O'Brien and Bashir are sent on a relief mission to Bajor in response to a medical emergency, the nature of which is unknown. O'Brien approaches Sisko before their departure, noting that his role in the mission is little more than a chauffeur, and requests that someone else go with Bashir. Although he gives no specific reason for his request, it becomes clear when a gung-ho Bashir enters the room that O'Brien considers Bashir a pest. Sisko ignores O'Brien's request and tends to a conflict between two rival Bajoran factions, the Paqu and the Navot.
Bashir attempts to make small talk during the trip to Bajor, but O'Brien gives him the cold shoulder. They beam to the surface and find no signs of disease; a man called the Sirah is dying, and the village leader believes the entire village will die with him. The Sirah awakens and proclaims that the Prophets have sent O'Brien to the village; he then asks O'Brien and Bashir to leave. Outside, Bashir informs the village leader that the Sirah is dying of natural causes. The man warns the "Dal'Rok" will destroy the village if the Sirah is not able to fend it off, but he does not reveal just what it is.
That night, against Bashir's wishes, the Sirah's apprentice helps him outside amidst a strong wind. There he speaks to the entire village, announcing the Dal'Rok's awakening as a threatening cloudlike apparition appears in the sky above him. The villagers cheer him on as he tells of how the village will resist the Dal Rok, but O'Brien's tricorder picks up nothing. He and Bashir observe as the Sirah gives a narrative about the village defeating the Dal'Rok, and as he speaks, a beam of light seems to make the apparition disappear.
The Sirah collapses in the middle of his narrative and the villagers panic as the Dal'Rok returns to destroy several buildings. He ignores his apprentice and whispers the rest of the story to O'Brien, who repeats it verbatim to the village. The light reappears, eventually causing the apparition to dissipate. By the time the Dal'Rok is gone, however, the Sirah has died. The village leader announces the Sirah's death and informs the villagers that O'Brien is his successor.
The villagers treat O'Brien like a king; he is visibly agitated by his new status but Bashir is fascinated. The village leader is adamant about the Sirah's choice when O'Brien tries to tell him he is not the Sirah's successor. He and the other villagers insist on treating O'Brien as the new Sirah. O'Brien searches for whatever caused the Dal'Rok, knowing he is now expected to fend it off that night, he and Bashir are unable to explain it.
The Sirah's apprentice visits O'Brien, who inquires about the Sirah. He brandishes a dagger and tries to kill O'Brien, claiming he is the true Sirah, but Bashir stops him. O'Brien tells the apprentice he is glad to relinquish the post, but the apprentice reveals he had a chance to tell the story and failed. The Sirah's choice of O'Brien was a way of punishing his apprentice. He shows Bashir and O'Brien a rock, supposedly a fragment of an Orb of the Prophets, which harnesses the villagers' thoughts and creates the Dal'Rok. Only by uniting can they stop it.
O'Brien encourages the apprentice to try telling the story again, but the village leader rejects the apprentice. He orders him to take the Sirah's robe off, leaving O'Brien little choice in the matter. O'Brien goes in front of the village that night and attempts to tell the story. "Once upon a time, there was a little Dal'Rok," he begins, unable to come up with a coherent narrative. The dissatisfied villagers see the Dal'Rok return in full force and begin to panic. At Bashir's suggestion, the apprentice takes the stage and, speaking eloquently as the Sirah did, tells of a new voice challenging the Dal'Rok. The villagers follow his lead and defeat the Dal'Rok, embracing him as the new Sirah and relieving O'Brien of the post.
A Sirah (pronounced suh-RAH) is a spiritual leader from an unnamed village on Bajor in the fictional Star Trek universe. Two Sirahs are featured in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Storyteller". A Sirah's role can be summarized as follows: the village in question used to be bitterly divided, so the first Sirah used a piece of an orb to channel all the villagers' fears into a monster called the Dal'Rok, which would appear over a five-day period every Bajoran year and be repeatedly driven out by the collective goodwill and unity of the villagers, catalyzed by stories told by the Sirah, which essentially stated that although the Dal'Rok is powerful, the village is united and thus the Dal'Rok will be defeated.