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The Bajoran/Federation outpost Deep Space Nine has several Federation runabout vessels assigned to it. One of them, either the Ganges or the Rio Grande, can occasionally be seen with a device attached to the top of the vessel. Here is a screenshot showing the runabout in question beside another one without the device:

enter image description here

Does anyone know what this device is or why only one runabout has it?

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According to this fan site, as well as the Memory Alpha Wikia site, they are known as “Mission Specific” pods and based on these specs (by Eric Kristiansen from 1994 it seems) they appear to be interchangable pods that each provide different additional functionality to a “Danube Class” runabout. Images below.

In the case of the Memory Alpha Wikia site, further details come from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual and it is stated:

“The runabout's modular platform allowed easy configuration for a multitude of missions. Two such modules were the mission module and sensor pod. The runabout could carry four different sizes of mission modules.”

Blueprint of a“Danube Class” runabout.

Found another image online that—again—seems fan made but uses the same classification:

Technical image of a “Danube Class” runabout.

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  • For the record, the uppermost image is from this group of non-canon fan blueprints; cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/jac-danube-class.php – Valorum Mar 22 '18 at 21:03
  • @Valorum Yes, that is the first link in my answer. – Giacomo1968 Mar 22 '18 at 23:14
  • In my opinion, you should have also included the words "entirely made up by a fan" somewhere in your description of that source. Or possibly "completely speculative". Something of that ilk – Valorum Mar 22 '18 at 23:29
  • @Valorum I added the word “fan” to make it now read: “According to this fan site…” – Giacomo1968 Mar 22 '18 at 23:39
  • “they are known as “Mission Specific” pods” — they’re literally whatever the plot requires them to be! – Paul D. Waite Mar 23 '18 at 10:02

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