Federation Alliance victory
|Casualties and Losses|
800 million Cardassians
The Dominion War was a conflict fought between the Federation Alliance and the Dominion in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants from 2373 to 2375. The war was fought by the Dominion to extend the will of the Founders over the two quadrants, while the alliance battled to remain free from Dominion influence.
Prelude to war
With the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole in 2369, several of the Alpha Quadrant's regional powers began to send explorers to the distant Gamma Quadrant to seek out new trading partners and establish new colonies. Throughout 2370, rumors of a power known as the Dominion were heard from several sources. First contact with an Alpha Quadrant power occurred when a Ferengi trading mission under Grand Nagus Zek encountered the Karemma, a subject species of the Dominion. However, first contact between the Federation and the Dominion would only occur later that year, when Starfleet commander Benjamin Sisko of space station Deep Space 9 encountered a Vorta woman fleeing Jem'Hadar soldiers, who claimed to represent "the Dominion." (DS9 episodes: "Rules of Acquisition"; "The Jem'Hadar")
Initial contact with the Dominion proved to be disastrous for the Federation. As retaliation for claims of territorial violations, the Dominion took credit for the destruction of several ships that had gone missing in the Gamma Quadrant, and for the destruction of the New Bajor colony. Additionally, Commander Sisko was detained and held responsible for the Alpha Quadrant's alleged violations of Dominion territory. A successful rescue attempt was conducted by the crew of Deep Space 9 and the USS Odyssey, the latter of which was destroyed during the operation, with the loss of all hands. However, it was determined a short time later that Sisko's capture and subsequent escape were part of a Dominion plan to place a Vorta spy in the Alpha Quadrant. The encounter with the Dominion left the Federation confused about this potential new enemy. Composed of multiple species, the Dominion claimed to be controlled by the mysterious "Founders," with the Vortas' role unknown. More threatening were the Dominion's scaled soldiers, the Jem'Hadar, who had proven their determination in destroying the Odyssey. (DS9 episode: "The Jem'Hadar")
The search for the Founders
With the Dominion threat now realized, Commander Sisko requested that the USS Defiant be pulled out of storage and assigned to Deep Space 9. The Defiant's first assignment was to venture into the Gamma Quadrant and attempt to convince the Founders of the Dominion that the Federation posed no threat to them. To aid in this task, a special amendment was made to the Treaty of Algeron, which permitted the Defiant to be equipped with a cloaking device. In return, the Federation would share all of its Dominion intelligence with the Romulan Star Empire. (DS9 episode: "The Search, Part I")
Although the Defiant was able to locate the Founders, the attempt to make peace proved to be unsuccessful. The Founders turned out to be a shape-shifting xenophobic species who believed that their survival depended on them imposing their own self-perceived form of "order" upon the galaxy. (DS9 episode: "The Search, Part II")
The Changeling threat
Although the Dominion had made their intentions clear, the Founders had no desire to wage war on a united quadrant. To this end, the Dominion began a coordinated campaign to destabilize the Alpha Quadrant. The next steps of the Cold War between the Dominion and the Alpha- and Beta Quadrant powers would focus around the roles and abilities of the Founders, whose ability to impersonate "solids" almost perfectly saw them commit several daring plans to effect this destabilization.
Defanging the Cardassians and the Romulans
In late-2371, the Dominion learned of a plan by Enabran Tain to combine Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar forces to attack the Founders' homeworld in the Omarion Nebula. Seeing an opportunity to put an end to the so-called "ruthless, efficient organizations," the Founders did everything they could to carry Tain's plan forward. When the combined Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar fleet arrived in orbit of the Founders' homeworld (located in the Omarion Nebula), it was quickly learned that the planet had already been evacuated. At that point, a fleet of 150 Jem'Hadar fighters ambushed the fleet. The failure of Tain's plan resulted in the destruction of the Obsidian Order, and the crippling of the Tal Shiar. (DS9 episodes: "Improbable Cause"; "The Die is Cast")
Early targeting of the Federation
Several weeks later, the Dominion attempted to incite a war between the Federation and their bitter old enemy, the Tzenkethi. A Changeling, posing as Federation Ambassador Krajensky, hijacked the Defiant to use it to attack a Tzenkethi colony. The attempt was thwarted by the newly-promoted Captain Sisko and the Defiant crew. During this ordeal, Deep Space 9 security chief Odo became the first Changeling to ever harm another, when he killed the Krajensky Changeling in order to prevent the starship's destruction. (DS9 episode: "The Adversary")
The Klingon invasion of Cardassia
