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  • Rage Against the Reflection: Done by Kira Nerys in Second Skin when she has the appearance of a Cardassian.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: In "The Sword of Kahless", they encounter ancient ruins of a civilization that died out centuries ago. The ruins still have working forcefield generators and security authentication systems to let the right people in.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Most of the main cast. Sisko was looking for a quiet retirement (good luck), Kira was shunted into her role for disagreeing with the provisional government, Quark had to be blackmailed to stick around, Odo had no idea of his own origins, and Garak was a relic of the occupation with nowhere else to go. Bashir talked a good game about being a Frontier Doctor, but had secrets of his own. Nog was the first Ferengi in Starfleet. O'Brien was a family man, which makes him unusual for a main character on a Star Trek series (Star Trek characters tend to have more tragic family backgrounds, e.g. Tasha Yar, Worf, etc.), but it's suggested that his promotion was contingent on remaining on DS9.
    O'Brien: [Simpering voice] "Fix the replicators, Chief!" "My console's offline, Chief!" I should've transferred to a cargo drone. No people, no complaints.
  • Rank Up: One of the more interesting dissonances of DS9 is the that way everyone on the station ends up a degree of separation away from the heads of just about ever major power when the dust settles. (The Romulan Star Empire being the exception.) DS9 evolves from a place at the dead end of nowhere to a place at the center of everywhere.
  • Rape by Proxy: In Ben Sisko's backstory, his mother Sarah was possessed by a Prophet (a race of Energy Being Starfish Aliens that live in the Bajoran wormhole and exist outside of linear time - the Bajorans worship them as gods they call the Prophets, hence their name, it is unknown what they call themselves), and forced to marry his father Joseph (for the purpose of conceiving Ben who would become their Emissary in a Stable Time Loop). Joseph was not to blame, because he didn't know his wife was being controlled and the relationship wasn't her desire. Once Ben was born, the Prophet left Sarah, and she immediately left her family and never contacted them again, dying in an accident a few years later. Joseph remarried, and Ben grew up believing his stepmother was his real mother, until he met the Prophet that possessed her. It uses Sarah's appearance in Ben's mind to communicate with him. From Joseph's perspective, he married Sarah and lived happily with her for a couple of years, until she just left one day after their son was born, with no explanation. He had no idea what actually happened until Ben met the Prophet and explained it to him decades later.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Nana Visitor got pregnant during filming for seasons 4/5 and the producers decided to integrate her condition into the storyline instead of trying to hide it, leading to Keiko being injured and the baby being transplanted into Kira's body to finish its gestation. Turns into a meta moment when she blames Bashir for her being in that position, because he performed the transplant—Alexander Siddig, who portrayed Bashir, was the baby's real-life father.
    • Additionally, a combination of contract issues and simple "show fatigue" made Terry Farrell want to move on from the show at the end of season six, leading to Jadzia getting killed. This is something the head writing and directoral staff didn't even want to do (Ira Stephen Behr straight-up said "I didn't want to kill Jadzia; to me, that had very little to do with good storytelling") but they felt they had little choice. (Luckily for them, Farrell played a member of a race that can pull off The Nth Doctor relatively easily.)
  • Reality Ensues:
    • It turns out the type of people willing to colonize the edges of their governments territory might also have some problems with central authority, even if ostensibly for their benefit and safety.
    • The season six episode Valiant. Jake and Nog end up aboard the USS Valiant, which was on a training mission when all the actual officers were killed. The cadets end up deciding to continue their mission, which was to obtain information about a new Dominion warship. After finally obtaining this information thanks to the assistance of Nog, the Cadet "Captain" of the ship decides to attack the warship (which is described as "twice the size and three times the power of a Galaxy Class"). They come up with a plan to exploit a flaw they think they've found and psych themselves up, heroic music plays, and they attack the warship. This results in the Valiant being destroyed and everyone onboard aside from Jake, Nog, and one cadet getting killed because of their lack of actual combat experience.
  • Real World Episode: "Far Beyond the Stars", where Sisko wakes up as a Science Fiction writer in the 1950's, and Deep Space Nine is just a story he's been writing. Of course no one wants to read a story where a black man commands a space station...
  • Rearrange the Song: The opening credits and main title theme were modified between seasons 3 and 4.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Once the war begins with the Dominion, Sisko reports directly to Admiral William Ross who is competent, calm and supportive. Although he turns out to be in cahoots with, if not a member of, Section 31.
    • Deconstructed with Federation President Jaresh-Inyo. He's so reasonable that he's extremely gullible and easily manipulated. His willingness to trust Admiral Leyton nearly results in a successful military coup against the Federation government.
    • Romulan Senator Cretak both subverts and plays this straight. In her first appearance she plays up this image, only for it to be revealed she's instigating the Cuban Missile Crisis In Space!. After Admiral Ross gets her to back down, she reverts to being a real one, up to helping Bashir try to foil a Section 31 assassination attempt. Too bad Ross and Sloan use this to frame her as a traitor so she could be replaced by a Federation mole. It then gets subverted again when Ross points out that Cretak was only reasonable when it came to the interests of the Romulan Empire and she would've been more than willing to throw the Federation under the bus if an opportunity for a separate, favorable peace with the Dominion came along.
  • Reasoning with God: Sisko may be the Emissary meant to speak to the Bajorans on behalf of the Prophets, but he can speak to the Prophets on behalf of the Bajorans too, most notably in "Sacrifice of Angels" when he convinces them to wipe out a Dominion invasion fleet.
    Sisko: You want to be gods? Then be gods!
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Odo and Quark call each other out when they get stranded in "The Ascent".
    Quark: Have I ever told you how much I hate that smug, superior attitude of yours?
    Odo: Have I ever told you how much I hate your endless lying, your pathetic greed, your idiotic little schemes? [...] Well, that's fine with me...'cause I hate you, too. You're nothing but a petty thief!
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Downplayed and subsequently inverted in the pilot. Sisko was initially assigned to Deep Space 9, not because of any wrongdoing on his part, but because he was close to resigning from Starfleet after the death of his wife and wasn't particularly choosy with his assignment. At the time, DS9 was considered little more than some rickety old Cardassian station in orbit of some backwater planet called Bajor. The discovery of the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, and the aliens that the Bajorans worship as the Prophets, convinces Sisko to change his mind and stick with his assignment as DS9 transforms overnight from a shack in the middle of nowhere to one of the most important outposts in the Federation.
  • Recurring Character: Lots of them. The fixed location of the station meant that quirky aliens would need to come to them, not the other way around.
  • Reconstruction:
    • The Ferengi were rebuilt into a more robust fictional society, and the innate contradictions in their culture were acknowledged and addressed on their own terms over the course of the show. For example, their subjugation of women was ended in order to gain new workers and an expanded consumer base instead of for ethical reasons.
    • It also spent a lot of time exploring what the characters of a utopian society like the Federation would really do if they were faced with having to resort to morally ambiguous or even plain deplorable means (e.g. "In the Pale Moonlight") to rescue that society in an all-out war against The Empire. Everyone is portrayed as a shade of gray, until Sisko and the Cardassian war criminal Gul Dukat confront each other in "Waltz" and Dukat realizes he should have fulfilled his dreams of total genocide on Bajor after all. Even a Gray-and-Gray Morality setting can still have genuinely evil characters.
  • Recycled In Space:
    • "Starship Down" was an attempt to do Das Boot in a gas giant, with Jem'Hadar as the enemy destroyers.
    • The maligned episode "Meridian" was described by writer Ira Steven Behr as Brigadoon...IN SPACE. He subsequently said of the idea, "I am a moron."
    • The entire Dominion War is World War II IN SPACE. The Federation is Great Britain/the US; the Dominion is Nazi Germany/Imperial Japan; the Klingons and Romulans take turns with different aspects of the USSR; Cardassia is both Fascist Italy and Vichy France (with a greater emphasis on Vichy France toward the end); the Female Changeling and Weyoun are Hitler, with the Changelings as a whole also taking on aspects of the Japanese Emperor; Dukat is a combination of Mussolini and Petain, with a bit of Hitler mixed in; Damar is de Gaulle; the morphogenic virus is the atomic bomb; and the extermination of Cardassians is a combination of the order (never implemented) to raze Paris and the infamous Nero Decree.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Careful listeners will note that the siege of Deep Space 9 by the Klingons in part 2 of Way of the Warrior is the battle music from Star Trek: Generations looped over and over.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: People possessed by the Pah Wraiths get creepy red eyes. Happens to Jake and later to Dukat.
  • Red Light District: The upper floor of Quark's bar is dedicated to erotic holosuites, though Quark peddles other illicit wares under the table.
  • Red Shirt: Isolated incident in "The Search, Part I" when the Defiant comes under attack from the Jem'Hadar. Otherwise, Starfleet comes out unscathed in this series.
    • That's because the bulk of station security was handled by Kira's militiamen (Red) and Odo's deputies (Gold). All in all, the reds took more punishment during the 7 years, though a couple of Odo's deputies got shot by Klingon boarding parties and the like.
    • Another incident in "Civil Disorder" — the only on-screen death is a red shirt.
    • In Trials and Tribble-ations, a Star Trek: The Original Series Redshirt is in mortal peril from a mad Klingon—but survives (probably because Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were also in harm's way—Kirk was the target).
    • In Empok Nor, DS9 is in need of repairs, and so it's decided to pay a visit to DS9's abandoned twin in order to obtain spare parts. Along for the ride are three members of the main cast, and four new faces. The newcomers actually get quite a bit of dialogue, but by the end of the episode they're all dead.
    • Miranda-class starships seem to be showing their age in most of the series' fleet battles; amounting to little more than cannon fodder against the Dominion.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Sort of. Dax and another Trill consider continuing their relationship from when both were in previous hosts. They eventually decide not to, as this is considered a massive taboo by Trill society.
  • Religion Is Right: Everything the Bajoran religion says about the Prophets and Pah-Wraiths turns out to be true, if somewhat distorted thanks to a lack of a common frame of reference and deliberate obfuscation on the Prophets' part.
