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  • Macross Missile Massacre: After the station's weapons system overhaul mentioned first at the beginning of Season 4... Torpedoes. Torpedoes everywhere.
  • MacGuffin Melee: "Who Mourns for Morn?" With everyone fighting over Morn's latinum.
    • In "The Sword of Kahless", numerous Klingons believe themselves to be destined to carry it.
  • Made-for-TV Movie: "The Way of the Warrior", the fourth-season premiere, was the first episode of Star Trek written, filmed, and aired as a TV movie which wasn't also a Pilot or a Grand Finale. The creators took the opportunity to introduce a new character (Worf), redo the main credits, introduce new props, turn two of the Trek universe's allies against each other, and have the biggest battle scene in both TNG and DS9 up to that time.
  • Madness Mantra: After Ziyal's death, Dukat is reduced to literally being dragged out of Sisko's office while whimperingly repeating "I forgive you...I forgive you..."
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Elias Giger from "In the Cards" fits the profile of the more comic, probably harmless type. His theory is that death is caused by "cellular ennui," that cells can literally be bored to death, and so he creates his "cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber" to keep them stimulated. However, his work is supposedly hampered by non-believing "soulless minions of orthodoxy" and he seems badly paranoid that they are out to ruin him and his work.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Sisko, Odo, and O'Brien turning themselves into Klingons.
    • Frequently used by Cardassian spies, including Dukat himself.
    • And on Kira by the Obsidian Order, as part of an elaborate scheme to have a Cardassian politician convicted as a traitor and mindscrew Kira in the process.
      • "Second Skin" may have served as foreshadowing (or inspiration) for Seska, a Cardassian agent appearing as a Bajoran in the Maquis on Voyager. Incidentally, she appeared as a Romulan in one episode.
    • Also, not really a species change, but wouldn't it be nice if all sex changes could be done as casually and easily as Quark's in Profit and Lace?
  • Magnetic Plot Device: The wormhole was responsible for nearly everything that went on there. Without it, no one in The Federation or any other race besides the Bajorans and Cardassians would care about Deep Space Nine.
    • Although they got a TON of mileage out of "just" the Bajorans and Cardassians.
  • The Magnificent: Kahless the Unforgettable.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: "The Magnificent Ferengi"
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: An integral part of Star Trek, but it gets particularly blatant once they get the Defiant. It's common to see the entire command staff leaving the station to go for a ride on the Cool Ship. Kind of makes you wonder who the heck is left behind to handle the daily disasters that normally plague the station.
    • It's particularly odd when Major Kira, the Bajoran liasion officer to DS9, is out on Starfleet missions with the Defiant and her crew that have nothing to do with Bajor.
      • Which comes to a head in the sixth season finale "Tears of the Prophets", where Dax stays behind to run the station and gets murdered by Gul Dukat as a result, while Kira boards the Defiant with the rest of the main characters (even Jake) for the invasion of Cardassian space.
    • One egregious example is the undercover operation to expose Gowron as a Changeling in Season 5. Worf is a Klingon and, in fact, the one who trains the others on how to act. Odo is an expert on Changelings, and he realizes that the actual Changeling is Martok, not Gowron, so he also has to be there. But Sisko's inclusion is questionable, although he's a good enough actor to pull it off and he was the one to suggest the mission to Starfleet Command. But O'Brien? He might have the most combat experience of anyone else in the main crew, but seriously, one would think that Starfleet Intelligence could have sent one operative who could have filled the last slot more effectively.
      • O'Brien may have been there to supervise their equipment.
      • Behind the scenes, this was done because actress Terry Farrell's skin condition precluded her from wearing the Klingon makeup, even though her character Dax, as an expert on Klingon culture, would have been a much more logical choice for the mission.
    • In a villainous example, when the Dominion takes the station, Gul Dukat takes over Sisko's office; Weyoun and the Female Changeling move to the station as well. Given the wormhole, it might make sense for the Female Changeling and Weyoun to be there; however, why is the head of the Cardassian government not on Cardassia Prime, actually governing Cardassia? It either has to do with the Wormhole being probably the most strategically significant position in the Alpha Quadrant, the Founders wanting him in close proximity to them, or he's a sufficiently massive egotist wanting to rub it in the faces of the Bajorans after being humiliated that they successfully revolted under his command.
    • An example in the episode Cardassians may have some subtle Fridge Brilliance. Sisko - not known for his child social welfare qualifications - arbitrates a dispute around who should care for Cardassian boy Rugal. The brilliance arises because as anyone who has been through an adoption process or custody battle knows, it takes a lot more than the half hour (or whatever) sit-down that Sisko arranged, before making an abrupt decision (without even consulting the boy himself, it would seem!) - thus showing his lack of qualification.
  • Make an Example of Them: During the final arc that sees the Federation invade the Dominion stronghold on Cardassia Prime, the Cardassian resistance (led by Kira, Garak, and Damar) is becoming an irritating bother for the occupiers when Weyoun suggests to the Female Changeling the idea of leveling a city of a million people to show the Cardassians what happens to anyone who betrays the Dominion. This has the exact opposite effect when almost the entire Cardassian fleet defects to the Federation-Klingon-Romulan forces.
  • Man on Fire: Part of Kira's hallucination in "If Wishes Were Horses."
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Kira and Bareil. She's a Fiery Redhead Action Girl who'll beat the crap out of anyone who looks at her the wrong way, while he's a soft-spoken Good Shepherd who never lashes out at anyone. (That one time he punches Sisko doesn't count, as he's Not Himself at the time.)
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Federation explains away the Prophets (the divinities of the Bajoran religion) as wormhole-dwelling aliens with a strange relationship to time. The Bajorans reframe the Federation's talk of wormholes and aliens in terms of their traditional religious beliefs. The show doesn't really take one side or the other as the truth, and lets each character interpret it according to their own point of view. Sisko doesn't think these are actually opposing beliefs, since they both acknowledge the prophets as having exactly the same abilities.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Damar is promoted as the puppet leader of Cardassia, he gives a speech that ends with the same line as the speech Dukat made when he first allied Cardassia with the Dominion: "This I vow with my life's blood, for my son, for all our sons." But while Dukat's words were vehement and boastful, Damar's recitation is emotionless and very clearly scripted. It's an early sign that Damar will not be just another Dukat.
  • Meaningful Name: The Jem'Hadar are named after jemadar, a rank of sepoy (native troops in India who fought for the British Empire and were commanded by British officers). This fits well for a soldier race who are commanded by members of an unrelated race (the Vorta).
    • For that matter, Feringhee or Ferengi was a disparaging word used by Indians to refer to white Europeans, specifically Portugese traders, who they thought of as greedy, overbearing, and profit-obsessed.
    • Eris is the name of the Vorta who was "captured" by the Dominion and "rescued" by the Federation so she could spread disinformation about the Dominion. Eris is also the name of the Greek goddess of strife and discord.
    • Many human Starfleet officers bear the names of significant historical military leaders: witness Commander Benteen and Captain Jellico.
