Tough choices are made when Bajor falls in the middle of someone else’s Prophecy. Originally airing on November 28,1993, this is Sanctuary.
Station Log Stardate 47391.2 Sanctuary
When refugees from the Gamma quadrant arrive claiming that Bajor is their promised land, Kira must help determine if Bajor is capable of accepting the three million refugees.
Kira is having a bad day, she is dealing with issues on Bajor with the provisional government, she is dealing with late reports and with Quark complaining that his patrons are not drinking or gambling thanks to a performer she recommended. Her problems soon get more complex when a damaged ship emerges from the wormhole carrying four Skrreean refugees from the Gamma Quadrant.
After beaming the refugees aboard it is immediately clear that these people are frightened. At first the universal translators seem to not work causing communication to be difficult. Taking them to the infirmary, they soon realize that they need to find a way to communicate with these newcomers. It soon becomes apparent that the woman refugee is the leader of the group. After a while, the universal translator begins to kick in and they learn that these are the Skrreea, a matriarchal race who’s men are ‘too emotional’ to lead, and they need help, there are three million more on the other side of the wormhole waiting to come through to find a new home.
Haneek, the leader explains that they are searching for a planet called Kentanna just beyond the Eye of the Universe. It is said that this planet is a world of sorrow where the Skrreeans will sew seeds of Joy. She indicates that her people were a slave race to the T-Rogorans until the T-Rogorans were defeated by the Dominion. Haneek reluctantly accepts her position as the first through the wormhole and greats them as the ships begin to arrive at the station.
As more of the Skrreeans arrive they begin to flood the station causing Quark and the others to begin complaining about the newcomers only loitering and never buying anything. The Skrreean Matriarchy appoint Haneek as their new leader acknowledging that she was the one to have found the Eye of the Universe. She is now expected to lead her people to Kentanna and is finding it a frightening prospect. One of Kira’s friends, a musician named Varani gives Haneek a gift of some of his music. After listening to the song, Haneek researches the situation and learns of Bajor’s plight. She soon comes to the realization that Bajor could be the planet of sorrow, Kentanna.
Thinking they have found the Skrreeans a home, Sisko and Kira visit Haneek to inform them of their discovery. When they arrive at Haneek’s world, they are surprised to learn that the Skrreeans now believe that Bajor is in fact Kentanna, the planet of sorrow. They place a petition to settle on Bajor only to soon find themselves rejected by the Provisional Government.
Haneek is distraught at the response. The Bajoran government refuse to accept these people and their prophecy that Bajor is their fabled home. Not only is she distraught at this revelation, but she is hurt when Kira will not back the Skrreeans up in the discussion with the provisional government. Just when things cant seem to get any worse, Tumak, one of Haneeks children, steals a ship and heads toward Bajor. It soon becomes apparent that Tumak’s ship is in danger as the Bajorans begin closing in determined to shoot it down. Sisko contacts General Hazar offers assistance but far too late after Tumak opens fire on the interceptors. Tumaks ship is destroyed showing Haneek that Bajor is indeed not the place she believed it to be. The Skrreeans leave but not before Haneek tells Kira of the mistake Bajor is making, the Skrreeans could have helped the Bajorans become stronger and provide the people of Bajor the food they need. It seems that the past fifty years of Cardassian rule has made the people of Bajor frightened and suspicious of even the most obvious of allies.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a deep one. On the surface it is simply about a strange group of refugees who are turned away but there is much more than that in this episode.
Lets step back for a moment and put this in perspective. A DEEPLY religious culture, The Bajoran People worship a group of entities known as The Prophets. When the wormhole is discovered it is immediately identified as the Celestial Temple, the fabled home of The Prophets. To them, the Prophets are akin to God, they are the ultimate power in the universe and provide information and insight only to those who listen. Anything sent by or supported by The Prophets is automatically taken as gospel and assimilated by the Bajoran people through their religious leadership group known as The Vedek Assembly. Following me so far? So, on the other side of the wormhole a group of people known as the Skrreea. The Skrreea are a slave race of farmers who have had a legend of their own, they must find the Eye of the Universe in order to find a planet of sorrow that they call Kentanna. Upon finding the wormhole in the Gamma Quadrant it is clear that this is indeed an ‘Eye’ of the Universe and they soon find the very place that fits all of the points of their prophecy.
Now, on one hand we have a people who worship Prophets, on the other we have people following a prophecy, catch what I’m throwing here? For all intents and purposes, Bajor was indeed Kentanna and the Bajoran leadership threw away their last best chance at helping their world. Brutal huh?
Now, lets look at it from another perspective. Imagine a whole group of people arrive on our shores begging to be allowed to settle and contribute to our society. Imagine these people had just left a horrible situation and only want to make a life for themselves but are willing to give up everything to do just that. Now, imagine that you have more than enough land, food, resources to help them but they are different than you, I mean by a lot. You’d still help them right? I wish that was the easy answer, I wish that anyone would immediately say, ‘of course I would help them’ but sadly this is not the case any longer. I dont want to get on a soap box here but when you have a statue in the harbor of a major city in your country that states:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
You may want to consider that before turning anyone away who needs help.
As for an episode, it is still one of the most powerful ones of the season, if not the series. It not only really allows for some deep introspection for Major Kira but also foreshadows many things to come. They mentioned the Dominion in this one. You would really think that some data compiler in Star Fleet would have seen the word ‘Dominion’ in relation to three million people fleeing a star system and put two and two together. Well, I guess they could have if Sisko would actually keep a station log that is…
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
A keen eye will notice a certain Andrew Koenig in the role of the ill-fated Tumak. Andrew is Walter Koenig’s son. Walter is none other than Chekov.
We never see nor hear from the Skrreea even though they settle somewhere near Bajor. Sad that there was never a real followup here.
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Late To The Game 2/14/2021 (Originally published 5/1/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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