According to Memory Alpha's original in Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
The 37's : Past Tense Part 1 : Past Tense Part 2.
In the Past Tense story arc, the story sequence is
Past Tense Part 1 : Past Tense Part 2.


After beaming down from the Defiant to Earth, Dax, Bashir and O'Brien find themselves in the San Francisco of the year 2024. The two seemingly homeless men are taken to a so-called "Sanctuary District", while Jadzia is picked up by Chris Brynner, a 21st century yuppie. Sisko realizes that he and Bashir have arrived just before the Bell Riots, in which desperate homeless people would take hostages. Their lives would be saved by the sacrifice of a man named Gabriel Bell. But Gabriel Bell is killed prematurely as a result of Sisko's and Bashir's presence in that time. As the riots begin, Sisko joins the crowd, pretending to be Gabriel Bell.


Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Once again we have Sisko hopping on the Defiant and wandering off-this time with the entire staff to Earth under pretense of a conference on the Dominion! In other words, Starfleet Command has decided to remove Bajor’s only protection from the Dominion because Startleet Command wants to talk about the Dominion. Couldn't this be done over subspace? That would increase the risk of the transmission being intercepted amd/or jammed.
  2. And while we're on the topic of the entire senior staff, who’s in charge of the station? Quark?! Probably one of the junior officers.
  3. One wonders it San Francisco rests on some odd transjunction in the omniverse. At the time of this writing every set of main characters-within the Star Trek franchise has experienced some type of time-travelling anomaly in conjunction with San Francisco. The original cast went there in Star Trek IV The Voyage Home. The NextGen cast went there at the end of Time's Arrow Part 2. The DS9 cast did it in this episode. And Harry Kim of the Voyager crew awoke there in Non Sequitur (VOY).This could be a side effect of the Time’s Arrow incident.
  4. Several nitpickers wrote to commend Dax on the speed with which she adapts to her new surroundings after a grog-filled awakening. Unlike Sisko, she almost instantly deduces that she isn't in San Francisco at the right time and switches into her “damsel in distress” mode to evoke the sympathy of rich media tycoon Chris Brynner, who has just happened by. (And in the next episode, we’ll find even more good fortune connected with this chance meeting. The residents of Sanctuary District A need Net access and...guess what? Chris Brynner can get it for them! Hmmm.) Several nitpickers also wrote to commend Dax on her abilities to use an unfamiliar computer system so well that she can create a persona for herself, thereby avoiding the potential of being admitted to Sanctuary District A herself. Jadzia is a fast learner! CdnTim 1131 EST 5 Feb 2021 - Plus, she's got more experience in every aspect of life than the others, thanks to her past lives. The damsel in distress routine may be as simple as falling back into Audrid Dax's persona, or a ploy commonly used by Lela Dax who was one of the first women on the Trill council.
  5. l personally find it fascinating that Kira is apparently in charge of the Defiant in Sisko's absence. Bajor isn't even part of the Federation, Kira hasn't even visited Starfleet Academy (at least as far as we know), and she commands one of Starfleet’s most powerful vessels? (In the next episode she makes a “first officer's log”) When he accepted command of Deep Space Nine, Sisko specifically requested a Bajoran national as his first officer, and Kira got the job, meaning she is the most senior officer available in Sisko’s absence. CdnTim 1134 EST 5 Feb 2021 - Starfleet seems to allow a pretty broad discretion in the chain of command (seen as early as Arsenal of Freedom when Geordi was clearly in command over the higher-ranked engineer).
  6. The Classic Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever deals with a proposition similar to the plot of this episode. McCoy goes through the Guardian of Forever. McCoy keeps Edith Keeler from dying. History is changed. Starfleet never emerges, and consequently the Enterprise never gets built. However, that episode treats time much differently than this one. In The City on the Edge of Forever, time proceeds like a straight line. Kirk and his landing party watch McCoy" go through the Guardian of Forever, and instantly the Enterprise disappears! Why instantly? Because McCoy saved Keeler’s life more than three hundred years ago! All the history between then and now had already been rewritten. For Past Tense, Part I the creators take a different approach to time. In this episode Sisko, Dax, and Bashir are transported into the past, but the creators have postulated a model of time where everything is happening on parallel tracks—that is, Sisko and Bashir are experiencing Sanctuary District A at the same time as O’Brien is figuring out what happened to them, even though Sisko and Bashir are currently living more than three hundred years earlier than O’Brien. That's really the only way to rationalize that Starfleet doesn’t disappear the instant Sisko, Dax, and Bashir beam into the past. lt’s almost as if time is some kind of spiraling corkscrew that… back...