Sunday, July 18, 2021

3 in The Storyteller (Deep Space Nine S01-E14)

I knew the prophets wouldn't fail us

Through the episodes so far it is obvious that Chief O’Brien doesn’t want to be around Doctor Bashir. I don’t understand what his problems are with him. Personally I am not a fan of the Doctor but maybe I'm calling it too early in the series. The Chief has had the choice of avoiding the man until this episode.

Here are the 3 notable things in The Storyteller.




A Noncom Department Head

What should I call you? You're my superior officer.

Here’s what I know of Chief Miles Edward O’Brien up to this point: he’s a good engineer, he’s a Department Head, and he has served on the USS Rutledge during the Federation-Cardassian War

In my experience in government work albeit a civilian position, Department Heads are on equal footing. Why isn’t he an officer considering he runs engineering?

Colm Meaney fits the stereotype of a well-traveled, experienced grunt. And just a guess, being Irish was to give an air of Scotty but with its own unique flare. But Scotty was an officer serving under Captain Kirk, and the stereotype of the aged noncom would require that O’Brien report to a commissioned engineer.

In Band of Brothers, Sergeant Carwood Lipton was given a battlefield commission to Lieutenant having kept Easy Company together in Bastogne. Likewise, if holding a Department didn’t give O’Brien extra credit shouldn’t his war experience have done the trick?

Memory Alpha recalls that Riker once referred to O’Brien as lieutenant. It makes me curious if the noncom route was just an afterthought. 

The best Memory Alpha can deduce – reading the page sounds like the episodes never settled it – is that O’Brien is a Chief Petty Officer, which in the British system would have given him the same authority as a lieutenant but restricted only to a specialty.


I brought this up because the annoying people at work are often the superiors, because options of pushing back are limited. Not that I validate O’Brien’s problems with Bashir but why does he have to endure if he doesn't want to? Maybe that's how they do it in the armed services tradition but a Department Head noncom just feels unfair.



He (first Sirah) used to orb fragment to give their fears physical form

You can see the Sirah in either of two ways. One, society needs stories to unite a people. Or two, society can easily be swayed by stories, and the stories does not need to be 100 percent true. 

Unfortunately in the age of mass media and especially now in the age of social media, the storyteller is often seen as the latter.

According to village legend, the first Sirah used the power of an orb fragment to give the hate and mistrust in society physical form, and that form became the Dal’Rok. This external threat is then used by the Sirah to unify the village: he tells stories that elicit and focus energies of the people to defeat the Dal’Rok. 

If the ends justify the means then this is only a positive.

But the Dal’Rok is not a naturally occurring creature. The monster was the creation of the first Sirah and this was never revealed to the village for generations. Whatever happened to transparency and talking through our differences? This is a manipulation of people.

A classic example would be the attachment of the Roman Catholic Church to Latin. It was illegal to have the bible in any other language which guaranteed that Europe only had one set of storytellers. There was unity, there was one story, and there was abuse. 

Who could question a monster like Purgatory or the power of the Church to get a soul out of this nebulous land of the dead for a fee?

Note that the Sirah enjoys a nice windfall, including the services of young women. Listen to his stories: it’s not factual account of anything, but a general tale filled with buzzwords that elicit the emotion. 

The Sirah is not a keeper of history. He's a pied piper.


Remove the Dal’Rok, Bajor, and the positivity of a Star Trek franchise: the Sirah is a man with a story, calling for the support of the people against a monster that no one knew he has a part in creating. 

Isn't that similar to those who call the Jews a problem, call the 2020 US Elections was stolen, and locally in the Philippines those who call for the bloody end of the rising Communist Rebellion and the War on Drugs? The storyteller gets away with a lot.


It's good to be a child, it's bad to be a child

Maybe it's not a problem. Maybe it's an opportunity.

In hindsight, I wonder if this part of the episode will be as beautiful as it is now if children didn’t carry it.

The Paqu and the Navot are fighting over land. Both sides are on Deep Space Nine hoping to stave off war. To the surprise of Benjamin Sisko and Major Kira, the Paqu Tetrarch is a 15 year old girl, Varis Sul. To prevent a war they have to deal with a child.

I think Varis was written as a young girl in order to show the two points of view you can take into a negotiation. The first is an attachment to a possession or a position. She didn’t throw a tantrum but the fact that she is a child shows the absurdity of an immovable position in a negotiation. She might as well have thrown a tantrum shouting ‘the land is mine!’

Second point of view is that a child is not bogged down by tradition. Tradition may dictate that the Paqu defend every inch of land with the river as the dividing line, per the old agreements. 

Those who have endured life, from the pain to just being repetitively taught to only act a certain way, would hang on to tradition. Breaking it would be considered reckless, but there’s a certain beauty in the childlike willingness to try something new. And Varis did.

It should be noted that Varis Sul would have never reached the conclusion without Jake and especially Nog. Like Varis, Nog was a child at first; he was tongue-tied, a sign that he was fearing rejection.   

With a Ferengi flare he was able to get through the hump and advise Varis to approach the problem by adding up opportunity and instinct. The Navot may refuse the Paqu now but from a business perspective they may want something else which can be negotiated. 

Likewise, Nog saw an opportunity to win the girl and he took it, Jake was already falling back at this time. Of course from a Ferengi point of view everything is money Nog applied it to an aspect of life.


Think of it. If it failed they call it acting on impulse, if it succeeded they call it instinct. What other stage in life can you say you just did it and not overthink if not when you were young.

And the best part about being a child is the oatmeal scene with Odo. Despite all the stresses we should not lose the ability to smile and laugh.

No comments:

Post a Comment