Sisko finds a new hobby: building a "light ship" (a ship with sails that are pushed by light pressure from a sun) based on ancient Bajoran designs. Bajoran legends say that they explored their region of space as far as Cardassia in these ships 800 years ago, though it seems physically impossible, since solar pressure can't push anything faster than light-speed. Sisko hopes to duplicate their voyage as far as possible. The Cardassians consider the whole thing to be Bajoran fairy tales.
Jake goes along for the adventure, and uses the opportunity to show his father one of his stories and tell him about his desire to be a writer. He has been offered a fellowship at a university on Earth, but isn't sure whether he's ready to go that far from home yet. He also tells Ben he needs to start dating again, and that there is a freighter captain named Kasidy Yates with whom he wants to match Ben up.
The ship is damaged by space debris, but when they are about to give up and signal for help, they get caught in some sort of space wind
that sweeps them at warp speed all the way to Cardassia.
Back on the station, Dr. Bashir is tense because a ship carrying the classmate who beat him for the role of valedictorian will be visiting the station. He agonizes over how to deal with her, only to discover that she doesn't even remember him and that the assignment they were competing for, Chief Medical Officer of the USS Lexington
, turned out to be a lot more boring than his life on Deep Space 9.
This episode provides examples of:
- Badass Beard: Sisko has grown a goatee.
- Bottle Episode: Even director David Livingston referred to this episode as one.
- Breather Episode: A very relaxed outing after some action-heavy episodes.
- Friendship Moment: Bashir and O'Brien get very drunk together and the following conversation ensues:
O'Brien: Well, people either love you or hate you.
O'Brien: I mean, I hated you when we first met.
Bashir: I remember.
O'Brien: And now...
Bashir: And now?
O'Brien: Well... now I don't.
Bashir: (emotionally) That means a lot to me Chief, it really does.
- I Choose to Stay: Jake gets accepted into a writing school back on Earth, but opts to defer for a while to stay with his dad and to experience new things.
- Innocuously Important Episode: Jake mentions he's trying to set Ben up with a Kasidy Yates, who will make her first appearance in the next episode and will eventually become Ben's wife.
- Reality Subtext: Sisko explains he grew his goatee because he wanted a change. Avery Brooks had long wanted to grow his beard back, but producers asked him to wait because they wanted to visually distinguish Sisko from Brooks' earlier character, Hawk. (Hawk also had a shaved head, but Brooks would have to wait until Season 4 for that.)
- Rousseau Was Right: When the Cardassians find Sisko's solar sail vessel has reached Cardassia, rather than try to suppress it, they throw a party with space fireworks and announce that they've found an old crash site on Cardassia that also proves the story is true.
- Solar Sail
- Space Is an Ocean: Solar sails are real, but still...
- What Could Have Been: The original pitch had O'Brien building and taking the ship out. Producers altered it because they wanted a father/son episode.
- Leeta (making her first appearance) was going to be a one-shot character, but producers liked Chase Masterson's performance and decided to bring her back in future episodes.