    • Jadzia is (most likely) an unintentional example. Her name (at least the way it is written) happens to be a dimunitive form of an actual Polish feminine given name Jadwiga — which originated from old German name Hedwig. The latter name, it turn, is compounded from words hadu ("battle") and wig ("fight"). Therefore, Jadzia would be affectionate name for a woman known for her combat prowess and many victories in battle. Which, in another interesting coincidence, suits Dax quite well.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: In the episode, "Past Tense", Dax, Sisko and Bashir go back in time to 2024 and their presence results in the death of Gabriel Bell, which indirectly results in the non existence of the Federation. However for O'Brien, Kira and Odo, still in the present day, the Federation disappears at the "same" moment (with respect to the show's narrative) that Bell is killed. Right down to Odo noticing he's been cut off in the middle of a conversation with a Federation officer on Earth.
  • Mental World: Bashir's in "Distant Voices" and Sisko's in "Far Beyond the Stars" and "Shadows and Symbols."
    • Sloan in "Extreme Measures". He tries to kill Bashir and O'Brien by keeping them in his mind as he dies!
  • Merchant Prince: The Ferengi have this as their Hat. Political power is very much connected to success in business.
  • Meta Origin: Star Trek has always loved centering its episodes around either the sociological oddities of the various Planet of Hats aliens encountered by the crew and/or a Negative Space Wedgie causing trouble for the ship. DS9 still has these things but ties them into the overall Myth Arc with most of the former being a result of the Dominion's cruel manipulation of the civilizations under its yoke and the latter usually related to the somewhat more well-meaning but often oblivious manipulations of the godlike extradimensional creatures known as the Prophets.
  • Mexican Standoff: At the end of "Profit and Loss", between Quark, Garak, and Gul Taran.
    • Also the climax of "Tacking Into the Wind", Gul Rusot points a phaser at Kira, while Garak covers him and while Damar holds them ALL at phaser-point.
  • Mind Rape: One Bashir-centered episode introduces a race known as the Letheans, who have incredibly powerful psionic abilities. It is stated that the race make for great assassins, because almost nobody ever survives the mind assaults they can attack their targets with. It goes beyond mentally assaulting someone with horrible images to just mentally assaulting someone.
  • Mind Screw: Benny Russell. The writers considered having Benny Russell hold up the complete script to the series as the very last scene of the series. Boy, that would have been the mind-screw to end all mind-screws.
  • Mirror Universe
  • Mistaken for Flirting: "Destiny" While collaborating with a group of Cardassian scientists, one of them mistakes O'Brien's belligerence for flirting, as that's how Cardassian customs work. He's a married man and not a fan of Cardassians due to a previous war. But he does later reconcile with her and say that they can be friends and that he respects her as a professional.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: For much of Season 6 and 7, Legate Damar, the puppet leader of Cardassia must make concession after concession after outrageous concession to further the Dominion's interests, such as sacrificing Cardassian troops in a futile mission to distract the Klingons, or ceding unspecified Cardassian planets to the Breen in a treaty. Damar swallows his resentment by drinking a lot, becoming a full-blown functioning alcoholic by mid season 7. He finally does a Heel–Face Turn in the last half-dozen episodes and openly leads an armed rebellion to free his people from the Dominion, which ends with him becoming a Doomed Moral Victor
  • Mob-Boss Suit Fitting: Sometimes played with since Garak, the station's tailor, also has ties to Cardassian intelligence. At one point, Sisko has Garak take his measurements during an officers' meeting in order to pass on information to the Cardassians.
  • Mole in Charge: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" reveals that the head of the Romulan Tal Shiar is a Federation mole. A Batman Gambit on the parts of Admiral Ross and Luther Sloan gets him a seat on the Senate Continuing Committee, which would have put him in the running to become the new praetor. Star Trek: Nemesis implies that it never came to pass, however.
    • The Season 4 finale reveals that Gowron, the Klingon Chancellor, has been replaced by a Changeling. Subverted when it turns out this was an intentional mislead planted by the Founders, but reconstructed a bit as this appears to have been their intention: with Gowron out of the way, the true mole would be in a position to take the Chancellorship (in fact, the real Klingon who the Changeling replaced ultimately does become Chancellor after Gowron's death in an unrelated incident). Fortunately, this plan is foiled when Odo figures out the truth at the last second.
  • Mook Promotion: Damar
  • Morality Pet: Ziyal for Dukat. Dukat seriously dotes on his daughter and he loves her dearly, enough to throw away everything he had built up for himself in Cardassia so he could bring her home. And she does bring out the best in him, keeps him toeing the line of morality and restricting him to Noble Demon territory. She ends up being the only thing keeping his sanity together... which is basically Tempting Fate for a bad ending.
  • Morally Superior Copy: In "Treachery, Faith, And The Great River", Weyoun 6 was the lone Weyoun clone who disagreed with the Founders' genocidal stance and attempted to defect to the Federation by reinterpreting his genetically programmed loyalties to said founders as applying as well to Odo.
  • More Expendable Than You: In Once More Unto The Breach, Worf is about to sacrifice himself to delay a pursuing enemy. The aged and crafty Dahar Master Kor knocks him out, and promises that when he gets to Sto'vo'kor, he will tell Jadzia of his bravery.
  • Morton's Fork: Played with in "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River". Damar and Weyoun 7 are faced with a no-win scenario when trying to stop Weyoun 6's defection. If he defects, then he'll pass on intel that could help the Federation win the Dominion War. But if they kill him, then they'll kill Odo (who Weyoun 6 hitched a ride with) and bring down the Founders' wrath. Damar tries to pursue the second option through attempted Loophole Abuse.
  • Mouth of Sauron: The Vorta serve as the public face of the Founders, who are so paranoid that they rarely venture out of their homeworld. (And almost never in their true shape.)
  • Mr. Exposition: Rom of all people took this role in The Assignment, when he told O'Brien the story about how the Prophets banished the Pah-Wraiths or "False Prophets" from the wormhole. He learned this story from one of his conversations with Leeta before they hooked up ("She says I'm a good listener.") Armed with this information, O'Brien was able to save his wife Keiko from the Pah-Wraith who had possessed her.
  • Mr. Fixit: O'Brien, and later, even Rom.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Quark and Greed.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Leeta the Dabo Girl (though in this case, it's justified given the nature of her job).
    • Dax plays this role from time to time, and she hangs a great lampshade on it in "Trials and Tribble-ations." When the Defiant goes back in time to TOS days, they need to blend in, so they change into Kirk-era Starfleet uniforms.
    Bashir: (To O'Brien and Sisko) Aren't you two wearing the wrong color?
    O'Brien: Don't you know anything about this period in time?
    Sisko: In the old days, operations officers wore red, command officers wore gold.
    Dax: (walking out of her quarters in an Uhura style miniskirt) And women wore less. *poses*
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Both Garak and Bashir.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Gul Dukat does not take his daughter's death at all well.
