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Headscratchers: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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Technology

     Station Design 
  • This is probably nitpicking in the extreme but - what is up with the station design? The landing pads work fine, but the other docking ports are mystifying. The docking ring - why are the ports recessed? The Pylons - why are they oriented inwards? Perhaps it has something to do with the shield grid, but recessed ports would limit what kinds of craft can fit into those slots and inward-facing pylons limit the ultimate size of craft that can dock there as well as increasing the chance of collision between arriving/departing craft.
    • Alien Geometries at it's finest. Since the station was designed and built by the Cardassians, it probably made sense to them.
    • To be honest a more pressing question is: why is it so small? Or rather, why is a station so small so important when the Federation can churn out things hundreds of times that size? The actual size of the station makes sense in terms of its original purpose as a mining and command platform, but it's far too small. Bajor still owns the place but Starfleet runs and defends the station.
    • The Cardassians probably didn't plan on having non-Cardassian ships dock at Terok Nor with any frequency. It could also be that there are retractable gondolas that extend from the docking ring to accommodate larger ships. Collisions are probably not that common if you can have a Galaxy-class ship maneuverable enough to fly through the doors of Earth's Spacedock. As for why Starfleet didn't build another station, remember that DS9 is owned by Bajor and the Wormhole is in their space. It's likely political and economic reasons that made Bajor insist that the gateway to the Gamma Quadrant would be a Bajoran-owned station and thus reject any Starfleet proposal to build a station of their own.
    • We saw in the pilot that the upper pylons are far enough apart for the Enterprise D to dock with them, and there are precious few ships in the Trek universe larger than a Galaxy-class.
    • Here on Earth, we built the Panama Canal to be wide enough to accommodate the largest ship at the time it was built. In DS9, the Cardassians built Terok Nor to accommodate the largest ship they had available when it was built. And, as noted, if it's big enough for a Galaxy Class, it's big enough for pretty much anything in the Next Gen universe.
      • That is understandable, but the inward facing nature of the Pylons would still increase the chances of a collision or damage from engine exhaust. Turned outwards, the docked ships would have all of space's infinite vastness to manoeuvre in. Perhaps it has to do with balancing the station.
      • Could be to do with defence. The station was in hostile territory during the occupation after all. Having the big ships dock within the inward pylons would keep them within the stations shields more easily, and within the station's sphere of control. It would also keep the big ships out of the line of outward fire too.
    • I don't know if this would be canon, but this image shows that Cardassian ships fit the docking ports pretty well. More seriously, Terok Nor was a simple ore processing station designed specifically for Cardassian ships; I doubt the designers were overly concerned with accommodating non-Cardassians.

     Beam me to the next star system, Scotti'klan! 
  • "Covenant" confirms that the Dominion has transporter technology that can transport somebody multiple light years (as presumably Dukat did with himself earlier in "Tears of the Prophet"... this may also solve the question of what happened to Eris at the end of "The Jem'hadar"). I realize that the franchise often ducks the bigger implications of transporter technology (and also that the maximum beaming distance is a matter of great inconsistency), but that sounds like a huge technological advantage — almost enough to make space travel redundant! Why use a troop transport ship when you could just beam troops away while sitting comfortably in your home base? Why lug cargo around when you could just transport it? Sure, there may be explanations as to why this technology needs to be used sparingly (perhaps it's super-duper energy intensive), but all the same, reaction to it is surprisingly blasé. I would think that Starfleet would immediately go "go to get our hands on that!"
    • Indeed, the maximum transporter range is given in TNG as 40 000 km. That wouldn't even be enough to transport a person from Earth to the moon... only about a tenth of the way. The Dominion transporters, if they can cover three light years thanks to a "homing transporter" Hand Wave, have a range about 137 million times farther than those of Federation transporters. I would say that's quite a technology gap!
    • That Ferengi that hated Picard had a transporter system with similar range, it was just horribly dangerous. The Dominion obviously worked out the kinks. The technology gap isn't that big. Besides, three light-years isn't that much. The distance between solar systems is greater. The best they could do is invade systems while hanging at the outer rim, and Federation sensor technology has been shown to detect things well in excess of that.
      • We have it on "Covenant's" authority that the Bajoran system and wherever Empok Nor is are less than three light years apart (true, this is awfully close in real-world stellar terms, but Star Trek is often bad at that). Bok's subspace transporter and the dimensional shift of "The High Ground" open up a similar puzzle — these technologies work wonders, even beaming through shields, yet they are treated as verboten because they are hazardous to biological matter. So why not use them for the purposes of shipping (or weaponize them?)? Mind you, that same objection applies to The Fly, too.
      • I always assumed that weaponizing the transporters was something that was a sort of unspoken agreement among all parties not to do, mostly out of enlightened self interest. If someone actually succeeded at this on a scale of using it in their military routinely, the other side would get their hands on it eventually and start doing the same thing to you. Warfare would soon focus entirely on nothing but beaming explosives through shields, and the death toll for everyone involved would be catastrophic. So instead they just say "You know what, let's build better energy weapons, they won't be in such a hurry to copy those and they're a lot more reliable."
      • Sorry, but that just doesn't work. Aside from all the powers (eg. The Dominion, the Obsidian Order, TOS Klingons) who are ruthless enough to resort to such "underhand" tactics whatever some treaty says, the Borg are never going to sign up to any Geneva Convention equivalent in any case because they just don't negotiate.
      • It probably should be noted that there's a sort of area denial weapon in the Star Trek universe called a 'transport scrambler.' These devices don't turn transporters into an offensive weapon; rather, they make it risky or impossible to materialize in a specific area, probably—if the name is anything to go on—by inflicting some nightmarish Body Horror.
      • There is also a very good reason why the Klingons, Romulans, or Cardassians don't use transporter weapons. They have not only the Federation outside their borders to contend with, but each has rebellious/insurrectionist forces within their own population to contend with. Let the political rebels get the idea that transporters can be weapons as well as transport and suddenly keeping a lid on their population gets a whole lot more difficult. So there is probably a quiet agreement not to use them in case it gives their opposition-at-home ideas.
      • As for why no one uses it for cargo transport, there could be lots of reasons. It's possible that it's dangerous for inorganic matter too (beam over a bunch of self-sealing stem bolts, get a mangled box of fused metal). Or someone may have crunched the numbers and found that because of how the long-range transporters work, it's actually less energy efficient than just sending a cargo ship instead. Sure it's probably not as fast, but if the problem's so severe that your own facilities can't handle it and you can't wait three days for a cargo ship you're probably screwed anyway.

     Using phasers like firearms 
  • DS9 introduced the concept of a "phaser sweep": using a phaser set to emit a widely-dispersed, continuous beam to root out hidden Changelings. They used it at a low power setting so it wouldn't damage the scenery, but in "The Rapture", we see Sisko use a phaser on a high-dispersal setting to burn through a wall of solid rock. Not to mention the fact that phaser beams are beam weapons, and can be fired continuously. But when we get into combat with Jem'Hadar, all we ever see people use are short bursts with no dispersal, essentially as if they were firing bullets. You shoot and you either hit or you miss. Why doesn't anyone ever seem to realize they're holding a beam weapon? If I had four or five Jem'Hadar confronting me, all bunched up in a group a ways off with no collateral damage I had to avoid causing, the first thing I would try is throwing a grenade at them. But since this is Star Trek and I apparently don't have any grenades, I would instead use the phaser I had in my hand and fire a continuous sweep from left to right across their group, or set my phaser to a wide-dispersal beam and just hose down the whole area with energy. It's a lot harder to miss that way. And yet no one ever does. Why is that?
    • In "The Siege of AR-558" one of the grunts hands out "extra power cells" to the troops guarding the perimeter, giving the implication that much like the "energy cells" in video games, a phaser battery offers a limited number of shots, and perhaps those wide-beam sweeps are like firing a real-life machine gun on full-auto (which in real life will exhaust the magazine in seconds.)
    • One time we see something like that is in "Blaze Of Glory", when Sisko is carrying a Jem'Hadar weapon. He sweeps a room with energy bursts, machine gun-style, to root out shrouded Jem'Hadar warriors. But earlier in the episode, during a firefight in which he was holding his phaser, he never thought of any sort of beam sweep.
    • Battery life? The sweeps were specifically stated as being low power, but actually burning through the rock would require a higher drain. Sure, you could probably set the phaser to do that, but then one's in trouble if the enemy is behind cover and one's got a paperweight rather than a phaser. Also, this Troper swears he can remember an episode (not sure which series) where someone fires a phaser on a group of people stunning them all at once.
      • You may be thinking of "The Return of the Archons."
      • Update: The episode this Troper was thinking of was Star Trek Voyager's Cathexis where Tuvok stuns everyone on the bridge and later refers to having his phaser on "wide beam dispersal". Oddly, it looked like it was multiple beams each targeting an individual rather than just a broad sweep.
    • Jake Sisko does this in Nor the Battle to the Strong and accidentally collapses a cave. Obviously he's not a trained member of Starfleet, and he was terrified out of his mind at the time, but it does establish that phaser rifles can be used to sweep an area on a high setting for at least short bursts. One would think that that would be very useful in a pinch.
      • A Klingon also sweeps an area with his disruptor pistol in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Out of universe, it's easy to see why Star Trek generally avoids this; the special effect of that scene, despite being skillfully done from a technical standpoint, just looks bizarre on screen.
    • There could also be an issue of cycle-time. This would probably affect hand-phasers more than rifles, but even with larger weapons it could still be an issue. So, firing a high-power dispersal burst might take out the first wave of infantry, but if there's another right behind them and you're waiting for your phaser to recharge, then you're pretty much dead. The only way those kinds of dispersal bursts would be effective in infantry combat would be as a picket weapon, preferably with at least two other soldiers firing in tight-beam while the guy firing burst mode waits for their phaser to come back online.
      • The dispersal burst may have a more limited range than the tight beam mode. This would really make it only useful for close quarters fighting. Granted this is what we see most often on the show, but if cycle time is an issue it would severely limit burst mode in close quarters, especially against enemies like Klingons and Jem'Hadar who are proficient with edged weapons. By the time your phaser comes back up, you've got a bat'leth in your chest.

     Jem'Hadar anticoagulant disruptors 
  • By the time "Change Of Heart" rolled around, Worf and Jadzia already knew that a hit from a Jem'Hadar disruptor leaves an anticoagulant in the victim's system, making the wound keep bleeding without stopping. They knew this because they were both present on a mission where they lost someone because of it. And they knew that they were going in on a mission in a Dominion-controlled world. As part of this mission, they brought first aid supplies along. So why did they not think to bring any counter-anticoagulant agent? Surely Bashir has had plenty of time to work out something that would work to help people who have been hit by a Jem'Hadar disruptor...
    • I'll go earlier: Why would you ever put Worf and Jadzia together on a solo mission in the first place? But yes, I agree with you.
      • Production-wise, this episode was considered as being where Jadzia dies rather than the last episode of the season - Worf does complete the mission but not quickly enough to save Jadzia, causing even more angst as he blames himself for her demise. Jadzia's actress was onboard with the idea, but it was ultimately nixed. Whether the episode was designed as an exit episode or simply lent itself to be considered as such, this Troper is not sure.
      • I've always thought it was a bit of a dirty trick to have Kira be the one to send Worf and Jadzia on that ill-fated mission together, rather than Sisko. If it had been Sisko, he would lose moral authority in the final scene on account of being partially responsible for everything that happened.
      • Dirty trick maybe, but it's also the only way the situation makes any sense within the context of the show. For Sisko to send Worf and Dax would have been an Idiot Ball moment, whereas Kira is probably not fluent in the nuances of Star Fleet protocols for personnel assignment. More to the point, they wouldn't make any sense to her. For a resistance fighter, going into a dangerous mission with close members of your family isn't unusual, it's just how it is. In Real Life, part of being a successful resistance fighter is assuming from the start everyone you've ever cared about is dead. Either they're in the struggle same as you, or if they're civilians then they'll be arrested/tortured/murdered by the occupying power out to get to you. Either way, they're dead. So for Kira, the idea that Worf would choose his wife over the mission simply didn't register as a real possibility the way it probably should have.

    Eat at Quark's? Why? 
  • Food on Deep Space Nine; all of the crew and civilian quarters have food replicators, Ops has food replicators, and there's even a cafe-like area in the Promenade called the Replimat, which has, you guessed it, food replicators. Hell, even Quark's has a food replicator that he uses to serve customers. So, with so many chances to get free food from just about anywhere on the station, why are there so many snack shops and restaurants on the Promenade? I mean, sure, some people would prefer real food prepared by hand instead of the replicated stuff, but if Quark's has a replicator to create orders for his customers, it's likely the other restaurants and food establishments on the station have them, as well.
    • Most of it's probably for the social factor, you don't just go to restaurants to eat, do you? Speaking of replicators, why is it that human life still has the tiniest bit of value? There used to be some Hand Wave about Heisenburg compensators and transport buffers that would make the replication of human beings impractical, but that little incident with Riker basically blew that all away. Even if it's morally reprehensible, why haven't we run across somebody pumping out identical slaves/soldiers/colonists with transporter equipment yet?
    • That was a Freak Lab Accident, the effect's never been duplicated since then.
      • We do: The Jem'Hadar and the Vorta.
      • No, those are explicitly stated as genetically engineered clones.
      • We also have a classic ep of Next Generation called "The Measure of a Man", which establishes - in the context of how easy it would be to create an army of Datas - how seriously the Federation takes the rights of individual sentient beings for just this reason.
    • It regularly comes up that Cardassian technology is completely shitty. It may just be that crew quarter replicators aren't that good, while the ones on the Promenade would get more attention from the Engineering crew, etc. That, and presumably (since the Federation doesn't seem to have any money, except for the times when it does) the crew is getting paid by the Bajoran government, and they have no other use for that money besides wasting time in the Holosuites and food.
      • This explanation is actually confirmed, albeit vaguely, in the very first episode. Jake asks Sisko, "Dad, is THAT the food replicator?" in an incredulous, disgusted tone. Sisko tells him they'll have to rough it for awhile. Given how much retrofitting is on O'Brien's plate all the time, it's likely he never got around to upgrading the replicators, and thus the restaurant food could be considerably better. Quark could also have a better replicator in the interest of providing a better product for higher profits.
      • It's mentioned many times that Rom has juryrigged Quark's replicators. Since he's a Genius Ditz it seems reasonable to assume he souped them up a bit (no pun intended).
    • On Voyager, crew members occasionally talk about replicator rations (saving them up, gambling with them, restricted them when needed, and so on). Although Voyager was far away from Starfleet (and thus supplies), given that the Federation has obviously finite resources and is a basically communist society, it would be hard to imagine that they don't have some kind of rationing system. It's easy to see how someone could prefer to spend money they had obtained and save their rations, and such.
      • I would not describe the Federation economy as being Communist, so much as provisionally post-scarcity. Communism and post-scarcity are not the same things; Communism implies equal per-person rations of a scarce/finite resource, whereas post-scarcity implies limitless consumption of an infinite resource. In other words, renewable resources of whatever kind would be effectively infinite, and so in their specific case, practical post-scarcity would apply. This would be due not only to matter replication technology, but vast improvements in agricultural technology. Non-renewable or rare resources, on the other hand, would still need to be managed by something like Capitalism; and it is important to remember that the regulation of scarcity, was the primary reason for the existence of Capitalism as an ideology in the first place.

        This is an important distinction to make. The reason why most people can't differentiate between post-scarcity and Communism, is because most people can not truly comprehend post-scarcity, and so they therefore fail to understand that the reason why Communism is not the same thing, is because Communism was a system which was still intended to regulate scarcity; just ideally in an equitable manner. Star Trek aside, we actually have the technology to achieve limited post-scarcity in the area of certain very specific resources right now, but the reason why so far, at least, the idea is not tolerated, is because Capitalism itself requires scarcity in order to survive; and Capitalist advocates tend to be scared of the idea that it would render Capitalism redundant; when in reality, because some things would still be scarce, Capitalism would still be very necessary.
      • How does it logically follow that capitalism would still be very necessary? With only a few scare resources, a system that equitably rations these resources for all Federation members would be inherently more inefficient than a Capitalist system, which is actually massively wasteful but is good at producing fantastic surpluses for a relatively small portion of the total population. And without everyday scarcity it's hard to imagine how exactly where any individual economic advantage from capitalist accumulation would come from. This isn't to say some type of market exchange wouldn't still take place, but market exchange in itself is not sine-qua-non to Capitalism. There's no canonical evidence of any type of Capitalist activity or enterprise taking place within the Federation, and there's even a (rather Anvilicious) repudiation of Capitalist ideology against a straw capitalist in the TNG episode The Neutral Zone
      • Given that replicator rations aren't mentioned or even alluded to in any other Star Trek series, it seems likely that their existence on Voyager was solely a result of their isolation. With both fuel and raw material for the replicators being finite, it makes sense to limit replicator use when you can never be sure when you'll be able to resupply again. And using them like money makes sense too, because in their situation actual money would be quite worthless: they're thousands of light-years away from any merchants who'd actually take whatever forms of currency they might have.
      • Actually, while replicator rations are not alluded to anywhere else, other forms of rations are. At the very least, transporter rations (on Earth) are mentioned on Deep Space Nine.
      • Transporter Rations only seem to apply at the Academy (presumably teaching discipline or some such), and it is stated on Voyager that the rations are introduced to save on fuel since they don't know where to look in the Delta Quadrant.
      • The reference is made by Jake Sisko regarding his dad still going home for dinner every night by beaming over from the Academy. He refers to 'Transporter Credits' rather than rations, suggesting that each person is only allocated a set amount of resources that they can tap into. It's important to remember that the Federation was not a 'everything's free' society, but one where people had to apply for jobs and run households like today. The manner of resource redistribution and the provision for everyone in society is the primary difference.
    • The sense I got from Deep Space Nine was that different replicators have different...recipes for lack of a better word. So you might be able to get your favourite meal from the replicator's in Quarks, but not from the Replimat. The same could easily go for every snack shop and restaurant on the promenade.
      • The Replimat was also very likely a Federation creation whereas Quark's would likely offer a broader menu. I can't imagine the Replimat dispensing huge amounts of unhealthy food and alcohol to people 'on shift' whereas Quark's was far more relaxed.
    • The reasoning, based especially on the way characters describe their favorite dishes, is probably that while everyone has replicators, not everyone has the recipes that go with those replicators, which are probably regarded as intellectual property in the same way that Coke, Pepsi and KFC have their recipes copyrighted (and we've seen in episodes such as the Doc's holonovel that intellectual property rights are still alive and kicking in the Federation). Quark may serve the best synthahol around thanks to a particular replicator recipe that only he's got the right to use on Deep Space Nine, while a rival shop may serve an unbeatable version of lemon merengue pie. Both would taste better than the standard replicator menu options, since those exclusive recipes are locked out of the public database.
      • And even if your personal replicator has a really good program for, say, sausage and mushroom pizza, the word "replicator" implies that it probably produces the same sausage and mushroom pizza each time, down to the slightest detail. Even if it's excellent pizza, it could lose its appeal after a while. Loading multiple variations of the same dish would help, but it's probably easier to just go out once in a while.
    • And the Expanded Universe has references to some forms of replicator comestibles being horrible. One Data-focused book with plentiful Continuity Porn featured his Love Interest making a remark about "wine from a replicator?" as though this was the height of bad taste.
    • Some people probably enjoy the smells of real food cooking, too. Replicators can't duplicate that, or the happy anticipation it builds.
    • Who says free food is available to everyone on Deep Space Nine? Maybe replicators are only available to residents, and the various merchants and tourists who pass through are buying most of the food. It's a transport hub, remember? Plenty of those traders may not have replicator-tech.
      • Quark's isn't free. Even if he didn't rave about someone owing bar bills in 'Babel', a Ferengi would never give away a free lunch. Given the Ferengi practice Capitalism in it's most obscene form, there is probably nothing in Quark's that can't be purchased with cold hard cash (though for Federation citizens there is probably an exchange of some sort possible, given that they aren't paid in Latinum).
      • The fact it's a transport hub means a lot of people there are travelers, many of whom wouldn't have tasted Bajoran food before. Going to a snack shop or restaurant means that the proprietor can describe the options, answer questions about a dish that a replicator couldn't, and maybe point out what other customers are having, so you can make an informed choice between all the unfamiliar treats on the menu.
    • The impression I always got from the dialogue, especially in Deep Space 9, is that naturally produced food prepared by a sentient chef tastes superior to replicated food. So, if you're broke but want to go out to eat, you go to a replimat. If you have some cash on you, you go to an actual restaurant. I also always got the impression that, at Quark's the food was free but drinks, which were real, and gaming cost money, and the food was just incentive for people to hang out a little longer and maybe play a few more tables.
      • This. It's like tasting the difference between something cooked in an oven/on a hob and something cooked in a microwave.
    • Maybe people just like getting together when they eat.
    • Also, you should come to Quark's 'cause Quark's is fun; come to Quark's; don't walk, run!
  • On Deep Space Nine it's canon that gold-pressed latinum (well, the latter part) is not reproducible in the replicator. Maybe there are foods that are the same?
    • Considering replicators can't do living things and there are plenty of Klingon foods that are served live (gagh and racht, for starters), I would say yes.
  • There's also a huge psychological component to food. It might be for the same reason fancy bottled water in an expensive looking bottle that you paid money for often appeals to people when in blind taste tests they can't tell the difference between it and tap water.
    • While this is possible, I think those blind taste tests sometimes fail to take into account that not all tap water is equal. I know I've had apartments where the tap water would have tipped you off to the difference by the smell, even though it was certified as perfectly safe and clean to drink. There may be something similar with the on-station in-quarters replicators. Yes, the hot dog is perfectly safe and nourishing to eat, and someone will probably inform you that it is structurally identical to what a hot dog should be. That doesn't alleviate the fact that because of some data corruption somewhere in the system, the hot dog smells like cat puke.
  • An early episode of Voyage has the answers, apparently there is some accounting for personal taste compared to the majority. Just because nine people like how something tastes, doesn't mean the tenth person will enjoy it as well. Tom Paris procures (with some difficulty) a bowl of hot, plain, tomato soup. Upon tasting said soup, he complains;
    Tom Paris: "Ugh. Thirty varieties and it still can't get tomato soup right."
  • It's also been shown that the food created by a replicator can't always duplicate the taste and texture of the real thing. After one bite, Eddington spat his food out and lamented how he missed the taste of a fresh tomato. Next Generation showed us the troubles that the replicator had creating gagh, and that was on the flagship of the Federation. The replicators on a run down Cardassian station have to be even worse. The Klingon restaurant wouldn't last long using the replicator.
    • That's a poor example, since gagh is supposed to be eaten while the worms are alive. I don't think even the best replicator can recreate a living being. The replicators on the runabout might not be as good either, hence Eddington's disappointment. Garak also voiced his displeasure with the Earl Grey he got while on a runabout. It may be the data storage and power necessary for replicators means that they're of different quality depending on the size of the construct—runabouts are the worst and starbases the best.
    • Okay, better example. In an episode of TNG Riker invites some of his crewmates over for dinner that he makes himself, but with replicated ingredients. Worf likes it (but then he comes from a culture that eats live worms so there's no accounting for taste) but the others take one bite and are clearly disgusted, and Riker says something like "Even the best cook is only as good as his ingredients." Since it's fair to assume the most advanced ship in the Federation fleet would have the most advanced replicator technology in the federation, this strongly suggests that replicated food, or even replicated ingredients of food, will always be significantly inferior to "natural" food that has been raised, cooked, and prepared the old-fashioned way. If all you're after is a quick bite, a replicator will work. But if you want good food and you're willing to wait, you go to Quark's.
      • Or Riker isn't as good a chef as he thinks. The real problem with the replicator question is what exactly is wrong with the food. Was it programmed with a bad recipe, or is there some transcription error of sorts? If it's the former, why didn't they program a better recipe, and if it's the latter then food that doesn't taste as good should be the least of their worries—if the molecules aren't being copied right, is there hydrogen peroxide where their should be water?
      • Hard to say why replicators would replicate food "wrong" given the technology. But it may be that deconstructing and reconstructing matter down to the cellular level does something to the food that ruins the taste. It's like that scene in the 1986 remake of The Fly where Seth Brundle asks Veronica to try two different pieces of steak, one a normal steak that he cooked himself, and the other a steak he sent through the teleporter first. The steak that came out of the teleporter was made up of the exact same molecules that went into the teleporter, but it tasted weird (I believe "synthetic" was the word they used in the movie). Perhaps it's the same effect here. Something about the replication process changes the food on a fundamental level. Not to the point that it's inedible or toxic, but enough that it just doesn't taste as good as regular food.
      • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Data's Day, Dr. Crusher determines that organic residue left behind after an apparent transporter accident was fake—part of an elaborate deception by a Romulan spy. Crusher had noticed that DNA in the residue had numerous single-bit errors, which she states is typical of replicated matter. It seems plausible that such imperfections might have an effect on the flavor of replicated food.
      • Hate to torpedo a legitimately interesting line of thought, but the ingredients Riker used weren't replicated; he made omlettes from eggs that he picked up on a random planet they had stopped at, and the eggs were so noxious that only Worf could stomach them.
  • In one episode Sisko replicates a drink on the Defiant he takes a sip and makes a face. He then says "I should have taken up Quark on that replicator." So apparently some replicators are better than others.
  • Another theory is the psychological effect. Eating something that has been grown or produced for real may not actually taste different, but is perceived as better because you know it isn't replicated. Just like how we now value hand made products over mass produced things, even if the quality isn't always superior.
    • This may have some worth to it - some mass-produced cheap chocolate confections and baked products are produced on the exact same production lines in the exact same factories that produce the premium 'branded' products. Sometimes it's the buyer that determines the quality of a product, not the product itself.
  • This brings up an interesting issue— it's stated multiple times that Bajor (in general) does not have replicators. Which leads to problems when weather patterns and lack of fertilizer could cause their crops to fail. Yet Bajor, due to the treaty, owns Deep Space 9— you'd think removing the replicators and installing them on their home planet would be one of their first priorities.
    • The number of replicators on Deep Space Nine, used sparingly, could probably help a large city. While impressive, they're an entire planet. They would probably want some of those Class IV Industrial Replicators more. Considering that 12 of them could help a post-Klingon war devastated Cardassian Union and their many planets, the 2 that they got from the Federation would probably vastly surpass what DS9 could provide.
    • Sisko's father managed to run a successful restaurant back on Earth which only served fresh food, nothing replicated. It was stated over time in all the modern Trek shows that replicated food usually isn't as good as the "real thing".
  • In "Blaze of Glory" Eddington is complaining about how his steak tastes like simple proteins instead how a steak should taste. Perhaps, depending on the replicator, there's a limit to how your food is processed. For example, Star Fleet replicators may just mash a bunch of proteins together and call it a steak, while Quark's higher-end replicators may have a more lengthy cooking process.

