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The Storyteller (episode)

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"The Storyteller"
DS9, Episode 1x14
Production number: 40511-414
First aired: 2 May 1993
13th of 173 produced in DS9
13th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 0 released in DS9 Remastered  
266th of 728 released in all
Sirah tells the story
Teleplay By
Kurt Michael Bensmiller & Ira Steven Behr

Story By
Kurt Michael Bensmiller

Directed By
David Livingston
46729.1 (2369)
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Chief O'Brien is appointed spiritual leader of a Bajoran village. Meanwhile, Nog and Jake try to help their new friend settle a struggle between two Bajoran villages.



"Station log: Stardate 46729.1. The Bajoran government has asked me to mediate a disagreement between two rival factions: the Paqu and the Navot. At issue is a land dispute, which could trigger a civil war."

Sisko is busy preparing to receive the Paqu and Navot delegations, but another issue has come up with O'Brien. The chief has been assigned to pilot a runabout to Bajor, but he casually tries to find an excuse to get out of it. When his travel companion, Dr. Bashir, enters, it is obvious why O'Brien does not want to go: he does not like Bashir, who is oblivious to this fact. They have been told there is a medical emergency on Bajor, although the nature of the emergency is uncertain. Sisko leaves O'Brien stuck with Bashir, leaving them in the turbolift to greet the newly-arrived leader of the Paqu. When they get there, they meet Tetrarch Varis Sul – a fifteen-year-old girl.

Act OneEdit

During the trip to Bajor, Bashir tries to make small talk, but O'Brien gives him the cold shoulder. Bashir does ask O'Brien not to call him "sir", but to use his first name, "Julian". They beam to the surface but find no signs of disease, despite the claim that the village is in danger of extinction. A man called the Sirah is dying, and the village leader believes they will all die with him. When Bashir and O'Brien visit the Sirah, he proclaims the Prophets have sent O'Brien to save the village. Something called the Dal'Rok threatens the village, however, and the villagers fear only the Sirah can save them.

Meanwhile, Varis and the Navot leader, Woban, meet with Sisko and Kira. They explain that they have had a treaty for ninety years and that it declares the boundary between their people a designated river, the Glyrhond. However, during the Occupation, the Cardassians diverted the river for their mining operations and caused twenty kilometers of land to shift from Navot to Paqu control. While Woban claims the land is still his, Varis believes the original boundary – the river – still stands. They break temporarily, and as Varis passes by a bored Jake and Nog on the Promenade, Nog is lovestruck.

Carraya IV surface

Faren Kag's village on Bajor

O'Brien and Bashir check on the Sirah, who is obviously the leader of the village. He is dying of natural causes, so there is nothing Bashir can do for him; however, the Sirah seems drawn somehow to O'Brien, calling him closer. He looks relieved, claiming the Prophets have sent O'Brien to him before he sends them both out.

Act TwoEdit

Back on the station, Nog takes Jake to Varis' quarters, but neither has the nerve to ring the doorbell, and they begin arguing. Suddenly the door is opened - Varis no doubt was checking to see what the commotion was all about. Jake and (especially) Nog nervously stumble over their words to offer Varis a tour of the station, mentioning that a Klingon freighter is leaving for the Gamma Quadrant through the wormhole. She accepts with a hint of a smile.

That night, against Dr. Bashir's medical advice, the Sirah insists that he be allowed to "tell the story" as a dark cloud forms over the village (although no atmospheric disturbances or energy discharges can be found with tricorders). He stands on a rock where all the villagers can look at him as his back is to the cloud. He begins to give an inspirational speech, which lifts the hearts of the villagers and causes some sort of energy beam to rise from the village. This seems to push the ominously close cloud back, but the Sirah collapses. As he does so, the beam stops and the villagers panic. Without his help, the cloud – the "Dal'Rok" of their legend – fires a lightning-like beam and injures several people.

Act ThreeEdit


Hovath, former apprentice of the Sirah

Bashir and O'Brien help the Sirah to his feet and he asks for his successor, but not Hovath, his prior apprentice. He wants O'Brien. Urgently, the Sirah dictates what O'Brien should say and has him tell the story of how the village is stronger than the Dal'Rok. The villagers rejoice as the cloud-like formation is pushed away and disappears; immediately thereafter, the Sirah collapses and O'Brien is proclaimed the new Sirah by one of the villagers, Faren Kag.

