(written from a Production point of view)
Kira leads the evacuation of a Bajoran moon which is being converted into a massive power plant that will render the entire surface uninhabitable, but an old farmer refuses to leave. Back on the station, Jake and Nog set out to turn an inordinate amount of seemingly worthless condiments into profit.
Quark berates Broik for ordering five thousand wrappages of Cardassian yamok sauce (with the Cardassians off the station, it is worse than worthless). Jake and Nog are playing cards at a table nearby, and Nog overhears the whole exchange, ignoring the game much to Jake's frustration. As Quark leaves the room, he begins to form a scheme to make a few bars of latinum off his uncle's misfortune, telling Jake his "ears are tingling."
- "Station log, stardate 46844.3. With the help of the Federation, Bajor is about to commence its first large-scale energy transfer – the tapping of the molten core of its fifth moon, Jeraddo."
The crew in Ops is monitoring the moon's activity while Minister Toran observes nervously. Major Kira assures him everyone is ready and leaves for a final inspection of the moon with Lieutenant Dax in the USS Ganges.
While Dax mentions that Morn had asked her out earlier, their scan reveals that there is a humanoid life-sign still on the planet, in spite of the fact that all the moon's inhabitants were ordered to evacuate. Kira beams down to the surface to find out what is going on, and who is still on the moon. She is surprised to find herself threatened by a Bajoran man and woman holding farm implements.
An older Bajoran man comes out from the structure to talk to Kira, but tries to close the door on her when she approaches. She holds the door, determined to keep his attention. Assuming they were missed by the evacuation efforts, she tries to tell him he has to leave, but he ignores it, instead inviting her to dinner to stall her.
Meanwhile, Nog and Jake set out to find a buyer for five thousand wrappages of yamok sauce, but having very little luck finding one willing to pay latinum. They grudgingly settle for a hundred gross of self-sealing stem bolts, being sold by a Lissepian freighter captain because the Bajoran man who initially ordered them could not pay.
Back on Jeraddo, the old Bajoran begins preparing for dinner, and it will obviously take several hours. Kira tells Dax she will be delayed, content not to be seen as in a hurry. Along the way, he does his best to aggravate her into leaving, but she recognizes it. The man's name is Mullibok, and he knows that the moon's core is to be tapped and Jeraddo will be uninhabitable soon. Mullibok has decided to stay even at the cost of his life.
Nog and Jake are now faced with the problem of obtaining Quark's yamok sauce. Fortunately, Quark is so disgusted with the whole yamok sauce fiasco that he is happy to take Nog up on his offer to dispose of it by any means necessary. His plan is able to continue.
The old farmer tries to bore Kira into submission with the tall tale of how he got started farming on Jeraddo, careful to emphasize his treatment by the Cardassians. She indulgently listens to his story, though a little disbelieving at times. Later, as she begins to tell of her days in the Bajoran Resistance, she realizes she is forced to admit that she survived by hanging on like fanatics, just as Mullibok is doing. Mullibok's mind is made up; he will not leave his home, no matter the consequence.
In a cargo bay, Jake and Nog inspect their new acquisition: one hundred gross of top-quality self-sealing stem bolts. Just then, Chief O'Brien enters the cargo bay to tell them to warn Quark about bypassing the station's proper import procedures. He begins to ask a lot of questions about why Quark needs so many self-sealing stem bolts, but fortunately he doesn't dig too deep. It does, however, seem that O'Brien, along with Jake and Nog, has absolutely no idea whatsoever as to what self-sealing stem bolts are, what they are for, what they do, or why anyone would want them. However, the original Bajoran who wanted them must know what they're used for, so Jake and Nog set out to find this person and possibly sell them back to the individual. Jake scans the container and discovers the man's name is Sirco Ch'Ano.
