General USS Dragon History:
Odd as it may seem, history doesn't recall many vessels named the Dragon. The only official ships named Dragon are the recent Starfleet vessels.
The ship is named
after a majestic legendary creature, who's existence was never
officially confirmed nor denied.*
Although Starfleet's primary mission is still exploration, as
they expand their explorations into new, dangerous territories
and encounter new hostile civilizations, the need for heavily
armed vessels has become apparent. Like the mythological beings,
the Dragon has great destructive power, but also is much more
than a weapon.
USS Dragon NCC-27749
The USS Dragon was commissioned four years after the Enterprise-D was, in 2368, under the command of Captain Denise Bratar. It was originally designed to have two standard warp nacelles, as with any galaxy class starship. However, after a battle with two renegade Romulan Warbirds, it was heavily damaged. Despite the fact that it disabled the two Warbirds, it was so heavily damaged that it was towed back to Starbase 414, where it underwent extensive repairs and upgrades. Part of that upgrade was an experiment in which two nacelles were added directly below the original two, obviously changing the ship's dimensions.
In late 2371, half of a year after the Enterprise-D was destroyed, the Dragon was more or less decommissioned. Despite it's upgrades, it was sent to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone on a semi-permanent basis. It remained as border patrol even during the Domion war. It helped a Sovereign class starship persue a small group of Jem Hadar cruisers to the Wolf 359** system in 2375. As was later discovered, those particular stealth cruisers had been attempting to intercept the Federation President's space yacht and assasinate him. The Dragon and the Sovereign class USS Constable succeeded in destroying 8 of the warships, causing the others to run.
The Dragon remained
on border patrol until 2377, when it was lured into the Neutral
Zone by remnant Dominion forces. There, it was intercepted by
Romulan Warbirds and the stardrive section was destroyed. The
saucer was successful in crash landing on an M-class planet in
the Neutral Zone, but Captain Bratar was killed.
USS Dragon NCC-27749-A
The Dragon-A was originally going to be named the USS Sentinel, as the project name was The Sentinel Project. This basically represented the intention that the ship the project would produce would be totally self sufficient, able to stay in space, even in battle, for 10 years without any resupplying. Due to the USS Dragon destroying the last of the Jem Hadar cruisers at Wolf 359, the Sentinel project was renamed the Dragon project.
After much redesigning, construction of the first ship (still the Sentinel at the time) began 4 years before the first Sovereign vessel, in 2355. Because of the amount of design changes as well as the size of the ship, it was one of the longest construction projects in Starfleet's history.
The Dragon project had been kept a top priority secret. Despite the peace with the Klingons and virtually no contact with the Romulans, the project was originally meant to create a warship. When the Federation Council discovered this, it immediately disapproved. So the design specs were thrown out the air lock and designs for a self sufficient exploration vessel that was well armed began to be drawn.
The first stage of construction was building the construction facility, the Delta Construction Facility. It was a facility made to handle this project alone. After it was finished, it was sent into a very low orbit, synchronous to Earth's, around the Terran Sun***. This was to hide it from any enemy vessels that might somehow make it into the Terran system. No communications were ever sent out, only received, and those were the many design changes.
Finally, in the middle of 2377, the facility came out of its orbit (quite unexpectedly.) The technicians aboard stated that the first prototype ship, the USS Dragon-A, was completed. A crew was sent to the ship for a maiden test voyage, which actually proved to be a flawless one. The Facility technicians stated that this was due to the fact that they didn't come out of their orbit until everything was perfect. Only 4 months after the test flight was a crew finally assigned to it.
*Dragons are often thought as evil creatures, against all of humanity. It was often said that they would kill any humans they could! This is completely untrue. If any person with an open mind traces some old literature with Dragons, whether it be Oriental or English, you will find that they weren't evil creatures, or rather, not all of them. Just a few were evil.
**Astronomical fact: Wolf 359 is a Red Dwarf star approximately 7.6 Light years from Earth and is part of the Constellation Leo.
***The Terran Sun (Earth's Sun) is a yellow main-sequence, low-mass star. It is approximately 93 million miles from Earth.