Far Beyond The Stars
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: Feb 9, 1998

[Captain's office]

(Sisko's desk is covered in PADDs.)
KIRA: The Defiant searched the area for almost six hours. We couldn't find any sign of survivors.
SISKO: The Cortez was a fine ship.
KIRA: You knew Captain Swofford a long time.
SISKO: I introduced him to his wife.
KIRA: Patrolling the Cardassian borders is getting more and more dangerous. You never know when you're going to run into a squadron of Jem'Hadar fighters.
SISKO: I guess we popped the champagne cork too soon, hey? Everyone thought the war was over when we retook the station and pushed the Dominion back into Cardassian space.
KIRA: I never believed that and neither did you.
SISKO: A lot of good that did the four hundred people on the Cortez.
(Door opens.)
KIRA: Ah, Mister Sisko. How do you like our station so far?
JOSEPH: Well, it certainly is big.
(Kira leaves.)
JOSEPH: I heard about Quentin Swofford. I'm sorry.
SISKO: Look, Dad, I know I haven't been very good company the last few days.
JOSEPH: I didn't come here to be entertained. I came to see you and Jake.
SISKO: Well, you certainly picked an interesting time to take your first trip away from Earth.
JOSEPH: Well, I figured it was now or never. Besides, I've been worried about you. Last couple of times we've talked it seemed like you were carrying the weight of the entire Alpha Quadrant on your shoulders.
SISKO: Sometimes it certainly feels that way. Dad
JOSEPH: Just say it, son.
SISKO: I don't know how much more I can take. I don't know how many more friends I can lose. Every time I achieve a real victory, something like this happens and everything seems to turn to ashes.
JOSEPH: So what do you want to do?
SISKO: Maybe it's time for me to step down, let someone else make the tough calls.
JOSEPH: I see. No one is indispensable, son. Not even you. Whatever decision you make, I'll support. Of course, if Quentin Swofford was here I'd bet he'd have a few things to say to you.
SISKO: But he's not here, and that's the whole point.
JOSEPH: I'd say you have some thinking to do, and I've got a dinner date with my grandson, so you'd better get to it.
(A man in a 1950's suit walks past the door. It's Rene Auberjonois.)
SISKO: Who was that?

[Ops]

SISKO: Where'd he go?
JOSEPH: Who?
SISKO: The man who just walked by my door.
DAX: I didn't see anyone.
SISKO: I could've sworn.

[Corridor]

KASIDY: I don't know what you're so worried about, Ben. I'm not taking my ship anywhere near the Cardassian border.
SISKO: I realise that, but the Dominion is getting bolder and bolder, and your freighter is no match for a Jem'Hadar attack ship.
KASIDY: Ah, they've got to catch me first.
SISKO: You're really not worried, are you?
KASIDY: No. I'm fearless, and you know that. That's why you love me.
SISKO: I think I follow that logic.
WILLIE: Hey, Benny.
(A black New York Giants baseball player walks past.)
WILLIE: (Michael Dorn) Catch the game?
(He goes into a room.)
SISKO: What? Who was that?
KASIDY: Who was who?
(Sisko heads to the same door.)
KASIDY: Ben, where are you going?
(Sisko opens the door and walks through to)

[New York Street]

(Welcome to the 1950's as Sisko arrives in the middle of the street, missed by a bus and car and gets knocked down by a yellow cab. A crowd gathers.)
WOMAN: Someone help him. Call an ambulance.

[Infirmary]

BASHIR: He's awake now.
KASIDY: Ben, are you all right?
SISKO: I think so.
JOSEPH: Thank God.
JAKE: Hey, Dad, you scared us there for a minute.
SISKO: What happened?
BASHIR: I don't know. I'm reading some unusual synaptic potentials. Your neural patterns are similar to those you experienced last year.
SISKO: You mean when I was having those visions about Bajor?
JOSEPH: Visions? Does this have something to do with those Prophets you're always telling me about?
KASIDY: He's not going to need surgery again, is he?
BASHIR: I'm not sure yet, so I'd like you to remain overnight for observation.
SISKO: Is that absolutely necessary?
BASHIR: Take a look at these readings.
(Sisko takes the PADD.)

