Friday, August 27, 2021

3 in Progress (Deep Space Nine S01-E15)

All the inhabitants should've been evacuated by now.

Deep Space Nine Episode 15, Progress, takes another shot at Major Kira Nerys. It is thematically closest to Past Prologue, wherein she encountered fellow freedom fighter Tahna Los. That episode created conflict between 2 sides of Kira, the former terrorist and now the government official. 

She knew Tahna Los; she knew what the life was in the underground, she knows the passion that helped one survive. Choosing between him and the Provisional Government was hard because, she doesn’t agree with the government as well, at least up to a point.

And now, for this episode the two sides of Major Kira face off with a civilian, an old farmer in Mullibok and his two companions.



Here are the 3 things that stand out in the episode.


Kira versus a part of her


I can imagine Major Kira’s pain forcing Mullibok off his property. There’s no security issue or rebellion. 

The Provisional Government wants to harvest the moon Jeraddo’s core for which would make it uninhabitable; therefore resident civilians are being relocated. Mullibok knows no other home and as expected, refused to vacate.

We can infer Kira’s emotional state from what guerrillas do. Guerrillas run and hide, if not in some isolated mountain or cave then among the population.

Operational intelligence, supplies, in many cases comes from the general population. Contacts, connections, maybe loved ones; people unwilling to fight but willing to lend any kind of support. Hated collaborators in these situations are usually the wealthy. 

If they’re not wealthy before then they are made wealthy by the occupiers. Rebels will come from those who think they’ve nothing to lose. 


You have to realize something, Major...You're on the other side now.

Major Kira Nerys had been with people like Mullibok before or had come from surroundings like his, as much as she had fought with people like Tahna Los. As with Tahna it again divides her, having to choose. It was easy between  Cardassian and a Bajoran, between only Bajorans is complicated. 

What Kira is still getting used to is take the stand of a government official. Unfortunately the dialogue is not as full of tension as I would like compared to Past Prologue, making this my least favorite part of the episode.

Could the Moon have been saved?


There is a long game that would have saved the moon for habitation. Major Kira pointed out to Minister Toran, the official in charge of the mining operation, that Phased Energy Retrieval could save the moon. 

Phased Energy Retrieval takes too long and as the Game of Thrones often say, ‘winter is coming’. The government wants the energy immediately to to hundreds of thousands of homes from freezing.

In matters of story, the alternative Kira gave was to emotionally stack up the cards in favour of Mullibok, on top of Cardassian torture. If there’s a choice then why can’t an old man live out his life in a home he knew, why can’t they save the moon, be environmentally friendly; why can’t we have a win-win? 

In real life eyes, a habitable moon is beautiful because we don’t have one, why can't Bajor save that one?

But that should be balance it out with thinking of the best decision possible with the limited resources and an equally limited time, for the most number of people. That’s the government’s job. Bajor needs the energy, now.


I'll die if I leave. I'd rather die here.

The government is not always right, and it is not always wrong. Resources are limited and hindsight always paints a rosy picture. Certainly a man protecting his property isn’t wrong, but he shouldn’t always win. So what are we going to do?

In Past Prologue, she said: “It was so much easier when I knew who the enemy was.” I’ll posit a different question: is it easier to fight a war or run a government in peacetime?


Noh-Jay Consortium

What’s good about Nog and Jake Sisko is that you are barely reminded if at all that they are children. They are there to see Deep Space Nine in a child’s eyes not necessarily be childish.


This episode for example, Nog and Jake did not accept the status quo of 5,000 wrappages of yamok sauce going to waste. It’s a business problem, Quark has ordered food he cannot sell and therefore has lost money. And the best friends took interest.

Dramatically I liked this story better than Major Kira’s problems with Mullibok. Noh-Jay Consortium had more of an arc, whereas Kira feels like she has frozen up and Mullibok was just telling one embellished story after another.

With barely any knowledge of the materials they had, no business network of any kind, they just followed through the idea that the yamok sauce is worth money even without the Cardassian market that once occupied Deep Space Nine. 

I know it’s a stretch but I see their story as an allegory for innovation. Also, in some ways (more a stretch but still possible) it illustrates one good aspect of running a business, which is more appropriate since Nog and Jake are in it for the money. That aspect is networking, be willing to connect and observe many kinds of people.

Bare with me and see the quote below on innovation:

“Innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way.“ - Tom Freston (born 1945), Co-founder of MTV

What are those things: yamok sauce no buyer, a trader that deals with Cardassians but no cash, a Bajoran with gadgets no one knows what the use is for. 


Well, you know...Why does anybody use self-sealing stem bolts

If you have to nitpick the story you’d say they were stumbling, trading with goods without establishing that they were of equal value. But this is science fiction, a fantasy, and the lesson here is that the boys, like any businessman or innovator, followed every lead. They keep trading and trading.

To put it another way the adults on see the walls built up by pain and failure, children don’t know any better so they stumble forward as far as they can. As long as you stumble forward, one day there’s profit.

No comments:

Post a Comment