Recap Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Season 6, Episode 13 - Far Beyond the Stars

Benjamin Sisko is talking to his father about leaving Starfleet, but before he makes a decision, he is distracted by a vision of a man who is dressed in 20th Century clothes. The visions rapidly increase in number. Dr. Bashir's tests of Sisko show the same synaptic potentials as he had when he had visions a year ago (in the episode "Rapture").

The vision, from the Prophets, show him as Benny Russell, an African-American science fiction writer on Earth in 1950s New York City. (Benny Russell appears in another vision in the episode "Shadows and Symbols").

Benny Russell writes for the science fiction magazine Incredible Tales, in a New York City populated by human versions of different characters from DS9: Herbert Rossoff (Quark), as a left wing Jewish writer, who often threatens to quit; Julius Eaton (Dr. Bashir), considered to be maudlin in his writing and pretentious in his dress and mannerisms; K.C. Hunter (Kira Nerys), a tough woman writer who has to adopt a nom de plume to disguise the fact that she's a woman from her readers; Albert (Miles O'Brien), a socially awkward stutterer who prefers to write stories about robots; Darlene Cursty (Jadzia Dax), a ditsy, giggly secretary whose intelligence everyone underestimates, who is constantly chewing bubble-gum and who recognizes Benny's story for the masterpiece it is; Pabst (Odo), the editor of Incredible Tales, who expresses sympathy for the discriminatory treatment experienced by Benny (and K.C.), but refuses to help them or take responsibility for his own role in their treatment; an artist (Martok); a newsboy (Nog); two policemen (Gul Dukat and Weyoun); a waitress and Benny's girlfriend (Kassidy Yates); a ball player (Worf); a hustler (Jake Sisko); and a fiery preacher who preaches about the will of the prophets (Joseph Sisko).

Pabst announces photo day and Hunter takes the hint that she should not show up that day so that the readers don't learn she's a woman. Benny Russell realizes he's not expected to show up for photos either because he is black. He is appalled and angered.

Russell is inspired to write a story about a space station called "Deep Space Nine", whose commanding officer is Benjamin Sisko, a human of African descent (or Negro, the term used in the show). The other writers like the story, but Pabst refuses to publish it and gives Benny a new assignment. Instead of completing the new assignment, though, Benny writes six new stories about Sisko. This causes a passionate argument in the office among the various employees. Albert suggests that Benny make the ending of his first Sisko story a dream, a compromise that both Benny and Pabst accept after it is clarified that the dreaming is being done by a negro person.

A hustler (Jake Sisko) friend of Benny's is killed by the police (Gul Dukat and Weyoun), ostensibly because he was trying to break into a car. When Benny protests this injustice, the police severely beat him. On his first day back at the office, excited to see his story in print, he learns that Pabst's boss did not like the story and ordered a whole month's run of the magazine “pulped”, preferring to take a loss rather than sell a magazine featuring a negro hero. Angry over this news, and the news that he is being fired over writing the story, Russell has a nervous breakdown and is taken away by an ambulance. As he falls unconscious, he looks through the window and sees not a cityscape, but stars streaking by as if traveling at warp speed. Sisko wakes up, to the relief of his father and his son. He is deeply disturbed by his vision, and now wonders what is real, his life on Deep Space Nine, or his life as Benny Russell.

Source: Wikipedia

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