Immediately following the loss of Tain's fleet, the Cardassian Union experienced titanic changes. The Detapa Council under Meya Rejal would seize power on Cardassia, in the process also managing to usurp the Central Command. The new government would reform the Obsidian Order's remaining staff as the Cardassian Intelligence Bureau, under Alon Ghemor. This however would neuter the state's abilities to police itself, or commit effective monitoring of its neighbours. Facing political clashes and calls to return Tekeny Ghemor from exile, Cardassia would close its borders. This would combine to have dire consequences, both in the near and distant futures. (DS9 novel: The Never-Ending Sacrifice)
Indeed, the Klingon Empire would take note of the change in Cardassia. Under advice from a changeling posing as the Empire's senior general, Martok, Chancellor Gowron would believe that the change in government was engineered by the Dominion. He would dispatch a fleet to Deep Space 9 under command of the Martok Changeling in preparation for an invasion of the Cardassian Union. When the Federation learned of the Klingon fleet's intentions, the Federation Council condemned the invasion. In response, Gowron withdrew the Klingon Empire from the Khitomer Accords, ending the alliance between the two powers. Throughout the remainder of the year, the Klingons continued their campaign in Cardassian space, an act which left Cardassia devastated. (DS9 episodes: "The Way of the Warrior"; "Return to Grace")
The Federation's darkest hour
The Dominion threat had placed the Federation into a state of high suspicion and paranoia, as well. In mid-2372, Starfleet vice admiral James Leyton used the threat of Changeling infiltration to attempt to overthrow the Federation government and instate martial law. By sabotaging a relay satellite on the far side of the Bajoran wormhole, Leyton was able to make it appear that a cloaked Dominion fleet was entering the Alpha Quadrant; thus giving him support for his "coup." In the end, Captain Sisko was able to stop the coup and force Leyton to resign. (DS9 episodes: "Homefront"; "Paradise Lost")
During Leyton's ascent, the rogue Federation agency, Section 31, would infect the allied changeling Odo with a morphogenic virus, which would ultimately restrict the Founders from shape-shifting, subjecting them to slow and tortuous deaths. Odo would pass the virus onto the Founders in late 2372; however, it would be another two years before the virus began to take full hold over the species. (DS9 episodes: "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River"; "Chimera" ; "When It Rains..."; "Tacking Into the Wind")
Discovering Changelings in the Empire
In late-2372, the Klingon Empire, emboldened by their war with the Cardassians, invoked "ancient claims" to the Archanis sector. Starfleet was given ten days to abandon the sector or face a war. At this time, Odo was extorted into returning to the Great Link to face judgement for killing the Krajensky Changeling one year earlier. While he was in the Link, Odo realized the possibility that Chancellor Gowron had been replaced by yet another Changeling. (DS9 episode: "Broken Link")
By early-2373, the dispute over the Archanis sector had brought the Federation and the Klingon Empire to the brink of war. In an effort to expose the Gowron Changeling, Starfleet dispatched Captain Sisko, Lieutenant Commander Worf, Chief Miles O'Brien, and Odo to Ty'Gokor deep within Klingon space, where Gowron would be presiding over the induction of new members into the Order of the Bat'leth. During the operation, it was realized that it was in fact General Martok who had been replaced. After the Martok Changeling was killed, the Klingons and the Federation returned to the negotiating table to end their war. (DS9 episode: "Apocalypse Rising")
The Dominion invasion begins
The Klingon-Cardassian War had left the Cardassian people broken and defeated. Frustrated with this situation, Gul Skrain Dukat sought out an alliance with the Dominion. Under the terms of this alliance, the Dominion was allowed to annex the Cardassian Union and Dukat was installed as its leader. The Dominion immediately began fortifying Cardassian space with weekly convoys of warships and Jem'Hadar soldiers, giving Dukat the military force he needed to drive the Klingons from Cardassian space and to put an end to the Maquis rebellion in the Demilitarized Zone.
After the Klingons were forced from Cardassia, Chancellor Gowron re-signed the Khitomer Accords and declared that the Empire and the Federation would stand side by side against the Dominion. (DS9 episodes: "In Purgatory's Shadow"; "By Inferno's Light")
Although a technical state of war did not yet exist, several skirmishes occurred near the Cardassian border over the next several months. Several ships, such as the IKS B'Moth and the USS Tian An Men were either destroyed or reported missing. Additionally, the Dominion began securing non-aggression pacts with several of Alpha Quadrants regional powers, including the Tholian Assembly, the Miradorn, the Bajorans, and perhaps most significantly, the Romulan Star Empire. This, combined with the Dominion's continued military build up, forced the Federation to act. Captain Sisko devised a plan to mine the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole, a move that was virtually guaranteed to lead to war. (DS9 episodes: "Soldiers of the Empire"; "In the Cards"; "Call to Arms")
Terok Nor reclaimed
When the crew of Deep Space 9 mined the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole with self-replicating mines to prevent more Dominion starships arriving from the Gamma Quadrant, Dukat and Weyoun launched an assault against the station.
