Originating from the gamma quadrant, the Vorta are a member species of the Dominion.1 The Founders use the Vorta to supervise the day-to-day running of the Dominion; in this capacity they are leaders and administrators of many Dominion worlds.2 They also serve as the handlers of the Jem'Hadar, whom they control via the formers addiction to the drug Ketracel White.3 The Jem'Hadar First is required to swear an oath of loyalty on behalf of his men before receiving each dose of white.4
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Although initial contacts revealed comparatively little about this species, the capture of a Vorta prisoner by Captain Sisko allowed Starfleet Medical to gather detailed information.5 Like many Gamma quadrant species they have been genetically modified by the Founders to increase their usefulness to the Dominion. According to Weyoun, in the distant past the Vorta were primitive forest dwellers, timid ape-like creatures who lived in hollowed out trees. A Vorta family helped an injured Founder to hide from an angry mob which was chasing it. In return for this act of kindness, the Founder promised that the Vorta's species would become an important part of a great new empire - a promise which was duly kept.6 The Vorta do not breed by themselves - instead the Founders clone the Vorta as required, often creating several successive copies of an individual who has demonstrated particular value. All Vorta are naturally immune to a very wide variety of poisons, useful in a species bred to serve partially as political leaders!7 The Vorta are known to suffer from weak eyes, although their hearing is excellent by Human and Cardassian standards. Vorta lack any sense of aesthetic, since the Founders did not consider this an important feature for them, and cannot sing well.8 Vorta operatives carry a termination implant which they are expected to use to commit suicide rather than allow themselves to be captured.6
One interesting ability continues to puzzle Starfleet. The first known encounter between Vorta and a Federation citizen was when the woman known as Eris met Captain Sisko in 2370. Eris demonstrated a form of Telekinesis several times during the encounter1, an ability that no other Vorta has ever demonstrated. It is possible that the Eris possessed some form of artificial implant which permitted this, but it seems more likely that the Founders have engineered a sub-breed of Vorta with this faculty - and possibly with other PSI abilities also. If true this would considerably enhance the Vorta's usefulness as intelligence agents. Further studies of the very few captured Vorta are underway in an attempt to resolve this mystery.
Besides Eris, notable Vorta have included Borath, who took part in a virtual reality experiment designed to find out the degree of resistance to a Dominion foothold in the Alpha Quadrant prior to the war9, Kilana, the Vorta who negotiated with Sisko over a crashed Dominion ship which he retrieved in the Gamma Quadrant10, Deyos, who ran an internment camp in the Gamma Quadrant11, Keevan, the Vorta who surrendered to Captain Sisko during the war5, and was later killed whilst taking part in a prisoner exchange12, Yelgrun, the Vorta who negotiated for Keevan's release12, Gelnon, who was in command of a Jem'Hadar unit which briefly captured the USS Defiant during the war13, and Weyoun, administrator of all Dominion activity in the Alpha/Beta quadrant during the war with the allies.2