May I help you?
I'm sorry to bother you.
I just, um... been...
You're hurt.
Yeah, I must have scraped myself on a branch.
Ah, that's what happens when you go tromping
around the bayou in the middle of the night.
Come on, warm yourself up by the fire.
Now, I have a first aid kit around here somewhere.
Where is it?
So, what are you doing out here anyway?
I'm a writer.
At least I want to be.
And the truth is...
I was looking for you.
You are Jake Sisko, the writer?
I can't believe I'm really here...
talking to you.
You are my favorite author of all time.
You should read more.
I mean it.
Your books, they're so... insightful.
I'm glad you like them.
Good as new.
Thank you.
I didn't realize people still read my books.
Of course they do.
A friend recommended Anslem to me
and I read it straight through twice in one night.
Twice in one night?
It made me want to read everything you'd ever written
but when I looked
all I could find was your Collected Stories.
I couldn't believe it.
I'd finally found someone whose writing I really admired
and he'd only published two books.
Not much to show for a life's work, is it?
I'm going to go get us some tea.
I savored those stories.
I read them slowly, one each day
and when I was done
I wished I hadn't read them at all.
So I could read them again like it was the first time.
There's only one first time for everything, isn't there?
And only one last time, too.
You think about such things when you get to be my age.
That today may be the last time you sit in your favorite chair
or watch the rain fall
or enjoy a cup of tea by a warm fire.
Can I ask you something?
Of course.
Why did you stop writing?
I lost my favorite pen
and I couldn't get any work done without it.
You're joking.
You weren't even 40 when you stopped writing.
I never understood why you gave it up.
It's a long story.
I have time.
Tell me.
If you had shown up yesterday
or the day before or a week ago
I would have said no and sent you on your way
but here you are, today of all days
and somehow it seems like
the right time for me to finally tell this story.
It begins many years ago.
I was 18
and the worst thing that could happen to a young man
happened to me.
My father died.
We were very close, my father and I
partly because we'd lost my mother
several years earlier.
I know.
I read a biography about you.
It said that you stopped writing
so you could conduct scientific research.
Ah, it's not quite that simple.
You see, just before my father died
I was working on a short story.
I don't remember what it was about
but I do know that I was taking it very seriously.
I worked on it night and day for weeks
and I wasn't making any headway.
It was making me miserable.
I suppose my father saw that I needed a break
because he insisted
I come with him to the Gamma Quadrant
to watch the wormhole undergo
what they call "a subspace inversion."
Jake-o, let's go.
Of course, what he didn't realize
was that I could hide away on the Defiant
just as easily as I could on the station.
Jake, this only happens once every 50 years.
You will never forgive yourself if you miss it.
Yeah, I'll be right there.
Well, that's what you said ten minutes ago.
I just want to get this last paragraph right.
I thought you were going to put that aside for a while.
I tried, but it's all I can think about.
Well... I'm no writer
but if I were
it seems to me I'd want to poke my head up
every once in a while and take a look around
see what's going on.
It's life, Jake.
You can miss it if you don't open your eyes.
Now... what do you say
you come up to the Bridge with me
and we'll watch the wormhole do its thing.
And then I'll read what you've got
and we'll talk about it.
Sisko to Bridge.
what happened?
The wormhole's gravimetric field is surging.
Pull us to a safe distance.
I'm on it, Benjamin, but we've got another problem.
The power output from the warp core
just jumped off the scale.
Sisko to Engineering.
Engineering, report.
Dax, I'm going to see what's going on down there.
Stay here, Jake.
Most of the time, I knew enough to do what my father told me
but that day, for some reason, I didn't.
Sisko to Sick Bay.
I need a medical team down here right away.
Dax to Sisko.
The warp coils are locked into a feedback loop.
You've got to realign them or the core is going to blow.
I'm on it!
Jake, I need an interphasic compensator.
Warning. Warp core breach in 40 seconds.
Dax, better stand by to eject the core.
We can't.
The ejection system's off line.
Jake, where's that compensator?
It's not here!
Warning. Warp core breach in 30 seconds.
Got it.
