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The self-replicating mine was a type of mine devised by Rom, Miles O'Brien and Jadzia Dax in 2373. They were created to find a way to place a minefield across the entrance to the Bajoran wormhole and stop more Dominion starships from entering the Alpha Quadrant.
Creation and designEdit
Rom came up with the idea of making the mines self-replicating, getting over the obstacle of having enough low power mines to destroy a Jem'Hadar ship. Each mine was equipped with a replicator which could replicate a mine close by that was destroyed by an enemy ship. The mines were also equipped with cloaking devices and programmed to swarm detonate with around twenty or thirty mines targeting one ship. One drawback was that the entire minefield had to be deployed before the mines could be activated. (DS9 episode: "Call to Arms")
The shells of the mines were originally duranium cargo containers. The mines possess proximity and contact sensors for detonation, as well as a neutrino source counter for distance keeping with one another. Other components of the mine include a thruster system of a class-1 probe with a single fuel source designed for station keeping and a combiner tank with a premixed charge of a standard photon torpedo warhead for use as an explosive. (DS9 reference: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual)
After the USS Defiant began to deploy the minefield, the Dominion learned of the existence of the minefield. Weyoun traveled to Deep Space 9, telling Benjamin Sisko to either remove the mines, or they would capture Deep Space 9 and remove them themselves. A Dominion fleet later began an attack on Deep Space 9, which had to focus defending the Defiant while it finished the minefield. The IKS Rotarran also helped to defend the Defiant, destroying several Jem'Hadar fighters that had attacked it. The minefield was successfully activated, although Captain Sisko had to order an evacuation of Deep Space 9. Dukat promised Weyoun the minefield would be dealt with. (DS9 episode: "Call to Arms")
Dukat and Weyoun learned of the self-replicating aspect of the mines during the battle. Dukat believed that while the mines were deployed, the more the Dominion would rely on Cardassia and planned to try and find a way to detonate them only when the Dominion believed they could not do without the Cardassians. Dukat also informed Damar to stall bringing down the minefield. (DS9 novelization: Call to Arms...)
Damar later found a way to deactivate the mines by having Terok Nor's field generators reconfigured and its emitters refocused, turning the deflector array into an anti-graviton beam and isolating the mines and disabling their replicators. (DS9 episode: "Behind the Lines")
The Dominion later began deactivating the mines replication units, although the work was slow taking several days. The cloaking devices of the mines were disabled as well. After Starfleet learned of this, Captain Sisko launched his fleet from Starbase 375, with the intention of destroying Deep Space 9's anti-graviton emitter. (DS9 episode: "Favor the Bold")
Kira Nerys and Rom were unable to stop the Dominion from detonating the minefield, although they had attempted to disable the main computer and had just disabled weapons a second too late. The Defiant also did not reach the station in time. (DS9 episode: "Sacrifice of Angels")
Aboard the Defiant the crew had monitored the deactivation of the replicator units of the mines. Without any other options, Sisko had to take the Defiant into the wormhole in a desperate move to stop the Dominion reinforcements. (DS9 novelization: ...Sacrifice of Angels, DS9 episode: "Sacrifice of Angels")
Later that year, Subcommander T'Rul told Jadzia that her work on the self-replicating mines was impressive. T'Rul also informed Dax that the Vorta were amazed by her ingenuity, particularly Weyoun. (DS9 short story: "The Devil You Know")
Thirishar ch'Thane was impressed with Rom's self-replicating mines. In 2376, he commented to Nog that the mines "probably kept the war from ending badly two years sooner". (DS9 novel: Demons of Air and Darkness)
In 2381, Jean-Luc Picard suggested to Ezri Dax that the USS Enterprise-E and the USS Aventine should mine the entrance to the subspace tunnel of the Azure Nebula to stop more Borg ships from coming through. Captain Dax suggested the use of the self-replicating mines. The crew of the Aventine later began production of the mines using their industrial replicators, although replication was halted after it was discovered that distortions from the apertures could knock the mines out of place, detonate, collide with each other or be ejected into space. This led to the entire plan being scrapped. (ST - Destiny novel: Mere Mortals)
In 2402, as a last effort to prevent the Klingon Defense Force from invading Gornar, the Gorn Hegemony surrounded its homeworld with cloaked self-replicating mines to block Klingon shuttles, in combination with transporter scramblers to prevent invasion via transporter. The latter network failed in 2403, and Gornar fell in less than two days. (STO website: The Path to 2409)