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     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.
    • I'm more interested as to why they had to dismantle the weapon if no one was to have knowledge of its working. Couldn't they just flung it into a star, or disperse it with a transporter? Surely there were other ways than to spend a week trying to destroy the weapon by finding the right frequency and then killing everyone involved. Also, we've seen memory manipulation technology multiple times - that would have wiped their memories and not lead to a conflict with the Federation.
  • My favorite example of state-sponsored murder having no consequences on the show occurs 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.
      • IIRc they waited until just after the ship left Bajoran space. Sisko complains about it and the Romulans make that point.
      • After watching the episode again, there's nothing that conclusively states whether or not the ship was still in Bajoran space. Dialogue only tells us is that his ship had departed DS9 slightly more than two minutes before it exploded, and that it had been traveling at sub-light speed during that time. Since the explosion was clearly and immediately visible to Garak and Odo, we can infer that the ship hadn't traveled very far by Star Trek standards, but not if it was still in Bajoran territory.
    • Let's put this another way: The intelligence service of one superpower infiltrated a military base operated by a rival superpower—on foreign soil, though it may be—and planted a bomb on a ship that was docked there. It's not just an act of state-sponsored murder, it's an act that has a real potential to lead to an armed conflict.
      • One assumes this is just the kind of case where the Federation is apt to say, "Well, that was certainly wrong but since no Federation citizens were involved, let's not worry ourselves too much..." Further, nothing conclusively says that it was on DS9 that the Romulans planted the bomb — it could have been there all along, but not activated till after he left the station. Because of the relative smallness of this incident (not to mention the course of events immediately following), it's easier to justify than many similar cases.

     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.
    • The Prophets didn't say Sisko couldn't get married. They just said if he did it would cause sorrow. Because they knew what was going to happen to him.
    • Additionally, out of universe, the ultimate fate of Sisko was that he was going to ascend to be with the Prophets, in effect, dying at the end of the show. It wasn't until the finale that Avery Brooks learned of this, reading the script, and brought up the Unfortunate Implications of a black man leaving behind his pregnant wife, and it was rewritten to say that Sisko intended to return. So the Prophets warning against him marrying Kassidy, potentially even a warning against him having a child with her, was a warning of him being fated to die soon, that he, The Sisko, would not have the happy life with the woman he loves and the child they conceived that he had been expecting at that point, a way of telling him, metaphorically, "clean up any loose ends, your head's on the chopping block." So this ends up being a dire bit of overreaction in the end, but originally meant to be a foretelling of his impending demise.

     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.
      • Who's to say Sisko could have done anything to them if he'd wanted to? He knows they have the ability to abduct people from their quarters without a trace and stick them in some other dimension or version of reality. Would the brig hold them? What might they be capable of if he offended them? Best to smile and hope they go away peacefully.
      • And don't forget, the whole thing was Quark's fault in the first place.

    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 defense 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.
    • The surprising thing to me was that the Bajorans seemed to treat her as though she died, and we never heard from or about her again. Beloved as she was, you'd think they would have tried to stay in touch with her. Even if she could never leave the planet, she could write encyclicals or whatever Kais do when they're not grabbing people's ears. When there were disputes over things like Bajor's leadership or whether to enter the Federation, you'd think both sides would be going to her (when the wormhole was open) seeking her endorsement.
    • Star Trek Online finally wrapped up this plot point. Bashir had apparently been working on a fix for the microbes as one of his many projects for years, and because they need to bring Opaka back, he, the player character, and Kai Kira return to the planet. Opaka has, in fact, been able to negotiate a peace so Bashir is able to "cure" the nanites without moral issue, and Opaka returns to Bajor and resumes her position, with Kira stepping down to assume a Captaincy in Starfleet. The Enis and Nol-Enis presumably return to Bajor with Opaka.

    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.
    • Did the episode mention anything about treaties with the Tamnians? If not, and her pregnancy and entire relationship with the father was under Tamnian law (especially if it was all on his planet), then she may not have any legal legs to stand on.
    • One of the things the Federation stands on is respecting the laws and customs of non-Federation worlds. They can't just say "screw you, we're ignoring your law" when an ambassador is involved.
      • Especially one who comes from an at least partially matriarchal society (Mr. Troi) & has already had to deal with a fussy social system as seen in "Cost of Living".