Although the minefield was successfully deployed and activated, Benjamin Sisko and his crew were forced to abandon the station to Dominion forces. Rechristened "Terok Nor", the station would serve as the central command post of the Dominion-Cardassian alliance - with Dukat, his chief aide, Damar, and the vorta Weyoun administering the war from there. (DS9 episodes: "Call to Arms"; "A Time to Stand")
Notably, the laying of the mines provided a tactical distraction, allowing a Federation-Klingon fleet to attack a Cardassian shipyard. However the war would not be so simple. (DS9 episode: "Call to Arms")
Early failures and successes
For three months of the war, the Dominion was victorious in several battles, including in the Tyra system, when they destroyed ninety-eight out of a fleet of one hundred and twelve starships. (DS9 episode: "A Time to Stand")
Federation successes did occur, however, when Captain Sisko was posted to Admiral William Ross's Starbase 375. There, Sisko was informed that Starfleet had discovered a Ketracel-white facility, crucial to the Dominion war-effort. Sisko would lead a successful mission to destroy it. Soon after his return, he was promoted to Ross's adjutant and tasked with war-planning. He would order an attack on a Dominion sensor array in the Argolis Cluster by the USS Defiant, providing another small success. (DS9 episodes: "A Time to Stand"; "Behind the Lines")
A more major success was when Starfleet was able to enlist the aid of the Gorn Empire at Cestus III, a negotiation involving Jean-Luc Picard and future Federation President Nanietta Bacco. (TNG comic: "The Gorn Crisis")
The Dominion, meanwhile, pursued various means to remove the minefield at the wormhole, which was preventing the massive military might of its Gamma Quadrant forces from coming through. A Changeling obtained the detonation codes for the minefield after infiltrating Starfleet, although intervention by the Beta XII-A entity caused the death of the Changeling and those who were taking him to Terok Nor. (ST - Tales of the Dominion War short story: "Night of the Vulture")
More successful in removing the minefield was the work of Dukat's aide, Damar, who successfully figured out a way to deactivate the mines. This scientific success was perceived by resistance elements on the station, led by Bajoran Militia Major Kira Nerys, as potentially able to end the war in the Dominion's favor. (DS9 episodes: "Behind the Lines"; "Favor the Bold")
Sisko, working with the approval of Ross, would later develop the plan, Operation Return, to retake Deep Space 9. The desperate plan that was approved by Starfleet Command, despite the great risk of taking fleet elements away from the core worlds, including Earth. The mission was rated as crucial when they learned of Damar's plan, and they were forced to deploy its forces sooner than expected, without securing aid from an over-taxed Klingon Empire. Only the 2nd and 5th fleets left Starbase 375, under the command of Ross and Sisko. En route they encountered a massive Dominion fleet. (DS9 episode: "Favor the Bold")
Ross and Sisko's fleet would attempt to break through, first attempting scouting moves to no avail. Gul Dukat, orchestrating the Dominion fleet from Terok Nor, opened a hole in his lines to lure the Federation fleet into a meatgrinder between his heaviest ships in the centre of their lines. Frustrated by his lack of progress, Sisko would order his cruiser and Galaxy-class elements into the hole, attempting to use them to punch through. The operation was not a success, until a Klingon fleet under the command of General Martok came to their rescue, and through attrition the Defiant was able to break through and reach Terok Nor.
During the occupation, Kira Nerys had led a resistance movement on Terok Nor to disable the station and prevent the Dominion from destroying the minefield. But despite the cell's activity - disabling the station - the Dominion was successful in destroying the minefield. The Defiant arrived, and distraught, Sisko took it into the wormhole. There, appealing to their relationship with Bajor, Sisko convinced the Prophets to remove the Dominion reinforcements that had entered the wormhole.* When it became clear that there were no Dominion reinforcements coming, and that more of the Operation Return fleet had broken through the Dominion lines, the Female Changeling ordered a retreat of all Dominion forces to Cardassian space. The Cardassian role in the Dominion alliance would change utterly with the mental collapse of Gul Dukat. (DS9 episode: "Sacrifice of Angels")
The Dominion War caused considerable damage to the United Federation of Planets' infrastructure before peace was found. This coupled with the size of the Federation's territory and its high number of member states caused the Federation to spiral into a period of rapid decline, culminating in the dissolution of the Federation Council in 2375. The Federation ceased to exist, but a new revolutionary government on Earth rose up and began a campaign to reunite the ex-member states of the Federation in a new imperial regime.
The Federation Alliance was easily defeated by the Dominion when Captain Benjamin Sisko was unable to convince the Prophets to postpone the Dominion Fleet coming through the Bajoran wormhole and Rom's mines failed to defend Deep Space 9. In 2410 the subject races were persuaded by a starship crew from the prime universe to come together and form the Galactic Alliance to liberate the Milky Way Galaxy from the Dominion.