Variations of the Runabout Interior
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
The Danube-class runabout first appeared in DS9: "Emissary". Over the years its cockpit was remodeled several times, most notably between the 4th and the 5th season of DS9. The runabout, including its flight deck set, also appeared in TNG: "Timescape" and in VOY: "Non Sequitur". In addition, the interior was slightly redressed three times to act as Chakotay's ship, as vessels of the Mirror Universe and as the "Insurrection" shuttlecraft.
Our article analyzes the appearances of the runabout cockpit episode by episode. We pinpoint the times when redresses of the set must have taken place or were reverted. While the focus is on the cockpit, we also have a look at the aft section. It was shown prominently only in TNG: "Timescape", but there are also a less obvious sighting in DS9.
All variations have in common that they are largely symmetrical, with at most small consoles differing between the port and the starboard side.
The cockpit retains its original look throughout the first season, with only some minor changes until TNG: "Timescape".
We also get a good impression of the leading end of the cockpit. We can see the windows, the pilot's controls and the rear sides of the chairs, with three tubes between the head rests and the back rests. This will be modified in the course of the series, as well as the consoles in the forward portion of the cockpit. On the very left and very right side beside the chairs we can make out two oblong horizontal black areas. These will change as well. We can still notice in this episode that the two oval side windows are transparent, while they will increasingly often be covered in later appearances of the runabout.
We can see only a bit of the inner side of the inner door, which will be better visible in later episodes. However, the aforementioned X-shaped struts are not yet illuminated here. The red area behind the raised struts seems to have a stripe pattern, which is subject to change just as well.
Finally, we get an impression of the door that leads to the aft section of the runabout. This one is similar to the lateral door and has X-shaped struts as well. It can be found in the middle behind the transporter platform. Behind Dax in her chair, at the port side, we can make out a rectangular black frame on the side wall of the transporter console. This space is still empty. Later in the series a deepening to store phasers and ultimately a small replicator can be found in this place.
two different runabouts: O'Brien and Sisko are on the Ganges, Kira and Tahna Los on the Yangtzee Kiang. The only small difference between the interiors of the two vessels can be found in the lighting of the side doors. On the Yangtzee Kiang, the X-shaped reinforcements are not lighted, as its was the case already in "Emissary". On the Ganges the struts are illuminated for the first time. Furthermore, between the two big cockpit windows there is a hidden console that can be moved up. A red button serves to launch the bomb. The console, however, was visible already in "Emissary".
A noticeable difference can be found behind the transporter console. While there used to be a door in "Emissary", both ships in "Past Prologue" have a pentagonal cavity in this place, holding a number of small consoles and printed circuit-like power conduits. Tahna Los uses this access point to install his bomb. Actually, on the two shuttles there are no doors at all that would allow to enter the aft section, not even on either side of the new console! On both runabouts we can also see two new deepenings on either front side of the transporter side wall, holding phasers. In "Emissary" there was just a frame around this area. We can have a good look at the transporter platform itself, including its white illumination on the inside.
The next appearance of the runabout set is in "Babel". Once again we can see the pentagonal cavity in the rear wall and the small phaser shelves, and no door leading aft. On the side wall it can be noticed that the window is still open and that the oblong black bar is dark. But that is already all we can see of the flight deck.
For the first time we can see how someone opens the floor hatch that that is located in front of the transporter platform. The hatch is pentagonal. It appears to be quite heavy and is affixed to the floor with a hinge joint. It flips open rearward. Furthermore, we can see the illuminated X-struts in the side doors as well as the white light inside the transporter platform in this episode. In this episode it does not become evident what is located behind the transporter platform. The phaser cavities are still there, but without the phasers.
When Sisko exits from the runabout we can see across the otherwise dark cockpit that the "X" on the door on the opposite side is accordingly illuminated too. Earlier in the episode, we can watch people that walk directly from the station's hatch into the shuttle. Hence, the complete flight deck set (and not just a door) must have been docked to the docking hatch set.