    Why does Quark have a pitcher of root beer on standby? 
  • In "The Way of the Warrior" Quark pulls out some root beer from behind the counter to give Garak some. Okay, I'll buy that for true aficionados synthehol tastes different from the real thing, so Quark would have to keep his more exotic liqueurs behind the counter. But root beer? You can replicate that stuff, and keeping it at room temperature in an open pitcher will quickly result in flat, icky, unpalatable root beer. No wonder Garak hates it. I can't help but think that had he tried freshly replicated root beer (akin to that from a chilled, pressurized soda fountain), he'd like it much better.
    • Maybe Quark's root beer jug is kept in a little stasis unit under the bar or something. Who knows what goes on under there? He produces all sorts of random drinks from under the bar, so it makes sense to me that there's some technological mechanism under there to keep them in appropriate conditions. Maybe the root beer jug's little cubbyhole maintains a cool environment and seals the jug with a force field.
    • Pretty sure one episode shows Quark getting a shipment of root beer, either by mistake or because he heard humans like it, with him commenting that to Ferengi (and possibly many other races) it's one of the most foul, disgusting smelling/tasting things he's ever come within spitting distance of. He's probably been trying to unload the stuff ever since just to get rid of it. As to why he ordered the real thing instead of replicating, see above. His replicators might not have a program for it, the real thing might taste better (to people who think it's possible for root beer to taste anything other than foul), or since it's Quark he probably picked it up for a song from some other trader who got stuck with the stuff. Heck, since it's Quark that guy might have wound up paying him to take it.
    • They specifically talk about the bubbles, too, so "under-counter fridge unit" is probably the explanation.
    • Perhaps the pitcher had a built-in forcefield to seal the atmosphere. When tilted to pour, the field either releases or is overpowered by the sheer weight of the liquid and dispenses the drink.

    On Screen, MAXIMUM Magnification! 
  • This line (used repeatedly) makes no sense. Sisko shouts it during critical moments in the Dominion war, such as when he's in the wormhole, facing an entire Jem'Hadar fleet. First of all, what's "maximum" magnification? In-universe, it seems to be "the prettiest view that's zoomed out enough to see an entire fleet." Yes, I said zoomed out which is the opposite of "magnification." The realistic application of this would zoom in to see only 3 or 4 ships, you would have to decrease magnification to get a larger view of an entire fleet.
    • Apparently Federation screen technology defaults to minimum magnification when the screen is turned on. Presumably the order "maximum magnification" is Starfleet military shorthand for "helmsman, magnify that image so it's close enough to see, but not so close that I can't tell what I'm looking at".
      • Yes, we've seen in the TNG episode "Q Who" that the so-called default "maximum" magnification, say a screen-filling image of a Borg ship, can be increased even further so you can actually see the ship regenerating. I agree, though, that in a wartime scenario in which there's a lot of things happening at once, a more strategic view would probably be preferable.
    • Simple answer: When someone says maximum magnification, the person working the viewscreen or the computer zooms it in to the closest magnification where you can see everything in question, be it a nebula, a ship, a pair of ships, whatever. It's not as close as it can zoom in, it's just zoomed in to where you can see the whole thing. Then if you want to see something specific, like a damaged nacelle, it can be zoomed in more.

     Vital ability to see tiny indistinguishable specks? 
  • In A Time to Stand Jadzia treats the absence of a viewing screen on a Jem'Hadar ship as an inexplicable flaw in the design. What exactly does she expect the screen to do? The ship's sensors would 'see' anything long before the crew would. In comparison the complaints about a lack of seats, replicators and medical facilities are much more intelligent.
    • Persistent, deep-running streaks of bad writing throughout the franchise have established that for some reason ship sensors can't pick up all of the same details that a viewscreen can, and that magnifying the viewscreen can actually get you detail beyond what the sensors can resolve. How this makes anything even approximating sense is anyone's guess... perhaps Federation Engineering strikes again and visual data actually uses a whole second set sensor system with a much higher sensitivity than the important ones (the real surprise for the characters perhaps being that the Jem'Hadar ship was designed in a sensible fashion in this respect).
    • It makes perfect sense, actually. It's quite easier to get a sense of what's going on with a visual than streams of numbers. Any being with eyes would process a visual far more efficiently than a readout on a console. If there's an enemy ship ahead, your weapons officer will have an easier time targeting if they have something to coordinate with rather than just a hit/miss return.
      • Considering the distances the ships would logically be at and the fact that we never see anything like a targeting system on the screen it doesn't seem very likely that it would be of any help. Besides, apart from an apparent lack of tactical imagination there is never any guarantee that the enemy won't be below or above them.
      • Distance doesn't render a visual display moot at all consider radar displays or tactical plots. Early models were functionally extremely abstract showing very raw data with the first models actually just being a spike on a wiggly line interpretation was difficult at best of times and in the stress of combat mistakes were all to easy to make. One of the biggest changes over time has been the increasing abstraction of this raw sensor data into increasingly information dense and easy to interpret imagery. A large display or plot that gives one a clear visual overview of the battle as interpreted by sensors is a fairly blindly obvious and critical feature of any command station on a ship. (The fact that Trek has never really shown the view-screen being used this way not withstanding.) That said the befits and drawbacks of a large central image verses a network of distributed individual ones could be argued, but for someone used to the former the lack of it might be considered a design fail regardless of relative merits.
    • The viewscreen has the ability to create simulated images. It may be the viewscreen is normally used to produce an image based upon sensor data in the same way the Jem'Hadar headsets do (it's not as though it's the headsets themselves give the wearer X-ray vision, after all).
    • It's important to remember that one of the most common Trek uses for such a viewing screen is to facilitate face-to-face communication and diplomacy between ships, allowing for added nuances of body language that are otherwise lost via voice or text. The Jem'Hadar, naturally, do no diplomacy on the part of the Dominion; that's the Vorta's purpose, so there's no need for such a thing on a Jem'Hadar warship. In that light, the comment is a reflection on the mentality of Jem'Hadar ship commanders.
    • In For the Uniform, Dax has to pilot the Defiant without the aid of the main computer. While doing this, she seems to rely heavily on the viewscreen. It is possible that a ship's main viewer biggest job is to provide a visual reference to a helmsman preforming delicate maneuvers when the sensors are off-line.
      • There are many episodes in Star Trek where they only do something when an object is actually visible (albeit with magnification). If she was navigating with that view screen then shouldn't it be much larger and show every angle instead of what's in front of you?
    • There's a major important factor of the viewscreen that everyone seems to be missing: It lets everyone on the bridge see the same thing at the same time. Sure when they need more detailed analysis from their sensors they look at their boards, but the viewscreen is an expression of how the other races all, to some extent, recognize that their individuality is a trait that contributes to their victory. If everyone can see the screen some guy off at another station can say "Look, they're opening the shuttle bay on that side!" just because he happened to be the one who noticed. The fact that the Jem'Hadar ship uses the headsets to relay only what's needed and only provide the one in charge with all the necessary data cuts down on individuality and tries to make everyone minions/cogs/subservient.
    • Another function of the viewscreen is that it effectively functions as a window. Using a modern day analogy, one of the major reasons many volunteers wash out of submarine training is that it is very hard for human beings to function in enclosed spaces without being able to look outside. The big viewscreen probably helps reassure people that they can still outside, even if there is nothing to see. It's a psychological things, and probably something that The Founders edited out of the Jem'Hadar when they were creating them.
    • If you're close enough for a detailed scan, you're close enough to see them. It's a genre convention that space combat, and most other interactions between ships, happens at a very close range. Most visual medium sci-fi works that way, because using realistic ranges would be visually boring.

     Medieval Bajoran Spacecraft 
  • In Explorers Sisko builds an exact replica of an old Bajoran lightship; a starship that doesn't use engines but operates using solar sails. Exactly how technologically advanced where the Bajorans at the time the original model was built? (Note the gravity net was the only modification Sisko made.) The entire thing is operated soley by cranks and pulleys, there is not any sign of a computer or even much of a power source for that matter. So how exactly did the ancient Bajorans get the original lightship into orbit? Were they somehow able to build a rocket capable of breaking orbit yet somehow not have the technical knowledge to build powered motors for a pulley system?
    • An orbital tether/stratotower maybe? A technology that would be démodé once transporters became available - why spend hours riding a vertical cablecar once you get a tech that can bounce you thousands of miles in seconds? See the Voyager episode that featured this tech.
    • The Prophets did it.
    • It's never stated this is the only form of interplanetary travel ancient Bajor had access to. In fact, we really don't know all that much about Bajor's tech level before the Occupation, but they probably were not pre-warp at the time. Another episode featuring a lightship implied that although the tech was ancient, Bajorans were still using them 200-300 years before the series, even though they were obsolete by then, just like O'Brien likes to shoot the rapids in a primitive kayak when he could easily simulate a more modern, powered vehicle in the holosuites. As for the manual operation of the ship? Maybe they just liked it that way. They might have brought portable computers like laptops on board, too, but that's just speculation. My personal theory is the ancient Bajorans launched these things up in single-use disposable rockets, like the solid-fuel boosters on the space shuttle, that could get the ships into orbit but couldn't go much further. But I also think Bajor was warp-capable and probably had at least a few off-world colonies before the Cardassians invaded, as per Picard's comments in the episode that introduced them that the Bajorans were accomplished artists and architects when humans were still ice age hunter-gatherers.
    • Just had a thought. Perhaps the Bajorans did have access to electricity and motors and stuff but intentionally left it out of the design for some reason. For example, if the ship were to encounter an EMP wave that would cripple the ship. Maybe the Bajorans were expecting something like that to happen. They explicitly mention the Denorios Belt bring a major concern and that's a plasma field within the Bajor system. Surely that would have caused major problems for a ship that does have a power source, right?
      • If they were advanced enough to launch the ships then shouldn't they have been advanced enough to know the basics about protecting electronics? It would seem far more dangerous that without sensors and computers they would go far off course. Of course, unless the Cardassian home planet is in the same system as Bajor it makes even less sense that anyone would try it. Anything less than warp speeds couldn't make that long a trip safely (something an experienced officer like Sisko should know).
    • The Bajorans appear to have suffered from the same problem every other alien in Star Trek does: It has a hat, and its hat is romance. From farmers to politicians to terrorist to, presumably, their astronauts, every single Bajoran is obsessed with romance (in the poetic sense). It may have never occurred to a Bajoran that you could travel through space on anything other than a beam of light. And if it did, maybe they just didn't see the point of doing it any other way.
  • Batteries and motors were too heavy, and it had to minimize weight to be loaded onto whatever rocket launched it back in the day. Or, reducing mass allows the solar sails to accelerate the ship more quickly (which is true). Wild-ass guess.

     Cloning a man as evidence? 
This has been bugging me ever since I saw "A Man Alone". Some funny genetics are found amongst the skin flakes of a murder victim's room. Bashir then clones the genetics to see what it is. Fair enough. But even when he realizes it is developing into a humanoid (and a fully grown one at that), he continues the experiment until there is a fully adult clone living and walking around. Is creating a new lifeform as part of a crime investigation really all that ethical? Especially considering this person will have a drastically shortened lifespan, and will have to learn even the most basic things. Yet no one seems to even remark on this.
  • To be more precise, he cultures the material, which then begins growing by itself. He wasn't trying to clone it, it was a self-growing clone. All he did was unintentionally give it the means to grow. Once it grew to the point that it was clearly humanoid, it would have been unethical for Bashir to just kill it out of hand.
  • The first Ibu Dan clone was capable enough to impersonate the real guy and take a massage in the holosuite, so he might have knowledge and behaviors implanted into him—although that raises more questions about if he's aware of the nature of his existence, whether he knew he was going to be a murder victim, et cetera.

     The Danube Class ship 
  • 1: How fast is the Danube? It appears to depend on the writer; officially its top speed is Warp 5, or 214 times lightspeed. Earth is 50 LY from DS9, but Danubes regularly fly there in two weeks or less in the episodes — this is closer to a top speed of Warp 8 or 9 (1024-1516 times lightspeed).
    • Maybe the DS9 crew retrofitted them to make them more useful. Their drives are still underpowered compared to a full size starship but they're fast enough by the late seasons that a JHAS only catches up with one slowly, and the DS9 Technical Manual gives the JHAS's top speed as warp 9.6, which is comparable to Starfleet capships.
  • 2: Where are the bathrooms? None of the official diagrams seem to show them — there's the cockpit up front, the configurable modules in the center, and the quarters in the rear. It's reasonable to ignore it on a larger ship where we can assume everyone has them in their quarters. But the Danube quarters have been shown (in a Next Gen episode). And characters regularly take long trips on Danubes; the restrooms have to be there somewhere.

Biology

     Cross-breedin' Cardies 
  • How the heck does Dukat keep having half-breed children? If a Trill and a Klingon need medical interference to make a baby possible then shouldn't Bajoran/Cardassian offspring require even greater intervention? One is a mammal, the other a reptile!
    • It is never stated in canon that Cardassians are reptiles, though it is admittedly a sensible assumption (but then why do they have hair?). The trouble with species interbreeding has no beginning and end.
      • Reptile scales and hair are both made of keratin, so it isn't that unreasonable to hypothesize that Cardassian hair is just a modified set of scales (possibly evolved as some sort of sexual display characteristic). Dinosaurs had feathers too, which again is just a form of keratin.
      • For that matter, scaly mammals exist on Earth. Just take a close look at an armadillo's armor plating, or the tails of beavers and rats.
    • Word of God is that Cardassians have both reptilian and mammalian characteristics. It's also implied that Ancient Bajorans visited Cardassia in lightships before Cardassians were warp-capable, so modern Cardassians might already have some Bajoran heritage they just don't know about or won't admit.
    • In Worf and Jadzia's case, the problem may be related to the symbiont, or rather, exacerbated by it. We know that Dax's previous female hosts have been mothers, so it's entirely possible that a symbiont and a Trill fetus can coexist. Perhaps it's simply more difficult for a symbiont and a Klingon/Trill hybrid fetus to coexist, and requires medical intervention. Maybe the hybrid fetus stimulates the Trill mother's immune response to the point where it begins to attack the symbiont.
      • Good theory, especially in light of the physical location of the symbiont (very close to the womb in female Trill). There could be all sorts of autoimmune side-effects in that area of the female Trill's body that wouldn't take kindly to Klingon DNA, or any non-Trill DNA in fact, designed/evolved entirely to prevent disruption to the symbiont/host link.
      • This raises another question about the Trill: How does a symbiotic relationship between two species evolve when one of those species must be surgically implanted into the other?
      • Maybe the surgery is a more modern procedure that replaced a less sanitary, natural method of implantation?
      • Possibly symbionts originally lived out their entire lives in their first host, which they entered as eggs/larvae, and died when the host did. Surgery to transfer the symbionts was developed later, allowing symbionts' lifespans to exceed that of their hosts for the first time.
    • Bajorans and Cardassians, despite appearances, are more closely-related than Klingons and Trill, I guess. They do live within, like, a parsec of each other, if I recall correctly.
      • And the solar-sailer episode suggested that there's been interaction between Bajorans and Cardassians for millennia, as I recall. That's a lot longer than humans and Vulcans have been in contact. Maybe they've done some genetic retooling over the years or something along those lines. The Cardassians have certainly been known to do it within the canon of the series itself, albeit for rather more politically-motivated purposes.
      • As was discovered in 'The Chase', all humanoid life in the galaxy is at least nominally related thanks to genetic seeding by a primordial race (most likely the Preservers). In the billions of years since, evolution created more drift between certain species than others. While a lot of humanoid races in the Trek universe can interbreed, some can't or have great difficulty doing so (it was suggested for example in one episode that human mothers of Human/Klingon hybrids would have difficulties in childbirth due to Klingon bone structure). It's also known that some biologies are not compatible, for example in VOY the doctor makes an offhand remark that a blood transfusion from a Vulcan would kill a Bolian. In several episodes across the TNG-era series it was mentioned that it was important to have access to at least synthesised versions of a patient's blood. So certain things like blood transfusions or organ donations would be impossible or dangerous, whereas some species can mate successfully
and produce viable offspring, just like - you guessed it, real life on our own planet.

     Layin' Eggs 
  • During the episode To The Death Jadzia responds to a comment made by the Jem'Hadar Virak'Kara saying that there are no Jem'Hadar women by crossing her arms and saying so what do you do? lay eggs? in the most condescending and disbelieving manner possible. This attitude is later replicated in the mess hall between her, O'Brien and Worf and once again they all seem absolutely incredulous at this information. Question: Why? In real life countless mammals and reptiles (which, lets remind ourselves, Jem'Hadar look like a cross between the two) reproduce by laying eggs as well as the fact that there are thousands of smaller creatures that do not have two sexes. As such logically either she or one of her two centuries worth of hosts should have met at least a few sapient species by now who either don't have gender or lay eggs. In fact when you factor in species like the Ocampa or the Xyrillians in the Trekverse who have mating practices that literally border on proving Darwin wrong; the revelation that the Jem'Hadar lay eggs or don't have females shouldn't even bat an eyelid - especially since you would imagine that by the latter half of season 4 they really ought to have been curious why they hadn't even heard about women yet... did they just assume Jem'Hadar had the least sexual dimorphism of absolutely every other species we have ever seen in Star Trek? There also seems to be some very uncomfortable prejudice being shown here from Worf who had previously also shown this hatred toward the J'Naii - I'm fairly certain that in real life such an attitude would be considered racist.
    • Well there seems to be some dispute as to whether Trill in general is a member of the Federation. I've always been in the pro-membership camp, but if they weren't, that might explain why Jadzia isn't as enlightened as she could be on the subject.
    • She's trying to be insulting. The exact scientific accuracy of her statement doesn't enter into it.
      • She's making a specific slur to a race that is very much the self-professed enemy of the Federation, she's not saying it's a bad thing to lay eggs. By that point, it was probably very obvious to Starfleet that Jem'Hadar were not your typical warrior race (very short lifespans, no females, intentional narcotic addiction). At the very least, by that point they probably had a good idea that they were an engineered race. A more murky one is at what point the Vorta crossed the line from 'loyal servants of the Dominion and Founders' to 'intentionally engineered diplomatic caste of the Dominion' in the minds of the writers.

     48 people build a society? "Children of Time" 
  • That is in no way enough genetic diversity to build a community of 8,000. There's no mention of hooking up with the natives, or even that there are any.
    • Considering the amount of times the doctors on the star trek vessels mess around with DNA, it wouldn't surprise me if star trek humans had been genetically edited to remove some, or even almost all, problematic genes. With less of those, the minimum genetic diversity requirement could have fallen by the way side entirely.
      • Except you're not allowed to genetically edit. It's kind of taboo.
      • Creating superpeople like Khan is taboo. Editing someone's genes to remove a genetic disorder doesn't seem to be. Chakotay had his genes for sensory tremens suppressed before he was born ("The Fight") and The Doctor also suppressed a harmful gene in B'ellana and Paris' kid ("Lineage")
      • That's spot treatment. The ^^^ post is proposing that a whole society of humans, or maybe all of humanity, was systematically treated genetically to remove any and all genes that could possibly cause a problem with a population bottleneck. It's at least a different kind of thing, if not the same as what happened with Khan.
  • It also raises the question. Since inter-species reproduction seems to be of the "split the difference" type on Trek, shouldn't Yedrin, being the sixth or seventh generation of Jadzia's issue, be only 1/64 or 1/128 Trill? Would that be enough Trill genetics to express the structures needed to support Dax?
    • That presupposes that his ancestors hadn't bred back into the Jadzia line (some form of cousin marriage, which is permitted in most societies on Earth), which given the small number of colonists seems unlikely that he'd be as low as 1/64 Trill.
    • Given the technological level that the colony exists at, it is unlikely that the equipment needed for genetic engineering survived the crash. The most likely explanation is that the survivors had large families in order to bolster their numbers (it is implied that the O'Brien lineage was especially prodigious, as there were lots of Molly's running around) and inbreeding was, at most, another couple of generations away from becoming a problem. When facing the issue of being erased from existence, concerns about your great-grandson marrying his niece become less immediate.

Federation / Starfleet

     No law against Genocide 
  • Sisko's feud with Eddington Sisko genocides the Maquis homeworld. All his officers obey the orders to genocide. And that's it. No pay-back, no investigation. The Federation has no law against genocide.
    • One, there is no Maquis homeworld, they are a diverse set of colonies. Two, he didn't kill anyone, just made the planet unusable for long-term human (and specifically human) habitation. Three, considering Eddington did the same thing with two Cardassian colonies (made them unsafe for Cardassians but not humans), Sisko's zealous pursuit probably prevented the Cardassians from declaring war on the Federation. The Cardassians and the Federation traded the worlds that were attacked.
      • Doesn't deterrence theory require an equal response? Foreign powers have to believe that if they use their weapons of mass destruction on you, you will retaliate with your own WMD. Otherwise, you're telling everyone that there are no consequences for attacking you. In that case, Sisko might have saved Maquis lives. If the Cardassian missile in the Voyager episode "Dreadnought" was any indication, the Cardassians would have had no problem whatsoever with turning every man, woman, and child on that planet into a fine, radioactive ash. And they probably wouldn't have bothered with things like advance warning. The weapon that Sisko used amounted to a strategic area denial weapon, where as the Cardassians might have used the event as an opportunity to use something much more heinous—like the aforementioned, ridiculously overpowered missile.
    • Note that the Maquis colonists are explicitly said to be going for their ships the second the torpedoes hit the atmosphere. They may have thought he was bluffing, but they were ready to run. The Cardassians also had a chance to leave when Eddington made their planets unlivable.
      • If I plant one of those futuristic bombs that do no physical damage except for killing anything alive, and tell everyone they have ten minutes to get out of the blast range, even if they all escape with no problems it's still attempted murder.
      • They weren't killing anything, they were rendering the planet unsuitable for habitation by a specific race (Cardassians or Humans) by dispersing a specific chemical into the biosphere that would not harm the other life.
      • More like manslaughter, if you honestly do believe no one will be hurt by it.
    • "For the Uniform" has been a controversial episode since it aired, but I think people have a long history of misinterpreting the ending. Sisko did not commit genocide or attempt to — he just ruined the Maquis's real estate. One might note, however, that he did commit a massive ecological crime, but it seems Starfleet is willing to turn a blind eye to that.
      • Generally if you launch weapons towards a space with the express purpose of making that place uninhabitable by the residents until a terrorist surrenders that's going to at least be ethnic cleansing.
      • Perhaps the trouble with that episode is that, as much as it tries to cast shadows over Sisko's motivation and make you wonder if personal animus against Eddington has compromised his objectivity (a Trek staple since the aptly-named "Obsession"), in the end it doesn't really seem to matter much and Sisko's decision seems to be affirmed as right with no real debate. In the end, it seems unwilling to confront the very ethical questions it raises.
      • I think it's because it's implied that the Maquis colonists still got to settle a world, they just got to settle on a world that was originally a Cardassian colony... which is what Eddington intended in the first place. It's just that Eddington didn't want the Cardassians to be able to settle anywhere, but they wind up with somewhere to go, the world Sisko did the same thing to. Since the only real "ecological crime" seems to be a "a particular race can't live here now" but everyone still winds up with a place to go, it comes off as a little bit of a "No harm, no foul" sort of thing. Really Sisko's actions here fit more in the Cowboy Cop Captain Kirk-esque mold than that of the "slathering terrorist" one everyone seems to try to jam him into for this episode. "You took a planet away from People A to give to People B? Fine, I'll take a planet away from People B to give to People A, seems only fair" is totally something Kirk would have pulled.
    • Much of the discomfort with this episode can be easily resolved with a simple hand wave by presumes that whatever chemical Sisko released wasn't instantly fatal. If it's something that would cause serious harm after long term exposure, but will have little if any affect if only exposed to for a few hours, then it simultaneously would make the planet inhospitable to humans while still not putting any lives in direct and immediate danger. There are plenty of known real-world hazards that likewise are not instantly stable but are sufficiently dangerous as to render areas inhospitable while still being safe to spend a few hours in, like the lower (comparably speaking) level radiation around three-mile island. It still makes Sisko's actions questionable, but far more forgivable then other interpretations
      • Perhaps ecological damage is treated as less of an issue when it's so easy to travel through worlds; if I destory one world I can always move to another etc. .
  • Speaking of Eddington, of all the ships in Starfleet they could have sent after him, why did they pick the one ship he had served aboard to catch him? While this was justified in "For The Uniform" by having the Maquis damage the only other ship in range, Sisko had apparently had the assignment for eight months before that. Did it really not occur to them that, in the months he was aboard, he might have sabotaged the Defiant like he did the station? And surprise surprise, it turns out he did!
    • True, and why give Sisko the job of tracking him down at all? A: Sisko's plate is pretty full anyway, and B: Sisko harbours a personal grudge against him and that threatens his objectivity.
      • The Defiant was apparently one of the few major combat vessels the Federation had in the area (not that it makes any sense to have so few there). Of course why the head of the most important space station in the region is going terrorist-hunting instead of delegating to his officers is a good question.
      • Sisko has explicitly gone to Starfleet Command and reserved the task for himself precisely because he hates Eddington's guts. After all Sisko is Javert and Eddington is Valjean. The question is: why would Starfleet acquiesce to Sisko's desire to go after Eddington? It might be because Sisko knows the Badlands best. It might be because he is a highly decorated combat officer whose request cannot be easily refused or he just knows which strings to pull (high ranking Starfleet officers under whose command he may have served). It might be because Starfleet wants to use more ruthless tactics against the Maquis than before. Sisko's personal motivation will then no longer be a liability but an asset (at least he has no qualms about killing traitors to the uniform and even relishes the task).
      • Sort of sidetracking here, but Eddington was never Valjean. He was much more like one of Les Amis de l'ABC.
      • They probably assigned the task to Sisko because A) he knows Eddington, so he's at least somewhat familiar with how he operates, B) he's already stationed close to the Badlands, so they won't have to pull any other ships off of their usual duty, and C) Having lost a state of the art, brand new ship without a trace a couple of years before, Starfleet would have wanted to send a ship capable of defending itself from just about any attack.

