Let's Pay Tribute To The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Characters Who Couldn't Return For Lower Decks

This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" and the series finale of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

The latest episode of "Star Trek: Lower Decks," called "Hear All, Trust Nothing," sees the U.S.S. Cerritos being called — at the last minute — to oversee a diplomatic mission with a species from the Gamma Quadrant. The negotiations involve a generous gift from the Federation — many, many kegs of liquor — and takes place on Deep Space Nine, a space station that, Trekkies know, had its very own seven-year-long TV series from 1993 to 1999. 

As briefly as possible: "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" was set aboard a station that was built by the fascistic, militant Cardassians while they aggressively occupied Bajor, the planet below. When the Cardassian regime fell, the Bajorans took control of the station along with a retinue of Starfleet officers assigned to oversee Bajor's reconstruction. Much of the show was devoted to Starfleet characters interacting with non-Federation citizens, having to deal with criminality, commerce, and military aggression not seen in other Trek shows. An added wrinkle: Deep Space Nine, as Starfleet learns in the show's pilot, is located next to a stable wormhole that leads into the Gamma Quadrant, thousands of lightyears away. DS9 will eventually go to war with an aggressive "anti-Federation" — called the Dominion — on the other side. 

The cast of "Deep Space Nine" was large, and, over its run, added more and more characters until the ensemble topped off in the high twenties. When the crew of the Cerritos docks, only two of the station's recognizable faces remain: the clever con man Quark (Armin Shimerman), and the station Colonel, Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor). Other characters have appeared but, well, because "Deep Space Nine" was overwhelmingly incidental, many of the main cast had moved away or died by the series finale. 

Whither the Niners?

The final episode of "Deep Space Nine" — "What You Leave Behind" (May 31, 1999) — was set in the year 2375. This season of "Lower Decks," is set in the year 2383. Although an entire TV series worth of events could have happened in that eight-year span, DS9 seems to be as mellow a place as when last audiences saw it. Colonal Kira is still in charge, and Quark is still running the station tavern. It's significant that Quark is still there, as his species, the Ferengi, had declared they would be kinder and gentler and less devoted to profit and business. Quark, being a deeply principled character, announced that he would remain on the station deliberately to defy the new Ferengi ethic. That he is still at the same bar eight years on only proves how devoted he was. 

Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) is absent for metaphysical reasons. Sisko was the first person to make contact with a species of noncorporeal god aliens that live inside the wormhole. The wormhole aliens were declared deities — called the Prophets — by the Bajoran people, and Sisko became a holy figure — the Emissary — in their faith. As the show progressed, Sisko's interactions with the Prophets altered his consciousness in ineffable ways, and he became concerned that he might actually be on some sort of holy quest. "What You Leave Behind" saw Sisko entering the wormhole ... and not exiting. In a practical sense, Sisko went to Heaven. 

The former DS9 commander, the wicked Gul Dukat (Mark Alaimo), encountered a similar fate. He fell in league with anti-Prophets called pah wraiths. He and Sisko have a supernatural fistfight, causing the wraiths to be overwhelmed. In a practical sense, Dukat went to Hell.

Odo, Worf, Bashir, Dax and O'Brien

DS9's security chief was a changeling named Odo (René Auberjonois). At the start of the series, Odo had no memory of where he came from. He later learns that he is part of a long-lived liquid species called the Founders ... who founded the Dominion. By the end of the show, the Founders are afflicted with a disease that is killing them, and Odo, having learned to be loving and compassionate after his time with people — and after having a loving relationship with Kira — returns to the Founders to heal them. As far as audiences know, Odo is still park of a lake of liquid beings called the Great Link. 

Worf (Michael Dorn) left Lt. Dax (Terry Ferrell) when she shunted into the body of Ezri (Nicole DeBoer), and Ezri ended up instigating a relationship with the brilliant Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig). Worf, with an extended and auspicious career in Starfleet, was offered an ambassadorship to the Klingon homeworld, which he accepted. Worf will reappear, greyer and presumably wiser, on the next season of "Star Trek: Picard." As far as we know, Dr. Bashir and Ezri Dax could still be aboard the station, although they do not appear in this week's episode of "Lower Decks." 

The station's chief engineer, Chief O'Brien (Colm Meany) was established in a previous episode of "Lower Decks" as the most important person in Starfleet history (in a cheek flash-forward to the distant future, O'Brien is called as much by a placid schoolteacher). On his way to such an auspicious position, O'Brien was asked to return to Starfleet Academy where he will become a teacher, an occupation also held by his wife Keiko (Rosalind Chao).  

Other characters

As mentioned, "Deep Space Nine" featured several dozen main characters, all of whom scattered at the end of the series. 

Quark's brother, Rom (Max Grodénchik) was considered something of a hapless dolt, but was in fact a brilliant engineer, was very business savvy, and was charming enough to dazzle his beautiful co-worker Leeta (Chase Masterson). At the end of "Deep Space Nine," Rom became the Grand Nagus of the Ferengi homeworld. It's sort of like the planet's combined ruler and pope. 

Rom's son Nog (Aron Eisenberg) had become the first Ferengi in Starfleet, and had just been promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Presumably, his career in Starfleet continued apace. In an episode of "Star Trek: Discovery," set in the distant future, a Starfleet vessel would be named the U.S.S. Nog, so Nog's career, it seems, became quite noteworthy. 

Kasidy Yates-Sisko (Penny Johnson Jerald) was left behind by the ascended Benjamin, pregnant with his child. Sisko's new child is not mentioned on "Lower Decks," nor is his adult son Jake (Cirroc Lofton), who was last seen living on the station, trying to make his way as a writer. 

Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher), the opportunistic holy leader of the Bajoran people, had an affair with Gul Dukat, and ended up unleashing demons from Hell, largely due to jealousy of Sisko's holy status. Kai Winn was an amazing villain, as she chose wickedness for logical, power-hungry reasons. She would end up saving the day by helping to halt the pah wraiths in the fistfight between Dukat and Sisko. Where she ended up, who can say? 

R.I.P. Louise Fletcher, Aron Eisenberg, and René Auberjonois.