Meanwhile, the Defiant has been disabled and commandeered by a strike team of Jem'Hadar soldiers, and the crew must struggle to take back control of the ship, or destroy it before it can be delivered into the hands of the Dominion.
- The Air Not There: Averted. O'Brien suggests beaming out of the shrunken runabout to readjust the Defiant's computer controls, but Bashir tells hims he would suffocate, as his lungs couldn't process the normal-sized air molecules outside. Apparently the air molecules inside the runabout have shrunk with it, though, as they are still able to breath there. So they use the air from the runabout to breathe outside it.
- Audience Surrogate: Kira laughing her nose-wrinkles off at the start of the episode. It was Ron Moore's way of saying "Don't take this premise too seriously."
- Badass on Paper: The Alphas have been engineered to be superior combatants in their environment than their counterparts hatched in the Gamma Quadrant. They have been designed specifically to fight and win against the Dominion's Alpha Quadrant enemies. They're also the reason that the crew won the day, mostly because they're overconfident and unwilling to listen to the more experienced Gammas.
- Both Sides Have a Point: Downplayed; the Second's desire to get rid of Sisko and the Defiant crew at the earliest possible opportunity turns out to be a good call, but the First is also quite right to point out that Sisko would be a valuable prisoner, and that they lack the technical knowledge to repair the Defiant in any reasonable amount of time, which in turn would run the risk of Starfleet realizing that something's wrong and sending another ship to investigate. On every other point, however, the First is shown to be completely and utterly in the wrong.
- Breather Episode: A Fantastic Voyage Episode following one of the heaviest episodes in the series. Unusually, the lighter episode features the main conflict of the series whereas the heavier episode was a stand-alone story that was All Just a Dream.
- Call-Back: The Jem'Hadar Second, one of the Gamma Quadrant veterans, is referred to as an Honored Elder, meaning he survived at least twenty years of service.
- Destructo-Nookie: Joked about by Bashir:O'Brien: Don't hit [the door button] too hard. You could shatter the control panel.
Dax: Don't worry. I have a light touch.
Bashir: Not according to Worf.
(O'Brien and Dax glare at him)
- Didn't Think This Through: Jadzia beams a bubble of compressed air into an airtight circuit box so Bashir and O'Brien can have thin oxygen for 20 minutes, but none of them think to use spacesuits or life-support belts instead.
- "Die Hard" on an X: In this instance, it's the Defiant that gets taken over rather than Deep Space 9.
- Ensign Newbie vs Sergeant Rock: the dynamic between the Alpha and Gamma Jem'Hadar. The original Gamma Jem'Hadar were more of an occupation force in the Dominion's home territories, so they're a lot more by-the-book and strict about protocol. Faced with the unpredictable independent races of the Alpha Quadrant, the Founders bred the new Alpha Jem'Hadar to be more independent-minded, so that they'll display more combat initiative instead of just robotically following orders. The Alphas were bred to replace the losses of the older Gammas, and are instantly put in command over more experienced troops: the lead Gamma in this episode is an Honored Elder, one of the few Gammas who has survived twenty years of service, but the new lead Alpha was promoted to replace him as the new First of their unit, despite none of the Alphas being in service for more than one year. The problem is that the Alphas may have more initiative, but they're not as experienced as the Gammas, making them brash and reckless.
- Failed a Spot Check: One of the Jem'Hadar doesn't notice the runabout (which, while small, is still about matchbox-sized) hovering two inches from his face.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Sort of. Jadzia gets to fly a very tiny runabout through the ducts of the Defiant, while Bashir and O'Brien reconfigure a computer from the inside.
- Gunship Rescue: A rare instance of the gunship in question being small enough to fit in a bread box.
- Honor Before Reason: The mortally injured Second demonstrates this attitude with his dying words. Despite clearly having a far better handle on the situation than the First, he refused to deviate from the Jem'Hadar's creed that "Obedience is victory, and victory is life" — no matter how much he believed the First to be leading them into disaster, he felt it would be a worse crime to disobey his orders.
- Ignored Expert: The Second is one of the most savvy Jem'Hadar out there. Too bad for him all of his advice falls on deaf ears.
- Interservice Rivalry: There is tension between the arrogant Jem'Hadar engineered to be better warriors in the Alpha Quadrant, who have been given command of the strike force, and the veteran 'Gammas.' Sisko, of course, plays them against each other.
- Irony: The Second's dying words are an attempt to recite the Jem'Hadar creed "Obedience brings victory, and victory is life," even though his obedience to his First brought defeat and death.
