The Storyteller
Stardate: 46729.1
Original Airdate: 3 May, 1993

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.

[Ops]

KIRA: Commander, the Paqu delegation has arrived at docking port six.
SISKO: Let's welcome them aboard. Dax, any word on the Navot?
DAX: They should be here within the hour.
O'BRIEN: Excuse me, Commander.
SISKO: Chief, I thought you'd be on your way to Bajor by now.
O'BRIEN: We're due to leave any moment. But, sir, I was wondering if perhaps Ensign Boyer might replace me on this particular mission. After all, I'd be little more than a chauffeur, and Boyer can pilot a runabout just as well as I can.
SISKO: Has something come up that requires your presence on the station, Chief?
O'BRIEN: Oh, no, sir. Everything's running smoothly for a change. But around here, you never know.
BASHIR: Ah, Chief, there you are. All set to go?
O'BRIEN: Yes, sir.
BASHIR: Commander, did the Magistrate give any indication regarding the nature of this medical emergency?
SISKO: Only that his village was in danger of extinction.
BASHIR: In that case we'd better be on our way.
SISKO: I agree.
O'BRIEN: Yes, sir.
SISKO: Docking port six.
BASHIR: You know, Chief, in a way I'm really looking forward to this mission.
O'BRIEN: Why's that?
BASHIR: I see it as a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know each other.
O'BRIEN: Ah.

[Turbolift]

SISKO: I'd like you to set a preliminary meeting with both sides for later this afternoon. Make sure they know that this is an informal session. I just want to get them talking to each other.
KIRA: Just getting them to sit down at the same table will be an accomplishment. Sir, about these negotiations.
SISKO: You have some advice for me?
KIRA: There's an old saying on Bajor. The land and the people are one. Well, the land inhabited by the Paqu and Navot is some of the harshest on the planet.
SISKO: Relax, Major. This is not my first time up at the plate.
KIRA: Sir?
SISKO: Besides, I'll have you by my side to help me avoid making mistakes.

[Airlock]

SISKO: Tell me what you know about the Paqu Tetrarch.
KIRA: Not much. The Paqu choose to avoid contact with outsiders.
(A man and a teenage girl step out of the airlock. The girl speaks)
VARIS: Commander Sisko?
SISKO: Yes?
VARIS: I am Varis Sul, Tetrarch of the Paqu.

[Runabout]

BASHIR: Chief, may I ask you a question?
O'BRIEN: Of course.
BASHIR: And I'd like an honest answer.
O'BRIEN: You'll get one.
BASHIR: Do I annoy you?
O'BRIEN: Annoy me? What sort of a question's that?
BASHIR: Well, the thing is, we've just spent two hours alone together in this runabout and you hardly said a word to me the whole time.
O'BRIEN: Really? I hadn't noticed.
BASHIR: Oh, I see.
O'BRIEN: I suppose because I was too busy thinking.
BASHIR: Thinking?
O'BRIEN: That's right.
BASHIR: About what?
O'BRIEN: What?
BASHIR: What were you thinking about? I'm just curious.
O'BRIEN: Let's see. I was thinking that when we get back to the station, I'll have to run a level one diagnostic on the phase coil generators. Satisfied?
BASHIR: I suppose so.
O'BRIEN: Glad to hear it.
BASHIR: I mean, the only reason I bring it up is because your opinion means a lot to me, and I'm aware I have a tendency to run off at the mouth sometimes.
O'BRIEN: Is that a fact.
BASHIR: It's just a nervous habit. I hope you don't hold it against me.
O'BRIEN: Not at all, sir.
BASHIR: And one more thing.
O'BRIEN: What's that, sir?
BASHIR: I don't think it's really necessary to call me sir.
O'BRIEN: What should I call you? You're my superior officer.
BASHIR: How about Julian?
O'BRIEN: Is that an order?
BASHIR: Of course not. It's just that I'd simply prefer it if you called me by my first name.
O'BRIEN: All right. We've achieved stable orbit around Bajor. We can beam down any time. Julian.

[Village square]

(More of a paved circle, actually)
BASHIR: No sign of any airborne infections. The soil appears to be free of pollutants, and the ground water clear of bacterial contamination.
FAREN: Gentlemen. I am Faren Kag, the village magistrate.
BASHIR: I'm Doctor Bashir and this is Chief O'Brien.
FAREN: This village is in great jeopardy. I only hope you're not too late.

