A new officer, Melora Pazlar, arrives at the station. She is Elaysian, from a planet with extremely low gravity, forcing her to use a wheelchair on other worlds. As she and Dr. Bashir become close, he conceives of a "cure" for her.
- Alien Lunch: This is the first appearance of the Klingon restaurant on Deep Space 9.
- Artistic License Biology: A lot of it with Melora, in the name of justifying how she is, in practice, a normal human being who is just unable to walk properly.
- It makes no sense that Elaysians, a species which has evolved on a planet with low gravity, would turn out to be Rubber-Forehead Aliens, physically identical to humans but for a prosthetic bulge on the forehead.
- Bashir states that it's Melora's motor cortex that prevents her from functioning normally under higher gravity, and stimulating it is all it takes to enable her to walk unassisted. This is ignoring the fact that it's her actual musculature, connective tissue, and skeleton that would be unable to tolerate the increased gravity.
- Melora's braces only cover her shoulders, arms, and legs, with absolutely not support structures going along her torso. Assuming the lower-gravity evolution deal, her skeletal structure should not be able to handle the weight of her upper body.
- Melora also doesn't have any support for her neck and head. It should have been difficult to impossible for her to hold her head up without that support structure.
- Bait-and-Switch: When Julian and Melora's meal in the Klingon restaurant is served, she initially reacts with disgust. However, it turns out it wasn't the Klingon food she objected to, nor the fact that the chef served it with his bare fingers — just that the racht was half-dead.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Fallit Kot has a ridge linking his nose to his chin, meaning his species somehow evolved a trait which would hinder the act of eating.*
- Chekhov's Skill: A variant — Melora's low-gravity background puts her at an advantage over her would-be kidnapper when she disables the artificial gravity on the runabout.
- Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Melora is rude and unpleasant in general, but when she thinks the crew is taking pity on her or underestimating her, she assumes it's because of her physical difficulties and ramps her attitude up more.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Melora initially has a bad case of this, as she basically interprets anyone making allowances for her — or even offering a helping hand — as pity, and reacts with hostility. When she's first told that Dax will be accompanying her on her mission, she snaps that she can pilot a runabout on her own, only to be told that Sisko wouldn't let any ensign take a runabout into the Gamma Quadrant when she's only just arrived.
- Due to the Dead: Odo says that, if Quark is killed, he'll buy one of his vacuum desiccated remains.
- Kick the Dog: Fallit Kot shoots Melora with a phaser, after Dax has told him that she can't function in their current gravity, and leaves her to lay on the ground.
- No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Averted. Melora and Dax listen to some Vulcan tunes while on the runabout.
- Revenge: Quark is wanted by a man who spent eight years in a Romulan labor camp for smuggling Romulan Ale. Quark turned on him to stay out of prison.
- Space Whale Aesop: Dax compares Melora gaining the ability to walk but being unable to return to Elaysia to the story of The Little Mermaid, and relays it as the mermaid giving up her life under the sea for a pair of legs so she can walk on land. When Melora questions if she lived happily ever after, Dax's facial response implies not. The intent to try and use The Little Mermaid as a cautionary tale falls apart with just a glance at the original story — while the Little Mermaid does die, it's because she failed to win the prince's heart and he fell in love with someone else, and her turning into sea foam and becoming a spirit makes it a Bittersweet Ending in spite of her failure.note
- Stepford Snarker: Bashir quickly pegs Melora as one; she uses sarcasm and dry wit about her condition to disarm the people she talks to and keep them on the defensive.
- Zero-G Spot: Heavily implied between Bashir and Melora when she turns off the gravity in her quarters.