The story revolved around the crew of a space station in the far reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy and featured a wide array of alien species and future technology. Russell created the story based on visions and dreams he was having at the time, which were actually the life events of his counterpart Benjamin Sisko some four hundred years in the future, and which finally began to take shape when the magazine's house illustrator, Roy Ritterhouse, presented him with a picture of a vaguely familiar station.
The story was greeted enthusiastically by the other members of the writing staff, including Herbert Rossoff, who thought the setting fascinating and found the title "very intriguing."
Douglas Pabst, the editor of Incredible Tales, was troubled by the story, however. In particular, he stressed that the story's main character, a space captain, would not be believable to the magazine's readers because he was a black man. Because of this, he did not believe that Mr. Stone, publisher of Incredible Tales, would allow the story to be published in the racist climate of the time. Russell eventually agreed to alter the story so that the ending portrayed all of the events as nothing but the dream of a black child from the present. Pabst reluctantly decided to allow the story to proceed with this change, but in the end he was overruled by the publisher who canceled that month's issue of the magazine rather than let the story see print. (DS9 episode & novelization: Far Beyond the Stars)
Even after being committed to an asylum, Russell kept writing about the characters of "Deep Space Nine." Doctor James Wykoff felt this was unhealthy and confiscated all of the paper in his room. This did not stop Benny, who began to write the story on the walls. (DS9 episode: "Shadows and Symbols"; DS9 short story: "Isolation Ward 4")