DS9: S7E01: “Image in the Sand”

In which Sisko uncovers a family secret, Worf has to make a donation, and the boys are back in town. 

Jadzia is dead, the Prophets are cut off, and Sisko is on sabbatical at this crucial juncture in the war. Nowadays, Bajorans are lined up outside the Bajoran temple praying for the Prophets to come back, and also Kira’s been promoted to Colonel a few months ago. Admiral Ross is on his way back, with weird news that Kira’s not going to like. Oh, and the praying Bajorans are not, in fact, praying for the return of the Prophets. They belong to the Cult of the Pah-Wraith, and they wear armbands, in case you needed a visual cue that they’re bad dudes. Odo offers to arrest them, but Kira sees that as futile.

Is Sisko seeing this vision as if he’s there, or his his view of his body blocked by his baseball?

The Defiant is back at dock, and while Bashir and O’Brien lament how long convoy duty lasts, Worf snaps at Nog for preferring vital logistics and supply guard duty to frontline fighting. Who can blame him for being grumpy, what with his wife dead. Everyone wishes Sisko was back, but he’s still working at Joe Sisko’s restaurant, playing the piano and working out sad jazz. Jake’s sitll there, rather than working on his reporting gig, but he could be writing novels instead. While Sisko bangs hard on some bass clef notes, his baseball rolls off the piano and into a vision quest.

Sisko is digging in the desert, near his baseball, out near the Vasquez Rocks, when he finds a face in the sand, which comes to life in a blast of orb-light and opens its eyes. He even recognizes the planet, just from the desert. But he doesn’t recognize the face, and understands that the Prophets are telling him to find her.

“Are you high, Damar? No, let me rephrase: Just how high ARE you?”

Ross is delivering the news to Colonel Kira that Senator Creetak is going to be establishing a permanent presence on the station, and he was totally right that Kira didn’t like it. They butt heads over it a little. Ross doesn’t think Sisko’s coming back. Meanwhile, on Cardassia, Weyoun is less than impressed with Damar’s progress, or his alcoholism. However, they agree that even without their reinforcements, the closure of the wormhole has helped them out somehow. Damar is even a little enchanted with the cosmic significance of the whole thing.

Sisko is playing with a copy of what probably began its life as a police sketch-artist app, trying to reconstruct that face in the sand. In fact, Jake recognizes her from a photograph that he’s seen recently, one belonging to Grampa Sisko, and she was with him as a young man. When confronted with the photo, Joseph Sisko clams up and runs away.

Worf is awake, alone, and heads over to Vic’s to ask him to Sing the Song. it’s The Song. Vic doesn’t want to, because this has happened in the past and it doesn’t end well. A crooner singing ‘All the way’ regularly to you and an empty house three months after your wife dies cannot possibly be healthy. Someone should really consider getting this station a counselor. Then again, Worf smashing up the holodeck isn’t causing any permanent damage.

Creetak is settling in, and Kira comes to greet her. They seem fairly cordial, as two professionals trying really, really hard not to needlessly antagonize each other when they both know that’s a possibility. Vic has called in Bashir and Quark to see the damage, because he feels that Worf needs real help. According to Bashir, Klingons have a shorter mourning period than humans do, but even without that, Worf could probably use some help.

You have to shake the elderly or they won’t bake properly.

Ben comes downstairs because he feels Joseph is awake, and wants some answers. Joe is resistant, , but Sisko explains that he saw her in a vision and then shakes the absolute crap out of his dad until he tells the story. Her name was Sarah, and she and Joe met, had a whirlwind romance, and she’s Ben Sisko’s real mom. They were married for two years, but as soon as Ben was a year old, she vanished without a trace. Joe tracked her down three years later, where she had been working as a photographer before she died in a crash. Ben is really pissed at never being told that his stepmom wasn’t is biological mom, but clearly learning the truth was the first step to whatever Ben needs to do to get back in the game.

Kira is greatly amused at the sight of Senator Creetak eating a Bajoran lollipop. They seem to be able to work well together, and Creetak asks for the favor of being allowed to set up a hospital on one of Bajor’s uninhabited moons to more quickly treat wounded Romulan crew. Speaking of interpersonal relations, Miles stops by Worf’s apartment to share a bottle of bloodwine and talk about anything except Jadzia. Just to be an old firend. Clearly, that conversation with Captain Cusack rubbed on on him at least a little. They talked for several hours until O’Brien found out that according to Worf, Jadzia isn’t in So’Vo’Kor because she didn’t die in glorious battle or eat the heart of one of her enemies. In order to get her into Klingon Valhalla, he has to win a great battle in her honor, and Worf’s been stuck on Convoy duty. Since Ross definitely won’t go for it, as he hates when mysticism interferes with duty, they resolve to ask Martok instead.

Joe Sisko gives Ben a necklace that used to belong to Sarah, and tells him about the writing on the back – an inscription in Ancient Bajoran, which Sisko still can’t read despite all the important Emissary stuff that’s been in the language. He spends the next downtime he has translating it, and finds that it says “Orb of the Emissary.” There’s no other reference to it in the texts, and since the Prophets set him on this path, he suspects the orb may not have gone dark, like the rest. So he’s going to head out to the desert he saw in his vision.

The Romulans took heavy losses in the Dominion counterattack, but Creetak is stoic about it and grateful for Kira’s help in setting up the hospital. It’s been a very good working relationship, but Odo has some bad news – there was a discrepancy in a Starfleet ship full of Vulcans being denied entry to the new Romulan ‘hospital’ and sensor readings that suggest it’s more of a weapons depot.

“Ow. I wish I still had a Communicator on.”

Martok gatecrashes Worf’s  exercise program for some real sparring, and to offer Worf the chance to win the victory he needs. Worf accepts with gusto. Ben and Jake discuss how heartened they are now that he’s got a next step, when he’s approached in the alley behind the restaurant by a Bajoran in a red hooded robe. He knows all about Sisko’s search for the Orb of the Emissary, and doesn’t want that to happen.

A moment on emergency response. I can buy that Earth doesn’t have a panopticon of a police force, monitoring everything and saving everyone from danger. But I find it really difficult to believe that people aren’t issued an emergency responder tag that beams you to the nearest (or any predetermined) emergency room triage center. I could maybe buy that Sisko wasn’t wearing his to clean clams in the alley behind his restaurant, but Jake should be going to get one instead of holding his dad and yelling for grandpa.

That said, Ben Sisko is back on his feet in no time, so clearly whatever time Jake lost by panicking wasn’t critical. Ben is up and walking before anything else interesting happens, and Joe is now worried about temporally nonlinear evil energy beings hiring goons to come after his son.

Bashir has decided to go on the mission with Worf to go to Sto’Vo’Kor. Miles and Quark argue with Bashir as if it’s a real thing, but when Bashir explains where he’s coming from, O’Brien has to go with him. Kira now has to deliver an eviction notice to the Romulan hospital based on the 7,000 plasma torpedoes, and the headbutting that we all knew was coming has finally hit. Weyoun is pleased as punch to hear the news.

In comes the new Dax, same as the old Dax

Ben is packed up for his journey, but didn’t expect Joe and Jake to go with him, even to the extent of shutting down the restaurant. Before they leave, though, they’re met by a young Starfleet Lieutenant looking to see Ben Sisko. She’s Dax, and she’s back. One wonders if Sisko will be cursed to call progressively younger women ‘old man’ as this progresses.

Did we miss something awesome?