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"She has some big shoes to fill."

The USS Defiant (NX-74205), originally known as the USS Sao Paulo (NCC-75633), was a 24th century Federation Defiant-class starship operated by Starfleet. The Defiant was assigned to Deep Space 9 in the final weeks of the Dominion War. This starship was the third known Federation ship, and the second ship of the Defiant-class, to bear the name Defiant.


Captain Benjamin Sisko on the new USS Defiant bridge

According to its dedication plaque, the USS Sao Paulo was launched from the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards in late-2375, on stardate 52889.3.

As one of the first new starships launched from Federation shipyards after the disastrous Second Battle of Chin'toka, the Sao Paulo was immediately assigned to the front lines at Deep Space 9 as a replacement for the USS Defiant. The Sao Paulo was equipped with redesigned shield generators to counteract the Breen energy-dampening weapon, which had decimated the allied fleet at Chin'toka.

Upon taking command of the Sao Paulo on stardate 52891.3, Captain Benjamin Sisko received a special dispensation from the Chief of Starfleet Operations to change the vessel's name to USS Defiant, after the original, which had been destroyed by Breen forces in the Second Battle of Chin'toka.

The new Defiant was slightly modified from the prototype. On the bridge, the consoles alongside the captain's chair had been redesigned, and the aft operations table was replaced with a free-standing console. In addition, the ship's shield generators had been completely reconfigured, as had its internal furnishing – a fact bemoaned by Doctor Julian Bashir upon boarding the vessel. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")

The Defiant docked at Deep Space 9 after the Dominion War in 2375

The Defiant participated in the Battle of Cardassia, the last battle of the Dominion War. The ship suffered at least three casualties, with eight wounded in Phase One; it is unknown if any were suffered in Phase Two. Familiar with the individual characteristics of the old Defiant, the crew found it difficult to equate the one with the other, prompting Ensign Nog to report that the new Defiant was "a little sluggish." The vessel lacked the worn-in combat capability and effectiveness of the prototype, but acquitted herself well during the battle. At the end of 2375, this ship was docked at Deep Space 9. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")

Command crew

As with the previous Defiant, this vessel's assignment to Deep Space 9 as a support vessel meant that it was manned by station personnel and had no dedicated crew complement of its own. Crew assignments varied by mission.



Background information

Although this ship's predecessor was destroyed in "The Changing Face of Evil", the writing staff of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "didn't want to keep it dead forever," as expressed by René Echevarria. Several scenes that were written, one in the first draft script of "The Changing Face of Evil" and another in the first draft script of "When It Rains...", but ultimately not used dealt with Captain Sisko desperately asking Admiral Ross for a new ship to command in order to protect DS9 but being politely refused because Starfleet's resources were stretched so thin that they couldn't give him another vessel like the Defiant. Eventually, however, a substitute vessel was conceived. Ronald D. Moore explained, "There was no way to do the big final battles [of the Dominion War] without it [....] So we brought it back and 'made it a virtue.'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 693))

Ron Moore intended for the ship to be designated the "Defiant-A". "I fought quite a bit on this rather minute point," he related, "because I'm a Star Trek aficionado and I feel strongly about these kinds of things. I drove Ira [Steven Behr] up the wall on this 'A' business, trying to get 'A' onto the model." The show's tight budget constraints meant that there were insufficient funds to redo all the stock visual effects shots of the Defiant-class, which would have had to be done if the ship had been named the "Defiant-A". It also would have been prohibitive to repaint and reshoot the model. "So we had to bite the bullet," commented Behr. "We didn't have to end the series without the ship [...] but we weren't going to build a new ship at the end of the show, and we weren't going to change the decals [on every frame of stock footage]." Nevertheless, Moore personally still considered the vessel's designation to be "Defiant-A". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 701))

This Defiant was originally to have been introduced in the teaser of "Tacking Into the Wind". However, when it was decided that that episode was too long, the craft's introduction was moved to later DS9 Season 7 installment "The Dogs of War". The ship's introduction was written for "Tacking Into the Wind" by Ron Moore, prior to the scene being moved. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 693)) The decision to make the vessel's introduction part of "The Dogs of War" was made prior to the sixth revision of the first draft script of "Tacking Into the Wind", in which the craft wasn't mentioned at all. The script of "The Dogs of War" (both the first draft and the final draft) remarked, "We should try to convey a sense of a brand-spanking new ship (budget permitting), with shining consoles, new carpeting, slick new VPB wallpaper, etc." In the episode's first draft script, the vessel was also referred to as being "only two weeks out of the yard" prior to its arrival at DS9 and as having broken its predecessor's speed record on the new craft's initial journey to the space station, having traveled up to warp 9.8 on the way there. In Admiral Ross' opinion, the vessel was "a fine ship" that "outclasses the [earlier] Defiant in a lot of ways."

