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  • Abandoned Area: Empok Nor, an abandoned Cardassian space station of the same class of Deep Space Nine.
  • Abandoned War Child:
    • The Cardassians left behind a number of half-Cardassian children on Bajor during the Occupation, most of them not consensual due to forced prostitution or outright rape. The children face considerable Half-Breed Discrimination due to their fathers being part of the occupying army. Recurring Character Tora Ziyal is one such case, fathered by Dukat on one of his Bajoran mistresses.
    • "Cardassians" also reveals that a number of full-blood Cardassian children became separated from their parents during the withdrawal.
  • Abandon Ship: Several times, notably in the series intro, which takes place during the Battle of Wolf 359 and features the USS Saratoga in flames as her passengers and crew get to the shuttles to escape. Commander Sisko is forced to leave his wife's body behind.
    • Similarly, the titular ship's crew in the episode Valiant abandon ship in the episode's climax, with the Dominion forces destroying many of the life pods (though it's not clear if this was intentional, or just because they were still pummeling the ship into its constituent subatomic particles; in a later episode the Female Founder told her soldiers specifically to let the life pods escape, so that the survivors would spread terror when they retold the story of their defeat.)
    Chief Collins: The Captain wanted us to-
    Ensign Nog: The Captain is dead, Chief. They're all Dead. The ship is lost. There's no need for us to die here too.
    • And a variation in the Season 5 finale, with the Starfleet personnel abandoning Deep Space Nine, but not because it's in danger of being destroyed, but rather because they can't hold it against the Dominion. The Bajoran militia destroy the station's computer systems as soon as the Starfleet personnel are clear.
    Kira Nerys: Dukat wanted the station back? He can have it.
    • The Defiant had to be abandoned a couple times as well, notably in "The Search, Part I" (in which Odo and Kira get to a shuttle while Sisko and Bashir get to a separate one off-camera (though it turns out they actually were captured and the Alpha Quadrant events of Part II are all taking place in a simulated reality); and also in "The Changing Face of Evil", after the Defiant is hit by the Breen's energy-dampening weapon (this time, the ship is actually destroyed).
    Weyoun (staring directly into the camera): "Poor Captain Sisko. I believe he was quite fond of that ship."
  • Aborted Arc:
    • During the first half of season 7, we learn that Quark is in love with Ezri, and it's even hinted the latter might reciprocate. But later on this arc is completely dropped without any resolution, and when Ezri is eventually paired with Julian, Quark doesn't comment on it at all.
    • The Alpha Quadrant Jem'Hadar/Gamma Quadrant Jem'Hadar rivalry, which is dropped after its only mention in "One Little Ship".
  • Accidental Rhyme: In the episode "Behind the Lines", Quark has to practically drink Damar under the table to get secrets out of him. When he meets up with his friends to tell them, he's drunk enough to make lame jokes.
    Quark: I just shared a bottle of kanar with Damar. [He giggles and collapses onto a seat] That rhymes! [More giggling]
  • Accordion to Most Sailors: In the Star Trek universe, Klingons treat space travel more like sailing than most races, and have acted as pirates. On Deep Space Nine, the Klingon chef owns a concertina and has been known to serenade his customers.
  • The Ace: Odo. He's so good at catching criminals, people bet on how long they think it'll take him to catch the culprit once a crimes been committed. His rival Quark even admits that he forced him to step up his game and become a better criminal to operate and avoid being caught after he showed up.
    • Red Squad is made of the very best cadets at Star Fleet Academy, with all the special privileges and training an elite unit would receive. This reputation and confidence ends up being their undoing though. See Reality Ensues.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: An entire episode, "The Sound Of Her Voice" is devoted to this, where the crew air out their personal problems while talking to a woman marooned on a deserted planet. This takes place directly before the extremely dark and disturbing Season 6 finale.
  • Action Prologue: The series opens during the Battle of Wolf 359, where the Borg, led by an assimilated Jean-Luc Picard, wipe out nearly all the starships sent to intercept them. Sisko and his son, Jake, are among the scant few survivors.
  • Aesop Amnesia: In TNG, Worf and Alexander eventually came to the understanding that Alexander should not be forced to be a warrior and Worf could be proud of him anyway. During the Dominion War, Alexander shows up again, and he and his father show the same resentful, misunderstood attitudes towards each other as though they'd never learned that lesson. (With the added bonus of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome note ) The variant this time is that this time the positions are reversed; with a war on, Alexander has decided he wants to serve in the military after all. He's still terrible at it though, and Worf can't understand why he bothers instead of pursuing something he's actually good at.
  • A God Am I: Inverted by Weyoun in "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River." When Odo points out that the only reason the Vorta believe the Founders are gods is because they were genetically programmed to believe it, Weyoun says that of course that's true; after all, creating people to worship them is what gods do.
  • A Simple Plan: The B-plot of "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River."
  • A Shared Suffering: Odo's and Garak's isolation from their respective peoples' ends up forming the basis of their friendship in later seasons when a common bond between them is formed as a result of Garak's torture of Odo.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lwaxana Troi to Odo in their first episode together. After that, they became good friends. Odo even married her to protect her unborn child.
  • Absence of Evidence: In "The Nagus", one of the things that tips Odo off that Zek is not dead is the absence of Mairhar'du at his funeral.
  • Abusive Parents: When Garak was a child, Tain would lock him in the closet for extended periods of time. As a result, the adult Garak is claustrophobic.
    • Dr. Mora used shock treatments on Odo when he was an infant. Odo resented Mora for years afterwards. There's also the matter of Mora and the other scientists naming the young Changeling Odo Ital (from odo'ital, "unknown sample" in Cardassian) even after they understood that Odo was sentient.
      • Some of this was resolved in the episode The Begotten, where Odo faces the same challenges in attempting to raise a changeling child and reluctantly realizes that Mora's techniques were less abusive than necessary. It's also interesting to note in this episode that Odo and Mora share a similar height, build, eye color, and exactly the same hair color and style. Odo clearly modeled his appearance on that of Dr. Mora.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: As we learned earlier in an episode of TNG, one of the erogenous zones on Ferengi is the ear, and the stroking of the ear is known as "oo-mox". Doing this to a Ferengi male gives them much the same sensation as stroking a certain other part on a human male does. Ear health is also a lot more important to Ferengi than humans, apparently, since Rom almost died because of a problem with his ear in "The Bar Association". When his attractive co-worker (and eventual wife) Leeta blames Quark for it because Rom was worked too hard to get regular checkups to prevent things like that, the following conversation takes place.
    Rom: It's not Quark's fault that I got sick. I forgot to get my bimonthly ear scan. And besides, I've probably been getting too much oo-mox.
    Leeta: Really? Who's the lucky female?
    Rom: [sheepishly] No female. Just me.
    Leeta: [embarrassed] I'm...sorry...
    Rom: [hopeful] Sorry enough to do something about it?
    [Rom tilts his ear toward Leeta]
    • Also, it's indicated that some of the wealthier Ferengi have females (of any species) employed to give them oo-mox in public as a conspicuous display of their prestige, and one episode also has Rom's mother giving him oo-mox as an indication of healthy maternal affection. Oo-mox is a more quasi-sexual show of affection, something like kissing—which doesn't make the metaphor any less blatant, however.
  • Affably Evil: Weyoun and the other Vorta, all by design since they're genetically engineered to be liaisons and middle-management.
    • Also, Gul Dukat, who cranks both aspects of this trope Up to Eleven in a great many episodes. Being affably evil seems to be a common trait of nearly all the Cardassians, but Dukat makes a veritable art of it, simultaneously demonstrating both his seductive charm and his loathsome cruelty to such a degree that one can understand why the Bajorans hated him so much, and yet also how he managed to have torrid adulterous affairs with several not-entirely-unwilling Bajoran mistresses both during the Occupation and in the series itself (producing half-breed illegitimate children with at least two of them of whom we know).
  • Affectionate Parody: "Our Man Bashir" is, for all intents and purposes, a particularly ridiculous James Bond film, only with an actual spy tagging along and snarkily lampshading all the tropes.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Prophets are apparently incorporeal, appearing in various guises taken from Sisko's memories. (Although they keep the same forms when dealing with Quark, who baffles them.) The 'hardliner' Prophets resemble people who are hostile to Sisko, like Dukat or Locutus. The more neutral ones look like members of DS9's crew. And the friendliest look like Sisko's dead wife, his son, and the Bolian who saved Sisko's life at the Battle of Wolf 359, respectively.
    • The Pai-Wraiths are fond of this, too.
    • The Founders can imitate any alien species perfectly, but they appear mostly as the same basic humanoid shape as Odo, since he cannot perfectly mimic a humanoid facial appearance. They presumably appear this way to the Alpha Quadrant because the only Founder they know is Odo, thus they choose to resemble him.note 
    • Founders that go undercover, however, are quite adept at mimicking the features of humans (or whatever race they're impersonating). One Founder that had infiltrated Earth deliberately took the form of Miles O'Brien, whom Sisko knew was off-world, specifically to taunt Sisko on their superiority in such matters.
  • Afraid of Doctors: Both Dax and Bashir used to be afraid of doctors as children. The latter thought they knew everything and could make him sick, so he became a doctor himself to find out how they worked.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Yes, Weyoun dies several times. But a few of his deaths are very poignant, and very much ARE this trope.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Averted in the case of Cardassian literature, which is hideously boring and repetitive by any human standard. Garak felt the same way about Julius Caesar; the betrayal is obvious from the beginning, so what's the point?
  • Alien Lunch: Well, if you want one, there's (lessee) Quark's, a Klingon restaurant, a Bolian restaurant, a jumja stand, and Sisko's Creole Kitchen.
  • Aliens Love Human Food: Root beer winds up becoming one of the more popular beverages among the alien clientele at Quark's. It's occasionally used as a metaphor for how human culture is slowly dominating the cultures of aliens that ally with the Federation.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Episode "Paradise" & the sweat box punishment.
  • The Alleged Ship: The crude fighter Kira and Dax appropriate on one of the moons of Bajor, originally built by the resistance to use against the Cardassians. All manner of things are wrong with it, due to its age and kludgy design, but it ends up being surprisingly spaceworthy, despite Dax's concerns.
    Kira: You Starfleet types are too dependent on gadgets and gizmos. You lose your natural instincts for survival.
    Dax: My natural instincts for survival told me not to climb aboard this thing.
  • All Just a Dream: The Argrathi criminal justice system works this way. Instead of maintaining an expensive prison system, they implant memories of several years of incarceration directly into the minds of offenders over the course of a few hours, who then wake up to find that they haven't lost several years of their lives... but the experience of it felt completely real, and the traumatic memories stay with them... Miles thought it was a bit of a dick move for them to do that to him.
  • All of Them: From the finale:
    Female Changeling: I want the Cardassians exterminated.
    Weyoun: Which ones?
    Female Changeling: All of them. The entire population.
    Weyoun: That will take some time.
    Female Changeling: Then I suggest that you begin at once.
  • The Almighty Dollar: The Ferengi have a money-based religion Played for Laughs and perhaps a social commentary on the greed of the The '90s and The '80s. The Ferengi afterlife version of heaven is called the Divine Treasury; their version of hell is the "Vault of Eternal Destitution." A "Blessed Exchequer" overseas their afterlife, reviews each soul's profit and loss statements and accepts a bribe which allows deceased Ferengi to bid for a new life from the Celestial Auctioneers.
