Star Trek’s away missions are often recipes for disaster, the common trope from The Original Series being that the officers wearing red shirts are often doomed to die if they beam down to an alien planet. But over the years, some away missions from the Paramount franchise have been particularly violent. Here is our list of some of the bloodiest away missions in Star Trek history.
5. Regula I (Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan)
As Kirk, McCoy, and Saavik go on an away mission aboard the unresponsive orbital research station Regula I, they come face to face with the brutality of Khan Noonien Singh, who has gotten there before them. Not only has most everyone on the station been killed, with the notable exception of Captain Terrell and Chekov, but they have been hidden around the station, stuffed into various compartments and strung up to be found later.
The multiple murders are discovered when McCoy turns around and is almost hit in the face by the hand of a corpse, which has dropped down from the ceiling and is dripping with crimson rivulets. The jump scare leads to the grim, methodical accounting of the other dead bodies throughout the station.
4. Kronos One (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
There is blood all over this one, both before and during the away mission where Kirk and McCoy beam onto the Klingon vessel Kronos One to try to render aid to a wounded Chancellor Gorkon. Sure, it’s pinkish purple Klingon blood, but there is a lot of it. Before Kirk and McCoy arrive, the mysterious attackers shoot multiple Klingons, leaving blobs of blood floating throughout the ship, whose gravity has been disabled.
One Klingon even loses an arm from a phaser blast, spraying globules of blood all around the corridor. Later, Gorkon is bleeding heavily from his chest as McCoy pounds on him, trying to get his heart to restart. At the time, it was the bloodiest scene in franchise history.
3. “The Siege Of AR-558” (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
This was the first Star Trek episode to depict an away mission set in a brutal ground war to quite this extent. The story deals not just with violence, injuries, and death, but also the trauma of war. In fact, this episode began a narrative arc for Nog that would be one of Star Trek’s most compelling explorations of emotional and psychological scarring following a battle.
Most pointedly, this episode depicts Nog losing a leg. It was our first time seeing a regular Star Trek character actually dismembered, but it’s the fear and emotional context given to war in this episode that causes it to be so impactful, even though there is also great loss of life on the ground.
2. “All Those Who Wander” (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds)
An already bloodied scene awaits the away mission team on Valeo Beta V as they slowly discover the aftermath of the Gorn on the grounded USS Peregrine. Once again, the environment itself tells the story of brutal murders and dismemberment. As the team makes their way through, the horrific scenes continue to unfold and the tension and fear ratchet up.
The away team suffers losses to the Gorn, ultimately including Chief Engineer Hemmer, who has been infected with Gorn eggs and chooses to cast himself off a cliff rather than endanger anyone else by allowing the eggs to hatch. It’s a tragic moment and a noble sacrifice at the end of one of the scariest and most violent missions Star Trek has seen.
1. “Context Is For Kings” (Star Trek: Discovery)
This is an away mission that pushed boundaries for on-screen gore in Star Trek, placing our characters in one of the darker, more frightening horror scenarios that had been seen to that point in the franchise.
Beaming aboard a stranded Starfleet vessel with an away team, Stamets, Burnham, and Tilly find bodies of Starfleet officers mangled and twisted beyond recognition, puddles of shredded flesh on the floor, and blood on the walls. They also find several dead and mutilated Klingons and multiple severed body parts. It’s the work of the tardigrade creature they will initially call Ripper, putting this third episode of the series as an early indication that it will not shy away from violence.
In fact, we’ll add an honorable mention here for several of this series’ Klingon and Mirror Universe episodes.