I've always felt that having a race just join the Federation leads to that race's dilution, the exact opposite of how you expressed it.
It seem to me that the damage to Cardassia during the Dominion War is always greatly over exaggerated. For example, people always say that the Cardassian race was almost wiped out by the Dominion when, in fact, "merely" 800 million were killed on Cardassia Prime. Also, there were lots of Cardassian ships and officers that defected to the Alpha Quadrant forces during the final battle.
Now, what it seems to me that Cryptic is doing is they are drawing parallels between Imperial Japan and the Cardassian Union as ruled by the Central Command. Both were highly militaristic societies, basically ruled by their militaries, both lost their respective wars, both had to accept the dissolution of their militaries and defence from those who defeated them.
This doesn't mean the Cardassians would become part of the Federation, but close allies who depend on the Federation for defence, much like Japan now is to the United States.
But, I hope the Cardassian Union rises again, and the Cardassians do get their military back. Maybe this can be caused by the Federation asking the Cardassians to commit men and ships to a war with the Klingons, or some other power, much the same way Japan is getting to be more militaristic again because of American pressure for them to help out in Iraq.
This is almost exactly the impression I got, as well. Reminded me remarkably of the interactions with Japan after the second World War, though I could also see some of the parallels Flatfingers drew between the Treaty of Versailles and the Path actions. I'd say it's closer to the former, though. It's an interesting approach to dealing with the Cardassians. While they obviously aren't going to count out such big factions and fan favorites as the Cardassians or Romulans, I get the feeling Cryptic is trying to downplay both factions to believably put them somewhat on the backburner (in relative terms) for Alpha/Beta Quadrant politics. Basically, they're trying to eventually steer towards a Klingon/Federation focus, which is obviously the focus of the main conflict in the setting of STO.
It seems Cryptic's going to shunt them to the sidelines with the almost protectorate status being set up the Cardassians and the splintering of Romulan politics, combined with the foreshadowing of their own Praxis-like event (or flat out destruction of Romulus, if this follows the Countdowns. I dearly hope not. The Countdowns are making me dislike the look of the new movie much more than any re-imagining of Kirk and everything else. Wiping out the Romulan empire is a terrible idea, IMO).
Luckily, though, I don't think they're going to completely dilute them into other, bigger factions. I could see the Cardassians still remaining a sovereign power, separate from the Federation, but somewhat more dependent, especially in military matters. The Romulans seem to be set up to have the tables turned on them, where their world may be destroyed, and they'll be forced to beg the Remans to let them in.
In the meantime, though, it'd be interesting if people who want to be Romulan will have decide where their loyalties lie within the Empire when it finally comes out in expansion or whatever.
Romulan politics is so convoluted, I almost had to make a freakin' flow chart just to keep a track of names, let alone sides.
So let's see if I got this straight;
Starting with Nemesis:
-Shinzon uses Tal'Aura as an ally to irradiate the Senate
-Donatra also allies with Shinzon and the Remans, giving him the military might needed to control the empire
-Donatra changes her mind to battle and finish off Shinzon.
-Events occur in Titan: Taking Wing (won't say to avoid spoilers and since it's somewhat divergent from the Path)
-With Shinzon dead, power is split between Tal'Aura and her lackey, Tomalak, and Donatra and her semi-peers Commander Suran and Admiral Braeg.
-Braeg is executed, and Remans led by Xiomek demand more rights
-Xiomek allies with the Unification movement to gain more standing in the Romulan's eyes.