[Sirah's chamber]

(A very old man lies in bed)
FAREN: Has he shown any sign of improvement?
HOVATH: None.
FAREN: You must help him.
BASHIR: How many others are sick?
FAREN: Others?
O'BRIEN: You said the entire village was in jeopardy.
FAREN: It is. If he dies, we all die.

[Quark's back room]

WOBAN: I'll say this for the Cardassians. Their replicators make a fine larish pie.
VARIS: I didn't come here to eat, Commander.
SISKO: Then let's talk. The official negotiations don't begin until tonight, but I thought it might be a good idea that we meet informally to see where we all stand. According to the treaty that has existed between you for the past ninety years, the border separating the Paqu and the Navot shall forever be the river Glyrhond.
WOBAN: That's correct.
KIRA: Well, at least we all agree on something.
SISKO: Now, as I understand it, during the occupation the Cardassians diverted the river for use in their mining operations. As a result the Glyrhond now flows twenty kilometres west of its former position.
WOBAN: Twenty kilometres into Navot territory.
VARIS: That's Paqu territory now. You read the treaty, Commander. The river is our common border.
WOBAN: The treaty says nothing about stealing land. If your father was alive he would give us back what was ours.
VARIS: My father would do no such thing. Besides, I'm Tetrarch now. I will not be pressured into betraying my people.
(Quark enters with drinks)
QUARK: Let's see, two Bajoran synthales, a glass of Gamzian wine, and a Trixian bubble juice for the little lady.
VARIS: I'm not a little lady.
(Varis throws the drink in Quark's face and storms out)
QUARK: I'm still charging her for that drink.

[Promenade - upper level]

(Two pairs of teenage legs are dangling over the promenade, throwing small items onto passersby below)
JAKE: Nog, we've been sitting here over an hour. Let's go play some ball in the holosuite.
NOG: No.
JAKE: Why not?
NOG: Because baseball is slow and boring.
JAKE: And you can't hit my curve ball.
NOG: It's a stupid game that even humans stopped playing hundreds of years ago.
JAKE: Maybe, but you still can't hit my curve ball.
ODO: Mister Sisko, Nog, I thought I told you no dangling over the Promenade.
JAKE: We're not going to fall, Odo.
NOG: We can see things better from down here.
ODO: And what, may I ask, is so interesting?
JAKE: Nothing.
ODO: In that case, you can see nothing just as well from up here. Now, on your feet. Thank you.
(Odo moves on and they sit again)
JAKE: Are you going to come to the holosuite with me or not? Come on, we can have Buck Bokai hit a few out to us. He was the greatest hitter of all time. I'll even let you use my glove.
NOG: I have never seen anything so beautiful.
(Varis and her advisor)
JAKE: She's all right.
NOG: All right? I have to meet her.

[Sirah's chamber]

SIRAH: The Dal'Rok.
BASHIR: Easy now. Try not to exert yourself.
SIRAH: Hovath.
HOVATH: I'm here.
SIRAH: The time?
HOVATH: It's still two hours before nightfall.
SIRAH: You should have wakened me. Help me get dressed.
BASHIR: I'm afraid you're in no shape to go anywhere.
SIRAH: The Prophets sent you, didn't they.
BASHIR: I beg your pardon?
(The old Sirah takes Bashir's hand.)
SIRAH: No, there's something wrong. It must be your companion.
BASHIR: You mean Chief O'Brien?
SIRAH: Bring him to me.
BASHIR: Why?
SIRAH: Because you are not the one I have been waiting for.
BASHIR: Chief? He wants to see you.
SIRAH: Come. Closer. (takes O'Brien's hand) I knew. I knew the Prophets would not fail us. You may leave now. Both of you.
BASHIR: See that he stays in bed.

[Village square]

O'BRIEN: What was that all about?
BASHIR: I haven't a clue.
FAREN: The Sirah, how is he?
BASHIR: I wish I had better news. He's suffering from systemic organ failure brought on by an accelerated rate of cellular decay. His body's surrendering to old age.
FAREN: Is there anything you can do?
BASHIR: I can keep him comfortable and relatively free of pain. Other than that, it's just a matter of time. I'm sorry.
FAREN: But we need him. The Dal'Rok will be here soon.
O'BRIEN: What's the Dal'Rok?
FAREN: It's a terrible creature that lives in the woods just north of the village. Every year at the end of harvest it appears.
BASHIR: And you say it's coming here tonight?
FAREN: Yes, it always comes for five nights. This will be the fourth. And only the Sirah is strong enough to defeat it.
BASHIR: Right now, the Sirah isn't strong enough to get out of bed.
FAREN: If what you say is true, this village will be destroyed tonight.

