The Storyteller (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
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|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||David Livingston|
|Story by||Kurt Michael Bensmiller|
|Featured music||Dennis McCarthy|
|Cinematography by||Marvin Rush|
|Original air date||May 2, 1993|
In this episode, two simultaneous plotlines unfold. Chief of Operations O'Brien is recruited to save a Bajoran village from destruction. Back on the station, Commander Sisko arbitrates a land dispute between two factions of Bajorans, the Paqu and the Navot, while the adolescent leader of the Paqu (whom Nog develops a crush for) learns the art of compromise.
O'Brien and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bashir are sent on a relief mission to Bajor in response to a medical emergency. Meanwhile on the station, Sisko plays mediator in a conflict between two rival Bajoran factions, the Paqu and the Navot.
On the station
The station plays host to rival delegations negotiating a land dispute. Their border had long been decided by the course of the river Glyrhond. During the occupation, however, the Cardassians had altered the river's course, to the disadvantage of the Navot.
Sisko and his first officer Major Kira are surprised when they meet the leader of the Paqu delegation: Tetrarch Varis Sul, a fifteen-year-old girl. She proves unwilling to negotiate, and Sisko is frustrated with her intransigence.
Nog is captivated by the girl's presence on the station and cajoles Sisko's son, Jake into going along to meet her. They arrive outside her cabin and are bickering when she opens the door. Bumblingly, they introduce themselves, saying they are an unofficial welcoming committee. She readily agrees to go with them to watch a ship arrive through the wormhole. There, Varis Sul is attentive when Jake speaks admiringly of his father. We learn that her parents were killed in the Cardassian invasion; Jake tells her his mother was killed in a Borg attack.
On a second meeting, the Tetrarch is preoccupied by negotiations and asks how one can decide an opportunity is worth a risk. Nog replies by quoting one of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, and to embellish his point they embark on a plan to steal Head of Station Security Odo's regeneration bucket using one of his father's security rods. While on this expedition, Nog fills Odo's bucket with oatmeal and pretends to trip, covering Jake with the contents and pretending that he has spilled Odo onto him. Initially mortified, Jake soon sees the funny side, and they all laugh. Odo arrives, and detains Jake and Varis Sul; Nog runs, but is quickly caught by Sisko.
Varis Sul is embarrassed by her involvement in the escapade, and apologises to Sisko. Later, walking with him in a corridor, she mentions a possible compromise in the negotiations, though she has misgivings: the land could be returned to the Navot, in exchange for trading rights along the river.
Arriving at the emergency location, Bashir and O'Brien beam to the surface and find no signs of disease; a man called the Sirah is dying, and the village leader believes the entire village will die with him. The Sirah awakens and proclaims that the Prophets have sent O'Brien to the village. Outside, Bashir informs the village leader that the Sirah is dying of natural causes. The man warns of the "Dal'Rok", which will destroy the village if the Sirah is not able to fend it off; but he does not reveal just what it is.
That night, against Bashir's wishes, the Sirah's apprentice helps him outside amidst a strong wind. There the Sirah speaks to the entire village, announcing the Dal'Rok's awakening, just as a threatening cloudlike apparition appears in the sky above him. The villagers cheer as he tells of how the village will resist the Dal Rok, but O'Brien's tricorder picks up nothing. He and Bashir watch as the Sirah tells a narrative about the village defeating the Dal'Rok: as he speaks, a beam of light seems to make the apparition disappear.
The Sirah collapses during his speech and the villagers panic as the Dal'Rok returns and destroys several buildings. He ignores his apprentice and whispers the rest of the story to O'Brien, who repeats it verbatim to the village. The light reappears, eventually causing the apparition to dissipate. By the time the Dal'Rok is gone, however, the Sirah has died. The village leader announces the Sirah's death and declares O'Brien to be his successor.
The villagers treat O'Brien like a king, and bring him gifts; he is visibly agitated by his new status, but Bashir is fascinated. The village leader is adamant about the Sirah's choice despite O'Brien's protestations. The leader and the other villagers continue to treat O'Brien as the new Sirah. O'Brien searches for whatever caused the Dal'Rok, knowing he will be expected to fend it off that night, although he and Bashir are at a loss to explain it.
The Sirah's apprentice visits O'Brien, who inquires about the Sirah. The apprentice brandishes a dagger and tries to kill O'Brien, declaring himself to be the true Sirah, but Bashir stops him. O'Brien tells the apprentice he has no argument with him, but the apprentice reveals he had his chance to tell the story and failed. He explains that the Dal'Rok is an apparition created out of the villagers' fears, by means of a fragment of an Orb of the Prophets, and that the Dal'Rok was originally created to solve the bitter internal strife tearing apart the village. Each time the Dal'Rok appears, the villagers must unite in their thoughts to stop it. He shows Bashir and O'Brien a rock, which he says harnesses the villagers' thoughts and creates the Dal'Rok. Only by uniting can they stop it.
O'Brien encourages the apprentice to try telling the story again. However, the village leader arrives and orders the apprentice to remove the Sirah's robe, forcing O'Brien's hand in the matter. That night, O'Brien stands before the village and attempts to tell the story, but finds himself bumbling, and the villagers are unmoved by his clumsy narrative. The Dal'Rok then returns in full force and the villagers begin to panic. Prompted by Bashir, the apprentice takes the stage, and, speaking as eloquently as the Sirah had, tells of a new voice challenging the Dal'Rok. The villagers follow his lead and defeat the Dal'Rok, embracing him as their new Sirah and relieving O'Brien of the post.
- P. Farrand, Nitpicker's Guide for Deep space Nine Trekkers New York: Dell (1996): 59 - 61
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