Even within the Star Trek franchise, Deep Space Nine was something of an anomaly. The series was set in the distant world of Bajor, where the appearance of a rare kind of wormhole transforms the backwater planet into a highly prized piece of real estate. Starfleet sends a shipment of officers to keep an eye on the wormhole near Bajor, and the crew takes up residence in an outpost station called Terok Nor, reintroduced Deep Space 9.
The fixed nature of the station meant that the series took place mostly around the same planet, with a fixed cast of characters. And there was a lot of characters. Instead of following Star Trek's earlier 'explore a new planet and its species and then move on to another next week', Deep Space 9 took a closer look at the workings of the federation with respect to the people of Bajor.
This allowed DS9 to delve deeper into what it meant to be an officer of the federation working with an alien culture. The interactions between crew members were much more emotionally complex, and longer story arcs were allowed to develop as the series went on. Even today, fans of DS9, who call themselves Niners, take pride in the fact that the show is such a departure from every other show in the franchise.
But as popular as the show was with fans, there were certain parts of its mythology that never received a satisfactory explanation. Here are 25 questions we still have about DS9:
25 Why Was The Station So Small?
Once the presence of the wormhole is discovered, the planet of the Bajorans suddenly becomes a much more important priority for the Federation. And yet, you wouldn't think so based on the small taskforce they send to monitor the wormhole's traffic. The crew of Deep Space Nine resides in an abandoned outpost that is significantly smaller than the Federation's other ships.
Also, there wasn't even a Starfleet facility on the planet itself to provide aid to Deep Space 9 in times of need. The Federation didn't seem as bothered with providing assistance to the Bajoran world as you would expect given its importance in the quadrant.
24 Odo Can't Stop Linking
Odo was a changeling member of the DS9 crew. His people have a process known as linking, where two or more changelings can meld together in a very intimate act. Odo links with a female changeling in a couple of episodes ('Behind the lines' and 'Favor the bold') and starts acting like an addict.
He even neglects his duties to link with the female for days.
If linking had such an addictive effect on Odo those times, why does he not react the same way other times? Odo links with the female in another episode, and briefly enters The Great Link, but without acting like an addict this time. What changed?
23 Terrible Business Skills
This is a small point that nevertheless wiggles at the back of your mind. Joseph Sisko runs a restaurant that is frequently visited by members of the Deep Space 9 crew. Sisko is a cantankerous old man who is often shown to have some pretty misplaced priorities.
For instance, one time he warned his customers that if anyone ordered anything other than the bread pudding souffle, they'll be making a mistake that they will regret for the rest of their lives. Pretty strong words, and against his own restaurant menu! Daddy Sisko seems to be a pretty terrible business owner if he's willing to knock his own products.
22 No Federation Design Upgrades?
The DS9 starbase was a Cardassian outpost that had been taken over by the Federation. That is why the design of the base is so different from other Star Trek ships. But it was still pretty surprising not to see some of the more convenient Federation designs applied to the DS9 starbase.
For instance, when Officer Melora Pazlar arrives on the station, the crew has to install ramps everywhere so Pazlar can move freely in her wheelchair. But why did not use one of the suspended wheelchairs that we have already seen in other Star Trek shows?
21 No Opposition To Garak?
In the past, Garak had been one of Cardassia's most effective and dangerous intelligence operatives. Most of Garak's work was done in secrecy, which made his switch to the work of a professional tailor easier after the fall of the Cardassians.
But things change in Season 7.
Garak is brought back to his old ways after he becomes involved in the resistance. He then goes on to become the leader of the Cardassians. But we have to wonder how the journey was so smooth for Garak? He was a former spy with many enemies within the Cardassian Empire. None of them even tried to do anything to stop his rise?
20 Sisko's 'Chosen One' Moment
A lot of noise was made about the fact that a prophecy had been made involving Sisko. The events of the prophecy even required Sisko's mother to be violated to ensure he would be present at the time and place that destiny had chosen for him to carry out an all-important task as 'The Chosen One.'
And that task was... to tackle Dukar off a cliff. Seriously. That was Sisko's big moment that so many episodes had been leading towards. A big strong guy with a big rock would have done just as well.
19 Maybe Don't Take Children Into Battle?
The DS9 starship allowed families to be onboard for exploratory missions. Even though those ships are routinely subjected to ridiculous amounts of danger. For instance, the Federation fleet that met the Borg at Wolf 359 didn't even bother to offload their civilians before charging off into battle.
They had to take the time to scramble the fleet.
It's not like they didn't have enough time to evacuate civilians and their children. Jennifer's demise would not even have occurred if the Federation had remembered to clear their ship of civilians before taking on one of the most fearsome villains in Star Trek.
18 O'Brien Forgets All About Jail
In the episode 'Hard Time,' Miles O'Brien is accused of espionage, and as punishment, he has irremovable memories of 20 years of jail time implanted into his brain. Throughout the episode, we see O'Brien struggling to re-integrate back into his old life because of the trauma from the implanted memories.
And then... he forgets all about it in the next episode. All the emotional upheavals the implanted memories caused to O'Brien were never brought up again, and we never see them have any further negative effects on his life, his behavior or his mind.
17 The Teleporter That Isn't Used Enough
Yep, we're going to one of the biggest questions that have dogged the franchise since it's birth. If species within the universe of DS9 are shown to teleport objects across vast distances, why are spaceships still being used at all? The episode 'The Covenant' reveals technology that can be used to transport people several light years away.
Why is such a revolutionary piece of tech not mentioned more often? Previous teleporters in Star Trek claimed to have distance constraints where they couldn't teleport you more than a few tens of thousands of feet. But clearly, that's not an issue anymore.
16 A Question Of Personhood
The episode 'Bada Bing, Bada Bang' has an opening scene where Worf is arguing with other crew members about whether or not Vic Fontaine can truly be considered a real person. Fontaine is a hologram of a singer-entertainer that is controlled by a program as part of a simulation of 1962 Las Vegas.
Worf insists that Vic cannot be considered a person since he is an artificial intelligence.
But that goes against what we know about Worf from before. He had already met Moriarity, a sapient hologram. And he'd been friends with Data, an artificial life-form, for several years and considered him a good friend and an actual person.
15 Quark's Should Have Been Off-Limits
When crew members needed to blow off steam, they headed over to Quark's. It was a restaurant that also included activities such as heavy drinking, gambling, and Holosuites that were a popular choice for living out your wildest fantasies. Not to mention the various illegal ventures that the host of the restaurant frequently indulged in.
Such a creepy place should have some rules about who can and cannot visit. Especially for children. Jake Sisko is a minor, and should definitely not be allowed near Quark's. But no one seems to have a problem with him frequenting the place.
14 The Dominion Leaves No Witnesses... Or Do They?
When Worf and Garak are captured by Dominion forces while tracking a message to the Gamma Quadrant, they're sent to an internment camp. There they meet Tain, General Martok, and Dr. Bashir, all three of whom have been replaced with changeling operatives.
This resulted in one of the best two-part episodes of DS9.
But still, there's no way Dominion forces would have left the original Tain, Martok, and Bashir alive. The Dominion was known for its brutal ways. Leaving the original crew members alive would actually constitute a security threat to their plans.
13 Missing Sisko
The series finale has Sisko become a prophet just like his mother. Kasidy has a vision of Sisko where the latter tells him that as a prophet, he now exists outside of linear time and that they might meet each other yesterday! So this implies that Sisko will eventually emerge from the wormhole but in the past.
But then this intriguing hint is never followed up on. We never get a satisfactory answer on what exactly happened to Sisko, or what his future in the franchise would be. Sisko's unresolved ending is one of the least satisfying parts of DS9.
12 Missing Friends
Worf gets hitched during the events of DS9. It's one of the happier episodes of the series. You get some jokes, some tender moments, and a whole lot of bonhomie as Worf prepares to celebrate his special days with his best friends and his betrothed. Just one question.
Where were Worf's friends from the Enterprise?
After all, some of Worf's closest friends were from the earlier ship that he had served time on. Yet, we never get to See Picard or any of the others drop by to wish Worf on his big day. Not even Worf's honorary brother Jeremy Aster shows up to celebrate.
11 The Bio-Homing Beacon That Sometimes Works
As a changeling, Odo is able to locate Omarion Nebula instinctively in the episode 'The Search'. Another changeling Laas is able to locate Odo by instinct as well. It is even mentioned that all changelings experienced an instinctive pull to each other at the biological level.
And yet, in the episode 'Heart of Stone', a changeling disguises itself as Kira and is able to fool Odo for several hours. There have also been other times when Odo has been close to Changeling infiltrators without being able to sense their presence. Maybe his bio-homing beacon needs repairing.
10 Odo Gets The Job After Failing
In the episode 'Necessary Evil', Dukat brings Odo onboard the station to solve a specific crime, because Dukat believes he and his men were not up to the task of solving a Bajoran crime. Odo takes a shot at solving the crime... and fails. The crime goes unsolved. Never mind, Dukat decides to keep Odo on as Station Security Chief.