  • Almost Kiss: Odo and Lola in "His Way", before Odo decides he just can't do it, because he loves Major Kira and she's not her.
  • Alternate Universe: The Mirror Universe makes its first appearance in official canon since the Original Series.
  • Alternate Personality Punishment: In "Dax." The Trill are a race of humanoid aliens, some of whom have another slug-like sapient alien implanted into their bodies, with the two combined beings forming a joint consciousness. The Trill Jadzia Dax is the combination of the Trill Jadzia and the symbiont Dax. During the episode she is arrested for a murder and treason allegedly committed thirty years ago by a previous Trill/symbiont combination named Curzon Dax, a merger of the Trill Curzon and the same symbiont Dax. The extradition hearing is based on the question of whether the current Jadzia/Dax combination can be held responsible for the crimes allegedly committed by the past Curzon/Dax combination.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: "Far Beyond the Stars" seems to be a full episode about EC Comics's Judgment Day (printed around the same time this story is set), which killed the magazine when the publishers and editorial disagreed over having the hero be black. Note also the reference to D.C Fontana, a woman who wrote pseudo-anonymously for The Original Series way back in the sixties.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Jem'Hadar are genetically engineered to be nothing but loyal Dominion shock troops. The episode The Abandoned examines this with a Jem'Hadar foundling. Turns out his inherent nature really does define him: all he wants is to be a Jem'Hadar warrior, even when Odo tries to present other, less violent options.
  • Ambadassador: Worf and Curzon Dax.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Virtually every male Ferengi character has hinted at this. From Rom's ability to mimic female walking, to Brunt and Zek's tendency to hide in a "closet," to various male Ferengi's attraction to Quark when he temporarily changed his sex.
    • Rule of Acquisition Number 113: Always have sex with the boss. And Ferengi women are supposed to stay at home... Granted, this rule only appeared in the non-canon Legends of the Ferengi book, but it was written by the executive producers of the show.
      • Canonically, there is a Ferengi book called Oo-mox for Fun and Profit. Oo-mox is a (partially) sexual act, and at the time only Ferengi males were legally allowed to earn profit. Although, knowing the Ferengi, it's entirely possible that the author of said book simply added "and Profit" as an extra advertising incentive — it would hardly be the first case of the Ferengi not presenting an entirely honest title of something.
      • Rule of Acquisition Number 239: Never be afraid to mislabel a product. (Canon, since it appeared in the episode "Body Parts".)
    • Quark didn't merely cross-dress, but actually crossed genders to make sure a scheme succeeded. The fact that he was able to change and then change back again using nothing more than some advanced surgery suggests the Ferengi have had reason to do something like this before. Maybe this easy trans-sexuality comes from being willing (and able) to do just about anything to close a deal, which on occasion might have included feminine sexual favors for the customer when there aren't any females available... yet.
    • Garak. Toned down after his first appearance because Paramount wasn't a fan of Garak/Bashir shippers.
  • Anachronism Stew: Played with via the Vic Fontaine program — the setting is 1960s Earth, although it's an "idealized" version. Vic not only knows he is a holosuite character but he's also perfectly aware that it's the 24th century outside of his program so things like alien races and advanced technology don't surprise him.
  • And I Must Scream: While the audience never gets to see evidence of it, Dukat's ultimate fate is to be sealed in the Fire Caves with the Pah-Wraiths - forever. The Prophet wearing the form of Sisko's biological mother told him that.
    • Unless he gets pulled out of it somehow in the expanded universe. Stay tuned.
  • And You Were There: "Far Beyond the Stars," "Shadows and Symbols"
  • Angrish: After Damar kills Ziyal, he tries to convince Dukat to leave with him. Dukat merely turns to him for a moment and lets out a snarling scream of rage that convinces Damar to back off fast.
  • Animal Stereotypes: The Cardassians and Jem'Hadar, both reptiles, are generally cold and vicious. The Bajorans are a much more subtle example. They're said to be evolved from tapirs and their culture places great value on dreams and visions. In Japanese Mythology, tapirs are strongly associated with dreams because they resemble the mythical dream-eating creature known as the Baku (which, incidentally was the name of a completely different race in Star Trek: Insurrection.)
  • Anti-Hero: Sisko, at times; Quark, very definitely. Kira when dealing with Cardassians. And Garak, of course. Gul Dukat occasionally tried to be when helping Sisko, but it never took.
  • Anti-Human Alliance: In the mirror universe.
  • Anyone Can Die: Jadzia. Vedek Bareil. Ziyal. Damar. Gowron. Winn. Kor. Weyoun, many times. Dukat, sort of. Even Sisko, sort of.
    • Although Damar, Winn, Dukat, and Weyoun's "true" death were in the finale. But still.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The Founders' number-one rule is that "no Changeling has ever harmed another". When Odo has to kill one of his own, it takes the Founders a year to decide how to punish him because they don't know how to handle it. Such a thing has never happened before.
  • Apocalypse How: Between several extermination attempts by the Dominion against enemy races, to the Federation's own genocidal attempt on the Founders, to the orbital bombardment that would have stripped the Founder homeworld to its core, to the attempted destruction of the Bajor star, to the Pah-Wraiths desire to burn the universe, there's a fair bit of this going on.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Klingon commander's log in "Dramatis Personae."
  • Appeal to Inherent Nature: The 217th Rule of Acquisition: "You can't free a fish from water."
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Whenever a message is received from the Prophets, everybody treats them like any other religious icon, conveniently forgetting that they have been proven to exist and have the ability to see through time.
    • Odo lampshades this in the episode 'The Reckoning', pointing out that Bajoran prophecies have a way of coming true, even it is not in the way people expected (case in point, the episode 'Destiny' from the third season).
    • On the flip side, the Bajorans, particularly Kira, often talk about how they have "faith" and wonder how the humans live without it (humans in the Star Trek future generally not being very religious). However, when your "gods" live in a wormhole you can drive ships through, regularly send you accurate prophecies, and even destroy entire fleets of enemy ships to protect your planet, you're not really practicing faith - their deity is practically a scientific law, which calls into question the soundness of the logic underlying Kira's lectures on the subject.
      • The Prophets were never actually met in person until Sisko entered the wormhole; that's what makes him the Emissary. It's true that there were still the Orbs, but before the Prophets were empirically verified to exist, it certainly took faith to believe that an Orb experience is more than just the equivalent of psychedelic drugs.
  • Arc Villain: Several, given the series propensity for mini-arcs: Alternate Kira in the Mirror Universe episodes (even if she's not necessarily the Big Bad of every one), Minister Jaro of the Circle arc, Cal Hudson of the Maquis two-parter, Admiral Leyton of the Homecoming two-parter, and many more.
  • Arc Welding: Once Worf joins the cast in Season 4, the Klingon Politics arc from TNG is carried over and, to some extent, merged with the Dominion arc.
  • Arc Words:
    • "The Dominion" are these for Season 2. They are name-dropped repeatedly until the characters and the audience finally learn who they are in the season finale.
    • "No Changeling has ever harmed another" are these for Season 3. This culminates in Odo becoming the first to break this rule in the season finale.
  • Armed with Canon:
    • DS9 was in many ways an adolescent reaction against Gene Roddenberry. In his memoir Resistance is Futile, Behr talks of Gene shooting down his scripts because they made Picard look unsure of himself or weak. Moore also complained of the conformity onboard the Enterprise-D. The writers weren't really allowed to embrace cultures other than Starfleet and found it tricky to write for this goody-two-shoes crew; in scripts like "Relics" (Mr. Scott manages to capture everything that is wrong with the 24th century with his reaction to a synthesized Scotch) you can almost taste Moore's disdain. No such problems here: the Dominion would soon remind mankind of its base instincts.
    • Even the comedy episodes are a deliberate "fuck you" to Gene. Roddenberry's immense dislike of "Space Pirates", for instance, is well-documented. Indeed his dislike of the whole genre was so strong that he even included a ban on pirates (or "space princesses"!) in the writer's bible for Next Gen. His aversion to space pirate stories makes a great deal of sense; the dude wanted Star Trek to be taken seriously, and not derided as trashy pulp. Of course, Star Trek has broken this rule on quite a number of occasions (most notably the Animated Series episode titled The Pirates of Orion), but DS9 is swimming in these sorts of pulpy elements, even casting mirror!Sisko as a scenery-chewing space pirate. In fact, DS9 revived the Orion Syndicate as a recurring entity (albeit re-imagined as The Syndicate).
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • One gets repeated several times in the pilot: "Why do you exist here?" Sisko doesn't understand at first, so only the last repetition pierces his armor.
    • Kira hits Damar with a brutal one during the final arc of Season 7 when, after hearing that Damar's family had been caught and executed, she coolly reminds him that his people were the ones giving those orders not long ago.
      Damar: To kill her and my son... the casual brutality of it... the waste of life. What kind of state tolerates the murder of innocent women and children? What kind of people give those orders?
    • That same episode, Dax gives Worf not one, but two armor-piercing questions to drive home her point that Chancellor Gowron, and the Klingon government itself, are terminally corrupt. She first challenges him to name the last Klingon leader he actually respected, and when he has no answer, finishes with this:
      Dax: Worf, you are the most honorable and decent man I have ever met, and if you're willing to accept men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Q invokes this trope when talking about how drearily dull Earth has become lately.
    Q: Oh don't get me wrong, a thousand years ago it had character. Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, Watergate...
    • After the crew's decoy Jem'Hadar ship crashes behind enemy lines, the only thing O'Brien is audibly upset about is the fact that he tore his pants in the crash.
    • The order changed but Jack in 'Statistical Probabilities" when talking about Bashir and how he was able to not have his genetic enhancements discovered until the year before Jack: "There are rules, don't talk with your mouth full, don't open an airlock when somebody is inside it, and don't lie about your genetic status!"
  • Art Evolution: Oddly inverted. Odo's face looks much more human in the first episodes than in later seasons.
  • The Artifact: Odo's appearance was due to him not being very talented at mimicking humanoid faces, being almost The Blank. Later Changelings, those with the skill to perfectly imitate anyone, show up with a similar face as the apparent Shapeshifter Default Form. In one time-travel-fueled episode, Odo had another century of practice and had a more natural face, only furthering the oddity of the Changelings selecting that particular appearance.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The Sword of Kahless is a downplayed variant. It doesn't actually possess any supernatural attraction, it's just that the glory associated with possessing it was too much for even the most honorable Klingon to completely resist.
  • Artifact Title: A common joke amongst Trek fans is that the characters of DS9 don't do that much trekking. (They actually do a fair bit, roughly half the episodes are set in the Gamma frontier.)
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Actually manages to avert the old Trek chestnut of casual inter-species conception, at least once: in the season 6 finale, Jadzia and Worf mention to Bashir that they're planning on having a baby. Bashir looks deflated for two reasons: the first is the realization that Jadzia really is out of his reach forever, but the second is that he realizes that he's the one they are going to rely on to get Trill and Klingon genetics to play nice together, which he openly says will be really damn unlikely and Jadzia shouldn't get her hopes up.
    • Also played straight, in that Dukat, a Cardassian (who are implied to be reptilian in nature), manages to naturally conceive a child with an (entirely mammalian) Bajoran. By accident. Twice.
    • Admittedly Kira doesn't conceive Kirayoshi, but she still carries a baby from an entirely different species to term, though Bashir does mention that he had to rapidly whip up a veritable cocktail of hormones and chemicals to prevent the host mother and embryo from rejecting each other.