In Sisko's office, he asks Varis whether she is there to talk or to start a war, since she has been wasting everyone's time to this point. She insists that the land belongs to the Paqu, despite claims otherwise. He asks if her people are as ready to die for the land as she seems to be. She heads out to the Promenade where she encounters Nog and Jake. She tells the two of them about her land negotiations, but in a circumspect way and Nog suggests that this could be an opportunity instead of a problem. Both Jake and Nog suggest talking to her parents, but she sadly reports that both her parents were killed by the Cardassians during the occupation.

On the planet, neither Bashir nor O'Brien can figure out what the strange creature was, nor how it was controlled. Bashir takes the opportunity to tease O'Brien before some of the villagers arrive bearing gifts and offering services (apparently including his choice of young, beautiful women). When O'Brien says he is a married man, Faren insists that O'Brien bring his wife and daughter down to the village to live with him. As he exits, the Sirah's previous apprentice, Hovath stares at O'Brien with undisguised hatred.

Act FourEdit

"Station log, supplemental. We have completed a second day of talks between the Paqu and the Navot. So far, we're no closer to finding a solution than we were when negotiations began."
Varis Sul and Jake with oatmeal

Varis Sul and Jake, who is being covered in oatmeal by Nog

Jake and Nog visit Varis again, but she is preoccupied with the negotiations. Just as the two boys turn to leave, she asks how you can "be sure that an opportunity is worth the risk." Nog quotes the ninth Rule of Acquisition to her: "Opportunity plus instinct equals profit." The three decide to celebrate and head to Odo's office to swipe his bucket with a Cardassian security rod that Nog has. In the office, Nog tells them to watch the front door and then heads to look for the bucket. After a moment, he comes running out, trips and the contents of the bucket spill onto Jake. Nog begins to laugh at the joke because the contents were oatmeal. The three join in the laughter, just as Odo walks into the office and takes the bucket from Nog, who, in attempting to escape, runs headlong into Sisko.

Bashir and O'Brien continue to search for any hints of what the Dal'Rok might be when they are approached by a woman wanting her baby blessed by the Sirah. O'Brien leaves Bashir to distract the crowd and heads back to the Sirah's home. There, Hovath approaches O'Brien, and while O'Brien continues to search, draws a dagger and lunges at O'Brien. Instinct saves him and they struggle for a moment until Bashir enters the room and gets between the combatants. Hovath tells O'Brien that he is not the "true Sirah" and that Hovath is.

Act FiveEdit

Hovath explains his apprenticeship to O'Brien and Bashir and told how he was unable to control the Dal'Rok three nights ago. He then shows them a bracelet that apparently contains a fragment of one of the Orbs from the Celestial Temple. Hovath continues his story, telling them of the first Sirah, back when the village was split by hatred and mistrust, and how he used the fragment to create the Dal'Rok, and thus "give their fears a physical form" and force the villagers to work together to defeat it. O'Brien gives the Sirah's robe to Hovath, but Faren enters and tells Hovath that he had failed and would not be allowed to endanger the village again.

In his office, Sisko listens to Varis as she takes responsibility for the actions of Jake and Nog in the security office earlier, telling him that they were just trying to impress her. She tells him that she was trying to learn more about him and that Jake thought very highly of his father. Her own father, Varis reports, was a great man who had been feared by the Navot and was unwilling to make any concessions, and Varis had been trying to do the same since "you don't lose by saying no". However, she has seen an opportunity that may allow both sides to say yes. Walking with Sisko, Varis is nervous about the compromise she is going to suggest; giving the Navot their land, but allowing free access to the river for the Paqu. They encounter Jake and Nog, watched by Odo of course, and she thanks them both, giving Nog a kiss on the cheek. Odo walks the two boys to the security office to clean up the mess they left.


The Dal'Rok attacks again

In the village, O'Brien is getting ready to tell the story. The crowd urges him on as he reaches the platform, but he is obviously not comfortable. He begins to tell the story, poorly, as the Dal'Rok makes its appearance. There is no sign of the sparkling lights to fight off the Dal'Rok though. Meanwhile, Bashir encourages Hovath to step up to his true role and that the prior Sirah had likely chosen O'Brien so that Hovath could rescue him, and thus regain the confidence of the villagers. As the Dal'Rok comes in for the final attack, Hovath rushes onto the platform, grabs the bracelet from O'Brien and begins to tell the story, brimming with confidence. The lights appear, and the Dal'Rok is driven off and defeated once again. Bashir and O'Brien quietly make their escape. Back on the station, O'Brien tells Bashir that he's had enough of storytelling for a while, and Bashir informs him that he is not required to call him "Julian".