Kira returns to the station, and tries to convince Toran to give her time to convince Mullibok and his friends to leave, but he refuses. If they don't leave the moon, the project will go ahead anyway. Furthermore, Toran refuses Kira's suggestion of phased energy retrieval, which will allow the people to stay on the planet, but with a much longer time frame to obtain the energy. Kira is forced to return to the moon to remove Mullibok against his will, by force if necessary. The situation erupts into violence when Mullibok's friends attack a member of Kira's team. Enraged that his friends are being removed by force, Mullibok attacks one of the security officers and is accidentally shot. Kira rushes to Mullibok's side and yells at one of the officers to contact Dr. Bashir to come to Jeraddo and provide medical assistance.
Back on Deep Space 9, Jake and Nog open communications with Sirco Ch'Ano, the original buyer of the stem bolts, under the name "The Noh-Jay Consortium." They offer to sell him the merchandise for five bars of gold-pressed latinum, but he cannot pay four, or even three bars. If he'd had latinum, he could have bought the stem bolts outright. He cannot pay even one bar of latinum, but offers a trade (a less than appealing offer, from Jake and Nog's point of view). The offer is seven tessipates of land on Bajor. Nog is getting impatient; he wants latinum, and he wants it now. Jake, however, is convinced that they should take the land. With no real alternatives, they accept the land. Nog remains skeptical, but Jake is sure it will work out.
On Jerrado, Mullibok has survived. Dr. Bashir is treating him in his house, and informs him that his friends have been evacuated to Bajor. Bashir wants to take Mullibok back to DS9 for observation, but the farmer is adamant – he will not leave. Bashir tells Kira that he will take Mullibok back without his consent; he is injured and needs to be cared for. Kira has another idea. She will stay with Mullibok and take care of his needs. Without another word, she starts to continue Mullibok's chores, building a kiln he has been working on for some time. Bashir reports back to Sisko, who, while unsure of Kira's intentions, decides to allow the situation to continue for the time being. He visits Kira on Jerrado, and discusses with her about her discomfort with the current situation. She was accustomed to being the underdog, fighting against impossible odds; now she is on the other side, and she hates herself for it, finding it awful. Sisko reassures her that she is on the right side, that Bajor needs people like her, and leaves her to decide how to best handle the situation.
Jake and Nog have still not managed to sell their newly acquired land. Nog is upset, he thinks the bolts were better than the land; Jake takes the opposite stance: he is certain that land is better than bolts. As they continue their tense and joyless card game, Quark and Odo enter the room, talking about a mysterious new business group: the Noh-Jay Consortium. Quark claims never to have heard of them, but Odo was contacted by someone in the Bajoran government planning to build on a strip of land owned by four different parties. Three of four have agreed to sell, but this fourth one cannot be contacted. Jake's and Nog's ears prick up; the government can't build unless they agree to sell their land. Finally, the land they worked so hard to get is worth something. Quark, intent on getting in on this wonderful opportunity for profit, barely notices as Nog approaches him. Nog proposes a deal to Quark, who, certain that his nephew is just being a bother, dismisses him out-of-hand, until it dawns on him that "Noh-Jay" is indeed Nog and Jake.
Mullibok becomes bedridden and, having had a bad dream, wakes up to Kira taking care of him. She keeps his temperature, and tries to sleep. Soon recovering enough to complete work on his kiln, he gets up while she sleeps. Kira comes out to help him finish, but then, as the old man fires it up, she goes back inside and comes out with her bags packed, along with Mullibok's. Kira says she could use a friend on Bajor and she'd like it to be him. He tells her that, as long as that cottage is standing, he will not leave. In response, she fires her weapon at the kiln, destroying it, and sets fire to his cottage. She tells him it is time to move on. Mullibok is devastated. He asks Kira to kill him as well; he is convinced he cannot leave, but there is nothing left on Jeraddo for him now. He says if he leaves Jerrado, he will die. Kira responds, "No, you won't; I won't let you" and signals the crew to beam them both up.
"I told you. My life's here. If I leave here, I'll die. So, I'd rather die here."
- - Mullibok, refusing Kira's order to evacuate Jerrado for Bajor
"Nog – you're a good boy."
- - Quark
"I assume you found some food before you ran out of belt notches?"
- - Kira, to Mullibok
"When I first met you major, 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."
- - Sisko, to Kira on her predicament of removing Mullibok from his home
"Let's see... Who on the station is clever enough?"
