‘Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of Pure imagination…’
Imagination is a powerful tool but just imagine if it could manifest into reality on a whim. This very thing is explored in the episode that originally aired on May 16,1993. This is If Wishes Were Horses.
Station Log Stardate 46853.2: If Wishes Were Horses
The station crew come face to face with their own dreams and fantasies when they come in contact with a spatial rift that ultimately threatens the Bajoran System.
Quark complains that the bar business has been slow and, after seeing that Jake Sisko has an infatuation with Baseball, considers opening up a family friendly area. Meanwhile, even though Julian claims to be unable to keep Dax from his thoughts she informs him that he is more friend than lover material for her. After breaking his heart, Dax returns to Ops only to discover that there are issues with thoron emissions in the nearby Denorios Belt. As they begin the investigation, Miles O’Brien encounters an unwanted visitor in the form of Rumpelstiltskin.
As Miles is dealing with a child stealing imp, Sisko finds his favorite Baseball player, Buck Bokai, has followed his son home from the holosuite and Julian finds a passionate Jadzia waking him up in his quarters. Soon all of the senior staff are called to Ops where it is discovered that there is more going on than just imaginary characters showing up in reality.
As they begin to investigate the situation, other events begin to occur around the station like snow on the promenade and large Gunji Jackdaws running throughout the station. Before long, it becomes clear that everyone is using their imaginations causing issues throughout DS9 including all of Quark’s customers winning at his Dabo tables.
Dax and Julian begin working on a way to figure out what is causing the issues when they discover a similar event that occurred in the Hanoli system in the 23rd century but resulted in the destruction of the entire system when a Vulcan ship attempted to seal the rift . Launching a probe into the anomaly, they begin to get readings that indicate that the anomaly that is causing this is getting bigger. It appears that they need to figure out something before all is lost.
Later, the three entities converse about their hosts and it appears that they are there as more than just imaginary beings. They are there to learn about the people on this station.
After determining that the Vulcans were on to something, Miles determines that they should use a similar method as the Vulcan ship. They begin preparations when Kira has an attack of her imagination. Soon they have everything ready and fire the torpedo at the rift only to see it begin to react poorly. Soon the rift explodes threatening to take the station with it. Everything is in flux as the station has shield damage throughout. Julian’s imagined Dax is wounded and he attempts to save her life, only to lose her in the end. The rupture begins to expand and it is only when Sisko realizes what is happening that he takes action by ordering the crew to do nothing. Confused, the crew are doubtful but follow his orders without question. It appears that all of their issues have been caused by their very imaginations. Upon discovering the truth, the beings vanish.
After dismissing his team, Ben returns to his office where he meets with Bokai one final time. Bokai tells Sisko that they are beings who are exploring the universe and are confused by their imaginations. In the end, Buck tosses Sisko a ball which doesn’t vanish when Buck does.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While this is a pretty disposable episode, it is one that really gives us a look into the heads of some of the crew. Seeing their imagination is akin to really getting a good look into who they are at them moment. Miles is a family man who is worried about losing his daughter. The appearance of Rumpelstiltskin shows that he is concerned for the safety of Molly and Kaiko. Julian and his fantasy of Dax really tells us just how infatuated with Jadzia he has become, and it is something he never really gets to experience in life. The one that is in question is Buck Bokai, from the beginning it appears that he is from Jake’s imagination but over time we find that he is actually from Ben’s. Bokai is one of Ben Sisko’s childhood heroes and to get to meet him is something he has wanted his entire life.
Overall the episode is about how valuable our imaginations are and how important it is that we do good with that ability. Here is something that humans have that can feel real and physically affect us without having a physical substance at all. The human imagination is one of the most powerful tools in the universe, being responsible for everything we have in our world today. Without Imagination, we would not have fire, cars, airplanes, toys or even the very internet you are on right now reading this article. It is amazing how much our imagination plays into our lives and how much of that we don’t recognize. Even the business act of a financial forecast requires a bit of imagination from the forecaster, or it simply could not be accomplished.
So the next time someone tells you to get your head out of the clouds, tell them maybe they should join you there instead.
I can not tell you how terrifying it would be if my imagination became real. I mean, there are some cool things I would think of but the way my mind wanders I would have so many insanely creepy things running around the house I would probably lose my mind.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Even though Buck Bokai indicates ‘maybe next year’ when Sisko asks to learn more about their species, we never see nor hear from the Imagination beings again. I always wondered if they were not part of the Q Continuum.
We learn that Odo doesn’t have a sense of smell.
We also learn that he has a great imagination, only his involves having Quark behind bars.
This episode marks the first appearance of Sisko’s baseball. Like Picard’s Ressikan Flute, we will see this baseball again…
It is revealed that Baseball is no longer as popular in the future as it is now which kinda makes sense seeing that with the introduction of other species, new and more exciting sports would be invented and adopted.
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Late To The Game 12/27/2020 (Originally published 3/29/19)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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