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Production no.: 415
Written by: Peter Allan Fields
Directed by: Les Landau
Stardate: 46844.3 
First satellite airdate: May 8, 1993
Brian Keith ...............
Aron Eisenberg .........
Nicholas Worth .........
Michael Bofshever ....
Terrence Evans ........
Annie O'Donnell .......
Daniel Riordan .........
Alien Captain
Minister Toran
First Guard

"Hey Nog, are you gonna play, or what?" Jake and Nog are playing cards at a table in Quark's, which is closed for inventory, but Nog's mind is not on the game. He is listening as his uncle Quark berates an employee for forgetting to cancel an order for 5000 wrappages of yamok sauce. The Cardassians are the only ones who would eat the stuff, and now that the Occupation is over, there is no more call for it here. "That's a lot of yamok sauce," Nog muses, half to himself. He tells Jake he's getting "that tingling in the lobes", which to a Ferengi means only one thing: opportunity. Puzzled, Jake trails after him.

A large-scale energy transfer project is about to commence: with Federation aid, Bajor will tap into the molten core of its fifth moon, Jeraddo, in order to heat hundreds of thousands of homes for the winter. An anxious Bajoran official, Minister Toran, is touring Ops when Kira leaves with Dax to make an inspection of the moon. On the runabout, while scanning Jeraddo for remaining lifeforms, Dax chats with Kira about Morn having invited her to dinner -- she turned him down, but she does think he's cute. Then she detects a humanoid presence, apparently one of the inhabitants. Kira decides to beam down and see what's going on. She materializes near a neat little farm cottage, and is just about to knock on the door when she is stopped by two people, a Bajoran man and woman, who silently menace her with lethal-looking farm implements.

"Problem is, they don't like uniforms," says a voice from the doorway, that of an old Bajoran man, whose name is Mullibok. "Neither do I, but it comes with the job," Kira replies. "Do we talk, or do they attack?" The other man and woman -- Baltrim and Keena -- lower their weapons, and Mullibok inspects Kira. "You're halfway pretty," he approves. But he says he doesn't like uniforms either. When Kira tells him he was supposed to be out of here by now, Mullibok says all he knows is this farm. Kira blocks the door as he tries to close it, and Mullibok invites her in. "Pretty eyes like yours deserve a meal." They'll talk about evacuating him over supper. Kira sighs and enters the cottage.

On the Promenade, Jake and Nog find the captain of a Lissepian cargo ship, a ship that does a lot of trading with the Cardassians. Nog strikes up a conversation and mentions yamok sauce, telling the captain that he and Jake are selling 5000 wrappages of it -- original, not replicated. The captain's interest is piqued. He's not carrying any latinum right now, but he offers to trade them a hundred gross of self-sealing stem bolts, which had been ordered by a Bajoran who is now unable to pay. Nog is ready to dismiss the offer; he was counting on latinum. "What are we going to do with stem bolts?" he asks Jake in a quick private conference. "What are we going to do with yamok sauce?" Jake answers. Nog makes the deal. The question now is how to get hold of the yamok sauce.

In Mullibok's cottage, Kira calls Dax to tell her to go on without her. Obviously she isn't going to get anywhere with Mullibok until she humors him by staying for supper. Baltrim and Keena (who were rendered mute by the Cardassians long ago) start preparing the food with Kira's help. Mullibok patronizingly tells her to set out the plates. When Kira turns around, he makes a sexist remark, and she realizes that he's deliberately trying to make her angry. Caught out, Mullibok smiles, "How'm I doing?" "Not well enough to get rid of me," she says. "Damn!" he swears.

Kira tells him that the engineers are going to start tapping the moon in seven days; Mullibok says he knows. The project may benefit hundreds of thousands of people on Bajor, but Mullibok has been unconcerned with such things ever since he escaped from a Cardassian labor camp and came here forty years ago. This is his home. "You can have a home on Bajor," Kira says, "with people who'll welcome you and your friends. Life'll be different, yes. But it'll be fine, really." But Mullibok is adamant. "My life is here. If I leave here, I'll die. So I'd rather die here."

Quark is in a foul mood when Nog innocently approaches him asking him about storage space for a new shipment of lokar beans. Can he stack them on top of the yamok sauce -- if he can reach that high? "Don't talk to me about yamok sauce," Quark snarls. Nog offers to take it to the matter reclamation unit, and Quark says, "Anything, just get it out of my sight." When his uncle's back is turned, a grinning Nog gives Jake a high sign.

