This will be the first post in a series exploring various first contact scenarios. As those who have read my novella, The Joining, might surmise, first contact is one of the aspects of science-fiction that I find most interesting and compelling. To me, one of the important aspects of first contact is that it challenges some part of the human experience and this is what I will be discussing here. I start with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s pilot episode “Emissary” for no reason other than I began rewatching the series a few weeks ago.
A quick recap and scene setting for those who may not be familiar with the series: ST:DS9 takes place on a space station the Federation has taken over from the Cardassians, the main enemy of Bajor, the planet nearest to DS9. Commander Sisko, our brave protagonist, has assumed command of DS9 to assist the Bajorians, now recovering from the Cardassian occupation. The challenges Sisko faces in assuming command of the station is the Bajorians, some of whom believe that the Federation’s help will turn into another form of exploitation, and the fact that he is troubled by the death of Jennifer, his wife. In a meeting with the spiritual leader of the Bajorians, Kai Opaka, she declares Sisko to be the Emissary of the Prophets and shows him the Orb of Prophecy and Change, a seemingly mystical object that allows him to relive a memory of the first time he met Jennifer. Kai Opaka explains that the Orbs have mysteriously appeared above Bajor and as the Emissary Sisko is destined to find where they come from, the Celestial Temple of the Prophets.