(l could go on trying to come up work. But in six episodes we'll see that time travel no longer responds to rational thought. (See Visionary. ) This is unfortunate, because Jeremy Wood of Sheffield, England, wrote me a great letter about this episode detailing the time travel problems.) (Nit Central) Keith Alan Morgan on Saturday, May 08, 1999 - 7:00 am: The assumption is based on the idea that it was Bell's death that changed time, but just before time changed Starfleet forbade O'Brien & Kira to go back in time. So maybe O'Brien & Kira were supposed to go back in time and Starfleet's decision was the time-changing event?
  7. Several nitpickers found it interesting that one guy in one city (a city in California, no less) could make all the difference in the development of the United States of America, and that, in turn, would make all the difference in the development of Earth, and that, in turn, would make all the difference in the development of the Federation and Starfleet. (Hmmm. Do l sense a bit of Ameri-centricity on the part of the creators, here? Of course, there is a Star Trek tradition here. The same could be said for The City on the Edge of Forever.) Also, the established chronology of Star Trek states that Earth endured a third world war late in the twenty-first century – in a conflict that killed thirty-seven million people. Where does that fit in with this episode's statements that the Bell Riots were a watershed that led to reform and eventually to the utopian existence enjoyed by Earth in the twenty-fourth century? Doesn’t it seem likely that World War III postatomic horror” would set all reforms back to zero? Somehow l have a hard time imagining the late twenty-first-century populace—eking out a day-to-day existence in the middle of a nuclear winter—-saying to itself, “When we get things back to normal, the first thing we’re going to do is make sure everybody has jobs!” (Nit Central) Tim McCree (Tim_m) on Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 10:28 pm: Some have wondered just how Bell's death could have affected such a change that the whole Federation disappeared (in his books, Phil has always wondered why this happened, when Earth's history was changed, the Federation vanished, well the answer is because Earth played a key role in the beginnings of the Federation, this was shown in the final season of Enterprise, in which Earth, and Archer, played key events in helping this come about, but I digress).
    Well, it seems that without Bell, the riots were much worse than they would have been with him. Suppose the riots, instead of stopping, spread to other Santuary Districts in other cities, and people were killed. One of these people was the future mother of Zefram Cochrane, except now she's dead before she met and married his father.
    So, no Cochrane means no first warp flight in 2063. No first warp flight means no first contact with the Vulcans. No first contact means no aid from the Vulcans and the inspiration that humanity is not alone inspires. Thus Earth's recovery from World War III is much slower. Since we never saw the Earth of the alternate time line, we can only guess, but if the events I described happened, it's possible that the Defiant was orbiting a very primitive world. Seniram Perhaps a group of rouge states got together to form the Eastern Coalition, and launched a nuclear strike to prevent the reforms. This could have led to the survivors responding by using the story of Bell, combined with the arrival of the Vulcans, to serve as an inspiration. This in turn could have led supporters of the rogue states to persist in undermine the reforms, only for the reformers to fight back, eventually leading to the creation of the utopian existence enjoyed by Earth.
  8. Speaking of everything changing, O'Brien says the only signals he's picking up come from the vicinity of Alpha Centauri, and they are Romulan. l wonder why the Romulans didn’t come over and look at this unknown warship suddenly orbiting a nearby star system. (Nit Central – Past Times Part 2 board) LUIGI NOVI on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 11:19 pm: Maybe it’s because Alpha Centauri is more than 4.3 LIGHT YEARS away! Since we later learn that Voyager can travel 70,000 light years in 70 years, and therefore travel 2.739 light years a day, that means that even if the Romulan sensors could pick up a ship orbiting a planet 4.3 light years away, and even if they could instantly send a ship over the minute they pick up the Defiant (both of which are highly implausible in themselves), it would take more than a day and a half to get to Earth. In addition, Data said in the beginning of Tin Man (TNG) that the top speed of the Romulan warbirds are significantly lower than the top speed of the Enterprise, which itself is either comparable or lower than that of Voyager, so it would be even more.

