All information thanks to GalileoAce.
The Cardassians were once a spiritual people. But because their planet was resource-poor, starvation and disease were rampant and people died by the millions.
With the rise of the military, new territories and technology were acquired by violence, at the cost of millions of lives sacrificed to the war effort. The military played a significant role in early Cardassian Society, and there was a compulsory military service for males. Military monuments line the Cardassian Homeworld, with some serving as burial sites.
- 1 The Cardassian Race
- 2 Politics
- 3 The Detapa Council
- 4 Titles
- 5 Ministers of the Council
- 5.1 Defense Ministry
- 5.2 Ministry of the Economy
- 5.3 Security Ministry
- 5.4 Ministry of Justice
- 5.5 Public Health & Culture
- 5.6 Ministry of Science
- 5.7 Allocation
- 5.8 Information Service
- 5.9 Local Government
- 5.10 Foreign Relationships
- 5.11 Justice System
- 6 History
- 7 Culture
- 8 The Cardassian Language
- 9 The Military
- 9.1 Central Command
- 9.1.1 The Orders
- 18.104.22.168 Vital Statistics
- 22.214.171.124 First Order
- 126.96.36.199 Project Guardian
- 188.8.131.52 Second Order
- 184.108.40.206 Third Order
- 220.127.116.11 Fourth Order
- 18.104.22.168 Fifth Order
- 22.214.171.124 Sixth Order
- 126.96.36.199 Seventh Order
- 188.8.131.52 Eighth Order
- 184.108.40.206 Ninth Order
- 220.127.116.11 Tenth Order
- 18.104.22.168 Eleventh Order
- 22.214.171.124 Twelfth Order
- 9.1.2 Forces
- 9.1.3 Life in the Cardassian Military
- 9.1.4 Recruitment
- 9.1.5 Rules and Regulations
- 9.1.6 Chain of Command
- 9.1.7 Rank Hath It's Privileges
- 9.1.8 Uniforms
- 9.1.1 The Orders
- 9.2 The Obsidian Order
- 9.1 Central Command
The Cardassian Race
The Cardassians are a reptilian-like humanoid race. In appearance they are tall, long necked, and marked by several bony protrusions and ridges. Their skin type and hair color varies from light purple to a greenish hue, and near black.
Starfleet Captain Edward Jellico described the Cardassians as being “like timber wolves, predators. They’re bold in large numbers, and cautious by themselves. They have a distinctive need to establish a dominant position in any social gathering.”
However not all Cardassians are one-dimensionally evil. Some walk the same line between duty, choice and belief that most [[Humans do.
They tend to have large families. Their children keep pets, such as the usually white, ferret-like Wompat. Cardassians celebrate birthdays, respect marriage, and honor advanced age as a sign of power and dignity.
They like orderliness in all things, and believe that there is no dilemma that cannot be solved by a disciplined mind.
The Cardassians are an extremely talkative, and are fond of literature, which seems to reflect their sense of duty – one of their greatest books is The Never Ending Sacrifice.
Those of the military caste marry in order to secure their career and position in the government.
Cardassians recognize polygamy as a viable family social structure. The First wife is chosen for the following: political clout, wealth, intellect, educational training, social status.
The Second wife: the same reason apply, but the importance is less. Since the first marriage is mainly of convenience, the second wife is chosen for her physical attractiveness.
Although males dominate society, the females importance is greatly recognized in population growth. Offspring are important to Cardassian survival so it's not uncommon for a family to have more then seven children.
One of their greatest characteristics of Cardassians is their devotion to family; caring for parents as well as children. Families of up to four generations under one roof are not uncommon. Children may keep pets. Swearing the truth on the lives of one's children is tantamount to the highest honesty a Cardassian can attest to. Parents are manipulated by state media in the name of their children, and the presumed-guilty justice system aims to impress children against anti-state lawlessness and chaos, inviting some to the courtroom live and others to watch. To abandon a child, even one thought dead on Bajor, is enough to publicly and privately humiliate a politician and ruin his career. Despite that, true orphans have no status in society and are simply forgotten - especially the half-breed children the Cardassians had with Bajorans.
Another trait is an attention to detail: they taught record-keeping skills to many planets, including Bajor. Cardassians are known for their photographic memory. Their ability to decipher and translate language at a rapid rate is astonishing.
Cardassians are normally very protective of their territories. They don’t permit anyone to travel in their space without the express permission of Central Command or the New Detapa Council. This rule in enforced by military patrol vessels, strategically placed at perimeter checkpoints throughout Cardassian space and territories within their system and the Demilitarized Zone.
In 2309, the Cardassian begin the occupation of Bajor, subjugating the people and mining its resources. The occupation lasts for 60 years.
They construct the space station, Terok Nor, initially as a resource processing station. Then they systematically strip the surface of Bajor of its resources. They do the same to Terok Nor when they abandon it, leaving the station a shambles.
The Cardassians are infamous for their maltreatment of prisoners. But in the world of commerce, they are known for paying their bills, though their officials and officers are not above taking bribes – even from “lowly Bajorans”.
It was said that a Cardassian citizen cannot sit down to a meal without the dish being duly recorded by the Order. They claim to be more efficient then the Romulan Tal'Shiar, who can’t compete when it comes to intelligence gathering and covert operations. However the Order was seriously weakened by an unsuccessful attack on the Dominion in 2371.
Cardassians boast that they have the most efficient criminal investigation system in the quadrants. The verdict is always the same – guilty.
Cardassian citizens enjoy watching justice triumph over evil every time, and fine it comforting. The authorities believe it’s good for the populace to see these spectacles of justice, feeling that the trials demonstrate the futility of ‘contrary’ behavior.
The Detapa Council
The Detapa Council is the governing body of the Cardassian Union, at least in theory. In practice, the Council held power for scant few of the 500 years of its existence. Until recently, it served primarily as a puppet of other factions on Cardassia. Now the Detapa Council has an opportunity to govern the Cardassian Union. It only remains to be seen whether or not a new generation of Cardassian leadership can seize the opportunity and make it happen.
The Detapa Council was founded some five centuries years ago on Cardassia Prime, before the development of warp-travel and the Union as it exists today. The original Council formed from a loose alliance of nobles, military leaders, and aristocrats following the end of the Second Hebitian period.
The Cardassia of the time was a chaotic collection of city-states and warring nations that only recently began to settle their differences with diplomacy rather than weapons. The Council was Cardassia's first true world government. In order to satisfy the different factions involved, representatives on the council were chosen from a broad section of the population, both civilian and military, to represent the greatest possible range of interests. Membership on the Council was awarded according to merit and ability, although local and regional politics influenced the choice of candidate. It was a compromise organization, but it worked, at least at first.
The Detapa Council managed to unify the disparate nations of Cardassia by holding out a dream of a stronger, more prosperous world for all Cardassians. Their newfound prosperity would come from the stars, the Council said, all Cardassians had to do was to reach out and seize their rightful destiny. So it was with great fervour that Cardassian society devoted itself to the development and perfection of spaceflight, first using lightships and chemical rockets, followed by ion drives, impulse drive and, finally, warp-drive technology.
The development of these new technologies was overseen by the Cardassian military, the self-appointed guardians of public order. The Central Command allocated resources, directed research, maintained law and order, and protected Cardassia from any outside threat. It wasn't long before the Central Command dominated all major areas of Cardassian life. At first, the Detapa Council was content to allow Central Command free rein, since it functioned so efficiently. By the time the Council realized they were merely approving decisions Central Command already made, it was too late. Central Command held the power, and they weren't about to let it go. Their continued success allowed the Cardassian military to maintain a stranglehold on the government for centuries.
For years the Detapa Council was made up of popular figureheads able to play to the people in public ceremonies and broadcasts. The members of the Council had prestige, but little or no political power, and they knew it. Occasionally, a young idealist would make it onto the Council, only to be rendered impotent by the Council's restrictions and the influence of the Central Command. Many in Central Command actually considered the Council a good place to keep an eye on political agitators and opponents where they could do no harm. The military members of the Council held all the power.
That changed when a civilian uprising on Cardassia Prime overthrew Central Command, following the devastation of the Obsidian Order in the Omarion Nebula Incident. Suddenly, the Detapa Council found themselves holding the reins of power, and facing the possibility of a Klingon invasion. At a loss for what to do, the Council accepted the assistance of Gul Dukat in escaping Cardassia Prime before the Klingons could arrive to execute them, suspecting they were Founders in disguise.
The invasion was halted and the Council returned to power just in time for Gul Dukat to negotiate an alliance between Cardassia and the Dominion. The influence of the Council waned again as Dukat became supreme ruler of Cardassia in the Dominion's name. When Dukat went mad and disappeared from public view his aide, Gul Damar, assumed his position. Damar turned against the Dominion and was killed fighting to overthrow them.
After the Dominion War was over, a new Detapa Council was formed from the surviving members, plus capable Cardassian citizens. Some retired Cardassian legates returned to the homeworld to offer their wisdom and assistance in the rebuilding process. The Council now seeks to build a newer, stronger Cardassia and to put aside the mistakes of the past.
The Detapa Council traditionally has twenty members (and one chairman), although the Council has allowed some seats to remain vacant at times in the past. Members of the Council have all achieved the position of legate in Cardassian society, allowing them to be entrusted with the public welfare. The law restricts the number of Central Command officials on the Council to no more than five. Despite this, Central Command was able to exercise near complete control over the Council through their influence in nearly every other aspect of Cardassian life, particularly with the aid and cooperation of the Obsidian Order. Now, with the overthrow of Central Command and the end of the Dominion War, many of the civilian members of the Council are reasserting their authority.
Vasala is the concept of making beneficial relationships with people in power. First Marriages are considered part of vasala. In most cases vasala is a symbiotic relationship between the two parties, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” or more accurately, “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine”. This concept dates back to the early days of the Union when the first Council members came from different nations, each nation would have their own interests, and council member would support this interest in the council. But they would also have their own personal interests, such as being from military background, so this would influence their vote. This collection of interests was the Councillor’s vasala.
Now days vasala, though pretty much the same, has been expanded to include relationships made with powerful people. A Councillor might offer to vote a certain way on a vote for a high ranking military official if that official promotes the Councillor’s son. This practice is common place in Cardassian politics.
By Cardassian law, members of the Detapa Council are elected to their positions by a vote of the general populace. Five seats on the Council are up for election every two years, theoretically resulting in a complete change in council membership every eight years. In practice, however, there is no limit to the number of terms a member may serve on the Council, and many members serve ten, fifteen, or even twenty terms before they choose to retire.