  • Religion of Evil: The Cult of the Pah-Wraiths. Mainstream Bajoran religion (correctly) portrays the Pah-Wraiths as Always Chaotic Evil Omnicidal Maniacs. Members of the Cult (who don't call it a "cult", obviously) believe that the Pah-Wraiths have been Mis-blamed and the Prophets are the villains, even before Bajor's Arch-Enemy Dukat showed up and took over claiming to be receiving visions and commandments from them. The problem, of course, is that they really are giving Dukat visions and commandments, possibly up to and including Kill 'Em All in order to conceal the fact that Dukat is still a womanising murdering Manipulative Bastard. That it really was their idea, and not Dukat just covering his tracks via mass-murder, is pretty damn sinister, but their followers don't believe them to be evil (one even goes through with the suicide because he believes that, despite Dukat's treachery, they really did order it, and kills himself out of "faith") and in fact believe them to be good. Nevertheless, the Cult of the Pah-Wraiths was so misguided that it was historically considered a joke on Bajor because, to most Bajorans, it was very obviously a Religion of Evil rather than a Path of Inspiration (which its easily deluded followers make it superficially appear to be).
  • Religious Stereotype: The Bajorans often fall under this, being a people whose religion dominates their culture.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Martok in the seventh season episode Tacking into the Wind, also Sisko, in the beginning of the series.
  • Remember The New Species:
    • In "The Adversary", we're told of a species named the Tzenkethi, who fought at least one war against the Federation in the past 20 years; the TNG era is in its seventh season and this is the first we've heard of them. (And we never do actually see them on-screen).
    • The Cardassians were given the same treatment in their first appearance, back in TNG- and this was after a war between them and the Federation had just concluded the year before, so it's hardly the first time Trek has had off-screen wars with people we've never met before.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • The Maquis, which included Federation citizens and Starfleet personnel working for their cause.
    • Section 31 for The Federation... sort of... They still work for the Federation, it's just that their methods tend to be highly illegal under Federation law, and they are officially part of the Feds, as outlined in their charter...
  • La Résistance: Kira's resistance cell. In Season 7, Damar's movement to free Cardassia.
  • Retcon:
    • Trials and Tribble-ations. Turns out Dax was the one who pelted Kirk with that tribble! Hilariously, Worf refuses to go the whole hog and explain the makeup changes on his fellow Klingons. "We do not discuss it with outsiders!"
    • The reveal about Bashir's genetic enhancements.
    • The revelation in "Shadows And Symbols" that the Prophets had a very active hand in Sisko's birth to ensure that he would be able to fulfill the prophecies.
  • Retro Universe: Looks like San Francisco got absorbed into the Capitol of Panem sometime in the 21st century. ("Past Tense") The slums look fairly contemporary, but then we cut to Dax trying to blend in with the upper crust, complete with a striped petticoat, Emily Bronte hair, and decorative hair feather(!).
  • Retro Upgrade: Old Klingon ships were protected against the Breen energy-draining weapon, by an obsolete component (it might even have been a reference to the outdated plasma coils in the cloaking system from Star Trek: Generations).
    • In the episode "Tosk", O'Brien offers his assistance to fix Tosk's ship, but doesn't know how to go about it unless he knows what the broken part actually does. Tosk explains that it collects interstellar particles and converts them into energy for the engines. Miles compares it to a ramscoop used to suck in air. With that comparison in mind, Miles is able fix the ship and improve its performance. It probably helps that this sort of tech does exist in the Federation in a different sense — this is basically what Bussard Collectors (the glowing red front ends of warp nacelles) do.
  • The Reveal: In the 3rd season, when it's revealed that the Changelings are the head of the Dominion.
    • A few years later Gul Dukat is revealed to be working with the Dominion.
    • And a few episodes later, when it is revealed that Bashir is in a Dominion prison and has been replaced by a Changeling for most of the season. The real Bashir is wearing the old uniform, giving the viewers a precise indicator of when Bashir was snagged.
  • Revenge Before Reason: In "Ties of Blood and Water", we see in a flashback that during her time in the resistance, Kira Nerys let her father die alone because she was out hunting down the Cardassians who shot him, even though he asked her to stay with him.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Invoked by Garak.
    Garak: My Cardassia is gone.
    Kira: Then fight for a new Cardassia.
    Garak: I have an even better reason, Commander: revenge.
    Kira: (softly) That works too.
  • Rogue Planet: The Changeling homeworld is an M-class rogue planet inside the Omarion nebula. How the planet supports life is never explained.
  • Romantic False Lead: This became the whole purpose of Shakaar Edon's role after he was paired up with Kira.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Bashir — Ezri tells him that if Worf hadn't come along, Jadzia would have chosen him. But he does end up with Ezri.
  • Running Gag: Morn, an alien extra who was in a lot of episodes but never spoke. In the first few episodes he had scripted lines, but they all ended up cut for time. After the showrunners noticed this, they decided to turn it into a running gag. Reportedly the person who built Morn's prosthetics originally to allow speaking was not amused. It got to the point where in later seasons they would lampshade it a ton. There was at least one full episode devoted to filling in some of his backstory. Yet he still never spoke a word, despite people mentioning what a great singing voice he has and how he's always the life of the party offscreen.
    • For whatever reason, the German dub adds two tiny bits of dialogue for Morn in The Jem-Hadar - while completely mute in the scene with Quark as originally filmed, the dub has him reacting with "Ach, äh... dann nicht." ("Well, uhm... I guess not, then.")
    • Humorously played up by Quark who says that once Morn starts talking, he never shuts up.
    • Morn actually laughs—as in audibly—in "The Nagus". So we get precisely one hint in the entire run of the show as to what he'd sound like.
    • Used less often than Morn was the thrice-mentioned Lieutenant Vilix'pran and his increasingly bizarre alien biology, from wings to reproducing through budding, requiring a hatching pond and at least eight to eighteen hatchlings per reproduction.
    • Not to mention Captain Boday, whose only defining trait (other than having an on-again-off-again relationship with Dax) was having a transparent skull, which was mentioned every time he was.
    • Around season four or five there were several references to "waste extraction" scattered about in various scripts. The gag even extended to the DS9 comics; Ira Steven Behr finally had to put a stop to the gag since "it was getting ridiculous."
    • The Alamo in season seven. Some people thought it might be an allusion to how the series would end, but no, it was just a plotline thrown in because producer Ira Steven Behr had a soft spot for the Alamo. Combined with their 300 scenario and earlier Battle Of Britain obsession, it made counsellor Ezri a bit worried about Bashir and O'Brien.
    • Characters often come across self-sealing stem bolts, devices that are so pointless that even Chief O'Brien has no clue what they are used for. They even made it into the MMORPG.
      • Likewise, frequent mention is made of Cardassian yamok sauce.
    • There's a minor one in the early seasons involving Sisko's nonchalant reaction to being punched in the face. The two most notable examples are Q-Less and Fascination.
      • In Q-Less, Q, an omnipotent being, taunts Sisko by recreating a nineteenth century boxing ring. He punches Sisko with bare knuckles no less than four times before Sisko reacts at all: he blocks a fifth blow and knocks Q right on his butt. Q looks shocked, but Sisko just shrugs as if to say "That's what happens when you hit me."
      Q: "Picard never hit me!!!"
      Sisko: "I'm not Picard."
      • Fascination has a love-sick Bariel who believes that Sisko is a competitor for Dax's affection. While Sisko is trying to explain that he is not interested in Dax, Bariel punches Sisko in the jaw—after which Sisko continues talking with absolutely no change in his body language or tone of voice.
    • Quark's series of Vulcan Love Slave holosuite programs.
    • Every time someone tells Sisko that Kai Winn is in the episode, he Face Palms.
    • Runabouts get destroyed so often that, according to Kira, it's a good thing there are plenty of rivers on Earth to name them after.

  • Sacred Scripture:
    • The Rules of Acquisition for the Ferengi. Actually they are a set of business guidelines, but they are said to be divinely inspired.
    • The various Bajoran Prophecies that are quoted, and often misinterpreted, throughout the series.
  • Sacrificial Lion:
    • The 'Odyssey' in "The Jem'Hadar."
    • Li Nalas in "The Siege".
  • Sadistic Choice: In the episode 'For the Uniform', Eddington gives Sisko the choice of rescuing Cardassians or catching him. And then Sisko, of all people, gives one to Eddington when he demands he gives himself up to save the Maquis (or their worlds, at least).
  • Salt the Earth:
    • After Starfleet is forced to abandon Deep Space Nine to the Dominion and the Cardassians, Kira Nerys destroys the computer systems. Between this and the budding Bajoran Resistance, the station doesn't become fully operational again until partway into the sixth season (just in time for Starfleet and the Klingons to build up their forces enough to take it back.)
    • In the pilot, the departing Cardassians did their level best to make sure that both Bajor and the station were as inhospitable as they could leave them.
  • Saved by the Phlebotinum: Averted in "Children of Time". The episode made it seem at the midpoint that both the crew and their descendants could be saved by duplicating themselves, but it turned out there was no Take a Third Option, and that a Sadistic Choice had to be made. Odo ended up making it for them.
  • "Save the World" Climax: Starts with the Federation taking over an old starbase from the Cardassians who'd recently withdrawn from a long brutal occupation of the planet Bajor which the starbase orbits. Episodes involve the rebuilding of Bajor and its various growing pains of independence (and bitterness over its recent past), and some exploration through a wormhole recently discovered near the station. But a great power lies on the other side of that wormhole, which soon puts the whole Alpha Quadrant in jeopardy in the large-scale Dominion War.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Kira uses the Orb of Time to travel back to the Cardassian occupation of Bajor to find that their regime was no stranger to forcing Bajoran women into "comfort wife" positions with the promise of their families being taken care of (or potentially harmed if they did a bad job or refused). Dukat even had a standard pick-up line for a new woman who took his fancy where he made himself out to be less bad than his lecherous officers. Kira's mother was also forced into this position, which Kira feels is a betrayal before later consoling herself with the thought that she had no real choice.
  • Scars Are Forever:
    • Martok's eye and scar. Though in this case it's made clear Martok could get a prosthetic eye, he simply refuses to.
    • Furel, a Bajoran resistance fighter, and his arm. Starfleet later offers to make him good as new, but since he saved others and escaped with just a lost arm, he refuses.
  • Scary Black Man:
    • When Sisko gets really angry, he fits this to a T. He can do this either by yelling or by getting really, really calm. (When he slipped into the Joran voice in "For the Uniform", you knew shit was gonna go down.)
    • In "Facets", Sisko is (voluntarily) taken over by one of Dax's former hosts, a serial killer (the aforementioned Joran). His delivery is creepy, and according to the Star Trek Wiki, there is a take of that scene that was even creepier (due to Avery Brooks whispering his lines the first time around).
    • When Ezri is unsure about joining the crew, she lets slip that even Worf is intimidated by Sisko.
      Ezri: You like that, don't you?
      Sisko: [Completely failing to restrain his amusement] Of course not.
      Ezri: Oh, come on. I've been a man; I know!
