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Episode 26 — The Orb
Exterior shot of DS9.
The Promenade, as seen from Quark's bar. It's way past
closing time. Quark ambles out of the back with the self-
satisfied air of a man of property who has just finished
calculating just exactly how much of a man of property he is. He
runs his hand along the bar and rubs his fingertips together. He
tilts his head back and carresses one ear, fantasizing about some
opportunity or option or leverage on the not too distant horizon.
His eye catches something, and in a few quick steps he's crouched
under a nearby table, picking up a yellow coin, and muttering at
the criminal carelessness of his hired staff. He stands and
examines the coin, frowning. Not any currency he's familiar
with. He sniffs it. Not gold. He rubs the surface with his
thumb. Is that a picture of a duck? He slips it into his
waistcoat pocket and turns away, shaking his head, but stops and
moves toward the shadows the better to watch what is transpiring
on the Promenade.
He squints. That Door Repair fellow is approaching along
the Promenade, guiding some sort of jury-rigged containment field
between two antigravs, one positioned above the other, using a
pair of remote control units, one in each hand. Suspended
between the upper and lower antigravs, within the shimmering
force field is . . . one of those Orbs the Bajorans make such a
holy fuss about! Quark puts his hand to his forehead. It's a
priceless religious relic! There can't be more than a dozen in
existence! One of the most precious and venerated objects in the
entire stellar system is wobbling slowly past the front door of
Quark's Bar and I'm there to make an offer on it!
Quark straightens the front of his jacket and steps out of
the shadows -- and immediately ducks back.
Somebody jumped out just as I moved! thinks Garak, hugging
the pillar. I quite definitely saw someone lurking inside
Quark's Bar. I knew this had to be coordinated. What kind of a
fool would parade one of the Tears of the Prophets down a public
concourse in the middle of the night, without even one hand free
to defend himself from muggers? Something is up here. Some kind
of Federation plan. If the Bajorans are selling off their most
cherished objects it must be for something they want very badly.
What one thing could compel a profoundly religious people like
the Bajorans to ransom their most spiritually significant
artifacts? After a moment's thought he nods to himself. Power.
It's the Nagus, thinks Quark. He's doing this to me. It
isn't enough that I'm stranded in this commercial backwater with
no prospect for advancement. He has to rub my nose in it. And
not in any vulgar wealthier-than-thou display. Oh no. The Grand
Nagus has powers and resources far beyond those of little Quark
the barkeeper. Gee, I wonder what would really put that Quark in
his place? I know, I'll go out and *buy* one of the most sacred
objects of some major religion and hire some maintainance man to
parade it past Quark's miserable little business right when he's
just finished his books and feeling like he may have finally
amounted to something. Heck, why buy it, I'll rent it!
Weapons. Starships. Of course! No need to violate the
peace treaty when you can arm an ally to carry out your plans for
you! And what better adversary to set upon Cardassia than Bajor?
And what better way to ensure the loyalty of those newly-armed
clients than to hold their holiest artifacts hostage! It all
fits together so beautifully, you really have to congratulate
them. It truly is a plot worthy of a Cardassian mind.
Well, he isn't going to get away with this as easily as he
imagined. I've got connections he doesn't know anything about.
Grand Nagus. I'll turn that staff of office against him. When
certain people on certain boards of directors hear what
unprofitable use he's putting perfectly good money to, he'll find
out a thing or two. All I have to do is figure out how to slip
away and make a few calls.
If I can get from this pillar to that one I should be able
to get away unseen by that man in Quark's Bar. Then I have a few
calls to make. It's just a matter of timing and resolve.
Quickly and silently. Here I go.
Garak slips away.
What was that?! Something moved! That's it. Get me outta
Quark runs for it.
Door Repair Guy continues down the far curve of the
Promenade, slowly balancing and guiding the antigrav/containment
field/Tear of the Prophets contraption with his two handheld
remotes until he is out of sight.
An icy asteroid rolls by, spewing cometary material.
