Dominion War

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The Dominion War was a two-year (late 2373 thru late 2375) interstellar conflict between the Dominion and the Federation Alliance that consumed the entire Alpha Quadrant in one of the most destructive wars in galactic history. By the end of the war, the Alpha Quadrant had lost a notable power - the Cardassian Union, the Klingon Defense Force was set back for decades, and there remained a catastrophic death toll for all powers involved.



The Federation and Dominion entered a three year period of 'cold' tensions as the Dominion conducted carefully calculated successes that destabilized the Alpha Quadrant. The Dominion was able to all but obliterate the Obsidian Order and severely weaken the Tal Shiar, nearly causing a war between the Federation and the Tzenkethi, only later to succeed in causing a conflict between the Federation and the Klingons, while concurrently causing a conflict between the Klingons and the Cardassians.

The Federation-Klingon conflict was resolved when it was discovered that Klingon General Martok was a Changeling.

Several months later, however, the Dominion gained a physical foothold in the Alpha Quadrant through an alliance with Gul Dukat and the Cardassian Union, arranged in mid-2373. They immediately began sending fleets of warships and supply vessels through the Bajoran wormhole and into Cardassian territory on a weekly basis. The Klingons could not stand against such a foe, and withdrew from Cardassian space. The Khitomer Accords were put back into effect; war was inevitable, and only the Federation-Klingon alliance stood against the forces of the Dominion.

The fortification of the Cardassian Union, combined with the securing of non-aggression treaties with notable powers such as the Miradorn, Tholians, Bajorans, and most importantly, with the Romulans, made Dominion intentions clear. The Federation was forced to act, but could not present the aggressive stance of something so bold as a preemptive strike. Instead, the decision was made to mine the Bajoran wormhole to prevent further Dominion reinforcements from arriving.

Total War Begins

The maneuver was sure to provoke the Dominion into attack, and this end was achieved. Despite a seemingly successful negotiation between Weyoun and Captain Benjamin Sisko, which would have limited Dominion vessels from the Gamma Quadrant to medical and economical supplies to help the Cardassian Union rebuild, the Dominion prepared to attack Deep Space Nine. Strangely, the Federation turned down Captain Sisko's request for reinforcements, leaving the station to fend for itself against the Dominion fleet. Shortly afterwards, General Martok on board his Klingon Bird-of-Prey near the Cardassian border, contacted Deep Space Nine, informing them that a large contingent of Cardassian and Dominion vessels were heading towards the station. His transmission was cut short when the Dominion fleet jammed his transmission. Gul Dukat then contacted the station, asking if the Federation was willing to surrender the station and avoid "unnecessary bloodshed". Captain Sisko outright declined the invitation, leading to Dukat ending the conversation with the comment: "I was hoping you'd say that".

Shortly afterwards, the Dominion fleet arrived, and began their attack on Deep Space Nine. Despite the Dominion's arrival prior to the minefield's activation, the USS Defiant was able to successfully complete the deployment of the mines and activate it, thus preventing reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. Although the Dominion had failed to prevent the activation of the minefield, they continued their assault on Deep Space Nine, eventually forcing all Federation forces on board to evacuate. With the battle over, the Dominion had successfully captured the station, winning the Second Battle of Deep Space 9.

During the attack on Deep Space Nine, the Federation-Klingon alliance dispatched a task force to attack the Dominion shipyards at Torros III, which required all available vessels, thus preventing reinforcements to Deep Space Nine. Their mission was successful, and the destruction of the shipyards set back Dominion ship production for months. Although the Dominion successfully took over Deep Space Nine, the station itself would prove to be of little use during the war, as the Starfleet officers who fled the station had disabled much of its equipment prior to their evacuation, and the Bajoran contingent fomented an active (though subtle) resistance. (DS9: "Call to Arms", "Behind the Lines")

The early part of 2374 found the Dominion trying its hardest to disable the minefield that stood in front of the wormhole, in order to guarantee their victory in the war. During this time, the Federation-Klingon alliance was consistently suffering severe defeats to the Dominion. The Federation's Seventh Fleet was sent to the Tyra System to engage the Dominion, and returned with only 14 ships out of the 112 that were sent. (DS9: "A Time to Stand").

