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Nightmare Fuel / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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This is why you shouldn't make a Changeling hold their shape for more than 16 hours.

WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.

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    Season 1 

  • The way the series started: the Battle of Wolf 359. Ships swoop in firing at the Borg cube. And then the cube fires back, wrecking all of them with dismissive ease. The Saratoga gets blown to pieces. Sure Jake was knocked unconscious, but what about the other civilians? The ship then explodes as Cmdr. Sisko watches from his escape pod. And the Borg just keep moving....
    • After disabling Saratoga, the Borg seemingly ignore her for the next several minutes. Presumably, with her out of the fight, the Borg simply focused their efforts on swatting the rest of the Federation flotilla. Which meant that the Borg's destruction of the Saratoga a minute or two later indicates how long it took the Borg to destroy or disable over thirty battle-ready starships.
    • The mere fact that at least one of those starships was a lightly-armed Oberth-class, designed for scientific research, shows how friggin' desperate The Federation was to stop the Borg with anything.
      • The fact that the Saratoga even HAD civilians on board while facing the Borg - the Galaxy class ships were designed to saucer separate in part so that the civilians could be evacuated during a battle. That the Saratoga is in conflict with civilians on board implies that they didn't even have time to offload them before entering battle - another indication of how quickly and desperately the armada was assembled, and all the worse for the audience knowing, having seen the aftermath of Wolf 359, all of that death was at best a brief delaying action.
  • In "If Wishes Were Horses", one of Kira's imaginations-made-real has her encounter a corridor in flames, and a man on fire screaming running right at her and make her share his grisly fate before disappearing at the last second.
  • Cardassian atrocities during the Bajoran occupation. In "Duet," Kira describes the horrific conditions at the Gallitep labor camp she helped liberate.
    Kira: All those Bajoran bodies, starved, brutalized. You know what Cardassian policy was? Oh, I'm not even talking about the murder. Murder was just the end of the fun for them. First came the humiliation! Mothers raped in front of their children, husbands beaten until their wives couldn't recognize them, old people buried alive because they couldn't work anymore!
    • The Cardassian attitude towards the Bajorans, chillingly summed up in this monologue:
    Darhe'el (actually Marritza): Oh, no, no, Major, you can't dismiss me that easily. I did what had to be done. My men understood that, and that's why they loved me. I would order them to go out and kill Bajoran scum, and they'd do it! They'd murder them! They'd come back covered in blood, but they felt clean! Now why did they feel that way, Major? Because they were clean!
    • Marritza's monologue also demonstrates a very ugly reality of the occupation. In a future of energy weapons and space travel, the Cardassians who came back from the massacres covered in blood. This means that rather than simply shooting their targets at range with disruptors, the massacre of the Bajorans was bloody, barbaric butchering. These weren't executions, the Bajorans were slaughtered. For all the Cardassian posturing of their cultural and technological superiority, the Cardassian army behaved like primitive savages.
    • The fact that there is a man like Marritza. It is easy to see the Cardassians are evil and wicked, as monsters who invaded Bajor and murdered its people. But Marritza forces Kira and the audience to realize there were victims on their side too... people too scared to do something and now tortured with the knowledge of what happened. How many other 'weak, whimpering' Cardassians are out there, haunted by the pleas of the Bajoran children...
    • Also bear in mind that Major Kira was 14 when she helped liberate the Gallitep labor camp.
  • “In The Hands Of The Prophets” features Keiko’s school on the Promenade being bombed. For a minute, O’Brien faces the real possibility that Keiko was in there, having to be physically restrained by Odo from going in there. The horror is softened by Keiko running up moments later, but there is a moment where you very much fear the worst.
    • As it turns out, the school was empty. But, especially as there have been an increase in real world threats and violence in schools, the thought of a school bombing is all the more real for an audience today than it was in 1993 when the episode first aired.

