Sisko and O'Brien, in a runabout, come across an M-Class planet with an uncharted human settlement on it. They beam down to talk to the people there and find an agrarian society led by a woman named Alixus. They also find that their equipment no longer works — nothing electronic does — so they are unable to beam back up or call for help. They are determined to figure out what is interfering with their equipment, but Alixus tells them they may have to accept that they will never leave, leading to a battle of wills between her and Sisko.
- Break the Badass: Alixus tries this on Sisko. She fails miserably.
- Burning the Ships: It is revealed that Alixus and her son had secretly sabotaged the ship so it would crash on the planet. Afterwards they persuaded the castaways to throw away all their electronic technology, who thusly voluntarily forsook any chance to call for help. At the same time, Alixus keeps a duonetic field generator going that blocks all electronic technology, so nobody can use technology on the planet even if they want to.
- Determinator: An alternate title for the episode could have been "Cool Hand Benjamin."
- Disproportionate Retribution: Stealing candles earns you a day in the heat box
- Evil Luddite: Alixus.
- Hope Spot: The end of the episode shows two young kids, who seem to have broken from Alixus influence.
- Hypocrite: At the end, Alixus tells one of the colonists, the one who was in the heat box for stealing candles, that he would be in prison by now if it weren't for her...even though this planet essentially is like a prison for him. Not to mention for someone who hates technology, she uses a very advanced technology to make sure no one finds them.
- Idiot Ball: A strange field that could interfere with communicators, and thus preventing them from beaming back up? Well, better send down both men who are on the runabout!
- Ludd Was Right: Alixus espouses a philosophy that technology is bad, while Sisko grows increasingly suspicious of the fact that she has "accidentally" found a planet that suits that philosophy so well.
- Punishment Box: How Alixus punishes any crime, including trying to escape. Sisko voluntarily puts himself in the box rather than take off his uniform.
- Shout-Out: This episode is essentially Cool Hand Luke with a dash of The Bridge on the River Kwai IN SPACE!
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Nobody is going to interfere with Alixus Space Amish dictatorship. Even if it means dying from an easily curable illness.