For the mirror universe counterpart, see Obsidian Order (mirror).

The Obsidian Order was the Cardassian Union's intelligence agency. (DS9 episode: "The Wire")


Alongside the Central Command, the Obsidian Order were the de facto rulers of the Cardassian Union. Originally subject to civilian oversight under the authority of the Detapa Council, by the late 24th century the Council's authority and influence had eroded to the point where it had very little in the way of real political power or control over either organization. Consequently, both the Order and Central Command tended to "run their own affairs" in the words of one Gul, paying only lip service to the Detepa Council and its directives while each pursued their own agendas. (DS9 episode: "Defiant") While to an outside observer this could be considered somewhat inefficient, by 2370 this informal power-sharing arrangement had lasted for over five centuries, albeit not without its problems, most notably a seemingly never-ending competition between both agencies for power and influence. As a result of this status quo, the Obsidian Order tended to distrust the Central Command, often times finding themselves at odds with Central Command's own military intelligence apparatus. This mindset of institutional paranoia was not limited to how the Order viewed their fellow Cardassians, as the Order also was known to have something of an intense rivalry with the Romulan Tal Shiar to the extent that a virtual state of war existed between the two organizations. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time; et. al.)

Members of the Obsidian Order were taught several techniques for interrogating prisoners by entering into induced illusions. As a last resort, Order agents also carried a Promazine pill to commit suicide in the event they were captured. Their bodies would then turn to dust in a matter of hours.(DS9 - Millennium novel: Inferno; DS9 episode: "Covenant")



Foundation and Early HistoryEdit

The order was first formed in the 19th century under the direction of the Detapa Council, though it operated without the Council's oversight.(DS9 episode: "Defiant"; ST reference: The Visual Dictionary)

Elim Garak would recount the foundation of the True Way to Jean-Luc Picard in 2385, telling him that the Order, and the State, had been formed in reaction to a feudal state of internecine conflict between powerful families prior to that:

“The True Way? Oh, that’s a long story. . . . Legend has it that their origins stretch back to our early history, when our society was largely in the control of some very powerful families. Tain’s family was one — or so family tradition had it — and that was the start of the Obsidian Order. Whether or not this was true, I don’t know, but certainly it was part of what drove Tain, and, I suspect, part of what drives those who consider themselves the True Way.”

Garak recounts that the Order was the representation of a new state, to curb the internecine violence of the old elite: 'an organization that did not serve a single family, but served them all. The purpose was to put an end to civil war and to provide stability.' The old families would form their secret society, the True Way, but in truth the two groups - the old families as the True Way and the Order as the state became reflective and interpenetrated with one another:

"I have to say that the True Way’s methods were always tediously similar: they’d install their people in key institutions—the Detapa Council, the Order, Central Command—and those people would work to concentrate power in their hands. (...) And it worked—rather better than perhaps anyone anticipated. It was very good at preventing civil unrest.
“Rather too good, wouldn’t you say?”
“In fact, I would say that, now. But this was how Tain justified himself, you see.”
"I see.” Picard nodded. Despite all, the captain couldn’t help being fascinated by this glimpse into the dark, secret heart of Cardassia. “One doesn’t commit evil actions in the belief that one is acting wrongly. What allows one to commit such acts is the belief that it will contribute to a greater good.”
“Yes, that’s largely what’s going on inside your head,” Garak said. “It’s different for the sociopaths, of course. They’re just along for the ride.”

(ST - The Fall novel: The Crimson Shadow)

Twenty-Fourth CenturyEdit

Obsidian Order HQ

Designs for the Obsidian Order Headquarters as made by Kotan Darek.

The Order learned of the Bajoran Orbs and sought to attain their immeasurable power for their own use. During the twenty first year of the Years of Deliverance, they received reports of a new Orb present within the ancient city of Bar'trila and attempted to acquire it. However, the Bajoran Resistance struck the location in order to prevent the Obsidian Order from retrieving it. During the skirmish, the Order sent a squadron of fighters to target a nearby dam so that the area would be flooded which prevented anyone from acquiring the Orb. (TOS novel: Captain's Peril)

In the year 2371, the Obsidian Order attempted to expose Legate Tekeny Ghemor as a sympathizer to the Cardassian dissident movement. To accomplish this, they abducted Major Kira Nerys and surgically altered her in order for her to appear as their lost operative Iliana Ghemor who was the daughter of the Legate. In order to protect what he perceived as his daughter, the Legate attempted to send her to shelter by sending her to the dissident movement which exposed his sympathies. But before they could charge them, their plan was thwarted when Kira's comrades at Deep Space 9 rescued her and Ghemor allowing the Legate to escape. (DS9 episode: "Second Skin")

By the same year, they also attempted to sabotage the attempt by the USS Defiant to destroy a silithium laden comet that was headed for the Bajoran wormhole in order to sabotage the peace treaty between Cardassia and Bajor. (DS9 episode: "Destiny")

The Fall of the OrderEdit

At some point in the year the head of the Order Enabran Tain helped in forging an alliance with the Romulan Star Empire's Tal Shiar with the intention of collaborating in a joint strike against the Founders homeworld in order to cripple the Dominion as a threat. They assembled a large fleet for their operation which was assembled in the Orias system which was unknown to the Cardassian Central Command. They eventually launched the attack in the Gamma Quadrant but their plans were discovered by a Changeling that had taken on the disguise of Romulan Colonel Lovok. The entire fleet was destroyed during the Battle of the Omarion Nebula where the Jem'Hadar crippled the Obsidian Order which effectively ceased to exist as an independent power and was stripped of it in the disastrous loss. (DS9 episode: "The Die is Cast"; ST reference: The Visual Dictionary)

With the loss of the Order, dissent on Cardassia grew into a civilian uprising which overthrew the Central Command in 2372. This action effectively returned power to the Detapa Council allowing them to handle the Cardassian Union. (DS9 episode & novelization: The Way of the Warrior) When the Cardassian Union joined the Dominion in 2373, the responsibilities of the Order were taken over by Dominion security and the Cardassian Intelligence Bureau. (DS9 episodes: "By Inferno's Light", "Rocks and Shoals")

While the Obsidian Order ceased to exist, former members of the organizations were known to have joined several Cardassian splinter organizations. After the Dominion War, one such group in 2375 raided the Federation outpost Sierra VI where they stole top secret technology. This group was stopped by the USS Typhon's Red Squad. (DS9 video game: Invasion)


The Order is run in cells so that if one operative should be captured they might not be able to give away information to compromise the entire organisation.

Known AgentsEdit

Heads of the OrderEdit

  • Enabran Tain
  • Pythas Lok

Other personnelEdit

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The The Dominion War Sourcebook: The Fires of Armageddon unpublished sourcebook states that the Obsidian Order survived the Dominion War and formed a movement known as the "Obsidian Legion" which planned to revive the Order. However, as this sourcebook was not published, it is not to be considered part of the material for Memory Beta.

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