By the second quarter of that year, it was revealed to the Federation that the Dominion was close to deactivating the minefield blocking the wormhole, and Captain Benjamin Sisko told Starfleet that the station's recapture must be seen as the top priority of the war. Although Admiral Coburn objected to the plan, fearing too many ships would be diverted away from Earth, allowing the Dominion to attack it. Benjamin Sisko was able to convince him that the key to winning the war was by preventing Dominion reinforcements from the wormhole. With only days before the minefield could be deactivated, the Federation was forced to launch what ships they had been able to gather to attack Deep Space Nine. Without any ships from the Klingon Empire to back them up, it seemed like a hopeless cause. Nevertheless, a Federation fleet of over 600 vessels departed from Starbase 375 towards the station. (DS9: "Favor the Bold")

Although Gul Dukat had pulled over 1,200 ships from the front lines to combat this fleet until the minefield was destroyed, a surprise attack mid-battle from the Klingons turned the tide into the allies favor, and enabled the USS Defiant to break through the lines and get to Deep Space Nine without further delay. Although Dukat made good on his promise to destroy the minefield, it proved useless to the Dominion, as Captain Sisko was able to convince the Prophets to wipe-out the Dominion reinforcements entirely. With no reinforcements on their way, and the battle falling in favor of the Federation-Klingon forces, the Dominion was forced to withdraw from the station. Operation Return was the first major alliance victory of the war, and also saw the end of Dukat's leadership of Cardassia. His underling, Damar, replaced him. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels")

The war entered a temporary lull at this point; the Dominion retreated to within Cardassian space, and activity along the border was rare. During this lull, the Dominion sued for peace with the Federation, even offering to withdraw their forces from a sizable amount of territory which would be ceded back. An analysis by a genetically engineered think-tank led by Doctor Julian Bashir to determine that the Dominion was merely trying to hold on to the Kabrel system, which would allow them to produce ketracel-white in the Alpha Quadrant, addressing the supply problem they were facing without wormhole access. However, Bashir's think tank projected that it was actually favorable to take the territory without a fight while they had the chance, despite giving the Dominion the ability to produce ketracel-white in the process, because it would be more difficult for them to retake all of the Dominion's large amount of controlled space without incredible casualties if they did not. Although the Dominion would use the opportunity to regroup its forces, they warned, the Federation and Klingons were in far more need of a respite than the Dominion, and would take away more from a short pause in fighting. Weighing the pros and cons, the Federation accepted the peace proposal as a result. Fighting resumed some weeks later. (DS9: "Resurrection", "Statistical Probabilities")

However, even with this victory, the Federation and Klingons were struggling to hold their own. The Dominion took Betazed in 2374, and it was clear that more help would be needed if the alliance had any hope of victory. The Romulan Star Empire had to this point declared itself neutral in the conflict, though they were allowing Dominion ships passage through their space. Captain Sisko undertook an act of coercion with the help of Garak, implicating the Dominion in an assassination plot against a high ranking Romulan senator. His ploy was successful, and the Romulans joined the alliance. (DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight")

It was with this added firepower that the alliance was able to win the First Battle of Chin'toka in 2374, taking the strategically important system in their first major incursion into Dominion territory. (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets")

One very important event was changing the shape of the war away from the front lines: a debilitating disease was attacking the Founders themselves. It would later be claimed that Section 31 had a hand in the infection. The Founders' abilities as leaders were being compromised just as their military was taking severe punishment from the emboldened alliance. (DS9: "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River")

The Turning of the Tides

With Romulan reinforcement, the alliance had forced something of a stalemate. From early to mid-2375 neither side offered a firm push forward into the other. The Cardassians were able to halt the Klingon's advance at Monac Four, inflicting at least thirty percent casualties against the Klingons, forcing the Allies to remain bottled up in the Chin'toka system. (DS9: "Image in the Sand")

