From 1995. The senior staff head to Earth in the Defiant. What if the Dominion attack? Once again, this is not adressed. A transporter accident strands Bashir, Dax and Sisko in 2024. Dax gets rescued by Chris Brynner (Jim Metzler) who thinks she has been mugged and so lives the high life. As for the black guy and the half Arab guy? They are mocked and stuffed into Sanctuary District A, a prison for homeless people.
Dax looks for her friends, Brynner does not even think that her friends could be in a Sanctuary district. The Sanctuary is full of the unemployed, the homeless and the mentally ill. Every major US city has one. But soon Sanctuary District A will erupt into the Bell Riots which will lead to major social reform.
Bashir and Sisko try to keep their heads down in the gritty violent slum that is the Sanctuary - 20 square miles holding 10,000 plus people. Meanwhile back on the Defiant, O'Brien mutters about "temporal energy". Dax hangs around the very Bill Gates/Steve Jobs like Brynner who owns an 'interface' business. The net is all touchscreens but nobody has a smartphone.
Bashir has to carry the idiot ball so Sisko can info dump about 21st century history. In the Bell Riots, hundreds will die and Gabriel Bell will become a national hero. Sisko and Bashir spew some more of the writers preachy agenda. Okay author avatars aside, this was very good. Also Bashir's line about how people would react if something bad happened to the Federation is now coming to pass in the books with the 'Destiny'/'Typhon Pact'/'Cold Equations' saga.
Kira wears a horrible rubber belt. Bashir and Sisko befriend Michael Webb (Bill Smithrovich) and there's talk of sea floor mining projects and riots in Europe. Dax wears a feather in her hair and asks why does the Sanctuary have a wall around it. Sisko and Bashir change history as Gabriel Bell is knifed by a violent nutter so Sisko pretends to be Bell.
On the Defiant, the crew notice the Federation Communication Satellites and Terraforming project on Venus have vanished and Romulan lifesigns are coming from Alpha Centauri. History has changed for the worse. Uh oh! Meanwhile back in 2024, the Bell Riots erupt.
What about the DTI? No-one mentions them. The production design for 2024 is wonderful. For Earth to become a utopia, it first had to go through hell. But if the Bell Riots led to social reform, weren't the third World War and Post Atomic Horror still to come? There was a great callback to this two-parter in a later ep 'Little Green Men' when Nog asked if anyone had heard of the Bell Riots and didn't Gabriel Bell look like Sisko. Very funny moment. This gritty two parter is a great look at a pivotal moment in history,
"This is not the Earth we are used to."
"This ship is all that's left of Starfleet."
"I think I am making a political statement."