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Within the last eight years, since the Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual was published, we have witnessed many additions to the Star Trek universe, including the birth of two new television series, a traveling exhibition, a Las Vegas attraction, and four more Star Trek feature films. The television shows alone have added many new volumes to the library of Star Trek data, and at the beginning of this new technical manual project for Deep Space Nine, we were faced with an imposing collection of new characters, races, spacecraft, weapons, and political crises in the galaxy. Not only did we compile blueprints and technical data for the space station and its systems, but we needed to sift through six seasons of material on the Starfleet runabouts, the U.S.S. Defiant, and the myriad Cardassian, Bajoran, Ferengi, Klingon, Jem'Hadar, and even Romulan ships and devices. The manual could not focus simply on the physical space station, but needed to include the races struggling to control it. By comparison, the illustrations and text required in this new volume made field-stripping the Galaxy-class U.S.S. Enterprise look like a walk in the park. We still don't know everything there is to know about that ship, either.
Much of this book is an exercise in comparisons and contrasts, and we hope it will be as interesting for the reader to discover them as it was for us. In a way, we were looking at some of the equipment and procedures as if we were Starfleet intelligence analysts, poking around inside Cardassian and Jem'Hadar technology. As before, we wanted to give some idea of what might lay behind the wall panels and bulkheads, inthe case of the unseen hardware, and to expand a bit on the structures we've seen each week. While the advances in computer-generated imagery, miniature construction, and video compositing have enabled us to see strange and wonderful objects in the world of Deep Space 9, we wanted to show some of the things only hinted at in the episodes.
We would like to believe that the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual helped our writers and entertained our readers by generating new technological concepts or elaborating on established ones. We also want to emphasize that, like that earlier work, this book should not be viewed as a constraint on the writers or anyone else who wants to create Star Trek stories. We have learned over the years that structures and systems are remarkably flexible; we can replace a torpedo warhead or build a new cargo bay with a few keystrokes. True, hundreds of episodes have been added to the history, but there are still many more tales to be told in a galaxy as large as the Milky Way.
It is our wish that this new manual serves to show that there really is more than one solution to a design problem, and that differences in hardware -- or people -- should not become an impediment to their working together. By the time you read this, if all has gone according to plan, the first elements of the International Space Station (ISS) will already be in Earth orbit, built and crewed by different cultures, almost four hundred years ahead of Deep Space 9. By 2004, the ISS promises to be the largest and heaviest structure ever assembled in space and the brightest object in the night sky. We know for a fact that many people responsible for designing and building this space station have followed Star Trek, in its various incarnations, for over thirty years, and have derived at least a modicum of inspiration from its stories of exploration, scientific discovery, and contact.