The Consortium was an underground organization charged with disrupting the Fourth Fleet’s Task Force 9 operating in the Gamma Quadrant.
Following its harrowing defeat at the end of the War, the Dominion returned to its territory to rebuild and rethink its interactions with other races both within and outside the Dominion itself whilst making sense of the knowledge and experiences gained from the Alpha Quadrant that the changeling named Odo shared with the Great Link upon his re-integration. Tales of the final weeks of the Dominion War, where the Cardassians fought back against their 'allies', led many to begin questioning whether or not they really wanted to be part of this vast empire and many began to doubt the true power that the Founders had over them. The Founders quickly discovered the dissent amongst its citizens and they sought a way to use it to their advantage.
For those with freedom thrust upon them unexpectedly, it came at a price; the region was plagued by rising and falling governments, ever shifting alliances and a slew of enterprising marauders, all looking to take advantage of the tenuous situation for their own interests. Ever reliable, Starfleet consequently stepped in, deploying Task Force 9 with an ever-increasing number of assets at their disposal. While some Gamma Quadrant denizens welcomed this, hoping it would bring peace and stability to the region, many others saw the Federation as nothing more than another power attempting to take control of the region. It is in this context that the Consortium was born.
The Dominion had a habit of using dead planets, and some not so dead, for weapons tests or internment camps. They used one of the moons belonging to the Dosi as a prison, Internment Camp 219, for members of the Federation Alliance during the war. Given the proximity of 2 of the Dosi moons, they would use the other moon for secret weapons tests, some including large scale weapons. They would often bring prisoners to the moon to test effects of weapons on them. This gave observers a rare insight into the ethics of the Dominion, and how they treated their enemies. Those who saw what happened here accepted it as part of being in the Dominion, but to some it changed some of their beliefs in the Dominion.
The Dosi government remained complicit during these darks times, having been a servant race of the Dominion for thousands of years. Though with every servant race, there were people who dissented. A small group of Yaderans, disillusioned with the Dominions continued aggression, organised a secretive summit, on Dosi, to try and come up with a way to remove their races from the war. They were not affiliated with any of their governments, but still decided that they had to do something to preserve their futures. The government on Dosi heard about this ‘summit’ and they wanted nothing to do with it. To ensure that there were no retaliatory strikes on their homeworld they publicly disgraced those who were part of the clandestine meeting. This new group used this publicity to try and rally people to their cause. Some Dosi, even in the government, sympathised with them, albeit quietly. Those who publicly declared that the ‘renegades’ had the right idea were disgraced, some even publicly executed by the Dominion themselves. Some disgraced leaders were forced from their positions into hiding and some even took the step to join the renegades themselves, using what friends they had left within the government to help acquire materials for this new group. Such action spread to other worlds in the Dominion. Taking the lead from something in the Alpha Quadrant called the ‘Orion Syndicate’ they formed themselves into a group known as the Dosi Consortium. They gathered what they could from the Dosi and Karemman homeworlds and began to acquire enough wealth to purchase ships and equipment. At first they had only 30 or 40 members, but within months they had well over 250.
The group started off smuggling illegal items to planets around their system including Stakoron and the Wadi but later expanded into a much larger faction that dealt in illegal trafficking, piracy, assassinations and even murder. As time progressed and actions of the Dosi Consortium became progressively more heinous, the people on the Dosi Homeworld became very vocal against the group and they soon changed their name to simply The Consortium.
Originally thought to be a power taking advantage of the power vacuum created by the Dominion sealing their borders, the true origins of the Consortium are known to very few, and many of those who did know and weren’t loyal had been swiftly eliminated over time or rendered harmless through other means. The Dominion itself had a hand in the original creation of the Consortium. A group of rogue founders secretly broke away from the Founders on the homeworld, claiming to be exploring unknown parts of the Gamma Quadrant. The summit that was called on the Dosi homeworld was aimed at creating a group who protested the war. Though it was held in secret, with attendees utilizing a wide range of security means to ensure the security, the reality was that the founders themselves had been aware of this group for quite some time and had already infiltrated the summit. So, once this summit was concluded, the rogue founders had many of those in attendance killed, or replaced. It was here that they thought of a way to infiltrate the highest levels of Starfleet without directly using themselves or letting the Founders find out.
