If Wishes Were Horses
Stardate: 46853.2
Original Airdate: 17 May, 1993

[Quark's]

QUARK: Can't you ever just let go?
ODO: Let go?
QUARK: The place is almost deserted. There hasn't been a ship in for three days and yet you just sit here like a Baneriam Hawk looking for prey. This is your chance to relax. I could set you up with a terrific holosuite programme.
ODO: Thank you, but I don't accept gifts from the likes of you.
QUARK: Who said anything about gifts? You pay like everyone else. I'm just trying to get you into the tent.
ODO: I have no time for fantasies.
QUARK: Ah. No imagination, huh?
ODO: Waste of time. Too many people dream of places they'll never go, wish for things they'll never have, instead of paying adequate attention to their real lives.
QUARK: I could create a shape-shifter playmate for you. The two of you could intermingle.
ODO: You're disgusting.
QUARK: It's a living.
(Jake comes through with his baseball bat and glove.)
ODO: You're not allowing young Mister Sisko in your holosuites, I hope.
QUARK: It's not what you think.
ODO: It better not be.
QUARK: You see that thing on his hand? It's a baseball mitten. Every afternoon, the boy goes up to play. His father brought a programme with famous players. You ever hear of Tris Speaker or Ted Williams or Buck Bokai?
ODO: Afraid not.
QUARK: Neither had I until I made it my business to find out. With all these humans coming now, the true entrepreneur knows how to sniff the wind. Try it. Go ahead.
ODO: I have no sense of smell.
QUARK: You don't need one to detect the scent of opportunity.
ODO: Opportunity.
QUARK: Family entertainment. That's the future, Odo. There's a fortune to be made. Little holo-creatures running around, rides and games for the kiddies, Ferengis in every doorway selling useless souvenirs.
ODO: You're going to replace all your sexual holo-programs with family entertainment?
QUARK: No, no, no, I'm expanding. I'm negotiating to lease the space next door so I can use the same holo-generators.
ODO: You're still disgusting.
QUARK: Till the day I die.
(Odo leaves and we go over to a table)
DAX: I'm sure you're exaggerating.
BASHIR: You are constantly in my thoughts. I can't even
WAITER: That was two raktajinos, extra strong.
BASHIR: I can't even concentrate.
DAX: You seemed to be concentrating just fine on the junior Lieutenant at the reception for Captain Stadius.
BASHIR: She was a poor substitute for you.
DAX: And the Betazoid envoy who was here last week.
BASHIR: A barely adequate substitute for you.
DAX: Julian, you are a wonderful friend. I enjoy the time we spend together.
BASHIR: Stop. You're driving a stake through my heart.
DAX: Try a high-pitched sonic shower. It'll make you feel better.
BASHIR: No it won't.
(Dax leaves)
BASHIR: I've already tried it.

[Ops]

DAX: Sorry I'm late. I was having dinner with Julian.
SISKO: How is our young doctor?
DAX: Young. Anything going on?
KIRA: We were just looking at an unusual energy reading.
DAX: Elevated thoron emissions in the plasma field.
SISKO: We thought it might be an environmental byproduct created by the increased traffic to this area.
DAX: It could be. Ships have always avoided the Denorios Belt. We have no idea how the presence of so many warp and impulse engines might affect it. The question is, is this going to cause us any problems?
KIRA: We were hoping you could tell us.

[Molly's bedroom]

(A bedtime story is in progress)
O'BRIEN: And the messenger from the Queen watched the little man as he danced and sang and laughed. How he would soon have the daughter he always wanted because they would never guess that his name was
MOLLY: Rumpelstiltskin.
O'BRIEN: Rumpelstiltskin, right. And the next day, when the little man came and asked, 'Now, Mrs Queen, what is my name?' She said at first, 'Are you called Jack?' 'No,' he answered. 'Are you called Harry?' 'No,' he answered. And then she said, 'Then perhaps your name is'
MOLLY: Rumpelstiltskin.
O'BRIEN: Rumpelstiltskin. And at the sound of his own name, the old man was so furious that he stamped his foot, shaking the entire kingdom, and he broke in two and disappeared. And the King and Queen and their daughter lived happily ever after. Good night, little one. Sweet dreams.
MOLLY: I'm not tired!
KEIKO: Ah, ah, ah, none of that. Goodnight, sweetheart.