    • The Maquis story arc pushed Sisko's Berserk Button quite often, ultimately leading to him firing torpedoes that would spread biogenic weapons that were lethal to Humans across the entire planet's atmosphere, forcing the Maquis colonists to evacuate. All because they had already done the same to two Cardassian colonies (rendering them uninhabitable for Cardassians, but safe for the Maquis), and would've done it to more. They pushed him too far that time. He was angry, and he wasn't going to let them get away with what they were doing.
  • Scoundrel Code: The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, which range from harsh ("A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.") to pragmatic ("You can't make a deal if you're dead.") to Pet the Dog ("Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them.")
  • Scotty Time: Sisko is impatient when it comes to the Defiant's maintenance, as O'Brien can attest.
  • Scratchy-Voiced Senior:
    • In one episode, Bashir is in a coma and having a hallucination that he is getting older and older very quickly. Most of his time as elderly, he speaks in his regular voice, but when he's over a hundred, his voice becomes very scratchy.
    • In "The Visitor", an alternate future shows the characters as seniors. Nog and Dax sound the same, Jake sounds like a slightly croakier version of his father, but Bashir sounds very croaky.
  • Screw You, Elves!: In the Vulcan baseball episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite". Captain Solok teaches his Vulcan crew how to play baseball to rub it in Sisko's face (the only person on Deep Space Nine that knows how to play besides his own son). Being the team that knows how to play, they wipe the floor against the DS9 team... until they score just one run and "beat" the Vulcans, of whom Solok demanded complete victory.
    Solok: You are attempting to manufacture triumph where none exists.
    Cassidy: I'd say he succeeded!
    Bashir: To manufactured triumph!
    Sisko: Manufactured triumph! Hear hear!
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: When O'Brien goes undercover in the Orion Syndicate in "Honor Among Thieves" the local boss offers him a prostitute as a gesture of Sacred Hospitality. However the boss is satisfied with this explanation for refusal.
  • Seen It All: Several lifetimes' worth of experiences have taught Dax to roll with the punches, to the point that when she unexpectedly awakens in 21st Century San Francisco after a transporter Time Travel mishap she plays the part of a human Damsel in Distress (with "interesting tattoos") flawlessly through both episodes of Past Tense without so much as batting an eye or hinting at her status as a Fish out of Temporal Water.
  • Serious Business: In "Run Along Home," Quark plays a board game with some visiting aliens who take it very seriously. Quark eventually realizes that his game pieces are station crew members who have been sucked into the game, so he's hard-pressed to win the game while losing as few pieces as possible. In the end, it's subverted, as all of the crew members, including those who were eliminated, are returned unharmed, and the aliens are amused that Quark thought there was ever any danger, saying, "It's only a game!"
  • Seriously Scruffy: This is used as shorthand to show that there's something physically wrong with a changeling. If Odo has gone too long without a regeneration cycle his usually immaculate uniform starts to darken and flake and his slicked-back hair gets crazy. Also seen with the female Founder in the last season, courtesy of Section 31's bioweapon.
  • Sex Sells: Quark hires attractive women to run his gaming tables (the so-called Dabo Girls) for reasons that should be obvious.
  • Shades of Conflict: The Dominion War has a lot of this. The Federation are the good guys for the most part, but they have secret agents willing to do anything to protect it, and the Klingons are rife with corruption. Meanwhile, the Dominion are responsible for a lot of atrocities back in the Gamma Quadrant, while the Cardassians, while starting out as Space Nazis, fell on hard times and their bad deal with the Dominion eventually pushed a lot of them into the position of The Atoner.
  • Shadow Archetype: The characters' Mirror Universe counterparts.
  • Shameful Source of Knowledge: In "Dax", the Dax symbiont in Jadzia Dax's body is placed on trial for the crimes of treason and the murder of General Ardelon Tandro. One of the symbiont's previous hosts, Curzon Dax, is the only person who could have committed the crime but didn't have a suitable alibi. General Tandro's widow Enina is incredibly reluctant to involve herself in the trial, but eventually provides Dax with an alibi — she was having an affair with Curzon Dax, and he was in her bed at the time when the crime took place.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Odo's shapeshifting ability is removed in a few instances:
    • Garak uses a device on Odo that prevents his shapeshifting to torture him when Odo's body needs to return to a liquid state.
    • Later, he is turned into a "solid" human by his people as punishment (for half a season).
    • The Founder's Disease does this to all Changelings during the war, though most of the ones at home just stay in liquid form anyway.
  • Shapeshifting Heals Wounds: Changelings can regenerate wounds by reverting to their liquid state. However, it's deconstructed as this is a changeling's only method of healing. If some outside force that isn't the Great Linknote  invokes a Shapeshifter Mode Lock, the changeling will gradually deteriorate and decompose if they are unable to revert to their liquid state after 16 hours.
  • Shocking Defeat Legacy: Being a full-scale war, the Dominion War has quite a few of these.
    • "A Time to Stand" mentions the Battle of Tyra. The Federation Seventh Fleet was initiating a counterattack against the Dominion, and out of 112 ships, only 14 managed to escape the Jem'Hadar.
    • "In The Pale Moonlight" has Betazed invaded by the Dominion, due to obsolete defenses and an out-of-position fleet. Being of the Federation core worlds, it's a massive blow to morale.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: "The Dogs of War", the series' penultimate episode, concludes the Ferengi arc, sends Rom and Leeta to Ferenginar and Zek and Ishka to Risa. This removes all of the comic relief characters in time for the series finale.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the stores on the Promenade is listed as "Tom Servo's Used Robots".
    • In the penultimate episode, Quark copies some of Picard's speech from Star Trek: First Contact to defend the sacred Ferengi practice of sexual extortion from employees.
    • Morn is an anagram of Norm, from Cheers. It was entirely intentional.
    • In the comedic episode "Trials and Tribble-ations," the two agents who show up to investigate Sisko's time-traveling shenanigans are named Dulmer and Lucsly, anagrams of "Mulder" and "Scully" from The X-Files.
    • When the occupying forces on DS9 in The Siege find that Odo (the shape-shifter) is missing, their commander concludes the situation is "more than meets the eye".
    • In Looking for Par'Mach in All the Wrong Places, Quark states his opinion on war, and what it is good for. Absolutely Nothing.
    • The Breen's refrigeration suits are modeled after Princess Leia's disguise as Ubese bounty hunter Boushh at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.
    • In "Crossover" (the first Mirror Universe episode since TOS), Quark stands accused of helping human slaves escape captivity, and tells the enforcing officer (mirror Garak, a Gul) that he is nothing more than a simple barkeep and doesn't stick out his neck for anyone.
    • In "The Way of the Warrior", Quark speculates that perhaps he should have listened to his cousin who said, "Quark, I got one word for you: 'weapons'."
    • The episode "The Nagus" is an homage to The Godfather, especially the scene where Quark "receives" guests in his quarters.
    • Sisko's "Hello, ship" was a direct reference to the Steve McQueen movie The Sand Pebbles, and the ship in question was also named the São Paulo. But not for long. It was soon rechristened Defiant.
    • In a more subtle one, Garak manages to be John le Carré's most famous novel: he is a Tinker, a Tailor, a Soldier, and a Spy. (Amusingly, our own Tailor of Cardassia actually predates the one you'd think he was a reference to, le Carré's The Tailor of Panama!)
    • Occasionally, Odo's investigations and questioning of people would end in a final "just one more thing..."
    • The scene in "Chimera" in which Odo and Laas discuss their relationships with humanoid women may be a shout-out to a similar scene in Highlander. Laas warns Odo that Changelings cannot reproduce with humanoids, just as Ramirez warns MacLeod that immortals cannot father children. Laas also warns Odo that as a long-lived Changeling, he will have to watch Kira grow old and die, just as Ramirez warns MacLeod of the same heartache awaiting him with his mortal wife.
    • A line spoken by Galia to Quark in the episode "Business As Usual" sounds similar to a line said in The Third Man:
      Look out there. Millions and millions of stars. Millions upon millions of worlds. And right now, half of them are fanatically dedicated to destroying the other half. Now, do you think, if one of those twinkling little lights suddenly went out, anybody would notice? ... Suppose I offered you ten million bars of gold-pressed latinum to help turn out one of those lights. Would you really tell me to keep my money?
    • "The Darkness and the Light" concludes with Kira being kidnapped and taken to a dark subterranean lair by a man with a disfigurement on half his face, who rants obsessively about light/dark dichotomy and is hell-bent on revenge.
    • The Starfleet forces (including some of the ones killed prior to the Defiant's arrival) in "The Seige Of AR-558" were named after characters from the WWII movie Hell Is For Heroes.
    • When Jake is writing, over-the-shoulder shots will reveal that the PADD has text from the first chapter of Commodore Hornblower on it. The Hornblower'' books were a major influence on the whole franchise.
    • In-universe example: Soldiers of the Empire features a ship and her crew in distress, lying just over a border that the potential rescuers are not allowed to cross. Almost identical to the Kobayashi Maru test.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Weyoun probably should've just kept his mouth shut with Garak. And Worf. And Damar. And his own men. He doesn't learn quickly.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Quark's mother and Grand Nagus Zek in "Ferengi Love Songs." Quark is quite weirded out and a bit disgusted by it.
  • Silent Offer: In "Past Prologue", Garak negotiates the price for a terrorist with two Klingons in this way, using an electronic tablet instead of paper.
  • Single-Precept Religion:
    • The Bajoran religion went into great detail about the customs and traditions of the Faith of the Prophets, but there was never much in the way of actual beliefs and tenets other than "Prophets Good, Pah-Wraiths Bad, Sisko Awesome."
    • The Ferengi belief system seems to be founded on the idea that the gods offer a beneficent afterlife to the rich; the Rules of Acquisition, while sometimes treated as religious doctrine, are more like The 285 Habits of Highly-Effective Ferengi than anything else.
    • The one-off religions held by the alien-of-the-week in many, many episodes would look at the elaboration given to the Bajoran religion and develop extreme jealousy. The religion in Star Trek: Enterprise which managed to send its native planet into a nuclear winter due to a schism over whether creation took nine days or ten was a memorable, if stupid, example.
  • Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Lola (a holographic Major Kira lookalike produced by Vic Fontaine to help Odo learn to flirt with her) uses this pose to flirt with Odo in "His Way."
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss:
    • There's no actual slapping going on, of course, but the first kiss between Odo and Kira takes place at the culmination of a rather heated argument.
    • Worf and Jazdia take this trope literally.