    Season 2 

  • In "The Jem'Hadar", the titular aliens attack a retreating Galaxy-class starship (the same class as the Enterprise from TNG). And the Jem'Hadar destroy it by ramming it. All to send a message to the Federation, the war goes downhill from there.
    O'Brien: "We were retreating. There was no need for a suicide run."
    Sisko: "They're showing us how far they're willing to go."
    • And it's not just about sending a message either. As we learn later, Jem'Hadar and Vorta are extremely easy to replace and the Founders do not regard their lives as valuable. This means they can afford to think of strategy like they're playing a game all the time. As long as the other guy loses more than they do, the engagement is a success.
    • The Jem'Hadar soldier who comes to DS9 casually walks through a force field like it's not there, then presents a list of vessels that have been destroyed for violating Dominion space. Kira identifies the PADD the list is on as coming from the New Bajor colony in the Gamma Quadrant, which had been mentioned several times throughout the season as a Bajoran victory in their effort post-Occupation. The Jem'Hadar casually acknowledges that the colony was wiped out, though he does praise their efforts in fighting back. The dismissive and casual description of wiping out a colony of people, of Bajorans who'd settled this new world after surviving the Occupation of Bajor...
  • "Whispers". Long story short, the O'Brien narrating the episode is actually a clone, who is killed at the last minute of the episode. The terror is that no one realizes just how perfect a clone he was. Except for the mental command to attack a senator, the clone O'Brien is in no way different from the real one. Same memories, same emotions, and with no evil tendencies. He's just... killed. Unceremoniously. No one in the room cares that he's dying. He did absolutely nothing to deserve his fate. In fact, his efforts to prevent the attack (he didn't realize that he was the one who was supposed to carry it out) are extremely heroic. Dying scared, confused, and alone.
  • Mirror!Odo's messy explosion when Bashir shoots him with a phaser in "Crossover."
  • "Tribunal"
    • Being another "O'Brien must suffer" episode, this has the scene where, after being taken prisoner by the Cardassians, O'Brien is "processed", for a crime he has supposedly committed (except no one will tell him what that crime is). He is ordered to remove his clothes and when he refuses, instead stating his name, and rank, and asserting he is a Federation citizen, he is forced against the wall by two guards who proceed to forcibly rip his clothes off him. He is then forced onto the floor where a retinal scan is taken (and from O'Brien's reaction, it's suggested the scan is painful) before he is dragged to a rather sinister-looking operating table. He briefly tries to escape but is punched in the face by a guard and restrained. Then he appears to be drugged with some sort of hypospray, while a lock of his hair is cut off and a tooth is forcibly removed, without the use of anesthetic. It's even more graphic and unpleasant to watch than what Picard went through with Gul Madred in TNG, and this is before we even get to the mockery of justice that is Cardassian jurisprudence. Earlier in the season, during The Maquis two-parter, Dukat had arrogantly boasted about the "perfection" of the Cardassian legal system (that the verdict is always decided beforehand, it's always guilty, and that "trials" are really nothing more than scripted televised farces designed to show the terrifying power of the Central Command, and also, it's implied, as a twisted form of entertainment for the public who enjoy seeing "justice triumph over evil") except now we actually get to see how terrifying this system actually is.
    • It's only made worse by O'Brien's counsel trying oh so hard to make him throw himself on the mercy of the court. Hearing a proud fascist guilt-tripping an innocent man into confessing to a crime he didn't commit "for the sake of the children" — one of the favorite justifications for real-world fascists — sends chills down the spine.
    • It also makes the plot of "Duet" make sense in a rather sickening way- Maritza thought that he would have a Cardassian-style trial, where he would be told "You're guilty, send him to the execution!" After pointing out all of his crimes, of course, which would expose the cruelties of Cardassia to the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. In a way, it makes it far more heartbreaking what actually happened- he expected he'd only need to keep up the charade for a short time, and his already broken mind shattered completely once the ruse was exposed. He went there to die, to be free of the nightmares... but they didn't play according to the rulebook he knew...
    • O'Brien's Federation comrades are able to defy all odds and prove his innocence. This is great news for O'Brien. It is less great news for his defense counsel, who does not sound like he is being at all metaphorical when he says "they'll kill me."

