User:Emily Quinn/Sandbox/The Dominion War
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The Dominion War was a two-year interstellar conflict between the Dominion and the Federation Alliance, from late 2373 to late 2375, that consumed the entire Alpha Quadrant in one of the most destructive and bloody 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.
Following the Federation's first official contact with the Dominion in 2370, a cold war developed between several of the Alpha Quadrant's major powers and the Dominion that lasted for three years. By placing Changeling infiltrators in important positions within the governments of the Alpha and Beta Quadrant's major powers, the Dominion was able to wipe out the Cardassian Obsidian Order, drastically reduce the capabilities of the Romulan Tal Shiar, nearly cause a war between the Federation and the Tzenkethi, and start a war between the Klingon Empire and the Cardassian Union, an act which concurrently caused a conflict between the Federation and the Klingons.
The conflict between the Klingons and the Cardassians is what paved the way for the Dominion to gain a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant. In mid-2373, Gul Dukat, frustrated with the losses the Cardassians had taken from the Klingons, negotiated the entry of the Cardassian Union into the Dominion. The Dominion immediately began fortifying the Cardassian Union with weekly convoys of warships and troops from the Gamma Quadrant. With his new Dominion allies, Dukat was able to make good on a promise to drive the Klingons from Cardassian space and wipe out the Maquis resistance in the Demilitarized Zone. At this point the Federation and Klingons renewed their alliance and agreed to stand side-by-side against the new Dominion-Cardassian threat.
Although a technical state of war did not yet exist, several skirmishes occurred near the Cardassian border over the next several months, with ships such as the USS Tian An Men and the IKS B'Moth either being destroyed or reported missing. Additionally, the Dominion began securing nonaggression pacts with several of the Alpha Quadrant's regional powers, including the Tholian Assembly, the Miradorn, the Bajorans, and perhaps most significantly, the Romulan Star Empire. Hoping to prevent any further Dominion reinforcements from reaching Cardassia, the Federation opted to mine the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole, a move that Starfleet believed would lead to war.
Total war begins
Upon learning of the Federation's intent to mine the wormhole, a large Dominion fleet was dispatched to Deep Space 9 to capture the station. Despite the heavy armaments, the station did not have the resources to fend off the Dominion fleet without reinforcements from the Federation. The Starfleet personnel were forced to abandon their post shortly after the activation of the minefield. However, while the Dominion forces were kept occupied at DS9, a Federation-Klingon task force crossed the border into Cardassia and destroyed the Dominion shipyards at Torros III.
Dominion success and stalemate
Over the next three months, the Federation and Klingon fleets engaged Dominion forces in a large number of bloody battles. However, each time the Federation-Klingon alliance was forced to retreat. In one attempt to stop the Dominion's advance into their territory, the Federation dispatched its Seventh Fleet – a force composed of 112 vessels – to the Tyra system. The Seventh Fleet was also forced to retreat, but only fourteen ships were able to make it back to their lines – a disastrous defeat for the Federation. Although Federation citizens at home were apprised of the military situation on the front lines, matters were far worse than the news service was reporting.
Although Starfleet was yet to defeat the Dominion in a major operation, they were able to score some minor victories here and there. Over three months following the outbreak of hostilities, Captain Benjamin Sisko lead an infiltration mission which destroyed the Dominion's primary ketracel-white storage facility in Cardassian space, further complicating their supply problems. Dukat responded by pushing deeper into Federation-held space, hoping to score a crushing victory over Starfleet before the final rations of ketracel-white would be distributed (provided the wormhole could not be reopened). By the end of the following month, the front line extended across Federation territory, with the Vulcan and Bolian home systems finding themselves within contested regions. Shortly after another infiltration mission which managed to destroy a massive Dominion sensor array in the Argolis Cluster, Starfleet launched an operation which managed to alleviate the pressure on the Bolian front. Nevertheless, morale was plummeting to such levels that even the Klingons were beginning to doubt whether they could defeat the Dominion.
