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Sanctuary (episode)

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A group of refugees come through the wormhole in search of Kentanna, their fabled homeworld.


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Kira Nerys is undergoing a day of frustrations, which are interrupted by a new ship appearing through the wormhole. The ship is damaged, and four Skrreeans are beamed aboard while their ship is tractored in. As they attempt to communicate, Sisko and the others realize that the Skrreeans don't appear to understand what they are saying, nor can the crew understand the Skrreeans. They resolve to keep the Skrreeans talking until the universal translator can make sense of the Skrreean language, and decide to bring the group of them, Haneek, Tumak, Gai, and Cowl, down to the infirmary to tend to the wounds of one. This trip, unusually adventurous for a walk to the infirmary, reveals that the single female Skrreean, Haneek, appears to be the leader of the group. She also appears to only trust Kira, the only female that has dealt with the Skrreeans.

After some further attempts at communication, the computer begins sporadically, but soon adequately, to translate the Skrreean language. It is revealed that some three million Skrreean refugees have been seeking the wormhole, which legend says is the gateway to their new homeworld, Kentanna. Sisko, Dax, and Kira resolve to welcome as many Skrreeans on to the station as is possible, and quickly search for a suitable planet for the Skrreeans to colonize.

As Skrreeans begin arriving on the station, there is some cultural tension. Haneek mentioned that Skrreeans are matriarchal, as they find males too emotional and adversarial to make significant decisions. Nog finds this to be true, as he is pursued and eventually assaulted by several young Skrreeans including Tumak, Haneek's son. Quark also looks down on the Skrreeans for loitering "without buying anything," and for the skin flakes they leave around his bar.

Meanwhile the Skrreean matriarchs meet and agree that Haneek, as the first to find the wormhole, should lead the Skrreeans to Kentanna. She researches Bajor, and finds that it fits the relevant description for the new Skrreean homeworld; it is "a planet of sorrow," and just outside the wormhole. Although Dax and Sisko have found a suitable planet in Draylon II, Haneek insists that the Bajoran Provisional Government be petitioned to let the Skrreeans settle there.

Minister Rozahn and Vedek Sorad consider Haneek's request, but in the end denies the Skrreeans permission to immigrate, for fear that Bajor's problems will both worsen and spread to the Skrreeans. This decision finds many Skrreeans upset, including Tumak. He attempts to immigrate by force, and land a Skrreean ship on Bajor. Unfortunately, Tumak is unaware that his ship is suffering from a plasma leak, and he also resists communication. While Sisko and Haneek are attempting to warn him, a pair of Bajoran interceptors move in to keep him off Bajor. Both parties exchange fire and Tumak's ship is lost, likely from the phaser fire igniting the radiation leak. In the end the rejected Skrreeans reluctantly leave for Draylon II.

Memorable quotesEdit

"It's hard to keep a secret in Ops, especially when you've been shouting at a monitor for the past two days."
"Thought I kept it down to an angry whisper."
"Let's just say your voice carries."

- Benjamin Sisko and Kira Nerys

"Ahh, Major! Get everything settled with Quark?"
"That little toad is this far from doing a 360 out an airlock!"
"I'm glad to hear everything went OK..."

- Benjamin Sisko and Kira Nerys

"Heh, there's no doubt who the boss is."

- Odo, after observing Haneek giving orders to the three men with her

"This will be your quarters while you're here at the station. I'm sure you wanna rest and clean up and you don't understand anything I'm saying, do you?"

- Kira Nerys to the Skrreeans

"What's that smell?"
"Ask him!"
"Me? You're the one who stinks!"

- Jake Sisko, Tumak and Nog

"Are all your leaders women?"
"All of them?
"You heard her, Julian."
"Men are far too emotional to be leaders. They're constantly fighting amongst themselves. It's their favorite thing to do." [off looks from O'Brien, Odo and Bashir] "I'm sorry, I hope I haven't offended anyone."

- Jadzia Dax, Haneek, and Julian Bashir

"Mardah's studying entomology. She asked me to help her out."
"A dabo girl who studies entomology! Hah! Sure."
"It's true!"
"Hyeh... What is entomology?"
"The study of bugs."
"Oh, you mean she wants to be a chef!"

- Jake and Nog

"It's going to get awfully crowded around here, Commander."
"I know, Constable, but it's worth it. Just look at them. They're experiencing their first taste of freedom."

- Odo and Benjamin Sisko

"This isn't over yet, Big Ears!"

- Tumak

"I think you've made a terrible mistake. All of you. Maybe we could have helped you. Maybe we could have helped each other. The Skreeans are farmers, Kira. You have a famine on your planet. Perhaps we could have made that peninsula bloom again. We'll never know, will we? Fifty years of Cardassian rule have made you all frightened and suspicious. I feel sorry for you. You were right. Bajor is not Kentanna."