    Season 3 

  • As shown in the page picture, when Garak tortures Odo using a quantum stasis device in "The Die Is Cast", Odo is unable to regenerate, and his appearance becomes horrific.
    • Psychologically speaking, it's torture for them both - seeing Odo in such agony, to the point that, by the time he reaches the point pictured above, he's barely intelligible, slurring and gargling his words, actually BREAKS Garak before Odo does, as he pleas for Odo to give him ANYTHING he can take to Tain as intelligence ("Tell me something! Anything! Lie if you have to, but say it now! Please.").
    • When Garak finally does shut off the device, Odo immediately goes gelatinous and staggers into the bucket. Even though the effects are 1996 CGI, you can palpably FEEL the pain Odo is in as he struggles the little dignity of getting in to the bucket.
    • And, in the end, the entire affair, the Cardassian-Romulan alliance of the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar, the plot to launch a sneak attack on the Dominion and the Founders, destroy their homeworld... It was doomed from the start, because the Founders had already infiltrated the Tal Shiar (and probably the Obsidian Order as well). Enabran Tain's right hand man, Tal Shiar General Lovok, was a Changeling infiltrator, putting together this plan, getting Tain on board, and he led the amassed fleets to a massacre - all because the Founders wanted to ensure that the threat the two organizations posed was neutralized before they made a move on the Alpha Quadrant.
  • In "Facets", Dax interacts with each of her previous hosts in the person of her friends. Most of these are cute, sweet or funny, but then we get to Joran. Not only does Avery Brooks use an incredibly creepy voice to Hannibal Lecture Jadzia, he uses the security forcefield to Inflict Electric Torture on Sisko. When Jadzia drops the field, Joran/Sisko attempts to strangle Jadzia with one hand. Apparently, there's a take of Joran that's even creepier — because Avery Brooks spoke his lines in a nigh-inaudible whisper which really creeped the directors out, forcing them to re-shoot the scene.

    Season 4 

  • Illnesses and severe injuries to Changeling characters play up the body horror trope. For example, in "Broken Link," Odo has difficulty maintaining solid form due to an infection inflicted on him by the Founders. It's... not pretty.
  • 'Hard Time' brings us the Argrathi 'prison system', which uses implanted memories to compress years of horrific confinement into a matter of minutes. O'Brien gets a full two decades in a couple of hours after being charged with "espionage" (read: asking polite, innocuous technical questions), and the impact it has on him is both heartbreaking and utterly terrifying.
  • In "The Quickening", Bashir thinks he's cured a blight that has affected a planet for centuries. Needless to say, he realises he hasn't when hideous boils start erupting on people's faces and the screaming begins.
  • The "Homefront/Paradise Lost" two-parter. First of all, there's the Antwerp bombing itself, that there could be a terrorist action like it on Earth, the heart of the Federation. Then the discovery of the Changeling cause on camera just before the explosion - the Dominion, the Founders, are on Earth. That's even worse. Sisko and Odo proceed to Starfleet Headquarters, and even demonstrate to the Federation president how easy it can be for a Changeling to enter his very office, with Odo disguised as a briefcase. The first episode of the two-parter does all it can to heighten the fear of a potential Changeling infiltration, to the point of Starfleet being called in to impose martial law after a planet wide blackout...
    • ...and then the second half reveals that the only thing the Changelings did was the bombing itself. The blackout was the responsibility entirely of Admiral Leyton, Sisko's superior and friend. And he used a squad of cadets, one that Nog wanted to be a part of, to cause the blackout. All because he was engaging in a coup attempt - an attempt that led to him ordering the USS Lakota to fire on and potentially destroy the Defiant because of the potential for "Changeling infiltration." And Sisko even manages to buy in to Leyton's attempts at first, to the point of demanding his own father undergo a blood screening to identify if he's a Changeling, and being relieved when his father accidentally cuts himself and bleeds. All in the name of PROTECTING the Federation, by betraying its values.
      • Not only that, but, as Joseph Sisko points out when refusing to be tested, clearly there are ways around the blood screening tests - we saw in last season's "The Adversary" and next season's "Armageddon Rising" that Changelings have ways of faking results, by having imposters frame someone else or replacing Klingons (known to casually shed blood for kicks). Or even this episode, having Sisko's own results faked and making him look like an infiltrator. And yet Starfleet continues to regularly utilize blood screenings to check for infiltrators afterwards, even knowing that it's a very fallible test.