[Corridor]

JAKE: You're sure this is the place?
NOG: You saw the readout. There's only one female her age visiting the station, and these are her quarters. Well, go ahead.
JAKE: What?
NOG: Ring the bell.
JAKE: Me? You're the one who wants to meet her.
NOG: Are you afraid?
JAKE: Of a girl?
NOG: Then ring.
JAKE: You ring.
NOG: You are afraid.
JAKE: No I'm not, you are.
(While they are pushing and shoving each other, the door opens)
VARIS: What are you doing?
NOG: My name's Jog. I mean Jake.
JAKE: He's Nog. I'm Jake Sisko.
(They way into the room uninvited)
VARIS: Sisko.

[Varis's quarters]

(The boys sit down uninvited)
JAKE: We're kind of the unofficial welcoming committee around here.
NOG: That's right. Welcome to DS Nine.
VARIS: Thank you. I'm Varis Sul.
JAKE: Would you like a tour of the station? There's a Klingon freighter leaving for the Gamma Quadrant in a little while. We could watch it go through the wormhole.
NOG: Good idea.
JAKE: Thanks. So, how about it? You want to go?
VARIS: I've never seen the wormhole.
NOG: Then you're in luck, 'cos we know the best spot on the station for wormhole watching.
JAKE: Unless you're busy or something.
VARIS: Not at the moment.

[Village square]

(Night has fallen, and the old man is in his ceremonial robes)
BASHIR: Listen to me, Sirah. You must return to bed. To be out here in your condition
SIRAH: Your concern touches me, Doctor. But I am now in the hands of the Prophets.
CROWD: We believe in you, Sirah. Help us, Sirah. Save us, Sirah.
(He goes up a rocky promontory as a strong wind starts to blow)
O'BRIEN: Strange. I'm not registering any atmospheric disturbance.
SIRAH: The Dal'Rok wakes.
CROWD: The Dal'Rok. The Dal'Rok.
SIRAH: But we are ready. In the shadow of the night, he hungers. With a hatred of the ancients, he rages. From the twisted pit of chaos, he approaches.
(a cloud has appeared from nowhere)
BASHIR: Is it alive?
O'BRIEN: The tricorder's still not picking up anything.
BASHIR: Could it be some kind of holographic image?
O'BRIEN: No, I'm not picking up any power source.
SIRAH: The Dal'Rok's anger is like a wave crashing down on the village. The weight of its fury threatens to crush us all. The Dal'Rok thinks the village is powerless to defend itself.
(Lightning flashes)
SIRAH: But the Dal'Rok is mistaken. The village is strong, much stronger than the Dal'Rok can ever imagine.
CROWD: We can do it. The village is strong. The village is strong.
(Light particles come from the village and attack the cloud)
SIRAH: With our strength, our unity, we shall drive the Dal'Rok
(The old man collapses and the stream of light stops. The Dal'Rok's lightning blows up a building.)
O'BRIEN: Bloody hell.
BASHIR: Chief, help us get him down from here.
SIRAH: Where is my successor?
HOVATH: Sirah.
SIRAH: No, the one whom the prophets sent. Yes, you.
O'BRIEN: Wait a second. I think you've got the wrong guy.
SIRAH: Say as I say. The village shall not be destroyed.
O'BRIEN: What?
SIRAH: Quickly.
O'BRIEN: The village shall not be destroyed.
SIRAH: Louder, so they can all hear.
O'BRIEN: The village shall not be destroyed!
SIRAH: Despite our fears, we shall stand our ground and face the Dal'Rok.
O'BRIEN: Despite our fears, we stand our ground and face the Dal'Rok.
(The villagers regroup and again the lights fight the Dal'Rok.)
O'BRIEN: The village is strong.
CROWD: The village is strong.
O'BRIEN: More powerful than the Dal'Rok.
CROWD: More powerful than the Dal'Rok.
O'BRIEN: Together, we use that power to drive it away.
CROWD: Drive it away. Drive it away! Drive it away!
(The cloud shrinks and vanishes.)
O'BRIEN: The Dal'Rok is defeated. (cheers) The village is safe.
(The Sirah collapses again)
BASHIR: He's dead.
FAREN: The Sirah has left us, but the Prophets have sent us his successor. A new Sirah to tell the story. A new Sirah to protect the village.