Although Council elections are conducted by popular vote, the voting is heavily influenced by the candidates' vasala, particularly their connections with important organizations like Central Command and the Obsidian Order. In the past, Central Command (working through the Council) nominated candidates, which the people then voted on. So long as Central Command controlled nominations, they were ensured of Council members who would maintain the status quo.
The concept of "political parties" as they existed on Earth and other planets is foreign to the Cardassians. Each candidate's vasala forms his or her own "party" to offer support and secure votes, but vasala is considerably more personal and interconnected than a political party. Cardassian politics, like most of Cardassian society, is replete with trading favors and secret alliances. As is often the case with democratic politics, Cardassian elections were often more of a popularity contest than any true measure of the candidates' ability to do the job.
With the weakening of the Central Command and the Obsidian Order, free elections on Cardassia promise to be quite interesting in the future. Potential councillors are already gathering support through their vasalas, while current members of the council work to protect their positions. Some political analysts are already citing concerns that Cardassian politicians are more interested in protecting their jobs than working together to rebuild Cardassia and the Union.
The Prefect or Council Chairman
The Detapa Council selects one of its members to act as the head of the Council and Supreme Prefect of the Cardassian Union. The Prefect runs Council meetings and serves as a tie-breaking vote. He is also the Supreme Commander of the Cardassian military, for generations, the Prefect of the Union was always a member of Central Command and a military officer. The military would not follow a civilian Prefect and it was well known among the Council that such an election would lead to an outright military coup. In order to keep their power and position, the Council always elected one of its military members as Prefect.
After the Omarion Nebula incident, popular support swung away from Central Command, and the civilian members of the Detapa Council seized the opportunity to further weaken the military's grip on the government. Unfortunately, the Klingon Empire took their uncharacteristic act of defiance as proof the civilian members of the Council were actually disguised changeling infiltrators. This provoked the Klingon invasion of Cardassian space, and forced the Detapa Council to flee Cardassia Prime to avoid capture and execution.
Since the end of the Dominion War, the Detapa Council proceeded more carefully. Ironically, Legate Damar would have been assured the position of Prefect, despite his military background, had he survived the rebellion against the Dominion.
The Detapa Council controls the legislative and executive power of the Cardassian government. The Council drafts and passes legislation, sees to the enforcement of laws, raises and distributes money for the operation of the government, controls the Cardassian economy, and sees to the defence of the Union. Although the Council has considerable power according to the letter of the law, it has been largely impotent for centuries. Most of the Council's edicts were dictated entirely by Central Command.
Councillors can draft and propose legislation before the Council. Any new legislation is debated and considered among the members, with the sponsoring Councillor speaking first. In the case of legislation already approved or denied by Central Command, this process was largely for show; the decision was already made. Currently, debate is a vital part of the Council's operation, and some of the issues surrounding the reconstruction of Cardassia are hotly debated.
By law, the Council and the Supreme Prefect exercise control over Central Command and the Obsidian Order. Again, in practice things were quite different. Central Command and the Obsidian Order split most governmental power between them, leaving the Detapa Council as puppets to carry out their wishes. The Order left day-to-day matters in the hands of Central Command, but got whatever it wanted when it did choose to exercise its influence. After the Omarion Nebula incident, the power of the Order weakened considerably. Central Command tried to tighten its control over the populace, leading to a backlash against the military.
Presently, the Detapa Council retains its power over the military and the Obsidian Order in theory, but the matter is considerably more complex in reality. Vasala is more important than ever, with the most powerful factions and individuals in Cardassian society working to gather support for their personal agendas. While the Council is no longer a puppet of other factions, its power is by no means unchallenged. Forces within the military and the espionage community look toward returning things to the way they were before the Omarion Nebula incident, while forward-thinkers and reformers try to concentrate power in civilian hands.
For most matters, the Detapa Council requires only a simple majority vote.
In day-to-day matters, the Council Prefect holds executive power, including command over the military. The majority of the Prefect's decisions are later ratified by the Council. When the Central Command dominated the Council, nearly all its votes were rubber stamps on the decisions of the military Prefect. Now many Councillors prefer to limit the Prefect's powers out of fear of abuse, although most agree the Prefect must remain able to make decisions for the good of the Cardassian people. Overturning a decision of the Prefect requires a two-thirds majority of the Council, and the Prefect gets to vote, so such vetoes are rare.
The Cardassian government has its own titles for officials. A prefect governs a colony or client world. A legate is a high-ranked official in the Cardassian government, while the higher ranks require membership in the Central Command or a position on the Detapa Council.
- Colony/Subjugated World Leader – Prefect
- High Ranked Official – Legate
- Member of the Central Command – Legate
- Member of the Detapa Council – Councillor
- Head of the Detapa Council/Prefect of the Cardassian Union – Chairman
Ministers of the Council
The Detapa Council and the Prefect delegate much of the daily operation of the Cardassian government to a variety of ministries, each headed by a minister. Ministers are appointed by the Council, and may be dismissed at their pleasure. Like most of Cardassian politics, their appointments and dismissals are largely decided by vasala. The Ministers generally report directly to the Prefect, who in turn presents their reports to the Detapa Council. Ministers advise the Prefect on matters concerning the Cardassian Union, and often have considerable influence because of this. There are dozens of ministries, some acting under the guidance of others. The most important ministries are detailed here.
The Ministry of Defense is nominally in charge of the Cardassian military, at least from a budgetary and oversight standpoint. Of course, this has not actually been the case for centuries. Central Command assigned a senior or retired officer the position of Defense Minister as a reward for years of loyal service, and the job was widely known as a "comfortable retirement position" requiring almost no work. In the past century or so, the Central Command dispensed with even the pretence of reporting its actions to the Ministry of Defense, the entire office was little more than a sham.
Since the end of the Dominion War, the position of Defense Minister is a hotly contested one. The current Minister, Legate Joban, is an "old guard" Cardassian officer. There is considerable call to replace him with a civilian minister, to ensure the military does not get out of hand. However, there is concern that a civilian will not have the respect of the military, and fear of a military coup if the Central Command is marginalized too much. Joban, suddenly finding himself holding real power, is doing his best to walk the line between the two camps.
Ministry of the Economy
The Ministry of the Economy values currency, oversees trade negotiations and commerce treaties, sets interest rates and currency exchange, and performs economic forecasts and analyses for the Detapa Council.
The ministry served as a scapegoat for many of Cardassia's ills in the wake of the Dominion War. Damage to the Union's economy is laid across the ministry's doorstep, despite the fact it had little or no say in the policies of Central Command, or the Dominion. The Council is conducting a purge of personnel in the ministry, and only those with the strongest vasala weathered the storm unscathed. They ended forming the core of a new Economic Ministry, charged with the herculean task of rebuilding the Cardassian Union's shattered economy and establishing trade relations with other powers in the Alpha Quadrant, which remain suspicious of Cardassia.
The Ministry of Internal Security, or simply the Security Ministry, has long been a puppet of the Obsidian Order. The ministry's duties involve enforcing the law and maintaining public order. In practice, they served as a public arm of the Order, conducting searches and interrogations, surveillance of suspected troublemakers, arrests of known or suspected criminals, and so forth. Members of Internal Security often played the role of honest and harried public officials, encouraging criminal suspects to cooperate with them, rather than being turned over to the "tender mercies" of the Obsidian Order. The ministry is riddled with undercover agents of the Order, keeping watch over the watchers themselves.
When the Omarion Nebula incident weakened the Obsidian Order, Internal Security gained in power. Under the Dominion, they cooperated with the Jem'Hadar to enforce the Dominion's laws, but by end of the war Internal Security officers turned against the Dominion en masse rather than turn their weapons on their own people. Their assistance greatly aided the rebellion in ousting the Dominion from Cardassia Prime.
Currently, Internal Security and the Obsidian Order exist in an uneasy symbiotic relationship. The ministry still fears the Order's influence, but it has considerably more power of its own. For its part, the Obsidian Order needs Internal Security to serve as a front-organization, and is doing what it can to re-establish its control over the ministry.
Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Justice oversees the interpretation of Cardassian law, and the application of those laws in civil and criminal proceedings. Cardassian jurists are referred to as archons, and the Supreme Archon is also Minister of Justice.
For generations, the Ministry of Justice operated largely as another arm of Central Command. Trials were little more than a formality, since Central Command handed down verdicts, and sentences, in advance. A trial only served to publicly confirm them.
Currently, the Ministry of Justice is a strong influence for reform on Cardassia Prime. Some archons are actually exercising their judicial power to help ensure only the guilty are punished, and that the laws of the Union are upheld, but most serve to continue with the status quo.
Public Health & Culture
The Ministry of Public Health & Culture oversees the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the Cardassian people. De-emphasized almost to the point of non-existence under Central Command, this ministry is being revived and given greater priority by the new government.
Under Central Command, the ministry had little or no funding, and was primarily concerned with maintaining public health, and distributing propaganda approved by Central Command. The ministry made do with whatever resources it could pull together. Its physicians and councillors worked long hours for little pay, leading to considerable apathy and mistreatment of those under their care. Members of the Ministry of Health often harboured sympathies for the Dissident movement, while many others are outright members of it. They seek social and health care reforms as part of their new goals.
Associate ministers working in the Culture department of the ministry are some of the best-educated, and least-heeded, members of Cardassian society. They continue to study fragments of Cardassia's ancient culture, literature, art, and music, both to learn more about the history of their society and in hopes of reviving some of the Cardassian's cultural achievements.
Ministry of Science
The Ministry of Science is concerned with scientific research and the development of new technologies. Like the other ministries, it functioned as little more than an arm of Central Command during the military rule of Cardassia. The ministry's prime tasks involved the development of new military technology like weapons and shields, as well as research with potential military applications, such as the study of the Bajoran orbs.
It might have been the influence of the orbs, or simply the high level of education among the scientists, but the Ministry of Science had long been a bastion of the Dissident reform movement. Scientists in the ministry chaffed under the rule of Central Command, and longed for opportunities to collaborate with their Federation counterparts, working on pure research rather than military applications. Some sought to further the position of science in Cardassian culture, while others merely wanted to end the military domination of the Union.
Since the end of the Dominion War, the Ministry of Science is little better off than before. The Detapa Council cannot afford to devote resources to scientific research when the Union has more pressing economic and social needs. Ironically, this has split the ministry between support for a civilian government and those who fondly recall the military government where they were, if not appreciated, at least well-funded.
Originally, a sub-ministry of Economy, Allocation was elevated to full Ministry status after the Gharva Riots of 2348 on Cardassia Prime. In an empire where resources are scarce, their careful allocation is a matter of some priority. Officials called lexors handle resource allocation on the regional or planetary level, working closely with the military. Allocation was so closely overseen by Central Command that many officers joked it was the civilian branch of the military. Allocation's vast influence and close ties with Central Command encouraged corruption and influence-peddling among lexors seeking to increase their vasala. It also created a vast black market for goods throughout the Union.