     Does Quark actively court Starfleet business 
  • Either they've evolved past money or they haven't. If it's the former, it's not the best business decision in the world to relocate there, is it?
    • I think the best explanation is to assume that money exists, but the average human doesn't use it (and what money that is used is not hard currency) because Replicators manufacture 99% of everything they need, so it's little more than a luxury used to buy exotic foreign stuff. Also, DS9 is a Bajoran station (with a Federation administration), so his main source of income would be the Bajorans (and foreign trade from the Wormhole).
      • Humans, specifically humans from Earth, don't use money. It was made clear repeatedly that the Federation as an entity DID have money (Federation Credits mentioned more than once), and that several members worlds also used it (the Bank of Bolias was mentioned). It's even mentioned that Starfleet officers are paid quite well (Janeway makes reference to it on a Voyager episode.) So, it's likely that they had money to spend in Quarks bar.
      • Right. I assumed that Starfleet officers are paid, but don't need the money on Earth. However, lots of other cultures still use money, so the people who regularly come in contact with them need to have some currency of their own.

     Racism: a fine quality in Starfleet captains! 
  • Or speciesism if you want to get technical but anyway. The baseball episode is fun, but the story's foundations are... illogical. Solok's disdain for any emotional species, especially humans, is completely unconcealed. He's built his academic career on his belief in their inferiority. So how the heck did he get anywhere in Starfleet, and why would they indulge his prejudice so far as to give him an all-Vulcan crew? Never mind the fact that he is also highly decorated. Flagrant prejudice isn't exactly a Starfleet core value, not to mention that a lot of the top brass are humans themselves.
    • There is precedent for an all-Vulcan crew (the Intrepid in TOS had 400 Vulcans on board when she was destroyed). As for Solok, there are racist assholes in every line of work (including the present-day military), and some of them find a way to get promoted up the chain.
      • Good point on both things, although I still think Solok publishing one dozen academic papers about how stupid humans are stretches credulity... he's not even making an effort to maintain plausible deniability about it.
      • I don't think he was phrasing them in a way that makes them outright discriminatory. You'd be surprised at the stuff you can write and get away with if you use numbers or clever phrasing. It's more likely his papers were along the lines of "Statistics and biology where Humans have failed to keep up or even match Vulcans."
    • Not only precedent, but considering the demographics and history of the Federation, setting up an all-Vulcan crew probably wouldn't be too hard for a determined racist: Vulcan has more or less the same population and prominence as Earth, and consider e.g. the proportion of humans on the Enterprise-D or the Voyager; there are almost certainly crews consisting almost entirely of Vulcans as well (it's also possible that the Vulcan-dominated ships don't attract that many volunteers from other species; perhaps they're boring?). As for how he gets away with the attitude - he probably gets results. If he happens to be a brilliant military commander in the middle of the Dominion war, Starfleet may well just take what they can get.
      • Also, given the unique environment of Vulcan (Vulcan gravity is roughly twice that of Earth's, with a much thinner atmosphere and an average temperature roughly on par with the Middle East during the summer) it would make sense for an all-Vulcan crew based on the environmental requirements.
      • We have seen plenty of Vulcans on ships primarily crewed by humans and other species as guests and as crew. Tuvok, Sarek and T'Pol never mentioned any special environmental needs. Star Fleet is just ignoring (or covering for) a racist.
      • That said, we have never seen humans on a Vulcan ship, where the environment would be set to Vulcan norm. Likely, it is easier for a Vulcan to adapt to Earth conditions (lighter gravity and cooler temperatures) than for a human to adapt to the heavier gravity, higher temperature, and thinner air that a Vulcan ship would be set to by default. Several of the Expanded Universe books have shown humans on Vulcan ships enduring the harsher conditions, or even have Vulcans on human ships adjusting the environmental controls to make their quarters more like Vulcan, something that discourages human visits.
    • Probably a case of Solok being a Bunny-Ears Lawyer. You can be a flagrant bigot and still be good at what you do, and at this point Starfleet is hurting for manpower and ships and has been since Wolf 359. Since then they've had a border war with the Cardassians, two or three more Borg incursions including another attempt on Earth, a war with the Klingons that lasted a year or so, and now they're a year and a half into the Dominion War and taking serious casualties (the Seventh Fleet took something like 80% losses offscreen in the season 6 premiere). They can't afford to drum him out because he technically hasn't done anything illegal and, with the casualties they're taking against the Jem'Hadar, they need all the competent COs they can get.

     Idiotic Federation Treaties 
  • In another "Dax"-related question, who in the world does the Federation come up with to make these damn treaties?! Signing a treaty with the Romulans promising not to develop cloaking technology was bad enough (and yeah, I read Serpents Among the Ruins, and I get that It Makes Sense in Context). But signing a treaty with the Klaestrons allowing for unilateral extradition?! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
    • Unilateral extradition isn't that odd by itself (at least, it's not an inherently ridiculous concept), but if the Federation is really based on the EU, they would never for a moment consider handing Dax to a government that used the death penalty, without the explicit assurance that the entire plot of the episode wouldn't happen.
      • The series itself never explains the full terms of the Treaty of Algeron, but presumably in return for not developing cloaking technology the Federation gained some concession from the Romulans.
      • If I recall correctly, the thing they gained in return was the Neutral Zone... which is supposed to be a place that the Klingons, Romulans, and Federation all stay the hell out of, using it as a buffer so that no one's right up against anyone else's doorstep peering in on them with a telescope. Of course the Klingons and especially the Romulans violate it constantly, but we've also seen that the Federation tinkers with cloaking technology every so often too, so.
    • Regarding cloaking, the Federation technically already has it; the Treaty of Algeron bans them from using it, in practice, anyway. So it's similar in some ways to a nuclear ban or some other form of arms control.

     Hastily thought out mole hunt from shaky evidence? 
  • In Inquisition Sloan suggests that for most of the episode he had strongly suspected Bashir of being a traitor. However his actions create two problems that really harm the idea of Section 31 being efficient. The first is that the evidence we see isn't exactly strong and hardly enough to go to the effort of kidnapping an important doctor. The second is that if Bashir really had been a traitor his meeting with the fake Weyoun would have tipped him off that this wasn't real.
    • Sloan knew the entire time that Bashir wasn't a mole. He wanted to test him to see if he was worthy of joining Section 31. It's been a while since I've seen the episode, so I don't remember the particular reason it was so elaborate.
      • Sloan mentions that he had been proven wrong by the test, implying he had suspected that Bashir was a traitor before.

     "Or should I say Bill?" 
  • Admiral Ross went without a first name for a while, until "Image in the Sand," when Odo says to Kira (sensitive about being called "Colonel"): "Well, has Admiral Ross, or should I say Bill, arrived yet?" Indeed, later episodes call him William or Bill Ross. The headscratcher is that the Deep Space Nine Companion notes that the writers weren't sure at first if that reference was to be taken literally (and early set decorations called him "Cliff Ross"), because it was in the context of Odo cracking a joke. It was indeed gentle dig at Kira's discomfort with her new title, but how could this joke work at all if Admiral Ross's given name was anything other than William?
    • Could be that Ross's name is Clifford William Ross, and he simply prefers to go by his middle name (or a shortened form of it) in social situations. As neither Odo nor Kira are members of Starfleet, it's entirely possible that when introduced, he simply said "Call me Bill."

     The head of a space station only a commander? 
  • This has always bugged me about Deep Space Nine. When the series starts, Sisko is a commander, only getting promoted to captain during "The Adversary". But shouldn't a space station have a higher ranking officer? It's larger, so probably needs more people to properly maintain. It's a political symbol of the federation, and the commander will be required to negotiate in its name. And, it's the docking place for other federation ships, which are led by captains, which could cause chain of command tension in a crisis.
    • I don't know about other Federation stations, but DS9 was somewhat of a special case. At the beginning of "Emissary", Starfleet wasn't completely taking over the station, but helping out Bajor after the occupation as a facilitator. The Starfleet crew early on was nearly a skeleton crew: you had your doctor, your chief engineer, your head science officer, and a few other crewmen scattered here and there to fill gaps, but the rest of the station personnel were mostly members of the Bajoran militia (such as Odo's entire staff). This wasn't exactly a plum assignment, or even much of an important one; Bajor wasn't strategically important, the station wasn't exactly a major hub for starships, or any traffic, for that matter (remember, it wasn't named Deep Space Nine because it was in a major traffic zone), and the station was still technically Bajoran with a token Federation presence. Perhaps Starfleet just didn't see it as important enough to send a captain in. It was only after the discovery of the wormhole that suddenly Bajor and the station became important to both the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant as a whole, but by then Sisko had already been placed in the position of Emissary by the Bajorans, and the Starfleet higher-ups probably thought it would weaken their relationship with Bajor to bring in somebody else above Sisko at that point.
    • No doubt Sisko has special training and experience that makes him appropriate for such an administration job (and it's easy to forget that, at the beginning of the series, Sisko is a mid-level administrator). I think spending so much time aboard starships throughout most of Star Trek fosters a "captain or nothing!" mentality in most audiences, but realistically a commander is more than experienced enough for most command situations.
    • Frankly I'm surprised it hasn't happened more often (in fact the only other instance I can think of off the top of my head is when {Lt Cmdr} Data was in command of that Nebula-class ship during that Klingon two-parter back in TNG). Chalk it up to Viewers are Morons, I guess. Starfleet's Mildly Military culture nonwithstanding, many, MANY real-life navies place sub-Captain officers in command of (smaller) ships (and my own Air Force base has a Colonel in command of thousands of people as opposed to say, a General). Voyager (and especially Equinox) could have and probably should have been commanded by lower-ranking officers. Deep Space 9 was a backwater posting when Sisko was assigned, I have no problem believing that Starfleet let a Commander run things. Hell, their CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER was a Junior-Grade Lieutenant when he arrived! Their Operations officer was a Senior Chief! Reality is unrealistic, so Starfleet has four hundred thousand Captains and they all seem to know each other. As for the chain of command during a crisis, the Captain on that ship may outrank Sisko, but it's SISKO's station.
      • Also, at the start of the series, Sisko is First Officer of a ship while holding the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
      • Another curious exception on DS9 is in "Second Sight," where the U.S.S. Prometheus seems to be commanded by a Lt. jg (albeit it could have been the case that higher offers were simply off the scene for some reason or another).
      • It's been hinted at in the various shows, and outright stated in the extended universe, that a Starfleet captain has the power to enter into treaties and make agreements on behalf of the Federation. That would make sense, given the exploration and first contact duties of a Federation starship. Starship C.O.s may all be captains because, well, you don't want a junior lieutenant setting your foreign policy.
      • Also, in one episode, O'Brien noted to Nog that despite the person's actual rank, it was tradition to refer to the ship's commander as "Captain". This was followed by Nog (an acting Ensign) asking if that meant HE could be referred to as captain, but O'Brien noted that if that happened, there'd be no one left alive to address him as such. Without counting the pips on each Captain's collar, the title isn't indicative of the officer's rank.
      • Indeed, this is addressed in Star Trek Online. You start off on your first ship as an Ensign, and the ship is attacked by the Borg, leaving the entire senior staff dead. You take command, save the ship, and help hand the Borg incursion its ass. In reward, you're promoted to Lieutenant and retain command of the repaired ship. Despite the fact that you then have to climb up the ranks of Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, and Commander before actually attaining the rank of Captain, everyone still refers to you as "Captain" while you're in command of the ship. (Which is also the case IRL by tradition)
    • Also, IIRC, other starbases in TNG were run by commanders, rather than captains.

     The UFP Never Ratified the Geneva Conventions 
  • In the cold open of Favor the Bold, has always bugged me a bit. In that sequence, the Defiant is made to look damaged and broadcasts a distress call in the hope of luring a Dominion patrol into attacking it, at which point the Rotarran de-cloaks and fires on the attacking ships. Isn't using a false distress call with the intention of ambushing an enemy technically a war crime? Now I'm no fan of Gene Roddenberry's idea of an idillic future where humanity completely evolves past its darker aspects, and I realize that the Dominion forces do far, far worse without hesitation or remorse, but I still find it, I don't know, vaguely disturbing that Starfleet would so casually resort to perfidy.
    • The headscratcher here isn't 'why doesn't the UFP observe the Geneva Conventions', but 'why would the Geneva Conventions even apply?' Given that they are a 400 year-old historical treaty that only applied to countries on Earth? Earth has been through WWIII, wars with the Romulans and Klingons, not to mention several other disputes such as the Cardassian Border 'Wars'. Treaties between disparate interstellar Empires and Confederations are obviously in place, but the series has shown time and again that the majority of races/empires/groups in Trek do not hold to the same ideologies as the UFP. Even the Bajorans, (their aggressive post-occupation attitudes nonwithstanding) have some troubling ideas about resistance that the UFP find troubling. Generally the UFP do wage war in an ethical fashion, but during the Dominion War, all bets were off. Any chance to strike against the Dominion would be taken if you'd taken the losses the UFP had to that point. While the Klingons can absorb even devastating defeats as 'glorious battle' and see death in battle as honourable, the UFP can't due to its ideology. It's not surprising to see the UFP take a few tips from the Klingon/Romulan/Dominion playbook and start to use more underhand tactics to win. As Worf says in Way of the Warrior (when questioned on the honour of cloaked ships lying in wait for ships that try to rescue survivors of destroyed Cardassian ships), 'in war there is nothing more honourable than victory.'
      • OP, here, and I was just looking for a vaguely clever name for the folder heading. I didn't actually think that the Geneva Conventions would apply, I mostly chose it because that name telegraphed that the question was about rules of warfare.
    • Attempting to destroy a ship broadcasting a distress call is also a war crime. The Federation is just using the Dominion's dirty tactics against them.
    • True, and the Dominion don't deserve sympathy; but it still strikes me as odd in a series that always takes the time to explore the consequences of what good people have to do in wartime. Not only is it not examined, I get the impression that these operations are kind of routine.
      • It's also dangerous. You're running the risk of drawing innocent people—who are required to respond to distress calls—into a battlefield
      • We have no idea what laws and agreements concerning rescue are even in use by the different belligerentsnote . However, even if the Federation normally refrains from those tactics if the Dominion has a standard policy of firing on ships requesting help then there isn't a point to the Federation keeping that standard. The ships will be fired on regardless of whether they're sincere or not so the Federation might as well make use of whatever advantage they can get.
      • Also it's not exactly likely that Sisko set up his ambush for a Jem'hadar warship anywhere within easy travel time of a civilian vessel that would receive and respond to a distress call.
    • Part of the problem with this headscratcher is that it reflects that most people don't really understand what the Geneva Convention is or does. Most people who bring it up seem to think that it means "The first-world countries who signed this agree to be really nice and caring and not do bad things". Rather, the Geneva Convention has a very specific list of things countries will or will not do in certain situations... and it only applies to other signatories. Thus even if the Federation did hold to the Geneva Convention, unless a Weyoun wanted to show up and sign the Dominion up to it (and actually hold to it themselves in any appreciable way that didn't disqualify them from it), the Federation is not obligated to extend the Geneva considerations to the Dominion. Unless the Federation has actually signed some form of treaty with the Dominion that prohibits faking distress calls, faking a distress call isn't even a war crime... it's just a bit of a dirty trick, and there's a philosophy in warfare that says "Fighting fair is for suckers". The only reason the Federation would have to not pull such a ploy is that doing so would encourage Jem'hadar ships to fire on ships in distress instead of helping them... and since the Jem'hadar ships already do that, there's no benefit to the Federation, even morally really, for not pulling such fakeouts.
    • It also means that the Defiant and Rotarran can stay in one place and let the Jem'Hadar come to them. I doubt Sisko would permit them to pull the trick anywhere near where a neutral or civilian ship might have a chance of answering the distress call, so the only likely respondents would be another Starfleet or KDF ship (which would either render that particular iteration of the trick pointless or give them extra firepower), or a Dominion ship (in which case, open fire). I doubt if anyone further up the chain of command in Starfleet, or in the civilian government of the Federation would get to know about it, and if they did, then given the stories about the Dominion, I wouldn't expect them to raise too much of a fuss ("oh, it's just an over-enthusiastic commander on the front line pulling his Cowboy Cop crap again, when is his superior going to call him onto the carpet about it?"). I'd be more concerned about whether the KDF Command or High Council thought the manoeuvre was dishonourable, and refusing further joint ops. But then, they do have cloaking devices...

    Picard, the Absentee Captain 
  • Where the hell is the Enterprise-E during the Dominion War? Surely with the kinds of losses Starfleet is taking — one offscreen fight mentioned in the season 6 premiere stated a casualty rate almost as bad as Wolf 359 — they would need their newest, most powerful warship at the front lines. For that matter we never see any other Sovereign-class ships during the battle scenes, either.
    • Doyle-ist answer is that it isn't Picard's show any longer so they aren't going to pay top-rate Next Gen actors.
    • Watsonian-answer, from stuff that's been said at cons and in various books, is that they Sovereign class vessels including the Enterprise were doing stuff that could be handled by one ship instead of large fleets. Stuff like dealing with diplomatic crisis, helping colonies which are having the sort of problem that is non-Dominion related, maintaining relationships with non-combatant powers. Which makes sense. Just because there is a war on does not mean that the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere and Eldritch Abominations will stop showing up, or that the imperilled colonies from Mad Scientists will stop being imperilled; basically all the stuff that the Enterprise dealt with on a weekly basis before the Dominion War. Starfleet has got to do all the usual stuff plus fight a war instead, so rather than waste the Enterprise in a confrontation where it could be one-shotted as cannon fodder in a battle it was used for the stuff it always did or for stuff where prestige mattered more than mere strength. The difference between the Dominion War and the two Borg crisis was that Wolf-359 and Sector One battles were acute crisis but the Dominion War was a chronic problem instead of an acute "one battle and it is over" affair. The TL;DR version is that while the Sovereign class were potentially powerful weapons in pitched battles they were also definitely much more useful tools for other stuff that Starfleet has still gotta deal with along with the war.
    • According to Memory Alpha there was only ONE confirmed Sovereign-class starship ever built, and that was the Enterprise-E (there are three other ships listed that might have been Sovereign-class, but they are not confirmed as such). It would be very understandable if Starfleet chose to keep some or all of their finest vessels away from the front lines. Losing a Sovereign-class ship to the Dominion would have been a terrible blow to Federation morale, not to mention put a significant dent in Starfleet military power.

Klingons

     Wartime extradition 
  • Klingons try to extradite Worf for allegedly shooting a civilian ship.
    Sisko: What are the diplomatic relations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire?
    Prosecution Attorney: There are no diplomatic relations.
    • In that case there is no Extradition Treaty and the episode should end right there.
    • What makes this more ridiculous is that, when the Dominion and Cardassia join forces, Dukat pulls the same thing in regards to a political rival on the station. Sisko pretty much tells him to sod off because there is no extradition treaty between their peoples.
      • The difference is that up until the conflict began the Klingons and Federation were allies and the Federation very much wants friendly relations with the Klingons to resume again. They're playing nice in hopes that it will be a step to reconciliation between their two powers, plus the Federation was not happy with the situation and Worf was hella lucky it was a frame up. Heck, for all we know WORF is the one who accepted the charges set against him and agreed to the trial, murdering civilians would be something all sides could agree would warrant punishment.
      • In my opinion Worf was completely justified in taking the shot. Present day Navies "strongly encourage" everybody to keep well away in peace time. And he was at that time in combat. Anybody who approaches active combat puts themselves willingly at risk. Trying to sneak up on the combatants is suicidal.
    • When the Khitomer Accords were dissolved, ending the Federation-Klingon alliance, it seems very likely that the two sides had to revert to the terms imposed onto them by the Organian Peace Treaty. The word 'treaty' is actually a bit misleading, as neither side actually got any say in the stipulations of the document, they just had to follow them or else. Perhaps extradition was mandated by the Organians, and the Federation had no choice but to go along with it.
  • Changing the subject, two different problems with the "Rules of Engagement" scenario:
    1. Why doesn't anyone think to question what a civilian transport ship is doing with a cloaking device?
    2. The judge is blatantly incompetent. She uses "logic" to justify allowing the Klingons to continue with the hearing when logically Starfleet JAG Corps has jurisdiction, not the Klingons. Therefore Worf should logically be tried only under Federation law, and they establish that he's innocent of all charges under that legal system before the opening credits roll.

    The General's Kia-of-Prey 

  • For much of the second half of the series, General Martok is hanging around the station in one capacity or another, and has command of the Rotarran, a Bird of Prey, which eventually becomes his flagship as he is given command of the Federation-Klingon fleet. Wait, what? Why is a tiny, hundred-year-old skirmisher with a crew of cowards and rookies 1) appropriate for a General, 2) appropriate to act as flagship once said General has been given a proper command again, or 3) a sensible choice of vessel for a man whose family apparently owns a private attack cruiser, a powerful modern vessel representing the best of Klingon ship design?
    • Because he feels a Bird-of-Prey is a proper vessel for a Klingon warrior, far better than the "luxury liner" of a Vor'cha- or Negh'Var- class attack cruiser. When he was promoted to the liaison officer between the Klingons and the Federation, he declined Sisko's offer of quarters aboard the station, saying, "I will keep my flag aboard the Rotarran. At least then I'll feel like I'm still in the war." In other words: It keeps him grounded. I must admit, though, that you're right that it doesn't make much sense from a strategic perspective. Three or four well-placed photon torpedoes would destroy the general's flagship.
      • Simply because the basic external design is 100 years old doesn't mean the Rotarran is a century behind in technology. The Klingons are really fond of that design and seem to upgrade everything under the hood so it can fight against 24th century ships. They are either still building new ones or they're upgrading them the same way the Federation upgraded Mirandas and Excelsiors to be a match for Dominion ships. Another important question is whether the Rotarran is a B'rel-class scout or a K'vort-class cruiser; the latter is larger, better armed and can probably take more of a beating. As for why not command from a more powerful and distinctive warship, it could be that if the Dominion knew Martok were on the only Negh'var in the fleet they would make it a priority target, whereas if there are scores of Birds of Prey in any engagement it's much harder to identify which one Martok is on. It keeps the Dominion on its toes: if they get a report that a squadron of Birds of Prey is going to attack some depot, they don't know if its a bunch of hotheads or the General and won't know how to properly allocate defenses. Contrast that with if they saw a Sovereign-class coming they'd know it was Picard.
    • Regarding his crew that keeps ending up filled with rookies, I can think of at least three reasons why it keeps happening: 1) He got out of a Dominion prison camp after being replaced by a Changeling, so he hadn't re-earned the trust of Klingon veterans yet (backed up by the fact that we only see his crew after he was recently released), 2) he really is a good trainer, general or not, and one of his duties is to train rookies simply because he's the best at it (admittedly this has little proof), or 3) Gowron doesn't want to see him get too popular and so keeps sending him inexperienced crews to hinder his progress (this one's especially backed up by Gowron's behavior near the end of the series).
    • Given that Martok wasn't originally a highly-placed member of the Klingon society, it could be a sign that he considers his humble origins to be a source of honor, and this uses a more humble ship that the large cruisers that the other generals use. Also, there are numerous stories of Generals who will fight alongside their men and end up earning their loyalty, as opposed to those who lead from the rear and merely have obedience (compare General George Patton and General Max Taylor from World War II).
    • I think Martok sees the Rotarran as a symbol his return to grace as a Klingon warrior. After he left the Dominion prison, General Martok felt as useless and disgraced that ship and its crew was before he took command—he even compared the ship's service record to a prison record. It was his victorious first mission on the Rotarran in which Martok proved to himself that he was still a worthy of command.
  • Accepting that the Rotarran was, for whatever reason, Martok's ship of choice, why was the flagship of the Klingon Eisenhower so often stuck doing convoy escorts, patrols, and other such crap duty?
    • Either the timeline included involved his time before his full return to grace, or it's training for his less-than-stellar crew and unwinding for him (still contributing to the war since a war without supply lines is a lost war).
    • Also, it is stated that Gowron is going out of his way to give Martok crap duty in hopes of keeping Martok from gaining enough political clout to be a threat for the title of Chancellor.
      • This is the reason for most of the above. Gowron became overly concerned that Martok was going to become a legitimate political rival at some point in the future (since he was popular with most Klingons as he was a 'fighting' General). Gowron decided to start giving him ridiculous objectives so that he would fail and lose support. Worf realises that Gowron is wasting lives on politics, so like a good Klingon, kills him.
  • For story reasons it was useful to have an alternative to the Defiant which was a small fighter-like starship like the Bird of Prey. Several episodes were mainly spent on Klingon ships, mostly Birds of Prey. Presumably when Martok was made Supreme Commander of the Ninth Fleet, the Rotarran became his flagship by default. He just never changed that arrangement, preferring the worn-in, veteran Bird of Prey to any other ship.