[New York street]

(Sisko is in 1950s clothes looking at a pulp magazine, Galaxy September 1953 edition, 35 cents.)
VENDOR: (Aron Eisenberg) Are you going to buy that or not? Personally, I don't see the attraction. Spaceships, flying saucers, men from Mars.
BENNY: What's wrong with men from Mars?
VENDOR: Nothing, except it's all make believe. Me, I like war stories. Did you see From Here to Eternity? Burt Lancaster standing there in the middle of Pearl Harbour, machine gun blazing, shooting down those Zeros. If it had been flying saucers, forget about it. So you going to buy that or not?
(He buys it.)
ALBERT: (Colm Meany) Benny.
BENNY: Hello, Albert.
ALBERT: I thought you might be going to the office.
BENNY: We could walk there together.
ALBERT: Exactly.
(Albert puts his pipe in his mouth and searches for his matches. Benny produces a book.) ALBERT: Oh, there they are. You're looking at the Galaxy, I see.
VENDOR: Paper here. Paper.

[Magazine office]

(The Globe headline reads Reds Test H-Bomb. Some past Incredible Tales editions are January 1953 - A Most Fortunate Accident, Assault on Planet 10, Quantity of the Monster, 1001: First Odyssey, Venusian Chronicles. March 1953 - The Cage by E W Roddenberry, The Corbomite Maneuver, Journey to Babel, Metamorphosis, Where No Man Has Gone Before. September 1953 - Far Beyond The Stars, A Wrinkle in Space, Hazardous Images, Me Android, Loner In A Lonely World by Hugo Campbell.) KAY: (Nana Visitor) Voila. A pitcher of plain water instantly becomes a pitcher of iced tea.
JULIUS: (Siddig El Fasil) Incredible. White Rose Redi Tea. What an appalling concept.
KAY: Oh, H. G. Wells would've liked it.
JULIUS: I doubt that. No self respecting Englishman would.
HERBERT: (Armin Shimmerman) Pabst! Pabst! Get out here.
PABST: (Rene Auberjonois) What's wrong now, Herb?
HERBERT: I'll give you one guess.
KAY: The battle of the doughnuts, round twenty eight.
PABST: That's it? That's what you called me out here for, to complain about the doughnuts?
HERBERT: They're stale again.
PABST: Delicious.
HERBERT: Delicious, my eye. These are two days old and you know it.
PABST: I have been eating doughnuts my whole life. These weren't baked more than six hours ago.
HERBERT: That's it, I quit. I'm going over to Galaxy.
PABST: Ha! Galaxy, that rag?
HERBERT: I bet that rag knows the difference between a doughnut and a doorstop.
(Benny and Albert enter quietly)
BENNY: Who's winning?
KAY: A draw, same as always.
PABST: You want to write Galaxy, go ahead, but they're not going to pay you four cents a word for your stories.
JULIUS: You're paying him four cents a word?
ALBERT: Did you see where I put the er?
BENNY: The matches? I gave them to you.
JULIUS: If he's getting four, Kay and I should at least get three.
HERBERT: For that fantasy crap you write, you're lucky to be getting two.
JULIUS: I beg your pardon?
KAY: What's that?
JULIUS: The latest Galaxy.
KAY: Benny has the new issue of Galaxy.
HERBERT: Let me see that. Heinlein, Bradbury, Sturgeon. Quite a lineup. Add Herbert Rossoff to them and it'd be complete.
PABST: What if I promise you fresh doughnuts tomorrow?
HERBERT: Why should I believe you?
PABST: I'll even throw in a couple of crullers.
HERBERT: Okay, I'll stay.
JULIUS: Don't do us any favours.
PABST: Good. Now that we've finished with the old business, onto the new. Time to hand out next month's story assignments. Ritterhouse! We're waiting.
(Enter the resident artist with paint stained smock.)
ROY: (J G Hertzler) Okay, friends and neighbours. Let's see what Uncle Roy has for you today.
PABST: All right, I've titled this one 'Please, Take Me With You.' Who wants it?
(A little girl standing in the woods near a picnic table, staring at two aliens in space suits.)
KAY: Hmm, what do you think, Jules?
JULIUS: I think we can do something with that.
HERBERT: Oh, I bet you can. I can see it now, the lonely little girl befriended by empathetic aliens who teach her how to smile. It's enough to make you go out and buy a television set. Next.
ROY: This is Mister Pabst's favourite. Honeymoon on Andoras.
(A bug eyed monster climbing over the ledge of a building, where a buxom beauty is sunbathing.)
KAY: Oh, you've got to be kidding.
ROY: What? So I had too much sauerkraut on my franks that night. What can I say?
HERBERT: Be that as it may, that is the worst piece of garbage I have ever seen.
ROY: Thank you.
HERBERT: I'll take it.
JULIUS: Of course you will. You have an affinity for garbage, don't you?
HERBERT: The picture may be garbage, but the story? The story will be art.
(A picture of Deep Space Nine)
PABST: All right, I haven't got a title for this one yet. Anybody got any ideas?
BENNY: I'll think of something.
PABST: All right, next order of business. Some of our readers have been writing in wanting to know what you people look like.
KAY: Write back and tell them we look like writers. Poor, needy and incredibly attractive.
PABST: Well our publisher has a better idea. Mister Stone has decided to run a picture of you in next month's issue.
ALBERT: Is this absolutely
PABST: Necessary? I'm afraid it is. Kay, you can sleep late that day.
KAY: Of course I can. God forbid that the public ever finds out K.C. Hunter is a woman.
BENNY: I suppose I'm sleeping late that day, too.
PABST: It's not personal, Benny, but as far as our readers are concerned, Benny Russell is as white as they are. Let's just keep it that way.
HERBERT: Oh yes, if the world's not ready for a woman writer, imagine what would happen if it learned about a Negro with a typewriter. Run for the hills! It's the end of civilisation.
BENNY: What about W E B du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright? Did you ever heard of Native Son?
PABST: That's literature for liberals and intellectuals. The average reader's not going to spend his hard earned cash on stories written by Negroes.
HERBERT: Would someone please shoot me and put me out of my misery?
JULIUS: How I long for a gun.
PABST: I'm sorry, Benny. I wish things were different, but they're not.
BENNY: Wishing never changed a damn thing.
PABST: Come on, Benny. It's just a photo.
BENNY: I'll try to remember that.
HERBERT: You're a dog.
PABST: All right, enough standing around. Get back to work.