Gradually however, Damar began openly criticizing the war effort and deriding the Founders' leadership. It seemed to him that Cardassian troops were withstanding the worst of the assault, and statistics proved him correct. Dominion leaders decided that a change was necessary, and in late 2375 they sought the help of the Breen, a mysterious but powerful race. In the ensuing months, the Breen took more and more Cardassian responsibility, leadership—even territory. The tide had turned in favor of the Dominion, but Cardassians grew more restless by the day. (DS9: "Til Death Do Us Part")

With assistance from Breen energy-draining weapons, the Dominion won the Second Battle of Chin'toka with ease, destroying all but one of the three hundred and twelve allied vessels, thus regaining control of the system. The Breen even staged an attack on Earth, dealing a heavy blow to Federation morale. Starfleet and Romulan vessels were annihilated by the new Breen technology, forcing the Klingons — whose ships were found to be immune to the weapon — to hold the front lines on their own until a countermeasure could be found. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil")

Unfortunately for the Allies, Chancellor Gowron took control of the Klingon forces, in an attempt to defeat the Dominion without assistance from the Federation or Romulan Star Empire. During his brief campaign, he ordered General Martok to engage the Dominion at Avenal Seven - a world deep inside Dominion territory. Outnumbered six-to-one, the raid on Avanal Seven was an utter failure, losing seven ships, with another five seriously damaged. Realizing that these useless raids could not continue, Benjamin Sisko ordered Commander Worf to deal with Chancellor Gowron. After killing him in battle, Worf declared Martok the new Chancellor of the Klingon Empire. (DS9: "Tacking into the Wind")

The Dominion's obvious favoring of the Breen finally frustrated Damar to the point that he formed an active resistance on Cardassia. He first attempted a military coup d'etat, but Gul Revok betrayed him and the rebellion was quickly shut down. Damar, with help from Commander Kira Nerys and Garak, soon transitioned his rebellion to an underground civilian resistance. It was a success, and public anger against the Dominion was rising by the day. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")

The alliance also successfully countered the Breen energy weapon thanks to the resistance on Cardassia, and with this, the tactical advantage returned to the Allies. The Dominion withdrew to Cardassian space with designs on rebuilding from behind fortified borders. The determination was made by the Allies that the best hopes of success for an invasion was now, before the Dominion was allowed to strengthen itself any further. A three-pronged attack on Cardassia Prime was to be led by Captain Sisko, Admiral William Ross and now-Chancellor Martok. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")

The Cardassian resistance was alive and well, and knew of the impending invasion. They planned massive work stoppages and sabotage to prevent the Dominion from having ground support during the battle. The sabotage of power to the Dominion headquarters prompted a swift and brutal reprisal — the massacre of the population of Lakarian City through orbital bombardment. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")

The Battle of Cardassia was one of the largest space battles in galactic history, and was won by the alliance with unexpected help — Cardassian commanders received the news of Lakarian City's fate and turned on the Dominion. The Dominion responded typically — the head Founder ordered the Jem'Hadar to offer no quarter and fight to the last man, as well as commanding the annihilation of the entire planetary population of Cardassia Prime. Finally, members of the resistance were able to break into Dominion headquarters with Kira and Garak. Odo thought he could change the Founder's mind by meeting with her so he beamed to their location. He convinced the head Founder to give up the war by linking with her and thus curing her of the virus. He also offered to return to the Great Link and cure his people of the virus that had been crippling them. The war was officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Bajor, and all Dominion forces returned to the Gamma Quadrant with the exception of the head Founder who was to stand trial for war crimes. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")

Foremost in the aftermath, however, was the state of Cardassia Prime. Eight hundred million civilians were dead, and the entire Cardassian Union was in danger of total collapse. The Alpha Quadrant had lost a major power, and the effects on galactic politics would continue to be seen for many years to come.

For more information please see Memory Alpha's entry concerning the Dominion War.

ACTD Noteworthy


This article borrows heavily from the Memory-Alpha article of the same name.

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