Jake is exposed to the horrors of war as Bashir reluctantly takes the young writer to the front lines of a battle between Klingons and a Federation outpost.
- A Day in the Limelight: Jake Sisko.
- Accidental Hero: During the climax, Jake grabs a phaser rifle and starts firing blindly at the Klingons out of sheer panic. It turns out he caused a cave-in that gave the hospital enough time to get everyone out, and he's hailed as a hero.
- As the Good Book Says...: The title of the episode is an abbreviated quote from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 9, Verse 11.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favor to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all
- Be Careful What You Wish For: While on the runabout Jake laments how boring the medical conference he was supposed to be writing about was, and wishes for something more exciting. He certainly gets it.
- Blue and Orange Morality: The Klingons deliberately target hospitals and kill wounded enemies in their beds. They honestly think they're doing them a favor by giving them an honorable death.
- Captain's Log: Jake gets his own version as he's a journalist writing down what he witnesses.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In a failed Offscreen Moment of Awesome, Odo jumped off a flight of stairs when pursuing two Yridians, planning to morph in mid-air. Unfortunately, he's no longer a Changeling, and his little stunt landed him in the infirmary.
- Died Standing Up: Well, sitting up. Burke was determined to see the sky when he died.
- Dirty Coward:
- One of the wounded confesses that he shot himself in the foot with his own phaser to get out of combat.
- Jake sees himself as this partway through the storyline. Eventually he comes to realize that the line between courage and cowardice is far thinner than he ever realized.
- The Klingons eagerly attacking a hospital full of wounded can be seen as this, especially as it happens shortly before a cease-fire that occurs the moment Starfleet reinforcements arrive.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe: When the doctors lightheartedly joke about how they'd like the Klingons to kill them, Jake, who had just witnessed Burke die alone in the dirt, doesn't take it well.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Burke's death is rather gruesome by the standards of Star Trek. In a franchise where people tend to simply be vaporized and fade away, Burke chokes to death on his own blood after getting shot.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- Jake beats himself up pretty good over running away and leaving Bashir.
- At the same time, Bashir is beating himself up over bringing Jake into a war zone.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: When Jake returns to the hospital, he's told that Bashir (despite being wounded and abandoned by Jake) still retrieved the generator they were sent to get (despite it supposedly being too heavy to be carried by one man). When a guilty Jake visits Bashir in his sickbed, Bashir doesn't even think of recriminations because he's just glad Jake is alive.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: After Jake ran away, Bashir managed to make it to the runabout and somehow hauled the generator a kilometer back to the hospital all by himself, picking up serious disruptor burns along the way.
- Papa Wolf: As soon as Sisko hears that the Farragut was destroyed before reaching Ajilon Prime, he takes the Defiant there to help Jake.
- Seen It All: Three veteran doctors are unfazed when Jake has a vomit attack during lunch.
"Pass the salt."
- So Proud of You: Sisko after reading Jake's story, praising him for his honesty.
- Special Effects Failure: Jake and Bashir are bombarded by tiny explosions meant to be artillery fire.
- Technobabble: Lampshaded by Jake during one of his inner monologues while Bashir's babbling about...whatever.
"I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about."
- This Is Reality: Burke calls out Jake's wish for redemption, noting that in real life that sort of thing doesn't happen the way it does in books.
- Uncoffee: Decaffinated raktajino. It tastes awful.
Odo: So much for "Quark-tajino."
- War Is Hell: Jake goes into the episode eager to see what the front-lines are like and look for new writing material. Then he gets to experience all the pointless violence, bloodshed and psychological scarring.
- Whole Plot Reference: To The Red Badge of Courage, about a soldier in the American Civil War who runs from his first battle and struggles to redeem himself when a wound he picked up causes his regiment to think he heroically fought to the last.