[New York Street]

(As Benny comes out of the Arthur Trill building, 1290 somewhere, the breeze takes the picture of DS9 down the street where someone steps on it. Benny reaches down for it.)
RYAN: (Mark Alaimo) Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. What's the hurry?
BENNY: That's my drawing.
RYAN: Is that so?
MULKAHEY: (Jeffrey Coombs) Nice suit. Where'd you get it?
BENNY: I bought it. Can I have my drawing back?
RYAN: Hey boy, I'd watch that tone of voice if I were you.
MULKAHEY: What are you doing around here?
BENNY: I work here.
RYAN: Yeah? Where?
BENNY: In there.
RYAN: What are you, the janitor?
MULKAHEY: Awfully well dressed for a janitor.
RYAN: How do we know that picture's yours?
BENNY: It's the drawing of a space station.
RYAN: Space station?
(Benny starts to bend down again.)
MULKAHEY: Hey, hey, hey, hey. (he goes to pick it up.) Well, get off it already.
RYAN: Okay.
BENNY: See? It's not worth anything except to me.
RYAN: I say we run him in, check him for priors.
MULKAHEY: Nah. We've got to be uptown in fifteen minutes. Take your drawing and get out of here.
RYAN: Hey, hey. You're getting off with a warning this time. Next time, not so lucky. Now get out of here.
MULKAHEY: You heard him, move on.
RYAN: I don't know, Kevin. Whole city's going to hell in a handbasket, huh?
MULKAHEY: Damn shame.
RYAN: Come on.

[Harlem street]

(Benny comes out of the subway.)
PREACHER: (Brock Peters) And he said to me, 'These words are trustworthy and true.' And the Lord, God of the spirits of the Prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place. Praise the Lord. Open their eyes. Help them to see.
BENNY: Are you talking to me?
PREACHER: Oh, that my words were now written. Oh, that they were printed in a book. Write those words, Brother Benny. Let them see the glory of what lies ahead.
BENNY: Benny? How do you know my name?
PREACHER: Go now and write the truth that's in your heart. The truth that shall set them free! Praise be the word of the Lord. Praise to the word of the Prophets.

