Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
(+FA notice)
m
 
(193 intermediate revisions by 78 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
  +
{{Sidebar military conflict
The '''Battle of the Omarion Nebula''' was the first major armed engagement between forces of the [[Alpha Quadrant|Alpha]] and [[Beta Quadrant]]s and the [[Dominion]], as well as the only major engagement to take place in the [[Gamma Quadrant]]. In the battle, a combined [[Obsidian Order]] and [[Tal Shiar]] fleet attempted to launch a preemptive strike on the [[Founders' homeworld]] in the [[Omarion Nebula]], only to be ambushed and completely destroyed by the [[Jem'Hadar]]. This disastrous defeat has been likened to the [[United Federation of Planets|Federation]]'s defeat by the [[Borg]] at the [[Battle of Wolf 359]].
 
  +
|conflict name = Battle of the Omarion Nebula
  +
| part of = the [[Dominion cold war|Dominion Cold War]]
  +
| image = Koranak.jpg
  +
| size = 200px
  +
| caption = Jem'Hadar attack ships destroy the Koranak
  +
| date = [[2371]]
  +
| location = [[Founders' homeworld (2371)|Founders' homeworld]], [[Omarion Nebula]], [[Gamma Quadrant]]
  +
| result = Decisive [[Dominion]] victory <br>
  +
* Destruction of the [[Obsidian Order]]
  +
* Decline and eventual fall of the [[Cardassian Central Command]]
  +
* Substantial weakening of the [[Tal Shiar]]
   
  +
| combatant1 =
==Prelude==
 
  +
[[File:Logo Obsidian Order.gif|22px]] [[Obsidian Order]]<br />
The year [[2371]] was an anxious time for the various powers of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, as the threat posed by the Dominion on the other side of the [[Bajoran wormhole]] loomed ever closer. The Jem'Hadar offensive of [[2370]], which had claimed amongst others the [[USS Odyssey|USS ''Odyssey'']], and the subsequent encounter between the [[USS Defiant (NX-74205)|USS ''Defiant'']] and the [[Founder]]s, had revealed a ruthless, technologically advanced enemy determined to impose their version of order on the chaotic galaxy. Although a full-scale invasion did not follow the initial appearance of the Jem'Hadar as was feared, war seemed to be only a matter of time.
 
  +
[[File:Tal Shiar logo.png|22px]] [[Tal Shiar]]<br />
  +
''Co-belligerent'':<br/>
  +
[[File:United Federation of Planets logo.svg|22px]] [[United Federation of Planets]]
   
  +
| commander1 =
Immediately the [[United Federation of Planets]] and the [[Klingon Empire]] began preparations for a Dominion incursion, including the fortification of [[Deep Space 9]] and the investigation of methods to combat [[changeling]] infiltration. The [[Romulan Star Empire]], ever cautious, loaned a [[cloaking device]] to the [[Federation]] (installed on the ''Defiant'') in exchange for intelligence [[Starfleet]] gathered on the [[Dominion]], but refused to send ships of their own to the Gamma Quadrant. The [[Cardassian Union]], occupied by its own internal and external concerns, also remained relatively uninvolved.
 
  +
[[File:Logo Obsidian Order.gif|22px]] [[Enabran Tain]]<br/>
  +
''Co-belligerent'':<br/>[[File:United Federation of Planets logo.svg|22px]] [[Benjamin Sisko]]
   
  +
| strength1 =
==Secret Alliance==
 
  +
5 {{class|D'deridex}} warbirds<br>
[[Image:Battle_omarion_tainlovok.jpg|thumb|Tain and Lovok before the battle.]]
 
  +
15 {{class|Keldon}} cruisers<br>
At this time, the [[Cardassian]] [[Enabran Tain]] was living out his retirement on [[Arawath]], as the only head of the Obsidian Order to survive long enough to do so. Frustrated by the [[Central Command]]'s complacency in the face of the Dominion threat and wearied by his three-year absence from power, Tain drafted a plan to destroy the Dominion in a single decisive move. To accomplish this he contacted the [[Romulan]] Tal Shiar, and proposed a joint venture, executed independently of either organization's parent government. However, unbeknownst to him, his counterpart in the Tal Shiar, [[Colonel]] [[Lovok]], had been replaced by a changeling. The Founders saw in Tain's plan their own opportunity, and did everything they could to carry it forward.
 
  +
1 {{class|Defiant}} warship
   
  +
| losses1 =
Through the Romulans, Tain had access to all the information gathered on the Dominion by Starfleet over the past several months. He learned of the Founders' control over the Jem'Hadar via their addiction to [[Ketracel White|ketracel-white]], and the location of their homeworld inside the [[Omarion Nebula]]. Tain concluded accurately that a massive attack directed towards the Founders' homeworld, eradicating the Founders and with them the supply of white, would cripple the Dominion irreparably.
 
