"The Dominion has endured for over two thousand years, and will continue to endure, until long after the Federation has crumbled into dust."
- - Weyoun 4, 2372
The Dominion was a major galactic political power, whose influence was exerted over thousands of planets in the Gamma Quadrant. By the year 2372, the Dominion had existed for somewhere between two to ten thousand years. The Dominion was created by the Changelings, a species of shapeshifters native to a rogue planet within the Omarion Nebula, who referred to themselves as "the Founders."
Absolute rule of the Dominion remained in the hands of the Founders and their Great Link, whose decisions could not be disputed under any circumstances. However, the Founders were largely content to leave the administration of the Dominion's daily affairs to the Vorta. The loyalty of the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar is genetically-engineered, which in most cases ensured absolute obedience to the Founders. The Founders themselves were rarely seen, even by their servant races, and were treated as gods or myth. Due to such a social standing within the Dominion, most of what the Dominion's member races carry out are often for the glory of the Founders, or to please them in some way, similar to how religious figures would pray or carry out an action to please their God(s). (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath", "Treachery, Faith and the Great River")
A Dominion political strategy frequently used is to not use its military might during initial contacts; but take over via influence and espionage. While Jem'Hadar fighters destroyed the USS Odyssey as a show of force, the Dominion used its vast influential and espionage tactics to destabilize the Alpha Quadrant. For example, the Dominion precipitated a war between the Cardassian Union and the Klingon Empire, and then struck an alliance with the Cardassian Union, knowing full well they would accept due to their dire state, so to gain support and a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant before deploying its military power. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "The Way of the Warrior")
Dominionese was at least one common language used by the Dominion. It is unknown if the Dominion member races maintained or used race-specific or world-specific tongues.
The Dominion also have a written language, when the Female Changeling signs the Treaty of Bajor ending the Dominion War.
Little is known about the Dominion's economy; it is however presumed to have a massive one considering the size of its territory. The Karemma have been known to be involved in commerce, but the extent to which their activities affect the economy as a whole is a mystery. Presumably, the commodities required to build and maintain the Dominion's gargantuan shipbuilding and cloning operations are sourced from subjugate planets and shuffled as necessary, with shortfalls addressed by Jem'Hadar shock troops. It seems however that judging by the fact that the Ferengi negotiated trade deals with several planets individually that the Dominion central government has little interest in commerce and leaves the economies of its subject planets to the planets themselves.
A Female Changeling, one of the Founders of the Dominion
Kudak'etan, a Jem'Hadar - the Dominion's main fighting forceThe Dominion is comprised of several "member races", as the Founders claim to control the destinies of hundreds of species. (DS9: "The Search, Part II")
The Dominion was founded on the principle of control, with the intent being to neutralize any potential threat to the Founders by whatever means necessary. In cases involving cooperative species such as the Karemma, the extent of Dominion interference is fairly minimal and restricted to material support. However, if the target species is or becomes less cooperative, the Jem'Hadar are dispatched to wipe out any opposition. The fear of massive Jem'Hadar reprisals is enough to keep most planets in line. For a prospective member, at first contact the Dominion may appear helpful, or even benevolent. A typical Dominion strategy is to make concessions in the short term for an advantage in the longer term, which may be centuries in advance. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "Statistical Probabilities")
The more notable member races include:
- Breen (2375)
- Cardassians (2373-2375)
- Jem'Hadar (military servant race)
- T-Rogorans (conquered 2370)
- Vorta (servant race)
- Yaderans (conquered 2340)
A typical Jem'Hadar attack ship armed with the phased polaron beamBy the time of the Dominion War, Dominion technology appeared to have significantly outpaced that of most Alpha Quadrant species.
Instead of phased energy or disruptor beams, Jem'Hadar rifles emitted powerful polaron beams which had the side-effect of acting as an anticoagulant in some humanoids, thereby impeding the natural wound-healing process. (DS9: "The Ship")
Similarly, Dominion warships displayed more impressive firepower than their Alpha Quadrant counterparts. Phased polaron beams were mounted on all Jem'Hadar attack ships. These initially cut through Federation shielding without effort; (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar") however, the DS9 crew subsequently managed to adapt their shields to withstand Dominion weapons for short periods. (DS9: "Call to Arms") The Breen also wielded a huge advantage on the battlefield with an energy dissipating weapon capable of disabling Federation and Romulan vessels with a single shot. Countermeasures for these technologies do exist and have proven to be effective.