"Crawlspace. The final frontier. These are the voyages of
The Door Repair Guy. His mission: to install and maintain
proximity-activated entranceways, to stake out new rooms and new
service conduits -- to boldly go where no one with a pass key has
Deep Space Nine space station drifts into view. A runabout
shoots past, revealing the words:
Star Trek: Door Repair Guy
Door Repair Guy as
Avery Brooks as
Rene Auberjonois as
Siddig El Fadil as
Terry Farrell as
Colm Meany as
Armin Shimerman as
Nana Visitor as
Philip Anglim as
Louise Fletcher as
Andrew Robinson as
Wallace Shawn as
Grand Nagus Zek
Natalia Nogulich as
and Max Grodenchik as
The runabout shoots by again, just as the wormhole bursts
into its polychromatic . . . whatever.
The Sisko residence. Jake is at the table having breakfast,
and Benjamin is in the bathroom. They're shouting at each other.
". . . so we get to the holosuite and I run the program and
we go in, right? And we watch a couple of innings and I explain
about the rules, okay? So then Marta says, "Okay, who's on
"Marta. So, I say, 'That's right.'"
"Who's on first."
"That's what I said."
"What did she say?"
"That's right! What's on second. Where'd she pick that
"What's on second."
"That's right! What's on second, I dunno's on third. What
an amazing girl."
The door chimes. Jake answers it. It's Vedek Bareil.
"I hope I'm not disturbing you, but I wonder if it is too
early to have a word with Commander Sisko?"
"Ah, just a moment. Ah Dad, Dad! There's . . . a holy guy
at the door!"
Sisko leans out and squints at the door, shows some
surprise, disappears, and comes out again with his shirt on.
"Jake, where are your manners? Show the Vedek in. Vedek
"It's early. Have you had any breakfast? Jake, what are
"Fruit Loops. Vedek Bareil, is there anything you would
"Please, no. They served continental breakfast on the
"How then can I be of service?"
"If you could just show me to the place where you have the
Orb guarded, I would be profoundly thankful. My mission is to
verify its authenticity and to see that the proper forms are
observed, preparatory to its return to Bajor. I shall also want
to interview the man who found it, to see what sort of a man he
is who has become such a blessed instrument of the Prophets'
Sisko opens his mouth, moves his hand around in the air,
closes his mouth, blinks, and says,
Vedek Bareil looks from Sisko to Jake, his earring jingling.
"The Provision Government received several high-level
communications during the night to the effect that there is an
Orb on Deep Space Nine. The rumour is spreading across the
planet. There are pilgrims coming."
Sisko (catching up):
Sisko turns and heads for the replicator.
To the replicator: "I need a raktajino and I need it now."
[Commercial: Lite Brite]
Sisko and Bareil arrive at Ops. O'Brien, Dax and Kira
register surprise. Well, all right, Kira registers surprise,
shock, pleasure, shyness, desire, embarrassment, defiance, joy,
nostalgia, anticipation, confusion, self-satisfaction, fondness
and dread, capped off by a quick nervous glance to left and right
and a professional squaring of the shoulders.
Dax: "Admiral Nechayev on subspace channel."
Sisko: "In my office."
He disappears behind the art deco doors.
*Good morning, Commander. Everybody on duty there?*
"A little earlier than usual."
*I can sympathize. Imagine my surprise at being awoken by a
communication from the Cardassian ambassador to the effect that
Starfleet is arming Bajor to the teeth, and that Deep Space Nine
is the distribution point*
"A groundless rumour."
*And what am I to make of this? A lawsuit filed with
Federation Superior Court by a consortium of highly-placed
Ferengi financiers charging Starfleet with insider trading and a
counter-suit from another group charging us with wanton disregard
of Ferengi right of unfettered commerce in religious objects*
"That would be in reference to the Orb."
*You have an Orb on the station?*
"So I'm told."
*Why don't you find out?*
"That is what I was about to do!"
*Then get on with it! Nechayev out!*
Everyone in Ops jumps at the sound of Sisko's hand slapping
his desktop. The doors open and Sisko emerges from his office,
the expression on his face a study of calmness and control.