  • Must Have Caffeine: The drink of choice for many is "Raktajino"; essentially Klingon coffee.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: As part of the more nuanced view DS9 takes, a lot of Cardassians are seen struggling with their part of the responsibility for the occupation. This is especially seen in the first season episode Duet.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Kor belittles Worf by predicting that when bards write a Klingon song about their quest, Worf's verse will consist of, "...And Worf came along!"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Alternate," Dr. Mora, upon capturing Odo, asks "Dear God, what have I done?"
    • Ironic, since Dr. Mora is a Bajoran, and they worship the Prophets, not God.
      • Perhaps it's a hiccup in the Universal Translator, or a rough translation of a Bajoran phrase into something more appropriate to English.
    • Sisko after he forces Nog to confess his reason for wanting to join Starfleet and how much it hurt him to have to insult his father like that.
    • In "Empok Nor", Garak actually asks O'Brien to apologise to a woman whose husband he killed when he was infected by a pathogen that drove him temporarily insane during a visit to the titular station. While Garak has killed others before, on this occasion he genuinely didn't choose to kill this man.
  • My Own Grampa: Bashir's reasoning for trying to sleep with a 23rd-century science officer. O'Brien won't hear of it.
  • Mythopoeia: Bajoran Mythopoeia figures prominently because Bajorans live nearby. Klingon Mythopoeia is there because of Worf and other Klingons and because Klingons are just that cool.

  • Naval Blockade: Klingons mined the "entire" Bajoran system to prevent Dominion ships from entering the Alpha Quadrant. However because of 2-D Space they only mined a circle around the system rather than the entire system, which would have taken centuries to do anyway.
    • Starfleet later mined the wormhole in a more realistic 3D fashion, and it was mostly effective until countermeasures could be deployed.
  • Nature Lover: Keiko O'Brien is a botanist, and she owns many houseplants. She likes her job so much that she became cranky when she didn't have the chance to do it, and was sent on a six-month business trip to cheer her up.
  • Neck Lift: The new puppet leader of the Cardassian Union, Legate Broca, was neck-lifted by a very deteriorated, yet incredibly strong female shapeshifter.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: The Tribble bomb in "Trials and Tribble-ations".
  • The Needless: The Jem'Hadar don't need to eat or sleep. But they constantly need Ketracel White just to stay mentally stable and physically survive.
    • Shape-shifters don't eat or drink; when Odo tried, it got "messy."
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: The Dominion begins an insidious takeover of the Federation under the guise of "peace" — just as we've been forewarned — in "The Search". Starfleet capitulates, Jem'Hadar roam free on the station, and even Sisko's subordinates are collaborators. With help from Garak, Sisko organizes a daring insurrection, and's all a holographic simulation. The Dominion was just testing Sisko in order to gauge how he would resist an occupation.
    • Garak being stopped from killing off the changelings in "Broken Link". Sure, it was a bit extreme and risked the lives of the entire Defiant crew, but it may well have prevented the hundreds of millions of deaths that happened in the Dominion War, and may have even caused a mass suicide amongst the Jem Hadar and Vorta, averting the war itself.
  • Nested Story Reveal: Subverted with "Far Beyond the Stars", where it's suggested that Deep Space Nine, and the entire Star Trek franchise, were just stories written by a black 1950s sci-fi author Benny Russell, who based Captain Sisko on himself. However, it eventually turns out "Benny" was a vision the Pah-Wraiths caused Sisko to have in order to make him doubt his sanity.
  • Neutral No Longer: The Romulans, after the events of "In The Pale Moonlight".
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Kasidy Yates is Ben Sisko's girlfriend, Keiko is Miles O'Brien's wife, and Ishka is Quark and Rom's mother. Also, Ziyal would not have mattered to anyone had she not been Dukat's daughter, and Dabo Girl Leeta was only important as Rom's wife. On the other hand, Ezri Dax managed to make the character stand on her own without any men to lean on, and Jadzia did too (she was there well before Worf was introduced, so she's not there as "Worf's wife" any more than he is there as "Jadzia's husband".) And Kira, of course, never depended on any male character for her status, nor did Kai Winn.
    • Quark's mother is an interesting case because she very much is a Self Made Woman, in fact she's worth more than both her sons combined which is no mean feat in a society where females aren't actually allowed to do business. Then there's her eventual ascension to become the power behind the throne.
      • But her role within the story is still entirely secondary to her sons'.
      • Also played with in that while Kasidy, Ishka and Keiko usually appear in the series as the wives/mothers/girlfriends of their men, they clearly have lives of their own and this is occasionally a side issue (Kasidy being a freighter captain takes her away for long periods of time, Keiko takes part in a long-term botany study on Bajor, Ishka's "unconventional" lifestyle). None of these women stand still for their men and while they may compromise in the long run they have their own lives and keep them. Kasidy and Ishka also excel in male-dominated fields with little evidence that it was any specific man who inspired them.
    • It's suggested in Facets that Curzon was in love with Jadzia. This might have affected his judgement in selecting her.
  • Never My Fault: Cardassians in general and Gul Dukat in particular have this attitude about the Bajoran Occupation. When called out on their atrocities and brutality during that period, most Cardassian characters insist it was the Bajorans' fault for resisting their efforts to 'civilize' their planet, and for not obediently allowing themselves to be worked to death in labor camps while their planet was strip-mined and their women and children abused and exploited. There are exceptions.
  • New Baby Episode: Downplayed for "The Begotten", which has a subplot about Kira, who was carrying the O'Briens' baby after an accident required him to be in her womb instead of Keiko's, finally giving birth.
  • New Era Speech: Gul Dukat gives one of these in "By Inferno's Light" when he takes over Cardassia.
  • New Meat: Nog in the later seasons.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Emperor Spock before "Crossover".
    • Arguably, the Klingons in Season 4 after they invade Cardassia. It sets off a chain of events that climaxes with Cardassia joining the Dominion, granting the Gamma Quadrant empire a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant.
      • Linked to this, Eddington and the Maquis, who helped drive the final push.
    • Arguably, Sisko in "Waltz" by putting the idea of destroying Bajor into the now-insane Dukat's head — an act that indirectly gets Jadzia Dax killed by the end of the season. Good going, Emissary.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The destruction of Lakarian City only caused those Cardassians loyal to the Dominion to turn on them. Imagine a smarmy alien informing you that they just destroyed New York or London just to prove a point. What an Idiot!.
    • Played with in "The Maquis" when the Cardassian Central Command's attempts to drive the Federation colonists out of the Demilitarized Zone results in the epoynmous group's creation. However, rather than improving things for our heroes, the Maquis' defiance ends up making the geo-political situation between the Federation and Cardassia even more precarious.
      • However, it also gets played straight in the same episode when Central Command throws Dukat under the bus and blames him for the DMZ situation. Rather than saving face, it instead convinces Sisko that the Maquis are right about the weapons shipments and he proceeds to rescue the Gul. Dukat is NOT happy to learn about being scapegoated and helps expose the weapons shipments partly to preserve the treaty and partly to spite Central Command.