By the second quarter of that year, after months of retreating from Dominion forces, Captain Sisko attempted to persuade Starfleet Command that the Federation must go on the offensive. He proposed a plan recapture Deep Space 9 using a task force consisting of the Second, Fifth, and Ninth Fleets. Admiral Coburn objected to the plan, fearing too many ships would be diverted away from Earth, leaving it open to a Dominion attack. Sisko was eventually able to convince him that the key to winning the war was preventing Dominion reinforcements from coming through the wormhole. The plan was approved; however, the Federation received intelligence that the Dominion was only three days away from deactivating minefield and the Ninth Fleet was still four days away. In addition, the Klingon Empire had not yet agreed to participate in the operation, citing the same fears as Admiral Coburn, only that it would leave the Empire vulnerable, and not just Earth. Nevertheless, Starfleet felt it had no choice but to deploy its task force with only the Second and Fifth Fleets in order to reach DS9 before the minefield was deactivated. Without the minefield, the Federation would almost certainly be overrun by the Dominion reinforcements. The task force of over 600 Federation ships departed from Starbase 375 and headed towards the Bajoran system. Realizing that the Federation fleet was on a direct course for Deep Space 9, Dukat pulled a significant number of Dominion ships off the front lines to crush the enemy fleet and prevent them from retaking the station. With only hours left until the minefield was destroyed, Weyoun assured Dukat that all the ships lost during this engagement would be easily replaced with the 2,800 Jem'Hadar ships waiting on the other side of the wormhole. He reiterated that holding onto the station was the top priority.
A Dominion fleet of 1,254 ships intercepted the Federation fleet and the battle to retake Deep Space 9 began. Captain Sisko attempted to draw out Cardassian forces and open a hole in the Dominion's lines, in order to punch through and reach the station in time. Dukat, realizing Sisko's plan, saw an opportunity of his own; he would allow the Federation to force its way through, only to be surrounded and closed in by the overwhelming force at his disposal. With the Federation forces taking heavy casualties, the battle seemed almost lost. However, a massive Klingon fleet suddenly decloaked and engaged the Dominion forces, turning the tide of the battle to the allies' favor and enabling the Defiant to break through the lines to Deep Space 9. Although Dukat made good on his promise to destroy the minefield, it proved useless to the Dominion, as Captain Sisko entered the wormhole and persuaded the Prophets to wipe out the Dominion reinforcements entirely. With no reinforcements on their way, and the fleet battle 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.
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 determined that the Dominion was merely trying to acquire 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 augments suggested the Federation accept the peace proposal. Instead, the Federation made a counter-proposal, much to the Dominion's dissatisfaction. Fighting resumed some weeks later.
Despite their successful retaking of Deep Space 9, the Federation and Klingon forces were far from victory. Ships patrolling the Cardassian border were frequently attacked. The USS Cortez was lost with all hands during a border patrol. The Dominion also began breeding Jem'Hadar in the Alpha Quadrant, to compensate for the lack of reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. By 2375, the Dominion's Ketracel-white shortage was mitigated when the Son'a began producing the drug for the Jem'Hadar.
In late 2374, the Dominion launched a successful invasion of Betazed from the Kalandra sector. The Federation was caught off guard because Starfleet Intelligence had mistakenly believed the Kalandra sector was too far from Dominion supply lines to pose a threat. In addition, the Federation's Tenth Fleet, which was assigned to defend Betazed, was caught out of position during a battle exercise. Betazed's own planetary defense systems were obsolete and undermanned. With the capture of this system, the Dominion was in a position to invade Vulcan, Andor, Tellar and Alpha Centauri. Furthermore, the Federation was suffering a manpower shortage after sustaining massive casualties up to that point, and many of their shipyards were still being rebuilt. The Dominion's shipyards, on the other hand, were producing at 100% capacity, and legions of Jem'Hadar were being bred at an incredible rate. Without help, it was only a matter of time until the Dominion would defeat both the Klingons and the Federation.
The Federation began growing more desperate for allies. Ensign Nog, the only Ferengi in Starfleet, was dispatched to personally deliver a message to Grand Nagus Zek of the Ferengi Alliance from the Federation Council, a message Jake Sisko speculated was a proposal for an alliance. Additionally, the USS Enterprise-NCC-1701-E was ordered to welcome the Evora as a new Federation protectorate despite the Evora only developing warp drive one year earlier. The Federation Council believed that in light of their losses to the Borg and the Dominion, the Federation needed all the allies it could find.
But perhaps the most important ally it needed was the Romulan Star Empire.
Turning of the tide
The Romulan Star Empire had to this point declared itself neutral in the conflict, though they were allowing Dominion ships passage through their space. Realizing the war was lost without the assistance of the Romulan Empire, Captain Sisko undertook an act of coercion with the help of Elim Garak, implicating the Dominion in an assassination plot against a high ranking Romulan senator. Their ploy was successful, and the Romulans joined the alliance. Within hours of joining the war against the Dominion, the Romulans attacked fifteen bases along the Cardassian-Romulan border, opening up a new front and drawing forces away from the Federation and Klingon lines. In some of their most violent engagements, the Romulans used Reman shock troops as cannon fodder. One such commander of those forces was Shinzon - who was (unknown to the Federation at the time) a clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard - and led twelve successful engagements against the Dominion.
