The USS Defiant (NX-74205) was a 24th century Federation Defiant-class starship operated by Starfleet. This was the prototype of the class and the second Federation ship known to bear the name Defiant.
Development on the Defiant began around 2366 in response to the Borg threat to the Federation. After initial and hostile first contact with the Borg, Starfleet did what it hadn't done in decades, place greater emphasis on Starfleet's essential role in the defense of the Federation. Drafting plans for such a defense required a starship capable of fighting against the Borg. The Federation's devastating defeat in the Battle of Wolf 359, resulting in the loss of nearly 40 ships and 11,000 personnel to a single Borg vessel, proved that the Federation's defenses were horribly inadequate, and plans were spearheaded for the production of a more combat capable starship. Officially classified as an escort vessel, the Defiant was nothing less than Starfleet's first design of a warship intended to combat the Borg. The vessel featured minimal equipment for scientific research and was not designed to accommodate families. (DS9: "The Search, Part I")
The Defiant did not perform well in its initial trial runs. The vessel was overpowered and over-gunned for a ship of its size – so much so that the Defiant nearly shook itself apart when the engines were tested at full power. Ultimately, these design flaws, combined with the Borg threat becoming less urgent, led Starfleet to the decision to abandon the project and place the prototype in storage. (DS9: "The Search, Part I")
Service at Deep Space 9
After the USS Odyssey was destroyed in late 2370, Commander Benjamin Sisko, who served on the team that designed the Defiant, requested that the vessel be pulled out of storage and assigned to Deep Space 9 to counter a new threat of the Dominion. The vessel was officially launched in 2370, on Stardate 47538.5, from the Antares Ship Yards. Arriving in early 2371, the Defiant's first assignment was to attempt to convince the Founders of the Dominion that the Federation posed no threat to them. After a special amendment was made to the Treaty of Algeron, the Romulan Star Empire provided Sub-commander T'Rul and one of their cloaking devices to aid in its mission – in exchange for any intelligence gained on the Dominion. (DS9: "The Search, Part I"; Defiant dedication plaque)
The mission did not go well for the DS9 crew. Shortly after entering the Gamma Quadrant, the Defiant was attacked by several Jem'Hadar fighters. During a resulting battle, the vessel was boarded, and the senior officers were captured and placed into a simulation to test how Starfleet might react to the Dominion attempting to gain a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant. Ultimately, the crew was discovered by Bajoran Militia officers Major Kira Nerys and Odo, and were allowed to return to DS9 with the Defiant. (DS9: "The Search, Part II")
When Major Kira was abducted by the Cardassian Union's Obsidian Order, Commander Sisko took the Defiant into Cardassian space in a rescue attempt. To ensure the Cardassians did not identify the ship, the vessel's shield harmonics were reconfigured to make the Defiant appear to be a Kobheerian freighter. (DS9: "Second Skin")
The Defiant made contact with the planet Meridian during an exploration mission in the Gamma Quadrant. Despite its reportedly limited facilities for scientific analysis, the ship was able to work with the inhabitants of Meridian to analyze the nature of the unusual effect that caused the planet to shift between dimensions and devise a means of stabilizing the effect, with the result that Meridian's next manifestation on the corporeal plane would last for thirty years where it had currently only manifested for twelve days. (DS9: "Meridian")
Later in 2371, Maquis operative Thomas Riker hijacked the Defiant and used it to attack several Cardassian targets. Commander Sisko was forced to travel to Cardassia Prime with Gul Dukat to help track down the vessel. Although Dukat initially wanted to destroy the Defiant, he agreed to release the vessel and the Maquis crew to Starfleet custody in exchange for the Defiant's scans of the Orias system and Riker himself. After facing overwhelming opposition from Obsidian Order forces deployed from the Orias system, Riker ultimately surrendered and the Defiant was returned to DS9. (DS9: "Defiant")
Later the same year, the Defiant visited Earth, where the vessel's senior staff was to attend the Annual Starfleet Symposium on the current situation in the Gamma Quadrant. The ship was briefly caught in a temporal anomaly when chroniton particles trapped in the cloak caused some of the crew to travel back in time, unwittingly changing key events in history that erased the existence of the Federation, but the same particles kept the Defiant in existence long enough for the missing crew to be recovered and history restored. (DS9: "Past Tense, Part I", "Past Tense, Part II")
Several weeks later, the Defiant was used to carry out a joint project between the governments of the Federation, Cardassia, and Bajor, to establish communications between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants. (DS9: "Destiny")
After a joint Obsidian Order-Tal Shiar fleet entered the Gamma Quadrant on a mission to destroy the Founders' homeworld, Vice Admiral Toddman ordered that the Defiant remain at DS9 to protect the Bajoran sector from any Dominion retaliation. Despite these orders, Commander Sisko took the vessel into the Gamma Quadrant in order to rescue Odo and Elim Garak, who were being held on one of the Romulan vessels in the fleet. Even with sabotage of the cloaking device by security chief Lieutenant Commander Michael Eddington, the Defiant ultimately succeeded in its mission and returned to DS9. Admiral Toddman decided not to file charges against Sisko or any of the other officers who had joined him. (DS9: "Improbable Cause", "The Die is Cast")
In late 2371, a Changeling posing as Federation ambassador Krajensky sent the Defiant on a patrol mission of the Federation-Tzenkethi border. During the mission, the Changeling sabotaged the Defiant, causing it to fly out of control towards a Tzenkethi colony that was intended to be attacked; the Dominion hoped it would provoke a second war between the two powers. The crew was eventually able to regain control of the vessel and kill the Changeling. (DS9: "The Adversary")
