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In the episode "Far Beyond the Stars", Sisko speculates that maybe his entire world is just the imagination of Benny Russell, a science fiction writer in the 1950's on Earth. Did the writers intend to imply that DS9 is just the dream of Benny, or is Benny the dream of Sisko? Or is it open to interpretation?

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    "Deep Space Nine was a dream given form: a dream of a galaxy without war, when species from different worlds could live side by side in mutual respect." Oh wait, it's the clone of a dream, not the dream. – CodesInChaos Sep 8 '14 at 12:46
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    If DS9 is a dream, so is the rest of ST (at least TNG and VOY), which references DS9 – Brian S Sep 8 '14 at 14:35
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    In a fictional setting a man dreams about a space station. In a different fictional setting a man dreams about an scifi-author. Now whom could you possibly give priority over the other: Both is canonic Star-Trek fiction. But most important: The dream the episode is really focused on, has become true: There can be scifi with a black captain. I'd guess, that was the idea of the producers - not who dreams and who "is real" (whatever that in fiction means.) – Einer Sep 8 '14 at 14:48
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    I want to say two words to you, Lukas, just two words. Tommy. Westphall. – Paul D. Waite Apr 30 '15 at 21:49
  • I think probably one of the best theories out there is that both Benny Russell and Sisko are real, and have been cognitively linked by the Prophets to envision parts of each others reality. The Prophets don't experience linear time so who knows what their motivation behind this link are. Maybe they are even related to each other in some way. This doesn't discredit either, and I think it's better than a shallow "it was a lesson from the prophets" explanation and better than "it was all just a dream from Benny", which I think would have been a cheap gimmick and taken the punch out of the series. – Lukas Jan 7 '16 at 1:54
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No, but it almost was!

According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, there was some talk that the final scene of "What You Leave Behind" would be Benny Russell sitting outside a sound stage holding a script that read "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," essentially making the series, and all of Star Trek, a dream. - Memory Alpha - Benny Russell

The scripting around this character was kept vague enough through the series to keep it as a question left for fans to answer, but the show itself never definitively said that it had all been a dream - Benny Russell would come back later while Sisko was dealing with the Pah-Wraiths, but other than that, no further reference is made to the character, or the suggestion that DS9 was all a dream.

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    That would have been billions of times stupider than even "Threshold." – Ham Sandwich Feb 11 '17 at 0:44
  • It's also a possibility that Ben Sisko IS BOTH Russel and Sisko -- but at different points in time. As the Prophets frequently say, "time is non-linear", and Sisko's birth and life also appear to be destined or part of some known cycle to the Prophets. Since they also sent a prophet to Earth to make Ben, it's conceivable they'd visit Earth in the past, too, either directly (possession) or indirectly (through "touching people" like Ben Sisko). – RoboBear Jul 9 '18 at 22:59

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