    Season 5 

  • Another 'O'Brien must suffer' episode, 'The Assignment', brings us the very memorable first appearance of the Pah-wraiths. One of them possesses Keiko and uses her as a hostage in an efficient and sadistic manner that's all the more unsettling for how casual it is. The sequence where the Pah-wraith calls O'Brien about his rapidly-approaching deadline whilst combing Molly's hair is especially terrifying.
    • There's also Keiko's side of things.
      Keiko: "It was more like having something coiled around inside my head. I could see and hear through it, but any time I tried to do anything, it was like being stuck in sand and squeezed."
  • "Things Past" is a particularly grim look at the realities of the Occupation of Bajor. Odo, Sisko, Dax, and Garak all get a taste of how powerless Bajorans were under Cardassian rule—penned behind chain-link fences at night, any woman who caught Dukat's eye could be summoned by him to be a Sex Slave while having to assuage his delusions of benevolence, and stuffed into holding cells while guards dispassionately broke their lives with mass sentences to labor camps or Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. It gets more and more horrific, culminating in the public execution of three innocent men while Odo—fair-minded, stubbornly just, expert detective Odo—watches dispassionately.
  • "Business as Usual" at first tries to downplay Quark's role in selling weapons, until his conscience catches up to him in a bad way when a client wants a weapon that can kill 28 million people. He has a nightmare in which the animated corpses of the station staff, including O'Brien holding his dead infant son, accuse him of murdering them. The stress and guilt cause him to take an action which risked his own life just to put an end to this.
  • "...Nor the Battle to the Strong" has Jake knocked out by Klingon shelling. He wakes up on the remnant of a battle, surrounded by bodies of Klingons and Starfleet personnel. At one point, you can see a bat'leth sticking nearly vertical out of a Starfleet corpse.
  • "Empok Nor", we find out just how terrifying Garak really is once you take away the smiling facade. The whole episode is a horror movie in space.
  • In "The Darkness and the Light", in which someone is killing Kira's resistance cellmates, they send her messages saying "That's one", etc. as each person is killed, in a deeply creepy Saw-type distorted voice. Even creepier? They use Kira's voice.
    • There is a dose of Body Horror when we find out who is the killer. It gets worse when we find out that he's like that because of Kira. And there's an uncomfortable dose of Fridge Horror as we find out that she regularly crippled and mutilated Cardassians incidentally as part of her resistance activities. The fact that she found all Cardassians on Bajor - including children and innocent bystanders who never picked up a phaser - legitimate targets just adds to the Nightmare Fuel. Turns out Bajorans and Cardassians aren't that different after all, and not in a good way.
    • Another round of Body Horror ensues earlier in the episode, when the murderer plants a "remat[erialization] bomb" on one of Kira's former resistance friends, which goes off when she and O'Brien try to beam the woman up to a runabout. For added Paranoia Fuel, the device is described as being two cubic millimetres in size, which makes it easy to plant and conceal on the target. And unlike the victim simply vanishing back to their origin point (as happened in The Motion Picture), their remains are left smoldering all over the transporter pad while Kira continues to investigate the cause.