"But uncle Quark!"
"Go sweep the floor!"
"Alright, make it fast!"
"I have a business opportunity that might interest you. It'll only cost you... five bars of gold pressed latinum."
(Quark looks at Jake who's sitting behind Nog at the bar, and motions between them)
- - Quark and Nog, as Quark tries to figure out who the Noh-Jay Consortium is
"If I leave here, I'll die."
"No, you won't. I won't let you... Two to beam up."
- - Mullibok, when Kira sets his home ablaze (last lines)
Story and script
- Michael Piller commented, "In the middle part of the year, we suddenly realized we had sort of lost Kira, which is immediately taken care of with this and other episodes as the season goes on." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 79)
- The Kira aspect of this episode has a plot similar to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Ensigns of Command". In fact, the final resolution to destroy the kiln mirrors Data's solution of destroying the aqueduct, compelling the residents to leave.
- The plot point about Mullibok creating bricks required the DS9 props department to create some relevant tools. "When the guy was making his bricks, we had to make our own trowels," explained Property Master Joe Longo. ("Alien Artifacts: Season One", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features)
- Michael Bofshever's costume was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay and also worn by background actor Alan Schwartz in a different episode. 
- This is the second time in DS9 where the Bajoran name order is addressed, when Major Kira says her given name, or first name, is "Nerys". The first time was in "Emissary".
- Rick Berman commented, "I think it turned out real nice. The end is rather bittersweet. Brian Keith gave a performance that was very interesting and was in many ways better than I expected. It's a very poignant story in the relationship between Major Kira and this old man." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 79)
- Writer Peter Allan Fields was not happy with how Mullibok came across in the finished episode. According to Fields, he'd written the Bajoran as a much more manipulative and less likable character; "I wanted a strong guy who did not change at the end. There are too many old guys in television dramas who start out nasty and then get meek and gentle at the end. That's not what I wanted." To help illustrate what he meant, Fields cited the scene when Mullibok asks Kira for her given name. In the script, this question was specifically used to manipulate Kira ("He said it because he was trying to con her"), but in the final episode, it seems as if Mullibok feels a degree of warmth for her. Fields specified he didn't fault Brian Keith's performance, but instead Mullibok simply comes across as too sympathetic a figure; he is "less of an adversary than he ought to have been. He was less of a mountain for Kira to climb." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) In the second season episode "Second Sight", the exact opposite happened with the character of Gideon Seyetik – a character whom the writers wanted people to like and sympathize with coming across as pompous and unlikable. (citation needed • edit)
- Ira Steven Behr enjoyed the Jake/Nog B-story, commenting, "I always wanted to do Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22, the guy who can acquire things and we put these two kids together as the Milo Minderbinders of Deep Space Nine and it has some nice stuff in it." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 79)
- A reviewer in Cinefantastique wrote, "Brian Keith gives a moving performance as farmer Mullibok and his sarcastic retorts are stinging. The Jake and Nog B-story involving their first business venture is surprisingly engaging. Unfortunately, the episode's ambiguous conclusion is less satisfying and Kira's torching of the farmer's abode brings up several troubling moral questions which the episode fails to address. The character drama is finally coming together on the show as evidenced by a powerful scene between Sisko and Kira on the planet – although those who enjoy Star Trek for its science fiction rather than philosophical content are bound to be sorely disappointed in the season thus far." (Cinefantastique)
- Mullibok appears briefly in the novel Warchild, where he has Jadzia pass on a message to Kira: that he forgives her for her actions.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 8, 7 November 1993
- As part of the DS9 Season 1 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
- Brian Keith as Mullibok
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Nicholas Worth as Lissepian Captain
- Michael Bofshever as Toran
- Ivor Bartels as a Human security officer
- Robert Coffee as a Bajoran officer
- Jeannie Dreams as a Human operations division ensign
- Kevin Grevioux as a Human security officer
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Tom Morga as a Bajoran security deputy
- Tyana Parr as a Human DS9 resident
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Unknown performers as
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- "Progress" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Progress" at Wikipedia
- "Progress" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Progress" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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"If Wishes Were Horses"