  • No Gravity for You: One character of the week from a low-gravity planet is able to wipe out several hostage-takers by using this trope.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Kor's last appearance. Aside from his descent into Perilous Old Fool, Martok harbored a deep grudge against Kor for getting him blacklisted by the military for the sole reason that he was not born to a noble house.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Several over the series. It's best not to piss off Sisko, Kira, or Worf.
  • No True Scotsman: This enables Odo to expose an impostor: When Worf challenges Gowron, believed to be the imposter, to a duel, Martok makes a commment to Odo along the lines of Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?. Knowing no self-respecting Klingon would ever suggest such a thing, Odo realizes Martok is the true impostor.
  • Noble Demon: Dukat for the first six seasons though he'd think himself closer to a Well-Intentioned Extremist. In season seven he becomes a Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Noir Episode: "Necessary Evil" is Noir to its very bones. After a priceless opening sequence between Quark and a Femme Fatale (the wealthy widow of the murdered man, no less) in her house, amid a thunderstorm...the episode has Constable Odo using the Private Eye Monologue to parody the Captain's Log, and flashbacks to a murder he investigated while working for the Cardassian occupiers. Dark shadows and dim lighting abound, and Quark shows a surprisingly cool head when being threatened at gunpoint by a Mook. All that's missing is appropriate music, and maybe Odo and Quark wearing fedoras and trenchcoats...though Odo's attire in the flashbacks might pass for the coat. Interestingly enough, Major Kira turns out to be the real "Femme Fatale" murderess.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: The end of "The Sword of Kahless". Jadzia beams the sword out into deep space to prevent anyone from squabbling over it.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: During the Bond parody holodeck episodes.
  • No Need for Names: None of the changelings from the link seem to have names; presumably when you spend most of your time physically co-existing with the others of your own kind, names are somewhat irrelevant. Only Odo who was given a name by his discoverer and the other 'lost' changeling have names because they were raised outside of the link.
    Odo: You haven't told me your name.
    Female Changeling: What use would I have for a name?
    Odo: To differentiate yourself from the others.
    Female Changeling: I don't.
    Odo: But, you are a separate being, aren't you?
    Female Changeling: In a sense.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Many of the repeat offenders from the rest of the franchise make appearances here, though they are not always the same because of differences in this show's setting and technology. Many instances of this trope can be handwaved by the station's Cardassian design, which is shown to be much less safety-oriented than the Federation's.
    • In Civil Defense, the station's entire life support system is taken offline by destroying a single control station. Though it was intentional in this case, it would obviously be a HUGE safety issue in any other circumstance.
      • When this is later corrected, the Cardassian attitude toward safety is underscored when Gilora, a Cardassian scientist, sees that O'Brien had installed a second life support backup for the station to comply with Federation standards. Gilora thinks it is unnecessary and inefficient, but O'Brien is surprised that she would be comfortable with only one backup.
    • Cardassian force fields are evidently lethal by design, something the Federation and Bajorans corrected immediately when they took control of the station. Particularly nasty, considering they are invisible to the naked eye.
    • The entire ore processing operation on Deep Space 9, back when it was still Terok Nor, was full of this trope, since during the occupation it was used by Bajoran slave laborers whose health was the farthest thing from the Cardassians' minds.
  • No Poverty: Deconstructed.
  • No Such Agency: Section 31, the existence of which the Federation neither confirms nor denies.
  • No Such Thing as Space Jesus: Averted, as Sisko's view of the Prophets evolves in the other direction through the series.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Fire Caves on Bajor do not actually contain fire... until one summons the fire-spirits sealed within.
    • Also, the fabled Sword of Kahless is a bat'leth, not a straight-bladed sword like the name would suggest (although bat'leth does translate to "sword of honour").
  • Non-Linear Character: The Prophets or the Wormhole Aliens. Sisko had to teach them linear time in the pilot.
  • Noodle Incident: Pelios Station. Apparently, something happened there involving Curzon, Benjamin, and a dancer, but Benjamin's embarrassed enough by the story that whenever it's brought up in public he immediately cuts Dax off.
    • Whatever it was that happened with Dukat's father that Garak had a hand in. All we know is that he trusted Garak, and ended up on trial.
    • Also whatever caused Garak's exile. We know that Tain felt Garak betrayed him, but Garak responds that he never betrayed Tain, "at least, not in my heart." Garak gives several different versions of why he was exiled over the series (not counting the obviously false ones like "tax evasion"), including letting some Bajoran street urchins go on the eve of the withdrawal, and having a shuttle containing a Bajoran terrorist shot down, killing the son of a high-ranking official who was also on it.
    • In the episode "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River" we see only the first few links of the Chain of Deals that Nog is executing; eventually we only see their effects, such as Martok's bloodwine vanishing and Nog disappearing off the station with a runabout for a day. Then suddenly he's back and everything has been replaced, in some cases with items superior to the one that was taken.
    • The "Cardassian Neck Trick" that Odo can do. It's not clear whether it's something that all Cardassians can do and that Odo learned in a particularly amusing way, or it's something unique to Odo. Whichever it is, Odo despises the very mention of it.
      • It may simply be that he would shapeshift Cardassian neck ridges. Odo has stated he used to shapeshift to get solids to like him. That may be one of the things he use to do.
  • Not a Date: After Ziyal first asks Garak to accompany her to a holosuite recreation of a Cardassian sauna, and he has visions of her motive being to kill him and present his head as a birthday gift to Dukat, Quark asks if he's going to cancel the date. Garak protests that it's not a date.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Breen. It's a testament to the writing/costume design, etc. of DS9 that the Breen are so unsettling and so memorable, as we learn almost nothing about them. It could even be argued they're less fleshed-out than Voyager's legendarily one-dimensional foes The Kazonnote ... and yet the end result is positively chilling.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?:
    • Averted in the "Call to Arms" episode of when O'Brien, Dax and Rom are trying to come up with a way to block the wormhole.
    Dax: Rom! Are you here?
    Rom: Cloak, small, dozens. I heard every word.
    • In "The Sound of Her Voice," the crew of the Defiant makes contact with a Starfleet captain who is stranded on an inhospitable planet and maintain a pretty much continuous comlink to her. At one point, it's Doctor Bashir's turn and, distracted by his work, he basically just gives her simple answers like "yeah," "ah ha," or "oh, yeah," until finally in frustration she pretends that there's someone after her...
    Voice: She's gone.
    Bashir: Who is this? What have you done?
    Voice: I have eaten her.
    Bashir: What?!
    Voice: I've eaten her! What difference does it make to you? You weren't even listening to her!
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Eddington gives a great "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Sisko about the nature of the Federation (conveniently glossing over the fact that he and many other former Starfleet officers in the Maquis, explicitly betrayed the Federation by stealing resources, technology, and weapons when they defected, rather than resigning their commissions to take up the "noble" cause).
    Eddington: Why is the Federation so obsessed with the Maquis? We've never harmed you. And yet we're constantly arrested and charged with terrorism. Starships chase us through the Badlands, and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we've left the Federation, and that's the one thing you can't accept. Nobody leaves paradise. Everyone should want to be in the Federation. Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You're only sending them replicators because one day they can take their "rightful place" on the Federation Council. You know, in some ways you're even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious, you assimilate people and they don't even know it.