At supper, Kira listens with amused skepticism as Mullibok spins a tall tale about how he stowed away on a Cardassian survey vessel and overpowered the crew, singlehandedly. After that, he was the first person to settle on Jeraddo. Without farm implements, Mullibok says, deadpan, that he tightened his belt, rolled on the ground until it surrendered, and plowed a field with his fingernails, grinding up mineralized clay with his teeth. His point is that he tamed this place, and it's his.

Mullibok comments, though, that he's sorry he missed the "fun" of fighting the Cardassians. "Fun?" says Kira incredulously. "...We didn't stand a chance against them." Mullibok asks how they beat them, then. "We beat them because...we hung on like fanatics," Kira replies, realizing he's scored another point. Mullibok smiles. "Hung on like fanatics. I got to remember that." He wanders outside to where an unfinished kiln sits, and Kira follows him. She appreciates that he's trying to hang on here, but he can't stay. The tapping of the moon's crust will release sulfur and carbon compounds that will make the air unbreathable. "The Cardassians probably told you you didn't stand a chance, either," Mullibok counters. "Did you surrender?... Why would you expect me to act any different than you? You tell them they can start cracking this moon apart whenever they're ready. I'll be here."

Jake and Nog are now the proud owners of a hundred gross of self-sealing stem bolts. They are inspecting their merchandise, and wondering just what the heck a stem bolt is for, when O'Brien comes in with a PADD, asking whose cargo this is. He doesn't know what stem bolts are for either. After the Chief exits, Nog gets an idea, to speak to the Bajoran who had ordered the bolts in the first place. Jake gets the name Sirco Ch'Ano off the address label, and Nog says they'll offer to sell them to him at a discount.

Kira has returned to DS9 to confer with Minister Toran, who says that Jeraddo's other 47 inhabitants left willingly. But Kira is sure that nothing will induce Mullibok to do the same. Toran says they can't postpone; they'll have to beam him off the surface. He won't allow three holdouts to jeopardize the project. There is an alternative to tapping the moon's crust -- phased energy retrieval -- but that will take too long. "I wish we had the time to be more delicate, but we don't," Toran says. "So instead we'll act like Cardassians," Kira retorts. Toran's answer is that if she's not comfortable with the assignment, he'll find someone who is. Kira says that won't be necessary.

Beaming down again to the farm, this time with two guards, Kira calls for Mullibok, but there is no answer. She sends the guards to get Baltrim and Keena, and then speaks to Mullibok, who has appeared at his doorway. "I'm doing what has to be done," she tells him. He goes back in and closes the door. "Don't make us take you by force!" she calls. As he re-emerges and begins working on his kiln, Kira tries again to persuade him. Mullibok finally says she sounds like a two-headed Malgorian he once knew who could never make a decision. He goes on talking as if she's not there. Then the guards return, dragging Baltrim and Keena, who have wounded them with their farm tools. Enraged, Mullibok charges the guards, and is shot by a phaser. He falls unconscious, and Kira orders the guards back to the station to get Bashir.

Jake and Nog speak to Sirco, with Nog zapping the electronics to create static (so Sirco won't know he's talking to a couple of kids). Nog says he and Jake are the "Noh-Jay Consortium", and they have a hundred gross of self-sealing stem bolts. Eagerly, Sirco asks what they would want for them. Nog says five bars of gold-pressed latinum, then lowers the price on hearing Sirco's dismayed reaction. Sirco says that if he had any latinum, he'd already have the bolts; but he's willing to make a trade. Nog only wants latinum. Sirco offers seven tessipates of land, which Nog finally reluctantly accepts after much persuasion from Jake. The deal is sealed with a promise from Sirco to transmit proof of ownership.

When Mullibok recovers consciousness, with Bashir working on him, he is confused. Kira could have taken him off the moon while he was still stunned. Bashir tells him that Baltrim and Keena have been evacuated, but Mullibok refuses to go to the station for treatment. Bashir then confers with Kira, and is surprised when Kira won't let him take Mullibok away without permission. The doctor argues that Mullibok needs medical attention. Kira tells him to leave her medication and instructions; Bashir watches as she strips off her uniform tunic and begins to lay bricks on the kiln.

