According to Memory Alpha's original in Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
Past Tense Part 1 : Past Tense Part 2 : Eye of the Needle.
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.


In the meantime, Kira and O'Brien find out that the accident happened because chronitons in the hull, stemming from the Defiant's cloaking device, interfered with the transporter. They repeatedly attempt to find the time to which the three officers have traveled. Negotiating with a police official, Sisko/Bell and Webb, the other sensible leader of the insurgents, voice their demand that the Sanctuary Districts be abandoned. By restoring their computer access Dax and Brynner help spreading the message, but the governor orders the police to end the riot with violence. Kira and O'Brien finally locate Dax, but when a SWAT team storms the building, Webb is killed and Sisko is wounded when he jumps into the line of fire to save a hostage. Yet, this outcome resets the normal course of history, the only difference being that Sisko's picture is now in the historical databases, labeled as "Gabriel Bell".

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Attempting to discover the “when-abouts” of Sisko, Dax, and Bashir, O'Brien narrows the search to ten different destinations in time. Then he and Kira begin making random visits into the past, scanning for transporter activity and attempting to make contact through their combadges when they arrive. This seems extremely inefficient on a number of counts.
    First, there is still a twenty-fourth-century Earth below them. And it seems capable of supporting life. If it still has humans living on it, it’s possible they have historical records. In addition, it seems likely that the Defiant has historical records in its computer memory. (And even if historical information isn't available from the Defiant’s memory banks, O’Brien appears to have knowledge of Earth's past.) So why isn't O’Brien scanning the planet’s surface for civilization? Using the Defiant’s sensors, he could locate a library, beam in at night, and grab a few history books. The crew could then compare the corrupted historical accounts in the books with the uncorrupted memories of O’Brien and the ship's computer for the major events of the past three hundred years on Earth. lt seems likely that this would help localize when the change occurred, doesn’t it? Assuming that there are libraries, historical records – and indeed civilisations – intact down there.
    Second - if the historical research tack doesn't thrill you - there is a much more sensible way to go about searching for Sisko and company than just guessing. Before exploring that method, however, let's look at O’Brien’s choices of destinations. The first time we see O’Brien and Kira materialize, it's very close to the year 1930. How do we know that? Because of the boxing poster that hangs on the wall behind them! l keep thinking that it looked familiar, and suddenly it hit me. lt’s very, very similar to the poster that Kirk and Spock materialize in front of during The City on the Edge of Forever. If you'll look closely you'll see that the same guys are scheduled to fight in the main and the secondary events! (In fact, I have no doubt that the creators sent O’Brien and Kira to this destination as a homage to that great Classic Trek episode. One additional “fun bit” of information before we proceed. There was one small problem the creators faced in reusing this poster. In The City on the Edge of Forever, the very top of the poster read, “Madison Square Garden.” Most appropriately, you will notice that the creators changed it for this episode, since O’Brien and Kira are supposedly materializing in San Francisco, not New York City!) The poster in this episode is advertising a rematch for the two boxers, which was scheduled to take place in San Francisco so it could be available to those who couldn’t travel to the East Coast venue.
    For the next trip into the past, O’Brien chooses some time in the decade of the 1960s. We know this from the appearance of hippies and peace signs. After the trip to the 1960's, O'Brien chooses to go to A.D. 2048. On return, he states that Earth was never that rough, and Kira suggests that they concentrate on dates prior to this year. This is precisely the approach O’Brien should have used all along! Think about the problem for a minute. You have ten possible locations. You can make only five attempts. You know that somewhere in there, Sisko and company changed history. How do you go about cracking this problem in a systematic way with the highest possible potential. for success? For one of the more ubiquitous problems in programming (i.e., how do you quickly locate the piece of information in a file that is sorted but does not have any type of key file?). Answer: You start in the center! By examining the center of the file you can determine if the data you are trying to find is in the first or the second half of the file. If it's in the first half of the file, you then go to the center of the first half of the file and go through the same process. This type of searching is very efficient. Of course, if O'Brien started with a date like 2048, the creators couldn't do the homages to Classic Trek. Yes they could – Kira and O’Brien had no way of knowing how long the Earth they encountered in 2048 had been that bad.
  2. The Earth rotates around the sun, right? Our sun rotates around the center of our galaxy, right? Our galaxy is moving through the uni verse, right? So wouldn’t the Earth be in a substantially different position in space over the course of three hundred or so years? ll you transported down to the position of Earth in the twenty-fourth century, wouldn't you wind up floating in space in the twenty-first century? The interaction of the various particles could compensate for that.
  3. One wonders why Dax - having retrieved her combadge - places it on the outside of her jacket after it was already stolen once. It could function just as well in her pocket, could it not? There could be something in the lining that could potentially block the signal.
  4. At the end of this episode Dax convinces Brynner to use his net access to give the sanctuary residents a voice. Brynner says that it will cost him his license, but he does it anyway. Obviously, Brynner did not make this sacrifice in the original timeline. At the very least, Dax can't know if Brynner provided this service in the original timeline. Yet she encourages him to do so anyway. In other words, the death of Bell completely rewrote history, but no one seems concerned that the ruination of Chris Brynner will do the same. (And why should they? After all, he's just the evil, sell-out millionaire, media tycoon who’s lost touch with the common folk but still has a tender place in his heart that can be reinvigorated by the right words from a beautiful, long-legged incarnation of his terribly neglected conscience.) It is entirely possible that, in the original timeline, Brynner DID use his net access to help the Sanctuary District residents reveal their stories, and was subsequently allowed to keep his licence, possibly due to public gratitude over his part in exposing the inequality of the situation.
  5. Sure is a good thing the invading hordes of riot police shot Sisko only once when they shot everyone else in the room multiple times. Perhaps he moved too quickly to be hit more than once!
  6. Evidently the real Bell didn’t have any family or friends. Apparently Sisko’s picture and Bell’s name became quite well known after the riot. Why didn't anyone come forward and say, “That’s not Bell!”? Anyone who knew the real Bell, especially before he entered the Sanctuary District, may have died, disowned him or not had very clear memories of him.