However, we are shown for the first time the function of the lateral black bars. They serve to indicate red alert, in a rather obtrusive fashion.
More interestingly, we get to see the outer hull of the crashed shuttle (which normally appears in the form of a miniature only). Below the side window there is an emergency exit hatch that Bashir blows off. Furthermore, the warp nacelle that was ripped off is totally wrong and was taken from a Type-6 shuttlecraft.
Doug Drexler: "Yeah, I remember it clearly. We all knew it was wrong. We pointed it out, but the feeling was that it was general texture, and the camera would never see it. Ha,ha!"
There is nothing new in this episode, other than that we can see the new LCARS console on the opposite starboard side too.
The features that have remained the same since the last appearance include the formerly black bar with the new LCARS interface on both sides, the lighting of the transporter platform, the open windows and the illumination of the X-struts. The phaser storage is empty, but the simple deepening is given more contrast using the famous black tape stripes. It is the first time since "Emissary" that we can have a good look at the forward portion of the cockpit from behind. It seems unchanged, including the red button console from "Past Prologue".
The flight deck now has a central door in its rear portion through which the crew enter the aft section of the runabout. It is overall identical to the one see in "Emissary" and "The Passenger", but does not have the lateral illumination of the preceding episodes. We can see this part of the set with an opened and with a closed door. It is possible to walk to the left and to the right after passing the door; the straight direction is obstructed by a wall. Quite obviously there is no long corridor, as this would have required to attach the new aft section directly to the cockpit set. The new wall appears to be the same that used to be in place of the door in some episodes, but now moved about half a meter rearward.
The door in the aft section of the runabout is identical, only flanked by two fluorescent tubes. Behind the opened door we can see the probably same pentagonal cavity that can be passed by on the left or on the right side, which of course is meant to be on the other side now, facing aft.
As already mentioned, in "Timescape" we see the aft section of the runabout for the first time. As we exit through the rear door of the cockpit, there are sleep compartments on either side. These were later re-used for the interior of the Defiant. Upon entering the aft compartment, there is a replicator on the right side and a computer console on the left side. There are five upright windows at the aft end, which correspond with those on the runabout model. In the middle of the room there is an oblong table and four chairs, the same that will later appear in Voyager's conference room.
Aside from the new compartment, the most important change to the flight deck set is that the former rear wall of the set with the cavity can now be found behind the rear door, which will be like this on the DS9 runabouts as well.
In season 2 the cockpit retains the recessed aft wall behind the door as it appeared in TNG: "Timescape" (at least in most of the episodes).
This episode shows the cockpit set from an unusual perspective, as we can look inside through the open lateral window. There are no recognizable changes to the set.
Nothing has changed in this episode. We can clearly see the lateral door, still with red stripes and with the illumination of the "X".
This is the first time that we can make out a small control interface on the forward starboard side of the transporter console. Otherwise the cockpit remains unchanged. The transporter console is still white on the inside, with a grille in front of the fluorescent tubes. Furthermore, we can see that the door to the aft compartment is shut again, not revealing the wall that should be in the corridor behind it.
The perhaps most significant change, however, is that the windows are barred for the first time. The main reason is that it saves costs in the post production if no stars have to be inserted. The window is covered by simple beige panels of the same color as the walls. The lateral interfaces in the forward portion of the cockpit are unchanged. The X-struts in the door are lighted. The lateral black panels are not permanently illuminated, however.
In this episode the windows are open again. Otherwise there is nothing special.
The Maquis, Part I
The doors are open again, revealing the wall with the cavity.
The Maquis, Part II
Later on, Sisko and Dukat take the Rio Grande, whose windows are open as well. Kira and Dax, on the other hand, are on the Orinoco, and Bashir and O'Brien on the Mekong. On the two latter vessels the windows are covered with the beige panel.
