The Dominion War ended more than 15 years ago. More and more starships are crewed with officers who only remember it as a traumatic time in their childhood. Though Starfleet and it’s allies suffered many losses in ships and personnel, they have largely recovered to their pre-war state. Not so for the losing side.
The Cardassian Union was left devastated by the end of the war. The Federation Alliance’s push through Cardassian space left much of the existing infrastructure used against them in ruin, and the Dominion’s own treatment of the Cardassian people did at least equal damage, especially once the Cardassian military switched sides in the final battle of the war.
Lessons learnt from Earth’s own history taught the Federation that simply occupying a conquered foe, or stripping them of all their resources and leaving them to fend for themselves would only lead to greater and greater resentment amongst the Cardassian people, and eventually to an uprising and another war. So the Federation instead did what it does best; it provided aid to those that needed it most. It helped the Cardassians set up a new government, one voted for by the populace. It helped rebuild the shattered infrastructure, and provided medical and construction supplies while it was difficult or impossible to source them locally. Even 15 years later, while Cardassia itself was largely recovered, other systems in their empire were still suffering the after-effects of the war, and the Federation was still providing aid.
The newly commissioned USS Mercury, a post-war Galaxy-class starship under the command of Captain Nathan Hunt, has been assigned to provide such aid to the Cardassian colony of Thessia, a planet mostly known for its mining facilities, though many of them are no longer functional. As a regional command post during the war, it had been bombed heavily by the Klingons; the military facilities completely destroyed, and much of the mining equipment left irreparable. It is the Mercury’s mission to bring them supplies and a contingent of Starfleet Engineers to augment those sent from Cardassia and ensure that efforts to restore the communities to a state of self sufficiency continue, following earlier shipments of supplies in previous years.
But things are not well on Thessia. The new Cardassian government had predicted a faster recovery than the colony is displaying, leading to questions of what the earlier supplies had been used for. In addition, a large proportion of the population of some regions were soldiers or officers in the local military facilities. While many of them have returned to help their families in civilian life, many of the officers harbour memories of the old days, when the might of the Cardassian military was unquestionable, and when they not only needed no aid from the likes of the Federation, but could keep them out of their space by the might of their forces. Many of them wish for a return to those times...