[Quark's]

QUARK: (to Morn) So I sold them a whole herd of Klingon targs.
(Kira enters)
QUARK: Major, what a pleasant surprise. I always look forward to one of your infrequent visits.
KIRA: Spare me the small talk and get me a star drifter.
QUARK: (pours a green drink) So, how are the negotiations coming along?
KIRA: Better make it a double.
QUARK: Ah.

[Commander's office]

VARIS: You asked to see me?
SISKO: Please, sit down.
VARIS: I just spent the last five hours sitting.
SISKO: Yes, five long, unproductive hours.
VARIS: Woban is an obstinate fool.
SISKO: Woban is here to talk. What are you here for?
VARIS: I would think that was obvious. To defend the interests of my people.
SISKO: How? By starting a war?
VARIS: I object to your tone, Commander.
SISKO: Because if that's what you're here for, if you'd rather fight than talk, then we're just wasting our time.
VARIS: That land belongs to the Paqu.
SISKO: The Navot don't agree.
VARIS: Then they'd better be ready to die for it. I am. Or don't you believe me?
SISKO: I believe in people working together to find reasonable solutions to their problems. I hope you do as well.
VARIS: What you hope is no concern of mine. Now, anything else you wish to say to me can be said tomorrow across a conference table.
SISKO: Varis, are you sure your people are as ready as you are to die for that land?

[Promenade]

NOG: Where do you think she is?
JAKE: I guess if she's not here, we'll try again at her quarters.
NOG: When we find her, let me do the talking.
JAKE: She asks me questions, I answer them. What's wrong with that?
NOG: Just remember, I saw her first. She's mine.
(They go up the stairs)
JAKE: Then, how come you can barely say two words to her without getting tongue tied?
NOG: That's a lie.
JAKE: I've never seen you so nervous. You must really like her.
NOG: I never said that. All I said was

[Promenade - upper level]

(Varis is sitting in their usual spot, feet dangling in the air)
NOG: Oh, er, we were just
JAKE: Looking for you.
VARIS: I've been busy.
JAKE: Is something wrong? You seem a little depressed.
VARIS: It's nothing, really. It's just there are these people who want something I have and I refuse to give it to them.
NOG: How badly do they want it?
VARIS: Very badly.
NOG: Is there anything they have that you want?
VARIS: That I want?
NOG: Maybe this isn't a problem. Maybe it's an opportunity.
VARIS: Maybe.
JAKE: When I have a problem I can't figure out, I ask my dad.
NOG: I ask my dad, too.
VARIS: It helps, doesn't it?
JAKE: Yeah.
NOG: No.
JAKE: My dad's a pretty smart guy.
NOG: Mine, too, in his own way.
VARIS: My parents are dead. They were killed by the Cardassians.
JAKE: I'm sorry. My mom was killed during an attack by the Borg. Isn't there someone you can talk to? Someone you trust?
VARIS: I don't trust many people.
JAKE: My dad says
NOG: Could we please talk about something besides your father?
VARIS: You admire him very much, don't you?
JAKE: I trust him.
ODO: Mister Sisko.
NOG: Odo.
JAKE: We were just leaving.
(The three leave quickly)

[Sirah's chamber]