Odo does not acquit himself well at all in the only display of his skills in front of Dukat. So why was he presented such an important position? It's not like Dukat is known to be forgiving or lenient.
9 Ferengi Morals Don't Make Sense
In one of the most memorable scenes in the show, Quark goes off on Sisko, telling him that Humans used to practice terrible things, internment campss, interstellar war, and other kinds of barbarism. Quark concludes by saying that his people, the Ferengi, are better than humans because they never did such terrible things.
...except they totally did. The Ferengi have a terrible record when it comes to gender. They are also shown to practice the slavery of other species. Finally, the Ferengi seem to have no trouble abetting genocide as long as there's a profit. So maybe get off the moral high horse?
8 The Fight That Broke Reality
In one episode, Worf and Garak got into a physical altercation. Both were experienced fighters, so you knew the battle was going to be intense. At one point, Worf throws Garak against a hatch at the back of the ship. The force of the throw dislodges the hatch to reveal... an ordinary wooden table.
What was the table doing there instead of a Jeffries tube?
Well, Worf had accidentally broken the set, and the crafts table that was kept at the back of the set was never supposed to show up on camera. So much for suspension of reality.
7 Who Does What?
The Federation is known for running a very tight ship. Every officer has a set of duties that he or she performs to the hilt, and each character is an expert in a particular field... except on DS9, where the officers apparently play rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets to perform which task for the day.
The worst culprit is Sisko. We never get a clear idea of what exactly his responsibilities are. As far as we can tell, he's been station commander, starship captain, engineer, emissary, helper to Admiral Ross and also apparently leading the entire wat at times.
6 Treating Odo Like A Human
Odo was an important member of the crew. He was also not a human being, but rather a changeling, also known as a shapeshifter. This was a significant plot point, and it has been mentioned that, unlike humans, changelings possess no internal organs.
That is why the parts of the series that show Odo being afraid of getting stabbed or getting knocked unconscious after getting hit with a rock make no sense. It's like the show needed a way to up the stakes by implying that Odo might be in mortal danger, and ignored vital aspects of his physiology to make it happen.
5 The Federation Sucks At War
By the end of the series, the Federation is locked in a desperate battle with the Dominion. The war results in massive casualties on both sides, and the Federation is in a scramble to find any way to win the war. Too bad they forgot that all they had to do was close the wormhole by shooting chronoton or graviton particles into it, and the war would end.
Also, the Federation just sucks at war in general.
They send soldiers without armor into battle. And their ships are woefully under-equipped for any kind of space warfare.
4 Why Eat Out At All?
One of the most futuristic pieces of everyday tech in DS9 is food replicators. As you may have guessed from the name, they're devices that replicate food. Everyone in DS9 seems to have a food replicator. All the crew and civilian quarters have them. Quark's has one. We can assume other restaurants and bars have them as well.
Since they're all using the same tech to make food, why do restaurants like Quark's exist at all? Why would you go to a whole other location to eat the same food you can get at home?
3 Maximum Is Now Minimum?
Star Trek is all about shouting cool technobabble in times of war to tell the viewer they're watching a future space battle. Sisko repeatedly shouts 'Maximum Magnification!' during critical moments of the Dominion War. Whenever he utters the line, the screen on the ship zooms out enough to reveal the entire fleet attacking them.
But that's the opposite of magnification.
A realistic application of the command would be to zoom in on the screen on only two or three ships at a time. Decreasing magnification is what lets you see the entire enemy fleet at once.
2 No Security Footage
A lot of Odo's investigation episodes centered on him combing through the DS9 base intent on solving one crime or the other. He has to go through the arduous task of visiting the scene of the crime, interrogating witnesses and suspects, and trying to piece together how exactly the crime was committed. Too bad he never had security camera footage to help him out.
Odo even mentions in one episode that there are security cameras onboard the base. But we never see them being used. Many of Odo's cases could have been solved instantly using security footage.
1 Why Call It Deep Space?
All the other space stations with the Deep Space tag are located in the farthest reaches of space, far away from any planets. But DS9 takes place basically on the Bajor's front porch. So why name it Deep Space? Sure, the planet was basically unclaimed land for the Federation that they were trying to integrate within themselves.
This is an important point because the Federation has always been big on diplomacy. But it's not very diplomatic to name their outpost Deep Space, which implies they see the Bajor homeworld as a distant and untamed wilderness.