  • Artistic License – Engineering:
    • The fact that the airlocks on the station are designed to have both doors open at once is just ridiculous, though it is a recurring point that Cardassian safety standards are much lower than the Federation's. (Starfleet made some improvements to the station for this very reason, but it seems the airlocks weren't among them.)
    • Civil Defense: They need to shut down the life support system, so Kira destroys a console with her phaser, as if the life support system was actually located inside the console.
    • Sloan calls Bashir out on this when Bashir claims that he constructed a transmitter out of a life support system. Bashir is correct, but Sloan was just pointing out how unlikely that is.
    • Keevan, the Vorta from "Rocks and Shoals," claims that Starfleet Engineers have "The ability to turn rocks into replicators."
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: A minor character in the episode Empok Nor casually has her rifle pointed at another minor character. When he remarks on this, she protests that the safety is on, making two horrible mistakes at once. First, even with the safety on, you don't point a weapon at someone unless you're actually willing to use it and second, this is an incredibly idiotic piece of information to loudly say while you're on an abandoned station with hostiles somewhere on it who are actively hunting you like animals.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: In "Paradise" the element astatine is supposedly capable of emitting a technology-damping field. Given that the most stable isotope has a half-life of three days the effect should have been very transitory.
  • Ascended Extra
    • Damar - from Dukat's unremarkable Dragon to one of the most crucial components of the later seasons. Word of God says that the writers always had "big plans" for Damar, which is how the producers managed to convince Casey Biggs to play such an apparently unremarkable character. In "Return to Grace" (his first appearance) the director shot Damar as if he were a major character.
    • Chief O'Brien is an Ascended Extra from TNG, where he played a background character in the pilot, then the transporter chief. He was practically a TNG regular in the second through fourth seasons; he gained both his wife and first child during TNG.
    • Rom - Referred to by Quark and Odo in Season 1 as an idiot. Over the course of the show, he goes from skilled wacky repairman, to station engineer, to Nagus. Quite the transition, no?
    • If you thought Rom rose a long way, his son Nog was an even bigger example. By the last few episodes, Rom was a regularly recurring supporting character, but Nog (who'd risen from a petty young thief to the first Ferengi in Starfleet and a respected young officer) was effectively one of the main cast, and even had an episode devoted entirely to him ('It's Only a Paper Moon', which didn't even have a B-plot, focusing entirely on Nog dealing with his PTSD after he lost his leg at AR-558).
    • General Martok was originally meant to be nothing more than Gowron's Dragon in a single episode. Then he was brought back for an episode where Sisko and company try to unmask a Changeling in the Klingon high command (as the Changeling), then he was brought back as a long-term inmate, along with Dr. Bashir, in the Dominion prison where Worf and Garak are taken, then he adopts Worf into his family... and somehow, this one-shot throwaway character works his way up to becoming the new Chancellor of the Klingon Empire.
  • Assumed Win: Grand Nagus Zek's son, Krax, does this in "The Nagus" when Zek is about to announce his successor. But he announces the new Nagus as Quark instead, which outrages everyone sitting at the table. (Quark, for his part, was floored.)
  • Auction: Done in both "Q-Less" and "In the Cards".
  • Attempted Rape: Briefly alluded to in "The Forsaken": Sisko tells Bashir that he used to have to shepherd VIPs around the way Bashir is doing now. This part of his career abruptly ended when he punched one of them out. "It was a simple misunderstanding over his attempt to coax a young ensign to his quarters, against her will."
  • Author Appeal:
    • Ira Steven Behr asked James Darren and Iggy Pop to play a role because he was a fan of their work. Both ended up getting a divisive reaction from the fans. Behr is also a movie buff, and nearly all of his scripts include a nod to some distant western or war movie.
    • Ron Moore and Ira Behr (the man who gave us post-op transsexual Quark and the Intendant nibbling on the Nagus’ withered ear) were major drivers behind the Ferengi episodes, which they thought hysterical. These days, even Behr concedes they should have "admitted defeat" and realized they weren't sitcom writers.
      Darren Mooney : Outside of Deep Space Nine, the most enduring impression of the Ferengi was that they had begun their life as “villains that didn’t quite work” and had quickly been transformed into “comic relief that didn’t quite work.”
    • Behr's interest in the Rat Pack and their music is why Vic Fontaine's program got so much screen time in the seventh season.
  • Avengers Assemble: "The Magnificent Ferengi", complete with holding up fingers as each new member joins the team to save Moogie.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: No matter how Tsundere Keiko O'Brien may appear during any given episode, she is devoted to her husband Miles, as he is to her. It is telling that, even given that most seasons have a "Miles Must Suffer" episode, at no time during the series have they seriously considered splitting up.
  • Ax-Crazy: Dukat becomes this for quite awhile after Ziyal's death.
    • Mirrorverse Kira
    • Gul Darhe'el, in the darkest way possiblenote :
    Darhe'el actually Marritza: 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, and they would come back covered in blood, but they felt clean! Now why did they feel that way, Major? Because they were clean.

  • Baby See, Baby Do: In one episode, Worf and Dax babysit O'Brien's one-year-old son Kirayoshi and Worf does a ritual with Kirayoshi that involves saying a Klingon chant. Worf initially feels he failed, but reconsiders when Dax tells him that Kirayoshi was repeating the chant when she returned him to his parents.
  • Backup Twin:
    • After the Defiant is destroyed, four episodes later a near-identical replacement is ready and they even receive a "special dispensation" to rename it as such from São Paulo. The only difference between the two seems to be that the second has no Cloaking Device, presumably because only the first was exempted from the provision of the Treaty of Algeron which forbids the technology for the Federation.
    • Sisko when he had to assume the identity of his Mirror-self.
    • Conversely, mirror!Bareil makes it to the prime universe after our own Bareil dies.
    • Weyoun gets killed five times, and each time (except in the Finale) he is replaced by a new clone.
  • Badass Creed: The Jem'Hadar.
    I am (rank and name), and I am dead. As of this moment, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This, we do gladly, for we are Jem'Hadar. Remember: victory is life.
    • O'Brien has a version we'd all much rather follow:
      I am (rank and name); I'm very much alive and I intend to stay that way.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In "Our Man Bashir" in the Show Within a Show, this occurs as part of the Protagonist-Centered Morality Bashir's situation enforced upon him: the people he was determined to keep alive were all in the room with him, while the rest of the Earth and everyone on it were just a holodeck simulation. Solution: do a Face–Heel Turn and push the button that destroys the rest of the world.
    • This was subsequently lampshaded by the Bond-style villain (played by Sisko), as he admitted somehow he hadn't really expected to win.
    • "A Call To Arms" has the Dominion drive most of the main cast from the station, take over said station, and rename it Terok Nor once again.
  • Bar Brawl: Worf, Odo, O'Brien and Bashir get to take place in the classic one from "The Trouble with Tribbles" when the Defiant crew revisits this time in "Trials and Tribble-ations."
  • Bar Full of Aliens: Quark's.
  • Baseball Episode: "Take Me Out to the Holosuite". Justified, in that Sisko was shown to be a baseball fan right from the start of the series, and although a war was going on at the episode's time, Deep Space Nine was no longer on the front line.
  • Batman Gambit: All over the place, and even Quark pulls off one, albeit seemingly double subverted, in "The House of Quark".
  • Battle Couple: Worf and Jadzia — and, amazingly, also Quark and a Klingon Noblewoman. Kira and Odo as well, although Odo'd really rather she stay out of the fighting, thank you, but is smart enough not to try to make her.
  • Beard of Evil: Lampshaded when Riker's transporter-accident-duplicate from an old TNG episode comes on board DS9 to steal the Defiant. Of course Riker already has a full beard, but when the reveal is made that this isn't the real Riker we all know and love, he peels his fake sideburns away to reveal that the beard is actually a goatee! It's supposed to be a dramatic moment, as the viewer is given no hints it isn't Riker at that point (though the possibility of him being possessed by an alien or brainwashed or something is always there in Star Trek)... but it comes across as hilarious if you're expecting it.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Martok gets hit with this in Once More Unto The Breach, after he finally gets his chance to pay back Kor for blacklisting him so many years ago after Kor is left in command of Martok's ship during a battle against Jem'Hadar, only to become confused and believe he is fighting a battle against the Federation back when he was in his prime. He basically leads the crew (sans Worf) in mocking Kor following the battle for being a senile old fool long past his prime, only to later confide bitterly in Worf that when his chance for payback came, he found he took no pleasure in it.
  • Bed Trick: Sisko and Mirror!Jadzia.
    • Dukat and Kai Winn
  • Behind Every Great Man: Ishka is a financial genius and manages to turn a nice profit for herself despite the laws against Ferengi females engaging in business. Eventually she gets in a relationship with Grand Nagus Zek; when he starts going senile, she ends up secretly holding the entire Ferengi economy together while pushing him towards implementing some social and political reforms.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension
    • O'Brien and the Cardassian engineer suffer from a cross-cultural misunderstanding because Cardassian courtship is based on this trope and she mistook their arguing as a sign he was sexually attracted to her.
    • The show implies this is what Dukat is doing to try and win over Kira. She loathes him and therefore they argue almost constantly, but it only seems to increase his attraction to the extent where he'll do this even at the most inappropriate times such as life-threatening moments. One such occasion led to an in-universe lampshading when Garak lost his patience with Dukat's behavior and he openly told Dukat off for making a pass at Kira while the station was on an unstoppable self-destruct countdown.
    • When Kira moved in with the O'Briens (while carrying their baby), she and the Chief started fighting constantly (mainly over her level of activity and risk-taking while pregnant and him trying to control her). Eventually, they both realize that they are actually VERY attracted to each other, much to their dismay. They both decide that it's a really bad idea and cover up any awkwardness by just letting Keiko think they are back to fighting again. Quark even refers to the pair as "the OTHER O'Briens" while eavesdropping with Bashir on one of their fights.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: In "The Muse", Onaya says that she unlocked the creativity of many legendary figures from throughout history.
    • However she offers no proof of this and may simply be lying to manipulate Jake.
    • Played straight in a Timey-Wimey Ball, where it turns out Sisko was probably always meant to be Gabriel Bell.
  • Befriending the Enemy: Sisko tries to make peaceful contact with the Dominion. When the Klingons invade Cardassia, Major Kira has to make peace with Dukat. The man who oppressed Bajor. When Dukat joins with the Dominion, Sisko tries to make peace with the Klingons to counter the Dominion.
  • Berserk Button: In the "Siege of AR-558," Dr. Bashir treats Vargas, a disgruntled trooper complaining about being stuck in the front lines for an extended period of time, of his illnesses and Vargas eases up a bit. When Bashir tries to change the dressing on his arm, Vargas lashes out, grabbing Bashir's shoulder and pointing a phaser at his throat. Even though he absolutely hated the guy who put the bandages on for talking his ear off, seeing that guy suddenly becoming silent with a hole in the chest gave him psychological trauma, and he kept the bandage on ever since.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Garak brings this up when he and Worf discover General Martok in a Dominion prison camp, since he supposed Klingons are supposed to kill themselves when they're taken prisoner. Worf and Martok retort that such isn't the case when there are still enemies to fight, or hope of escape.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Federation. Unlike the other entries in the franchise where they are portrayed as diplomatic, Deep Space Nine routinely shows that just because they favor peace, this doesn't mean that in a crunch they can't knock seven bells out of anyone in their path.
