Kai Opaka (Camille Saviola), the spiritual leader of the Bajorans (who we met in the pilot), suddenly decides to visit DS9. She doesn’t say so, but Sisko can tell that she’s drawn toward the wormhole. Cmdr. Sisko (Avery Brooks), Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig), and Major Kira (Nana Visitor) take a runabout to show her the wormhole and pass through it to the Gamma Quadrant. They receive a distress call, but can’t tell where it’s coming from. Sisko wants to return to the space staion, but Opaka says she doesn’t get out much, so they explore further. They are led to a mysterious satellite network, which releases an energy burst, disabling the runabout. They crash land on a moon where Opaka dies almost instantly! While Kira weeps and sings a mourning song, a group of angry-looking humanoids (the Ennis) approach carrying weapons (cardboard blades w/ balls and old tool handles taped together). The leader, Shel-la (Jonathan Banks), explains that his people been placed here as prisoners, after a long war w/ the Nol-Ennis. They can’t die, but must live to fight (and die) repeatedly.
Bashir: What’s going on?
Sisko: Talks about a ceasefire.
Bashir: No kidding! How’d you arrange that?
Sisko: I told them we’d transport them off this moon.
Bashir: Isn’t that a bit like assisting a jailbreak?
Sisko: I don’t need you to interpret the Prime Directive for me, Doctor.
This is a well-done ep w/ some fine acting; its basic premise of two groups locked in a generations-old fight- w/ Starfleet attempting to make peace- has been done many times in the ST universe. This ep was one of the first to state exactly what the United Federation of Planets is; Sisko explains: “it is made up of over a hundred planets who have allied themselves for mutual scientific, cultural and defensive benefits. The mission that my people and I are on is to explore the galaxy.” Bashir repairs the medical scanner on the runabout, then discovers that the nanotechnology (which keeps people alive) only works at this location. The young doctor also saves Sisko’s life during a brutal fight between the Ennis and Nol.
Kai Opaka: Don’t deny the violence inside of you, Kira. Only when you accept it can you move beyond it.
Kira: I’ve known nothing but violence since I was a child.
Kai Opaka: In the eyes of the Prophets, we’re all children.
Kira: I’m afraid the Prophets won’t forgive me.
Kai Opaka: They’re just waiting for you to forgive yourself.
Kai Opaka (who comes alive) decides that it’s her pagh (“destiny”) to help these warring people “heal.” Kai Opaka is an interesting character; she feels that The Prophets (or wormhole aliens) meant for her to come to this place. The Bajorans had to fight (incl. resulting to acts of terrorism) to survive the long, brutal Cardassian occupation of their planet. They’re a deeply spiritual race and seem to be of a pacifist nature. Kai Opaka and Kira have a strong scene together, as do Sisko and Bashir.