- Haneek, to Kira Nerys

"Nog, have you been causing mischief again?"
"No uncle, it's all a misunderstanding."
"He sprayed several Skrreean boys with a foul smelling vapor."
[Smiles] "Did he?"
[Turns to Nog] "What do you have to say for yourself?"
"...I'm sorry?"
"See the boy is beside himself with guilt!"

- Quark, Nog, and Odo

Background informationEdit

Story and scriptEdit

  • Frederick Rappaport selected a story that was pitched by Gabe Essoe and Kelley Miles that had not been used by the writing staff. Rappaport commented that "the idea for "Sanctuary" was pretty basic: alien boat people are rescued by Deep Space Nine, and millions more are coming behind them. That's basically what they had, and it wasn't working''. Rappaport created the characters of Haneek and Tumak and plotted an ending in which the Skrreea were allowed to settle on Bajor due to their botanical skills. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine Vol. 8)
  • Michael Piller decided to plot a down-beat ending to this episode and invert the happy ending of Frederick Rappaport's original teleplay. Piller felt that the episode would carry more resonance if things didn't turn out okay for everyone. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Frederick Rappaport appreciated the change of the ending, commenting "I worked hard to come up with a twist for the story, but the happy ending just wasn't as strong as what we ultimately came up with. Michael Piller pointed out that, in reality, when a foreign group of people come en masse to someone else's homeland, the natives seldom greet them with open arms and allow they to stay. Michael felt that the Bajorans should do the same thing, and I was pleased that he saw it that way. It was a brilliant stroke, and I admired his guts". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine Vol. 8)
  • The writers had difficulty in finding a uniqueness to the Skrreea, before deciding that their skin would flake. Ira Steven Behr commented "There's something just disgusting and intrusive about an alien race that come and leaves bits of themselves on your table and on your glasses". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 67)


  • The Skrreean makeup is one of make-up supervisor Michael Westmore's favorite make-ups due to its simplicity and effectiveness. The "bumpy skin" makeup was created by combining little bags of pumice, found in a hobby train shop, with liquid latex, which was then applied to the actors' faces and dried. (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season Two, DS9 Season 2 DVD special features)
  • The main Skrreean ship seen docked at Deep Space 9 was a reuse of the Promellian battle cruiser model from TNG: "Booby Trap". Glenn Neufeld and David Takemura created some of the background Skrreea ships out of parts from model planes, cars and tanks. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • William Schallert (who had previously played Nilz Baris in the TOS episode "The Trouble with Tribbles") guest starred as Varani in the episode. Schallert commented: "...I'd never watched the show, so I was at a bit of a loss. The only person I knew on that was Armin Shimerman. I knew him from our both being involved in the Screen Actors Guild. And I knew his wife as well, Kitty Swink. I'm one of the trustees of our pension and health plan, and she's been very big on that. I like her a lot. She's a really intelligent person. I had a scene with Nana Visitor. I had to play a musical instrument. It happens that I'm a trained musician and I've played the piano all my life. I'd been a folk singer at one time, so I could play guitar. But I'd never played wind instruments. This thing they gave me had nothing on it to suggest where your fingers were supposed to go, and they were playing a specific tune. So I had to sort of imagine in my mind that these various fingers were associated with various notes. I tried my best to duplicate what the tune of the song was. I kind of got close, but I didn’t get it exact. That was actually the most difficult thing I had to do on the show. The acting part of it was fairly simple." [1]
  • Kitty Swink, who portrays the character of Minister Rozahn, is Armin Shimerman's wife. Shimerman commented: "I was very proud of her. There was a sort of stigma about hiring a spouse and I'm glad she broke it". ("Giving Free Advice", Star Trek: The Official Fan Club of the UK Magazine issue 8)



Video and DVD releasesEdit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest starsEdit



Uncredited co-starsEdit


Alpha Quadrant; Bajor; Bajoran interceptor; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran sector; Bajoran system; Bajoran wormhole; Bolka; Cardassians; Chamber of Ministers; class M; constable; dabo; dabo girl; dermal regenerator; Dominion; Draylon II; duty roster; entomology; evasive action; Eye of the Universe; Federation; Gamma Quadrant; general; grammar; growing season; icoberry torte; immigration; Interceptor One; Jalanda Forum; jeetaka; Jem'Hadar; Kentanna; latinum; maaza stalks; Mardah; minister; northwest peninsula; Occupation of Bajor; phaser; plasma burn; plasma leak; Promenade; Quark's; Reegrunions; refugee; replicator; Rom; runabout; Sefalla Prime; Skrreeans; Skrreean language; Skrreean starships; T-Rogorans; Tixiplik, Plix; tivara; toad; Trilar Peninsula; universal translator; Vedek; Vedek Assembly; winter

External linksEdit

Previous episode:
"Second Sight"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 2
Next episode:

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