  +
All Cardassian and Romulan ships destroyed<br>
  +
1 Federation ship lightly damaged
  +
| combatant2 =
  +
[[File:Dominion logo.png|22px]] [[Dominion]]
  +
| commander2 =
  +
[[File:Dominion logo.png|22px]] {{dis|Lovok|Changeling|Lovok Changeling}}
  +
| strength2 =
  +
150 [[Jem'Hadar fighter]]s
  +
| losses2 =
  +
Light; at least 7 fighters destroyed
  +
}}
  +
{{aquote|[[Obsidian Order|They're]] dead. [[Elim Garak|You're]] dead. [[Cardassia]] is dead. [[Cardassian|Your people]] were doomed the moment they attacked us.|[[Female Changeling]]|2372|Broken Link}}
   
  +
The '''Battle of the Omarion Nebula''' was the first major armed engagement between forces of the [[Alpha Quadrant]] and the [[Dominion]], as well as the only large-scale conflict to take place in the [[Gamma Quadrant]].
In great secrecy, the Obsidian Order began building a fleet of [[Keldon class|''Keldon''-class]] warships in the [[Orias system]], even though Cardassian law specifically prohibited the organization from operating military spacecraft of any kind. The fleet was equipped with [[cloaking device]]s provided by the [[Tal Shiar]], which had been modified to avoid detection by Dominion scanners. Meanwhile, the Tal Shiar assembled its own force of several [[D'deridex class|''D'deridex''-class]] warbirds. Numbering twenty ships altogether, their combined firepower was sufficient to obliterate the crust of the Founders' homeworld in one hour, and the mantle in five. Apart from those directly involved in the operation, the only individuals who knew of the Tain's plan were [[Elim Garak]] and [[Odo]], who had been captured and held aboard Tain's flagship while investigating the deaths of several former Obsidian Order operatives.
 
   
  +
Acting on a plan originating with [[Enabran Tain]], a combined [[fleet]] of twenty [[Cardassian]] and [[Romulan]] [[warship]]s under the control of the [[Obsidian Order]] and the [[Tal Shiar]] launched a [[preemptive strike]] on the {{dis|Founders' homeworld|2371}} in the [[Omarion Nebula]]. However, the effort had long been infiltrated by a {{dis|Lovok|Changeling|Dominion agent}}, and shortly after attacking, the fleet was [[ambush]]ed and destroyed by the [[Jem'Hadar]], with few survivors.
==Launch==
 
[[Image:Battle_omarion_fleet.jpg|thumb|The joint Cardassian-Romulan fleet heads for the wormhole.]]
 
Near the end of 2371, the combined Cardassian-Romulan fleet left the Orias system and headed for the Bajoran Wormhole. As they passed Deep Space 9, the ships decloaked and transmitted parallel messages to the Cardassian and Romulan governments. In the Cardassian message, Tain explained his motives as that of defending Cardassia, and advised the Cardassian fleet to be on alert for any Dominion reprisals. Both governments denied any knowledge of the mission, though despite the possibility of open war they elected to wait and see whether Tain would succeed.
 
   
  +
== Background ==
Starfleet also chose not to interfere with the attack, admitting that Tain's plan had a fair chance of success. [[Vice Admiral]] [[Toddman]] ordered the civilian evacuation of Deep Space 9 and sent a task force of nine starships to reinforce the [[Bajor system]]. Meanwhile, [[Commander]] [[Benjamin Sisko]] disobeyed orders and took the ''Defiant'' into the Gamma Quadrant, in hopes of recovering Odo and Garak.
 
 
The year [[2371]] was an anxious time for the powers of the Alpha Quadrant, as the threat posed by the Dominion on the far side of the [[Bajoran wormhole]] began to grow. The Jem'Hadar attacks in [[2370]], claiming the [[Bajoran]] [[colony]] of [[New Bajor]] and the [[Starfleet]] ship {{USS|Odyssey}}, and a subsequent engagement between the {{USS|Defiant|2370}} and several [[Jem'Hadar fighter]]s, revealed a ruthless, powerful empire determined to impose their version of order upon a chaotic galaxy. Although a full-scale invasion did not follow the initial [[first contact]] of the Jem'Hadar as was initially feared, war seemed to be inevitable. ({{DS9|The Jem'Hadar|The Search, Part I|The Search, Part II}})
   
  +
Immediately, the Alpha Quadrant powers began to prepare for [[invasion]]. The [[United Federation of Planets]] assigned the ''Defiant'' to [[Deep Space 9]] at the mouth of the wormhole to bolster its defensive capabilities. The Federation shared all of its intelligence with the [[Romulan Star Empire]] as per their treaty to allow a Romulan [[cloaking device]] to be installed on the ''Defiant''. The [[Cardassian Union]], occupied by its own internal and external concerns, remained relatively uninvolved. ({{DS9|The Search, Part I|Visionary}})
==The Battle==
 
[[Image:Battle_omarion_openfire.jpg|thumb|left|The fleet fires on the Founders' Homeworld.]]
 
