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Dominion War
USS Majestic hit.jpg
Scene from "Sacrifice of Angels"
Depictions
The pinnacle conflict of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Canon information
Date 2373-2375
Location Alpha, Beta and Gamma Quadrants
Result Alliance victory

Dominion compelled into armistice Destruction of Cardassian Union

Belligerents
Federation Alliance
Dominion
Commanders
Vice Admiral William Ross
Captain Benjamin Sisko
Col./Comm. Kira Nerys
Chancellor Gowron 
General/Chancellor Martok
Praetor Neral
General Velal
Legate Corat Damar  
The Female Changeling #
Weyoun 
Gul Skrain Dukat 
Legate Corat Damar (later defected to Alliance)
Legate Broca 
Thot Gor
Thot Pran
Strength
Near total utilization of Federation, Klingon and Romulan military resources Unknown number of Breen, Cardassian, and Dominion ships. At least 30,000 after the entry of the breen to the war.
Casualties
Extreme military casualties and the Maquis Extreme military casualties and at least 800 million[1] Cardassian civilians

In the fictional Star Trek universe, the Dominion War is an interplanatery conflict held between the Dominion, Cardassian Union and later the Breen Confederacy against the Alpha Quadrant alliance of the United Federation of Planets, Klingon Empire, and later, the Romulan Star Empire. This conflict is notable for being the major ongoing concept in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and also for the fact that despite generally suffering ratings, episodes which focus on the conflict are some of the highest rated in the series.[2] The Dominion War is also notable for being the first narrative in the Star Trek universe to reveal significant cracks in Gene Roddenberry's utopian vision of the future.

Contents

Background

In 1990, the fourth season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Wounded" introduces the Cardassian race. The episode reveals that in recent history, the United Federation of Planets has been involved in brief conflicts with the Cardassian Union. The fifth season episode, "Ensign Ro," introduces the Bajoran race and describes that the Bajoran homeworld, Bajor, was annexed and occupied by the Cardassians generations ago.

In 1993, the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Emissary" reveals that the Cardassian Occupation of the planet has ended, the Cardassians having been driven off by various Bajoran Resistance factions. The Bajorans did not inflict a military defeat on the Cardassians, but the continued harassment of Cardassian forces by terrorism made continued occupation of the system undesirable. A central Cardassian antagonist character, Gul Dukat, later described the withdrawal as a "political decision". The Bajoran resistance groups formed a provisional government to oversee the rebuilding of the planet, which had been ecologically, culturally, and financially devastated by the occupation. One of its first official acts was the controversial request of assistance from the Federation.

The Federation responded by sending Starfleet personnel to take command and share operation of the derelict Cardassian space station and orbital ore processing facility, Terok Nor - rechristened Deep Space Nine, and was to become a diplomatic and commercial center for Bajor. The new chief protagonist of Deep Space Nine, Commander Benjamin Sisko, was introduced as the reluctant commanding officer. Captain Jean-Luc Picard guest starred in the pilot to task Sisko to do everything — short of violating the Federation's Prime Directive — to ensure that Bajor rebuilt itself enough to win entry into the Federation.

Under Federation leadership, a stable wormhole was discovered in Bajoran territory which connected to the Gamma Quadrant of the Milky Way Galaxy, nearly 70,000 light years away - a distance not reasonably traversable by conventional Warp drive propulsion technology. To jumpstart Bajor's reconstruction efforts and re-emergence on the galactic stage, the space station was moved from the orbit of Bajor to the Alpha Quadrant terminus of the wormhole in order to lay claim. Previously, the wormhole had only been described in Bajoran folklore and mythology as the Celestial Temple.

Conception

A Jem'Hadar soldier as depicted in "The Jem'Hadar"

In 2002, executive producer Ira Steven Behr, recalled that unlike some Deep Space Nine stories which were created with one small idea, the creation of the new villain and significant story-arc was very much thought out.[3] Behr noted that the first mention of the new villain, the Dominion, was purposely placed in the comedic season two Ferengi episode, "Rules of Acquisition," which would leave the viewer with an impression of, "how important could it be?"

Writer and story editor Robert Hewitt Wolfe remarked that while Star Trek: Voyager was exploring the chaotic and divided Delta Quadrant, it was desired to create a very different feel for the Gamma Quadrant. After a year and a half of Deep Space Nine exposition, "it was time to give a face to the Gamma Quadrant... a unifying anti-Federation."[3]

Executive producer Michael Piller first had the idea that the founders of the Dominion be Odo's people[3] – the character with mysterious and unknown origins. Instead of introducing one new alien race, three were introduced simultaneously: the Changelings, the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar. These three were intended to represent the front of a very old civilization coupled together by fear to contrast with the unity of the Federation though friendship.