In early 2372, the Defiant fought its way through Cardassian space against Klingon forces – as the Klingon Empire had withdrawn from the Khitomer Accords due to the Federation's failure to support their invasion of Cardassia – to bring the Detapa Council to Deep Space 9. During this mission, the ship once briefly used its tractor beam to reduce the accuracy of a Vor'cha-class attack cruiser's disruptor banks, when it was forced to drop its usual deflector shields to beam the Council to safety. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior")
Several weeks later, the Defiant traveled to the Gamma Quadrant to meet with a Karemma ship. During the meeting, the two vessels were attacked by Jem'Hadar forces. The Defiant engaged the Jem'Hadar in the atmosphere of a gas giant and took severe damage; several of the senior officers were incapacitated. Under the command of Lieutenant Commander Worf, the Defiant was able to destroy the Jem'Hadar ships and rescue the Karemma. (DS9: "Starship Down")
In mid-2372, Lt. Commander Worf took the Defiant to Earth to assist Captain Sisko in foiling a plot by Admiral Leyton which would have overthrown the Federation government and established martial law. While en route, the Defiant was forced to engage the USS Lakota under the command of Captain Benteen, who was operating under the assumption that the Defiant was manned by Changelings. After a prolonged battle in which both ships took significant damage (it was strongly suggested by Major Kira that the Lakota was "in even worse shape" than the Defiant), the Lakota eventually stood down when Benteen conferred with Worf and Kira about her orders to stop the Defiant. Thus, the Defiant was allowed to continue to Earth with the evidence Sisko needed to stop the coup. (DS9: "Homefront", "Paradise Lost")
The Defiant later became home to Worf, who found adapting to life on Deep Space 9 difficult. Captain Sisko gave him approval to live on the vessel, so long as it did not interfere with his duties. (DS9: "Bar Association")
During an escort mission where the Defiant was protecting several Cardassian freighters against Klingon raids, Commander Worf accidentally destroyed a Klingon civilian transport ship. The Klingon Empire requested that Worf be extradited to face justice for the ship's destruction, but was refused when it was determined that the transport ship had been unmanned and the situation set up to force the Federation to give concessions to the Empire. (DS9: "Rules of Engagement")
Following an attack on DS9 by Jem'Hadar rebels, the Defiant pursued their vessel into the Gamma Quadrant and rescued the crew of a disabled Jem'Hadar fighter. The crews of the Defiant and the fighter then worked together to destroy an Iconian gateway that was under the control of the rebels. (DS9: "To the Death")
In late 2372, the Defiant took Odo to the Founders' new homeworld, where he was to be judged for killing the Krajensky changeling the previous year. The Female Changeling allowed the vessel to personally transport him to the Founder's homeworld, so long as one of her pilots entered the coordinates for the planet and wiped them from the ship's memory afterwards. While the vessel was in orbit, Garak unsuccessfully attempted to use the Defiant's weapons to attack the Great Link, but he was caught and prevented from doing so by Worf. (DS9: "Broken Link")
The Defiant was later transported by the Orb of Time to the 23rd century, where it encountered the original USS Enterprise visiting Deep Space Station K-7 in 2268. The Defiant's crew stopped Arne Darvin from killing Captain James T. Kirk with a bomb implanted in a dead tribble. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")
While pursuing Maquis defector Michael Eddington, the Defiant was disabled by a cascade virus that Eddington had installed in the ship's computers during his time as DS9's Starfleet security chief. The vessel had to be towed back to DS9 by the USS Malinche. When that vessel was later disabled by the Maquis, Captain Sisko used the damaged Defiant to continue pursuing Eddington. After Sisko poisoned a Maquis planet, Eddington surrendered to Sisko and was incarcerated. (DS9: "For the Uniform")
Under the command of Worf, the Defiant was finally used for what the vessel had originally been designed for: fighting the Borg. In the Battle of Sector 001 in mid-2373, the Defiant assaulted an invading Borg cube from the Typhon sector to Earth and took severe damage. Worf was about to order the ship to ram the cube when the USS Enterprise-E rescued the vessel's survivors, leaving the Defiant unmoored though salvageable. Aboard the Enterprise, the Defiant and Enterprise crews followed a Borg sphere to 2063 shortly after the cube's destruction, to stop the Borg from sabotaging Zefram Cochrane's first warp flight. (Star Trek: First Contact) Following these events, the Defiant was repaired and returned to DS9. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow")
When the Dominion annexed the Cardassian Union and invaded the Alpha Quadrant, the Defiant was forced to destroy the runabout USS Yukon, which had been commandeered by a Changeling posing as Doctor Julian Bashir. The runabout was carrying a trilithium weapon which was to be detonated in the Bajoran sun, destroying the entire system. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")
In late 2373, the Defiant became trapped inside a temporal distortion surrounding a planet in the Gamma Quadrant. The planet was inhabited by descendants of the Defiant crew, who revealed that the vessel would crash while attempting to escape the distortion. The Defiant crew and the planet's inhabitants worked to formulate a plan that would allow the Defiant to escape back into normal space, while simultaneously creating a second ship that would crash on the planet and land 200 years in the past, thus ensuring the inhabitants' survival. However, it was discovered that the plan would fail and that Yedrin Dax was deliberately setting up the Defiant to crash. The crew eventually planned to allow this event to take place, but was stopped by an elderly version of Odo, who was living on the planet's surface; he changed the ship's flight plan so that it would avoid the distortion that would otherwise have sent them back in time. The Defiant returned to DS9 and the colonists were found to have never existed. (DS9: "Children of Time")
Service during the Dominion War
