly arrives. He's volunteering to come along. "I loved Jadzia as much as anyone in this room. With maybe one or two exceptions. And I'm willing to pledge my life to see that she gets into StoVoKor." "Perhaps there is some Klingon in you after all," approves Martok. Everyone slices their palms, to prove that they're not frightened of death. Quark would rather they took his word for it, but Martok grabs his hand and slices it too.

The other journey has not begun auspiciously: Ezri has gotten spacesick all over the runabout's control panel, much to her chagrin. Ever since joining, warp speed makes her queasy. Once things are settled again, including Ezri's stomach, she confides to Jake that she can't stop thinking of Torias, the host who died in a shuttle accident. "Maybe I don't belong in Starfleet anymore. Aren't you glad you brought me along?" "Actually, I am," says Jake. "My dad seems a lot happier ever since you showed up." Ordering a raktajino, Ezri assures him that his dad will be all right. She's an assistant ship's counselor, after all. Jake can't help being surprised that she's a therapist. Then Ezri gags on the raktajino. She hates the stuff; she ordered it without thinking, because Curzon and Jadzia liked it.

On DS9, Admiral Ross tells Kira he agrees with her position, that the Romulans have no business putting weapons on Derna. The Federation has sent a strong protest to the Romulan senate, and the senate has protested back. It may be months before the weapons are actually removed. "There's no way the Bajorans can drive the Romulans off Derna," Ross says bluntly. "Not without help, anyway. And the Federation isn't going to provide that help. Not now. Is that clear?" It's all too clear to Kira. "We're just not as important to the war effort as the Romulans." Ross thinks that's a bit harsh. "Colonel, I would like to help you, but my hands are tied." "Well, luckily, mine aren't," replies Kira. Scans have shown that the weapons still need launch sequencers, and she's going to make sure the sequencers never get to Derna, by setting up a blockade. "If you do that, Colonel," Ross tells her, "you'll have a fight on your hands -- a fight you can't win."

Sisko and the others reach orbit around Tyree, where there is too much ionization in the atmosphere for them to make it easy by simply scanning for the Orb. Just as they are about to prepare to beam down, suddenly Sisko hears a disembodied voice: "Doctor Wykoff, please report to Isolation Ward Four." It repeats. But no one heard it except Sisko.

The group beams down, wearing Starfleet-issue desert gear. Without any way of knowing which direction to go, Sisko picks one at random, and leads the party off. "The Prophets have spoken," comments Jake. "I hope he heard them right," says Ezri.

On Martok's bird-of-prey, O'Brien and Worf outline their strategy to destroy the shipyard. They will fly very close to the star and fire an EM pulse at it, triggering a solar plasma ejection which will incinerate everything within 100 million kilometers, including the shipyard. "It will be a glorious firestorm that will illuminate the gates of StoVoKor itself, and provide a fitting welcome for Jadzia," intones Worf. Quark's comment is, "The things we do for love." This earns him a glare from Worf, which riles Quark. He's sick of Worf's lack of appreciation; after all, they're risking their lives to help Jadzia. Impulsively, against O'Brien's warning, Quark demands "two little words" from Worf.

"Be quiet," Worf snarls, grabbing him by the collar. Those weren't the two words Quark was looking for. Worf shoves him down, speaking to O'Brien and Bashir as well as the Ferengi. "Why should I feel any gratitude towards you? I owe you nothing. You are not here to help Jadzia get into StoVoKor. You are here because you wish to convince yourselves that you were worthy of her. But the truth is, none of you could ever hope to be worthy of her, or even understand the kind of woman she was. It is you who should be thanking me, Ferengi. For allowing you to come on this mission and pay honor to her memory."

Sisko and the others are still trekking through the desert, with no idea where they're going. Meanwhile, on Cardassia, Damar is sharing kanar with an attractive Cardassian woman named Siana when Weyoun comes in wanting to discuss something, and threatening to have her executed if she doesn't leave. Once she does, the Vorta tells Damar they must increase production at the Monac shipyard if they are to retake Chin'toka.

Kira unwinds in her quarters with Odo, who isn't sure that the twelve ships which are all the Council of Ministers can give her will be enough to hold off even one Romulan warbird. "I was hoping that our relationship was going to be a long and happy one," he says. "But I suppose I'm willing to settle for short and exciting." He then tells her he's going to be there with her. "You don't have to do that," Kira says warmly, touched; Odo replies, "Yes, I do." She then tells him that she doesn't plan to get into a firefight. Odo realizes she's bluffing. "If the Romulans fire on us, they jeopardize their alliance with the Federation," Kira says. "And I'm hoping that that's a risk they won't want to take." "And I'm hoping they don't call your bluff," Odo remarks.

The desert search continues under the hot sun, Joseph and Jake struggling along far behind Ezri, who is trailing after Sisko. Still striding with determination, Sisko discards his pack, and Ezri takes the water pouches from it. After hours of walking, suddenly Sisko halts, recognizing the terrain he saw in his vision. And again he hears the voice calling "Dr. Wykoff" to the isolation ward. Sisko holds his baseball and gazes around in frustration as Ezri catches up to him. She tries to get his attention by grabbing the baseball and tossing it away, as far as she can.