The aft end is unchanged since "Tribunal". This is another episode with more than one runabout, which differ in their windows but also in the door to the aft section. Sisko, Jake and O'Brien take the Rio Grande to the planet. The door is open and we see the familiar pentagonal console. The windows are open. On the Orinoco with Bashir and Kira the windows are closed with the new cover and the rear door is open. On the Mekong, finally, with Dax and Odo the windows are closed as is the rear door.
The Rio Grande reveals a modification to the lower console between the pilots' seats. Here we can see a terminal holding a couple of isolinear chips. We can see a floor hatch again, but with a different shape than in "Q-less".
Also in this episode, we can see how Jake and Nog enter and exit from the runabout. It seems that, as already in "The Siege", the runabout set was not combined with the station's docking set, which facilitates the production of the episode.
After an appearance in VOY: "Caretaker" the runabout flight deck was significantly remodeled for the first time, prior to the first appearance in the third season of DS9. Many of the consoles were replaced with new, more sophisticated looking ones. The basic floorplan of the set remained the same, but there are a couple of changes that will gradually become apparent in the episodes of season 3.
VOY: Caretaker (as Maquis raider)
Overall, the changes look extensive, but they mostly consisted of add-ons that could probably be removed rather easily. Only the front consoles retained their look when the set was turned into the runabout cockpit again.
Heart of Stone
We can also notice that the two side doors have been changed. The filling between the beige struts is not striped anymore, but solid red. In addition, two horizontal lamps were installed, which can be seen better in later episodes. The side windows appear to be unchanged. In "Heart of Stone" the rear door is closed. The transporter platform seems to be still unchanged.
We can also have a look at the console area of the runabout. The most noticeable change is that the chairs were modified. The tubes and other attachments were removed, making the seats overall more simplistic. This may have been already the case in "Heart of Stone". In front of O'Brien we can see the new consoles.
The new horizontal lamps can be found above the side doors. The small replicator in the front wall of the transporter platform is still there. In addition, there are two silver handles on either side of the replicator, which are shown more clearly in later episodes.
Through the Looking Glass (as Terran raider)
The Die is Cast
The only change in this episodes (showing the very same shuttle on the way back from the very same mission) is that the windows are open now.
VOY: Non Sequitur (as Yellowstone class)
Not much happened with the cockpit prior to season 4.
As already in "Q-less", O'Brien is working on a hatch in the floor. Its position is still the same, but instead of flipping it open this hatch can be completely removed. The circuitry underneath the hatch has changed as well.
Sword of Kahless
The old recessed window cover is back in this episode. The door is initially closed, and when it opens we can recognize the pentagonal console in the wall behind it. Otherwise there is nothing different here.
Our Man Bashir
Sons of Mogh
Here we can see again what the unobstructed view outside the windows should be like. The door is closed. The actual set is unchanged.
The set is still identical. The windows are barred.
Shattered Mirror (as Peregrine class)
Once again the whole set was redressed for a totally different vessel, this time for a Peregrine-class fighter. The set is overall similar to the one from "Through the Looking Glass", including the excessive black lining and the 23rd century-style consoles. The ceiling lamps, however, are not red here but the "X" on the side doors is lighted red. Once again the windows were covered, with what looks like molten consoles.
For season 5 the cockpit was once again extensively rebuilt, for the first time since season 3. This time especially the rear portion of the set was modified, whereas the area around the seats and consoles remained untouched.
The first time that these changes appear is in DS9: "The Ship", but the scenes are so blurry that we don't see too much of them.
Nor the Battle to the Strong
The transporter platform was moved from the front section of the cockpit to the area behind the rear door. The door was widened and is (at least in this episode) permanently open. The two monitors that are located on either side of the door in the rear wall were modified as well. The right one now displays a view of the runabout, while the left one has a new LCARS interface. In the former place of the transporter console there is a new separate console, that allows to pass on the left or the right (easier than with the transporter in that place). On either side of the transporter platform there are narrow doors that allow access to the aft compartment. The transporter platform is open only on the front side, the rear panel is illuminated. The LCARS panels on the transporter and the two replicators still exist, only the handles were removed. From now, the cockpit windows are mostly barred.