With the fall of Central Command and the Dominion withdrawal, Allocation is coming under considerable scrutiny from the Detapa Council. The Union's resources are stretched extremely thin, and its survival may depend on their proper allocation and distribution. Many lexors are trying to cover up misappropriation of resources and secure their positions in the new regime.
The Cardassian Information Service was little more then a propaganda machine for Central Command. It disseminated pro-state information to the people, and was responsible for the broadcasting of Trials.
In later years following the Dominion War, the Information Service was the first Ministry to be completely restaffed. It now acts more independent of the government, and its reports are less propagandist. Though they are still pro-state, their Correspondents are beginning to be viewed negatively by the population for their hardline reports, and their investigative skills are coming under scrutiny from the Obsidian Order.
The Cardassian concept of vasala extends to the local government as well. Local government authorities, such as planetary and colonial governors, are known as prefects. A prefect is supported by an extensive bureaucracy that handles the day-to-day matters of governing, including representatives from the major ministries of the Cardassian government.
Most of the ministries are notorious for their lack of cooperation with each other, so prefects often spend considerable time building relationships (vasala again) with ministers and bureaucrats in order to get things done. Of course, the majority of prefects in the Cardassian Union are also military officers, so they had the authority of Central Command backing them up. With the Detapa Council currently in power, it is likely they will appoint more civilian prefects to administer the reconstruction effort throughout the Union.
The Cardassian Union has had many alliances and treaties over its history. The major ones are listed here.
- United Federation of Planets: The Cardassian Union has had a long a varied relationship with the Federation, ranging from war to alliance. What treaties the future will bring remains to be seen.
- The Klingon Empire: The Klingons have had little or no relationship with the Cardassians, until the Detapa Council started a coup, and took over control of the Union from Central Command. The Klingons saw this as the Cardassian Union being under the control of the Dominion, and declared war. Following the Breen’s state of unrest, the Klingons and Cardassians sign a mutual defence treaty.
- The Romulan Star Empire: The only relationship between the Cardassians and the Romulans had been the failed joint attack on the Founder’s Homeworld, orchestrated by the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order.
- The Ferengi Alliance: For a long-time the Ferengi Alliance has been barred entering Cardassian Space, and no trade from the Ferengi has been allowed to enter the Union. Recently though some trade has been allowed, but only through middle men dealers.
- The Breen Confederacy: Cardassia had no relationship with the Breen until the Dominion War, when the Dominion signed an alliance with the Breen, forcing the Cardassians and Breen to work alongside each other. Recently the Breen have gone back to their isolationistic ways.
- The Dominion: The Dominion of the Gamma Quadrant has been allied with the Cardassian Union twice, and both times have been devastating to the Cardassian Union and its people.
- The Maquis: Prior to the Dominion War, the Maquis were a painful and annoying thorn to the Cardassian Union, through their guerrilla and terrorist activities they serious damaged or destroyed a large number of military and civilian property.
- The Bajorans: The relationship the Federation has had with the Cardassians hasn’t been nearly as long as they one the Cardassians have had with the Bajorans. With the Bajoran homeworld little over 3 light years from Cardassia Prime, it was one of the first planets to be annexed by the Union. Later and peace treaty between the two peoples was signed.
- The Demilitarized Zone: The Demilitarized Zone gave birth to the Maquis, but has been more then just a haven for terrorists.
- The Trade Federation: Through this trade treaty the Cardassian come into formal contact with the Federation, the Klingons, Romulans, Kzinti, Orions, Tamarians, Gorn, the Tholians and the Hydrans.
- The United Confederation of Interstellar Planets: Even though they were part of the original inception of what would become the UCIP, the Cardassians were forcibly expelled from the UCIP when they again signed an alliance with the Dominion, and sent spies among the UCIP and started a terrorist organization to disrupt the UCIP. Recently the UCIP and Cardassian relations have improved with the UCIP’s first joint fleet, the United Confederation Fleet offering for the Cardassians to join.
The Cardassian approach to justice is radically different then that favoured by Federation worlds. Cardassians have absolute faith in their investigators, and maintain that only the guilty are ever arrested and brought to trial.
On Cardassia Prime a trial is intended only to demonstrate how the offender’s guilt was determined. Thus the purpose of the trial is not to establish facts – these are already known, and cannot be disputed – but to provide an educational experience for the populace, so trials are broadcast throughout Cardassia.
It is important to understand that, the Cardassian mind, the needs of the state outweigh the needs of the individual. The Cardassians believe that only a strong state can provide the necessary structure, security, and stability needed to safeguard the populace. It is a common assertion that “the survival of state is the survival of the people.”
A good trial demonstrates that the Cardassian state is not only always right, but is strong enough to capture and punish all offenders.
Some Cardassians will admit that under their system it is possible an innocent person may be punished, but they maintain that this is of little consequence. Confessing – even to a crime one did not commit – is seen as a last act of service to the state. The innocent Cardassian who is brought to trial recognizes this, and as a result confessions are often forthcoming.
The procedure ensures that when a person is arrested, his or her fate has already been decided. The accused is treated with little respect. While awaiting trial, prisoners are held in the central prison. When they arrive, they are instructed to remove their clothes; if they do not cooperate, these are removed by force. They are given the opportunity to make a confession at once, if they refuse they are processed. This involves taking a retinal scan and several DNA samples, including hair.
Prisoners are then issued with new clothing and confined to a cell. Trials are often arranged quickly, sometimes within two days of the arrest. The trial itself rarely lasts more than a day, and the punishment, often execution, is normally scheduled for the following week; the execution date is posted before the trial itself begins – yet another fine example Cardassian efficiency.
The offender is assigned a Public Conservator, who acts on their behalf. The Conservator will visit the defendant in prison and try to persuade him or her to confess. The Cardassians place great value on a confession; they have an old expression, “confession is good for the soul”. They also believe that it is good for the people to see criminals confess. To see justice triumph yet again makes them feel better about themselves and makes their lives more bearable. However, a Conservator may be pleased if a defendant refuses to confess at once or displays contempt for the court, since this will make for a better ‘show’.
It is standard procedure for Cardassians to use torture in their interrogation of prisoners; this increases the likelihood that the prisoner will make an appropriate confession.
The only ‘friend’, other than the Conservator, who is permitted to visit the defendant in prison, is the Nestor. This person is allowed to advise the defendant and must be an officer or the Cardassian court (or appointed by the court). The Nestor is allowed to attend the trial, but has no right to speak to anyone other then the offender. The offender’s family is also allowed to attend the trial; in fact, the court encourage their participation, because they believe it is good for the audience to see them crying.
The offender, his or her family is not informed of the crime of which the defendant is accused before the trial begins, and the court does not reveal what evidence will be presented during the trial.
The Cardassian court does not use the adversarial system. The judge, or Archon, who pronounces sentence without the aid of a jury, also acts as the prosecutor, and the Conservator makes no attempt to contradict any evidence he or she may introduce.
The Archon begins the trial by announcing the defendant’s crime and the sentence that has been decided upon. When the trial begins, the offender is offered the chance to confess.
The offender is not allowed to introduce any new evidence whatsoever. Under the Cardassian judicial system, no evidence can be submitted once the verdict has been reached, and the always happens before the trial begins.
During the trial, the Archon calls a number of witnesses who provide evidence of the offender’s guilt. The standards of proof required are not high, and unsubstantiated claims and hearsay are admissible forms of evidence.
The Conservator’s role is not to defend the offender, but to speak eloquently to the court and the offender. The mission of the Conservator is specifically to help the offender concede to the wisdom of the state and to prepare him or her to accept the inevitable guilty verdict. Once a confession has been signed, it is displayed for the citizens to read.
Offenders are required to testify, and when they do so, the Conservator will attempt to persuade them to show remorse for their crimes and to make a confession. The offender does not have the right to decline to answer any questions though he or she is encouraged to offer reasons why they have turned to crime.
The Archon does have the right to alter the sentence, though it is almost unheard of. Even if it happens, it is extremely unlikely that the Archon will question the offender’s guilt.
In recent times, some Archons have taken to withholding the verdict till after the trial allowing evidence to be entered in to attempt to clear the offenders’ name. And the sentence is also withheld till after the trial is completed. These Archon new interpretations of the law have met with mixed reactions, many Cardassians see it as an affront to the power and order of the state. But some, mostly former dissidents see it as the future of Cardassian Justice.
The Cardassian Union has a history as diverse and interesting as any other race in the Galaxy, theirs is one of glory and suffering, war and triumph, defeat and honor. Their history is still studied by scholars and both the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
In ancient times Cardassia was home to a splendid civilization whose legendary ruins are still considered some of the most remarkable in the galaxy.
The burial vaults of the Hebitians were uncovered on Cardassia in the late 2160's. The tombs were said to be magnificent and were reputed to have been filled with many jewelled artifacts. When famine and disease struck Cardassia, most of the archaeological sites and tombs were plundered by starving Cardassians, as well as by the military, which sought funds for their war against the Federation. The priceless Hebitian artifacts were stolen and sold to finance invasions of alien worlds. Some of Cardassia's ancient artifacts are kept in a vault controlled by the Obsidian Order.
A valuable gemstone found on planet Cardassia. Many of the artifacts discovered in the burial vaults of the First Hebitian Civilization were manufactured from jevonite. Most of these Jevonite treasures were either stolen or sold by the Cardassian military.
Located near the Cardassian border, Bajor was claimed as Cardassian territory from about 2328. The Cardassians formally annexed Bajor in 2339, and occupied the planet until 2369, when Bajoran resistance fighters finally drove them away. Upon the departure of the Cardassians, the Bajoran provisional government requested Federation assistance in operating the former Cardassian space station. However, since the discovery of the wormhole, the Cardassians want to reclaim Bajor. The Federation's presence is the only thing preventing them from launching a full-scale invasion. The occupiers of Bajor subjugated the people and mined its resources, annexing it outright some 19 years into its 60-year occupation (beginning 2309) and building Terok Nor, now known as Deep Space Nine, initially as a mining station in 235, perhaps using Romulan technology in some components. They then stripped the surface of Bajor and Deep Space Nine alike in vengeance when they withdrew less than two weeks before Stardate 46388, leaving everything from basic systems to religious areas in shambles; some who resisted, including four Promenade merchants, were killed. The Cardassians also stole eight of the nine Bajoran prophets' orbs, causing a great deal of concern and resulting in Kai Opaka to charge the Emissary, Commander Benjamin Sisko with locating their Celestial Temple before the Cardassians found and destroyed it.
Bajorans made interstellar contact with Cardassians before they had the capability of spaceflight.
