Friday, June 1, 2012


**** (4 stars out of 5)

Nog overhears an opportunity: a careless order of 5,000 wrappages of Cardassian yamok sauce (now useless). "Recycling" them for his uncle Quark, Nog conspires with Jake to trade them to a Lissepian for 100 gross of self-sealing stem bolts. The Lissepian has a built-in beard but is not too free with instructions. Even O'Brien doesn't know what the bolts are for! But somebody does, and trades them for seven tessipates of land. Before anybody has to swallow a dog to catch a cat, Jake & Nog's No-J Consortium end up selling to the Bajoran government... by way of Quark.

That same government, with Federation help, is about to tap the molten core of Bajor's fifth moon, Jerrado, for enough energy to heat hundreds of thousands of homes. Great theory, but the evacuation of the moon missed some squatters. Crusty Mullibok and his two mute pals plan to stay on their katterpod bean farm. They fled the Cardassians and they won't flee uniforms again. Mullibok believes he will die if he leaves his home of 40 years, so he'd apparently rather die in seven days when an energy beam spears out of the sky to spilt Jerrado like a sulphurous egg.

Kira asks her government rep to reconsider phased energy retrieval: a slow but ecologically sound method. But when has THAT ever worked? Instead, forced evacuation, security guards stabbed, and Mullibok shot. Kira whips off her uniform to tend the old jerk in her crochet muscle shirt. She even builds him a kiln. Sisko comes after her, tells her he needs her, he likes her, and that she need not link her fate to Mullibok's. When the farmer's recovered and the kiln is built... Kira blows it up and burns his house down. So there.

Has anybody got the Genesis Device to work in the last 9 decades? (Rhetorical question: "Home Soil" strongly suggests they haven't). So why waste a perfectly good Class-M moon? If you'll recall from the B-story, Bajor is so desperate for farmland they're buying it from Jake and Nog.

That aside, there's a metaphorical level where I side with Kira. "The needs of the many" do, indeed, often outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Mullibok's petulant "I will die if you move me" attitude seems deeply selfish. He's like the noisy minority that calls down God's curses on the world of science, clinging fiercely to the past when the past was actually much shittier in every respect (including literally).

 "Progress" is half whimsy and half grimly real. Great performances from Brian Keith and Nana Visitor. I guess what's best here is the lack of easy answers. I'm pretty sure both Kira and Mullibok are in the wrong, but I can't see a better solution in the conditions created by the story. (Unless it's replicating the old coot an identical house with all the bountiful energy this project offers. Or beaming the original house to Bajor.) Any thoughts?

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