    Season 6 

  • Dukat's obsession with Kira was creep enough to nauseate the actress playing her. The scene in the captain's office during 'A Time To Stand,' where Dukat places his hand on Kira's cheek can easily be seen as a prelude to him attempting to rape her. Remembering that to the Bajorans, Dukat is essentially Hitler makes it unsettling, even before factoring in his relationship with her mother.
    • Gets all the creepier when Ziyal returns to the station and Dukat basically starts trying to turn them into some sort of twisted family unit, with him and Kira as "parents" to Ziyal. And, to Kira's horror, she actually DOES start falling in to that trap for a moment. And, just to put the gross cherry on top, Dukat gets Kira a dress for a dinner between the three of them. Kira rejects it, making Dukat take back the dress... And Dukat immediately turns around and gives the dress to an unaware Ziyal.
  • "Far Beyond The Stars" is just full of terrifying concepts. The denial of freedom, social ghettos, and sickening racial prejudice accompanied by dehumanization being shown as reasonable common everyday occurrences is bad enough, but Ben screaming "I'm a human being!" and ranting in despairing protest is highly disturbing in more ways than one. That it really brings home the horrifying reality of being stuck in a world where you are treated as subhuman and inferior just because of your skin color (or gender... or any other distinguishing genetic feature/s which manifests in a phenotype that contributes to appearance) is just an added bonus, of course. The accompanying Fridge Horror that even nowadays racial tensions in America are still a serious social undercurrent is just not helpful.
    • Let's not mince words: This WAS reality. This isn't subtext, this isn't metaphor, and hell, this was probably a sanitized version of how life would have been for a black man in the 1960s. Meaning within the lifetime of plenty of the audience. This wasn't some alien culture, this is humanity's face. To deny it is to deny our own history.
  • Garak's handling of Tolar, the holo-forger from "In the Pale Moonlight." The episode makes much of Garak's assassination of Vreenak, a Romulan senator, but for that Garak required Sisko's full, albeit unwitting, cooperation. In contrast, Garak "disappeared" Tolar, off-screen and without attracting attention from ANYONE, not even Odo, over the course of two days. It's only realized he did so when Sisko makes the disturbed inference that this side of Garak would never allow dangerous witnesses to live past their usefulness.
    • Garak did get this himself earlier in the episode when Sisko wants him to use his old contacts on Cardassia to get some information. Garak reaches out to spread the word... and just one day after talking to him, every one of his contacts is dead. While he tries to be light talking about it, it's clear Garak is rocked that just knowing him constitutes a death sentence on the Dominion-run Cardassia. Although it's Implied that Garak was just saying this to manipulate Sisko, that level of manipulation and intrigue carries its own Nightmare Fuel.

    Season 7 

  • "Covenant" throws Dukat's creepy personality into the mix to make him an all-too-believable Jim-Jones-style cult leader. What's most nightmarish of all about this cult is that they're not kidding and neither is Dukat (though he's not being straight with them about his actual motives for serving the Pah-wraiths either). As Kira states at the end of the episode, he really does believe in his new-found religion, which just makes him all the more dangerous.
  • The morphogenic virus created by Section 31 deals a serious dose of body horror to Odo and the Female Changeling in the latter episodes of season 7. Their physical deterioration is visually disturbing.
    • And made even more disturbing when you compare the deterioration with that of smallpox (thankfully an eradicated disease) and leprosy (that is not eradicated, and still difficult to treat).
  • In "Field of Fire", when the insane Vulcan murderer is revealed, he says he committed his crimes because it was logical.
    • Another creepy moment happens when Ezri and the villain, both using guns which can see through walls, find themselves aiming at each other, at the exact same time, from all the way across the freaking station.
    • Also, their weapons, the TR-116: guns that can see through walls, have integral silencers, and, with a small modification, can teleport bullets.
      • And if you think it's bad, let's add Fridge Logic: as the miniature transporter attachment isn't readily apparent, O'Brien was apparently aware of it, and the sensors could be useful only for that, there are strong hints it was intended to act with the transporter. Then, let's examine another feature of the gun: it used large 9-10mm subsonic rounds, too slow and short-ranged for combat use without the transporter attachment (that could be easily jammed in combat condition) and large enough that the magazine could only hold 2-3 of them at a time. What can you use a short-ranged sniper rifle with pistol-caliber teleporting ammunition and a small magazine whose transporter can be easily jammed? Hostage situations... Or assassinations. And it was built by the Federation. Let's just hope the transported attachment was an addition to the design and the sensors that can see through the walls were just added by a designer showing off...
      • One can imagine that the TR-116 was designed with the Borg in mind, given that Star Trek: First Contact shows that projectile weapons are a vulnerability for them. Now first imagine in what scenarios would this actually get put into practical applications - Borg invasions of a Starfleet ship or facility? A covert mission to deal with the Queen? No matter how you look at it, however... If you're only getting two or three shots, you're probably not going to be expected to put up enough of a fight. So, are you killing drones - or killing your own people to avoid secure knowledge from getting into the hive mind? On top of that, however... No weapon has been shown to be completely beyond the Borg's capability to adapt to. Right now, projectiles work. What happens when the Borg begin giving their drones kinetic shields, in addition to the traditional force fields?
    • Serial killing aside, the targeting sensor alone introduces another level of Fridge Horror: it allows the user to look into someone else's private quarters without that person's consent, or even knowledge. Power Perversion Potential, anyone?