With promises of power, the Rogue Founders manipulated their Consortium puppets. Even some of the highest members of the Consortium did not know who their orders were coming from. The Consortium began to recruit people, civilians, and Starfleet alike. There were even rumors that they had got people into Starfleet specifically as sleeper agents, waiting for the day that the Consortium would issue its ‘final directive’. Hundreds of Starfleet officers who were willing joined the Consortium or were influenced into doing so by telepathic species used by the Dominion for hundreds of years. This left the Consortium with assets throughout Starfleet who gained and used their influence to dictate policy in the Gamma Quadrant.This placed them in a position where there would be Consortium operatives throughout TF9 command and throughout TF9 ships in the region. Once rumours started to air about this infiltration, Starfleet Intelligence commenced a massive intelligence gathering operation to get to the bottom of it but with only limited results. As such the Consortium could move efficiently within the ranks of Starfleet even with significant scrutiny.
The Rogue Founders wanted to take back control of their quadrant, their only way to do so was to use their ability to manipulate the solids. They wanted to get their own territory back before resuming their expansion. The goal of this group of Founders was to let those no longer under Dominion control enjoy their freedom, before subtly influencing the Consortium to make their lives harder and harder. Once the people had had enough of the Consortium, they would cry out for Dominion rule, where life was better, leaving them ripe for the Dominion to take over again.
Meanwhile, Odo was still attempting to dissuade many of the Founders from their views of the Federation, and the solids, and eventually succeeded in encouraging enough of his people to reach out and talk to the Federation. They invited a Starfleet delegation to the Quadrant as part of a peaceful mission. It was at this time the Dominion formalized their relationship with the Federation by signing the Jankata Accord. Though the Treaty of Bajor granted unfettered passage through the wormhole, Starfleet had only one colony in the quadrant: New Bajor, which was established by the Bajorans before they were admitted into the Federation and thus was not subject to the Jankata Accords. Following this meeting between the Dominion and the Federation, both sides formally agreed to abide by the Jankata Accords.
The Rogue Founders were, naturally, not happy with the sudden turn of events. It was then that they decided that whatever needed to be done had to be done now.
The first ship to fall was the USS Galavant, an Excelsior class ship refitted as a cargo ship. Starfleet Command had assigned several such converted ships to deliver cargo as they 'deemed regular cargo vessels would be at extreme risk' in the Gamma quadrant. Several sleeper agents were on the ship, including the Chief Security officer. At some point during its regular cargo run through the Finnean Convergence Zone, the Galavant received a transmission from a Karemman ship, simply saying “To the future of the Dominion”. It was at this point the Chief Security officer and several other offers on the ship took control of the vital systems, killed the Captain and First Officer and imprisoned the rest of the senior staff. Most of this was unknown to Starfleet at the time. According to official incident reports, the USS Galavant was lost with all hands.
With this complete, the Consortium was now poised to begin the next phase of their plan.
At the predetermined time, three words were transmitted on all Starfleet frequencies, “Pity is treason.” In an instant, communications were cut off and the Consortium sprang to action.
Rise to Power
In an instant, unsuspecting crewmen and officers began to confront officers in charge either by arrest or phaser fire. On Deep Space 11, Rear Admiral Vadosia Adislo, Captain Juliana Terlexa and Captain Tarmin Mavroidis were engaged on a conference call, beginning the business of the day. The call was interrupted by the transmission. Though they were in two different locations, Adislo and Mavroidis knew what was happening as they'd already been made secretly aware of the Consortium threat. Captain Terlexa, however, was the Consortium agent in charge of the coup.