With the Romulans now part of the Federation Alliance, the Allies had the necessary resources, ships and manpower to go on the offensive. The Federation and the Klingons wished to proceed, however the Romulans were hesitant at first. The Romulans believed that an invasion of Cardassia would only result in an appalling amount of casualties. In the end, Captain Sisko managed to convince them that the only way to achieve a lasting victory against the Dominion was to invade their territory and begin destroying their shipyards and cloning facilities. The Dominion forces were spread thin after being forced to divert ships to the Romulan front. Only five squadrons of Jem'Hadar attack ships were available to defend the Chin'toka system, which became the first target attacked by a combined Federation-Klingon-Romulan invasion fleet. Without reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant, the Cardassians resorted to deploying orbital weapon platforms, reducing the need for starships to defend the system. These weapon platforms were well armed and were nearly successful in fending off the Allied invasion fleet. However, Garak discovered a weakness that allowed the Federation to destroy the platforms' power grid. As a result, the Allied fleet emerged victorious at the First Battle of Chin'toka. Federation troops beamed down and seized control of both planets in the star system. This was the Allies first push into Cardassian territory, and was a monumental morale booster.
After the initial success in capturing the Chin'toka system, the invasion of Cardassia had ground to a halt. Allied casualties continued to mount while Dominion forces managed to keep the Allies bottled up in the Chin'toka system. The Dominion was pushing its shipyards beyond their limits in an attempt to construct enough warships to retake the system. At this point, the war had entered something of a stalemate. Early- to mid-2375 was spent with neither side offering a firm push forward into the other. A Klingon fleet attempted to advance against Dominion forces at Monac IV, but it was repelled and suffered at least thirty percent casualties. Allied ships and ground troops in the Chin'toka system came under constant attack from Dominion warships and ground forces determined to retake their territory.
One very important event that changed the shape of the war was occurring behind the front lines: a debilitating disease was attacking the Founders. 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.
Gradually, Damar began openly criticizing the war effort and deriding the Founders' leadership. Cardassia had taken heavy casualties during the war. Damar believed that there was not one Cardassian family that had not lost someone in this conflict. Dominion leaders began seeking a new ally, and in late-2375 they entered into negotiations with the Breen, a mysterious but powerful race. In the ensuing months, an alliance was formed and the Breen took more and more of the Cardassians' responsibility, their leadership, and even Cardassian territory. The tide had turned in favor of the Dominion, but Cardassians grew more restless by the day.
The Breen entered the war with a shocking attack on Starfleet Headquarters itself. Most of the Breen attack force was destroyed by Starfleet forces, but not before the Breen had already inflicted a great deal of damage and casualties. The Breen considered the attack a success despite the fact that so few of their ships survived the assault. That they were willing to sacrifice so many of their ships and troops in order to strike at the very heart of the Federation proved to the allies one thing; the Breen were a race of warriors.
The Breen's second operation was a counterattack against the Allied forces in control of the Chin'toka system. The Breen broke through Federation lines in two places and the allies immediately began assembling reinforcements. A Federation Alliance assault fleet arrived at Chin'toka to fend off the advancing Dominion fleet. During this battle, the Breen unleashed their energy-draining weapons that quickly immobilized and disabled the entire Allied fleet. The Federation, Klingon and Romulan ships were rendered completely defenseless against conventional 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 Klingons by sheer luck stumbled upon a modification that made them immune to the weapon. Subsequently it was up to the Klingon fleet to hold the front lines on their own until a countermeasure could be found for Starfleet and Romulan ships. To do this, General Martok brought 1,500 starships to the border as the Allies' defense by the following day. Even with this sizable fleet, the Klingon force was outnumbered twenty-to-one by the Dominion, Breen and Cardassian forces. To compensate, Martok would have his fleet operate in small battle groups, remaining cloaked until they would engage the enemy, in an attempt to keep them off balance.
Although the war turned significantly in the Dominion's favor with the Breen's entry into the war, the Dominion's obvious favoring of the Breen finally frustrated Damar to the point that he formed an active resistance on Cardassia. A number of Cardassian officers, including Gul Rusot, who shared Damar's frustration, remained loyal to him. Joining his rebellion, they attacked the cloning facilities on Rondac III. Although the fleet was successful in destroying the facility, half of Damar's entire military force was destroyed in the battle. Despite this, the Dominion realized they could not hope to win the war against the allies until the internal rebellion was crushed. This gave the allies the time they needed to obtain a counter measure to the Breen's energy dissipator, although without a working version of the weapon the research proceeded slowly.
End of the war
Realizing Damar's rebellion would be crushed without a necessary change in strategy and outside support, the Federation dispatched Kira Nerys (with a new commission as a Starfleet commander), Elim Garak, and Odo to help train the Cardassian liberation forces in guerrilla tactics, while also providing food replicators and weapons to sustain the rebellion. With Kira's knowledge of guerrilla warfare passed on to Damar's forces, the rebellion began destroying individual ships via sabotage, and was successful in the destruction of the Tevak shipyards.