Trill

     Putting a murderer in a soldier's body 
  • In Facets Jadzia goes through a ritual that puts the past hosts in other people's bodies. Not that strange until they put Joran in Sisko's body. They put the mind of a man so wild that he murdered a person in the body of a trained soldier? Without even restraints or anything more secure than a force field? What did they intend to do if there was a power outage? Send a warning across the station to watch out for the mighty Sisko Fist? You even see the flaws of the idea in the episode, Jadzia was crazy enough to turn off the force field without anyone else in the room or any confirmation that Sisko really was in control (which nearly got her killed).
    • Technically all of them except Quark and Leeta are trained soldiers. It would have been dangerous no matter who they put Joran in. Sisko volunteered because A) he didn't want to make anyone else take the risk, and B) he thought he could control Joran. In the unlikely event of a power outage Jadzia would have knocked Sisko out. And if she didn't, the door to the detention area was locked anyway.

     Symbiont relationships 
  • We're told several times throughout the series that the number of Trill symbionts available for joining is pretty small. And in "Rejoined" we find that joined Trills are prohibited from having serious relationships not only with living friends and family of previous hosts, but also with the new hosts to symbionts that past hosts used to have a serious relationship with, even if it was several hosts back. And there doesn't seem to be a statute of limitations on this. If we accept that joined Trills, like any other "elite" subset of any society, would prefer to seek each other's company, doesn't it follow that symbionts would run out of people to associate with eventually?
    • For that matter, what's with Jadzia getting posted to the station commanded by one of Curzon's closest friends, or her running off with three Klingons to fulfill an oath that Curzon made with them, or Ezri getting sent to DS9 to replace Jadzia? In "Rejoined", Jadzia specifically says that the taboo does not apply only to marital/sexual relationships, but to close interpersonal bonds of all kinds, so isn't this episode massively inconsistent with the entire rest of the series? Was it just an excuse to get Terry Farrell kissing another woman on camera?
      • I think some people find it harder to deal with some of these interpersonal relationships over others.
    • There's a ton of inconsistency about the Trill within DS9 (and a ton more if you include "The Host"). Wouldn't Ezri's dalliance with Worf be just as taboo as the events of "Rejoined"? As you say, the fact that Jadzia holds herself to Curzon's blood oath stands firmly at odds with her self-declaration "I'm not Curzon" mere episodes earlier in "Playing God"?
      • There is a big difference between having a different personal style versus whether or not to honor an obligation. In the case of "Blood Oath" it could have been that the oath in question bound not just Curazon (host), but Dax (the symbiont), whereas, in "Playing God", Jadzia Dax was emphasizing the differences in her personal style. Indeed, her attitude in "Blood Oath" is entirely consistent with that in the season one episode "Dax", where she keeps Curzon's promise at great risk to herself.
    • Perhaps the provision is only loosely enforced regarding non-Trill? The main reason to prohibit ongoing relationships is to allow the symbiote to have new experiences because it's extremely long lived (if not immortal) and as such could continue repeating relationships over the course of several lifetimes with no net gain. On the other hand, races such as Human or Klingon are mortal and as such less of an issue as they inevitably die, forcing the Trill to make new friends. Even Vulcans and Ferengi only seem to live a couple of centuries, not that long compared to the Trill symbiote.
  • I once read an explanation that theorized that Erzi was posted to DS9 to benefit Ezri, rather than Dax. That since she was never prepared for the side effects of the joining they thought it would help her to be in a familiar location, at least temporarily. It's utter fanwank of course but it seemed to have a certain logic to it.
  • Word of God (found on Memory Alpha) from the show's writers and producers says that the main reason for the rejoining taboo is so that joined Trill don't perpetually reassociate and create an aristocracy of the joined, which would be bad both for Trill society (where joined individuals are already considered somewhat elite) and the host (who would be subsumed by the symbiont's desires). So yeah, the provision is Trill-specific and doesn't apply to cases like Sisko or Worf.
    • That certainly makes sense, but as with many Word of God decrees, one wonders if it would have been so hard to find a place to say this in an episode.
    • We're shown that the Federation won't let a planet in if it has a caste system, maybe that's Trill's way of "finding a loophole" to be a member of the Federation. (Assuming they are; I guess it's never explicitly stated.)
      • We're told that the Federation prohibits discrimination based on caste, not caste systems period.
  • Since the Dominion War was going go poorly and the Federation had done some ethically questionable things already, what if Ezri was ordered back to DS9 once she got Dax explicitly because she would already be familiar with the people and station. Given its strategic value, I could see Starfleet saying "damn the taboo, we're at war" and fixing it later.

     But the Other Dax did it! 
  • In a culture that regularly changes hosts, why don't the Trill have a precedent for crimes committed by a previous host?
    • They probably don't prosecute. One of Jadzia's previous hosts committed murder, they simply erased any record of him and repressed the memories within the symbiont. Odds are they just write any problems like that off as a problem with the host. Hell, Dax has two, possibly three, hosts (the murderer, the guy who stole it for a few hours and possibly the future one from that one planet) that commit serious crimes and nobody ever seems to think there may be a problem with Dax itself for allowing the actions to happen.
    • Trill society could easily have one. However, the symbionts have only been open knowledge to all races within the last couple of years, so it would have been dealt by Trill alone, and other species would not have precedent on the books yet. Tandro wanted Dax to be tried by Klaestrons, presumably so that Dax would be executed and he would have 'avenged' his father's death.
      • So when they got the Trill expert witness, why didn't they just ask him what their policy was for the crimes of past hosts? They never did.
    • No human government refrains from punishing simply because a criminal had a spouse and children. They have to suffer and in a sense they are punished collectively even though that is not the intent of the law. Trill probably made the same reasoning about symbionts.
      • Although there is a big difference between innocently suffering because a loved one is in prison versus suffering because you are in prison. The fact remains that, assuming Curzon was guilty, Jadzia certainly wasn't; neither would she have known about Curzon's crimes prior to joining, and one could not imprison Dax without imprisoning (or killing) Jadzia.
    • Since the Trill system seems to go out of its way to erase any mention of a former host committing a crime and pretends that its system is perfect it's entirely possible that there isn't a single publicly known crime committed by a symbiont until Jadzia was put on trial (and acquitted). They may have decided in their arrogance that since no host would ever commit a crime there was no point in working out the legal ramifications.
      • Then where was the "why the hell are we talking about this? A joined host couldn't have committed the crime" speech from the Trill expert witness?
      • Out-of-universe probably because that point about Trill mentality wasn't established in season 1. In-universe because a government willing to kidnap a Starfleet officer and only after they were caught try to invoke an extradition treaty probably isn't going to listen to a Trill arguing that no host would ever commit a crime and the Bajoran arbitrator would be justifiably skeptical as well. Frankly that's not the strangest of the episode's problems since no one points out the weakness of the 'we confirmed every other suspect's location' evidence and Sisko argues only about the nature of Trill hosts without trying to look into the prosecution's claims.

     more about Dax's extradition 
Okay, so there are four possibilities: 1. The trill are not a member of the federation, and Dax is not a citizen (which could be possible, seeing as how starfleet is a scientific organization first, and a military second).
  • In that case, the Klaestron would have been unable to extradite her.
2. The trill are a member of the federation, but Dax is not a citizen.
  • She wouldn't be a citizen, so they couldn't extradite her AND the federation would have to have established whether a conjoined trill is a single person or multiple people.
3. The trill are not a member of the federation, but dax is a citizen.
  • In that case, she should be registered as either a single person or as two people. If she is registered as a single person, she would obviously count as a single person under federation law and not be extradited.
4. The trill are a member of the federation and dax is a citizen.
  • All of the above.
That means that in every case, either Dax couldn't be extradited, or there would have to a law already established.

     Trills "do not seek relationships" 
  • OK, so was Jadzia's line to Julian about how Trills don't look for romance the same way other species do, a load of malarkey or what? She's shown by her own actions in "Rejoined", "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places", and "Meridian" that that's certainly not true. At least the first two examples could be excused as "true love" examples, but "Meridian" was arguably Character Derailment. Within a couple days of meeting the guy, they promise to count each other's spots. Anyway, was Jadzia just saying that to get Julian off her back, or what?
    • For most of those episodes: Early-Installment Weirdness, but for a more Watsonian explanation? IIRC, Jadzia is giving that explanation to Julian, who has been constantly hitting on her. It could also still be something that's a general joined Trill principle, but one that you don't tend to follow if Curzon Dax is one of your past hosts—once she began integrating him along with her other past hosts, she decided to go with his more maverick attitude towards life and cared more about enjoying herself and giving Dax a lively experience than following all the ideals for a "good" joined Trill. As for Meridian, it is just a terrible, terrible episode and it's best to ignore its existence. Even the creators hated it.

Ferengi

     "We're better" 
  • One of Quark's best scenes comes in "The Jem'hadar," when he turns Sisko's Federation highhandedness back on him: "You're overlooking something, Commander. Humans used to be a lot worse than Ferengi. Slavery, concentration camps, interstellar war; we have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We're nothing like you. We're better." It's a great example of how DS9 calls out Star Trek as a whole on its often hypocritical values. But does it really make sense? The Ferengi hardly have a great record on gender, and we have seen in other episodes that they do indeed practice slavery — maybe not of other Ferengi, but what difference should that make? And as we see in "Business as Usual," some Ferengi seem to have no trouble abetting genocide, so long as there's a profit in it.
    • I think you may have answered your own question, at least to a point. Unlike humans, the Ferengi haven't enslaved their own kind, which to them may be morally inferior to just slavery in general, and perhaps they don't believe that enslavement of other species is slavery at all. And abetting genocide isn't committing genocide. True, they're both morally bankrupt and reprehensible acts, but the minor differences may be enough for Quark to convince himself of Ferengi superiority (which he does, right up to the end of "Business as Usual", and that's mostly because of the scale of that particular slaughter, rather than the act itself). Whether he's right objectively is another matter, but I believe that at least Quark can justify it to himself (keep in mind that Sisko's reaction basically amounts to "You have got to be kidding me.").
    • History is written by the publishers. It's just as likely the history books detailing the slavery and warfare perpetrated by the Ferengi just don't sell as well as the ones that never question the wisdom of the Rules of Acquisition.
    • I wouldn't deny that it probably all makes sense in Quark's mind. But for me at least, subjecting these claims to scrutiny weakens the overall dramatic impact of the scene.
    • That could be the point. Quark goes on about how the Ferengi are better than hew-mons, but in reality the Ferengi have the same flaws that Quark denies. Consider how we tell ourselves today that we are better than our ancestors from even just a few generations back, and then compare our mental image with the reality in the streets.
    • This misses the primary point. The Ferengi are Blue and Orange Morality, but they stick to that. Humans say genocide, slavery, etc. is bad, but did it for thousands of years. Ferengi said not making profit is bad, and (with only small individual exceptions) held to that. This would be similar to only a few cases of fights in the history of human civilization. The point is the Ferengi stick to their moral code, humans don't.
      • You can't call hypocrisy on an entire species. Especially not when the moral values you claim humans don't stick to didn't even exist for most of our history.
      • No, and furthermore, Quark does accuse humans of hypocrisy, but it's along the lines of "You think you're better than us but your horrible history reveals otherwise," not "we are at least consistent in our values." It's simply not what he says. Other DS9 episodes try to redeem the Ferengi along the similar lines (I recall an episode where Nog suggests that the Ferengi could end the Dominion War through their methods by finding something each side wants), but this is a bit of a retcon of the fact that Ferengi were initially presented as a warlike species.
    • I've been wondering what Quark's mother would think of his little speech. Think she'd agree that his definition of "slavery" needs revising? My dictionary defines it as treating people as property. But of course, the Ferengi would never do that. Especially not to half their population.
    • Quark's "We're better" speech is very reminiscent of the morals of a lot of early TNG episodes, in that it makes sense so long as you don't think about it too hard. Objectively speaking, the Ferengi are absolutely not better than the Federation. They may not personally indulge in concentration camps or interstellar war (though I find it hard to believe they've never had to fight a war before) but they certainly have no problem enabling other civilizations to do that via arms deals and such. And as the above troper points out, I think a lot of Ferengi females including Quark's own mother would take great issue with his statement about slavery. Furthermore, I find Quark's statement that the Ferengi never do such things completely ridiculous on the face of it. We're talking about a culture where bribery is considered common courtesy. Are we really supposed to believe that in a culture where bribery is explicitly endorsed by the majority religion (ROA #98: Every man has his price) that no Ferengi has ever bribed a law enforcement officer to turn a blind eye to slave trading, hate crimes, or murder? Obviously this doesn't happen all the time, but surely it must happen sometimes, or has happened in the past. And if it's okay for Quark to condemn the entire Federation because some humans in the past committed genocide or endorsed slavery, then by his very own logic the Ferengi deserve the same condemnation.

     Rom's stands all he can stands 

  • In the first season, Quark is named the Grand Nagus' successor, and shortly thereafter the Nagus fakes his death to see how his son would react. He had hoped he could come out of retirement, but the Nagus' son instead tried to get a Klingon Promotion. Rom was part of the scheme, and was very close to pushing the button before Odo and Zek intervened. Now, that was in season one. Quark already knows Rom has it in him to kill him if he's pushed too far. So why the heck does Quark keep Tempting Fate with Rom? "One for you, seven for me" happened in Season 2. (Rom scurried away, whining.) Rigging Nog's entrance exam into the Academy... refusing to give him any kinda employee protection until he forms the union. Is Quark trying to get Rom to kill him?! Man, family is complicated.
    • Rom isn't bright enough to make Quark's death look like an accident, so even if he killed him and fled the station maybe Quark has something in his will to the effect of, "In the event of my death by unnatural circumstances, I bequeath my assets to Tholian assassins as payment to kill my brother Rom."
    • The idea of Rom conspiring to assassinate Quark has the aura of Early-Installment Weirdness, doesn't it?
    • Agreed to the above statement, up there with Odo seeing through Quark's deception in Babel because Rom supposedly fixed something yet, according to Odo "Rom's an idiot. He couldn't fix a straw if it was bent." As to the parent poster, don't forget the Rules of Acquisition: "111: Treat people in your debt like family - exploit them." and, from Voyager - "Exploitation begins at home!" meaning first exploit your family members.

    Don't Mess With the Ferengi Commerce Authority! 
  • The existence of the Ferengi Commerce Authority really bugs me. Remember the Liquidator who somehow had the authority to come on to Deep Space 9 (a Federation outpost), shut down Quark's bar and threaten to sell all of his financial holdings because of his Mother's actions? How can they possibly have that power?
    • Well, even though Quark's is on a Federation outpost, the Ferengi are not a member of the Federation. Nog couldn't even join Starfleet unless Sisko sponsored him.
    • Quark is working under the authority of the Ferengi Commerce Authority. Regardless of where he works, he still has to operate under Ferengi law to keep their authority. Without their authority he cannot do business with other Ferengi. They have every right to revoke his license and take any other actions required under Ferengi law. It's like if you work for an American company in Russia. Your company can revoke your ability to do business with them there. (The Ferengi Government is more like a corporation than a government if you recall).
      • Plus, it's not a Federation outpost. It's a Bajoran outpost with a Federation administration.
      • It's not unprecedented for a government authority to have the ability to reach your assets in another jurisdiction. If you're American, you're a prisoner of the IRS wherever in the world you go. This is not true in most countries' tax systems, who only tax on money earned inside their borders.
    • Because his financial holdings are only recognized by the Ferengi government. The Federation can't stop Brunt from selling off Quark's assets because those assets ''do not exist" as far as the Federation is concerned. It would be like the United States trying to stop Switzerland from seizing the assets of a Swiss tourist.
    • At the end of the episode, he re-opens the bar and continues doing business after Sisko &co. donate furniture and resources (for the community's benefit). The FCA can stop him trading legally with other Ferengi, but have no power to stop him running a business in Bajoran territory, so they don't. (Let's just assume that the Ferengi staff are now formally employed by Sisko or something.)
      • Actually, for the duration of the revocation of Quark's business license, no Ferengi are seen working in the bar. Presumably he hires extra dabo girls, who then pull double duty as waitresses.
  • Doesn't its very existence go against the Ferengi principle of free enterprise anyway?
    • Awfully good question. If the Ferengi are ultra-free market capitalists, then where did all of this regulation come from? Are we supposed to think that the FCA collects taxes from its members? Evidently not, because late episodes state outright that taxes are verboten on Ferenginar (or at least were)... perhaps they collect licensing fees or something similar, but surely operating under their authority is something you have to pay to do, no?
      • It's more complicated than that. In "The Nagus" (an episode filled with Early-Installment Weirdness, to be sure), when Quark becomes Nagus, it's implied that the Nagus (maybe acting through the FCA) decides who can do business where, and while in theory they might not always take a cut, it seems like the deals he makes ensure that they generally do. In other words, it operates more like a Mafia than a laissez-faire capitalist government. It seems to me that toward the end they wanted to make a political point against ultra-libertarianism that was different than the points they were making earlier (or even in other late episodes), and they used the Ferengi to do it.
    • If the FCA is officially a monopolistic conglomeration rather than a government, then they can skirt around the free enterprise, no-tax thing by calling them "membership fees" or rent money for living on FCA property (Ferenginar). All Ferengi businesses might be franchises of the FCA and are required to pay supplier fees.
    • There are laws governing Ferengi commerce, but they aren't laws that restrict it i.e. monopoly busting. They are instead designed to ensure that things like unions and contract violations don't interfere with the pursuit of profit. That's why Quark lost his license: he violated the terms of his contract with Brunt, and Brunt used his position to strip Quark's license as an act of petty revenge. Presumably the FCA is funded by the licensing fees that business owners have to pay in order to operate.

     Why are there no Ferengi Suffragettes? 
  • I find it very hard to believe that a society that has oppresses women to such ridiculous levels that they have to be completely naked in public would not have a Suffragette style movement triggered across the entire Alliance. A lot of people today forget that women back then often resorted to criminal behaviour to achieve their ends - vandalising property and chaining themselves to buildings etc and with the 24th century ability to communicate and travel on a planetary scale (something that was far harder in the early 20th) there should be outbreaks of violence and crime everywhere. And I refuse to believe the Ferengi government would employ Taliban level tactics of stoning women or chopping off their hands to prevent wide scale action due to A) The Federation would have something to say about that (Prime Directive aside) B) It would sully Quark's character irredeemably as all of those comic moments of arguing with his mum and refusing to acknowledge Pel would suddenly take on some very uncomfortable fascist implications. At the very least there should be women everywhere outright flouting the ban on clothes and travelling off world to conduct business - the FCA wouldn't have authority on other sovereign planets no matter how much they may claim to. As I see it, from the evidence presented, either Ferengi women simply weren't trying hard enough to change their society before Ishka started dating the Grand Nagus or they were actually on the whole quite happy with the situation with only a few dissenters around like Ishka and Pel.
    • It's possible that plenty of Ferengi feminists exist, but they're such an embarassment to misogynist Ferengi men that the men do not talk openly about them. Another possibility is that Ferengi men keep most Ferengi women ignorant of the outside world, so that many female Ferengi females wouldn't know that another way of life is possible (think Afghanistan or the FLDS). Ishka and Pel might have been among the few Ferengi women who received an education and a taste of life beyond their home planet.
    • Watch Ishka's performance at the end of Family Business when she pretends to hand over all her profits to Brunt. She's trying (though not very well) to come off as a Stepford Smiler. From this it can be inferred that many or most Ferengi women are not very well educated and probably don't even comprehend how repressed they really are.
    • Given the punitive measures threatened against Quark for his profit-earning, it's also likely that many Ferengi women who are well-educated and who haven't internalized their culture's extreme misogyny are discouraged because they don't want to ruin the prospects of their husbands/brothers/fathers/sons.
    • When the series was written, no one could have predicted the way social media affected political movements a decade or so later. Yes, it would have been supremely interesting if DS9 was written during Arab Spring, and they probably could have subtly incorporated some 24th century equivalent of a social media revolution

     Female Oo-Mox 
  • Was it ever stated as to why Oo-Mox is something only the males can experience? If I had to theorize it's because female lobes are smaller and as such may not be as ridiculously vulnerable to pleasure/pain that male lobes are but I was wondering if there was ever a canon reason given.
    • I'm not entirely sure it's ever suggested that oo-mox isn't pleasurable for Ferengi females (though I'm working off memory so I could be wrong). If it is, your theory seems plausible—higher density of nerve endings due to the smaller area of their ears does sound like something that might make oo-mox uncomfortable for them. Given the misogyny in Ferengi culture, though, it seems just as likely that it is pleasant, but nobody cares what Ferengi women like.
    • It doesn't make much sense for female oo-mox not to be possible. After all, humans of both genders share pretty much all the same erogenous zones, despite our considerable anatomical differences. Unless the Ferengi deliberately genetically engineered this difference between their males and females (which...is not entirely out of the question) Ferengi females probably can enjoy oo-mox. But, as the above troper speculates, it's likely no one bothers to give it to them.

Bajorans

     Bajor the theocracy? 
In "Shakaar", Kai Winn is the sole contender for the post of First Minister for several weeks, until the titular rebel decides to join in. It's meant to foreshadow the sort of person Winn will show herself to be, but wait. She's the Kai and running for First Minister? That would be like the Pope running for a Presidency, and very illegal in some countries (particularly ones with an established church/state separation). She talks about trying to enhance Bajor's chances with The Federation, but would they be cool with a system that allows such a thing to happen?
  • The separation of church and state is usually de jure in nation-states that have a high percentage of religious minorities. And it's to protect the rights of the minority. If the U.S. changed to a reactionary Christian theocracy, it would infringe upon the rights of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindi, atheists, agnostics and so on that live in the U.S.— a not-insignificant percentage. (Note: I am not interested in getting into a debate about the American system of government; this is merely to illustrate a point). In other countries where the separation of church and state is far less pronounced, the overwhelming majority of its citizens tend to follow that religion; some countries even make it a crime to follow any other religion. But I've seen no evidence of anything other than a single religion predominating Bajor. They follow the Prophets. A tiny percentage are members of the Pah-wraith cult, and are ostracized. In any event, the Federation tends to let its individual members choose their own systems of government— and we've had some doozies.
    • True, but Sisko also said at one point that the Federation prohibits "caste-based discrimination" and will refuse membership to worlds that practice it. We can assume they also prohibit religious discrimination since it makes no sense to ban the former but not the latter. Since discrimination against religious minorities is never brought up as a possible barrier to Bajor's admission to the Federation, we can assume the Bajorans don't discriminate against religious minorities. At least, not officially.
  • It's possible that this is meant to say more about the Bajoran people than the Bajoran form of government. They've not even a generation removed from The Occupation, in which the Cardassians dominated every aspect of the Bajoran way of life except for their religion. For better or worse, people often turn to religion when placed in an intolerable situation. The Bajorans were slaves and prisoners under Cardassian rule, and like slaves and prisoners often do, they tried to find comfort in their religion. It makes sense that once they were free, they looked to their clergy for leadership. Electing Shakaar instead of Winn is might be meant to be seen another step toward a healed Bajor.
  • It makes sense that everyone on Bajor believes in the Prophets because they are very real. The only points of contention are whether the Bajoran religion is truly influenced by them intentionally (rather than simply being 'interpretation' of the orbs sending out random images) and, if so, whether any given person should listen to them or not. Just because God exists, and tells you what to do, does not make it the right thing to do.
  • Even in the United States, it would hardly be without precedent for a religious official to hold a major political office. After all, Mike Huckabee was Governor of Arkansas and ran for president while being an ordained minister, and Jimmy Carter was a Baptist deacon ("Deacon" was even his Secret Service codename!). Certainly some religions (including Catholicism) bar their officials from holding political office but not all by a long shot, and the fact that a person is a political leader and a religious one at the same time does not in itself make for a theocracy.
  • The other question this issue raises is a more practical one. Isn't being both Kai and First Minister far more responsibilities than one person could ever take on? Even if no law prevented, just for a random example, the Dalai Lama from running for President of India, isn't it still practically ruled out by the sheer volume of work that would entail? In the scenario prevented in "Shakaar," it seems less like Queen Elizabeth being simultaneously a de jure head of state and the titular head of the Church of England (which she is) and more like the Archbishop of Canterbury also being Prime Minster of the United Kingdom! Imagine the paperwork!
    • With enough skill and delegation there is no problem. Now whether Wynn had those skills or the willingness to delegate is another question entirely.
      • True enough, and in any pure theocracy, the office of head of government and that of religious leader are one and the same. But the point I was trying to strike is just that in a system that is not geared this way, in which these are separate offices, merging them seems like an Herculean task.
      • With the ramshackle nature of the "Provisional" Government of Bajor and the power-seeking/controlling nature of her character, I'm willing to be Wynn probably had some interesting ideas on merging the office of First Minister and Kai as far as duties went. Probably not realistic ideas (it would certainly nix any idea about Federation membership, not that Wynn would lose any sleep over that), but that is Wynn in a nutshell.