In an effort to stop the Dominion's military build-up in Cardassian space, Starfleet Command opted to mine the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole, a move that was virtually guaranteed to lead to war. Despite coming under fire by Dominion forces, the Defiant was able to deploy the minefield and evacuate DS9's Starfleet personnel before the Dominion took control of the station. (DS9: "Call to Arms")
For the next several months, the Defiant fought as part of the Second Fleet, operating out of Starbase 375. When Captain Sisko was made an adjutant to Vice Admiral William Ross, Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax was assigned to captain the vessel. Under Dax's command, the Defiant destroyed a Dominion sensor array hidden in the Argolis Cluster. (DS9: "A Time to Stand", "Behind the Lines")
Sisko returned to the captain's chair of the Defiant to lead Operation Return in mid-2374, with the Defiant being the only Federation ship to make it through the Dominion blockade and reach DS9. From the perspective of the wider galaxy, the Defiant was subsequently singularly responsible for destroying the Dominion reinforcements coming through after the destruction of the Self-replicating mine field, although in reality, Sisko had actually appealed to the Prophets to destroy the fleet and prevent further such passage through the wormhole. The vessel resumed its assignment at Deep Space 9 after the station was retaken. (DS9: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels")
The Defiant was part of a search effort to look for survivors of the USS Honshu, after the latter vessel was destroyed by Cardassian forces. Upon completion of that mission, the ship was immediately assigned to escort a Federation troop convoy near the Badlands. (DS9: "Waltz")
While studying a subspace compression anomaly in mid-2374, the Defiant was taken over by Jem'Hadar forces. Thanks to the efforts of the Defiant crew combined with work by the USS Rubicon, the starship was retaken and the surviving Jem'Hadar were taken to a Federation prisoner of war camp. (DS9: "One Little Ship")
Upon completion of a convoy escort mission, the Defiant responded to a distress call from Captain Lisa Cusak, who was commanding the USS Olympia. The Olympia had crashed on an L-class planet in the Rutharian sector of the Beta Quadrant. Upon arrival at the planet, the Defiant crew found an energy barrier surrounding the planet which had carried Cusak's distress call forward through time; Cusak had been dead three years. Her body was taken back to DS9 and a memorial service was held for her by the crew. (DS9: "The Sound of Her Voice")
The Defiant, along with the IKS Rotarran, led the Federation Alliance fleet at the First Battle of Chin'toka in late 2374. The crew of the Defiant found a way to disable a deployment of Cardassian orbital weapon platforms protecting the Chin'toka system. (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets")
In early 2375, the Defiant made a supply run to AR-558, a planetoid in the Chin'toka system under heavy siege by the Jem'Hadar. The Defiant crew provided a small reinforcement of the planetoid and helped disable many houdinis that had been plaguing Federation troops stationed there. (DS9: "The Siege of AR-558")
The Defiant later served as part of a search effort to look for survivors of the IKS Koraga, which had been destroyed by Dominion forces in the Badlands. The Defiant managed to recover six escape pods, but was forced to call off its search for the Koraga's captain, Worf, after only three days, due to heavy Jem'Hadar patrols in the area. (DS9: "Penumbra")
The Defiant's short but illustrious career came to an end in mid-2375. Shortly after joining the war on the side of the Dominion, the Breen retook the Chin'toka system using a new form of energy-dampening weapon. The Defiant, along with 310 other allied vessels, was destroyed during the battle, although the crew were 'permitted' to escape in life pods by the Dominion forces who wanted to ensure the Federation knew of their new allies. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil")
The USS Sao Paulo was assigned to DS9 to replace the Defiant after its destruction. Captain Sisko was granted special dispensation by the Chief of Starfleet Operations to rename the Sao Paulo to "Defiant" in honor of this "tough little ship." (DS9: "The Dogs of War")
The Defiant was equipped with an ablative armor coating that was designed to disintegrate under enemy fire at a controlled rate. It dissipated the effects of directed energy weapons, decreasing damage to the main hull of the ship and therefore providing an extra layer of defense. As late as 2372, Starfleet wasn't informed that the Defiant was equipped in that way. (DS9: "Past Tense, Part I", "The Way of the Warrior", "Paradise Lost", "The Changing Face of Evil")
After the Dominion threat emerged in late 2370, a special amendment made to the Treaty of Algeron allowed the Defiant to be equipped with a Romulan cloaking device. In exchange for providing the cloaking device, the Federation agreed to share all of its Dominion intelligence with the Romulan government. Additionally, the cloak was only authorized for use in the Gamma Quadrant, although Captain Sisko violated this provision on numerous occasions. Use of the cloaking device was initially supervised by Sub-Commander T'Rul, although the Romulans later discontinued supervision. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "Defiant", "The Way of the Warrior")
- Karemma (the Ferengi were the first Alpha Quadrant species to contact them)
- Founders, 2371
- Seltin Rakal's species on Meridian, 2371
The Defiant's permanent assignment at Deep Space 9 as a support vessel meant that it had no specific or dedicated crew complement of its own. Since the vessel was manned by station personnel, their assignments often fluctuated based on the needs of each individual mission, much like a shuttlecraft on a starship. The following listing should be considered a generalization.
- Commanding officer
- Executive officer / Tactical officer
- Chief engineer
- Miles O'Brien (2371–2375)
- Chief medical officer
- Julian Bashir (2371–2375)
- Jadzia Dax (2371–2374)
- Nog (2374–2375)
- Science Officer
- Jadzia Dax (2371–2374)
- Security chief
- Michael Eddington (2371–2372)
- Counselor/Communications Officer
- Ezri Dax (2375)
- Nog (2373–2375)
- Additional personnel
The Defiant appears in all Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode title sequences beginning with season 4.