"Vedek Bareil, you said you wanted to interview the man who
found the Orb. Did your sources tell you who he was?"
Bareil opens his hands in a gesture indicative of a growing
sense of confusion.
"Chief O'Brien, has anyone from the night watch reported
anything unusual . . . like an Orb?"
"Nothing in the reports. I could ask them. They're
probably all in bed by now."
"Wake them. Dax, are there any unusual sensor readings?
These Orbs are energy vortices of some kind. Surely you should
be able to pick something up."
Dax works on her computer console for a while, pursuing
several avenues of inquiry, but at last holds up her hands.
Bareil: "Their influence is purely spiritual."
Sisko: "Have any ships left the station since yesterday
"Keep it that way. Major Kira, is there any reason why a
Bajoran would want to secretly get his hands on one of those
Orbs? . . . Major Kira? Major?"
"Oh! Not that I know of. They belong in a monastery."
She glances at Bareil and blushes bright red. He glances
desperately around Ops, also blushing. O'Brien glances from one
to the other, takes a deep breath, and becomes very interested in
his control panel.
Sisko: "Well, somebody help me!"
*Door Repair Control to Ops*
"Ops. O'Brien here."
*Do we have a Lost and Found in this place?*
"The whole station is a bloody Lost and Found, if you ask
me. What have you lost?"
*My peace of mind*
"Then don't come up here."
He glances over at Sisko who has just broken the handle off
a raktajino mug.
*I found something too*
*I found that if I put this unusual energy vortex in my
stereo cabinet I can put on Pink Floyd, open the cabinet, and
"Commander! I've located the Orb."
Bashir: "So, apparently, this Door Repair fellow found the
Orb in a service conduit and, not knowing what it was, decided to
take it home and keep it as a sort of . . . lava lamp."
Odo: "A lava lamp. I should get one of those. Wait! You
say he found it in a service conduit? Behind an access panel?"
"Like our friend Borot?"
View of the Promenade filled with pilgrims.
Cut to Quark's Bar, where Quark is drying a glass and gazing
with satisfaction over his crowded establishment while saying:
"You know, they really should keep it here, on the station.
This is where it's been for years. Who knows what influence it's
had over events? I'll bet it's caused a lot of good. It'd be a
crime to remove it. No need to whisk it off to some monastery on
Bajor. No reason at all! This station is every bit as much a
part of Bajor as Bajor itself! More so! Bajorans built it with
the sweat of their own hands. Why, to take it away would be
scandalous. Besides, think of all the business. Pilgrims make
excellent customers. They always arrive hungry and they never
break up the place. And trinkets! They love trinkets!"
Sisko's office. Vedek Bareil and Door Repair Guy are seated
on the couch. Sisko leans on his desk, observing.
Bareil: "I would like to ask you a few questions about your
DRG: "Here's a question. If Leonard Cohen studied Zen,
would that make him Leonard Koan?"
Sisko: "What is the sound of one hand slapping you on the
back of the head? Answer the Vedek's questions and stop being
DRG: "Well, Mom's a strict Druse-Presbyterian. Though
antipedobaptist all the way. And she believes in fairies. Dad's
more of a Taoist-animist-agnostic with reservations. Plus he
wears a St Christopher medallion, and he says, 'By Apollo, lord
of the measuring rule' when he swears."
He suddenly gets a stricken look and sits back.
Bareil: "You've lost your parents?"
"Yes. But I know where to find them."
"Have you ever read _Hamlet_? I have the Klingon version at
my place. Well, anyway, it's a long story. They're in the Mulch
"An interesting concept. Many religions use the grass of
the fields as a metaphor for the transitoriness of life."
"Cool. But I'm beginning to think that if I just do the
right things I can get them back."
"A covenant with a relenting deity?"
"More of a workshop project."
Bareil thinks about this.
"Tell me, what is it you believe you were sent into this
life to do?"
"Well. Fix doors. Satisfy my curiosity about stuff. Teach
the little children about Jethro Tull."
