The entire episode "In The Pale Moonlight" of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was Garak's crowning moment of awesome, but particularly after faking a Dominion meeting and then blowing up a Romulan senator's ship so the Romulans would believe the Dominion did it and join the war on the Federation side:
Sisko: You killed [Vreenak]!
Garak: That's right...
Sisko: That's what you planned to do all along, wasn't it? You knew the data rod wouldn't hold up to scrutiny; you just wanted to get Vreenak on the station so that you could plant a bomb on his shuttle!
Garak: It's wasn't quite that simple. I did have hopes that the rod would somehow pass inspection, but I suspected that Tolar might not have been up to the task.
Sisko: And what about Tolar? Did you kill him, too?
Garak: ...Think of them both as tragic victims of war.
Sisko: [punches him]
Garak: If you could allow your anger to subside for a moment, you'll see that they did not die in vain! The Romulans will enter the war!
Sisko: There's no guarantee of that!
Garak: Oh, but I think that there is! You see, when the Tal Shiar finishes examining the wreckage of Vreenak's shuttle, they'll find the burnt remnants of a Cardassian optolithic data rod that somehow miraculously survived the explosion. After painstaking forensic examination, they'll discover that the rod contains a recording of a high level Dominion meeting at which the invasion of Romulus was being planned.
Sisko: And then they'll discover that it is a fraud!
Garak: Oh, but I don't think that they will! Because any imperfections in the forgery will appear to be a result of the explosion! So, with a seemingly legitimate rod in one hand, and a dead senator in the other, I ask you, Captain: what conclusion would you draw?
Sisko: [sighs, resigned to the flawless, hideous truth] That Vreenak obtained the rod on Zukara, and that the Dominion killed him to prevent him from returning to Romulus with it.
Garak: Precisely. And the more the Dominion protests its innocence, the more the Romulans will believe they're guilty, because it's exactly what the Romulans would have done in their place. That's why you came to me. Isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing. Well, it worked. And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant, and all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal..... and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain.
"I lied; I cheated; I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men; I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all is... I think I can live with it. And if I'd have to do it all over again... I would. Garak was right about one thing...a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant. So I will learn to live with it...because I can live with it. [pauses, finally convincing himself] I can live with it... [not really] Computer, delete that entire personal log."
It's also noticeable that not only is this consistently the highest rated episode of all Star Trek, it's also the most criticized as the most Anti-Star Trek Episode, betraying the original principles of the show.
The Star Trek anthology book, Tales from the Dominion War revealed that at some point in the far future, Sisko's lie was discovered, starting another war between the Federation and the Romulans.
Garak gets another Crowning Moment of Awesome in the finale, as he leads the final charge into the Dominion HQ with a resounding cry of "FOR CARDASSIA!". Utterly badass.
Related to this is Damar's Resistance for the sheer gall. The leader of a client state that becomes more and more a Puppet shaking off the shackles of their overlords in order to regain their freedom. And once the Founders retaliate, the random Mooks taking them to be executed rebel to defend them.
Damar's final moments deserve mention. He charges in, dual-wielding phaser rifles, shooting everything that moves. When the Jem'Hadar get their act together and start shooting back, he takes at least a dozen shots to the chest. Any one of those should have killed him outright. He manages to live for about a minute, and his last words to his men are to keep fighting. Well, he only got the first half of that order out, but it was obvious.
Worf had a fantastic line in one of the most violent episodes "To the Death." They are forced to team up with Jem'Hadar soldiers because rogue Jem'Hadar had captured a gateway temple that can transport them anywhere in the galaxy. When tensions mount between the leaders of the unlikely team up, and he Jem'Hadar First promises to kill Sisko after the mission is over, Worf reassures him:
"If, somehow, he does carry out his threat... he will not live to boast about it."
Worf's Determinator refusal to surrender to the Jem'Hadar in "By Inferno's Light", acknowledged as such by the very Jem'Hadar he was fighting. "I... yield. I cannot defeat this Klingon, all I can do is kill him. And that no longer holds my interest." Leaving the Vorta in charge all "Whaaaaa...?" It also helped offset The Worf Effect, given that he had gone through 6 increasingly brutal Jem'Hadar fights with minimal medical treatment and little rest.