Wolfe explained his initial conception for the Dominion:

"The Federation never knew the Dominion existed until they get this wormhole. The Dominion knew the federation was out there long before the wormhole and they had plans to deal with the Federation when the Federation was projected to enter their space in 200 years. They were building slowly toward that, that's why they sent out Odo in the first place. But then the wormhole opens up and suddenly the Federation is in their backyard... today. It just throws everything into question about the Federation and the Dominion."[3]

A founder, The Female Changeling, described the foundation of the Dominion as, "many years ago we set ourselves a task of imposing order on a chaotic universe." (The Search, Part II) The Changelings felt compelled to control the "solid" races unlike theirs in order to protect themselves.

In an interview with screenwriter Ronald D. Moore, it is revealed that executive producer Rick Berman intended for the Dominion War to only last three or four episodes.[4] Moore recalled that, "as the war went on, [Berman] would weigh in periodically about how heroic the characters are and 'Why does this one have to be so depressing' and 'This one's too violent...' And we're like, 'It's a f***in' war! What do you mean it's too violent?'"[4]

Piller recalled the endeavour to create a new villain as one of the most difficult tasks in Star Trek.[3]

Depiction

Initial Exploration

Exploration of the Gamma Quadrant took place without major incident for nearly one year. However, on a seemingly routine trade mission by the Ferengi, Quark first heard whispers of the Dominion, which apparently was a union of civilizations similar to the Federation in its goals of mutual defense and trade practices. Quark, under the aegis of Grand Nagus Zek, was authorized to negotiate a trade agreement with the Kareema, a member race of the Dominion; these negotiations were ultimately successful, but the Ferengi were unable to start an actual trade agreement with the Dominion itself.

However, as races from the Alpha Quadrant began to colonize planets in the Gamma Quadrant and make their presence known to Gamma Quadrant species, disturbing reports about the Dominion began to emerge. The reports seemed to indicate that what the Dominion could not attain through trade would be taken by force. These reports were borne out in 2370 when a huge fleet of Skrreea ships appeared in the Alpha Quadrant, in search of a new homeworld after their old home had been utterly destroyed by Dominion forces.

Toward the end of 2370, Sisko, his son Jake, Quark, and Quark’s nephew Nog were visiting an uninhabited Gamma Quadrant planet to do a planetary survey for a school project of Jake’s and Nog’s. It was here that the Jem’Hadar—the Dominion’s military forces—were first encountered, and Sisko and Quark were captured by these troops, along with a mysterious alien (later to be identified as a Vorta) named Eris. The Jem’Hadar then sent a representative to DS9 to inform the Alpha Quadrant that no further intrusions into Dominion space would be tolerated, and gave Major Kira Nerys a list of colonies and starships already destroyed for trespassing.

The Federation responded by sending a rescue team consisting of the Galaxy-class starship Odyssey and all three of DS9’s runabouts. The rescue team successfully extracted the planetary survey party (Eris included) at a heavy cost. During a fierce battle against three Jem’Hadar attack ships (during which it was discovered that Starfleet shields provided no protection from the Dominion's phased polaron weapons), one of the Jem’Hadar attack ships launched a kamikaze run towards the Odyssey as the ship was retreating, resulting in the destruction of the Odyssey. The remaining forces returned to the Alpha Quadrant, where it was discovered that Eris was a spy and that Sisko’s capture had been engineered by the Founders, the shadowy ruling class of the Dominion. Once discovered, Eris managed to escape DS9 using sub-space transporter technology. (Episode: “The Jem’Hadar”)

First Contact with the Founders

Early in 2371 Sisko was ordered to Earth for a Starfleet debriefing on the matter. He returned to Deep Space Nine having obtained use of the USS Defiant, a prototype originally developed to fight the Borg, but modified with a Romulan cloaking device to enter the Gamma Quadrant on a peace mission to locate the Founders.

They discovered that the Founders are the same race as Odo, DS9’s shapeshifting chief of security. Despite a strong longing to return to his home, he found his people’s philosophy—that which you can control cannot hurt you—abhorrent. After a short standoff between Federation and Dominion forces, Odo asked to be returned to the Alpha Quadrant with all Federation forces intact. The Founders, led by a character identified only as “the Female Changeling” (played by Salome Jens), acquiesced to Odo’s request, in the hopes that Odo would one day rejoin his people (Episode: “The Search”). This marked the beginning of a cold war phase between the Federation and Dominion, with limited skirmishes between the two sides and a steady buildup of military forces.