Gary Hutzel was pleased with how this ship was depicted in series finale "What You Leave Behind", using CGI. "The Defiant looks really good, the CG model looks very good," he remarked. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 87)

The Sao Paulo's motto was "Give me Liberty or give me Death...", a quote by Patrick Henry. The ship was "named for the people of Brazil." This motto was in the same spirit as the famous words "Independência ou Morte" ("Independence or Death"), said by Dom Pedro I when he declared Brazil's independence from Portugal. Although Sao Paulo ("Saint Paul") was a city in Brazil, the ship wasn't named after the city. Instead, the name "USS Sao Paulo" was actually an in-joke reference to the film The San Pebbles, which features the USS San Pablo. (Star Trek Monthly issue 56, p. 11) The name was selected by Ron Moore. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 693))

The dedication plaque included the names of forty-six Star Trek executives, including Rick Berman, Michael Piller, Ira Steven Behr, David Livingston, Ronald D. Moore, Peter Lauritson, René Echevarria, Steve Oster, and "Chief of Staff" Gene Roddenberry.

This Defiant has conflicting registry numbers. The dedication plaque on the bridge gave the registry as NCC-75633, but the plaque also contained the original name Sao Paulo (the first draft script of "The Dogs of War" also associated that registry number with the craft's original name). External CGI images seen in "The Dogs of War" and "What You Leave Behind" repeated the old registry of NX-74205 as a result of the extensive use of stock footage from earlier episodes, including "The Search, Part I", "Sacrifice of Angels", and "Tears of the Prophets". The new footage in "What You Leave Behind" continued to use NX-74205 for consistency. Memory Alpha uses the commissioning year to differentiate this ship from its predecessor.

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 Federation starship list of the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 328), the authors note that the new Defiant retained the same registry number as its destroyed predecessor.


In the comic book miniseries Star Trek: Divided We Fall and the relaunch novels set after "What You Leave Behind", the Defiant was depicted with the NX-74205 registry.

In Books One and Two of the duology Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Avatar, the first books in a series set after "What You Leave Behind", the Defiant was described as having been fitted with a new Romulan cloaking device, the Romulan Senate having recognized the strategic importance of the Defiant as the first line of defense against any future Dominion attack through the wormhole.

Avatar also depicts the Defiant in battle, defending DS9 from a group of rogue Jem'Hadar who attack the station, which at the time was undergoing a refit and was barely able to defend itself. The Defiant's commander, and DS9's recently acquired second in command, Tiris Jast, was killed in the attack, spurring Ezri Dax to take command. In a desperate attempt to stop the Jem'Hadar, Dax and Nog used the Defiant's warhead module – a last ditch weapon which fired the Defiant's nose section, containing the deflector and a complement of photon torpedoes.

In the next books, Abyss and Demons of Air and Darkness, the Defiant was commanded by DS9's new first officer, Elias Vaughn. Following on from those, in the four-book miniseries Mission Gamma, Vaughn commands the Defiant on a three-month voyage of exploration through the Gamma Quadrant.

The Sao Paulo was also a playable starship in the 2006 video game Star Trek: Legacy, for a level set in the year 2380, possibly indicating that after the war had ended, the ship reverted to its original name. It is equally possible that, due to the original Sao Paulo being immediately renamed Defiant, another Defiant-class vessel was named the Sao Paulo.

The Defiant was depicted in Star Trek Online as still in service in 2409, while also still attached to DS9. The ship appears in the missions "Assimilation of the Innocent", "The Tribble with Klingons" (removed in Season 11), "Spoils of War", "Jabberwocky", "Second Wave", "Boldly they Rode", and "Midnight", under the command of DS9's commander, Captain James Kurland. The Defiant's original christening USS Sao Paulo gives its name to an upgraded version of the vessel, the Sao Paulo-class, available in the game's store. In the "Victory is Life" expansion, the newly-reinstated Captain Kira Nerys is given command of the Defiant during the campaign against the Hur'q in the Gamma Quadrant.

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