Dominion transporters utilized transponders which enabled them to transport individuals across distances as far as three light years. (DS9: "Covenant")
Dominion warp capability is less advanced when compared to most major Alpha Quadrant species. A Dominion fighter was capable of at least warp 7 and a battle cruiser was capable of at least warp 4.7. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Valiant")
While some Dominion technology was in many ways more advanced then that of the Federation, one Vorta lamented that Starfleet engineers were famed for being able to "turn rocks into replicators". (DS9: "Rocks and Shoals") At least some Dominion technology was manufactured by Dominion member species, it is known for example, that at least one type of torpedo carried onboard Jem'Hadar attack vessels was sold to the Dominion by the Karemma, a Dominion member.(DS9: "Starship Down") The Jem'Hadar did however, seem capable of performing not only some minor and emergency repairs but also understanding complex engineering on even Starfleet vessels. (DS9: "One Little Ship") This, together with the larger history of the Dominion might indicate that Dominion has inferior technical resourcefulness to the Federation but simply had more time to perfect their technologies. This is consistent with the Federation making multiple technological breakthroughs during the conflict with the Dominion while the Dominion makes very few technical advances. Beginnings
The history of the Dominion begins with the history of the Founders as recorded in the memory of the Great Link. Several millennia ago, Changelings roamed the stars searching out other races so they could add to their knowledge of the galaxy.
They went in peace but were too often met with suspicion, hatred and violence. Solids, fearing the Changelings' metamorphic abilities, beat, hunted and killed them. (DS9: "The Search, Part II") It is worth noting that the only support for this story comes from the Female Changeling, who told it to Odo upon first meeting him, and that this story is uncorroborated. According to Dominion legend, on one planet, a group of Vorta — a species of small, timid, ape-like forest dwellers living in hollowed-out trees — hid a Changeling from an angry mob, and in return the Changeling promised that one day they would be transformed into powerful beings and placed at the head of a vast interstellar empire. (DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River") Eris, a Vorta field commander from "The Jem'Hadar" suggested that the Vorta homeworld is Kurill Prime. Her story that the Jem'Hadar conquered her people was false, however, and so this information may have been part of the deception. It is also possible that Weyoun's story of the Vorta's origins is entirely or partially untrue.
The Founders' homeworldFollowing their retreat to the Founders' homeworld inside the Omarion Nebula, the Changelings sought to ensure that they would never again be at the mercy of the solids by imposing "order upon a chaotic universe" around them.
Over time, the Founders sent out 100 infant Changelings in order to continue gathering information and explore. It was genetically coded into these infants for them to return later and share what they have learned. Odo and Laas were amongst them. (DS9: "The Search, Part II", "Chimera")
 Domination of the Gamma QuadrantEdit
The founding of the Dominion, itself, occurred between the tenth and 2nd millennium BC. (DS9: "To the Death") It was at this time that the Founders first employed Vorta as their administrators, diplomats, scientists, and commanders.
To enforce their will, the Founders engineered the Jem'Hadar, a species specifically designed for warfare. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "The Search, Part II", "Treachery, Faith and the Great River") The Jem'Hadar became the Dominion's first line of defense. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind") In "The Dogs of War", Weyoun 8 stated that the Dominion hasn't surrendered in battle since it was founded ten thousand years ago. This contradicts the date of 2,000 years stated by Weyoun 4 in "To the Death", which seems to be corroborated with what the Female Changeling said regarding the Jem'Hadar in "What You Leave Behind". The Vorta and the Jem'Hadar under their command rapidly began to conquer space, in the name of the Founders. The Dominion ability to mass-produce soldiers, weapons, and ships gave them a substantial advantage, particularly in wars of attrition.
In the mid-22nd century, the Dominion encountered a space-faring race in Teplan system. The Teplans believed nothing was beyond their ability, including resisting the Dominion. In response, the Jem'Hadar came and left their homeworld crushed, as an example to others.
More than anything, the Dominion wanted the Teplans to bear the mark of their defiance, so they unleashed a biological weapon, establishing the disease known as the blight. (DS9: "The Quickening") The Dominion also made a similar example of the inhabitants of Boranis III. (DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")
Around 2340, the Dominion conquered a race, native to Yadera Prime, known as the Yaderans. (DS9: "Shadowplay")
In 2370, the Jem'Hadar invaded and conquered a race known as the T-Rogorans. (DS9: "Sanctuary")
 Contact with the Alpha QuadrantEdit
Eris, a Vorta operative.The first official contact between the Dominion and the United Federation of Planets came at the end of 2370, when Jem'Hadar forces destroyed a number of ships and colonies from the Alpha Quadrant side of the Bajoran wormhole and took Benjamin Sisko and Quark hostage.
The Jem'Hadar claimed that the offensive was in response to incursions into their territory. (See: New Bajor, USS Odyssey) However, the offensive was actually a cover to plant Eris, a Vorta spy, into the Federation.
The attempt was unsuccessful, though Eris escaped back to the Dominion. The Dominion-Federation Cold War was officially begun. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar")
In the next year, the Dominion ascertained the resistance of the major powers in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants to a Dominion invasion through an elaborate simulation involving the captured members of the USS Defiant. Based on these simulations (which showed that Starfleet would destroy the wormhole if necessary), the Dominion adopted a more subtle approach.
