|Former Demilitarized Zone|
|Points of Interest|
The former Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ) between the Cardassian Union and the United Federation of Planets is a region that was once the border between the two powers. As a colloquialism it includes other worlds traded between them, though all of these systems are now under Federation control. Due to their contested history, the region has a large number of Cardassian citizens in residence, sometimes in integrated settlements, but including several fully Cardassian colonies. Authority over the region formally falls to Starfleet, though recent upheaval such as the resurgence of the True Way has led to a pact of cooperation with the Cardassian Union to restore stability.
The establishment of the Federation-Cardassian Treaty in 2370 included the creation of the Demilitarized Zone and the redrawing of the borders of both powers. As a result, some colonies of both governments fell within the DMZ, while others were passed between the two governments, settlers forced to relocate. This move was hugely unpopular, leading to some Cardassian colonists defending themselves and the birth of the Federation extremist faction the Maquis.
For three years, the region was the home of small-scale warfare as both Cardassian and Federation colonists waged conflict against each other and their governments. This ended in 2373, where the Cardassian Union’s alliance with the Dominion resulted in the Jem’hadar seizing the DMZ and wiping out the Maquis.
With the Treaty of Bajor, all worlds of the DMZ and any colonies the Federation had once ceded to the Union were restored to Federation control. Many Federation citizens retained or returned to their former homes. However, a large number of Cardassian settlements had been established over the years, and the Federation was mindful of past mistakes in forcibly relocating populations.
It was agreed that these Cardassian colonists and their family would have the right to remain in these settlements, citizens of the Union but residents in Federation territory. The border with Cardassia overseen by Starfleet was generous in permitting Cardassian trade and investment to cross into the old DMZ, though very little further.
The Attack on Mars and the subsequent Federation focus on internal affairs scaled back Starfleet presence in the region. This led to the former DMZ becoming largely self-regulating, systems and worlds looking after their own interests and security. This suited many of the populace, who were mindful of past betrayals by their and the neighbouring government, and preferred to go it alone.
In early 2399, an attack on a Starfleet ship at Hakton VII and later a Cardassian survey station on the border ended this rugged peace. A group of Cardassian anti-Federation extremists called the True Way claimed responsibility, making it clear they wished to restore Cardassian territory to Cardassia and that they saw both the Federation and the Detapa Council as their enemies.
Faced with this new challenge, Starfleet and the Detapa Council swiftly drew up an agreement to restore stability to the region. As such, both Federation and Cardassian forces, negotiators, and support services have entered the old DMZ in recent weeks to attempt to help locals and stop the True Way.
The DMZ Today
Many Federation citizens who live in the DMZ remember that they or their neighbours were forced to abandon their homes thirty years ago, and they have largely not forgiven the Federation and Starfleet. This has not been a problem for recent years, with limited government presence and no inciting events. However, the threat of the True Way has returned Starfleet to the region.
Many Federation colonies are fiercely self-sufficient and disinclined to help or receive help from Starfleet. While they may or may not tolerate their Cardassian neighbours on both sides of the border, and are potential targets of the True Way’s raids for resources, they often prefer to resolve these situations themselves.
The DMZ has become a point of significant interest Federation industry; its resources were largely untapped until twenty years ago, and many companies have moved into the region and now find their businesses threatened by the True Way.
The Federation was loath to forcibly remove anyone from the former DMZ after the Treaty of Bajor. Any Cardassian who could claim residency of the region was allowed to stay or return, and their families also allowed to settle. This required some restrictions after the first few years, when it became apparent that some Cardassians were using the DMZ as an immigration loophole to escape the resource-starved Union for Federation territory, where they would be better regarded. Still, these residents have been permitted to travel to and from the Union and have largely made comfortable and settled lives for themselves these past thirty years.
These residents are more volatile in their dealings with Starfleet; some welcome their support with open arms, while others resent their homes being under Federation rule. The majority seek to be left alone as much as the Federation citizens do.
Some settlements are integrated between Cardassians and Federation citizens; some worlds share homogenous settlements, but the majority of Cardassian colonies are Cardassian-exclusive. These colonies come in all shapes and sizes, from people getting on with their lives to Cardassians resenting having to live under Federation rule. There is also a growing population of Cardassians who wish for democratic and liberal reform of the Union, which they are able to plan and campaign for safely from within Federation territory.
The True Way treats these Cardassians as allies or traitors, with nothing in between. They expect Cardassians to provide them with resources or even membership, or they are complicit in the abandonment of Cardassian worlds to the Federation.
Starfleet largely withdrew from the region after the Attack on Mars. Now it has to return to stop the True Way and restore stability. This is largely a mission of diplomacy, restoring peace and confidence in Starfleet among the locals who distrust the Federation, and cooperating with Cardassian ships and missions crossing the border to render aid.
Starfleet Command is mindful that if the Cardassian residents are not looked after they may become sympathetic to the True Way. Similarly, if the True Way become a problem and the Federation citizens feel threatened, they may take matters into their own hands - and so their confidence in Starfleet to protect their interests must be restored and maintained.
The Cardassian Union
Formally, the Union has no authority over the former DMZ. It has also had limited control over its own border with the Federation, which is largely under Starfleet regulation. While a blow to Cardassian pride, this was a reprieve for Cardassian resources. But nevertheless, the Union along the border have found themselves targets of the True Way.
The Detapa Council has agreed to help the Federation hunt down the True Way and aid in stabilising the region. They have dispatched ships, diplomats, and support services to help Cardassian citizens and assist in resolving disputes. Ostensibly this is to meet their responsibility to their own citizens and to aid in hunting down the True Way, who clearly operate somewhat in Union territory. However, the Detapa Council knows that proving they can cooperate effectively with Starfleet and maintain stability will encourage the Federation to reopen trade or even restore its aid agreement.
This has left the military Central Command in a difficult position. It is in their best interests if cooperation with the Federation fails, but empowering the True Way risks undermining their agenda. Their officers are set for the moment to judge each situation as it transpires, with the ideal goal of stopping the True Way and cooperation with the Federation alike.
- The former Demilitarized Zone is Federation territory largely left alone for over ten years. It is a disparate region of people who feel they owe the Federation little and would prefer to go their own way.
- Cardassians who live in the DMZ are an unknown factor for any Starfleet captain. They might prefer life under the Federation or want protection from the True Way and cooperate. Or they might resent living under Federation rule and sympathise or actively support the True Way. Proceed with caution.
- Federation citizens in the region remember they or their families were betrayed by Starfleet before. They refuse to let it happen again, and so are often unwilling to accept or give help. Starfleet wants to restore their confidence in the Federation so the return of the True Way doesn’t trigger a return of the Maquis.
- The True Way sees anyone that does not support returning these worlds to Cardassian control as the enemy. They will steal resources from civilians, attack Starfleet and the Union alike, and try to recruit from Cardassian residents.
- The rich, historically untapped resources of the former DMZ make it highly appealing to Federation industrial interests who wish to operate freely in the zone and without Starfleet oversight - despite the threat of the True Way.
- The Cardassian Union sends many missions of diplomacy and cooperation into the DMZ to help Starfleet hunt down the True Way or support and develop Cardassian settlements.