- "The Search, Part I" (Season 3)
- "Second Skin"
- "Past Tense, Part I"
- "Past Tense, Part II"
- "The Die is Cast"
- "The Adversary"
- "The Way of the Warrior" (Season 4)
- "The Visitor"
- "Starship Down"
- "Our Man Bashir"
- "Paradise Lost"
- "Sons of Mogh"
- "Bar Association"
- "Rules of Engagement"
- "For the Cause"
- "To the Death"
- "Broken Link"
- "The Ship" (Season 5)
- "Nor the Battle to the Strong"
- "Trials and Tribble-ations"
- "The Ascent"
- "The Darkness and the Light"
- "For the Uniform"
- "In Purgatory's Shadow"
- "By Inferno's Light"
- "Soldiers of the Empire"
- "Children of Time"
- "Blaze of Glory"
- "In the Cards"
- "Call to Arms"
- "A Time to Stand" (Season 6)
- "Sons and Daughters"
- "Behind the Lines"
- "Favor the Bold"
- "Sacrifice of Angels"
- "You Are Cordially Invited"
- "The Magnificent Ferengi"
- "Far Beyond the Stars"
- "One Little Ship"
- "Honor Among Thieves"
- "Time's Orphan"
- "The Sound of Her Voice"
- "Tears of the Prophets"
- "Image in the Sand" (Season 7)
- "Once More Unto the Breach"
- "The Siege of AR-558"
- "It's Only a Paper Moon"
- "Prodigal Daughter"
- "Field of Fire"
- "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang"
- "The Changing Face of Evil"
- Star Trek: First Contact
The invention of the USS Defiant was preceded by Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe discussing, for some time, the possibility of giving the main characters of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine a method to leave space station Deep Space 9 en masse. "We wanted a ship in which we could send more people out on an adventure," explained Wolfe, "and we'd never really figured out how to do it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158))
The main reason for the creation of the Defiant was that Ira Steven Behr and the other writers felt the Danube-class runabouts would not be able to protect the space station from the Dominion, and that something with more muscle was necessary. In the second season finale "The Jem'Hadar", the Dominion had shown themselves capable of destroying a Galaxy-class starship (the USS Odyssey) and it was felt that viewers would not accept the idea that the Federation's first line of defense against such a powerful enemy was three runabouts. Behr remembered, "At one point, Robert Wolfe and I were sitting around after the 'Jem'Hadar' episode had been filmed. We were looking at dailies and said, 'Jesus, we're blowing up Galaxy Class starships; these guys are tough, and all we have are these freaking runabouts' [....] We had to come up with a ship to combat [the Dominion]." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 79) As Behr additionally explained, "We had all these plans for this Dominion, not so much the Dominion War yet, but the Dominion as a three-pronged attack, and what were we going to go after them with? Shuttlecrafts? You know, I mean, with the Galileo or whatever the hell those names were? You know, it just seemed ridiculous. So we needed a ship." Similarly, Production Designer Herman Zimmerman stated, "We needed a ship that would give the writers the opportunity to have more direct conflict." (USS Defiant, DS9 Season 3 DVD special features) He also commented, "The Defiant was a direct result of the need on the part of the writer/producers of the show to get away from the station, to give them a vehicle that would allow them to travel at higher warp speeds than the Runabout [...] is capable of, and to carry more armament and more personnel." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 96) Additionally, Zimmerman said, "We knew at the end of second season that the story lines were going in a direction that required a larger ship, with armament and much more warp-speed capability, and the ability to hold a larger crew." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 189) Illustrator Jim Martin reported, "They wanted a starship that could be based at Deep Space Nine that was kind of an ass-kicker that they could have some fun with. They wanted a fighting ship." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 7) Wolfe specified, "Bringing in the Defiant was based on our own internal perceptions of something that would make the show better. It was not based on ratings." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158))
The Defiant was originally envisioned, by the DS9 producers, as "a beefy runabout." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 162))
Feeling the need for a ship assigned to protect the space station, Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe approached then-Executive Producer Michael Piller with their idea. Related Behr, "We [....] said, 'We need something with teeth to it so it doesn't seem ridiculous that this space station is the only thing between the Dominion and the Alpha Quadrant.'" (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 79) Talking with Piller in his office, Behr additionally told him, "We know Voyager is coming and there will be problems, but we need a ship. Doesn't have to be a ship that's as good as Voyager. Doesn't have to be a starship – we need a kick-ass ship." Though Piller became temporarily side-tracked with addressing another issue, Behr expressed the need for a ship once again, to which Piller finally replied, "Absolutely, let's talk to Rick [Berman]." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102) Piller felt it didn't matter much whether DS9's regular characters had a starship at their disposal, or merely their contingent of Runabouts. However, he was ultimately willing to concede to the request of the former, motivated by a criticism of the series – due to its station-bound setting – that the producers often heard. "The addition of the Defiant," he explained, "was a direct result of, 'It doesn't go anywhere' [....] I came out of that meeting and said, 'I've had it. They want a ship, we'll give them a ship.' We felt it was a fake criticism and said, 'Let's just get rid of it.'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 142, p. 49) Piller's advice to speak with Berman was because he might have concerns due to the fact the starship Voyager was about to also be introduced. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158))
As it turned out, Michael Piller himself brought the idea to Rick Berman's attention. At this point, the general idea was still for the craft to be a kind of runabout, larger than the others. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 96) Berman did indeed have some worries, though Ira Behr addressed them by saying, "It's a different show, it's a different ship, and we need something cool, something DS9-specific." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158)) In hindsight, Behr explained, "It couldn't be like Voyager. And I didn't know what Voyager was going to be at the time. I said, 'Fine, let's give it something only Deep Space Nine has.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102) Although there was initial opposition to the subsequent request for the ship to have a cloaking device, Behr and Robert Wolfe managed to convince Berman that the Defiant was a unique ship in a unique situation and, with the added stipulation that the cloak could only be used in the Gamma Quadrant, Berman agreed, so the vessel was approved. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158))
The design direction of creating the Defiant as a larger form of runabout was soon revised. The craft was – from that point on – redesigned as a starship rather than a runabout. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 96)