BASHIR: I wonder what was controlling those energy creatures.
O'BRIEN: One thing's certain, it wasn't me.
BASHIR: Try telling the villagers that. They saw the Sirah choose you as his successor.
O'BRIEN: Well, he made a mistake.
BASHIR: You saw how he greeted you when we arrived. It was as if he were expecting you. I'll tell you this, Chief. I'm glad you came along on this mission, because if it wasn't for you, I'd have done what I could for the Sirah and left. And look at what I would have missed.
O'BRIEN: I'm glad you're enjoying yourself, Julian.
BASHIR: Don't worry, Chief, I have faith in you.
O'BRIEN: Oh, do you?
BASHIR: I mean, for all we know, you really were sent by the prophets.
O'BRIEN: I was sent by Commander Sisko. This Dal'Rok or whatever will be returning tonight and everybody's counting on me to be able to stop it. The only trouble is, I don't have the slightest idea how I'm supposed to do that.
(Villagers enter bearing goods)
FAREN: These gifts are for you, Sirah.
O'BRIEN: Well, tell them I don't want them.
BASHIR: Oh, bring them right in. Put them wherever you like.
O'BRIEN: Now look, Julian.
BASHIR: We're visitors here, Chief. It would be impolite to refuse our hosts.
(Three young ladies remain)
O'BRIEN: How can I help you, ladies?
BASHIR: I think they're the ones offering services, Chief.
O'BRIEN: Now look, there's been a serious misunderstanding
FAREN: Is there a problem, Sirah?
O'BRIEN: No! They're not. Well, yes, I mean, they're quite. Look, I have a wife and daughter back on DS Nine.
FAREN: Of course.
(The women leave)
FAREN: You must send for them.
O'BRIEN: Why?
FAREN: So they can live here with you.
O'BRIEN: You're missing the point. I'm not staying.
FAREN: Then who will tell the story?
O'BRIEN: You'll just have to find someone else.
FAREN: But there is no one else. The Sirah chose you.
BASHIR: He made a mistake.
FAREN: But what about the Dal'Rok? Without your protection, he will kill us all.
O'BRIEN: Faren, I would like to help, really I would, but I don't know how.
FAREN: You must tell the story.
O'BRIEN: As simple as that, is it?
FAREN: May the Prophets grant you victory, Sirah.
O'BRIEN: Let's hope so.
(Faren leaves, followed by Hovath)
BASHIR: Now what are we going to do?
O'BRIEN: The way I see it, the only way out of this mess is to find out exactly what this Dal'Rok is, and destroy it before it destroys us.

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 the negotiations began.

[Varis's quarters]

(Varis is studying a map when the doorbell rings)
VARIS: Enter.
(It's the boys)
JAKE: Hi, you want to do something?
VARIS: Sorry, not right now.
JAKE: Okay, we'll stop by later.
NOG: Is there anything we can do to cheer you up?
VARIS: I don't think so.
NOG: You sure?
JAKE: Let's go before you embarrass yourself.
VARIS: Wait.
NOG: Yes?
VARIS: Do you remember that opportunity we were discussing yesterday?
NOG: Yes.
VARIS: How can you be sure that an opportunity is worth the risk?
NOG: Instinct. The ninth Rule of Acquisition clearly states opportunity plus instinct equals profit.
VARIS: Instinct.
JAKE: That's not going to help.
VARIS: I think it does. Thank you, Nog.
NOG: Good. Let's celebrate.
VARIS: Celebrate?
NOG: I took one of my uncle's security rods.
JAKE: What are we going to do with that?
NOG: I don't know. We could swipe Odo's bucket.
JAKE: Are you kidding?
VARIS: A bucket?
NOG: Yeah. We'll give it back.
JAKE: Yeah, but
NOG: It'll be funny.
JAKE: But we can't just walk into Security.
NOG: Watch me.

[Promenade]

NOG: Wait over there.
VARIS: I still don't understand what's so funny about a bucket.
JAKE: Odo lives in it. He's a shape shifter. Every sixteen hours he has to change back to his original form.
VARIS: Inside a bucket?
JAKE: He turns into some kind of liquid.
(Nog opens the Security office doors from the inside)

[Security office]

JAKE: Maybe this isn't such a good idea.
NOG: Watch the front door. I'll be right back.
VARIS: Jake, you're sure this is all right?
JAKE: Well it's not like we're really stealing anything.
NOG: Found it.
(Odo's bucket is broader at the base than the top. Very sensible design. Nog trips, and goo flies from the bucket all over Jake.)
JAKE: Odo! Odo!
NOG: It's oatmeal. I filled it from the replicator.
JAKE: Very funny. (throws a handful at Nog)
NOG: You should have seen your face!
(They all laugh, then Odo enters)
ODO: I believe that belongs to me.

[Promenade]

(Nog runs straight into - )
SISKO: What's the rush?

[Village]