    • Observed by Quark in The Siege of AR-558:
    Quark: Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, nephew. They're a wonderful, friendly people - as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts...Deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers...Put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time...And those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don't believe me? Looks at those faces, look at their eyes...
    Nog: I feel sorry for the Jem'Hadar.
    • In fact this Star Trek series introduced us to Section 31 (said to rival the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order) and a captain who is willing to use subterfuge AND murder just to do what is "necessary".
  • Beyond the Impossible: The characters of DS9 are used to a Mirror Universe where they exist as brutal yet sexy version of themselves, but in the last mirror episode, "The Emperor's New Cloak," Quark and Rom witness the death of Vic Fontaine — despite the fact that Vic is not a real person but a fictional holodeck character in their universe. After trying to puzzle this out for a while, they just give up.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Ironically, the Mirror Universe version of Garak is this; where he demonstrates the petty vindictiveness and fondness for torture that the 'prime' Garak possessed before his exile, in contrast to 'prime' Garak his Mirror self lacks any subtlety or intelligence, making more blatant power grabs and resorting to explicit torture for the sake of it where 'prime' Garak operated in the shadows and was so discreet even his closest friend on the station was never entirely sure what he was going to do next, even when he was officially working with Starfleet.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths
  • Big Fucking Gun:
    • The Defiant. It's so overpowered that Sisko mentions when he first unveils it in "The Search" that it nearly tore itself apart during shakedowns, and while officially classed as an Escort Vessel, it's really a Warship.
    • When the threat of a Dominion invasion becomes imminent, Starfleet upgrades Deep Space Nine, which couldn't defend itself from three Cardassian warships in the pilot, into a station handily capable of holding off a Klingon fleet of more than fifty ships.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Odo and Kira, in front of dozens of people on the Promenade. Also the episode made waves in universe and out...
  • Big Little Man: Invoked. Bashir and O'Brien are just back from a mission that involved them being miniaturized. They stand at the bar boasting about their exploits, when Quark and Odo both note that a waitress seems oddly tall next to them, sending them scurrying away to check their height in sickbay. The waitress then stands down, off the step she'd been put on by Odo and Quark, revealing the entire thing to be a gag.
  • Big "NEVER!": Said by Sisko in "Dramatis Personae," after O'Brien suggested all Starfleet personnel to abandon Deep Space Nine.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Said by Sisko in "In the Hands of the Prophets" (in Slo Mo for extra points.)
    • Also employed by Odo during the climax of "The Adversary."
    • And by Quark in "Who Mourns for Morn."
  • Bigot with a Crush: Despite being prejudiced against Bajorans and once heading the occupation of their planet, Gul Dukat has slept with several Bajoran women.
  • Big Secret: "Dax" is a typical example, albeit with an atypical defendant.
    • Dr. Bashir's childhood.
  • Bilingual Bonus: When Worf meets Jadzia Dax he says that Curzon Dax was an honored name among Klingons. Jadzia replies in Klingon with something that visibly flusters Worf, "Yeah, but I'm a lot better looking.".
  • Bio-Augmentation: Bashir. The 'Jack Pack' in "Statistical Probabilities".
  • Bitch Slap: An interesting variation in Klingon society; when Worf is instructing Sisko, O'Brien, and Odo in Klingon behavior (they've been surgically altered to look like Klingons for an infiltration mission in the Season 5 premiere), Worf is about to recommend he perform the mission solo (since Odo and O'Brien aren't being the right level of aggressive); Sisko, in-character, backhands him and growls out "ARE YOU QUESTIONING THE VALIDITY OF MY PLAN?!?!". Worf compliments him for his performance, but notes that unless he was trying to initiate a Duel to the Death, he should use a clenched fist, which is far less insulting.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The finale was this in almost every way, showing the end of the war (thankfully) but with billions of casualties and fatalities, and most of the main characters being separated from one another; whether it's moving on to new jobs/postings, returning to a ravaged home world to help rebuild and having to leave the friends/lovers they've made behind, or ascending to a higher plane of existence.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology:
    • When Quark gets badly beaten in one episode, apparently his injuries included his lower lung being punctured.
    • And again in "The Sound Of Her Voice", Odo remarks on the possibility of Morn getting injured and puncturing three or four of his lungs. (And in "Who Mourns For Morn" we find out that his species has two stomachs. And normally has hair, which can fall out as a result of chronic Latinum poisoning.)
    • The unseen Captain Boday, whose skull is transparent.
    • Ensign (later lieutenant) Vilix'pran's reproductive cycle involves budding and requires a hatching pond. Parents of his species must be careful to ensure that their offsprings' wings don't get tangled, as Jake Sisko learned.
    • The Changelings are highly dissimilar to the other races of both the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants. In addition to their shapeshifting abilities, they need to revert to a liquid state on a regular basis or risk excruciating pain, cannot eat, can merge with one another to share memories and sensations (the Great Link is essentially a giant ocean of merged Changelings), and not unlike Ferengi, are immune to the mind-reading abilities of Betazoids.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: In "The Storyteller", Varis throws her drink on Quark due to being offended at him calling her "the little lady".
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The Dominion War arc in particular explores the dehumanizing nature of war and how even good people will sometimes choose simple survival over deeply held morals. No mistake, the Dominion and Dukat are mass-murdering monsters, but Sisko and company are forced to Shoot the Dog a fair amount. Nowhere is this theme stronger than in "In the Pale Moonlight". The existence of Section 31, and Starfleet Command's willingness to turn a blind eye to their clandestine activities, doesn't help.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: "Apocalypse Rising" has Sisko, Worf, O'Brien, and Odo infiltrate the induction ceremony of the Order of the Bat'leth in hopes of unmasking Klingon Chancellor Gowron as a changeling infiltrator. They're only half-right: the real changeling is General Martok.
  • Blackmail: The trope is surprisingly common in the series.
    • Odo regularly strong-arms Quark into doing his bidding by using an Audit Threat or similar means. Quark explicitly calls this "blackmail," but it's more properly called "extortion."
    • In an episode where Sisko threatens to throw Garak off the station and put him in danger of assassination if Garak doesn't help him Garak points out that this is extortion. Sisko has no problem openly admitting it (to Garak anyway).
    • Sisko blackmails Quark into keeping his bar open by threatening to incarcerate his nephew Nog for a petty crime. Later, Quark claims that Sisko "begged" him to stay in the pilot. Sisko is quick to correct him: "I didn't beg, I blackmailed you."
    • Sisko and Bashir blackmail the Trill government to expose their dirty secret unless they follow their demands.
  • Black Speech: The Book of the Kosst Amojan. The text of the book is so forbidden, attempting to translate it even causes Dukat to go blind for several episodes.
  • Blank Book: How Bashir determined he was trapped in Sloan's mind.
  • Blatant Lies: How Nog and Jake convince Weyoun that they were trying to buy a card for Captain Sisko. By first telling the truth, then telling the most outlandish story possible involving a time-traveling baseball player. Ironically, this convinces Weyoun that they're such terrible liars they must have been telling the truth the first time.
    • Garak communicates mostly in these, apparently preferring lies to the truth, and not in some Ignorance Is Bliss kind of way.
    Bashir: "Of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren't?"
    Garak: "My dear Doctor, they're all true."
    Bashir: "Even the lies?"
    Garak: "Especially the lies."
    • Garak seems to live by this old saying: The more truth you mix with a lie, the stronger the lie becomes. And, when you can use it, the truth is the strongest lie of all.
  • Blown Across the Room: Happens to several civilians when the Cardassians attack the station in "Emissary". Also to Quark in "Necessary Evil" when he gets thrown half way across his bar.
  • Bond One-Liner: "A lot of kick for a '45 dom", and "Car trouble, Mr. Bashir?"
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Dax and Worf's separate reasons for (as it turns out, temporarily) canceling the wedding.
    Quark: She says it's because he's a pigheaded, stubborn man who puts tradition before everything else. He says it's because she's a frivolous, emotional woman who refuses to take him or his culture seriously. You can see the problem.
    O'Brien: They're both right.
  • Bottle Episode: Given that the show had a stricter budget yet more ambitious stories, this is a given. The true achievement, though, is Duet, which cost less than half the cost of an average DS9 episode (only one guest star, only one recurring character is used—for only one brief scene, no new sets, and no CGI), and is considered one of the best told stories of the entire franchise.
  • Brain Bleach: Bashir needs some after first Quark and Grilka, and then Dax and Worf come in terribly wounded in "Looking for par'mach in all the wrong places". Fighting is just part of Klingon lovemaking
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: A lighthearted example from "Little Green Men."
    Quark: My people have been watching your world for years. We know all about you: baseball ... root beer ... darts ... atom bombs.
  • Break the Cutie: For being a hardened terrorist fighter, Kira gets this rather often.
  • Breather Episode: "In The Cards", "His Way", "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang"
  • Brick Joke: In the pilot episode, Bashir asks Odo where he can practice with his phaser on the Promenade, the joke being that Odo has banned phasers on the Promenade. Years later, in "Way of the Warrior" note , when Odo is about to be overwhelmed by Klingons, Bashir and his phaser come to Odo's rescue.
  • The Bridge: The main set in DS9 is Ops, which is a Bridge, Engineering and Transporter Room in one.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: O'Brien does a particularly impressive one of Bashir in "The Armageddon Game".
  • Building of Adventure: The titular station. Just about big enough to qualify as a City of Adventure, too.
  • The Bully: Mirror Universe Odo delights in taunting and physically abusing Bashir in "Crossover."
  • Bullying a Dragon: "Profit and Loss". Gul Toran decides to manipulate Garak into doing his dirty work for him (killing the dissident fugitives that are on the station, an act Garak disapproves of) by dangling the carrot of ending Garak's exile in front of him. Once Garak has corralled the dissidents (and Quark who was helping them), Toran intervenes intending to take the sole credit and mocks Garak with the news that Garak's exile will never end and certainly not with any trivial act such as this. Considering Garak was one of the highest ranked agents of the Obsidian Order prior to his exile, which made him one of the most powerful and dangerous men in the whole of Cardassia (and Toran knew this), Toran's attempt to manipulate and then betray Garak was the most foolish, suicidal act of his life. Not only does Garak promptly kill Toran for his audacity, he then helps the dissidents secure their escape and freedom from Cardassia.
  • Busman's Vocabulary: Played for gross-out laughs in one episode. A surgeon eating lunch refers to cutting his food as a "lateral incision", which disgusts Jake Sisko so much that he runs out of the room, thinking he's going to throw up. Luckily, though, he doesn't.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: It's a little loose as Gul Darhe'el is genuinely proud of his atrocities on Bajor, but he seals the deal with this little gem (he's actually deliberately invoking it and isn't even Gul Darhe'el, but his secretary Marritza):
    Gul Darhe'el: "What you call genocide, I call a day's work."
    • Martok's utter loathing of Kor stems from his influence convincing the board that Martok didn't deserve an officer's commission because he wasn't of "noble blood", a viewpoint seen as rather antiquated in the modern Empire, but passed because Kor's word carried a great deal of weight. When Worf brings this incident up, Kor admits he served as a token member of so many boards and committees, he can't even remember Martok at all!
  • But Thou Must!: Section 31. The offer to join is merely a courtesy, you really haven't a choice whether you are willing to work with them or not. That means you, Bashir.
