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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 01 E 16 If Wishes Were Horses

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Yeah. Things often got hella weird on pre-Beard DS9.
While Quark tries convincing Odo of the potential fun of a nice Holo-Suite, Miles is putting Molly to bed with the old Fairy Tale of Rumpelstiltskin. Not 10 seconds after he and Keiko step out of the room, Molly comes running out, claiming Rumpelstiltskin is in her room. Miles plays along... and is rather surprised to find the little imp sitting there in the flesh.
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But that's not the only unusual thing occurring around DS9. People's imaginations appear to be running wild and summoning all manner of things. Jake has been followed out of his Holo-Suite game by Buck Bokai, a baseball player for the London Kings... who's been dead for over 200 years. Quark has beautiful women hanging on each arm, which is good for him, and all his customers are winning at dabo, which he doesn't like so much (and he can't just wish for them to not win, because as Odo points out, he's outnumbered). And Bashir? Well, he's summoned Dax. A Dax dead-set on humping his brains out. The real Dax actually finds this mildly amusing. Odo, on the other hand, is stuck on the ass-end of this imagination fest, dealing with blizzards and wild animals appearing on the promenade. Though he does find amusement in imagining Quark locked up in a cell.

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While Buck and Perv!Dax are treated with amusement, Miles is understandably worried about having a child-stealing imp hanging around him. Meanwhile, in a potentially lethal distraction from the wish shenanigans, a rift has appeared near the station — the same of kind of rift that destroyed an entire system some years ago. And it's growing.

Luckily, the rift is a semi-solved problem, and the crew is fairly certain that they can fix it with some Techno Babble torpedoes. When the torpedoes have no effect and the rift continues to grow, putting the station in imminent danger, it's time for Sisko to save the day. He does so by ordering the crew to ignore the rift completely... and the rift vanishes. There was a minor sensor blip that someone imagined might be a rift, and then people imagined it getting bigger and the station being in danger, and so on. All they had to do was stop imagining. With that, Buck, Rumpelstiltskin, and Perv!Dax vanish.

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Later, Buck comes by for one last visit to Sisko. He's part of a group of aliens that followed one of their ships through a wormhole and they found themselves fascinated by imaginations of the station's inhabitants, something they apparently lack. After the standard Humans Are Special speech, Buck tosses Sisko his ball, and vanishes.

Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Miles and Keiko's worries about Molly getting taken away.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: Tris Speaker, Ted Williams, Buck Bokai.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: The episode bears striking resemblance in premise to the very early TNG episode "Where No One Has Gone Before". The writers were aware of this and figured that "it was six years ago and on a different show."
  • Game of Nerds: Sisko's love of baseball is further explored. The episode ends with Sisko receiving the baseball that would sit on his desk for the rest of the show.
  • Human Aliens: The animal equivalent, as a supposed alien species are clearly emus without any kind of adornment.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Odo: You're disgusting.
    Quark: It's a living.
    (a minute later)
    Odo: You're still disgusting.
    Quark: Till the day I die.
  • Man on Fire: Kira hallucinates one in the upper pylon.
  • Not So Above It All: Even Odo allows himself a small moment of fun in imagining Quark locked up in one of his holding cells.
    "'No imagination' indeed!"
  • The Oner: The opening scene with Odo and Quark is just shy of two minutes, thirty seconds without any cuts.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Downplayed, fortunately. Dax is more amused than annoyed at her imaginary counterpart, though she does react to the "cold fish" comment.
  • Sequel Hook: Before leaving, the being in the form of Buck Bokai hints that they might return. They don't.
  • Techno Babble: The closest explanation to all this we get is "Elevated Thoron emissions."
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Defied—Rumpelstiltskin hates hearing his name spoken aloud, but he doesn't self-destruct anymore.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The whole episode in a nutshell.
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