I wonder how they crafted this episode. Did they start with the idea of the Maquis stealing the Defiant and added Tom Riker in later, did they start with the idea of doing a story with Tom Riker, did they start with the idea of doing an episode with Will Riker and it slowly evolved to be about Tom? To me, it feels like the first one
It was the second one according to the DS9 companion. Moore came up with the idea of Tom Riker leading the Maquis; Behr then wanted him to come to the station; and then Moore thought of a reason for him to show up - the Defiant.