    • This is so heavily built into Cardassian courtship that a female engineer who spends an episode bickering with O'Brian ends up dropping all pretense and just throwing herself at him at the end of it. Until that moment he hadn't realized she was flirting, and had managed to bicker her into wanting to marry him totally by accident. It explains a lot about Dukat's continued pursuit of Kira despite how much she clearly despises him, doesn't it?
  • Slave Collar:
    • In one alternate universe episode, the captured Garak is restrained this way by Worf.
    • Eris claims that the Dominion used one to suppress her telepathic powers. Quark reveals that it's nothing more than a simple collar with a complex lock.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Started out as optimistic — but still not so cheery, considering the themes of Sisko's bereavement and Bajor's Holocaust-like recent history — as the other series, only to head straight into the Dominion War arc by the third season, and slamming straight into the very end of the Cynical side of the scale in the second to last season with the episode "In The Pale Moonlight." However, the final episode brings the scale back to a Star Trek-appropriate ideal.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Quark is very impressed by his cunning, in spite of being a pretty minor entrepreneur.
  • Smart Gun: The episode "Return to Grace" states that Federation Type-3 phaser rifles feature a number of technologies designed to assist their users, but mostly it's more stuff that breaks down under stress.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Sisko has a 3-D chess set in his office. He's also been seen playing traditional chess with Dax.
  • Smug Snake:
    • Winn, especially in her first appearance. She always has an undeserved aura of superiority.
    • Weyoun fills this trope as well, having been genetically programmed to be a wimpy sycophant.
    • Legate Broca, the puppet leader of Cardassia during the final days of the Dominion War. He is such a sycophant that even Weyoun is disgusted by him.
  • Something Completely Different: "Far Beyond the Stars".
  • Space Opera
  • Space Mines: During the Dominion Wars the Defiant mined the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole.
    • The Klingons established an illegal cloaked minefield in "Sons of Mogh." The mines were dormant and had to be remotely activated in event of war — and would effectively cut DS9 and Bajor off from support from elsewhere in the Alpha Quadrant.
  • Space Western: Not a direct example, but draws on several Western tropes such as the frontier town near a strategic pass, the bar, the sheriff, etc.
    • Much as Star Trek: The Original Series was pitched as "Wagon Train to the Stars," Deep Space Nine was originally conceived as "The Rifleman in space."
      • Indeed, the creators of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had always seen the station as a space-age town in the wild west — with characters like the mayor (Sisko), the local Native American chief (Kira), the town medico (Bashir), the local barman (Quark), the treasure hunter/archaeologist (Jadzia) note , the lawmen (Odo, and later Worf), and the everyman (O'Brien) who's married to the local teacher (Keiko).
    • Bashir gave this a shout-out in the first episode, waxing poetic about how he chose Bajor over any other posting or research grant because it was in the "farthest reaches of the galaxy", which would let him practice "frontier medicine" "where heroes are made". Unfortunately, he chooses to wax poetic about this in front of local Bajoran representative Kira Nerys, who is...unamused.
  • Sparse List of Rules: The Rules of Acquisition. There are canonically 285 of them, though less than 100 are actually mentioned in the show. The first Rule was actually devised by the first Grand Nagus, and named "The 162nd Rule of Acquisition" as a marketing ploy to create demand for the first 161. Rule #1: "Once you have their money, never give it back."
  • Species Title: The Season 2 episode "Cardassians" centres on Dr. Bashir being dragged into an internal political dispute between several very high-ranking Cardassians that allows both him and the audience to learn more about this race, their society, and two important recurring Cardassian characters (Gul Dukat and Garak).
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: Jadzia is the host for the Dax symbiont and has the memories of the previous hosts, several of which are male. It's expressly stated that Jadzia is a unique personality and can access the memories of the previous hosts, and as such is not bound by obligations of the past host, which included in an episode about Jadzia meeting another female Trill whose previous host was married to Jadzia's Dax previous male host. The two women start to "rekindle" their relationship, which is a taboo on Trill... not because they are two women in love, but because they are two joined Trill in love, with the Trill concerned that lingering bonds between two joined Trill carrying over to their next host would result in rulership by an elite The Nth Doctor class. The fact that they were both women at the time is never addressed, though the taboos and the pressure against the relationship do parallel many LGBT issues. Given that the woman was not physically the woman Dax remembers, it's quite possible that joined Trill take on the sexuality of the host, but leave the emotional attachment to past lovers, regardless of sex, which could be a form of pansexuality (they are attracted to the person for reasons beyond traditional binary gender attraction). Her comments to why she let Worf plan the wedding with little input from her indicate that at this point in the symbiont's life, the wedding had been experienced from both the point of view of the bride and groom several times and was pointless beyond the happiness of the spouse.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: The pilot starts with The Enterprise-D docked at Deep Space Nine. Captain Picard appears and Commander Sisko promptly tells him how much he hates him. Sisko has some epiphanies, makes peace with Picard, and Picard gives him his blessing.
  • The Spock
  • Spot the Imposter: This is most of the plot of "The Adversary." However, this is subverted during the climax when O'Brien is faced with a choice between two Odos and decides to get back to fixing the Defiant.
    "I've got more important things to do than play Choose the Changeling."
  • Spy Speak: The second type is done a few times. Typically it is between Quark and Garak.
  • Staff of Authority: The Grand Nagus's staff, which Ferengi are supposed to kiss as a sign of respect. When Sisko needs Quark to go with him on a mission, he uses a copy of the staff to indicate the command is coming from the Nagus himself. And makes Quark kiss it on his way out the door!
  • Standard Alien Spaceship: Dominion ships are blue-grey and vaguely resemble beetles, with glowing purple highlights on their bellies and nacelles. Cardassian ships skirt the edge of this trope: they're hard-edged for the most part, but their hulls are yellow-beige in color.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Jadzia Dax and Lenara Kahn. Despite being parted for multiple hosts and being different people, they still love each other so dearly that the only reason they part is because the cost is so high.
  • Starfish Language:
    • The Breen. They even get an exemption from Star Trek's usual Translation Convention; their allies can understand them thanks to universal translators note  but the audience never hears them speaking anything but their own language.
    • The Skrreean language from the episode "Sanctuary" was so foreign that it took the universal translator about half the episode to lock on. Given that this was one of the first Gamma Quadrant species the DS9 crew had come in contact with, one might have thought that communicating with species from across the galaxy might pose a problem throughout the series. Apparently, though, learning Skrreean was enough for the U/T to get a good lock on Gamma Quadrant xenolinguistics — they never had a problem communicating with Gamma Quadrant species ever again.
  • The Stateroom Sketch: A confirmed homage in "The Circle", though it's in Kira's quarters rather than a closet and it's pretty much friends barging in intending to wish farewell privately. All done in one take, though the final cut has reaction shots cut in.
  • State Sec:
    • The Cardassian Obsidian Order, which Odo says records even what Cardassian citizens eat for dinner. The Ferengi Commerce Authority also comes across as this at times.
    • The Romulan Tal Shiar. They survived the joint operation with the Obsidian Order, continue to operate their own ships, and factor heavily into the Empire's role in the Dominion War. (Though some of those ships are actually seen over on Voyager, in "Message In A Bottle".)
    • The Federation's Section 31, although it's more of a clandestine Black Ops organization.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Humorously inverted by Sisko's father (a Creole restaurant owner) in "Homefront" when he proclaims that Sisko's sister "has no business in the kitchen" because she can't get his recipes right.
  • Stealth Pun: In "A Time To Stand" they have to perform a mission piloting a captured Jem'Hadar ship. One of the first things they notice about the ship is that there are no chairs...
  • Straw Fan: "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" isn't written as a standard Holodeck Malfunction, like Bashir's spy episode. It's just the senior staff getting a little too wrapped up in LARPing and Sisko pitching a fit over it. Ira Behr saw it as something of a commentary on how invested Star Trek fans can become in the characters. Accordingly, O'Brien's "role" as the innocent "patsy", getting strip-searched by the casino staff, is a lampshading of O'Brien Must Suffer.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Vedek Winn in "In the Hands of the Prophets". The show starts out with her criticizing Keiko's secular teaching regarding the wormhole, and the stage is set not only for a debate between science and religion, but also a discussion of the tensions inherent in multiculturalism and diversity. However, it turns out that Winn's protest was simply a ruse to lure Vedek Bareil to the station to assassinate him.
  • Straw Vulcan: Capt. Solok from "Take Me Out to the Holosuite"
    • Played with, since it's made pretty clear both from dialogue and Solok's own reactions that despite hiding behind a veneer of Vulcan logic, Solok often lets his emotions get the better of him.
  • Stock Footage: Every big battle after Sacrifice of Angels blatantly used shots taken from earlier battles (especially a certain shot with the Defiant and two Mirandas), with the final fight in the finale having almost no original footage.
  • Stomach of Holding: Morn in "Who Mourns for Morn?". It's revealed that he took part in a robbery years before, and he kept the latinum — removed from the gold in which it's normally stored — in his second stomach. Quark guesses that this is why all his hair fell out.
  • Story Arc: The Dominion War.
  • Stupid Good: Shades of this manifest in the Deep Space 9 crew as the Dominion War rages on. While they never come close to being full on stupid good, they have way too many reservations about taking extreme measures against extreme threats. One example is Sisko's anger with Garak in In The Pale Moonlight. Garak rightly points out that you do not hire someone like him unless you are willing to have some deaths on your conscience, and Sisko knew that.
  • Supering in Your Sleep: In the episode "The Alternate", an unknown gas affects the changeling Odo. When Odo is regenerating (i.e. sleeping), he unknowingly transforms into a different sort of changeling, only this "Mr. Hyde" version is mindless, reacting according to Odo's current emotional state. It takes a few attacks for everyone to figure out what's going on. Odo even investigates the attacks committed by his other self.
  • Super Prototype: The Defiant was originally a prototype to be used against the Borg, but was moth-balled after that threat died down.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Odo gets saddled with an overseer goldshirt named George Primmin. The character lasted 3 episodes before vanishing, eventually being replaced by the semi-regular Eddington (whom Odo also hated).
    • TPTB scored a coup by getting Richard Beymer to play Li Nalas, the noble-but-waffling leader of Bajor.... but nobody knew what to do with him, and Beymer was too expensive so they shot and killed him. (Li, not Beymer!) Ira Behr tried to spin this as a "redemption", but everyone else agreed that it was a dumb move; so they tried again with Shakaar Edon. Once again, the writers couldn't make heads or tails of the character and he was written out. Behr apologized. (Shakaar was promoted to First Minister, the second-highest figurehead on Bajor.)