Old Cardassian mining station built in orbit of planet Bajor. Deep Space nine was built in 2351, then abandoned in 2369 when the Cardassians relinquished their claim on Bajor, and retreated from the region
Federation/Cardassian border wars were reported to have taken place from 2355 to 2367. In 2367, a historic peace treaty established a fragile peace between the Federation and the Cardassian Union. Starfleet Captain Edward Jellico was partially credited for the negotiations. Among other things, the treaty provided that captives of either government would be allowed to see a representative from a neutral planet following their incarceration.
The Cardassians attitude against aliens was brought to light during repeated attacks against former Federation colonist. Currently, they attempt to force the colonist to relinquish their property to the Cardassian Empire. But the colonists refuse so they formed a terrorist group called the Maquis to defend against Cardassian sneak raids
The Klingon Invasion began when the Detapa Council started a coup and overthrew the former Central Command controlled government. This led the Klingons to believe that the Cardassians were now controlled by the Dominion. Ironically, it turned out that the Klingons were in fact the ones controlled by the Dominion.
The Dominion War began when Gul Dukat foolishly allowed the Cardassian Union to become a member of the Dominion, this war lasted for nearly 3 years. It was the single most devastating war to the Cardassian people ever.
On Stardate 47751.2, Vice-Admiral Alynna Nechayev, informed Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise-D, the treaty between Cardassia and the Federation has been finalized after three years of negotiations. The Federation and Cardassia established a Demilitarized zone between the Cardassian and Federation borders. Several planets from both governments have been relinquished and reclaimed under a Federation and Cardassian territory. Several colonies argued against the plan and refused to leave their homes in face of Cardassian jurisdiction.
The fragile peace between Cardassia and the Federation is weakened due to the repeated skirmishes between the Maquis and Cardassian renegades.
Once the Founders declared their dominance in the Alpha Quadrant, the Cardassians opted to side with the Dominion. The resulting collaboration resulted in the vast destruction of cities and high death toll among the Cardassian people. Disease and plague swept the planet when the planets infrastructure was destroyed by the bombing and the war. This ‘peace’ was anything but.
Now Cardassia is seeking to rebuild its once former glory.
Cardassians are a traditional people. One of the central themes of Cardassian life is duty; duty to the state and to the family. They have a deeply ingrained loyalty to the state, though of course individual perceptions color what entails as duty and loyalty. This is reflected in Cardassian literature, one of the most well known works is "The Never-ending Sacrifice". A chronicle following seven generations of a typical Cardassian family whose lives revolve around duty to the state. Every Cardassian citizen has his or her place; rank and position is an important factor. They are very socially conscious. One should dine or essentially be seen only with others of equal or greater stature. Marriages are likely to be politically motivated.
This sense of loyalty is also very strong towards their families. To a Cardassian, the next important core part of their lives is their family. Elders are revered and respected. Advanced age is viewed as a sign of power and dignity. Children are valued and well looked after. Cardassian parents devote much time and resources to their children, It has been said that up to four generation of a family can live under one roof and eat at one table. However in contrast, they have a social bias against orphans, illegitimate children and half-Cardassians. In the eyes of society, these individuals have no status and are usually not acknowledged.
In addition to this sense of duty and loyalty, Cardassians are very protective of their own homeworld and people. Outsiders are strongly discouraged from interfering in internal affairs, whether political or otherwise.
However should anyone be found guilty of a crime in Cardassia or against Cardassia, will be brought to trial, whether Cardassian or no. And the Cardassian judicial system is extremely strict and rigid. The Articles of Jurisprudence ensures cultural norms to be maintained and as no individual is ever brought to trial unless already determined guilty, the verdict is invariably guilty and the sentence death., allowing the people to feel assured that evil is always punished. The defendant is not allowed to present evidence until the trial commences and is required to testify against himself. The system has a traditional structure, with an archon, conservator and nestor. the archon is the presiding officer of the court. The conservator is an officer of the court whose function is to help the defendant concede to the wisdom of the court and confess his crime. He also aids the defendant in accepting the inevitable execution. the nestor assists the defendant during court proceedings and is not allowed to address the court or any of its officers. As part of the citizen database kept by the government and also utilized by the judiciary system, molars are extracted from Cardassian children at age 10 for identification records by the Bureau of Identification. retinal scans and hair samples are also taken.
Cardassia is also well known for its education system, proposed to be unparalleled in the Alpha Quadrant. Children are put through intensive mind training from age 4, and as adults have highly disciplined minds, including photographic memories. They have a saying, "Knowledge is Power and Joy is Vulnerability." This rigorous mind discipline appears to allow Cardassians to be resistant to the Vulcan mind-meld. Academic accomplishments are a source of pride and academia is a highly respected profession. Those who teach at the tertiary level are known as Inquisitors. However, in the field of science, only females succeed, as males tend to lack the perspective for this discipline. In business, though their acumen or lack of is not known, Cardassians always honor their transactions and are prompt to pay their bills. The monetary unit used on Cardassia is the lek.
Though rather insular, several Cardassian traditions and customs are known. Funeral rites are sacred and it is an affront for non-Cardassians to view the remains. The body of the deceased is till held in respect. Prior to death, a Cardassian confides his innermost secrets to another, usually a close relative. In this way, the burdens of life are relieved and also precious information is passed on.
Another Cardassian custom is that the captain of a ship is to entertain his guests personally and also takes a share of his ship's cargo's worth, giving the captain a personal stake in his consignment.
Cardassian courtship rituals are not really known but overt irritability of a male towards the female is indicative of interest and a prelude to a more permanent situation. In addition, children are very much desired and fertility of both mates are looked for. A form of greeting between the sexes appear to involve touching of palms together.
As a race, Cardassian bear many similarities to the other humanoid races of the Alpha Quadrant, but are yet unique as a race apart. They have many observable racial characteristics. The Cardassian physiology is adapted to a higher ambient temperature than several of the other humanoid species, eg. Humans and Bajorans, approximately 32C. They also have relatively high physical endurance and are capable of withstanding harsher conditions, though they do not appear to have the brute strength of a Klingon. They prefer environmental conditions that are warmer and darker than standard Federation settings. Moreover they exhibit a high metabolic endurance, capable of resisting high doses of drugs, in particular sedatives. One Cardassian specific nerve agent is known; cobalt diselenide, an unstable compund which is deadly to Cardassians but harmless to most other humanoids.
Cardassians excel at conversation and enjoy talking, sometimes simply for the sake of it. They like things to be ordered and have a strong attention to detail. Their disciplined minds rarely miss much. And they are known for their meticulous record keeping. All official meetings and important information are inscribed onto single-write isolinear data rods. It appears all data accumalated is stored, both as information or as specimens. It is also said that Cardassians enjoy intrigue as much as conversation. A popular game among them is Coltram a strategy game which requires "bold strategy and decisive action". A favourite style of fiction is the Cardassian Enigma Tales, in which all the participants are usually guilty, the challenge being in determining who is guilty of what. Another of their favourite type of literature involves the repititive epic, the most popular being "The Neverending Sacrifice". Among the popular works is also a fictitious work of war, "The Crimson Shadow" by Preloc, in which the Klingon Empire is at war with the Cardassian Union, which ironically bears out to be true.
They have a preference for the number 3 and have many aspects of their society in sets of 3, including their architecture. Cardassians are considered master architects. their structures are one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring in the quadrant, both modern and ancient sites. They tend to prefer the open concept in their designs, such as visible supports rather than hidden, and integrated into the overall design.
Food and Drink
Many races consider the act of eating to be a simple biological necessity, but the Cardassians take their food much more seriously, even the most modest of meals can become a ritual experience. An ideal illustration of this is a meal Gul Dukat takes while on a visit to the space station Deep Space Nine. Alone in his guest quarters, Dukat sits at his table in preparation for his evening meal. He begins the ritual by pouring a glass of wine; he pauses to admire its color, then slowly takes a sip, closing his eyes as he savors the taste and smell of the rich liquor. Next, he surveys the food set out on the table. Dukat’s approach to his food is delicate yet commanding, and he gives the meal his full attention; he would never consider, for example, bringing a PADD to the table to work while he eats.
A Visual Feast
A Cardassian table setting is reminiscent of a Terran Japanese meal in the size and color of its portions; these delicacies are as much a feast for the eyes as for the palate. To anticipate the meal is as important as the meal itself.
To understand the significance food has in Cardassian culture, it is important to understand that it is not just something to be consumed, but a representation of power and control. In Cardassian society, who you eat with is defined by your position and social standing. Alone on a Federation-run space station, Dukat would much rather eat by himself than share a meal with those he considers to be beneath him.
The Cardassian approach to food can be understood by examining the cultural background of the Cardassian race. While they are known to be quite aggressive in large numbers, they tend to be much more reserved when alone. They are very protective of their borders and ideals, and do not tolerate any actions that may pose a threat to their culture and property.
Five hundred years ago, the Cardassians were a peaceful and very artistic culture, and were known for their great archaeology and architecture. Between that time and 200 years ago, their planet suffered a food shortage. The revolution that followed was very destructive; the Cardassian military eventually too control, promising the civilians a return to prosperity for the planet and a continued supply of food. With so much of their great art gone, it is conjectured that Cardassians seek refuge and a form or artistic expression in their approach to food and its associated rituals.
There is great variety in Cardassian foods and beverages, and many are as palatable to other races as they are to the Cardassians. Even the Bajorans, during the Occupation, gained a taste for Cardassians dishes such as larish pie, a favourite Cardassian dessert.
Cardassians are particularly fond of the eggs of several indigenous fowl; taspar eggs are a particular favorite. The boiled taspar egg is considered a delicacy on Cardassia Prime, although is revolting raw. The eggs are eaten in a similar way to how a human would consume boiled eggs; the shell is broken and the cooked yolk and white spooned out,
Regova eggs appear to be similar to devilled eggs, a human delicacy. They are greenish in color and are often stuffed with a creamy looking substance.
Yamok sauce, and extremely popular foodstuff, is normally served as a condiment with a meal; a container of it will be found in the cupboard of every kitchen on Cardassia Prime. Cardassian dishes with which it is traditionally served include tojal, a delicacy that is particularly repugnant to other races, and sem’hal stew, a simple dish. It can be used equally well to season non-Cardassian dishes as diverse as gramillion sand peas and asparagus.
Cardassian food tends more toward meat and other animal proteins then vegetable dishes. Zabo meat is popular, and can be served one of several ways. Cut into think steaks is popular preparation; in this form, it appears similar to Earth beef, and its taste and texture can be enjoyed by Cardassians and non-Cardassians alike. Vole bellies are another popular Cardassian meat dish.