I'm going to try shunting the excess power out through
the deflector array.
Warning. Warp core breach in 20 seconds.
Just a little more.
He was gone.
I'm not sure I could ever get over
Iosing somebody like that right in front of my eyes.
People do.
Time passes
and they realize that the person they lost
is really gone...
and they heal.
Is that what happened to you?
I suppose not.
There was a memorial service aboard the station.
People came forward and talked about my father--
what they remembered most about him
and why they would miss him.
Benjamin Sisko
was more than my commanding officer.
He was the Emissary to my people
sent by the Prophets
but most importantly, he was my friend.
I didn't step forward.
I couldn't.
I felt that no matter what I said about him
I'd be leaving so much more out
and that didn't seem right.
I'd never felt more alone in all my life.
Everyone went out of their way to look after me
especially Dax.
She was my father's closest friend
and I guess she felt responsible for me.
After a few months, things started returning to normal...
for everyone else, that is.
Jake, I'm almost done.
We have Holosuite 3 for half an hour.
Nog, get down to the storeroom
and bring up five kegs of Takarian mead.
Yes, Uncle.
Sorry, looks like
we're going to lose our holosuite reservation.
Uh, you know, Nog, things seem to be slowing down a bit.
I'll get someone else to bring up those kegs.
You and Jake go and have some fun.
Are you sure?
Go now, before I change my mind.
Next time we go ion surfing
remind me to keep clear of those whip curls.
I don't know if I really want to try it again.
You know, Jake, I'm going to be gone soon.
We probably won't see each other for a while.
I know.
So, what are your plans?
Well, I was thinking of taking that deferred admission
and going to Pennington in the fall.
Ah, that would be great!
We'd both be on Earth together.
But maybe I'll just stick around here.
I don't know. I haven't decided yet.
It's late.
I think I'll turn in.
What happened?
I told Dax about what had happened--
how it felt so real
not like a dream at all.
And she very kindly obliged me and did
a very thorough scan of my room.
I felt vaguely ridiculous, like a child insisting
his parents check under the bed for monsters.
She tried to tell me it was probably just a nightmare
and I did my best
to put the entire episode out of my mind.
I puttered around the station
for the next eight or nine months.
Nog was off at Starfleet.
My stories stubbornly refused to write themselves.
I filled my time playing dom-jot
and tried not to think about how alone I really felt.
Dax and the others were worried about me
but before long, they had bigger things to worry about.
Tensions with the Klingons were continuing to rise.
My father was a kind of religious figure
to the Bajoran people, and when he died
they took it as a sign from the Prophets
that the Federation wouldn't be able
to protect them from the Klingons.
Eventually, Bajor entered into a mutual defense pact
with the Cardassians
and the Klingons didn't like that at all.
The station's civilian population
was leaving en masse.
They knew that if war broke out against the Klingons
Deep Space 9 was going to be on the front line.
Where are you going?
I, uh, I thought I'd watch the ships leave
from one of the Upper Pylons.
You should be on one of those ships.
I don't have to go, do l?
It's a voluntary resettlement
not an evacuation.
But it would be prudent that you leave at this time.
I suppose I wasn't feeling very prudent that day
because I ignored their advice.
I wanted to talk to you about something.
I spoke with your grandfather
and he told me that he asked you to go live with him.
Even if this sector weren't on the brink of war
I would like to see you leave this station.
I'm not going anywhere.
Oh, Jake...
I could order you to go if I wanted to.
Please don't make me leave.
Not yet.
This is my home.
When my dad and I came here
this place was just an abandoned shell.
He turned it into something.
Everywhere I look, it's like I see a part of him.
If I leave...
I won't have anything left of him.
all right.
You stay a while longer if you want to
but you have to promise me
when the time comes and I tell you to go
you'll do it.
It wasn't until I actually touched him
that I knew this wasn't a dream.
But something was wrong.
I didn't understand everything they were saying
but Dax and the others seemed to think that the accident
had somehow knocked my father's temporal signature
out of phase.
Benjamin, what's the last thing you remember?
I was in Engineering, on the Defiant.
It feels like a few minutes ago.