The Assault on the Great Link

Following first contact with The Founders, The Obsidian Order—a covert Cardassian intelligence force led by Enabran Tain—allied themselves with the Tal Shiar, their Romulan counterpart and secretly built a modest fleet of 20 starships in the Orrias sector of Cardassian space and launched a preemptive strike to destroy the Founders’ homeworld, hoping that the Dominion would collapse with the loss of the Founders.

However, the Founders, using their shapeshifting abilities, had infiltrated the Tal Shiar and actually encouraged the strike so that the Dominion could launch a surprise attack and, in one stroke, wipe out both the Order and the Tal Shiar. The Romulan/Cardassian fleet managed to obliterate 30% of the planet’s crust before realizing the planet was deserted, at which point a fleet of 150 Jem’Hadar attack ships emerged from the surrounding nebula. The Dominion stunned the galaxy with this attack (which was likened to the Federation’s defeat at the Battle of Wolf 359), leaving only the Federation and the Klingon Empire as the remaining powers strong enough to defend themselves against the Dominion. (Episode: “The Die is Cast”). Because both the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar were intelligence agencies, neither was supposed to have had any ships in the first place; thus, the destruction of their combined fleet left the main Cardassian and Romulan fleets unaffected. However, both organizations lost a good portion of their veteran personnel. In addition, the defeat had a significant psychological impact: the Cardassian Union subsequently joined the Dominion, and the Romulan Star Empire signed a non-aggression pact with them. While the Obsidian Order was destroyed by this event, the Tal Shiar survived, albeit in a diminished state, only recovering to a level near its former self quite late in the war.

Founder infiltration and political destabilization

Late in 2371, it was learned that the Founders had infiltrated nearly every major power in the Alpha Quadrant, and the ensuing paranoia about who might or might not be a shapeshifter led to the Klingon invasion of Cardassian territory in 2372. With the fall of the Obsidian Order, the Cardassian citizenry had legitimately overthrown the militaristic government, putting a civilian-based government in its place. However, the Klingons did not accept the sudden change in government, and suspected Dominion involvement (a suspicion encouraged by Dominion infiltrators). Their refusal to break off their invasion, even after it had been proven that the Dominion was not involved, led newly-promoted Captain Sisko to a military confrontation with the Klingons, as the Klingons, under Chancellor Gowron and General Martok attempted to seize Deep Space Nine. The attack was repulsed—barely—but caused the Klingons to sever all diplomatic relations with the Federation, and to withdraw from the Khitomer Accords, essentially ending decades of peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. This seemed to further the Founders' goal of destabilization of the Alpha Quadrant as a prelude to their own invasion (Episode: “The Way of the Warrior”).

The paranoia over shapeshifters continued throughout 2372, and certain Starfleet officers responded by trying to implement a coup d’état of the Federation after it was learned that shapeshifters had infiltrated and committed a terrorist attack on Earth. This led to an armed conflict between Starfleet vessels for the first time since Khan Noonien Singh hijacked the USS Reliant and fought the USS Enterprise, nearly a century earlier. The USS Defiant and USS Lakota exchanged fire. In the nick of time, Sisko was able to force Admiral Leyton to abandon his efforts to impose martial law on the Federation by convincing him to step down and face criminal charges (Episode: “Paradise Lost”).

Tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire continued to rise, and war broke out between the two in late 2372 over the Federation’s refusal to recognize the Klingons’ claim to the Archanis sector. However, the Empire could not effectively fight a war on two fronts. A mission to kill Gowron (believing him to be a Changeling) ended in exposing Martok as the infiltrator. Gowron agreed to a cease-fire and negotiation with Starfleet. In mid-2373, the Cardassian Union, under the leadership of Gul Dukat (the former prefect of Terok Nor, Deep Space Nine’s Cardassian name, and former military advisor to the civilian government on Cardassia), officially became a member state of the Dominion. This gave the Founders a solid foothold in the Alpha Quadrant, and the Cardassians—who were severely weakened by the Klingon invasion—were able to drive the Klingons out of Cardassian space, inflicting heavy losses upon Klingon forces in doing so. With The Dominion now firmly entrenched in the Alpha Quadrant, the Klingon Empire reaffirmed the Khitomer Accords, ending the brief war between the Empire and the Federation. The Maquis were also wiped out shortly after the alliance (Episode: “By Inferno’s Light”).