When Ronald D. Moore and René Echevarria left Star Trek: The Next Generation and joined the DS9 writing staff in its third season, they were told about the plans for the new ship. "When Ron and Rene came on we all sat down and talked about it as a group," remembered Robert Wolfe. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 112) Establishing the Defiant became Moore's responsibility, as he was tasked with scripting the Defiant's introduction in season three premiere "The Search, Part I". Recalled Moore, "They told me, 'We've got this ship!' And I said, 'You've got what? But this show's about a station. I just left a ship!'" Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe responded by explaining that the new craft was to be a tougher kind of starship than the USS Enterprise-D, not a large exploratory vessel with families on board. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158)) Subsequently, the ship inspired Moore. Observed Behr, "[He] got all excited at the thought of this [....] Ron was ecstatic, 'cause he got to play with the Defiant." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102)
Naming the newly conceived vessel was one of the first tasks Ron Moore had to do, as he began work on the script for "The Search, Part I". "They'd graciously left [naming the craft] to me," he remarked. Moore originally wanted to call the Defiant the USS Valiant (based on either the SS Valiant or the USS Valiant from Star Trek: The Original Series). The producers didn't allow him to use that name for the new ship, as the USS Voyager's name also begins with a "V". It was Moore who instead selected the name Defiant (inspired by the USS Defiant from TOS: "The Tholian Web"). (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158)) This was three years before Moore was able to name a ship Valiant; the USS Valiant appears in the sixth season episode "Valiant".
As well as liking the name Defiant, Ron Moore believed it required some backstory, wondering, "Why would you name a ship the Defiant?" The writers soon devised the backstory about the vessel having been constructed as an attempt to defy the Borg. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158)) Making the Defiant a warship seemed to fit the grittiness of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 162)) However, the craft couldn't seem too militaristic for the Federation. "That was one of the problems and something we had to discuss," reflected Ira Behr. "We really wanted this to be a ship that went out there to fight, no science, no searching. This was 'Uh oh, they're bigger than we are and they're coming to get us. Let's ram it down their throats.' We had to pull back a little on that [....] But when you meet people, like the Borg or the Romulans, it does pay to have a ship that can do some damage. It's still considered a fighting ship." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102) Consequently, the revised Deep Space Nine bible (dated 1 August 1994) referred to the Defiant as having been "originally built as a warship designed to fight the Borg." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, p. 189) The scientific capabilities of the craft were planned to be less-equipped than the likes of the Enterprise or Voyager. "We always said," Robert Wolfe recollected, "that the Defiant wasn't good at certain things – that there's a cost for designing a pure warship, and why doesn't the Federation just crank out thousands of these things? [....] The Defiant was just meant to go around and shoot at people, and that's a bit of a drawback when you're going into [something like] a difficult atmospheric situation." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 109)
The idea the Defiant had been "hastily put together in the face of the Borg threat," as phrased by Science Consultant André Bormanis, helped to account for the fact that tight budget constraints limited the amount of sets which could be built for the ship. "[It] was a fair enough justification," opined René Echevarria. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 162))
André Bormanis liked how the Defiant, with its technological problems due to being a prototype, departed from "the concept that all Federation technology was squeaky clean and perfect." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 162)) Herman Zimmerman explained, "Because it's a prototype, it has a certain quirkiness as any high-speed prototype aircraft would have. You don't know exactly how it will react in a given situation." Ira Behr wanted the Defiant to be a "fun" environment, remarking, "We're hoping that we get that with the Defiant." Jim Martin, who designed the vessel, commented, "The Defiant was special." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 96 & 97) Zimmerman stated, "The Defiant was a big boost for the show's bag of tricks." Robert Wolfe observed, "We've opened up the ability to go off the station, something we obviously needed to do, not just to establish the 'bad guys' in the Gamma quadrant, but just the Gamma quadrant as a whole – to make it a place with a real sense of depth where we need to spend some time." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 189)
Various rumors circulated about the origins of the Defiant. Noted Ira Behr, "I've heard all types of rumors about the Defiant." Many fans suspected the craft was invented by Ron Moore or René Echevarria, and that the writers wanted a ship on which to set more stories like those of TNG, despite the vessel actually predating the addition of Moore and Echevarria to the DS9 writing staff. Responding to such opinions, Robert Wolfe said, "The truth of the matter is the Defiant was an attempt to correct a deficiency in the runabouts [....] It wasn't that we have to be like Next Gen. We were doing those kinds of stories on DS9 anyway. We just wanted to do what we do better and a ship will help us do that." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102) The craft turned out to be popular with fans. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 142, p. 49)
Uses in stories
The DS9 writing staff swiftly realized that imagining the Defiant as "a unique little warship that was overpowered and overgunned" could generate dynamic stories in future installments. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158)) As Ira Behr noted, "That got us through the first couple of [third season] episodes." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 79) Indeed, the addition of the Defiant to the series created many new storytelling possibilities. "First, it meant the crew could have a different set of adventures off the station. It also made it easier to shoot scenes with more people inside a bigger vessel, rather than in the cramped quarters of those little runabouts," stated Terry Farrell, with a laugh. "And finally, it allowed Sisko to truly live up to those immortal words spoken by two other, famous captains before him – 'To boldly go where no-one has gone before.'" ("The Search, Part I", Deep Space Nine Chronicles, DS9 Season 4 DVD special features) On the other hand, Michael Piller remarked about the Defiant, "It didn't change any of our character arcs or anything." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 142, p. 49)
Although the producers chose to include no spotlights on the outer hull of the Defiant-class, the Defiant was lit with spotlights for the ship's debut, in "The Search, Part I". Describing how this was done, Gary Hutzel said, "We hooked a mag light on a C-stand arm that was connected directly to the camera head, so that it rocked and rolled with the model. Then we designed the shot to display some of the ship's better angles as it backed away and turned around." When the Defiant leaves Deep Space 9 on its maiden voyage through the wormhole, the ship's name is brightly illuminated. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 162-163)) This shot was later reused in numerous DS9 installments.
