The USS Orinoco was a 24th century Federation Danube-class runabout operated by Starfleet. This ship, a replacement for USS Yangtzee Kiang, was assigned to Deep Space 9. It was outfitted with a sensor pod during most of its missions.
In 2370, the Orinoco was assigned to Deep Space 9, meant as a replacement for the previously destroyed USS Yangtzee Kiang. It was used to evacuate the station of all non-Bajoran personnel. (DS9: "The Siege")
During a plasma disruption that forced the evacuation of DS9, the Orinoco was at Landing Pad C in case the skeleton crew had to leave in a hurry. Later, Verad planned to use the runabout to make his escape. (DS9: "Invasive Procedures")
Lieutenant Jadzia Dax and Ensign Melora Pazlar used the Orinoco to travel to the Gamma Quadrant where they conducted a survey of an unknown sector of space. The runabout was later hijacked by Fallit Kot, but Melora was able to subdue him by deactivating the artificial gravity. (DS9: "Melora")
Shortly after stardate 47573.1, Major Kira Nerys and Jadzia used the Orinoco to track down the USS Rio Grande, which had been reported traveling at warp 2, unpiloted, in Sector 401. When the Orinoco caught up with the Rio Grande, Dax used an old "Hopi rope-trick" with the Orinoco's tractor beam to force the Rio Grande out of warp. The Orinoco was later towed back to the Orellius system by the Rio Grande. (DS9: "Paradise")
Later, on stardate 47603.3, Jadzia and Odo used the Orinoco to investigate a particle field in the Gamma Quadrant. They later detected omicron particles from Rurigan's hologenerator. (DS9: "Shadowplay")
Later that year, the Orinoco, the Rio Grande, and the USS Mekong held a defensive position meant to prevent the Maquis from attacking Bryma, a Cardassian colony in the Demilitarized Zone. Kira and Dax piloted the Orinoco during the blockade. The Orinoco was attacked by one of the Maquis ships and had its sensor pod destroyed, as well as its navigational array damaged. Chief O'Brien, aboard the Mekong, later assisted in the repairs of the Orinoco. (DS9: "The Maquis, Part II")
In late 2370, Chief O'Brien outfitted the Orinoco with extra banks of photon torpedoes. It was piloted by Kira and Doctor Julian Bashir while it assisted the USS Odyssey during its rescue attempt of Commander Benjamin Sisko, who was being held prisoner by the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant. During the ensuing battle, the Orinoco helped lay down covering fire for the nearly-disabled Mekong, and later attempted to intercept the kamikaze Jem'Hadar attack ship that destroyed the Odyssey. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar")
|Danube-class: USS Gander • USS Ganges • USS Mekong • USS Orinoco • USS Rio Grande • USS Rubicon • USS Shenandoah • USS Volga • USS Yangtzee Kiang • USS Yukon • NCC-73918 • Unnamed|
|Yellowstone-class: USS Yellowstone|
Background information Edit
The Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 112) listed this runabout with registry number NCC-72905. The reference work stated that the Orinoco was named after the Orinoco river which, with a length of 2,410 kilometers, was one of the largest rivers of South America.
In a draft of "In the Hands of the Prophets", O'Brien looks for evidence that someone has tampered with the Orinoco with the intent of stealing it at a later time. (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
In an article in Billboard in June 1994, an article writer speculated that the Orinoco might have also been named after Orinoco Flow, a song by Enya: ""According to those who should know, Enya may remain on the chart well into the 24th century. One of the runabouts on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" is named the Orinoco. Yes, it's after the river, but surely the writers were inspired by Enya's first Hot 100 single, 'Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)'". 
In 1994, Playmates Toys issued a toy runabout Orinoco along with their line of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures. The Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection released the Orinoco as the Danube-class model of the magazine.