    • The Cardassians are force-fed this trope when, after decades of being occupiers, they become the occupied under Dominion rule. They realize that they are now not so different than the Bajorans were during the Occupation, nor were they so different then from the empire that is subjugating them now. This culminates when Damar sorrowfully hears that his family had been executed, and Kira can't help but remind him that this was exactly the sort of thing his people did when they were in power.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: When first introduced, Enabran Tain appears to be The Omniscient. Even in retirement, he knows everything that's happening. He even knew Bashir would come to visit him and what Bashir's food/drink preferences were, despite it actually being an impulsive, last-minute decision from Bashir's point-of-view. Later on, we're shown a different side that fits this trope. When he leads a joint Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar task force, he didn't realise it was a Founder-created plan or that his second-in-command was a Founder in disguise. He even mentions to Garak that he's clearly lost his touch and that he would never have been so easily fooled prior to his retirement.
  • Not So Similar: Q makes this observation about Sisko and Picard when he finds Sisko is a lot easier to play with, though more likely to hurt him if he's careless.
  • Not So Stoic: Of the regulars, Odo; Captain Solok from "Take Me Out to the Holosuite".
  • Not Where They Thought:
  • Novelization: Eight episodes, including the first and last episodes of the series, and the TOS crossover "Trials and Tribble-ations", were adapted as novels.
  • The Nth Doctor: Dax.
    • Weyoun was sort of his own Nth Doctor, as he was killed and cloned several times over the course of the series, with only slight variations to his personality.
    • The Defiant is destroyed at one point. An episode or two later an identical model of the ship is delivered and simply renamed "The Defiant" (in defiance of the Trek tradition which would have at least named it Defiant-A).
      • Starfleet rarely uses the alphabetical suffixes for namesake vessels according to Word of God; typically only allowing them for starships named Enterprise in honor of the original vessel's accomplishments. The second Defiant was originally intended to be an exception to this rule in honor of the first, but someone on the production team made a mistake and gave the new ship a new registration number, and the Defiant-A never was.
      • The rule appears to be that it gets a letter suffix if the registration number is reused, and may or may not get a numerical suffix if not. A numerical suffix appears to be used if another ship of the same class gets the same name but not the same number, and not used if the name goes on a ship of a different class.
      • The Defiant in particular is an odd case, being equipped (like the NX-01) with an NX registry number prefix, denoting a prototype. As the new Defiant was not a prototype ship, the registry number being changed might have been a result of that, if it hadn't been a mistake.
      • In any case, just because both Defiants shared the name doesn't necessarily follow that they would share a hull registry, otherwise the "first" Defiant ought to have been at least Defiant-A, as the actual first Defiant we see in Trek lore was a sister ship of the the original Enterprise, with a registry NCC-1764 (see "The Tholian Web"). For those playing at home, the DS9 Defiants were NX-74205 and NCC-75633, respectively.

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Invoked by Rom in "The Assignment":
    O'Brien: Rom, I'm gonna have to leave you in a tough spot.
    Rom: Captain Sisko, Odo, they don't know about any of this, do they?
    O'Brien: No, they don't, and I want you to help me keep it that way for a little while longer.
    Rom: I have to stay here and play the idiot?
    O'Brien: I'm afraid so. No matter what Odo asks you—
    Rom: I'm Quark's brother. I know the role.
  • Objectshifting:
    • In "Babel", Odo turns into a trolley to spy on Quark.
    • In another episode, Odo turns into a glass to spy on some aliens who were drinking together.
    • In the episode after Worf's first Deep Space Nine appearance, he's having trouble with Odo's unorthodox surveillance methods as opposed to his own by-the-book methods. Worf goes to spy on Odo and finds that the "bag" someone was carrying is actually him in disguise.
    • Discussed when a little girl asks Odo if he can turn into bread, and he says, "Why? So you can gobble me up?" He later turns into a spinning top to entertain the girl.
  • Oblivious to Love: Kira is oblivious to Odo's affections for quite a long time.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Odo finds that acting this way—or threatening to—is a good way to keep Quark in line. He also complains occasionally that Starfleet regulations are too bureaucratic.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: The series picks up just after the Bajorans have kicked out the Cardassian occupiers.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Odo and Quark (though Odo refuses to admit it, even in the finale).
    • O'Brien and Bashir to a lesser extent. When they meet, they certainly are this. O'Brien is an enlisted man, realistic, pragmatic, his ideals worn down by the experience of realities of war. Bashir is a young, brash officer, arrogant and pompous who believes in lofty ideas and longs for adventure. As time goes on, they rub off on each other and become less of an odd couple.
    • Then there's probably the strangest friendship on DS9, between Bashir and Garak, the former fascinated with Garak's Dark and Troubled Past and his uncertain loyalties. This exchange between them epitomizes their relationship:
      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.
  • Oddball in the Series: A combination of factors worked against DS9 in establishing its own legacy. Keep in mind that DS9 ran concurrently with both TNG and VOY, and ultimately got lost in the shuffle. Those not familiar with Trek will likely have not heard of DS9. Kids and young adults were more likely to bond with Voyager because of its episodic nature and iconic elements. And Trekkies are liable to dismiss the show entirely due to its lack of exploration. Finally, the arc-based format does not lend itself to syndication.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: The Magnificent Ferengi - The Ferengi accidentally kill their Vorta hostage, Keevan, so Nog uses neural stimulators to make the corpse walk. Nog makes him lurch awkwardly and run into a wall, but the plan still works.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In "Soldiers of the Empire", Martok, Worf, and Dax join a Klingon ship, the Rotarran, on a mission to discover a missing Klingon vessel that disappeared near Cardassian space after the Cardassians aligned themselves with the Dominion. Much is said over the fact that the Rotarran has lost every engagement it has been in with the Jem'Hadar. When they finally face a Jem'Hadar ship in combat, we don't get to see the battle, the outcome of which is the Rotarran's first victory over Dominion forces.
    • Kor and a team of six Klingon volunteers in a lone, damaged bird-of-prey holding off a Jem'Hadar fleet long enough for the Klingon task force to get away.
  • Oh, Crap!: Weyoun's face while listening to Damar's televised call for independence.
    • Worf's face in Accession when he finds out that Keiko is pregnant again. O'Brien relates how Worf was forced to help deliver Molly when the Enterprise was damaged and adrift after colliding with a quantum filament. On noticing his panic, Bashir and O'Brien mock him accordingly.
    Bashir: Oh, well...I'll be sure to call you when she's ready to deliver; you can lend a hand.
    Worf: Seven months? Unfortunately I will be away from the station at that time. Far away. Visiting my parents, on Earth. (Beat) Excuse me. (Quickly leaves.)
    • Worf and Garak after stumbling into a Jem'Hadar invasion fleet during In Purgatory's Shadow.
    Garak: Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.
    • Followed by the crew of DS9 seeing the same fleet pour through the wormhole.
    • In The Die is Cast, Enabran Tain's reaction when he's told that his fleet of 20 Romulan and Cardassian ships is surrounded by 150 Jem'Hadar warships.
