The crew of the Defiant
picks up a Distress Signal
coming from the survivor of a downed Starfleet ship. They race there, leaving the communications open with the woman (she says that she can't sleep due to the medicine she is taking to survive in the harsh atmosphere). Upon arrival, they find her in the cave she had sought out for shelter and bring her home. Her body, at least. It turns out that, thanks to the Timey-Wimey Ball
, she had crashed 3 years prior, and had been dead the entire time the Defiant
was racing to rescue her.
This episode provides examples of:
- Dead All Along
- Foreshadowing: "Because someday we're going to wake up and we're going to find that someone is missing from this circle." O'Brien had no idea how soon that would be proven true...
- Hope Spot: The whole story is one big Hope Spot. The rescue party seems poised to reach the "damsel in distress" in the nick of time, only to discover that an ill-explained time displacement was in effect, and she's actually been dead for years.
- Plot Hole: Why didn't anyone look up the ship she was from? Perhaps they would have learned sooner that she had been missing for 3 years.
- Talking to the Dead: Literally due to a Temporal Paradox. The Defiant receives a distress call in the middle of an interstellar storm and alter their course to the planet in order to help. During the trip, they hold a conversation with a Starfleet officer who only managed to keep herself alive thanks to the recommendations of rationing what few medical supplies she had. By the time the crew finally reaches her on the surface, they find that she had been dead long before the Defiant got the distress call.