     We're more justified than you! 
  • The Bajorans. While you can sympathise with their plight that they've had 50 years of Holocaust-style oppression under the Cardassians, it starts to lose its impact when they excuse themselves at every opportunity of doing some evil act as being what they would have done during the Occupation. Sometimes they actually seem more cruel and extremist than the Cardassians.
    • It becomes more egregious when you realise they had invented advanced technology BEFORE humanity even moved out of caves, what apart from religious fanaticism exactly stagnated the Bajorans so?
    • It's hardly uncommon in Real Life. A person or a group of people feel (and might be entirely correct in doing so) that they have been victimized and so any action they take is justified while any action against them is notnote . In the eyes of many Bajorans what happened was either entirely justified or forced to happen by the Cardassians.
      • In the Star Trek Terok Nor prequel novels, the reason for Bajor's "stagnation" is made clear: They have everything they need. Prior to the Cardassians' arrival, they had little interest in meeting with other races or even colonizing outside their star system, and those that did were considered fringe, at best.
      • A good comparison for this can be made with the Vulcans. They were way more advanced than humans, even leaving out Enterprise continuity. In the span of a few centuries Starfleet has outstripped them completely. The Bajorans just didn't have that drive.
    • That seems to be the point that they were trying to make by having them act this way: it's understandable to blame the Occupation for Bajor's initial miseries, and even for a lot of what happens later i.e. being unable to defend themselves when the Dominion come calling. However, it is wrong to use that to justify actions that are as immoral as what they were fighting against, i.e. the bombing of Keiko's school. It's a sign of how far Bajor has to come before it can stand on its own feet again without someone to keep them on the straight and narrow. For lack of a better analogy, Sisko (and by extension, the Federation) is like a therapist trying to help an abuse victim avoid repeating the cycle of trauma that was inflicted on them and find productive ways to move on from what happened.

     The terrorist is right 
  • Kira's reaction when confronted with her crimes in "The Darkness And The Light". She killed innocent people. She admits it, and she doesn't feel the least bit guilty. Her response is to get angry at the guy who tells her how many innocents she hurt and yell at him that he was a legitimate target because he was a Cardassian on Bajor and it didn't matter whether he was a member of the military or not. And that all of the other people she killed, whether adults or elderly or children, whether military or civilian, whether armed or unarmed...they all deserved it because they were Cardassians on Bajor. After seeing that episode, I was glad that one of her victims put her through hell by murdering the other members of her resistance cell. She deserved it, and so did they.
    • Your mileage may vary, but I love this episode for being one of the few episodes to show that several issues are multi-sided. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
    • Kind of ignoring the circumstances of the statement. Kira was not only in the last stages of pregnancy, so the extra hormones weren't helping, the man was planning to cut the baby out of her, a baby that wasn't even hers but actually her close friend's, after she spent days watching her friends be murdered one after another. Had he merely shown up at the station and asked for an apology she may very well have given it to him, she had an entire episode in the first season where she learned the valuable lesson that not all Cardassians were monsters and should be punished solely for existing. Neither of them were particularly rational about the subject by that point.
    • I personally thought it was great that she wasn't apologetic. She didn't try the "you're right, we all did things we had to do, it was war, can't we all get along?" card. She went right out and said, "Whether you were a military general or you picked up garbage for a living, you were a legitimate target!" Try to put yourself in her shoes... your country has been successfully invaded by a brutal dictatorship that enslaves, rapes and murders your people. I'd say the same damn thing.
      • That's pretty much the exact story of the Maquis (the French guerilla fighters, not the group from the show), and history remembers them very kindly.
      • The main problem with the episode was it completely contradicted the much better season 1 episode "Duet", where Kira managed to mature past that black and white worldview and accept that the people at the bottom weren't automatically guilty. Darkness and Light was a real step backwards in both Kira's character development, and the maturity of the show as a whole.
      • One way of reconciling "Duet" and this episode is that in "Duet", Kira was forced to accept that Cardassians weren't all monsters, and some were truly good people. Note that Kira never disagrees with Marritza's claim that all Cardassia is guilty of the crimes during the Occupation. But in "The Darkness and the Light", Kira was dealing with an insane murderer. Her musings at the end made me think that she pitied Prin on some level, but that she felt she wasn't wrong.
      • It's not hard to reconclie them at all. Her point in "The Darkness and the Light" was that while fighting in the resistance, all Cardassians were legitimate targets as a means to the ends of getting them off the planet. Her point in "Duet" was that, in hindsight and from the Cardassians' point of view, their actions were not equally villainous. You may not like that mixture, but it's perfectly consistent; wartime and peacetime ethics are different. And also, in "Duet" he was repentant.
    • Provoking these kinds of questions was the episode's point. I'm not convinced it does it especially well, but credit where credit is due.
      • It's debatable if those people were truly innocent. They were taking advantage of oppression, enslavement, and murder to live their lives as they wished.
      • Were they? The Cardassian Union seems to be highly autocratic. They might well have been conscripted into their positions. When you live in a dystopian dictatorship where dissent is punished with death, sometimes "just following orders" is a legitimate defense.
      • It's hard to say how legal theory might work several centuries from now but the defense of simply following orders hasn't protected anyone from being arrested for simply being guards at Nazi concentration camps.
      • Nazi concentration camp guards weren't forced into those jobs against their will. They would've either volunteered or been specially chosen for their obscene loyalty to the Nazi party and/or hatred of Jews. And we're not talking about a guard at a Cardassian death camp here. We're talking about a household servant. He probably had no choice at all in where he worked or who he worked for.
      • In addition, although the Nuremberg tribunal rejected following orders as a defense, they did accept the defense of being threatened with death for noncompliance, exonerating Nazi defendants who could substantiate this defense.
      • Further in addition, the Nuremberg tribunal did not put every concentration camp officer on trial. They weren't interested in putting filing clerks, cooks, or janitors in prison just because they happened to get reassigned to Auschwitz. A lot of people on this thread have cited Marritza and claimed that his clear guilt and repentance is what makes him different from Prin. And while Marritza's attitude surely had a profound effect on Kira, at the end of the day she still would have been bound by law to release him even if he hadn't been repentant. Because no matter how you slice it he wasn't a war criminal. In order to be a war criminal you have to actually commit a war crime, and Marritza never did. And neither did Prin. Prin might have indirectly benefited from the occupation in some way, but that alone doesn't make him a legitimate target. At best, you could argue that he was collateral damage, but even that is arguable and depends on whether you think the "collateral damage" argument is morally justifiable.
  • Marritza was trying to get Cardassia to acknowledge its war guilt and was willing to die in process. The other guy was murdering her friends, it's not surprising that he got a different response. If he'd confronted her without killing her friends she might have been more sympathetic.
    • Adding to that,with Marritza, she had learned that not all Cardassians are guilty and deserved to shot. It required compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Marritza, driven by guilt, was trying to get the Cardassians to accept personal responsibility for what they did the the Bajorans. With this, it's the reverse. The Cardassian was the one who was injured by Kira and wanted her to accept personal responsibility for what she did to him while she was a resisance fighter. Unfortunately, he was to driven by madness to consider mercy and his vengeance on her old comrades hardly motivated her into accepting personal responsibility.
  • The Bajoran Resistance was fighting a desperate war against a vastly superior enemy. An enemy that was enslaving, raping, and murdering Bajoran civilians as a matter of course. A horrific state of affairs that persisted for 50 years. The fact that they didn't intentionally target Cardassian civilians is a testament to their moral fortitude. It took a lot less than that to get the Allies to bomb civilian targets in WWII.
  • To expand on the person above me, Kira has absolutely nothing to apologize for. She was born 30 years into, and lived the first 25 years of her life under, a brutal military occupation where the Cardassians were stealing Bajoran women as whores for the brass, herding them into concentration camps, and enslaving and slaughtering them by the millions. They pillaged Bajor's natural and cultural resources, banned the free practice of their religion, poisoned the earth, and in general committed war crime after war crime. The unfortunate truth is that at that point, anyone, Bajoran or Cardassian, civilian or not, who willingly aids the Cardassian Guard occupying forces makes themselves into a legitimate military target. And since the Bajoran Resistance has no way of knowing who's there willingly and who isn't, they don't have a choice but to accept the collateral damage.

    As I did when this was brought up on the Star Trek Online forums, I will also point out the use of past tense when Kira told that asshole he was a legitimate target. See Aamin Marritza from "Duet", and put two and two together. She doesn't consider Cardassian civilians legitimate targets anymore.

    New Bajoran Prisoners As the Plot Demands 

  • In season 2's premiere "The Homecoming", while discussing with Dax whether he should give Kira the runabout to go rescue Li Nalas, Sisko asks, "Suppose I give her the runabout and she does rescue Li Nalas. What do I say to the Cardassians?" Dax replies, "The question is, what do they say to us? They swore they released all their Bajoran prisoners." Now, of course, Kira rescues Li, and it turns out they have a dozen more Bajoran prisoners in that prison camp on Cardassia IV, which Dukat has released, probably to save face. (Because I do not believe him when he says the Central Command was unaware of the presence of those prisoners. They're not that stupid.) So presumably all the Bajoran prisoners detained by the Cardassian government were released then and there. Yet, later that season the Cardassian government agrees to release six Bajoran prisoners in exchange for Natima Lang, Hogue and Rekelen. What Bajoran prisoners?! And then in season 3's "Life Support", we learn explicitly that Cardassia is withholding certain detainees which they hadn't previously mentioned.
    • Actually, this is totally in character with Cardassian society, military, and morality. The Central Command only admits to crimes when it's been caught. It's no surprise to me that years after the Occupation ended, the Cardassians could still be holding Bajorans prisoner. They're Cardassians, the Space Nazis of Star Trek.
    • Not to mention, this is playing off of real-world incidents. For example, the Soviet Union held on to German POWs for years after the war ended. There's also persistant (though entirely apocryphal) stories about American POWs still being secretly held by Vietnam or China after the Vietnam War.
    • Original Poster: But that's exactly my point. Since the Cardassians have already promised that they released all their Bajoran prisoners, the Federation and Bajor should take a more hard-line stance when Cardassia attempts to negotiate with the release of (allegedly nonexistent) Bajoran prisoners. Their governments should say, "What Bajoran prisoners? Your government already agreed to release all of them, and we demand that you live up to that agreement."
      • I agree; this is a simple continuity problem.
    • It could have been a one-time amnesty at the end of the occupation; the Bajorans captured later would be members of the Maquis or other terrorists that carried on the fight after the occupation was over. Though they may be criminals, Bajor would want their citizens back because their government knows full well how harshly Cardassians treat their prisoners.
    • It could have been that the Cardassians were releasing all political prisoners in that agreement, and later prisoner releases were for crimes such as murder, theft, etc. that took place under the Occupation. Or prisoners taken since the end of the Occupation for things like border incursion, smuggling, or espionage.
    • At least for the first year or two of the series, it seems that Cardassia had been looking at the Occupation from a perspective of 'we'll be back shortly.' They didn't expect the provisional government to last, and eventually, the Bajorans would send Starfleet away, leaving Bajor ripe for their return. Especially once the wormhole was revealed, they wanted to go back. So they would keep a handful of prisoners as bargaining chips - "Let us return these Bajoran prisoners who got 'lost in the system," and using that to return to take charge of the 'situation' again. Legal, no, but the Cardassian military tends to follow the belief of they're the ones making the laws, they can decide what's legal. Also, part of the reason that Kira has to mount a rescue of Li Nalas and the other prisoners is the fact that they shouldn't be there - if the Cardassians were confronted with the fact that Bajorans know about these remaining prisoners, they'd probably just kill them then and there, just to keep from being caught in a lie. "No prisoners here, the people you're talking about were executed."
    • Perhaps they were simply misfiled? Perhaps if they'd had Maritza on the job, they wouldn't have miscounted their prisoners.

     Jerk refuses to help? No higher authorities. 

  • In the episode Babel the station has been completely shut down by an old Bajoran-engineered virus that not only causes aphasia but also seems to be lethal if untreated. Kira manages to find a doctor on Bajor who might have some knowledge of it but the moment she brings it up he cuts off communications. Her response is to kidnap him and force him to help them find a cure. It never once occurs to anyone to contact the Bajoran government, explain the situation (including the many infected Bajorans) and ask them to send him to help? For that matter, couldn't the Bajoran government threaten the doctor with prosecution over his negligence? Is force and deliberately infecting him really the first thing that goes through Kira's mind?
    • Kidnapping is generally faster than dealing with red tape, even the emergency services.
    • This is an early first season episode - Bajor is still recovering from the aftereffects of the recent Cardassian occupation and withdrawal and it's likely that the provisional government isn't sufficiently established to be able to help here. It's also consistent with Kira's personality that she would take the direct approach over appealing to whatever authority might exist.

Cardassians

     The Cardassian Closet 
  • To a certain way of thinking, Garak is indeed the franchise's premier GLBTQ character (not this speaks particularly well of Star Trek's checkered history of dealing with queer issues). This is not to say anything certain about Garak's sexuality (so little is certain about Garak period!) but rather that the character resonates with a certain queer experience. In this it is a bit like K/S, but perhaps with a bit more textual basis — Andrew Robinson has confessed to playing Garak as bisexual or omni-sexual and camping up his scenes with Bashir, but being asked to tone it down by uncomfortable producers. "Queering" Garak is a time-honoured way some fans, gay or otherwise, enjoy this character. It's surprising how much vitriolic objection to it one encounters from some fans, though it seldom seems to raise above the level of "Garak can't be gay! Look, there he is kissing a girl! Something no non-straight person has ever been known to do..." But why would anyone point to his relationship with Ziyal as evidence against his queerness? Setting aside the obvious point that it leaves open the possibility of bisexuality, it plays so insincerely, like everyone involved is going through the motions (perhaps a symptom of Robinson's dislike for the plotline). How much screen time do they even have together during their purported relationship? It's a pretty pathetic foundation for "Garak is totally straight," even if that's how it was intended.
    • If all you're asking is why some fans don't seem to like the idea of Garak being anything but straight, the simple answer is that there are still a lot of people who think there is something wrong with being gay. As for how people can point to Ziyal and say that's proof he's not gay, he seemed to get a lot further a lot faster with her than he did with Bashir or any other male character. And he wouldn't be kissing Ziyal to keep his orientation a secret because no one should care if he's gay in the 24th century, so he must be at least a little attracted to her. The insincerity could be explained as the two of them being the only Cardassians on the station and while he would prefer friendship, she's clearly interested in him and the idea of being wanted is too tempting for him to completely ignore.
      • I'd add that attitudes towards gays changed significantly from the 1990s to, say, 2010. Very, very drastically. In 1990's there were just a handful of out actors in Hollywood and now everyone's out of the closet and it's a complete non-issue. See Ellen Degeneres vs. Jim Parsons or Zachary Quinto.
      • This was definitely my sense: that Garak has some real affection for Ziyal, if something short of passion, but it's come about from circumstance as much as anything. One also wonders if this is (for Garak) an act of revenge against Dukat, too, and (for Ziyal) a latching on to a father figure to replace the one she lacked in childhood. All of this pathological potential makes the Garak/Ziyal relationship sound like it should be much more interesting than it is! All in all, his relationship with Bashir is far more emotionally resonant than his relationship with Ziyal.
      • It's not only that people think there's something wrong with being gay, but that they think, as a consequence, that their liking Garak as a character is incompatible with him being anything other than a vagina-loving straight, totally heterosexual guy who digs chicks. When both the actor http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/feature/-/53485/ref%3Ded_art_135796_txt_1/026-8624746-9352459 and writing staff http://www.exisle.net/mb/index.php?showtopic=38718&st=160&p=857040&#entry857040 have described the character as bisexual or non-straight, this is a pretty untenable position.
      • While it's homophobia for some viewers, that isn't necessarily the case for everyone; Camp Gay can be silly or girly, and Straight Gay is the exception, not the norm. Viewing a character in new light can be jarring, even if there's nothing inherently wrong with the premise, so if you previously viewed someone as manly and Badass and someone insists they're Camp Gay, it's a bit like seeing Darth Vader reduced to a whiny teenager. It doesn't necessarily mean the viewer thinks whiny teenagers are abominations, just that they preferred to view the character a different way.
      • Point taken, and a blanket claim of homophobia is not useful. I would simply add that, though I certainly didn't think of Garak as gay when I was watching DS9 in my early teens, I did recognize that Garak's badassery coexisted interestingly with this sardonic, cultured, vaguely prissy persona of an eternal outsider. In retrospect, one might even call it Wildean. Is "queer Garak" really a case of Alternate Character Interpretation or just acknowledging what's pretty manifest in the text?
      • Garak's only on-screen romantic interest is Ziyal, so apart from Word of God and Behind The Scenes, it's not necessary to be homophobic to interpret Garek as straight. Soap predates DS9 by quite a bit and dealt openly with homosexuality, both Played for Laughs and Played for Drama, with a side serving of No Bisexuals. Since DS9 was pretty forward about Gray and Gray Morality, it would have been nice for them to come right out with an openly gay (or bi) character if that's what they wanted. I've been watching Garak differently since reading this page. He can easily be interpreted as Camp Gay, but I've also known heterosexuals who can only be described as "flamboyant." A baptist preacher once referred to a colleague (married with 3 children) as "quite a flamer;" he had all the cliche mannerisms of Camp Gay. Possibly, he's just hiding it (which is a shame). More likely, stereotypes just don't define character, race, or sexuality. The Ferengi mysogyny is coupled with Blue and Orange Morality when Rom and Quark seem to easily flip genders, despite both being patently heterosexual. So the facts, as presented on screen, are:
    Garek is attracted to Ziyal.
    Garek isn't openly attracted to anyone else.
    Garek acts Camp Gay.
    Garek is from a non-human culture and his mannerisms shouldn't be interpreted the way we interpret human mannerisms (though Trek in general fails to hold this up)
    • In terms of Canon, it's inconclusive. I have no problem with Garek being gay or bi or straight, but it is hard to say he is definitively gay because of Ziyal, regardless how he portrayed the character. (What use would Garak of all people uphold 20th-century earth status quo by pretending to be heterosexual?)
    • I have to admit, all this talk about Ziyal confuses me. When I was watching, the relationship seemed pretty explicitly to be a)she's interested in him (Kira calls it a "crush) b) he likes spending time with the only other Cardassian around, but c) he has no romantic or sexual interest in her, and in fact actively discourages her. Or does no one else remember this exchange:
    Ziyal: You’re intelligent, and cultured… and kind…
    Garak: My dear, you’re young, so I realize that you’re a poor judge of character—
    Ziyal: Why do you always make fun of my feelings for you?
    Garak: Perhaps because I find them a bit… misguided?
    Ziyal: Well, if that’s what you think, why do you spend so much time with me?
    Garak: Because I’m exiled, and alone, and a long way from home, and when I’m with you, it doesn’t feel so bad.
I suppose that last line could be taken as something romantic, but it kinda clashes with what he just said, doesn't it. Coupled with his expression when he embraces him at the end of the two-parter, which is not exactly one of unmitigated joy...
  • I took his gentle rebuff in that scene as his recognition that he's much older than her and thinks she has a temporary girlish crush; that he's in constant danger of being killed by various enemies, which threat carries over to anyone he openly cares about; and that getting too close to him could get her in serious trouble with her father and other Cardassians. In other words, he was trying to do the best thing for her, regardless of his own feelings.
  • There's also the exchange in "Shattered Mirror" between alt-Garak and alt-Worf where Garak appears to solicit Worf and Worf thunders "You are not my type!" This tells us nothing of the sexual preferences of real-Garak, but it does tell us that the writers were perfectly aware of the queer implications around Garak, and were prepared to work in jokes about it.
  • On re-watching the series, Garak's Camp Gay persona in his first couple encounters with Bashir strikes me as a bit of Early-Installment Weirdness, because it doesn't seem nearly as pronounced later on.
    • One possibility - the early encounters were not long after he'd activated his implant, and the resulting constant endorphin rush affected his personality (a perpetual literal drug high). As he got used to it, his personality returned to normal.
  • This discussion so far has focused on Garak's undefined sexuality, but also managed to ignore many other aspect's of Garak's persona that easily relate. Garak is a liar, who admits that he enjoys lying for the simple fact it can be more interesting than the truth. Hell, even when he does tell the truth, he has to turn it into a half-truth because the actual truth bores him. His own past is a mystery beyond the fact his father is Enabran Tain, the fact he was a high-ranking member of the Obsidian Order, the fact he was responsible for the death of Dukat's father, and the fact he did something bad enough to get kicked out of the Order AND exiled from his homeworld. Beyond those few facts, plus perhaps a few from Andrew Robinson's novel(and while I'm aware most novels aren't canon, this one was written by the actor and could be treated as canon unless the copyright holders directly say otherwise), all we see are what Garak wants us to see. He latched onto Bashir not out of a need for a friend or romantic interest but because he needed Bashir to help stop a Bajoran terrorist. After that he... well, it seems as if Garak lives for the moment, reinventing himself with a multiple choice past as he sees fit and adapts to a situation as he sees fit. He may very well suffer from a traumatic past that caused him to snap and he lives the lies to avoid the truth. His supposed sexuality may very well change as easily as his past does, at least in his mind.

     Will the real Darhe'el please stand up? 
  • This is not to knock "Duet", which is one of the best episodes of the series and in all of Star Trek in my opinion. But one wonders exactly how Marritza expected his plan to work. If Darhe'el had been alive, all the Cardassians would have to do to discredit Marritza is simply produce him. And if he were dead, just tell everyone that— hell, half of Cardassia viewed his body! So whether Darhe'el were alive or dead, there was no way Marritza would be able to convince people that he was him. This was not a very well-thought-out plan on his part.
    • He probably wasn't thinking that far into it, having lived with years of pent-up PTSD, guilt, and self-hatred driving him into his plan. Most likely he thought that with his Card-Carrying Villain persona, the Bajorans wouldn't bother to conduct a thorough investigation. Although if he had survived, it's probable that he would have been able to publicly explain his actions, which may still have gone some way to achieving his goal anyhow.
      • This was something [SF Debris] pointed out in his review. Marritza expected Cardassian-style justice - an almost immediate and completely one-sided trial that found him guilty and executed him. He also was clearly not in his right mind.
    • He might not have expected the crew of DS9 (or wherever he ended up captured at) to actually contact the Cardassians and check. This would be a fair assumption assuming the station were run solely by Bajorans, perhaps he didn't know about the Federation involvement (which happened only a few months before he arrived.)
      • Or having checked, he might expect them to believe that the Cardassians had lied. After all, it's not like the Cardassians were above lying to save face on, well, just about anything. If it hadn't been for them finding the records which clearly showed that Gul Darheel had been on Cardassia when the accident happened, therefore couldn't have Kalinora syndrome, therefore the man in the cell couldn't be Darheel then they might well have assumed that the Cardassians were trying to create an alibi.
      • In fact, after receiving that information from Dukat, DS9's crew did assume that it was forged— at least, Kira certainly did. It was the dermal regenerative Marritza was taking that tipped Bashir off.

    Duh, the Cardassians just want the station 

  • And speaking of "Life Support", why are Sisko and Kai Winn so mystified when Legate Turrel insists on an agreement in principle that anything of Cardassian origin left behind in the Bajoran system belongs to Cardassia? Duh, the Cardassians just want the station! And the de facto control of the wormhole that comes with it!
    • And not just the station either. After an Occupation lasting 60 years, there was plenty of Cardassian technology and infrastructure left behind on Bajor. With Bajor struggling with famines and other issues, all it would take would be for Cardassia to walk off with any agricultural technology it managed to somehow lay claim to and Bajor would be struggling even more than before. I got the impression there was an entire can of worms waiting to be opened there that the Kai almost walked into.
    • They were probably mystifed trying to figure out what other Cardassian equipment was left behind, other than the station and the previously mentioned infrastructure. They probably suspected something less benign was in the mix when Turrel made that demand i.e. a secret research facility or something similar. Also, look at the farther-reaching consequences of the Cardassians taking back the station: they would likely move the station back to Cardassian space, leaving Starfleet with nothing to guard the wormhole. To replace the station, they would need several ships (probably at least 3-5 Galaxy, Nebula, or similarly powerful ships that can't be spared for guard duty at the ass-end of Federation space) until a replacement station can be brought in. Space stations can't exactly be churned out by an industrial-strength replicator, so it would take time to restore a permanent presence at the wormhole and in Bajoran space, assuming that Winn doesn't take the opportunity to start demanding that Starfleet build a station for them, free of charge. While that debate is going on, the Cardassians can start causing trouble, further dividing the Federation and Bajor, until finally one will snap and leave, allowing the Cardassians to come back in and reclaim the planet (remember: the Federation couldn't be arsed to care about the 60 year Occupation the Cardassians did the first time. If a lifetime of rape and plunder can't motivate one of the strongest militaries in the Quadrant to action, why should round 2 be any different, right?

     A Thoroughly Polite Dustup 
  • In Apocalypse Rising, Sisko enlists Dukat's help in infiltrating a Klingon facility. En route, their bird-of-prey's false flag is challenged challenged by a Klingon warship, and when the communications equipment that would fool the Klingon patrol into believing that they were on legitimate business in Klingon space fails, Dukat simply destroys the other ship rather than risk discovery. The Starfleet personnel are shocked by Dukat's actions, and an obviously disgusted Sisko asks if it was really necessary. Why exactly is anyone surprised by this when the Cardassian Union—and the Federation, I might add—are in a state of open war with the Klingon Empire? Not only that, but Sisko and company are on a critical mission with much of the Alpha Quadrant at stake; they absolutely can't risk being captured. Unless I'm missing something, destroying that warship is the tactically correct move under the circumstances, it increased the likelihood of success, and was well within the rules of war.
    • You're misremembering that scene a bit. When the communication filter failed Klingon!O'Brien went over to examine it and Klingon!Odo suggested that Worf speak to them. But before they could even try Dukat fired his weapons and destroyed the other ship. It's a matter of perspective. The Federation wants an amicable peace, not to wipe out the Klingons, so they would've preferred to let Worf try and bluff the other ship off. If they were forced to fight anyway, oh well, at least they tried. (And war or no war, those particular Klingons hadn't actually done anything wrong. They were just doing their jobs patrolling Klingon space.) On the other hand, Dukat is angry at the Klingons for what they did to the Cardassian people and every one of them he kills is a sweet little slice of vengeance. He's not stupid, he'll use deception when he can, but if the easier solution is to just kill a Klingon, he'll kill a Klingon. You'll notice that when Sisko asks Dukat "Was that really necessary?!" and Dukat responds that "It was either that or trust in Mr. Worf's ability to lie! And frankly I have more faith in my weapons!"...Sisko noticeably fails to offer a counter-argument.