    • Ezri Dax; Terry Farrell left at the end of season six due to contract disputes, but the show still called for a Dax character to finish out the show. Thankfully, the "Trill symbiont" backstory gave them an out to have the character "survive", and they got cute plucky then-twentysomething Nicole de Boer for a replacement. Fans were (and are) divided on whether the exercise was worth it, but Nicole de Boer was much-praised.
    • In the continuation novels, Ezri is given a chance to develop more than she was able to on the show. A few years later she is a Captain, in charge of the U.S.S. Aventine, a pretty badass ship, equipped with slipstream drive and everything, and plays an important role alongside Riker and Picard in the complete defeat of the Borg in the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy of books.
    • In a non-character variation on this trope, the Defiant is destroyed late in Season 7. A mere four episodes later, the identical São Paulo is dispatched to the station, and immediately renamed after the destroyed ship. It is helped that, unlike people, starships can be replaced fairly easily with an identical substitute (especially if they're of the same class of ship).
  • Suspiciously Specific Sermon: In "Far Beyond the Stars", the character corresponding to Sisko's father gives some very specific advice to Sisko while giving a street sermon.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In "Rules of Acquisition" a female Ferengi poses as male.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: The Bajoran wormhole, natch.
  • Supervillain Lair: The Dominion War Room on Cardassia Prime.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Weyoun and every other Vorta are this whenever a Founder walks into the room. In fact they are genetically programmed to embody this trope and it seems that any cunning bastardry in the Vorta's characterisation gets diverted from nefarious plotting into finding the best way to suck up.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Sisko feels closer to Dukat for a while after Ziyal's death.
  • Synthetic Plague: The Section 31 virus, which quickly spreads through the Changeling population.

  • Taking a Third Option: This trope is directly quoted by Kira in the third season premiere "The Search, Part I" after the senior staff (minus Sisko) has run many simulations and found that the station will be overrun by the Dominion very quickly in the event of a full-scale assault. Dax says that that leaves them with two options— abandon the station and make their stand on Bajor, or collapse the entrance to the wormhole. Kira says, "I want a third option" and almost at that very moment, the third option appears in the form of the new USS Defiant.
  • Talking to the Dead: Literally due to a Temporal Paradox. The Defiant receives a distress call in the middle of an interstellar storm and alter their course to the planet in order to help. During the trip, they hold a conversation with a Starfleet officer who only managed to keep herself alive thanks to the recommendations of rationing what few medical supplies she had. By the time the crew finally reaches her on the surface, they find that she had actually died long before the Defiant received her distress call.
  • Technically a Smile: Dukat's grimace when Weyoun suggests they smile to provide an example for the tension-filled Cardassians and Jem'Hadar:
    Weyoun: Dukat...
    Dukat: I'm smiling...!
  • Technically Naked Shapeshifter: Odo and the other Changelings are able to shapeshift so well that they can even fool sensor devices into detecting them as whatever sort of material they mimic, and typically form clothing out of themselves when they assume humanoid form. On a typical episode, the only part of Odo that's not made of himself is his comm badge, which he hides inside himself when he shifts into a form that doesn't include it.note 
  • Techno Babble: A Star Trek staple. Q also refers to it by name during his appearance.
  • Teens Are Short: Jake and Nog. Both cases ended up subverted by Real Life Writes the Plot, as detailed on the trope page.
  • Teleporter Accident: How Damar claims Weyoun 5 died. Weyoun 7 doesn't believe it, considering that Damar was "called away" mere moments before said accident happened.
  • That Man Is Dead: Julian Bashir when his parents refer to him by his childhood nickname 'Jules'. Julian's parents had him genetically enhanced when he was 6, he considered that the death of Jules.
  • Theme Naming: All the runabouts assigned to DS9 are named after Earth rivers. Lampshaded by Kira in "Family Business".
    Kira: You know, the rate we go through runabouts, it's a good thing the Earth has so many rivers.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In "Sanctuary," where one of Kira's friends plays a version of the theme song in Quark's.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond:
    • Bashir does this at least twice in the Bond homage "Our Man Bashir", using both his real name and his cover name. Less humorously, O'Brien introduces himself this way to the faux Boone in "Tribunal".
    • In Past Tense, when a time-displaced Sisko has to fill in for a historical figure who ended up dead on his account, he introduces himself this way. "The name is Bell. Gabriel Bell."
  • They Do: Odo/Kira, Bashir/Ezri, Worf/Jadzia
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Vorta are all clones, whose new incarnations are supplied with the memories of the previous ones. As a result, death is little more than a temporary inconvenience. As a consequence, the later seasons made a minor Running Gag out of offing Weyoun repeatedly (he starts as Weyoun 4—who was so popular that the showrunners introduced Vorta cloning just to excuse bringing him back after he was fragged by his own Jem'Hadar—and goes all the way up to Weyoun 8 by the Grand Finale).
  • Thread of Prophecy, Severed: In "The Reckoning", Ben and Jadzia translate an ancient tablet predicting an apocalypse called the Reckoning, which is set off when the tablet is accidentally broken and a Prophet and Pah-wraith that had been sealed within escape. They possess respectively Major Kira and Jake Sisko and do battle on the station, but are interrupted when Kai Winn activates a technobabble emitter prepared by the crew, driving the warring Sufficiently Advanced Aliens out of their hijacked bodies and off the station.
  • Through His Stomach: Sisko, mostly with Kasidy, but in the early seasons with the rest of the crew, albeit not romantically. Attempted by Kasidy in "The Changing Face of Evil", resulting in Epic Fail.
    Sisko: Nobody touches my peppers!
  • Time Dissonance: The Prophets.
  • Time Travel: "Past Tense", "Visionary", "The Visitor", "Little Green Men", "Trials and Tribble-ations", and "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night".
  • Timey-Wimey Ball:
    • The relationship between the Prophets and Sisko evolves over the course of the series, even though the Prophets live outside of linear time.
    • The "Orb of Time" exists solely for this.
    • Arguably the entire point of "Visionary": O'Brien travels a few hours into the future several times and sees things that he has to take steps to prevent. It makes him very uncomfortable when he's sitting in Quark's at the same time he saw himself getting shot in the future, and then later he meets his future self and has a long conversation with him.
      Future O'Brien: You don't look too good.
      O'Brien: It's the radiation.
      Future O'Brien: But if you're feeling bad and you're me, shouldn't I feel bad, too?
      Both O'Briens: I hate temporal mechanics.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Garak starts off as Faux Affably Evil and moves into genuine Affably Evil. He regularly reminds others that he is not a nice person, and is quite pleased when people like Nog or Bashir show absolutely no trust for him. As the show goes on, his friendliness becomes less of an act and more sincere, which is why he is glad to see his friends not being so foolish as to trust such an obviously dangerous man as himself. He's also a unique example in that he is entirely selfless due to his absolute loyalty to Cardassia which results in his alliances shifting depending on who he feels has Cardassia's best interests at heart. He works with the Federation because he feels it's the best way to save Cardassia, and he grieves for the loss of Cardassia's music, culture and art when the Cardassia he knew and loved is gone forever. That said, he'd actively helped to instigate the rebellion that led to the Dominion's attempt to destroy Cardassia in revenge and he knew, and completely supported, Damar's desire for a new Cardassia. He knew his actions would destroy the Cardassia he loved (although the extent of the destruction came as a shock to him) and he took them anyway because he realized it was the best option left for Cardassia.
  • Tomato Surprise: "Whispers".
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: In one episode, Quark goes to stay with his mother because he's in a funk and he claims he's too sad to want his dinner. Later, after the Grand Nagus breaks up with his mother, she's too sad to want her dinner.
  • Torture Technician: In "Improbable Cause"/"The Die Is Cast", Tain strongly indicates that Garak often played this role for him in the past prior to Garak's exile and, in the episode itself, Tain expects Garak to play that role again to torture Odo.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Most of the main cast are fond of raktajino, particularly Sisko. Miles, on the other hand, prefers Jamaican blend Earth coffee, "double strong, double sweet", while Julian drinks Tarkalean tea, and Worf drinks prune juice. While Worf drinking prune juice is a Continuity Nod, it's amusing that he's one of the few who don't drink raktajino, since it's described several times in the show as "Klingon coffee."
  • Totally Radical: If the "Past Tense" episodes are right, we'll be saying "check your e-mail!" to mean "get a clue!" in the 2020s.
  • Tragic Villain: Gul Dukat presents an especially deep version of this trope. Through the ongoing story it is revealed that the most heinous acts Dukat committed in the past against the Bajorans were done not simply because he was ordered to, nor because he was especially malicious. He carried out his most egregious acts knowing that if he refused to do so, he would be replaced by someone who would. Not only that, but someone who would not make an effort to minimize how much horror they inflicted, but may actually enjoy it enough to do more than is necessary. Even before this Dukat is shown several times as a family man who genuinely cares for his family, and at some points seems to regret his career choice as it takes him away from his children who can't understand why their father is not at special events such as birthdays. Later, Dukat loses his family when it is revealed he has a half-bajoran daughter. After that he sees that same daughter who he lost his family over murdered in front of his eyes after she admits to betraying him and his cause. This results in Dukat undergoing a mental breakdown from which he never truly recovers. As a final addition of insult to injury, during his mental breakdown he tries to explain himself to Captain Sisko, but is unaware that Sisko cannot see the hallucinations that he (Dukat) is himself experiencing. As a result, Sisko only hears Dukat seemingly making light of the dreadful things he has done, while missing out on the exposition that if Dukat had not acted as he did; someone who would have done worse would have replaced him leading to even more suffering. Thus Dukat does not even get to keep the respect of his Worthy Opponent, who thereafter views him as a monster. He ultimately ends as a subversion, though. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Dukat eventually embraces his villainy when he admits that he always despised the Bajorans, and for rejecting his "sympathy" during his rule on Bajor (read: slave labor quotas are reduced by a generous 50%), he thinks he should have exterminated them all. Thereafter he becomes an Ax-Crazy Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Translator Microbes:
    • Subverted to a degree with a new species arriving at the station speaking a language so unique that it takes half of the episode's run time for the Universal Translator to figure it out.
    • Like other Trek series, Klingon is treated specially: the universal translator magically stops working when the writers want to employ Hiding Behind the Language Barrier, Bilingual Bonus, or Pardon My Klingon.
    • One episode has several super-geniuses turn off the Translator, because it actually removes one of the word tenses which changes the meaning of his words, a clue of what their true plan is.
    • In Little Green Men a trio of Ferengi accidentally time-travel back to 1947 Earth. A minor plot point features communication difficulties following a malfunction in their universal translators. Interestingly, this episode treats the translators as implants carried in each Ferengi's ear.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Apparently subspace communications do this.