Bareil takes this in. He looks worried. He stands.
"Emissary, Kai Winn will be arriving later today to take
possession of the Orb and to receive . . . this person into the
body of the Bajoran religious commonalty. There will be a small
ceremony. May we count on your attendance."
Sisko eyes Door Repair Guy.
"We'll be there."
Kira's door chimes.
Dax enters and looks around.
"Major? You wanted to see me?"
Kira comes out of the other room in something very low-cut.
She stops, retreats to the doorway, turns, looks herself up and
down, and says:
"I wanted to ask you . . ."
Dax: "It's very . . ."
"Do you think so?"
"Yes, it . . ."
"I thought so!"
"Are you going to . . . ?"
"I hope so! But I was wondering . . . do you think it makes
my butt look too . . . ?" She turns around to look at her butt.
"No . . ."
"No, not at all!"
"No, it's . . ."
"That's great! That's all I wanted to know!"
She's out the door.
The Promenade. Quark is in front of his bar, working the
"Ladies and gentlemen, step right this way! Quark's Bar is
pleased to announce Quark's Pilgrim's Special! Dinner for two,
happy hour all day, thirty minutes in the holosuite and a spin at
the dabo table at a new all time low introductory price! Roll
up, roll up!"
Odo: "That ought to appeal to the religious traveler."
"Don't you have a customs inspection or docking violation to
"No. I've never seen a more orderly crowd."
"What about the Orb? Shouldn't you have that under close
"It's sitting safely in a containment cell in Security with
four Bajoran clerics to mind it."
"Well, get away from my leaseline. You're deflecting
"As you wish. I think I'll just stroll around and enjoy the
sensation of being among law-abiding people for a change."
"Have fun! Flatfoot."
"Okay, and back to D . . . what are these?"
"These are my cats."
"Oh, great, an animal act. Cut. Let's do another take."
Camera guy: "We're live, Bob."
"Oh. Well, back to Star Trek: Door Repair Guy in a second.
And I'm here with Natalie Bartlett who outbid everyone else in
the Freenet online auction for a chance to sit on the Bob couch,
and how much did you pay, Natalie?"
"Wow! That's more than we paid for the couch. And you
brought along a couple of friends. This is . . ."
"Leo. They're both big fans."
"Oh, and I was RUSTLEBUMPRUSTLERUSTLEPURRRPURRRRPURRR."
(Felix has jumped into Bob's lap and is walking in a circle
and rubbing up against Bob's microphone.)
(Meanwhile Leo is at the other end of the couch tearing long
gouges out of the armrest with two sets of claws.)
"Well that's right, Bob. Cats have been a very important
part of Star Trek from the beginning."
"And 'Catspaw' and 'Assignment: Earth' in the original
"THUMPRUSTLERUSTLE to Door Repair Guy in just a PURRPURRPURR
[Commercial: Hoop and Stick]
*Sisko to Kira. Where are you, Major? The Kai's ship has
Explosion of arms and legs as Kira and Bareil wake up and
both try to jump out of bed at once.
Security. Quark slips in and genuflects to the four
"I just thought you'd like to know. There are two Klingons
having a theological debate on the Promenade. One of them says
the Emperor is the true embodiment of Kahless the Unforgettable
and the other says he's a miserable clone. The knives are out."
The clerics look at one another with kindled interest and
Quark steps over to the containment cell and overrides the
security force field with a few taps on the control. The field
dissolves and Quark walks inside. The Orb is contained in an
ancient wooden ark set on a pedestal. Quark rubs his hands
together gleefully. He opens the carved doors and steps back
with a gasp at the onset of the vision.
He is standing in his father's house. His father looks him
up and down and says: "Quark, you'll never amount to anything if
you set up among those Cardassians. Why do you think they're out
conquering other people's planets? Cause they've got no money!
They think poverty is a virtue! They say it makes them strong!
Why can't you be like your cousin? Now there's a pair of lobes!"
"But, Father! The final frontier. New worlds. People who
never even read a contract before, let alone the fine print."
