Former Demilitarized Zone

From Bravo Fleet
This article is official Bravo Fleet canon.

CARDicon.png Federation Faction

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. The area 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 the recent chaos brought about by the violence of the Cardassian True way and the New Maquis has led to a taut dynamic 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. The Federation brokered new agreements with the Cardassian Union, allowing them to send ships across the border in response to requests for aid from Cardassian citizens. This agreement was considered nothing more than a diplomatic ploy allowing the Federation to claim they were ensuring the safety of the region; all sides knew the Cardassian Union was in little state to worry about anything beyond its own borders. This withdrawal 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. For two years, cooperation between the Cardassian Union and the Federation allowed joint operations to try to root out this insurgency.

Hostilities in the former DMZ reached a fever-pitch with attacks against settlements by insurgent groups

In mid-2401, the destruction of a Starfleet outpost, Outpost C-91, was blamed not only on the True Way, but the Cardassian Union. Central Command was accused of, if not sending ships directly to destroy the outpost, then providing its new military technology to the True Way. When Cardassia denied this, diplomats sought a resolution, only for a new insurgent group to show itself and strike against Cardassian residents: Federation citizens calling themselves the Maquis.

The DMZ Today

The Federation

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, new outbreak of violence 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.

With the increase in violence, more and more Federation residents are sympathetic to the new Maquis. Many feel that Cardassia’s clear desire to recover the region was entirely predictable, and feel Starfleet abandoned them for twenty years and cannot be trusted to maintain their safety. As such, locals taking matters into their own hands are much more trustworthy, for many, than Starfleet, whose promises mean little.

Cardassian Residents

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.

Cardassians stayed in the DMZ to not abandon their homes - but life in the borderlands has been made dangerous by attacks from both the True Way and the Maquis

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. The Maquis, conversely, view these Cardassians as, at the least, grounds for the Union to legitimise its involvement, and at worst actively involved in the Union’s military ambitions for the region. Attacks by the Maquis on Cardassian residents, or their infrastructure, are not uncommon, with the Maquis claiming a settlement is a forward outpost, supply depot, or surveillance outpost for the Union or the True Way. More and more, Cardassian residents are reaching out to the Union for assistance, not trusting they will be protected by Starfleet. But they will not lose their homes - they have lived there for generations, after all.


Starfleet largely withdrew from the region after the Attack on Mars. It returned on a mission of diplomacy to stop the True Way, working with the Cardassian Union and trying to restore peace and confidence in Starfleet among the locals who distrusted the Federation. This has been almost shattered by the new outbreak of violence.

Starfleet cannot stand by idly while the True Way or the Maquis attack Federation or Cardassian citizens; nor can it allow the Cardassian Union to pursue justice unilaterally against Federation citizens in Federation space. Forces are, however, stretched thin after Frontier Day and with new tensions arising with the Klingon Empire. Starfleet cannot afford direct conflict, and knows that too strong a hand may trigger it with the wrong encounter. As such, Starfleet has tried to apply as light a touch as possible, sending ships on limited patrols and otherwise dispatching them to respond to specific problems. Wherever possible, they must attempt to resolve encounters with diplomacy.

The Cardassian Union

The Cardassian Union has some authority in the former DMZ. Once-empty treaties empower them to cross the border in response to requests for aid from Cardassian citizens who are residents in Federation space. Those treaties now enable the Union to involve itself directly in the chaos.

The Detapa Council tries to discourage this at all points, seeking diplomatic solutions and cooperative missions with Starfleet. It is not uncommon for a Cardassian ship to notify Starfleet before it responds to such a request for aid; if Starfleet does not send a ship to resolve the matter or accompany them, then they go on alone. Central Command is much more eager to demonstrate Cardassian might and show they, and not the Federation, can maintain order and safety in the old DMZ.

If Cardassian ships enter the DMZ, they need a stated purpose - almost always a direct request for aid from a Cardassian resident of the DMZ, or a response to a specific threat. Captains have often twisted this, expressing the general state of crisis to be a request for aid, or considering ‘the Maquis’ a specific threat. The Detapa Council usually looks dimly on such exploitations of diplomatic agreements, but resolutions between politicians come once confrontations are over; they rarely end them.

Formally, the True Way are enemies of the Cardassian Union, renegades who were stirred to action by their hatred of the government’s perceived weakness. Many Cardassian officers view them as traitors and instigators. Others may be more sympathetic, while others still may abhor them, but consider them a lesser evil than the violent Maquis or even Starfleet, and turn a blind eye to their activities.

The True Way

Born from the ranks of the disgruntled military leaders abandoned by Central Command to bridge a new accord with the Detapa Council, the True Way started out trying to bloody the Union’s and Federation’s noses in the name of Cardassian pride. Now they find themselves in an increasingly-violent frontier as the main instigators of chaos. They continue to pass no comment on their role in the destruction of Outpost C-91. It is also unclear if there is any truth to the claims they were funded by Central Command, but it seems increasingly likely that, since the escalation, they have found themselves powerful benefactors.

They seek, above all, to destabilise Federation control over the DMZ by attacking infrastructure and causing chaos. More and more, they go head-to-head with the Maquis. While they primarily employ insurgency tactics, they have ships of their own, though these are enough to threaten freighters and shuttles - not a starship.

The New Maquis

Formally just called ‘the Maquis,’ this organisation follows in the footsteps of the one formed and destroyed in the 2370s fighting for the rights of Federation citizens abandoned by treaties with the Cardassian Union. With Starfleet perceived as ignoring the region anew after Mars, and Cardassian violence and involvement increasing through the True Way, locals of the DMZ have once again taken up arms for their home. Many of them express that Starfleet spent the last two years more interested in playing nice with Cardassia than uprooting the True Way as they killed Federation citizens, and now it’s time to strike back.

They consider the presence of many Cardassian residents of the DMZ to be an ideological threat or a direct security risk. While they do not target civilians directly, they are prepared to sabotage their way of life enough to drive them out. Primarily, they strike against any target they consider could provide a military advantage to the True Way or the Cardassian Union. They have also not limited their operations to Federation space, making increasing forays across the border to sabotage Cardassian military infrastructure.

While they only have a small array of ships, largely used for transport rather than combat, and are incapable of facing any but the True Way head-on in a fight, it is unclear from where the Maquis have gathered their equipment. Starfleet Intelligence suspects malcontents have spent the past decade stealing Starfleet equipment, unsecured under lax security protocols during the downturn, in anticipation of a return to hostilities.

In Play

  • The former Demilitarized Zone is Federation territory largely left alone for over fifteen years. It is a disparate region of people who feel they owe the Federation little and would prefer to go their own way.
  • Now it has become a powder-keg, with insurgent groups clashing, civilians caught in the middle, and the Cardassian military eager to demonstrate they, and not the Federation, can keep the region safe. While many people can traverse it safely, insurgency attacks are not uncommon from either the Maquis or the True 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 or Maquis 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, and in many cases are sympathetic to the new Maquis. Starfleet wants to restore their confidence in the Federation to cut off the Maquis’s support structure.
  • The True Way sees anyone who 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 Maquis seek to drive Cardassians out of the DMZ. While this mostly applies to Central Command, this can also include Cardassian residents. They rarely target civilians but may try to make their lives difficult to drive them back voer the border.
  • Cardassian Central Command is eager to involve itself in the DMZ. Ships with the slightest diplomatic excuse will cross the border to help Cardassian residents or particularly to hunt down the Maquis, or even the True Way. While this may lead to cooperative missions with Starfleet, some Guls may try to go it alone and enforce Cardassian justice.