Kira is annoyed. Shocker of the year. Her annoyances with the provisional government on Bajor has been causing her to slip in her duties. After a quick reprimanding from Sisko, DS9 gets a visitor from the other side of the wormhole.
Beaming the 4 occupants (one woman and three males) aboard the station, they encounter a small issue: they can't understand each other. The visitors language is complicated even for the Universal Translator. It's gonna take a while for it to kick in. So, much to her annoyance, Kira is stuck chauffeuring them around and keeping them talking until it translates.
After a small walk around the station, the translator finally translates in their quarters. The woman is named Haneek, a Skrreean. The Skrreeans were conquered and enslaved before their conquerors themselves were conquered by the mysterious Dominion.
3 million Skrreean people are in search of the "Eye of the Universe" (the wormhole) which will lead them to a fabled planet named Kentanna, a "planet of sorrows" where the Skrreeans are prophesied to sow "seeds of joy." Soon, several throngs arrive and make themselves at home on the station.
The male of the species are notoriously emotional and violent, leading to several confrontations around the station. But it's all good. Cause Haneek has found Kentanna! The planet of sorrows. Better known as Bajor.
As expected, the provisional government aren't exactly thrilled that 3 million refugees want to make the shambled planet their new home. And after a negotiation with Haneek, they refuse to let the Skrreean settle on Bajor.
Haneek's son, Tumak, is not happy. Boarding his damaged ship, he heads for Bajor. With two Bajoran interceptors in pursuit ready to shoot him down. Sisko contacts the general who ordered the pursuit to call them off, but it's too late. Tumak fires on them and they fire back. Their phaser blasts igniting the radiation leaking from his ship and destroying it.
As the Skrreean leave DS9 for their new home of Draylon II, an enraged Haneek leaves Kira with this.
- Haneek: "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."
- Anime Hair: All Skreean females have a giant ridge of hair sticking up on their heads.
- Artistic License Physics: How does Tumak's shuttle get destroyed? By a phaser blast setting radiation on fire.
- Brick Joke: While touring the Promenade, Haneek sees a dress and makes several comments about it. Later, after they get the UT to work, Kira buys her the dress, but learns that she wasn't enthralled by it. She actually found it to be ugly.
- Broken Aesop: The Skrreaans' situation is clearly an allegory for real-life refugee crises, so when the Bajoran government doesn't allow them to locate to Bajor, this is presented as a morally questionable choice. However, in real life most refugees seek asylum because they want to live free of war and oppression, and be able to meet their everyday material needs. In this story, the Skrreeans already have a place to go where they can have all that, an uninhabited planet that suits their needs much better than Bajor. It's only because Haneek interprets a religious prophecy of the Skrreeans in a specific way that they think Bajor is better for them than Draylon II. So the allegory falls apart here, because in real life refugees don't have the option of moving to a plentiful, uninhabited land that they're free to use any way they want to.
- It also fails because the Skrreeans are actually dirty, rude, and tend to cause outbreaks of violence and conflict, as well as being largely uninterested in assimilating and adapting to their new environment, all things that are cited as frequent "unfounded" worries of those opposed to taking in refugees. The Skrreeans are the actuality of a disruptive element in a society, not the unfounded fear of it.
- Comically Missing the Point: Nog, when Jake tells him about a dabo girl who studies entomology.Nog: What is entomology?
Jake: The study of bugs.
Nog: You mean she wants to be a chef?
- Digging Yourself Deeper: While waiting in Odo's office, Nog sees a bunch of rap sheets on the display, one of which is for weapons smuggling. He says that Quark once talked about how profitable weapons smuggling is, to which Odo immediately perks up and asks what he would know about it. Cue Quark entering, saying he knows better than to get involved in something so disreputable.
- Downer Ending: Haneek's son dies and the Skrreean people are forced to relocate to another planet.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: The Skreean are apparently polygamous.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: When Nog runs into the Skrreean boys that he pulled a prank on, he suddenly remembers that he has some errands to run for Quark. He doesn't escape in time to avoid a small fight.
- Lady Land: The Skrreean leadership is all female. The reasons given are deliberately gender flipped versions of old arguments against having women in leadership rolls (men are too emotional and unintelligent to make rational decisions), although from what we see of their males they appear to be true. This leads to a rather awkward conversation when it's first explained.
- Myth Arc: This is the second time that the Dominion is mentioned, and the first to give a hint to its brutality.
- Papa Wolf: Quark is quick to spring into action when some of the Skreean boys begin to beat up Nog.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- The Bajoran General tries to recall the interceptors when he learns there are children aboard the Skrreean ship. Sadly, he's not fast enough.
- The minister and vedek who reject the Skrreean resettlement are clearly sympathetic to them, but have to consider that bringing in three million refugees may prove a fatal blow to the fragile Bajoran state, especially since they have no empirical evidence that they can actually make the land arable again.
- Shout-Out: Quark doesn't like Varani's slow, mesmerizing music, and wants him to play something with more bounce.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Varani, Kira's musician friend, is shown playing a version of the series theme to a mesmerized audience.
- Translator Microbes: We actually see the universal translator failing to immediately work for once. The Skrreean language is too complex for it to begin translating and takes at least an hour before they can start communicating.
- Villainous Rescue: The Skrreeans escaped their enslavement while their conquerors were being beat down by the Dominion.
- Women Are Wiser: With a male population dominated by emotions and violence, Skreean females run their society.