STAR TREK: ALDRIN
The Enemy Within
The Dominion was an extremely powerful interplanetary force based in the Gamma Quadrant. Its hundreds of planets were ruled by the Founders, a race of reclusive shape-shifters. The Founders controlled their territory with the Jem’Hadar, via the Vorta. Both the Jem’Hadar and Vorta were genetically engineered and cloned, creating a seemingly endless supply of both. The Jem’Hadar were designed to be the perfect warrior, but they were also physiologically dependent upon the enzyme ketracel-white, which was distributed by the Vorta, the Dominion’s diplomats.
When the Bajoran Wormhole, a subspace link between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants created by the extra-dimensional Prophets, was discovered in 2369, the Federation began to explore and colonize the Gamma Quadrant. The former Cardassian mining station Deep Space 9 was moved to the mouth of the wormhole and served as the launchpad into the Gamma Quadrant and a receiving station into the Alpha Quadrant. The Dominion was quick to object to this cultural incursion and soon made their intentions clear.
In 2370, Starfleet had its first contact with the Dominion, resulting in the destruction of the U.S.S. Odyssey. By 2373 the Dominion had entered an alliance, brokered by the unstable Gul Dukat, with the Cardassian Union, giving them a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant. Dominion forces began to build up at the Cardassian homeworld, Cardassia Prime. Meanwhile, the Vorta negotiated non-aggression pacts with the Romulans, Bajorans, and other Alpha Quadrant governments. Fearful of an impending Dominion invasion, the Federation prevented the arrival of more Dominion troops and ships by blockading the Bajoran Wormhole with a field of self-replicating cloaked mines.
The Dominion attacked from their new base Terok Nor, the former Deep Space 9 that the Federation was forced to evacuate when the Bajorans signed the Dominion’s non-aggression pact. During the early months of 2374, the Dominion inflicted extreme casualties on the Federation and their Klingon allies. The tide turned in favor of the Federation and Klingons in late 2374 when the Romulans abated their non-aggression pact and launched a joint strike on the Dominion and Cardassians. Section 31, the Federation’s covert intelligence agency, released a genetic virus that nearly wiped out the Founders. In spite of the Founder’s disease, the Breen sided with the Dominion and overwhelmed the Allies to the point that a few Breen ships were able to inflict heavy damage on Starfleet Headquarters, located on Earth.
The Allies resisted the Dominion and developed defenses to the Breen’s sophisticated weaponry. In 2375 the Dominion began to lose ground against the allies and Starfleet forces recaptured Deep Space 9. But the minefield around the wormhole had been destroyed and a massive Dominion fleet was on its way from the Gamma Quadrant. Captain Benjamin Sisko, a Human chosen by the Prophets as their emissary to the Bajoran people, appealed to the Prophets to destroy the fleet before it reached the Alpha Quadrant, for Bajor’s sake. The Prophets intervened, completely eliminating the Dominion fleet while it was still within the wormhole’s tunnel.
The Dominion retreated to Cardassia Prime to rebuild their forces. Recognizing the Dominion’s vulnerability, the Allies launched a desperate final assault on Cardassia. After a domestic attack on the Dominion’s Cardassia Headquarters by Cardassian freedom fighters, the Dominion swiftly responded by leveling entire Cardassian cities, killing millions of innocent civilians. The Dominion made sure that the Cardassian fleet knew of their brutal retribution, but incorrectly gauged their loyalty. The Cardassians turned on the Dominion, but the diseased Founder leader still refused to surrender, ordering all Dominion forces to fight to the death. Not until Odo, a Founder raised among the Bajorans, linked with the Founder leader, communicating his desires and curing the disease, did she order the Dominion to surrender.
Deep Space 9 – Habitat Ring
Denorios Belt, Bajor System
16:46 Hours, November 19th, 2375
Colonel Kira Nerys rubbed her sleepy eyes. She watched as the female leader of the Founders smoothly walked around the black table. The female, at least in her current form, leader of the Founders, and two Vorta, accompanied by their Jem’Hadar guards, had been negotiating the terms of the Dominion surrender for fifteen endless hours with representatives from the Allies. A dozen ambassadors from the Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans, with Admirals, Captains, and Generals from each of the powers filled one side of the briefing room. And, of course, there were the reporters on the other side. Annoying as they were, they still had freedom of the press as allowed by the Federation constitution.
Arrangements had been made and there was now an actual paper document on the table. The Founder leaned over the document. The two Vorta looked over her shoulders as she scanned the final surrender. A silence fell over the crowded briefing room as the Founder leader stared in what almost seemed like grief at the document.
There was suddenly a flash of light outside the large porthole windows of the briefing room. An alarm began to blast throughout the station as a thin, green wave of energy radiated from the flash point. The delegates and reporters watched in stunned silence as the wave rushed towards the station. Kira carefully watched as the Founder leader dropped the pen and turned to stare out the window. The wave effortlessly passed through Deep Space 9’s shields, and half a second later it washed over the station.