Changelings infiltrated various powers, including the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Star Empire, posing as high-ranking officials. These agents maneuvered these powers into several destructive conflicts to erode their strength (See: Battle of the Omarion Nebula, Klingon-Cardassian War, Federation-Klingon War (2372-73))
Between 2371 and 2373, only a few of these infiltrators were ever exposed: one posed as Ambassador Krajensky, one posed as General Martok, and another one posed as Doctor Julian Bashir. None of the four changelings on Earth could be apprehended despite sweeping security precautions. (DS9: "The Search, Part II", "The Adversary", "Paradise Lost", "In Purgatory's Shadow")
 The Dominion WarEdit
Ikat'ika, a Jem'Hadar soldier.In 2373, the Dominion vastly solidified its foothold in the Alpha Quadrant by incorporating the Cardassian Union, in a pact negotiated by Gul Dukat. In the following months the Dominion sent massive numbers of ships and troops through the wormhole into Cardassian space, after the changeling posing as Bashir sabotaged the Federation's attempt to collapse the wormhole. In addition, the Dominion massacred the Maquis and signed nonaggression pacts with the Miradorn, the Tholian Assembly, Bajor, and the Romulan Star Empire.
Open war finally broke out when Starfleet mined the entrance of the wormhole to prevent any further Dominion reinforcements from coming through. (See: Dominion War) (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "Blaze of Glory", "Call to Arms")
The first part of the war, in early 2374, was a disaster for the allied Federation and Klingon forces, which were forced into retreat on nearly all fronts. The war turned in the allies' favor when a massive fleet of 2,800 Jem'Hadar warships, which would have ensured a Dominion victory, disappeared inside the wormhole.
This unexpected event allowed the recapture of the strategic starbase Deep Space 9 by the allies. The Dominion's situation was further worsened when the Romulans abrogated their treaty and joined the war against them later that year. (DS9: "A Time to Stand", "Sacrifice of Angels", "In the Pale Moonlight")
Meanwhile, the Founders and their Great Link found that they had been infected with a morphogenic virus, which threatened to destroy the very foundation of the Dominion. Despite the resources at their disposal, the Founders could not discover a cure.
The Female Changeling, trapped in the Alpha Quadrant, forged an alliance with the Breen Confederacy in late 2375 to win the war before her death. However, the terms of their treaty of alliance were extremely unfavorable to the Cardassians, which finally led to a rebellion. The subsequent betrayal of the Dominion fleet by the Cardassians at the Battle of Cardassia, which came as a result of Dominion reprisals against Lakarian City, would seal defeat for the Dominion in the war. (DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River", "Strange Bedfellows", "What You Leave Behind")
The philosophy of the Dominion is divided into three distinct groups, each with notably differing outlooks and aspects. The perspective of the Founders, the Changelings with whom control over the Dominion ultimately rests, was formed from their history of persecution at the hands of non-shapeshifting life-forms they thereafter termed "Solids". To that end, the priority of the Founders is the survival of their own species, by any means necessary. They have no interest in matters such as Klingon honor, the Federation's goal of peaceful exploration, Ferengi material success, or objections made by opposing groups regarding their methods of self-preservation (DS9: "The Search, Part II"). Their philosophy is to dominate everything that can be dominated and destroying all that cannot; the Founders are, in essence, driven by an urge to "impose order on a chaotic universe". This may result from them believing their own propaganda, and convincing themselves from their own claims to subject races, that they are gods destined to lead the inferior solids.
The Founders' extreme longevity (indeed, practical immortality) has provided them with a uniquely long viewpoint. As the genetically engineered and highly intelligent Jack described: the Dominion does not adjust its strategies based on what has occurred within the past week or even year, but is concerned instead with what the universe will look like centuries or more forward. This perspective was evident in the Dominion War, where the strategy was to engage in a long-term war of attrition, counting on superior construction methods and their ability to breed Jem'Hadar, rather than risk everything on one battle. (DS9: "Statistical Probabilities")
Apart from the Changelings' metamorphic abilities, the most distinguishing ability of their species is "linking" -- the physical and mental connection of two or more Changelings. The species seems to exist in a collective union called The Great Link for much of their life span, producing a strongly anti-individualist perspective. Consequently, the Founders seem to be a remarkably unified, even monolithic, species. Their most sacred axiom: "No Changeling has ever harmed another" reflects both this and their obsession with physical security.
After the Changelings, races within the Dominion are separated into two distinct subject groups: those genetically-modified to assist in its administration and to ensure compliance with the Founders' commands, and those controlled with differing degrees of subtlety or violence (per the Founders' determination) by the former group. The former—the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar—are dedicated to the service and worship of the Founders, whom they have been biologically programmed to regard as Deities, a philosophy something of a syncretism of Bajoran and Cardassian philosopy, combining religious faith and dedication with absolute loyalty to the state.
Surrounded by allied forces on Cardassia Prime, the dying Female Changeling defiantly ordered her forces to fight to the death, believing that to show weakness would lead to the solids invading the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant. She eventually agreed to surrender after Odo linked with her and cured her of the virus.
Odo subsequently returned to the Great Link to cure the rest of his people, while the Female Changeling remained in the Alpha Quadrant to assume responsibility for the war. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
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