At some point in 2373, Dr. Julian Bashir of Deep Space Nine had been kidnapped and held in a Dominion prison in the Gamma Quadrant. When Worf and Garak went to free Enabran Tain in the same prison, they discovered that the real Bashir had been on the prison for several weeks. However, the replacement on the station was so convincing that no one suspected that the Bashir on the station was really a Changeling infiltrator. The replacement sabotaged the efforts to close the wormhole, and was preparing to destroy the Bajoran sun to wipe out DS9 and its defense of the Wormhole as well as a Federation-Klingon task force sent to defend the station, leaving the way open for the full force of the Dominion fleets to enter the Alpha Quadrant unopposed. Eventually, a number of the prisoners staged a breakout. Bashir was able to get a message to Deep Space Nine, and the USS Defiant was able to intercept the Changeling, stopping it from carrying out its mission to destroy the Bajoran star system. After reaffirming the Khitomer Accords, a full garrison of Klingon troops was stationed on Deep Space Nine, led by the real General Martok (Episode: “In Purgatory’s Shadow”).

The Dominion then began sending weekly fleets of ships through the wormhole to bolster their presence in the Alpha Quadrant and to reinforce Cardassian positions, in numbers calculated to not look like an invasion, but allow a steady long term buildup of overwhelming strength in Cardassian space, under the pretext of the Cardassians being “jittery” after the war with the Klingons. The Federation and Klingon Empire decided that this was an untenable situation, and built a field of space mines at the mouth of the wormhole on the Alpha Quadrant side that were self-replicating and fitted with cloaking devices. This effectively cut off the Dominion’s supply lines to the Alpha Quadrant. However, Gul Dukat and his Dominion advisor, the Vorta Weyoun, considered this an act of war, and launched an attack on Deep Space Nine itself. This battle is generally accepted as the true beginning of the Dominion War (Episode: “Call to Arms”).

The Occupation and Operation Return

Cardassian and Dominion forces launched their attack on Deep Space Nine to wrest control of the station from the Federation. They were surprised to find that the station's shields were holding against the phased polaron weapons; earlier in the year, Sisko captured an intact Jem'Hadar fighter and the Starfleet Corps of Engineers was able to develop effective protection from the weapon. In a calculated strategic move, a Federation-Klingon task force were at the time attacking the Dominion shipyards at Torros III, leading to the loss of DS9. However under advice from Captain Sisko, the Bajoran government had signed a treaty of non-aggression with the Dominion, and this allowed Bajoran forces to remain on the station and Bajor untouched by the Dominion/Cardassian alliance. Further, Major Kira Nerys activated a computer program that completely disabled DS9's computer systems, rendering the station effectively useless over the short/medium term, under the assumption that Starfleet would quickly retake the station before it could be restored to operational status. This estimate of a short occupation proved to be highly optimistic (Episode: “Call to Arms”). In 2374, while Dukat and Weyoun were trying to figure out a way to safely dismantle the minefield, Kira began her own resistance movement on the station, sowing discord between the Cardassians and Jem’Hadar on the station, particularly between Dukat’s second-in-command—Gul Damar—and Dominion forces (Episode: “Behind the Lines”).

By the late spring of 2374, it was clear the Federation and the Klingon Empire were slowly losing the war despite their blockade. Several Dominion strategic advantages including extreme range sensor arrays that monitored Federation fleet movements and let the Dominion concentrate forces against them, as well as extremely fast ship construction and personnel (Jem'Hadar) production techniques, proved highly damaging in the early months of the war. As Miles O’Brien put it, “Engage-Retreat” was becoming the tune to which the Federation and Klingon fleets were dancing. Despite the victories scored by the Dominion, they were not immune to their own problems, mostly regarding resupply. The minefield prevented any reinforcement from the Gamma Quadrant, forcing the Dominion to use the less-advanced Cardassian facilities. In addition, all Jem'Hadar needed a drug called "ketracel-white" in order to function. Starfleet began doing all they could to destroy storage depots and convoys, leading to a critical shortage; Damar proposed poisoning the last canisters to keep the Jem'Hadar from becoming uncontrollable when the supply ran out. Later, Sisko convinced the top brass in Starfleet that the key strategic point of the conflict would not be any one planet, but rather Deep Space Nine itself. In what was dubbed Operation Return, a fleet made up of elements from three Federation commands would be put together, with involvement of the Klingon Defense Forces to retake the Station and swing momentum back to the Alliance.