As the fleet entered orbit of the Founders' homeworld, they found the planet completely undefended, the Founders in a liquid state on the surface -- apparently they had achieved the element of surprise. Tain confidently ordered the fleet to decloak and open fire, with the words "so much for the Dominion." Thirty percent of the planet's crust was destroyed in the opening volley, but something was amiss: there was no change in the number of life-forms on the surface. They realized that the Founders had already evacuated the planet, leaving behind only an automated [[transponder]] to send out false sensor readings. The entire operation had been a trap.
 
   
 
== Secret alliance ==
[[Image:Battle_omarion_jemhadar.jpg|thumb|Jem'Hadar attack ships open fire on the fleet.]]
 
 
[[File:Lovok and tain.jpg|thumb|Tain and the Lovok Changeling before the battle]]
Mere moments later, a massive fleet of 150 [[Jem'Hadar attack ship]]s emerged from the nebula, completely surrounding Tain's fleet. The Jem'Hadar's [[phased polaron beam]] weapons tore through the shields of the Cardassian and Romulan ships just as they had the ''Odyssey'' less than a year before, inflicting heavy damage in a matter of minutes. Amidst the chaos, Lovok helped Odo and Garak escape, telling them that "no changeling had ever harmed another." The two fled Tain's warbird in the [[runabout]] [[USS Mekong|USS ''Mekong'']] just before it exploded, and were picked up shortly after by the ''Defiant''.
 
  +
At the time, ex-head of the Obsidian Order, Enabran Tain, was living out his [[retirement]] on [[Arawath]]. Frustrated by what he perceived to be the [[Cardassian Central Command|Central Command]]'s complacency in the face of the Dominion threat, Tain drafted a risky venture to destroy the Dominion in a single decisive move; by wiping out the [[Founder]]s.
   
  +
To accomplish this end, he enlisted the aid of the Romulan Tal Shiar, proposing a joint military venture into the Gamma Quadrant executed independently of either organization's parent government. However, unbeknownst to him, his opposite number in the Tal Shiar, [[Colonel]] [[Lovok]], had been replaced by a [[Lovok (Changeling)|Changeling infiltrator]]. The Dominion saw in Tain's plan a golden opportunity to destroy the two most effective security agencies in the Alpha Quadrant, and did everything they could to carry it forward.
Outgunned with no hope of retreat, the remnants of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet fought to their annihilation. As the Jem'Hadar ships continued to focus on the fleet, the ''Defiant'' fought its way out of the battle zone and escaped back to Deep Space 9. A few members of the fleet, including Tain, survived the battle and were detained at [[Internment Camp 371]] until their rescue by Garak and [[Commander]] [[Worf]] in [[2373]].
 
   
  +
Through the Romulans, Tain had access to all the intelligence gathered by Starfleet on the Dominion. He reasoned, that as the Founders controlled the supply of [[ketracel-white]], by eliminating the Founders, the Jem'Hadar would soon die, crippling the Dominion's capability to wage war indefinitely.
==Aftermath==
 
[[Image:Battle_omarion_defiant.jpg|thumb|The Defiant dodges Jem'Hadar fire.]]
 
By any measure the Battle of the Omarion Nebula was a catastrophe for the Romulan and Cardassian forces; the Tal Shiar suffered a severe setback from which it would not recover for years, and the Obsidian Order ceased to exist altogether. The Founders had identified both organizations as a definite threat due to their efficient and ruthless natures, and had exploited Tain's plan to wipe out both of them in a single stroke. Their victory had been so overwhelming that the Dominion had essentially eliminated two of the major powers in the Alpha/Beta Quadrants from challenging them in the short-term; after their loss neither the Cardassians nor the Romulans would be very willing to wage war against the Dominion.
 
   
  +
In great secrecy, the Obsidian Order began assembling a fleet of fifteen {{class|Keldon}} [[cruiser]]s in the [[Orias system]], although Cardassian law specifically forbade the Order from operating military spacecraft of any kind. The fleet was detected by forces of Central Command during an incident involving the ''Defiant'' and the [[Maquis]], but the buildup continued unabated. The fleet had been equipped with cloaking devices provided by the Tal Shiar, which had been modified to avoid detection by Dominion [[sensor]]s, provided they did not exceed [[warp factor|warp 6]]. Meanwhile, the Tal Shiar assembled its own force of five {{class|D'deridex}} [[warbird]]s. Both fleets were manned by [[combat veteran]]s, and carried enough firepower to destroy the Founders' homeworld down to its [[mantle]] within five hours.
The destruction of the Obsidian Order also had more far-reaching consequences, which in time the Founders would also exploit to their advantage. Without the constant presence of the Order ensuring loyalty amongst the population, the [[Cardassian resistance]] was finally able to topple the Central Command. This in turn led to the [[Klingon-Cardassian War]] and the [[Second Federation-Klingon War]] in [[2372]]-[[2374]], weakening the Alpha and Beta Quadrants as a whole and nearly destroying the Federation-Klingon alliance, the last remaining bulwark against the Dominion. In addition, the humiliation and damage suffered by the Cardassians would ultimately lead them to their alliance with the Dominion, sowing the seeds for the most devastating conflict in modern history, the [[Dominion War]].
 