Changelings

    Whacking the Dominion Hive 
  • In the Deep Space Nine episode "The Jem'Hadar", a Jem'Hadar representative of the Dominion comes through the wormhole and states, in essence, that the Gamma Quadrant (or at least the part of the quadrant near the wormhole) is within Dominion space, and that any excursion through the wormhole would be considered an incursion into their territory and treated as such. The general response on the part of the Bajorans and Federation is basically, "Oh, yeah? Try and stop us from exploring!" Why the sudden disrespect for the requests of a sovereign nation? If the wormhole instead led to, say, an unexplored mass of space within Romulan borders and the Romulans sent a representative that said, "Quit sending ships into our space!" would the Federation thumb their nose at this, or would they back off and resolve the matter more diplomatically? But no, the Federation and other Alpha Quadrant races keep sending their (heavily armed, at least in the case of the Defiant) ships through, completely disregarding the wishes of the Dominion. No wonder the Dominion finally just decided to invade the Alpha Quadrant itself.
    • Because it wasn't actually their territory? If I recall correctly, they don't even really say that it is exactly. It's more that they consider the entire Gamma Quadrant to be their "sphere of influence", and so oppose any other nations entering it. But considering that this is literally a quarter of the entire galaxy, this is rather an extreme position.
    • If I recall correctly, the area around the Gamma Quadrant terminus of the wormhole wasn't Dominion territory for the first two years of Deep Space Nine. Certainly most of the people we met from the Gamma Quadrant in those two seasons seemed to treat the Dominion as an abstractly distant power rather than as an aggressive occupier. It seems more like the Dominion unilaterally annexed that territory around the end of season 2, then barged through the wormhole and told the Alpha Quadrant to GTFO. Since this was Kira they told this too, she naturally wasn't going to take this lying down. It should also be noted that the Dominion asserted their authority in their new "territory" by hunting down and destroying every single Alpha Quadrant ship and colony they could get their hands on.
    • The wormhole terminus was never really part of Dominion territory. I believe the writers used a metaphor something like this: Imagine if the Chinese claimed complete dominion over the East China Sea and added that ANY non-Chinese ships there would be destroyed. Yes, people wouldn't start sailing on the Chinese coast, but they wouldn't really pay any attention to this warning on the coast of Japan or even some distance away from it. One single navy couldn't possibly patrol a region so vast, and the Federation knows that the Dominion is only a distant threat in the section of the Gamma Quadrant they're near, so they keep exploring and don't really get caught.
    • The Federation is a great power in its own right, and even peaceful great powers don't like being bullied. Even weak governments don't like that. The Dominion's demands were a slap in the face of Federation sovereignty.
    • Both the phrase "Whacking the Dominion Hive" and this complaint, by the way, come straight from Phil Farrand's The Nitpicker's Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers, a book full of Headscratchers and other nitpicks. 'Tis a good read.
    • Having encountered the Klingons, the Romulans, the Cardassian, the Borg, and who knows how many other species that had a tendancy towards aggressive expansion, the Federation has to understand that when confronted by a society inclined towards violent conquest, submission is a form of suicide. The only way to avoid being run rough-shod over is to establish immediately that the Federation isn't going to cowtow to the Dominion and will instead expect to be treated with respect or, at the very least, a lack of aggression.
      • If anything the mistake the Federation made was treating the Dominion as if it were a power like the Cardassians or the Klingons. They all talked the talk, they'd rattle their sabres (or their bat'leths) maybe have a small border clash, then they'd get down to business of talking things out diplomatically with the occasional bit of posturing going on for face-saving's sake. Even the Klingons, for all their warrior zerg-rush talk have done that. Trouble is the Dominion are more like the Borg in that they are completely irrational in their worldview and genuinely do see it all as "Us vs Them absolutism". To be fair, the Dominion did initially paint themselves as a reasonable power with their use of the Vorta so the Federation's mistake was an understandable one, and even if they had withdrawn back through the wormhole the Dominion would still have come for them eventually.

     Spotting Changelings: Not So Hard? 
So I just rewatched the episode where Odo gets turned human and something occurred to me. Right after the Changelings spit Odo back out Bashir whips out an ordinary medical tricorder and says he detects various and sundry organs (heart, liver, lungs, or somesuch) and Bashir says "Gosh! He must be human now!" So wait a minute. If it's that easy to tell humans and changelings apart, why does the Federation have such trouble with it?
  • It's probably more "in contrast to how Odo usually scans" than changelings more broadly. As you say, the Founders must have a means of fooling scans most of the time.
  • Good point, especially given Odo's earlier claim "If you scan me when I'm a rock, you'll detect a rock." But yes, Odo isn't as good a changeling as the others and in any case is usually not interested in fooling scanners, so maybe he normally doesn't bother with the organs. (So his earlier statement should really be "If you scan me when I'm a rock, you'll detect a rock, assuming I decided to fully mimick the rock from the inside out. Otherwise sometimes not.")
    • This is directly addressed in-episode. Bashir notes at one point that when he normally scans Odo, he reads an object of uniform density rather than the fluctuations he's currently detecting due to Odo's illness. Thus, Odo scans like a large mass of jello that can move, rather than having distinct parts like solids. While Changlings probably can mimic humanoids down to internal organs, the more disturbing question is how do they research what all those organs are like so they can mimic them - vivisection?
      • Possibly medical scans, but considering that most Changelings are murderous dicks then yes, probably vivisection. Hell, they may scoop out someone's guts and stuff them in their own bodies to get a "feel" for them to replicate them better.

     Attack of the 50-Foot Odo 
  • So Odo's a changeling, right? We've seen him get pretty small, and change his mass so, for example, when he's a bag he's not as heavy as his humanoid form. This means he can change his mass at will (which is a Headscratcher in and of itself). We've also seen Changelings flying through space on their own without any problems (like Laas did in "Chimera", as a creature the size of a runabout). Why doesn't Odo ever use this to his advantage? Why does Odo take runabouts when he could just go into space by himself? Or, for that matter, why couldn't he become the size of the station and just pick up enemy ships and hurl them into the sun or something (other than it would be totally ridiculous)? They wouldn't even have needed to do effects shots: just shoot Rene Auberjonois handling the actual ship models used for filming! True, it would be pretty silly, but I think there are other possibilities to use a giant Odo (humanoid or not) or at least a spaceworthy Odo that would've been useful and cool to see without treading into B-movie territory. But I think the only time we ever see him get larger than his humanoid form is when he is protecting "Kira" from a rockfall in "Heart of Stone", at least that I can remember.
    • I agree in the abstract that Odo does not use his powers usefully very often. On those odd occasions when he forms tendrils to grab attackers, I wonder why he doesn't do it more. But do not forget that, in the grand scheme, he is a novice changeling. He was amazed to find that Laas could fly through space as this was a power well beyond his, so one can't expect him to just be able to do it himself. This is an important part of his characterization — remember that Odo is a misfit, not a demigod. Laas had centuries of practice that Odo lacked, and the Changelings in the Great Link had significantly more again.
    • Odo does become significantly larger than his humanoid form in "The Alternate," but does not do so consciously, again an indication that he has vast powers that he has not begun to master.
    • Further, note that the Changelings tend towards using their powers in subtle ways for purposes of infiltration and subterfuge, rather than spectacular shows of force. What would be gained by becoming giant, even if they could do it? Changelings are not invulnerable, and it would just provide a larger target.
    • From a real life perspective it could easily have been because all the shape shifting could be expensive and difficult to do.
    • I just want to know what happens to his comm badge when he turns into, say, a drinking glass (as we see one episode.)
    • He met Laas before "Treachery, Faith and the Great River", so I'd personally like to know why Odo was concerned about freezing to death or asphyxiating in the latter episode. He knows for a fact that Changelings Can Breathe in Space!
      • Laas can also turn into fire, so that may be how he keeps warm in his space-dwelling form. And maybe he just held his breath. If he can travel faster than light then anything is possible!
      • Um, "Treachery, Faith and the Great River" was eight episodes earlier than "Chimera."
    • The answer is obvious. Because he doesn't know how. For a Changling, shapeshifting isn't as easy as just wanting to be something else and *poof* you're something else. There's more to it than that. It takes serious skill, which Odo doesn't yet have. Before he met Laas he didn't even realize it was possible for him to become fire, or fog, or a space-whale.

     Why was Odo turned Human and not Bajoran? 
  • Why did the Founders in the Link make Odo anatomically human (as Bashir's analysis confirms) and not Bajoran? He has far greater ties to the Bajorans than the Federation; he was raised by a Bajoran scientist, he's part of a Bajoran security force, and the whole basis of the female changeling's accusations about his divided loyalties are based on his love of Kira, who is Bajoran. And the Founders don't seem to be sensitive to the fact that humans are a major force in the Federation; they don't make too many distinctions among species of solids anyway. But if they were going to choose a specific species to turn Odo into, the logical choice would've been Bajoran.
    • It is a curious decision, which reeks of the Star Trek's humanocentric sense that everyone who isn't human should strive to be... or become one involuntarily! But justifications as possible. For the Founders, it's an us and them mentality, as you note: solids are solids. So perhaps their choice was arbitrary. Perhaps they had examined more humans and knew their anatomy better. The "Odo as human" arc turned out to be a bit of a Dork Age, didn't it?
    • Could have been another layer of the punishment. By turning Odo human, he is further isolated from the culture that he grew up in and is thus made even more alone.
      • I'm not sure that really works as an explanation, because 1: Odo was only marginally connected with Bajoran society to begin with, and 2: he doesn't outwardly look like a Bajoran even during his exile. He just looks like Odo (and, as emphasized in "Apocalypse Rising," chooses to continue to look that way). The arrangement of his internal anatomy would seem to make little difference.
      • It would add another layer of separation between Odo and Kira for him to be human. There are no secrets in the Great Link, so undoubtedly his entire race knows how Odo feels about Kira. By making him human instead of Bajoran, that adds a definite biological barrier, if nothing else in Odo's mind.
    • Sisko and Bashir (both human) were the ones accompanying Odo at the time. The Founders may have used them as the base template for Odo's new solid form.
    • The simpler and more likely explanation: When Bashir says that Odo has been "turned human", he doesn't mean Odo has literally been turned into someone of Terran extraction. He's using "turned human" as shorthand for "a biological being with a calcium-based endoskeleton and internal organs including a heart and lungs". Odo might not be any actual race in particular, he's just "a biological" now, and Bashir says he's human because "he's a living being as we are familiar with the concept!" doesn't carry the same sort of Wham Line punch.
      • Is not "humanoid" generally that shorthand term? I can't think of an example of "human" explicitly being used to describe a being who was not human, as in Terran.

     Confessions of a Linking Addict 
  • In "Behind the Lines" and "Favor the Bold," the Female Changeling weakens Odo's resolve through linking, the act of two or more Changelings melding together. Afterwards, he's completely infatuated, spending days linking with her while neglecting other duties. In effect, he's behaving like the Changeling equivalent of a sex addict. Why did linking with the Female Changeling have this effect on Odo? He links with her in other episodes ("The Search"; "What You Leave Behind") and briefly enters the Great Link ("Broken Link") without any ill effects. Furthermore, he and Laas link in private in "Chimera," but neither man was overwhelmed by the experience. Despite being emotionally vulnerable when the Female Changeling came knocking, Odo isn't shown to have an addictive personality, so what explains this response to linking?
    • I thought it was fairly clear that it wasn't the linking itself, and there's no real "addiction" going on. It was the emotional connection with the Changeling that was weakening his resolve. His continuing desire to rejoin his people was growing stronger and wearing him down. And now that the Female Changeling, because of the mines, is also separated from her people, Odo feels a need to comfort her, and form a small Changeling community with her, as well as learn from her. She's become more vulnerable and more approachable to him, and that makes him feel all the more that he belongs with her and with Changelings in general. And that ends up seeming more important to him. That and the entire time she is feeding him propoganda on how much more important Changelings are than Solid issues, and it's starting to get through. The other times he wasn't as vulnerable, wasn't as desperate for Changeling contact, and Laas wasn't nearly as charming or convincing.
    • I was always curious about linking for another reason. In "A Simple Investigation," Odo explicitly compares it to humanoid sex. This isn't necessarily to characterize the Great Link as a gigantic, non-stop orgy, but to describe the intimacy of the experience... this plays into the war arc as described above. Is it then possible to understand "Chimera" as an episode about a love affair between Odo and Laas?
      • Sure it is, in the same presumably non-sexual way that Changelings are always seeking intimacy with each other. That is, in a way that doesn't seem to be directly related to reproduction, and certainly not intended to cause "pairing off", except when circumstances force it as in the wartime situation above. This would be distinct, however, from Odo's romantic relations with solids, where he seems to have ingrained in himself a heterosexual male orientation (perhaps he emulated Dr. Mora more than he realized), consistently showing attraction, love, and even lust only for female humanoids, and interest in the humanoid reproductive act. His affair with the female Changeling, however, seems to combine aspects of both, since she has consistently appeared (and appealed) to him as a female humanoid and has engaged in solid-style intercourse with him as well as linking.
    • This is the hallmark of how DS9 is Darker and Edgier than Star Trek, The Next Generation. Odo was not a duplicate; he was not borg, his software is not being manipulated; he has not been made super-intelligent by an alien; he was not brainwashed by Romulans, or by a game, and he hasn't had someone else's negative emotions dumped on him. He doesn't even have any mundane Real Life version of any of those, such as an addiction. He is himself, he is Odo, and he chose to betray his friends.

    If You Prick a Changeling, Does He Not Bleed? 
  • Throughout the Dominion War people show they aren't changelings by bleeding. This test was first suggested and implemented by Martok, who they later learned was replaced by a changeling at the time. Heck, Sisko's father, a chef, figured out how to fool that test as soon as he heard about it.
    • Your point? By the very evidence you supply you seem to get the writers' point right across - that the test was a Batman Gambit by the Founders to sow paranoia amongst the Federation and Klingons, while letting agents who "passed" the test go about their business without suspicion. The very episode in which, as you say, Sisko's father points out the fallacies in the test, was meant to indicate this very plot although it wasn't until much later that they actually learned that, yes, indeed, the one who suggested the test was a changeling themselves.
      • More evidence that it's a Batman Gambit? The Martok changeling isn't the first one to come up with the idea of blood tests — in the episode "The Adversary", Odo notices Sisko can't be a changeling because he's bleeding. But why is Sisko bleeding? Because a changeling hurt him, knowing he'd meet up with Odo soon, and Odo, being a sharp investigator, would notice and develop the blood testing strategy. So, by the time the Martok changeling strolls onto the station, pulls out a knife, and slices his palm open, they all accept it without questioning how or why Martok knows to do such a thing — they just assume he knows because of the intelligence shared by the only trusted person in the alpha quadrant who could have come up with the idea — Odo.
      • Come to think of it, it'd be pretty easy to get around that test if you knew ahead of time you'd be taking it. And by making it standard practice, you know when to expect it.
      • It would be a hell of a lot harder if the Feds did a DNA test on the resulting blood which probably takes less than a minute with their technology, that would at least limit the infiltrators to having to always impersonate the same person.
    • Two Words: Security Theater [1]
    • It's a Shout-Out to The Thing (1982), though it actually seemed to work in that case.

     Scent of a Changeling 
  • When Changelings were infiltrating the Alpha Quadrant, why didn't Alpha Quadrant governments think to use scent to detect them? Being inorganic life forms, Changelings would not smell the same as mammalian life forms in the Alpha Quadrant. Also, Changelings have no sense of smell, so they wouldn't be able to mimic the unique scents of humans, Klingons, or other species they impersonate. Couldn't Alpha Quadrant authorities have used specially trained dogs to sniff out Changeling infiltrators? Better yet, couldn't they have recruited members of races with very strong senses of smell to root out Changelings?
    • Since Changelings can apparently become fire and merge themselves with a human (when the dying Changeling in "The Begotten" linked with solid Odo) there's no reason to rule out the possibility that the infiltrators can't slough off a small amount of cells that retain their solid form and smell convincingly like the original. In principle it's no different than when The Great Link turned Odo into a solid. If The Link can cast off solid organic matter the size of a human, a Changeling should be able to do that with skin cells.
      • What makes you so sure Changelings have no sense of smell? Sure, that's what Odo says to trick the assassin in Improbable Cause, but since he was lying about wanting to buy some perfume who's to say he wasn't lying about having a sense of smell? The whole thing was probably just a Batman Gambit to get the guy to talk.
      • In "If Wishes Were Horses", Quark jokingly tells Odo to try smelling opportunity in the air. Odo replies that he has no sense of smell.
      • See above. That's Odo saying he has no sense of smell. It's possible he doesn't have one because he's not a good enough Changeling to shapeshift himself the necessary glands, nerves, and receptors. Other Changelings can obviously exactly duplicate humans, including all their bones and organs, so it's not exactly a stretch to figure they give themselves a sense of smell (and can imitate scents) in the process.

     Can Changelings Always Sense Each Other? 
  • In "The Search", Odo is instinctively drawn to the Omarion Nebula, where he discovers the Great Link. The Female Changeling explains that the pull to other Changelings was encoded in him. This encoding is also exhibited by Laas, who instinctively locates Odo in "Chimera". However, in "Heart of Stone", the Female Changeling disguises herself as Kira and tricks Odo into believing she's Kira for several hours. In other episodes, Odo is in close proximity to Changeling infiltrators, but he doesn't sense their presence. Why couldn't Odo sense that a Changeling was present in all those instances?
    • That's a great point, Changelings do seem to have some innate ability to recognize each other. Another example was in Homefront where Odo identifies a Changeling infiltrator that was impersonating Admiral Layton after only a brief conversation—though I think this was implied to be because of Odo's skill as an investigator. In The Adversary, however, he has no idea who the infiltrator is, so maybe a talented and experienced Changeling is able to hide their nature from a less skilled one.
    • A good point, indeed (it takes a while for Odo to recognize the Martok changeling, too). I wonder, considering that Changelings, though highly used to needing to fool solids, seem not to be used to needing to fool each other, how do they hone these skills?
    • It could also be that their ability to "sense" each other, like the nebula homing signal, is limited to the Hundred. The majority of Changelings wouldn't need a Spider-Sense because they're spending almost all of their time in the Link (and it seems like when they're out doing Dominion dirty work, they tend to be spread out if not completely solo, so don't need a proximity sense—they'd just use normal methods of communication) and the Hundred are supposed to come to them. If two members of the Hundred run into each other, though, it would probably be to their benefit to team up, and they might not recognize each other as like beings otherwise.

     Odo can do everything but faces 
  • So if Odo can perfectly imitate a rat, a bird, a chair, a drinking glass, a Bajoran uniform, a working Bajoran comm badge, presumably a working universal translator within his ear, and just about anything else, why are faces so difficult? Ears and noses should not be any harder than fur, paws, feathers, exact details of a rock, that comm badge, etc. He does hair perfectly, we've seen it messy and in strands before, so was the deal with faces just an attempt at making him seem like a stranger, or to make him more visible as "not human/Bajoran/whatever"?
    • Some of that is covered in one very useful line from Homefront: "I'm not sure the gulls would agree." Odo can't imitate fur, paws, feathers, etc. as well as he seems to. It's just that humans (and other humanoid aliens, for their species respectively) are specially attuned to recognizing faces, and thus can recognize any imperfections in the attempt to do so far more easily than for any other object or living thing. At least that's the premise we're asked to accept. (And yes, it means that humans can notice imperfections in imitating Bajorans more than animal species from their own world; it's all part of having humanoid aliens.) I'm not sure this explains the comm badge and the translator, but it's possible that those things are done differently than just replicating the technology; perhaps changelings are inherently able to make their bodies perform such functions in some other way.
    • I've always had a WMG on this that I like: It's an in-built restriction. We know that they have engineered the drive to return home into Odo so I don't find it unlikely to think that things like his regeneration cycle (which Word of God states is unique to him) and the inability to mimic faces are all part of the same thing. My guess is that it requires some form of training in the Great Link to reverse. It would also help prevent him from getting too close to the solids if he can't mimic them properly; the Federation and Bajorans don't care but imagine if he originally landed in the Klingon Empire for example. Incidentally the real world explanation is the same reason Troi isn't a full telepath: to help prevent his powers from reaching Game Breaker status.

     Odo can't come back? 
  • In the series finale, Odo makes it quite clear to Kira that once he joins the Great Link he won't be coming back. However, it's never made clear why exactly this is the case. Odo's stated goals in joining the Link are: 1) to cure the other Changelings from the virus, and 2) to teach them what he has learned about solids, so they would cease trying to rule over non-Changelings. The first goal is reached almost instantaneously: as soon as Odo enters Link, it starts to heal. The second goal probably takes more time, but it shouldn't take Odo decades... We've seen that the exchange of ideas via the link is very fast; for example, in the finale the female Founder is convinced to surrender almost immediately after the Odo links with her. So, after he's finished with his tasks, there shouldn't be any reason why Odo can't return to Kira – or at least visit him regularly, if he doesn't want to permanently leave the Link again. (Kira could easily visit Odo on the Founder planet too, but that option is never mentioned either.) This is especially baffling since only a few episodes earlier, in Chimera, Odo didn't join Laas because his love for Kira was more important than linking with other Changelings.

Vorta and Jem'Hadar

     Me Vorta, me no like art! 
A lot is made of the fact that the Vorta species were uplifted by the Founders and genetically sculpted to be their ambassadors and administrators. Some of this makes sense, like their substandard eyesight but excellent hearing. But how exactly do you genetically engineer a species with no sense of aesthetics? Since when is the ability to appreciate art a genetic trait?
  • Since when is it not? How many other species on Earth besides humans do you know who can? Besides, considering that in Real Life we are nowhere near knowing how to genetically engineer any of these traits, why would we question that if the Founders can do one, they could do the others as well?
  • One wonders if the Changelings merely told the Vorta they had no capacity for aesthetics, and that was enough.
    • I love the idea that this is just one more example of the Founders' casual cruelty. Weyoun clearly wants to be able to appreciate art; he's studying that painting so intently that it's hard not to see longing. In designing the Vorta, they've given them no ability to enjoy beauty, but allowed them the ability to understand what they're missing.
  • If you can implant genetic memory (like a baby Jem'Hadar knowing how to speak and instinctively worshipping Changelings), you can implant a personality into your clones. That's why all the Weyouns are the same. It's a personality trait they've bred into the Vorta somehow.
    • Except that kind of "genetic memory" has the exact same problem. It's nothing but pseudoscience.
      • You mean like faster-than-light travel that doesn't suffer extreme relativistic effects, or aliens from across the galaxy being able to reproduce with one another, or transporters and replicators that don't require prohibitively large amounts of energy to work, or transporter accidents that combine two different species into one healthy individual, or Changelings that can turn into fire and seemingly change mass? It's science fiction, you just have to accept some implausibility for the sake of the storyline.
    • We might be over thinking it a little bit. Brains are complex and most everything we do is accompanied by a host of complex chemical reactions. For the Vorta, certain visual stimuli may simply not trigger the same processes in their brains that they would in a human brain. The Vorta lack of any sense of ascetics may not be a case of designing 'genetic memory,' but simply a hormone imbalance (from our perspective).
  • The Vorta built-in indifference to art and to food flavors (therefore, probably to scent as well) makes sense in terms of their roles as ambassadors: to them, all appearances are equally beautiful/ugly with the exception of the Founders, who will always surpass all others in the Vorta's eyes. With no aesthetic sense, no Vorta will ever mess up a crucial meeting by letting slip a distaste for an ally's clothes fashion or high art, no Vorta will ever offend another creature by wrinkling his nose at any body stench, no Vorta will ever insult a host by disliking whatever national dish has been served to him. Similarly, with no aesthetic sense, no Vorta will ever be swayed in the least by someone's beauty, by the eloquence in presentation that accompanies many arguments, or by the propaganda force in a piece of art or music that would stir the hearts of most other beings — for them, there is no other beauty in the universe except the Founders. Imagine an ambassador who will never judge anyone by the aesthetics of how they look, sound, smell, feel or by what they consider beautiful or tasty or pleasing to the ear, and you have a Vorta.
    • But they'll also be unable to create social connections with their allies either. They won't feel distaste for bad art, but they won't be able to appreciate good art either, which may be taken as an even bigger insult. They won't swoon at the sight of a beautiful female, but again, apparent indifference can be just as insulting as obvious disgust. Even if the Vorta's indifference to all forms of beauty doesn't cause offense, the purpose of an ambassador is to charm the members of a host government. Having no sense of aesthetics whatsoever would be a huge disadvantage in that regard. A Vorta ambassador would be incapable of flattering their hosts by complimenting their culture and/or drawing parallels between their culture and that of the Dominion. In fact they would be fundamentally incapable of even understanding other cultures. I'm not saying a slave race that sees no beauty in the universe, save for their Creators, wouldn't be useful. They would make ideal laborers or bureaucrats (and admittedly the Vorta seem to be those as well). But they would make poor ambassadors.
      • Possible Fridge Brilliance when you consider who created the Vorta: the Changelings. The same Changelings who consider all solid lifeforms as either inferior or inferior and needing to be exterminated. The Vorta are diplomats designed by a race who doesn't really "get" diplomacy.
    • No, 'cause the Vorta can read social cues to see that x painting is clearly valued and lauded by the culture, steer the conversation onto what makes the art so wonderful (technique, history, etc), and then lie about finding it impressive because the Vorta are good at that. Weyoun just confesses his desire to genuinely appreciate them in a private moment.
    • Even if the Vorta have no physical biases towards the species they interact, they still have an obvious disdain towards anyone that doesn't automatically bow down to the Founder's will. And if they meet enough resistance from one particular species (like the Cardassians or the humans), what is to prevent them from developing harmful attitudes towards that species' art and culture?
  • This troper always believed that the Changelings purposely engineered a lack of art appreciation into the Vorta as a way of preventing their minds from wandering off towards anything that doesn't involve absolute loyalty to the Founders. Kind of like how a religious covenant may try to prevent any sexual relations so their followers maintain their closeness to god, except in the case of the Founders what they did was far more invasive.

