A bombing at a Romulan-Federation peace conference confirms the worst: The Founders have infiltrated Earth. And the methods to protect the planet may send the Federation into jackbooted paranoia.
- Adult Fear: An elderly parent with health problems who refuses to slow down or keep up with his medications.
- Alien Lunch: Why Nog likes eating at Sisko's—it's the only place where he can get tube grubs. And old Sisko actually considers putting them on the menu.
- Apothecary Alligator: Old Sisko has one, despite not being an apothecary. Then again, it is New Orleans.
- Big Blackout: Up to Eleven—all of Earth goes dark, apparently because of Dominion sabotage.
- The Big Easy: Still has such things as horse-drawn carriages and a Creole restaurant with non-replicated food.
- Odo suggests that the Dominion might have gained cloaking technology from the Cardassian/Romulan fleet that was destroyed in the Omarian Nebula.
- A disguised changeling displays hostility towards Odo; Sisko speculates that it's because Odo is the only changeling who has ever harmed another changeling.
- Cassandra Truth: The elder Sisko actually figures out how the Changelings could easily get around blood screenings, and is completely ignored.
- To be fair, the elder Sisko only mentioned that possibility during a rant which was cut off by him having a stroke, so captain Sisko could easily have forgotten the idea in the rush to save his father's life.
- Continuity Nod: The Federation President says there hasn't been a state of emergency on Earth in a century, barring the Borg incident.
- Control Freak: Odo hates disorder on the station and especially in his quarters, becoming infuriated when Dax pranks by moving his belongings by centimeters. It's a changeling thing.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Nog cannot stop talking Red Squad, a new elite group of cadets at the Academy.
- Evil Is Petty: The changeling disguised as Leyton goes out of its way to unnecessarily insult Odo, clueing him in to what's going on.
- Face Palm: Sisko's reaction to his father's stubbornness.
- When chewing out Ben over his paranoia, the elder Sisko remarks that if he were a Changeling, he'd suck the blood out of some poor solid in order to beat the blood screenings. Season 5 will demonstrate that's already happened at least once by this point in the storyline (and in a context heavily implies the Changelings deliberately manipulated them into using them).
- When Odo offers to check in on O'Brien's and Bashir's families, Bashir tells him not to bother. Probably because of the family secret.
- Jake assures Nog that one day he'll get to join Red Squad. Yeah, about that...
- Handshake Refusal: Changeling!Leyton does this to dodge Odo's attempt to expose him. Odo manages to force the issue, but the changeling still escapes.
- Immigrant Patriotism: Discussed. Jaresh-Inyo isn't a native of Earth, but he's fearful of being the President that destroys the utopia that has been created on it. Leyton on the other hand doesn't think Jaresh-Inyo can fully understand how committed he, Sisko, and the rest of humanity are to defending their homeworld.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: What Sisko's father fears the Federation's "Protective measures" will bring about.
- Just Following Orders: The redshirt's response to old Sisko getting pissed over the blood tests. Ben Sisko backs him up, as he signed the order himself.
- My God, You Are Serious: Jaresh-Inyo's reaction to Sisko advising him to declare martial law.
- Noodle Incident: After downing his beer, O'Brien almost smashes his mug before Quark stops him. Apparently, he's actually done it at least once.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Downplayed. President Jaresh-Inyo isn't a bad guy; he's just a peacetime president in a bad situation. He's also reasonable enough to take Sisko's and Leyton's advice, even though he's not happy about it.
- Oh, Crap!: Jaresh-Inyo damn near freaks out when Sisko's briefcase shape-shifts in front of him. It turns out to be Odo, demonstrating the current Swiss Cheese Security.
- Orphaned Punchline: Courtesy of Quark.Quark: Then the Andorian says "That's not my antenna!"
- Out-of-Character Alert:
- Properly Paranoid: Jaresh-Inyo accuses Sisko and Leyton of being paranoid regarding their increased security measures—until Odo makes the above entrance, justifying their concerns.
- Reluctant Ruler: Jaresh-Inyo never really wanted to become president, and now he really regrets it.
- Shout-Out: Coming out of their WWII Pilots holoprogram, O'Brien comments they they got "cabbage crates coming over the briny".
- Stepford Smiler: Of a sort—after his stroke, old Sisko keeps up his jovial act in the restaurant despite feeling like crap.
- Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: How old Sisko feels about the order to test the blood of officers' families. He's even more pissed that his son signed the order.Security Officer: All family members of Starfleet personnel are required to submit to blood screenings. No exceptions.
Joe Sisko: That is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. (to Ben Sisko) Do you believe that?
Ben Sisko: I should. I signed the orders myself.
Joe: Now why would you go and do a stupid thing like that?
- Tempting Fate: You were just asking for this one, Mr. President.President Jaresh-Inyo: I believe the Changeling threat to be somewhat less serious than Starfleet does.Leyton: Mr. President, I assure you the threat is real.Jaresh-Inyo: For all we know, there was only one Changeling on Earth, and he might not even be here anymore.Sisko: But if he is here, we have a problem. There's no telling how much damage one Changeling can do.Jaresh-Inyo: Forgive me for saying so, Captain, but you sound a little paranoid.Sisko: Do I?[Sisko's briefcase morphs into Odo, scaring the life out of the President]Odo: Forgive the intrusion, Mr. President, but as you can see, Starfleet has every right to be concerned.
- To Absent Friends: Bashir and O'Brien toast their fallen holographic squadmate.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: This Sisko's and Leyton's mindset for their increased security measures. However, in this case, the utopia on Earth already exists. They're just trying to protect it.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Sisko's dad gives him a huge butt-chewing for thinking that he might be a changeling, including a Full-Name Ultimatum.Joseph Sisko: Benjamin Lafayette Sisko! What the hell has gotten into your head?
- In Ben's defense, a) he was under a lot of strain at the time, and b) his father was acting strangely—not going to see a doctor for a checkup on his heart transplant, refusing blood screenings, and not eating... all things that Changeling Infiltrators might avoid doing. These two factors combine into a rather unfortunately timed package.
- Except, of course, that a Changeling infiltrator would be able to give blood and fake eating/drinking, which Odo had already demonstrated being able to do. Leaping to conclusions from vague clues makes everyone look suspicious.