One more for Worf snapping Weyoun's neck in response to an offhand insult to his dead wife.
...taking over the Mirror Defiant's controls and running rings around a Klingon dreadnought.
...making a solemn vow to Eddington to hunt him to the ends of the universe if necessary.
"You know what, Mr. Eddington? I don't give a damn what you think of the Federation, the Maquis, or anything else. All I know is that you betrayed your oath, your duty, and me, and if it takes me the rest of my life, I will see you standing before a court martial that'll break you, and send you to a penal colony where you will spend the rest of your days growing old, and wondering whether a ship full of replicators was really worth it..."
Eddington himself had his own crowning moment just prior to that:
Eddington: "Why is the Federation so obsessed about the Maquis? We've never harmed you. And yet we're constantly arrested and charged with terrorism... Starships chase us through the Badlands... and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we've left the Federation, and that's the one thing you can't accept. Nobody leaves paradise. Everyone should want to be in the Federation. Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You're only sending them replicators so that one day they can take their 'rightful place' on the Federation Council." [beat] "You know, in some ways you're worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious... you assimilate people and they don't even know it."
...dropping the jaws of every single viewer and every member of his crew (including Worf) by backing up his promise to hunt Eddington down by any means necessary.
Sisko: Commander, launch torpedoes.
[Worf hesitates on this order, for perhaps the first time in his life]
Sisko:Commander, I said launch torpedoes!
When Sisko entered the bridge and started speaking in his "Joran voice", you knew shit was about to go down.
...taking the Defiant into the middle of the Wormhole to face an entire Dominion fleet.
...while at the same time giving the Prophets a What the Hell, Hero? that convinces them to take an active role in the defense of Bajor:
"You want to be gods, then be gods!"
...getting the name of a Red Squad member by putting the fear of God into Nog.
Sisko: Cadet, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that I am asking you for a favor. I want a name, and I want it now, and that is an order! Understood, Mr. Nog?
...putting Jadzia back on track when she angrily refuses to marry Worf.
Jadzia: Save your breath. Worf went too far and now it's over. Do you know what he wanted me to do? He wanted me to go crawling on my hands and knees to Sirella and beg her forgiveness. Beg her! Me! I was once the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire! I negotiated the Khitomer Accords before Worf was even born!
Sisko:Curzon negotiated the Accords! And I've got news for you, old man... you're not Curzon anymore!
Jadzia: What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Sisko: It means you can't expect Sirella to treat you like Curzon just because you carry his memories. To her, you're just a young woman who's decided to marry into her family. If you have to get down on your knees and kiss Sirella's boots, then that's what you have to do. And you know that. From the moment you decided to marry Worf, you've known that sooner or later, you'd have to bow down and show her the respect she's due.
And after hitting her with the Wham Lines, he deliberately softens and reminds Jadzia that she's in love with Worf.
He did get one moment even then, when he called B.S. on the Prophets' noninterference claims, forcing them to make that Dominion fleet go away.
Wherever they went, I don't think they're coming back...
Dr. Bashir gets his moment in a holodeck episode where it seems likely that the program will cause at least some of the main crew to die. Garak tells Bashir that he's going to cut his losses and run, causing Bashir to pull a gun on Garak. Garak claims that Bashir would never be able to shoot him... right before Bashir actually does.
His solution to that problem is sheer CMoA, too. You can just imagine the holodeck program try to make sense of someone deliberately screwing up the endgame after getting this far and just giving up and trying to kill him anyway, because, presumably, the programmer did not actually consider 'good guy destroys the world' as likely behavior for that holonovel. For a second, this troper thought it was 'out of character' for the bad guy to continue to try to kill him, and then realized the player had gone completely off the rails of the game. You have to wonder how that 'episode' would have ended if he'd continued to play, or if Bashir was about to get a non-standard game over by getting shot without any escape because he'd already 'lost'.