[O'Brien's quarters]

O'BRIEN: Now then, shall I tuck you in with a bedtime story too?
KEIKO: Only if you're tucked in with me.
O'BRIEN: Naturally.
MOLLY: Mommy?
KEIKO: What is it, honey?
MOLLY: He's in my room.
KEIKO: Who?
MOLLY: Rumpelstiltskin.
O'BRIEN: Sweetheart, that was just make-believe. Rumpelstiltskin isn't real, okay? All right, I'll come in and check, but then it's bedtime. Why we tell her stories about evil dwarfs that want to steal children?

[Molly's bedroom]

(There is the lovely Michael John Anderson)
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Don't look so distraught. I'm only here to offer you my services if you should need them.

[O'Brien's quarters]

(O'Brien hands Molly to Keiko.)
O'BRIEN: Take her out of here.
KEIKO: What's wrong?
(Enter the little man)
KEIKO: Miles, what?
O'BRIEN: Please, just go.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: A pity you're sending the ladies away. It's as if all the life just went out of the room.
(Keiko and Molly leave)
O'BRIEN: O'Brien to Security.
SECURITY [OC]: Go ahead.
(Rumpelstiltskin starts rifling through things)
O'BRIEN: Intruder alert. Send a team to my quarters immediately.
SECURITY [OC]: On our way, Chief.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: So where's the straw? I assume you want gold spun from straw?
O'BRIEN: What are you?
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Surely you must know. You were just telling the little one all about me.
O'BRIEN: I know what you look like. but you're not
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Ah, don't say it. I don't like the sound of it, you know.
O'BRIEN: Rumpelstiltskin.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: You didn't think that would make me break in two and disappear, did you? Not this time. I learned my lesson back in the kingdom. I don't make deals like that any more.
(Security enter)
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Ah, the local constabularies. Gents, give me a small bit of courtesy and I'll be very pleasant, but try and lay a hand on me, and you'll soon regret it. Besides, I'm much too fast for you.
(Security try to take hold of him but he vanishes and appears behind them instead.)
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: And now, my good host, if gold is not your pleasure, tell me your needs and I'll tell you my price.
O'BRIEN: O'Brien to Sisko.

[Sisko's quarters]

SISKO: Go ahead, Chief.
O'BRIEN [OC]: I need you in my quarters on the double.
SISKO: I'm on my way.
(Jake enters)
JAKE: Dad, I've got to talk to you.
SISKO: Jake, I don't have time.
(A short London Kings baseball player)
BUCK: Hello, Ben.
JAKE: He followed me home from the holosuite.

[Bashir's quarters]

(Bashir is having a nice dream when a pair of hands start stroking him. He wakes suddenly.)
BASHIR: Jadzia!
DAX: Hello, Julian.
BASHIR: What are you doing here?
DAX: Watching you. Waiting for you to wake up.
BASHIR: I'm awake.
DAX: Is something wrong?
BASHIR: Funny, I was about to ask you the same question. (Dax kisses him) It must be this Larosian virus that's been going around. How do you feel?
DAX: Wonderful. (and carries on kissing him)
BASHIR: No fever. It must be me. It must be me. It must be me. Must be an allergic reaction to the replicated antipasto I had at lunch. Perhaps, I must be hallucinating.
DAX: Why are you fighting this?
BASHIR: Why am I fighting this? Why am I fighting this? I have no good answer to that question.
KIRA [OC]: All senior officers report to Ops immediately.
BASHIR: Okay, I get it. Very funny. Did O'Brien put you up to this?
DAX: I don't know what you're talking about.
BASHIR: Senior officers report to Ops. We all walk in, everybody has a good laugh at my expense.
DAX: This is not a joke, Julian.
BASHIR: We'll see.

