Cardassian Union/History/Dominion War
In late 2370, while exploring the Gamma Quadrant, the Federation encountered the Dominion, a significantly advanced interstellar power. The Dominion' response to Bajoran and Federation incursion in the Gamma Quadrant was an aggressive one. Their Jem'hadar soldiers ruthlessly destroyed ships and slaughtered colonists. Every Alpha and Beta Quadrant power sat up and took notice of this new threat.
The Cardassians were the first race to take action, albeit in an unauthorized manner. Enabran Tain, the retired head of the Obsidian Order, joined forces with the Romulan Tal Shiar and his former colleagues in the Order. A fleet of advanced Keldon-class ships was constructed and equipped with cloaking devices at the Order's Orias shipyards. An unprecedented joint fleet of Romulan and Cardassian ships headed for the Founder's homeworld under cloak with intention of eradicating all life from the planet. However, Colonel Lovok, head of the Tal Shiar force was a Founder infiltrator. The Founders had relocated to another planet and a force of Jem'hadar ships was waiting in ambush. The joint fleet was utterly destroyed.
Revolution on Cardassia
Had the attack on the Founders succeeded, the Obsidian Order would have been able to avoid any political recriminations for its actions. Instead, the Detapa Council was outraged by the Order's unauthorized action and the Central Command was furious over the Order's secret construction of warships. The Council and the Central Command began a political battle to control the Order.
With the government in political turmoil, the dissident movement seized its chance. Sympathetic members of the government leaked details of the Obsidian Order's failure and the military's defeats to the public. The dissidents began to organize strikes and protests. The Cardassian people gladly joined the demonstrations for they had lived in fear for too long.
The Obsidian Order was engaged in a struggle for survival and it failed to foresee the protests or quickly uncover the ringleaders. The Central Command used troops to disperse the protests and break the strikes, but for every demonstration it stopped two more began.
Word of a huge demonstration to be held in Cardassia City was spread across all of Cardassia Prime. The authorities publicly denounced the protest as illegal and imposed travel restrictions. But millions came from all across the planet, many finishing the journey on foot to avoid the troops that turned back personal vehicles and public transport. Cardassia City ground to a halt.
The protest was centered as close to Imperial Plaza as the military blockades would allow. Leading dissidents addressed the crowd, demanding an end to the Central Command's stranglehold on the Cardassian government and the Obsidian Order's repression of the Cardassian people. Day after day more and more Cardassians joined the protest.
After a week the Central Command ordered its troops to end the protest. Armored vehicles and tens of thousands of soldiers took position around the circumference of the demonstration. An announcement was made, demanding that the protestors disperse. Buoyed by their numbers and the spirit of righteous anger, the protesters refused. The Central Command gave the order to begin. But the troops did not move.
When word of the troops’ refusal to end the protest spread, the mood of the protest changed. Suddenly the people realized that they had a chance to act. The crowd stormed the barricades that prevented them from entering Imperial Plaza. Then when they reached the center of Cardassian government they occupied the ministries and seized the headquarters of the Central Command.
In the wake of the popular uprising the existing Detapa Council was dissolved and an entirely new council was elected. The Council proceeded to reverse the laws that gave the Central Command control over so many functions of the government. The senior members of the Obsidian Order were arrested and tried for crimes against Cardassia. They were found guilty, of course. The Order itself was renamed the Cardassian Intelligence Bureau and brought under the direct control of the Detapa Council.
The dramatic shift in power lead to the opening of a large number of senior ministerial and military positions. Anyone with ambition and a little vesala found that their career could suddenly take leaps and bounds. One such individual was Gul Dukat, who offered his services to the Detapa Council as military advisor.
The Second Klingon War
The people of Cardassia barely had time to celebrate their freedom before the Klingons attacked. The Klingons, like every other Alpha Quadrant power, feared infiltration by the Founders. Chancellor Gowron believed that the new Detapa Council must be Changelings and ordered their execution.
The Klingons strategy was not one of conquest. Instead the bulk of their fleet headed straight for Cardassia Prime. Only the actions of Gul Dukat and the intervention of the Federation ship USS Defiant saved the Detapa Council from the Klingons. When the Klingons realized that they would have to go to war with the Federation to get to the council, they ended the invasion and declared victory.
The Klingons retained several captured Cardassian worlds and continued to engage in raids against Cardassian colonies and shipping. The Detapa Council was too concerned with undoing the work of the Central Command on Cardassia Prime to be bothered with the Klingons.
When Gul Dukat captured a Klingon Bird of Prey, he used it to wage war on the Klingons. He tried to convince the Detapa Council that they must fight, but they would not listen. Determined to restore Cardassia to greatness, Dukat approached the Dominion.