    • In "Past Tense," Sisko is able to hold a real-time communication with Deep Space 9 from the bridge of the Defiant, in orbit around Earth. But just 3 episodes later, in "Heart Of Stone," Odo has to transmit an emergency message to the station from the Badlands, and the computer informs him that they should receive the message in approximately 2 days, simply because that episode depended on him and Kira being stuck on the moon they were on without any hope of outside interference.
    • In the series finale, while Kai Winn and Dukat are hanging in the Fire Caves, trying to summon the Pah-Wraiths, the joint Alpha Quadrant forces fly to Cardassia, wage war with the Dominion, conquer Cardassia, fly back to DS9, hold a peace conference with the Dominion, and have a victory party aboard the station. Either this was the fastest war ever, or Winn and Dukat spend days if not weeks inside the Caves. Or they started their plot much later (in-universe) than the War plot.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: Morn hid liquid latinum in one of his stomachs.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Section 31 officer Sloan's preferred method of meeting/recruiting Bashir seems to be waiting in a chair by Bashir's bed, in the dark, until he wakes up.
    • Liquidator Brunt decides that for some reason, the best way to talk to Quark in "Ferengi Love Songs" is to talk to him in his closet. Twice. Despite communicators existing.
  • Tricked Out Time: "Past Tense".
  • Trickster Mentor: Garak is one to Bashir.
  • Trust Me, I'm an X: Quark says "Trust me, I'm a gambler" in a speech to Odo in "Move Along Home", explaining why he should take the shortcut in the chula game. Hilariously subverted when it backfires.
  • Tsundere:
    • Keiko O'Brien appears in relatively few episodes, but when she does it is mostly to be cranky and domineering. There are many other episodes in which she antagonizes her husband, Miles, from somewhere off-camera. Her bouts of 'mushiness' are mostly limited to self-important meddling in the affairs of others.
    • Kira Nerys. Oh Prophets, Kira Nerys. Fiery Redheaded badass who goes positively kittenish at certain points with her romantic interests — particularly Odo.
  • Tuxedo and Martini: "Our Man Bashir".
  • 24-Hour Armor: Cardassians wear those breastplates of theirs everywhere! Dukat and Damar are both shown sleeping in them.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future:
    • Quite rarely for Star Trek, the episode "Past Tense" plays this straight, when Sisko, Bashir and Dax accidentally time-travel to 2024 Earth. There's no fantastic issues involved, it just takes contemporary political issues and technological developments from The '90s and exaggerates them.
    • If it had been filmed a decade later, "Tribunal" could have been seen as a parody of reality TV in general and the Cardassian Judge a parody of Judge Judy.
  • Twist Ending: "In the Pale Moonlight" has one of the best Twist Endings in Star Trek. It starts with Sisko dictating his log to the computer in a state of deep depression, explaining the unethical plan he'd concocted together with Garak to trick the Romulans into declaring war on the Dominion and talking about how "it all went wrong". Near the end of the episode the Romulan senator who he presented his forged evidence to has seen through his plan and left in a fury, intending to expose the "Federation treachery" to the Romulan senate and you think Sisko's misery is because he accidentally caused the Romulans to declare war on the Federation instead. Then we find out that Garak assassinated the Senator and framed the Dominion for it and Sisko's plan has gone perfectly, with the Romulans declaring war on the Dominion... and that is why Sisko is miserable. But he can live with that. Sisko is also upset by the fact that, when he learned of the assassination and confronted Garak about it, Garak explained to him that he knew that Sisko knew all along that the 'official' plan wasn't going to work and this is the way that it was going to have to happen, and Sisko came to Garak precisely because he knew Garak would do this. The kicker being that Garak was completely correct and Sisko was just hoping he could lie to himself about it later and feel better. No such luck with Garak around.

  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • Rom and Leeta. Though Leeta thinks Rom's kinda cute, actually.
    • Odo and Kira, though not technically married.
  • Uncoffee:
    • Raktajino.
    • According to Arne Darvin in "Trials and Tribble-ations", the Cardassian answer to coffee is a type of fish juice. He's clearly not a fan. Cardassians apparently love their fish juice in the morning. But even Garak points out that most other humanoid races find it disgusting.
  • Unfulfilled Purpose Misery: When botanist Keiko O'Brien was on the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation, she was happy and fulfilled in her career. However, upon moving to Deep Space Nine she was unhappy because there wasn't much for a botanist to do. For a few seasons she was able to change careers and be a schoolteacher, but that eventually fell apart. Eventually she became withdrawn. As Dr. Bashir put it, "You're Chief of Operations, I'm a doctor, and Keiko's a botanist. And until she can be a botanist again, I'm not sure she's ever really going to be happy." Eventually Keiko moved to Bajor to join an expedition that's exploring unknown territory where a botanist would be needed.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Things get very creepy (and a little bit squicky) in "Till Death Do Us Part" when Kai Wynn and Anjohl (AKA Dukat disguised as a Bajoran) hook up, with some help from the Pah Wraiths.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The pilot credit sequence does not feature the wormhole opening as it hadn't been discovered yet in story.
  • Unobtainium: Tetrion particles.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: A utopian federation with a quasi-evil agency working on the periphery... though Section 31 behaves more or less like modern-day intelligence agencies do. The bureau is legal according to the Federation Charter, buried in an obscure sub-section (hence their name).
    • Admiral Layton of "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost" thinks this way; he's willing to order a massive act of sabotage and even have the Defiant crew killed, all in the name of protecting Earth from the Dominion. Fortunately, cooler heads prevail in this instance.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Name: The incredibly innocent-sounding "Section 31".
  • Unwanted False Faith: Odo resents being revered as a "Founder" by Weyoun and the other Dominion grunts.
    • And to a lesser extent, Sisko takes a while to warm up to being the Emissary of the Prophets, although arguably they actually DO qualify as supreme beings.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Winn Adami
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Worf is up tight and Jadzia is wild.

  • Values Dissonance: Having been made before the 11th of September 2001, "terrorist" is not the dirty word it is in real life today, and is often used freely—even proudly—by Kira to describe herself and her fellows. The fact that the Bajoran "terrorists" actually won, and are depicted as being in the right to use any and all means, is another element you wouldn't imagine finding in a television show made even just ten years later.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: When the crew accidentally triggered a Cardassian riot failsafe in the station's computers, one of its defensive measures was to have the ops replicator produce a turret to attack the crew.
  • Vigilante Execution: Heavily subverted in "Duet", one of the best early episodes. Aamin Marritza, a Cardassian file clerk masquerading as a war criminal to force Cardassia's sins to light is stabbed to death immediately upon being released. When Kira tells the assailant the truth, he says that Marritza being Cardassian was reason enough to kill him. The last line of the episode is Kira telling the assasin "No, it's not!"
  • Villain Has a Point: Dukat about the prophets. In "Covenant", he condemned the prophets for standing by and doing nothing about the occupation. This is possibly unique in that it's a Straw Atheist argument being used for Straw Satanism.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Dukat after Ziyal's death.
    • Played with in "Duet," where the notorious war criminal Gul Dar'heel's breakdown confirms that he isn't Gul Dar'heel, or even a villain.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: Captain Solok fits this trope well. He is a Vulcan captain with more than a little Fantastic Racism towards humans, and taught his Vulcan crew how to play baseball for the specific purpose of showing Sisko, an old Academy rival, how much better they are at it than humans. A Curb-Stomp Battle ensues, made even worse by the fact that no one on DS9 besides Sisko even knows how to play the game. But the one run they manage to score is all it takes to feel like defeat to the Vulcans, whose hubris demanded nothing less than total victory.
  • Virtual Danger Denial: In one episode, the Aliens Of The Week beam four DS9 crew members into a holographic game parlor. At the end, the situation gets quite dangerous and the crew members seem to die — only, to their own surprise, to turn up perfectly okay back in Quark's bar. May be justified, because holographic simulations actually can turn lethal in the Star Trek universe.
  • Visions of Another Self: Sisko has a vision of being a '50s sci-fi writer, and his associates were versions of people he knew.
  • Vision Quest: In "You Are Cordially Invited" The Klingon pre-marriage Mens Mysteries which include (as might be expected) a large amount of Macho Masochism. Lampshaded when Julian says, "I have had a vision...I am going to kill Worf."
  • The Voiceless: Morn. The costume was fitted with a hinged mouth for the performer to speak, but it became a Running Gag that he is The Voiceless on camera and quite loquacious off of it. The closest he gets to speaking is in "The Nagus," where he's heard laughing.
  • Voice of the Legion: When Gul Dukat becomes the Emissary of the Pah-Wraiths so that he can destroy the Alpha Quadrant and gains superpowers in the process, his voice becomes significantly deeper and echoes.
  • Voluntary Vassal: Towards the end, Cardassia agrees to become part of the Dominion. It's voluntary at first.

  • Waif-Fu: Kira is pretty small, but was a feared terrorist/freedom fighter and a badass in battle, capable of subduing much larger (and more muscular-looking) Cardassians.
  • War Hero:
    • When he was called to testify at Worf's hearing it was revealed that Chief O'Brien had been in over two hundred combat engagements and received fifteen decorations from Starfleet for those actions, qualifying him as a expert in starship combat.
    • After the battle to retake Deep Space Nine from the Dominion, Captain Sisko is awarded the Christopher Pike Medal of Valor. This is referenced a few episodes later when his old Academy nemesis Captain Solok shows up and needles Sisko by saying he had received that award twice.
  • War Is Hell: Existing from the middle of the series and forward, but especially in the episode "The Siege of AR-558".
  • The War Just Before: Two wars, both involving the Cardassians.
    • For the Bajoran characters, the Occupation of Bajor, which had ended in a Cardassian withdrawal literally weeks before the series begins. The Occupation was in many ways meant to parallel the Nazi occupation of Europe during World War II and left Bajor in ruins. Main cast member Kira Nerys fought as a Child Soldier in the Bajoran Resistance, and much of the early part of the series deals with the Federation trying to help Bajor while simultaneously keeping Bajoran extremist groups left over from the Occupation from wrecking everything.
    • For the Starfleet characters, the Federation-Cardassian War of the early 2360s, first mentioned in The Next Generation episode "The Wounded". A poorly drafted peace treaty and redrawn border between the two sides, coupled with the Cardassians trying to start a proxy war in the Demilitarized Zone between their colonists and the Federation's, led directly to the Maquis insurgency (Star Trek: Voyager's jumping-off point).
