Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 02 E 17 Playing God
Arjin, a Trill initiate looking to get joined with a symbiont, arrives on Deep Space 9 on the USS Nash from Starbase 41. Jadzia Dax was assigned to be his field docent, and he's been nervous about meeting the famous Dax. In the past, Dax has eliminated 57 host candidates from the program. Before arriving on the station, he found himself sitting next to Dr. Julian Bashir, who managed to put him at ease about meeting Dax. When Arjin first meets Dax, she's in Quark's winning a game of tongo and exposing the Ferengi's weaknesses.
The next morning, Arjin arrives at Dax's quarters early. A rather intimidating male alien named Trajok answers asking what he wants, but Jadzia interrupts wearing nothing but a towel. Jadzia and the alien exchange pleasantries while Arjin watches uncomfortably. The alien leaves and while Jadzia gets dressed, she asks Arjin to get her a black hole. The two talk briefly before heading to Ops, and Arjin feels like he can't say anything right to impress Jadzia.
When they arrive at Ops, O'Brien and Kira are hunting Cardassian voles. The voles are becoming a problem because they are chewing through wires. Jadzia jumps in to help them in their hunt and ends up stunning a vole and handing it to Arjin who again looks uncomfortable and has no idea what to do with it.
Jadzia takes Arjin in the runabout USS Mekong to a trip through the wormhole and back. On the way, the two Trills discuss training, past experiences, and flight experience. Arjin had recently obtained his fifth level flight training, which shocked Jadzia because she only obtained her third level in her last year of training. Jadzia assures her first trill initiate that he doesn't have to impress her. During the flight, the runabout runs through a subspace interphase pocket. The Mekong's starboard nacelle snagged a piece of "subspace seaweed" and is no longer functioning.
Meanwhile, O'Brien has come up with a directional sonic generator which can produce a sound at a frequency uncomfortable to the vole's ears and drive them out of hiding. Quark bursts into Ops carrying a dead vole that had run across a dabo table and demands they take care of the vermin problem. When O'Brien tries to demonstrate the sonic generator to Quark to show they are working on it, Quark falls to the ground screaming–the sonic generator works, at least on Ferengi. Jadzia and Arjin return to the station, and Jadzia wants to study this "subspace seaweed" further. She asks O'Brien to setup a containment chamber in the science lab, and O'Brien informs her it'll take a while.
While waiting, Jadzia takes Arjin to a Klingon restaurant on the Promenade where they discuss his past and eat racht. Arjin is less than thrilled with his Klingon meal, and reveals he's only in the initiate program because it was his father's dying wish and has no plans for the future. Back in Ops, O'Brien is getting desperate to handle this vole problem and contacts Cardassia looking for a solution. They provide no solution and "kindly" remind O'Brien that the vole mating season is fast approaching.
After dinner, Jadzia and Arjin part ways and Jadzia heads to Ops to talk to Benjamin Sisko about the "subspace seaweed" and Arjin. Jadzia admits she doesn't see Arjin being much of a host to a symbiont, but doesn't feel it's her place to confront him about it as it's very clear in the guidelines as to what she's supposed to do. Sisko disagrees and reminds Jadzia of the things Curzon Dax did to her.
In the science lab, a pair of voles manage to take down the security field that was surrounding the subspace sample. O'Brien has discovered the voles have eaten through the security fields energy lines, and Sisko tells him it's time to take the phasers off stun–to better handle the vole problem. Jadzia and Arjin continue their analysis on the sample, but Jadzia's attitude toward Arjin has changed–she's become more harsh and critical and accuses him of telling her what she wants to hear. Arjin feels betrayed because of their conversation in the runabout earlier, and begins to insult Jadzia, saying she is far below the standards of a host. He leaves the science lab and heads to Quark's to "drown himself" in synthehol. Quark has a disheartening talk with Arjin, explaining how he once missed his big opportunity and never recovered and welcomed Arjin to "the club".
Jadzia has discovered the subspace sample is highly structured and doesn't conform to any physical laws. Further analysis reveals the electromagnetic flux are high plasma concentrations in a rapidly expanding mass. The mass is expanding in a very specific way that the computer recognized as the expansion patterns of a universe. Their "subspace seaweed" is actually a protouniverse in its early stages of formation. As it grows, it will displace their own universe. Returning it to the wormhole could prove devastating to the whole system if it came in contact with any of the wormhole's verteron nodes, and not doing anything would be just as bad. They decide to try to contain it using the universe's own feedback pressure to create an implosive wave destroying the protouniverse–and the science lab–in the process.
Jadzia continues to study the protouniverse, and discovers local entropy readings in the protouniverse have decreased 12% in the last hour. This shows indications of life in the protouniverse and these readings have been confirmed by the computer. They agree to cancel the containment field and let the protouniverse expand and destroy level 22 section 14 of the station, causing multiple hull breaches. Kira can't understand why they won't destroy the protouniverse, comparing it to stepping on ants to which Odo replies, "I don't step on ants, Major." When Kira presses them for another solution, Sisko says he'll have a decision in an hour.
While thinking things over, Sisko drops by his quarters to visit Jake. While talking, Sisko finds out Jake is in love with a dabo girl named Mardah–the one Jake has been tutoring in entomology. Jake asks if she can come over for dinner tonight, and Sisko says not tonight but soon, he does want to meet her after all. Jadzia and Arjin are in Quark's talking more about the initiate program. Arjin is convinced it's over, but Jadzia says otherwise and explains her past and how she changed after meeting Curzon Dax. Sisko interrupts the two saying he's decided to take the protouniverse back through the wormhole. After preparing a containment field aboard the runabout that will block out the verteron node radiation, the protouniverse is beamed over and the journey through the wormhole begins.
While traveling through the wormhole, the containment field slowly starts to collapse. Every time they pass through a verteron node, the field gets weaker. They bring the runabout to a stop and decide to let the containment field fail and fly the runabout through the wormhole without touching any verteron nodes. This type of precision flying has never been done before, and Arjin is reluctant to try. Jadzia convinces him that he can do it, and he manages to get them to the Gamma Quadrant safely so they can return the protouniverse to where they found it. Jadzia tells Arjin this will look very good on his initiate record.
After the mission, Arjin apologizes to Jadzia for the things he said. Jadzia says she wouldn't recommend the process of being joined with a symbiont for everyone, but with time, she might recommend it for Arjin–when he's ready.