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Nightmare Fuel / Star Trek

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"Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence."
Doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy, Star Trek (2009)

Generally speaking, where British kids had Doctor Who, American kids had Star Trek.

Note: please avoid personal examples, anecdotes and natter. Feel free to tell us about how scary the Borg are, but we don't need to know how they made you hide under the bed.

Television Series:



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    The Movies 
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: The jerkass Energy Being with near-divine powers that was thrown in as its Big Bad. That nearly killed Kirk. Then we have its Villainous Breakdown...
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country:
    • After the Klingon moon explodes in a massive Planar Shockwave, the USS Excelsior is close enough to not only have to ride out the shockwave, but when they scan the moon, they learn that most of it is now simply not there anymore. They then receive one of the more disturbuing Distress Calls in the history of the franchise, a Klingon, surrounded by flames, screaming in panicked Klingon before the signal abruptly cuts off, followed by a Klingon officer tersely messaging them to tell them that there has been an accident, and that Starfleet's assistance is not required.
    Valtane: I have confirmed the location of Praxis, sir, but...
    Sulu: What is it?
    Valtane: I cannot confirm the existence of Praxis.
    • The attack on Gorkon's ship, from the Klingons' point of view. The Enterprise, sent to escort them into Federation space for peace talks, unexpectedly opens fire on them, crippling them and knocking out the Artificial Gravity. Two space-suited assassins beam aboard and begin slowly and methodically marching through the ship, shooting helpless crewmembers as they float in freefall, unable to fight back or seek safety. Once they find their target, they shoot him in the heart, before calmly marching back the way they came and beaming back to their ship. Did we mention that, due to the lack of gravity, the Klingons' blood is left to float in blobs drifting through the air, trailing behind the wounded or dead crewmembers, in a rare exception to the Bloodless Carnage usually seen on Star Trek?
    • Also, the same attack, from the Enterprise crew's point of view. The ship they are escorting is being attacked, and by all indications, it was the Enterprise that did it, with the bridge crew and Mr. Scott urgently shouting at each other unable to agree on what their own conflicting comptuers are telling them, trying to figure out just what the hell is going on before the Klingon ship finally regains control and prepares to open fire on them in evident self defense.
      • When the Klingon battlecruiser recovers and comes nose-to-nose with the unshielded Enterprise, the ship locks photon torpedos and prepares to fire. Kirk just stares, slack-jawed at the view screen for a full ten seconds. This is the first time in the history of Star Trek that we've seen Kirk falter in the command chair. He doesn't order shields up, he doesn't order evasive maneuvers, and he doesn't charge weapons, or anything else we expect him to do. He just sits there, staring. . .and then he surrenders. It's terrifying.
      • What sells that part is the rest of his crew's reaction, especially Valeris', you know, an emotionless Vulcan.
        >Chekov: Shields Captain?
        Chekov: Shields UP, Captain?
        (beat) (Klingon Cruiser is now at point-blank range filling the viewscreen, torpedoes armed)
        Valeris: (with barely contained terror) Captain! OUR SHIELDS!
      • Fridge Logic: The Enterprise has just fired on a ship carrying a diplomat on a mission of peace. There was no warning or provocation. Furthermore, agents from the Enterprise have deliberately murdered most of the crew on that ship, as well as the diplomat in question. It is an act of war, and worse, it is straight up treachery. The Klingons, worshiping honor, would perceive this as a Pearl Harbor-style event, and their revenge would only be satisfied by the complete destruction of the Federation. It would be a galactic war in which trillions might die and the entirety of known space would be dramatically destabilized even in the best-case scenario. The only evidence Enterprise would have to prove their non-complicity would be the ship's records and the crew's testimony, proof that the Klingons would never trust even if it hadn't been tampered with, because James Kirk is vocal about his hate of Klingons. And of course, let's not forget that this *is* being orchestrated by some top brass in Starfleet. Kirk hates the Klingons for personal and professional reasons, but he also understands them. He knows that any hope of proving the innocence of his ship, and of the Federation, would be forfeit in the event that the Enterprise attempts to defend itself or to escape. He is willing to sacrifice his life, his ship and its crew, because that is the only action he can take, under the present circumstances, which might possibly prevent this apocalyptic war. He will permit the Klingons to retaliate uncontested because to do so would subvert the narrative that Kirk ordered the attack out of personal animosity, and the Klingons respected Kirk as a warrior too much to believe he would order such an attack and react that way. Indeed, Kirk is more than happy to surrender himself to the Klingons once presented with the opportunity for the same exact reason he refused to raise shields. Rather than having a Heroic BSoD, Kirk is demonstrating *the* most legitimate act of heroism of the entire franchise.
      • The scene is also a subtle indication of General Chang's fanaticism, because Chang was aboard Qo'noS One at the time of the attack. Considering that Qo'noS One had just sustained heavy damage, and that they were facing a fully-armed and operational Starfleet cruiser commanded by James T. Kirk—a man who eats Klingon battlecruisers as a between-meal snack—the Klingon ship had virtually no chance of winning a firefight with Enterprise, and no reason to expect that Kirk wouldn't defend his ship. This means that General Chang wasn't just willing to die for his cause, he expected to die for it. Keep in mind that this was a plan that he was involved in making. There's something very unsettling about that level of commitment to a warmongering and racist cause.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection. The flesh stretching process of the Son'a. Only somewhat Nightmare Fuel until head baddie Ru'afo betrays Admiral Dougherty, killing him by subjecting him to a flesh stretching machine. Ow.
  • Star Trek: Generations. When Data's newly-installed emotion chip overloads and he goes Laughing Mad, it's creepy as hell.
    • Picard's family, including Jean-Luc idolizing, Cheerful Child René—one of the very few children that Picard actually likes— dying in a goddamned fire.
    • After Picard fails to stop Soran the first time and they're sucked into the Nexus, it winds up destroying the planet they're on. And it just so happens to now include everyone inside the crashed saucer section of the Enterprise. Which means every character we've come to know and love for the past seven years—- Riker, Data, Beverly, Troi, Worf—- they're all dead. We even get to see some survivors crawling out of the ship's remains just as the planet explodes for good measure.

    New Voyages 
  • "Blood and Fire" is about Regulan bloodworms. The ones the Klingons were joking about in "The Trouble with Tribbles". Regulan bloodworms are not funny. Or cute. Or harmless and useful, like the ones in Enterprise. Point of fact, they travel in gigantic swarms, and they eat people alive, and we get to see it.
    • Even the Klingons are clearly terrified of them.


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