Progress

Kira and the old man

The unstoppable force meets the immovable object

Episode: 15

Original air date: May 9, 1993

Notable guest stars: Brian Keith as Mullibok, Aron Eisenberg as Nog (recurring), Nicholas Worth as the Lissepian captain, Michael Bofshever as the Bajoran minister, Terrence Evans as Baltrim, Annie O’Donnell as Keena, Daniel Riordan as the Bajoran security deputy who gets stuck by a farm implement

In a nutshell: Jake and Nog turn a shipment of worthless condiments into a vast business empire, while Kira reluctantly embraces her new job hassling old coots.

Say hello to: Nobody

Say goodbye to: Nobody

Missing in action: Nobody! The gang’s all here!

Words of wisdom: “When a lobe tingles, it means only one thing: opportunity.” – Nog

You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain

As Jake and Nog play cards in the bar, Quark chews out an assistant for ordering 5,000 wrappages of yamok sauce. Since only Cardassians can stomach it and they’ve all been driven off the station, the order is a massive waste of money. Having overheard the conversation, Nog senses an opportunity to turn the unwanted sauce into profits.

Dax and Kira on the runabout

The monthly meeting of the Morn Admiration Society

In Ops, the crew is preparing to help Bajor launch its first big energy project, transferring energy from the molten core of the planet’s fifth moon (Jeraddo) to the planet to help heat homes. As a nervous Bajoran official surveys the preparations, Kira and Dax leave in a runabout to conduct one last check of the moon.

Their scans find humanoid life on Jeraddo, even though all of the moon’s inhabitants were supposed to be evacuated already. Unfortunately interrupting her conversation with Dax about Morn’s good looks, Kira beams down to the surface to investigate. She finds herself on a farm with apparently angry farmers approaching her menacingly with pitchforks.

OPENING CREDITS

As a man and woman point pitchforks at Kira, an olden man appears from a house. He warns her that they “don’t like uniforms.” Kira tells the older man that they should have already left the moon, but he doesn’t seem to be very concerned. After some finagling, Kira manages to get herself invited inside the house for dinner.

Mullibak

Johnny Cash with an earring

Back on DS9, Nog and Jake approach a Lissepian who deals frequently with the Cardassians. Although he won’t give them latinum for their yamok sauce, he is willing to trade them 100 gross of self-sealing stems bolts for it. Nog isn’t inclined to make the deal, but Jake talks him into it. The boys then realize they need to figure out a way to get the yamok sauce, which is still in Quark’s possession.

The old farmer begins making dinner, which he says will take three hours to prepare. Kira knows that he’s stalling to try and drive her off, but she decides to stick it out and tells Dax to head back to the station without her. Despite the farmer’s attempts to anger her, Kira discovers that his name is Mullibok, and along with his mute friends, he escaped from Bajor during the Occupation to start a new agrarian life on Jeraddo. He makes it quite clear that he’d rather die on Jeraddo than try to move back to Bajor, a world he longer considers his home.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Nog walks into his uncle’s bar and is immediately berated by Quark for refilling a customer’s spilled drink for free. He then talks about needing to move the yamok sauce to make way for a new shipment and when Quark expresses his disgust for the sauce, he offers to dispose of it for him. Quark agrees to let him do whatever we wants with it as long as he gets it out his sight.

Mullibak's silent companions

These two are so sick of Mullibok they’re pretending to be mute

During dinner, Mullibok tells Kira a tall tale about how he escaped on a Cardassian transport, overpowered the crew, and tamed the land of Jeraddo with his bare hands. Despite the claims, Kira recognizes that there’s a lot of truth in the story and that Mullibok has lived his entire life fighting the odds. She admits that she survived the Occupation by “hanging on like a fanatic,” which is exactly what Mullibok is doing now. Kira tries to make him realize that the energy transfer will release toxic compounds into the moon’s atmosphere, but he remains adamant that he’s not going anywhere.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Nog and Jake take a look at their newly acquired stem bolts in the cargo bay, quickly deciding that they have no idea what they’re for, but at least they’re top-grade. O’Brien enters and asks what the bolts are doing there and why Quark needs so many of them. The boys manage to evade his questioning and he tells them to warn Quark about ignoring import procedures in the future. They try to get O’Brien to tell them what the bolts are for, but he says that he’s never used or even seen them before. After he leaves, Nog and Jake decide to attempt to contact the original buyer and offer them to him at a discounted rate.

O'Brien hassles the kids

These kids today and their stem bolts

Kira meets with Sisko and the Bajoran official to discuss Mullibok’s unwillingness to relocate. Despite her attempts to get them to understand the farmer’s stance or explore alternate ways of mining that would allow him to stay, the official is undeterred and threatens to remove Kira from her post if she can’t get the job done.

Kira returns to Jeraddo with two security guards with the intent of packing up the colonists’ belongings and taking them off the moon. The security guards search for the two mute farmers, Kira talks again with Mullibok in an attempt to get him to leave willingly. He again reiterates his desire to stay and die if necessary, and tells a story illustrating the conflict he senses in Kira about her mission. The guards return after being attacked by the mute farmers. When Mullibok attacks them as well, one of the guards shoots him with a phaser.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

The boys reach the Bajoran who originally wanted to buy the stem bolts, faking transmission troubles to conceal their identities. Nog offers the bolts to him at a significantly reduced price, but the man has no latinum to give them. He offers them some land in exchange, and once again Jake talks Nog into accepting the offer.