Quark got four real good ones. First off, he stood before a Klingon warrior, risking death, just to trick the Klingon into proving he had no real honor. Second was blasting two Jem'Hadar guards, and standing shocked after he did so. Three, as he explains to a captive Maquis Vulcan that her actions are illogical, when she could have peace "at a bargain price."
The entire episode "The Magnificent Ferengi" is one long Crowning Moment of Awesome mated beautifully to Crowning Moment of Funny.
As is "The House Of Quark":
Quark: I am Quark, son of Keldar. And I have come to answer the challenge of D'Ghor, son of... whatever.
Quark: Go ahead, kill me! That is why I'm here, isn't it? To be killed? Well, here I am, so go ahead and do it. You all want me to pick up that sword and fight him, don't you. But I don't have a chance, and you know it. You only want me to put up a fight so that your precious "honor" will be satisfied. Well, I'm not gonna make it so easy for ya. Having me fight D'Ghor is nothing more than an execution. So, if that's what you want, that's what you'll get... an execution. [looking over at a stunned Gowron] No honor. No glory. [looking back at D'Ghor] And when you tell your children and your grandchildren the glorious story of how you rose to power and took Grilka's house from her, I hope you remember to tell them how you heroically killed an unarmed Ferengi, half your size!
The Jem'Hadar: Quark issues a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Captain Sisko and manages to knock him off the Holier-than-thou high horse that Starfleet officers are known to ride.
Quark: I think I figured out why Humans don't like Ferengi.
Sisko: Not now, Quark.
Quark: The way I see it, Humans used to be a lot like Ferengi: greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We're a constant reminder of a part of your past you'd like to forget.
Sisko: Quark, we don't have time for this.
Quark: You're overlooking something. Humans used to be a lot worse than the Ferengi: slavery, concentration camps, interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We're nothing like you... we're better.
Gonna have to call BS on the whole "no slavery" thing, though. What else do you call it when half of the population is considered, for all intents and purposes, the property of the other half? That goes beyond sexism.
Yeah, except we had that too. So assuming he's telling the truth about not having an analog to what we *traditionally* call slavery, he's still one-up.
O'Brien gets one (despite his normal Butt Monkey role) in "Empok Nor," when Garak has been infected by a violence-inducing super-soldier-serum and decided to hunt O'Brien down:
Garak: Maybe it's true... maybe you're not a soldier anymore.
How does one talk about CMoAs and not mention Rom, in one of the best lines of the entire series. His delivery of the line just makes it all the better. Rom is panicking over his upcoming wedding and apparently not concentrating on his work at all until...
Rom: But what if Leeta turns out to be just like Nog's mother? What if I can't make her happy? What if this is the biggest mistake of my life? What if-
And then, after helping a little more with the technical details, Rom goes right back to bringing the funny, practically wailing the last two words:
Rom: Where are we gonna put all her clothes? I don't have enough closet space!
Rom had one of his first in "Facets", when he confronts Quark after learning that his brother sabotaged Nog's test that would qualify him for Starfleet. After shoving Quark against the wall, Rom threatens to burn Quark's bar down if he ever hurts Nog again, telling his brother that his son's happiness is more important to him than anything, including latinum.
There is also the description of Garak's best interrogation ever. He just sat and looked at the guy...for three hours.
"His eyes, his eyes!"
In the fourth season premiere, Odo is warned that the invading Klingons will be trying to kill him specifically so they can be remembered for it in a battle song. Odo remarks that if a Klingon were to kill him, they would deserve an entire opera. During the siege he completely lives up to the statement.
Not a character one, but at the end of "Call to Arms" when the USS Defiant and IKS Rotarran join up with a massive Federation fleet.
The Dominion fleet introduced in Season 5 was pretty huge compared to anything seen before (thanks to CGI). But they outdid themselves again by showing the Federation-Klingon fleet with hundreds of ships. And that's far from the only awesome moment from the episode; it's got a last stand at the titular station while SaltingTheEarth, an I Shall Return speech, and the baseball as a symbolic warning, along with pretty much every main character getting a moment to do something significant.
Also in "Sacrifice of Angels" when the Klingon fleet arrives out of the sun and swings the battle against the Dominion.