By the end of "The Search, Part II", the writers had given up on the idea of the Defiant using its cloaking device and didn't expect to use it ever again. Director of Photography Jonathan West was even told, "We'll never be cloaked again; this is just for the first show." Ron Moore recalled, "It wasn't until a few episodes later that we decided to say it was still there." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 163))
Upon starting to write the story for the episode "Defiant", one of the first ideas Ron Moore had was the starship Defiant being stolen by Thomas Riker. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 98; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 87) The notion quickly occurred to him while he was writing the story of "Defiant"; the ship was the answer to Moore asking himself what would motivate the Maquis, led by Tom Riker, to visit Deep Space 9. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 190)) "I had the whole stealing of the Defiant sequence before I even knew why he was stealing it," Moore commented. "I thought that would be a great way to open an episode." By the time production on "Defiant" was over, Jonathan West was becoming familiar with filming on the Defiant. "He asked for some changes in terms of paint schemes and lighting, and now it was pretty together," remembered David Livingston. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 87 & 88)
When the writing staff was trying to select a "contained" setting for third season finale "The Adversary", the Defiant provided a useful environment. Robert Wolfe remembered that the idea of the ship "heading inexplicably toward destruction, like the death machine that she really is, being all locked down and going like a runaway train, became the basic hook that everyone really liked." However, turning the Defiant into "a runaway train" proved neither as simple nor cheap as it sounded, as it required the expense of creating an engine room for the vessel. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 250-251))
The DS9 staff writers were pleased with how the Defiant was established during its first season and how it opened up narrative possibilities for later stories. At the end of DS9 Season 3, Ron Moore reflected, "The Defiant has developed nicely over the course of the year [...] and now we have a fully functioning starship." René Echevarria agreed, "We can do a shipboard episode if we want and cut back to the station for a B story. We really feel we have the best of all possible worlds with the Defiant. We're freed up." Producer Hans Beimler, who joined the writing staff for the fourth season, remarked, "The addition of the Defiant has given us the ability to every once in a while do a show that's dynamically similar to Next Generation." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 99 & 101)
Ira Behr commented: "The fans are already asking for Defiant play sets". (Cinefantastique, Volume 27, Issues 2-12)
In February 1995, freelance writer David Mack suggested to his writing partner, John J. Ordover, an unusual way of using the Defiant, inspired by the German submarine drama Das Boot. Mack subsequently recalled, "I [...] said, 'I'd like to sink the Defiant.' Those were my exact words." As Ordover joined in the process of working out the story, the conditions in which the vessel would find itself continued to develop. "We came up with the high concept of the Defiant getting into a conflict in orbit over a planet, being damaged, and plunging down into an alien sea where it sinks like a rock," remembered Mack. The writers imagined the craft sinking to a depth hundreds of kilometers underwater. They intended to set up the risk that "the ship runs out of power and the structural integrity field collapses, and the ship is crushed like an egg." When the notion of a pricey underwater show was deemed unviable, the ship's threatening surroundings were changed to the atmosphere of a gas giant, complete with a scene showing the Defiant temporarily being flooded with gas rather than water. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 282-283)) The Defiant is indirectly referenced in the title of the episode, DS9 Season 4's "Starship Down", which was still thought of as "a submarine movie" by the in-house writing staff. They also wanted to deliver on what they had planned for the starship, portraying it as having some weaknesses. "We wanted to show the Defiant in action and pushed to its limits," said Robert Wolfe. Having the ship encounter "a difficult atmospheric situation" served this intent well, as Voyager or the Enterprise would have had no problem in similar circumstances, whereas the relatively under-equipped warship Defiant was shown to struggle. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 109)
A three-second shot of the Defiant in battle, from "The Way of the Warrior", was reused and re-composited by Glenn Neufeld for part of a combat sequence in "Paradise Lost". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 302))
Kira Nerys actress Nana Visitor once commented that "going out on the Defiant" was one of two main components that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine became "about," "doing battle" being the other. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 361))
There was an ulterior motive for including the Defiant in Star Trek: First Contact. "The Defiant appeared in FC as a way of bringing Worf into the film," clarified Ron Moore. (AOL chat, 1998) Also, the inclusion of the ship allowed the film to address the fact that Worf was now assigned to the vessel. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 6, p. 30) The fate of the Defiant in the aftermath of First Contact's Battle of Sector 001 became controversial after Ira Steven Behr read an early draft of the movie's script, which was collaboratively written by Moore and Brannon Braga. "Somehow," recalled Moore, "we had implied that, like, the Defiant was destroyed or something [....] We didn't mean to destroy the Defiant." Behr was nonetheless extremely upset that the writers hadn't made it clear the ship was not destroyed. The annihilation of the vessel would prove needless in a story that didn't even involve the Deep Space Nine characters (apart from Worf) and inconvenient for the television show. "I said, 'So, what did you think?' And he just [...] ranted at me for destroying the Defiant," Moore continued, with a laugh. "And it was really his only note on the whole script. So we went back [to the script]. We were very careful that the Defiant actually did [survive]." (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray) Behr himself explained, "I didn't see the point in bringing it on just to kick the crap out of it." The line "tough little ship" was added to the script after he had expressed his concerns. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 407)) According to Anthony Pascale, a line suggesting the Defiant was "adrift, but salvageable" was also added to clear up any ambiguity. (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (2009 DVD/Blu-ray))