[Ops]

SISKO: Ah, good. It seems we have a small mystery on our hands. Lieutenant Jadzia Dax and Doctor Julian Bashir, I'd like you to meet Harmon Bokai, a baseball player from the London Kings who's been dead for two hundred years.
BUCK: Don't look at me. I can't figure it out either.
SISKO: And a medieval fairy tale character named Rumpelstiltskin.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Fine, now everyone knows my name.
SISKO: Until today, he only existed in storybooks.
BASHIR: A pleasure, I'm sure.
SISKO: Could this be related to the increased thoron emissions in the plasma field?
(The Dax who came in with Julian will now plead ignorance and have to be redesignated Dax 2)
DAX 2: Thoron emissions?
DAX: I think you'd better ask me, Benjamin.
(After the adverts, Bashir is scanning Buck with his ever-present tricorder.)
BUCK: I was hitting a few to the boy. He's really been moving well onto the ball lately, Ben. We would've worked on some baserunning except he was getting hungry and I realised I was too.
KIRA: A hologram with an appetite?
BUCK: Hologram?
BASHIR: On the contrary, Major, he's quite real. They all seem to be.
BUCK: What the hell are they talking about, Ben?
SISKO: You. You're not actually Buck Bokai.
BUCK: So how come I'm wearing his uniform?
SISKO: You're a holographic image of Buck Bokai that I created so Jake and I could play ball with you.
(Dax 2 starts fawning over Bashir again.)
BUCK: But I remember. I remember all the games, all the opening days. The home run that won the forty two World Series. The squeaker that went under Eddie Newsom's glove. The day I broke DiMaggio's consecutive streak.
SISKO: I programmed it into the computer. All of it. Every statistic.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: What foreign tongue are they speaking?
O'BRIEN: This one didn't come out of any holosuite.
SISKO: But he did come out of your imagination, just as Buck came out of Jake's.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: His imagination?
DAX 2: Then I must have come out of your imagination, Julian.
BASHIR: Not necessarily. Well, maybe. How could this sort of thing possibly happen?
DAX: A subspace disruption. Maybe some kind of dimensional shift.
DAX: I didn't see an anomaly when I scanned the plasma field, but it could have been so small the sensors missed it.
DAX 2: Julian, let's go to your quarters.
BASHIR: Please, I haven't got time for this.
(Dax 2 vanishes)
ODO [OC]: Odo to Sisko.
SISKO: Go ahead.
ODO [OC]: Is there something you want to tell me?
SISKO: I'm in no mood for games, Constable.

[Replimat]

(It is snowing on the Promenade)
SISKO [OC]: What do you need?
ODO: Are the environmental controls broken down? It's snowing on the Promenade.
SISKO [OC]: Snowing?
ODO: We're looking at five or six centimetres down here.
SISKO [OC]: Bring in all available security, Odo.

[Ops]

SISKO: We're going to Yellow alert.
ODO [OC]: What's going on?
SISKO: It seems we're letting our imaginations run wild. As soon as I have an explanation I'll give you one. Sisko out.
KIRA: Yellow alert? Against our own imaginations?
SISKO: You have a better idea?
DAX: I think I've got something. Look at the wave patterns of the plasma field.
O'BRIEN: The wave front's converging toward a single point.
DAX: The particle density rises as you get closer to the centre, but then it looks like it just drops off completely.
O'BRIEN: You're right. I'm not getting any particulate readings from the core.
KIRA: What does that mean?
DAX: Whatever falls in there is just gone.
BASHIR: You were right. It is some kind of subspace disruption.
SISKO: I want a full analysis. Chief, get a class four probe ready.
O'BRIEN: Aye, sir..
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Is there anything I can do to help?
ODO [OC]: Odo to Ops.
SISKO: Go ahead.
ODO [OC]: The snow's

[Promenade]

ODO: Disappeared but now there's a Gunji jackdaw running loose down here.
(Looks more like an emu to me)
SISKO [OC]: Just try to keep things under control, Odo. We're working on it.
ODO: Understood. Come along now, come along. There we go.