-Donatra breaks free of the Empire, becomes Empress of Imperial Romulan State
-Tomalak, as Tal'Aura's proconsul and head of the military, appoints Admiral Taris below him
-Tal'Aura gives herself control over the Senate, becoming close to Empress in all but name. Stacking the senate annoys the noble houses, especially the Line of Tellus, containing future Praetor Chulan
-Tal'Aura expands her powers further, angering the noble houses even more, especially with her ability to grant or remove noble titles
-Admiral Taris defects from Tomalak's command, joining Donatra
-Tomalak, disgraced, retires on Romulus, paving the way for Sela to replace him as proconsul
-Taris is sent by Donatra to negotiate with the Empire
-Tal'Aura found dead in her quarters, investigated by Tal Shiar
-Donatra denies accusations and recalls Taris
-Sela blames Remans and Unificationists
-Sela becomes temporary executive by succession. Ironically reversing Tal'Aura's strategy, she replaces the Senate with members of the noble houses, trying to garner support from them, including the Line of Tellus (Chulan)
-She is not backed by military, Donatra, or Rehaek and the Tal Shiar
-Romulan Star Empire and Imperial Romulan State unified again, Donatra retains most military power
-Rumors of Sela's involvement in Tal'Aura's assassination and Donatra's refusal to support her cost Sela the Praetorship. Chulan of Tellus becomes the new, weakly supported middle ground the opposing factions can barely agree on as Praetor.
-Donatra gains friends among the Remans, something Sela opposes, but Chulan is too intimidated to stop her.
-Popular support for Donatra allows the Remans to gain citizenship and Xiomek to hold a Senate seat.
-Romulan Mining Guild presents the Senate with its findings stating that Remus is almost at a Praxis-like state. It recommends it be put in charge of all off-world mining. Xiomek blocks this action in the Senate.
-Skirmishes break out between Mining Guild ships and Reman ships in outskirts of Empire
-Xiomek proposes to the Senate that the Remans deserve a continent on Romulus (nice little reference to Taking Wing, there)
-Donatra, Rehaek, and Chulan instead give the Remans Crateris to live on
-Rehaek concludes the Tal Shiar investigation of Tal'Aura's assassination, blaming a coalition of noble houses (understandable, given how she antagonized them), but refuses to share evidence of this with Sela or Donatra
-Tal Shiar leads a vendetta against the noble houses. Sela responds to the attacks on her supporters by asking the Senate to cut the Tal Shiar's budget
-Donatra remains in the middle ground, deferring to Praetor Chulan, who remains as ineffectual as usual
-Rehaek's house is bombed, leaving his dead family and servants, but not his body, though some think the bomb could have vaporized him
-Sela is blamed for the crime, and the Tal Shiar arrest her and conduct a secret trial, condemning her to death. Donatra steps in and convinces Chulan to allow Sela and her supporters to accept permananent exile
-Taris gives her responsibilities to General Tebok and goes on a search to retrieve the Sword of the Raptor Star
So what the hell do we get out of all of this? Looks like the factions are as following:
Tal'Aura - dead, possibly killed by antagonized noble houses, or the also angry Tal Shiar, who are acting suspicious about the investigation
Tomalak - retired, not likely to hear of again
Donatra - smartly remaining neutral, quietly backing Praetor Chulan while wielding her military power when it suits her
Braeg - Dead, executed by Tal'Aura for trying to incite populist rebellion
Suran - unknown, but killed by Donatra in the Titan novels
Taris - motives unknown, but generally loyal to Donatra. defector from Tal'Aura, potentially become a populist hero if she finds the Sword of Raptor Sun?
Xiomek - allied to Donatra, probably grateful for her support, leads Reman faction to get their own, more hospitable world
-Somewhat tied to-
Unificationists - Spock, main goal to "wage peace" and reunite Romulus & Vulcan. Support Reman rights
and Remans - led by Xiomek, somewhat hostile to Romulan Mining Guild during relocation from Remus
Sela - Tal'Aura's proconsul, had much to gain from her assassination, attempted to gain power in opposite method of Tal'Aura, but probably not the actual killer. In Permanent Exile with Supporters. Potentially returning rogue Romulan faction?
Romulan Noble Houses - hated Tal'Aura, could have killed her, as Tal Shiar claims, prefer Sela because of her reversal of Tal'Aura's Senate policy
Rehaek - Tal Shiar Director, clearly opposed to Sela and also Tal'Aura. Suspiciously secretive about Tal'Aura investigation assassination. Presumed dead after bombing by unknown faction (Possibly faked to go into hiding and orchestrate behind scenes?)
Tal Shiar - vendetta against Sela and the noble houses, who they blame for Tal'Aura's assassination (Ironic, as they couldn't stand her, either)
Romulans in game are gonna have a headache over who to support. And we've still got 23 years of development left to go !