However, information was passed through the lines that indicated Dukat was very close to dismantling the minefield. Despite the fact that elements of the Federation task force had not yet arrived, nor had the Klingons, the decision was made to launch with what they had (Episode: “Favor the Bold”). With nothing left to lose, the Federation launched its assault with 600 ships against 1,254 Dominion and Cardassian ships, and with timely intervention by the Klingons, the Defiant was able to break through the lines and make it to the wormhole just as the minefield was taken down, despite the best efforts of Major Kira, Rom, Odo and several Bajoran security officers on DS9. In a desperate and futile attempt to delay the thousands of Dominion ships pouring through from the Gamma Quadrant, Sisko entered the wormhole, at which point the Prophets decided to intervene. Apparently, Sisko had not yet completed his tasks as the Emissary to the Bajorans. Foreseeing that he would die in his valiant attempt to stop the Dominion forces from coming through, the Prophets stepped in. It is unknown exactly what happened to the Dominion fleet while it was traversing the wormhole; the fleet is (in the words of Miles O’Brien) “just gone”—it simply disappeared. With Cardassian morale broken, and with 200+ Allied ships having broken through the lines of their fleet and headed directly to the station, they abandoned Terok Nor, and the Federation once again took control of Deep Space Nine. The Federation victory cost Dukat his sanity, his daughter’s life, and his place as the Cardassian head of state. Damar replaced Dukat, though he was much more a Dominion puppet than Dukat (Episode: “Sacrifice of Angels”).

After Operation Return

For a time, the war simmered down to a low level conflict as both sides recovered from their wounds. Between Jem’Hadar breeding technology and advanced shipyard mass production, the Dominion recovered first. After half a year of relative peace with several minor border skirmishes, the war swung into high gear once again. The Dominion, taking advantage of a Federation fleet moving out of position to conduct exercises, invaded and captured Betazed in a textbook surprise attack, giving them a forward base to raid deep into the Federation and threatening key sectors. At one point, Damar called for a cease-fire and offered several star systems that were effectively under Federation control. However, a group of Augments discovered (through subtle clues in Dominionese and behavioral idiosyncrasies) that the cease-fire was an attempt to peacefully secure a system that contained a vital ingredient of ketracel-white (a drug all Jem'Hadar were addicted to). (Episode: "Statistical Probabilities")

Sisko, convinced that the Romulans were critical to changing the strategic situation enough to allow the Alliance to go on the offensive schemed (without consulting Starfleet Command) with Elim Garak, former Obsidian Order spy, to create false evidence of a Dominion plot to invade Romulus. Romulan Senator Vreenak, who was presented with this "evidence," uncovered its forged nature, and returned to Romulus to reveal the plot to "the entire Alpha Quadrant". Senator Vreenak's shuttle was unexpectedly destroyed during its return trip, using explosives unique to the Dominion. Garak had planted the bomb, calculating that the Romulans would believe that Vreenak had encountered "something important" and been killed (by the Dominion) to prevent him from reporting. The manufactured evidence, its truthfulness verified by the same explosion that disguised its counterfeit nature, was taken at face value. The Romulan Star Empire formally declared war against the Dominion, swinging the strategic balance firmly in favor of the Alliance (Episode: "In the Pale Moonlight"). With fleets now bolstered by Romulan ships, the Alliance now moved onto the offensive, finally invading Cardassian space and taking the strategic Chin’toka system from the Dominion in early 2375. However, at the same time, Gul Dukat became possessed by a Pah-Wraith (the evil counterparts of the Prophets) and darkened a Bajoran orb, causing the wormhole to collapse. Morale plummeted despite the victory, but improved months later when Sisko reopened the wormhole.

After the alliance with the Romulans had been established, DS9’s chief medical officer, Dr. Julian Bashir, was made aware of the existence of Section 31—a covert (and "officially" unsanctioned) intelligence agency similar to the Obsidian Order—within the Federation. Section 31 seemed intensely interested in manipulating the war behind the scenes and tried to recruit Bashir into their ranks. Bashir refused, informed Sisko of Section 31’s existence, and adopted a “wait-and-see” attitude (Episode "Inquisition"). Section 31 had already put their master plan into effect: they had infected Odo with a virus which he had unknowingly communicated to the rest of the Founders by linking with the Great Link many years before the war started. Section 31 had seen the Dominion as a clear strategic threat to the Alpha Quadrant and had taken action, much as the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order had, but far more subtly and successfully and, as the Founders died, so died the Dominion.

The disease began to take its toll on the Founders in mid-2375, severely damaging their ability to change and hold their shape, much less coordinate complicated war efforts (Episode: "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River"). Legate Damar, too, grew increasingly frustrated with the seemingly stalemated war (Alliance momentum into Cardassian space had fallen after Chin’toka in the face of fanatic Dominion resistance) and his own position as a Dominion puppet. As Cardassian military losses mounted, he began to drink heavily and often criticized the Dominion’s ability to orchestrate the war successfully.