Non-meat foodstuffs include rulot seed, a grain that is especially important to Cardassian agriculture.
Drinking Up Time
Like other races, the Cardassians enjoy a number of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. One of their favorites is Kanar. Highly intoxicating, Kanar is an umbrella term for a strong alcoholic beverage that comes in a variety of forms, from a blue-colored wine to a distilled whisky or a think, syrup like liqueur.
Another popular drink is Rokassa juice, which has a distinctive, sweet smell. Cardassians consume this mellow refreshment to calm their nerves.
The broth-like drink fish juice is often consumed steaming hot and is most commonly imbibed at breakfast.
Red leaf tea is a beverage enjoyed by Gul Dukat. He much prefers it over the Terran brands of coffee or even the Klingon coffee raktijino that has become popular with many races. Red leaf tea is a drink that should not be replicated, but created naturally by the infusion of dried plant leaves in hot water.
Cardassian architectural style can best be described as honest; in other words, the function of the individual elements is not concealed for aesthetic effect. As a result, supporting columns and beams are almost always visible. The Cardassians tend to show the inner workings of their systems; for example, some circular doors have extremely obvious ridged edges like cogs, which are used to roll them in and out of place. The approach also explains why their turbolifts do not have doors.
Cardassian design is extremely ordered and formulaic; they prefer to work in threes. This can be seen in design of space stations such as Empok Nor and Terok Nor, where the three docking pylons are placed at equal distances around circular docking ring. The stations also have three rings. These rings are joined by three crossways.
Power of Three
The Cardassians’ desire for balance over symmetry leads then to prefer ellipses to perfect circles, and angles to straight lines. Their tendency to see things in threes often leads to curved, triangular doorways.
The Cardassians favor unity, and the same forms are repeated throughout their structures, both inside and out. One of the most favored shapes is a curved arm or tower, which can be seen in both ground-based building and space stations.
The Cardassian aesthetic reflects the very tough, Spartan values that dominate their lives, a sign that they see beauty in strength. Consequently, their structures are often angular and aggressive, and feature sharp points and spars. The vast majority of buildings in Cardassian cities are built from the same material – a dark grey substance that resembles granite and is clearly admired for its tough appearance. As a result, Cardassian cities tend to look very uniform, and resemble the belly of a vast slate grey insect that extends as far as the eye can see. Doorways and window frames are often constructed of metallic substances that resemble bronze or gun metal; like the stone material, these are valued for their strong appearance.
The political realities of maintaining oppressive regime mane the government buildings have to be well-defended; consequently many of them resemble bunkers, and have few windows that could be used to gain entry.
Like most cultures, the Cardassians have constructed their cities around rivers, which were historically important for trade. Typically, important buildings are built on the river banks and can be seen reflected in the water, which turns bright red in the dusk when it also reflects the setting sun.
Cardassian architecture is designed to express and reinforce Cardassian ideology. For hundreds of year, the Cardassians are governed by a fascist system, with the vast majority of people acknowledging their subservience to a political elite. Even within the ruling class the system maintains a strong hierarchy.
Cardassian architecture places great emphasis on the importance on senior figures. In a court room the archon – or judge – sits on podium that is raised several metres above the ground. On a Nor station, the prefect’s office in the Operations Center is on a higher level than the rest of the room, and has to be approached by steps. Furthermore, the room is separated from the rest of ops by large doors. One a Cardassian ship, the commanding officer sits on a raised chair, looking down on his officers. This is in stark contrast to Klingon or Federation ships, where the captain is almost invariably surrounded by his crew.
Cardassians architecture also reminds the people that they are under constant surveillance. In practice, every citizen is monitored by the Obsidian Order, who carefully note any signs of unpatriotic activity. In architectural terms, eye-shaped monitors on the buildings look out over the people. In practice these are used for public proclamations, but the symbolism in unmistakable. Once again, the monitors are far higher than they need to be, forcing people to look up at their rulers.
Cardassian interiors tend to be dark. Where the Federation favors large expanses of window, typical Cardassian structures have relatively small windows, rarely take up more space then the supports around them.
Cardassian society makes no concessions to the infirm or disabled, and the same is true of their living space. For example doors have lips, that prevent wheelchairs from moving freely.
Cardassians are fascinated by vertical forms and their interiors are often higher then they are wide. Again, this reflects their obsession with a social hierarchy. On Terok Nor there is a massive promenade that runs around one entire level of station. This is effectively an extended corridor; the remarkable point is that it is on two and sometimes three levels. Each level is taller than it strictly needs to be, and the combined height of the space is enormous.
During the Cardassian occupation of Bajor this multi-tiered design had a practical purpose. The subjugated Bajoran citizens were confined to the lower levels, where they were literally penned in, and their Cardassian oppressors patrolled the upper levels, where they could oversee them in safety. It is clear, however, that the Cardassians also favor this design for aesthetic reasons, since the Cardassian skyline is dominated by narrow towers, many of which were built to honor war heroes.
In 2375, some of the greatest Cardassian cities were destroyed by the Dominion when the Cardassians turned on them. There is hope among the former dissidents that are more inclusive Cardassia will rise from the ashes. If it were to happen it might lead to new architectural principles being used.
The Cardassian Language
The military existed at the heart of Cardassian life for centuries, and at the center of conflicts involving the Cardassian Union in recent years, such as the war with the Federation and the devastating Dominion War with the rest of the Alpha Quadrant. These events called the military's domination of Cardassian life into question in recent years. With the end of the Dominion War, the role of the military in the future of Cardassia is one of the greatest questions looming over the leadership of the Union.
Technically, the Central Command is the formal name of the leadership of the Cardassian military, but in practice the term has come to refer to the entire military. For centuries, Central Command effectively ruled the Cardassian Union, placing supreme power in the hands of the military commanders. The Union's resources were devoted to the continued support and maintenance of Cardassia's military might, with all other concerns secondary. The Central Command protected the Union and made Cardassians a force to be reckoned with in the Alpha Quadrant.
For the most part, authority in Central Command was split evenly among the heads of the military Orders. In practice, the leaders of the older Orders held more power through the extent of their vasala and the power of their reputations. Considerable political infighting took place between the military leaders as they struggled to decide how to allocate Cardassia's thin resources among their Orders. In times of crisis, however, the Central Command quickly unified against any outside threat. Some officers of the Central Command served on the Detapa Council, but the Council held little real power in comparison to the military leadership.
The alliance with the Dominion, and later the Breen, weakened Central Command's control over the Cardassian Union. Since the end of the war, Central Command retains considerable influence over most aspects of Cardassian life. It remains to be seen if the military will regain the power it once held
The true leadership of the military consists of the commanders of the Orders in a council that dictates policy for the military and much of the Cardassian Union. At the height of their power, the officers of Central Command were the de facto rulers of the Cardassian Union. Now they share their power (somewhat uneasily) with the Detapa Council and the Obsidian Order.
Central Command has always been rife with political maneuvering and infighting, as different officers push their personal agendas for the Central Command and the Union as a whole. During the Dominion War, the commanders of Central Command united against their common enemies. Since the war's end, political maneuvering for positions of power resumed. With the fate of the Cardassian government up in the air, there are many opportunities for officers bold enough to seize them.
The Cardassian military is divided into Orders, each of which serves or patrols a specific region of space and includes both space and militia troops assigned to that region. A soldier's Order is one of the most important factors in identifying him and his duties, and most Cardassian officers use their Order as part of their title, such as "Gul Jasad, Seventh Order." The highest ranked Orders are the oldest and most prominent, wielding the greatest influence in Cardassian affairs, and holding correspondingly greater responsibilities. This section describes the most prominent Orders and their areas of responsibility in the Union.
The Cardassian Central Command consists of millions of troops and officers, supplied with hundreds of ships. Each Order has between 500,000 and a million personnel, and there are well over a dozen Orders throughout the entire Cardassian Union. Of an Order's personnel, approximately one-percent (5,000-10,000) are Gul-level officers, generally starship and unit commanders. Approximately five percent (25,000-50,000) are Glinn-level officers, serving as adjuncts to the Guls and commanders of smaller units. A Ri'en-Gul (or higher) ranked officer commands each Order, and holds a position in the Central Command.
Although Cardassia's military forces appear vast, the millions in the ranks of Central Command are still small compared to the trillions of individuals in the Cardassian Union. There is also a considerable turnover in the lower-ranks of the Central Command, as troops conscripted for mandatory military service leave for civilian life, with new recruits entering the ranks and a few choosing to move up the ladder through promotion and continued service. The restriction of military service to Cardassians only also limits the Central Command's numbers.
The First Order is the most distinguished of all, but it has lost some of the glory of its past in recent years. Stationed throughout the central sectors, the First Order serves to protect vital worlds of the Union. They hearken back to the Cardassian ideal of the military as protectors of the Union and the Cardassian people, and maintain a certain romantic attitude towards their duties.
With Cardassia Prime located so close to the border of the Union, the First Order has many opportunities to distinguish itself in battle, most often against the forces of the Klingon Empire in various border disputes and during the Klingon invasion of Cardassia. First Order soldiers are none too fond of Klingons, and some have Klingon d'ktahgs and other ornaments as trophies of their kills.
Apart from their border conflicts with Klingon warriors, soldiers of the First Order saw little action for years. The brief Federation-Cardassian War never truly endangered the core worlds of the Union, so the First Order spent most of it in drills and training exercises. This led to their eclipse by the Second Order, which saw considerable action against the Federation.
The First Order is best known for their Third Battalion, which trains specialized commandos for difficult, often suicidal missions. Their motto is "Death to All," and commandos of the Third Battalion do their very best to make it so. They are renowned for their ruthlessness and their skill in combat.
Following the signing of the Cardassian-Federation Treaty and the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor, Central Command was forced to abandon or mothball several facilities along the Federation border and inside the new Demilitarized Zone. Rather than destroy the facilities entirely, Central Command chose to strip them of their useful components, leaving the rest intact in case the Cardassian Union should ever need them again (the resource-poor nature of their homeworld makes Cardassians quite frugal).
In order to protect these facilities from foreign powers, pirates, or others, Central Command chose certain members of the First Order and placed them in cryogenic suspension within the facility. Sensor systems could revive the soldiers to deal with any threats to the security of the facility.
A series of psychotropic drugs enhanced the already fearsome abilities of the commandos. These drugs heightened feelings of xenophobia and caused extreme paranoia in Cardassians, making the soldiers into cunning and efficient killing machines while dealing with non-Cardassian invaders, but did not make them dangerous (or at least did not make them more dangerous) to their fellow Cardassians.
