- Star Trek: The Original Series
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Star Trek: Voyager
- Star Trek: Enterprise
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
- Star Trek: Generations
- Star Trek: First Contact
- Star Trek: Insurrection
- Star Trek: Nemesis
- Star Trek Reboot
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Species debuting in The Original Series
- "We don't know what to do about Humans. Of all the species we've made contact with, yours is the only one we can't define. You have the arrogance of Andorians, the stubborn pride of Tellarites. One moment, you're as driven by your emotions as Klingons, and the next, you confound us by suddenly embracing logic."
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council:
- Only the best of the best can attend Starfleet Academy (even Wesley Crusher failed his first exam), and out of those hand-picked cadets, only a couple dozen join Red Squad. They only show up 3 times in Star Trek, and it always means trouble. Picard and Sisko, both Starfleet Captains, had no knowledge of a secret clique called Red Squad at the Academy; they had to find out about it second-hand, from other Red Squad hopefuls, which suggested that it was a new addition. In "Paradise Lost", Admiral Layton tapped them to carry out his attempted coup d'état. Layton knew that Red Squad were too overzealous to refuse an order, however treasonous.
- The storyline of "Valiant" strongly suggests that Watters intentionally hid the location and status of a Defiant-class starship from Starfleet. After his commanding officer was fatally wounded, he was given a field commission as (acting) Captain, which he promptly used to promote the remaining Red Squad cadets to officers. By resuming his "mission", he had an excuse to avoid returning to Starfleet and becoming a mere cadet again.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: No contact with pre-warp species.
- On TNG, it was made clear by the Cardassians that any planet which resides outside of the Federation (like say, Bajor or other Cardassian colonies) has the right to turn away their help. Starfleet at least recognizes that Bajor's plight should be heard even if their non-interference policy means they can do nothing about it. Picard wants to address the situation with the Cardassians quietly and behind the scenes, meaning that Starfleet will excuse so long as he doesn't apppear to be doing so.
- The Assimilator / Benevolent Alien Invasion: In-universe, the Federation is often accused of this by detractors, being a "Homo-Sapiens Only Club" that masquerades as an inter-species alliance and who makes peace with enemies, simply to get them to take their "rightful place" in the Federation council.
Eddington: You know, in some ways you're even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious. You assimilate people and they don't even know it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Quark had some choice words to say about hew-mons in wartime, suggesting that if you take away their creature comforts, fancy technology and put them through the wringer, they've got the potential to be even more frightening than Klingons.
- Boldly Coming: It seems that a lot of Federation citizens are fans of Risa.
- Cloak & Dagger: There exists an obscure provision in the Starfleet Charter, Section 31, which allows for this kind of activity.
- Crapsack World: 21st century Earth wasn't good for anyone. After the Eugenics War, society clearly tried recovering, but by the 2020s, unemployment and homelessness in America was so bad that the entire country decided the best solution was to cram all of them into "Sanctuary Districts" (read: Ghettos with none of the charm or comfort) and forget all about them, which somehow didn't work out. Thanks to a seismic event, a large chunk of California (L.A. included) was sunk. Meanwhile, Europe was having its own problems, with mention of "Neo-Trotskyites", and terrorism resurgent in Ireland. Then World War III came along, with six hundred million killed just by the war alone.
- Drink Order: Root Beer apparently is very popular, even in alien bars. Non-alcholic "Synthehol" is also frequently served on Federation starships.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: The first Federation President was human, the legislature is located in the Presidio of San Francisco, and Starfleet HQ is a bit further south. At least two Presidents in Star Trek were aliens, but they still conduct their business on Earth.
- Feudal Future: At its peak, the "Great Khanate" covered more than a quarter of the plant's surface, from Australia to Asia to parts of the middle east. The "Eugenics Wars" were highly destructive and plunged the planet into a new dark age, which the Third World War exacerbated.
- Good Is Not Soft:
- Despite being physically weaker than Vulcan, Romulans, Klingons, and a variety of other alien species, they can be a force to fight when push comes to shove.
- Gunboat Diplomacy:
- The Federation can't interfere in the politics of non-member states, but they will often step on weaker worlds in the interest of peace. To avoid breaking their treaty with Cardassia and starting another war, the Federation forcibly evacuated settlers in the (Cardassian-owned) Badlands, giving rise to the Maquis terrorists.
- The initial appearance of the Cadassian Union exposes the naiveté of the Federation (Troi states that they have to trust the Cardassians because they are their allies now) and the hypocrisy of it, too (Worf says that their trust has to be earned). The trouble is, neither of them is especially right but there is a grain of truth in each opinion. This tension will come to a head in TNG's "The Wounded", the Maquis struggle and later the Dominion War.
- Humans Advance Swiftly: Lampshaded in Enterprise, where Vulcan Ambassador Soval freely admits that the reason they've been trying to keep them back is because humans are advancing so fast, they are literally scaring the crap out of a race that actively suppresses their emotions. Q echoes the same concerns in the first season of TNG.
- Humans Are Diplomats: One of the founding four races who established the Federation, alongside the coldly logical Vulcans, the emotional Andorians, and the stubborn Tellarites. In addition, the first Federation President, Jonathan Archer, was a human.
- Made more impressive since these species had been traditionally at each other's throats for hundreds of years, especially in the case of the Vulcans and Andorians. Humanity managed to make earn enough points with each species to unite them into a loose Coalition of Planets by 2155, leading to the Federation officially being founded six years later.
- Humans Are Ugly: Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Home Soil": The ship is taken over by intelligent microscopic crystals that call humans (and every other sentient being on the Enterprise) "UGLY BAGS OF MOSTLY WATER".
- Averted with most other species. The Ferengi pretend to find humans below their standards, but are such deviants that they can't help themselves.
Lwaxana: They're as bad as humans. Look at that leer on his face.
Daimon Tog: Actually, his is a look of revulsion. But it is not a feeling that I share. (stares at them pervertedly)
- The first lines we hear from a Ferengi (whose ugly face is filling the viewscreen) is that the hideousness of humans has clearly not been exaggerated!
- Even in Star Trek: Voyager, when a Cardassian double-agent fell in love with her human mark, she still expressed relief that their love-child took after his momma. "Thank goodness he doesn't look too human; you all have such weak foreheads."
- And in Star Trek: Enterprise, although humans aren't aesthetically unpleasing to Vulcans, they do smell terrible.
- Averted with most other species. The Ferengi pretend to find humans below their standards, but are such deviants that they can't help themselves.
- Interservice Rivalry: The Federation would like nothing better than to bury the hatchet and let Cardassia/The Dominion join them, but Starfleet (and Section 31) has other ideas.
Vreenak (Romulan Senator): The Dominion is resolved to win the war at any cost. You and I both know the Federation has already put out peace feelers.
- Mary Sue Topia:
- In "Time's Arrow", there is a rare moment of criticism about the Federation, its lifestyle and principles when Mark Twain struts around the Enterprise-D and is distinctly unimpressed by the future. Conquering this corner of the galaxy with politeness, luxury to the point of indolence, no personality and a lack of any vices...he declares the future a very bland place to be. Perhaps on TNG; had he wound up on DS9 he would be trading raucous stories and getting drunk with Morn.
- Discussed in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where it's revealed that some races consider the Federation to be one. Quark and Garak have some fun comparing it to Root Beer, apparently the favourite Drink Order of people from Earth.
*Quark offers some root beer to Garak, who tries it and gags*
Garak: It's vile!
Quark: I know. It's so bubbly and cloying... and happy.
Garak: *Greatly amused* Just like the Federation?
Quark: And you know what's really terrifying? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
Garak: It's insidious!
Quark: Just like the Federation...
- Monumental View: Starfleet Academy enjoys a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which unfortunately would place it in the middle of a mountain range. VOY retconned it satisfactorily: an establishing shot of Starfleet H.Q. shows it is built into the mountains on stilts.
- Most Writers Are Human: Which is why all Star Trek series to date have centered around a human captain.
- No Poverty: A central part of the setting, humanity solved this problem after meeting the Vulcans.
- No Such Agency: Section 31? Never heard of it.
- No Transhumanism Allowed: Transhumanism was considered the new frontier of science and humanity's great hope, until Khan Noonien Singh and similar warlords cropped up. Following a ghastly Eugenics War which enveloped the whole world in chaos, genetic engineering was outlawed, and mankind turned to the stars to find a slower path toward evolution. These days, genetic engineers find work on the black market, performing augmentation on mentally-disabled or otherwise challenged children. While Dr. Bashir turned out fairly normal (although he had to hide the truth from Starfleet Academy), "Statistical Probabilities" showed us three individuals who could have lived perfectly productive-if-simple lives had their parents not tried to play God. The result? Social maladjustment, sadistic behavior and a life behind bars (or as good as).
- Planet of Hats: Averted; we're the only planet that doesn't have a hat. Unless you count Ron D. Moore's "Starfleet walk."
- Several characters have commented on how relatively fast humanity expanded compared to other species and how quickly humans tend to pick up a skill or job. Humanity's hat is its adapability: The Vulcans are scared of how humanity was able to recover from a total nuclear war in one tenth the time it took themselves, Quark is terrified at how an average human can become more bloodthirsty than a Klingon if driven to the edge, and individuals such as Eddington (who is a human himself, by the way) draw chilling comparisons of humanity to the Borg. In turn, the Borg have taken quite a special interest in humans, whilst humans are one of only two races (the other being Species 8472) to be able to repel repeated direct attacks from the Collective.
- Society is clearly moving in that direction though; nearly every time Star Trek humans end up in modern or near-modern America the amount of cultural diversity freaks them out. This actually comes up subtly in several Expanded Universe novels. Scenes taking place during the Enterprise era tend to explicitly mention different human characters' nationalities in the narration more than scenes set later in the future. This isn't as noticeable in the Enterprise novels themselves, but the flashbacks to that era in Star Trek: Destiny are rather jarring when compared to the 24th century scenes.
- Planet Terra: Used a few times (the Mirror Universe has the Terran empire; the original series occasionally contrasts "Terrans" with "Vulcans").
- Puny Earthlings: We're generally portrayed as weaker, less intelligent, and shorter-lived than other major species in the Alpha Quadrant. Vulans and Romulans, in particular, are downright patronizing in their dealings with humans, whom they regard as dim children.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: The Maquis, consisting of Earth colonists who objected to losing their planets to the Cardassians after a treaty redefined the border after the war. Eventually wiped out by the Jem'Hadar when the Dominion allied with the Cardassians.
- Terra Prime in the 22nd Century, a Xenophobic group that objected to alien nationals being on Earth and experienced a massive surge in popularity after the Xindi Incident.
- Section 31, a rogue Black Ops group within Starfleet, dedicated to keeping Earth a paradise by any means.
- Science Hero: Since the Federation mines research from throughout the Alpha Quadrant, and they haven't despoiled their territories like the Romulan or Cardassian empires, by the 24th century their tech is considered some of the mightiest in the galaxy.
- Swiss Army Weapon: The Starfleet phaser rifle is bulky, loaded with tacti-cool targeting systems and features, and useless as a field weapon because too much can go wrong with it. Insert Federation joke here.
- Took a Level in Badass: Even with the Vulcans supposedly delaying their warp program, Humanity still managed to go from being survivors of a nuclear war, to one of the founders of an interstellar alliance in just under a century. The latter only ten years after the launch of their first Warp 5 vessel, which brought them properly into the interstellar community.
- We All Live in America: Or at least the West. All the names are surname-last, alien cultures that were inspired by other Earth cultures are seen as mind-blowing, and the French all sound like grumpy Englishmen.
- We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Averted as the Federation has abandoned money-based economics, at least within it's own borders. There apparently is some form of currency used when trading with other races outside the Federation.
- Parodied in the DS9 episode "In The Cards", where Jake actually can't give Nog a justifiable reason why they don't use money anymore, aside from abandoning it when they adopted their philosophy of "working to better ourselves and the rest of humanity".
- World War III: An atomic war broke out in the early 21st century, with a death toll of 37 million. After that came a period in which victims of the nuclear fallout were shunned. A few zealots, led by Colonel Phillip Green, attempted to the cleanse the species of impurities.
- "Live long and prosper."
- Arranged Marriage: Vulcan marriages are determined at birth. If, for whatever reason, the female does not want to go through with the marriage, then the ceremony of koon-ut-kal-if-fee ("marriage or challenge") is invoked: The male fights for the right to keep his mate against a challenger of her choosing. This is a Duel to the Death.
- It should be noted that a female Vulcan can protest if she wants (hell, even fight the duel herself).
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: They do break off the marriage if it isn't this as well.
- The Atoner: They were once a Proud Warrior Race that was probably even fiercer then Klingons or humans. Horror at the results of this made them turn to the teachings of Surak and follow the rather painful creed of the time of the show to control their violent emotions.
- And Romulans are Vulcans who did not follow Surak. Nuff said.
- Bad Samaritan: Vulcans were concerned that we could either be powerful allies or end up like the Klingons. They banked on the latter, and sat back and watched as Florida was obliterated.
- Badass Bookworm/Proud Scholar Race Guy: A Vulcan's idea of a wild night is thirteen hours of meditation followed by a seaweed TV dinner. You could probably take one of these weenies in a fight...right?
Sisko: I, uh, ended up in the Infirmary with a separated shoulder, two cracked ribs and a very bruised ego.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Vulcans possess an inner eyelid, or membrane, which protects their vision from bright lights. Spock dismissed it as a redundant organ, like our appendix.
- In addition, their hearts are located on the right side of the torso, in between the ribs and pelvis.
Dr. McCoy: He's lucky that his heart is where his liver should be, or he'd be dead!
- In addition, their hearts are located on the right side of the torso, in between the ribs and pelvis.
- Church Militant: The Syrannites are this for Vulcans. Subverted as it's revealed that instead of the radical terrorists they're portrayed as by the Vulcan High Command, they're actually be a peaceful movement who desire to return the Vulcans back to the original teachings of Surak. And they succeed.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The Vulcan Science Academy spent much of Enterprise dubbing things like time-travel "impossible". This is despite the fact that their first rule of metaphysics is "nothing unreal exists".
- Death World: Vulcans are a pretty tough bunch, but given Vulcan itself, that might not be much of a surprise. The planet largely consists of deserts filled with giant bear-like creatures, the weather is volatile, the oxygen is pretty thin, and there's a good deal of active volcanoes around. An episode of DS9 claims there are areas that are filled with vegetation, but we've never seen them.
- Depending on the Writer: Much like the Time Lords in Doctor Who, the attitude of Vulcans can vary wildly. In the 23rd century, the Vulcans whom Kirk encounters are stuffy bureaucratic types, barring "Amok Time" which examines the contradictory nature of the Vulcan psyche. A few are mildly antagonistic. In Star Trek VI, Valeris conspired to kill the Klingon Chancellor and the Federation President —a twist which spawned multiple "Fix Fic" novels explaining how Valeris hadn't been 'trained' properly—without the knowledge of the Vulcan High Command. At their worst, the Vulcans in DS9 and VOY are merely condescending jerks.
- Cerebus Retcon: The Vulcans are always the heavies in Star Trek: Enterprise, hiding behind religious piety while secretly harboring deep-seated racist and totalitarian beliefs. Indeed, their temple on P'Jem, the most sacred of Vulcan monasteries, is where their covert surveillance apparatus is stashed. In "Twilight" (which took place in an apocalyptic future), T'Pol speculates that her government deliberately withheld technology from Earth for 100 years to leave them utterly dependent on Vulcan and unable to defend themselves. When coupled with the Vulcans' treatment of other races (including half-breeds), this paints them in an especially negative light, much like the Visitors of V who pretended to offer friendship to humans while secretly pursuing their own agenda. This was a sticking point with some fans. Yet another Fix Fic was hatched by producer Manny Coto to explain why 23rd century Vulcans are so dramatically different. The aborted Season Five was planned to cover the Earth-Romulan War, possibly leading into an Enemy Mine scenario.
- Duel to the Death: Oddly all duels we have seen never resulted in a death, guess they didn't feel like changing the name.
- E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The ENT episode "Carbon Creek" implies that Velcro was given to us by stranded Vulcans.
- Good Is Impotent: Averted. The Romulans, having embraced war and avarice, also lost the ability to pull off mind melds or nerve pinches. Meanwhile, the Vulcans continue to try to reconcile with their Romulan kin.
- Fantastic Racism: Vulcans are actually some of the most (if not the most) extreme xenophobes in Trek canon. "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" seems to imply that even in Starfleet Vulcans still largely serve on their own ships because a) they're all giant racists, and b) nobody else could put up with their arrogance.
- Feel No Pain: Up until ENT, Vulcans seemed impervious or substantially more resilient to anything that harms or afflicts humans and other humanoids.
- Fluffy Tamer: Vulcans keep sehlats as pets. Sehlats are large mammals which Spock's mother refers to as "a fat teddy-bear with teeth". It looks like the combination of a bear and a set of knives. Though they might not actually be fully domesticated, given T'Pol's comments on how Vulcan children are never late with their sehlat's dinner.
- Hates Being Touched: Justified due to their telepathic abilities. And since the palm is the focal point of mind melds, it's rare for a Vulcan to even shake your hand.
- I Come in Peace: The Vulcan salute.
- Insufferable Genius: Do not argue with a Vulcan. You will lose.
- Quark in DS9 successfully out-logicked a Vulcan.
- Kryptonite Factor: Long-term exposure to trellium-D not only strips them of emotional control, it's turned them into mindlessly violent shamblers.
- Kung-Fu Jesus: Vulcan's answer to Jesus and Moses, a wise man named Surak, saved the species by devising a new philosophy based on logic. Surak concluded that the root of the problems on Vulcan lay in the uncontrolled outpouring of its peoples' emotions. Although this new ideology spread rapidly across Vulcan, a minority known as "those who march beneath the Raptor's wings" rejected Surak's message. A destructive war began including the use of atomic bombs and among the victims was Surak himself.
- Kuudere: A solid Type 2. Just because they're governed by logic doesn't mean they are a hive mind. A Vulcan can 'reason' themselves all the way into, for example, committing treason (Star Trek VI) or running guns for Maquis settlers (DS9: "The Maquis"), if it seems logical to do so.
Gul Dukat: You believe her? Why? Because Vulcans don't lie?Sisko: As a rule, they don't.Gul Dukat: They don't blow up ships either, "as a rule."
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Vulcans refuse to lend Humanity any aid during the Xindi Incident, even though the Earth is certain facing destruction should the Xindi attack again. With the loss of Earth, human civilization would be pushed back a few centuries, thereby keeping us off the galactic stage and out of the Vulcans' hair. The destruction of Vulcan in the new Alternate Reality of Star Trek could be considered severe karmic payback for this.
- Living Memory: Some Vulcans can "cheat death" by implanting their katra — essentially their memory — into another person via mind-meld ("Rememberrrr..."). Dr. Bashir in the episode "The Passenger" explains this away as "synaptic pattern displacement."
- Long Lived: There are instances of them living over two hundred and twenty years. Spock is over one hundred and fifty when he goes back in time and ends up trapped in an Alternate Reality TOS-Era.
- Mate or Die: Every seven years, Vulcan males and females experience an overpowering mating drive known as pon farr, often focused on a single object of desire (or a holographic facsimile thereof). Once triggered, Vulcans must have sexual contact with someone, or else face insanity and death.
- If a mate is not available, there are other ways to relieve the effects of the pon farr. The first is meditation; The second is violence. This is seen in the Voyager episode "Blood Fever", when B'Elanna Torres and Ensign Vorik fight in the traditional Vulcan manner. The violence ends the pon farr. The other option is extreme shock; in the TOS episode "Amok Time", Spock believed he had killed James T. Kirk, his "best friend", thus providing sufficient shock to nullify the effects of pon farr.
- Memetic Hand Gesture / Strange Salute: The Vulcan salute, meaning "Live long and prosper." Nimoy based it on a Jewish blessing representing the Hebrew letter Shin (ש).
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: The Vulcan Mind Meld has some limited aspects of a Mental Fusion, most notably that the exchange of thoughts through the psychic connection defaults to being two-way unless the Vulcan is adept enough to maintain full control over the meld.
- Few can handle the high-grade emotions of a Vulcan getting beamed directly into their skull. Vulcans respect this, and usually don't perform melds on an unwilling victim. Usually.
- Somebody as logic-bound as Tuvok needs a reasonable motive for Lon Suder's (a psychopath) crime. It highlights his lack of understanding of emotional behavior in that he does not consider 'I didn't like the way he looked at me' as a good enough reason. He wants to mind meld with Suder because he thinks that it will give the killer some peace in his mind, and Tuvok will gain some valuable insight on how to prevent crimes on the ship. What he fails to realize is it's a trade off: If Suder gains some of Tuvok's inner peace then of course Tuvok will be infected by Suder's inner turmoil.
- My Skull Runneth Over: Picard's decision to perform a mind meld with Sarek to conceal the Vulcan's growing senility. It's probably the riskiest thing we ever see him do. If it goes wrong there is every possibility that he could be afflicted by the same mental illness. He admits to feelings of apprehension about the process but even he couldn't predict the outpouring of such a forceful regrets and feelings that would nuke his mind. It's uncomfortable to watch and reveals many of Sarek's inner demons to the audience. Picard nearly has a stroke from the wild flux of emotions: sinister, giddy, sleazy, and bitter all in the span of a minute or two. He had to endure that for hours. Patick Stewart got a migraine from filming this scene.
- Neat Freak: Vulcans do not like to touch their food with their hands, preferring to use utensils whenever possible. Even if it's a breadstick.
- Nerves of Steel: Vulcans are chill dudes. According to McCoy, Spock (and presumably all Vulcans) have almost no blood pressure. With an average body temperature of 91°F, they don't even need to sweat. ("That green ice water you call blood!")
- No Sense of Humor: Vulcans are renowned for this, though many of them are Deadpan Snarkers instead.
- They would arguably be the most deadpan of snarkers, ever.
- The Paralyzer: Vulcan Nerve Pinch. This is not a canonical name for the attack, but the writers on VOY finally caved and had Tom refer to it by that name.
- This move is not, in fact, exclusive to Vulcans only; at least one non-Vulcan character per show has mastered it, usually the replacement Spock (Data, Odo, Seven of Nine). Picard also acquired the ability after mind-melding with Sarek.