  • Oireland: Normally, Colm Meaney's Irish accent is barely noticeable. Sometimes, however, O'Brien will start waxing poetic about Ireland or something related to it, and begins slipping into this trope.
  • Omnidisciplinary Engineer: O'Brien seems to know all about replicators, power systems, ship drives, mechanical systems of all kinds, weapons, and... computer programming, which is completely different from any type of mechanical engineering.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Dukat becomes one of these over the last two seasons of the show.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: For all intents and purposes, this is what DS9 (or "Terok Nor") represented to the Bajoran people during the occupation. It wasn't until the discovery of the wormhole that Sisko moved the spiky eyesore out of their orbit.
    • Terok Nor is arguably even worse in the Mirror Universe, where it's still sitting over Bajor like a vulture. The bottom levels are composed of a hellish forge running on slave labor.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: In Rapture Sisko starts seeing patterns in Bajor's past, present and future due to an accident messing with his brain while researching an ancient Bajoran painting. This leads him to formally convince Bajor to not join the Federation when its application finally goes through, an act that practically everyone thinks is stupid, considering he was originally put in command of DS9 to order to bring this about in the first place! Yet as it turns out, this saves Bajor as by not being aligned with the Federation, they're not obliterated when the Dominion later take command of DS9 and the immediate area.
  • Once a Season: The "O'Brien must suffer" episodes.
    • The Mirror Universe episodes only miss two seasons.
    • Except for season 5, each season has an episode that focuses on Ferengi politics and features Grand Nagus Zek. These episodes tend to be Lighter and Softer than the series in general.
    • Deep Space Nine also continues the tradition started by The Next Generation of Lwaxana Troi appearing once a season. This stops after season 4, though.
  • One Last Smoke: in "Our Man Bashir" there are two of these:
    • The villain Falcon (the image of Chief O'Brien) grants agent Komoninoff (Kira) and Bashir one last kiss before he shoots them. Bashir proceeds to remove her earring while they kiss and tosses it to the floor to make it explode, distracting Falcon and his minions long enough to knock them out and escape.
    • Bashir and Garak are strapped to a giant laser. Bashir's last request is for Dr. Honey Bare (Dax) to let her hair down (she's very shy, but she does it). This is enough seduction for her to slip him the key.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Deconstruced in "The Jem'Hadar". After Sisko and Quark are kidnapped by the Jem'Hadar, Starfleet sends in the USS Odyssey, a Galaxy-class ship like the Enterprise-D, to rescue them. The Odyssey proceeds to get curb-stomped by the Jem'Hadar, with its destruction treated as the moment Starfleet realized it would need to start operating in fleet-sized groups if the Federation was to stand a chance against the Dominion.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: Garak is the only Deep Space Nine resident to enjoy "yamok sauce".
  • Oppressive States of America: The Bell Riots episodes feature The Sanctuary Districts, sections of American cities walled off that housed the poor and unemployed. While their intent was to aid them, they later degraded into interment camps.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Quark does this twice, in the first-season episode "The Nagus" and season four's "Homefront", both times while talking to Morn — and both times, the joke has an Andorian in the punchline. Quark has to prompt Morn with "get it?" in the first example, and the second example completely eludes Morn.
    Quark: Then the Andorian said, "Your brother? I thought it was your wife!"

    Quark: So then, the Andorian says, "That's not my antenna."
  • Our Dark Matter Is Mysterious: In "Rocks and Shoals", Sisko et al. attempt to evade Jem'Hadar pursuit by flying into a dark matter nebula, but suffer damage and crash on a planet inside it.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Jaresh-Inyo is President Personable with an unhealthy helping of President Buffoon. Technically he also qualifies as President Target since the Changelings were known to be targeting Alpha Quadrant leaders for impersonation.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: There is a completely stable wormhole leading to the Gamma Quadrant just outside of the eponymous station, that repeatedly proves quite important to the plot.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: The greatest aversion of the trope across the entire franchise. Religion is treated very even-handedly, showing the good and bad of all sides and portraying major characters across the broad spectrum of belief from sincere (Kira, Vedek Bareil) to fanatics and opportunists (Kai Winn).
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In "Armageddon game", Keiko figures out a video has been tampered with because Chief O'Brien seems to be drinking coffee in the afternoon.
    • Ends up being a subversion when it turns out at the end of the episode that O'Brien does drink coffee in the afternoon sometimes.
    • How Odo realizes Martok, not Gowron is a Changeling in "Apocalypse Rising."
  • Out of Focus: As in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Vulcans don't appear much on this show.
  • Out with a Bang: Curzon Dax apparently dies of old age in the pilot. Years later, we learn that he was Jamaharoned to death by Vanessa Williams.
  • Outdated Hero vs. Improved Society
    • The first two seasons have the Kohn-Ma and the Circle, both being Bajoran groups that came out of La Résistance to the Cardassian Occupation but who now are violently opposed to any foreign presence on Bajor, including the Federation protagonists' humanitarian relief efforts out of Deep Space 9 at the request of the Bajoran Provisional Government. Bajorans friendly to the Federation regard them as little more than terrorists, and not the good kind.
    • The series has a recurring theme of Cardassians attempting to reclaim what they see as Cardassia's glorious past. Late in the series, after Legate Damar pulls a Heel–Face Turn against the Dominion who have reduced Cardassia to a puppet state, he's even forced to gun down one of his own allies and an old friend, Gul Rusot, when he lets his enthusiasm for the old ways get in the way of the immediate mission of bringing down the Dominion.

  • Papa Wolf: Rom is livid when he finds out that Quark tampered with Nog's spatial awareness test to enter Starfleet Academy, even threatening to burn down his brother's bar if he ever did something like that again, claiming that he cared more for his son's happiness than latinum.
  • Paper Tiger: The Cardassian Union, for much of their posturing, prove to be this. Already in TNG's "The Wounded", the episode that introduced them, we see that despite being former enemies the Cardassians are clearly outmatched by a single federation vessel. And through the show we see the Cardassians while seeing themselves as this great military power fall short of their enemies. The Klingons (who themselves were recovering from an intense civil war but a few years earlier) all but crush the Union in an invasion, requiring the Dominion to bail them out. Even in the Dominion once Dukat leaves (after showing he can't deliver on his promises to the founders) the Cardassians are rapidly relegated junior partners. Even before them it's the Jem'Hadar who prove to be the true threat in combat, while the Cardassians are treated as much less of a threat and more like a weak link.
  • Parental Title Characterization: In the Ferengi language, "Moogie" is Baby Talk for "mother" or "grandmother". Rom still calls his mother that because he's very affectionate towards her, but his brother Quark wants him to stop, since he feels it's embarrassingly childish for someone his age.
  • Password Slot Machine: Used in "In the Hands of the Prophets."
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: The baseball scene in "Emissary."
  • Percussive Maintenance: O'Brien does this on the transporter (which, of course, is Cardassian-built) in "Emissary".