(O'Brien is scanning the damaged area from last night)
O'BRIEN: There's some residual neutrino levels in the microstructure of these rocks.
BASHIR: If the Dal'Rok has no physical substance, how can it leave a neutrino trace?
O'BRIEN: I didn't say it made sense. But this rock face didn't just spontaneously blow itself to pieces.
BASHIR: Lucky for us, you were able to stop it before it did anymore damage.
O'BRIEN: All I did was repeat what the Sirah told me.
BASHIR: In that case, how did the Sirah manage to stop it?
O'BRIEN: Good question. Maybe there's some a control mechanism hidden somewhere.
(A woman brings a baby)
O'BRIEN: Excuse me, miss.
WOMAN: Please, Sirah, for my daughter.
O'BRIEN: What about her?
BASHIR: I think actually she wants you to bless the child.
O'BRIEN: Me?
WOMAN: It would mean so much.
O'BRIEN: I'm sure she'll make you very proud.
WOMAN: Oh, thank you. Thank you.
O'BRIEN: You're quite welcome.
MAN: There he is.
BASHIR: Looks like more of your followers are requesting an audience.
O'BRIEN: Oh, no. This won't do. You continue looking around here. I'll go to check the Sirah's room.
(O'Brien retreats as a crowd forms)
BASHIR: Please, please. I'm afraid the Sirah is busy at the moment. Perhaps I can be of service.
CROWD: Sirah, just a moment. Sirah, please come back.

[Sirah's chamber]

(O'Brien is checking every item and ornament when Hovath opens the door)
O'BRIEN: Look, I could use some privacy.
HOVATH: There are more gifts outside for you.
O'BRIEN: All right, bring them in. Hold on. Didn't you work for the Sirah?
HOVATH: I was his apprentice.
O'BRIEN: Did he ever reveal any of his secrets? How he controlled the Dal'Rok, and that sort of thing?
HOVATH: Why ask me? Surely the Sirah must have taught you all you need to know.
O'BRIEN: All right, have it your way. Don't blame me when that creature goes rampaging through your village.
(Hovath tries to creep up on O'Brien with a dagger, but O'Brien sees him in the mirror and they struggle)
BASHIR: Chief!
O'BRIEN: Careful, don't hurt him.
(Hovath struggles with them both.)
BASHIR: I'll try not to.
O'BRIEN: That's enough.
BASHIR: Tell him that.
O'BRIEN: I said that's enough!
(O'Brien gets the dagger)
O'BRIEN: Now you mind explaining why you tried to kill me?
HOVATH: You are not the true Sirah.
O'BRIEN: You won't get any argument from me.
BASHIR: If he isn't, who is?
HOVATH: I am.
(pause for gasp and adverts)
HOVATH: For nine years, I studied with the Sirah, learning the secrets of the storyteller, only to have you come along and take my place.
O'BRIEN: Look friend, as far as I'm concerned, the job's yours.
BASHIR: But if you were supposed to take over, why come the Sirah chose him?
HOVATH: It was his way of punishing me.
BASHIR: Punishing you?
HOVATH: Three nights ago, the Sirah allowed me to tell the story. But when the Dal'Rok appeared I was unable to control it. Several people were injured.
O'BRIEN: Control it? How?
(Hovath picks up a bracelet)
HOVATH: With this. The stone is said to be a fragment of an orb from the Celestial Temple.
BASHIR: We had one of these orbs aboard our station. We're aware of how powerful they are.
HOVATH: Many years ago, this village was deeply divided by hate and mistrust. The first Sirah knew that unless he could find a way to unite the people, the village would destroy itself. So he used the Orb fragment as a catalyst to give their fears a physical form.
O'BRIEN: So the villagers' thoughts create the Dal'Rok.
HOVATH: Yes, but they don't know that. It's a secret which has passed from Sirah to Sirah.
O'BRIEN: Why do they need a storyteller?
HOVATH: The story helps focus the villagers' thoughts.
BASHIR: And that enables them to defeat the Dal'Rok by creating the shimmering lights.
HOVATH: I know if I had another chance, I could control the Dal'Rok.
O'BRIEN: Well, son, it looks like tonight you are going to get that chance.
(But just as O'Brien puts the robs on Hovath, Faren rushes in)
FAREN: What is this? You have no right to wear those clothes.
HOVATH: I have every right.
FAREN: You had your chance to prove yourself. You failed.
HOVATH: It won't happen again.
FAREN: That's right, because you won't be allowed to endanger the village a second time. Now take off those robes.
O'BRIEN: Hold on.
FAREN: Sirah, it's time you were getting ready. The people will be assembling soon to hear the story.