  • Butt-Monkey: O'Brien. He gets framed, kidnapped, and put through a harrowing trial in which the verdict and sentence have already been decided (guilty and death, respectively). His wife is possessed by an evil alien entity and tries to kill him. The list goes on.

  • Came Back Wrong: Weyoun 6, who was considered to be "defective" as he believed the war with the Federation was a mistake and defected. The Vorta are genetically engineered to serve the Founders, but they didn't count on him reinterpreting that directive as also being applicable if he's working for Odo.
    • A major part of Weyoun 6's logic was that the Founders were dying of an apparently incurable disease, and Odo was apparently not infected. Thus, he would soon be all that was left of the Founders. Though it turned out that Weyoun 6 was missing some critical information in his analysis.
    • Part of Ezri Dax's story arc revolves around the fact that she's had several lifetimes dumped into her head and she was never trained or even wanted to be joined with a symbiont.
  • The Cameo: During the final holodeck scene of the series, many of the production staff are in the crowd, as is every regular actor that wasn't playing a character at the time.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Dukat made prerecorded messages of himself as part of an autonomous counter-insurgency program that would respond to any revolts by the Bajoran workers. He appears to have made a message for every possible outcome.
  • Canon Foreigner: In "The Sound Of Her voice", have a close look at Quark's. There's an alien hanging around that bears a suspicious similarity to a Twi'lek.
  • The Captain: Sisko. Though he was only actually promoted to captain in the third-season finale.
  • Capture and Replicate:
    • In the episode "Whispers", Chief O'Brien is captured and replaced by a clone. The replacement is too perfect of a copy, and has all of O'Brien's memories and emotions, and doesn't know that it's supposed to be working for the captors, and instead disrupts his own scheme when he becomes aware that something is amiss.
    • In another episode Martok, the right-hand-man of Klingon Chancellor Gowron, is discovered to be a Changeling and killed. Later, Worf discovers a Changeling prison camp where the real Martok is being held captive along with other prisoners.
      • One of the aforementioned other prisoners is revealed to be Bashir, who as it turns out had been replaced by a Changeling several weeks earlier.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Subverted with the fake Gul Darhe'el. Eventually played straight with Dukat.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Bashir hits on everything that moves. And never wins. Although he eventually ends up with Ezri who also informs him that Jadzia would have eventually come around if Worf hadn't shown up first. Apparently, that's also what the writers had intended prior to Michael Dorn's arrival. Some fans feel that Bashir would have been justified in Breaking the Fourth Wall for the express purpose of strangling the writing staff and the producers to death.
  • The Cast Show Off: Both Avery Brooks and Nana Visitor had a musical theatre background, and got to show off their pipes in Vic's lounge. Avery performs a duet with James Darren (the Sinatra hit "The Best is Yet To Come"), and Visitor sings a torch song while sprawled on Odo's piano.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Happens to Worf at the start of "Rules of Engagement."
  • The Cavalry: Used often. In particular, this seems to be General Martok's very favorite tactic, especially in the sixth season. Whenever the Defiant is in a tight spot, you can bet good money on Martok's ship swooping in to save the day.
  • Central Theme: In the pilot (and in the show proper), consequences of your actions. Sisko spends a large chunk of the episode trying to explain linear time to the prophets, as one consequence after another, and even Picard has to deal with how he may have been a victim of the Borg, but he’s still seen as a Trauma Button to others.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • "Inter arma enim silent leges" and "When it Rains..." Just how much established Star Trek history has Section 31 been directly involved in? Assassination attempts, biogenic weapons, nudging governments to act... The writers could have had great fun retconning all kinds of Trek tales by adding a Section 31 presence, but Ron Moore leaves it to our imaginations. Sloan is the Cigarette-Smoking Man of Star Trek, up to his ears in secrets and fully convinced that what he's doing is right and just.
    • "Shattered Mirror" is a direct sequel to the lighthearted "Mirror, Mirror". In it, we learn that Kirk's meddling in the mirror universe actually made things worse: when Mirror Spock attempted to preach pacifism, the Terran Empire was swamped by the neighboring Alliance, led by Intendant Kira, Garak, and Regent Worf. Now Earth is nothing but a colony for the Cardassians, Klingons and Bajorans (all of them evil in this reality). This was zig-zagged in later episodes; whenever the grind of a 26-episode season got to be too much, the writers would break out another Mirror Universe episode, take the brakes off, and let their actors be as goofy as possible. It got to be a big joke after a while; the Mirror Universe in DS9 makes the first season of TNG look like Breaking Bad.
  • Chain of Deals: The side plot of "Progress" has Nog overhearing Quark berating one of his employees for ordering 5,000 wrappages of Cardassian yamok sauce, which will just end up taking up space since nobody but Cardassians likes it (and at that point in the show, the only Cardassian on Deep Space Nine was Garak). So Jake and Nog find a cargo ship captain who trades with Cardassians and offers to sell them to him, but since the captain wasn't carrying any latinum he instead offers to trade for a shipment of self-sealing stem bolts that the original buyer couldn't pay for. They then track down that original buyer and try to sell the bolts for a discount, but since he also doesn't have any latinum, he instead offers to trade a plot of land on Bajor for the bolts. This ultimately ends with the two (again) overhearing Quark discussing a Bajoran government project with Odo, in which the government was going to build a reclamation facility on a plot of land owned by four different people... only they don't know how to contact the last of the owners, the "Noh-Jay Consortium" owned by Jake and Nog.
    • The "Great River" B-plot of "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River" is all about Nog doing exactly this in order to get Chief O'Brien a part he needs.
  • Champions on the Inside: The ending of the baseball episode.
  • The Chanteuse: In one episode, Vic makes a holocharacter like this modeled on Kira, for Odo to practice flirting on. And then swaps her for the real Kira.
  • Character Development: A hallmark of the series, although the most extensive probably happened to Broken Bird Tsundere Kira Nerys.
  • Characterization Marches On: Odo once deduced Quark was lying to him because Rom was not a good engineer ("He couldn't fix a straw if it was bent"), when in later seasons he is proven to be quite the Genius Ditz. They throw in a handwave with a line from Odo when they started to change Rom's character, "I've been watching you, Rom, and you aren't as dumb as you look..." Rom's first appearance in a speaking role is markedly different from his subsequent appearances. He acts more like a typical Ferengi, and is rather aggressive, yelling at Nog while dragging him around the room. It is rather jarring to watch for someone used to seeing his portrayal throughout the rest of the series. Also jarring to anyone familiar with only the later seasons was Rom's attempt to murder Quark in the first season episode The Nagus.
  • Chef of Iron: We see a Klingon restaurant open up on the Promenade and show up in a few episodes. The chef, a large fellow (even by Klingon standards) also serenades his customers with a violin-like instrument.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Hilariously parodied in the case of Doctor Noah, in the form of Sisko but not played by Sisko, in "Our Man Bashir".
  • Child of Two Worlds: Ziyal wants to be a mediator. She's the daughter of a Bajoran woman and Gul Dukat, the Cardassian prefect at the end of Bajor's occupation, and there's still a lot of bad blood between the two species. Since her artwork has visible influences from Bajoran and Cardassian artists, she thinks it can highlight the similarities between them. She's killed before any of this can come to fruition.
  • Chocolate Baby: The source of most of the dramatic tension for the second half of "Covenant".
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: General Martok's son, whom Worf beats up to get the general's attention in "The Way of the Warrior", and is never seen or heard from again afterward, not even when it might be sensible for him to be there.
  • Claustrophobia: In early seasons, occasional comments about small spaces or needing air suggest that Garak either suffers from it or likes using it as an excuse for his behavior in certain episodes. It's only in the fifth season that it's revealed he genuinely suffers from this, because of something that happened to him on Tzenketh, years ago. In the seventh season, Ezri finds out Tain used to lock a young Garak in a closet as a punishment for misbehaving and believes that might be a factor in his development of his claustrophobia (he never reveals the Tzenketh incident to her). Since Garak rejects her exploration of that, its true impact on his life is yet another unsolved mystery about his past.
    • Made all the more powerful by Andrew Robinson's performance of Garak. Robinson himself has claustrophobia, and was initially hesitant about his role, which required covering him in prosthetic make-up. And in an unusual case of Real Life Writes the Plot, he was sick when he had to shoot the crawl space scenes in the aforementioned fifth season episode ("By Inferno's Light"), which made his less able to control his claustrophobia. In his words, "I didn't have to act. I was there."
  • Coconut Superpowers: Odo could technically take any shape, but was humanoid most of the time because CG motion control effects were kind of expensive back in the day.
    • More than a few of the CGI shape shifting sequences look quite dated at this point.
    • One of the spin-off novels has a foreword that notes Odo can be much freer with the use of his ability in print, since there was no need to worry about the effects budget.
  • Les Collaborateurs
  • Collector of Forms: Changelings have to see whatever they're trying to shapeshift into before they can do so, and even then, it takes a bit of practice. "The Search Part 2" reveals that the Changelings used to travel at length in search of new shapes to mimic before fear of persecution by "Solids" drove them into hiding; later, in "The Begotten," the baby Changeling is presented with geometric shapes so it can learn the basics of shapeshifting, and Dr Mora excitedly discusses the possibility of showing it simple plants and invertebrates as its powers develop.
  • Combat Medic: Dr. Bashir ranks up there with TNG's Beverly Crusher on occasion. He once killed a Jem'Hadar with a stab to the neck. He comments on this once, when someone mentions his skill with a phaser. He replies that he wishes it wasn't needed due to him being a medic - but this doesn't stop him from jumping into the fight when the fur really starts to fly. Unlike most Starfleet personnel who have inexplicable expertise outside their areas of skill, Bashir is justified as he is genetically augmented, making him physically and mentally superior to almost any human. In the pilot episode, Bashir asks Odo if there was a place on the promenade where he could get in some target practice; further justifying this.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In "The Way of the Warrior", we get a brief discussion between Dax and Kira, coming out of a holosuite dressed as ladies from King Arthur's Court. Dax is grumbling at Kira for punching out Sir Lancelot. Kira protests that he tried to kiss her, and she was playing a married woman! Apparently she doesn't know Guenevere's story as well as she ought to...
  • Comically Small Bribe: Quark, thinking he's about to die, sells his own remains in advance for 500 latinum bars. It turns out he's not dying, and the anonymous buyer of his remains is his rival Brunt, who wants to collect Quark's remains or force Quark to break his contract (which a true Ferengi would never do). Quark tries to bribe his way out of this by offering a refund, plus five bars.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: In what was considered a major coup, a small company called Malibu Comics won the rights to publish a DS9 over the more established DC Comics (which held the rights to the rest of Trek). That didn't stop Malibu and DC from doing a crossover miniseries with DC's Next Generation series. Later, Marvel Comics obtained the licence, followed by DC (under its Wildstorm imprint), and later still IDW.
  • Commander Contrarian:
    • The Romulans served as this once they joined the Federation-Klingon alliance in fighting the Dominion. Every Romulan commander or senator who showed up did nothing but nitpick any plan put forward by Sisko.
    • Admiral Ross bounced back and forth between being this and a Reasonable Authority Figure, all depending on how much internal conflict was needed in an episode.