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: As genetically engineered shock troops, the Jem'Hadar mature rapidly, never sleep, and require no sustenance other than Ketracel White. The tradeoff to this is that they seen as disposable and rarely live more than a few years before dying in combat, and it's implied that their natural lifespan isn't much longer.
  • Pest Episode: One episode involved the staff trying to deal with an infestation of Cardassian Voles. They start off trying to round them up humanely, but by the end of the episode:
    Sisko: Take those phasers off stun, Chief. No more Mister Nice Guy.
  • Phantom Limb Pain: Nog is injured in battle and loses his leg. He comes back two episodes later with a replacement leg that he says hurts, even though there's nothing wrong with it. It's a side effect of his PTSD.
  • Phlebotinum Dependence: The Jem'Hadar are all addicted to Ketracel White. It's a cocktail of necessary nutrients, highly addictive combat drugs, and enzymes they can't produce naturally in their own bodies. For good measure, the distribution is heavily ritualized to reinforce the hierarchy and devotion the Jem'Hadar are conditioned to feel toward the Vorta and Founders. A Jem'Hadar who goes without will gradually break down into berserker rages from withdrawal... and then completely break down as their vitals fail.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Defiant, first of her class. Officially roled as an "escort ship", a look at the class's stats quickly establish it as dyed-in-the-wool warship... that's barely five decks tall. The Defiant herself can give as hard as she can get, thanks to a variety of new martial technologies the class is a testbed for.
  • Placebotinum Effect: Odo inadvertently traps himself, Sisko, Garak and Dax in his own memories ("Things Past"). It was later revealed to be a variation on 'linking' between Changelings, amplified by Odo's runabout flying into a plasma field.
  • Planetary Core Manipulation: In the episode "Progress", the government of Bajor decides to tap the molten core of their fifth moon, Jeraddo (which is somehow a habitable, if not particularly hospitable, world despite being a moon) as a power source. Since this will release large quantities of toxic gases, Jeraddo's fifty inhabitants have to be evacuated, which causes problems when some particularly stubborn residents refuse to leave.
  • Planet of Hats: While still the same part of Star Trek that it always is, DS9 went deeper into the cultures of some races far more than any other Star Trek. Cardassians and Klingons got a lot of development, but even the Ferengi managed to put a few good words in for themselves.
  • Subverted most obviously with Rom and Nog, two Ferengi who stink at being capitalists, but blossom as an engineer for the Bajoran Militia and the first Ferengi in Starfleet, respectively.
    • Nog did show capitalist talents, but chose to become an officer instead.
  • The Federation's "hat" also gets subverted, as DS9 makes it clear that lots of people don't think it's utopia — and they're often right.
  • DS9 also revealed that the Federation itself is seen as a Planet of Hats in by some non-Federation races. Exactly how certain alien cultures view the Federation is illustrated when Quark and Garak discuss their opinions of the Federation over some root beer.
    Quark offers some root beer to Garak, who tries it and gags.
    Garak: It's vile!
    Quark: I know. It's so bubbly and cloying... and happy.
    Garak: Just like the Federation!
    Quark: And you know what's really terrifying? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
    Garak: It's insidious.
    Quark: [Smirks] Just like the Federation.
    • And what's one of the first things Nog does when he joins Starfleet Academy? Order a root beer.
  • Justified in the case of the new races from the Gamma Quadrant they encounter, as most if not all of them were manipulated into a specific form by the Dominion in some way either to serve a specific function for them or as The Punishment.
  • The Dominion's "hat" is to embody the traits of the Alpha (and Beta, but Deep Space Nine tended to forget that) quadrant powers but carry them to their worst conclusions:
    • The Dominion likes to preach peace through diplomacy and friendship like the Federation, but membership of the Dominion amounts to indentured servitude and slavery. And since the Dominion was designed as an anti-Federation, it does the same thing with another trait: both the Federation and the Dominion consist of multiple species working together for what they see as the common good, but where the Federation has equality as a guiding principle the Dominion is based on giving specific species specific tasks under the Founder's undisputed rule.
    • The Founders believe themselves to be superior to all other races and prefer to engage in espionage, infiltration and subterfuge to undermine other powers rather than resort to military force just like the Romulans, except that the Dominion will go as far as blowing up stars in the center of homeworld systems to wipe out its enemies.
    • The Jem-Hadar are the perfect soldiers who will willingly die by the millions to win a battle, like the Klingons. But unlike the Klingons, the Jem-Hadar are cold and machine-like in combat.
    • The whole culture of the Dominion mirrors Cardassia with its subjects willingly loyal and dutiful to the state, yet they are enslaved anyway through fear and through addictive drugs.
    • The Vorta are personable and diplomatic, able to take an interest with almost anyone they meet, and are something of the glue that holds the Dominion together through their administrative talents and devotion to the Dominion's ideals, much like how humans are within the Federation. But the Vorta's interest is superficial, as opposed to many humans' passionate interest in different cultures; and their diplomatic skills and high ideals are all devoted to perpetuating a militaristic theocracy, compared to humanity's striving for an inclusive utopia.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Sisko is fond of calling Dax "Old Man." He was a close friend of the male Curzon Dax, and the friendship carried over when the symbiont was transferred to Jadzia and Ezri — both female.
  • Playing Cyrano: Worf trains Quark in how to woo the Klingon Grilka, the Ferengi's one-time wife. Worf is infatuated with her himself, but he is an exile and cannot pursue her.
  • Playing Gertrude: In "Dax," Ilon Tandro is played by Gregory Itzin, born in 1948. His mother, Enina Tandro, is played by Fionnula Flanagan, born in 1941.
  • Plot Tumor: The Dominion. During the first season, the main story arc involves the aftermath of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, and its effects on both Bajoran and Cardassian politics. The same applies to the second season, but during it the writers start dropping references to a Gamma Quadrant power called the Dominion. It's not until the last episode of the second season, and the first two episodes of the third, that we learn what the Dominion actually is, and even then it seems to be mostly related to Odo's story. However, the Dominion arc gradually gains more and more weight, until it effectively becomes the whole series' Myth Arc. Cardassian and Bajoran politics still play a large role in the series, but their relationship with the Dominion becomes more important than their relationship with each other.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Shades of this coming through in "Accession". Starfleet never liked Sisko being a religious icon to the Bajorans, but when he steps aside for someone else claiming to be the Emissary, and it looks like this is going to result in Bajor not joining the Federation, they get bitchy about it.
  • Politically Correct History: Sisko doesn't like Vic's casino program because it's set in a Politically Correct History version of 1961, and as such is an insult to those oppressed in that era. He points out that at that time African-Americans could be janitors or entertainers for the casino, but never customers. His future wife looks at the program as a representation of What Could Have Been rather than a misrepresentation of history. Sisko ends up participating and enjoying himself, but neither he nor Kasidy is portrayed as wrong in their takes.
    • This may have also been a callback to Sisko's experiences as Benny Russell in Far Beyond the Stars, illustrating that Sisko has a more personal connection to the racism of the past than other 24th-century humans. (Sisko eventually adopts her viewpoint and has a ball in the casino.)