   
  +
As part of the joint venture, the Tal Shiar carried out the [[assassination]]s of several former Obsidian Order [[operative]]s possessing sensitive information about Tain, including an unsuccessful attempt on [[Elim Garak]]. Aside from those involved in the operation, the only individuals who knew of Tain's plan were Garak and [[Odo]], who had been captured by the Tal Shiar after investigating the deaths of the aforementioned operatives. ({{DS9|Defiant|Improbable Cause|The Die is Cast}})
==References==
 
*[[DS9]]: "[[Defiant]]"
 
*[[DS9]]: "[[Improbable Cause]]"
 
*[[DS9]]: "[[The Die is Cast]]"
 
*[[DS9]]: "[[In Purgatory's Shadow]]"
 
*[[DS9]]: "[[By Inferno's Light]]"
 
   
 
== Launch ==
{{featured}}
 
 
[[File:Cardassian and Romulan fleet.jpg|thumb|The joint Cardassian-Romulan fleet heads for the wormhole]]
 
In late 2371, the combined fleet entered Bajoran space and passed through the Bajoran wormhole. As they did so, the fleet decloaked and transmitted parallel messages to their respective governments. In Tain's message to the Central Command, he outlined his motives, intentions and advised the [[Cardassian military]] to be mobilized for potential Dominion reprisals. Both the Cardassian Central Command and the [[Romulan Senate]] denied any prior knowledge of the mission, and denounced it as a rogue operation. Despite the possibility of war, they elected to wait and see whether or not the joint operation would succeed.
  +
 
Starfleet chose not to interfere with the strike, also deliberating whether to allow Tain a chance to succeed or not. [[Vice Admiral]] [[Toddman]] ordered a civilian evacuation of Deep Space 9 and dispatched a [[task force]] of nine starships to aid in the defense of the [[Bajoran sector]]. Against orders to commit the ''Defiant'' to the defense of Bajor, [[Commander]] [[Benjamin Sisko]] took the ship into the Gamma Quadrant, in the hopes of rescuing station [[Security Chief]] Odo. ({{DS9|The Die is Cast}})
  +
  +
== Jem'Hadar ambush ==
 
[[File:Cardassian and Romulan fleet open fire.jpg|thumb|The fleet fires on the Founders' Homeworld]]
  +
[[File:Founders Homeworld Attacked.jpg|thumb|The surface of the Founders' Homeworld is obliterated]]
  +
As the fleet decloaked in orbit of the Founders' homeworld, they found the [[planet]] apparently completely undefended, with the Changelings themselves in a liquid state on the surface. Confident of victory, Tain ordered the fleet to attack, instructing; "''So much for the Dominion. Open fire!''"
  +
  +
Thirty percent of the planet's crust was destroyed in the fleet's opening volley. However, the fleet's sensors soon discovered an anomalous reading; there was no change in the number of [[lifeform]] readings on the surface. Garak soon realized the Founders had already evacuated the planet, leaving behind an [[transponder|automated transponder]] to send out false sensor readings.
  +
  +
Moments later, a massive fleet of 150 Jem'Hadar fighters emerged from the [[Omarion Nebula]], cutting off Tain's fleet entirely. The Jem'Hadar's [[phased polaron beam|phased polaron]] weaponry easily breached the shields of the Cardassian and Romulan warships, inflicting severe damage and heavy casualties in a matter of minutes. As the fleet was destroyed piecemeal, Lovok revealed himself as a Changeling to Odo and Garak, aiding their escape, [[Dominion philosophy|unwilling to allow a fellow Changeling to die]].
  +
 
[[File:USS Defiant during Battle of the Omarion Nebula.jpg|thumb|The ''Defiant'' dodges Jem'Hadar fire]]
  +
Overwhelmed at being outwitted by the Dominion, Tain chose to remain on the [[bridge]] of the doomed flagship, remarking "''these Founders, Elim, they're very good. Next time we should be more careful.''" Odo and Garak fled the crippled warbird in the [[runabout]] {{USS|Mekong}}, immediately being set upon by Jem'Hadar fighters. On the verge of destruction itself, the runabout was spared by the timely arrival of the ''Defiant'', destroying the runabout's pursuers and rescuing the craft's occupants.
  +
  +
Hopelessly outgunned and with no hope of retreat, what remained of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet fought to its destruction. Meanwhile, the ''Defiant'' fought its way out of the battle zone, managing to escape back to Deep Space 9. ({{DS9|The Die is Cast}})
  +
  +
A few members of the fleet, including Tain himself, survived the battle and were detained at [[Internment Camp 371]]. The Romulan prisoners were rescued [[2373|two years later]] by Garak and [[Lieutenant Commander]] [[Worf]]. Cardassian prisoners from the battle were released when the [[Cardassian Union]] formally joined the Dominion as its newest member. ({{DS9|By Inferno's Light}})
  +
 
