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Production no.: 430
Teleplay by: Frederick Rappaport
Story by: Gabe Essoe & Kelley Miles
Directed by: Les Landau
Stardate: 47391.2 
First satellite airdate: November 27, 1993
William Schallert ...........
Andrew Koenig ............
Aron Eisenberg .............
Michael Durrell .............
Betty McGuire ..............
Robert Curtis-Brown .....
Kitty Swink ...................
Deborah May ...............
Leland Orser ................
Nicholas Shaffer ...........
General Hazar
Vedek Sorad

Kira is late with next month's duty roster, due to having spent all day talking to Minister Rozahn about irrigating the Trilar Peninsula. "Shouting" would be more accurate; she's frustrated because Bajor is in trouble, and she wants to help. But she promises Sisko she will get to work on the roster. Then O'Brien tells her Quark is looking for her and says it's urgent.

Kira goes down to Quark's, where a famous Bajoran musician, Varani, is playing one of his sonatas. Quark is upset because his patrons are mesmerized by the music, and while they're sitting there swaying and sniffling, no one is drinking or gambling. Profits are already down, and Varani only started there yesterday. But Kira holds him to his promise to try Varani for a month. "Maybe he could play something with a little more bounce to it," Quark says. When the music ends, Kira apologetically tells Varani that Quark would like him to play more of a variety of styles. Varani agrees to accommodate him, and asks if Kira has spoken to Minister Bolka about rebuilding the Jalanda Forum. "Bajorans must reclaim their artistic heritage if they ever hope to regain their sense of self-worth," he urges. Kira promises to bring it up again the next time she speaks to Bolka.

As Kira returns to Ops, a ship comes through the wormhole, with four lifeforms on board and a plasma leak in their engine core. The reactors are overheating and life support barely functioning; Sisko orders O'Brien to beam them aboard. A woman, two men, and a teenage boy materialize, and look around in bewilderment as Sisko welcomes them. He explains what happened, and that their ship will hopefully be repaired, but the aliens (humanoid, with bumpy, flaky skin) don't seem to comprehend, and the boy speaks up defiantly in his native language. The woman addresses Kira in more reasonable tones, in the same language. Sisko realizes there's a problem with the universal translator. O'Brien says it's working, but it's having a hard time analyzing their language patterns. They will have to keep their guests talking until the computer can establish a translation matrix.

Noting that their guests seem most comfortable with Kira, Sisko has her lead the way, and they go down to the Promenade, toward the infirmary to treat the boy, who has an injured hand. The aliens gawk in undisguised wonder at this place, and the woman seems intrigued by a dress in a clothing shop. It's plain from the rather childlike behavior of the males that females are considered leaders in their society. Finally, the group make it to the infirmary, where the boy reluctantly lets Bashir treat his hand.

The aliens are taken to guest quarters and introduced to the concept of replicators. While the males eat, the woman begins speaking urgently to Kira, who still doesn't have a clue what she's saying. But then the universal translator slowly starts to kick in at last, and the woman's words become clear. Their race is the Skrreea, and they need help. The rest of their people are still on the other side of the "eye of the universe", meaning the wormhole, and have to be brought here -- all three million of them.

In a subsequent conference in Ops, the woman, Haneek, is a little uncertain at the presence of the male officers; Skrreean men don't involve themselves in such affairs. Haneek says she is only a farmer who just happened to be lucky enough to be the first of their people to find the wormhole. "We had heard about a great tunnel being discovered. We knew it must be the Eye of the Universe that would lead us to Kentanna." Kentanna, she explains, is the Skrreeans' legendary home, just beyond the "Eye": "a planet of sorrow where the Skrreea will sow seeds of joy."

Sisko has sent runabouts into the Gamma Quadrant to contact the rest of the Skrreeans' vessels. Due to the station's limited capacity, most of the refugees will have to remain on their ships. Most of the Skrreeans' leaders were killed by the T-Rogorans, a race that had enslaved them; the Skrreeans escaped when the T-Rogorans were themselves conquered by a race belonging to the Dominion.

Kira visits Haneek later in her quarters, bringing a package, and gives her the news that they have found some of the Skrreean ships. It might be a good idea if Haneek greeted them. The package contains the dress Haneek was looking at earlier. Kira had thought she seemed to like it, but it turns out she had misunderstood: Haneek actually thought it was hideous. So does Kira, and the two of them laugh.

In their hangout spot, Jake and Nog talk about the date Jake had with a Dabo girl, Mardah, who studies entomology. Told that this means the study of bugs, Nog exclaims, "You mean she wants to be a chef?" They see the Skrreean boy, Tumak (Haneek's son), scrounging food below them, and Nog is disgusted.

