The economy in Trek is still a mystery. Officially, the Federation is a post-scarcity society with no money. People don’t work for money, they work because they enjoy it. That’s why they join Starfleet and that’s why Joseph Sisko has a fully staffed restaurant that apparently does not charge for its services, which in turn indicates that they don’t have to pay for groceries and stuff.
On the other hand, Starfleet officers seem to always have latinum available for gambling and other stuff. I’ve always imagined that the Federation supplies Starfleet officers operating in deep space with sort of an allowance.
This to me indicates that the whole “post-scarcity” society only exists in the core Federation, and the further towards the fringes you go, the less post-scarce society gets. Think of failed Federation colonies, such as the homeworld of Tasha Yar. A far cry from earth to be sure.
So playing on a Starbase in the heart of the Federation would not be optimal. DS9 means “deep space” and I think this is an important aspect of the feeling. You never know what wacky alien might march in to try to sell their strange goods and services. I don’t think it is important if the station is Federation or Bajoran.
If I were to make such a setting, there are some points I would consider:
- The starbase is located in deep space
- It needs a strong Ferengi presence
- It needs to be located somewhere where it attracts travelers or business
The starbase could be located at the border of an anomaly. Maybe a dangerous nebula were the Federation has mapped out a safe path which essentially routes all traffic in the sector through this starbase.
Also I find it nice if you have some other power nearby, which regularly bully the starbase. Maybe the starbase is not the most important one in the Federation, as such they have to make due with what they have.