Time seemed to slow as the wave passed through the briefing room. A bright light filled the room, washing out almost everything inside. Kira was able to see the outline of the Founder leader as it began to shift. The Founder collapsed onto the table and began to liquefy. Kira tried to rush forward, but could only move slowly in the thick air. She turned her head and saw an elderly Starfleet admiral slowly fall and disappear. The wave suddenly ended and Kira was unexpectedly propelled towards the table.
Kira fell headfirst into the table and bounced back onto the deck. After recovering her balance, she lifted herself off the metal deck and glanced around the room. A few officials were being helped off the deck, including the Starfleet admiral. She pulled herself up, using the table, and looked to the Founder leader. She was slowly regaining the humanoid shape that Kira was familiar with. Kira was hesitant to touch the Founder, who was being assisted by her Vorta attendants, so instead she went to help the admiral.
He was back on his feet, and actually looked slightly younger and a bit taller than he had before this odd phenomenon. She hit her Bajoran combadge, a small subspace communicator incorporated into the Bajoran emblem and mounted on her chest, “Kira to Ops.”
The young Ferengi Starfleet lieutenant Nog answered, “Ops here.”
Kira looked around the conference room. Most inside just seemed to be slightly stunned by this odd event. “What was that?”
There was a short pause, “We’re not sure. It looks like it was some sort of polaron wave. Whatever it was, it knocked out all of our sensors.”
“That’s what I meant by all, Colonel.”
Kira laughed to herself, “Lieutenant, you better be hiding when I get back up there. Kira out.” She looked to the Founder leader in time to see her motioning for the representatives of the allies to come forward. Federation President Ak’telKi, a very young Andorian woman, and Admiral William Ross, Klingon Chancellor Martok with Ambassador Worf, Romulan Praetor Hiren and Senator Cretak, and Interim Cardassian President Seskal with Elim Garak, stepped towards the Founder and watched.
She stood there for a moment, making eye contact with each representative. “May I speak?”
Ak’telKi observed a general, though begrudged, consensus among the delegates. She nodded her head, “You may.”
The Founder leader took a deep, but unnecessary, breath. “Nearly seven of your years ago, your people discovered the wormhole that led to our Gamma Quadrant. You brought your people, your ships, and your cultures with you and started to colonize planets in territory that we, the Dominion, believed was rightfully ours. We attacked your colonies, but you refused to leave. Our egotistical attitude towards your people pervaded, and we believed that you would not be able to repel our forces.
“You could not have chosen a better way to prove us wrong. Despite our alliances with the Cardassians and the Breen, you resisted, you adapted, and you drove us back. And even when you had us cornered, we refused to give up. Then our allies turned on us, but we still refused to surrender. It took the most intimate contact between myself and Odo to convince me to do otherwise.” She paused for a moment, “With your permission, I’d like to address a few of you individually.”
Martok spoke gruffly, “Go ahead.”
She almost seemed to smile, “Chancellor Martok, we captured and impersonated you for some time. But against all odds, you escaped, exposed our conspiracy, and led your people in many brave battles. May your name ring with honor throughout the halls of Qo’noS for centuries to come.”
“Praetor Hiren, you came to power on Romulus through peaceful means, something almost unheard of on Romulus. You assumed control in the middle of our conflict and handled your forces expertly.”
The Founder turned to Ross. “Admiral Ross. What can I say? Your military expertise is unmatched among the Federation. You wielded the power of the Federation fleet with extraordinary skill. Your tactics, though unconventional, were extremely effective.”
Ross interrupted, “Thank you, but I owe much of the credit to Captain Sisko.”
“Very well,” restarted the Founder. “President Seskal, you fought bravely with Legate Damar. I understand now why you resisted our occupation of Cardassia. I am truly sorry that I ordered the execution of your people. Can you find it in you to forgive me for the atrocities I have committed?”
All eyes fell on Seskal. He stared down the Founder for some time, and then said with quiet restraint, “You killed millions of innocent civilians as retribution for the actions of myself and a few others. You destroyed our great cities, our institutions, our priceless artifacts. But worst of all, through murder, you made it impossible for over a million children to pursue their dreams, simply because they were Cardassian. No, I cannot find it in me to forgive you, and I doubt I ever will.” Seskal stood, stone faced, and waited.
The Founder leader drew back, aghast at Seskal’s controlled outburst. She took a minute to collect herself. “I, the representative of the Dominion, hereby present the Cardassian Union, the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Empire, and the United Federation of Planets, with the unconditional surrender of all Dominion territory, equipment, vessels, and personnel, effective upon the signing of this document.” She rotated the paper, pushed it across the table, and placed an ink pen next to it. Martok, Hiren, Ak’telKi, and Seskal all signed the agreement in succession. Seskal handed the paper and pen back to Ak’telKi, who then placed both on the table before the Founder
She pressed the pen to the paper and scrolled in smooth, but somewhat forced, Federation Standard text, ‘Founder’. She then placed the pen on the table and the entire room, except for herself and the Vorta, broke out in applause.