Today, I rewatched the Season 3 episodes Improbable Cause
and The Die is Cast.
While Odo and Garak go on a mission to try to figure out who was trying to assassinate Garak, both end up being captured by the Romulans. They learn that, the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order work together on a mission to destroy the Founder’s homeworld in the Gamma Quadrant. Garak decides to flip sides and help Enabran Tain, who was leading the Obsidian Order mission with the help of Colonel Lovak of the Tal Shiar. However, the mission was a trap. The Founders were no longer on what was thought to be their homeworld. When the the 20 Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order ships uncloak to attack the planet, a Jem’Hadar fleet of 150 ships exit a nearby nebula and decimate the joint Romulan – Cardassian fleet. At the end of the episode, we see Garak trying to help Odo escape when they run into Colonel Lovak. The following dialogue then takes place:
Lovak: You will need this in order to get access to your runabout.
Lovak hands a Padd to Odo.
Odo: Why are you doing this?
Lovak: Because no Changeling has ever harmed another.
Garak: You are one of the Founders.
Odo: Of course! This whole plan was the Founders plan in the first place. You wanted the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order to combine forces and come into the Gamma Quadrant so you could wipe them out.
Lovak: Not exactly. [Enabran]Tain originated the plan. And when we learned of it, we did everything we could to carry it forward. The Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order are both ruthless, efficient organizations - a definite threat to us.
Odo: But not after today?
Lovak: After today, the only real threat to us is the Klingons and the Federation. And I doubt that either of them will be a threat for much longer.
I thought it was interesting that Odo thought that the destruction of 20 Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order ships would wipe out both organizations. Lovak seemed to agree that their destruction would eliminate the threat of the Tal Shiar and Obsidian. But, IMO, not everything in this dialogue makes since. First of all, of course the destruction of 20 Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order ships wouldn’t be welcomed by either, but surely they had more than 20 ships. We saw in the Season 3 episode Defiant
, that the Obsidian Order was illegally building ships in the Orias System (the Obsidian Order isn’t supposed to have any ships). Do you suppose that they built less than 20 ships, but that all of them were destroyed in this failed Gamma Quadrant mission? Or perhaps that almost all of the ships had been confiscated by the Cardassian Central Command, but some escaped the grips of the Central Command and were then destroyed in the failed Gamma Quadrant mission? Regarding the Tal Shiar, I can’t really recall any TNG or DS9 episodes that said whether or not they have any ships or if they do, how many. Second of all, I guess it could be argued that this failed mission would so discredit the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order, than they would lose their power amongst the Romulans and Cardassians. But, can it really be argued that if the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order lost their ships and lost their reputation, that both the Romulan Star Empire and the Cardassians would no longer be a threat to the Dominion??? How can Lovak say that only the Klingons and Federation would be a threat to the Dominion after this mission? This seems a little far-fetched to me. But, then again it has been a while since I have watched Season 4 – 7 of DS9. Perhaps they give / show a good explanation as to how Odo’s and Lovak’s theory is plausible.