     Genetic Loyalty 
Doesn't anyone find the idea of the Vorta and Jem'hadar being genetically engineered to revere the Founders as gods kind of out there? While it's been partially proven that there are a set of genes known as VMAT 2 (also known as the "God Gene") that allow for a high degree of spirituality to be passed on, being able to biologically control how that spirituality is expressed towards certain groups just doesn't seem possible. A person can be born with a high level of VMAT 2 but not automatically become a Christian (though he may be more predisposed towards becoming one than a person with a lower level of spirituality). The same can be said about man's best friend as well. We've bred dogs for thousands of years to regard humans as undisputed pack leaders, but just because a dog is loyal to one human doesn't mean it's loyal to every other human (unless it was exceptionally friendly). And even a dog's loyalty can run short if it's master is being particularly abusive. Weyoun was acting pretty scared when the Female Changeling angrily suggested killing and replacing him with another clone if the cloning tanks ever got working again. There were plenty of hints that he was trying to prolong his own survival by lying that the amount of time it would take to fix them would last days, if not weeks. Most of the Jem'hadar have never actually seen a founder, yet continue their duties anyway out of spiritual obligation, kind of similar to a bunch of militant Puritans. While the Vorta have more direct communication with the Founders, they still remain staunchly loyal to their masters because so far their masters have never done anything that they consider particularly abusive. While it is true they were engineered with no taste in art and lack a few human senses, if their story about them being ape-like forest dwellers that were uplifted by a grateful changeling is true then what reason do they have to complain about their servitude? And besides, what the Vorta get in exchange for that servitude isn't half bad - they're functionally immortal, can get nifty telekinetic powers, and are responsible for heading most aspects of a powerful interstellar empire while their masters lounge around and be peaceful on their home planet. That sounds like a pretty good deal.
  • But the Vorta and Jem'hadar are not bred like dogs. They are genetically engineered from the ground up — the Jem'hadar may not have had any existence before the Founders, and we only have Weyoun's word that the Vorta did. The fact that we don't have a gene that would make us fanatically loyal to a group of strangers from birth does necessarily not entirely mean such a gene could never exist in any creature, does it? After all, they've had literally millennia to get it right.
    • And if it's true that the Vorta were just timid (and possibly non-sentient) ape-like creatures beforehand, then it's probable that little of their former dispositions remain after the Founders' influence, taste for nuts and berries notwithstanding.
  • Even if that is true, how would both races be able to maintain their loyalty to their masters if some members of the Dominion decided to go renegade? The Dominion may be linked but as Odo has shown it's not foolproof. For example, If the Vorta and Jem'hadar were to receive two contradictory orders from two conflicting "gods", which one are they going to follow? Heck, how are they able to tell who and who is not a changeling? Like the Rubber-Forehead Aliens, there's a decent chance there could be an alien species out in space that may have forms and abilities similar to the Changelings. If the Jem'hadar and Vorta encountered them, would they treat them with the same reverence?
    • We have seen Jem'hadar go rogue ("To the Death," and sort of in "Hippocratic Oath"), and we have also seen Vorta opt for self-preservation over their orders (Keevan), so it obviously is possible for them to disobey the Founder under some circumstances. They're clearly not genetically incapable of doing so (again: if that were the case, White wouldn't be necessary), just that they're powerfully predisposed to follow the Founders' will
  • It's not necessarily all genetic. We know that Jem'hadar are grown in artificial wombs. Perhaps part of the pod's function is to condition their developing minds with certain beliefs and attitudes. Similarly, the Vorta don't necessarily have genetic memory. Maybe they get periodic brain scans. Then when one dies, the clone gets imprinted with the most recent "backup" of his predecessor. That would explain why the loss of the Alpha Quadrant cloning facility could mean no more Weyouns, if the memory files were stored there. They could always take DNA samples from Weyoun 8's corpse, but they wouldn't have his memories to put in the new clone.

Other Races

     State-sponsored murder has no consequences 

  • In Armageddon Game the T'Lani and Kellerun decide to help each other bury all knowledge of a biological weapon by killing everyone involved in dismantling it, including Bashir and O'Brien. Ignoring the fact that they thought they could murder two officers from the regional superpower they then try to murder Sisko and Dax when they attempt to rescue the two. By this point it's clear that at least an important Federation officer is aware of the attempted murder and the two races could reasonably infer that his officers would know where he went and what his suspicions were. Did they really think that they could just cover this up too? Were they really certain that the Federation wouldn't consider retaliation? For that matter their motives make no sense. They offer to let Sisko and Dax go if they hand over Bashir and O'Brien because they just want to kill anyone who had knowledge of the weapon. If they really can't trust the Federation to never make use of the weapon then murder won't change anything, the Federation easily has enough resources and expertise to make its own.
    • Another horrifying thought: Given the length that the T'Lani and Kelleruns were willing to go to to prevent knowledge of the harvesters from continuing to exist... who's to say that O'Brien and Bashir were necessarily safe once they arrived back on the station? Did they have to look over their shoulders the rest of the lives?
    • Probably not. Now that the Federation knows what they wanted to do, trying it again would give them worse things to worry about than a few biological weapons here or there. And Bashir and O'Brien are unlikely to return to T'Lani or Kellerun space of their own accord, or even talk to their representatives, so the knowledge won't be returned to the people who are interested in it.
      • The T'Lani and Kellerun were certainly willing to attempt murder when there was no reason to think that O'Brien and Bashir would return anyway. Really the only way they could be safe would be a very large warship reminding both species why the Federation is one of the dominant powers in the galaxy.
  • My favorite example of state-sponsored murder having no consequences on the show occours in the episode Improbable Cause, in which the Tal Shiar blows up a ship in sovereign Bajoran space. . .and then claim that they were well within their rights to do so because the man who owned the ship was a criminal. It gets even better when we find out that the man had been hired by the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar to assassinate Garak. We never hear of any action taken against the Romulans government for this.
    • Well, the Romulan empire is a hostile and powerful nation that doesn't have any relevant treaties with the Bajorans, so you can't exactly just reprimand them without inviting a war that you'll lose.
      • II Rc they waited until just after the ship left Bajoran space. Sisko complains about it and the Romulans make that point.

     The Prophets care about marriage? 

  • So the Prophets/wormhole aliens are non-corporeal beings which don't experience linear time (and I'm putting aside all the problems *that* causes) and have said several times that they don't understand, and don't care much about the lives and problems of corporeal beings. (Sisko got them to admit they were wrong on some of the caring part, granted, but...) But then in Till Death Do Us Part, they have a hissy-fit about Sisko marrying Cassidy. They say "she can't walk the same path as him". How can they associate such a culture-specific act as marriage with their cosmic idea of a path for their emissary? Why didn't they object the same way when they started dating, or when they first fell in love (both long before their marriage)? Using the Federation-designated marriage event seems a little too convenient to the plot.

     As long as it's all a game laws don't matter 

  • In Move Along Home the Wadi force Kira, Sisko, Dax and Bashir to be game pieces in Quark's game, at times making them reasonably believe that their lives are in danger. At the end of the episode Sisko starts to call them on this before Odo advises him to get the full story from Quark. Even though Quark did unwittingly help cause it that doesn't change the fact that the Wadi abducted several officers. So are we supposed to feel that as long as Quark gets yelled at and the Wadi explain that they never had the four in real danger it makes the crime go away? Would Sisko tolerate it if they did this again?
    • Diplomatic immunity?
      • Exactly. Seriously, what do you expect Sisko could do? Arrest them? Expel them? Kick the first formal visitors from the Gamma Quadrant off his station because they made him think he was in personal danger? I'm amusing myself by picturing Admiral Nechayev's reaction that decision! Sisko's reaction — "that was weird, but let's put it behind us" — is the only one possible.
      • If they had put a gun to his head and then revealed that it was fake I doubt he would have been so forgiving.
      • And? They didn't put a gun to his head. And try this on for size: the Wadi well and truly did not seem to understand that anyone wouldn't want to take part in their game. They misjudged their audience (as did the Iyaarans in Liaisons) but when cultures are interacting for the first time, this is a known risk.
      • It also might be good to recall that Captain Kirk, in episodes like "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "Spectre of the Gun," shakes off the fact that aliens have just put him and crew through the ringer and still wants to make friends with them. What the Wadi are doing isn't so different.
      • It's a cultural confusion. These types of games are normal for the Wadi and they didn't realize how terrified it would make the humans who are in the game.

    Good Luck With That Trapped on a Deathless War World Thing! 
  • Deep Space Nine episode "Battle Lines"
    • They discover a planet with the mysterious power to provide eternal youth and immortality. Its inhabitants have for centuries lived a life of unceasing fear, violence and despair. They were jailed there centuries ago as part of a plan to make their existence an approximation of eternal Hell. Everyone there wants to leave. In the course of the action, the highly-revered religious leader of one of the Federation's most important allies is stranded there. The only thing separating the planet from the outside world is an aging automated satellite defence system.
    • Starfleet Response: Who cares? Let the fuckers rot.
      • Said satellite system is also the only thing keeping those inhabitants alive.
      • Starfleet began working on a way to get them out of there without killing them, but it was never brought up in the series again.
      • The planet is in the Gamma Quadrant, which just happens to be enemy territory for the second half of the show. Even if anyone has the time and resource to come up with a solution, there'll be a minor problem in testing it out or implementing it, if you catch my drift.
      • They left Opaka behind because they had no way to get her off-planet without killing her. And even if they had, she seemed to have decided that bringing peace to this world was her destiny. Kind of a noble sacrifice.
      • A good thing Kira was there, though. The Bajoran government would likely have been pretty pissed off and suspicious if an all-Starfleet crew came back and said "Yeah, she told us to tell you she's staying behind. You'll have to take our word for it." Bajor was still somewhat uncomfortable with the Federation at that point, and something like that would have been a major, major problem if the government's own chosen liaison officer couldn't verify Starfleet's story.
    • The original poster seems to have neglected this conversation towards the end of the episode:
      Shel-la: Leaving without us?
      Bashir: My analysis of the microbes that keep you alive showed that if you were to leave the moon, you would die...
      Shel-la: So there is no end.
      Bashir [turning to Sisko]: Commander, I find myself caught in a moral dilemma. As much as I'm dedicated to the preservation of life, I wonder if we shouldn't help these people end this torture...
      Sisko: How could you do that?
      Bashir: Anything that can be programmed can be reprogrammed. If I can disable the mechanism in these microbes, they would no longer function when someone was killed, and these people would finally be allowed to die.
      Shel-la: You've seen our lives here. Please... it's the only solution left. Give us a way to reprogram these microbes, and it will mean the end of this war.
      Kira: You really think the fear of death would stop the fighting? It never has in any other war.
    • The following is the Wham Line here:
      Shel-la: No— but it will allow us to finally win. Wipe out the Nol for good.
      [We cut to Bashir's astonished, disgusted reaction.]
      Shel-la: On this world, your disabled microbes would be the ultimate weapon, Doctor— one that we could use to truly destroy our enemies.
    • So the point here is: They didn't disable the microbes because the Ennis and the Nol-Ennis would simply use it as an excuse to finally annihilate one another. They had no interest in making peace with one another, and that's why Kai Opaka willingly stayed— to help them begin the healing process. (In the Expanded Universe, the two tribes eventually make peace, unify, and gain the ability to leave the moon.)
      • That makes sense - when they had the benefit of immortality, if not for the war, they would have had plenty of time to develop scientific processes necessary to not only understand the microbes, but alter them. It is possible that it was, in part, a component of the plan of those who imprisoned them there to begin with - their fighting would continue until they had eventually learned the futility of it, and started to actually work together. Eventually, they would come to develop the technology necessary to end the cycle completely and escape the moon, but it could only happen if they first end their war with each other, and since both sides were made immortal, war could not be ended by the victory of one side over the other - only a diplomatic ending was possible.

    Deanna Troi's Baby Brother 
  • From "The Muse", how in the Nine Hells does Tamnian law regarding the disposition of Lwaxana Troi's child supersede Federation law? Instead of going through that unbelievably ridiculous rigamarole with Odo, why didn't Troi just file an injunction in a Federation civilian court? After all, she's not just a Federation citizen, but a freaking ambassador.
    • Lwaxana wanted sole custody of the child. There's no reason to think the Federation courts would give her that. Jeyal is the father, and hadn't shown himself to be an unfit parent. At least not by his own culture's standards.

     You don't mind us invading your station, do you? 
  • In "Captive Pursuit", the unnamed hunter species fires on DS9, beams heavily armed men on board, and engages in a fire fight with security officers. All the while refusing to communicate at all. When the fighting stops, they seem utterly bewildered that anyone would object to their behavior. The episode focuses on the culture clash regarding the morality of hunting a sentient being, but what about the attack on the station? They could easily start wars that way. Why would they think they could forcefully invade an unknown alien space station without consequences?
    • Being from the Gamma Quadrant, you'd think that they'd be a lot more cautious. Imagine what would happen if they'd tried that crap on a Dominion facility.
    • There was a deleted scene where a Hunter was shown on a Dominion ship, indicating they are part of the Dominion. Since at the end of "Captive Pursuit" they say that the Alpha Quadrant will be considered out-of-bounds for any future hunts I'd imagine they have a similar rule about any Dominion installation, as well.
    • The best I can figure is they thought they were entitled to beam onto DS9 and continue their hunt without interference, so they thought they were defending themselves from the DS9 crew.
    • Branching off from this, why the hell didn't Sisko hammer home to the hunters that, even though if he refused to hand over Tosk and thus broke their cultural laws, the hunters have ALREADY broken not just cultural laws but rules in place for the safe and decent continued living of everyone on board DS9? Handing over Tosk would've been fine if the hunters had actually simply asked the station to beam aboard and continue their hunt, problem solved! At the very least, Sisko should've hammered home that the attack on the station was so unjustified that no, Prime Directive be damned, he does not have to follow the cultural laws of a race that introduced itself as hostile! The hunters should've been kicked off the station, or arrested, at least! And then Tosk could've been allowed to do what he needed, since the ruth came out at that point.

Miscellaneous

     Random overly-complicated conspiracy 
  • In Whispers why did they see the need for a long, very suspicious and constantly breaking down conspiracy to keep the clone O'Brien in the dark? If they had to keep it secret why didn't they just tell him that he had a non-contagious but dangerous disease that needed him to remain in the sickbay. It'd be incredibly easy to slip him a sedative and give him a mild fever. Instead they not only constantly dropped blatantly obvious hints to O'Brien, they also forced Keiko (someone who can be very emotional and not good at hiding feelings), Molly (a child) and Quark (someone just not safe to trust a secret to) to go along.
    • Yeah, "Whispers" is a good example of an effective episode that falls apart when put to logic. Even if one assumes that Molly is just being stroppy and Quark is acting oddly and these are all coincidences, it's obvious that the smart thing to do would be to sequester O'Brien and hope for the best.
    • Odo once stated that killing your own clone is still murder and as such implies that under Bajoran law clones have just as many rights as normal people do. Slipping him a sedative and give him a mild fever sounds like something that seriously breeches their canon of ethics. Of course this is just Bajoran law we're talking about here as Riker and Pulaski once got away with slaying their illicitly made clones without even a slap on the wrist and we all know from Bashir how badly they treat augmented humans... so in fact they probably could have just transferred him to a Federation ship outside of Bajoran space and done whatever the hell they liked with him so the original point still stands in a way.
      • They (clones) have the right not to be killed, just like normal people do, but I doubt those rights include keeping the job, spouse, and guardianship of your original and their kids. The duplicate O'Brien basically had no legitimate reason to be on the station, and so could have been detained on that basis.
      • Considering that they don't seem to give a damn about the clone as it lies dying and all the other breaches of privacy we've seen on Deep Space Nine it seems very hard to believe that giving him a sedative is where they draw the ethical line.
  • You all seem to be forgetting the extremely important point that they aren't SURE that he's a clone. They're trying to determine if he is or not without arousing his suspicion, because if it's a clone and has been programmed to kill someone, who knows what it will do if it knows it's been discovered?
    • Everything seems to indicate that they knew exactly what he was and if they weren't sure who the target was, why would they wait and allow someone with all the engineering and combat experience of O'Brien permission to wander around the station? If he's kept in a confined place with a plausible reason at least they aren't putting the entire station at danger and forcing his family to live with an unknowing imposter by letting him roam freely.

     Most intriguing inquest ever 
  • I'm always disappointed that we don't get to see the inquest of Garak that follows "Empok Nor," which O'Brien implies will go smoothly. "True, he's mysterious and unpredictable. True, we think he used to be a spy or assassin or torturer or something. True, he has betrayed us on multiple occasions and once tried to sabotage the Defiant to commit genocide. True, he killed a Starfleet crewman. But honestly! He's really a great guy..."
  • I suppose the question is how impartial said inquest is likely to be, and whether it's run by the Bajorans or Starfleet.
    • There were extenuating circumstances. Basically, it's "Let's reset Garak and forget this poor episode ever happened."
      • Interestingly, though, Nog remembered that incident, and as of Rocks and Shoals, no longer trusts Garak—so there was some continuity.
    • There seems to be a rule in Federation law that says if you've been forced to do something against your will thanks to Mind Rape, Grand Theft Me illicit drugs and chemicals etc. that you are free from any and all punishment. Garak is by far not the first person who Starfleet has allowed to escape punishment and personally I agree with them; why should you be in trouble for something that some dick has decided to inflict upon you?
      • Indeed, many jurisdictions have such laws dealing with "diminished responsibility." That Garak would be cleared is not particularly at issue; it's just that any thorough inquest would need to pry into Garak's past and character... fun times. I suppose Starfleet intelligence (with whom Garak is tacitly working) would just have to step in.

     Jake's Penmanship 
  • In The Muse, we find Jake falling under the influence of a leanan sidhe style character who draws out his talent for writing, at the expense of his life energies. She introduces him to something completely new: writing on paper, with an old-fashioned ink-based calligraphy pen. And yet he writes in cursive—a difficult style that takes lots of practice and study to learn, and is rapidly becoming a lost art even in today's world with the advent of personal computing—and his penmanship is beautiful. How can someone who's never written with a pen and paper write like that?

     Worf vs. Dukat 
  • Worf presumably knows that Dukat killed his wife, but I've always thought it a bit odd that he doesn't seem to take it that personally. He assures her place in Sto-vo-kor but never avenges her death or even seems particularly determined to do so (admittedly, the presence of Ezri is a calming factor). I can see why the writers didn't want to go that direction (how many characters can have archrivalries with Dukat, anyway? Sisko, Kira, Garak... the list goes on), but compare what he did to Duras.
    • Dukat was disguised as a Bajorian for most of the seventh season, so it may have been a matter that Worf couldn't find him. If you were looking for Dukat, would looking for him in Kai Winn's vagina be among the first things you did? Above all though, Ezri's presence does negate a good reason for revenge, he can talk to her after all and avenging the death of someone you can still talk to (more or less) doesn't make much sense.
      • For the record, Dukat is in disguise on Bajoran for seven episodes which relatively speaking cover a shot temporal period... hardly most of the season by any measure. And Worf expresses no desire for revenge on Dukat at any point, even before Ezri turns up,
    • I wonder if destroying that Dominion shipyard in Shadows and Symbols would be considered sufficient revenge in lieu of killing Dukat?
      • One almost gets the impression that Worf, having found religion since "Reunion," now pursues revenge through a different, sideways strategy.
    • The Worf that killed Duras and the Worf that started season 7 of Deep Space nine is not same man. Look at how he acts in Where Silence Has Lease - the man often acted like a confused wild animal. He is calmer, more rational and arguably may still have had Picards condemnation of him all those years before still ringing in his ears. Besides that, Worf had a massive advantage against Duras in that A) he was directly next to the Enterprise at the time and B) was forced to accept Worf's challenge by the other Klingons. Even before the plastic surgery Dukat could be anywhere in the galaxy and is very likely to either run away to shoot Worf on sight - remember that both men involved here are highly skilled soldiers whereas Duras was far more bark-than-bite as they say.
      • Again, the question is not "could Worf practically have achieved vengeance on Dukat?" so much as "isn't it odd that Worf never expresses any desire to do so?" I simply don't think being so nonchalant about his wife's murderer being at large is in character for any version of Worf, or any practically Klingon for that matter. It points to how clumsily Dax's death was handled overall.
      • Clumsy as it was, I wonder if the writers assumed that fans would understand that Worf's desire for revenge was just a given. The show repeatedly addressed Worf's feelings on the matter, and at this point, the Klingon mentality had been firmly established, so maybe they just missed opportunities to highlight it when they came thinking that they'd be retreading old ground.
    • Well, considering that Dukat literally burned Jadzia to death with "magic", even Worf may have felt the odds far too risky. Warrior race or no, I doubt a Klingon's going to think it smart to challenge someone who merged with an alien being that's practically god-like and could probably bake his internal organs with a mere thought.
      • You mean Worf the Klingon, who once challenged his commanding officer for cowardice? The same Worf who instead of revenge led a mission where he almost flew into a sun to honor Jadzia? I don't think so. At least he would never admit that was the reason.
      • You also have to remember that Worf is a man who on several occasions has expressed an intent to physically attack Q, and was only held back by officers with cooler heads. In fact, assaulting beings with god-like powers was more or less his job description on TNG—he's the namesake for more than one trope that illustrates that. Worf would pimp slap Yog-Sothoth without any concern for the consequences.

     Future militaries are fine with fraternization? 
  • Modern militaries have policies against fraternization between officers, as well as between superiors and their subordinates. However, fraternization doesn't seem to be an issue in Star Trek universe militaries. For instance, Kira enters a romantic relationship with Odo, even though she is his superior officer in the Bajoran militia. Bashir and Ezri Dax become romantically involved, even though they're both Starfleet officers. Neither of these couples face official censure for their relationships. Considering the problems that can potentially erupt when romantic relationships develop in a military force, why do the Bajoran militia and Starfleet seem okay with it?
    • Most regulations against fraternization in the modern military relate to either being involved with someone when there is a rank disparity or if one is in command of the other. Kira and Odo are, as you said, in the Bajoran militia, so who knows what their regulations say about fraternization. As for Bashir and Dax, they are of similar rank (only being one rank apart from each other) and since neither was in command of the other (he was a medical officer and she was a councelor, which oddly isn't in the medical corps, it seems) so their relationship was of a type usually considered acceptable in the military.
    • Starfleet officers are prone to wasting huge amounts of resources on purely personal business on an alarmingly frequent basis, based only on personnel friendships. In modern times, it would be like taking a modern Cruiser on a trip to retrieve a friend's (Who you haven't seen since college) shoes he lost gambling, burning through millions of dollars in fuel, firearms, and lives spent. Once you cross lines like that, quid pro quo and playing favorites with your subordinate friends seems like a trivial affair.
    • This is specifically addressed in one episode. Worf and Jadzia - Worf failed to complete a mission because he couldn't leave his injured wife in danger like that, resulting in the death of the agent they were originally sent to retrieve from behind enemy lines. Sisko specifically berated Worf for that, even saying Worf would probably never get a command of his own now. Whether that was a violation of Starfleet policy on Sisko's part in assigning the two of them or something the officers were simply expected to compensate for is unclear. In Worf's defense, he nearly does do it.
    • Given that Starfleet vessels are often called upon to travel to unexplored regions for years at a time, regs on fraternization are likely much looser than modern militaries - it's one thing to spend months at sea with occasional calls, mail, and the odd visit home to visit with loved ones, it's another to be hundreds if not thousands of light-years from home, with potentially little ability for real time communication. The crews on those ships become families. And we even see it in Star Trek: The Original Series, when Kirk officiates a wedding between two officers, where there's no mention of one of them being transferred off. So if the regs are relaxed for the frontier explorers, they're probably equally relaxed for station duty, as there's probably a uniform rulebook.
      • Pure fanon, but for that reason I tend to limit prosecutable fraternization in my fanfics to "dating your direct superior". Dating or marrying somebody in another department is apparently perfectly acceptable, as evidenced by Miles and Keiko (aboard the Enterprise Miles was in engineering or operations depending on whom transporter operators report to, while Keiko was probably in the science department since that's the logical place for a botanist). By the same token, Worf was DS9 strategic operations officer (tactical) and Jadzia was head of the science department (although why they would send a science officer to extract a defector is beyond me). Tom and B'Elanna? Tactical and engineering.