"Bah! A foolish son is worse than a tax audit. If you
won't be reasonable, at least obey me in this one small thing."
"Take this with you."
He produces a grinning Rom from behind his back.
The scene shifts. Now Grand Nagus Zek stands before him.
"So-o-o-o-o-o, Quark, thought you could pull one over on the
old Nagus, eh, you little runt. Thrown in your hat on the
personal transporter patent competition, have you? I've got news
for you, my friend. I'm on to Tong and you and the rest of you
crummy also-rans. When the entire Federation is walking around
with cybernetic implant technology hanging out of their
underdeveloped ears, whose smiling face do you think they'll have
tattooed on their butts? Mine, that's whose! And you'll be in
the service department with a stool and a tray of needles
shouting, 'Next!' And loving it! So let this be a warning!"
The Nagus totters off.
"Boy, is he connected. How did he know I was going to have
"Say what you like, Odo. It's just a vision."
"All right, I will. Your brother Rom is handing out alms in
support of the Bajoran orphans fund. He's being quite open-
"Ha ha. Good one, Odo."
"Yes, he is."
Odo steps into the cell and closes the doors of the ark.
The four clerics group around it looking very displeased.
Quark glances from face to face, then dashes out the door.
He runs down the Promenade. On the way he sees Bareil dashing
toward him. He stops in his tracks, so suddenly that Bareil
stops too. They both stand there, each thinking the other has
something to say to him. At last Quark blurts, "Curiosity got
the best of me! I just had to open it and see." And with that
he dashes away toward the bar. Bareil watches him go,
dumbfounded, then gathers up his robes to charge off again, then
stops and thinks.
[Commercial: Corncob Doll]
The conference room. Sisko, Dax, O'Brien and Bashir in
dress uniform are standing around a modest buffet.
O'Brien picks up a brown fleshy leaf and turns it over and
over, trying to decide whether it's animal, vegetable or fungal,
and making a face.
"What is this food?"
Bashir: "Klingon was all I could get on such short notice.
The relicators are down again."
"I'd better get down there and have a look."
Sisko: "Hold your ground. You're not getting out of this
Dax: "You know, Deep Space Nine is the only place in the
Bajoran sector where you can get this stuff."
She picks the leaf from O'Brien's fingers and stuffs it in
her mouth, chewing and smiling mischievously with the juice
runing down her chin.
Bashir: "Commander, we've both read this fellow's service
record. What did the Enterprise's Counselor say? 'Well in touch
with his inner nineteen-year-old'? Do you think it's wise of the
Federation to allow such an inglorious character to represent it
in a matter of such importance to the Provisional Government?"
"I see no alternative, Doctor. After all, he did find the
Orb. The Kai would be able to spot an imposter with one tug of
the ear. We can only hope this Door Repair Guy has a sense of
decorum. Heaven knows I spent half the afternoon preparing him."
The door opens and DRG walks in.
Sisko: "I thought I told you to dress up!"
"These are brand new overalls."
"Where's your dress uniform?"
"I'm in Maintenance. We don't have them."
"Damn! Do you think the Kai knows that? There may be time
to do something. Doctor, give him your uniform."
"I will not!"
"Doctor, it's no secret that Kai Winn is no friend of the
Federation. All I need to make this a perfect day is Admiral
Nechayev on the line telling me that the Bajorans have decided to
lease the station to someone who knows how to dress when the Kai
comes to visit! Off with it! And, speaking of the Bajorans,
*where* is Major Kira?!"
She slips in.
"Am I early?"
"No, you're late! Lucky for you so is . . . Kai Winn, what
Kai Winn enters at the head of a delegation of Vedeks. She
darts suspicious glances to left and right as she approaches,
then smiles and takes Commander Sisko by the ear.
"Emissary. I'm so pleased to see you on this joyful day.
The Prophets, it seems, continue to honour you as an instrument
of their will. It almost makes me wonder when the Bajorans on
this station will earn their trust."
By now she has located Kira and is pinning her with her
eyes. Kira thrusts out her lip.