[Benny's apartment]

(A small neat place, with an upright piano and plenty of books. There's even a phases of the moon picture on the wall. Benny gets a bottle of milk from the fridge then settles down at his typewriter. He types 'Captain Benjamin Sisko sat looking out the window'. Benny looks up raises the blind and sees Sisko reflected in his own window. He rubs his eyes and he's gone, then he carries on typing.)

[Harlem coffee shop]

(Benny's got an envelope with him.)
CASSIE: (Penny Johnson) Hey, baby. Have a seat. The usual?
BENNY: How about scrambling those eggs today?
CASSIE: Oh my, aren't we feeling adventurous.
BENNY: I have just written the best story of my life.
CASSIE: That's great, baby. I got some good news, too. I talked to Mrs Jackson last night and she's serious about retiring in the next couple of years. I asked her about selling this place to us and she said that she would be willing.
BENNY: Cassie, we have been over this. I have a job. I am a writer.
CASSIE: And how much money have you earned doing that?
BENNY: I've only been working at it for a few years.
CASSIE: A few years? More like fifteen, if you count all those stories you wrote in the Navy.
BENNY: That was amateur stuff.
CASSIE: Oh, baby, neither one of us is getting any younger. Can't you see? This is our chance. We can make some money, we can get married. You're always talking about writing for the future. Well, look around you. This is our future.
(Willie enters with a couple of young ladies, and is greeted with applause.)
WILLIE: Cassie, hear the game last night? Went two for four, robbed Snider of a tater. Should have heard the crowd yelling and carrying on.
BENNY: Sure they were yelling. They want to know why the Giants are in fifth place.
WILLIE: Would you please tell this fool to take his business someplace else?
CASSIE: Well, I've thought about it. Trouble is, if he did leave, he'd take my heart with him.
WILLIE: Suit yourself. But if you ask me, it's a waste of a very pretty heart.
CASSIE: I don't think so.
BENNY: Strike three. You're out.
WILLIE: That's all right, I'll get another turn at bat. How about some steak and eggs?
CASSIE: Coming right up. But tell me something. How come you still living uptown? I mean, s famous ballplayer like you, you can live anywhere you want.
WILLIE: The hell I can. They can hardly get used to the idea of me playing alongside them. Living next to them? That's a whole other story. Besides, around here, when people look at me, it's 'cause they admire me. There, I'm just another coloured boy who can hit a curve ball. Now, if you will excuse me, my public awaits.
(Willie goes to a table of four girls, and young lads come over for autographs.)
WILLIE: Ladies. Oh, hi guys.
CASSIE: I'll see about those eggs.
JIMMY: (Cirroc Lofton with hairy caterpillar on his upper lip) Hey, Benny. You wanna buy a watch?
BENNY: How did you get that?
JIMMY: I found it. Nice, huh?
BENNY: Jimmy, you got to turn this around or one days you're going to find yourself in some serious trouble.
JIMMY: Anything I can get into, I can get out of.
BENNY: You keep thinking that way and watch what happens.
JIMMY: Man, why you always trying to lecture me?
BENNY: I'm not trying to lecture you, Jimmy, I'm just trying to help.
JIMMY: You want to help me, you can buy this watch. I can use the cash.
BENNY: Why don't you get a job?
JIMMY: As what? A delivery boy or a dishwasher? No, thanks. I like being my own boss, setting my own hours.
BENNY: Sounds like a great life.
JIMMY: Yours ain't no better. Writing stories about a bunch of white people living on the moon. Who cares about that?
BENNY: I'm not doing that anymore. I'm writing about us.
JIMMY: What, coloured people on the moon?
BENNY: Check out next month's issue.
JIMMY: Coloured people on the moon. I just might do that. But first, I'm gonna need to raise me some cash.