Without further modifications we can see this new cockpit in "The Assignment", "Let He Who Is Without Sin", "Things Past", "The Ascent", "The Darkness and the Light", "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light", "Blaze of Glory" and "Empok Nor". In all these episodes the windows are covered and the door is open.
The Darkness and the Light
We can see for the first time that on the side walls behind the new big opening at the aft end, there are large LCARS panels. These look different in almost each episode.
In Purgatory's Shadow
Blaze of Glory
Nothing exciting happens with the cockpit in season 6. The windows are always barred. The big red door is mostly open, except for "Valiant".
One Little Ship
Change of Heart
This episode allows us to look outside through the lateral door.
There is also a blooper in this episode, albeit not a very obvious one. When Jake's and Nog's runabout is being pursued by the Jem'Hadar, the two are shown head on, from the area of the windshield. The window pane including the central strut, which is normally located just forward of the trapezoid panel, has been removed for this take. Otherwise the latter would have obstructed the view. We can still see the contours of the junction with makeshift paint.
Star Trek: Insurrection (as Enterprise-E shuttle)
The window frames were removed and replaced with different ones matching the outside view of the shuttle. The two side windows were covered with consoles. The wall is continuous where the big door opening used to be on the runabout. A transporter platform is now located here. There are still LCARS displays on the left and on the right, but with different graphics. The consoles underneath the front windows are similar as those of the runabout though. Overall, the new cockpit was given much darker, earthy colors. The chairs are still the same.
For this season the cockpit was reconstructed and repainted to its previous appearance. The front end is the same again as already in season 5. The windows are always closed in season 7. There are once again different LCARS panels on the two side walls behind the big central door.
Treachery, Faith and the Great River
Here we can see for the second time (since "Valiant") how the large door at the rear end opens and closes.
In this episode the pentagonal console makes another appearance behind the runabout's entrance hatch.
What You Leave Behind
This is the last appearance of the runabout, and we can also see the out of place pentagonal wall behind the entrance hatch for a last time.
The following images illustrate the basic configuration of the runabout before and since season 5, when the transporter was moved behind the rear door.
Here is an annotated list of all appearances of the runabout set:
|Episode||Name||Window cover||Rear door||Pentagonal console||Annotations|
|"Emissary"||Rio Grande & Yangtzee Kiang||Open||Closed||-||-|
|"Past Prologue"||Ganges & Yangtzee Kiang||Open||-||Yes||Phaser shelf|
|"The Passenger"||Rio Grande||Open||Closed||-||Phaser shelf empty|
|"Vortex"||Ganges & Rio Grande||Open||-||Yes||Red alert in long black area|
|"Battle Lines"||Rio Grande & Yangtzee Kiang||Open||-||Yes||Exit hatch, wrong warp nacelle|
|"The Storyteller"||-||Open||-||Yes||Small LCARS console in long black area|
|TNG: "Timescape"||-||Open||Sometimes open, sometimes closed||Behind door||Aft compartment visible, modified phaser shelf|
|"The Homecoming"||-||Open||-||Probably behind door||Console replaces phaser shelf|
|"The Siege"||-||-||-||Laterally behind docking hatch||-|
|"Melora"||Orinoco & Rio Grande||Open||-||Behind open door and docking hatch||Pentagonal console supplemented, modifications to lower cockpit console|
|"Armageddon Game"||Ganges & Rio Grande||Open||Closed||-||Transporter control interface on the right|