     Is Star Trek universe overspecialized 
  • Bajorans are painted as largely agrarian. Ferengi are painted as overly obsessed with profit. Klingons are painted as overly obsessed with being a warrior. These are all stages of evolution below that of a society capable of reaching advanced levels of scientific and technological achievement big enough to have a space empire.
    • In Klingon society, to be a rocket scientist would be too nerdy to be respected and considered honorable. With Ferengi, a society driven solely by capitalist interest would never reach the space age. It's true that space exploration is now shifting to the private industry but those corporations are being funded by starry-eyed entrepeneuers. The Bajorans, as some primitive third world religion-based expy, just seems a little too primitive and reminds me of the times of King David in the Old Testament or something.
      • Depending on the story line, the Klingons have been depicted as an overly simplistic race of near-psychotic warriors, or as a diverse and rich people. In the original series, they were an analogue for the Soviet Union, and were more or less shown as an appropriately well-rounded species. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country carried on that tradition and showed them to be lovers of fine art and philosophy who mostly set aside their pride and sued for peace with the Federation when they needed its help. Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine flanderized them in to the obsessively Proud Warrior Race with a corrupt and complacent government that most people knew them as. Enterprise, to its credit (a phrase that this troper feels dirty using), tried to rectify this by having a Klingon defense attorney give a speech lamenting the loss of the finer points of Klingon society to the overly glorified warrior caste.
    • As for the Bajorans, their planet spent 60 years being exploited of all it's natural resources, and then the Cardassians all but salted the earth when they left. If they can't feed their population, they soon won't have a population. All of their weapons got turned into plowshares and they started farming in hopes of growing enough food to feed their people. Besides, their society has already been stated to have been insular before the Occupation anyway, with them eschewing colonies and exploration in preference to staying on their homeworld, despite having developed the technology to sail between Bajor and Cardassia before humans discovered fire.

     Who's responsible for the Maquis? 
  • SF Debris brought up an interesting headscratcher regarding the Maquis. There are two possible scenarios:
    • 1. The Maquis (and by extension, the rest of the Demilitarized Zone residents who have been left high and dry on the wrong side of the border) are still Federation citizens. And yet they take actions against the Cardassians. This would create a war.
    • 2. The Maquis are no longer Federation citizens (as was implied by dialogue in the episode "Journey's End", specifically Picard's admonition "I want to make absolutely sure that you understand the implications of this agreement. By giving up your status as Federation citizens, any future request you or your people make to Starfleet will go unanswered. You will be on your own and under Cardassian jurisdiction.") And yet the Federation attempts to protect them, which would eventually create a war.
      • This is probably where it all went wrong. Picard managed a sensible compromise (or as sensible as was possible under the circumstances), keep your citizenship and leave, or stay and become Cardassian citizens. That is straight forward enough; clearly when it came time for Federation Ambassadors to formalize that someone back-pedalled, took a clear-cut compromise and created a quagmire because it seemed "nicer".
      • Memory Alpha pretty much puts "Journey's End" as what gave the Maquis their start. Sure that Gul said the Cardissians would leave them alone. But the Central Command has a populace under a resource crunch. The Obsidian Order won't like non-Cardissians living in their space, being absolute xenophobes and statesec. The native american colonists got roughed up after that Gul was probably removed from command, perhaps they got kicked off the planet. Any ones who escaped told their fellow DMZ colonists that "those damn Cardies" are not to be trusted. The Obsidian Order and Central Command found a distraction: "That Federation is sending colonists to the worlds we promised you!" Gee thanks Captain Picard!
  • Based on my understanding, the Maquis are largely made from the colonists in the Demilitarized Zone. Some colonies were part of the planet-swapping deal made with the Cardassians (like the afore-mentioned Native Americans), while others were simply the original colonies which were presumably forced to disarm (since it's called a "demilitarized zone"). Some people were forced to move, and some opted to relinquish their Federation citizenship in favor of staying, while others didn't have those problems since they weren't part of the planet swap. However, there was still a massive sense of solidarity between the assorted colonies, which got especially hot when the Cardassians started causing problems and the Federation wasn't exactly quick to respond.
    • Well, there were the DMZ colonists. And a number of Bajoran nationals (IE with Bajoran citizenship) as well as some Bajorans who might have had Federation citizenship because of Star Fleet service (like Ro Laren) or because they were living on Federation colonies during the Occupation and had "assimilated." And then there were a number of former Starfleet officers. Some of them were retired and had served in the Cardassian War but most of them, even the vets, were still in service. These were people like Chakotay whose citizenship was probably questionable given that he was considered a "terrorist" by his own government (he was definitely a Federation national). Some of the DMZ colonists might have technically been made Cardassian citizens by the treaty, but this point was never clarified, as the question of whether Federation citizens who joined the Maquis lost their citizenship (though I suspect that it was a matter of waiting and seeing whether the rebellion could be put down peacefully or if the Feds would eventually have had to use brute force, if the Cardies and the Jem'hadar didn't beat them to it in the later seasons. Also, these points about citizenship were never clear because the Treaty was that badly written.
      • I'll go a little further and blame the Federation Council for approving such an ill-conceived treaty. It was made clear that conditions were deteriorating toward a breaking point as early as TNG's The Wounded. Granted, at that point it seemed more likely that the result would be armed conflict between the two governments, but conflict was inevitable. The Wounded was written during the era of Roddenberry's ideal humanity, so it really stood out that seasoned Starfleet officers were still carrying around the trauma of their wartime experiences—trauma that expressed itself as racism and paranoia. Many of the officers who defected to the Maquis might have done so in part for an opportunity to fight the Cardassians, with a convenient cause to rally around.

  • There is suspicion that Kasidy sold medical supplies to the Maquis. Odo wants an illegal search to gather evidence.
    Sisko: You can't do an illegal search on a Federation citizen.
    Odo: She ceased to be a Federation citizen when she helped the Maquis.
    • Holy Patriot Act, Batman. Fed citizens have inalienable rights, but any policeman, even a foreign policeman can cancel your citizenship and rights on suspicion???
    • Odo also has a bit of a history of Orwellian beliefs so i'm not surprised he acts that way.
    • In addition, in "The Maquis, Part II", Admiral Necheyev confirmed that Maquis are still Federation citizens. I am inclined take her word over Odo's.
    • Odo's been well-established as basically a fascist who is constantly annoyed at the rights the Federation gives its citizens (and criminals). (Probably due to being trained by Cardassian security services.) His line there is consistent with his characterization— and him obeying Sisko's orders on the matter, despite his personal opinion, is also.

  • One line that always intrigued me is Eddington's post hoc lament "This wasn't supposed to happen. We were winning. The Cardassian Empire was falling into chaos. The Maquis colonies were going to declare themselves an independent nation." I wonder what this unfulfilled nation-building plan looked like? If the Maquis have already renounced their Federation citizenship like the colonists of Dorvan V did, declaring themselves independent would seem rather redundant. Or is it that declaration of nationhood that we should focus on — an assertion that this is not just a contested space, but a fully-fledged, recognized power with treaties and boundaries of its own?
    • I think he meant something like "declare ourselves, and have enough structure, clout, and power to be recognized and function as, an independent nation".

     If you eat at my restaurant, you'll be making a mistake you'll regret for the rest of your lives! 
Joseph Sisko: Now I don't want to see anyone studying the dessert menu. If you order anything but the bread pudding souffle, you'll be making a mistake you'll regret for the rest of your lives.
  • Is that really how restaurant owners talk? Throwing a big chunk of their own product under the bus?
    • When a restauranteur constructs a cult of personality for themselves, as Daddy Sisko has, that's hardly implausible. Bear in mind, this is a guy who has no respect for his medical doctor because he doesn't know the difference between Cajun and Creole food. He's a cantankerous old man with some misplaced priorities, and should be thought about in this light.
      • Of course, since no one needs money in the Federation, what does he care?
      • It's not about money, but about professional pride.
      • Then where's his professional pride about the rest of the menu?
      • This is just the dessert menu he's talking about, which may only have one or two other items on it — some generic bowl of ice cream, an unimpressive cheese cake, and the specialty item.
    • Could have just as easily been the special for the night, and he was being hyperbolic when he said it.
    • Shit, maybe he'd just realised he'd forgotten to get the ingredients for anything except a bread pudding souffle (and how does that work, by the way?) and was extemporising to cover his ass.
  • At least in some countries in Europe you can ask your waiter (especially in smaller restaurants) for "recommendations" or if something "is good". So while shouting owner is probably not a common sight you can get hints what to order.
    • Also legendarily true in small-town greasy spoons in the US — it's a cliche scene for a waitress to go so far as to warn customers away from menu items that aren't very good that day.
  • He's hardly putting down the rest of the menu, anyway. Everything else on the dessert menu could still be great, but that night in particular the bread pudding souffle turned out so perfect that it blows everything else out of the water. He's showing pride as a host as well as a chef by urging his customers to try the best he has on offer. It would be an insult to hospitality for anything less.

    Good Luck With That Cardassian Prison Thing! 
  • Deep Space Nine episode The Homecoming: Kira and O'Brien go to break Bajoran prisoners out of jail. Good so far. They can't use the transporter to beam them up because the runabout's transporter can only beam two people at a time and there's a dozen, so beaming two of them will make the guards fire on the rest. Makes sense so far. They land, make a daring escape with six of the prisoners, get to the runabout and fly off because the guards are firing with hand weapons. Then, even though no one is shooting at them with weapons rated for ship fire, they raise shields and fly off leaving 6 of the prisoners to die instead of beaming them onto the ship! What the hell?
    • They have to leave in a hurry because there are two warships coming into range; they may just not have had the time.

    Changelings Fail Kidnapping Forever 
  • Another Deep Space Nine episode, "The Adversary": It's a "find the clone among us" plot with Changelings, and we're told the Changeling is Eddington. On leading him to the brig, we find out it's actually Bashir, who was the one to convince us it was Eddington, and we find this out because we run into the real Bashir, who's penned up across from the brig. But why the hell would the Changeling put Bashir right across from where he knew they were going to put the Changeling when they found it? And if it's because that's the only brig, why would he leave the door open??
    • It wasn't a brig. It was regular crew quarters with a forcefield around it.
    • In addition, the door wasn't open - by "coincidence" Julian happened to release the forcefield when the rest of the crew were imprisoning Eddington

     A bit quick to profile there 
  • In Field of Fire why is Ezri so quick to assume that the murderer must be targeting people who are laughing in their photos? For that matter, why is she so quick to assume that it was a Vulcan murderer? For all she knows it could have just as easily been a professional from a completely different species who had been sent after specific targets.
    • And the heck of it is, she was right. Of course, it wasn't just her coming to that conclusion; Joran helped quite a bit.
    • That was probably what they meant to imply: that with Joran's mind brought to the forefront, Ezri had essentially imbued herself with the instincts of a killer. Not just a killer, actually; a person who is willing and able to commit murder in cold blood. She was allowing Joran's homocidal instincts to guide Ezri's psychiatric insights and the two elements working together allowed her to reach that conclusion.
      • It was made extremely clear that Joran was no cold blooded killer in the episode he was created in, he was constantly described as being very angry even by his own family and killed someone out of that anger. If anything, he was the worst possible person to go to for help in finding a vulcan killer. And the profiling is still ridiculous. In the episode it could just as easily have turned out that the people murdered were part of a covert operation that they were being killed for by the romulans or that one was a case of mistaken identity.

     Off-screen, never mentioned before war crimes? 
  • In Waltz Sisko is transporting Dukat to Earth so he can be investigated for war crimes. What war crimes? Pretty much everything we saw of him during the war suggested he was rather restrained and making an effort to be reasonable. If they're referring to his occupation of Bajor then why isn't he being tried on Bajor? In Duet Sisko had no problem allowing the clearly biased Kiranote  investigate a man pretending to be a Cardassian war criminal.
    • I'd assumed "investigated for war crimes" was code for "tie him up in enough red tape 'preparing' for a trial that he can safely be imprisoned without charges until the war is over".
      • That sort of thing usually got at least some discussion on the show, even if it was just to state that this was the least bad option. Even if we assume that a de facto imprisonment was the unstated goal, it still doesn't explain why he wasn't handed over to Bajor. There a conviction and execution would be guaranteed. It feels like the writers thought that Dukat was getting too popular.
      • That guaranteed execution might be part of why the Federation would have been reluctant to hand him over to the Bajorans...
    • There's also a big difference between what we saw of Dukat, as viewers, and how much the Federation knows. We know that he was actually pretty restrained because we saw it happen, but the Federation would realistically need to carry out an investigation to sort things out, which is what they were doing now that they had him in custody. Plus, I'm sure "investigating" Dukat's role in the Dominion War is, in part, a way of trying to get him to cooperate and provide them with valuable intelligence.
    • Dukat was the Cardassian head of state who presided over the Dominion slaughter of the Maquis, which very likely included the children and other non-combatants that happened to be in the DMZ at the time—and we have seen children in Maquis camps. To do so, Dominion forces, acting as agents of the Cardassian Union, violated a legal demilitarized zone. Also, assuming that the rules of war in the Star Trek universe are similar to those in the real world, he could also be charged with waging a war of aggression in violation of international law (in this case, the peace treaty between the Federation and the Cardassian Union), and waging an unprovoked war. Also, there was that little matter of trying to destroy the Bajoran star system by blowing up its sun, which, besides killing the entire population of Bajor, would have obliterated a joint Federation, Klingon, and Romulan fleet without provocation. That makes at least six war crimes, including attempted genocide, that he is directly responsible for. Add the above his treatment of the Bajorans during the Occupation, and Dukat is one of the worst war criminals in Star Trek history.
      • And in spite of this, Dukat's actor (Marc Alaimo) says he always thought Dukat was the good guy, and raised a "my character wouldn't do that" objection when the time came to assault Kai Winn's errand boy/adviser, very late in the Pah Wraith storyline.
      • With no mention ever made of children casualties (either in the episode where it's revealed that they were defeated or the episode where Dukat was being transported) that doesn't seem likely. Attempting to blow up the Bajoran system would be a possibility, though probably not the fleets since they're obviously war vessels in a time of war.
      • The fleet probably could have gotten away because they had warp drives, but yeah, Dukhat's kind of a dick.
      • Okay, they never actually mention dead children but, really, did you really expect that they would? We know the Dominion has no issue with committing genocide (since they nearly blew up Bajor's sun) and we saw in Blaze of Glory that there were families and children among the Maquis, AND they were being pursued by trigger-happy Jemhadar. Fortunately Sisko and Eddington got them out, but do you really think the Dominion would have spared the noncombatants if they hadn't arrived in time?
    • I think it's fairly obvious that, whatever Dukat is being charged with, the real goal is to extract some measure of justice for the Bajoran occupation. The reason the trial is being held on Earth rather than Bajor is for two reasons: First, because Bajor is far too close to the front lines and holding Dukat's trial there is just asking for the Dominion to try and rescue or assassinate him. Taking Dukat to Earth makes it harder for the Dominion to get to him. Second, because the Feddies really, really, really want the Bajorans to join the Federation. Holding the trial on Earth gives the Feddies another chance to show the Bajorans how awesome the Federation is by showing off their greatest success, Utopian Earth.

    Split Up For Unnecessary Danger 
  • In Empok Nor why does O'Brien keep telling his subordinates to split up? It's pretty foolish the first time, the second it's downright idiotic after the Cardassian soldier makes it clear what's going to happen. He doesn't need them working at the same time and there's nothing stopping them from moving as a group to fix one thing and then the next.
    • It's probably just ingrained habit. Starfleet personnel are expected to be one-man repair teams in most circumstances, so he sends them off each to a job. O'Brien's basically just suffering from a relaxing of wartime reflexes caused by serving seven years on the nice, big, relatively safe (aside from that week's disaster) flagship of the fleet. He probably wouldn't have done the same thing later on when he's back in war-mode.
    • O'Brien says out-loud later that Garek was right to pursue the crazy Cardassians from the get-go and he made a mistake trying to repair the comm equipment faster than the Cardassians could kill them. Presumably, he includes the splitting-up as part of the mistake.

    Handing DS 9 Back To The Cardassians 
  • At the end of Season 5, knowing that the Federation cannot hope to hold DS9 against the Dominion, they abandon the station, and Gul Dukat takes it over peacefully. However, they had made a point of having the Bajorans sign a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, which allowed the Bajorans to work out a deal with the Dominion similar to the one they had with the Federation. The question is, why did the Bajorans let the Dominion take over the station, when they could have simply had Kira assume control, and declare that DS9 was now a solely Bajoran station? The Dominion had shown that they kept their word, and it's unlikely they would have broken it just to take Deep Space Nine, given that it would undo all the hard work they did before the war to isolate the Federation and the Klingons. And to boot, they could charge Dominion ships docking fees.
    • That would have required much more leverage, which the Bajorans simply didn't have. The Dominion keeps its word...to a point. They kept their word to the Bajorans because they had nothing to gain from breaking it. Controlling DS9 means the Dominion can control access to the wormhole. If the Bajorans had tried to seize the station the Dominion would likely have tried to take it from them. By force.
    • "We're a Bajoran station now." "We have 20,000 photon torpedoes that say you're not." "Uh. Welcome home!" The Bajorans only have a weak military at best, probably don't even have the trained personnel available to run DS9's (Federation-installed) weapons platforms, and with few exceptions are basically pacifists-at-heart. Kira's not stupid.
    • This brings up an interesting related question: During the periods that the station is run by Starfleet personnel, why is it called Deep Space Nine? The designation 'Deep Space Nine' doesn't seem to make any sense from a Bajoran perspective. 'Deep Space' seems to be a Starfleet station designation for Federation facilities that are located outside Federation territory, but the station itself belongs to Bajor, so Starfleet naming conventions shouldn't apply to it?  Surely the Bajoran government wouldn't describe something that is located inside their solar system as being in deep space.
      • Convenience, I suppose. Apparently the Bajorans didn't want to keep the Cardassian name so they had to call it something else. "Deep Space Nine" is as good a name as any. Especially since the station is still run by Starfleet, despite being nominally owned by the Bajorans. If the Bajorans had ever decided to pass on Federation membership and ordered the Feddies out of their space, they probably would have come up with another new name for the station. EDIT: Oh and also, despite their occasional brave boasts the Bajorans are quite aware that their continued freedom is dependent on the Federation's protection. Calling the station "Deep Space Nine" makes it a visible symbol of Federation power and warns any enterprising conquerors to steer clear of Bajor and the wormhole unless they want to go toe-to-toe with Starfleet.
      • The station was legally owned by Bajor but they leased the trashed former terok nor to the UFP's starfleet command to run hence the starfleet starbase name it has. Bajor still has it's own staff there but the day to day ops is done by starfleet staff. When starfleet pulled out and the Dominion took over management kira opted to keep the ufp name while dukat decided to restore it's old cardassion name.

    Meridian: the disappearing planet 
  • If Meridian's population was facing extinction when the planet stopped switching between dimensions, why didn't they evacuate? There were under 30 inhabitants, it would have been easy to get them to DS9.
    • Possibly an issue with taking them away from the planet? If your body is used to dimension-hoppping and you force it to stop, there's a chance it could have nasty unpredictable side effects i.e. suppose you take them away from Meridian, but their bodies shift dimensions anyway. The next time they shift back, they could appear in open space. With the limited time before the next shift, the crew wasn't likely to solve that particular problem before the planet vanished again.

     Stealing the Bear 
  • This is a minor point, but in In The Cards, Nog has to steal Dr. Bashir's stuffed bear from Leeta. Why did he wait till she was asleep to break in and take it? Nog's a character who's debut appearance took place as he was burglarizing the station's assayer's office. Granted, he's not a very successful thief, but being Quark's nephew, he should have picked up a little trade craft since then. Breaking in while she was sleeping just adds a really, really creepy vibe to that scene.
    • If the bear is present when she goes to bed and missing when she wakes up she's not going to suspect that someone broke in and took it while she was sleeping. She's going to assume she just lost it somewhere. But if she comes home from work and something is mysteriously missing from her quarters, common sense would indicate a burglary and an investigation would reveal that someone hacked the lock.
    • Indeed, that's how the scene plays out at the end of the episode: Leeta has her quarters torn apart, frustrated at "losing" the bear with no indication that she thinks it was stolen.

     "You Have Failed Me, Odo... you're hired?" 
  • In the episode "Necessary Evil", it is established Odo got his station as constable as a result of doing a task for Gul Dukat, which impressed him. Except the end of the episode shows that Odo didn't actually solve the crime, and in fact let the real suspect get away. So what, did Dukat just decide to give him another chance after a complete failure?
    • Dukat might be A Nazi by Any Other Name, but he doesn't think he's one, and Odo had a good rapport with the Bajorans. Since standard Cardassian practice was to execute ten random Bajorans, Dukat probably decided it would help his "benevolent overlord" image to have an authority that would be considered more fair. Even though Odo didn't find the killer, Dukat knew he had the potential to be an effective constable and having him around was good for keeping the Bajorans in line without using force. (There's also a novel about this time wherein Dukat secretly obstructed the investigation because he knew it was Kira and didn't want to execute the daughter of his late mistress.)
    • Also, by hiring Odo as constable, he adds a buffer layer between his men and the Bajorans. With Odo in charge of investigations, the Bajorans would likely blame Odo for anyone who is arrested and executed, since it is Odo who actually does that. What he didn't count on, however, was Odo living up to his threats of impartiality and fairness, meaning that the Bajorans came to respect and trust Odo rather than scapegoat him for the crimes committed against them.

     Worf's tiny wedding party? 
  • Does Worf not consider the crew of the Enterprise his friends? He didn't invite them to his wedding. Not even his cha'Dich, Picard. Riker invited him to his wedding.
    • There are a couple interesting issues here. The TNG crew not being present could easily be explained away by the war—Starfleet just needed the Enterprise and her command staff elsewhere. It's not as easy to explain why the Rozhenkos weren't there, though the war might have also made travel between Earth and DS9 too dangerous for them to make the trip. Interestingly, the Captain Shelby who was mentioned to be in command of the starship Sutherland was an intentional reference to Elizabeth Shelby from Best of Both Worlds. With Sutherland docked at the station, it seems a little rude for her not to have shown up.
      • Does Worf consider her a friend? after all Worf was far closer to Riker during Best of Both Worlds who spent the majority of the time arguing with Shelby over his jealousy and her mild insubordination. Stands to reason that, fearing he may be seen to be taking sides, Worf barely even spoke to her beyond anything that was strictly business. We certainly don't see him heavily interacting with Shelby on-screen.
      • Are we sure that it was an intentional reference to the Shelby of "Best of Both Worlds" (never given a first name in those episodes, incidentally)? Because I distinctly recall the male pronoun used in the episode, and this transcript seems to agree with me. I don't have the DVD at hand — can somebody check the closed captioning of the DVD and see if it supports this conclusion?
      • According to my source for that factoid, Memory Alpha, Ron Moore, the writer of the episode, stated he was making a reference to Elizabeth Shelby as a bit of Mythology Gag. He didn't know, however, that EU author John Ordover had been promised by the show's writers that they had no intention of using Shelby again. Since canonically making her the captain of the Sutherland would derail a ton of effort that Ordover had put into Shelby's character in his novels, I'd be willing to bet that the pronoun switch was a last minute attempt to avoid torpedoing all of Ordover's hard work.
      • One wonders, then, why not just change the name? Or was this a post-production thing, where it's easier to redub a pronoun than a longer name? In any event, there's really nothing to explain here; whoever this Captain Shelby here (who, as you'll recall, is explicitly mentioned to have some past connection to Dax, not Worf) might be, it's entirely possible that he/she is having briefings or something similar while the crew are enjoys some R&R on the station.
      • That would be my guess. They probably realized the mistake so late in the production process that there wasn't any time for ADR.
    • If you recall the episode, the timeline of the wedding is moved up to accommodate Alexander. That's the reason.

    Where is the Sisko now? 
  • A couple of episodes before the finale, when Sisko has a vision of the Prophet who was his mother, she tells him that his fate is not before him but "behind him". And in the finale, when Kasidy has a vision of Sisko, he tells him that as a Prophet he will exist outside linear time, and that they might meet each other "yesterday". These bits of dialogue seem to hint that when Sisko returns from the wormhole, it will in the past. But in the end we never find out whether Sisko will ever return. So what was the point of those hints? According to Memory Alpha, at some point the writers considered ending the finale with a scene of Benny Russell holding a script for television series called Deep Space Nine in his hand, but that idea was nixed. Were the aforementioned lines hinting towards this ending, that Sisko might come out of the wormhole in the past, as Benny Russell?

    "He is not real!" 
  • In "Badda Bing, Badda Bang", Worf is unwilling to even consider the personhood of Vic Fontaine. Seems like a scorching case of Aesop Amnesia, considering that he knows holograms can be sapient (Moriarty), and worked for 7+ years with another artificial lifeform, namely Data! What the hell, Worf?
    • Worf tends to not put a lot of thought into the things he says. In the episode where Bashir's genetic enhancements are discovered he vigorously defends the Federation's policy that disallows modified humans from serving in Starfleet. When Bashir asks him the obvious question "If that's true, shouldn't I have been forbidden from joining Starfleet?" Worf's only response is "You are an exception." No explanation for why Bashir is the exception, he just is. I imagine he would say the same about Data. Artificial lifeforms aren't people...except for Data. He's an exception...because he is. So there.

    Sisko's unhappiness with the assignment at first 
  • When Sisko and Picard meet the first time Picard notes that Sisko objected to the assignment of Commander of Deep Space Nine, and Sisko replies that he's investigating returning to Earth. Um, aren't most Starfleet assignments, especially those involving command, supposed to be given with the assumption that it will last for years and years? Deep Space Nine's first commander should be assigned with the idea that s/he will be there until Bajor joins the Federation, right? It wouldn't do for Sisko to show up and then leave a month later, right? It sends a bad message to both the Bajorans and the Starfleet staff on the station.
    • I think they thought Bajor's joining the Federation would be quick, so that he could've had it both ways. They didn't realize how fucked the situation was even *before* the dominion and all that stuff.
    • It's Sisko's 'nice' way of saying he thinking about quitting Star Fleet. It appears that as long as you're not actively in the middle of a shit storm, you can quit your post at any time in Star Fleet.

Star Trek: The Next GenerationHeadscratchers/STARTREKStar Trek: Voyager
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