- Passion Is Evil: For Vulcans, anyway. They need to keep their emotions in check, or else they turn into raving lunatics.
- Screw You, Elves!: The only loveable Vulcans in Star Trek are the ones already affiliated with Starfleet or other organizations within the Federation. Native Vulcans are brusk, speciesist, and rather uncooperative in their relations with other races. They barely mask their low regard for the illogical aliens they begrudgingly work with. Vulcans also discriminate against those who marry outside of the race.
- The Spock: Trope Namers, makers, and codifiers.
- Spock Speak: Vulcans speak in a low, dull monotone and generally avoid using contractions.
- Super Strength: Vulcans are about three times as strong as an average human, owing to Vulcan's higher gravity — though a phaser blast will take one out easily.
- The Teetotaler: For obvious reasons, Vulcans are said not to drink alcohol. Though they are depicted indulging for ceremonial rituals or when the storyline warrants. In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Repression", Humans and Vulcans are shown drinking a Vulcan alcoholic drink called "Vulcan Brandy". A Vulcan's constitution is probably immune to our comparatively weak alcohol.
Spock: My father's race was spared the dubious benefits of alcohol.
McCoy: Now I know why they were conquered.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the prequel series Enterprise, the Vulcans are presented as quasi-antagonists for the first three seasons, foiling Earth's attempts to explore the Quadrant. Season Three revealed a militaristic sect had taken over and was colluding with Romulus to conquer Vulcan.
- Touch Telepathy: The famous Vulcan Mind Meld, which is so well known in popular culture that the term is often used to describe Touch Telepathy generally. Some Vulcans with very advanced skill can use telepathy without touch, but this often requires great effort or that the target also be telepathic.
- Unusual Ears: The distinct Pointy Ears of Vulcans are often lampshaded by bob-earred humans.
Soval: What is their fixation with our ears?T'Pol: I believe they are envious.
- Veganopia: Of course, there are plants, and then there are Vulcan plants. In a Star Trek novel set on Spock's homeworld, the characters are attacked by a mobile, shrieking, carnivorous plant native to the region ... and after it's been phasered to death, Spock eats some of it.
- One of the early TOS novels postulated that Vulcans were vegetarians partly because the herbivores previously used as meat died off during Surak's time.
- The most common reason given for their vegetarianism is the same one that led them to pacifism. They are such a violent and destructive race that they have to go to extreme lengths to not destroy themselves/conquer the universe/destroy the universe. This includes eating spinach, rather than sating their bloodlust with meat.
- However, it's mentioned that the Rite of Ta'loth involves young Vulcans being sent into the desert armed only with a ritual blade, implying that when push comes to shove, they will meat in order to survive. Unless these deserts are commonly populated with aforementioned Man-Eating Plant, of course.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Vulcans, allegedly - something of an Informed Attribute.
- Vulcans don't lie in the same way Jedi don't lie.
- "Today is a good day to die!"
- Alien Lunch:
Dax: You haven't touched your racht.Arjin: No, I have. It's (gags) interesting.Dax: No, you've been moved it around your plate to make it look like you've touched it.Arjin: I didn't have to move it. It moved itself.
- Live, squirming racht and gagh! (Gesundheit.) Served fresh, of course. Interestingly, gagh is actually more palatable to humans than Klingons, who hate the taste but love the feeling of something dying inside of them.
- There are actually 51 different types of gagh, each with its distinct taste and texture, including Bithool gagh (which have feet), Filden (which squirm), Meshta (which jump), Torgud (which wiggles), and Wistan which is stuffed with targ blood. Yum yum.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Klingons are generally portrayed this way in Kirk's time, but not so much in the others. Even in the 24th century, the Klingons walk that very fine line between being a warrior poet and complete child; the politics in Qo'nos comes down to little more than playground shoving (the blue bloods vs. the rank-and-file) and the military structure isn't much better. It proves that despite their fighting prowess and instincts they are still prone to childish tantrums.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Klingon divorce proceedings. Followed by a Spiteful Spit.
Lursa: I hope for your sake that you are initiating a mating ritual.
- Alternatively, in Generations:
- If you strike another male Klingon with the back of your hand, it will be interpreted as a challenge to the death. Better to use your fist.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: See "Klingon Promotion", below. In addition, political candidates seeking to be elected Chancellor must first duel each other to the death. (Well, that's one way of making the election cycle exciting.) This weeds out any chickenhawks from the election pool; the Chancellor can't blithely declare war without prior field and hand-to-hand combat experience.
- Badass Bandolier: Gold in TOS, chainmail in TNG. And they're actually baldrics, not bandoliers.
- Badass Beard: A good deal of them have this, or in some cases a Badass Mustache.
- Battle Couple: Klingon Mythopoeia is about the first two Klingons pillaging the heavens. Later legends tell of Kahless and Lady Lucera. And Klingon couples are often found fighting side by side.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Klingons are loaded with redundant organs.
- Bling of War: From TNG onward, the Chancellor wears a resplendent overcoat with humongous lapels, each weighed down with medals, and a sash.
- Brawn Hilda: As shown above, even the most refined Klingon women are still very hairy (particularly their eyebrows).
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Targs are similar to boars but with spikes on their backs. They are not hunted, but rather used as bloodhounds by Klingon hunters.
- Characterization Marches On: The original series had the Klingons as being mostly warlike with few redeeming traits. Gene Roddenberry didn't like them being the "Black Hats" of the saga so in The Next Generation he made a Klingon a regular cast member and established the "honor" aspect to their society.
- Cleavage Window: Female Klingon uniforms.
- Cultured Badass: Klingons are passionate opera lovers.
- Death of the Old Gods: According to their legends, Klingons slew their own gods.
Worf: They were more trouble than they were worth.
- Democracy Is Bad: The Klingons' brief foray into representative government is treated by their historians as a kind of Dark Age.
Dax: ...but, it's interesting to note that this first and only experiment in Klingon democracy actually produced several reforms that—Sirella: You are STRAYING FROM THE SAGA!!
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The mythological first Klingon Battle Couple sacked the heavens. They read the story at weddings. That's what Klingons consider romantic.
- Drunken Master: "Even half drunk, Klingons are among the best warriors in the galaxy."
- The Drunken Sailor: And even the greatest of Klingon heroes are not allowed to receive their honors until they have proven that they can hold extreme amounts of Blood Wine.
- Enemy Mine: Their own riff on the book of Genesis had the first Klingons, Kortar and his mate, dueling to the death with bat'leths. Kortar's adversary had him at swordpoint, but chose to spare him because, "If we join together, no force can stop us." And thus the Gods speaketh, "Oh, Crap!".
- Even Evil Has Standards: Klingons and Romulans once shared an alliance for a number of years. Big mistake. A number of disasters - including the Khitomer Massacre, the result of failed encroachments on Klingon colonies - led the Klingons to develop a deep-seated hatred for the Romulans. The Romulans are probably the species that Klingon society in general despises most of all. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident"; TNG: "The Neutral Zone") They hate the Romulans so much that a single Federation starship coming to their aid against a Romulan attack meant the difference between a lasting friendship and all-out war with the Federation. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise")
Worf: "They have no honor! They consider Klingons and humans to be a waste of skin!"
- Worf once angrily berated Alexander for being a school bully on The Enterprise D, as it is the lowest form of dishonor for a warrior to bully those weaker than he is.
- Evil Is Hammy: Veteran Klingon Robert O'Reilly told all neophyte Klingons that the most important part was to say their lines with utmost belief, and "go all the way." Qapla'!!
- Fallen Angel / The Ferryman: Klingons who die without honor aren't allowed into Valhalla (or "Sto-vo-kor"), but are instead sentenced to Gre'thor, their version of Hell. The Barge of the Dead is the mythological ship to Gre'thor, captained by Kortar, the very first Klingon. When Kortar became more powerful than the gods who created him, he destroyed them, and, as punishment, he was condemned to ferry the souls of the dishonored for all eternity. (VOY: "Barge of the Dead")
- The Farmer and the Viper: Ironically for an honor-minded society, Klingons find excuses to kill each other and steal their land, or betray their Federation allies. It's less to do with greed than the Klingon propensity for violence: Chancellors are constantly directing hostilities outward, rather than face civil war at home.
- Feudal Future: The culture of the Klingons is a hodgepodge of western stereotypes of the samurai, the Zulu, the Vikings, and various Native American nations — a proud, warlike and principled race. Klingon society is based on a feudal system organized around traditional Great Houses of noble lineage, to which various parts of the population owed fealty. The Great Houses are represented in the Klingon High Council, which is led by a Chancellor. Unusual for Trek, Klingon women aren't treated as equals (except as soldiers in the field). They are prohibited from serving in the High Council and can't inherit control of their Houses unless they have enough money — and no male successors. On other hand, women have a tremendous degree of clout regarding what goes on within the Houses. (This was Ron D. Moore's concession in DS9, as he felt there was next-to-zero Klingon women being represented in the series.)
- Flanderization: Originally depicted in The Original Series as calculating Warrior Poets akin to Samurai. Later became Vikings IN SPACE!.
- Lampshaded in Enterprise, where 22nd Century Klingon doctors and lawyers comment that they're finding themselves increasingly under the thumb of the Warrior Caste. By the 24th Century, the Warriors are all that's left.
- God-Emperor: The Klingon treatment of Kahless the Unforgettable.
- Glory Seeker
- Hand Cannon: The visual design of Klingon Disruptors is based on an antique flintlock pistol.
- Hand Wave: The Klingons' varying appearance used to be the single most popular piece of fanwank among Trekkies.The real reason for the discrepancy between TOS Klingons and their feature film and later television series counterparts was a lack of budget. Kang, Koloth, and Kor each gained a ridged forehead when they reappeared on DS9. Worf acknowledged the continuity holes when the crew of DS9 visited Kirk's Enterprise in the episode "Trials and Tribble-ations," but offered no explanation, saying merely, "We do not discuss it with outsiders."
- A canonical reason was given for the change on Star Trek: Enterprise, revealing that it was caused by a failed attempt to create Klingon Augments, due to their fear that Starfleet were creating super soldiers after encountering some relics from the Eugenics War. Due to one of the test subjects having an alien form of flu, it mutated into an airborne plague that swept across the Empire, killing many until it was finally cured, but causing them to lose their ridges as a side-effect.
- Howl of Sorrow: For the Klingon death ritual, it's traditional for those on hand to howl into the sky as a warning to the afterlife that a Klingon warrior is about to arrive.
- Informed Ability: Arguably, their status as mighty warriors, seeing as they're routinely defeated in hand to hand combat by Humans, who are supposedly several times weaker than Klingons and have no redundant organs. This is particularly noticeable in the Deep Space Nine season 4 opener "The Way of the Warrior"
- Jabba Table Manners: The Klingons of the Star Trek universe universally gulp and slurp down food like slobs. In their case, it is to show how tough and free of pretentious "good manners" and straightforward and honest their society is, not to show how "evil" they are.
- Inverted in a TNG episode, when Riker joined a Bird of Prey as part of an officer exchange. As part of his hazing, he wolfed down some gagh.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: Painstiks are also used in the "Sonchi" ceremony to confirm the death of an old chancellor: Contenders seeking to become the new chancellor take turns jabbing the corpse with a painstik while issuing verbal challenges. The lack of response to these insults is taken as confirmation.
- Klingon Promotion: Trope Namer and Trope Maker. In one episode, Dax explains the intricacies after hearing O'Brien and Bashir talk about the trope. Only a direct subordinate can make the challenge, and only after a severe infraction (cowardice, extreme failure, dereliction of duty). To be clear: you can't simply "assassinate" your superior officer, you have to challenge him to a formal duel.
Gowron: Now the war... may continue.
- The Imperial high council is more civilized, but not by much. Gowron was once challenged by a member of the High Council while he was in the midst of a civil war against the Duras sisters. They have a duel to the death right there on the council floor, which Gowron wins. After which...
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Partly justified. After all,
Martok: Klingons make great warriors... but terrible doctors.
Worf (to Keiko): "You may now give birth!"
- We actually see this work during the birth of Molly O'Brien, in ten forward. Worf acts as the midwife, blandly announcing the cervical dilation and getting agitated by Keiko's screaming.
- Lampshaded in Enterprise, where 22nd Century Klingon doctors and lawyers comment on being increasingly overruled by the Warrior caste and worry about the flanderisation of their species. Towards the end of the show, in "Affliction", it's bemoaned that Klingon science suffers from the warrior mentality.
- Lady of War: Klingons have Bridge bunnies, too, but they tend to be a little more...butch. Klingon noblewomen are tough cookies, also.
- Martyrdom Culture: The greatest glory for a Klingon solider is to die in battle.
- Ritual suicide is often preferred over living life as a cripple, especially if you're a veteran. Even if you aren't a cripple, to allow oneself die of natural causes is a profound disgrace for a military family. No wonder Klingons are constantly hungry for the next, big war. A key point, however, is that a Klingon must die by the hand of (or with the assistance of) another. Unassisted suicide is considered completely honorless, and a one-way ticket to Gre'thor (hell).
- Men Don't Cry: Spock said once that Klingons lack tear ducts; however, Klingon myth states that Kahless once filled the ocean with his tears, and at least one Klingon, Kurn, has produced tears.
- National Weapon: The Bat'leth.
- Honorable mention goes to the "Painstik," which is self-explanatory. Unlike the Bat'leth, the painstiks are used mostly for ritualistic purposes. During the Rite of Ascension ceremony (essentially the Klingon bat mitzvah), a young Klingon must walk between two lines of Klingons prodding him with electrical shocks.
- Noble Demon: While their society is cruel, vicious and violent by human standards, Klingons also value Honor, Courage, Honesty and Loyalty above all else.
- No Indoor Voice: Klingons consider it a sign of disrespect to speak softly. They like to make their presence felt.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Easily the Trope Maker (at least in televised science fiction). We don't often see them interact with Alpha Quadrant races other than humans, but when they do, stand back and watch the fireworks.
Romulan: (haughtily) Romulans don't believe in luck.Martok: All the better! It leaves more for the rest of us!
- To prove why they fit this whenever it's not an Informed Attribute making them more a race wide version of Miles Gloriosus, consider the fact that the Klingons utterly embarrassed the Cardassians during their war, enough to make the arrogant Gul Dukat admit that they'd been reduced to a "third rate power."
- They also are shown to have the Federation on the ropes in one bad alternate universe, have conquered it's imperial counterpart with the Cardassians in another, and for a period of the Federation-Dominion War, bore the vast brunt of the fighting.
- Rated M for Manly: Their idea of a bachelor party is four days of Macho Masochism. Their idea of a honeymoon is going on a hike through the nastiest terrain in the galaxy. Their idea of a joyous wedding night is for the happy couple to gleefully beat each other to a pulp. And their idea of a wedding ceremony is to tell how two mythical Klingons showed their love for each other by teaming up to sack and destroy the heavens. Isn't that romantic?
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Klingons became the primary antagonists of Kirk's crew, in part because the makeup necessary to make Romulans was too time-consuming and costly.
- Ritual Suicide: A Klingon who is unable to fight, and hence is unable to live as a warrior anymore, has the traditional obligation of committing the hegh'bat. Tradition dictates that the eldest son or a close personal friend must assist. That person's role is to hand the dying Klingon a knife so that he can plunge it into his heart, remove it, and then wipe the blood on his own sleeve.
- Shoot the Medic First: Klingons are notorious for targeting field hospitals and doctors in their raids. From a Klingon's perspective, they are rewarding their wounded enemies with an honorable death. So it's not uncommon for Klingons to go around a ward stabbing each patient with bat'leths one-by-one.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Klingon foreplay... is energetic. When choosing a mate, it is traditional for a female Klingon to bite the male's face, allowing her to taste his blood and get his scent. Actually, the male comes out looking the worse for wear.
- Worf once told Wesley Crusher that per the Klingon mating ritual, "Men do not roar. Women roar. Then they hurl heavy objects." Of men, Worf said, "He reads love poetry. He ducks a lot."
- Soldier vs. Warrior: An interesting mix of both. Like warriors, Klingons devote their lives to preparing for battle and way of life. They place a strong emphasis on individual achievement and individual glory. Like soldiers, they devote themselves to a greater cause namely the empire. Individual glory or goals are second to the greater good of the empire. They are willing to retreat when necessary and not waste resources on individual glory that could jeopardize the war effort. Disobedience and stupidity is punished with a dishonorable death. Generally, they consider themselves soldiers first and warriors second especially in times of war.
- Spare Body Parts: There is a good deal of multiple redundancy in their organs, a novelty they call brak'lul. This allows Klingons to survive severe injuries in battle. They have twenty-three ribs, two livers, an eight-chambered heart, three lungs, multiple stomachs, and even redundant neural function. It's best not to wound a Klingon unless it kills him outright.
- Funnily, Klingons are comparatively ignorant about their own biology as their medicine is poorly developed. This was largely due to warrior tradition: a wounded Klingon is expected to use the last of his strength to slay the enemy, or to kill themselves honorably.
- Theme Naming: Klingons love the letter K. The Original Series gave us the iconic triumvirate of Kang, Kor, Koloth, and Kahless; and the movies have Kruge, Klaa, Koord, and Gorkon. And on the Enterprise, there's Worf. In the Expanded Universe, their home planet used to be called Klinzhai, but the official canon later renamed it Qonos (pronounced with a K sound).
- War Is Glorious
- Warrior Poet: It turns out many of William Shakespeare's works (particularly the histories, which are quite bloody and violent) are quite popular throughout the Empire, which ends up becoming the Trope Namer for In the Original Klingon.
- Wild Hair
- With Friends Like These...: When allied with the Federation, they are an awesome ally! Unfortunately, their government system is incredibly violent and possibly even unstable, with transfers in power occurring often with outside intervention for the sake of maintaining a modicum of order in the Alpha Quadrant.
- Yellow Peril: Klingons are typically portrayed with dark skin and Fu Manchu facial hair suggestive of Asian peoples. In fact, the only physical description of them in the script for "Errand of Mercy" (the Klingons' first TOS story) is "oriental" and "hard-faced". Then again, budget constraints limited creativity.
- Oddly, the Klingons typically fill the Dirty Communists role, with the Romulans standing in for China. This became more apparent on TNG, when the Romulans adopted more severe hairstyles while the Klingons took up drinking, not to mention the series' Token Heroic Orc being literally adopted by humans in Minsk.
- "Romulans! So predictably treacherous."
- Anti-Villain: Surprisingly, given some of the below tropes, some Romulan antagonists (The nameless Romulan Commander from TOS, and Nero) have sympathetic motivations, backstories, or otherwise admirable traits.
- Big Bad: On TNG. Not as powerful as the Borg, not as slippery as the Cardassians, but more recurring than either and are behind half the evil schemes in that series. They arguably became this again on Enterprise, until a planned arc involving the Federation-Romulan War was Cut Short.
- Catchphrase: A common Romulan salutation is "Jolan Tru". It's used as both "Hello" and "Goodbye", but the literal translation is unknown.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Romulans consider everything within their field of vision to be rightfully theirs. Accordingly, it goes against their character to honor any truce or treaty.
- Culture Police: Unlike the Klingons, who were depicted as 'strong & silent' types before being retooled into Boisterous Bruisers, the Romulans went in the opposite direction. On TNG, the Romulans became much more rigid in style and demeanor, echoing Communist China upon which the new Romulans were based. This goes for the females, too. (No more long-legged femme fatales, like the ones we saw in TOS and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier). The Tal Shiar is everywhere, and everyone dresses inconspicuously on Romulus to avoid attracting their attention. They are the modest utilitarians to Cardassia's Gucci-wearing aesthetes.
Garak: (grimly reminiscing) "Ah, yes, Romulus. How well I remember it. You'll find the predominant color to be grey: The buildings, the clothes, the people. Did you know that the Romulan heart itself is grey? It's true. And altogether appropriate for such an unimaginative race."
- Drink Order: Romulan ale is a bright-blue, alcoholic beverage. Made illegal in Kirk's time, the embargo was lifted when the Rolumans agreed to help drive out the Dominion.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In the 2009 film, a star close to Romulus goes supernova. Although Ambassador Spock attempted to prevent the supernova from striking the planet using red matter, he was ultimately unsuccessful and Romulus was blown to bits. Couldn't have happened to nicer people.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Had the Romulan government agreed to Spock's reunification plans with Vulcan, they likely would have been saved sooner.
- Enemy Mine: With an alliance with the Cardassians, and a neutrality agreement with the Romulans, the Dominion had the Federation on the ropes. Captain Sisko realized they couldn't fight the war without help, and needed to convince the Romulans that their truce with the Founders would not last. To that end, he cooperated in assassinating a Romulan Senator and pinning it on the Dominion. And it worked! How very Romulan.
Garak: And the more the Dominion denies their guilt, the more the Romulans will believe they're guilty, because that's exactly what they would have done in their place!
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Some of their top-ranking officers and politicos are women. They had an Empress at one point according to Q.
- Romulans also have gotten rid of the very unsavory side of their Vulcan heritage. They've genetically removed the Pon Farr and as such no longer partake in Vulcan rituals where a woman could have a man challenge her fiance to a duel to the death and end up with a man she's forcefully married to and have sex with.
- Evil Counterpart Race / Shadow Archetype: To Vulcans.
- Evil Eyebrows: Theirs are accentuated by a distinct, "V"-shaped forehead ridge. In the films, the ridges are completely gone, but the eyebrows are still longer and hairier than the Vulcans.
- The Faceless: Romulans were aware of Humanity for some time before Earth knew of them. Infiltrating the highest levels of the Vulcan High Command, the Romulans got a full scope of Earth's capabilities. The Enterprise NX-01 inadvertently encountered a Romulan minefield at one point, officially the first time Humanity became aware of the Romulans. Even after fighting the Earth-Romulan War, it wasn't until the 23rd century that Humans actually saw the Romulans without their helmets on. (ENT: "Minefield"; TOS: "Balance of Terror")
- Fantastic Racism: The Romulans believe themselves to superior to everyone, and still cling to the idea that that one day, the Romulan Empire will rule the entire galaxy. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "Data's Day", "The Enemy") According to Miles O'Brien, there was no piece of technology that the Romulans didn't claim they invented before everyone else.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: In their TOS apperances, the male Romulans wore gold togas with a sash over their shoulder. (Violet sashes for commanders, blue for the worker bees.) The ladies, however, wore form-fitting uniform with a violet sleeve.