Federation personnel encountered Cardassian commandos from the First Order in cryogenic freeze on the abandoned space station Empok Nor. It is a virtual certainty the Cardassian Union has similar soldiers stationed throughout the Union, particularly in border areas like Bajor Sector. After the Dominion War, Central Command lost track of where they station some of these commandos, providing potential threats for Cardassian and Federation personnel alike.
The Second Order is widely considered the most influential in the Cardassian Union. It was once led by Gul Dukat, and later by Dukat's protégé Gul Damar. The Second Order exercised considerable power in Central Command and in Cardassian Space.
The Second Order's rise traces back to the start of the Federation/Cardassian conflict. Members of the Second Order made first contact with the Federation, and determined that the Federation Starfleet posed a potential threat to Cardassia. The Second Order also conducted the raid against the Federation outpost at Setlik III, believed to be a staging point for an attack against the Union. Although this proved incorrect, the Second Order considered its actions vindicated by the Federation's aggressive response, and became strong proponents of war against the Federation.
The Second Order also controlled the Bajor system, and oversaw the Bajoran occupation. Gul Dukat was the military prefect of Bajor at that time. The resources mined from Bajor gave the Second Order considerable vasala throughout Central Command.
When Central Command chose to negotiate a peace treaty with the Federation, and withdraw from Bajoran space, officers of the Second Order (including Gul Dukat) strongly protested. The Second Order remained hostile towards the Federation, and agitated for a continued re-arming and preparation for a new offensive against both the Federation and Bajor, particularly after the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole. Other leaders in Central Command remained skeptical about Cardassia's ability to sustain a new conflict, and preferred to bide their time using the peace negotiations while continuing to rebuild the Union's military strength.
The Dominion alliance placed the Second Order back at the top of things in Central Command, although still secondary to the will of the Dominion. Damar's rebellion against the Dominion drew many soldiers of the Second Order with him, and some of these men once again hold positions of power within the Central Command. Damar’s leadership and sacrifice changed the character of the Second Order somewhat. It now advocates the rebuilding of Cardassia more strongly than continued aggression against foreign powers like the Federation.
The Third Order serves as the rapid response fleet of the Cardassian Union, stationed on bases and outposts at strategic locations throughout Cardassian space. The soldiers and officers of the Third Order are trained to carry out quick hit-and-run strikes against enemy targets, and to provide support to other Orders, reinforcing their position, or providing distractions and covering their flanks to allow them to retreat.
Soldiers of the Third Order saw action in nearly every military conflict undertaken by the Cardassian Union, including the war with the Federation, and the Klingon invasion of Cardassia. Third Order troops helped reinforce the lines against the Klingon invaders, and allowed vital elements of other Orders, along with members of the Detapa Council, to retreat from the advancing Klingons. The Third Order reputation for "coming to the rescue" of other Orders gave them a certain cachet, as well as a measure of arrogance.
The Third Order suffered heavy casualties during the Dominion War, since they often supported Jem'Hadar forces operating along the front lines. At first proud of their prominent position in the war effort, the soldiers of the Third Order quickly realized the Jem'Hadar and the Dominion thought of them as little more than cannon fodder and secondary support personnel to the true soldiers of the Dominion. This led to a weakening of morale within the Order. Harsh punishments for dereliction of duty only served to strengthen the Order's resentment towards the Dominion.
Some Third Order units turned against the Dominion and supported the Cardassian rebellion movement, although most of the Third Order continued to fight against Federation, Klingon, and Romulan forces until the final invasion of Cardassia, when they turned against the Dominion en masse.
The Third Order remains a rapid-response and support unit, although its resources are considerably depleted. It is in the process of strengthening its ranks, although the Cardassian "regular" units have taken precedence in the rebuilding effort, a sore point for members of the Order.
The Fourth Order patrols and protects the space near Cardassia Prime itself, including, when needed, the Bajor system. They suffered some of the heaviest losses during the Dominion War, although not at the hands of their enemies.
Along with the Second and Third Orders, the Fourth Order saw the most action in and around Bajor, both during and after the Bajoran occupation. The Fourth Order is often known as the "Home Guard" of the Cardassian Union, since they are entrusted with the protection of the homeworld, the heart and soul of the Union.
Following the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor and the establishment of the Demilitarized Zone with the Federation, the Fourth Order reinforced positions in and around Cardassia Prime and along the DMZ. With Cardassia located so close to the border itself, the Order could not afford to relax its vigilance in the wake of the treaty. Fourth Order ships and soldiers helped to blunt the Klingon thrust towards Cardassia Prime during their invasion of the Union, although they suffered heavy casualties in return.
The Dominion alliance built up the Fourth Order again to protect Cardassia when the Dominion went to war with the Federation and their Klingon allies. The Fourth saw action during the war, but mostly through the rotation of Fourth Order units to the border to reinforce the depleted ranks of other Orders. Cardassia itself remained inviolate until the very end of the war.
The Cardassian rebellion presented a serious problem for the Fourth Order, which was charged by the Dominion with maintaining order on Cardassia Prime. Fourth Order soldiers found themselves faced with fighting their own people. Many chose to turn against the Dominion and join the rebellion, while some continued to serve and obey their oaths of loyalty. Fourth Order soldiers were stationed, along with Cardassian civilians, around Dominion bases to help protect them against terrorist attacks from the rebellion.
When the rebellion provoked the ire of the Dominion, and they began to mass-destruction of Cardassian cities, the Fourth Order turned entirely against their former allies, but too late. Thousands of members of the Order died along with Cardassian civilians in the Dominion's slaughter. Many valiantly sacrificed their lives in an effort to stop the Dominion forces, but to no avail.
Currently, the Fourth Order retains its role as the "Home Guard" of Cardassia Prime, it's ranks somewhat depleted. It is recruiting heavily, but many on Cardassia are tired of war. The Fourth Order focuses on its assistance in rebuilding Cardassia Prime, encouraging citizens to join in the rebuilding effort. Its leadership is outspoken about the need to protect and rebuild the homeworld, and its respect towards the Union's former enemies, who might prove to be useful allies in the rebuilding process.
The Fifth Order patrols the "Iron Path," the series of systems with significant industrial capabilities that runs from the Cardassia/Bajor area rimward through the Union. The ships and soldiers of the Fifth Order guard these vital worlds, and help protect shipping convoys of much-needed materials from pirates and raiders. Their involvement in the manufacturing and shipping capabilities of the Union gives the Fifth Order most of their influence in Central Command.
Some consider them bureaucrats or "military merchants," more concerned with logistics and supply lines than military matters, but the Fifth Order is as capable a military force as any other in the Union. In addition to its quartermasters and logistics officers, the Fifth Order is well known for its engineers, who often assist disabled vessels and set up and maintain new industrial facilities for the Union. Often forced to work with limited resources and outdated equipment, Fifth Order engineers are masters of improvisation and unorthodox technique.
The Fifth Order was vital in protecting the Iron Path from attack and keeping Cardassia's industry operating during various conflicts. The Dominion established a number of cloning and construction facilities along the Iron Path, with the Fifth Order responsible for protecting and maintaining them. These sites were tempting targets for Federation and Klingon forces striking at the Dominion's industrial capabilities. A number of them were destroyed or badly damaged during the war.
Since the Dominion withdrawal, the Fifth Order's primary work has been repairing and rebuilding the Union's industrial base, while working with the Eighth Order to protect the Iron Path from raiders, smugglers, and pirates. The Order is a strong supporter of the new government, with a focus on industrial capacity to support further reconstruction throughout the Cardassian Union.
The Sixth Order makes up part of the deep space fleets of the Union, stationed in sectors throughout explored Cardassian space. The Sixth Order undertakes the majority of military deep space exploration and observation duties for the Union, along with the Ninth Order.
Most of the Sixth Order's exploration missions take it spinward and coreward of the Cardassian Union, away from many of the conflicts the rest of the Central Command became involved in over the years. Although the officers of the Sixth Order are as military as any in Cardassia, they are also explorers, seeking new worlds and new resources for the Union, making contact with new species, and studying unknown phenomena in the depths of space.
The Dominion War brought the exploration work of the Sixth Order to a halt (much as it did with Starfleet exploration duties). Ships and personnel were diverted back into the heart of Cardassian space, particularly to deal with Romulan incursions along the Union's anti-spinward and coreward borders. Most of the Sixth Order's battles have been with Romulans and some Federation vessels, concentrating more on clever maneuvers, and hit-and-run tactics, than the sort of all-out battles fought near Bajor Sector.
Overall, the Sixth Order suffered fewer casualties than Orders like the First or Third. With the war over, the leaders of the Sixth Order are eager to return to their work of exploring the frontiers of Cardassian space. These officers break into roughly two camps. The first advocates continued exploration to find and conquer new worlds with resources useful in rebuilding Cardassian infrastructure. The other, more vocal, faction claims the Cardassian Union has had enough conflict. They advocate peaceful contact with new species along the frontier; using trade and technological exchange to strengthen the Union, while finding uninhabited worlds Cardassia can mine for much needed resources.
For the time being, the Detapa Council and Central Command focus on the needs of the core worlds, but the call for more exploration is generally supported. It is likely the Cardassians will begin looking towards the frontiers of their space soon enough.
The Seventh Order patrols and maintains bases along the Cardassian Union's coreward frontier. More than any other, the Seventh Order saw conflict with the Romulan Empire, in addition to Federation forces.
The coreward border of the Cardassian Union saw the occasional terrorist attack by Bajoran freedom fighters, along with its share of raids and piracy (often carried out by Ferengi), but otherwise it remained quiet. The Seventh Order protected Cardassian colonies and subjugated worlds in the area, dealt with piracy, and aided exploration and settlement, following in the path of the Sixth Order.
Occasionally, the Seventh Order encountered evidence of Romulan incursion into Cardassian space, most likely small, cloaked vessels performing reconnaissance missions. The Cardassians never proved the existence of Romulan spies in their territory, and the Romulan Empire denied any such allegations, so little ever came of the incidents. The Seventh Order was one of several involved in the war between Cardassia and the Federation, although it did not see the most action.
During the Dominion War, the Seventh Order reinforced the positions of the other Orders, at first assured of no trouble from the Romulan Empire, which signed a non-aggression treaty with the Dominion, or the Ferengi Alliance, which remained carefully neutral. Elements of the Seventh Order deployed along the Federation/Cardassian Border and went on missions inside Federation space.
When the Romulan Empire unexpectedly entered the war on the side of the Federation, the Cardassians quickly reassigned the Seventh Order, backed up by Jem'Hadar troops, to protect the coreward border against Romulan invasion. Although the Romulan cloaking device was a formidable advantage, superior Dominion technology all but neutralized it. Seventh Order ships fitted with Dominion sensor pallets detected Romulan warbirds and engaged them as soon as they tried to cross the border.