The first Skrreean transport arrives, and Haneek welcomes her people, who pour onto the station, looking around in awe at the sights and sounds of the Promenade. "Just look at them," Sisko tells Odo. "They're experiencing their first taste of freedom."

Jake later finds Nog being chased through the Promenade by Tumak and two other Skrreean boys, until Nog is caught by Odo. It seems that Nog sprayed a foul-smelling vapor on Tumak and the others, as a "joke". Quark arrives a little later at the security office to pick up Nog. After the young Ferengi is allowed to go, Quark says he can't blame him. He doesn't like the Skrreeans, who look and touch but don't buy, as well as leaving flakes of skin everywhere. "They stay here too long and I'll be out of business." "In that case," says Odo, "I hope they never leave."

Since Haneek discovered the Eye of the Universe, the other Skrreean women appoint her to lead them the rest of the way to Kentanna, and Haneek says humbly that she'll do her best. But the prospect makes her feel trapped, she admits to Kira, who says Sisko is doing all he can to find them a place to live. Varani comes over and gives Haneek a gift, a hologram of a concert he once played. Later, in her quarters, Haneek gets a hunch, and asks the computer to show her a chart of Bajor's system.

Jake and Nog find Tumak and his friends at their hangout spot; Nog offers a half-hearted apology for his prank, and the Skrreean boys proceed to trounce both him and Jake. Quark breaks it up, making no secret of his dislike for the Skrreeans, and Tumak returns the sentiment before stomping off. "I can see the Skrreean don't bother to teach their children manners," Quark sniffs.

Dax and Sisko have found what they think seems like a perfect planet for the Skrreeans: Draylon II. They go with Kira to give Haneek the good news, but Haneek says while their hard work is appreciated, it was unnecessary. The Skrreeans have found their Kentanna, their "planet of sorrow": Bajor.

Minister Rozahn and Vedek Sorad arrive with Bajor's official response to the Skrreeans' request to emigrate. They are not unsympathetic, but the request is denied; Bajor simply can't absorb so many refugees. It can barely take care of its own in the wake of the Occupation. Haneek protests that the Skrreeans are not asking to be taken care of. There is a peninsula, ruined by the Cardassians, that she is sure the Skrreans can make thrive again. But the provisional government's decision is final. Haneek appeals to Kira to tell them they're wrong, but Kira says with deeply felt regret that she can't. "I wish Bajor was Kentanna -- but it's not."

Jake speaks with Tumak at the replimat, and mentions that the Skrreeans are probably going to Draylon II, which sounds like a nice place. Tumak asks if Jake wants to move there. "No." "Neither do I," says Tumak pointedly. Meanwhile, Kira visits Haneek, who feels betrayed. "The thing I don't understand is why you pretended to be my friend." Kira tells her she wasn't pretending. "Ah," Haneek says bitterly. "So you are my friend, until I need you." But Kira still feels that the provisional government was right. She was hoping she and Haneek could still be friends; however, Haneek will not forgive her. The conversation is interrupted by Sisko. Tumak has taken a ship and is headed for Bajor.

Haneek and Kira rush to Ops, where Sisko says he needs Haneek to talk to Tumak. O'Brien says that the ship has a radiation leak in one of its nacelles. They've tried to warn Tumak, but the boy refuses to acknowledge. A channel is opened, and Haneek pleads with her son to turn off the ship's engines, so that the Bajorans can tractor him in. There is no response, and two Bajoran interceptors close in on the Skrreean ship, telling it to turn around. Kira apprises the pilot of the situation, but the pilot says he has strict orders not to allow any Skrreean vessel to land.

The orders came from General Hazar, the pilot says, and Sisko has Dax contact him. Told what is going on, Hazar says to have Tumak shut off his engines to be towed back, but Tumak fires on one of the Bajoran ships, one of which returns fire. Hazar relays the order to his ships to disengage. But the Skrreean ship explodes. O'Brien says the phaser beam must have ignited the radiation leak. In the wake of the tragedy, Haneek coldly ignores Kira's look of sympathy.

Later, Haneek prepares to lead her people to Draylon II. Kira approaches to wish them luck, though she still believes this is the best choice. "You still believe we would have been a burden to your people?" says 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 Skrreeans 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 has made you all frightened and suspicious. I feel sorry for you. You were right. Bajor is not Kentanna."

  • Andrew Koenig, who plays Tumak, is the son of TOS regular castmember Walter Koenig. Tumak was named for a character in One Million B.C., while Varani was the genii's name in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
  • Kitty Swink, who plays Minister Rozahn (and would later play a Vorta in "Tacking Into the Wind"), is the wife of Armin Shimerman.
  • The main Skrreean ship was originally built for a movie called Night of the Creeps.