As the Dominion’s position became increasingly precarious with the Alliance continuing to gain the initiative, the Founder successfully formed an alliance with the Breen, a relatively unknown spacefaring species from the Alpha Quadrant. Their entry into the struggle temporarily turned the tide of the war back to the Dominion’s favor (Episode: "’Til Death Do Us Part"). The Breen forces kicked off their alliance with The Dominion by staging a sneak attack on Earth itself, destroying many Starfleet facilities as well as heavily damaging the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. While a tactical defeat (most of the Breen ships were destroyed by Starfleet and the damage was relatively minor), the strategic shockwaves of such a brazen act horrified many and proved that the Breen could strike fear in their enemy. Furthermore, Breen vessels were equipped with a power-draining weapon that rendered targeted vessels inert; this allowed the Dominion to retake the initiative, extend its front lines, and retake the Chin’toka system in a battle that destroyed the USS Defiant, among others. However, this battle also defeated the Breen trump card: a single Klingon vessel was unaffected by their power-draining weapon due to a slight modification to its engine core. With similar alterations in place, the Klingon fleet was now immune to the Breen's major tactical advantage; however, this did not change the fact that the Klingon fleet, heavily diminished in recent years due to wars with Cardassia, the Federation, and the Dominion, were now outnumbered close to 20-1 (Episode: "The Changing Face of Evil").

The Klingons, now alone at the front, were instructed by Federation Alliance commanders to hold their position while Alliance scientists tried to figure how to counter the Breen’s energy-draining weapon. General Martok’s strategy was to send battle groups in under cloak to conduct a rapid series of harassment raids against soft targets, keeping the Dominion "off-balance" and unable to muster an offensive, hopefully for long enough for the Federation and Romulan fleets to come back online. Unfortunately, Klingon politics got in the way, once again. Klingon Chancellor Gowron began to fear that Martok’s military prowess, and more crictically the Klingon military's loyalty to him, would eclipse his own. He stripped command of the war from Martok, assumed leadership, and began to throw Martok into almost suicidal battles, wasting precious ships, troops, systems, and throwing the Alliance’s tenuous position into chaos. The situation reached a head when Lieutenant Commander Worf, serving as DS9’s strategic operations officer, challenged Gowron’s leadership in an open council mission briefing. As per Klingon tradition, the two dueled to the death. Worf won, and was about to be crowned the new Chancellor of the Klingon Empire, but refused the position, giving it instead to Martok. With the Klingon political landscape somewhat stabilized after years of questionable management by Gowron (at least as far as The Dominion War was concerned), the war returned to near-stalemated conditions (Episodes: "When It Rains…" and "Tacking Into the Wind").

Endgame

With the Dominion now issuing more military and political decisions over Cardassia (including giving a large amount of Cardassian territory to the Breen), Legate Damar began his own underground resistance movement in an attempt to drive the Dominion out of Cardassian space. When the Dominion allowed the Eleventh Order to be wiped out by the Klingons, Damar had had enough and launched an attack which destroyed the primary cloning facilities. Damar was branded a rebel by the Dominion and went into hiding. He was unable to understand the subtlety of fighting an insurgent war and continued to take heavy losses in engagements. Kira, Garak and Odo were sent as “technical advisors” to help his people do the most damage. In order to smooth over the feelings the Cardassians might feel at having a Bajoran telling them what to do, Kira was given a Starfleet commission (with the rank of Commander) and sent as a representative of the Federation.

Both Damar’s and Kira’s groups successfully hijacked a Dominion fighter on which the Breen weapon was being installed. The team was able to secure the ship and get it into Federation territory with a completed copy of the weapon, enabling Alliance scientists to counter it, swinging the strategic situation firmly back to the Alliance, who now had a significant manpower advantage in ships over the slowly depleting Dominion fleets (thanks in no small part to Damar destroying the Dominion’s primary cloning facilities).

In response, the Founder decided to go on the defensive again. All Dominion forces initiated a strategic retreat from Federation, Klingon, and Romulan territory to the Cardassian core worlds, establishing a tight defense perimeter. Her thought was that with their space regained and final battle too costly to think of, the Alliance would leave the Dominion alone and declare victory, letting the Dominion rebuild into an overwhelming force after a few years. However the Founder underestimated the Federation's resolve and ordered all remaining Dominion ships to return to Cardassia Prime. At the same time, Damar’s resistance movement was wiped out by traitors operating within his inner circle, namely Gul Revok. All 18 major cells destroyed in a matter of hours, leaving Kira, Garak and Damar trapped and hidden on Cardassia Prime, with a population seething under what was now little more than an occupation.