- Flip-Flop of God: Trek's star charts place the Romulan Empire into the Beta Quadrant of the galaxy. However, in Deep Space Nine, they are changed to an Alpha Quadrant power to include them in the Dominion struggle.
- The loose explanation they came up with is that the capital planets of the Romulans and Klingons are in the Alpha Quadrant, but most of their empires are located in the Beta Quadrant. The dividing line between Alpha and Beta runs through Earth. Most of the Federation is in the Alpha Quadrant, but parts spill over into the Beta Quadrant. If the disk of the galaxy is viewed top-down with Earth at the bottom, the Romulans and Klingons are "east" of the Federation, while the Cardassians are "west". The Romulans are located core-wards from the Klingons (which also explains why advanced Borg scouting attacks hit both the Romulans and Federation, but not the Klingons).
- Lady of War: As said several Romulan military commanders are female. When presented as a Worthy Opponent they will likely be this.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: The image-conscious Romulans prefer to play a waiting game with their opponents, attempting to trick them into breaking — or appearing to break — an agreement so as to give them a solid justification for striking.
- Leitmotif: The Romulan theme is pretty catchy, and it's too bad those villains weren't as memorable as their theme music.
- Man Behind the Man: If some villain is implied to have a secret benefactor, the benefactor will probably be the Romulans. Especially if the villain is a Vulcan or a Klingon, just to show how traitorous or gullible they are as both species regard the Romulans as long-standing enemies.
- Manipulative Bastard: They spend a lot of their screen-time on Enterprise setting the Alpha Quadrant's major players against each other.
- The Neutral Zone: Star Trek has a number of Neutral Zones, each established after a never-seen war sometime during the 23rd century; but the buffer around Romulus is the most notorious, and most-fortified. In fact, almost everybody in Star Trek just refers to it as "the Neutral Zone", rather than by its proper name (the Romulan Neutral Zone).
- Noble Bird of Prey: When Surak's reforms spread rapidly across Vulcan in the 4th century, a minority rejected Surak's ideals. Those rebels marched beneath the banner of the raptor's wings, which became the symbol of the Romulan Star Empire. Their warships are designated "Bird-of-Prey" (not to be confused with the Klingon Bird-of-Prey from the same century) and the "Warbird" (24th century battleship). The latter sports a unique wrap-around design and stretches about twice as long as a Federation Galaxy-class, but with a lower top speed.
- Officer and a Gentleman: In the novels, they often come across as dignified and ultra-conservative aristocrats rather then simply as bad guys, though the Romulan commanders that appear on TV sometimes do have that aspect to them. The more 'admirable' ones seem to behave this way.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: More like a Proud Soldier Race, mind, given their disciplined and strict way of life.
- Secret Police: Known as the Tal Shiar.
- Shoulders of Doom: The infamous "mattress cover" costumes used on TNG. Its hard to look menacing when dressed up like a character from Dynasty.
- Slave Mooks: Unlike the first colony world of Romulus, Remus was a harsh planet notable only for its dilithium deposits. The Remans were subjugated and forced to mine ore to fuel the fledgling empire.
- Space Cold War: Throughout the franchise, they are depicted as frosty, Machiavellian schemers who are always at war/in an uneasy truce with the Federation.
- Space Romans: They have a Senate, they're ruled by a Praetor... in the original series, they had a rank of Centurion and bronze-ish helmets, too.
- Spikes of Villainy: Their soldiers wear bandoleers lines with spikes.
- Stealth in Space: The Romulans almost never fly anywhere without the cloak permanently switched on.
- Strawman Emotional: Disagreed with Surak's logic and left to start their own, more amoral, militaristic society.
- Though overall, they are still very composed and disciplined. Ironically despite their imperialistic empire, they seem to contradict the idea that Vulcans who don't control their emotions are a dangerous menace, since on a personal level they rarely if ever violently lose their temper or hint at uncontrollable emotions. In-universe this is attributed to their lack of suppression; there is no emotional build-up to blow off when they lose their cool.
- Token Evil Teammate / Aloof Ally: In their Enemy Mine alliance with many other Alpha Quadrant powers to combat the Dominion.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In TOS and Star Trek VI, they were treated with far more respect and deference by the Federation. Romulan diplomats are even allowed to attend Presidential briefings. This underscores just how foul and alien the Klingons are judged to be. The dynamic was reversed in TNG.
- Unrealistic Black Hole: The Romulans use an artificial singularity to power their warp drives, as opposed to the (cleaner) matter-antimatter reaction of a Starfleet ship.
- Wild Card: The Romulans have always been the most opportunistic of Alpha Quadrant races, and with the Dominion incursion, they are put in the perfect position to watch their biggest rivals slug it out in a long, futile war. This could explain why Starfleet or the Vulcans didn't approach Romulus for help at once: they could go either way. Since the Federation was taking such heavy losses already it would just about have finished them off to have a third fleet turn against them.
- Worthy Opponent: Several of the most memorable Romulan characters in the original series, as well as a number of times in the novelizations.
"It's never been all that hard to figure out what I'm thinking."Andorians are native to the snow-covered moon Andoria, which orbits a blue, ringed gas giant. Andorians first appeared in the TOS episode "Journey to Babel", and have been seen or mentioned in episodes of subsequent series. They did not rise to prominence until Star Trek: Enterprise, which takes place before the Andorians become one of the founding four races who establish the Federation. Andorians are swashbuckling romantics, exhibiting intense dislike for and mistrust of logic. They can be found harassing their idealogical opposites, the Vulcans.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: I'm blue, da ba dee da ba dii...
- Beneath the Earth: Most of their cities are built underground, mainly to take advantage of geothermal power.
- Bizarre Alien Senses: The antennae on the head of an Andorian helps maintain their sense of balance.
- Blue Blood: Andorians are true bluebloods, both in the sociological and literal sense. Their society values reputation and familial honor, to the point of carrying on vendettas over ancestral disputes. Though they aren't known for charity, they are compelled to repay any debts they owe.
- Break the Haughty: The Andorians tried their hand at being an imperial power, but are mostly humiliated by Archer's crew and sent packing.
- Fantastic Racism: Andorians are (yet another) xenophobic race, using the pejorative "pink-skin" to refer to humans.
- Hot-Blooded: Though their natural environment is almost entirely made of ice, Andorians are easily agitated and very passionate. This provides something of an interesting contrast to the Vulcans, who come from a desert planet and are known for their cautious demeanor and restraint.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Their heightened metabolism allows them to thrive in extreme climates as cold as minus 28 degrees Celsius, or survive for at least two days under boiling hot conditions. However, it renders them highly susceptible to infection: simply being grazed by a phase pistol beam can lead to a fatal injury. It also makes them fearsome combatants, though sustained physical activity will exhaust an Andorian more quickly than it would a human.
- Improbable Weapon User: Andorians settle matters of honor through duels using an ice mining tool called the ushaan-tor, which looks like a cross between a knuckleduster and a fleshing knife.
- The Napoleon: Andorians are short and irritable. They overcompensate for their stature with loud threats and gunfire. (Jeffrey Combs modeled his performance as Shran on James Cagney.)
- Not So Different: In Enterprise, the growing realisation of this between Archer and Shran was part of what lead the Andorians to enter diplomatic talks with Humanity, noting their similarities as highly stubborn, yet honourable, men of their word, who serve on starships named after important vessels from history.
- Prophet Eyes: The Aenar, a sub-species of the Andorians, are albinos and are Blind Seers and telepathic.
- Proud Warrior Race: Service in the Andorian Imperial Guard can strongly influence one's social standing.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised: The Vulcans have trade partnerships with many Andorian colonies, but the fabulous wealth has not been shared. The Vulcans have no interest in Andorian society beyond which palms need to be greased to keep the dilithium flowing. This causes a kerfuffle on Corian, where a rebel faction attempts an overthrow of the puppet government.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: The Andorians were depicted as conniving diplomats on TOS. They were later retconned into overgrown teen rebels fighting against Vulcan dogmas. They ain't a part of this system!
- Weaksauce Weakness: Loss of an antenna will badly disorient them, to the point of temporary incapacitation.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: However, the antenna will grow back after a period of nine months, which can be reduced by applying electrodes and massages to the affected area.
"Tellarites do not argue for a reason. They simply argue."Along with the Humans, Vulcans and Andorians, founding members of the United Federation of Planets. Forthwright pig-like aliens with broad bodies and bushy beards, they thrive on argument.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Blustering insults represent formal politeness; a conversation begins with complaints and insults.
- Hufflepuff House: One of the founding races of the Federation, but get very little screentime or mentions.
- Jews Love to Argue: Of all the TOS races to be brought back in Enterprise, these guys are painted with the broadest brush. “Sarek said something in a scene once that was meant to demonstrate that he was stand-offish and kinda rude, but we like Sarek so it's now the defining attribute of this species”.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Short, hairy, and with a bad attitude, the Tellarites are Space Dwarves to the Vulcans' Space Elves.
- Pig Man
- Space Jews
"They were an ecological menace! A plague to be wiped out!"Headless, legless cat bodies which can reproduce by the thousands. Most of a tribble's physiognomy is comprised of the uterus, as they are born pregnant.
- Big Eater: Actually, a tribble can subsist on very little (a crumb is enough to spawn a litter of ten), but their appetites are apparently bottomless.
- The Blank: Tribbles have eyes and mouths, but they are located near the belly and are so small as to be imperceptible. The original prop tribbles were based on a lucky rabbit's foot keychain.
- Body of Bodies: Huckster Cyrano Jones attempted to genetically modify the tribbles to reproduce less, making them safe for human ecosystems and "a great pet". Unbeknowst to Jones at the time, his lab work was "slipshod" and caused the Tribbles to instead grow to huge size. Dr. McCoy figured out that these so called giant tribbles were actually a colony of tribbles, similar to a rat king.
- Evil Twin: The Klingons first attempted to breed a predator to eliminate the threat. The "glommer" was used only once, in The Animated Series, but proved unable to deal with the booming tribble population.
- Explosive Breeder: An average litter of ten....every twelve hours.
- Fling a Light into the Future: A number of tribbles were accidentally brought back to Deep Space Nine from the past, and the species was re-established, undoing the Klingon Empire's efforts to bring about the extinction of the tribble. Deep Space 9 was subsequently overrun with the creatures.
Sisko: I'm open to suggestions people.
Dax: We could build a new station.
- Happy Fun Ball: Klingon hunting parties were no match for the tribble. Eventually they got fed up and plotted a course to the tribble homeworld, blowing it to smithereens.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Tribbles evolved to purr whenever they're touched by a humanoid. The cooing sound produces a tranquilizing effect—but the fun ends there. Tribbles are also used as a healing device by petting them while on away missions in the Orion Pirates video game.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: Klingons are unique among Star Trek's races in their extreme hatred of the creatures. The feeling was apparently mutual, because tribbles emit a loud shrieking noise instead of their normal soothing purr in the presence of Klingons. This caused problems for Arne Darvin, an undercover Klingon spy.
Odo: Another glorious chapter in Klingon history. Tell me, do they still sing songs of 'The Great Tribble Hunt?'
Species debuting in The Animated Series
"The least claw may be the sharpest, should it be joined with others."Humanoid cats, as the name would suggest. Caitians can vary in color from brown to black, and the females speak with a purring quality.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: A Caitian Duty Officer in Star Trek Online has Flavor Text implying a certain amount of this.
"My time in the Collective honed me. I am more focused on— hey that light is blinking."
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal/Does Not Like Shoes: Most Caitians do not find it necessary to use footwear.
- Canon Immigrant: Caitians were among prominent new species of the animated series. Caitian admirals appear in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
- Cat Folk
- Cat Smile: The Cat Girl Lieutenant M'Ress had one constantly.
- Multi Boobage: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier featured a gratuitous, triple-breasted cat lady doing a table dance, though it's unclear if she's of the same species.
- Never Heard That One Before In Star Trek: New Frontier, Caitian officer M'Ress grouses that she's heard all the cat-related jokes in existence.
"So let us be clear with one another, Admiral. I have one life, not nine. I have never been killed by curiosity, my parents do not live in a cat house, my mother did not rock me as an infant in a cat's cradle, the preferred Caitian method of self-defense is not cat-boxing, I do not deposit my earnings into a kitty, if I am trying to be delicate about a subject I do not pussyfoot around - shall I go on?"
The species that Arex belongs to
Species debuting in The Next Generation
"Humans constantly think one thing and say another."Betazoids are mostly indistinguishable from humans, the only difference being that the iris of a Betazoid's eyes is bigger than a human's. Betazoids are willfully empathic and telepathic (unlike the Vulcan mind-meld).
- Beware the Silly Ones: Betazoids quickly become unstable if their empathic abilities are hampered in any way, as it is their primary mode of communication. Tam Elbrun was born without the ability to filter out unwanted thoughts, which ended up botching a sensitive First Contact and getting 47 Starfleet officers killed. Even Counselor Troi unraveled when her empathic powers temporarily switched off. (TNG, "Tin Man", "The Loss")
- The only Betazoid member of Voyager's crew, Lon Suder, had no empathic or telepathic abilities, perhaps explaining his innate desire to kill things. He joined up with Chakotay's Maquis unit, but was ostracized when he proved too violent even for them.
- Bourgeois Bohemians: They don't keep pets and prefer shuttle travel to mounted animals because they empathize too much with them.
- The Empath: Children who are only part-Betazed, like Deanna, still have this ability.
- Emotion Control: Mature Betazoids sometimes suffer from Zanthi fever, which causes them to lose control over their empathy and project their own emotions onto everyone around them. Lwaxana Troi, who was infatuated Odo, unwittingly unleashed amorous mayhem on Deep Space Nine as she caused the people she interacted with to develop random romantic obsessions with each other. Whether or not Betazoids can do this on purpose is unclear.
- Exotic Eye Designs: Betazoids have black irises.
- Mauve Shirt: The entire planet was seized by Jem'Hadar during the Dominion War (offsceen, mind you). The writers batted around the idea of Vulcan being occupied, but decided against it. Ironically, J.J. Abrams would later blow Vulcan to pieces.
- Mind over Manners: Due to their telepathy, Betazoid culture embraces honesty to a point considered rude by other cultures, namely humans. Lwaxana Troi, a particularly strong-willed Betazoid, commented on her befuddlement at the Human practice of fibbing to spare others' feelings or for politeness' sake.
- Mrs. Robinson: A Betazoid women's sex-drive quadruples when they reach a certain age, meaning that half of the population of Betazed literally consists entirely of cougars.
- Naked People Are Funny: In Betazoid wedding ceremonies, all participants (bride, groom, and guests) are traditionally nude. Poor Picard.
(grumpily) "I'll be in the gym."
- New-Age Retro Hippie: Their culture greatly resembles the New Age movement on Earth, to obnoxious degrees.
- Poke in the Third Eye: Tam Elbrun had this going on almost all of the time, as he could not shut out the thoughts of others. Especially because of the range of their telepathy, Betazoids can get overwhelmed by strong thoughts or emotions.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Betazoids were inspired by the Deltans from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Their similarities include the Betazoid species having been named after a letter of the Greek alphabet, the Betazoids' relatively very open attitude toward sexual activities, and the species' ESP.
- Telepathy: Notably, Betazoid telepathy (and empathy) works across very long distances. For example, they can sense the thoughts of beings on a planetary surface while they are on a starship in orbit. This often became a Story-Breaker Power and the main reason full-blooded Betazoid characters appeared irregularly at best.
- "As the Q have evolved, we've sacrificed many things along the way; not just manners, but mortality and a sense of purpose and a desire for change and a capacity to grow. Each loss is a new vulnerability, wouldn't you say?"
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Q hinted early on that his species were once not unlike bipeds. This was later confirmed by Quinn, who (unlike Q) had no reason to lie. Picard speculates that Q might be testing humanity because he thinks we have the potential to one day evolve into beings like the Q, and he is afraid that we might turn out wrong.
- Ass in Ambassador/Mouth of Sauron: Q interests regarding the human race are normally handled by a single representative. This Q has a history of insulting, tormenting, taunting, and otherwise harassing races all over the galaxy.
- Badass Fingersnap: If a Q snaps their fingers then everybody else has good reason to be terrified! It not only means that they are using their godlike powers, but they want to be dramatic about it!
- Brought Down to Normal: A common punishment for if a Q breaks the law is to spend the rest of their lives as a mortal being. One Q in particular was temporarily turned human as punishment for making the Borg aware of the Federation.
- Creative Sterility
- Great Gazoos:
- Q society and their physiognomy is mystery. Picard was offered the chance to study one; he decided that the experience would probably drive him 'round the bend and flatly turned it down.
- Q sent Voyager to witness the birth of the universe ('you could be the origin of the humanoid form!'), and when they didn't take him up on his offer, he shrank the ship and hanged it on a Christmas tree.
- Damned by Faint Praise: Probably the nicest thing anyone's said about the Q is Guinan's comment that some of the Q are almost respectable.
- Humanity on Trial: Part of the reason they tend to interfere with humans. When Q first appeared, he took on the appearance of Ollie North (referencing the Iran-Contra arms deals) and a drug-infused space trooper from the future. Earth's been warlike for most of its existence, and it could fall back into old habits very easily.
- Immortal Immaturity: A trait TNG's Q is infamous for - though his straight-laced friend, Q2, had a surfer bum quality of his own.
- Immortals Fear Death: Most of the Continuum find mortality terrifying, and they imprisoned Quinn rather than let him go through with his suicide.
- Jerkass Gods:
- Starfleet officers are instructed to go to Red Alert if they detect the arrival of any Q (though due to the "gods" part this is a pretty useless measure- if the Q in question was truly hostile, there is absolutely nothing any ship could do to stop them).
- Whenever they assume human form, they always make a point to wear the highest-ranking uniform in the room. Q even cycled though an Admiral's and Marshall's clothes, just to irritate Picard (a Captain, albeit one of a flagship).
- From knowledge gained in her extensive travels and long life, Guinan points out that most of the Q are actually responsible and benign beings who mind their own business, and find it immoral to interfere in the lower planes of existence, much as the Enterprise will not interfere with primitive hunter-gatherer aliens. The Q who visits the Enterprise-D is just a jerkass even by their standards (to the point that once they even briefly stripped him of his powers because he kept using them irresponsibly). If the Q are Asgardians, the Q who pesters humanity is their Loki - a trickster who stirs up trouble (though he gets more well-intentioned as he goes along).
- Meet the New Boss:
- According to second-hand sources, Q was inspired by Trelane, a childlike-yet-omnipotent trickster from TOS who shared Q's taste for medals and epaulettes.
- Some fanon and even licensed (but non-canon) works have retconned Trelane into being a member of the continuum, if an immature one.
- The Omnipotent/The Omniscient:
- Q is a lower version of this; while he claims omnipotence, other Q can still hurt him or take away his powers.
- Quinn politely admits to Janeway that despite Q's bluster, the Q are not actually "gods". Moreover, he says that while they are practically "omnipotent", this is for every possible frame of reference to human comprehension. They can make entire galaxies explode with a thought, or with a snap of their fingers turn the entire Borg Collective into cute puppies. But Quinn insists that up in the higher planes of existence in the Q continuum, there are still things they can't do, though such things are beyond our comprehension or description. He is much more modest about his race than Q is.
- Planet of Steves: Nearly every member is named "Q" or has a Q in their name somewhere. In fact, all Q address other Q simply as "Q", and every other Q knows who that Q is talking to without elaboration.
- Reality Warper: Big time. Even the babies are capable of altering the orbits of entire planets just days after birth.
- Smug Super: As Lady Q informs B'lanna during a snark-off, the Q attitude about themselves isn't a God Complex, it's a fact. They are that powerful (though it is worth noting Lady Q's pretty smug even by their standards).
- Space Police: They're god-like beings who can easily wipe out entire galaxies out of boredom, but they do have the universe's best interest in mind.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Rumors persist in some Trekkie circles that the Q are not as powerful as they say; it's all just smoke and mirrors.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: During their first encounter with Q, the Enterprise-D crew acknowledged he was potentially dangerous, but failed to find him at all awe-inspiring. Picard outright implies that the Federation had already become accustomed to dealing with pushy, god-like energy beings (which, if Captain Kirk's career is anything to go by, is quite true).
- Who Wants to Live Forever?:
- Quinn sought to kill himself rather than be stuck with these people for one more second. The Q do not even acknowledge each other, having exhausted all conversation over the eons. Horrifying.
- The renegade Q seemed to really enjoy life, and opposed Quinn's courtroom battle to end his existence. Quinn tries to make Janeway understand in her own terms by suggesting she think about what her life as an explorer would be like if there was nothing left to explore. Q tries to bribe Janeway with the chance to spend her life with him (just like Vash), which can be interpreted as a desperate need to be able to see the universe through the eyes of a humanoid. It demonstrates exactly what Quinn was saying: that there is nothing left to explore and the only alternative Q can think of is to see it afresh through a mortal's eyes.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: A non-malevolent variation. Mortals can't perceive the Q in their natural appearance, to say nothing of the realm they inhabit.
- "They're greedy, misogynistic, untrustworthy little trolls, and I wouldn't turn my back on one of them for a second."
- Abstract Apotheosis: Raw capitalism at its best. And worst.
- Acceptable Targets: The Ferengi value profit and commerce above all else, and even revere its presence in other races. They are an exaggerated caricature of what a mercantile (possibly corporatocratic) oligarchy would be like, with gender inequality included to make them even more detestable. (at least until Zek granted suffrage at the behest of his wife).
- Alien Lunch: Ferengi are big insectivores, and the jingle for their version of Pepsi is about how slimy it is because it contains algae.
- All Trolls Are Different:
- Butt-ugly? Check. Obsessed with gold? Check. Untrustworthy? Check.
- As the species mellowed out in the nineties, they began to incorporate some hobbit traits, including their dome-shaped clay huts which definitely draw inspiration from Tolkien.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Originally portrayed this way on Next Generation, but this ceased to be the case later in that series and on Deep Space Nine.
- Big Bad Wannabe: A Real Life example. The Ferengi were built up as the over-arching Big Bad of TNG, a reflection of humans when they were still avaricious and violent — but they never came across as anything more than buffoons. The writers eventually wised up and stopped taking them seriously.
- Bizarre Alien Biology:
- Ferengi kids shed their baby ears, instead of teeth. Eek.
