From:Dominion
To:*Galactic-Enquirer
Stardate:19990424.2050
Subject:A Message From Your Friends: The Dominion

The emblem of the Dominion appropriately dominates the screen for a long moment before fading out, replaced by a sorrowful-looking Vorta, sitting at a semi-circular mahagony desk.

"Greetings and salutations, most excellent citizens of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants," the Vorta begins in a muted tone, "I would very much like to speak of joyous, happy tidings today, for we of the humble Dominion have ready several diplomats and merchants, ready to embark on missions of unity and mutual benefit to all of the glorius governments in this region of space. Dozens of our best and brightest foreign service men and women, who have spent grueling hours in study, in hopes of understanding the laws and customs of your diverse cultures, are standing by to meet with your governments."

The Vorta pauses, as if to compose himself -- he appears almost saddened, as if he might burst into tears at any moment. "But it is my great sorrow to inform you that several of these diplomats, freshly arrived from our home in the Gamma Quadrant, were accosted by the United Federation of Planets while en route from Deep Space Nine to our modest commercial station in the Tyranus system. We understand and empathize, and indeed are caused copious amounts of sorrow and grief by the untrusting attitude taken towards the Dominion by the Federation and many of its brother and sister civilizations. But we," the Vorta pauses to rub at his eyes, swallowing back a small, pitiful squeak before continuing, "Realize that we have no-one but ourselves to blame! Certainly, a Federation as mighty and venerable as theirs, easily two hundred years old, has no desire to war with newcomers to their quadrant. And yet we find ourselves in the unloved, un-envied, and unhappy position of facing not Federation diplomats schooled in /our/ ways, but Federation warships and their torpedos."

The Vorta closes his eyes very tightly for a moment, and with a painstakingly slow motion, fetches a small photograph of about a half-dozen Vorta, all grinning happily at whomever was taking the picture, which appears on the screen for a few seconds. "These brave souls were aboard the Dominion Supply Vessel Errant Lord as it traveled from Deep Space Nine to Stronghold, and back again. The Federation, following their well-established laws, of course wanted to know who we were and why we were in their soverign space. A very reasonable question! But we can only presume that the answer was unsatisfactory, and they requested -- nay, demanded -- that our ship halt and be boarded by their Starfleet, though the innocent souls on board the Errant Lord had done no harm. The captain," the Vorta fetches another picture of a fantastically well-built Jem'Hadar, decked out in a lovely green and white suit, "Whose name is Earl, took his own life this morning because he felt he had let down his comrades and the native citizens of this part of space by his decision not to allow the Federation on his ship. His close friends say that he was very protective of the Glorious founders and all their technology, and he feared very much that Starfleet wanted only a piece of what that stupendously wonderful race had laboured so hard to achieve, and wanted it by right of conquest, and so he did not let the Federation take his vessel. We have reflected for a long time on his decision, and while we cannot fault him now, we realize that we are guests in this part of space, and consequently will heed all the laws and regulations of the spacefaring, sentient beings in these quadrants."

The Vorta pauses for a moment, and then frowns, his sadness replaced with a stern, hard gaze. "But we, the peace-loving and affable Vorta, yes--even we--take great exception to the manner in which the Federation has chosen to tell the galaxy of the event that resulted in the death of our diplomats, and of the near-disabling of our ship. When the Errant Lord was viscously attacked by the USS Reliant and the USS Intrepid, its only defense was to use what they tell us is a flavor of defensive torpedo designed to stop other ships from pusuing you without actually hurting them. Sort of like a 'Rubber bullet,' so to speak. While we were using these to mose expediously flee from Federation space, the USS Reliant fired two dozen photon torpedoes, attempting not to halt, but instead to destroy the Dominion ship. Even after the Errant Lord departed Federation space, it was pursued by the USS Intrepid, and it was here that the most heinous act of war was committed."

Footage shot from SB Stronghold cuts in. "The Galactic Enquirer reporting staff present on Stronghold managed to capture this footage from the observation deck of Stronghold," comes the reporter's voice, "Keep in mind, now, that we are reporting the facts as we saw them, and are not interested in proving anybody right or wrong."

The DSV Errant Lord drops out of warp in-system, fairly close to Stronghold. The Intrepid, still a little ways away, fires a large warhead at the Dominion ship. "This," the Vorta is now speaking, "Was identified as a quad-cobalt torpedo, a weapon of such massive destructive value that its purpose can only be to annihilate an entire starsystem. Had the torpedo impacted the ship or Stronghold, both would have been destroyed, in addition to our citizens on the planet below. Fortunately," the footage cuts out as the torpedo is heading for the Errant Lord, "Our defensive network was able to shoot down this genocide-bomb before it could do any damage."

The screen cuts one last time to the Vorta, whose stern gaze softens a little bit. "Now, we understand the apprehension caused by the presence of a ship whose purpose is perceived by the Federation as a vessel of war. Our response to this misconception is one of forthright honesty: The Errant Lord is indeed capable of defending itself and other ships of the Dominion, but never once would it or did it pose any threat to the Federation of Planets. Indeed, had it been but a defenseless freighter, it would have been destroyed under the onslaught of firepower from the Federation starships. In closing," the Vorta squares his shoulders, folding his hands neatly on the desk, "Our humble people wish once more to state our goals for expending so many lives and resources in this quadrant, for certainly the hostile reception we have received would hardly make much of any goal worthwhile. We in the Gamma Quadrant have come across a race known as the Borg, as we believe you have here. We were fortunately able to drive off the Borg, but not until it destroyed hundreds of thousands of our people. And so it was decided that we should establish a commercial and scientific presence in this part of space, so as to better learn from the others the Borg have seen, and perhaps share what we know with them. We regret very much that there is such a mistrust of the Dominion, and offer our only defense: If your race was in danger, would you not do whatever required to preserve its sacred identity and livelyhood?"

The screen fades back to the emblem of the Galactic Dominion.