The Seventh Order still found the Romulans formidable adversaries and a complex strategic game of move and countermove locked up the Order and a large portion of the Romulan Star Navy in the coreward sectors. This kept the Seventh out of most of the other action in the war, although some units were still assigned to support the other Orders against Federation and Klingon forces.
Since the end of the war, the Seventh Order returned to its duty of patrolling the coreward sectors. They have seen greatly increased attempts to enter the Union from the Ferengi Alliance, with a number of DaiMons looking for business opportunities in the Union. The Seventh Order strongly suspects some of these attempted "trading missions" conceal Romulan Tal Shiar agents eager to gather intelligence on the state of Cardassia following the war.
Like the Fifth Order, the Eighth protects and patrols the "Iron Path" through Cardassian space, focused on the far end of the path from Cardassia Prime. This highly defensible position kept the Eighth Order out of most border conflicts with the Federation, the Klingons, and other powers, and generally kept them behind the lines during the Dominion War. As the war took its toll on the forces of the Central Command, more and more units from the Eighth Order were moved up to the front lines, or assigned to protect the Iron Path closer to Cardassia. Eighth Order ships and soldiers still saw considerable action during the war, particularly the final battles.
Previous to their involvement in the Dominion War, the Eighth Order was best known for dealing with pirates and raiders along the far end of the Iron Path. Guls and starship personnel from the Eighth Order are quite skilled in dealing with smaller, faster starships, like most pirate ships, and often found themselves out of their element going up against large Federation, Klingon, and Romulan vessels. The Order's tactics focus on the use of superior size and firepower, although they know a few tricks for dealing with enemy ships as well, particularly using asteroid fields and other space debris to their advantage.
The Eighth Order continues to protect the Iron Path, although more of their units shifted to assisting elements of the Fifth Order after the war. They also deal with increased piracy along the Path and in the inner reaches of the Union. The Eighth Order strongly supports the reconstruction-ist government on Cardassia Prime, and believes the Union must restore its industrial capacity in order to recover from the damage done by the Dominion War.
Like the Sixth Order, the Ninth is a deep space patrol and exploration group, focusing on the frontier regions rimward and spinward of the Cardassian Union in the Alpha Quadrant. The Ninth Order's missions took it into sectors often sparse in stars and Class M planets, but which still contains thousands of systems of interest to Cardassia. Its prime mission is finding sources of valuable minerals and other materials needed by Cardassian industry. This is even more important since the end of the Dominion War, with the Union in need of materials to rebuild its infrastructure, construct new ships, and so forth.
The Ninth Order's secondary missions include mapping and exploring new start systems, and making contact with new forms of life. Mapping and survey missions expand the Cardassian Union's knowledge of nearby space, leading them to systems containing valuable resources, or new life forms or civilizations. Promising systems are more thoroughly explored and surveyed by Cardassian vessels. Once a system comes under the rule of the Cardassian Union, elements of the Seventh Order patrol and protect it, while the Ninth Order moves further out into the frontier.
Unlike the Federation, the Cardassian Union does not place restrictions on its interactions with new life forms and civilizations in encounters out in space. Cardassian explorers are free to take whatever steps they feel necessary to protect the interests of the Union when dealing with new life forms. This includes outright conquest of primitive worlds with potentially useful resources, as well as supplying advanced technology and other materials to less-advanced civilizations.
Since the end of the Dominion War, the Ninth Order concentrates on finding new worlds with the resources the Union requires. The Central Command prefers to avoid conflict with indigenous life forms for the time being, so inhabited worlds have a lower priority, unless they happen to have particularly valuable resources. In that case, commanding officers are empowered to negotiate treaties and make first contact. Although the Detapa Council discourages outright conquest, hoping to bring new members into the Union by diplomacy instead, the habits of the guls of the Ninth Order are slow to change.
The Tenth Order, also known as the "Eagle Order," is a military intelligence unit. Central Command maintains the Tenth Order so they do not have to depend entirely on the Obsidian Order for their military intelligence. The Eagle Order is far smaller than the Obsidian Order, and has a fierce rivalry with its larger "civilian" competitor.
The Tenth Order makes the most of its resources by focusing almost exclusively on military intelligence. While the Obsidian Order maintains internal security for the Cardassian Union by watching nearly everyone, the Eagle Order concentrates on targets of military and strategic significance. The Tenth Order saw considerable activity during the Dominion War, when the Central Command was in desperate need of accurate military information, and the Obsidian Order was both weakened by the Omarion Incident, and mistrusted by many in Central Command. Agents of the Eagle Order worked to infiltrate and spy on Federation and Klingon facilities and bases, collect information on ship and troop movements, and ferret out the Federation alliance's strategic plans.
Officers of the Eagle Order are military personnel first, and intelligence operatives second. They share the same fierce devotion to Cardassia and their fellow soldiers as the other Orders, and lack the cold disdain Obsidian Order agents hold for the military. To the agents of the Eagle Order, their work is vital because it saves the lives of fellow soldiers, and because it aids the Cardassian people. There are certainly agents more concerned with personal power and influence, or merely playing "the game" of espionage, but for the most part, Eagle Order agents are more honest and forthright than their Obsidian Order counterparts.
The Eagle Order uses most of the same methods as the Obsidian Order, and takes on many of the same missions. Tenth Order missions focus on military operations inside and outside the borders of the Union.
Agents of the Tenth Order are often found in the company of officers of other Orders, acting as intelligence liaisons, and keeping a close watch for any signs of trouble within the unit, along with opportunities for gathering information. While they are not overly popular with regular troops and officers, Eagle Order agents are regarded better than agents of the Obsidian Order, who are considered underhanded and untrustworthy by most Cardassian soldiers. Eagle Order agents are, at least, fellow soldiers for the Cardassian cause.
The Eagle Order, along with the First Order, often performs surgical strikes and commando raids on enemy targets. The Order specializes in sneak-attacks rigged to look like random raids, pirates, or accidents. Tenth Order personnel are also often the first to enter a potentially hostile situation, acting as scouts and forward observers, gathering information, then bringing it back to the other Orders so they can act with full knowledge of the situation. Tenth Order scouts performed many dangerous missions during the Dominion War, and many of them were killed by enemy troops or vessels.
For the past several decades, the Eleventh Order found itself increasingly replaced by the Second, Third, and Fourth Orders. Originally charged to protect Cardassian colonies and client worlds along the Union's anti-spinward border, the Eleventh diminished as Cardassia's attention focused more and more on Bajor Sector and its borders with the United Federation of Planets. The Order's responsibilities were assumed by the other Orders, and the Eleventh became a reserve unit, its duties largely ceremonial. It performed support functions for other Orders in the area, and handled routine missions involving colonies and other peacetime activities.
As conflicts with the Federation continued to increase, even reserve units like the Eleventh Order were called upon to serve the Union. After the start of the Dominion War, all able-bodied Orders were expected to serve, and the ranks of the Eleventh swelled as the Cardassian Union called upon every reservist and volunteer in its ranks. As the soldiers fought and died, the ranks of the Eleventh were increasingly filled with fewer and fewer fully trained and able-bodied soldiers. The Eleventh Order went from a support and reserve unit to an entire Order of "old men, young boys, and the walking wounded" during the Dominion War.
Near the end of the war, the Eleventh Order was assigned to protect Septimus III in Cardassian space. The Order was poorly manned, and just as poorly equipped. The Dominion withdrew its own troops and support from Septimus, and charged the Cardassian soldiers with holding it. Despite promises of reinforcements from Central Command, the Eleventh Order received no help whatsoever. A Klingon attack force wiped out the entire Order, which fought to the last man. It was later revealed the Dominion chose to sacrifice the Cardassian soldiers to provide a distraction for Alpha Quadrant forces and further its own withdrawal plans.
The destruction of the Eleventh Order inspired many Cardassians, including Legate Damar, to turn against the Dominion. Their sacrifice fanned the first sparks of rebellion and all Cardassians consider them heroes. The Detapa Council and the Central Command have agreed to name a medal "the Star of the Eleventh Order," in their honor, awarded to Cardassian military personnel who make great sacrifices to protect the people of the Union. There are no current plans to rebuild the Eleventh Order, with so many other matters weighing more heavily on Cardassia.
Like the Eleventh Order, the Twelfth Order began with a charter to protect Cardassian colonies and client worlds, this time along the Union's rimward border. For the most part, the Twelfth Order performed its duties with distinction, earning the respect of the Central Command and the Cardassian people, and the fear of enemies of the Union. The Order's headquarters is on the Cardassian planet Sarpedion V, one of the most fortified and well-protected military installations in Cardassian space.
More than any other, the Twelfth Order has seen conflict with the Klingon Empire when Klingon forces chose to attack Cardassia. This includes numerous border skirmishes over the years, leading up to the Klingon invasion of Cardassia, where the Twelfth Order took the brunt of the Klingon assault, suffering a number of casualties. During the Dominion War, the Twelfth Order against found itself up against Klingon forces, but this time the Cardassians had the aid of the Jem'Hadar, and won a number of early victories against the Klingons.
Early victories in the Dominion War spurred the Twelfth Order on to bolder strikes against the Klingons, but the fierce nature of their opponents, coupled with dissent in the ranks from working with the arrogant Jem'Hadar, led to rifts in the Twelfth's discipline and tactics. As the war continued, the Twelfth Order took considerable damage from Klingon offensives, and more units from the Twelfth were diverted from the rim areas of the Union to protect the front lines. Fallen Cardassian soldiers were replaced with retirees called back into service or young, raw recruits, or replaced altogether with more Jem'Hadar. This further weakened morale in the Twelfth Order.
Some soldiers of the Twelfth joined in the rebellion against the Dominion, and many of them were killed for their defiance. Since the end of the war, the Twelfth Order has returned to patrolling to rimward sectors of the Union, but their ranks were greatly depleted, and were not likely to be replenished any time soon, so Cardassian patrols along the rim remain sparse. This had given the rimward sectors a reputation as a haven for smugglers, pirates, and raiders. Even a few former Cardassian ships have gone rogue, striking out on their own, this began the civil war.
When Legate Toran, the then leader, had used the rogue-ish Twelfth Order to futher his own plans for the Union. Much of the Order was destroyed or executed during and after the civil war. The Twelfth Order has been disbanded. And the Sixth and Ninth orders have temporarily taken up the duties of protection the outward systems.
The Cardassian Central Command divides the Union's military forces into two main branches: the Space Force, and the Militia. Both branches use the same system of ranks, uniforms, and technology, operating under the direction of Central Command. Central Command encourages troops and officers to think of themselves as part of the Cardassian military as a whole, rather than members of an individual service, and each of the Orders as members of both branches in it, although the proportions vary depending on the Order's duties.