- They mention at some point also that Ferengi have ascending ribs (small near the neck and get larger towards the midsection).
- Blue and Orange Morality: The Ferengi value street smarts and business savvy over an honest transaction. They're known for slipping dubious clauses and disclaimers into their contracts (for instance, an obscure provision buried on Page 21, Subsection B, Paragraph 12 stated that Quark was entitled to feel up his Dabo girls). That said, they can justify cheating, tricking, and swindling their customers only within the confines of The Contract. Rule of Acquisition #17 sternly reprimands, "A contract is a contract is a contract." Under Ferengi law, any Ferengi who breaks a signed contract with another Ferengi automatically has their assets liquidated by the FCA and is blacklisted within merchant circles. In a culture where profit-earning ability is everything, this is tantamount to capital punishment.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: The Ferengi claim they invented warp drive before any of the other Alpha Quadrant species, including Vulcans. Actually, they bought it from somebody else.
Quark: The speed of technological advancement isn't nearly as important as short-term quarterly gains! (Can't this thing go any faster?)
- Characterization Marches On: A race that originated as a caricature of the worst parts of capitalism ultimately became more rounded-off and sympathetic as time went on.
- When the time came to have a Ferengi as a series regular, Quark rejected the whole notion of his people being a 'backward' race. (After all, the Ferengi don't have anything resembling death camps in their history.) This was later retconned as propaganda on the part of the Ferengi government, which was frightened by the idea of Federation culture rejecting the acquisition of wealth as a goal and wanting to keep them at arms length in order to come up with a way of interacting with them.
- Children Are a Waste: The Ferengi consider pregnancy to be a rental, with the father being termed the lessee.
- City of Gold: The Divine Treasury, exactly what it says on the tin. (Though in this case, it's latinum, not gold.) Possibly; the only time we've seen it is in a dream sequence and the dreamer thinks it's tacky.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The more successful examples... (Quark's cousin bought his own moon.)
- Honest John's Dealership: ...and the less. Starfleet instructors specifically warn their fledgling officers about Ferengi hucksters they may come across in ports.
- The Dandy: When you're under five feet tall, you have to dress to impress. Ferengi take their wardrobe as another opportunity to flaunt their success; some even wear bars of latinum around their necks.
- Dirty Coward: Ferengi are cowardly by nature. Their official hand gesture looks suspiciously like a animal in submission.
- Do You Want to Haggle?: A Ferengi's idea of self-defense is to offer higher bribes.
- Not a bad strategy within the Ferengi Alliance. But the failure rate is quite high with Klingons, et al.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The original depictions of the Ferengi made them seem base, confrontational, and uncivilized approaching the point of feral in behavior. Armin Shimerman, portrayer of Quark and two prior Ferengi characters, later lamented his earlier character performances as a horrible thing to do to the Ferengi. Later depictions made them much more orderly and civilized, albeit still greedy.
- Energy Weapon/Whip It Good: Ferengi soldiers are shown packing stun whips (!) on two occasions: Once in TNG and again on ENT. It's got great range and negates the height difference between them and their opponents. In real life, this would seems like a good way to electrocute yourself. Of all the weapons that should be combined with electricity, a whip is definitely one of the worst.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother. Rule of Acquisition #31.note
- Even Swindlers Have Standards: Genocide and slavery are completely unknown in Ferengi history, nor have they ever engaged in a major interstellar war. They feel this makes them morally superior to the Federation. Because Ferengi society places such emphasis on material success and outsmarting others, violence carries a stigma of failure — to be used strictly when defending family members or when there are no possible avenues of escape. Traveling throughout the Alpha/Beta Quadrants also requires a degree of open-mindedness: While they can be a bit bigoted (there's no love lost between them and hew-mons), racism is an alien concept to the Ferengi. Why would a Ferengi merchant pass up a chance for profit based solely on their customer's race? Equally, revenge and crimes of passion are nearly unknown among Ferengi; again, they rarely see any profit in either.
- Racism is abhorrent to Ferengi: in Season 1 of Deep Space Nine, when mob opinion suspects Odo of a murder purely based on anti-changeling racism without hard evidence, Quark of all people is the only one who openly declares his disgust at everyone else. When it's pointed out that he is Odo's perpetual enemy, he bitterly says he is, but compared to everyone else, that makes him the closest thing Odo has to a friend.
- Oddly enough despite this they're the most sexist race in the series. They finally undergo a women's lib movement on DS9.
- While they may not call it slavery, The Ferengi do practice indentured servitude. Quark explicitly says, with worry, that his mother will be sold into indentured servitude when he catches on that she's been earning profit illegally. Since Ferengi females are forbidden from taking any jobs other than child rearing, there can be only one interpretation to what the servitude is.
- According to Odo, the Ferengi abhor collaboratos. He explicitly claims that they won't sell out their world for profit.
- Every Man Has His Price: Rule of Acquisition #98.
- Evil Virtues: They're extremely industrious, with their leader having worked non-stop for most of his lifetime. And Ferengi are nothing if not penny-wise. Every bar of latinum they spend is invested into further means of generating profit. In fact, going into debt is considered a mortal sin.
- Rom: You don't think we're in that... other place?Nog: The Vault of Eternal Destitution??Quark: Don't be ridiculous! (terrified) The bar was showing a profit!
- Exotic Equipment: A Ferengi male will invariably try persuading a female of another race to massage his ears. They frequently leave out the part about Ferengi ears being sexually stimulating. This practice is called Oomox, and there are entire Kama Sutra-sized tomes dedicated to it.
- Fantastic Fragility: The sensitivity of the ears, while providing great sensual pleasure, also made them vulnerable to pain (just biting a Ferengi's ear will immobilize them with pain) and other problems, including some life-threatening infections.
- Fantastic Slur: "Philanthropist!"
- Foil: To hew-mons in DS9.
- Out of all the bawdy races of the Alpha Quadrant, Ferengi are the ones Vorta seem to despise the most (Eris, Keevan, Yedrin). It's as though the Vorta resent their inability to con such a streetwise race.
- Gold Fever:
- Inverted. Like most races in the Alpha Quadrant, they accept gold-pressed latinum as barter, but the latinum carries real value.
- Predictably, their religion is based on the principles of capitalism: they offer prayers and money to a "Blessed Exchequer" in hopes of entering the "Divine Treasury" upon death, and fear an afterlife spent in the "Vault of Eternal Destitution". Several expanded universe sources mention that the Ferengi see Earth's now-defunct Wall Street as some kind of holy site.
- Harmless Villain: In Season 1 the script literally calls for them to "jump around like excited hamsters".
- Hiss Before Fleeing: Not a very intimidating bunch, these Ferengi.
- Hyper Awareness: They might be terrible soldiers, but the prized "lobes" are super-sensitive, making them really good scouts. This grants them incredibly acute hearing, enough to cut through electronic interference, or detect changes in air temperature, or measure how many decibels the volume in a room is.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: The Ferengi Commerce Agency (FCA). These bozos have jurisdiction over any Ferengi business anywhere in the universe. They police Ferengi ideologies, such as union-busting, with zeal seldom seen outside of the mafia.
- To be fair, though, the only FCA representative we meet is Brunt, who is confirmed to be particularly rabid in his duties, and despised by the Grand Negus. The dude brought two Nausicaans with him to serve as strike-breakers! Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your bladder control.
- Jerkass: Even the nicer (or at least more tolerable) Ferengi can come across as this. It is telling that a traditional Ferengi greeting involves telling someone not to pinch your stuff ("My home is my home." "As are its contents.").
- Mad Libs Catchphrase: The Rules of Acquisition, of which there are over two hundred. Possibly the only code of honor the Ferengi follow.
- Subverted by the Rules themselves turning out to be another scam — at least in Quark's dream.
"Would you buy a book called Suggestions of Acquisition?!"
- Subverted by the Rules themselves turning out to be another scam — at least in Quark's dream.
- Meaningful Name: The name "Ferengi" is a corruption of the word "farhang," which was a derisive word used in some parts of Southeast Asia to describe European
- Variations are used across Asia, ultimately all distortions of the word Frank, i.e. somebody from France, mistakenly interpreted to mean all Europeans.
- "Ferengi" was also the name of a princess in the Persian Shah Nameh, in keeping with the Star Trek practice of naming races after mythological figures.
- Meet the New Boss: The ultimate goal of any underpaid Ferengi worker, being exploited and swindled by their boss is to one day get his job and become an exploitive swindler himself.
- Money Fetish: Ferengi ears are said to tingle whenever they sense opportunity. Indeed, you can see them involuntarily stroke their ears when large sums are read aloud... wait, how does one perform Oo-mox again?
- Mr. Vice Guy: On their better days. As Jadzia put it, they're plenty of fun if you accept you can't turn your back on one for a second.
Armin Shimerman: The Ferengi are a number of those old seven deadly sins stuck together.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Rule of Acquisition 112: Never sleep with the boss's sister.
- Professional Yes Man: Rule of Acquisition 33: It never hurts to suck up to the boss.
- Proud Merchant Race: The most triumphant example in Star Trek.
- Psychic Block Defense: Data says that Ferengi are naturally immune to Telepathy, perhaps because of their four-lobed brains. Interestingly, they are not immune to Emotion Control, as Lwaxana Troi, while suffering from Zanthi Fever, unintentionally affects Quark with her powers the same as humans, Bajorans and Trill.
- Reconstruction: After being introduced as Big Bad Wannabes, DS9 showed how they could function as an actual society.
- Roswell That Ends Well: Turns out it was Quark's contraband-carrying shuttle which crashed in New Mexico, sent back in time via an accident. (DS9:"Little Green Men")
- Rule #1 / Scoundrel Code: The Rules of Acquisition, which range from harsh ("A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.") to pragmatic ("You can't make a deal if you're dead.") to Pet the Dog ("Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them.")
- Screams Like a Little Girl: The Ferengi have no shame.
- The Scrounger: Many Ferengi believe in a "Great Material Continuum", likened to a river that can be navigated through wheeling and dealing to obtain the desired product. Nog, the first Ferengi to join Starfleet, demonstrates that even in a moneyless society, good business sense can be a very useful trait to have.
- Sentient Cosmic Force: The Great Material Continuum! Ferengi visualize it as a great river flowing throughout the cosmos, bartering goods and services between those that need them. A good Ferengi knows how to "navigate" this river to turn a profit. (O'Brien compared it to rough water rafting when Nog roped him into a risky deal.)
- The So-Called Coward: Whilst it's true that most Ferengi are relatively cowardly; if you do manage to piss one off they are extremely cunning, are perfectly fine with fighting dirty and at least a few possess strength equal to that of a Vulcan (Quark once snapped a gold brick in half using nothing but his bare hands and another one effortlessly threw Riker several meters). They also have an impressive navy with starship weapons capable of taking out a Galaxy class given the right circumstances and the best shields money can buy.
- Space Jews: In TNG, capitalism is treated into a kind of pathology, espoused by a race that would be easy to mistake for a bunch of stock Jewish stereotypes (even down to ballbusting mothers). Gene Roddenbery, who scripted TNG's first season while high as a kite wanted them to have prodigious penises as well, but he was reigned in by Brannon Braga and Herb Wright. The stuff about Ferengi always trying to steal our Earth women is ripped straight from Protocols of Zion.
- Space Pirate: Their original characterization when they were planed to be serious villains. Implicitly Retconned to be just a few who couldn't make it in "legitimate" business.
- Stupid Crooks: Said pirates frequently prove to be no better at crime than they were at mercantile pursuits.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Holy freaking yikes. Ferengi women aren't allowed to earn a profit. Or talk to strangers. Or go outside. Or wear clothing at any time. Their job is to prepare and chew their childrens' food for them, and teach them the Rules of Acquisition. That's it. Any woman that does earn profit is put into indentured servitude. As Deep Space 9 goes on, Quark's mother manages to kick-start a revolution allowing them to become independent.
- Strange Salute: Ferengi bow and point their palms outward, like a possum.
- Swamps Are Evil: Ferenginar, a world which has no word for "crisp". But they do have over two hundred words for "rain".
- Straw Capitalists: While later series rounded them off, their "hat" remained firmly in place.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The females of their species have (relatively) smaller earlobes. This was revealed in an episode where a Ferengi girl wore prosthetic ears to fool the boys' club (and nearly got away with it, too!).
- This Loser Is You: Word of God paints the Ferengi as 21st-century humans, particularly Anglo-Saxons.
- Turned on it's head a little though, if Quark can be trusted, in that while Ferengi are greedy as a virtue and sexist/xenophobic as a culture, they've also never taken it to the same extreme that humans have, citing that the Ferengi never had concentration camps, slavery or massive-scale warfare.
- To Win Without Fighting: See this comment from "Body Parts":
"We're not Klingons. We're businessmen."
- In particular, Quark states that the Ferengi would have hammered out a mutually beneficial deal with the Dominion (and given them a little something for their trouble, say Betazed), as opposed to the Federation's "independence at any cost" stance. Though in the episode Quark says that in, he guns down a Jem'Hadar soldier who was coming to kill his nephew. This serves as a possible microcosm into Quark's attitude, in that negotiation only works if the other side doesn't find killing you and taking your stuff easier than negotiation.
- In "The Maquis". Quark reasons the Maquis are better off agreeing to a cease-fire than continuing to shoot down the Cardassians' weapon freighters. The logic goes that the Central Command, caught with their hand in the till, will back off on arming their settlers, who in turn will be more open to peaceful coexistence with their Terran neighbors. In essence, the Ferengi are using Game Theory to work out the best possible outcome for all parties; Quark even manages to convince a Vulcan guerrilla fighter that his logic is sound.
- War for Fun and Profit: Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #34 states "War is good for business". However, Rule of Acquisition #35 rebuts "Peace is good for business." Basically, this entitled Ferengi to sell guns to both sides of a conflict, but also notes that it's a bad idea to lose a customer, and that any war that goes on for too long will have a negative impact on commerce.
The spear carriers of the galaxy, Benzites are usually seen pottering around in the background in each iteration of Trek. Two of them had speaking roles in TNG, and a Benzite redshirt did what they do best in DS9. They soon lost the breathing apparatus (explained away in Star Trek Online as cosmetic surgery for select Benzites who spend a lot of time in oxygen-rich ships), and even their skin color has been subject to change, ranging from amphibian green to purple.
- Cannon Fodder: Benzar was one of the Federation planets to fall to the Dominion, along with Betazed. However, the Benzites had the misfortune of being 'liberated' by the Romulans, who had joined the war effort. Constable Odo expressed doubt that the Romulans would give it back, considering their extreme reluctance to surrender any territory they acquire.
- Although by Online they're back in the Federation.
- Control Freak: Benzites are highly meticulous, a characteristic reflected in their regulations, which states that no officer on a Benzite ship is to report on anything without providing a full detailed analysis and solution. This got under the Enterprise crew's skin when an exchange student kept overstepping his bounds. (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor")
- Depending on the Writer: Each script or novel seems to have its own take on Benzite physiognomy. The Sky's the Limit short story "Acts of Compassion" states that Benzites breathe in a gas heavy in chlorine, while the Pocket DS9 novel Devil in the Sky claims their blood is both orange and rich in mercury and platinum.
- Fish People: The Creature From the Black Lagoon, if he enlisted in the Navy.
Bolians evolved from porpoise-like mammals. Some of them have hair, though this is rare, and probably has to do with continuity goofs. Bolians of both sexes (bald or not) are generally cheerful and noted for their Headbutt of Love. Oddly, they appear in Trek mostly as cooks as servants; A running gag is the Enterprise-D employing a bald Bolian as its hairdresser. They're not all small-timers though; the Bank of Bolias is huge and a serious competitor for the Ferengi.
- Alien Blood: Like Vulcans, their blood is blue because it uses hemocyanin to carry oxygen. However, attempting to give a transfusion between the two is not possible without extensive genetic modification of the blood sample.
- Furthermore, Bolian body chemistry is hinted to be somewhat reactive, to say the least. Apparently, intimacy with a Bolian can result in some adverse side-effects for humans, and then there's that whole thing about their eating habits that would necessitate strong stomach acids and saliva. There's also a Running Gag about how important it is for Bolians to have access to good plumbing. Ick.
- Alien Lunch: Bolian cuisine is regarded as being quite tasty, but the preparation of some dishes involve the use of rotten meat and they're capable of eating foods that may be regarded as toxic to some species.
- Big Fun: The Klingons have Honor, the Changelings have Order, the Ferengi have Profit. The Bolians' Hat? Frivolity. Nearly every Bolian we meet represents some highly elastic enterprise. Accordingly they're generally depicted as jolly, and tend to be a bit pudgy.
- They are not, however, without avarice: one Bolian publishing agent exploited the legal non-status of holograms as sentient beings to commit intellectual property theft.
- Extreme Omnivore
- Hidden Depths: Despite their prominent portrayal as service industry workers, the Bolians are apparently a major economic force in the Alpha Quadrant.
- Proud Merchant Race
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Apparently Tracey Tormé had wanted to include an Andorian in the first season of TNG, but was informed by Rick Berman that, “We don't do antennae on this show.” As such, the Bolians seem like a compromise: blue, antennae-less aliens.
- "We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."
- Adaptive Ability: The Borg are usually able to adapt to any weapon or defense used against them, given enough time.
- Always Chaotic Evil: So long as they are a part of their collective, they are subject to its will.
- And I Must Scream: Going by dialogue from across the series, a person's individual identity is not only subsumed by the implants, but the sheer force of the entire collective (a trio of rogue drones compared it to a crowd screaming in their ear), making it pretty impossible to fight the process.
- Arm Cannon: A rare departure for Trek, as most species use handheld weapons. However, the drones are almost never seen using them; there are very few situations where drones could not overwhelm their targets through brute force or sheer numbers. Non-canon licensed works do depict Borg using these if those two strengths are countered.
- Art Evolution: Up until First Contact, Borg deflector shields looked like actual shields, and were transparent. After, they seem like an energy field surrounding the body, and became a pale green.
- Assimilation Plot: Their entire species is devoted to it, along with countless others.
- The Assimilator: They move from world to world, taking "technological and biological distinctiveness" and adding it to themselves.
- Above Good and Evil: The Borg sincerely think they're doing you a favor. After all, once they reach perfection, so will you... once they've "improved" you.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Some can be disabled simply by yanking the sparking cables from their necks. One tug and they're down for the count. The Borg's defense against this cunning strategy varies, though it's generally unwise to pick a melee fight with cyborgs several times stronger than humans.
- Bee People: Low-level mooks are "drones", and their commander is euphemistically called the Queen.
- Bigger Bad: Of TNG and subsequent shows. Note that the majority of Captains (excluding Kirk and Archer) have had personal vendettas against the Borg Collective: Picard was raped physically and mentally; Sisko lost his wife in the infamous defeat at Wolf 359; and Janeway is noted for her numerous Devil's bargains with the Queen.
- Bystander Syndrome: Individual drones won't engage intruders unless the intruders prove themselves hostile in some fashion.
- Characterization Marches On:
- When the Enterprise first encountered the Borg, Q didn't say anything about the assimilation of the crew, just their technology. It wasn't until "Best of Both Worlds" when the Borg express a desire to bring others into their collective, whether they liked it or not. By the time Seven of Nine showed up, it appeared the writers had abandoned the idea of the Borg as a biological species unto themselves; they seemed to be wholly composed of other species they had assimilated.
- Their earliest appearances had the Borg not just take people and technology, but also entire cities, which they scooped wholesale out of the ground. After "Best of Both Worlds", the concept was just quietly dropped, with the previous "excavations" retconned to include assimilation of the city's inhabitants. Likewise, the "nursery" mentioned in "Best of Both Worlds" was retconned into a "maturation chamber" which is essentially a Rapid Aging device to bring assimilated children to full productivity in a greatly reduced amount of time.
- Clingy Costume: Hope you like black.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Especially when said cybernetics are optimized for the job.
- Deflector Shields: The built-in, personal variety. Made even nastier in that they can adapt to threats just like the rest of their technology.
- The Dreaded: Starfleet considers them the most dangerous potential threat to the Federation due to their advanced technology, relentless tactics, and no-negotiations mentality.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Borg are the most powerful and feared faction in the galaxy, without really being a true race at all. The Borg assimilate anything which they believe will aid in their goals, sapient beings included. Snippets of dialog indicate that some species are more suited to certain roles than others, however; it is unlikely that they would let a frail species, such as an Elaysian, waltz into combat as an attack drone. Thus far, the only species the Borg have been shown to outright shun are the Kazon, deeming them so inferior that assimilating them would degrade the Borg.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Federation. In some ways, they make for a better comparison than the Dominion, as they aspire to being a uniform society under one banner, rather than an empire of subjects. Unlike the Dominion or Federation however, the Borg do not operate under any code of conduct; what morality they possess considers the assimilation of a starship's crew as equal to the assimilation of an entire race. Moreover, any race that is subject to assimilation loses all semblance of identity and becomes no more than part of a single, homogeneous whole.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: The Borg like to operate with a constant temperature of 39.1 °C (102.38 °F), with 92% humidity. Odd, given the fact that the average Borg vessel is like a giant CPU, and most modern computers function more optimally at lower temperatures.
- The high temperature is, however, close to human body temperature, and may represent a working average of body temperatures of the various assimilated species on board. This would allow a drone to shut down any self-regulation of body temperature except when outside this environment, thus conserving energy, playing right into the Borg Collective's hat of ruthless efficiency.
- The Evils of Free Will: They genuinely believe that they are bettering the lot of other species by trying to absorb them.
- Evil Wears Black: All Borg wear black body armor.
- The Fog of Ages: According to Seven of Nine, the Borg suffer from this, as their memory from over 700 years ago is beginning to fragment.
- Hive Drone: The fate of assimilated victims, although a drone's individuality is merely suppressed, rather than being destroyed or absent, something most explicitly demonstrated in the Voyager episode "Unimatrix Zero". Drones such as Hugh and Seven of Nine, who are separated from the Collective, are capable of regaining individuality with varying degrees of success.
- Hive Mind: Although each drone makes up part of a collective whole...
- Hive Queen: The Borg Queen, who claims to personify the Collective rather than lead it. The characters aren't quite sure how this works either.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: Unlike the eco-conscious Federation, Borg tech isn't terribly dolphin safe. We see a brief glimpse of a post-Borg Earth in Star Trek: First Contact, and it's not pretty.
