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How Deep Space Nine’s Dominion War Nearly Wrecked Star Trek’s Utopia

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Screenshot: Paramount

Although a cease-fire in the conflict between the Federation and Klingons was secured relatively quickly after the exposure of the Martok agent, the ensuing chaos—as well as an attempted Borg assault that vastly damaged Starfleet’s military strength in Sector 001—had primed the Alpha Quadrant for the Dominion. Half a year later in 2373, the Dominion reaped the seeds it had sown in years of infiltration and subterfuge. With Cardassia drastically weakened through internal and external strife, a beleaguered Gul Dukat entered negotiations with the Dominion to formally develop an alliance, allowing the Cardassians to stage key territory retrievals on the Klingon front with Dominion backing. Plans by Starfleet to seal the Bajoran wormhole and cut off any threat of a Dominion invasion were thwarted by an agent posing as Dr. Julian Bashir, DS9’s Starfleet medical chief, who successfully managed to stablize the wormhole’s integrity even further—allowing the Dominion to regularly transport a steady stream of supplies and military power to Cardassian space.

Growing tensions and small border conflicts on the fringes of what was now Dominion-Cardassian territory saw the Federation and Klingons bury the hatchet formally, with the Empire re-entering the Khitomer Accords. But even with one wound patched up, war was now inevitable, and Starfleet launched a plan to mine the space around Deep Space Nine and the Bajoran wormhole, effectively delaying further transport of Dominion materiel into the Alpha Quadrant. A field of self-replicating mines pushed the Dominion into action, sending a message to Captain Sisko and Starfleet at the station: disable the mines, or the Dominion and Cardassians would take Deep Space Nine and do it themselves.

Starfleet made its first humbling gambit: just days later, an overwhelming Cardassian-Dominion force assaulted Deep Space Nine, but not before the mine field was armed—and not before Starfleet withdrew from the station entirely, leaving the Bajoran security forces staged there to welcome Dominion control. In exchange, the distraction caused by the Dominion pressing so much of its Alpha Quadrant forces into action a Deep Space Nine allowed a joint Starfleet-Klingon allied force to invade Cardassian space, destroying a key Dominion shipyard and hampering initial production efforts of Alpha Quadrant-made weaponry.

On stardate 50975.2, the Dominion War turned hot.


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