In which Sisko meets an obvious ghost, Jadzia has bro talk with Ben, and the Federation remains terrifying.
Sisko’s coming up on the fourth anniversary of Wolf 359 and his wife’s death. The argument could be made that if he almost didn’t remember he might be getting over it. I know, I’m a horrible person. The argument could also be made that he now lives on a space station with 26-hour days so the concept of observing an anniversary in Earth-years kind of gets unstuck in time a little. Jake is also having trouble sleeping, and relates his anxiety dream. They bond a little over missing Jennifer Sisko. I will at this time remind you that if Jennifer Sisko was alive, Ben wouldn’t have been assigned to Deep Space Nine, for various reasons.
Sisko wandering along along the Promenade is a magnet for beautiful women in translucent dresses. Particularly ones named Fenna with elf ears. Sadly, she can’t stay. In fact, she vanishes into thin air just as Sisko is trying to think of a place that doesn’t have his teenage son in it to celebrate his dead-wife-iversary in style.
Look, it’s not that he shouldn’t eventually, when he’s ready, move on. It’s more that the writers picked a really strange time to have him pivot from feeling survivor’s guilt to feeling a little Bad Company.
Next morning he’s in a surprisingly good mood for having just seen a ghost, and even reminds O’Brien how much happier is is as chief of Operations on a junkheap than transporter chief on the Enterprise. His chipper attitude is bothering Kira, particularly because several of his attitudes have drastically shifted. Probably because he met a ghost last night.
Jadzia calls him down to a science lab, because apparently the Cardassians kept science labs on their mining and oppression station. Probably for playing with ore samples. They are hosting a scientist and terraformer, who is as obsessed with his research as he isn’t with lab safety. This is apparently typical, which explains why we’ve most often seen terraformers in the middle of being killed by their stupid decisions.
Professor Gideon Seyetik designed a planet. Not just made it habitable, but gave it a designer water feature. Now his plan is to reignite a star. Now is the part where you remember that the society doing this deigns to participate in wars. They prefer not to, but they choose that over the relatively simple-seeming proposition of warp-coasting objects at relativistic speeds into enemy planets until there’s no more war or no more enemy.
Dax mentioned that in case the solar revitalizaiton project failed, she boosted the escape ship to Warp 9.5 so he can escape, forgetting the fact that outside of a warp field, things in nature don’t go past C. He could travel at Warp 2 and get away from the wavefront, unless what they’re doing can somehow propagate a supernova through subspace.
Sisko has met the Woman in Red again, while staring winsomely out of the same window. He then makes good on his offer to take her on a tour of the station. Including a speculated little picnic spot in one of the docking pylons. All is going exactly perfectly until Sisko asks her about herself, at which point she turns into a pumpkin.
Now that he’s seen her again, Ben Sisko is fully distracted. Jake notices and gives his permission, and they have a conversation which is, at least for the elder Sisko, very awkward. It does spur Sisko to ask Odo to track her down. Way to use the priveleges of rank to stalk someone, Ben. Everyone notices. But hey, at least Jadzia saw Fenna too, so she’s not a hallucination.
Gideon is now giving a lecture on how they’re going to use proto-matter to cause a cascade effect turning heavier carbon and oxygen back into hydrogen. No wonder the Genesis device was so unstable, it relied on a substance that reverses nuclear fusion. What’s that called again? Ah yes. Fission. It’s frankly a miracle that the Genesis planet didn’t give everyone who stood on it cancer. While Julian, Nerys, Jadzia, and Sisko are all enchanted by Gideon’s personality, O’Brien is standing in the back dumbfounded by what utter douchenozzles all officers are. To be fair to him, at least Kira is also annoyed, she’s just better at hiding it.
The two plots also weave together when Gideon’s wife Nadelle also turns out to be Sisko’s mystery Fenna. She’s also considerably less… joi de vivre-y when her husband is around. Disturbingly so. She also says, in a brief moment alone with Sisko, that she’s never met him before. But the name Fenna makes her pause. Psychic projection, maybe? Or delinquent multiple personality? Definitely not the latter, as it turns out – Odo checked de-embarkation logs and only the professor even left his ship.
He does meet her later, but on the station, Fenna has no idea who Nadelle is, but is still mysterious about her past. Point of order – the Prometheus is a Federation ship and presumably has transporters, so for Odo to be so sure he must have a way of detecting incoming transports to anywhere on the station. He has not, so far, been the type to say he’s certain of a thing unless he actually is.
To get answers about Fenna, Ben has decided to go with the Prometheus and abandon his administrative duties for a time. He gets Gideon to talk about the time he met Nadelle, the daughter of a dignitary from one of the species he terraformed a planet for. Man, remember just a few years ago when terraforming took decades of dilligent labor? Science, yo.
Fenna appears in Ben’s quarters, so he calls his buddy Dax. Dax’s tricorder records no cells, only ‘pure energy,’ which is hilariously vague. At the same time, Gideon’s wife Nadelle is in a coma, and Gideon recognizes Fenna. It now seems that the species has some sort of split personality alter ego, and the Fenna projection is strong enough to kill Nadelle. This is just a thing that happens to her species in times of stress, and Nadelle is stressed because their species mates for life and that’s a problem for a guy written for short-term relationships.
The dilemma is actually a fairly interesting one. Nadelle is miserable, and projecting an illusion that can be happy for a short time. When she dies, both personalities will end. It reminds me a little of when something similar happened to Picard. I think Star Trek writers have decided that Starfleet officers in charge of ships have to go through a crucible of traumatic breakups.
Oh, also, it’s entirely possible that the emotional rollercoaster has driven Gideon over the edge. For a man who only knows how to go bigger, there’s nothing he’d be able to do in his lifetime that will top rejuvinating a star, so he’s going to fly the probe in himself and go out in a blaze (ha) of glory, freeing his wife from the misery of being married to him in the process. He even makes sure to write his own obituary. His last words are, appropriately, “Let there be light.”
So, you know, pompous and overblown, but a good guy in the end. Plus, he turned a giant rock into a star. The Klingons were absolutely right to be afraid.