The Cardassian counterpart to the Romulans' Tal Shiar, the Obsidian Order for decades maintained terror as the secret police and spy agency of that culture. Supposedly subservient to the Central Command and military rulers — much less the puppet civilian Detappa Council — the Obsidian Order was a den of intrigue unto itself and often acted secretly for its own ends.

Enabran Tain was its longest serving chief; his son Garak was a onetime agent and was kept alive in exile only by its intervention.

The Order's downfall came about from its biggest undertaking: a covert joint invasion with the Tal Shiar of the Founders' former homeworld. The spectacular failure was easily foiled by a Founder shapeshifter posing as a top Romulan in the project, and the agency — who had stockpiled its own ships and bases, against the law — never recovered.