For centuries, Central Command has portrayed the military as the protectors and guides of the Cardassian people. There was no greater calling than to serve Central Command for the greater glory of Cardassia. Military personnel (and their families) also benefited from the very best of Cardassian society and economics, with good pay and special privileges.
Since the overthrow of the Central Command and the events of the Dominion War, the military's role in Cardassian society remains somewhat in doubt. Many of the heroes of the rebellion and the war are military officers, but the Cardassian people as a whole are tired of war, and much of the blame for the suffering and death of so many Cardassians fell on the shoulders of the military.
Cardassian Space Forces
Of all the branches of the Cardassian military, the Space Force is by far the best known and most influential. Space Force personnel crew the ships and stations of the Cardassian Union, patrolling border and trade routes, exploring deep space, and making contact with new worlds and species in peacetime. In times of war, the might of the Cardassian Fleet is brought against the Union's enemies, such as during the Dominion War.
Cardassian ground forces make up the Militia organized into units of some 50,000 troops. The Militia handles planetary invasions, garrison duties, manning and protection of Cardassian facilities, and similar ground-based activities. It is somewhat less glamorous than the Space Force, but easier to get into and, sometimes, easier for an ambitious officer to advance quickly through the ranks. Cardassian Militia units saw considerable action during the Dominion War, defending planets within the Union from invasion by enemy forces, and helping hold captured worlds along the border. Most of the exploration vessels of the Sixth and Ninth Orders carry a small contingent of Militia. This has led to some tension among the crew of those vessels but nothing serious.
The other branches of the Central Command include Health, Engineering, Supply, and so forth. These branches work primarily to support the Space Force and the Militia, and are considered far less glamorous, with few opportunities for advancement other than heading up a department. During peacetime, branches like Science and Engineering do considerable research, analysis of scientific data, and so on. During wartime all their efforts are devoted to the development of new ships and weapons for the Central Command, and the analysis for enemy technology and information.
The Health branch of the military, similar to Starfleet's Medical Division, is responsible for maintaining the health and well being of military personnel. Cardassian medicine is similar to Federation medical technology, although the Cardassians place little emphasis on counselling and other "personnel engineering" techniques. Officers of the Health branch often have a somewhat sinister reputation, since Cardassian medicine has so often advanced using studies conducted on other life forms, often sentient, and usually without their consent.
Life in the Cardassian Military
A high degree of regimentation and discipline characterize the Central Command. Soldiers are expected to follow orders immediately and to the letter. Disobedience and shirking of duty are not tolerated; commanders mete out severe punishments, often involving the infliction of pain (or even execution), in the event of a violation. Soldiers and officers are also under the near-constant surveillance of the Obsidian Orders and intelligence officers from the Eagle Order, who report any infractions or concerns. A black mark on a soldier's record may be enough to deny him promotion; enough of them can end his career altogether.
The Cardassian Central Command values obedience and devotion to duty over qualities like personal initiative, imagination, and creativity. Soldier who disobeys orders is punished, even if his disobedience resulted in a great success. A soldier has to achieve a great deal in order to gather the vasala necessary to escape punishment from his superiors. Those who manage it usually rise quickly through the ranks. Cardassian culture stresses the importance of duty over all things: duty to family, duty to friends and fellow citizens, and duty to the state. This makes it far less likely for Cardassians to disobey orders than, say, individualistic humans.
The Central Command trains its soldiers to be ruthless in battle. The Cardassian military does not embrace Federation concepts of "minimum force" and avoiding needless killing; in fact, most Cardassian soldiers sneer at the Federation's pacifist ideals, believing it clearly shows their weakness as a civilization. The Cardassian credo is "fight to win at any cost." Cardassians only take prisoners to torture them for information or use them as political leverage against their enemies. They do not hesitate to kill their opponents in battle, and Cardassian soldiers keep their weapons on a lethal setting, rather than a "stun" level. (Cardassian troops guarding installations in peacetime keep their weapons set on "stun" primarily to avoid accidents and to leave prisoners alive for interrogation.)
Part of a soldier's training for ruthlessness comes early in the military services. Cardassian military training is swift, efficient, and often brutal, especially by Federation standards. Training officers put recruits in situations intended to harden them, foster obedience, and encourage them to learn ruthless behaviour. For example, privileges in the military barracks are assigned to soldiers who can earn them; promoting competition, but squads of soldiers are often rewarded and punished as a group, encouraging responsibility to ones fellow troops. A Cardassian soldier who earns a punishment for his squad is likely to suffer more at their hands than any official punishment. Commanding officers are aware of this and quietly encourage it to maintain discipline.
All able Cardassians in the Union are required to enter military service at the age of 18 for two years. They receive basic training and education, and are indoctrinated into the Central Command's way of thinking. Most Cardassians perform their required years of service and return to civilian life, although they can be recalled into the military whenever the Central Command deems it necessary. During the Dominion War, millions of reservists were recalled to duty by Central Command to replace soldiers lost in battle. Most Cardassians gladly answered the Union's call to service.
Some Cardassians choose to remain in the military after their required two years. These soldiers can participate in additional training, or attend any of the several military academies in the Cardassian Union to train to become an officer. Training to become an officer is particularly difficult, and many prospective candidates wash out before completing their training. Most return to the ranks, while some choose to leave the military altogether. There is no disgrace to being a soldier in Cardassian society; it is an honorable position. Some Cardassians (especially soldiers) look down on those who washed out of military training.
Rules and Regulations
The Cardassian Central Command is an organization that takes its rules and regulations quite seriously. Ironically, although the military does not encourage individual initiative, it does grant commanding officers wide discretion in making decisions and in disciplining troops who violate regulations. Even with subspace communications, there is no way for Central Command to oversee and approve every decision made by a Cardassian commander in the field. Instead, Central Command grants commanders enough latitude to allow them to respond to changing conditions quickly and decisively. Of course, they still have to answer for their decisions to their superior officers at a later time.
Like most military organizations, Central Command's rules and regulations primarily define how personnel deal with certain situations, and what behaviour is acceptable. Unlike Starfleet, Central Command does not have a non-interference directive. Their "prime directive," if any, is the protection of the Cardassian Union from any and all potential threats, following by securing potential resources for the Union. The Cardassians can and have interfered in the affairs of less-advanced societies when it suited their needs. They conquered a number of worlds to exploit their resources, and they patrol their borders with great vigilance.
Military personnel on duty are expected to maintain a level of decorum, avoid using drugs such as alcohol, and so forth. These rules tend to get bent, especially in frontier regions or on client worlds, where Cardassian soldiers are largely free to do as they please. Soldiers are also not restricted in their off-hours activities, even while in uniform. They can gamble, visit pleasure houses, or whatever else they want, so long as it is not illegal.
Although minor violations of regulations are often overlooked, punishment for infractions is severe. A commanding officer that fails to maintain discipline and military readiness can find himself quickly replaced by Central Command.
Chain of Command
The Cardassian military has a strong respect for the chain of command. This is drilled into new recruits from the very first day, reinforcing the Cardassian cultural respect for authority. Cardassian troops are loyal to their superior officers, often devoted to the point of fanaticism. This reflects the Cardassian idea of vasala; a popular officer gains considerable influence from the support of his or her troops.
The Cardassian Central Command uses a system of hierarchical ranks, which is the same for all branches of the service. The hierarchy is split into two groups; the ones who don’t further their military study after they join, and those that do.
The ones who don’t further their studies are the equivalent of Starfleet’s Non-Commissioned Officers. In Central Command they are simply called soliders.
The ranks of the soldiers are: (with equivalent SF rank)
The ones that do further their studies, are called Officers, and are much the same as most SF officers.
Their ranks are as follows: (with SF equivalent)
Officers must generally hold a rank of at least Glinn to be given command of a starship or a unit. Guls are the rough equivalent of Starfleet captains. They are the majority of the commanding officers in Central Command, controlling starships and bases, and serving as prefects and planetary governors throughout the client worlds of the Union. Many Guls are quite influential, building up extensive vasala networks.
There is another step on the hierarchy, Order Command, these are the command officers of an Order, most will retain command of a starship but will have jurisdiction over his (or her) lower ranked commanders.
Here are their ranks and their average duties for that rank: (with SF equivalent)
|Legate||Represents the Order in Central Command||Adm|
|Vi'kar Legate||Placed in Command of or a group of starships or a Station (Can represent the Order in Central Command)||VAdm|
|Ri'en Gul||Placed in Command of a group of starships or a Station (Can represent the Order in Central Command)||RAdm|
|Ri'ta Gul||Command of a Starship, jurisdiction over other Guls||Commo|
Rank Hath It's Privileges
Advancement in rank means more than just additional duties and responsibilities for Cardassian officers. It also means increased opportunities and privileges. In the military-dominated society of the Union, high-ranking officers gain great vasala from their position and the contacts it provides them. Loyal troops can support a commander's personal bids for power and influence within the Central Command, and military academy friends, and former colleagues all become valuable contacts.
Central Command also takes no small amount of resources for the use of its own personnel. Cardassian officers are assured of receiving the best that the Union has to offer in terms of housing and various luxuries. Even in frontier regions, Cardassian Guls often live like kings. While Gul Dukat was Prefect of Bajor, he ruled the planet like a virtual king, able to take whatever he wanted from the Bajorans. Dukat's troops received discounts and gifts from the local merchants, Bajoran "pleasure slaves," and other incentives. Other Prefects and high-ranking Cardassian officers receive similar treatment.
The Dominion War opened the eyes of many in the Cardassian Union regarding the excesses of the military. It's questionable whether or not Central Command will be able to justify some of its more lavish spending in light of the resources needed to rebuild Cardassia's shattered cities.
All Cardassian military personnel, soldiers and officers, space and ground forces alike, wear the same uniform. The uniform of the Central Command is a symbol of Cardassian pride and strength to those in the Union, a symbol of fear and respect to foreign powers. It reflects the Union's emphasis on the military, and the Cardassian concern with protection and military might.
The Cardassian uniform is a complete bodysuit that covers all but the hands, the neck, and head. It has wide shoulders to accommodate the Cardassian neck ridges. The uniform is covered with armor made of molded carbonitirium fibres in a style that evolved from ancient Cardassian ceremonial armor, dating back to the First Hebitian civilization.
A flared clamshell cuirass covers the torso, affording protection against melee weapons and some limited protection from energy weapons. Flexible molded armor covers the arms and legs, with armor often sandwiched inside pockets of polymer cloth. In non-combat duty situations, the armor is trimmed back to just the ceremonial cuirass and shoulder armor over a standard duty uniform.
Order and Battalion insignia are worn on the left shoulder of the uniform, while rank emblems are worn on the left breast or collar.