  • The Pah-wraiths in general, in fact, are just plain creepy, as are their followers.
  • The Breen. They only appear in a handful of episodes, but they certainly make an impact. For one, their technology is different, more advanced, than anything the Alliance has, able to destroy the Defiant in only five minutes. Second, we know NOTHING about them; their culture, motives, even what they look like under those suits, all are left mysterious. And finally, we don't even know what they're saying. The Universal Translator seems to translate their speech, but it's all R2-D2 Speak to the audience. All we take from them is what we see: they're clever, unpredictable killing machines with absolutely zero mercy. The Breen epitomize Nothing Is Scarier.
    • The first Breen contribution to the Dominion's war effort is to launch a successful raid on Earth—the heart of the Federation, and a planet so heavily fortified that the Klingons never even considered attacking it.
      • Except the Klingons did nearly launch an attack on Earth, as shown in the first season finale of Star Trek: Discovery. That said, with the Empire highly fragmented at the time, the records might have been lost to history over the intervening century-or-so.
  • The Reveal that the Changelings had infiltrated the Federation. "It's too late; we're everywhere."
    • While Sisko is dealing with dissension within Starfleet that's led to martial law, a Changeling (in the form of nice, fun O'Brien no less) stops by just to taunt him. "What if I told you that at this moment there are only four Changelings on this planet? And look at the havoc we have wrought."
      • And the reveal that the Founders weren't even directly responsible for the damage done in that episode.
  • That lovely scene when the Bajoran woman hangs herself on the crowded Promenade.
    • It really hits home in the almost anachronistic method of it all. Vedek Yasim puts a rope around her neck, ties it to the balcony, and lets herself fall. In a show where the deaths are usually caused by phasers and disrupters, the way that she kills herself in the same way that someone could do so today is all the more jarring.
  • The Dominion has "Houdini" anti-personnel mines, which hide in subspace and make you "disappear" — at a randomly chosen instance, not by predictable rules. So basically, if you have no way to detect them, nowhere is safe anywhere they've been laid, even places you've passed hundreds of times.
    • There's Fridge Horror in this, too. Houdinis were poor anti-personnel devices, and absurdly bad area-denial weapons; they exist only as weapons of terror—designed to torture the Starfleet personnel with constant stress and paranoia.
    • What makes the most horrifying scene of all involving them so awful is that the horror is retroactive; you may just feel the need to recite an expletive when Sisko & company finally get their device working to strip away the mines' concealment, and you get to see just how many of them there were. Not even counting the ones that had already detonated.
  • Q's simulation/reenactment in "Q-Less" of what would have happened to Vash from her insect bite if he hadn't cured her. Seems unusually cruel for Q (at least to humanoids), even if he was about to cure her again.
  • "Second Skin," a solid hour of Gaslighting. Kira wakes up as a Cardassian - yes, Kira, who fought in the Bajoran resistance for years - and is told, for days, that her whole life as a Bajoran has been a lie and that she was born Cardassian, with her captor continuously giving her stories and evidence until she reaches a Despair Event Horizon. So messed up.
  • When the team go to save Kira in "Second Skin," Entek tries to shoot them in the back while they're leaving. Quick as a shot Garak fires first, disintegrating him, then casually comments "Pity; I rather liked him," before hurrying off, leaving Kira and Odo to share an aghast look.
    • Throughout the series, whenever Garak kills someone, he always does it with a pleasant, but deeply unsettling smile on his face.
    • For that matter, his willingness to kill (or indeed, allow people to die) to resolve a situation always horrifies the people around him, even those (like Kira) who are used to death and using killing to attain a goal.

