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In the acclaimed Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Visitor", Ben Sisko is killed in an accident prior to the Dominion War, before Jake Sisko resets the timeline.

However, the episode takes place on Earth in (I believe) the Louisiana bayou, and Jake is living what appears to be a comfortable normal life, as is his young visitor. Flashbacks to visits to the area around DS9 in later years do not show Dominion conquest.

However, in the main timeline shown in all the subsequent episodes of the series, the Dominion come extremely close to a complete conquest of the Federation, and, indeed, according to the brilliant genetically engineered savants seen in later episodes, are statistically overwhelmingly favoured to do so. The show seems to indicate that it was only Ben Sisko's heroism, genius, and sacrifice that allowed Earth, let alone Bajor to escape.

Obviously, in real life, those episodes hadn't been written yet. But, in universe, why was Earth fine in the absence of Ben Sisko's brilliance, which the later seasons depict as absolutely crucial? Or was he actually just replaceable?

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  • You don't conclusively know that the Dominion didn't conquer the Federation in that timeline, however, given they're still wearing Starfleet-esque uniforms near the end it doesn't seem likely.
    – Xantec
    Aug 22, 2021 at 3:54
  • It is possible that tha the alternate universe where Sisko died had many aaalternte futures, and that the Dominion conquered Earth and the Federation in thousands of those alternate futures for every one where they didn't. And the "The Vistor" followes the events in one of the very rare timelines where for some reason the Dominion doesn't conquer Earth. Aug 27, 2021 at 19:18

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In short, we don't know. It's not described in the show and there have been no other works set in the same fictional (Sisko-less) universe.

That being said, notwithstanding the fine analysis that Bashir's friends completed, the Federation absolutely would have won the Dominion War on its own, due to the morphogenetic virus with which Section 31 infected the Founders. Without Sisko's interventions, it's highly likely that Odo's people would have just died, leaving the Dominion bereft of political leadership in either Quadrant.

Note also that it's only because of Sisko that the Martok/changeling was exposed, leading the Dominion into a more aggressive posture. In the alternative universe, Jake states that tensions between the Federation and Klingon Empire remain high (but that outright war hasn't happened yet), possibly because Fake Martok continues to sow dissent but hasn't managed to outright foment a war.

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