  • Command Roster
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: When Garak survived an assassination attempt, Odo and Sisko attempted to delve into his past to see if the reason for his exile was related to the attempt on his life. Garak insisted there was no connection because he was in exile for failure to pay his taxes. Although he was right about there being no connection, no-one believed the reason he gave for being in exile.
  • Conforming OOC Moment: In "Prophet Motive", when Bashir loses a competition at the end, all his friends (except Odo who wasn't there) groan and facepalm... including O'Brien, who logically shouldn't have been disappointed since he thought Bashir didn't stand a chance anyway.
  • Conspicuous in the Crowd: In crowd scenes, Garak is often seen to one side. This hints at his shifty personality and mysterious past.
  • Consummate Professional: In "Trials and Tribble-ations," while Dax is fangirling over the thought of meeting Kirk and Spock, Sisko calmly reminds her that this is not a good idea and doesn't seem the least bit excited at the prospect. He's here to accomplish the mission, and that's all he cares about. Once the mission is over, however, he promptly lets his inner fanboy out by personally meeting with Kirk and telling him what an honor it was to briefly serve with him.
  • Continuity Nod: Perhaps the funniest example of this trope happens in "Accession", a nod to the fact that in TNG, Worf helped Keiko O'Brien deliver Molly.
    Quark: Did you hear? Keiko's gonna have another baby.
    Worf: NOW?!
    • And later:
    Worf: Unfortunately I will be away from the station at that time. Far away. Visiting my parents. On Earth. Excuse me.
    • In "Paradise", O'Brien mentions that his wife Keiko has nicknamed him "the black thumb" for the way every plant he touches seems to wither and die. This is a Call-Back to a TNG episode three years ago.
    • In the pilot "Emissary", O'Brien uses some Technobabble to fool Cardassian sensors into thinking the defenseless wreck of DS9 has five thousand photon torpedoes. Four years later, when the Klingons attack in "Way of the Warrior", Sisko tells the Klingons he has those same weapons—the Klingons retort that he must be using the same Technobabble O'Brien used before, but now the station really does have all those torpedoes.
    • In "Tears Of The Prophets," Sisko receives the Christopher Pike Medal for Valor.
    • In "Chrysalis", O'Brien protests to Bashir that he can't break the laws of physics, echoing one of Mr Scott's best-known lines.
    • In "Little Green Men," just before getting pulled into the past, Nog is reading up on Earth history and notices that Gabriel Bell looks a lot like Sisko.
  • Continuity Overlap: DS9 has the distinction of being the only Star Trek series to run concurrently with another one during its entire run — not to mention the first three TNG movies. As a result, it was affected by developments elsewhere in the franchise:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: The uneasy relationship between the Federation and the Cardassians is carried over. Races introduced on TNG (Trill, Ferengi, Cardassians, Bajorans) are also heavily featured. The establishment of the Demilitarized Zone in “Journey’s End” also leads directly into DS9's “The Maquis” and the formation of the titular renegades. Finally, Gowron is still Chancellor of the Klingon Empire — something that allows the Klingon politics arc to continue once Worf joins the cast.
    • Star Trek: Generations: The TNG combadges, used for the first two seasons, are retired after the Season 2 finale "The Jem'Hadar". Beginning with Season 3 and for the remainder of the show's run, the crew sports the film's updated combadge design. The destruction of the Enterprise-D is later acknowledged when Worf arrives on the station in Season 4.
    • Star Trek: First Contact: The original jumpsuit uniforms introduced in "Emissary" are retired after Season 5's "The Ascent". For the remainder of the series, Starfleet officers sport First Contact's new black and gray uniforms. The change in uniforms ends up being a plot point during "In Purgatory's Shadow" to show when the Dominion captured Bashir and replaced him with a Founder. In addition, starships created for the Battle of Sector 001 also make appearances beginning with Season 5. Finally, the Borg attack is a plot point in Season 5 as Starfleet's losses leave the Federation's navy spread thin for the Dominion's invasion.
    • Star Trek: Insurrection: Despite Picard's best efforts, at least some of the Son'a don't reconcile with the Ba'ku and are still manufacturing Ketracel White for the Dominion during Season 7. The new dress uniforms introduced in the film also appear in Season 7's "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges".
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Though DS9 sets up the Maquis, the overlap is essentially averted due to VOY being cut off from the Alpha Quadrant. However, Tuvok's Mirror Universe counterpart appears in Season 3's "Through the Looking Glass". An Emergency Medical Hologram, along with creator Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, are featured in Season 5's "Doctor Bashir, I Presume". Finally, an Intrepid-class ship and its sets appear in Season 7's "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges".
      • Conversely, the Dominion War gets a nod in an episode of Voyager, when a character is taken aback that a Voyager crewmember isn't familiar with the Dominion.
      • One episode of Voyager, after they've established contact with the Alpha Quadrant, has B'Elanna Torres reacting poorly to the news that the Maquis have been wiped out by the Dominion, which eventually sends her into a near-suicidal depression.
  • Cool Gate: Specifically, the stable wormhole between Bajor and the Gamma Quadrant.
  • Cool Starship: The Defiant, built as the prototype for the Federation's anti-Borg fleet. Described in the DVD commentary as "on a five-year mission to kick ass." It does. Repeatedly.
    • It also has (at first) a cloaking device, illegal under interstellar law for any other Federation starship. It's on board due to a deal with the Romulans that all Dominion intel is shared with them in exchange for a Romulan-grade cloaking device, and that the cloak is only used in the Gamma Quadrant. The constraint is eventually disregarded (and presumably expanded or dropped when the Dominion War breaks out in earnest).
  • Cope by Creating: In "Hard Time," O'Brien in sent to prison and, in order to cope with forced isolation, taught his cellmate to make "eseekas," geometric patterns formed by tracing his finger in the sand covering the cell floor.
  • Courtroom Episode: "Dax", "Tribunal", "Rules of Engagement".
  • Cowboy Cop: Worf in "Hippocratic Oath." He ruined Odo's investigation, forcing him to just arrest the middleman instead of taking out an entire smuggling business.
    • Interestingly, Starfleet believes that Odo himself is a Cowboy Cop, and makes several minor attempts to reign him in. Despite chafing and complaining about Federation procedure, however, Odo seems to follow it dutifully. In fact, Odo proves to be more loyal to Starfleet than Eddington, the man Starfleet sent to handle station security, as Eddington joins the Maquis.
    Odo: "Sir, have you ever reminded Starfleet Command that they stationed Eddington here because they didn't trust me?"
    Sisko: "No."
    Odo: "Please do."
    • In the early seasons before his character had been nailed down, writers were just told to think of him as Clint Eastwood. Odo had his Establishing Character Moment after Sisko used his phaser to help apprehend a violent, fleeing suspect. Instead of thanking his new CO for the assist, Odo chews Sisko out for bringing a weapon onto his Promenade.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: One episode had a Cardassian scientist repeatedly snipe at Miles O'Brien, expressing surprise that he's a good engineer. It's later revealed that her sniping is the Cardassian equivalent of flirting.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Garak just happens to have a micro-explosive handy with a prepared trigger used by only one species of assassin that would only blow up when he entered his own shop. This was of course handy because the assassin was actually there to kill him, so he pre-emptively blew himself up so the assassin would be caught.
    • The Cardassians like this trope in general, from their station security to the Obsidian Order. They have contingency plans for contingency plans with a few Batman Gambits thrown in.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Federation and the Cardassians bear joint responsibility for the formation of the Maquis rebels following the establishment of the Demilitarized Zone in Season 2.
  • Crossover: A loose example with "The Maquis". The duology continues the events of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Journey's End", which had aired a month before. It shows what has become of the Demilitarized Zone and the Federation colonists that have chosen to remain on the Cardassian side of the border. One of the Dorvan colonists even appears as an extra in the second installment and Gul Evek also reappears.
  • Creative Sterility: The Vorta lack any sort of aesthetic sense, since it was deemed unnecessary when the Founders upgraded their genes. One episode has Weyoun looking at an illustration and trying to puzzle out what makes it "pretty".
  • Creator In-Joke: "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" is based on an episode of the TV show Fame (no relation to the musical) written by Ira Behr. The plot involved a softball team that has no talent whatsoever, but who, through luck and perseverance, somehow manage to pull off a victory: scenes where Nog is unsure which player to tag, or Rom's fluke bunt at the end, were taken from that sitcom. The general plot is are also very much in the spirit of The Bad News Bears, also produced by Paramount Pictures.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • The Wire. Garak mysteriously collapses, leading Bashir on a quest to the Cardassion Union to meet the one man capable of saving Garak's life, Enabran Tain. The problem is that Tain is the man who exiled Garak from Cardassia and now hates his former protege with a passion. When he quickly offers Bashir all the information Bashir needs to save Garak's life, Bashir is surprised and thankful. Tain chastises Bashir's gratitude telling him - to Bashir's growing horror - that he's not doing Garak a favour by saving his life. He wants Garak to live a very long life in exile, surrounded by people who hate him for being a Cardassian and knowing he will never, ever be able to return to his beloved homeland again.
    • Sons of Mogh. Cultural differences resulted in Cruel Mercy to Worf's brother Kurn. With their family dishonored in the eyes of the Empire, Kurn seeks Worf out to give him his honor back... by killing Kurn in a specific ritual. When Dax puts the pieces together (the identity of the Klingon that recently arrived; Worf's belligerence toward Quark over acquiring a specific type of Klingon incense), she arrives just after Worf has struck with the ritual blade, but is in time to have Kurn transported to the infirmary and save him. Denied the restoration of his honor (especially since Sisko threatened Worf not to try it again), Kurn suffers a Fate Worse Than Death for a Klingon, and slips into a deeper depression, turning suicidal... until Worf decides to provide him with a new identity, and have Kurn's memory wiped, so that he can start his life as a Klingon anew.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Bajorans prefer their buildings low-rise, but modern Bajor otherwise fits quite nicely.
  • Cuckoo Nest:
    • Interestingly, the 1950s Sci-Fi writer that Sisko imagined in "Far Beyond the Stars" appears again in "Shadows and Symbols" only now he is completely insane, writing his dreams of Deep Space 9 on the walls of his cell. This imagining is imposed upon Sisko by the evil pah-wraiths, attempting to stop Sisko from fulfilling his role as Emissary by making him doubts the Prophets' existence.
    • The writers considered ending the series with the sci-fi writer on a set, carrying a script for Deep Space Nine, but apparently decided that Trekkies would hate seeing their beloved series framed as fiction.
  • Cultural Rebel:
    • Nog joins Starfleet instead of taking up a business career like most Ferengi men.
    • Odo is one of the few Changelings who does not hate and fear all solids and even proves essential in the war effort against his own people.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The first open encounter with The Dominion had a Jem'Hadar ship ramming and destroying the Odyssey (the same class as the Enterprise-D) just to prove a point.
    • The Second Battle of Chin'Toka resulted in the loss of an entire allied fleet—save one lucky Klingon Bird-of-Prey. Dominion losses amounted to four or five destroyed Breen warships.
  • Custom Uniform:
    • Starting around Season Three, Major Kira eventually trades in her militia uniform for a slinkier one-piece garment.
    • Odo's uniform was modified from the standard Bajoran militia uniform, too, with a higher collar and a belt (which he later discarded). Rene Auberjonois liked his Mirror Universe outfit so much, he asked the producers to create a similar one that he could wear on a regular basis.