And last but not least when the Cardassian fleet turns against the Dominion in the finale "What You Leave Behind."
After Damar finds out in "Tacking Into the Wind" that the Dominion have killed his wife and children, he wonders what kind of people could give orders like that. Kira responds with a perfect "Yeah Damar. What kind of people give those orders?"
What makes it even better is that she immediately realizes that was absolutely the wrong thing to say in that situation. After Damar heads for the cockpit, she has this conversation with Garak.
Kira: That was stupid.
Garak: Not at all. Damar has a certain... romanticism about the past. He can use a dose of cold water.
Kira: I could have picked a better time.
Garak: If Damar is the man to lead a new Cardassia, if he's the man we hope him to be, then the pain of this news made him more receptive to what you said, not less.
This comes to fruition in a small Crowning Moment of Awesome for Damar when he completes his Heel Face Turn by saving Kira and Odo from a treacherous officer who wanted to bring back the old Imperial Cardassia.
Damar: He was my friend. But his Cardassia's dead...and it won't be coming back.
Any of the pivotal moments comprising Damar's Heel Face Turn, including the very first when he sees himself in the mirror and throws his drink at it in disgust. Watching this increasingly important character snap himself out of half a season of depression and defeat, and transform himself into a revolutionary leader is just amazing to watch thanks to Casey Biggs' acting work.
Kira has another moment like this two seasons earlier, while talking to Dukat. (Only this time, without the regret). Dukat is angry with Kira because his daughter Ziyal has befriended Garak, his sworn enemy.
Kira: Dukat, she was lonely. And the last time I checked, he was the only other Cardassian living on the station.
Dukat: The man is a heartless, cold-blooded killer.
Quark gets one in the episode "Business As Usual". In the story, Quark goes into business with an arms dealer named Gaila and ends up tap-dancing on the Moral Event Horizon. He ends up not crossing that horizon when he learns that Gaila is making a deal with a Regent who intends to use a biological weapon on his own population, killing 28 million. Quark risks his own life to screw the deal, manipulating events so that the Regent and Gaila end up blaming each other.
"One life for 28 million. Best deal I ever made."
Later, when called on the carpet by Sisko, he defends his actions;
Quark: The Regent's dead?!
Sisko: The Purification Squad caught up with him this morning.
Quark: I can live with that too. And I can think of 28 million other people who won't mind either.
Sisko: 28 million and one.
Li Nalas gets one in "The Siege" when he starts living up to the hero role with his speech at the airlock. The unruly crowd that had just shouted over Sisko became silent the first time Li Nalas raised his voice - all of them, Bajoran and non-Bajoran. This speech, from the man who had previously hated giving speeches, simultaneously shames and inspires his people and is worth reproducing in full:
"Where are you running to? This is Bajor. We are Bajorans. We fought a war to regain our homeland, how can you abandon it like frightened Cardassian voles? These ships are for our guests, who must leave because it is no longer safe for them here! However, we are Bajorans, and I say that we stay and we solve our own problems together. Are you willing to join me?" [He then walks out, followed by every Bajoran in the crowd.]
Sisko's victory at Chin'toka becomes even more awesome when you remember that at the time, he had some deep-seated doubts as to where, when, and even who he really was.
Sisko defeated Gul Dukat after he ascended. With nothing more than guts and awesome. That solidified this troper's opinion of him as the baddest-ass Captain in the Trekverse.
Odo grabs one in "Improbable Cause," when he finally has enough of Garak's evasiveness, tells him to shut up, and dissects his entire Xanatos Gambit in about five minutes. The look on Garak's face makes it all the better.
Odo: I have had enough of your dissembling, Garak! I am not Dr. Bashir and we are not sparring amiably over lunch. Now you dragged me into this investigation, and you are now going to cooperate with me!
Garak: Dragged you in? I don't know what you're talking ab--
Odo:YOU BLEW UP YOUR OWN SHOP, GARAK!
Give Garak some credit for having the audacity to do it. When he tells his old mentor about it, the reaction is basically "Damn, you're good!"