Memorable quotesEdit

"My dad's a pretty smart guy."
"Mine too! In his own way."

- Jake and Nog

"I'm not a little lady!"
"I'm still charging her for that drink."

- Varis Sul and Quark, when she throws her drink on him and walks off

"Once... upon a time... there was a Dal'Rok!"

- O'Brien, trying to fill in as Sirah

"I mean, for all we know, you really were sent by the Prophets."
"I was sent by Commander Sisko!"

- Bashir when O'Brien is selected as the new Sirah

"All right now... let's really focus!"

- O'Brien, still trying

"I believe in people working together to find reasonable solutions to their problems. I hope you do as well."

- Benjamin Sisko, to Varis Sul

Background informationEdit

Story and scriptEdit



  • Colm Meaney commented "Siddig and I had a good time doing that episode. It was the first episode in which O'Brien and Bashir - and Siddig and I - had many scenes together. It sort of established our relationship, made us much closer as characters. Bashir relished that I was in trouble there with those people. I had to bluff my way through it". ("Colm Meaney - Miles O'Brien", The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine Vol. 5, p. 8)
  • Ira Steven Behr commented "I like 'The Storyteller' a lot because it gave us a chance to do Bashir and O'Brien, and that's the core of that show. It also gives a nice little feel for the Bajorans and shows that Bajor is indeed a strange place. There are things happening in those little hamlets and villages that are certainly not your average Federation attitude toward life, religion and spirituality. What I wanted to do was a show that explored the fact that you have two guys working together and one, Bashir, wants to have have really close relationship, and other other one, O'Brien, is saying back off. This was a chance for them to get together. Colm's quite good. It's basically The Man Who Would Be King, and he's a wonderful person to make king". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages p 33)
  • Michael Piller commented "One of the really big problems with this script, which is why it didn't appeal to anybody, is because it was not about any of our characters. We were just watching the events occur by putting O'Brien in the middle, saying you have to solve it. What really appealed to me was the great theme that sometimes we create our own monsters so that we can defeat them and feel secure in our power. I was always in love with that theme, and finally we made it work. Ira did a lot of work on that script." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)
  • Rick Berman commented "It was very difficult to shoot, and we were way over budget on the opticals on this show because of the complexity of this thing that appears in the sky. It was a little fanciful, but I like the science fiction element involving a creature created by the collective imagination of this village as a way of bringing them closer together. The story's having to do with a little piece of one of the orbs that is held by the storyteller was a very interesting concept as well." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)


  • This episode marks the first appearance of Odo's bucket.
  • Buck Bokai is also mentioned for the first time in this episode. He appears (or at least an alien posing as him) several episodes later in "If Wishes Were Horses".
  • Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #9 ("Opportunity plus instinct equals profit")
  • This is the second episode in which we see Odo smile. The first was two episodes prior in "Vortex". In both cases, Odo smiles as a result of interacting with children.


Video and DVD releasesEdit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Co-star Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

References Edit

2279; afternoon; airborne infection; apprentice; bacterial contamination; Bajor; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran wormhole; baseball; baseball glove; Battle of Wolf 359; bed; Bokai, Buck; border; Borg; Boyer; bracelet; bridge; Cardassians; celestial temple; cellular decay; chauffeur; civil war; creature; curve ball; dagger; Dal'Rok; docking bay; docking port; door bell; father; Gamma Quadrant; Gamzian wine; Glyrhond River; harvest; hitter; holographic image; holosuite; hors d'œuvres; hour; Human; kilometer; Klingon; Klingon freighter; larish pie; level 1 diagnostic; magistrate; mediator; medical emergency; medical tricorder; mining; mirror; Navot; neutrino; night; oatmeal; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Molly; Occupation of Bajor; Odo's bucket; orb; orbit; PADD; Paqu; Paqu-Navot Treaty; phase coil generator; plate; pollutant; promenade; Prophets; quarters; replicator; Rom; Rules of Acquisition; runabout; security office; security rod; shapeshifter; sir; Sirah; Sisko, Jennifer; soil; stardrifter; station log; superior officer; synthale; systemic organ failure; table; targ; tetrarch; treaty; tricorder; Trixian bubble juice; uncle; Varis Sul's father; village; water; woods; year

External linksEdit

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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