[Magazine office]

(Everyone is reading Benny's new story, passing the pages around. The telephone goes unanswered.)
DARLENE: (Terry Farrell) She's got a worm in her belly. Oh, that's disgusting. That's interesting, but that's disgusting.
ALBERT: And you are, if you don't mind me asking, you are?
DARLENE: I'm Mister Pabst's new secretary. Darlene Kursky. Which one of you's wrote this?
BENNY: I did.
DARLENE: You?
BENNY: Surprised?
DARLENE: It's just it's the best thing I've read since The Puppet Masters. I read a lot of science fiction.
HERBERT: Bless you, my child.
KAY: The world needs more people like you.
ALBERT: The story is really, it's, how should I put it? It's very
DARLENE: Impressive?
ALBERT: Yes.
HERBERT: It's a damn fine piece of writing is what it is. And Deep Space Nine is a very intriguing title.
JULIUS: Very admirable.
HERBERT: The master of understatement. What he really means is he wishes he had half your talent.
KIRA: You know what, Benny? I like this Major of yours. She's a tough cookie.
KAY: Science fiction needs more strong women characters. I'm always saying that, aren't I, Jules?
JULIUS: Ad nauseam, dear.
ROY: These Cardassians, I like the way you describe them, especially the neck ridges. I'm going to do some sketches for you to take a look at. Make a nice cover.
PABST: Don't waste your time. You, back to work.
DARLENE: Right away, Mister Pabst.
PABST: You too, Roy.
HERBERT: Douglas, you're not going to stand there and tell us you don't like this story.
PABST: Oh, I like it all right. It's good. It's very good. But you know I can't print it.
BENNY: Why not?
PABST: Oh, come on, Benny. Your hero's a Negro captain. The head of a space station, for Christ's sake.
BENNY: What's wrong with that?
PABST: People won't accept it. It's not believable.
HERBERT: And men from Mars are?
PABST: Stay out of this, Herb. Look, Benny, I'm a magazine editor, I am not a crusader. I am not here to change the world, I'm here to put out a magazine. Now, that's my job. That means I have to answer to the publisher, the national distributors, the wholesalers and none of them are going to want to put this story on the newsstand. For all we know, it could cause a race riot.
HERBERT: Congratulations, Douglas. That's the most imbecilic attempt to rationalise personal cowardice that I've ever heard.
KAY: Uh oh, he's angry now.
PABST: Herb's been angry ever since Joseph Stalin died.
HERBERT: What's that supposed to mean?
PABST: You know exactly what it means.
HERBERT: You calling me a red?
BENNY: Easy, easy.
JULIUS: Calm down, dear boy. We're writers, not Vikings.
HERBERT: I'm not going to stand here and let some craven fascist call me a pinko and get away with it.
ALBERT: Douglas, what did you think of, of my story?
PABST: I loved it. You see, Albert's got the right idea. He's not interested in Negroes or whites. He writes about robots.
HERBERT: That's because he is a robot. No offence, Albert.
ALBERT: I like robots. They're very efficient.
PABST: Here, write me a novella based on this picture. I'll print it in next month's issue. You do a good job, you might even get the cover.
BENNY: What about my story?
PABST: The way I see it, you can either burn it or you can stick it in a drawer for fifty years or however long it takes the human race to become colour-blind.
BENNY: I want people to read it now.
PABST: Fine. You want me to print it? Make the captain white.
BENNY: That's not what I wrote.
PABST: It's your call.

[Harlem coffee shop]

CASSIE: I'm sorry they didn't buy your story, baby. Really I am.
JIMMY: I told you you were wasting your time. A coloured captain. The only reason they'll ever let us in space is if they need someone to shine their shoes. Ain't that right, Cassie?
CASSIE: I don't know, and to be honest I don't much care what happens a hundred years from now. It's today that matters.
JIMMY: Well, I've got news for you. Today or a hundred years from now, it don't make a bit of difference. As far as they're concerned, we'll always be niggers.
BENNY: Things are going to change. They have to.
JIMMY: You keep telling yourself that.
CASSIE: Maybe all this is happening for a reason.
BENNY: You mean maybe it's God's way of telling me that I should quit writing and go into the restaurant business?
CASSIE: Hey, it's possible. Baby, I know we can make this work for us. We could be happy. Besides, you don't have to give up writing altogether. Maybe you could write something for the Amsterdam News or some other Negro newspapers.
BENNY: I'm not a reporter, I'm a writer. I write fiction and the Amsterdam News is not going to publish stories about a space station four hundred years into the future.
WORF: Hear the game last night?
(Benny starts up from his stool and knocks over a passerby.)
WILLIE: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you. You don't look so good. You sick or something?
BENNY: Oh, no, I'm fine.
CASSIE: You want to lie down in the back?
BENNY: No, no, no, I just need some air.
CASSIE: Are we still on for tonight?
BENNY: I'll pick you up about ten.
(And escapes into the street.)
WILLIE: What are you doing till ten?
CASSIE: Whatever it is, I won't be doing it with you.