- Laugh Themselves Sick: Major Kira tries valiantly not to laugh at the idea of shrinking three people "to the size of coffee cups," but is quickly overwhelmed by the absurdity; Sisko joins in, but manages to keep his dignity.
- Neck Snap: Worf takes out at least one Jem'Hadar this way.
- No Sense of Humor: Quark is amazed that Odo joins him in teasing Bashir and O'Brien, and invokes this trope almost verbatim.
- Not Quite Back to Normal: Related to the above trope. At the end of the episode, Odo tells Bashir and O'Brien that they seem to be a few centimeters shorter than before, which Quark agrees with, causing them to run to the infirmary. Afterwards, Odo and Quark step down from the half-ledge they were on.
- Not So Above It All:
- After calling out Kira for laughing, Sisko joins in heartily.
- At the end of the episode, Odo pranking Bashir and O'Brien.
- Oh, Crap!: It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but the Alpha's "WTF?" reaction to coming face-to-face with the shrunken runabout. (See the above image.)
- Old Soldier: The Gamma Number Two. Not that the new Alpha leader cares to listen to his advice.
- Painful Rhyme: Worf's poem is full of them, if the opening couplet is anything to go by:Worf: This is the story of a little ship, that took a little trip.
- Subverted when it turns out that he hasn't actually written anything.
- Plot Armor: A console explodes on a Red Shirt? He's Dead, Jim!note The same console explodes on Kira? Yeah, she'll be all right.
- Saying Too Much: The Second realizes this after complaining about the First in front of Sisko.Ixtana'Rax: He is an Alpha, I am a Gamma. His DNA and psychological profile are specifically designed for combat in this quadrant. The Founders believe that makes him a better leader.
Sisko: What do you believe?
Ixtana'Rax: ("I'm an idiot" face) I believe I've given you enough information already.
- Skewed Priorities:
- The Defiant has been heavily damaged behind 'enemy' lines, the warp drive is off line, there is a shipful of human prisoners who are prone to fighting back, and none of the Jem'Hadar know how to get the ship working again. The first order the First gives? Remove the chairs from the Bridge, since Jem'Hadar don't like to sit down.
- As much as the First's decisions lead to disaster, it would never have become an issue if the Vorta commanding them had just thought to tractor the Defiant into Cardassian territory, where they could have put her in a dry dock and inspected the ship at their leisure. Instead, he just leaves a unit of Jem'Hadar to get the Defiant up and running by themselves, while he (and presumably the rest of the Jem'Hadar under his command) proceeds on their original mission to attack a Federation mining colony — and we never even find out the outcome of that attack, leaving no indication as to whether or not it was worth it.
- Taking You with Me: Sisko's backup plan is to sabotage the warp drive so that the Defiant will explode at warp speed, killing all of the Jem'Hadar.
- That's What I Would Do: How the Second predicts what Sisko's up to. Not that the First cares to listen.
- There's No Kill Like Overkill:
- When the main characters retake the ship, Dax, O'Brien and Bashir have the Rubicon firing its miniaturized torpedoes to take out individual Jem'Hadar around the engine room. Considering that photon torpedoes canonically carry antimatter warheads as their payloads, the results should really be a lot messier. note
- Photon Torpedos are usually variable yield, so when you arm them you can decide how much antimatter to place inside the warhead for the detonation size you want. So the Rubicon could shoot small torpedoes at the Jem'Hadar with little damage to the ships' bulkheads as shown, though even with variable yield it should have been large holes in the bodies of the Jem'Hardar who got hit.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Quark and Odo join together in teasing Bashir and O'Brien at the end, despite all their mutual antagonism before, after, and during this episode.
- Warrior Poetry: A Klingon tradition. Who knew?
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The Second repeatedly suggests killing Sisko and the crew, rather than giving them an opportunity to escape.
- The Inside of This Console Is Just Awesome: Bashir compares it to an "optronic forest."
- The Worf Effect: Looks like it when the new Alpha Jem'Hadar take over the Defiant (the Trope Namer even beats himself up over it), but Subverted when Sisko and his crew take it back.
- Worthy Opponent:
- Not the First, whose arrogant stupidity cost the Dominion the fight, but the Second, who gives the correct advice every time and would have been a No-Nonsense Nemesis. Sisko acknowledges it at the end.
- The Second acknowledges Sisko as one, even recognizing when he has been tricked by Sisko into revealing the schism between the Alphas and the Gammas.Second: I know what he's thinking because it's exactly what I would be doing in his position.
- While not his opponent, the Vorta shows respect for the Jem'Hadar Elder by looking directly at him instead of off to the side as he did with the First.