Sisko: "You do me great honour, Kai Winn. However, I cannot
claim credit for this discovery. That good fortune resides with
one of my . . . associates." He reaches back into the group of
Starfleet personel and pulls Door Repair Guy forward, positioning
him in front of him and gripping him by the shoulders in a manner
that suggests either great affection or a readiness to strangle
him at the least provocation.
Winn takes in the sight.
"An simple working man."
She reaches forward and grasps his ear firmly. Everyone
cranes to see how he'll take it. He looks here and there about
the ceiling like somebody receiving an ear examination.
"An interesting pagh. Much curiosity. Much bad behaviour.
Strange. You've been here before?"
Flashback: young DRG grimacing and twisting with his ear in
his mother's grip.
Back to DS9. DRG allows his gaze to glide back to the level
of the heads of the assembled Vedeks.
"Any of you people ever been to Sydney, Australia?"
Sisko's hands tighten spasmodically.
"Emissary, please let him go. Your enthusiasm is
influencing my reading."
She closes her eyes and concentrates, still holding the ear.
She opens her eyes and releases her grip. She turns and
quietly addresses the Vedek behind her shoulder.
"Bareil. Where is he?"
"Here I am, Kai Winn."
"I was on my way when I met a man who was full of questions
about . . . the Prophets. We talked."
Winn: "You assisted him with his quest?"
"In fact he assisted me with mine. He reminded me of a
story first told by Vedek Barcel six hundred years ago. Perhaps
you recall it."
"Is it canonical?"
"It is not."
"Then I do not."
"Permit me then. There was once a city inhabited by people
from a foreign land. Relations with the local population were
not always good, and the city-dwellers began to lock their gates
at night. As time passed tensions increased and the city-
dwellers took it upon themselves to strengthen their walls and
build stouter doors. This merely deepened the hard feelings
between the country-dwellers and them, and eventually the city
people decided they must place a bronze dome over their entire
town to protect them from the projectiles of their angry
neighbours. This they did, though it took them years and much of
their wealth to accomplish. But it was none too soon, because
soon after that the country-dwellers declared war and laid seige
to the city.
The seige lasted many years. But the city-dwellers had
planned for it, and their cellars were filled with preserved
foods in boundless quantity. So things continued. One day the
gate-keeper fell and broke his hip, and his assistant was
promoted in his place, a youth who had not even been born when
the bronze dome was completed. He took the ceremonial place
beside the great gate and stood the night watch, following all of
the correct forms. The night passed like any other.
However, at the end of his watch a strange thing happened.
There was a knock on the door. Not the beat of a battering ram,
or the percussion of explosives. Merely a knock.
The gatekeeper's assistant drew the incident to the
attention of the authorities, who quickly decided that it was an
enemy trick, and that in future he must report any similar
occurrence. The watch changed and he went home.
The next night he stood watch again, and at the end of his
watch there was another knock. He informed his superiors, a
report was written up and filed away, and he went home.
The same thing happened every night he stood watch.
At last his curiosity overcame him. At the end of his watch
there was a knock on the door. He looked around. There was
nobody nearby. So he opened the gate."
Bareil pauses for effect.
O'Brien, who has been following the story with a look of
profound consternation, comes to and blurts, "Who was at the
"Nobody but the morning sun. The country-dwellers were away
sowing the fields. The young gatekeeper went out, saw that there
was no army, and began to explore the countryside. He met a
country girl, married her, and settled down, and when he asked
about the war, they told him that it ended years ago."
The Vedeks look at one another and nod.
(Kira leans to Dax and explains, "On Bajor there's a sort of
rodent called a spring bumper. Every spring, as a mating signal,
it beats its head against a tree or some other wooden object."
Dax: "Like a door!")
Kai Winn: "Well, thank you, Vedek, for that lovely parable."
She raises an elaborate Bajoran jewelled chain and clamps it
mercilessly on Door Repair Guy's ear.
"The Gatekeeper's Disobedient Servant."
Written by Douglas A. McLeod firstname.lastname@example.org
Episode 26 — The Orb
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