  • Poor Communication Kills: The show does a decent job of averting this one, but "Till Death Do Us Part" is a real exception. Sisko tells Cassidy how the Prophets told him in a vision that he couldn't marry her, and he accepts that, but she's devastated. He could have mentioned how he ignored one of their warnings before, and that it was directly responsible for the death of Jadzia and the rise of Gul Dukat as a dangerous Pah Wraith cult leader, and that he knows that to ignore their warning again would spell disaster, maybe even for her. But he doesn't say anything of the sort.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Averted with "The Maquis". The duology sets up the renegade Federation colonists and the Badlands, but does not feature any of the characters or ships that would be featured on Star Trek: Voyager. And even though the Maquis were introduced specifically to set up the plot for Voyager, they ended up playing a more important role in DS9 anyway.
  • Post-Mortem Comeback: "Trials and Tribbleations" features the Klingon from the Star Trek TOS episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" going back 100 years into the past to plant a bomb that will kill Kirk.
  • Powder Trail: In the episode "Civil Defense," Sisko, Jake, and O'Brien use this with a cart of unprocessed ore to blow open a door that was locked down due to the computer thinking a coup was taking place on the station (long story).
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Often seen with Odo and Changelings in general: to take one example, the Mirror Universe Odo was killed with one phaser shot, while in "Apocalypse Rising" it took dozens of Klingon disruptor blasts to bring a Changeling down. Some of this can be explained away by Odo being younger and less experienced than the Founders. Expanded Universe sources also usually give phasers a lot more settings, including many that are far more lethal than anything handheld disruptors are normally capable of. The most lethal thing we've ever seen a disruptor pistol do was take a few seconds to disintegrate a target, while we've seen hand phasers disintegrate a larger than human target instantaneously. Also, Mirror Universe weapons tend to be nastier than their Prime Universe counterparts.
  • Powered by a Black Hole: Exploited in "Visionary" when the crew are able to locate a cloaked warbird by hunting for the mass signature of its drive singularity.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: the aforementioned Ferengi. They'd never practice mass slavery or genocide—because people who are enslaved and/or dead can't buy things.
    • This argument also helped push forward feminism, but only very late, after millennia of hardliner male chauvinism.
    • The Dominion occupation of Bajor definitely fits this. We know the Founders are willing and able to do far nastier things than merely murder entire planets full of people, but they carefully treat Bajor with restraint and respect, since they hope to convince planets to join willingly. Quark even points out how different it is than the Cardassian occupation was.
    • The Dominion is seen getting brutal on two planets, the Teplan homeworld and Cardassia, but ony after a resistance has formed. How well complacent worlds are treated is more of a mystery.
  • The Precarious Ledge: The show uses the same "narrow ledge inside a cavern" set for this in several episodes.
    • In "Move Along Home" getting past one of these that's being shaken by an earthquake is the final challenge in the Wadis' board game. They fall off into the abyss, but fortunately you can't really die in the game and they appear back in the real world. The energy signature from the game is traced back to the Wadi ship while the crew are stuck in the game, and it's remarked how similar their scans are to readings from a holodeck, although this isn't really a comfort with how common holodeck malfunctions are even in Federation made ones.
    • In "The Sword of Kahless" Jadzia, Worf, and Kor encounter a narrow ledge while working their way to the surface from the Hur'q treasure room. Kor falls down but grabs hold of the edge, and the others pull him back up.
  • Precision Crash: In the episode "Rocks and Shoals", on return from our main characters' mission to blow up the Ketracel White facility in a Jem'Hadar ship, their ship loses control and crashes within walking distance of another Jem'Hadar ship that had crashed there only a few days earlier. The same thing happens in "Hippocratic Oath", this time with a shuttle crashing practically on top of an impromptu outpost created by Jem'Hadar who had crashed there very recently.
  • Premature Eulogy: Occurs as often as would be expected from a Star Trek work. Some episodes are practically made of this trope.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: One of the best ever by Dukat, addressed to Kai Winn. He says it with so much quiet venom you can almost see it physically dripping from his words: "Are you still here?" His Bond One-Liner after is just as vicious, "Farewell, Adami."
  • Prenup Blowup: Rom and Leeta briefly break off their engagement when she refuses to sign a Ferengi prenup — for pretty good reason, since it would've handed all her property over to him.
  • Prized Possession Giveaway: "Heart of Stone" starts off with a Ferengi coming-of-age tradition where a Ferengi adolescent sells off their childhood possessions in order to use the proceeds to bribe a Ferengi adult to teach them a career.
  • Proxy War:
    • "The Siege": This trope is critical to the climax. The Cardassians have covertly been supplying a Bajoran ultranationalist group called the Circle they hope will overthrow the Bajoran government and force the Federation out, allowing the Cardassians to reoccupy Bajor.
    • "The Maquis": In order to get around the peace treaty between the Federation and the Cardassian Empire, the Cardassians have secretly been supplying weapons to their colonists in the Demilitarized Zone so they can attack Federation colonies while the Central Command keeps Plausible Deniability. The Federation colonies organize militias to fight back when the Federation government won't, and are helped by sympathetic Starfleet officers.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Happens to both combatants in "The Reckoning." Jake, who is possessed by Kosst Amojan, the evil Pah Wraith, also gets his face all disfigured in a very creepy way. Also happens to Jake in "The Muse".
  • Pulled from Your Day Off: In "Defiant", Gul Dukat laments to Ben Sisko that, rather than spending the day trying to stop the hijacked USS Defiant from attacking Cardassian space, he was supposed to be taking his son to an amusement park for his eleventh birthday.
    Dukat: He always wanted to go, but I never had the time. I told him, "This year will be different, Mekor. This year I will make the time."
    Sisko: I had the same experience with Jake. At that age, they never understand, do they? You just hope that, one day later, they'll look back and say, "Now I understand. Now I know why he did that."
    Dukat: When my son looks back on this day, the only thing he'll remember is that a Federation officer, on a Federation ship, invaded his home, and kept his father away from him on his eleventh birthday, and he won't look back with understanding. He'll look back with hatred, and that's sad.
  • The Puppet Cuts His Strings: The Dominion installs Legate Damar as the Puppet King of Cardassia after his predecessor, Gul Dukat, went bonkers from the death of his daughter. For almost two years, Damar watches as Cardassia loses more and more freedoms to the Dominion; this ends when he gets fed up and starts La Résistance.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • After being a pretty big part of seasons one and two, Keiko takes a scientific assignment on Bajor and mostly drops out of the show, returning only rarely. This was done so that O'Brien would spend more time developing an Odd Friendship with Bashir.
    • Alexander is said to have returned to Earth to live with his grandparents when Worf arrives. This is in spite of it being established on The Next Generation that his grandparents can no longer raise him, and whole episodes were devoted to Worf learning about how to be a father.
  • Putting on the Reich: To a degree with the Cardassians, but utterly explicit during the heartbreaking episode "Duet."
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Female Changeling decides to make the Federation's victory "taste like defeat." It's a Bolivian Army Ending for her, since she thinks the Changelings are about to become extinct.