[Quark's]

(The dabo table is paying out generously when Odo enters)
ODO: Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please? Ladies and gentlemen, and all androgynous creatures, your attention please! As you may have noticed, we're experiencing some difficulties. I'm going to have to ask you all to please refrain from using your imaginations.
QUARK: Just because you don't have an imagination, don't ruin it for the rest of us.
(Quark has acquired barely dressed two women)
QUARK: Let me guess. Another clever Federation experiment has gone awry and you've turned the whole station into one vast holosuite.
ODO: The phenomenon is being investigated as we speak.
QUARK: Well, tell them to take their time. I haven't had the chance to show the ladies my collection of Tartaras landscapes yet.
ODO: I'm surprised by your attitude, Quark.
QUARK: (undergoing oo-mox) Ah, yes, well, you simply don't have the same appreciation for art as I do.
GIRL: Dabo!
ODO: I'm surprised because every one of your customers is winning.
QUARK: What?
ODO: They're taking you to the poorhouse.
GIRL: Dabo! Another winner!
QUARK: No! No, that's not possible. Let me through. Lose. Lose. One cross. Two cross. No. No.
ODO: You're outnumbered, Quark. Pardon me. Pardon me.

[Laboratory]

DAX: I was afraid of this. The proximity of the wormhole is amplifying the rupture.
BASHIR: The proton counts are going through the roof.
DAX: Dax to O'Brien. How are you coming with that probe, Chief?
O'BRIEN [OC]: I'll have the subspace scanners programmed in less than an hour.
DAX: Keep me informed. Dax out.
BASHIR: I have the wave intensity analysis.
DAX: Computer, scan all data files for comparable wave intensity patterns.
COMPUTER: Stand by.
BASHIR: Jadzia, I find this difficult to say, but I want you to know, I would
DAX: Julian, there's really no need to apologise. In a way, I feel as if we've invaded your privacy. We all have fantasies and dreams we keep to ourselves, thoughts that should remain private.
BASHIR: I'm glad you understand.
DAX: Of course I do. I was a young man, once.
BASHIR: So we can put all this behind us?
DAX: Of course.
BASHIR: Good. The computer seems to be having trouble finding a match.
DAX: She really is submissive, isn't she? Is that how you want me to be, Julian? So submissive?
DAX 2: I am not submissive. Am I?
BASHIR: No, er, well, I don't think so.
DAX 2: I'm just not the cold fish you are.
DAX: Cold fish?
BASHIR: Now, I never said that.
DAX 2: If you'd get down off your high horse, you'd start to appreciate Julian.
BASHIR: She has a sense of humour, as, as I've always imagined you do.
DAX: I could use one about now.
DAX 2: Come on, Lieutenant. Stop denying all those yearnings you feel.
DAX: Yearnings?
DAX 2: If you don't, you'll never know what you missed.
COMPUTER: Pattern match found.
BASHIR: Just in the nick of time.
DAX: A similar subspace rupture was reported in the Hanoli System in the mid twenty third century.
BASHIR: The Hanoli system? I don't believe I know where that is.
DAX: There's no reason you should. When the rupture expanded, the system was destroyed.

Station log, stardate 46853.2. We have launched a probe to study the subspace anomaly. Meanwhile, more than half the people aboard DS Nine have reported manifestations of their imagined thoughts.

[Ops]

DAX [OC]: All probe systems are reading normal.
O'BRIEN: Calibrating sensors for subspace. Three minutes to coordinates.

[Laboratory]

DAX: Wave pattern should begin to fluctuate any time now. There.

[Ops]

)O'Brien is working down in the pit)
O'BRIEN: The probe is penetrating the thoron field. Two and a half minutes to coordinates.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Ah, for simpler times, eh?
O'BRIEN: Go away.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: I only want to help.
O'BRIEN: You're in the way.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: A farmer from Derry once tried to chase me off until I saved his crops from locusts
(I'm trying to imagine the level of global warming required for locusts in Derry....)
O'BRIEN: Two minutes to coordinates. Thoron emissions are stable.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: You know what I find most intriguing about you, my good host? You're afraid. Of me.
O'BRIEN: Look, figment, I'm not afraid of anybody, least of all you. Ninety seconds to coordinates.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Figment, am I?
O'BRIEN: A figment of my imagination, that's all.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: And yet you can't deny how this imagination of yours empowers me, can you? Empowers me in a way that somehow terrifies you.
O'BRIEN: You should be getting some primary data, Commander.
SISKO [OC]: They're coming in now, Chief. Stand by.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: She is your first born, isn't she?
(And vanishes)
O'BRIEN: Thirty seconds to coordinates.

