There’s a moment in this episode, basically a single line from Sisko, that more or less sums up Kira’s problems with her current job versus her time as a freedom fighter, and I gotta say, it’s a brilliant observation. It cut right to the core of what was going on with this particular episode while still allowing Kira to go through the motions of the rest of the plot.
See, there’s a problem: Bajor is looking to tap into one of its moons to produce energy for the planet. To do so would render the moon uninhabitable, and there’s an old farmer up there who refuses to move. Kira takes it upon herself to make sure the guy moves, but he’s such a charming old man (played by the charming Brian Keith), and it’s not hard to see why his predicament is sympathetic.
Really, it comes down to the idea that Kira wants to make sure the old man movies by trying to convince him to as gently as possible. But the old guy, Mullibok, just tells stories, prepares long dinners, and watches out for his two farmhands, a younger pair who lost their tongues to the Cardassians. Mullibok himself, if his tall tales are to be believed, escaped from the Cardassians and set up his farm on this moon, determined that no one or nothing would ever get him to move again while he still draws breath. It doesn’t matter that it’s the Bajoran government, that they have a new place for him to move to, and he won’t be locked up or anything. He won’t move.
Though why Kira, the liaison and first officer to Deep Space Nine, gets tasked with moving this guy seems to be a bit of an odd thing. Then again, the only reason anyone is trying to move Mullibok and his friends along at all is because Kira found them herself.
So Mullibok won’t move for anyone, not Kira, not Bashir when an overly trigger happy security agent shoots Mullibok with a phaser, and Sisko doesn’t even try. Instead, Sisko says something to Kira. Essentially, Sisko points out the reason this is so hard for his otherwise hardnosed First Officer is simple: she used to be on the other side of these sorts of issues, but her side won, so now she has to enforce rules for the system and not just try to tear them down.
And the one line that really sums it up can be boiled down to “Sucks, doesn’t it?”
And it does. It really does. Kira doesn’t want to be the person to force Mullibok off his farm. If the old man were obnoxious or something, that would make it easier. But it isn’t. And if Kira has to pack the old man’s bags herself before setting the house itself on fire, she will. And she does. By then, there’s no hesitation left. She wasn’t going to stop the Bajoran Provisional Government from doing what it was doing. That meant the old man had to move or die. He’ll move. He may even be fine once he calms down. I don’t think we’ll see him again to find out, but he may.
And then there’s Jake and Nog. In a rather fun subplot, Nog overhears Quark berating Rom for buying a large shipment of a Cardassian condiment that, well, Quark can’t sell now. Nog gets that Ferengi feeling in his lobes for opportunity, and soon finds a way to unload the sauce on a freighter captain who does business in Cardassian space. But he won’t sell it for 5 bars of gold-pressed latinum (is that a lot?). He will trade it for some self-sealing cogs. Nog and Jake can trade that to a Bajoran merchant for land (Nog doesn’t want it, referring to land as “dirt” so apparently Ferengi don’t have the concept of the value of real estate, but Jake talks him into it), and then when the boys overhear Odo talking to Quark about a mystery consortium owning the land the government is looking to buy, the boys can sell the land to Quark.
Was that a bit of pride I saw when Quark put all the clues together for who owned the land? I think it was. Not a bad bit o’ schemin’ for the boys.