Dad, it's been over a year since the accident.
A year?
How could that be?
We think the warp core discharge pulled you into subspace.
If we're right, that would explain
why you didn't experience the passage of time.
According to these readings
unless we can realign your temporal signature
you'll be pulled
back into subspace again within the next few minutes.
Maybe we can set up some sort of containment field.
Jake, they'll have me fixed up in no time.
How are you doing?
It's all right.
Everything's going to be all right.
I thought it was a dream.
What was?
When l, uh, when I saw you in my quarters
I, uh... I should have felt you were alive.
I should have known it.
It's not your fault, Jake.
I'm here now.
That's what matters.
We're losing him.
Look at me.
I need to know you're going to be all right.
His temporal signature is fluctuating.
I need that containment field now, Chief.
Right away.
Field active.
It's not working.
Going to try
Iocking on to him with the transporter beam.
Don't leave me!
Don't leave me.
I didn't think anything could be worse
than losing him that first time on the Defiant
until I was standing there
staring down at his empty bed, knowing he was alive
yet trapped somewhere that existed outside of time.
I can't imagine what that must have been like for you.
Can I get you something?
No... nothing.
Telling me all this is hard for you.
Maybe I should come back some other time.
No. There won't be any other time.
You see...
I'm dying.
You must understand
that when a person my age says he's dying
he's only admitting to the inevitable.
Besides, we old people need to remind everyone
to pay special attention to us.
If that's what you're up to, you shouldn't have bothered.
You have my attention already.
You're a good listener.
That's important in a writer.
I'm not a writer yet.
Sounds like you're waiting for something to happen
that's going to turn you into one.
I'm not waiting.
I'm doing a lot of reading
you know, to see how it's done
and I'm still trying to figure out
what it is I want to write about.
I see.
So what happened?
With your father, I mean.
Did you ever see him again?
For the next few months
Dax and O'Brien tried to find a way to locate him.
They even considered recreating the accident
but that was impossible since the wormhole
wasn't going to undergo an inversion for decades.
Eventually the situation with the Klingons came to a head
and the Federation decided to turn over
control of the station to the Klingon Empire.
There was nothing I could do.
I had to leave my home of five years
and give up whatever hope there was
of seeing my father again.
Did the Klingons ever contact Starfleet
to say that your father had reappeared?
I was left with no choice
but to try and get on with my life.
I went to Earth, drifted around, and eventually ended up
studying writing at the Pennington School.
After graduation, I settled here in Louisiana
so I could be near my grandfather.
He had a restaurant in the French Quarter, you know.
I've been there.
It's still called Sisko's.
And on the wall, there's a copy
of the letter your publisher sent you
when he accepted your first novel.
Grandpa was always showing off his famous grandson.
He was just as proud of me as my father would have been.
You wrote Anslem in this house, didn't you?
At that desk, right over there.
It came out to generally favorable reviews
and little by little
I began to think less and less about the past.
After a while, I met a woman...
fell in love
we got married, and for a while, this house was a happy one.
I'm back!
I didn't realize you were here already.
I was trying to finish a painting
before the light changed
and I guess the time got away from me.
It's good to see you.
You, too.
Did you start the grill?
Oh, what are we having?
Blackened redfish, fresh from the bayou.
When these woods are crawling with perfectly good slugs?
I suppose you're going to ask me to chew your food for you.
I have to admit I've been more popular with women
since I stopped asking them to do that.
I tried to tell you that 20 years ago.
I'm a slow learner.
I'm going to get some champagne.
I'm glad you're here, Nog.
I see you've got another pip on your collar.
You keep that up, you're going to make Captain
by the time you're 40.
The last time we talked, you mentioned
you might be heading back to the Bajoran sector.
The Klingons agreed to let Starfleet
send an expedition through the wormhole.
They said it was in the spirit of scientific exchange.
But I think they were happy to have us test the waters
in the Gamma Quadrant after all these years.
Find out how the Dominion would react
to ships coming through.
Did you see the station?
I'm sorry to say it's looking a little run-down these days.
But you'll never guess who's still there.
Not your father?