[Commander's office]

VARIS: I want you to know, Commander, that I take complete responsibility for what happened in the Security office.
SISKO: I think that there's more than enough blame to spread around. Jake should have known better.
VARIS: I'm afraid he and Nog were just trying to impress me.
SISKO: That's not much of an excuse.
VARIS: Didn't you ever do anything foolish to impress a girl?
SISKO: I may have.
VARIS: Jake's a nice boy. So's Nog, in his own way. I enjoy their company.
SISKO: I suppose you don't get much of a chance to be with people your age.
VARIS: True, but that's not why I wanted to be with them. I wanted to learn about you.
SISKO: And?
VARIS: Jake speaks very highly of you. He trusts you.
SISKO: That's always nice to hear.
VARIS: Hearing Jake speak of you reminded me of how much I miss my own parents. My father was a great man. A great leader.
SISKO: I'm sure he'd be very proud of you.
VARIS: I try to be strong, the way he was strong but. It's difficult.
SISKO: From what I've learned about your father, he wasn't afraid to compromise.
VARIS: That's because he knew the Navot feared him. If I were to make concessions, Woban would think I was weak.
SISKO: I doubt he would be that foolish, but he is determined to get that land back.
VARIS: I'm not afraid of Woban or the Navot.
SISKO: I never said you were. So your answer is still no.
VARIS: You don't lose by saying no.
SISKO: Maybe. But a great leader like your father is one who's willing to risk saying yes.
VARIS: Commander, I believe I know of an opportunity that could allow both sides to say yes.

[Village square]

CROWD: There he is. Sirah, you'll save us.
O'BRIEN: I thought you wanted this job.
HOVATH: I do.
O'BRIEN: Then why don't you fight for it.
HOVATH: No, Faren is right. These people will never accept me as Sirah. Without their support I could never control the Dal'Rok.
O'BRIEN: You think I can?
HOVATH: You have to.
BASHIR: Oh, Chief? Good luck.
CROWD: Tell the story.
(O'Brien goes onto the rock as the wind picks up.)
O'BRIEN: Once upon a time, there was a Dal'Rok. And it lives there, in the woods, and he hated the village and all of the villagers and he wanted to see them destroyed.
(Lightning and the cloud appears)
O'BRIEN: Yes, the Dal'Rok is here, and it's hungry. But the village is prepared to fight, like it has always fought, with the lights, the shimmering lights.
HOVATH: Something's wrong.
BASHIR: What's wrong is O'Brien's not the Sirah. You are.
O'BRIEN: You know what I'm talking about. Come on, you can do it. The village is strong and unafraid and powerful, and ready to face the Dal'Rok.
BASHIR: Do you think that maybe the Sirah planned all this? He knew the villagers had lost confidence in you, so he chose O'Brien as his successor, knowing that you would have to rescue him. Don't you see? This is your chance to prove once and for all that you are the true Sirah.
O'BRIEN: All right now, let's really focus and send this one out, okay? Let's really the Dal'Rok a message. Where the hell are those lights?
(Energy from the Dal'Rok knocks O'Brien down. Hovath takes the bracelet off him.)
HOVATH: Wait, there is no need to run. A new voice appears to challenge the Dal'Rok.
O'BRIEN: It's about time.
HOVATH: The Dal'Rok is a fearsome enemy. The mountains tremble with its fury. But our prosperity is its misery. Our unity is its vulnerability. And our strength is its doom.
(Out come the lights against the cloud.)
HOVATH: Look, the Dal'Rok trembles. It fears our strength. It fears our determination. It knows it cannot stand against us because the village is united. We are as one.
(The cloud shrinks to nothing and the wind stops.)
HOVATH: You see for yourselves the Dal'Rok is defeated. This village is safe for another year.
FAREN: The Sirah! The Sirah!
O'BRIEN: Let's get out of here before they change their minds.
(And the crowd acclaim Hovath, carrying him on their shoulders.)

[Promenade]

SISKO: Nervous?
VARIS: Not at all. Maybe a little. Do you think Woban will accept my proposal?
SISKO: It's very possible. It would give the Navot back their land.
VARIS: And free trade access to both sides of the river would mean a lot to my people.
SISKO: It's a reasonable compromise.
JAKE: We thought we'd wish you luck with your meeting.
VARIS: Thank you.
(She kisses Nog on the cheek and he goes weak-kneed)
VARIS: For all your help.
ODO: All right, let's go. You two are going to clean the Security office until it shines.
BASHIR: You know, Chief, this is going to make a fantastic story to tell around the station.
O'BRIEN: Not for me. I've had my fill of storytelling for the time being.
BASHIR: Well, I hope you won't mind if I mention it.
O'BRIEN: Suit yourself, Julian.
BASHIR: Oh, and Chief, on second thoughts, you don't really have to call me Julian.
O'BRIEN: Right you are, sir.

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