Equipment Oddities

  1. Did O’Brien make some adjustment to the transporter before he and Kira took off for the past? When Sisko and company transported into the past, something happened to knock them unconscious, but O’Brien and Kira don’t have any trouble at all. What ever caused the knockouts may have subsided by then.

Nit Central

  1. Phillip Culley on Friday, January 15, 1999 - 12:43 pm: When O'Brien and Kira arrive in the right timeline, they contact Dax. At the end of the conversation, they tell Dax to turn off her com-badge, and then thay do the same. I assume that they do this so that the transporter won't 'scoop' them up until they are together. However, Sisko and Bashir's com-badges are still on, so wouldn't the transporter lock on to those badges and beam them back to 'normal' time? Seniram The Defiant computer could be temporarily programmed to ignore the badges issued to Bashir and Sisko.
  2. Keith Alan Morgan on Saturday, May 08, 1999 - 7:05 am: Sisko tells the policewoman that they want the Federal Employment Act reinstated, then he says that they don't want handouts. Well, the Federal Employment Act sounds like something that will just create "make work" jobs for people. Let's face it, if there were jobs for these people, wouldn't they be working? dotter31 on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 4:37 pm: The ST Encyclopedia says that the FEA was a law stating that it was the policy of the government to promote maximum employment. This does not neccesarily mean creating 'make-work' jobs, it could mean better job training programs or tax breaks. It could also mean fully funding what the Sanctuaries were supposed to be, instead of herding people into them and then constantly cutting the budgets to help them (a worker told Sisko that the budget had been cut again) Seniram Besides, some employers might have been reluctant to provide employment to residents of a Sanctuary District. CdnTim 1141 EST 5 Feb 2021 - In reality, the FEA probably wasn't an instant and complete fix (if it had been cancelled in the 30's, reinstating the WPA of the new deal wouldn't instantly fix everything), but Sisko was making a point: they want help so they can work productively and support themselves, not money for doing nothing.
  3. If Jadzia could go through the sewers and get into the Sanctuary district why couldn't the police send some people in there that way? Possibly disguised as residents? They might have made too much noise.
  4. O'Brien says that Earth has never been that rough. Considering some of the horrors which will supposedly happen on the Earth that is an intriguing statement. dotter31 on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 4:37 pm: O'Brien said that after having gone to the altered 2045 (or close to that, can't remember exactly) so he was commenting on how that future must have been altered because it was much rougher that what really happened. I also don't think he meant acts of war or war crimes, just society in general.
  5. When the police break in Webb stupidly pulls a pistol and gets shot, but I don't remember seeing him get the pistol in the first place, did he take it from one of the guards? dotter31 on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 4:37 pm: Could be, or maybe there is an armory or weapons locker in the processing center that he accessed at some point. I'm surprised he took one since he originally wanted to have a peaceful rally. Guess he figured he needed it. And why did he pull a gun at all? Chris Booton (Cbooton) on Monday, March 14, 2011 - 3:17 pm: If anyone is still curious, Webb got his pistol from the Sanctuary Guard. When the guard enters the room, he points a pistol and Sisko tackles him as he fires it. Sisko then gives the pistol to Webb.
  6. Since Webb was the voice on the net, why isn't it called the Webb Riots? dotter31 on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 4:37 pm: Webb was the voice on the Net, but Bell (Sisko) was one of the negotiators and was also remembered as having died (well, he only took a bullet, but Vin would say he died) to protect the hostages. Webb was shot pulling a gun on the police, not by protecting someone.
  7. KAM’s nephew, Jon, wondered why Sisko had never seen himself as Bell before, especially since Sisko had said in Past Tense Part 1 that he had studied this time period. dotter31 on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 4:37 pm: He didn't see that because it (him impersonating Bell) hadn't happened yet, so Bell would have looked like Bell until after the incident.
  8. Keith Alan Morgan on Tuesday, August 03, 1999 - 2:50 am: When the hippie couple give the peace symbol, Kira & O'Brien duplicate them, but wouldn't it have been funny if either Kira or O'Brien had made the Vulcan live long and prosper symbol? And have them risk a visit from Temporal Investigations?!
  9. So why did so many people watch the people on the Internet? It's not like broadcast TV where the signal can override other signals and people have to watch. Not to mention how big the Internet will be by that time. I would imagine most web surfers would head to their favourite sites and ignore the boring stuff. It could have been done using an online version of the old Emergency Broadcast System.