  • The War on Straw: Eddington's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Sisko in "For the Cause" is undermined by the fact that the Maquis didn't just leave the Federation; they committed terrorist attacks that threatened to undermine an important peace treaty with Cardassia. Even more so with Eddington, who (ostensibly) remained part of the Federation, a Starfleet officer no less, whilst secretly working for the Maquis.
  • Warrior Poet
  • Wartime Wedding: Worf and Dax; Rom and Leeta.
  • Warts and All: Kor's last appearance.
  • We Are Everywhere: The Founder's final words to Odo in "The Adversary." And subverted in "Paradise Lost": A Founder states that they aren't everywhere, and indeed, aren't even in most places at all. But that doesn't matter because they don't have to be — they can be anywhere, pretending to be anyone, and the Federation has no way of knowing where they are at any moment. Four agents operating on Earth are able to cause a chain reaction of events leading to martial law being declared on Earth, and a battle being fought between two Starfleet starships that had each been led to believe the other was commanded by a Changeling. However, they are everywhere important, including Starfleet HQ and the highest levels of the other governments. Their shape-shifting abilities just mean it doesn't take many of them to be everywhere.
  • We Have Reserves: Combined with Cloning Gambit. The Jem'Hadar are bred artificially in birthing chambers and fully mature in three days, and the Vorta are cloned from currently existing members, replaced when the active one dies or attempts to defect, so the Founders have a pretty blasé attitude towards allied losses that are not Changelings. Later on, they develop this attitude towards the Cardassians, which causes them to rebel and is one of the many causes for the Dominion's downfall.
  • Welcome Episode: Sisko in the pilot episode.
  • Welcome to Hell: O'Brien gets this in "Hard Time."
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Garak towards Enabran Tain.
    • Odo towards Doctor Mora Pol, the Bajoran scientist who discovered him. Odo admits he's never wanted anything more than his respect and for him to think of him more as something to be studied and experimented on in a laboratory. Odo also reveals he purposefully imitated Mora Pol's hair because he respected him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Eddington. At least, this is one possible character interpretation of him.
    • Also most (if not all) of Section 31. Also qualifies as Utopia Justifies the Means, since they're willing to commit any crime, no matter how monstrous, to protect the Federation.
    • Admiral Leyton in "Homefront/Paradise Lost." He pushes for more and more security measures in order to put Earth under martial law so as to combat Changeling infiltration after a bombing. He sabotages the planetary power grid as "Changeling sabotage" and fakes a cloaked Dominion fleet to make his case, going so far as to attack another Starfleet ship when they threaten to expose his conspiracy.
  • Wham Episode: A number of these, including:
    • "The Search, Part I and II", the first part ending on a cliffhanger with Sisko, Dax, O'Brien, and Bashir's seeming death or capture, the brand new Defiant seemingly destroyed, and Odo finally meeting his people. The next part reveals the Changelings are the Founders, the head of the Dominion.
    • "Improbable Cause"/"The Die Is Cast": Garak blew up his own shop, Tain is working with the Romulans to destroy the Founders, Garak is willing to forget that Tain tried to kill him and rejoin the Obsidian Order, Tain orders Garak to torture Odo and he does, Odo admits he wants to rejoin the Founders, the leader of the Tal Shiar is actually a Founder and the entire plot was a means to eliminate both the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar in one fell swoop... whew.
    • The series was completely changed after "The Way of the Warrior", with Worf joining the crew, the Cardassians rebelling and forming for the first time in centuries a democratic government, and the decades-long allied Klingons declaring war on previously mentioned Cardassians, antagonising the Federation and breaking the alliance, turning them into active recurring antagonists. Finally, the eponymous space station had a slight tacticalical upgrade. This episode set the theme for the rest of the series.
    • Let's not even start to talk about "By Inferno's Light", where the writers decided to just throw everything in the air and decide to keep the status quo about whatever they could catch. The rest, not so much.
    • "In The Pale Moonlight" not only brings a major change to the direction of the war, it is quite possibly the strongest violation of Federation principles ever shown in any episode of Star Trek. The worst part is, is that it's really hard to say that Sisko did the wrong thing, that in the long term, the galaxy wasn't a better place thanks to the actions of this episode. That's why he can live with it.
    Sisko: "So... I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again, I would... ...So I will learn to live with it. Because I can live with it. I can live with it..."
    • Noteworthy that Sisko left out to what extent he was an accessory to murder. Sure, he would qualify just for collaborating with Garak, but there's also the large quantities of highly controlled substances that could be used to make biological weaponsnote  he sold to someone who was almost certainly going to use them for exactly that. It could be poor writing, Fridge Brilliance or it could be that, whether or not he felt he did the right thing in the long run, that recognizing that really would be more than he could live with. Of course, Garak himself lampshaded this: Sisko went to Garak precisely because Garak could go further than Sisko's morals (as far as Sisko understood his own morality at the time) would allow Sisko to go. In other words, the minute Sisko decided to use Garak, he was accepting, at least subconsciously, and before the plan had even been concocted that he could and would allow events to unfold as necessary to achieve his aim. His computer log was more akin to a conscious acceptance of the unconscious acceptance Garak had referred to.
  • Wham Line:
    • In "The Search, Part II"
    Female Changeling: "The Changelings are the Dominion."
    • In "By Inferno's Light"
    Gul Dukat: "I'm not attacking the Dominion fleet. I'm joining it."
    • "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"
    Richard Bashir: "At no time in our interview with Doctor Zimmerman will we ever mention or even hint at the fact that you were genetically enhanced as a child."
    • "The Changing Face of Evil"
    Sisko: Abandon ship.
    (Reaction shots as the "abandon ship" klaxon begins to blare.)
    Sisko: You heard me. Everyone get to the escape pods. Now!
  • What a Piece of Junk: The Klingon Armada in The Way of The Warrior got a live demonstration of the station's new (at the time) fortifications. It's still a dilapidated originally Cardassian orbital station barely held together; O'Brien, the man principally responsible for the station having any semblance of functionality, gave the fortifications a 50/50 chance of working properly or blowing up the whole station.
    • The USS Defiant fits as well. A ship designed only to fight the Borg, its flaw is that it was engineered too well, trying to put Galaxy-class firepower into a ship barely a fifth the size. In her first episode, O'Brien and the officers repeatedly complain about the ship's flaws. While she was still beaten by the Jem'Hadar, she would soon wipe the floor with everything she came across.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The excellent episode "Duet" nevertheless leaves some important questions unanswered. Minister Koval insisted to Sisko that if Marritza was at Gallitep, the Bajoran government wanted him, and would have him. Gul Dukat, meanwhile, told Sisko that if "any Bajoran hate-mongers get their hands on him, I'll hold you personally responsible." Sisko authorized Marritza's release, no doubt pissing off Koval, and then Marritza was indeed murdered by a Bajoran hate-monger. So what are the consequences?
    • Edward Jellico never appears, and is never even mentioned, despite the fact that he is the Federation's foremost authority on the Cardassians, and even negotiated the armistice. (Although Sisko could handily take that distinction by the end of Season 1.)
    • The dozens or hundreds of smaller Alpha and Beta quadrant sovereign powers that previous series established were all over the place conveniently disappear for the duration of the war.
      • It's implied a few times that most of the minor powers have either made non-aggression pacts with the Dominion, or they're supporting the Federation in a non-military role. The Gallamites for instance are mentioned as supplying duranium "for the war effort."
  • What Have We Ear?: In "Rejoined", Dax pulls this on Quark, and then later Bashir does too. Apparently his head is full of latinum.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: In "In the Pale Moonlight", after getting the Romulans into the war by murdering a senator and making it look like the Dominion did it, Garak says, "you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant, and all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal.....and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer." Feels like he's forgetting something...oh, yeah, the senator's four bodyguards who were with him when his shuttle blew up.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "In the Pale Moonlight", in which Sisko does it to himself. Also, "For The Uniform".
    Sisko: Commander, launch torpedoes.
    [Worf hesitates]
    Sisko: Commander, I said launch torpedoes!
    • The above example should be noted as Sisko irrevocably gassing a former Earth colony with biogenic weapons lethal to humans but not Cardassians. He justifies this as they were a Maquis stronghold and they had already done the same thing with similar weapons lethal to Cardassians but not humans. Note that neither weapon took effect immediately, so the colonists were able to evacuate and basically swap planets.
    • Odo's involvement with the Female Changeling during the occupation of Deep Space Nine, despite the Dominion's brutal legacy and the Female Changeling's prior antics. Fortunately, he snaps out of it and comes to the aid of his friends.
  • When It All Began: The Bajoran occupation that launched the plot.
  • When She Smiles: Sarina of The Jack Pack. Originally cataleptic thanks to her senses forever failing to catch up with her brain, her first action after a procedure correcting it is to smile. Bashir is smitten on the spot.
  • Where da White Women At?: Completely averted by Sisko. All of his love interests throughout the series, including his dead wife from the Back Story and the few times he ends up in a relationship with an alien girl, are dark-skinned. And the beautiful Jadzia Dax, who flirts with everyone, never ends up in any sort of romantic relationship with Sisko; due to his friendship with Dax's former host, they consider each other to be Like Brother and Sister.
  • White Void Room: Often when communicating with the Prophets.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Subverted by the Female Changeling. When she learns that Damar, Kira, and Garak have been captured, she refuses to grab the Villain Ball and simply orders them executed on the spot.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Odo and Kira. They Do after nearly a decade of tension.
  • Worf Barrage: Way of the Warrior is notable for giving the trope's namesake two separate aversions. Defiant is having trouble with a couple of Klingon birds-of-prey. When Worf points out that their tactics are not effective, Sisko gives Worf permission to target at his discretion—Worf blows one of the ships away within seconds. Later, on the station, Worf unleashes the most impressive barrage of weapons fire seen in Star Trek to that devastates the attacking fleet.
  • The Worf Effect: In order to show how dangerous the Jem'Hadar are, in their debut episode they blow up the USS Odyssey, a Galaxy-class starship like the Enterprise-D from the recently concluded Star Trek: The Next Generation. Using such a familiar ship helped make this moment genuinely shocking.
    • Also used to great effect in the very next episode when a similar Jem'Hadar ship is blown to tiny bits by a single salvo from the USS Ben Sisko's Pimp Hand.
    • Averted with the man himself. Compared to his tenure on the Enterprise-D, Worf developed a consistent ability to win fights, particularly when he was forced to fight the Jem'Hadar in to-the-death combat every day. In the end, the eldest Jem'Hadar had kicked his ass, but Worf still refused to give up, forcing the Jem'Hadar to yield instead of simply killing him.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Inverted for "In the Pale Moonlight".
