The USS Rubicon (NCC-72936) was a 24th century Federation Danube-class runabout operated by Starfleet. This ship, a replacement for the USS Mekong, was assigned to Deep Space 9 in late 2371. Commander Benjamin Sisko suggested the name for the new runabout, to which Major Kira Nerys remarked that at the rate they went through runabouts it was a good thing Earth had so many rivers. (DS9: "Family Business")
In early 2372, the Rubicon, carrying Doctor Julian Bashir and Chief Miles O'Brien, was forced down on Bopak III by a subspace magneton pulse. It was discovered that the pulse had been sent by a group of Jem'Hadar on the planet's surface, who were seeking help to combat withdrawal symptoms from their ketracel-white addiction. After some unsuccessful attempts, they were allowed to leave. (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath")
On stardate 51474.2, the Rubicon was used to investigate a rare subspace compression anomaly. Due to unexpected circumstances, the Rubicon, with a crew of three (Dax, O'Brien, and Bashir), was forced to re-enter normal space by an alternate path, resulting in the vessel shrinking to a length of 6.5 centimeters. It was later safely reverted to its original size after helping to thwart a Jem'Hadar takeover of the USS Defiant. (DS9: "One Little Ship")
|Danube-class: USS Gander • USS Ganges • USS Mekong • USS Orinoco • USS Rio Grande • USS Rubicon • USS Shenandoah • USS Volga • USS Yangtzee Kiang • USS Yukon • NCC-73918 • Unnamed|
|Yellowstone-class: USS Yellowstone|
After Sisko tells Kira Nerys to name the ship the Rubicon, Kira remarks that "at the rate we go through runabouts, it's a good thing Earth has a lot of rivers." This was the first dialogue reference to the fact that all the runabouts seen on Star Trek were named after Earth rivers.
The Rubicon was introduced after the Mekong was abandoned in battle in "The Die is Cast". "The Die is Cast" was the phrase said to be uttered by Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon. The Rubicon was Deep Space 9's longest serving runabout after the USS Rio Grande.
The Rubicon was used by Benjamin Sisko and Elim Garak to travel to Earth in the novel Hollow Men. The Rubicon was still in service in 2383, at the time of the Star Trek: Typhon Pact novel Raise the Dawn.