[Harlem street]

(Night time.)
PREACHER: Hello, Brother Benny.
BENNY: You again. I don't understand what you want from me.
PREACHER: To follow the path of the Prophets. Walk with the Prophets, Brother Benny. Show us the way.
BENNY: What way? I don't know what you're talking about.
PREACHER: Write the words, Brother Benny. The words that will lead us out of the darkness onto the path of righteousness.
(Benny walks away)
PREACHER: Write the words, Brother Benny. Write the words.

[Benny's apartment]

(Benny gets in and sits straight down at the typewriter. Later, Cassie switches on the wireless. Benny is asleep holding a manuscript.)
CASSIE: Hey, baby. You forgot all about our date.
BENNY: Our date? I'm sorry. I was working.
CASSIE: Ben Sisko? Isn't that your coloured captain? Why are you writing another one of those stories. You couldn't sell the last one. What makes you think this one'll be any different?
BENNY: It probably won't be, but it doesn't matter. It's what I've got to do.
CASSIE: Right now, what you've got to do is eat.
BENNY: I'm not hungry. What time is it anyway?
CASSIE: It's after midnight. I should be getting home to bed. But before I go, what do you say we take a spin on the dance floor.
BENNY: Okay.
CASSIE: Mmm. Feels good, doesn't it?
BENNY: I could stay like this forever.

[Sisko's quarters]

(Sisko and Kasidy are dancing. Sisko's in Benny's clothes but Kasidy has a different dress on.)
KASIDY: Me, too. It's times like these that I wish we'd never heard of the Dominion.

[Benny's apartment]

BENNY: The Dominion?
CASSIE: What do you mean? You said something about the Dominion

[Sisko's quarters]

KASIDY: What is it, Ben? What's wrong?
BENNY: I don't know. I think I'm losing my mind.

[Benny's apartment]

(Benny falls against the piano.)
CASSIE: Tell me. Tell me what's wrong.
BENNY: I'm starting to see things things from my story. It's as if I'm becoming this Captain Sisko.
CASSIE: Okay, baby, you just need to get some rest. It's all right, it's all right. I'm with you. I'm with you, baby. Just take it easy. Shh.

[Magazine office]

PABST: Have you lost your mind?
BENNY: Lately, I've been asking myself the same question.
PABST: I give you a novella to write. I even offer you a shot at the cover. Three weeks later, instead of a novella, you come back with six stories. Six sequels to a story I refused to publish in the first place. So I guess the answer to the question we've both been asking is yes, you are certifiable!
JULIUS: I think you should print your own stories. You know, through a private publishing house. A nice, elegant, little volume. Fifty to a hundred copies.
PABST: That's a great idea.
KAY: Might as well write it in chalk on the sidewalk. More people would read them that way.
ALBERT: I've got an idea. Why not make them, you know, a dream?
BENNY: What's that?
ALBERT: Just make the ending of your first story, Deep Space Nine, a dream.
BENNY: Would that make a difference?
PABST: That depends.
KAY: On what?
PABST: On who's doing the dreaming.
KAY: Well, obviously someone, er, someone without a lot of hope. A shoeshine boy, a convict, someone dreaming of a better future.
PABST: A Negro.
DARLENE: Yeah well, I suppose he'd have to be if he was dreaming about a Negro captain.
HERBERT: Hold on. Making it a dream guts the story.
PABST: Shut up, Herb.
JULIUS: I think it makes it more poignant.
HERBERT: What about the other Sisko stories? You can't make them all dreams.
KAY: Let him get this one published first, then he can worry about the others.
JULIUS: What do you think, Benny?
BENNY: I think it's better than chalk on the sidewalk.

[Harlem street]

(Two girls are skipping on the sidewalk.)
BENNY: Can I play? Hey, Jimmy, I got great news. We're headed for the stars.
JIMMY: Yeah, sure, whatever.
(Jimmy keeps looking around, nervously.)
BENNY: Come on, I'll buy you lunch. I'll tell you all about it.
JIMMY: Later. I got some business to take care of.
BENNY: What kind of business?
JIMMY: Big time. That's all I've got to say.
BENNY: Hey, hey, hey, hold it, hold it. What are you talking about?
JIMMY: Don't worry about it. It's cool, man. I got it under control. I'll see you around.

