Type Episode
Date 1993-05-02

The Storyteller

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1x14

The Plot

O'Brien and Bashir go to Bajor for a medical emergency. The Sirah of a Bajoran village has fallen ill, and without him, the entire village will be killed by the Dal'Rok, a being which appears for five nights every year to attack the village, and which can only be driven off by the Sirah, who tells the story of the unity of the village. Unfortunately, the Sirah is dying of old age, and there's nothing Bashir can do for him. The Sirah appoints O'Brien his successor, then dies driving off the Dal'Rok that evening, with one attack left for the year.

O'Brien is uninterested in the job. Hovath, who had been trained for years as the Sirah's successor, attacks O'Brien with a knife, but they wrestle it away from him and then get the truth from him: the Dal'Rok is some sort of psychic projection of the villagers, created by a fragment of one of the orbs as a way to unify them, and the Sirah's job is to direct the villagers to feel strong in their unity, which keeps the village together and drives away the Dal'Rok. Hovath failed to accomplish this, which is why the former Sirah chose O'Brien as his successor.

The final night comes, and O'Brien fails miserably at telling the story: "Once upon a time, there was a Dal'Rok…", he begins, and immediately loses the attention of the villagers. Bashir convinces Hovath to take over–that the Sirah chose O'Brien because he knew O'Brien would fail, giving him the chance to win back his rightful place as leader of the village. Hovath immediately drives off the Dal'Rok, and O'Brien and Bashir get out of there while everyone is distracted.

In the B plot, Sisko oversees negotiations between two Bajoran factions, the Paqu and the Navot. The Paqu are led by a young girl, Varis Sul, the daughter of the previous leader. The boundary between their land was a river, and the Cardassians rerouted the river, granting the Paqu an additional 20 kilometers of what had been Navot territory, and Varis Sul is unwilling to give it up. Between unproductive meetings, she runs around with Jake and Nog, and eventually, using Nog's advice, negotiates a favorable deal, to give back the land in exchange for trade rights.


The only interesting feature of the plot with the Dal'Rok is the interaction between O'Brien and Bashir. Bashir wants to get along better with O'Brien, and O'Brien can't stand him. And who could blame him? Every bit of trouble that comes O'Brien's way, Bashir just giggles and eats some popcorn, enjoying the show. It's frankly unbelievable that Bashir would be quite so unconcerned about the sitation and willing to stir the pot to watch O'Brien squirm.

The behavior of the villagers is pretty unbelievable, too. They are a caricature of a mob, directed by the Sirah's few words, and when O'Brien does the same thing, they just ignore him completely. When Hovath steps up, it's like a switch is flipped, and they start paying attention again. The whole thing treats them very much like 'primitives' that we know they aren't.

For the other part, it was nice to see Jake and Nog running around, though a little uncomfortable when they just barged into Varis's room–and there was no comment about them being rude? I'd have sunk into the floor in shame for them.

It felt a bit like Sisko interpreted his job as mediator as "make the little girl do as she's told", since we never see him trying to convince the Navot leader, Woban, to give any concessions.

This was apparently a repurposed TNG script, and indeed there's nothing here that couldn't have been played by any group. It's somewhat Trek-ish, but forgettable.

Character TypeName
Benjamin Sisko MainAvery Brooks
Jake Sisko MainCirroc Lofton
Julian Bashir MainSiddig El Fadil
Miles O'Brien MainColm Meaney
Nog MainAron Eisenberg
Varis Sul MainGina Philips
Hovath SubLawrence Monoson
The Sirah SubKay E. Kuter
Faren Kag AppearanceJim Jansen
Woban AppearanceJordan Lund
Name RoleCharacter
Aron Eisenberg Actor
Avery Brooks Actor
Cirroc Lofton Actor
Colm Meaney Actor
David Livingston Director
    Gina Philips Actor
    Ira Steven Behr Screenwriter
      Jim Jansen Actor
      Jordan Lund Actor
      Kay E. Kuter Actor
      Kurt Michael Bensmiller Author / Screenwriter
        Lawrence Monoson Actor
        Siddig El Fadil Actor