|"Whispers"||Rio Grande||Beige, barred||-||Behind open door||Replicator, transporter control interface left and right|
|"Paradise"||Orinoco & Rio Grande||Beige, barred||-||Behind open door||Replicator replaced with interface|
|"Playing God"||Mekong & Rio Grande||Beige, barred||Closed||-||Replicator on both sides, both interfaces gone|
|"The Maquis I"||-||Beige, barred||-||Behind open door||-|
|"The Maquis II"||Mekong & Rio Grande||Open||-||-||-|
|"Crossover"||-||New red cover||-||Flush in door frame||-|
|"Tribunal"||-||Open||-||Behind open door||-|
|"The Jem’Hadar"||Mekong||Red, barred||Closed||-||-|
|Orinoco||Red, barred||-||Behind open door||-|
|Rio Grande||Open||-||Behind open door||-|
|VOY: "Caretaker"||Maquis raider||Covered with screen, later open||-||-||Doors and transporter console covered, detail changes|
|"Heart of Stone"||Mekong||Open||Closed||-||New consoles, silver handle on transporter wall|
|"Visionary"||-||Open?||-||Behind open door||-|
|"Through the Looking Glass"||Mirror Universe assault ship||Behind console||-||-||-|
|"Improbable Cause"||Mekong||Red, barred||Closed||-||-|
|"The Die is Cast"||Mekong||Open||-||-||-|
|"Facets"||-||-||-||Behind open door?||-|
|VOY: "Non Sequitur"||Yellowstone||Red, barred||Closed||-||-|
|"The Visitor"||-||-||-||-||Aft section visible|
|"Hippocratic Oath"||Rubicon||Red, barred||Closed||-||Floor hatch new LCARS above replicator|
|"Indiscretion"||Rio Grande||White, barred||Closed||-||-|
|"The Sword of Kahless"||Rio Grande||Red, barred||Sometimes open, sometimes closed||Behind door||-|
|"Our Man Bashir"||Orinoco||Open||Closed||-||Strange struts behind the lateral windows|
|"Sons of Mogh"||Yukon||Open||Closed||-||-|
|"Hard Time"||-||Red, barred||Closed||Behind docking hatch||-|
|"Shattered Mirror"||Mirror Universe Peregrine class||Covered by burnt out console||-||-||-|
|"The Quickening"||-||Red, barred||Closed||-||-|
|"The Ship"||-||Red, barred||Open||-||New area behind sets|
|"Nor the Battle to the Strong"||-||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"The Assignment"||Rio Grance||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"Let He Who Is Without Sin"||-||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"Things Past"||-||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"The Ascent"||-||Red, barred||Open||-||New rear floor hatch|
|"The Darkness and the Light"||-||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"In Purgatory’s Shadow"||-||Red, barred||Open||Behind docking hatch||Goof when Garak enters through a non-existing door|
|"By Inferno’s Light"||Yukon & Rio Grande||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"Blaze of Glory"||-||Red, barred||Open||Behind Jefferies tube||New Jefferies tube|
|"Empok Nor"||-||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"One Little Ship"||Rubicon||Red, barred||Open||-||Barred front windows|
|"Change of Heart"||Shenandoah||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"Valiant"||Shenandoah||Red, barred||Sometimes open, sometimes closed||-||-|
|"Star Trek: Insurrection"||Enterprise-E shuttle||Hidden behind console||Transporter console hides door||-||-|
|"Shadows and Symbols"||-||Red, barred||Open||-||-|
|"Treachery, Faith and the Great River"||Rio Grande||Red, barred||Sometimes open, sometimes closed||-||-|
|"Prodigal Daughter"||-||-||-||Behind docking hatch||-|
|"Chimera"||-||Red, barred||Open||New ventilation opening||-|
|"Penumbra"||Gander||Red, barred||Open||-||Floor hatch|
|"When it Rains..."||-||Red, barred||-||-||-|
|"Tacking into the Wind"||-||Red, barred||Sometimes open, sometimes closed||-||-|
|"What You Leave Behind"||-||-||-||Behind docking hatch||-|
Re-Used Shuttle Interiors - runabout interiors, other shuttle cockpits
Thanks to Alex who spotted the goof in "Valiant".