[Harlem coffee shop]

WILLIE: Bottom of seventh, I'm up again. Oh two fastball, ham, into the left field bleachers. Had to be four hundred feet.
CASSIE: I know all about it, Willie. I read the newspaper.
WILLIE: Oh, but you got to admit, they don't tell like I tell it.
BENNY: Hey, Cassie.
WILLIE: Hey, man, did you hear the game last night? I went two for four.
BENNY: Yeah, Willie, that's great. But I just hit a grand slam. They are publishing one of my Sisko stories at three cents a word. Three cents a word!
CASSIE: Good for you, baby.
BENNY: That means tonight we are celebrating. Dancing, the works.
CASSIE: I'll wear my red dress.
BENNY: You're damn right you will. Three cents a word. Three cents a word.

[Harlem street]

(The jazz is hot and the traffic is slow outside the Rendezvous.)
BENNY: There you are.
CASSIE: Oh, my poor feet. Baby, you better marry me soon. I'm not getting any younger.
BENNY: Yes, but you are getting more and more beautiful day by day. (sings) I'd be happy just to spend my life waiting on your beck and call.
PREACHER: Brother Benny.
BENNY: I was hoping I'd see you again. I did it. My story's getting published.
PREACHER: The light of the Lord is in his path. But, Brother Benny, this is only the beginning of your journey, not the ending. And the path of the Prophets sometimes leads into darkness and pain.
CASSIE: Benny, what is he talking about? Who are you?
PREACHER: I speak with the voice of the Prophets.
(He takes hold of Benny's left ear, and it comes away with blood on the fingertips.)
PREACHER: And in their words, hope and despair walk arm in arm.
(The Preacher backs into the darkness.)
CASSIE: Did you understand any of that?
(Three gunshots.)
CASSIE: Is that gunfire?
(There's a young man with a moustache dead and bleeding in the road and our 'bad' cops are standing over him. Benny tries to barge between them.)
MULKAHEY: Hey! Whoa! Whoa!
RYAN: Get back.
BENNY: What happened?
MULKAHEY: What's it to you?
BENNY: I know him.
RYAN: Yeah? Then maybe you can explain what he was doing trying to break into this car here.
BENNY: Is that why you shot him? Because he was breaking into a car?
MULKAHEY: He had a weapon.
BENNY: A crowbar!
RYAN: Yes, now step back.
MULKAHEY: Let's go.
(Benny elbow Mulkahey and grabs at Ryan. Mulkahey hits him with a cosh. Then they both keep punching Benny.)
CASSIE: (held back by a policeman.) Stop it! Stop it! Let him go! Stop it, please! Get off of me! Stop it! They're going to kill him. Look, you're going to kill him. Stop it!
(Briefly our pair are Dukat and Weyoun, then the cops carry on kicking Benny long after he is capable of defending himself.)

[Benny's apartment]

CASSIE: I'm telling you, baby, you've been cooped up in this apartment for weeks. Going down to the office will do you good.
BENNY: I suppose you're right. I should be there when the first copies of this month's issue are delivered.
CASSIE: Absolutely. After all that work you did, you deserve to see your story in print. Just no jumping up and down with excitement. I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself.
BENNY: I will restrict myself to a proud grin.
CASSIE: You're not having any more of those hallucinations, are you?
BENNY: I'm fine.
(Dark glasses, walking stick and a bandaged hand, Benny leaves.)

[Magazine office]