After a brief flurry of visions, Sisko announces, "There," indicating where the ball landed, though a puzzled Ezri says she wasn't aiming at anything. He takes out his shovel, heads over, and starts to dig. Ezri watches in bemusement. "Ben, maybe my memories are playing tricks on me, but have you gotten stranger?"

The blockade has begun. On the bridge of the lead Bajoran ship, Odo hands Kira a book to read: a Mike Hammer novel. "Mike Hammer has certain qualities I think you'll appreciate...He's as tough as they come, and he hates waiting almost as much as you do." "I like him already," says Kira. Then a transmission comes in from DS9: Admiral Ross, with Cretak beside him. Fourteen Romulan warbirds are on their way to Derna, with what Cretak claims are "much-needed medical supplies for the hospital complex." A skeptical Kira insists that if the warbirds try to get past her, they'll be fired on, although Ross appeals to her to compromise. "Colonel," says Cretak, "do you seriously believe that your antiquated collection of impulse ships stands a chance against our warbirds?" "We'll find out soon enough, won't we?" replies Kira coolly. After the transmission ends, she asks Odo how she did. "Mike Hammer would have been proud," he tells her. Cretak, meanwhile, believes Kira is bluffing.

Sisko is still determinedly digging in the sand, and once more hears the voice. "Dr. Wykoff, please come to Isolation Ward Four. Dr. Wykoff to Isolation Ward Four." "I wish he'd get there," Sisko mutters. Ezri asks who; he replies, "Dr. Wykoff. They're waiting for him in the isolation ward." "You have definitely gotten stranger," Ezri decides.

On the bird-of-prey, Martok asks Worf if he too was included in that little speech he gave earlier. "With you, it is different," Worf replies. "You are a Klingon. And Jadzia was a member of your House." "And these men were her friends," Martok points out. "They honor her with their presence." As they're speaking, the men in question return from a meal, Quark complaining about the gagh. Worf steps up to them, and Quark asks if he's come up with a few more insults.

"I wish to apologize," says Worf. "...I know Jadzia meant a great deal to all of you. And you meant a great deal to her." He tells them that Jadzia often spoke of them. Quark interprets this to mean that Worf was jealous, but Bashir quiets him. Worf admits that he didn't like sharing her affections with them, and O'Brien realizes that he wanted to get her into StoVoKor without their help. "I wanted it to be my gift to her," Worf acknowledges. "...There is nothing more to say. Except that I am pleased you are here." He leaves them marveling at actually hearing an apology from him. At that moment, the ship arrives at Monac.

Finally, Sisko's shovel hits something. The others watch as he scoops the remaining sand away, revealing an Orb ark, incongruously buried here in the middle of the desert. Ezri asks what he's going to do. "Open it," replies Sisko, but as he is about to do so, he suddenly hesitates, seeing a pencil in his own hand. A voice says, "Mr. Russell, put it down."

Abruptly, Sisko is Benny Russell, standing in an isolation ward of a mental hospital, where he has been writing a story all over the walls. "I said, put down the pencil," says a doctor who is in the room with him -- Dr. Wykoff. "But I haven't finished my story yet," Benny protests. "Captain Sisko has found the Orb of the Emissary, but he hasn't opened it yet."

Wykoff disapprovingly reminds Benny that he promised not to write on the walls. However, Benny is consumed with the need to write his stories, and no one will give him paper. He insists that he's fine. "People who are fine don't write on walls," the doctor tells him. "...The stories have got to stop, Benny. They're too dangerous...To you. This world you've created -- this Deep Space Nine, Captain Sisko, Kira and the others -- none of it is real." "It is to me," declares Benny. "If I don't finish my story, if Captain Sisko doesn't open the Orb box, then he cannot contact the Prophets." Wykoff says the Prophets don't exist either. "They're all figments of your imagination. Get rid of them. It's the only way that you're going to get well." He exhorts Benny to let it go. Meanwhile, Sisko is frozen, locked in his vision, unable to hear Ezri asking what he's waiting for. Jake tries to open the box himself, but is thrown back.

The Romulan warbirds arrive at Derna. Kira warns them that any ship coming within transporter range of the moon will be fired upon; there is no answer. Just as she gives the order to engage, Admiral Ross calls, appealing to her one last time to end the blockade. Cretak, beside the admiral, adds that she's authorized to use force -- or to negotiate a settlement -- but Kira remains firm. "I would hate to see you throw your life away," the Senator says. "Your concern is touching, Senator," Kira replies. "But I'm not dead yet." "At least not for another six minutes," Odo adds after the transmission ends. "You still think she's going to back down?" Ross asks Cretak, who replies, "She has to. Because I won't."

O'Brien finds a magnetic instability near the sun's equator. But to make sure the eruption has the right trajectory to destroy the shipyard, they have to get much closer. "StoVoKor, here we come," mutters Quark.