Later, Sisko was given command of a new ship, the Defiant-class USS São Paulo, which was renamed Defiant. With all ships immune to the Breen's weapons, Benjamin Sisko, Admiral William Ross, Chancellor Martok, and the Romulans faced what would be the largest offensive of the entire war. (Episode: “The Dogs of War”).

Damar’s attempts at fomenting a popular uprising against the Dominion were wildly successful, cutting Cardassia Prime’s command and control abilities off from the Dominion fleet thanks to civilian passive resistance (shutting down power plants, transmitters, etc.). This came at a critical moment as the Federation Alliance fleet prepared to engage the Dominion ships near Cardassia; Weyoun noticed the Dominion lines were too thin and was about to order more Jem'Hadar to reinforce the positions. With long-range communications down, they were unable to contact the Jem'Hadar or find out how the battle was progressing. In an attempt to cow the Cardassians back into line, the founder ordered the Dominion to destroy an entire Cardassian metropolis (Lakarian City), killing about two million Cardassians in the process. Predictably, this did not work as planned.

This atrocity caused all remaining Cardassian fleet commanders to switch sides, aiding the Alliance’s invasion of Cardassian space and turning the largest fleet battle in the war firmly in the Alliance's favor. This resulted in the Founder ordering Pran and Weyoun to exterminate the Cardassians. The Dominion fleet withdrew into orbit of Cardassia Prime and its planetary defense systems for one last stand. With the Federation fleet moving in there was no doubt that the Alliance would be victorious, but if not for the Cardassians switching sides during the battle, the Alliance casualty toll would have been great, as stated by the Founder: "You will have lost so many ships, so many lives, that your victory will taste as bitter as defeat."

The Changelings, facing extinction themselves, abandoned all pretense of being anything but polymorphic supremacists bent on imposing their version of order on the entire galaxy. Thus, they swore they would not surrender, promising a “scorched-earth war,” wherein any territory the Alliance managed to take would be so badly damaged, and so many people killed, that an Alliance victory would hardly be worth the effort, and more critically, the remains of the Alliance fleets would pose no threat to the Gamma Quadrant (thinking the Alliance would deal with them the way the Dominion would). A Pyrrhic victory seemed inevitable for the Alliance, as 800 million Cardassian civilians were already dead due to Dominion bombings (Episode: “What You Leave Behind, Part I”).

However, Doctor Julian Bashir and DS9’s chief of operations, Chief Miles O’Brien, had managed to take the cure for the Changelings’ disease, created by Section 31, from the mind of Sloan (Episode: "Extreme Measures"). The cure was given to Odo, who transported to Cardassia Prime. In exchange for the Dominion’s peaceful surrender, and the arrest of the Founder for war crimes, the Alpha Quadrant Alliance allowed Odo to cure the Changelings of their disease. A formal declaration of the cessation of hostilities known as the "Treaty of Bajor" was signed in a ceremony aboard DS9, thus ending a conflict that had consumed nearly three-quarters of the quadrant for nearly three years, starting at that very space station (Episode: “What You Leave Behind, Part II”).

Aftermath

  • Dominion compelled into armistice, the only condition being that Odo be allowed to return to the Great Link to cure it.
    • Militarily, the war had little impact on the Dominion as they can easily replace their ships and troops with their bases in the Gamma Quadrant. However, for the first time they lost a war and this presumably had a massive psychological impact on the Jem'Hadar. In addition, Odo has rejoined the link and will probably influence them to change their imperialistic ways.
  • Almost complete destruction of Cardassian Union.
    • Over 800 Million Cardassian Civilians were dead. Severe Devestation to nearly all of Cardassian Space. Elim Garak, the former Cardassian Outcast and resident of DS9 returns home to stay.
  • Heavy devastation to the Klingon Empire.
    • General Martok succeeds Gowron as Chancellor of the Klingon Empire, largely because of Worf who then becomes the Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire at Martok's insistence.
  • Moderate to heavy damage to the United Federation of Planets.
    • Starfleet was engaged in its most destructive conflict since its founding. Hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of crewmen were killed in various battles. In addition, several key planets (including Betazed) came under Dominion occupation; other core worlds were in danger of attack and Earth itself was bombarded.
  • Slight devastation to the Romulan Star Empire.
  • The Bajorans become a major influence in the quadrant, mainly due to their control of the Bajoran Wormhole.