- Implacable Man: Part of what makes them so scary is that once they've adapted to your weapons, even the lowliest drone is virtually unstoppable.
- The Juggernaut: You may be able to pick a few off, but the collective a whole will eventually adapt and keep relentlessly coming until they overwhelm you.
- Knight of Cerebus: A case could be made for the discovery of the Borg changing the tenor of the entire franchise. Before they were discovered, the Federation was in a state of peace not unlike the Pax Romana. Local threats like the Romulans and Cardassians were matched by Starfleet, and there was a general sense that they were ready for anything. After the devastating and devastatingly short conflict in "The Best of Both Worlds," the Federation came to realize how complacent they'd become, and the repercussions would echo throughout TNG, DS9 and VOY.
- Here's one species whom Captain Picard absolutely can not negotiate or reason with. He might as well be lecturing at a brick wall.
Borg Cube, speaking as one: We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours.
Picard: Impossible! My culture is based on freedom and self-determination!
Borg: Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply.
Picard: We would rather die.
Borg: Death is irrelevant.
- Here's one species whom Captain Picard absolutely can not negotiate or reason with. He might as well be lecturing at a brick wall.
- Logic Bomb: In The Next Generation, a proposed weapon against the Borg was to send them a geometric figure, the analysis of which could never be completed, and which would, therefore, eat more and more processing power until the entire Borg hive mind crashed. Obviously the Borg don't use floating point numbers.
- Logical Weakness: Averted. Cubes have no visible weak points: no engines, gun turrets, sensors, shield projectors, or any components at all that are identifiable out of the morass of ductwork and pipes. There are some unique components such as nodes that connect the ship and its crew to the greater Collective, but they're invisible from the outside and resistant to scanners. Cubes are also optimized to engage in combat from any direction, as any side can act as a weapons battery.
- Mad Libs Catchphrase "I am X of Borg. Y is irrelevant. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
- Mind Hive: The individuality of each drone is overwhelmed by the personalities of a thousand others.
- Mordor: The Borg have their own version of Utopia Planitia, dubbed the "Unimatrix", where hundreds of Borg cubes link up to form a massive, geometric city. The Collective has several of these installations all over the Delta Quadrant, but the most sizable one is Unimatrix 01, where the Queen hangs out (along with trillions of drones).
- Multiple-Choice Past:
- First Contact has the Borg Queen stating that the Borg used to be organic (also, "flawed" and "weak"), but that they eventually "evolved to include the synthetic".
- Voyager hinted that the Borg were originally a benign "Cooperative", using nanotech and brain interfacing to improve the lives of its people. Eventually, they lost sight of their principles and devolved into an all-consuming Collective (a la the Soviet Union).
- Early fanon speculated that V'Ger was masterminding the Borg. The extra section of the game Star Trek: Legacy contains the "Origin of the Borg", which tells the story of V'ger declaring all carbon-based life an infestation of its creator's universe (unaware of the existence of non-mechanical intelligent life, including the humans who built it). Shatner picked up on this idea and included in his line of books.
- In the graphic novel Star Trek: The Manga, the Borg resulted from experimental medicine gone wrong. An alien species facing extinction created Walking Transplants and then stored them in space. Over time, the medical facility deteriorates and so too does the programming of the nanomachines. The nanomachines begins infusing themselves into the patients, interpreting them as parts of the satellite in need of repair. Among the patients is the daughter of the head medical researcher of the satellite, later to become the Queen.
- In the novel Lost Souls (the third book in the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy) the Borg aren't evil because of their cybernetic nature or Hive Mind, but because the first assimilation process went horribly wrong, and subordinated the will of its drones to an Elder God-like alien whose mind had entirely faded away, save for an all-consuming hunger.
- The Needless: Borg don't eat and they don't require sleep, although they do need to 'regenerate' in alcoves to refill on energy. Alcoves are packed together and stand vertically to save on space.
- Noodle Implements: Since "Best of Both Worlds" it's become a staple for Borg drones to menacingly point an arm while flexing various hooks, pincers, and can openers.
- Obliviously Evil: That the Borg are doing anything immoral does not seem to cross their Collective mind, except that other species think of them as such. They truly believe that they are doing people a favour by assimilating them into the Collective, and are not violent or even interested in anyone they do not consider either a target or a threat, to the point that you could freely walk around a Borg ship and be completely ignored (although, granted, that's Tempting Fate quite a bit). The fact that they do not consider themselves to be doing anything wrong is probably one of the scariest things about them.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Early Borg designs were more like vampires than anything else, given that they produce "bite marks" on the necks of their victims (from the assimilation tubules) and all short out if the "head vampire" (the Queen) is killed. This was before the Borg's appearance was changed from chalk-white (like a vampire) to looking discolored and gross (like a rotting zombie)
- Our Zombies Are Different: Lily in First Contact referred to the borg as "Bionic Zombies", and B'elanna Torres in Voyager equated the collective as a whole to an insect colony.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The iconic Borg eyepieces always contain laser sights.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The Borg were originally conceived as being more insectoid than anything else. When budgetary restraints dictated that they be played by humans in costume, a different way to make them scary and "inhuman" was needed, so the writers settled on cybernetics and zombie-like behavior, though the Collective as a whole still captures an insectoid vibe.
- Rogue Drone:
- Hugh (rendered from "You") the Borg from the Next Generation. Although he initially follows standard Drone behavior, his separation from the Collective causes him to take a liking to Picard's crew and develop a sense of individuality.
- Seven of Nine from Voyager is the most famous example. Her full designation is 'Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One'. She came forward as an Emissary when Voyager was obliged to form an alliance with the Borg, only to backstab them at the earliest opportunity. Once her link to the collective is severed, she struggles with her rediscovered humanity.
- "Unimatrix Zero" is a subcollective of drones who retain their individuality and can interface while in stasis. They are eventually freed from collective control and start a civil war within the Borg.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: At one point in TNG, Picard's crew debates whether or not they're in a state of war with the Borg. War was never formally declared, but Troi points out that it's only because the Borg don't bother with diplomatic niceties like that.
- Sinister Geometry:
- The Borg cube and sphere. Cubes are exactly that, a maze of redundant systems with no individual piece standing out from than the whole; if a Borg ship is 78% damaged it can continue to function effectively. They're also HUGE (roughly the mass of Manhattan and 12x times bigger than a Galaxy class), and able to overtake the Enterprise at Warp 9. Word of God stated that the "indifference" of the Borg cube is what makes it so scary. Spheres appear to be the Borg equivalent of fighters. There's also the rarely-seen hexagon freighter (fried in a solar flare by Dr. Crusher in "Descent", and seen again in "Dark Frontier") and the Queen's Yacht, which is diamond shaped (also seen in "Dark Frontier").
- Gene Roddenberry originally intended for the Borg to only use spheres, since it can be mathematically proven that a sphere is the most efficient shape (in the sense that no other shape with the same surface area will have as great an interior volume). However, spheres were too hard for the special effects people to produce so he was forced to use cubes instead. Even then, cubes are still a highly efficient shape in and of themselves, and are still the most efficient shape that can tessellate (stack together), something spheres cannot do.
- Story-Breaker Power: If it weren't for Villain Decay, The Borg would be in here easily. Before Star Trek: Voyager, they could basically copy and negate the technology of any species they came across, and design nanites that integrated the physiology of any species they encountered into their collective. One of their ships could bring the Alpha Quadrant and any races less powerful than Organians or Douwds to their knees (case in point, a single Borg Cube requires an entire fleet of Federation ships to combat, and in terms of pure firepower the Cubes still have the edge). Indeed the Borg were so powerful that no good reason was ever given why the Borg hadn't conquered the entire galaxy: the writers could only combat this by handing the Borg multiple Idiot Balls and eventually sticking them in many of Voyager's Idiot Plots.
- Technologically Advanced Foe: In "Q Who" it took the Enterprise crew the entire episode to realize just how hilariously outgunned they were compared to a single Borg Cube.
- The Unfettered: They will do anything to pursue perfection.
- Villain Cred: "Don't! Provoke! The BORG!" ...Said the member of the Q continuum.
- Villain World: The Borg managed to conquer Earth in a possible Bad Future. It is teeming with nine billion Borg, with copper-colored waters, metallic soil, and bridges stretching over the sea like cobwebs. (Star Trek: First Contact)
- In the series proper there is also briefly referenced a parallel universe where Picard was never saved from being Locates and the Borg went on to conquer Earth and spread throughout the Alpha Quadrant. The alternate version of the Enterprise is barely functional from battle damage and blows up trying to escape their universe rather than go back.
- The Virus: Upon assimilation, the subject loses all of their hair, sprouts Tainted Veins (from the nanomachines clogging up their arteries), and develops an ashen, moldy skin coloration.
- Was Once a Man: We see former humans, Romulans, Klingons, and even Bolians amongst their ranks. In Star Trek Online, the universe is at the mercy of Borg Tribbles. They have comparatively-low IQ and emit dialup tones.
- We Have Reserves: To the Borg, individual Borg are like antibodies in a human body — freely sacrificed to protect the whole. Borg will march towards threats heedless of their own safety, as each Borg sacrificed makes adapting to their enemy's weapons that much easier. For the price of a relatively small number of Borg, they're usually guaranteed to get a far greater return.
- Wetware Body: By the time the nanites reach your brain, you are, for all intents and purposes, controlled by the Collective's CPU. Eventually some drones will retrieve you and prepare your body for Borg enhancements. However, you can still do a lot of damage without them.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Their ultimate goal is the attainment of 'perfection' through the forced assimilation of diverse sentient species, technologies, and knowledge.
"Why do you resist? We only wish to raise quality of life, for all species."
- Voice of the Legion: They actually do tend to talk in unison - an individual drone only has a slight 'electronic' edge to their voice.
- You Are Number 6: The Borg do not have individual names, merely designations illustrating their location, sub-group, and function. Typical designations include "Third of Five" and "Seven of Nine".
- You Have No Chance to Survive: A pointed out by SF Debris, the Borg standard hail isn't a threat. It's a verbal equivalent of a wrecking ball. Your species has been selected for assimilation, and that's the end of it. Might as well make it easy on yourself and not try to resist.
- You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: While the Borg have acquired vast stores of knowledge from civilizations they have assimilated, they seem to have lost the ability to innovate. They now learn solely by assimilating knowledge from other races, doing no research or inventing of their own. This proved to be a devastating disadvantage when they faced a species that resisted their assimilation technology.
- Ex-drones have a hideously difficult time adapting to life outside of the Collective, as Seven of Nine demonstrated. Hugh was released back into the wild after being unplugged, with the hope being that he would enlighten them. Instead they formed a brand new Collective (under guidance of the manipulative Lore), even forcibly recruiting others into it.
- The level of difficulty seems to stem mostly from the age and development of the individual prior to assimilation. Most individuals that were assimilated as adults generally regain their individuality fairly quickly, aside from a severe case of PTSD. Picard regained his original personality almost immediately, being fit for duty within a couple of weeks (although Starfleet relegated Picard to duties away from fighting the Borg the next time the collective invaded), and several other examples exist in Voyager. The reason that Seven has such an issue is because she was assimilated as a child and essentially never had a childhood, as the Borg artificially accelerate assimilated children to maturity. The group formed by Lore could have been a Cult Colony that had nothing to do with the Borg, that was only done so they could include Hugh back into the story.
- Zombie Gait: While not zombies as such, the Borg play by many of the rules of zombies, including continuing to plod slowly no matter how many of them get shot, and never using weapons other than their Assimilation Tubes of Doom.
- Averted in the Elite Force games, in which the Borg attack without provocation, move much more quickly, and actually fire their arm cannons. Granted the Borg only fire weapons in this scenario because they are trapped in the same situation Voyager is in, lost a good chunk of their cube to harvesters, and are up against the harvesters as well as Species 8472, two species that cannot be assimilated. The Borg are actually playing their characterization straight, as they adapt to the situation.
- "The sentence is death; let the trial begin."
- Affably Evil:
- The Cardassians aren't thugs like the Klingons, or ice-blooded professionals like the Romulans, or even brutal logicians like the Borg. These are people who can carry on an intelligent conversation and are deeply interested in charming you... so they can insert a knife later.
- Even if they genuinely consider you a friend, it doesn't make them any less dangerous. A Romulan will stab you in the back, and if you ask why, will smirk haughtily and say "For the Glory of Romulus" or something to that effect. A Cardassian will stab you in the back...then apologize profusely. If you ask them why they did it, they'll look at you funny and earnestly reply, "...Because it needed stabbing, obviously?"
- Alien Lunch:
Barry Waddle: You know what Cardassians drink in the morning? Fish juice. Hot fish juice. After six months, I was HOPING the Klingons would invade.
- Any scene with Cardassians will likely include kanar, an alcoholic beverage served in distinctive, spiral-shaped bottles. What's strange about kanar is that it's thick as pudding and dribbles out of the bottleneck like maple syrup. The main ingredient in real life is, in fact, corn syrup, and poor Casey Biggs (DS9's resident lush) got sick from downing so many glasses of it. Kanar can be enjoyed by humans, unlike Vulcan spirits — though O'Brien warned that it seriously takes some getting used to.
- Always Need What You Gave Up: The Cardassians are naturally chagrined at the discovery of a stable wormhole in Bajoran space... after they have already pulled out from Bajor. They're constantly waiting to swoop back in and take it. (All under the guise of helping the new Commander find his sea legs, of course.)
- Armies Are Evil: The military, led by Gul Dukat, extended an olive branch to the Dominion in exchange for their share of the Alpha Quadrant once it was conquered. This didn't work out so well.
- Art Evolution: The weird headgear that the Cardassians wear in their first scene. It looks like Gul Macet goes to work in bondage gear which doesn't exactly convey terror. The body armor is much blockier than normal, and a Cardassian with mutton chops is just wrong.
- Authority in Name Only: Cardassia operates under a tripartite system of the civilian government (Detapa Council) the ruling junta (Central Command) and the intelligence service (Obsidian Order); in practice however, the Counsel was completely toothless and allowed the other two to operate in complete autonomy.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: In the end, the Cardassians were forced to become this: guerrillas fighters struggling to take back their planet.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: The females of their species are turned on by argumentative males. O'Brien learns this the hard way after getting into a spat with a Cardassian engineer. ("I'm very fertile.")
- Big Brother Is Watching: It was said that the average Cardassian could not sit down to dinner without the contents of the meal being noted and logged by the Order.
- Bread and Circuses: Cardassia-Prime is an autocratic military dictatorship which lets the civilians have their say (Detapa Council) and then does whatever it wants to anyway, with the Council serving as a sort of steam valve for popular discontent and opinion but not exercising any actual governance over the country. This changes rapidly, and later forms the basis for a resistance movement against the Founders.
- Televised treason trials are constant and serve as the planet's most-watched form of entertainment. The proceedings are crafted to maximize drama and Schadenfreude, such as prodding the weeping families of the accused to renounce their husbands/fathers/sons and testify against them, to discouraging private conferences between consul (which the viewing audience can't overhear). Odo exploited this flaw in the system by staging continual Courtroom Antics until the Arcon (Judge) finally got sick of him and the case and released Chief O'Brien rather than be further humiliated on live TV.
- Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Exterior shots of Cardassian-Prime always include a giant Jumbotron barking out slogans to the populace.
- Cannon Fodder: Weyoun barely stifles a yawn as Damar (the Dominion figurehead) protests the sacrifices that Cardassia has made and how not one family hasn't lost somebody in the war. The Cardassians are meat shields — the first wave of troops sent into every battle to cushion the blow for the Dominion ships behind.
- Complexity Addiction: This is evident in battle, as seen in "Soldiers of the Empire" in which a Klingon speaks admiringly of Cardassian adversaries who always had "a plan within a plan within a plan leading to a trap". A popular Cardassian board game is Kotra, which, as Garak describes it, favors bold tactical maneuvers over defensive play; hence his annoyance at a Ferengi's attempts to stockpile his 'assets' during their match.
- Deadly Graduation: Within the Obsidian Order, at any rate, having to torture a loved one or close acquaintance is used as a test of loyalty for New Meat recruits. Blegh.
- Deal with the Devil: The Cardassians reach their breaking point when the Founders stop treating them even as second-class citizens: now they're third-class citizens behind the Breen. Unbelievably a secret itemized treaty is drafted offering territorial concession from Cardassia to the Breen but it doesn't list what they are. The Dominion is literally giving chunks of the Empire away. Damar realizes he has to act soon to preserve his peoples' dignity.
- Dumb Is Good: They are meticulous record keepers, even training other worlds on the art of bookkeeping. Like most imperial powers, their art and sciences are second to none. Finally, the Cardassians themselves all have photographic memories, which means you can't even trust them glancing at your tech.
- Early Installment Weirdness: They were originally called the Cardassian Empire, but this was changed much later on, presumably to differentiate them from the Klingon and Romulan Empires. In-universe, their official moniker was changed to the Cardassion "Union" (a name which drips with blancmage) after they became a Dominion territory.
- On a related note, the Obsidian Order were caught building a fleet of next-generation ships in the barren Orias System in "Defiant". Dukat mentioned that the Order never approved of the peace treaty with the Federation, and were planning to re-invade the Badlands with those ships, going entirely over the heads of the Central Command in the process (presumably to set up a kind of "CIA Evil, FBI Good" scenario). Later on in the season, Enabran Tain explains the fleet is part of a joint-operation with the Tal Shiar to launch a first strike on the Changeling's homeworld. This is slightly more in line with the Obsidian Order's stated goals of maintaining security and carrying out espionage.
- Evil Albino: Some Cardassians are a reptilian green, a trait seemingly common to the solider class; others are a chalky white.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Cardassian literature often confounds humans, and vice versa. Garak complains that any fool can figure out during the first act of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar that Brutus is going to betray him, and cannot understand why Caesar doesn't figure this out (or is willfully blind to an impending coup d'état) until the knives are literally coming at him from all directions. Likewise, most Agatha Christie novels cause Cardassians great difficulty; whilst the idea of a VIP being killed under mysterious circumstances appeals, they can't grasp how one person carried out the deed without any help.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: Inverted; Cardassia is a dry planet. The cold-blooded denizens prefer warm climates and dimmed lighting. What humans consider to be room temperature is frigid to a Cardassian.
- Evil Virtues: Cardassian culture is fervently patriotic, and while the ugly facist side of that all-consuming fixation on dutiful obedience is frequently noted, their willingness to endure misery and misfortune in the name of duty is often admired.
- Evil vs. Evil/Interservice Rivalry: There has always been friction between Central Command and the Obsidian Order as their mission statements didn't gel; the former worked to expand Cardassia's borders, and the latter fought to insulate them. This power-sharing agreement finally came to an end when the Order launched a botched attack on the Changelings' homeworld in the Omarion Nebula without permission from the military. This failure allowed the Central Command to disband the Order, but at the cost of crippling Cardassian security. This resulted in the dissident movement gaining significant ground and restoring the authority of the Detapa Council. For a time the government was concerned mostly with putting down riots all over the planet.
- Family Values Villains: In theory. Cardassian culture is for the most part a deeply nurturing and family-oriented culture, but there are many ugly exceptions to the rule.
Picard: When children are taught to devalue others, they learn to devalue everything else. Including their parents.
- Fantastic Racism: Dubbed "Cardies" and "Spoonheads" by veterans of the Cardassian-Federation war. The Cardassian government clearly had a much worse racism against Bajorans, tormenting them in huge numbers in Holocaust-type death camps.
- False Reassurance: Cardassian jurists are more like father confessors. The Judge presiding over the Miles O'Brien case assured his Captain that the Chief was enjoying "the most efficient criminal investigation system in the quadrant" and "the best counsel in all Cardassia." Sounds great, but run it through the Newspeak translator and you soon discover what Cardassian "efficiency" really means. ("Tribunal")
O'Brien: Have you ever won a case?
Public Conservator: Winning isn't everything!
- Generational Saga / Patriotic Fervor: One of their most revered forms of literature is the repetitive epic, which traces a family throughout history, focusing on each generation's virtually identical allegiance to the state. Dr. Bashir finds it dull as dishwater.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: A good Cardassian never has a single hair out of place.
- Slipknot Ponytail: The standard Cardassian hairstyle is severely slicked back and shiny, to compliment their reptilian features and metallic uniforms. Whenever a Cardassian gets their hair out of order, it's a sign that sh!t just got serious.
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Central Command would not move on the issue of Dominion encroachment or the wild attacks of the Klingon Empire. The reasons for this are numerous. For one thing, the Federation's peace treaty, while skewed in Cardassia's favor, discredited the military and loosened their grip on the homeworld; the Central Command were rapidly losing authority to the Detapa Council, who wanted to move toward peaceful coexistence with their neighbors. (To paraphrase Spock, the Council had the right idea, but at the wrong time.) The Central Command were also afraid of losing even more territories in a war. Thirdly, opportunists like Dukat were secretly brokering an alliance with the Dominion, leaving them in an advantageous position when the Jem'Hadar finally invaded. Gowron and Garak also suggested that there might have been Changeling infiltrators on Cardassia-Prime to promote a policy of non-aggression.
- Hobbes Was Right:
- Cardassia was originally a peaceful, spiritual planet not unlike Bajor. A mass famine resulted in the junta we see today.
- The most maddening thing about Cardassia is the unflagging pride in their culture and the attempts to 'educate' the Bajoran people. The arrogance of this race knows no bounds: they excuse the raping of a planet and its people in the name of progress.
- Hollywood Atheist: Most of Cardassia's finest religious artifacts were sold in order to beef up the military. Symbolically, this represented the Cardassians (then-known as "Hebitians") exchanging their old faith for a quasi-fanatical nationalism.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Dukat's assessment of the Cardassians is that they were once a race whose very name bred fear and now they are just bit players, too frightened to fight back in case they lose what little is left. Unknowingly Dukat has put his finger on why the Cardassians are so quick to submit to the Dominion. Developments next year would see them regain their once mighty reputation only to watch them fall father than ever before.
- Intertwined Fingers: Touching palms is the equivalent of a kiss on the cheek.
- Kangaroo Court: Court proceedings work in reverse on Cardassia. Sentencing is determined from the start, and then a sham trial is conducted on live TV for the purposes of celebrating "the wisdom of the state". The most illustrious defense attorney on Cardassia has a win/loss record like Glass Joe's.