As the Consortium agents rallied forces by falsely portraying the true loyal officers as those committing treason and sedition, the Consortium quickly took control of Deep Space 11. This day was not without consequences. The USS Princeton, orbiting Deep Space 11, saw an internal uprising just like every other ship in the Task Force. While that uprising failed, the Consortium-controlled USS Antares engaged and destroyed the Princeton to prevent it from turning the tide.
Admiral Adislo managed to escape the clutches of the Consortium and left the system. Captain Mavroidis, however, was not so lucky and was captured by Consortium forces. As clean up began, Terlexa 'revealed' official orders from Starfleet promoting her to Commodore, granting her command of the Task Force, and authority to hunt down the remaining loyalist forces.
Aboard Starbase Unity, the Task Force Executive Officer’s base of operations, a Consortium mutiny was led by Major Kennedy, who attempted to confront Commodore Scarlet Cameron. The confrontation failed at the sacrifice of the starbase's commander, Commander Shawn Grax. Other consortium agents, elsewhere on the starbase, sacrificed themselves to destroy the base's shield generator, leaving it vulnerable to attack by the Consortium-controlled USS Ottawa.
Were it not for the timely arrival of the USS O'Carroll, Starbase Unity may very well have lost its entire command crew and command center. The O'Carroll engaged and disabled the Ottawa and began to lend aid to Unity.
In a secure transmission, Admiral Adislo transferred the true command of the Task Force to Commodore Cameron. Commodore Zachary O'Connell, as the only known loyal Commodore remaining, was promoted to Task Force Executive Officer.
The Task Force as a whole was fragmented across the entire galaxy. Roughly half of the force's roster fell to the Consortium; however, that half contained most of the quadrant's most powerful ships. Loyalist forces began to consolidate at Unity for both a thorough Consortium purge and preparation to strike back.
The Consortium wasted little time in locking down the Gamma Quadrant. Communications to the Alpha Quadrant were immediately suspended, though a false message was sent to appease Starfleet for now. Meanwhile, they began consolidating their forces in three locations, Deep Space 11, the Bajoran Wormhole, and Gavara IV. Several elements, including several of their heaviest hitters, began to hunt down isolated Starfleet assets where their planned Consortium uprisings had failed. A couple of these hunts proved to be fruitful, as those ships were drafted into Consortium service, while others continued on wild goose chases, always outsmarted by the ingenious Starfleet captains.
Any ship arriving to the Gamma Quadrant was searched and cataloged, while any ship leaving was subjected to an intense search and clearance process to ensure that Starfleet was not smuggling messages to Command.
Both sides knew that this status quo would not last forever. As the Consortium continued to consolidate their forces on Gavara IV, Starbase Unity prepared for the inevitable battle, while trying to use its limited assets and starships to keep the Consortium from wreaking havoc on civilizations such as the Wadi colony on Yolvanda II or tracking isolated ships like the USS Nelson and the USS Renown.
The Consortium knew that the longer that they gave Starfleet, the harder and costlier it would be when they tried to eliminate Starfleet once and for all. In August 2388, the Consortium embarked on their most ambitious mission since revealing themselves. Twelve starships departed Gavara IV bound for Starbase Unity, making quick work of overwhelming several hasty defenses including minefields and thwarting diversions along the way.
Unbeknownst to the Consortium, Admiral Saatyi Noru (ret) had entered into negotiations with the Dominion, promising access to high-level Starfleet meetings in the Gamma Quadrant in exchange for eliminating the mutual threat. Dominion reinforcements arrived at Starbase Unity in time to disable and destroy the Consortium Task Force, but not before the Consortium caused massive damage.
With the aid of the Dominion, Starfleet quickly regrouped and embarked on two missions of its own. A small Task Group led by the USS Nogura was sent on a suicide mission to send a ship through the Bajoran Wormhole to call upon the Fourth Fleet for reinforcements while another Task Group, led by the USS O’Carroll, the USS Black Hawk and others, were joined by Dominion elements to retake Deep Space 11.