The entire battle to re-take Deep Space Nine back from the Dominion. The Federation started the battle already outnumbered and then ran into such tricks as the Dominion fighters picking off their backup and using an EMP to jam communications. And the crazy thing is Sisko remains so steadfast and resolved that even though the battle quickly fails, he actually kicks the Dominion's ass long enough for the Klingons to arrive and lend reinforcements. Star Trek's ultimate failure is that they didn't do more with a Captain who clearly very nearly rivals Kirk and Picard for top Starship Commander in the entire Starfleet.
Jake got shafted a lot during the Dominion War arc, but he still managed a Crowning Moment of Awesome of his own in the seventh season opener, when he saves his father from a Pai-Wrath cultist (who has traveled to Earth and stabbed him) by hitting him with a bag of potatoes and knocking him unconscious.
One of Quark's best moments was describing the benefits of greed and capitalism to the Prophets when they mess with the Grand Nagus' personality.
Or when Quark shot Jem'Hadar guards to free Rom, and a Crowning Moment of Funny with how stunned he was the next moment.
Kira's bluff of the Romulans in "Shadows and Symbols" certainly qualifies.
We saw what she could do as early as the pilot. A Bajoran, a race that the Cardassians have been using for target practice, standing on the bridge of what was once their station, all but giving them the finger. The station was woefully underarmed, so she and O'Brien whipped up one hell of a bluff to make it look like ol' Terrok Nor was armed to the eyeteeth. The Cardies suspected a bluff, but when one little Bajoran female pretty much said "Wanna call it?" and they backed down...awesome.
O'Brien: Major, remind me never to get into a game of Roladan Wild Draw with you.
The moment in "Emissary" when Kira and O'Brien a) moves the station to the mouth of the wormhole and b) actually creates the aforementioned "illusion" to scare away the attacking Cardassians looking for Gul Dukat.
Two more for Quark during "The Siege of AR-558," with his What the Hell, Hero? speech to Sisko after Nog comes back from a mission Sisko sent him on minus a leg, and then protecting Nog during the titular siege. Special kudos to Armin Shimmerman for being able to convey his horror at having killed someone (and the realization that even he can become as bloodthirsty and violent as humans when forced to fight) through those heavy prosthetics.
The scene in "Defiant" in which Dr. Bashir stands up to Major Kira blew me away. It's a sharp contrast from the way Kira's "wilderness" speech in the pilot made Bashir cower.
Major Kira Nerys:Listen to me! You can't have a runabout! You can not get your medical supplies and I don't give a damn about the colonization schedule! Those colonists can make do with a box of bandages for all I care!
In "Resurrection", Kira's taken hostage at gunpoint by the mirror-universe version of Bareil Antos, who was her lover in the prime universe. After climbing up 57 decks with him to get to Landing Pad A, Kira declines to open the door for him, asking him to give her the phaser instead.
AU!Bareil Antos: Oh, you've been so cooperative up until now; I'd hate to have to kill you.
Major Kira Nerys: You're not going to kill me.
AU!Bareil: Oh, you're sure of that?
Kira: You're not going to kill anyone, not with that disruptor. Power cell's cracked.
Whether or not you agree with what she says beforehand, there is no denying that Kira's escape from the serial killer who'd been murdering the former members of the Shakaar resistance cell is pretty awesome.
Nog's epic Chain of Deals to acquire a critical part that Chief O'Brien needs in "Faith, Treachery, and the Great River." What else can you call a plan that involves the theft of Sisko's desk and sixteen cases of General Martok's bloodwine, and ends with Nog completely getting away with it?
In "By Inferno's Light", there is an easily overlooked but nonetheless profound CMOA where Garak's concerned. Namely, Garak goes back into the extremely cramped crawlspace to finish the plan to escape, despite having recently had a claustrophobic attack, and despite it being clear that he's extremely uneasy about having to go back in. General Martok and Worf even acknowledge how brave it is.