== Aftermath ==
  +
The short and long-term consequences of the battle could not be overstated. In any strategic and tactical measure, the Battle of the Omarion Nebula was a catastrophic defeat for the Romulan and Cardassian forces, and proved to have enormous ramifications for the powers of the Alpha Quadrant.
  +
  +
The Tal Shiar was badly weakened, while the Obsidian Order was wiped out altogether. The power vacuum left behind by the end of the Obsidian Order allowed the [[Cardassian Underground]] to flourish. Eventually, it would launch a ''[[coup]]'' against the Central Command, restoring political control to the civilian [[Detapa Council]]. The Dominion exploited this development. Specifically, [[General]] [[Martok]] of the [[Klingon Defense Force]] was captured and replaced by a [[Martok (Changeling)|Changeling impersonator]].
  +
  +
The Changeling manipulated sentiment in the [[Klingon High Council]] into believing the ''coup'' on [[Cardassia]] had been engineered by the Dominion. This convinced [[Chancellor]] [[Gowron]] into launching a preemptive strike, triggering the bloody [[Klingon-Cardassian War]]. Federation refusal to support their Klingon allies, and further manipulation by Martok, led to the [[First Battle of Deep Space 9]], and eventually the {{dis|Federation-Klingon War|2372-73}}. The Federation suffered significant losses in this war and the [[Battle of Sector 001]], while the Klingon Defense Force suffered heavy casualties in fighting both the Federation and the Cardassians.
  +
  +
The [[Cardassian Union]]'s infrastructure was crippled by the Klingons, as well as continued conflict with the Maquis. This, coupled with political problems within the Cardassian Empire, prompted [[Gul]] [[Dukat]] to enter into secret negotiations with the Dominion. Acting as the empire's representative, Dukat negotiated Cardassia's entry into the Dominion and Dukat was named the new leader of Cardassia in [[2373]]. The [[Dominion cold war]] would continue to escalate following this development, eventually culminating in the [[Dominion War]]. ({{DS9|The Way of the Warrior|Broken Link|In Purgatory's Shadow|By Inferno's Light|Soldiers of the Empire|In the Cards|Call to Arms}})
  +
  +
== Appendices ==
  +
=== Background information ===
  +
When the staff writers of {{s|DS9}} came up with the idea that [[DS9 Season 3|third season]] installment {{e|Defiant}} would establish a military buildup which the Obsidian Order was involved in and which was so mysterious that even Cardassia's Central Command had no intel on it, the writers likewise had no idea it would lead to a battle later the same season. "''We had a vague idea of a first strike,''" clarified [[René Echevarria]], "''but I don't think we knew more than that.''" It wasn't until the writers were plotting the story for subsequent third season episode {{e|Improbable Cause}} that they realized they could make the military escalation be in preparation for a preemptive attack by not only the Obsidian Order but also the Tal Shiar against the Dominion. However, even at this point, the actual battle itself wasn't planned; in fact, the Cardassians were to have been halted in their plans to combat the Dominion, due to Garak essentially blackmailing Tain. ({{ds9c|226}}) "''When Tain heard that, he thought his attack would lose the element of surprise, so he canceled the mission,''" Echevarria explained. (''[[Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages]]'', p. 95) It was [[Michael Piller]], in one of his last suggestions for the series, who encouraged the DS9 writers to "go fight the Dominion" in a second part of the narrative begun with "Improbable Cause", an episode thereafter entitled {{e|The Die is Cast}}. ({{ds9c|226}})
  +
  +
Thus, when the writers began to craft the story for "The Die is Cast", the prospect of a monumental space battle loomed. Although the creative team decided to invent [[quantum stasis field|a machine]] that could prevent a Changeling from shape-shifting, the violent engagement remained conceptually viable to the writers, as opposed to having the enemies of the Dominion rid the Founders' homeworld with the machines. Reasons why the writers still found the conflict acceptable for inclusion in the episode were that the machine was a prototype which the assailants had only one copy of and that the plans to the device were lost in the fray, also obliterating the fleet. ({{ds9c|232|233|&}})
  +
  +
The writers felt it was important to put a lot of effort into showing the battle in "The Die is Cast". "''We had set up all of this stuff about the invasion, the attack and all of those things in the first episode,''" remembered [[Ronald D. Moore]], "''and when we got to the production meeting, we emphasized that we were really going to do a big space battle here and wanted to see it and have it blow our socks off. We didn't want to go cheap on this one.''" (''[[Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages]]'', p. 95) Moore elaborated, "''We knew it had better pay off. I thought, 'Wow, this could be cool, because we're telling the audience that there's an invasion fleet that's going to do this massive thing.' So we wanted as many warbirds as we could see, and a lot of Jem'Hadar ships, and we wanted the ''Defiant'' to be in the middle of them all.''" ({{ds9c|234}}) Moore concluded, "''The visual effects guys kind of blanched a little bit, but they went for it.''" (''[[Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages]]'', p. 95)
  +
  +
Because depicting the optical-heavy event was very expensive, [[Gary Hutzel]] was assigned to ensure the battle didn't make "The Die is Cast" go over budget. Recalling an inexpensive method he consequently employed, Hutzel said, "''I shot transparencies of the Cardassian and Romulan ships on light boxes, and we 'flew' those in the background. We kept the camera in constant motion so the audience wouldn't concentrate on them.''" On the other hand, the visual effects workers did imagine a particularly sophisticated shot. "''We wanted the scene to say that Sisko is really turning it on,''" reflected Hutzel, "''so we designed the shot to have the ''Defiant'' fly right through a Jem'Hadar ship.''" ({{ds9c|234}})
  +
  +
The Battle of the Omarion Nebula was considered a ground-breaking conflict by DS9's VFX artists, due to the extremely high quantity of ships portrayed in the incident. ({{ds9c|234}}) Ultimately, Ron Moore was also happy with the sequence, remarking, "''It's one of the best space battles we've ever done.''" (''[[Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages]]'', p. 95)
  +
  +
=== External link ===
  +
*{{mbeta}}
  +
  +
{{featured|date=September 2004|id=26108}}
  +
  +
[[cs:Bitva v mlhovině Omarion]]
  +
[[de:Schlacht im Omarion-Nebel]]
  +
[[fr:Bataille de la nébuleuse d'Omarion]]
  +
[[nl:Slag om de Omarionnevel]]
  +
[[Category:Conflicts|Omarion Nebula, Battle of the]]