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: After the writers realized gold could be replicated, they realized its value would be nothing to a Ferengi. Thus latinum was created, and any mention of gold was retconned into being pressed with latinum.
    • The gold casings themselves are little more than money clips, as poor Quark learned when he discovered his "inheritance" from Morn.
      Quark: Someone's extracted all the latinum! There's nothing here but worthless gold!
      Odo: And it's all yours! (chuckles)
      Quark: NoooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Dukat views Sisko in this way, though the feeling isn't mutual.
    • Quark and Odo. Quark is generally open about it (explicitly using the trope title when they say their final farewell), telling Odo that over the years he's forced him to step up his game and become a better criminal; Odo probably shares the sentiment, but refuses to admit it even in the finale.
    • There's a straighter play with Sisko in the three-parter about a Bajoran coup. General Krim compliments Sisko on a speech he gave despite having disagreed with everything in it, and later on seems pleased that Sisko didn't abandon the station, but hid there with his crew to take it back from the Circle. Even though he opposes Sisko at every turn, he clearly likes and respects the man.
    • When the Klingons attack DS9, there is a scene during the battle where Martok and Gowron are speaking in Klingon. Though a translation is not provided on-screen, it has been translated:
    Martok: They fight like Klingons!
    Gowron: Then they can die like Klingons. Destroy their shields. Prepare boarding parties!
    Martok: As you recommend. All ships, concentrate fire on their shield generators!
    • The Dominion feels this way towards the Starfleet Engineers, rumored among the Dominion that they can turn "rocks into replicators."
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Many times with Jadzia Dax, which is something of a subversion of the trope seeing as how her current form is female but Dax has been a male several times before.
    • In "Dax", when Bashir is trying to help fight off Jadzia's hooded kidnappers, the hood of the person Bashir had been fighting slips down, to reveal that he's been fighting a woman. Bashir hesitates just long enough for her to beat the crap out of him and knock him unconscious.
      • Later in that episode, Jadzia deliberately stonewalls Benjamin when he tries to get some answers out of her regarding the charges of murder and treason. Furious, Benjamin slams his fist into his hand and exclaims, "Dammit, if you were still a man!"
    • In "The Way of the Warrior", Jadzia challenges Worf to a sparring session with Klingon bat'leths, which would be their first of many. During the fight, she goads him:
    Jadzia Dax: I hope you're not holding back because I'm a woman. If it makes things any easier, think of me as a man. Been one several times!
    • On the other hand, Gul Dukat certainly would hit a girl, as he shows by decking Sakonna in "The Maquis, Part I" when she's part of a group trying to kidnap him.
    • Subverted for dramatic effect when Miles is suffering in the aftermath of his imprisonment with the Argrathi. He loses his temper at Molly when she is being too loud for his taste, screaming at her and raising his hand to strike her. He is only barely stopped from swinging, and is horrified at himself afterwards. (In this case, though, the fact that Molly is a little kid is probably at least as significant as the fact that she's a girl.)

  • Xanatos Gambit: A behind-the-scenes example. The producers and writers decided to have the Dominion be represented by three species: the Founders, the Vorta, and the Jem'Hadar. Worried about the audience not accepting them, it was decided to introduce all three at once within the same three-parter, thus guaranteeing that viewers would accept at least one of them. Fortunately, the audience responded positively to all three species and all three would be shown extensively for the rest of the series.
    • Although the Vorta were tweaked a bit — their silly energy weapon that was emitted from their heart was gotten rid of after its first appearance, wisely.

  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Not actually invoked, but heavily implied at the end of "Penumbra."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Odo. Subverted in the finale for his homeworld, but played straight in that he can't go back to the station or Bajor—he has to stay in the Great Link with the rest of the Changelings.
    • Most of the regulars are blacklisted by their own planets following the Season Three retool. Odo turns down the Founder's invitation to join their crusade, Ziyal can't go home due to her mixed bloodline, Worf is branded a traitor for refusing to aid Q'onoS in their time of need, Garak blows his chance to rejoin his intelligence outfit, and Quark having his Ferengi business license revoked brings the total to five. The station has become the last chance saloon for all the defectors of the galaxy.
  • You Don't Want to Catch This: The Blight, an engineered plague the Dominion inflicted on the Teplans. Every Teplan is born with the lesions and at some point during one's life they will "quicken" into the terminal stage. The best option then is euthanasia. Try and cure it with modern medical technology and it will make death even more agonizing—the virus mutates in response to the electromagnetic fields from off-world medical equipment.
  • You Don't Want to Know: Played straight in Sacrifice of Angels, when Bashir and O'Brien take turns reciting a verse from Tennyson's "Charge of The Light Brigade".
    Garak: Uh, Chief, how does that poem end?
    O'Brien: You don't want to know.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: A female Vorta's parting shot at Sisko, before the Dominion makes itself known, is that "You have no idea what's begun here." Considering the scope of the future war between the Federation and the Dominion, she's actually right.
  • You Just Told Me: Bashir is up for a major medical award. He insists that there is no chance of victory for him, and so he does not wish to discuss it.
    Odo: In that case, why are you working on your acceptance speech?
    Bashir: (hides pad) How did you know?
    Odo: (smugly) Just a guess.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: A strange case where, after being a party to smuggling, black market dealings, forgery, and murder, at the end of the log where he's recording this, Sisko keeps saying "I can live with it", as though he's telling himself this.
  • You Never Did That for Me: Played for Laughs:
    Q: "You hit me! Picard never hit me!"
    Sisko: "I'm not Picard."
  • You Make Me Sick: In "Body Parts", Brunt accuses Quark of being too close to fair to his employees, and says "you dis...GUST me" in response to Quark's excuses.
  • You're Insane!: Said to the fake Gul Darhe'el by Kira.
  • You're Not My Father: In "Cardassians", a Cardassian war orphan who was adopted by Bajorans and raised to hate Cardassians says this to his biological Cardassian father when speaking to him for the first time.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Garak's bloody nose while in Odo's "dream" manifests itself in the real world as he lies unconscious in the infirmary.
  • Your Mom: In "The Way of the Warrior" Klingons attempt to insult Odo in Klingon, and Garak responds with "Actually, I'm not sure Constable Odo has a mother."
    • Also, from "The Siege":
    Bashir: Quark, leave it!
    Quark: I can't leave it, it's all that I have. My personal mementos, my family album...
    Bashir: It's full of gold-pressed latinum, and you know it.
    Quark: ...Who told you?
    Bashir: Your mother did, the day you were born.
    Quark: NEVER-MAKE-FUN-OF-A-FERENGI'S-MOTHER. Rule of Acquisition Number 31!
    • Of course, there's a second part to that rule: "Insult something he cares about instead."
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo:
    • Trill marriages are "until death do us part" — but this is in a society where some members carry memories from the lives of multiple people. And it's not just that the previous host's marriage isn't binding (which would make sense); Joined Trill are expressly prohibited from resuming a past host's relationship note . Jadzia falls prey to this in one episode, falling head over heels in love with another Joined Trill whose past host was married to her past host. Nobody even notices that they are of the same gender, the ethical/cultural problem is all about them having been husband and wife in a previous life.
    • In "Family Business" Rom walks into his mother's room to find her wearing clothes, and averts his eyes until she relents and undresses.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: There was a lot of terrorism going on:
    • The Bajoran freedom fighters in the backstory of Deep Space Nine used whatever means necessary to free their home planet from Cardassian rule, though it seems that suicide bombings were not standard procedure. The Cardassians (with some justification) prefer to call the Bajoran freedom fighters terrorists. Gul Dukat even called Major Kira a terrorist to her face... and she didn't deny it. Indeed, she's kinda proud of it. There's a point where Kira finds the Cardassian file on herself, and she's actually upset that they only looked at her personally as a minor nuisance. In "The Darkness And The Light", Kira outright screams her defense of terrorism (at least when it comes to Occupiers Out of Our Country) to a Cardassian who's taking revenge on members of her former resistance/terrorist cell, who maimed him in a bombing:
      "None of you belonged on Bajor. It wasn't your world. For fifty years you raped our planet, and you killed our people. You lived on our land and you took the food out of our mouths, and I don't care whether you held a phaser in your hand or you ironed shirts for a living. You were all guilty and you were all legitimate targets!" (This last was because he made a point of noting he'd only been a civilian worker, rather than a soldier, during the occupation of Bajor).
    • The same can be said of the Maquis and their tactics against the Cardassians.
    • The Cardassians themselves used terror tactics against the Dominion when the latter occupied the Cardassian homeworld. Kira even went to the Cardassians to teach them how to properly set up a terrorist cell. They actually called them that: terrorist cells. Yes, DS9 is a pre-9/11 show; why do you ask?
  • You See, I'm Dying: Tekeny Ghemor in "Ties of Blood and Water", Jake in "The Visitor".
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Concerning the deaths of both Eddington and Kor. Also happens in "The Homecoming", where a few of the Bajoran prisoners stay behind and hold off the Cardassians so that Li Nalas can escape from prison.
  • You Talk Too Much: In "Vortex," which becomes Harsher in Hindsight later in that episode when it starts becoming clear that Croden isn't as much of a liar as Odo thinks and he is likely a political refugee for what amounts to doing just that.
    Odo: I think I finally figured out what crime you were found guilty of on your world.
    Croden: What's that?
    Odo: You talk too much.
    • In "Indiscretion", Kira says this to Dukat:
      Kira: Commander Sisko was right; you are in love with the sound of your own voice.
    • Dukat gets this once again in "Sacrifice of Angels" from Weyoun while he pours a glass of canar for a very premature celebratory toast.
      Dukat: War is such thirsty work.
      Weyoun: Perhaps if you didn't talk so much, you throat wouldn't become so dry.
  • You Will Be Beethoven: "Past Tense" is built around this trope.
  • You Would Do the Same for Me

  • Zeerust: Notable as it's easily the least affected out of any of the Trek shows so far; part of this is due to largely being set on an alien space station with somewhat odd architecture, making it easier to gloss over any breaches of plausibility. The Defiant's military bridge has also withstood the test of time very well so far.
    • As of the 2010s, there is another technology catch-up—compare Google Glass to the Vorta headset.
  • Zerg Rush: The Jem'Hadar attack with massive numbers of ships, due to the "disposable" nature of the species.
  • Zero-G Spot: In "Melora," the titular character is an alien from a planet with very low gravity. She and Dr. Bashir get it on in her quarters while the gravity is turned off.
  • Zip Me Up: Odo zips up Kira's dress in "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang."


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