No, no. He and my uncle left years ago.
Quark finally got that little moon
he was always talking about
and my father, as usual, is making sure
it doesn't fall out of orbit
but Morn is still there, running the bar.
Talking his customers' ears off
and drinking himself out of business, I'll bet.
Well, why don't we get to the point
of today's little celebration?
To my dear friend Jake Sisko--
winner of this year's Betar Prize
for his Collected Stories.
May the years continue to be good to you
may your muse continue to inspire you
and may someone make a holoprogram
out of one of your stories
so you can start raking in the latinum.
Are you all right?
Do you want me to call a doctor?
I'll be fine.
You should rest.
No, you came a long way
to find out why I had stopped writing
and you deserve an answer.
Later that night, after Nog had left
I stayed up working.
My new novel was going well
and when it's going well, you don't want to stop.
Coming to bed?
Um...l'm not tired.
Neither am l.
You know, l-l wanted to ask you something.
How would you feel about designing the cover
of my new book?
Do you mean it?
What was that?
Did you get through?
I talked to someone at Starfleet Science.
They're going to get a team here as soon as they can.
This is Korena, my wife.
Your wife?
I never thought I'd have the pleasure of meeting you.
The pleasure is mine.
How long have you two been married?
Seven years.
Do I have any grandchildren?
Not yet.
We were married
in New Orleans in your father's restaurant.
He insisted.
Just about everybody came.
Dax, Kira, O'Brien.
That must have been something.
I got to go call Starfleet.
They'll get here as soon as they can.
Talk to me.
I've missed so much.
Let's not waste what little time we have.
I have a feeling you might want to see these.
They're Jake's.
You did it.
I always knew you would.
Oh, Jake.
I'm sorry.
For what?
For giving up on you.
No one could be expected to hold out hope for this long.
No, l-l-l should have just kept trying
to find you, and I just went on with my life.
And I'm proud of what you've accomplished.
None of it matters
now that I know that you're out there lost somewhere.
Of course it matters.
You have a wife
a career.
And don't think because I'm not around much
that l... don't want grandchildren.
Within a few seconds, he was gone again.
I don't know what to say.
You don't have to say anything.
Just listen, because there isn't much time
and there's so much more for me to tell you.
I consulted with Dax, and we realized
that the accident must have created
some sort of subspace link between my father and myself.
That's why he always appeared somewhere near you
even if you were hundreds of light years away
from where the accident happened.
We also realized that there was a pattern to his appearances.
They were governed by fluctuations
in the wormhole subspace field.
Dax's calculations also showed that the next time he appeared
I'd be an old man.
So, I decided to put aside my novel
and try to find a way to help him.
And at the age of 37
I went back to school and started studying
subspace mechanics.
At first, Korena was very patient.
She supported what I was trying to do
but I got so caught up in my work
I didn't notice I was losing her.
By the time I became a graduate student
we were no longer living together
and by the time I had entered my doctoral program
it was over between us.
But I pressed on with what I was doing
and one day years later, it hit me.
I figured out a way to recreate the accident.
It had been almost 50 years
and the wormhole would soon be undergoing another inversion.
There was only one other thing I needed.
The Defiant.
Nog was a Captain by then
and he helped me round up the old crew
and get the ship pulled out of mothballs.
Worf threw his weight around with the Klingon High Council
and they gave us permission to enter the Bajoran system.
Take us out of warp.
I think I remember how to do that.
I haven't worked a two-dimensional control panel
in a long time.
How did we manage?
We always seemed to muddle through somehow.
Maybe after we've got Captain Sisko back
we can all stop by Morn's for a drink.
For old time's sake.
I designed a subspace flux isolator
and we set it up in Engineering.
Are you ready over there, Dax?
As ready as I'll ever be
considering the replicators were just about the only things
still working when we came aboard.
It's a lucky thing, too.
Dax isn't any good to anybody these days
without a cup of coffee in her hands.
It's the only thing that's kept me awake
while you've prattled on about your latest paper
or your new backhand
or your kids' science projects.
We're picking up temporal distortions
in the subspace field.
The wormhole's beginning to invert.