[Laboratory]

DAX: Thoron emission patterns unstable. Probe hull temperature dropping rapidly.
O'BRIEN [OC]: Ten seconds. 
DAX: The probe's approaching the perimeter of the anomaly. That's strange.
SISKO: What is it?
DAX: Negative readings on all sensors. We may be looking at some sort of folded space.
SISKO: Let's see what the optical scanner on the probe gives us.
BASHIR: It's drawing in all the matter from the surrounding space.
DAX: Benjamin, it's getting larger.

[Promenade - upper level]

BUCK: Feel like taking a few ground balls?
SISKO: Look, I tried to tell you. You're on a space station in the twenty-fourth century. The only ball field around is a holographic simulation. It's not real and neither are you.
BUCK: Oh. You see, I don't get it. I can pinch myself and it hurts, and I am here with you, aren't I?
SISKO: Right now you are, but in a minute, who knows? I hope when we get this thing figured out you'll
BUCK: Disappear for good?
SISKO: I hope so.
BUCK: Oh, you do, huh? Well, let's say for a moment I don't. So what am I supposed to do, huh? You got room on your team for a switch hitting third baseman with good power?
SISKO: Good power from the left side.
(Sisko goes down the stairs)
BUCK: Left side? Ben! Hey! Hey, Ben. What are you talking about? I hit over twenty homers right-handed in each of my first three years in the majors.

[Promenade]

SISKO: And never more than ten after that.
BUCK: That was because Old Crow moved me to second in the order.
SISKO: I wish I had more time for this.
BUCK: Well, that was baseball's epitaph, wasn't it. Nobody seemed to have time for us anymore. I could've played five more years if they hadn't killed the game.
SISKO: You were the best that ever played. I know. I've played with them all. I've got work to do.
BUCK: Hey, Ben. It really meant a lot to me, how much you cared. That day we won that world series, there were only three hundred people in the stands.
SISKO: Three hundred and one in my version.
BUCK: I heard you cheering. It meant a lot to me. I just thought you should know, you know. In case I do finally disappear.
SISKO: (in turbolift) Ops.

[Replimat]

RUMPELSTILTSKIN: We don't know any more than when we started.
DAX 2: Why would mine create a woman and then reject her?
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Why would mine create a dwarf that could terrify him? We should abandon the whole thing.
BUCK: Not yet. I made a connection with mine. A curious one. I sense a feeling from him. An affection for this ballplayer who died two hundred years before he was even born.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: How much longer do you suggest we devote to this?
BUCK: As long as it takes. It ain't over til it's over.

Station log, supplemental. The subspace anomaly continues to expand. As of yet, we've been unable to find a way to contain it. As a precaution, we have diverted all incoming ships away from the station.

[Commander's office]

O'BRIEN: A Vulcan science mission to the Hanoli rift detonated a pulse wave torpedo at the coordinates of the tear.
DAX: Five minutes after they did, the rupture expanded radically.
O'BRIEN: They were wiped out, along with the entire Hanoli system.
KIRA: What happened to the rupture after that? it's not still there?
DAX: It reached a critical mass point and imploded and then disappeared from normal space altogether.
SISKO: Were there any reports from the Vulcans about hallucinations on board? Anything similar to what we're experiencing?
O'BRIEN: No, sir. But they were only within range of the anomaly for twelve hours.
BASHIR: And Vulcans don't have the most active imaginations.
SISKO: Were there any explanations offered for the initial cause of the rupture?
DAX: Dozens. Nothing confirmed. But we do know there were no wormholes and very little starship activity in the area before it formed.
O'BRIEN: We've looked high and low for some common ground, something to give us a fix on how to attack this thing. And frankly, sir, as funny as it sounds, we think pulse wave torpedoes may still be the best approach.
KIRA: Wait a minute. If it didn't work very well last time, why
O'BRIEN: The Vulcans were using a primitive device. In the past two hundred years, we've developed far better ways of controlling the flux density. We should be able to contain the internal reaction this time.
KIRA: And if we can't, we destroy the whole Bajoran system.
SISKO: Major, the rupture is already expanding. We have to seal it or it's going to destroy this system anyway.
DAX: The smaller it is, the better chance we have.
SISKO: How long will it take to create one of these torpedoes?
O'BRIEN: We could have one ready by twenty two hundred hours.
SISKO: If the rift expands at all before imploding, we have to be prepared. Route auxiliary power to shields. Major, I'd like you to coordinate evacuation of the pylons. Odo can help you. Dismissed.

