The first shot of the episode gives us an old man, injecting himself with a hypospray, just prior to a young woman (Rachel Robinson) knocking at his door. So, what was in the hypospray?... Oh: the young woman, Melanie, claims that the old man (Tony Todd) is Jake Sisko (Cirroc Lofton). ...What? Oh: Melanie claims that Jake is her favorite author, and always wondered why he stopped writing after Anslem and Collected Stories were published. She has tracked him down, and Jake decides that tonight, of all nights, is the time to tell the story of why he stopped telling stories: "My father died."After the credits, we begin one of the episode's many Flashbacks: to the USS Defiant in the "present day" of DS9 (IE, Lofton as Jake), with the elder Jake narrating. Though Jake was nose-deep in the writing of Anslem at the time, his father, Captain Benjamin Sisko convinced him to come out to the Bajoran Wormhole to watch it undergo an "inversion," a natural wonder that only happens every 50 years or so.
- Sisko: "I'm no writer, but if I were, it seems to me I'd wanna poke my head up every once in a while and take a look around, see what's going on. It's life, Jake. You can miss it if you don't open your eyes."
- Melanie: I'm not sure I could ever get over losing somebody like that, right in front of my eyes.
Old Jake: People do. Time passes, and they realize that the person they lost is really gone. And they heal.
Melanie: Is that what happened to you?
Old Jake: No. I suppose not.
- Sisko: Jake... you didn't have to do this. Not for me.
Old Jake: For you, and for the boy that I was. He needs you, more than you know. Don't you see? We're going to get a second... chance.
- A Day in the Limelight: For Jake.
- Adult Fear: A father dies, and his beloved son never truly recovers from the loss - progressively throwing the rest of his life away in his inability to move on. Sisko gets to witness small glimpses of his son's life over the decades as Jake loses sight of everything that made him happy in his father's absence, and is progressively more distraught with each encounter.
- Back to School: Adult Jake earns a degree in temporal mechanics, as part of his plan to save his father.
- Big "NO!": Ben, when he realizes that Jake committed suicide for him.
- Jake gets one earlier when his father disappears, and again later when his first attempt to save Sisko fails.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: The Defiant gets de-mothballed in the future by Jake & friends, presumably in order to recreate the accident as closely as possible. Dax states that just about the only thing that still worked, when they started rehauling her, was the replicator!
- Determinator: Jake, hoo boy. He devotes his entire adult life to getting his dad back.
- Disappeared Dad: Stuck out of time, but still.
- For Want of a Nail: One dodged energy bolt...
- Framing Device: An elderly Jake Sisko relates the reason he stopped writing to a young fan of his.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Jake's eventual solution.
- Holographic Terminal: Bashir on the un-mothballed Defiant comments on how long it's been since he's used a two-dimensional console, suggesting that Starfleet has switched to these.
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: This actually is how the episode begins.
- The Mourning After: A filial rather than romantic version, and justified given the nature of it. It's hard to find closure for a disappearance under ordinary circumstances, much less when your loved one keeps re-appearing. Ben, however, repeatedly insists that Jake needs to move on with his life.
- The Slow Path: A rare example of seeing this trope from the perspective of the one on said path.
- Pet the Dog: Quark gives Nog some time off work so that he and Jake can use the holosuite.
- Putting the Band Back Together: Jake does this with the Defiant's crew during the rescue mission.
- Rank Up: Nog does this a few times, eventually becoming The Captain.
- Reset Button Suicide Mission: Benjamin Sisko is trapped in subspace by a Negative Space Wedgie and periodically comes back for a few minutes at a time into the life of his son Jake, at ever increasing intervals. Jake abandons his writing career and spends his whole life trying to find a way to save his father. Eventually he determines that the tie between them can only be severed at the point of Jake's death. He poisons himself so that he'll die at the exact time of Benjamin's next visit, sever the tie, undo about sixty years, and put Benjamin back a few seconds before the anomaly, giving him time to jump out of the way.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Jake spends his whole life trying to do this. It's only when his life ends that it happens for real.
- Shout-Out: A close look at the manuscript Jake is editing in the first flashback reveals it to be "Commodore Hornblower". It's quite appropriate, as Star Trek took in a lot of inspiration from the Hornblower books.
- This Is My Story
- Token Minority Couple: A rather strange example. The wife of Jake (who is African-American) is a Bajoran - who is played by a black actress.
- Whole Episode Flashback