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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
01-30-2010, 02:31 PM
Originally Posted by Nador_Ekoor View Post
I have been thinking on this and wanted to know what other Star Trek fans thought as well. I believe that the Cardassians were expert Engineers, but not as focused on battle or science.

1. We know that the Cardassians aren't battle hardened Soldiers like the Klingons or Gorn. Heck, a chief security officer got pounded by Major Kira.

2. We also know that although the Cardassian union expanded, it was limited to a specific sector and the Science/Exploration levels weren't even close to that of the Federation.

If both of these comments are true, how did the Cardassians fight wars against the Federation and Klingons and reach a draw? Why were the Galors and Keldons so feared if they were inferior to the Federation's battleships?

I believe that the Cardassians ability to get the most out of what little they had proved to be the difference. They made vastly inferior cruisers strong enough to battle against stronger factions and that is what Engineers do best.

Just a topic of discussion to pass time...Please let me know your thoughts.
Seriously, good question. I'll try to answer it.

Okay, to start, there were a few extenuating circumstances that can be explained more easily if you go all over the IP, not just in what was televised. From what I have seen, read, and played, Cardassians were primarily focused on battle and expansion, but were a middle ground between the ultra combat worthy Klingons and the enormously secretive Romulans. The Obsidian Order, while considered in many cases as a step up from the Tal Shiar, were not allowed to field military equipment, so their military contributions are arguable.

For your actual question, the Cardassian people were a spiritual people a long time ago. Eventually, the lack of resources on their own world caused their military policies to gain more and more favor until the Central Command effectively ruled the Cardassian people, and the Detapa Council was dissolved. This continued for a few hundred years, until the military was overthrown by the growing dissident movement following Enabran Tain's disastrous attempt to eliminate the Founders. Power was only restored to the military when Gul Dukat negotiated for Cardassia's entry into the Dominion. Chances are that ever Cardassian has their own profession, but most are required to put in military service from a certain age. Likely, those would be the engineers, scientists, freighter crews, that sort of thing.

Now, on to your evidence.

Point #1: Damar was not an experienced security officer, Dukat had him as his assistant and while for a time he was doing Odo's duties on DS9, but he was not trained as a security officer. Also, Kira, as an experienced Bajoran "terrorist" would be extremely familiar with Cardassian physiology and anatomy, making it likely that someone who was really overconfident (Typical Cardassian attitude towards Bajorans) would get their asses kicked. At other points in the series, Kira is seen beating Klingons, Jem'Hadar, and others in hand to hand combat.

Point #2: The Cardassian Union did expand, but on most of their borders were either other powers (Federation, Klingons, etc.) or hazardous areas, such as the Badlands. I would imagine that the Badlands bordered probably at least half of the Cardassian Union. And no, their science/exploration levels weren't nearly as sophisticated as the Federation, because they were primarily concerned with knowledge for the sake of power, not knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Point #3: The ships of the Cardassian fleets, the Keldon's and Galors, outnumbered the Federation ships during that war by a substantial number. Not every Federation ship is like the Galaxy class, of which there were precious few during the running of The Next Generation. Other ships like the Nebula and even the Ambassador class would have done well against Cardassian ships, but for the most part, on a purely military basis, Cardassia had a drastic advantage in men and equipment. Usually it was the ingenuity of the crews, or in the case of the time that Picard was captured by the Cardassians and Jellico took command, a major screw up in the Cardassian's planning that won. As for the Cardassian War against the Klingons, they didn't reach a draw. The Cardassians lost a lot of space to the Klingon invasion, that only slowed down when the Federation opened a second front against the Klingons. The Cardassians only managed to rout the Klingons once the Dominion ships entered their space.

What it comes down to is that I'm sure the Cardassians have capable engineers, like all races will. The shows, and indeed most of the games, are made from the point of view of the Federation, so they will focus on the aspects of that. How many Galors and Keldons were destroyed by Martok's Negh'var alone? How many times have we solo'd a Negh'var in a light freaking cruiser in STO?

But yes, I would love to see a number of races fleshed out like the Federation, from the Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans, Breen, maybe even the Alpha Quadrant Jem'Hadar. That's probably asking for a lot, but I can dream, dammit.