The station was built by the Cardassians who called it Terok Nor when the Cardassians controlled Bajor. When the Cardassians left Bajor, they handed over Terok Nor who renamed it to their current name. One of the things that the Cardassians didn't do when they left was to deactivate all the security protocols. When Sisko tripped a security alarm, the Starfleet crew were unable to turn it off until Gul Dukat arrived on the station. Gul Dukat was the last Cardassian commander of the station. Civil Defence
The station is the first line of defence against enemies from the Gamma Quadrant in particular The Dominion. The Dominion is an alliance of races controlled by the Changelings that want to take control of the Alpha Quadrant.
In the first couple of series, the station is protected only by its lasers and small runabout crafts. In the third series, the station is handed the USS Defiant - NX-74205, a space ship that packs more punch that what it had been designed for. It was therefore surplus to requirements and therefore handed over to Deep Space Nine.
The station is not just for military use, there is a large number of civilians on board the station to. Quark, a Ferengi ran an entertainment establishment including bar and gambling whilst the Cardassians controlled the station. When Sisko took charge of the station, Sisko asked Quark to stay to entertain people.
At the top of each of each tower are docking bays. The USS Enterprise NCC 1701D is seen docked onto one of the bays in the first episode. The episode is a hand-over between the Next Generation and the Deep Space 9 series.
Whilst most of the episodes are based on the station, the crew and storyline does take them to planets. The prominent planets in the series are Bajor and Cardassia.
During the Dominion War, the Dominion were able to retake the station. Starfleet officers were forced to flee. Quark was one of the main characters to stay. The Ferengi were officially unaligned to the Federation so were not obliged to leave.
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