    • Captain Sisko twice wears a variation on the First Contact uniform. The tunic, worn untucked, is zipped all the way to the neck, the cuffs lack the division color stripe, and the combadge is placed in the grey shoulders rather than below it. Sources seem to be divided as to whether or not this custom uniform was just a wardrobe mistake.
    • When he first arrived, Bashir was wearing the TNG-style uniform, rather than the color-switched ones used in DS9. (The uniform changes were apparently the whole of Starfleet changing over, but it would have made more sense for this to be shipboard uniform vs. station uniform, particularly as TNG ran another two years and didn't change uniforms.)
    • In one of the DS9 episodes, officers from starships are seen wearing the TNG outfit, and in TNG s6e15-16 "Birthright," Bashir is on the Enterprise wearing his DS9 uniform among the other TNG uniforms. Dax was also wearing a TNG uniform in "Emissary" when she and Bashir disembarked from the starship.
    • Uniforms in general were in a bit of turmoil during this time of the franchise. Star Trek: Generations introduced the color-switched uniforms (colored shoulders, black body, purple turtlenecks underneath) that are worn in the early seasons of DS9 and all seasons of Star Trek: Voyager, but Costuming had not yet produced enough copies, leading to some characters (Worf in particular) stuck in their television costumes. The very next film, Star Trek: First Contact, introduced yet a third variant (grey upholstered shoulders, black body, and the undershirt in red, blue or yellow depending on the character's department), which took over on DS9. The Voyager crew, who presumably never got the memo, retain the uniforms introduced in Generations, but characters from the Alpha Quadrant who appear on that series wear the First Contact uniforms, imposing order on Starfleet's wardrobe.
      • When Worf shows up in Season 4, he's still wearing the TNG-style uniform in Security/Engineering yellow (apparently, he still hadn't gotten his new uniform). He wears it through the end of "Way of the Warrior" and his official re-assignment to DS9, at which point he shows up in Ops in Generations-style Command red; he has transitioned to the First Contact uniforms when he shows up in that film. As a weird side-effect, Worf was never filmed wearing Generations-style yellow.

  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Worf tells an engineering officer in "Starship Down" to change a reconfigured control panel back to the standard layout so that this trope doesn't end up causing problems at a critical time.
  • Dangerous Drowsiness: In "Babel", O'Brien feels tired. He thinks he's just worn out from all the chores he's been doing, but it turns out that he's coming down with a virus called the "aphasia virus", which spreads to the rest of the crew and would have killed them if not for the work of Dr. Bashir and others.
  • Dark Messiah: Gul Dukat, as a Pah Wraith emissary.
  • Darker and Edgier: This series is a distinct departure in tone from what came before. While previous shows are set on Starfleet vessels, with a cast composed of dedicated Starfleet officers unified in a mission to explore, this series features characters with conflicting loyalties and motivations, causing more friction between the characters. In fact, one of the main characters, Quark, is an outright crook. Topics also stray more into morally ambiguous politics and diplomacy. While war played a passing role in previous series, here it takes up a substantial part of the series' run. On the "edgier" side, this show is more frank with sexual topics. For example, the Holo-Suites are described as little more than virtual bordellos, while all romantic subtext on the Holodeck is decidedly G-rated.
  • The Darkness Before Death: Tain comments how everything has gone dark as he lies on his deathbed. Garak takes advantage of this and has Bashir sit in the background, allowing the doctor to witness him at his most vulnerable as a sign of their friendship.
  • Data Crystal: Isolinear chips.
  • Dawson Casting: Both used and averted in the pre-adult double team of Nog and Jake Sisko. While Cirroc Lofton was fifteen years old when he played a similarly school-age Jake, Aron Eisenberg - due to being a shade under five feet tallnote  - was 24 when he first appeared as Nog.
  • Deadly Force Field: The series establishes that certain types of force fields, like those used by the Jem'Hadar (and possibly the Cardassians), are lethal to the touch.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Garak is the show's standout example. Bashir and Odo have their moments too.
    • The 100-year-old Bajoran arbiter Els Renora, from the episode "Dax", stands apart as a shining example of this trope, too. Played by Anne Haney (who also played the social worker in Mrs. Doubtfire), she gets some real gems.
    "I am one hundred years old. I do not have time to squander listening to superfluous language. In short, I intend to be in here until supper, not senility."
    "But the penalty for these crimes on your world is death, and that is rather permanent."
    • But the greatest one of all comes after Tandro's mother announces that she and Curzon were in bed together at the time of the transmission, and thus Curzon couldn't have been the traitor:
    "Mr. Tandro, you will want to re-examine your extradition request."
    • If only she'd appeared in a few more episodes, she may have even overtaken Garak in this category. As it is, Garak gets the nod based on volume.
    • Ziyal has a few shining moments as well, along with what might be her best one-liner in the entire show when she's forced to listen to Quark moaning about how the Dominion take-over will hit his profits.
    Quark: "The Jem'Hadar don't eat, don't drink, and they don't have sex. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Founders don't eat and don't drink, and they don't have sex either. Which, between you and me, makes my financial future less than promising."
    Ziyal: "It might not be so bad. For all we know the Vorta could be gluttonous, alcoholic sex maniacs."
  • Death Is Cheap: The Weyoun clones.
  • Deconstruction: DS9 liked to do this, both to the rest of Trekdom and other works:
    • There are a lot of moments, often involving the Ferengi, which consider Roddenberry's peaceful and non-capitalist vision of the future (of humans) and the potential downsides of it—culminating in a priceless moment when Jake has to ask Nog to help out in buying something, and Nog rebukes him for not having the money due to "some philosophy":
    Jake: Hey, there's nothing wrong with our philosophy. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.
    Nog: What does that mean, exactly?
    Jake: It means—it means we don't need money!
    Nog: Well, if you don't need money, then you certainly don't need mine.
    • Section 31 was another major deconstruction of Roddenberry's utopia, showing that the Federation has just as many skeletons in its closet as its enemies — they're just better at keeping them hidden. And the worst of it is the idea that those skeletons are often necessary in "a universe that doesn't share your sense of right and wrong".
    • The episode "Valiant" is a valiant deconstruction of the original Star Wars film (aka A New Hope) and derivative works. One tiny ship manned by young, inexperienced but brave heroes runs down the trench of a giant super weapon ship and uses a super torpedo on its Weaksauce Weakness...only for it to fail, their ship to be blown up and most of them killed.
    • "Far Beyond the Stars" and "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" consider the trend in Star Trek to never explicitly mention race or racism (in humans) from the Next Generation onwards, implying it is so distant in the past that it is forgotten. Sisko is shocked when he experiences it in his visions of being a black 1950s science fiction writer, and seems newly aware of the ramifications of his skin color in the past and becomes angry at Politically Correct History period holo-programs brushing over it.
    • As noted above, the entire series was a rejection of the classic Trek "solve a problem, then fly on and never return" storyline, but "Crossover" was specifically a deconstruction of it. "Mirror, Mirror" ended on a hopeful note, with Mirror Spock deciding to consider Kirk's advice about changing Mirror Federation society. But as we see in "Crossover," this has extremely negative consequences, because all the other warlike societies surrounding the Mirror Federation swoop in and take over, leaving humanity largely enslaved, with very little hope of freedom.
  • Definitely Just a Cold: Odo and the Female Changeling after contracting the Founders' disease.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: A staple of any Trek series. This one, however, has a much more even-handed approach than the other series, giving a more sympathetic and three-dimensional portrayal of alien values, and showing that the Federation isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be.
  • Demonic Possession: Kira and Jake in "The Reckoning".
    • Though in Kira's case it's more willing Angelic possession.
    • Keiko is the first to be possessed by the Pah-Wraith.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Quantum Torpedoes, which are more powerful than phototon torpedoes, are introduced in DS9. Technobabble for them reveal that the design essentially weaponizes a miniature Negative Space Wedgie for its warhead.
  • Depraved Bisexual: The Mirror Universe versions of Kira, Ezri and Leeta apparently. It was not seen by many fans as helping Star Trek's notoriously poor handling of LGBT issues by having bisexuality/lesbianism be so visibly prominent in the Evil Twin versions of characters that were heterosexual in the prime universe.
  • Description Cut: In "In Purgatory's Shadow," upon discovering that Bashir has been replaced by a Changeling and is being held in a Dominion prison camp, Worf and Bashir ponder what mischief the Changeling is up to on the station. The show immediately cuts to Bashir's replacement delivering sandwiches to Dax and O'Brien.
    • In "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", Ben tells Kasidy the reason why he wants to beat the Vulcan captain's team so badly, and then tells her she's not allowed to tell anyone. He makes her promise. Cut immediately to Kasidy talking to the crew in the wardroom, having just told them: "He made me promise not to say anything, so keep it under your hats."
  • Despite the Plan: the episode "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" involved an Ocean's Eleven-style casino heist where nothing went as planned, but everyone bounced back in time to pull it off.
    • They actually show us what the perfectly-performed plan looks like, too, and even mislead us a little into thinking it's the actual performance of the plan, with the characters narrating/explaining their parts. This makes the blunder-filled version that much more hilarious. And exciting. (Of course, this is the common inversion of the Unspoken Plan Guarantee: since we hear the plan, you know it won't go that smoothly in practice.)
  • Determinator: Worf, in "By Inferno's Light". He forever earns the respect of General Martok.
    Martok: Seven battles, and seven victories! What hero of legend could have done as well?
    Worf: Heroes of legend do not ache so much.
    First Ikat'ika: I yield! I can not defeat this Klingon. I can only kill him, and that no longer holds my interest.
    • A nod to the classic Marvel Comics story, except with Worf taking the Ever-Loving Thing's place as the guy who won't stay down against an opponent he can't beat.
    • In the same episode, Garak earns the respect of both Worf and General Martok when he defies a debilitating phobia because he knows he's the only person who can get everyone safely out of the internment camp.
    Martok: There is no greater enemy than one's own fears.
    Worf: It takes a brave man to face them.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Commander Sisko, when Q tried playing a prank of a boxing match.
    Q: "You hit me! Picard never hit me!"
    Sisko: "I'm not Picard."
    • This is later referenced in one of the TNG novels involving Q, with Picard noting that Q didn't return to DS9 after that incident. Picard says (only half-jokingly) that if he knew punching Q would prevent him from returning, he'd have done it at Farpoint.
  • Did Not Think This Through: A Cardassian, Aamin Maritza, is arrested on the station and later revealed to be Gul Darhee'el, a war criminal on Bajor. He IS actually Maritza and had cosmetic surgery to pose as Darhe'el, his stated intention being to allow himself to be tried as a war criminal, thus forcing the Cardassian government to acknowledge their shady past. Odo has one conversation with Gul Dukat and the story begins to unravel as Darhe'el died and had a very public military funeral 6 years ago. While it's not surprising that those outside Cardassia were unaware of this, Maritza surely did. It seems highly unlikely that Cardassia would have reconciled their past over such an obvious imposter being put on trial.
  • Didn't See That Coming: An elaborate plan to have a Vorta infiltrate the Federation involved a locked collar that supposedly suppressed her telekinetic abilities. Quark gets the collar off, and they no doubt expected it to be discarded, but Quark thought he might be able to reverse-engineer the technology and make some money off it...and on examination, found it was nothing but a complicated lock.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: In "Sanctuary," where one of Kira's friends plays a version of the theme song in Quark's.
  • Diplomatic Back Channel: Several characters are used as intermediaries for information and messages when their home planet is on the outs with the Federation.