Following the surprise Consortium defeat at Starbase Unity, Starfleet was left with two choices: Wait for more Dominion reinforcements for a proper assault on Starbase Unity or Immediately launch their counterattack at New Bajor/Deep Space 11. The advantages and disadvantages to either decision were rather obvious. If Starfleet were to strike immediately, then the Consortium had a slim chance they could rally enough reinforcements to continue their offensive.
Starfleet's decision was therefore made quickly and decisively. They would immediately launch their attack. Six days later, the attack began as the Starfleet/Dominion alliance squared off against the remnants of the Consortium (aside from those blockading the wormhole. The alliance was able to overpower and defeat the Consortium, but at a large cost, including the severe amount of damage inflicted by the Consortium on New Bajor.
Just as the battle ended, word reached Starfleet forces from Idran. A heavily armed task group had just emerged from the wormhole and decimated the Consortium elements blockading it. The Consortium Crisis was then declared over, leaving a massive amount of cleanup for Starfleet to begin.
Generally, before the takeover of Deep Space 11, the Consortium would keep an average of 2 to 12 operatives aboard a starship. The number would be much higher per colony or base, depending on the importance of the location. These operatives could range in rank from Crewman to Captain, and each one was optimally placed for takeover, or for a worse-case scenario, sabotage and destruction.
After The Consortium rose to power, the true identities of Consortium agents remain unknown, though those the operatives "apprehended" under the guise of treason are in fact the true Starfleet officers. The rest of the crew were led to believe that those arrested were traitors and the "true" Consortium agents.
- Volunteer - In the early days of the Consortium, most individuals were invited to join the movement, or heard about its formation by word of mouth, typically by someone already involved in the Consortium. Most volunteers already possess a deep-seeded hatred for Starfleet and the Federation or otherwise desire to see their quadrant freed by any influence from the Alpha Quadrant, including the Klingon Empire and the Ferengi.
- Telepathic Conversion/Manipulation - The Consortium places a high value on both anonymity and having small numbers. Having small numbers, however, is becoming increasingly difficult due to where some agents need to be. Assassinating a Chief Operations Officer aboard a starship and replacing him with an agent is near-impossible in Starfleet. Exposing such an individual to the Consortium operating structure poses a risk should the agent be discovered.Therefore, several loyal Starfleet officers were targeted for telepathic conversion. This could involve direct or indirect contact with a telepath, and possibly even some form of drugging or inebriation to weaken the officer in order to establish a telepathic link. Officers are often targeted based on their service records, psychological profile, and notes made by medical and psychological professionals. Once converted, the new agent is prepared to do he Consortium's bidding once exposed to orders. Orders can be delivered in a variety of ways, hidden in a subspace transmission, response to a code "challenge" phrase (such as "Pity is Treason") or written in code on a crate label. Upon receipt of orders, the Starfleet officer instantly abandons his duty and begins to act out his/her tasks. The agent will not stop until the task is complete or his/her body ceases to function.
- Blindly Following - For most personnel on Starfleet Ships and Bases, they believe they're following orders from Starfleet and are completely unaware that those orders were in fact fabricated or influenced by the Consortium. These should be the easiest to expose to the truth, but whether or not they recognize it will be the true challenge.
- Otherwise Forced - For those the Consortium are unable to mentally manipulate, alternate means are used, including threats to an individual, his/her family. Promises of promotion are also considered, though these are rare, but it is entirely up to what motivates the target.
Species with empathic or telepathic gifts, such as Betazoids, can detect lies or motives that are otherwise less than pure. This, however, usually involves an invasive "scan" of a person's mind, one which can rarely be done without detection. Those who are blindly following are the most difficult to detect, as are some who were telepathically manipulated.
The Consortium did engage the services of some Betazoids and other telepathic species in order to mask this as much as possible.