     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?
    • Go back and watch the episode again. The Hunters do not "fire" on the station, they use a radiation pulse to knock down the shields. The fire fight on the promenade is entirely one-sided. The hunters have to fend off a dozen phasers while not returning fire at all. Only one hunter fires a single shot: the take out the door and gain access to the security office.
      • A related question, however, is how the heck the "prime directive" applied, here? Isn't that only for pre-warp civilizations?
    • 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.
    • It's a case of "no harm, no foul," surely the unofficial rule of DS9 in these early episodes.
    • Additionally, DS9 is, at this point, still undergoing the basic work of turning it from an ore processing facility to something more resembling a typical starbase. The station's defenses are still minimal - they only had SIX photon torpedos in Emissary, all of which were used in Kira's efforts to bluff the Cardassians. Even assuming that the weapons systems were getting the upgrades we would later see, those upgrades would be in the earliest stages of implementation. The station simply had no method of defending itself that wasn't relying on the ships - kicking the Hunters off the station would have just led to them being able to start opening fire on the station until they battered the shields down anyway. Practically, Sisko's hands were tied by the limitations of what he could do to back up his authority when the Hunters tried to start the conflict, with the station being rather toothless at that point.

     Why call them Prophets? 
  • Why are the deities worshiped by the Bajorans called the "Prophets?" A prophet is an individual who communicates with a deity. Sisko's role as the Emissary is literally that of a prophet. Saying that the Bajorans worship the Prophets is like saying that Muslims worship Muhammad, or that the leader of their country is an ambassador.
    • The Prophets are never presented as creator deities: they are expressly described as shepherding or helping a Bajor that already existed when they first revealed themselves to the Bajorans. Nearly every time their impact is described, it involves both spiritual and practical teaching and guidance, and one term for someone who teaches about existential issues is "prophet". As for Bajoran theology on matters such as the creation of the universe and the afterlife and whether a deity is involved: almost nothing is revealed.
      • Historically in real life, many religions have been fairly indifferent to the origins of the universe or the planet and focus on intermediary spiritual entities rather than the creator god(s).
    • Maybe they hold that there is a higher level of divinity that the Prophets have one foot in and link the material universe to it, perhaps with its own deity that Shall Not Be Named or something similar. It's not like the series ever really goes into detail.
    • Maybe because one of the main bases for their faith is the Orbs—through an orb experience, you generally see the past or the future, right? Meaning that the beings who give those experiences, through the orbs, are like prophets.
    • This troper always took the term more in its original linguistic sense of "someone who tells what will happen," as opposed to being the mouthpiece for the supernatural. In other words, in Bajoran religion, the primary (emphasized) characteristic of their Gods is that they communicate the future (or sometimes the past, or what is otherwise outside the realm of mortal knowledge) - this is notably what the orbs do for example. Translation Convention also possibly applies, since "Prophet" may be the closest English translation of the native Bajoran term, but may not be saddled with the same kinds of implications.
      • It may not even be a translation issue, Prophet may very well be a Bajoran word that just happens to also mean something in english.
    • Probably for the same reason the hourglass-shaped devices are called "orbs".
    • This is given a handwave in season 1 or 2. Sisko notes to Jake that the Prophets basically exist outside of time and do not perceive past, present, and future the way humans and Bajorans and so forth do. The line goes something like, "That could be considered prophetic."

     The Q are worried about humans but not the Dominion? 
  • Q, as well as some of the Continuum as a whole, seemed extremely worried about what humans would do if they ventured too far away from their planet. They seem to only begrudgingly allow humanity- or even the federation as a whole- explore past the previous boundaries. Yet they don't seem to object to the Dominion walking all over the Alpha quadrant? True, they had some internal conflicts going on as seen on Voyager, but that doesn't mean they couldn't be paying attention. It's doubtful the Dominion would have had any means to resists if Q popped in and started snapping his fingers, yet he lets billions die without once objecting.
    • The Q were concerned about humanity's capacity to be more than just another materialistic race. Apparently they are not concerned about the Dominion in that regard.
    • I think it has more to do with the potential for growth and evolution. Humans seek to grow, to learn, to be more than they were yesterday. The Dominion thinks itself perfect, They don't seek to grow, or to be more, they think themselves gods and servants, already perfect. Even if left unchecked, they won't grow as a culture or race, unlike Humanity, who keeps advancing day by day.