[Ops]

KIRA: Kira to Odo.
ODO [OC]: What is it, Major?
KIRA: I need you to do a security sweep through the pylons. We're going to evacuate them.

[Promenade]

(Odo and security are herding the emu/jackdaws)
ODO: I'll get on it as soon as possible. I've got my hands full right now. Clear the way. Get out of the corridor. Let them through. Clear the way, now.

[Corridor]

(Kira steps out of the turbolift and gets pushed back by a blast.)
KIRA: Kira to Ops. Lower pylon one is gone. I need emergency
(A burning man comes running round the corner, screaming, and into the turbolift, where he vanishes.)
SISKO [OC]: Sisko to Kira. Report. Kira, can you read me? Major Kira, report.
KIRA: Disregard, Commander. False alarm. Kira out.
(She does a quick tricorder scan then hits a wall intercom button)
KIRA: All personnel in lower pylon one, report to outer ring airlock. Prepare for evacuation.

[Promenade]

(We're still herding flightless birds)
ODO: Clear the way now, clear the way. Please stay inside. This isn't a show.
QUARK: Odo!
ODO: Get out of the way.
QUARK: Odo! Odo! Odo! Odo! Odo! Thank goodness. I want to report two missing persons. A blonde and a brunette.
ODO: Can't you see I'm busy. Don't scare them!
QUARK: One minute they're whispering sweet nothings in my ear, the next minute the sweet nothings are gone.
ODO: Will you get off the street before
(The birds are gone and the women are back.)
QUARK: Girls! I've been looking everywhere for you. Don't ever do that to me again. So, Odo, what have you conjured up during all this?
ODO: Me?
QUARK: I should have guessed. Nothing at all.
ODO: I've spent all my time chasing incarnations of the Prophets, long dead lovers, Gunji jackdaws, blizzards, trollops.
QUARK: As I always said, a man without any imagination. Come along, my dears. I'll show you what a fertile imagination can do.

[Security office]

ODO: Imagination, ha. Computer, run a level one personnel sweep of all pylons
COMPUTER: Requested function will take approximately three minutes.
(Odo glances up at the security cell CCTV feed and sees)
QUARK [on monitor]: Let me out of here! Let me out of here! Get the Nagus on subspace. I want to talk to him and I mean now! I'm not spending another minute in this cell.
ODO: How did you get in there?
QUARK [on monitor]: How did I get in here? You put me in here!
ODO: I guess I did, didn't I?
QUARK [on monitor]: Yeah.
(And the cell is empty again)
ODO: No imagination, indeed. Ha!

[Sisko's quarters]

(Sounds of a crowd at a game)
BUCK: Heads up, Jake. (Jake catches the ball) So what are you doing here?
JAKE: I can't go. I've got homework to do.
BUCK: But you'd rather be at the ballpark.
JAKE: You don't understand. If I go to the holosuite without finishing my homework, my dad'll kill me.
BUCK: Kill you?
JAKE: Yeah.
BUCK: You really believe he'd kill you?
JAKE: I know he would.
BUCK: Well if that's true, why are you still thinking about going?
JAKE: I'm trying not to.
BUCK: But you are wondering if you can get away with it, aren't you.
SISKO: Well?
JAKE: I couldn't understand the directions. The computer accidentally erased the instruction page.
SISKO: You really expect me to believe that?
JAKE: No, I guess not.
(Sisko vanishes)
JAKE: I've really got homework to do.
(Buck vanishes and the crowd sounds stop)