The Coming of the Dominion
In 2373 a large Dominion fleet emerged form the wormhole. Most of the Alpha Quadrant thought the invasion had finally come. But on Cardassia Prime, Dukat's allies were preparing the way for Cardassia's return to greatness. Members of the Detapa Council were placed under house arrest and Dukat's supporters in the military ensured that any resistance to the coup-d’etat was swiftly dealt with.
Dukat met with the Dominion force and lead it to Cardassia Prime. He proclaimed himself to be the new leader of Cardassia, a Cardassia proud to be a member of the Dominion.
The old regime was ruthlessly swept away by the Dominion. Jem'hadar troops were used to destroy the Maquis in the Demilitarized Zone. Dukat and his Vorta counterpart, Weyoun, began preparing for war. Dominion facilities were constructed to breed Jem'hadar and build ships. Cardassian vessels were refitted and equipped with Dominion munitions.
The Dominion negotiated non-aggression pacts with several interstellar powers including Bajor and the Romulans. The Federation and the Klingons were excluded. They were the Dominion's choice of opponents.
The War Begins
For months Dominion reinforcements continued to come through the wormhole. The Federation knew that they could not allow this to continue if they were to withstand a Dominion attack. So they began construction of a sophisticated minefield at the entrance of the wormhole.
The Dominion could not allow completion of the minefield, so they attacked the USS Defiant as it laid the mines. While Dominion fleet was engaged, Starfleet ships destroyed the Dominion shipyards on Torros III. Although undeclared by both sides, the war had begun.
The Dominion/Cardassian alliance had seized Terok Nor after it had been abandoned by the Federation. It was here Dukat and Weyoun established their headquarters, while their engineers attempted to bring down the minefield.
For three months, the Cardassians and their allies scored victory after victory. Dozens of worlds fell to their troops. But the minefield remained in place, preventing the arrival of vital Dominion reinforcements and essential Ketracel White.
When Starfleet learned that Cardassian engineers had discovered how to bring down the minefield they mounted a desperate attack. The Federation failed to breech the alliance's lines until their Klingon allies joined the fray. The USS Defiant entered the Bajoran wormhole, where Captain Benjamin Sisko convinced the entities that resided within the wormhole to destroy the Dominion ships in transit.
Terok Nor was once again abandoned to the Federation. Gul Dukat's daughter Tora Ziyal was a casualty of the withdrawal. He himself was captured, apparently mad with grief.
During a brief lull in the conflict, Legate Damar, became ruler of Cardassia. He was Dukat's former second-in-command, so to outsiders his rise to power seemed natural. However the Dominion ensured that his succession went smoothly, for they believed he could be easily manipulated.
Cardassia and the Dominion again pressed their advantage. Their offence took them close to the Federation core worlds. When Betazed fell, the alliance was within in striking range of Vulcan, Tellar, Andor and Alpha Centauri.
Back and Forth
When the Romulans joined their old adversaries Federation and the Klingons, it gave the beleaguered Starfleet ships and crews chance to recuperate. The fleets of Romulan battleships, all fresh and undamaged, stopped the Cardassian/Dominion alliance in its tracks.
For several months the outcome of the war seemed to be balanced on a knife-edge. The Federation and Klingons took the Cardassian world of Chin’toka, while the Dominion seemed ever closer to capturing Vulcan.
After months of secret negotiations, the Breen joined the Dominion/Cardassian alliance and the war seemed to be won. Starfleet and the Klingons were powerless in the face of the Breen energy-dampening weapon.
The End of the War
When the Klingons counter-attacked at Septimus III, the Dominion refused to send reinforcements. The entire Eleventh Order, over half a million Cardassians, was wiped out. Damar realized that the Cardassia and the Dominion were not allies. In fact, Cardassia was a member of the Dominion and would be used to further the Founders' ends.
Damar began a resistance movement. Initially his operations failed, but with the help of a former Bajoran resistance fighter, Kira Nerys, he learned how to conduct a guerrilla war. One of the first successes of his resistance movement was to capture a Breen energy-dampening weapon for the Federation.
When the Federation/Klingon/Romulan fleets were protected against the Breen weapon, the Dominion pulled back behind Cardassia's original borders. But the three races began a massive offensive. Their aim was to destroy Cardassia's and the Dominion's ability to wage war.
When the fleets clashed in the Getha system, the Cardassian ships turned on their Dominion allies. Furious, the Founder leader ordered the extermination of the entire Cardassian population. Following her orders, the Jem'hadar massacred 800 million Cardassians and razed two-thirds of the cities on Cardassia Prime.
Damar himself led the assault on the Dominion headquarters. This resulted in his death, but not before he enabled the renegade Changeling Odo to beam down and convince the Founder leader to surrender.
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