Not sure what I think of Captain Data. I guess Cryptic's arm is kinda twisted there, by the new Countdowns and the new movie, but eh, whatever. I'm mostly ok with him having the Enterprise, but I think they should have gone more into the rest of his crew. Who's the XO? With everyone pretty much gone, we don't really know any members of the Enterprise bridge crew anymore, or even any of the crew.
Oh, and did anyone else remember Odo's encounter with Laas in a previous update? If the Rogue Jem'hadar aren't willing to accept Odo as a legitimate Founder, I have a feeling that perhaps Laas might control them if he ever encounters them. Something to look out for.
Agreed. I also really liked the info on the Gorn, though I hope the war ends with the Gorn not just being a conquered people, but being slightly more willing members of the Empire, like maybe their worlds become client members.
I was thinking the Gorn, Orions, and Nausicans might be 'conquered' and then conscripted into the Klingon military, much like Alexander the Great did in his march eastward.
The Consolidation of Romulan Power is not to be taken lightly at all. .
The Greatest protection Vulcan had was the Fractured Romulan Efforts..
Their economic trade resource food supplies were all as a result of which old Camp of Dissenting voices held them.
Years of maneuver and Co Opting by Pretext has the main players in the Power void left by the Sorry Shinzon affair. Shows their real spots.
Donatra sways in the wind of whom ever had power she could use until she had enough of her own.
First She flirts with Shinzon and acts as her Admirals Aide De Camp to Spy on him.
Then curries Favour with the Nave in the Romulan ways Picard.. and betrays Shinzon the usurper
whom allies with the second class to her ilk. Remus and all the while plays the public high ground game..
Knowing the inner circles resentment of Sela's ploys in the past.
Key rivals she needs to shame into loosing face Sela .only Half Romulan and not of Noble Blood line.
Tal'aura Noble but poor at selecting Capable Romulans to Govern an Empire Allows Sela too much power
Scape Goats Tomelack for leading a fleet of second class Romulans picked for loyalty over skill at command.
Anointed Sela as Pro-Council Blind to her ambitions..
The Tal'Shair: acted on the Leadership Command Counsel to balance the good of the Empire against all enemies foreign and domestic.. Ride out the Shinzon Purges and play footsie with Sela to gain Vulcan..
Until their Admiral in Charge decides he wants power and Crosses the Rubicon.. trying to discredit Sela.. cannot prove or reveal sources to Frame anyone publicly.. Does not expect the counter attack.. Fool..
Donatra MAneuvers and manipulates pre-existing rivalries like the Fire Witch in the Court of the Crimson King.. or wife in the Classic "Throne of Blood" Samurai movie.
Exiles the Remains by giving them a new home..
Knowing Sela has loyal followers only when she could bribe them or scare them with her power.. that treat
nullified.. for open military conflict.. she still guards against the Knifes in the Night. But She is sure Sela does not have 47 Loyal Samurai to pay her back moves on to Discredit the Tal'shair.
The Rivals expend valuable resources trumping each other..
She decloaks and swoops in to "Save" the Empire..
The Klingon's are Busy with the Gorn the Federation with Peace love and understanding..everyone.
Buying Her Throne time to reorganize with her Professional fleet cadre and the Nobles she prefer having sorted out the chaff of Houses left by her rivals chaos..
She now is the Hero that feeds defends restores Romulan Virtues to the people.. pride to the Fleet..
gains the resources held in black budget by the Tal'Shair..
Her next goal would be to use the Tal'Shair to arrange a pretext Flashpoint betwixt the Federation and Klingon Empires.. And Dance while Qo'noS Burns.
I am a Sword Saint .. I could never allow another the joy of drawing that Soul of a Warrior for political gain
as a Klingon would truly enjoy the Sword of .Kahless .
Excuse me I must preform the Changling Blood Test on the Crew...
"Late in 2386, she informs Donatra that she is going to take her ship to Levaeri V to investigate claims that a blade believed to be the Sword of the Raptor Star has been recovered. The ancient sword, reputed to be one of the swords created by Vulcan swordsmith Síharien and taken into exile by Sítask, is a revered artifact of the Sundering. "
...they're... they're using Diane Duane's Rihannsu novels...