Kira works on the kiln

Kira reveals her horrible secret – Urkelesque atomic wedgie mom jeans

On the moon, Bashir treats Mullibok. His mute companions have been taken to Bajor, but the doctor wants to take him back to DS9 for observation, which Mullibok of course refuses. When Bashir tells Kira that he plans to move the man without his consent, Kira forbids him to do so and says that she’ll stay behind and care for the ailing farmer. She removes her jacket and begins working on completing Mullibok’s kiln.

Back on the station, Bashir reports to Sisko on what happened. The commander decides to give Kira some more time to sort things out and fakes a humanitarian request from the doctor to assuage the Bajoran officials. He then travels to Jeraddo to speak with Kira. He tells her that recognizes that she’s always fought for the underdog, but she has to accept that she’s on the other side now and she’s going to have to learn to live with it. He tells her that he values her as a colleague and that her planet needs her in her position, then leaves to let her make up her mind.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

That night, Mullibok cries out in his sleep. As Kira tends to him, it becomes apparent that he’s reliving horror suffered at the hands of the Cardassians.

Kira torches Mullibok's house

The roof.. the roof… the roof is on fire!

The boys are back in the bar, playing cards and lamenting their lack of profits. Nog is convinced that trading away the stem bolts for “dirt” was a mistake, but Jake think that it was the right move. Their argument is put on hold when Odo and Quark walk past, discussing a land purchase the Bajoran government wants to make. They cannot reach one of the landholders – Jake and Nog – and hope Odo can track them down so they can complete the deal. Miffed that he’s for once not involved in a profit-making scheme, Quark assures Odo that he’ll get his hands on the land and open up negotiations with the government officials soon. As he tries to figure out who the mysterious land owners are, Nog approaches him with a business opportunity. It quickly dawns on him that Nog and Jake are the mysterious land owners.

The next morning, Kira wakes up and finds Mullibok working on his kiln. She helps him finish it, the disappears inside the house. As Mullibok fires up his kiln for the first, Kira emerges from the house with his belongings and tells him that it’s time to leave now that he’s finished his work. He again refuses, so Kira destroys the kiln and sets fire to his house, leaving him nothing to stay behind for. With Mullibok wondering how he’ll survive, Kira assures him that she won’t let him die and calls for them both to be beamed up.

Thoughts and ruminations

  • I’m glad to see that teens of the 24th century will enjoy playing cards, because I don’t think 21st century teens are interested in it. Although I may be wrong about that.
  • I still think “bars of gold-pressed latinum” is too unwieldy a term for what seems to be the common currency of the galaxy. I think a slang term would be used more commonly – “lats” or just plain “bars.”
  • So at least the Bajorans take the time to name their moons, something they couldn’t be bothered to do for the other planets in their system.
  • So after fighting against authority her entire life, Kira is now The Man. I’m glad we’re finally confronting this evolution head-on.
  • Mullibok is just a simple ol’ country farmer – he even says supper! Somebody get him a banjo and/or a stick for whittling.
  • Nog and Jake have obviously played the trading game in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
  • It’s a good thing Kira is setting out the plates with three hours to go before the meal. That’s the first thing you do.
  • It seems odd that Quark would willingly throw out anything, even a buttload of worthless Cardassian condiments. There’s got to be a Rule of Acquisition about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure.
  • I think Mullibok needs a Bajoran trucker cap and a CB radio. Do you think he watches NASCAR?
  • Self-sealing stem bolts must have been hard to say with those fake Ferengi teeth.
  • The boys’ problem of not being able to figure out what the stem bolts are for is one that could be solved a simple computer query.
  • “This man just stuck me with a farm implement!” struck me as a funny line. Not sure why.
  • How will the boys transport the stem bolts from the station to the planet? And they shouldn’t they figure out where the land is before they make the deal?
  • Kira’s high-waisted pants are the ultimate mom jeans.
  • Sisko’s talk with Kira on the moon really sums up this episode in one sentence: “You’re on the other side now.”
  • I would think Mullibok would want to let the tile adhesive settle for a while before firing up the kiln, but admittedly I know little about such things.
  • Forty years and all of Mullibok’s things fit into a duffel bag. That’s living light.
  • Mullibok’s house is highly flammable.
  • Man, this episode has a real Law & Order-esque ending to it.

The verdict

The main plot of this episode is once again somewhere that Star Trek has boldly gone before – remember when Data had to remove the folks on Tau Cygni V? – but it does serve as a nice episode to further flesh out Major Kira’s character. So far, they’ve danced around the issue of Kira now being an authority figure after spending her entire life rebelling against such figures. This episode finally makes her acknowledge that she’s become exactly who she used to hate, and she’s going to have to live with it. Meanwhile, the secondary plot with Jake and Nog is silly, fun, and totally unbelievable, but it offers a little bit of levity to what would be an otherwise very heavy-handed episode. Good enough to sit through once, probably won’t revisit it again in my spare time. Two out of four Odo buckets.

The Odo Scale

The Modernish Father

Your guide to DS9 is a father of two, husband of one and inspiration for millions of sardonic bald guys. A Texas native who recently moved to San Francisco, he loves baseball, history, most science fiction and generally all things nerdy. Find out more on his blog.

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