Latest revision as of 17:59, 15 July 2021

"They're dead. You're dead. Cardassia is dead. Your people were doomed the moment they attacked us."

The Battle of the Omarion Nebula was the first major armed engagement between forces of the Alpha Quadrant and the Dominion, as well as the only large-scale conflict to take place in the Gamma Quadrant.

Acting on a plan originating with Enabran Tain, a combined fleet of twenty Cardassian and Romulan warships under the control of the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar launched a preemptive strike on the Founders' homeworld in the Omarion Nebula. However, the effort had long been infiltrated by a Dominion agent, and shortly after attacking, the fleet was ambushed and destroyed by the Jem'Hadar, with few survivors.

Background

The year 2371 was an anxious time for the powers of the Alpha Quadrant, as the threat posed by the Dominion on the far side of the Bajoran wormhole began to grow. The Jem'Hadar attacks in 2370, claiming the Bajoran colony of New Bajor and the Starfleet ship USS Odyssey, and a subsequent engagement between the USS Defiant and several Jem'Hadar fighters, revealed a ruthless, powerful empire determined to impose their version of order upon a chaotic galaxy. Although a full-scale invasion did not follow the initial first contact of the Jem'Hadar as was initially feared, war seemed to be inevitable. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "The Search, Part I", "The Search, Part II")

Immediately, the Alpha Quadrant powers began to prepare for invasion. The United Federation of Planets assigned the Defiant to Deep Space 9 at the mouth of the wormhole to bolster its defensive capabilities. The Federation shared all of its intelligence with the Romulan Star Empire as per their treaty to allow a Romulan cloaking device to be installed on the Defiant. The Cardassian Union, occupied by its own internal and external concerns, remained relatively uninvolved. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "Visionary")

Secret alliance

Tain and the Lovok Changeling before the battle

At the time, ex-head of the Obsidian Order, Enabran Tain, was living out his retirement on Arawath. Frustrated by what he perceived to be the Central Command's complacency in the face of the Dominion threat, Tain drafted a risky venture to destroy the Dominion in a single decisive move; by wiping out the Founders.

To accomplish this end, he enlisted the aid of the Romulan Tal Shiar, proposing a joint military venture into the Gamma Quadrant executed independently of either organization's parent government. However, unbeknownst to him, his opposite number in the Tal Shiar, Colonel Lovok, had been replaced by a Changeling infiltrator. The Dominion saw in Tain's plan a golden opportunity to destroy the two most effective security agencies in the Alpha Quadrant, and did everything they could to carry it forward.

