Recap / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S01E14 "The Storyteller"
Miles apparently woke up on the wrong side of the bed. And just to add to his bad mood, he's stuck on a mission to Bajor's surface with Bashir. The residents of a village have reported that they're all in danger of dying.
Back on the station, Sisko is negotiating a complicated land dispute with two tense Bajoran clans, the Paqu and the Navot. During the Cardassian occupation, the river that marked the boundary between their lands was altered by Cardassian miners, shifting 20 kilometers of land to Paqu control. The negotiator for the Paqu is Varis Sul, a very hard nosed 15 year old girl who refuses to budge in the negotiations. And when Nog catches sight of her, it's Love at First Sight
Back on Bajor, O'Brien and Bashir find out only one person in the village is ill. An old man called the Sirah. He's dying, and he declares O'Brien as his chosen replacement. The Sirah is the titular storyteller. Once a year, for five days, the village is attacked by a mysterious entity called the Dal'Rok. The Sirah rallies the will of his people to drive it away. Problem is, the Sirah is dying. Of natural causes, something Bashir can't stop.
Back on the station, Nog and Jake attempt to make friends with Varis. Nog however is a stuttering mess, leaving Jake to do most of the talking.
That night on Bajor, the Sirah leads his usual fight against the Dal'Rok. However, he collapses before he can complete his task. With the Dal'Rok assaulting the village, Sirah calls on O'Brien to assist him. And together, they drive the Dal'Rok away. At which point, the Sirah dies. Leaving a very reluctant Miles in the position.
The negotiations still haven't gone anywhere. Varis just refuses to compromise on anything. Noticing how bummed out she is, Nog and Jake lead her in a little mischief. Namely, stealing Odo's bucket from his office. After filling it with oatmeal and spilling it all over Jake, the tree have a good laugh...just long enough for Odo to walk in and bust the three of them.
Sirah O'Brien is overwhelmed by the adoration of the villagers. Complete with gifts, asking him to bless their babies, and offering some nubile "Company". And things just get worse when Sirah's apprentice, Hovath, attempts to stab him.
After Julian helps stop him, Hovath reveals exactly what the Dal'Rok is: fear given form. Years ago, the village was divided by hatred and mistrust. So, a rather unusual (And idiotic
) way was devised to bring them together. Using a fragment of one of the Orbs, the Dal'Rok was born—forcing the people to rally together to drive it away. It united the village. Problem is, Hovath blew his attempt three days ago. And now the villagers don't trust him.
Back on DS9, Varis reveals why she's such a hardass. Because she's just some girl. Her father could safely make compromises and not appear weak. She doesn't believe she can do the same. After talking with Sisko, she finally realizes compromise isn't a bad thing, and works out a fair deal with the Navot.
In the village, it's night 5 of the Dal'Rok, and O'Brien is doing a spectacular...ly bad job. After some thinking, Bashir figures that was the idea. Stick O'Brien up on the rock, and have him lay an egg against the Dal'Rok. Thus leaving Hovath with the chance to step in and save the village. He does just that, allowing Miles and Bashir to take their leave.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: The young tetrarch, Varis Sul, has been put in this position. A bit of a deconstruction, as she's attempting to compensate for her youth by refusing to compromise.
- An Aesop: Compromise isn't a bad thing sometimes.
- Brick Joke: At the end of the episode, Odo takes Nog and Jake by the shoulders and says they're going to clean the security office until it shines.
- Deliberately Bad Example: Invoked by the Sirah to allow Hovath to succeed him—by showing the villagers an unworthy successor in O'Brien, he gave Hovath another chance to gain the villagers' trust.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The way Nog interacts with Varis is completely at odds with established Ferengi attitudes towards women.
- Fantastic Legal Weirdness: The drafters of the Paqu-Navot treaty probably didn't anticipate the Cardassians tampering with the course of the river used to define their border.
- Happily Married/Seduction-Proof Marriage/What You Are in the Dark: O'Brien is given an easy opportunity to cheat on Keiko. He's not even slightly tempted.
- Love at First Sight: Nog is smitten with Varis the moment he sees her.
- Regional Redecoration: In the backstory to Sisko's plot, Cardassian miners diverted the route of the River Glyrhond for their own purposes, disrupting a treaty between two local tribes that had set the river as their border.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- The Bajoran village. Somehow, no one has ever realized that this mythical creature attacks on an annual basis and is always easily defeated by one man.
- On a similar note, the first Sirah. He saw that the people of the village tended to quarrel, and so decided to resolve it by creating a "monster" powerful enough to completely destroy the village if anything went wrong with the ceremony to dispel it. Though this was in part due to an intended detail from the story — the original Dal'Rok was actually harmless, but the villagers' fear of it grew among the generations, which correspondingly made the Dal'Rok itself much more powerful — not making it to the finished episode.