No reference to the damage the Defiant received during the Battle of Sector 001 was ever made on Deep Space Nine (although a brief reference was made to the battle itself in "In Purgatory's Shadow", when Sisko mentions "the recent Borg attack"). Though the viewers of DS9 would likely have preferred something as simple as a mention of recent repairs to the craft, Ira Behr wanted to forget about the ship's involvement in the film. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 407))
In the final shot of DS9 fifth season installment "The Darkness and the Light", the Defiant slowly flies over and past the camera. "I was planning on just doing a standard fly-by for that shot when we ran into some technical problems with the motion control rig," explained Gary Hutzel. "The pan/tilt wasn't operating properly; it was locked off at a downward angle as the camera drove past the ship." Hutzel chose to use the unusual shot provided by the malfunctioning technology and was ultimately very pleased with the footage. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 412))
Maneuvers performed by the Defiant while damaged in "For the Uniform" were also done by Gary Hutzel, using motion control photography. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 45) In the story, the damage to the ship meant the vessel had to be operated manually. "Great idea," Ira Behr happily remarked. "I loved it." The writing staff wanted the environment aboard the craft to meanwhile seem like that on board a submarine in a submarine movie, such as in Run Silent, Run Deep, which the writers repeatedly discussed as a point of reference for conditions on the Defiant. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 420))
When Gary Holland originally devised a story that eventually served as the basis for "Children of Time", he imagined the Defiant crash landing on a planet where the ship's crew met their ancestors. The story was rewritten, with the vessel referred to as having instead crash landed in the past, on a planet named Gaia. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 452))
In the interim between the fifth and sixth seasons, Ira Behr planned using the Defiant in more episodes. "We're going to be doing shows that take place on the Defiant," he promised. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 51) The day before "Call to Arms" entered production, Ron Moore likewise commented that the Defiant would be a setting for "some very interesting stuff" in the show's sixth season. (AOL chat, 1997)
Although René Echevarria initially devised the idea of a miniaturized runabout maneuvering inside Deep Space 9 in a story that became the episode "One Little Ship", using the Defiant instead of the space station seemed to work better for teleplay writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson. "When we came up with the idea of the Defiant getting taken over, and the little ship having to board it to rescue the rest of the crew, then we suddenly had a workable premise," Weddle explained. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 39)
To prepare for the filming of "One Little Ship" scenes in which the runabout Rubicon was miniaturized inside the Defiant and shrunken officers from the Rubicon walked around the starship's innards, John Eaves produced at least three concept sketches of various parts of the Defiant. Also, David Weddle and Bradley Thompson – who were credited with writing "One Little Ship", although the story idea didn't originate with them – spent many hours touring the Defiant sets, choreographing shots of the tiny runabout. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 529-531)) Sets they visited included the bridge and engineering. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 40; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 530)) However, their tour of the sets wasn't as extensive as one carried out by Allan Kroeker, who directed the episode. "He had taken the visual effects people through the corridors and places in the ship, and worked all of that out very, very carefully," offered Thompson. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 40)
The Defiant eventually turned out to be the primary setting of "The Sound of Her Voice" too, that episode having originally been set (at least mainly) aboard Deep Space 9. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 69)
While writing Bashir-centric seventh season episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", Ron Moore opted not to use the Defiant as the installment's main setting (which instead was the Intrepid-class USS Bellerophon). "For the piece to work, it couldn't be [on] the Defiant, because I didn't want the rest of our characters along for the ride," Moore explained. "It would have given Bashir too many safe places to go. It had to be on another ship." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 76)
In "Penumbra", the DS9 writing staff made the Defiant, even under Captain Sisko's command, unable to effect a rescue that a runabout, piloted by Ezri Dax, managed, carried by the Badlands' currents. "The Defiant is so big that even if he'd thought of what she tries, the ship never would have followed the same path," René Echevarria reasoned. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 685))
When the writers chose to destroy the Defiant in "The Changing Face of Evil", they decided it was important to make the craft's annihilation emotionally effective. "We wanted to do something that would be painful and gut-wrenching to everyone," Ira Behr remarked. Ron Moore added that the writers also "wanted to kill Defiant as a statement on how tough the Breen were. We thought that would rock the characters and the audience." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 689 & 693))
The DS9 writing staff were pleased with how emotionally effecting they were able to depict the Defiant's destruction, making it as deep an emotional impact as the death of a regular character. "It worked very well," Ira Behr declared. "It wasn't the Enterprise, it wasn't Voyager, and it wasn't the basis of the show. But still, the ship had become a character that had caught on in people's hearts and minds. Even though we're not a Star Trek series that takes place on a ship, when the Defiant went down, that hurt." René Echevarria agreed, "The death of the Defiant was quite striking – but at the same time, we didn't want to keep it dead forever." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 693 & 689-690))
Studio and CGI model