According to our readings
it's going to kick out a gravimetric wave
Iike the one that almost destroyed the Defiant last time.
Don't worry, I've modulated the shields
to channel the energy wave into this apparatus.
Once subspace begins to fragment
we'll try to locate the Captain.
Since the accident
created a subspace link between him and Jake
there'll be a path of bread crumbs to follow.
I'd better get back to the Bridge.
Good luck.
The wormhole wouldn't undergo
another inversion for decades, so this was my only chance.
Subspace field fragmentation is beginning.
It's working.
I think I've got the Captain's signature.
Something's happening.
I'm losing him.
We're losing them both.
They're being pulled into subspace.
Jake... how long has it been?
14 years.
What is this place?
I don't know.
We could be inside some sort of subspace fragment.
Sisko to Dax.
Can you read me?
I brought the Defiant back to the wormhole.
We're trying to rescue you.
Dax, if you can read me, try to lock onto my signal.
Look at you.
You're older than I am.
Damn it.
Why can't they lock onto us?
Jake, they're doing the best they can.
There's nothing we can do from here.
It's been so long.
I need to know what I've missed.
What about those grandchildren we talked about?
Korena and I are... We're no longer together.
She left me.
I'm sorry.
I shouldn't have let her go
but there was so much I had to do.
This has taken years of planning.
What about your writing?
Dax, try boosting the carrier amplitude.
Maybe you can...
Jake, what's happened to you?
This is the last chance I'm ever going to have
to help you.
Jake, it's over.
It's not going to work.
It has to.
Let go, Jake.
If not for yourself, then for me.
You still have time to make a better life for yourself.
Promise me you'll do that.
Promise me!
I want you to see something.
Go over to my desk.
Go ahead.
It's a collection of new stories.
I decided to honor my father's request
and try to rebuild my life.
Writing those stories
is the best way I knew to do that.
I'd like you to have a copy.
Let me get you one.
can I have these instead?
Well, if you'd like
but those have handwritten notes all over them.
I know.
I want to study them
so I can see the changes you made.
Because you want to be a writer someday.
Can I ask you why you haven't published these?
Well, l...
I was tinkering with the last story just this morning.
Besides, if you publish posthumously
nobody can ask you for rewrites.
I was hoping to finish another two stories
but there isn't enough time.
You keep on saying there's no more time.
You see, Melanie
after the last attempt to rescue my father failed
I spent months trying to figure out what went wrong.
Eventually, I came to understand the nature
of what was happening to him.
It was as if he was frozen in time
at the moment of the accident
and the link between us was like an elastic cord.
Every so often, the cord would grow taut enough
to yank him forward into my time
but only for a few minutes.
I realized that
if my motion through time came to a stop
the cord would go slack
and he'd be lost in subspace forever
but if I could cut the cord
when the link was at its strongest--
while we were together--
he'd return to the moment of the accident.
Your father's coming here, isn't he?
You're going to cut the cord, aren't you?
I want you to promise me something.
While you're studying my stories
poke your head up every once in a while.
Take a look around.
See what's going on.
It's life, Melanie.
And you can miss it if you don't open your eyes.
Thank you...
for everything.
It was a pleasure meeting you, young lady.
I've been expecting you.
I'm glad to see you're still in this house.
You seemed happy here.
And this...
I-l can't tell you how good
it makes me feel you got back to writing.
Jake, what is it?
Read the dedication.
"To my father...
who's coming home."
Thank you, but l...
I don't understand.
It was me.
It was me all along.
I've been dragging you through time like an anchor
and now it's time to cut you loose.
Jake, what are you saying?
It won't be long now.
Jake, no!
When I die, you'll go back to where this all began.
Just remember to dodge the energy discharge
from the warp core.
Jake, you could still have so many years left.
We have to be together when I die.
Jake, you didn't have to do this...
not for me.
For you and for the boy that I was.
He needs you...
more than you know.
Don't you see?
We're going to get a second...
my sweet boy.
You okay?
H-How'd you know that was coming?
I guess we were just lucky this time.
You okay, Dad?
I am now, Jake.
I am now.

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