  10. General Haddad on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 8:46 pm: OK, so the guards take Sisko and Bashir's ID cards and swap them for two casualties. I assume this means that they plant the cards on two dead bodies who obviously look nothing like Sisko and Bashir. So how does Sisko's image end up on the historical record of Gabriel Bell? Let's look at it - if the cards are photo IDs, then the guy in the morgue is going to say "Hey these aren't their cards!" If the cards AREN'T photo IDs, then the guy in the morgue must have used their Sanctuary District records to bring up an image of the heroic Gabriel Bell for the history books. Well, if he uses Sisko's card as a form of identification, it's going to say Benjamin Lafayette Sisko, not Gabriel Bell. Ahh, you say - but Sisko must have given the guard Gabriel Bell's ID card because he had it in his posession, right? Wrong. If that's what happened, then the records for that card would have included a picture of the real Gabriel Bell, not Sisko. Besides, the photo in the Historical Records doesn't reflect Sisko's visit to the processing centre - he's not wearing a starfleet uniform, so the picture must have been taken by the SFPD before the riots ended. (I can't see Sisko posing for Detective Preston) ScottN on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 10:40 pm: I always figured they used a still from one of the 'Net broadcasts.
  11. Thande on Friday, June 04, 2004 - 1:44 pm: The Defiant's cloaking device is Romulan, right? Sooo...why haven't the Romulans discovered this phenomenon and used it to their own advantage? You can imagine, say, Tomalak trying to transport down to the Senate, ending up in 2150 and informing the Praetor that 'if a funny-looking ship with a saucer and two nacelles blunders into one of our minefields, destroy it!' Mike Nuss on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 8:52 pm: O'Brien mentioned that a singularity or something was passing through the system at the exact instant the transport happened, and it was that, combined with the chronotons, that caused the effect. So, the Romulans couldn't duplicate that. Though, if that were the case I'm not sure how O'Brien was able to duplicate it several times when he and Kira were traveling through time - they only had to stop because they ran out of chronoton particles. Chris Booton (Cbooton) on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 1:11 pm: Don't the Romulins use a singularity as part of their engine cores? Mike Nuss on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 3:00 pm: Yes, but one would assume it's not the same kind. Or it may not have been a singularity; I forget what word O'Brien used.
  12. Why didn't Kira and O'Brien show up at the same point in time Sisko, Bashir and Dax initially did, instead of conveniently after Sisko had 'fixed' the timeline? Basically, as several days passed in the 24th century, the same number of days passed in the 21st. O'Brien had narrowed the search down to ten specific points in time, and you'd think he would replicate those exactly. It's a good thing he and Kira didn't show up days before the others arrived, or they wouldn't have detected their signal and they would have beamed back to the Defiant assuming they had gone to the wrong period again. Joseph J. Coppola on Sunday, January 15, 2006 - 11:40 pm: A week could have went by in the 21 st C. and only a moment could have gone by in the 24th. Case in point. TOS Ep The City on the Edge of Forever. After Kirk, Spock & McCoy have spent the better part of a week in the 20th C. and have now returned to the 23 rd C. Scotty asks "what happened, you only left a moment ago?" To which Spock answers "We were successful." Which is the same thing that would happen in any "going back in time" scenario. Like ST: IV T Voy Home and ST: First Contact inblackestnight on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 7:39 am: The City on the Edge of Forever used a gateway ran by a gatekeeper of sorts for time travel, and in ST IV they came back exactly when they left. I believe Mike would be correct because, unless Q or the Prophets are messing with you, time is linear and will be equal no matter when you are; it would also depend on if we are dealing with the same dimension or not. The transporters sent them back to a specific time, plus I would imagine that Miles would try to prevent corruption of the timeline, so transporting back to roughly when Sisko, Dax, and Bashir first arrived would be wiser.
  13. Rene on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 7:58 am: I wonder if Temporal Investigations got involved and if they did, why they didn't mention it in Trials and Tribble-ations? Chris Booton (Cbooton) on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 2:26 pm: Maybe not because it was an accident. Because Sisko did his best to keep things as they originally happened, the Temporal guys probably let it slide.
  14. John A. Lang (Johnalang) on Saturday, January 05, 2008 - 7:58 pm: Here's something that bugs me: Suppose the authorites have everyone's photo & possible DNA on file, wouldn't they question Sisko's impersonation of Bell after they found Bell's body? Seniram They would probably note it as a mistake in the records.

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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