Star Trek 101, StarTrek.com's newest regular column, serves two functions: succinctly introduce Star Trek newcomers to the basic foundations and elements of the franchise and refresh the memories of longtime Trek fans. We're pulling our entries from the book Star Trek 101: A Practical Guide to Who, What, Where, And Why, written by Terry J. Erdmann & Paula M. Block and published in 2008 by Pocket Books. An invaluable resource, it encompasses The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, as well as the first 10 Trek feature films. Today, we learn about the Dominion...
A coalition of three species from the Gamma Quadrant: Founders, Vorta and Jem'Hadar. The Founders -- shapeshifters like Odo -- run the show and use the other two species as support staff. The Founders are xenophobic because they've had some bad experiences among "solids" (that's what they call people who don't look like a plate of melted Jell-O). They conquer other worlds and expand their domain by employing a carrot-and-stick approach.
First, they send an ambassador, a member of the Vorta race (a used car salesman with "wraparound" ears), who offers an opprtunity to "peacefully" join the Dominion as subjects. If the offer is not accepted, the Founders send in the muscle: an invasion force of Jem'Hadar, a genetically engineered species of warriors who look like two-legged rhinoceroses. The Jem'hadar are so fierce that even the Vorta are afraid of them, but their obedience is ensured by their dependence on ketracel-white, a powerful drug that only their superiors can provide.
Relations between the Federation and the Dominion got off to a bad start. The result: the Dominion War, a cataclysmic conflict that also drew in the Cardassians, the Romulans and the Breen.
Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are coauthors of numerous books about the entertainment industry, including Star Trek 101; Star Trek Costumes: Fifty Years of Fashion from the Final Frontier; Star Trek: The Original Series 365; and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. They currently are writing the latest in their series of Ferengi novellas, which (so far) includes Lust’s Latinum Lost (and Found); and Rules of Accusation. Their most recent non-Star Trek book is Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History.