***** (5 stars out of 5)
In the wake of the Cardassian withdrawal from ravaged planet Bajor, Sisko is brought in to manage their recovery efforts, help them join the Federation, and incidentally run an abandoned Cardassian mining station with a rag-tag crew.
The ragged-iest of all is our old chum Miles O'Brien as Chief of Operations. It sounds like a promotion, but would YOU want to live on this death trap/bus station/cow pie? Second-In-Command Major Kira Nerys of the Bajoran Militia has a chip on her shoulder pads. Maybe she's mad that she's not Ensign Ro. Shapeshifting Constable Odo keeps order in the shops on the Promenade: a gruff mall security guard who might be hiding in your milkshake. Devious Ferengi like Nog and his uncle Quark take charge of the recreational activities with their advanced degrees in the Thieving Arts.
Sisko plays the "Nog Goes Directly To Jail" card, forcing bartender Quark to become a community leader.
"This Bajoran Provisional Government is far too provisional for my taste." Quark snarls. "And when governments fall, people like me are lined up and shot."
While they DO love to shoot people, far more important to the Bajorans is their Space Pope, Kai Opaka. She grabs ears and speaks pronouncements about stuff and junk. Particularly concerning the visions offered by THE ORB, a Tear from the Prophets of the Celestial Temple. If you find it difficult to keep a straight face in church, you may wish to avoid Bajor: The Pious Powder Keg of the Alpha Quadrant.
Along comes their eager young doctor, Julian Bashir, specializing in foot-in-mouth disease. He's panting after their Trill science officer, Jadzia, hosting aged symbiont Dax. Dax's previous host, Curzon, was Sisko's "Old Man". A friend and mentor, now with extra spots and boobies!
Dukat, former Prefect of Bajor, is their nosy neighbour. Odo sneaks aboard his ship disguised as a complimentary gift bag.
It's First Contact- with beings that have no concept of 'First'. Or 'Contact'.
Ben tries to explain the human experience of time, and the non-corporeal "Prophets" take the forms of the people in his life to explain that by dwelling on death he is not being linear.
"We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions." Ben pontificates. "I am here not to conquer you with weapons... but to co-exist and to learn."
On Kira's paranoid but soon justified orders, O'Brien does the impossible and moves Deep Space 9 out to the Celestial Temp-hole using only thrusters and amplified inertial dampers. Ladies and Gentlemen, our new Scotty. Sorry, I meant Irishy.
"Emissary" reminds me of that heady halcyon era of 1993 when there were TWO STAR TREKS ON TV AT ONCE! These days they can't even muster up a cartoon. Why not, Paramount? You KNOW it's a cash cow. Ka-ching! Moo! Ka-ching! Moo!