  • In its way, the look on Kira's face as she walks down the corridor to Odo's quarters at the end of "Behind The Lines," after Odo failed to deactivate the security monitors leading to Rom's arrest by the Dominion. There is a look of absolute fury and murder in her eyes, and she POUNDS on the door panel to his quarters to demand admittance. Considering that Odo is one of her best friends, the fact that this is directed towards him specifically...
    • Even more unsettling is the fact that Odo, who has been in love with her for years and values her good opinion of him more than almost anything, is so caught up in linking with the Female Changeling that he isn't bothered by this at all, and reveals to her that he didn't deactivate the security monitors because he didn't care anymore. It's deeply, deeply creepy.
      Female Changeling: Did she upset you?
      Odo: No, not really.
  • In one episode, Keiko notices that O'Brien is drinking coffee in a recording and decides that it's fake because O'Brien doesn't drink coffee in the afternoon. However, despite the recording being fake and them saving the day, the episode ends with O'Brien stating that he absolutely drinks coffee in the afternoon sometimes. Kind of funny, but also Fridge Horror — if she had known his habits a little better, she never would have realized the recording was fake (which was true, even if her reason for thinking so was wrong) and Sisko wouldn't have showed up in time to save O'Brien and Bashir from getting killed.
    • Bit creepier if you consider that this is a show with, as mentioned above, aliens capable of possessing people against their will, shapeshifters who can kidnap and replace you without even your closest acquaintances noticing, and of course, Q.
  • In "Crossover", humans (aka Terrans) are enslaved and thought of as soulless. Quark's executed for showing sympathy to them, Sisko is heartless, Odo has no respect for humans, and Molly has never been born.
  • In "Visionary", O'Brien has radiation poisoning that is making him see the future. Trouble is, he keeps seeing Bad Futures. He saw his own death twice and the station's destruction (with several people still on it) once.
  • In "Distant Voices", Bashir is in a coma, on an imagined version of the station, with an alien trying to kill him and himself undergoing Rapid Aging. Another alien, pretending to be Garak, keeps trying to make him doubt himself. Thankfully, Bashir doesn't listen to the doubt alien.
  • In "Waltz" Sisko is trapped on a planet with Dukat, who's hallucinating — imagine being trapped on a (probably uninhabited) planet with a sadistic villain having a repeated mental breakdown. Plus Sisko was badly injured in the crash that stranded them, and is both reliant on Dukat for survival and unlikely to be able to fight him off. Yipes!
  • Tying in to the above mention of Vedek Yasim's suicide, we have Kira's realization in that episode - the Dominion and Cardassians may not have reopened the ore processors, Bajorans may not be executed in the street on the whim of a Cardassian, the labor camps haven't reopened, but this is still an occupation, and, as she sits there, as invaders walk outside her door, as the Federation and Klingons fight the Dominion on multiple fronts (and having to retreat from them), her inaction makes her a collaborator. It's a perfect encapsulation of the sheer mundanity of evil - the more you're surrounded by it, the more you're inured to it, the less it fazes you, the less action you feel you need to take. It's chilling to realize how passive and numb one can become when, day in and day out, you're faced with these horrors, and, as it goes on, it just stops impacting you and you go about your business.
    • A more unnerving aspect relates to an unpleasant parallel that can be drawn to a character in a previous episode. A Bajoran politician had come to Deep Space 9 to petition for the right to return to Bajor, due to having been exiled for collaborating with the Cardassians during the occupation, signing lists of names of Bajorans who would be worked to death in the mines. Despite knowing of the suffering that the occupiers were inflicting on others and that many were fighting to oppose it, he never spoke a word in protest, and even Gul Dukat called him "His favorite Bajoran" because he always did as he was told. Now the entire Bajoran race was doing something similar, capitulating to a conqueror to protect themselves, while others suffer and die for the sake of their eventual liberation, and now Kira herself was playing the role of Dukat's "Favorite Bajoran". And yet, when the Dominion came, the Bajoran people did the same thing, knowingly trading their own safety for the blood of others. And worst of all, Kira being Dukat's "Favorite Bajoran", albeit for very different reasons.