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 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. It soon became clear that Gowron had come to view Martok as a political threat and by launching these raids, he hoped to have the general discredited or killed. Realizing that these useless raids could not continue, Captain Sisko ordered Lieutenant Commander Worf to "deal" with Chancellor Gowron. After killing him in battle, Worf declared Martok the new Chancellor of the Klingon Empire.
With the help of Odo, the Cardassian rebellion was able to capture a Jem'Hadar attack ship fitted with one of the Breen's energy dampening weapons from the Kelvas repair facility. With the weapon delivered to the Federation, a counter-measure was able to be produced for both Federation and Romulan ships, thus returning the tactical advantage into the Allies' favor. Shortly afterward however, the rebel Cardassian forces were completely wiped out by the Dominion after Gul Revok betrayed them, allowing all eighteen rebel bases to be found and destroyed.
After successfully destroying the rebel bases, the Dominion realized that the Federation Alliance had developed a counter measure to the Breen's weaponry. As a result, they withdrew all of their forces from Klingon, Federation and Romulan space and created a new defense perimeter within Cardassian territory. The perimeter was heavily fortified, requiring a major Allied offensive to break through and result in the loss of thousands of ships. The Dominion had hoped that the Federation would not attempt such an offensive, giving them the time they needed to rebuild a sufficient armada to destroy Allied forces. The Federation Alliance decided instead to proceed with an invasion, in spite of the heavy losses that they would suffer. A three-pronged attack into Cardassia was organized and led by Vice Admiral William Ross, Captain Benjamin Sisko, Chancellor Martok, and (presumably) Velal.
A Federation Alliance invasion fleet departed Deep Space 9 and engaged a combined Jem'Hadar, Cardassian, and Breen fleet at the Dominion's new defensive perimeter. Allied losses mounted as the battle raged on, with the Dominion managing to destroy one third of the Allied invasion force, including the Romulan flagship.
Although Damar's military rebellion had been crushed, his brief but effective campaign had left quite an impression on the Cardassian people. After a raid on a Jem'Hadar barracks on Cardassia Prime in late-2375, Damar was able to rally the support of the entire civilian population on Cardassia. (Template:DS9) During the Alliance invasion, these civilians caused a planet-wide blackout, cutting off all communication from the Dominion Headquarters to their fleets in combat. In retaliation for this, the Female Changeling ordered the destruction of Lakarian City as a deterrent to further acts of rebellion. This action had the opposite effect however – when the Cardassian fleet learned about the fate of Lakarian City, it switched sides to assist the Federation Alliance and opened fire on the Jem'Hadar and Breen ships. With the Cardassian fleet turned against them, the Dominion had no choice but order a full retreat back to Cardassia Prime, where they were surrounded by the pursuing Federation, Klingon, Romulan, and Cardassian ships.
The situation was now hopeless for the Dominion, but the Founder refused to surrender. Instead she ordered every Jem'Hadar and Breen soldier to fight to the last man. She also ordered the Jem'Hadar to begin exterminating the Cardassian population for their betrayal. Jem'Hadar troops rampaged through the streets of Cardassia Prime killing millions. Finally, members of the resistance were able to break into Dominion headquarters and capture the Founder, though she still refused to order her troops to surrender, therefore Odo beamed down to link with her. While linked, Odo cured the Founder of the virus and convinced her to order the remaining Dominion forces to stand down. She agreed to turn herself over to Federation authorities to stand trial for war crimes. In exchange, Odo would return to the Great Link and cure the rest of their people of the virus that had been crippling them.
The instrument of surrender, the Treaty of Bajor, was signed on Deep Space 9 only days after the Battle of Cardassia. Following the end of the war, the Dominion was forced back into the Gamma Quadrant, the Cardassian Union was in shambles, and the Klingon Empire was estimated to be set back by at least a decade. The war also prompted a change in leadership in the Klingon High Council, as Lieutenant Commander Worf killed Chancellor Gowron for squandering the Empire's resources on a political vendetta against General Martok in the final weeks of the war. Worf passed the Chancellorship onto Martok immediately after Gowron's death.
Although both the Federation and the Romulan Empire suffered a heavy death toll, Section 31 operative Luther Sloan speculated that these two powers would be the ones struggling for control of a post-war Alpha Quadrant. Even before the war's end, many in both the Federation and the Romulan Empire believed that their alliance was only a temporary war-time coalition. There was concern that the Romulans would not cede worlds they liberated from the Dominion, such as Benzar, back to the Federation. By 2379, the Neutral Zone was still in effect, and serious peace talks did not begin until late that year.
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.