In Star Trek: The Next Generation's seventh-season episode "Emer-gence," the Enterprise computer gives birth to a new life form. After the baby leaves the nest to begin its own life, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard comments, "It came from us....If our experiences with the Enterprise have been honorable, can't we trust that the sum of those experiences will be the same?"
Producers who have inherited the Star Trek franchise from the late Gene Roddenberry may be asking the same question of television viewers who have been slow to embrace Star Trek's second spinoff, Deep Space Nine.
Much of the trepidation has come from the impression that Roddenber-ry's hopeful vision of humanity's future has been abandoned in DS9 . Nothing could be further from the truth, however.
While DS9 is darker and grittier than its predecessors, it is far from despairing. Set on an ominous space station at the mouth of an astronomical gateway to another part of the galaxy (called a wormhole), DS9 explores what happens after first contact has been made and the Kirks and Picards have moved on to continue seeking new life and new worlds.
The space station is in close proximity to Bajor, a planet that is recovering from 50 years of oppressive occupation by an alien race known as the Cardassians. The Cardassians, who used to occupy the space station as well, enslaved the people of Bajor and stripped the planet of its natural resources before abandoning them. Enter the United Federation, who must aid Bajor in its recovery.
Commander Benjamin Sisko is the Starfleet officer assigned to the space station. Portrayed by Avery Brooks, Trek's first African-American commander is charged with the responsibility of keeping the peace "at the edge of the frontier."
In many ways, Sisko's job is more difficult and more important than that of Kirk and Picard. While they are explorers, Sisko