(written from a Production point of view)
Orthodox Bajorans object to secular teachings about the wormhole in the station's school, causing tensions between fundamentalists and the Starfleet crew. (Season Finale)
It is a regular morning aboard Deep Space 9 with Keiko O'Brien heading to school as Chief O'Brien heads to work. The two discuss the sweet taste of a jumja stick, and Miles's Bajoran assistant Neela. Later, Keiko begins teaching the children about the Bajoran wormhole. As the lesson begins, a Bajoran religious leader by the name of Vedek Winn suddenly enters the classroom and asks Keiko to continue. Keiko continues to talk about the wormhole in a scientific way, however Winn argues against the lesson telling Keiko the wormhole is actually the Celestial Temple and the entities living there are the Prophets. Keiko explains that while she appreciates the Bajorans believe these things, she is teaching the children science and not spiritual beliefs. Winn tells Keiko that what she is doing is teaching blasphemy, and warns that she will not allow her to continue.
O'Brien is late arriving to supervise Neela in fixing a junction, but she has already completed it and is ready to test. O'Brien tests it, and is impressed, ready to close the panel. However, he is missing his EJ-7 interlock from his case. He'll have to find it.
Winn immediately starts to gain support among the Bajoran civilians who live on the station, while Keiko goes to meet with Commander Sisko. Sisko admits that he felt this situation was going to crop up eventually, and admits he sometimes wonders if they can find the common ground needed to help Bajor's admission into the Federation. He asks Kira to join the meeting, and asks her about Winn. Kira explains that Winn is a member of an orthodox Bajoran religious order who is currently in the running to take-up the vacant post of Kai, although she isn't expected to succeed. Kira then admits that she supports both Winn's candidacy as well as her viewpoint regarding teachings about the wormhole and asks Keiko if she would be willing to revise the school curriculum or consider having a separate school for Bajoran children, but Keiko outright rejects both ideas. Sisko suggests that Keiko teach the spiritual beliefs surrounding the wormhole in addition to her current lesson plan, but Kira reminds him that there's two completely different philosophies at the center of the debate. Keiko argues that she isn't trying to teach any philosophy, but Kira states that choosing to talk about the wormhole from a purely scientific point of view is a philosophy in itself. She's unsure if the situation can be resolved.
Commander Sisko decides to go visit Vedek Winn while she is at the Bajoran Shrine, however he is made uncomfortable when she addresses him as the Emissary of the Prophets. He asks her not to call him that, but she tells him he has taken up a deeply important role in the Bajoran faith, and how she was punished by Kai Opaka when she questioned why a non-believer was the one to find the Prophets when she (Winn) would have done anything to meet them. Wishing to get to the heart of the matter, Sisko asks Winn if she is willing to discuss her issues with the school, but Winn tells Sisko that she is acting on behalf of the Prophets and that there will be serious consequences if Keiko does not back down from her position.
O'Brien is determined to find the tool he is missing, as it could be used to access critical systems. Lieutenant Dax then reports that Ensign Aquino, an engineer, failed to report for duty, so they try to use the computer to locate the tool by looking for tritanium. In a maintenance tunnel on Level 12, Section 8, Neela finds a blob of sludge in a power conduit, and analysis by Dr. Bashir reveals that it is the remains of both Ensign Aquino and the EJ-7 interlock. They had apparently been incinerated by a power surge while Aquino worked on the power conduit at 4 AM that morning.
As O'Brien is walking Keiko to school, he stops at a stand for his usual morning jumja stick, but the Bajoran vendor refuses to sell him one, because of Keiko. Moving on to the schoolhouse, they meet Vedek Winn outside the school, where she has gathered a group of Bajoran parents and children. Vedek Winn attempts to negotiate in public: she will not object to Keiko teaching a non-spiritual viewpoint of the Wormhole, if Keiko simply does not teach about the Wormhole at all. Keiko replies that it is her job to open children's minds to knowledge, not to hide it from them. Keiko asks if Vedek Winn will also object to teaching of evolution, and of the origin of the universe. Winn leaves with the Bajoran contingent, officially boycotting the school. The last five of her students are remaining.