- A defense lawyer who actually wins a case, even by accident, is executed for not doing their job poorly enough.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Dominion came with promises of extending Cardassia's power. However, they ended up consuming their resources, causing their territory to shrink, and occupied their homeworld with various Dominion-affiliated species.
- When Damar led a resistance group against their "allies", the Dominion retaliated by implementing a scorched earth-policy on Cardassia-Prime. Luckily, the Founder in charge was taken into custody before she could kill them all. However, the ruination of their home planet set Cardassian culture back a hundred years — just as the Cardassian occupation had set back the Bajorans. Also, the Cardassian Union is completely smashed and Garak no longer recognizes his homeworld. It's interesting the words he uses: He declares that Cardassia is "guilty as charged." For a species obsessed with law and order, turning such a loaded term on his own government is a huge paradigm shift.
- Lizard Folk: Self-explanatory. We've come a long way from the Gorn. In "The Way of the Warrior", when some Klingons beat up Garak, Bashir mentions they fractured "seven of his tranverse ribs", also known as gastralia which protect a lizard's soft underbelly. Probably a throwaway line, but it checks out.
- Meet the New Boss: They could be also considered a refinement of the Romulan menace on TNG, as they were introduced just as Sela and her cohorts were phased out. (Funnily enough, the Cardassian Elim Garak, no stranger to magnificent bastardry himelf, threw shade on the entire Romulan race in "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges".)
- The Cardassians really are to the nineties what the Klingons and Romulans were to the sixties: While Gene's generation were scared of a monolithic 'other' threatening atomic annihilation, the nineties brought the fear of government surveillance, false flag operations and political upheaval.
- They were also finally a believable villain for the later seasons of TNG. The Ferengi were ultimately too comical to be villains and proved to be better as comic relief characters. Meanwhile, the Borg went too far into Eldritch Abomination territory for the TNG writers to come up with a believable plot with Collective as the antagonist after Best of Both Worlds, with only a rogue group of drones under Lore's command making any further appearance during the series (Later retcons in Star Trek: First Contact at least allowed Voyager writers to feature them). Thus the Cardassians were created to serve the antagonist role.
- Men Are Uncultured: Similar to the Romulans, the Cardassians don't discriminate based on gender. However, there is some shoehorning regarding their vocation: men are expected to enlist in the military, leaving the sciences and engineering fields to the women. While we see no evidence of Cardassian men being inferior in these areas, it has given rise to a bias that men can't even replace a spark plug without help.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name:
Doctor: Are we also going to tell them where you honed your surgical techniques? A footnote, perhaps. "For further details, see: Cardassian death camps."
- The allusions to the treatment of prisoners during the Second World War is not even slightly disguised. Picard is put through the physical and psychological hell in "Chain of Command" including sensory deprivation, sensory bombardment, forced nakedness, stress positions, dehydration, starvation, physical pain and cultural humiliation — and this is just the warm-up for his interrogation. He has always been shown to be the stalwartiest of Starfleet Captains, only breaking once when he was physically and psychologically stripped of his identity (when he was turned into Locutus of Borg). This time an Obsidian Order agent (David Warner) finishes the job for them.
- If the Occupation of Bajor is compared with the Holocaust (with Gallitep standing in for Auschwitz), the Cardassians never really faced their Nuremberg. They escaped justice and resumed their policy of colonial expansion.
- The ethics of using Nazi science are discussed in "Nothing Human" (VOY), in which the Doctor revives a Mengele-type from the Bajoran Occupation as a hologram. Naturally, the Cardassian scientist is all honey when chatting about his work. Eventually the Doctor deletes the hologram when the subject's horrors come to light.
- Police State: It was boasted that even the poorest Cardassian citizen could walk the streets without fear... of the civilian population, that is.
- Psychic Block Defense: The Obsidian Order's agent training program is so advanced that they are made immune to most forms of interrogation, including Vulcan mind melds.
- The Quisling: Cardassia was the first Alpha Quadrant power to sign on with the Dominion, in direct opposition to the Federation. When Dukat says that everything he is doing is to make Cardassia strong again you can see a semblance of logic (there's that word again) behind selling his people out.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: They are reputed to display pack-like behavior, desiring to establish — or at least determine — dominance in any social situation. They're also self-confessed xenophobes.
- Retired Monster: For the most part, the head honchos who ran the Bajoran occupation went on holiday and were never punished. Crell Moset, a virologist who performed illegal experiments on Bajoran slaves, was rewarded with a chair at a top university. Garak is running a clothier's, though he was actually forced into retirement. Some of the collaborators fled to Cardassia Prime. Kubus Oak, a Bajoran official who worked closely with the occupiers, rubber-stamped extradition orders sending his countrymen to their deaths in the mines. After going into hiding on Cardassia, he decided to retire to Bajor, confident he would never be tried. (Indeed, the government was forced to grant him amnesty out of embarrassment for other untold crimes.)
- Salt the Earth: On their way out of Bajor, they trashed the station and the planet itself was ecologically devastated, almost certainly intentionally rather than general disregard. Karma caught up with them when the Dominion tried to glass Cardassia in retaliation for the Cardassians turning on them in the final hours of the Dominion War.
- The Social Darwinist: In the relaunch novels, Cardassia is a world defined by its hunger. It's a survival-at-any-price mentality and a determination to endure no matter the cost which fuels the Union.
- The Spartan Way: Cardassians favor tough-minded pragmatism over the kinder emotions. Dukat once declared, "Education is power, joy is vulnerability", the Cardassian credo for raising one's children. Gul Ghemor was a dissenter, expressing regret over his daughter abandoning her sculptures to join an intelligence outfit. "Cardassia could use more artists."
- Secret Police: Cardassia-Prime has its own flavor of the Tal Shiar, the "Obsidian Order."
- Take Up My Sword: Another heartwarming Cardassian family tradition. On his deathbed, the father uses his dying breaths to read a list of names. It falls to the eldest son to ensure daddy's enemies don't go unpunished.
- The Shri-tal is normally read to family members, but there are exceptions: Legate Ghemor told his secrets to Kira Nerys, whom he considered a surrogate daughter, even though she was Bajoran. ("Ties of Blood and Water") Garak also allowed a human, Dr. Bashir, to be present during his father's dying breaths, although his father had gone blind and assumed that they were alone (plus all his enemies were already dead).
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The females have telltale blue marks on their foreheads and neck ridges. Their lips are also a darker hue.
- This Means War!: The Dominion destroys a major population center, Lakarian City, to set an example for any other would-be heroes who might support the revolution. This act of cowardice causes the Cardassian ships to break from the rest of the fleet and turn their guns on the Founders.
- Torture First, Ask Questions Later:
- Torture is so ubiquitous in the C.U. that it's practically a cultural custom. If a prisoner is said to be "well-treated", you can bet that unfortunate person is getting the full treatment, all right.
- Cardassians are known to enjoy torturing their prisoners whether there is information to be extracted or not. For instance, the Orwellian "Bureau of Identification" has the bland task of keeping dental records of all Cardassians, usually by Age 10. Non-Cardassians who commit crimes in their space are also required to hand over a molar. This is akin to being tortured by the DMV. (The supervisor's cheery “would you care to make a confession?” is a nice, customer service-orientated approach to police brutality.)
- In a nice Terry Gilliam touch, we see a Torture Technician inviting his young daughter into the chamber in a parody of Take Your Child To Work Day. The fact that he doesn't hide his work from his children is creepy but it drives home their survivalist attitude, showing humans to be squeamish and weak.
- We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: Initially, the peace-loving Bajorans welcomed their Cardassian visitors. The Cardassians repaid their hospitality by occupying Bajor for fifty years, during which time they forced many Bajorans into slave labor, using them in their various mining operations.
- Wicked Cultured: The Cardassian education system is top-of-the-line, even by Federation standards. They seem to produce Magnificent Bastards at an unusually high rate.
- Boasting about one's education and intellectual prowess is considered a form of flirting among Cardassians.
- Witch Hunt: When Picard spoke of the "drumhead trials" in Earth's past, he might well have been describing Cardassia's legal system. Fake charges have also been known to happen. But that doesn't matter because there is only one verdict on Cardassia, and that verdict is always the same.
"Whatever you've done, whatever the charges against you, none of that really matters in the long run... This trial is to demonstrate the futility of behavior contrary to good order."
- Wrench Wench: The females of the species have a high aptitude for engineering, coding, and (according the novels) medicine. Whether this is by nature or nurture is up for debate.
- The EMH on Voyager encountered a holographic Cardassian who could repair her own software and was entirely self-taught.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In addition to invading weaker worlds to 'civilize' them, Cardassians regularly pick each other off, too, seeing no need to waste resources on that which is no longer useful.
- You Talk Too Much: Conversation might just be the best tool in their arsenal, as even the planet's head spymaster agreed. Most Cardassians love the sound of their own voice. As a downside, they find silence most unsettling. (Garak once broke a man by mutely staring at him for hours.)
- "Such a deeply spiritual culture. But they make a dreadful ale. Don't ever trust an ale from a god-fearing people."
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: In the Mirror Universe, these guys are actually handing out assignments to the Klingons and the Cardassians, and have the Terran Empire on the run. They more or less function as The Dominion of that reality.
- In an alternate timeline ("Parallels"), the Bajorans swapped places with the Cardassians (complete with a Cardassian at Ro Laren's bridge station) and had powerful warships.
- Art Shift: A rare Live-Action example. In their first appearances, the Bajorans' trademark ridged nose was augmented by a triangular almost-Rubber Forehead (Note Ro Laren above). This was present throughout TNG and the first season of DS9 before being eliminated.
- The exact shape of their Nose Ridges changes, as well. Both from person to person and for individual Bajorans (ESPECIALLY Kira).
- Bizarre Alien Biology: During pregnancy, Bajoran women suffer from uncontrollable bouts of sneezing (rather than morning sickness). The delivery itself is a tantric experience, with relaxing incense and chimes.
- The Bajoran heart features a horizontal cardiac axis, unlike the Human heart, which has a vertical axis.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Bajor was first introduced on TNG, where it was always referred to as "Bajora" with the extra letter at the end.
- Express Delivery: Vascularization between a Bajoran fetus and the mother is extremely high. Bajoran women carry their babies for only five months.
- Fanservice with a Smile: Quark's Dabo girls. Not all Bajoran women are nuns, after all. Interestingly, even these stacked bombshells are quite religious in private.
- Fantastic Caste System: Bajoran society used to have a strictly divided caste system (called a "D'jarra") which dictated one's profession. The castes were inherited through families and it was impossible to switch out of the caste you were born in. During the Cardassian occupation, the caste system was abandoned so that everyone could devote themselves to the task of fighting off the Cardassians, and the Bajorans did not return to the system after the occupation ended (at the beginning of Deep Space Nine). The Occupation lasted over 50 years, so the caste system hasn't been in place for half a century - this extends to the point that virtually all Bajorans (most of whom grew up after the caste system was abandoned) just consider it a historical artifact with absolutely no bearing on their lives (sort of like how someone with the last name "Smith" doesn't even frequently think that one of their ancestors was probably a blacksmith). Even the religious clergy of the Bajorans make no attempt to re-institute the caste system. It has so little bearing on the lives of modern Bajorans that only one episode even mentioned the former caste system, though it featured as the main plot...
- One episode has a time-traveling Bajoran, claiming to be the Emissary, try to restore the caste system, which would have cost Bajor its chance at Federation membership. Sisko, despite his reluctance to fulfill the Messianic Archetype he had been previously bestowed, eventually challenged the time-traveller for the Emissary title after caste-based discrimination led to violence on the station. We learn that Kira is actually a member of the artisan-caste, forbidden to serve as military officers, so she (temporarily) has to leave her post and take up sculpting (and she's really bad at it).
- Hufflepuff House: There is still some resentment toward the Federation over their handling of the occupation (or lack therof). In 2369, when Benjamin Sisko was assigned command of DS9, one of his main tasks was to groom Bajor for official membership with the Federation. However, Sisko, acting as Emissary of the Prophets, realized that if Bajor were to join at that time, it would be destroyed by the Federation's many enemies; heeding his warning, Bajor chose to remain neutral.
- According to the Star Trek Novel Verse, Bajor finally formally joined the Federation in 2376, the year after the Dominion War ended. The Bajoran Militia was absorbed into Starfleet.
- Iconic Item: Their earrings, which serve as a coat of arms for their families (a leftover from the old Bajoran caste system?). It is also a symbol of their faith: a Bajoran cleric could gain information about a person's "pagh," or aura, by holding onto their left ear.
- La Résistance: Most major Bajoran characters were part of it. The others were members of the clergy.
- Lady Land: Bajor has some shades of this. Their only-functioning military arm, the Bajoran militia, is still predominantly male. However, it's a female Kai who calls the shots. (Men are free to run in the papal election, but we never see one win.)
- Bajoran woman are also noted for being tough cookies; O'Brien's first question to Sisko when he stepped onboard the station was if he'd ever served with one, cautiously referring to the furious Kira in the upstairs office.
- Also Ro Laren.
- Bajoran woman are also noted for being tough cookies; O'Brien's first question to Sisko when he stepped onboard the station was if he'd ever served with one, cautiously referring to the furious Kira in the upstairs office.
- Last Name Basis: Bajoran tradition places the family name before the given name, in the Asian style.
- Occupiers Off of Our Planet: They were this to the Cardassians during the occupation.
- Religious Bruiser: At times. Though their lack of power means they spend more time getting bruised then bruising. Their faith does give them an extreme tenacity in adverse conditions which other races can find surprising, given that they don't like war and would prefer philosophical/religious contemplation and the arts. The Cardassians found this out the hard way in the forty year long military occupation of Bajor: the resistance had little more than rocks at some points, but they just plain refused to give up. During Dukat's breakdown in "Waltz", he angrily expresses his frustration that no matter what they did, the Bajorans still prayed in their temples for deliverance, and Bajorans - from the prisoner being worked to death in a slave labor camp to the servant girl who cleaned his quarters - still looked at him with defiance in their eyes. Their faith gave them to the strength to keep the Cardassians from breaking them.
- Heck, even the Jem'Hadar compliment the Bajorans: after they slaughtered the New Bajor colony in the Gamma Quadrant, their envoy remarks that they actually fought quite well, "for a religious people" - he was surprised and impressed by how they fought to the bitter end.
- It's insinuated that under different circumstances, the Bajorans could be just as intimidating and barbaric as the Cardassians. See also the Voyager episode "Flesh and Blood", in which the Hirogen developed holographic targets based on images of Alpha Quadrant races that they downloaded. The resident Cardassian, a female programmer, ends up being rehabilitated, while the token Bajoran turns malevolent and nearly initiates a war versus all "organics".
- The Revolution Will Not Be Bureaucratized: The Bajorans have endured decades of empty promises; they aren't going to duped by more of the same from the Federation. Once the Cardassians finally packed up and left, the survivors began to show every indication of sliding back into superstition, caste lines, and tribal warfare. Starfleet deploys Ben Sisko and a small platoon to keep the peace, but adding more bureaucracy is hardly what the Bajorans want.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: When they get worked up, they really don't care who pays for another's crime.
- Skeleton Government: The Provisional Government was set up after the occupation ended. Most people expect it to implode right away, leading to firing squads and civil war. Luckily, that didn't happen, but the Kai (a cross between the Pope and, well, planet-wide regent) is still the de facto ruler of the planet. Let's hope a total megalomaniac doesn't get herself elected ...wait.
- A three-part DS9 episode, 'Homecoming', 'The Circle', and 'The Siege', featured a story arc about the Provisional Government and its inability to defuse an explosive political revolution.
- By about Season 5, the Provisional Government seems to have been replaced with a standing government known as the Council of Ministers.
- Space Elves: Subverted. While they are mystically minded they don't have an Our Elves Are Better air to them. However, the Bajorans are a very religious people, and can get pretty haughty about anything that doesn't quite gel with their beliefs.
- Space Jews: Although the writers for DS9 stated that the Bajorans were modeled after any number of oppressed cultures throughout the ages, they do have a lot of parallels with Jewish history. For one, they have one of the oldest civilizations in the Alpha Quadrant; there's also that bit about managing to reclaim their spiritual homeland after centuries of languishing under foreign domination.
- The writers in TNG said that at the time of their introduction, one of their stronger influences was actually the Palestinians - the idea that there were refugee camps of Bajorans who had fled their occupied territories. This idea influenced faded by DS 9. Even then, though, the TNG writers cited that they could just as equally be Poland under the Nazis, Colonial Africa under the Europeans, or Korea occupied by Japan.
- We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The Cardassians forced the Bajorans to strip their planet down at gunpoint. Perversely, the multidue of deaths within the mines are well documented because the Cardassians are too anal-retentive not to keep meticulous records.
- Written by the Winners: There's a very effective voiceover where Picard talks about the achievements of the ancient Bajorans which plays over a pan across the ruins of a settlement where they are now barely reaching subsistence level. On Cardassia, they teach that Bajor was a backwards planet that never accomplished anything of note until the Occupation taught them to straighten up and fly right.
"Every new life for a Trill has to be a new life. If not, you wind up paying off old debts forever."Trills have evolved to coexist with an ageless alien slug (known as a symbiont) in their abdomen. Ordinary Trills are weak, standard humanoids; when "joined", however, they gain the knowledge and experience of the symbiont's previous hosts. Left to their own devices, the symbionts are an endangered species, living out a dull existence in underground pools. The Trills sported a rubber forehead on TNG, but makeup artist Micheal Westmore unashamedly changed their look when Terry Farrell was cast as one. Westmore then suggested, "meh, just give her spots like we gave Famke", and the rest is history.
- Bizarre Alien Biology:
- They are noted for their cold hands, for some reason. This is probably the least bizarre thing about them.
- The brain of a joined Trill has two cerebral nuclei and two brain wave patterns. Dr. Bashir compared them with two linked computers, which both work for the same task.
- Body Surf: In a toss-up, the life of the symbiont matters more than its host's. In the event of sudden injury, sometimes the body is sacrificed to keep the worm alive.
- Can't Live Without You: Ninety-three hours after the joining, the host and symbiont are completely interdependent, but once that threshold is passed, the joining can't be reversed without killing the host. Worse yet, an unjoined Trill will suffer a panic attack at losing all of their memories and talents.
- Likewise, the symbiont will also die unless returned to their habitat (pools of nutrient-rich milk on the Trill homeworld) or rejoined within 48 hours.
- Early Installment Weirdness: It's not a fault of TNG that DS9 would later state that the Trill have a much larger presence in the Federation than is initially shown (Curzon Dax was responsible for the signing of the Khitomer accords, probably the single most important piece of legislation next to the Prime Directive) but in hindsight it jars with the "The Host", which goes to great pains to show that nobody in Starfleet (not even the esteemed Dr. Bev) knows anything about the nature of these beings.
- Fantastic Caste System: The joined have more prestige then the unjoined.
- The Hedonist: A largely positive example. As part of their contribution to their symbiont's massive library of experiences, Trill hosts are encouraged to indulge in just about every pleasure under the sun(s).
- Heroic Host: The Dax symbiont helped negotiate the Khitomer accords, and even (gulp) dated Bones McCoy in medical school.
- Humanoid Aliens: The only outside difference is the leopard-like spots on the neck.
- Immortality Bisexuality: Dax has been married six times: Four times as the bride, and twice as the groom. In one episode, Jadzia Dax bucks the system and kisses her former spouse, who happens to be a lady. Odan tried to put the moves on Dr. Crusher once his symbiont was transplanted into a woman, but, being as this aired in 1991, she emphatically said no.
- Kangaroo Pouch Ride: The symbionts are surginally inserted through a slit in their host's abdomen.
- Literal Split Personality:
- The zhian'tara, the Trill answer to the Vulcan katra. It allows joined Trill to convene with their previous hosts for a day. During the rite, the personalities of the old hosts are telepathically implanted into willing participants (usually loved ones or friends) by an employee of the Symbiosis Commission.
- Trills can also commune with old hosts on their own using the Rite of Emergence, though it only works on one personality. This involves lots of chanting and an incense pot full of mud; possibly the kind the symbionts live in, though this is just conjecture.
- Little Bit Beastly: The spots go "all the way down", baby.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Joined Trills have a big legacy to live up to. With that in mind, the most important quality looked for in candidates (after high intelligence and aptitude in their chosen field) seems to be a bon vivant personalty that has a good chance to nurture a noted scientist, artist, or politician.
- The Masquerade: It was originally guessed that only a small fraction (0.01%) of the Trill population was suitable for being joined, a myth that the Trill government continues to perpetuate, lest the symbionts become a commodity to be bought, sold and fought over. As long as it is widely believed that only the chosen few can become hosts, the government reasons, such piracy can be avoided.
- No Biochemical Barriers: Averted just this one time. In rare cases, symbionts can be joined with non-Trills, but the differences in biology means this is only a stop-gap. ("The Host", TNG) Commander Riker was briefly joined to the Odan symbiont so that Odan could complete peace negotiations, and to keep Odan alive until a replacement host arrived. While this ordeal saved Odan's life, it nearly killed Riker.
- The Nth Doctor/Really 700 Years Old: The symbionts. The humanoid Trill have a lifespan close to humans'.
- Progressively Prettier: In addition to the forehead, we never see Dax's enflamed belly bulge out disturbingly as Odan's does in "The Host", and more importantly he doesn't sport the distinctive Trill markings. There are definite perks to being a Trek regular.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Trill are strongly allergic to insect bites, because the toxins interfere with the biochemical reactions between host and symbiont ("The Siege", DS9).
- You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: The symbionts are helpless, slimy worms who possess the know-how of their previous hosts, but lack the important stuff, like hands.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Joined Trill are forbidden to marry someone they were married to in a previous life. This is done in order to prevent "an aristocracy of the joined", according to René Echevarria. Word of God is that the episode delving into this particular taboo was written specifically so the two current hosts were both female, allowing audiences in the 1990s to identify with an otherwise comploetely alien custom.
Species debuting in Deep Space Nine
- "We're smarter than solids. We're better than you. And most importantly: we do not fear you the way you fear us. In the end, it's your fear that will destroy you."
