Explorers (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
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|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode|
|Directed by||Cliff Bole|
|Story by||Hilary J. Bader|
|Teleplay by||René Echevarria|
|Featured music||Dennis McCarthy|
|Original air date||May 8, 1995|
"Explorers" is the 68th episode of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the 22nd episode of the third season. This show is very heavy on Jake and Ben's relationship as they spend time together on small spacecraft. An ancient Bajoran spacecraft that sails through space is introduced to Star Trek, often called the "lightship".
A major plot element is the construction and use of a solar-sail spacecraft, that lacks the traditional trekiverse propulsion technologies "impulse drive" and "warp engines".
In terms of the show's production, the Bajoran solar sailor spacecraft was designed by Jim Martin working under production designer Herman Zimmerman. The special effect shots were done using CGI.
The episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 6.7 points when it was first broadcast on television in 1995.
Benjamin Sisko— sporting a fresh goatee—has been studying the ancient Bajoran culture, and determines that the old legends hold a grain of truth: ancient Bajorans may have travelled outside their own solar system using solar wind to power small sublight craft.
Sisko has obtained diagrams of the construction of a lightship, and his son, Jake Sisko, agrees to accompany him as he retraces the original route of the ancient Bajorans, in hopes of validating an even older theory—that the solar vessels not only made it out of the solar system, but somehow got as far as the Cardassian homeworld. A brief exchange with Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) reveals political undertones to the adventure: a success would mean accepting accomplishments of the ancient Bajorans that the Cardassians have dismissed as "fairy tales".
The trip proves an opportunity for Sisko and his son to talk. Jake reveals that he has been accepted as a fellow to the Pennington Institute, a prominent writing school in Wellington, New Zealand. Jake struggles with the idea of leaving Deep Space Nine, his father and the friends he has made at the station, but his deliberations during the voyage are cut short when the ship flies into a "tachyon eddy", which accelerates the ship to warp speeds, but damages the vessel in the process. Sisko hadn't anticipated the effect because any modern spacecraft would have been too massive to be affected.
Upon falling out of the eddy, Sisko charts the ship's position and is startled to find that the phenomenon has taken their sub-light vessel far off course, and he is not at all certain of their location. As he and Jake consider their options—abandon the voyage and call for help from Deep Space Nine, or continue on in a crippled vessel with little chance of ever finding anything—the ship is hailed by none other than Gul Dukat, who announces that they have reached Cardassian space, and thus proving that the idea that the Ancient Bajorans could have done so long ago was possible. Furthermore, Dukat mentions their arrival coincides with the discovery of the remains of a similar solar vessel wrecked centuries ago on Cardassia, thus proving the ancient voyage was made. Sisko remarks on the coincidence, intimating that the disclosure may have been a last-minute attempt on the part of the Cardassians to save face.
As the travellers soak this information in and celebrate, the Cardassians let off colorful photon charges, a form of fireworks to celebrate the achievement of Sisko and his son.
A subplot involves Dr. Julian Bashir discovering that the ship bearing his old academic rival from medical school is due to arrive. Competitive and nervous, Bashir is taken aback by her outright ignoring him at Quark's. After a bonding experience with Chief O' Brien, Bashir summons his courage and approaches the rival, who reveals the envied assignment she took, afforded to her by her superior class rank, turned out uninspiring. Meanwhile, she had been following Bashir's work with great enthusiasm.