The senior staff is assembled to discuss Aquino's death. O'Brien gives a plausible theory, except he doesn't believe Aquino took his tool without asking, and the repair could have waited. It's an odd situation. Sisko suggests Odo look into it.
After the meeting, Jake Sisko tells his father about school. Keiko continues to teach her remaining five students about Galileo, and how he was tried by the Inquisition for his belief that Earth revolved around the Sun. Jake makes the connection between the story of Galileo and current events on the station. He tells his father that the current controversy is stupid, and asks where the Bajorans get such ideas. Commander Sisko, however, points out that the Bajoran religion is quite reasonable in light of the Wormhole and the nature of the Prophets, and counsels Jake to be tolerant of the beliefs of other cultures.
Sisko, attempting to heal the rift between Starfleet and the Bajorans on Deep Space 9, travels to the planet to meet with Vedek Bareil, the favored candidate to replace Opaka as Kai. Unlike Winn, Bareil is forward-thinking and personable however he is unwilling to arrange an audience for Sisko with the Vedek Assembly since being seen to ally himself with the Federation will certainly harm his chances of being elected. Bareil promises that if he is elected Kai, he will be able to show friendship then but right now can do nothing to help.
Upon returning to the station, Sisko is angry to find that three Bajoran crewmembers have refused to report for duty. He asks Kira for her opinion, and she tells him that as far as she's concerned the only reason the Bajoran government haven't asked the Federation to leave is because if they do the Cardassians will certainly return to retake Bajor and claim the wormhole. Sisko, angered that all his apparent efforts to bridge the gulf with the Bajorans over the past several months have fallen short, orders Kira to get the Bajorans back to work immediately.
Further analysis of Ensign Aquino's remains by Dr. Bashir reveals that Aquino was not killed by the discharge in the power conduit. Instead, Aquino had already been killed by phaser fire.
In Sisko's office, he wonders to his staff if the murder is related to the school issue, but Aquino was killed before Winn arrived. Furthermore, Odo reports he was actually headed to Runabout pad C, not to the power conduit. O'Brien and Neela go to check the runabouts, but Neela reports that she has already performed the diagnostic that O'Brien would have. It appears normal, and so they sit down to think. After a brief chat about how Starfleet and Bajoran officers don't socialize, Neela says O'Brien is easy to work with since he's not fake, and compliments him. He dismisses her, thinking about what his wife was saying earlier.
Odo and Quark observe the Promenade as a deputation of Orthodox vedeks arrives on the station, summoned by Winn to support her boycott of the station's school. Odo asks if Quark knows anything about Aquino's murder. Quark says he does not, but agrees to "keep [his] ears open." O'Brien then approaches Odo and says he has found evidence of tampering at Runabout Pad A, but is confused because Pad C, where Aquino's body was found, was clean. Odo says it makes sense: Aquino surprised his murderer in the act of tampering with Pad C, and after killing him, the murderer switched his plan to Pad A. The tampering seemed intended to allow the murderer to steal a runabout, but none are missing. Odo is confused: "he goes through a lot of trouble to defeat the security net, and then doesn't go through with his plans."
Before he can pursue this line of thought further, a bomb goes off in the schoolhouse. O'Brien runs in panic towards the school in fear that Keiko was inside, which is blazing, but thankfully, school was not in session and no one was hurt.
Sisko and several station personnel go to the school, where they are met by Vedek Winn who asks after Keiko. Sisko, knowing that Winn was likely connected to if not directly responsible for the bombing, tells her that he's holding her responsible for the recent act of terrorism and informs her of his belief that, since her order is rarely listened to on Bajor she has instead began the school issue to gain more support. Winn in response accuses Sisko (and, by extension, the Federation) of wishing to destroy the Bajoran way of life. Sisko denies the accusation, and makes an impassioned speech where he speaks of how the Federation and Bajoran people have worked hard together over the last several months, and regardless of if they're having a discussion or an argument they still come away with a better understanding of each other. He finishes by telling Winn that her attempts to cause trouble won't succeed, and the Bajorans will eventually bring their children back to school. She simply says "we'll see" and Sisko leaves. Then, Neela and Winn exchange a look.
In Ops, O'Brien discovers a secret file lodged in Deep Space 9's systems. With Dax's help, O'Brien decrypts the file (named "ANA"), and discovers that it contains the instructions to disable a series of force fields and create an escape route from the Promenade to one of the runabouts. He immediately locks down all the runabout pads to prevent anyone from using them to escape. Meanwhile Sisko is contacted by Vedek Bareil, who has heard of the bombing and decided to publicly offer Sisko his support.
In the Bajoran shrine, Neela secretly meets with Vedek Winn and tells her that her plan to escape via runabout has been stopped and she now has no way to escape arrest and possible execution. Winn is uncaring, and orders Neela to proceed with their plan anyway, citing the will of the Prophets.
Bareil takes Winn to the school to advocate for a peaceful resolution to the events, and she follows, soon joined by Sisko. As they speak publicly, O'Brien discovers that a security console in Odo's office has been tampered with. Suspicion falls on Neela, who had repaired the security console several days earlier, and O'Brien realizes that she tampered with the security systems so that a weapon could be smuggled onto the Promenade. O'Brien contacts Sisko and informs him of his suspicions. Scanning the crowd in front of the school listening to Bareil's speech, Sisko sees Neela drawing a phaser from her toolbox and aiming at Bareil. He charges through the crowd, which jostles Neela and spoils her first shot. Before she can fire a second, Sisko tackles her to the ground, saving Bareil's life. Odo drags Neela away, as she yells that "the Prophets spoke" and she "answered their call".
Kira rounds on Winn, accusing her of orchestrating the entire school controversy just to lure Bareil to the station and have him killed, to stop him from being elected Kai. Winn turns away without responding.
Later, in Ops, Sisko finds Kira in a melancholy mood at her station. He confirms that Neela has refused to incriminate Winn, and Kira says she never will, leaving them with no proof of Winn's involvement. Kira admits that she supported Winn because Kira wanted her own faith to be as strong as Winn's was. She also says that she listened to Sisko's speech on the Promenade when he faced off with Winn, and agrees that she has begun to trust him and the Federation. Sisko smiles, saying Starfleet and the Bajorans have made some progress after all.
Memorable quotes Edit
"It is my philosophy that on this station there is room for all philosophies."
- - Benjamin Sisko
"We're all very good at conjuring up enough fear to justify whatever we want to do."
- - Bareil, apologizing to Sisko
"I'm a teacher. My responsibility is to expose my students to knowledge – NOT hide it from them!"
- - Keiko
"The Prophets teach us patience."
"It appears they also teach you politics."
- - Bareil Antos and Benjamin Sisko
"What was he doing in a runabout at 4 in the morning?"
"Apparently, he was getting murdered."
- - O'Brien and Odo
"Be careful who you share your jumja with."
- - Keiko
"No, I don't teach Bajoran spiritual beliefs. That's your job. Mine is to open the children's minds to... history, to literature, to mathematics, to science."
"You are opening the children's minds – to blasphemy. And I cannot permit it to continue."
- - Keiko and Vedek Winn
"Did you remember to re-initialize the isolinear co-processor?"
"I did it exactly like you showed me. Should I test it?"
"Eh, let me. You know us old folks, we like to feel useful."
- - Miles O'Brien and Neela
"I'm not teaching any philosophy. What I'm trying to teach is pure science."
"Some might say pure science, taught without a spiritual context, is a philosophy, Mrs. O'Brien."
- - Keiko and Kira
"I can't tell you how much I've looked forward to this moment."
- - Vedek Winn (with her back turned), upon meeting Benjamin Sisko
"Not for sale, huh? How would you like a jumja stick up–"
- - Miles O'Brien
"Seek the Prophets!"
"Seek them yourself."
- - Jumja salesman and Odo
"You tell our sick Bajoran crewmen they'd better get well immediately, or they'll recover on their way to their next assignment."
- - Benjamin Sisko
"You were looking for me? Don't tell me; there's a Bajoran convention on the station I didn't know about? Thanks Odo! I need to call in more dabo girls."
"It's not a convention. They're from an orthodox spiritual order coming to support Vedek Winn's efforts to keep the Bajoran children out of school."
"Orthodox? In that case, I'll need twice as many dabo girls. These spiritual types love those dabo girls."
- - Quark and Odo
"What do you know about the death of Ensign Aquino?"
"You wound me. All these years, I thought you knew me. Odo, I am not a killer!"
"No, but most of your friends are."
"True, and I would gladly sell one of them to you if I could."
- - Odo and Quark
"Is the Emissary of the Prophets blaming me for this act of terrorism?"
"The commander of this station is."
- - Vedek Winn and Sisko
"Now I see that you want nothing less than to destroy us... You live without a soul, commander. You and your federation exist in a universe of darkness, and you would drag us in there with you, but we will not go."
- - Vedek Winn
"The Bajorans who have lived with us on the station, who have worked with us for months, who helped us move this station to protect the wormhole, who joined us to explore the Gamma Quadrant, who have begun to build the future of Bajor with us, these people know that we are neither the enemy nor the devil. We don't always agree. We have some damned good fights in fact, but we always come away from them with a little better understanding and appreciation of each other."
- - Sisko
"It was all to get him here, wasn't it? The school, the protest, the bombing. You knew that would get him out of the monastery. You did it all to kill him – to stop him from becoming kai."
- - Kira, seeing the truth about Winn
"Are you okay?"
"Okay? I've forgotten okay. I haven't seen okay in what seems like years."
- - Sisko to Kira after the attempted assassination
"I don't think that you're the devil."
"Maybe we have made some progress after all."
- - Kira and Sisko
Background information Edit
Story and scriptEdit
- An early idea for the first season finale was to be a crossover with Star Trek: The Next Generation and have Sisko, Picard and their crews work together to fight against a Cardassian invasion. Rick Berman chose not to go down that route and Michael Piller decided to bookend the season with a script relating to "Emissary". (The Deep Space Log Book: A First Season Companion, p 43)
- Ira Steven Behr commented on linking with the pilot episode: "That was something Michael [Piller] was insisting on, and it was clever of him to do that. It's a good Kira story and it's a good Sisko story. I know people wanted to have the big cliffhanger and I love cliffhangers, but they do tend to be a gimmick, and unless you can find a gimmick that's going to work for you, why do it? We did not have a way to do it successfully because of the budget restraints. To say you have to have a cliffhanger is ridiculous and I thought this was an interesting, intelligent show that does a lot for the series".
- This is the first episode of Deep Space Nine to deal with the Bajoran religio-political system, something which would become increasingly important as the series progressed. Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe based this system on fifteenth and sixteenth century Catholicism, when the Pope was much more of a political figure than he is today, and different 'orders' all vied to have their candidate installed as Pope. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) This system can perhaps be most clearly seen in action in the second season episode "The Collaborator".
- In relation to the overriding theme of this episode, Robert Hewitt Wolfe has said, "I have a serious objection to people trying to impose their values on other people. And that's what this episode is about. No one has the right to force anyone to believe the things that they believe. That's one of the beautiful things about Gene Roddenberry's vision of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), and that was one of the things that we really wanted to hammer home here. Sisko does everything not to impose his values on the Bajorans, but Vedek Winn is determined to impose her values on everyone." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Wolfe also commented "Although I was raised Catholic and educated in Catholic schools, that was a choice my parents and I made. I did get a religious education, but I think that's where it belongs: in a religious school. It doesn't belong in all schools". ("Robert Hewitt Wolfe - writer/story editor", The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine Vol. 5, p. 10)
- Bareil's monastery scenes were filmed at Fern Dell near Griffith Park, also used for the holodeck sequence in "Encounter at Farpoint". (Star Trek Encyclopedia (p. 22), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The matte painting of the Bajoran city from "Emissary" was modified for this episode to show that the damage to the city had been repaired. (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- When Miles O'Brien is trying to decode the ANA routine one of the sequences reads "GENE ROD", a reference to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Another one of the sequences reads "NCC1 701," a reference to Star Trek's famous ship, the USS Enterprise.
- During the explosion of the school, the station's alert sound effect was later reused in Star Trek: Voyager as the title starship's red alert klaxon.
- The episode's score, composed by Dennis McCarthy, was recorded on 8 June 1993 at Paramount Stage M (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Collection liner notes). A cue from the score, totaling 2 minutes 21 seconds, appears on Disc One of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Collection.
- Colm Meaney considers "In the Hands of the Prophets" to be with "Captive Pursuit" as his other favorite episode from the first season. Meaney commented "The great thing about Star Trek is that it takes on serious issues and deals with them. That episode dealt with religious fundamentalism and that continues on in our first three shows ("The Homecoming", "The Circle" & "The Siege") [second season]. With all sorts of fundamentalism going on today, that's a very interesting topic. People are getting into very rigid ideas about how other people should behave. Star Trek is at its best when it's dealing with something that has a contemporary echo and I'm very glad to see that we're carrying on that tradition". ("Colm Meaney - Miles O'Brien", The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine Vol. 5, p. 10)
- Robert Hewitt Wolfe commented that "In the Hands of the Prophets" was "a neat mystery with a lot of fun character stuff. It turned out to be a really good episode. I'm proud of it". ("Robert Hewitt Wolfe - writer/story editor", The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine Vol. 5, p. 10)
- Wolfe was particularly impressed by the acting of Avery Brooks, Colm Meaney and Louise Fletcher in the episode. Wolfe commented "Avery Brooks did a good job with the crowd scenes. He had a great presence when he addressed the crowd. There's also a really nice scene between Sisko and Jake, in which Avery did some nice work. Louise Fletcher was great. She's an Oscar-winner. What more can I say? Colm was excellent. He conveyed the pain of realizing that Neela, whom he thought was promising, bright young woman, wasn't quite the person he thought she was. He also experiences some conflicting emotions, those of a happily married man who finds himself briefly attracted to another woman. Colm did all of that as a subtext to his scenes". ("Robert Hewitt Wolfe - Writer/story editor", The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine Vol. 5, p. 10)
- Michael Piller commented, "The last two episodes of the season are very thought provoking." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)
- This episode marks the first appearances of Louise Fletcher as Winn Adami and Philip Anglim as Bareil Antos.
- No stardate is given in this episode; however, as noted by Sisko, this episode takes place seven months after the events of "Emissary". Opaka's absence is also mentioned; therefore, this episode takes place after "Battle Lines".
- Winn paraphrases a line spoken by Opaka to Sisko in a deleted scene from "Emissary" when she says "I once asked Kai Opaka why a disbeliever was destined to seek the Prophets. She told me one should never look into the eyes of one's own gods."
- In this episode, Vedek Winn claims to have spoken with the Prophets, but in both "The Reckoning" and "'Til Death Do Us Part", she reveals that she had never spoken with them.
- Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #7 ("Keep your ears open")
- This was the only Deep Space Nine season finale not to be written or co-written by Ira Steven Behr.
- This episode relates to the debate in American schools about the teaching of evolution and creationism in science classes. Specifically, the plot has parallels with the Scopes Trial.
- Keiko's line asking whether Neela is "working out any better than the last one" is a veiled reference to the fact that Anara, played by Benita Andre, introduced in "The Forsaken", and originally planned to be the assassin in this episode, "didn't work out". The name of the force field override program, "ANA", shares its name with the first three letters of Anara's name for the same reason.
- The computer graphic of the ANA program's sequential deactivating of force fields was reused from "Dramatis Personae". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 10, 10 January 1994
- As part of the DS9 Season 1 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
Guest stars Edit
Special guest star Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Scott Barry as a Bajoran officer
- Ivor Bartels as a security officer
- Robert Coffee as a Bajoran officer
- Frank Collison as Dolak (display graphic)
- George Colucci as a Human DS9 resident
- Brian Demonbreun as a Human science officer
- Jeannie Dreams as an Human operations division ensign
- Judi Durand as Deep Space 9 computer voice
- Holiday Freeman as a Human DS9 resident
- Kevin Grevioux as a Human security officer
- Bill Hagy as a Human DS9 resident
- Jeffrey Hayenga as Orta (display graphic)
- Randy James as Lieutenant Jones
- Norman Large as Romulan criminal (display graphic)
- Mark Lentry as a Human command division lieutenant
- Buck McDancer as a Bajoran DS9 resident
- Robin Morselli as Bajoran officer
- Tyana Parr as a Human DS9 resident
- April Rossi as Andorian criminal (display graphic)
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Michael Zurich as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
- Alien school child
- Two Bajoran children
- Bajoran aide to Bareil
- Bajoran Deep Space 9 resident
- Bajoran monk
- Buck-toothed alien criminal (display graphic)
- Ferengi criminal (display graphic, unconfirmed)
- Two Human children
- Human DS9 resident
- Human operations division ensign
- Human security officer
- Klingon criminal (display graphic)
- Plix Tixiplik (display graphic)
- Two Tailheads
Stunt doubles Edit
- Patricia Tallman as stunt double for Robin Christopher
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Avery Brooks
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Library computer references Edit
- Federation Star Chart ("The Explored Galaxy"): Aldebaran; Alfa 177; Alpha Carinae; Alpha Centauri; Alpha Majoris; Altair VI; Andor; Ariannus; Arret; Babel; Benecia; Berengaria VII; Beta Aurigae; Beta Geminorum; Beta Lyrae; Beta Niobe; Beta Portolan; Camus II; Canopus III; Capella; Daran V; Delta Vega; Deneb; Eminiar; Fabrini; First Federation; Gamma Canaris N; Gamma Trianguli; Holberg 917G; Ingraham B; Janus VI; Kling; Kzin; Lactra VII; Makus III; Marcos XII; Manark IV; Memory Alpha; Omega IV; Omega Cygni; Organia; Orion; Pallas 14; Phylos; Pollux IV; Psi 2000; Pyris VII; Regulus; Remus; Rigel; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulus; Sarpeid; Sirius; Talos; Tau Ceti; Theta III; Tholian Assembly; Vulcan
- A Tunnel in the Sky: Alpha Quadrant; B3; Bajoran system; Einstein-Rosen; event horizon; F1; FTL pipeline; Godel Universe; Hawking, Stephen; Idran system; Kerr Newman; Kerr object; millicochrane; negative CTL; negative CTL region; negative space; point singularity; positive CTL; positive CTL region; ring singularity; Schwarzschild; singularity; space warp; superluminal; sync shift; time dilation; verteron membrane; warp factor
- Language chart: Bajoran language; Cardassian language; Cardassian Union; English language; Ferengi Alliance; Ferengi language
- "In the Hands of the Prophets" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "In the Hands of the Prophets" at Wikipedia
- "In the Hands of the Prophets" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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