Kira has one as well - when they figure out that the Bashir changeling is planning to wipe out the combined Federation/Klingon/Romulan fleet by blowing up Bajor's sun, she orders the Defiant to make an in-system warp jump (something so risky even James T. Kirk only did it once) to intercept the stolen runabout, snags it with a tractor beam, and flings it away from the star before the bomb goes off.
Has everyone forgotten about Morn's Xanatos Gambit wherein he faked his own death to draw out his former conspirators from a decade-old theft, gave them all the shaft by exploiting the fact that they would all be willing to kill for the money, and proceeded to walk away with 1,000 bricks of latinum, since the statute of limitations had run out? The best part of it all is that, after everyone has been arrested, Morn strolls into Quark's and sits in his old chair like it's a regular Tuesday morning.
Not to mention that when Quark complains to Morn about being thrown in the middle of Morn's former accomplices in order to get them arrested, Morn spits up about 100 bricks of latinum into a shot glass and gives it to Quark.
More of a Special Effects Of Awesome than anything else: In Valiant, we get to see a David Versus Goliath match between a small, nimble warship and a massive heavily armed battleship. The captain decides to invoke Point Defenseless by ordering his crew to fly as close to the larger ship as they can. At one point, in the viewscreen, we can see that the Valiant actually flies through a gap in the larger ship's superstructure. They still get their their butts kicked in the end, though.
Gowron: "You're like an toothless old grishnar cat, trying to frighten us with your roar."
Sisko: "I assure you, this 'old cat' isn't as toothless as you think."
That same glorious slugfest is made all the more impressive when you realize that the majority of it is filmed with studio models, not CGI battleships. Definitely a Crowning Moment for the guys working behind the scenes of the show as well.
Apparently the producers of Deep Space Nine decided to create a two-hour episode that was basically just every character taking turns on the "Doing Unbelievably Awesome Shit" carousel.
Sisko (of course), starts off the festivities when the Defiant faces down a Klingon ship that is harassing a cargo ship (commanded by Sisko's lady friend). When Sisko orders the Klingons to chill, the Klingon captain basically tells Sisko to shove off. Sisko responds by powering up the Defiant 's one-hit-and-your-ship-is-scraps weapons and threatening to fire on the Klingons. When the Klingon basically tells Sisko he won't dare, Sisko simply gives him The Glare and orders weapons locked. The Klingon wisely backs down.
Worf establishes his rep on the station by bitch-slapping a Klingon who's raising a ruckus at Quark's and then taking his honor blade after beating him up. Oh, yeah, the Klingon who got beat up is the son of Four-Star Badass Martok, who isn't known for taking these things lying down.
After said beatdown General Martok berates Worf for what he did, saying that he took away his son's honor. Worf's response "You cannot take what one does not have." This troper's jaw fell.
Jadzia Dax actually being able to last up to four seconds against Worf using a bat'leth.
The Defiant 's Big Damn Heroes moment when it rescues Gul Dukat and the Cardassian civilian government, while being attacked by three Klingon cruisers.
What looks like 60 Klingon ships chase them all the way back to the station and order the Cardassians handed over. When Sisko refuses they threaten to pulverize the "decrepit" station. As another troper above states, panels start unlocking and gun ports emerge; and you realize that Deep Space Nine is armed. To the teeth. Sisko gives a smirk that almost says, "Now....witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational BATTLE-station!"
I'd be disappointed if that version wasn't an out-take somewhere.
And now comes one of the most awesome moments in the history of filmed Star Trek. The Klingons attempt to blast the station, and just like Sisko promised, the station fights back unleashing 5000 torpedoes and skewering the Klingons with its phasers. But that's not where it gets good. The Klingons punch a hole in the shields and start beaming onto the station in waves to take it over...
... We get a near 10-minute scene in which every single duty officer, including the no name extras, goes blow-for-blow with the Klingons. Such gems include:
Sisko (really, who else) back handing Klingons and sending them flying. Then he takes a bat'leth and sucker punches another.
Kira gets knifed in the back and merely PULLS THE KNIFE OUT AND THEN JUDO CHOPS THE KLINGON WHO STABBED HER.
Bashir, who you figure would be hiding in the sickbay, is actually running around the station picking off Klingons with his phaser.