The first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s seventh and final season called for a large Cardassian shipyard that would appear just twice in the show.
Illustrator John Eaves came up with a vast installation reminiscent of Deep Space Nine itself before a less ambitious, but more sprawling design was chosen.
The first drafts for the “Monac Shipyards” — named after special-effects supervisor Gary Monak — came from Greg Jein, who was filling in for Eaves when Deep Space Nine was on hiatus during the summer of 1998.
“He was thrown into a concept nightmare with this Cardassian shipyard that was going through some pretty rough approval sessions,” Eaves wrote on his blog in 2009.
“Greg’s pieces were brilliant,” he added, “with sweeping platforms and docks full of ships under construction. All were getting the boot, but in the long run a kluge of his work came to be the final design.”
Eaves chose something different, “a spinoff from DS9 architecture stylized to be a huge shipyard.” The idea was probably too big for “Image in the Sand”, which was scheduled to air on September 30, 1998. It was rejected — “but made for a fun marker sketch,” according to Eaves.
The computer model of the final shipyard, which was destroyed in the episode “Shadows and Symbols”, would turn up again in “Tacking Into the Wind”, when it became a Kelvas repair facility without its docking arms, and in the season finale “What You Leave Behind”, where it was spotted orbitting Cardassia, this time with the docking arms.
The design even made it into another series. In Star Trek: Enterprise’s “Bounty”, it became a Tellarite space station. It has three docking arms there but lacked the more detailed features that were originally put into the design.