Dr. Wykoff holds out a paint roller to Benny. "I'm offering you an opportunity few people ever get. You can wipe away all your mistakes." "You want me to paint over my story?" asks Benny. "They're only words," the doctor tells him. "Meaningless words that no one cares about. Get rid of them and you can walk out of here a free man." He dips the roller into some white paint and puts it in Benny's hand. Benny, looks at him, then at his story. "Go ahead. Save yourself," Wykoff urges.

Sisko finally moves. He starts frantically shoveling sand back onto the Orb box, trying to cover it back up. In his mind, he is Benny, his hand shaking as he holds the paint roller, Wykoff beside him, still urging him to wipe over the words of his story before they destroy him.

The Romulan ships power up their weapons; Kira orders her ships to hold their positions. "Nerys, if you're going to end this, I suggest you do it now," says Odo. "Time to fold, Colonel," Ross mutters under his breath, watching the confrontation from DS9.

Things are getting hot on the bridge of Martok's ship as O'Brien works. Finally he says he's ready. Martok orders his crew to decloak, and does Worf the honor of letting him give the command to fire. He does so -- but nothing happens. O'Brien says he'll recalibrate the deflector to increase the magnetic gradient. But now three Jem'Hadar ships are approaching.

Sisko lifts the shovel high, ready to smash the Orb box. But Ezri steps in front of him, ignoring his command to move. "You came here to find the Prophets, remember?...You promised Jadzia you would make things right. Well, now is your chance. Open the box, Ben." The shovel drops out of his hands.

And the paint roller drops out of Benny's hands. "No!" Wykoff shouts angrily. With determination, Benny takes his pencil, moving toward the end of his story, towards the unfinished sentence that reads, "Sisko reaches for the Orb box and -- " Wykoff tries to stop him; Benny knocks him to the ground, and the orderly as well. He then steps up to the wall and finishes the sentence. " -- opens it," he writes.

Falling to his knees, Sisko opens the Orb box, and its light bursts over him. A bolt of energy shoots out from the ark, into the skies of Tyree, through space, past Deep Space Nine, and into the wormhole, which suddenly opens. Kira and Odo, on the point of decision, stare at the transmission of the event from the station. A stream of red energy is discharged from the wormhole, and explodes.

Kira has her ships prepare once more to fire. "Still glad you came along?" she asks Odo, who unhesitatingly replies, "I wouldn't have missed it for anything."

Martok's ship is under heavy fire from the Jem'Hadar. But now the EM pulse is ready. "What are you waiting for?" Quark blurts. "Fire!" Martok makes it official. This time, it works. The ship streaks away, the fireball of the erupting sun behind it obliterating the enemy ships and their shipyard. Amid the cheers, Worf chants in Klingon, urging StoVoKor to welcome Jadzia's soul. He smiles.

Amazingly, the Romulan ships pull back. And there's an incoming message from Admiral Ross. (Cretak is no longer beside him.) "You can blink now, Colonel. You've won. Senator Cretak has agreed to remove the weapons from Derna...I told her if she didn't remove them, I would." "And what changed your mind?" asks Kira. "You did," Ross replies. "Remind me never to play poker with you."

The baseball falls off the piano again, and is picked up by a woman -- a Prophet in the form of Sarah Sisko. "The Sisko has completed his task," she says. She explains that the Kosst Amojan (pah-wraith) has been cast out by her from the wormhole; it is no longer a threat. "The Kosst Amojan tried to stop you with a false vision. But you did not waver. You fulfilled your destiny." "My destiny?" echoes Sisko. "You talk as if my life is over." "The Sisko must still face many tasks," the entity assures him.

When he asks if she is his mother, she hesitates. "Sarah Sisko was corporeal. For a time, I shared her existence." Sisko now realizes the truth. Sarah's body was taken over by this Prophet, to make sure that she would marry Joseph and give birth to Benjamin. Then, when the Prophet left her, she left Joseph. Sisko reels with the enormity of it all. It's because of the Prophets that he exists. "But why me?" he asks. "Why did it have to be me?" The Sarah Prophet looks at him. "Because it could be no one else," she replies.

Back in the real world, Sisko slowly closes the door of the Orb ark. "That must've been some Orb experience," comments Ezri. "I'll tell you about it," Sisko says. "Someday."

The return of the Emissary to Deep Space Nine is celebrated by a crowd of ecstatic Bajorans as Sisko enters the Promenade and makes his way over to his officers, who welcome him back. After he moves on with the crowd, Ezri passes by. "Odo! Nerys! Julian! It's so good to see you. Worf, we need to talk." They all gape in astonishment at her retreating form. It's Jake who informs them that she's the new Dax. "It cannot be," says Worf. "She's so much...shorter," Quark marvels. Odo sums it all up. "Just when you thought things couldn't get more interesting..."

  • The desert scenes were shot on location in Palmdale, California.
  • Worf's Klingon chant, at the successful conclusion of his mission, is translated in the script: "Open your gates, Sto-Vo-Kor/Welcome Jadzia to your halls/Welcome this honored warrior/Welcome her, Sto-Vo-Kor, for all eternity".
  • Benny Russell's story, written on the institute walls (by members of the show's art department), consisted of synopses of several previous DS9 episodes, copied from an early draft of Terry Erdmann's book The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion.