Towards the end of the episode 6x06 "Sacrifice of Angels",

Sisko and the Defiant crew are attacking and eventually take back Deep Space Nine from the Dominion. Weyoun announces that the Dominion would leave the station.

Given that the station has proven very valuable close to the wormhole

among other things allowing the effective closing of the wormhole with mines

why would the Dominion not activate the self-destruct sequence of the station?

My thoughts

The out-of-universe explanation seems clear: The showrunners wanted to continue using the established setting and equipment. But in-universe? If there was enough time to evacuate, there was enough time to activate the self-destruct sequence. I am not 100% sure that Jem'Hadar were on the station at the time, but it seems reasonable to suspect, and some of them would give their lives defending the self-destruct facilities or destroying the station manually, thus preventing the Federation from disarming the self-destruct.

(which the gang had done before successfully in 3x07 "Civil Defense")

  • 2
    The Dominion thought that they would win in the end and wanted it as a base in the long run. How often in war do you actually blow up a base on your way out?
    – Styxsksu
    Aug 6, 2020 at 13:59
  • Dukat would never let them destroy his station.
    – Cadence
    Aug 7, 2020 at 1:03

3 Answers 3


While it would make a lot of sense to destroy the station from a purely military perspective and they almost certainly would have if DS9 were a purely Federation station, hell they even tried to blow up the whole Bajoran system that one time.

But the station was instead located in the formally neutral Bajoran system with many Bajoran citizens onboard and it's destruction would have been a clear sign to other neutral parties like the Romulans at the time that the Dominion would happily walk all over such agreements when it suited their purpose.

  • As with my objection to the answer below; This all seems vaguely plausible, but you haven't offered much by way of evidence to back it up.
    – Valorum
    Aug 7, 2020 at 17:22

A logical reason would be peace. The Dominion lost access to any form of reinforcements after closing the wormhole. Also, it's not uncommon for a cut-off army to make peace deals (which the Dominion did, even though it was only so they could regroup for a counter attack on Coridan, Benzar and Betazed), and when making a peace deal it is better to have some good standing with the enemy. The destruction of DS9 would be a big middle finger towards the Federation which is not something you want to do if you are about to enter negotiations.

A other reason would be the strategic importance. After DS9 the closest base of operations for the wormhole would be Bajor, and a planet is harder to control than a single starbase. The destruction of DS9 would force the Dominion to occupy a world that is known to resist occupation, while for the Federation it would not be necessary to send an occupation force to use Bajor as a base, due to their positive relationship. That is, in the long run DS9 would be more valuable for the Dominion then the Federation.

And last, the Dominion clearly lost the battle, with the Defiant standing ready to attack and a fleet of starships on route. By announcing their retreat they effectively surrendered, which caused the Federation to respect their retreat. If on the other hand the Dominion destroyed DS9 which still housed non-Dominion people it might have forced the Federation to be more aggressive on their retreating enemies.

This being said, if DS9 were Romulan-/Klingon-controlled they would probably have used the self-destruct since neither of those have the close relations advantage with Bajor and would probably haven't shown the same mercy the Federation did.

  • This all seems vaguely plausible, but you haven't offered much by way of evidence to back it up
    – Valorum
    Aug 6, 2020 at 15:30
  • 1
    @Valorum as i said this what would be logical reasons. There has never been a clear statement why they did it because Star Trek (back then at least) was more subtle then that and left viewers to make logical conclusions instead of screaming the answer.
    – A.bakker
    Aug 6, 2020 at 15:35
  • 1
    The problem with presenting 'logical reasons' is that there's really no end to how deep down the rabbit hole you can go. Why are these reasons note plausible than, for example a) not wanting to upset the Bajorans by blowing up their station or b) that they're still struggling with the station's systems and can't give that order easily, etc etc
    – Valorum
    Aug 6, 2020 at 15:40
  • 1
    @Valorum also valid points, but when there is no definite answer (Because the show makers never gave one) then the plausible reasons are the only thing we have.
    – A.bakker
    Aug 6, 2020 at 15:42
  • The absence of a canon answer doesn't mean that we need to post speculation, it means that we need to go ask someone...
    – Valorum
    Aug 6, 2020 at 15:48

Perhaps during their brief hold on the station the Dominion couldn't access the self-destruct program. It isn't, after all, something you'd want to do a "test run" on. After all, Starfleet once activated the Cardassian self-destruct program by accident escaping by the skin of their teeth.

  • As with my objection to the answer above, this seems vaguely plausible, but you haven't offered much by way of evidence to back it up.
    – Valorum
    Aug 29, 2020 at 19:51
  • Well, Gul Dukat was involved in the incident in question and might have thought that self-destruct systems are best left alone. Aug 30, 2020 at 1:50

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