KAY: What about, It Came From Outer Space.
JULIUS: It's a smashing title. Wish I'd thought of it.
(Benny is let in.)
HERBERT: Hey, Benny. Long time no see.
BENNY: Is it here?
JULIUS: Not yet. Pabst is still at the printers.
KAY: We're waiting for his return with baited breath.
ALBERT: We heard that you were
KAY: We heard they beat the hell out of you.
BENNY: I'm okay.
ALBERT: Glad to see that you're, you know, up and about.
DARLENE: Tell him the good news, Albert.
ALBERT: Oh, it's nothing.
KAY: Nothing? He sells a novel to Gnome Press and he says it's nothing.
BENNY: A novel. Albert, congratulations!
ALBERT: Thank you.
BENNY: Robots?
ALBERT: What else?
(Pabst enters.)
JULIUS: It's about time.
HERBERT: Douglas? Magazine?
PABST: There isn't any magazine. Not this month anyway. Mister Stone had the entire run pulped.
BENNY: He can't do that.
PABST: Oh, he can and he did. He believes, quote, this issue did not live up to our usual high standards, unquote.
BENNY: What's that supposed to mean?
PABST: It means he didn't like it. Which means the public will simply going to have to get along without any Incredible Tales this month.
BENNY: What exactly is it that he did not like? The artwork, the layout? What high standards is he talking about?
KAY: Take it easy, Benny.
BENNY: No, it's about my story, isn't it? That's what this is all about. He didn't want to publish my story and we all know why. Because my hero is a coloured man.
PABST: Hey! This magazine belongs to Mister Stone. If he doesn't want to publish this month, we don't publish this month. End of story.
BENNY: That doesn't make it right and you know it.
PABST: Don't tell me what I know. Besides, it's not about what's right, it's about what is. And I'm afraid I've got some more bad news for you, Benny. Mister Stone has decided that your services are no longer required here.
HERBERT: What!
BENNY: You're firing me?
PABST: I have no choice, Benny. It's his decision.
BENNY: Well, you can't fire me. I quit. To hell with you, and to hell with Stone.
JULIUS: Try to stay calm, Benny.
BENNY: No. I'm tired of being calm. Calm never gotten me a damn thing.
PABST: I'm warning you, Benny. If you don't stop this I'm going to call the police.
BENNY: You go ahead! Call them! Call anybody you want. They can't do anything to me. Not anymore. And nor can any of you. I am a human being, damn it. You can deny me all you want but you cannot deny Ben Sisko. He exists! That future, that space station, all those people, they exist in here. In my mind, I created it. And every one of you know it. You read it. It's here. You hear what I'm telling you? You can pulp a story but you cannot destroy an idea. Don't you understand? That's ancient knowledge. You cannot destroy an idea. That future, I created it, and it's real. Don't you understand? It is real! I created it and it's real! It's real! Oh, God.
(Benny collapses, sobbing.

[New York Street]

AMBULANCE MAN: Easy.
(Benny is wheeled out to a very old ambulance even by 1953 standards.)
AMBULANCE MAN: One, two three.

[Ambulance]

(Benny is in Starfleet uniform. He puts on his glasses.)
PREACHER: Rest easy, Brother Benny. You have walked in the path of the Prophets. There is no greater glory.
BENNY: Tell me, please. Who am I?
PREACHER: Don't you know?
BENNY: Tell me.
PREACHER: You're the dreamer and the dream.
(There are stars streaking past the rear windows.)

[Infirmary]

KASIDY: Ben? Ben.
SISKO: How long was I out?
BASHIR: Only for a few minutes.
JOSEPH: Seemed like forever to me.
BASHIR: That's odd. Somehow, your neural patterns have returned to normal.
JAKE: That's good, isn't it?
BASHIR: Oh, it's very good. I just don't understand how it happened.

[Sisko's quarters]

(Joseph enters.)
JOSEPH: How're you feeling, son?
SISKO: I'm okay.
JOSEPH: I'm done packing. Transport leaves at eight in the morning.
SISKO: I wish you could stay longer.
JOSEPH: I've got to get back to the restaurant. My customers have never gone this long without me. The question is, what are you going to do?
SISKO: The only thing I can do. Stay here and finish the job I started. And if I fail
JOSEPH: I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.
SISKO: I've never known you to quote from the Bible.
JOSEPH: I'm full of surprises, aren't I? And so are you. Sounds like that dream you had helped you sort things out.
SISKO: I suppose it did. But I have begun to wonder. What if it wasn't a dream? What if this life we're leading, all of this, you and me, everything. What if all this is the illusion?
JOSEPH: That's a scary thought.
SISKO: I know, I know. But maybe, just maybe, Benny isn't the dream, we are. Maybe we're nothing more than figments of his imagination. For all we know, at this very moment, somewhere far beyond all those distant stars, Benny Russell is dreaming of us.
(Benny is Sisko's reflection in the window.)

<Back to the episode listing

Star Trek and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. Copyright 1966, Present. The Star Trek web pages on this site are for educational and entertainment purposes only. All other copyrights property of their respective holders.