Through the Romulans, Tain had access to all the intelligence gathered by Starfleet on the Dominion. He reasoned, that as the Founders controlled the supply of ketracel-white, by eliminating the Founders, the Jem'Hadar would soon die, crippling the Dominion's capability to wage war indefinitely.

In great secrecy, the Obsidian Order began assembling a fleet of fifteen Keldon-class cruisers in the Orias system, although Cardassian law specifically forbade the Order from operating military spacecraft of any kind. The fleet was detected by forces of Central Command during an incident involving the Defiant and the Maquis, but the buildup continued unabated. The fleet had been equipped with cloaking devices provided by the Tal Shiar, which had been modified to avoid detection by Dominion sensors, provided they did not exceed warp 6. Meanwhile, the Tal Shiar assembled its own force of five D'deridex-class warbirds. Both fleets were manned by combat veterans, and carried enough firepower to destroy the Founders' homeworld down to its mantle within five hours.

As part of the joint venture, the Tal Shiar carried out the assassinations of several former Obsidian Order operatives possessing sensitive information about Tain, including an unsuccessful attempt on Elim Garak. Aside from those involved in the operation, the only individuals who knew of Tain's plan were Garak and Odo, who had been captured by the Tal Shiar after investigating the deaths of the aforementioned operatives. (DS9: "Defiant", "Improbable Cause", "The Die is Cast")

Launch

The joint Cardassian-Romulan fleet heads for the wormhole

In late 2371, the combined fleet entered Bajoran space and passed through the Bajoran wormhole. As they did so, the fleet decloaked and transmitted parallel messages to their respective governments. In Tain's message to the Central Command, he outlined his motives, intentions and advised the Cardassian military to be mobilized for potential Dominion reprisals. Both the Cardassian Central Command and the Romulan Senate denied any prior knowledge of the mission, and denounced it as a rogue operation. Despite the possibility of war, they elected to wait and see whether or not the joint operation would succeed.

Starfleet chose not to interfere with the strike, also deliberating whether to allow Tain a chance to succeed or not. Vice Admiral Toddman ordered a civilian evacuation of Deep Space 9 and dispatched a task force of nine starships to aid in the defense of the Bajoran sector. Against orders to commit the Defiant to the defense of Bajor, Commander Benjamin Sisko took the ship into the Gamma Quadrant, in the hopes of rescuing station Security Chief Odo. (DS9: "The Die is Cast")

Jem'Hadar ambush

The fleet fires on the Founders' Homeworld

The surface of the Founders' Homeworld is obliterated

As the fleet decloaked in orbit of the Founders' homeworld, they found the planet apparently completely undefended, with the Changelings themselves in a liquid state on the surface. Confident of victory, Tain ordered the fleet to attack, instructing; "So much for the Dominion. Open fire!"

Thirty percent of the planet's crust was destroyed in the fleet's opening volley. However, the fleet's sensors soon discovered an anomalous reading; there was no change in the number of lifeform readings on the surface. Garak soon realized the Founders had already evacuated the planet, leaving behind an automated transponder to send out false sensor readings.

Moments later, a massive fleet of 150 Jem'Hadar fighters emerged from the Omarion Nebula, cutting off Tain's fleet entirely. The Jem'Hadar's phased polaron weaponry easily breached the shields of the Cardassian and Romulan warships, inflicting severe damage and heavy casualties in a matter of minutes. As the fleet was destroyed piecemeal, Lovok revealed himself as a Changeling to Odo and Garak, aiding their escape, unwilling to allow a fellow Changeling to die.

The Defiant dodges Jem'Hadar fire

Overwhelmed at being outwitted by the Dominion, Tain chose to remain on the bridge of the doomed flagship, remarking "these Founders, Elim, they're very good. Next time we should be more careful." Odo and Garak fled the crippled warbird in the runabout USS Mekong, immediately being set upon by Jem'Hadar fighters. On the verge of destruction itself, the runabout was spared by the timely arrival of the Defiant, destroying the runabout's pursuers and rescuing the craft's occupants.

Hopelessly outgunned and with no hope of retreat, what remained of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet fought to its destruction. Meanwhile, the Defiant fought its way out of the battle zone, managing to escape back to Deep Space 9. (DS9: "The Die is Cast")

A few members of the fleet, including Tain himself, survived the battle and were detained at Internment Camp 371. The Romulan prisoners were rescued two years later by Garak and Lieutenant Commander Worf. Cardassian prisoners from the battle were released when the Cardassian Union formally joined the Dominion as its newest member. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")

Aftermath

The short and long-term consequences of the battle could not be overstated. In any strategic and tactical measure, the Battle of the Omarion Nebula was a catastrophic defeat for the Romulan and Cardassian forces, and proved to have enormous ramifications for the powers of the Alpha Quadrant.