    • Commander Worf, one of the only Klingons in Starfleet, becomes vitally important when the Klingons withdraw from the Khitomer Accords amidst the tensions of the Dominion War. Using Worf's understanding of Klingon culture and his connections to active battle leaders, Sisko and Worf are able to convince Chancellor Gowron to rejoin the treaty.
    • Elim Garak, a politically exiled Cardassian who lives on Deep Space Nine, plays a vital role when the Cardassians decide to ally with the Dominion during the Dominion Wars. The Klingons decide they will attack Cardassia Prime. The Starfleet officers on DS9 know this would be disastrous, but are told by Starfleet Command that they can not inform the Cardassian government as the Klingons are an allied planet and Cardassia is not. If they warn Cardassia, the Klingons will likely leave the Federation. To get around this, Sisko summons Garak, Cardassian Intelligence officer turned tailor, to fit him for a new suit. While Garak takes measurements, Sisko and his commanding officers discuss all the pertinent details of the impending invasion. The next scene immediately cuts to Garak on a call with Gul Dukat, the military leader of Cardassia.
    • Odo, the head of DS9 security, is also a member of the changeling race, the Founders, who are instigating the Dominion War. By his mere status as a Founder, he is able to command the Jem'Hadar foot soldiers and the Vorta who see him as a god. He is also the only member of the DS9 staff that the Founders treat as an equal. At the climax of the war, Odo is instrumental in convincing the Female Changeling to surrender rather than go for a pyrrhic victory.
  • Discount Lesbians: Jadzia and Lenara in "Rejoined", as it is really their symbionts, Dax and Kahn, who had been joined to a husband and wife couple in the past, that were the ones having romantic feelings for each other rather than their current hosts.
  • Disposable Woman: Jennifer Sisko, who died before she even got a line reading. We see more of her in flashbacks, and her Mirror Universe counterpart is still alive and kicking, that is, until the end of "Shattered Mirror" when she gets shot by Intendant Kira.
    • Considering some of the flashbacks are in the pilot....she's a straight version of Posthumous Character.
  • Ditto Aliens: When Odo finally meets other Changelings, and they take a humanoid form, their faces are similar to Odo's. This doesn't make much sense, since Odo's face looks like that because he didn't have the skill to properly imitate humanoid facial structure, and other Changelings are shown to have that skill. It seems the Changelings were made to look like Odo just so the viewer would know they are part of the same race, even though this should be totally obvious anyway, as both Odo and the other Changelings explicitly state that Odo is one of them.
  • Divide and Conquer: This is the Dominion's chief strategy when invading a new region of space: get the locals to fight each other and implode until they can't put up enough resistance, and then roll your forces in to mop up the remnants and establish a puppet state that governs itself under your flag and pays tribute to you.
    • Firstly using Changeling agents, the Dominion was able to easily sow discord between their enemies while simultaneously seeming peaceful. Initially they weakened the Romulans and Cardassians by destroying Enabran Tain's fleet through changeling infiltration, and then used the same trick to start a war between the Federation and Klingon empire who were last two Alpha quadrant powers who could stand against them.
    • Secondly, they made alliances with the beaten Cardassians and the Breen, turning them into servitor races to facilitate their invasion. They very nearly succeeded, except for their own trick of sowing discord being used against them with their terrible mistreatment of the Cardiassians creating a resistance movement, and they ultimately failed to keep the Federation, Klingons and Romulans from getting wise to Dominion strategy and uniting under one banner.
    • The Romulan Empire attempts to do this in regards to the Dominion fighting the Federation-Klingon alliance. However, as Sisko points out, this will inevitably backfire. Instead of facing two strong opponents with differing strategic goals, the Romulans will face only a much stronger Dominion who would be dead set on taking down the Romulans next.
  • Divine Conflict: The Prophets, Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that the Bajorans view as gods, have Evil Counterparts in the Pah-wraiths. According to legend the Prophets cast the Pah-wraiths out of the Celestial Temple (the wormhole) thousands of years ago, and they make repeated efforts to return during the series and battle the Prophets' representatives in the process. Implications are also made that the Prophets and Pah-wraiths are subtly influencing the course of the Dominion War in favor of the Federation Alliance or the Dominion, respectively.
  • Divine Intervention: Sisko takes the Defiant into the wormhole to head off a fleet of several thousand enemy ships. Luckily, the Prophets intervene and somehow remove the entire enemy fleet from existence. It's nice to have a race of virtually omnipotent noncorporeal alien beings nearby, isn't it?
    • This action ultimately haunts the Federation a few decades later in Star Trek Online: The Prophets didn't actually get rid of the Dominion Fleet, they just moved them into the future, likely to a time where the Federation would be in a far more capable position of fighting them. It still meant they were a huge threat to the Alpha Quadrant.
  • Divinely Appearing Demons: In the episode "Penumbra" the Pah-Wraiths (Prophets exiled from their home in the Wormhole) appear to Kai Winn Adami in a vision, claiming to be the Prophets.
  • Divorce Requires Death: In "Second Sight", we meet a famous scientist who has everything... except his wife's love. And she comes from a culture that doesn't permit divorce, so she's slowly killing herself instead. The episode ends with him killing himself instead, so that she will be free.
  • Doctor's Orders: Bashir relieves Kira of duty in Defiant because she's highly overworked, stressed out, and can't remember the last time she had a day off.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Odo states this preference in "Captive Pursuit" and his Mirror Universe counterpart apparently does not agree. However, Odo would at the very least wield phasers in later episodes such as "Second Skin" and "Heart of Stone."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The series opens with Bajor on the verge of Civil War due to nationalist and religious conflict, as now the Cardassian occupiers have left, old conflicts which were put aside during the Occupation have now resurfaced. This is taken directly from the conflicts of the 1990's in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union, with the Federation taking the part of the United Nations or European Union.
    • The Cardassian occupation of Bajor, complete with labor camps and racially-charged rhetoric, is reminiscent of the Nazi regime (Deep Space Nein!). Word of God says that it was based on the WWII Japanese conquest of China. The Dominion also qualifies. Like the Nazis, the Changeling Founders consider themselves racially superior to "solids" and have no moral qualms about genocide.
    • The Section 31 virus which afflicts the Changeling race is reminiscent of the HIV epidemic. First, the virus is spread by the physically intimate act of linking, the closest Changeling analog to sex. Like HIV, the virus is lethal, at least until a cure is discovered in season 7. Finally, the virus is deliberately developed by Section 31, a shadow organization under the Federation government, as a means of bringing about a Changeling genocide. This strategy is reminiscent of early conspiracy theories surrounding the origins of HIV. That's right folks; Odo and the Female Changeling were metaphorically seropositive.
    • Jadzia Dax has gone from a male body to a female body, and she tells Sisko (who is accepting and sees her as still his old friend) that sometimes friendships don’t survive the change. It doesn’t take a genius to see the trans allegory.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Bashir's pursuit of Jadzia Dax. Ezri later tells him that if Worf hadn't come along, Jadzia would've chosen Bashir.
  • Don LaFontaine: He doesn't do the voice, but Quark does a pretty good impression of the stereotypical Don LaFontaine-voiced movie trailer in "Business as Usual". Which is then subverted by Dax's interruption.
    Quark: Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I have to do, I have to do alone. One man... who's had enough... who's going to stand up and say...
    Jadzia Dax: Goodbye, Quark!
    • In real life, Don voiced the syndicated promos for each episode, as he did for TNG (excepting the end where the local station put in their logo and timeslot; that was done by whoever VO'd the station at that point).
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: For a certain definition of "divine", Ben Sisko's backstory counts. His mother was possessed or influenced somehow— the exact mechanics aren't elaborated upon— by the Prophets / wormhole aliens (Sufficiently Advanced Aliens and/or gods depending on who you ask) to marry his father. Once she'd given birth to their Chosen One, they freed her from their influence, and she promptly left his father. The father, who loved her deeply, was heartbroken and never knew that there had been anything problematic or unnatural about their relationship. It's probable that, being Starfish Aliens who do not experience linear time as we do and appear puzzled about many things about the human experience that we take for granted, it never occurred to the Prophets / wormhole aliens that there was anything morally wrong with doing this. The depth of the moral squick involved is never fully explored by the characters, either, and nobody ever gives them a What the Hell, Hero? about it, making it a case of Fridge Horror for the audience.
  • Dramatic Downstage Turn: Sisko loves sitting in the foreground and staring away from his dialogue partners whenever he's preoccupied with some serious matter. Occasionally he (and most of the other characters) will throw a full Downstage Turn.
  • Dramatic Pause: Sisko.. develops a.. bad case of.. Shatner.. Speak.. at times! (Interestingly, Avery Brooks's dramatic background was originally as a Shakespearean actor, just like William Shatner, and Shakespeare is known for a distinctive cadence...)
    • This is even more evident with the one-shot character Laas. J.G. Hertzler, the actor who played him, has said he was deliberately imitating Shatner's Kirk while doing Laas' voice.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Jake's sincere disbelief that Weyoun is not sending any reports to the Federation that paint the Dominion in an unfavorable light. Since when did totalitarian evil empires start denying the freedom of the press?
    Weyoun: Please tell me you're not that naive.
  • Dream Melody: "Equilibrium".
  • Driven to Suicide: While dealing with his depression and PTSD in the aftermath of having 20 years worth of prison time including the murder of his cellmate, Miles secludes himself to a cargo bay and presses a phaser to his head. It is only the timely intervention of Bashir and a hallucination of Ee'char forgiving him that convinces Miles to put the phaser down.
  • Driven to Villainy: It's suggested that the Founders were once benign. However, species in Trek are instinctively hostile to shape-shifters. After centuries of various abuses, the Founders became bent on establishing Dominion over all "solids" in the universe.
    • It wouldn't take a lot of instinct to be paranoid about them. Look at the panics humans have had historically, over witches, crypto-communists, etcetera. Now imagine that it's a group that not only you don't know who they are, but one that could replace members of your own family without you knowing.
    • Of course, this was suggested by the Founders...
    • The idea is actually first floated in the early episode Vortex, when Croden brings up the history of Changelings on his homeworld to embroider the truth a bit and get Odo to help him. Subsequent events in the episode make it easy to parse the truth from the lies, suggesting the Founder account is also largely accurate and they really are enacting a quadrant-scale episode of paranoid PTSD.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Jadzia essentially dies for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and her death was written in such a way as to ensure she had absolutely no shot at either defending herself or accomplishing anything in her last moments.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Damar (He gets better).
  • Dying Alone: Kira Nerys father Kira Taban was shot by the Cardassians. Although she was by his side for most of it, she left with the rest of her resistance cell to the kill those responsible. Her father died alone, calling out her name, she only missed it by a matter of hours. It haunted her for the rest of her life.
    • The episode that reveals this also has a Cardassian who became a surrogate father-figure to her dying. After learning of something he did during the Occupation she storms off, only to be convinced to return as "he doesn't deserve to die alone." She returns and stays with him until he dies, and then buries him next to her father.
      • The reason he came to Kira as he was dying says a lot about their relationship, and about him. He was following an old Cardassian death tradition: Giving all your hoarded secret knowledge about your enemies to someone you trust to use it in a way that will grant you posthumous revenge. (This led to her learning what he had done as well.) In the end, Kira was astonished by his ability to struggle for every last second of life, even when there was no hope of gaining anything but more struggle.