- Abusive Alien Parents: The Great Link launched 100 infant Changelings (including Odo and Laas) into the Alpha Quadrant to make contact with alien races. The idea was to gauge the treatment of helpless foundlings by each planet; if the Changeling was cared for, then the planet was ripe for infiltration. If the natives reacted poorly to shapeshifters in their midst, then they're bad news and should be wiped out. (Hang on...) The Great Link seemed unconcerned about the safety and psychological adjustment of the infants during this exercise.
- The Ageless:
- Odo lived over two hundred years in a possible timeline, and looked no worse for wear. Laas far outlived his wife. It's possible that Changelings age much slower than humanoids do — we see a Changeling infant, after all — but the change is so imperceptible that it may as well be this trope.
- There's also the Female Changeling's comment that the Founders hadn't been expecting any of the infants they sent out coming back any time soon, along with an implication they'd sent them out a long time before (Odo was several decades old, but her implication was he'd been away far longer).
- Alien Sea: The Great Link resembles a reddish ocean.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Their highest law is that no Changeling shall ever harm another.
- They don't always follow this law faithfully. After Odo killed a fellow Changeling, the Founders afflicted him with an infection that would have killed him unless he returned to the Great Link for judgment. Also, in "The Die is Cast," the Changeling posing as Lovok did not intervene when Garak tortured Odo. (And he also forgot to tell the Jem'Hadar not to attack the shuttle that he gave Odo to escape in.)
- Appropriated Appellation: According to one Founder, "Changeling" was originally a slur used by Solids. This species adopted the name and persevered to make it evoke awe as well as fear.
- Asshole Victim: Considering their bigotry and history of genocide, every changeling that died pretty much qualifies.
- Badass Long Robe: Founders all wear the same flowing pink garment, which is ankle-length and slightly resembles an Arabic thawb robe. They were changed to orange by Season Four. It's not very intimidating, but it does get across that the Dominion has been kicking around for 2,000 years and hasn't changed much in that time.
- Blob Monster: Their true form is a shifting, translucent reddish ooze.
- Combat Tentacles: Shapeshifters are able to fire tendrils across a room.
- Control Freak: Their hat. Even Odo, Deep Space Nine's Token Heroic Orc, has heavy tendencies towards this, bordering on Super OCD at times. Their obsessive need for order and control is implied (and sometimes outright stated) to be a reaction to their own malleable, ever-changing physiology.
- Crapsaccharine World: In "The Search", the Changeling homeworld first appears to be a pleasant planet of gardens and monoliths. Covering the planet is the Great Link, a sea of liquid Changelings living in blissful physical union with each other. Later, viewers learn that the Changeling Founders are conformist, hostile to "solids", and the tyrannical leaders of the Dominion.
- Designer Babies: The Vorta were once a minor biped race. The Founders fast-tracked their evolution: sharpening certain characteristics (intelligence, loyalty), and restricting others to keep them helpless & dependent on the Jem'Hadar. The Jem'Hadar were programmed to be the perfect soldiers, with only one flaw: they are born with an addiction to White, an insurance policy against insurrection. Most importantly, if the Dominion were to collapse tomorrow, the troops would pay the price in dead. The Jem'Hadar would go mad without their drug supply, killing all the Vorta before topping themselves.
- Disproportionate Retribution: It's practically their bread and butter. Violating their territory, even without knowing it, is grounds for them to send the Jem'hadar to kill you. Attacking them, even in self-defense, is grounds for them to declare war and try to wipe your entire species out.
- Divide and Conquer: The Founders didn't anticipate making contact with our side of the galaxy for another 300 years. Since they rely on the Bajoran wormhole for reinforcements and supplies, they wisely decided against a direct strike on Bajor and instead sent a cadre of spies/ambassadors to soften up the Alpha Quadrant powers: Earth, Romulus, Qo'nos, and Cardassia Prime. The Cardassians and Romulans were infiltrated first, suckering them into an ambush inside a nebula where the more hawkish elements of the Quadrant — the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar — were severely weakened or destroyed. The Klingons came next, with the Chancellor's top advisor replaced by a Changeling who goaded him into attacking some outlying Cardassian colonies. Initially, all three species regarded the Dominion as a looming threat; the Romulans even loaned Starfleet one of their cloaking devices to do some snooping around in the Gamma Quadrant. But once war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire flared up, Romulus decided to sit back and watch how this played out.
Sisko: The Founders see it as their sacred duty to bring "order" to the galaxy—their order! Do you think they'll sit idly by while you keep your chaotic empire right next to their perfect order? NO! If you watch us go under, then what you're really doing is signing your own death warrant!
- The Dividual: The Founders don't see any real need for names or identities of their own. When asked about the relationship between the Founders as a whole and the Great Link, Odo was only told "the ocean becomes the drop".
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Section 31 virus which afflicts the Changeling race is reminiscent of the HIV epidemic. First, the virus is spread by the physically intimate act of linking, the closest Changeling analog to sex. Like HIV, the virus is lethal, at least until a cure is discovered in season 7. The lesions that appear on the infected Female Changeling resemble Kaposi's sarcoma, a cancer that sometimes co-occurs with AIDS. Finally, the virus is deliberately developed by Section 31, a shadow organization under the Federation government, as a means of bringing about a Changeling genocide. This strategy is reminiscent of early conspiracy theories surrounding the origins of HIV.
- Driven to Villainy: It's been suggested by Weyoun and others that humanoids have an intrinsic fear of shapeshiters. The maladaption of the Changelings to a hostile universe is understandable.
- Dying Race: The Changeling race is dying from a virus engineered by Section 31. In the series finale, Odo returns to the Great Link to cure his people of the virus.
- Eviler Than Thou/Out-Gambitted: The downfall of the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar is beautifully timed as 150 Jem H'adar ships make themselves apparent. Suddenly, the big boys of the Alpha Quadrant don't cut the mustard anymore. The Founders have vacated their planet, an armada is waiting and they have a Changeling spy in their midst who orchestrated the whole "operation" to mop up the two biggest intelligence agencies in the Quadrant so the invasion could start in earnest.
- Evil Counterpart: The Dominion emblem is a black diamond with single white star, possibly representing the Changeling homeworld. It's a stark contrast from the patriotic Federation banner with its many stars.
- Evilutionary Biologist: They either created or heavily modified the Vorta and Jem'Hadar to do the heavy lifting for them.
- Fantastic Racism: They don't trust "Solids", or "monoforms". In part, it's because centuries ago, Solids didn't trust them, and they were on the receiving end of a lot of Fantastic Racism. It left them embittered and paranoid.
- Fantasy Axis of Evil: The Dominion is a deconstruction of the Federation by Ira Behr and others. The "Big Three" races of Trek — Humans, Vulcans, and Klingons — are parodied and done in reverse:
- Founders: Eldritch. The Founders went out into the universe to meet new races and add to their sum total of knowledge of other species but they were beaten, hunted, and killed.
- Vorta: Crafty. Has pointy ears and specializes in diplomacy. Where the Vulcans are honest to a fault, Vorta thrive on deceit.
- Jem'Hadar: Savage, obviously — Though they aren't particularly happy about it. To contrast with their foils, the Klingons, Jem'Hadar are obsessed with the chain of command and rarely misbehave.
- Cardassians: Fallen, once they join up.
- Freudian Excuse: The Female Changling claims that her race was abused and persecuted by solids in the past, thus they try to control solids to prevent it from happening again.
- A God Am I: Their slave-races believe them to be such, and they're certainly in no hurry to disabuse them.
- God King: In the eyes of the Vorta and Jem'Hadar.
- G-Rated Sex: Linking.
- Guilt-Free Extermination War: Played with. Many in the series see them this way, but there are still some who try to argue that genocide, even against the changelings, is wrong. Not that the changelings themselves have ever had any problem with genocide.
- He Who Fights Monsters: More ironic still, it's hinted that the changelings were only persecuted by solids after they started the whole dominion thing.
- Hive Mind: The Great Link.
- Homage: The blood test is ripped squarely from The Thing (1982) but given the inimitable Trek twist of morphing into alien slime.
- Just the First Citizen: The "Founders" is a purposely misleading title. Which species? Male or female? How many? Nobody in the Gamma Quadrant is even certain if they exist.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After untold years of Blighting any planet which dared to resist them, the Changelings were laid low by a Federation bioweapon.
- Make an Example of Them: The nuking of Lakarian City wasn't one of their brighter moves, but it's understandable given the sick Changeling's desperation. Truth be told, she never cared for Cardassians and had pledged to eradicate them after the Omarion attack, but relented once they agreed to put a Dominion garrison on their soil.
- When Teplan was still powerful, they thought that nothing was beyond them and they could even defeat the Dominion. It's the same fate that could so easily happen to Earth if they defy them: the Jem H'adar obliterated this world and left behind the Blight as a parting gift, condemning them all to a painful death.
- The Man Behind the Man: Starfleet initially mistook the Dominion emissaries, known as the Vorta, to be the Founders themselves. The Vorta were happy to nod along and further the confusion, until Odo stumbled upon a rogue planet the Changelings were hiding on.
- Moral Myopia/It's All About Us: The Changeling homeworld rivals Equestria in terms of peace and love. Yet they are ruthless in enforcing rules and boundaries on other cultures.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: All Changelings share the same medium height and build while in human form, but they're a lot stronger than they look. Odo stopped a free-falling lift with his bare hands. The Female Changeling was able to lift a Cardassian man by the neck while in her death throes. You can imagine what a Changeling at full strength might do.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name:
- Like the Nazis, the Founders consider themselves intrinsically superior to "solids" and justify their constant border wars as a need for protection. Even, say... breathing room?
- It is fitting that a Vorta is the one who puts forward a Final Solution for dealing with the Cardassian rebels. He is taken aback when the Founder not only embraces this idea but commits the rest of their forces to a planet-wide extermination of the species.
Weyoun: That...might take some time...
Founder: Then I suggest that you begin at once.
- The Needless: They do not require food, water, or oxygen to survive. They rejuvenate naturally by reverting back to ooze for an hour or two.
Quark: The Jem'Hadar don't eat, don't drink, and they don't have sex. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Founders don't eat, don't drink, and they don't have sex either. Which, between you and me, makes my financial future less than promising.
- In fact, this is a key component of their servant races, too. Undoubtedly, the Founders lack an understanding of or even respect for basic humanoid desires. This was played for laughs by Ziyal (albeit unknowingly) when she gets fed up with Quark complaining about his business suffering under the Dominion.
Ziyal: It might not be so bad. For all we know, the Vorta could be gluttonous, alcoholic sex-maniacs.
- No Biochemical Barriers: Averted. The Section 31 virus is deadly to Changelings but harmless to humanoids. Likewise, diseases that afflict humanoids aboard Deep Space Nine do not affect Odo.
- No Body Left Behind: A dead Changeling simply reverts to his liquid state or, in the case of one Founder ("The Ship"), crumble into black ash. Mirror Odo exploded into gibs when shot with a phaser.
- One-Gender Race: In their natural state, Changelings are sexless. However, some seem to prefer a masculine or feminine gender presentation while in humanoid form.
- Paranoia Gambit: A favored tactic, often seeking to provoke Divided We Fall among the Alpha Quadrant.
- Planet of Hats: Above all else each and every blob that makes up the Changeling race loves law and order and seeks to impose them wherever they see lawlessness and chaos. For the Founders it means creating a fascist interstellar empire and controlling their subjects right down to the genetic level while for the much less morally bankrupt Odo it simply means protecting the peace of his community as a policeman (and making sure that everything in his apartment is always in exactly the right place). Either way, the natural instincts that drive them are the same.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: They usually keep to themselves and delegate the running of the Dominion to the Vorta, but occasionally they act as spies and infiltrators.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Their obsessive need to impose order on everyone and the fact that they view solids the way we view rats.
- Seriously Scruffy: This is used as shorthand to show that there's something physically wrong with a changeling. If Odo has gone too long without a regeneration cycle (or under a huge amount of stress) his usually immaculate uniform starts to darken and flake and his slicked-back hair gets crazy. Also seen with the female Founder in the last season, albeit at a much slower pace.
- Shadow Dictator: The Dominion has spent 2,000 years hiding behind a massive surveillance and military apparatus. In "Vortex", when Quark unwittingly foreshadows the Founders' paranoia of "solids" and tendency to remain hidden (either by remaining on their homeworld or secretly impersonating solids).
Quark: Paranoia must run in your species, Odo. Maybe that's why no one has ever seen another shapeshifter. They're all hiding!
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Come to think of it, the same can be said of their children (the Jem'Hadar and Vorta), too.
- Spanner in the Works: Word of God (Robert Hewitt Wolfe) clarified that the Founders did foresee having to acquire a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant at some point, they just didn't estimate it to be so soon. The bottleneck between the Gamma Quadrant and Bajor causes them quite a few problems, enough to disrupt their usual strategy of bullying, buying off, or eradicating their neighbors ad nauseum.
- Starfish Aliens: Their default form is gelatinous liquid. Furthermore, they collectively form a giant living ocean called the Great Link.
- STD Immunity: Averted with the Section 31 virus, which is spread by linking, the closest Changeling analog to sex. By season 7, the virus has spread like wildfire through the Great Link.
- Sweeping Ashes: What happens when you kill a Changeling. Unable to hold form, they collapse back into their gelatinous state, which in turn crumbles to coal.
- Synthetic Plague: The Section 31 virus, which quickly spreads through the Changeling population.
- The Trickster: Played with. Their shapeshifting skills allow them to impersonate humanoids and sow discord across the quadrant. Even Laas, who is not immediately hostile, create disruptions with his shapeshifting while aboard Deep Space Nine. Despite their skill at deception and discord, their own society is largely static and conformist.
- Utopia Justifies the Means They do pretty horrible things to people that don't dance to the Dominion's tune, yet claim their victimizing in the past justifies this. In a painfully ironic example, they infected a planet with a disease designed to kill the population over generations just to make an example of them to the rest of the Gamma Quadrant. They don't see anything wrong with this.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Their hat. The foundlings are pretty poor at it, since they require hands-on training from others Changelings to morph. The Founders themselves can imitate pretty well anything, from wild-haired Klingons, to crystal pillars, to girderwork on a Jem'Hadar ship.
- We Are Everywhere: It goes without saying that the Founders' main talent is gathering intel. They rule through whispers and fear, letting their adversaries know that they're aware of everything goes on in their world (or Quadrant).
- We Have Reserves:
- The high breeding rate of Jem'Hadar leaves little room for valuing their lives and they are treated as tools by both Changeling and Vorta alike, to be called upon or sacrificed as needed. In "Rocks and Shoals", Keevan knowingly sends his unit on a suicide run rather than admit to them that he's run out of White. Sisko having to mow down Jem'Hadar from a safe perch leaves a bad taste in the mouth; there is no sense of honor in slaughtering an enemy that cannot fight back.
- "We had a rich and ancient culture. Our literature, music, art was second to none. Now so much of it is lost. So many of our best people..." S.6 explores some of the Vorta's inadequacies, namely poor eyesight and a lack of aesthetics. A Vorta really wouldn't know whether to frame an exquisite painting or use it as a table mat. What starts as a joke takes on a sinister overtone when you realizes Weyoun thinks nothing of bombing Cardassia back into the iron age.
- Not that Vorta are safe from disciplinary measures. When they fail to rustle up a vaccine for the Changeling virus, one of the Founders proves how ruthless she is by ordering all of the Vorta doctors eliminated and their replacement clones activated because fresh eyes might yield better results! No one in the Dominion is irreplaceable and that's just how the Founders like it.
The Prophets / Wormhole Aliens
"We are of Bajor."The proverbial gold everyone in the wild west is fighting over. Prophets are the Deus ex Machina of the Dominion War, handing out cryptic assignments to the Captain and warning of looming trouble. They live in the Bajoran Wormhole, the shortcut between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants, and are implied to be the power source keeping the wormhole stable. The Bajorans revere them as god, and anyone who communicates with them is an "Emissary" or messenger.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Prophets deem themselves above our trivial corporeal matters, but will swing into action if Bajor itself is in danger.
- Big Good: Though in more of a morally ambiguous manner than is usual for the trope.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Because they're so different from corporeal beings, they have little concept of what humans and Bajorans think is okay.
- Cryptic Conversation: Try having a crisis management session with somebody who doesn't know what day it is. It would drive you nuts.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus:
- Or rather, Crystal Dragon Angels. A Prophet possessed the body of an Earth woman, Sarah, in order to impregnate her with a half-human, half-Prophet son.
- The Pah Wraith stuff is a much more generic way of handling the show's religious themes than the first five or so seasons. The idea of the Prophets as existing beyond mortality and corporeality in a way that makes them terrifying and awe-inspiring. Turning them into “the good guys” in some eternal struggle changes them (and the show) into a Judeo-Christian archetype.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: They communicate by taking the appearance of one's friends, acquaintances, and even enemies in visions. For instance, the "inquisitive" Prophets appeared as Sisko's pre-teen son, Jake; the "empathic" ones look like Opaka and Kira; the "authoritative" guys are Odo and Weyoun; the "hostile" ones are Locutus (the only Borg whom Sisko has personal experience with) and Dukat.
- God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Doesn't help that the Prophets define "good" in terms of what's good for Bajor (i.e. themselves), and "bad" as anything which furthers the Pah-Wraith's goals—not necessarily the welfare of individual people or the Alpha Quadrant as a whole.
- To give an example, when Sisko is starting to get itchy feet regarding this Space Moses business, the Prophets send back through a wormhole a long-dead Bajoran poet who claimed to be the original (and thus, standing) Emissary. With the help of Kai Winn, he promptly re-institutes theocratic law on Bajor as it existed before the occupation, along with the caste system. Lesson duly noted, Sisko puts a stop to the pretender (by no means a bad man, just one whose ideas were 300 years out of date) and hauls him before the Prophets, who restore him to his own time. The Prophets also remind Sisko that he can't shirk his duties as the Emissary, or Winn will completely take over. Too bad it took at least one death for Sisko to get the memo. That man was Imutta, a cleric who suddenly found himself one of Bajor's untouchables.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: In "Sacrifice of Angels", Sisko flies the Defiant into the wormhole to intercept a Jem'Hadar fleet en route to the Alpha Quadrant. As he predicted, the Prophets intervene because they can't let the Emissary—Sisko himself—die just yet. He convinces them to destroy the fleet within the wormhole, apparently the only offensive measure the Prophets have (outside of possessing Kira's body in "The Reckoning", which didn't do much good). The Prophets warn that this is a one-time deal, however; from now on, Starfleet is on its own.
- Have You Seen My God?: A number of Bajorans turn to the Pah-Wraiths after the brutality of the Occupation and the Dominion War, feeling that their gods don't care. Then again, if the Prophets exist in the future as well as the present then they must have foreseen that the Bajorans would eventually drive out the Cardassians without revealing the wormhole's existence to feuding alien races.
- Kryptonite Factor: Chroniton particles. Not only can't the Prophets perceive linear time, they are allergic to it. This also makes it a potent weapon against the Pah-Wraiths.
- Living MacGuffin: Without the Prophets and Pah-Wraiths, there would be very little reason not to collapse the wormhole with photon torpedoes and prevent the Dominion from even invading. Sisko was willing to do just that in "The Search", but only if there were no other options left. The Klingons and Romulans were thinking along the same lines in "Visionary".
- Made of Phlebotinum: They exist as something but it's damned near incomprehensible to corporeal forms. Whatever it is prevents the wormhole from collapsing and shifting about the galaxy as others do.
- Mysterious Watcher: The Prophets decide if and when you can have an audience with them. They claim to always be watching.
- Non-Linear Character: They don't even understand what "linear" IS until Sisko explains it to them.
- Omniscient Morality License: The Prophets know what they need to know, what they will need to know, and they've always known it. Refusing to their bidding merely puzzles them, since you are fulfilling your role as set out by them by definition and can't do otherwise, because they've already seen it.
- It's how they treat the whole Sisko family. They possess Sarah and force her to have a child with Joseph Sisko, because they know that Ben will be their Emissary. Given that Sarah ran to Australia without a word as soon as she was freed, this was not consensual, and losing a wife he thought loved him didn't do any favors for Joseph either.
- Portal Door: The Celestial Temple rests in an abstract dimension connected by two entrances that allow it to serve as a wormhole.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Their Celestial Temple is the Bajoran "Heaven", albeit one with high-volume space traffic.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Similar to the Q Continuum but not quite as all-powerful or omniscient. The Prophets don't even know the meaning of humor, let alone the human concepts of love, grief, or even the passage of time.
- Time Master: They exist outside of linear time, can alter the timeline without the usual side-effects (as in "Ascession"), and gave the Bajorans an artifact that allowed time travel.
- Since they first learned about linear existence from Sisko, this implies that their impact on Bajoran culture and ensuring Sisko was born, may have been a direct result of this "future" meeting.
- Vagueness Is Coming: They never get the hint that being cryptic is keeping people from fully carrying out their orders. The Pah Wraiths are much better at forming coherent sentences, logically because they exist in a physical location in the known universe (the Fire Caves) and are more attuned to linear time than the Prophets.
- "What would say if I offered to make you absolute ruler of the Federation? No President, no Starfleet Chief of Staff; just you."
- Ass in Ambassador: They have the half-placating, half-goading attitude of somebody who's very close to royalty. Also, they're immune to almost all forms of poison, a trait the Founders implemented into their "recipe." One can only speculate how many Vorta were bumped off before they got the hint.
- Bandwagon Technique: One of the arguments they use when trying to persuade people over to the dark side- I mean, the Dominion.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The Vorta believe, perhaps apocryphally, that they previously existed as timid, ape-like aliens living in hollowed-out trees. Legend has it that one day, a family of Vorta hid a Changeling from an angry mob of "solids" that were pursuing it. In return, the Changeling promised that one day they would be transformed into powerful beings and placed at the head of a vast interstellar empire; the Founders kept their word by gene-sequencing the Vorta into humanoids (at the cost of dampening their senses, such as sight and smell) to be employed as their tools of conquest.
- Blessed with Suck: Vorta only have a ridiculously limited sense of taste, a feature installed in their genes to remind them of their humble origins. They generally have no appreciation for art. Combine that with an intrinsic belief in the Founders as gods, bad eyesight, and zero sex life, and the Vorta might have been happier as monkeys.
