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"She may have flaws, but she has teeth."
The USS Defiant (NX-74205) was a Federation Defiant-class escort that was in service with Starfleet in the late 24th century. The Defiant was one of at least three Federation starships to bear the name, and the prototype for her class of starship.
Development on the Defiant began around 2366 in response to the Borg threat. Although officially classified as an escort vessel, the Defiant was nothing less than Starfleet's first design of warship; intended to fight, and ultimately defeat, the Borg. The vessel featured minimal equipment for scientific research and was not designed to accommodate families. (DS9: "The Search, Part I")
Launched in 2370, on stardate 47538.5, from the Antares Ship Yards, the Defiant's trial runs did not end well for Starfleet. 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. (Defiant dedication plaque; DS9: "The Search, Part I")
Service at Deep Space 9
After the destruction of the USS Odyssey 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 the new Dominion threat. 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 installed one of their cloaking devices aboard the vessel to aid in its mission - in exchange for any intelligence gained on the Dominion. (DS9: "The Search, Part I")
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 the 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 Cardassian's 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")
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")
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. Despite 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 to bring the Detapa Council to Deep Space 9, once briefly using its tractor beam as a 'substitute' shield to protect it from enemy fire when it was forced to drop its usual 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 starship. 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, 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 on route, the Defiant was forced to engage the USS Lakota under the command of Captain Erika Benteen; who was operating under the assumption that the Defiant was manned by Changelings. The Lakota eventually stood down when Benteen refused orders to destroy the Defiant, which 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 was unmanned. (DS9: "Rules of Engagement")
After an attack on DS9 by Jem'Hadar rebels, the Defiant pursued their vessel into the Gamma Quadrant. After rescuing the crew of a disabled Jem'Hadar fighter, the crews of the Defiant and the fighter 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 Founder's 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 to the 23rd century, where it encountered the original USS Enterprise during its visit to Deep Space K-7 in 2268. The 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 participated in the Battle of Sector 001 in mid-2373. The Defiant assaulted the invading Borg cube from the Typhon sector to Earth and took severe damage. As Worf was about to order the ship to ram the cube, the USS Enterprise-E rescued the vessel's survivors. 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. Following these events, the Defiant was repaired and returned to DS9. (Star Trek: First Contact; 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 planets 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 Yedrin Dax was setting up the original Defiant to crash. The crew eventually planned to allow this event to take place, but was stopped by the elder-Odo living on the surface, who changed the ship's flight plan so that it would avoid the distortion that would send 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 successfully deploy the mine field and evacuate Deep Space 9'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. 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 combined efforts of the Defiant crew and the USS Rubicon, the vessel 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. Cusak's 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. It was the crew of the Defiant that found a way to disable the 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 the houdinis that were plaguing the 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")
Later that year, the Dominion, along with their new Breen allies, retook the Chin'toka system with the Second Battle of Chin'toka. The Defiant was among the 311 ships destroyed in the battle. (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. (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 Subcommander 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
- 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. The vessel was manned by station personnel; its crew complement, as well as their assignments, often varied by mission.
- Commanding officer
- Executive officer / Tactical officer
- Chief engineer
- Chief medical officer
- Science Officer
- Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax (2371-2374)
- Security chief
- Counselor/Communications Officer
- Additional personnel
The Defiant appears in all Deep Space Nine episode title sequences starting with Season 4 and beyond.
- "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 main reason for the creation of the Defiant was that Ira Steven Behr and the writers felt that 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. As Behr explains, "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 states, "We needed a ship that would give the writers the opportunity to have more direct conflict." (USS Defiant, DS9 Season 3 DVD special features)
Ronald D. Moore originally wanted to call the Defiant the USS Valiant, but was unable to, as the USS Voyager also began with a "V". It was three years before Moore was able to name a ship Valiant. The USS Valiant appears in the sixth season episode "Valiant".
Rick Berman was originally against the idea of the ship having a cloaking device because one of the tenets of Gene Roddenberry's universe was that Starfleet "did not believe in sneaking around." However, Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe were able 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. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
Early drafts of the script of Star Trek: First Contact suggested that the Defiant was to be destroyed in the Battle of Sector 001. In the DVD commentary for the film, First Contact co-writer and Deep Space Nine producer Ronald D. Moore said that Deep Space Nine's Executive Producer Ira Steven Behr had seen the script and objected to the needless destruction of his ship in a story that didn't even involve the Deep Space Nine characters (apart from Worf). It would also prove to be inconvenient for the television show, so the Defiant was eventually allowed to survive the battle, and a line suggesting that the Defiant was "adrift, but salvageable" was added to clear up any ambiguity. No reference to the damage the Defiant received during the battle 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").
Models of the Defiant have been made by AMT/Ertl, Galoob's Star Trek Micro Machines range, and by Furuta. Corgi planned to release a model of the Defiant in 2007, however this was canceled. In 2008, the Japanese toy company F-Toys released a model of the Defiant, as well as a transparent "cloaked" version.
The USS Defiant could be seen in the Discovery Science program Ultra Science (an episode about time travel).
In the video game Star Trek: Encounters, the Defiant appears in the 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 the 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 T'Uerell 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.
- USS Defiant (NX-74205) at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- USS Defiant at Wikipedia
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