The fallout from the war remains mostly undocumented. The political ramifications are immense, as nearly every major Alpha Quadrant power, from the Federation to the Ferengi, underwent a dramatic shift in power. While the actual death toll is not known, it is estimated that billions of people lost their lives in the struggle. In the end, only another canonical visit to the time period will provide answers to the many unresolved questions.

Jem’Hadar soldiers laid waste to Cardassia Prime, killing over 800 million Cardassians. That was in addition to the seven million more who died fighting in the war. The damage to the planet was far worse than the Cardassian occupation of Bajor. The long-term implications to the Cardassians or their homeworld have not been fully revealed, though despite the Cardassian “change of side” in the last battle, the Cardassian Union itself became an occupied territory, much like that of Germany and Japan at the end of the Second World War.

Odo returned to the Changelings’ homeworld, cured them of the Section 31 virus, and decided to teach them about the other races in the galaxy in an attempt to reform Changeling society.

The ultimate fate of the Founder is unknown. The penalties for war crimes have not been discussed in detail. One thing that is for certain is that the Federation does not ordinarily practice capital punishment (excluding General Order VII, which prohibits entry to the Talosian system).

Following the Dominion War, the Klingon Empire was heavily weakened. Before the war began, the Klingons had already waged a full-scale conflict with the Cardassians and briefly against the Federation. The Klingon political landscape was in turmoil due to the inefficiency of Gowron’s Chancellorship. During the Dominion War, the Klingons arguably took on the worst of the fighting at a time when their military was already weakened from the Cardassian conflict; other frustrations include the disastrous campaigns launched by Gowron and the brief period in which the Federation and the Romulans were forced to leave the fighting to the Klingons upon the Breen’s entry to the war. By the time the war had ended, it is believed that the Klingons had lost a huge fraction of their military strength. In the immediate aftermath of the war, the Klingon Empire was left with its economy crippled and its military power reduced to a shadow of its former self; Section 31 agent Sloan predicted that it would take 10 years for the Klingons to recover their economic and military strength.

The effect of the war on the Romulan Empire is still largely unknown. Factions of the military clearly did not like the alliance that the war brought between the Romulans, the Klingons, and the Federation. This may have been one of the reasons the Romulan military supported the assassination of the Romulan Senate by Shinzon. Unlike the Klingons, Cardassians and the Federation, the Romulan Empire and its military forces (with the exception of the Tal Shiar) seem to have suffered relatively modest battle damage overall. This is largely due to the Romulans’ late entry into the conflict but also the resilient Romulan Fleet. The Romulans, also unlike the Federation, never suffered the loss of territories and resources, and unlike the Klingons, they had a stable political unit and an almost intact fleet that was not burdened by recent conflicts.

In the DS9 episode “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges,” Section 31 agent Sloan predicted that of the four Alpha Quadrant superpowers, the only two major powers strong enough to affect Quadrant-wide politics will be the Federation and the Romulans, the Cardassians having been crushed, and the Klingons having taken heavy battle damage and lacking the resources for a quick rebound. Positing a decade-long recovery for the Klingons, Sloan was meddling in Romulan internal affairs with the intent of making their post-war government friendlier to the Federation.

Spin-off media

A number of novels, novelisations and short-story collections have been written to chronicle events of the Dominion War outside of canon:

  • Behind Enemy Lines by John Vornholt.
  • A Call to Arms by Keith R. A. DeCandido.
  • Tunnel Through the Stars by John Vornholt.
  • Sacrifice of Angels by Diane Carey.
  • Tales of the Dominion War edited by Keith R. A. DeCandido.[1]

Deep Space Nine: Dominion Wars is a real-time tactics computer game based on the depictions of the Dominion War published by Simon & Schuster Interactive in 2001.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Season 7, Episode 25 "What You Leave Behind"". Directed by Allan Kroeker. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. 2 June 1999. 58:19 minutes in.
  2. ^ "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Episodes Rated by IMDb User Rating". IMDb. 1993. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106145/eprate. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  3. ^ a b c d e Behr, Wolfe, Piller. (2003). The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond. [Season Three DVD Special Features]. Paramount Pictures.  
  4. ^ a b "An Interview with Ron Moore". IGN. 1993-12-04. http://movies.ign.com/articles/444/444306p8.html. Retrieved 2009-07-20.  
  5. ^ "Star Trek: Dominion Wars Review". GameSpot UK. 1993. http://uk.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/startrekdeepspacendw/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=tabs. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  

External links








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