[Ops]

DAX: I need to see you, Benjamin.
SISKO: What do you have, Dax?
DAX: In the last hour alone, the rupture's expanded twenty seven percent The rate of expansion is increasing.
SISKO: Can we gain any time by moving the station?
DAX: If the rift collapses, the implosion would overtake us almost immediately.
SISKO: How soon can you be ready, Chief?
O'BRIEN: I'm installing pulse wave devices in the torpedoes now, Commander. Six, seven minutes.
DAX: The rift's gotten large enough to pick up on visual scanners.
SISKO On screen. Magnify.
(A black gash with light falling into it. Buck is there, along with Rumpelstiltskin and Dax 2.)
KIRA: All pylons are secured. Everyone's been moved to the habitat ring for the time being.
DAX 2: You're worried.
BASHIR: You bet I am. If this doesn't work, nothing real or imagined is going to survive.
DAX 2: Hold me, please.
O'BRIEN: Torpedoes ready.
SISKO: Status of shields?
DAX: All available power's been transferred. Reading shield strength at one hundred fifty eight percent above normal.
SISKO: Let's hope it's enough. Red alert. Fire.
O'BRIEN: All systems functioning properly. Torpedo guidance is on nominal track.
DAX: Thirty seconds to coordinates.
O'BRIEN: Impulse sustainer throttling down. Arming pulse wave initiator.
DAX: Torpedo hull temperature dropping.
O'BRIEN: Activating pulse waves. Compression level at fourteen hundred and rising.
DAX: Twenty seconds.
O'BRIEN: Compression twenty nine hundred. Three thousand.
DAX: Terminal targeting spread confirmed.
O'BRIEN: Thirty five hundred. Holding compression.
DAX: Ten seconds.
SISKO: Ready to detonate.
O'BRIEN: Ready, sir.
DAX: Five seconds.
SISKO: Now.
(MOOB-aK)
O'BRIEN: Wave intensity from the rift is dropping. The thoron field boundary is shrinking. Particle energy is rising. Wait a minute, what's this?
DAX: Wave emissions are fluctuating. We're not getting a controlled collapse.
SISKO: Chief?
O'BRIEN: Damn it. We're picking up an exothermic reaction pattern. It may be neutralising the pulse waves. Stand by.
KIRA: Perimeter sensors are picking up a subspace oscillation. What the hell does that mean?
DAX: Proton counts have tripled.
O'BRIEN: Residual pulse wave activity from our torpedoes is down to fourteen percent. The flux density readings inside the rupture are off the scale. (BOOM)

[Quark's]

(Furniture and glassware goes flying)

[Security office]

ODO: Odo to Ops. Ops? Ops!

[Ops]

