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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 03 E 22 Explorers

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Sisko returns to DS9 with a new goatee and a new hobby: building a "light ship" (a ship with sails that are pushed by light pressure from a sun) based on ancient Bajoran designs. Bajoran legends say that they explored their region of space as far as Cardassia in these ships 800 years ago, though it seems physically impossible, since solar pressure can't push anything faster than light-speed. Sisko hopes to duplicate their voyage as far as possible. The Cardassians consider the whole thing to be Bajoran fairy tales, and Dukat contacts Sisko before he makes the journey out of "concern".

Jake goes along for the adventure, and uses the opportunity to show his father one of his stories and tell him about his desire to be a writer. He has been offered a fellowship at a university on Earth, but isn't sure whether he's ready to go that far from home yet. He also tells Ben he needs to start dating again, and that there is a freighter captain named Kasidy Yates with whom he wants to match Ben up.

The ship is damaged by space debris, but when they are about to give up and signal for help, they get caught in some sort of space wind that sweeps them at warp speed all the way to Cardassia. Dukat and a small fleet of shapes are waiting to welcome them, as their arrival just so happens to coincide with the (not at all conveniently timed) discovery of an old solar ship on Cardassia that not only proves the ship's viability, but lends credence to Bajoran claims of ancient contact.


Back on the station, Dr. Bashir is tense because a ship carrying the classmate who beat him for the role of valedictorian will be visiting the station. He agonizes over how to deal with her, only to discover that she doesn't even remember him and that the assignment they were competing for, Chief Medical Officer of the USS Lexington, turned out to be a lot more boring than his life on Deep Space 9.



  • Artificial Gravity: Addressed in the episode. The original Bajoran solar sailers did not have artificial gravity. Sisko adds 24th century gravity plating in his replica though, as he said 0G gives him nausea. Everything else in the ship (including the bathroom and the rations) is designed for a 0G environment.
  • Badass Beard: Sisko has grown a goatee.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Leeta faking a cough as a come-on to Bashir.
  • Bottle Episode: Even director David Livingston referred to this episode as one.
  • Breather Episode: A very relaxed outing after some action-heavy episodes.
  • Brick Joke: Quark and Morn have a bet about how far Bashir will get with Elizabeth Lense. Quark ends up winning.
  • Building Is Welding: Used to book-end the Hard-Work Montage with Sisko putting on and taking off the welding mask.
  • Call-Back: Jake mentions that Sisko hasn't been on a date for over a year. Is he talking about Fenna?
  • Contrived Coincidence: A literal version when the Cardassians just happen to discover evidence of a previous successful Bajoran expedition. Even Gul Dukat can't deliver this information with a straight face.
  • Conspicuous CG: The light ship's sails are very obvious CGI compared to the physical models of the station and other ships. It's still beautiful, though.
  • Cool Starship: The light ship is incredibly beautiful (though too cramped for Jake's taste, and lacking the amenities of a Federation vessel).
  • Dilating Door: There's a dilating hatchway on the light ship.
  • Drunken Song: Bashir and O'Brien singing "Jerusalem" provides the page image.
  • Experimental Archeology: Sisko's solar sail project.
  • Faster Than Light: The solar sailer somehow achieves warp speed by running into a tachyon eddy.
  • Friendship Moment: Bashir and O'Brien get very drunk together and the following conversation ensues:
    O'Brien: Well, people either love you or hate you.
    Bashir: Really?
    O'Brien: I mean, I hated you when we first met.
    Bashir: I remember.
    O'Brien: And now...
    Bashir: And now?
    O'Brien: Well... now I don't.
    Bashir: (emotionally) That means a lot to me, Chief, it really does.
    O'Brien: Yeah! Now, that is from the heart. I really do... not hate you any more.
  • Hard-Work Montage: When Sisko is building the light ship.
  • I Choose to Stay: Jake gets accepted into a writing school back on Earth, but opts to defer for a while to stay with his dad and to experience new things.
  • In the Original Klingon: According to O'Brien, the Romulans do this all the time, claiming all technology to have been invented by them first.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: Jake mentions he's trying to set Ben up with a Kasidy Yates, who will make her first appearance in the next episode and will eventually become Ben's wife.
  • Lighter and Softer: A Breather Episode in the generally dark Deep Space Nine that's considered one of the most optimistic episodes in the Star Trek franchise.
  • Moment Killer: Jadzia genuinely seems to enjoy cockblocking Bashir.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Sisko says that even if Jake leaves the station, he can still hang around with Dax, Bashir...and even Quark.
  • Not So Dire: After making some vaguely menacing threats before the expedition, Gul Dukat turns up with several give a fireworks display and the congratulations of the Cardassian government.
  • Recycled In Space: It's Kon Tiki...IN SPACE! With Sisko as Thor Heyerdahl.
  • Rousseau Was Right: When the Cardassians find Sisko's solar sail vessel has reached Cardassia, rather than try to suppress it, they throw a party with space fireworks and announce that they've found an old crash site on Cardassia that also proves the story is true. (Albeit with the implication that they already knew about it and only "revealed" it because they had to.)
  • Shame If Something Happened: Before Sisko sets sail, Dukat calls him up to try and talk him out of making such a dangerous, foolhardy expedition and says that an hour waiting for a runabout can be a very long time. Based on the fact that he doesn't do anything to hurt or threaten Sisko, it's entirely possible Dukat was just trying to warn him.
  • Sigil Spam: The Bajoran logo is everywhere in the light ship, from the porthole frames to the wall braces.
  • Silence Is Golden: In-Universe; since the light ship has no engines or warp core, it's dead quiet compared to a regular starship. Ben invites Jake to soak in the quiet for a bit once they're underway.
  • Solar Sail: The basis for the ancient Bajoran ship. Turns out it can also catch tachyons to travel Faster Than Light.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Solar sails are real, but still...
  • Space Is Noisy / Explosions in Space: Both of these are common tropes in Star Trek, but this episode gets extra points for showing an actual fireworks display in space, which looks and sounds exactly like it would on a planet's surface.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Sisko can't believe that he's getting this from Jake, of all people.


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