In DS9: The Ship Worf is really mean to O'Brien while Muniz is dying. He practically taunts the Chief about Muniz's impending death. Worf may be a "Klingon Warrior" but he's never acted like this. Not when Tasha died or when any other crew member of the week passed away. Worf grew up with humans; he was raised by humans. Why would he choose to be mean to a friend that he's known since his first assignment on the Enterprise while that friend is grieving? Especially since Worf didn't act like this when isn't a normal behavior for him. I've read pretty much everything on Memory Alpha for this episode and there's no explanation that I can see.

Worf tries to make up for it at the end when he sits with O'Brien in front of Muniz's casket. But that doesn't explain his behavior during the rest of the episode.

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    Having read the Wikipedia summary, it sounds like the difference is that Muniz isn't dead yet when Worf is "mean". After Muniz death Worf sits with the casket, but when Muniz is dying he feels he needs to face death and accept it rather than show weakness. If I get a chance to watch the episode and this still holds true, I'll write it up as an answer.
    – Jontia
    Sep 5, 2019 at 12:20
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    Worf was an a***hole throughout DS9. In-universe there was never a good reason. Sep 26, 2019 at 11:08
  • “isn't a normal behavior for him” — remember when disciplined, rule-loving Worf tried to help the people on Risa overthrow their government? He contains multitudes. Also rest in power, Muniz. Oct 15, 2021 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


The situation was brought about by stress, fatigue, and a difference in culture. The conversation you're referring to occurred after days of the crew being trapped aboard the Dominion vessel. They were tired, hungry, and frustrated by the stresses - both psychological and physical - of the seige.

Everyone involved knew that Muniz would not survive without prompt medical attention. Chief O'Brien was attempting to comfort Muniz and convince him to hold on. Worf responded by saying that Muniz should prepare himself for death. That set O'Brien off and the two began arguing.

Because of the situation, however, the argument or any perceived "meanness" from either character was largely based on frustration and pent-up aggression... perhaps far more so than the underlying cultural differences regarding death of a comrade.

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    I can imagine Spock being equally practical and tone deaf in the same situation. Oct 15, 2021 at 17:01

It's not a matter of Worf being mean, rather it is a difference of attitude about dying in battle. To a Klingon dying in battle is often worthy of glory and is always honorable. Death isn't to be feared if you die well. Consider Kurn's exultation before battle in the TNG episode "Redemption (part 2)",

It is a time to celebrate, for tomorrow we all may die!

O'Brien has his point of view, Worf has his. It's not being mean for Worf to stick up for his own cultural eschatology.

  • If it's just a cultural thing, then why didn't Worf act like a complete jerk to Data or any other crew members when Tasha Yar died on the enterprise????
    – RexxiA
    Sep 5, 2019 at 6:45
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    That might be down to the difference in time. Over the intervening years, Worf has grown more comfortable both with humans and with his Klingon heritage, he's made a concerted effort to reconnect with his people's spiritual beliefs (through rituals and even, at one point, a pilgrimmage), and Starfleet has generally grown more knowledgeable about Klingon customs.
    – Cadence
    Sep 5, 2019 at 8:03
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    Also - @RexxiA - remember, Yarr was killed practically instantly. There was no time to thing she might be dying. She was dropped by Armis before anyone even realized it.
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 5, 2019 at 16:58

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