Kira stands a good chance of being out of uniform permanently, Sisko says darkly after Bashir reports her actions. Meanwhile, though, Sisko will tell Minister Toran that she has stayed on Jeraddo at Bashir's request. "But sir, that isn't true," Bashir protests. "Make it true, Doctor," Sisko says. Bashir makes the request, and Sisko says he'll consider it.

Brooding, Kira tends Mullibok, and tells him a story about a big ugly tree she remembers from her childhood. "Sounds to me like it had a lot of character," Mullibok comments. "...Did you cut it down?" "I don't know yet," says Kira. Then she gets a call from Sisko, who is in orbit. Either he's coming down, or she's coming up. "He doesn't have much faith in you, does he?" Mullibok says. When Sisko knocks, Mullibok insists on opening the door, and tells the commander that Kira doesn't want to see him. "You know, you're causing a lot of trouble," Sisko says, to which Mullibok counters, "I can't tell you how delighted I am to hear that." Sisko is here because he's concerned about his first officer, who is jeopardizing her career by staying here. Kira goes outside to speak to him.

As Kira starts to work on the kiln again, Sisko remarks, "I can see why you like him." But there is a report they have to finish this week, and he doesn't like the prospect of breaking in a new liaison officer. Then, more gently, Sisko tells her that he understands -- she's used to sympathizing with the underdog. "But you have to realize something, Major -- you're on the other side now. Pretty uncomfortable, isn't it?" "It's awful," Kira confesses at last, turning toward him with tears in her eyes.

"When I first met you, Major," Sisko says sincerely, "I thought you were hostile and arrogant. But I was wrong. Bajor needs you, and I need you. I like you, and I don't want you to be hurt. So as a friend, I'm here to remind you that his fate is already decided. Yours isn't." Realizing for the first time that Sisko really does care about her, Kira says, "Thank you." Sisko beams back up to await her decision.

Sleeping in a chair by Mullibok's bed that night, Kira is awakened by his cries as he reacts to a nightmare he is having. She gives him a hypo and comforts him, placing a compress on his brow. Mullibok wakes, grumpy, and refuses her offers of something to eat or drink. But he does want her to sit by him, which she does as he falls back asleep.

Playing cards again with Jake, Nog isn't very happy. All they have is dirt, he grumbles; they should have kept the bolts. Jake insists that land is a good thing to have. "You can build things on land." "You can't build anything without bolts," Nog shoots back. Just then, Odo and Quark come into earshot, arguing about a mysterious company called the "Noh-Jay Consortium". A government official has contacted Odo for help; they want to build a reclamation facility on a strip of land owned by four different people. Three have agreed to sell, but the government doesn't know how to contact this consortium. All they know is that it is based on the station. Odo thinks Quark knows something about it, but the Ferengi honestly doesn't.

The boys listen, their excitement mounting. After Odo leaves, Quark starts to use one of his security rods to do some research. "Let's see, who on this station is clever enough..." "Uncle Quark!" Nog interrupts. Finally getting his uncle's attention, he tells him, "I have a business opportunity that might interest you. It'll only cost you five bars of gold-pressed latinum." Quark looks from him to Jake, and the expression on his face is priceless.

Kira awakens in the morning and looks out to see Mullibok finishing his kiln. She has made her choice, and now she walks out to join him, wearing her uniform tunic again. When Mullibok tells her to go in and get something to eat, Kira says there isn't time, and hands him the last brick. Mullibok looks at her, then puts it into place and decides to fire up the kiln, while Kira goes back into the cottage and emerges with two satchels full of his belongings. "You finished your work," she says. "Now I have to finish mine."

"As long as that cottage is standing, I stay right here," declares Mullibok. Whereupon Kira whips out a phaser and fires at the kiln. It explodes. "What the hell are you doing?!" Mullibok yells; she replies shortly, "Saving your life." Kira lights a tool and sets the cottage ablaze as Mullibok watches in disbelief. "So you chose your uniform over me after all," he says at last. Kira replies that that's not true; the time she's spent with him has meant a lot to her, but it's over. Mullibok indicates her phaser. "You say you're my friend. Prove it. Use that weapon on me." "I can't," Kira says.

Stubborn to the last, Mullibok tells her flatly, "If I leave here, I'll die." Kira reaches out to him. "No, you won't," she tells him. "I won't let you." He is silent, his expression shuttered and unforgiving as his home burns down behind him.