Changed Premises

  1. Once and for all, the creators decided to settle the issue of O’Brien’s rank by having him state that he is an enlisted man in this episode. I guess it was just a mistake when Riker called him “Lieutenant” in Where Silence Has Lease. And I guess it was just a mistake that O’Brien wore the rank pips of a lieutenant in every episode in which he appeared until the sixth season of NextGen. (Don’t get me wrong. The creators have every right to change anything they want with any character they choose. l just get tickled with the type of response l heard from a creator on this issue: “O'Brien has always been an enlisted man.” No, he hasn’t. “Yes, he has!" Ooookayl) O’Brien being a Lieutenant during his Enterprise service could be due to an unofficial field commission.

Equipment Oddities

  1. After spending the night in a stairwell-like enclosure, Bashir tells Sisko that it they return to the station, he'll never complain about Cardassian beds again. Wait a minute: Starfleet has commanded this space station for two and one-half years and no one has changed the mattresses yet? For all we know, it might be the beds themselves that are the problem!

Nit Central

  1. Sharon Jordan on Sunday, December 20, 1998 - 12:24 pm: Shouldn't Sisko and Bashir be worried that the uniforms they left behind cause a paradox? Maybe Dax had a chance to destroy hers, for she was able to get clothing. But Sisko and Bashir traded their uniforms with two guys, to get access to the inside of a building. Wouldn't these uniforms turn up in a archaeology dig? Chris Thomas on Sunday, December 20, 1998 - 10:14 pm: It's not like they would cause a technological revolution. Sisko probably figured they would be rags in no time after much wear and tear. It's a time of almost anarchy and revolt, much history and artefacts goes astray during these times anyway, just so people can survive.
  2. Keith Alan Morgan on Saturday, May 08, 1999 - 7:00 am: When Vin hands the forms to Sisko & Bashir, one of the things he says is, "If you cannot speak English an interpreter will be provided." Since he has been asking them questions and understanding their answers, I would say that they have been speaking English. (Unless Vin has been speaking some other language and the Universal Translator conveniently translated it for us TV viewers.) Mark Stanley on Thursday, January 18, 2001 - 6:12 pm: I took it to be a joke about bureaucracy burying common sense. Anonymous on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 10:22 am: This is probably like Miranda rights. He says it so dry and formulaic, it is probably what one must say by law to somebody you are arresting. I'm sure when the police arrest some multi-billionaire for something, they say the memorized Miranda rights formula (if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you), even if it is clear that he can afford one.
  3. REFERENCE TO 5TH SEASON EPISODE - I thought Julian was genetically enhanced and is faster and stronger, so why doesn't he use that in the fight? It’s still a secret at this point – any use of his genetically enhanced abilities would make Bashir stand out too much, and probably get him taken away by the authorities.
  4. Bell was stabbed and Julian tries to use CPR on him? Wouldn't it be a good idea to seal the wound first? It may not have been possible to seal the wound.
  5. O'Brien says that maybe the chroniton particles created a subspace bubble. Shouldn't he say a subtime bubble? Unless the chroniton particles travelled through subspace.

Ex Astris Scientia

  1. Dax has just regained consciousness when she quick-wittedly calls her communicator a "brooch". How could she know she wasn't in her time any longer? She is naturally observant! CdnTim 1137 EST 5 Feb 2021 - Pretty good reflex to have, for a Starfleet officer...anyone who has to ask about it has a pretty good chance of not needing to know about it!

Deep Space Nine Season 3
The Search Part 1 I The Search Part 2 I The House of Quark I Equilibrium I Second Skin I The Abandoned I Civil Defense I Meridian I Defiant I Fascination I Past Tense Part 1 I Past Tense Part 2 I Life Support I Heart of Stone I Destiny I Prophet Motive I Visionary I Distant Voices I Through the Looking Glass I Improbable Cause I The Die is Cast I Explorers I Family Business I Shakaar I Facets I The Adversary
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