In the opening titles sequence for DS9 Seasons 4 to 7, the Defiant was depicted using CGI, which allowed the visual effects artists to concentrate on filming the model without having to worry about accidentally showing the model mount, as they would have to have done if they had been using a practical studio model for the sequence. "VisionArt did a wonderful job of matching the lighting where the ship comes out of the shadows behind one of the pylons," Dan Curry enthused. "And using CGI allowed me to do a couple of moves with the Defiant that we couldn't have done with a model." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 335))
The creative staff decided to represent the Defiant with CGI in Star Trek: First Contact. "We could have shot the existing Defiant stage model," commented John Knoll, "which we had on hand for the crew to use as reference. But [...] it was a more efficient distribution of our resources to do that ship in CG." Because VisionArt had already created a detailed CG model of the Defiant for its multiple appearances on Deep Space Nine, Knoll acquired the company's modeling data. New digital textures, based on transparencies taken of the studio model, were then mapped onto the pre-existing CG model. (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 109) "They [Industrial Light & Magic] had to add a lot of battle damage to it," stated Illustrator John Eaves, "because it's already been in the battle pretty heavily before it gets rescued [on screen] by the Enterprise-E." ("The Art of First Contact", Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)
For the last shot in fifth season closer "Call to Arms", filming the Defiant with the relevant studio model in conjunction with motion control technology would not have been possible. This was because the ship makes an almost-180-degree turn. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 471)) "The intention was that the Defiant would go and join [a] [...] fleet [...] then turn around," explained René Echevarria. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 34) The visual effects artists, due to the Defiant's rotation, were unsure where to put the mount for holding the model to a stand, or where to lay all the dolly track they would have needed for the camera to move along, especially as no motion control soundstage was big enough to house as much dolly track as was required. Consequently, the ship was alternatively represented with CGI. Commenting on how the vessel joins a combined Starfleet-Klingon fleet in the footage, Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes commentated, "The Defiant comes in and it's like, 'Here we are. We've joined the fleet and now we're gonna come back and kick fanny.'" Despite the difficulty of portraying the turnabout the Defiant makes to match the direction of the fleet, Visual Effects Coordinator Adam Buckner deemed it a necessary maneuver. "We felt that it ought to be flying along with the fleet, that it would join it in the fight to retake the station," he explained. "Otherwise, essentially, it would have sort of chugged up to the fleet and said, 'Hi, I'm here!' That's a little less aesthetic," Buckner concluded, laughing. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 471-472))
For footage of Operation Return in Season 6 outing "Sacrifice of Angels", the Defiant was again portrayed with CGI and was the only example of its class to be included. Digitally modeling the craft meant the ship could thereafter be shown with the same method, whenever it was subsequently required. To create about a second of the vessel cruising through the wormhole in the same episode, the Defiant was depicted with the usual studio model, the only motion control element in the entire installment. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, pp. 64 & 66)
The final moments of the Defiant in "The Changing Face of Evil", with the craft beginning to burn but ejecting escape pods, were shown with CGI achieved by Digital Muse, supervised by David Stipes. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 74)
The Defiant sets including the bridge, quarters, engineering, the mess hall, and the sickbay were built on Paramount Stage 18.
Speaking from the perspective of Jadzia Dax, Terry Farrell once said, laughing, "I love the Defiant because I fly it." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 14, p. 10)
Models and replicas of the USS Defiant have been produced by AMT/Ertl, Franklin Mint, and Furuta. Galoob released a Micro Machines miniature and Playmates Toys released small Innerspace Series and large electronic starship versions. Hallmark released two versions of the Defiant as Christmas ornaments. Corgi produced a prototype model of the Defiant in 2007 but this release was canceled before it reached production. In 2008, the Japanese toy company F-Toys released two models of the Defiant which included a transparent "cloaked" version. Between 2011 and 2014, WizKids released miniatures of the Defiant in its Fleet Captains, Tactics, and Attack Wing games. In 2013, Eaglemoss Collections released the Defiant as part of its Official Starships Collection, which was later released in Japan by De Agostini. Dairy Queen also produced a Defiant food toy premium and a Defiant game token was included in Screenlife's Star Trek Scene It? game.
The USS Defiant could be seen in the Discovery Science program Ultra Science (an episode about time travel).
From the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 196), "The Defiant's registry number, NX-74205, is in honor of Gene Roddenberry's son, our friend Rod Roddenberry who worked with us as a member of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine art department. Rod's birthday is February 5, 1974."
In the video game Star Trek: Encounters, the Defiant appears in two levels based on Deep Space 9. In addition, the Defiant appears in the game's last level, where it briefly visits an alternate timeline in which the Romulan Star Empire has conquered the Federation. The Defiant later helps the USS Enterprise-E, the USS Voyager, the USS Enterprise-A, and Enterprise NX-01 defeat a combined Xindi, Klingon, Romulan, Dominion, and Borg fleet.
Also, the game Star Trek: Legacy features a mission depicting the Defiant's shakedown cruise under the command of Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko. The ship encounters Romulan Tal Shiar forces preparing to ambush a Vulcan scientist named T'Uerell (β) within Federation space and, despite trying to evade them, is captured. The crew and the ship are rescued by a task force led by the USS Enterprise-D.
The alternate reality version of the Defiant appears in the Star Trek: Ongoing story arc The Q Gambit. Launched in 2367, it became the flagship of the Free Federation Resistance after the fall of the United Federation of Planets. The Defiant operated from Klingon-occupied Earth and fought the Dominion under the command of Captain Keiko O'Brien and first officer Lieutenant Miles O'Brien.
- USS Defiant (NX-74205) at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- USS Defiant (NX-74205) at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- USS Defiant at Wikipedia
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