(Lights are down, monitors are flashing)
KIRA: Comm. circuits are down. I'll trying to reroute pathways. Life support is normal.
SISKO: Shields?
O'BRIEN: A generator's down. Section four is exposed.
ODO [OC]: Odo to Ops!
KIRA: There we go.
SISKO: Constable, check for casualties. Have your deputies move everybody out of section four. We have shield damage.
ODO [OC]: Acknowledged.
SISKO: What are we getting from the rift?
DAX: Sensors aren't operating.
O'BRIEN: Stand by, sir.
DAX 2: (badly hurt) I can't feel my hands.
BASHIR: Lie still, lie still. (to Buck) There's an emergency medical kit in the cabinet there. Get it.
DAX 2: I'm sorry.
BASHIR: Shh.
BUCK: Here you go.
DAX 2: I never meant to bother you.
BASHIR: No, no. You didn't bother me
DAX 2: I can't keep my eyes open.
BASHIR: Don't close your eyes. I want you awake. You have a nasty concussion.
DAX 2: I can't help it.
BASHIR: Dax! Dax!
O'BRIEN: Sensors are back online.
KIRA: The rupture is continuing to widen. Three hundred and forty times larger than before.
SISKO: Is it showing any signs of collapsing?
DAX: Wave emissions from the rift are still fluctuating. I can't make sense out of these readings. Proton counts are lower than before. And now they're beginning to rise again.
O'BRIEN: The pulse waves from our torpedoes have been completely neutralised. It's just a matter of time before the rift starts expanding again.
SISKO: How much time?
O'BRIEN: Minutes.
SISKO: Suggestions?
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Run out of ideas, friend? I have a suggestion. Maybe I can help.
O'BRIEN: You?
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: You created me with powers beyond those of mortal men. I would be more than happy to use them to assist you, for a price.
(Keiko is holding Molly)
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: I've always wanted a daughter.
KEIKO: Miles?
KIRA: Perimeter sensors are picking up subspace oscillations again.
O'BRIEN: You're telling me you can seal that rupture out there?
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: I can spin straw into gold, my friend. This seems no more difficult.
O'BRIEN: Well do it, damn it!
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Will you meet my price?
O'BRIEN: This is crazy. You're out of a storybook, a fairy tale.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Are you willing give her up to save so many others?
SISKO: No. He doesn't have to. Dax, when did our sensors first pick up traces of the rupture?
DAX: You were there, Benjamin. When we were first trying to figure this whole thing out.
SISKO: And if I remember correctly, you said that your previous scans hadn't picked up any anomalies at all.
DAX: I thought that whatever was out there was too small for the scanners to identify.
SISKO: So you imagined that we had a subspace rupture, and that's exactly what it turned out to be.
DAX: That is what I imagined.
SISKO: And once you learned about the rift that destroyed the Hanoli system, we all imagined that we might have another just like it. Mister O'Brien, drop the shields.
O'BRIEN: Sir?
SISKO: There is no rupture. There is no threat to this station or this system. End Red alert and drop the shields.
O'BRIEN: Aye, sir.
SISKO: And believe it, Mister O'Brien. It's important that you believe it.
O'BRIEN: Aye, sir.
SISKO: Are your sensors picking up any magnetic shock waves, Major?
KIRA: Yes, sir. Perimeter readings still show
SISKO: No shock waves at all.
KIRA: None at all.
(Buck, Rumpelstiltskin vanish)
SISKO: Lieutenant, proton counts.
DAX: (without looking) Normal.
(And the rift disappears)
KIRA: It's gone.
BASHIR: You're going to be fine.
DAX 2: Of course, I am. I have the best doctor in the galaxy.
(Dax 2 vanishes)
KIRA: None of this makes any sense. I mean, why did they appear in the first place?
DAX: It might still be related to the elevated thoron emissions in the plasma field. The readings still haven't returned to normal.
SISKO: Continue your analysis, Dax, but this time no speculations, just facts.
DAX: Yes, Benjamin.
SISKO: Major, keep us on yellow alert for the next twenty six hours till we see that everything is back to normal. Chief, take your family home. That's an order.
O'BRIEN: Aye, sir.

[Commander's office]

(Sisko eases himself down onto the settee)
BUCK: This imagination of yours, it's a tough concept for us to get a handle on, Ben.
SISKO: You're not simply a figment of my imagination, are you.
BUCK: We're on an extended mission exploring the galaxy. Awhile back, we followed one of your ships through that hole in space out there. We've been watching you, trying to figure out the rules of your game.
SISKO: Why didn't you just talk to us like this?
BUCK: We've learned you never can tell how someone will treat the visiting team.
SISKO: I understand.
BUCK: That's what this has been all about. Learning to understand.
SISKO: Was it really necessary to put the whole station in jeopardy?
BUCK: But we didn't, Ben. It was you. It was your imaginations that created everything. We were just watching to see where it took you. This imagination of yours. We have never seen anything like it. It's very real to all of you but yet it's not. At first, it seemed to us to be a curse, an irritation. That Odo fellow even called it a waste of time.
SISKO: I'd disagree with him.
BUCK: I knew you would. I learned that about you. That you could have such an affection for someone you never even met. I wonder if you appreciate how unique that imagination of yours really is.
SISKO: Not always.
BUCK: We've got to go.
SISKO: But you haven't told us anything about your species.
BUCK: I'd like to. Maybe next year.

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