  • In "The Dogs of War", Odo's sheer unbridled fury at the Federation allowing Section 31 to unleash their tailored plague on the Founders, and moreover using him as the carrier to infect the Founders through the Great Link. Worse, when he goes to Sisko for an explanation, the captain uncomfortably tells him that while the Federation Council objected to Section 31's actions, they won't give the Founders the cure because they're afraid it will prolong the war. That the idealistic Federation we know and love has come to this after two years of war with the Dominion is downright chilling.
    Odo: Interesting, isn't it? The Federation claims to abhor Section 31's tactics, but when they need the dirty work done, they look the other way. It's a tidy little arrangement, wouldn't you say?
  • The Romulan performance during the Dominion War. During TNG we've grown used to them being sneaky but not that dangerous, so we don't get why Klingons and Federation have an undercurrent of fear about them and the Dominion wanted them neutral... And then they unleash a series of devastating defeats on the Dominion, to the point Odo is more worried of what they'll do with the Federation and Klingon worlds they liberated from the Dominion during their initial offensive, explaining why nobody wanted to get on their bad side.
    • The fact they just gave back the liberated worlds as soon as Federation and Klingons showed up to reclaim them isn't scary... Until you realize why they did it: to show they can take them back whenever they want next war.
  • The Female Changeling showing actual fury at the realization that the Cardassian people are raising up against the Dominion. In a very casual grip, she grabs Legate Broca (the token Cardassian functionary who is more of a Dominion puppet than Damar ever was) by the throat and casually condemns the lives of everyone in Lakarian City to death - and reminds the viewer how dangerous a Changeling can be, even if they are unable to shapeshift.
  • In "Statistical Probabilities", the Jack Pack, a group of highly intelligent genetically-engineered humans, give us their long-term projections for the Dominion War: The Federation has no chance of winning and 900 billion people will die if the conflict continues. As such, the only smart thing to do would be immediate surrender. They determine that, after five generations of Dominion rule over the Alpha Quadrant, an Earth-based rebellion will overthrow them and establish a stronger Federation... the very same conclusion that Dukat and Weyoun reached a few episodes earlier, and the reason Weyoun concluded that the Dominion should completely sterilize earth after their victory.
  • "Strange Bedfellows" ends with Kai Winn turning away from the Prophets and choosing the Pah-wraiths. Throughout her previous appearances, she's been a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who acts with Holier Than Thou Sugary Malice that's creepy enough, but her final speech in this episode casts all of that away and shows her true self-serving, egotistical darkness.
    • Winn in general has many shades of this, mostly in the fact that she is a very real, very mundane evil - the evil of zealotry. She dresses it up in the robes of the cloth, attaining the rank of Vedek before her introduction, and ends up elevated into the highest position in the Bajoran religion, a religion that most Bajorans we meet in the franchise have some level of belief in, is frequently consulted on matters of politics, even attempts to take the political position of First Minister at one point. And it cannot be argued that she is a zealot - her introduction featured her as a conspirator, plotting to lure a rival out in the open in order to assassinate him, and then abandoned her catspaw to the wolves once the effort failed. And it's what makes her turning from the Prophets all the more chilling - the Prophets, in not speaking to her after the message from the Pai-wraiths, are conveying that she must step down from the position as Kai. So, when faced with the decision of following the religion that she has devoted her life to and has reached the ascendancy of, or turn from them, embrace their devils, and hold on to power... She cannot conceive of surrendering power. If her gods won't give her power, if they don't want her to retain it, then she denounces them for ones who will.