The Tal Shiar was badly weakened, while the Obsidian Order was wiped out altogether. The power vacuum left behind by the end of the Obsidian Order allowed the Cardassian Underground to flourish. Eventually, it would launch a coup against the Central Command, restoring political control to the civilian Detapa Council. The Dominion exploited this development. Specifically, General Martok of the Klingon Defense Force was captured and replaced by a Changeling impersonator.

The Changeling manipulated sentiment in the Klingon High Council into believing the coup on Cardassia had been engineered by the Dominion. This convinced Chancellor Gowron into launching a preemptive strike, triggering the bloody Klingon-Cardassian War. Federation refusal to support their Klingon allies, and further manipulation by Martok, led to the First Battle of Deep Space 9, and eventually the Federation-Klingon War. The Federation suffered significant losses in this war and the Battle of Sector 001, while the Klingon Defense Force suffered heavy casualties in fighting both the Federation and the Cardassians.

The Cardassian Union's infrastructure was crippled by the Klingons, as well as continued conflict with the Maquis. This, coupled with political problems within the Cardassian Empire, prompted Gul Dukat to enter into secret negotiations with the Dominion. Acting as the empire's representative, Dukat negotiated Cardassia's entry into the Dominion and Dukat was named the new leader of Cardassia in 2373. The Dominion cold war would continue to escalate following this development, eventually culminating in the Dominion War. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Broken Link", "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light", "Soldiers of the Empire", and more)

Appendices

Background information

When the staff writers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine came up with the idea that third season installment "Defiant" would establish a military buildup which the Obsidian Order was involved in and which was so mysterious that even Cardassia's Central Command had no intel on it, the writers likewise had no idea it would lead to a battle later the same season. "We had a vague idea of a first strike," clarified René Echevarria, "but I don't think we knew more than that." It wasn't until the writers were plotting the story for subsequent third season episode "Improbable Cause" that they realized they could make the military escalation be in preparation for a preemptive attack by not only the Obsidian Order but also the Tal Shiar against the Dominion. However, even at this point, the actual battle itself wasn't planned; in fact, the Cardassians were to have been halted in their plans to combat the Dominion, due to Garak essentially blackmailing Tain. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 226)) "When Tain heard that, he thought his attack would lose the element of surprise, so he canceled the mission," Echevarria explained. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 95) It was Michael Piller, in one of his last suggestions for the series, who encouraged the DS9 writers to "go fight the Dominion" in a second part of the narrative begun with "Improbable Cause", an episode thereafter entitled "The Die is Cast". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 226))

Thus, when the writers began to craft the story for "The Die is Cast", the prospect of a monumental space battle loomed. Although the creative team decided to invent a machine that could prevent a Changeling from shape-shifting, the violent engagement remained conceptually viable to the writers, as opposed to having the enemies of the Dominion rid the Founders' homeworld with the machines. Reasons why the writers still found the conflict acceptable for inclusion in the episode were that the machine was a prototype which the assailants had only one copy of and that the plans to the device were lost in the fray, also obliterating the fleet. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 232 & 233))

The writers felt it was important to put a lot of effort into showing the battle in "The Die is Cast". "We had set up all of this stuff about the invasion, the attack and all of those things in the first episode," remembered Ronald D. Moore, "and when we got to the production meeting, we emphasized that we were really going to do a big space battle here and wanted to see it and have it blow our socks off. We didn't want to go cheap on this one." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 95) Moore elaborated, "We knew it had better pay off. I thought, 'Wow, this could be cool, because we're telling the audience that there's an invasion fleet that's going to do this massive thing.' So we wanted as many warbirds as we could see, and a lot of Jem'Hadar ships, and we wanted the Defiant to be in the middle of them all." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 234)) Moore concluded, "The visual effects guys kind of blanched a little bit, but they went for it." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 95)

Because depicting the optical-heavy event was very expensive, Gary Hutzel was assigned to ensure the battle didn't make "The Die is Cast" go over budget. Recalling an inexpensive method he consequently employed, Hutzel said, "I shot transparencies of the Cardassian and Romulan ships on light boxes, and we 'flew' those in the background. We kept the camera in constant motion so the audience wouldn't concentrate on them." On the other hand, the visual effects workers did imagine a particularly sophisticated shot. "We wanted the scene to say that Sisko is really turning it on," reflected Hutzel, "so we designed the shot to have the Defiant fly right through a Jem'Hadar ship." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 234))

The Battle of the Omarion Nebula was considered a ground-breaking conflict by DS9's VFX artists, due to the extremely high quantity of ships portrayed in the incident. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 234)) Ultimately, Ron Moore was also happy with the sequence, remarking, "It's one of the best space battles we've ever done." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 95)

External link

This is a featured article. At the time it was featured (September 2004) it was considered one of the best examples of the Memory Alpha community's work. This article was featured more than five years ago though, and its status should be reviewed. The links below can be used to check how the article has changed in that time.
Featured revision (26108)Diff to currentBlurb