- Brain Uploading: The Changelings succeeded in being able to clone people with everything intact, including memory. Bradley Thompson (DS9 writer and co-producer on Battlestar Galactaca') hypothesized, "...they download their memories every so often into some kind of 'brain jar.' It's just like backing up a computer program. You still have what you had the previous time you backed it up. But if you had a bad disk or something like that, it's going to be a corrupted copy."
- Classy Cravat/The Dandy: The foppish eurotrash of the Gamma Quadrant, which informs their role as courtiers and diplomats.
- Vorta clothing always features a flashy Arabian pattern on the robe or undershirt, again piggybacking on the Jihadist undertones of the Founders.
- Cloning Blues: The Weyoun clone who went renegade and almost cost them the war. Weyoun 7 asides that the cloning process is rather dodgy and doesn't always work as intended; on the surface, Weyoun 6 was a perfect copy, but he lacked his progenitor's "appetite for cruelty".
- Cloning Gambit: Each Vorta has several clones on standby at all times, all of whom share their predecessor's memories. The main Vorta of the series, Weyoun, was actually the fourth one when he first appeared. He was on his eighth life when the base holding his clones was destroyed, and was finally Out of Continues when Garak shot him in the finale.
- Cyanide Pill: The termination implant; they are supposed to activate it immediately upon capture, but not all do. Apparently the Founders made them a little too devious.
- Dirty Coward: One glitch in the Vorta's programming was that their self-preservation instinct outweighed other concerns. While the Jem'Hadar are trained to commit suicide should they fail, the Vorta do not; in fact, Weyoun purposely misled the Jem'Hadar into attacking a Changeling's ship (albeit a Changeling openly cooperating with enemies of the Dominion) rather than catch heat for an intelligence breach. ("Treachery, Faith, and the Great River") Another Vorta, Keevan, willingly sought protection with Starfleet rather than face his own men, who were stranded on a barren rock due to his ineptitude and would soon figure out he had no White left to supply them.
- "You know Captain, if I'd had just two more vials of White, you never would have had a chance." – a Vorta's gratitude.
- Dr. Feelgood: A Vorta and his ever-present drug suitcase. In addition to organizing troops and waiting on the Founders, a Vorta's main job is distributing ketracel-white - the drug which ensures the loyalty of the Jem'Hadar - to his particular unit. Not the safest job in the universe.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette with Purple Eyes: Every Vorta we see.
- Expendable Clone: Part of the Vorta's schtick was that they were grown as clones and had the memories of their identical predecessor imprinted on them.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: It's been observed how the ugly aliens in Star Trek are always the evil ones, whereas the humanoid aliens are treated more sympathetically. The Xindi-Reptilians are the most aggressive faction on ENT, for example, whereas the Xindi-Primates are more cautious. Now look at what DS9 did so well when presenting its antagonists. When the viewer first meets the Jem'Hadar and the Vorta, the audience's sympathy lies with the Vorta because it looks more humanoid and helpless. As the show goes on, however, the viewer realizes that the Jem'Hadar are actually more capable of honor and a degree of empathy than the Vorta are.
- Fanservice with a Smile: In "The Ship", Kilana kept calling time-outs to offer refreshments to Sisko's twitchy crew. Utterly barmy.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The standard attire for men and women, usually a tunic or jacket with a crooked collar and missing sleeve. Weyoun wears a sort of two-toned, double-breasted jacket: The right half is solid (brown or blue leather, for that extra touch of sleaze), while the left half is sleeveless and made from cloth.
- Faux Affably Evil: Vorta are jerks and relish the suffering of races who defied Dominion rule. The big smile is just a pretense.
Weyoun: This is a momentous day. You and I have just taken the first step towards insuring peace between our peoples.
(smash cut to Captain's Office)
Sisko: They're going to attack.
- Food as Bribe: For some reason, when latinum and flattery doesn't work, Vorta resort to using cuisine as a bargaining tactic.
- Flaunting Your Fleets: A lone Vorta is no threat at all, but he has a swarm of Jem'Hadar ships and ground units at his disposal.
- General Failure: Their military prowess really isn't the best. The strict hierarchy of the Dominion states that a Jem'Hadar can't question the orders of any Vorta, even if they're clearly wrongheaded or cruel (such as the Vorta abandoning his entire unit to save himself). Pop quiz: Which of the two races are bred for war, and which is a colorblind wimp who won't even touch a phaser?
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: The Jem'Hadar don't include viewscreens on their ships: rather they use a headseat eyepiece (picture an alien buying his Google glasses in installments…) that allows them to observe what's going on outside the hull. There are two headsets allotted to each ship: One for the Vorta, and another for his Jem'Hadar "First." Cardassians and Bajorans are able to use them with ease, but the headsets cause humans to have splitting headaches after a while.
Garak: It's like having a viewscreen inside your brain.
- Happiness in Slavery: Exemplified when Odo tells a Weyoun that Vorta and Jem'Hadar only view Changelings as gods because they're programmed to. Weyoun's response? "Of course. That's what gods do."
- Henchmen Race: They exist for no other reason than to the serve the whole, but unlike the Borg, it's a one-way street. The chain of authority doesn't care for their input. The same goes for the Jem'Hadar.
- Mind over Matter: One Vorta, Eris from "The Jem'Hadar", is shown to use telekinetic blasts. Ronald D. Moore stated that this was an ability the Founders gave to some Vorta, not an inherent trait.
- Mouth of Sauron: Every Vorta takes directions from one of the shadowy Founders, then relays them to jarheads further down the chain. Chatting with a Vorta is the closest most people will ever get to meeting the Founders.
- The Napoleon: Vorta have cooler heads than the Andorians, but on the demerit side, they tend to be quite arrogant and petty. The tallest one we see is Yelgrun, played by Iggy Pop (admittedly something of a miscasting according to Word of God).
- The Neidermeyer: Vorta are particularly callous and cruel toward their soldiers. Sometimes the Jem'Hadar get fed up and vaporize them, but more often they keep a stiff upper lip and take it.
Sisko: I was on a mission with the Jem'Hadar once—before the war, of course. They were good. Tough, professional. It was an honour to serve with them. But their Vorta, (grimaces at the memory) ...he was something different.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: The baseline bargaining tactic for enrolling new planets into the Dominion. Robert Hewitt Wolfe put it succinctly:
"Hey, you're nice people, here's some M-16s and some popcorn, and whatever else you want baby, alcohol, fire-water? All you have to do is sign this little contract and we'll make you cool.' Then there's the Jem'Hadar. So the Vorta say, 'Oh, you don't want to play ball? Then meet these guys. They're gonna kick your asses."
- One-Gender Race: Despite being a genetically-engineered race that is reproduced by cloning, unlike the Jem'Hadar, Vorta actually appear in both male and female sexes. While never directly stated, it is somewhat implied that as a race of diplomats, the Founders may have kept the Vorta females around because some alien races would be more comfortable dealing with them (either pervy male-dominated societies that could be seduced by them, or female-dominated societies who would have more respect for female diplomats). It is stated that even so, the Vorta do not have sex, and there are (officially, at least) no loving relationships between male and female Vorta.
- Sycophantic Servant: In fact, this trope is the hat of the entire Vorta race. They were genetically altered to regard the Founders of the Dominion as living gods. They are well aware of this, and take it in stride. After all, doesn't the Bible say that God created man to serve Him?
Weyoun: What's the point of being a god if there's no one to worship you?
- They Killed Kenny: If one Vorta gets killed, the Founders just clone him or her again.
- Trademark Favorite Food: They enjoy kava nuts and rippleberries, as they did before they were genetically engineered, but little else.
- Transhuman: They were uplifted from ape-like beings into what they are now by the Changelings. The other main Dominion race, the Jem'Hadar, are also genetically tailored by the Changelings into loyal super-soldiers; it's possible they originated from a more pacifist race.
- You Are Number 6: How else do you keep count?
Damar: Clones. Keeping track of 'em's a full-time job.
- Younger Than They Look: Many Vorta, being clones, are younger than they look. Consider Weyoun, who has a propensity for getting killed (often). Many of the Weyoun clones are merely months or even weeks old when we meet them, and *some* have lifespans shorter than a year.
- "Victory is life."
- Abnormal Ammo: Their phaser weapons also act as some sort of anticoagulant, causing their target to bleed out if they manage to limp away.
- Always Chaotic Evil: A rather tragic justified example. Thanks to the Founders' genetic programming, every Jem'Hadar is a bloodthirsty, xenophobic killing machine, and whilst some have moments of nobility and honour, they're still incapable of entirely going against their nature. A Jem'Hadar may refrain from brutally murdering you once, but once is all you're ever going to get. And, sadly, they're still the most moral Dominion core race by human standards.
- Badass Creed: "Victory is life!"
First: (solemn) We pledge our loyalty to the Founders, from now until death.
- They are required to recite a loyalty oath in exchange for more white. Subverted by the rote nature of the exercise, as well as the constantly looming threat of having your head torn off should you accidentally run out of the drug.
Weyoun: (bored, reciting) Then receive this reward from the Founders, may it keep you strong. *Sigh*
- Badass Decay: They seem rather easily disposed for such a lethal warrior race, which is explained by Elias Vaughn the result of those mostly fought being only a few weeks or months old at best with no training and only relying on instinct, where as the older ones are much bigger threats.
- Battle Cry:
We are dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives!
- Battle Trophy: At least one Starfleet commando was spotted wearing a necklace made of Ketracel-White vials, one for each Jem'Hadar he'd killed.
- Blood Knight: This is the race's entire hat. They're imbued with a taste for violence from their creation. Fighting is literally a need for them.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: To the extent that Sisko completely disregards anything the Vorta say, and only negotiate with their messengers.
- Cannon Fodder: They're superb soldiers, but their uniform characteristics, short lifespans, and the ease of replacing them renders the Jem'Hadar disposable in the eyes of Vorta/Changelings.
- Chameleon Camouflage: Jem'Hadar, being reptiles, use a personal camouflage ability known as a "Shroud" to sneak around and confound their opponents. It's not as effective shipwide cloaking, since you can still spot their darkened outlines, but in an outdoor setting it is rather diabolical. Unfortunately for the troops, it starts to sputter when they run out of White.
- Church Militant: They are simply instruments of God's wrath, nothing more. In "The Jem'Hadar", one of their ships rammed into a retreating Galaxy-class starship (the same class as the Enterprise-D), destroying it. All to send a message.
O'Brien: (baffled) We were retreating. There was no need for a suicide run.
Sisko: They're showing us how far they're willing to go.
- Evil Counterpart Race: To the Klingons. Both are Proud Warrior Races that're literally bred to fight. However, the Jem'Hadar have none of the Klingons' Joie de vivre, their passion for aesthetics, or even their taste in liquor. All they do is fight and kill. As a result, the Klingons come to regard them almost as Boogeymen, and General Martok became nigh phobic of them during his tenure in a Dominion internment camp. For their part, the Jem'Hadar relish the opportunity to fight with Klingons, considering them Worthy Opponents.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: First Omet'iklan cannot, for the life of him, explain why Sisko intervenes when a rogue Jem'Hadar was about to kill him, after Omet'iklan had previously threatened to kill Sisko.
- Functional Addict: Although genetically engineered like the Vorta, Jem'Hadar loyalty is not as reliable, so all Jem'Hadar are addicted to a drug called Ketracel-white, which only the Dominion can provide.
- Genius Bruiser: An unnerving blend of Klingon brutality and Romulan level-headedness.
- Iconic Item: The only distinctive marking on their uniforms is a little pocket for Ketrecel-White vials. The drug funnels through a tube which is plugged straight into their necks. Unlike the Borg, making a grab for their neck-tubing would not work since Jem'Hadar can carry on for at least 24 hours without a fix.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Without a steady supply of "the White", the Jem'Hadar turns into an entire legion of these.
- Mean Boss: The First, and by necessity when your underlings are perpetually bad-tempered super-soldiers barely kept under control at the best of times. If they're so out of control they won't do as they told, the First hasn't really got any other choice but to snap their necks.
- Meaningful Name: Related to the ranking system in Kipling's Finest. Jem'Hadar do not have ranks with flashy or self-aggrandizing terms. The highest-ranking in a group holds the rank of "First" (roughly analogous to "Captain", if he commands a ship). The rank below "First" is "Second", behind "Second" is "Third", and so on down to at least "Seventh". Individual Jem'Hadar actually do have names, so we have examples of First Omet'iklan, Third Remata'klan, and Second Ixtana'Rax (an Honored Elder). But while the Jem'Hadar do refer to their squad-mates by name, their Vorta overseers will basically point at them and say "you there, Fifth, make a suicidal charge on that sniper's nest". It emphasizes how replaceable and expendable the Jem'Hadar are to the Vorta.
- The Needless: One perk of drug addiction is that it includes all the nutrients they need on the battlefield.
- Nightmare Fetishist: When Dr. Bashir treats a wounded Vorta on the battlefield, he gets crowded out by the military escorts who are forming a little operating threatre of their own. The Vorta reacts with weary resignation, but not surprise: They've never seen what the insides of a Vorta look like.
- Noble Demon: They're violent and fanatically loyal to the Founders, but they have their moments of honor and respect for their opponents and care enough about their fellows that they'd rather kill themselves than become a burden to them; even if this is a programmed response given to them by the Founders, the Jem'Hadar still see this as a Necessary Evil. Sisko gains enough respect for them that he tells Remata'Klan that the Vorta don't deserve their loyalty.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Case in point: A group of Jem'Hadar forms an Enemy Mine with Sisko in order to take out a rogue group of Jem'Hadar who had stumbled upon an Iconian Gateway. Using a piece of long lost technology which allows the user to literally travel anywhere in the galaxy instantly was too powerful (and too unsporting) for anyone to use, even by the Jem'Hadar's standards. They knew they could instantly invade and take over Earth with it, but it's just not who they are.
- No Social Skills: Jem'Hadar are intrinsically hostile. They're occasionally shown shooting the breeze with each other, as long as there are no Vorta around. But their relations with other races remain uneasy.
- One-Gender Race: The Founders reproduce the Jem'Hadar through cloning, so they have no need to sexually reproduce. It is directly stated that there are no female Jem'Hadar (and that the males have no sexual desires). The Founders apparently genetically engineered the Jem'Hadar from some pre-existing stock (similar to how the Vorta used to be primitive ape-like animals before they were uplifted), so it is possible that the original species had binary sexes of male and female. That is, the modern Jem'Hadar are not technically sexless neuters, they are an all "male" race (they use male pronouns), they just don't have female anymore.
- Phlebotinum Dependence: Ketracel White is the only nourishment they need, but it also keeps them from going insane and attacking anything in sight before eventually dying. This dependence further ensures their engineered loyalty. In rare cases, a mutation will cause a Jem'Hadar to lack this addiction.
- Proud Warrior Race
- Rapid Aging: They can reach their full growth in a few days. Among the ranks, certain Jem'Hadar that have reached the age of 20 are known as "Honored Elders."
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: They're drug addicted religious zealots who look like humanoid ceratopsians (or possibly Jackson's chameleons). Despite this, however, they're still probably the most pleasant out of all the Dominion races... which really says a lot about the Dominion.
- The Scapegoat: The "order of things" states that the Jem'Hadar commander (or "First") disciplines his own men, and the Vorta leader disciplines the First. Since Vortas have no jurisdiction over troops of lower rank, they tend to come down especially hard on the First.
- Seppuku: Entire platoons have been known to kill themselves if a Founder dies under their watch. ("The Ship")
- Smarter Than You Look: They're the quiet, obedient muscle for the Dominion. Doesn't mean they're stupid, as demonstrated in "Rocks and Shoals" when Remata'Klan reveals to Sisko that he knows of Keevan's treachery. But even when they know they're being played, their intense loyalty will (usually) cause them to obey suicidal orders anyway, because the Founders have dictated that they're to obey the Vorta in all things.
"Despite what Keevan may think, the Jem'Hadar are often one step ahead of the Vorta."
- The Stoic: They don't emote often. In their dealings with other species, their manner is polished and no-nonsense. Very rarely, they smirk (as one Jem'Hadar did when anticipating a duel with Worf.)
- Suicide Attack: Dominion troops love using their ships as homing missiles, making an already-chaotic space battle even worse. During the Battle for Cardassia you can see them zig-zagging and smashing into Klingon and Romulans ships left and right.
- Super Soldier: And they're damn proud of it, too.
- Tragic Villain: The more is learned of the Jem'Hadar, the more it becomes apparent that creating them may have been amongst the Founders' most utterly evil acts. They're completely dependent on a drug that kills them painfully if their supply runs out. They're built to revel in violence and hate non-Jem'Hadar to the point where long-term cooperation with other species is an utter impossibility. Their average life expectancy barely reaches into the double digits (this might not be biology, but due to a stunningly high attrition rate and "fight till you die" set of orders). Perhaps the worst thing is that despite all of this, they're hard-coded to love and obey the creatures responsible for their miserable state, and to see it as the greatest of gifts to serve them.
- Tyke Bomb: Created to fight for the Dominion. They age to maturity quickly and can't be dissuaded from seeking out their people and joining the enemy lines.
- Undying Loyalty: Zigzagged. The Jem'Hadar are genetically engineered to be utterly loyal to the Founders, but even with the White, the control is not always absolute, something Weyoun begrudgingly lets slip. Occasionally, some Jem'Hadar have gone rogue (in one episode, Weyoun mentions that if the rogue group of Jem'Hadar had gotten access to the Iconian Portal, they'd have been able to convince enough of their compatriots to overthrow the Dominion within a year). That said, the average Jem'Hadar is perfectly willing to do as they told.
- Uterine Replicator: Vorta are hatched fully-grown from their cloning pods. Jem'Hadar are grown in birthing chambers, reaching adolescence in only three days, and awakening with all the skills they need to pick up a gun and fight.
- Victory Is Boring: These fellas deal out beatings so often that it gets tiresome for them. If the occupying Jem'Hadar are met with meaningful resistance, they compliment the survivors. If the battle is short and sweet, they complain.
- Villainous Valour: They take pride in their discipline and prowess and are generally treated tragically rather then as faceless mooks. If they were more chivalrous they would be considered Worthy Opponents. As it is, they are perfect foils for the Klingons.
- We Are as Mayflies: See Rapid Aging above. Jem'Hadar rarely live past 5 months, and none live past 30, as one Jem'Hadar explained to Jadzia Dax. This is mostly due to them dying in battle before they can reach that point, but their lifespans seem to be that short. Any Jem'Hadar that manages to live 20 years gains the title of "Honored Elder" - they don't form a ruling council or officially gain a higher rank, they just tend to be respected more for their experience, and because they've served that long they tend to be Firsts in command of ships or army groups.
- Because Jem'Hadar can find themselves "promoted" at any time, they lack any rank insignias or other extravagances on their gear. In fact, it's impossible to tell at a glance who's in charge (apart from the Vorta hanging safety in the rear).
- You Are Number 6: Designated "First", "Second", "Third" and so on. They do have birth names, however.
"My people have a saying: Never turn your back on a Breen."A race of nefarious Master Chief impersonators who talk entirely in gibberish. Previously mentioned in TNG, very little is known about them. Ordinarily mute and reclusive, they turn into intractable killers if provoked.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: And how. The only species never seen in the flesh, for starters. Common knowledge says the Breen hail from a very cold, non-Earthlike climate. However, Weyoun confides that this is a carefully-constructed lie: the Breen homeworld is quite temperate. So what's with the refrigeration suits?
- Dr. Bashir mentioned that a fellow Dominion Internment Camp prisoner, a Breen, was never blood-screened to check if he was a Changeling. Not that they didn't try; there just wasn't any blood to draw from him...
- The Breen are so weird, in fact, that the head Changeling feels way more comfortable around them than with ordinary 'solids'.
- Blue and Orange Morality: What little is known about their culture suggests a greater emphasis on pragmatism than the whole good versus evil thing.
- Combat Pragmatist: The only true example in the Star Trek universe. Every other race has lines they won't cross, even the Changelings, but not these folks. Shooting escape pods, torturing prisoners, and attacking planets without so much as a declaration of war is all fair game, to them.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In "Indiscretion", we hear human grunts and screams as Kira plugs some Breen with her rifle. Oops. Also, Worf's claim that no one who has ever seen what is underneath a Breen's helmet and " has lived to speak of it!" seems to contradict this episode, since Kira and Dukat knocked out two Breens and stole their uniforms, including the helmets.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: The Breen are generally considered by other races in the Alpha Quadrant to have evolved in an icy environment. Regardless of whether or not that is true, they are recognized as experts at refrigeration. As Sisko put it, "If anybody knows how to keep things cold, it's the Breen".
- And yet Weyoun mentions their homeworld is actually pretty warm.
- Genre Savvy: As Worf and Ezri quickly learn, the Breen do not screw about with prisoners. Try to bust the door open? Won't work. Fake an illness? Won't work, and even then Breen never just send one guard in at a time. On occasion, they'll even go as far as to hang prisoners from the ceiling by their feet.
- The Ghost: "The Breen" were name-dropped continuously on TNG, as well as Star Trek: Generations, even an episode of VOY, before they finally appeared here. And even then, we learn next-to-nothing about them, greatly emphasizing...
- Nothing Is Scarier: We learn so little about them — and what we DO learn about them is so disturbing — that the Breen more or less embody this trope.
- A Klingon fleet was sent to conquer the Breen homeworld and was never heard from again. Breen privateers will raid ships in the night, steal their cargo and leave no survivors or trace they've been there. A Breen prisoner will not utter a word until the instant you turn your back, whereupon you're toast. Nobody, but nobody, messes with the Breen.
- Organic Technology: Tuvok mentions that the Breen use Organic Technology much like Species 8472. We don't seem to get confirmation of this on DS9, but it does seem radically different from most other technologies in the Alpha Quadrant.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Subverted. They're very warlike, only they value winning, not honor.
- Psychic Block Defense: Like the Ferengi, the Breen are said to be immune to The Empath.
- Shout-Out: Their outfits look very similar to a certain Star Wars disguise. This is lampshaded by Col. Kira, a Bajoran, swiping a Breen's armor and leading her two "prisoners" (two Cardassians, in place of Chewie) at gunpoint — straight into the Dominion stronghold.
- The Unintelligible: Gargle gargle bleep. One of the few recurring races who aren't heard speaking English.
- Villain Cred: That quote up there? Spoken by a Romulan...
- Dukat was surprised to find the Breen setting up shop so far outside their territory, even moreso on a desert planet. He said the adaptability of the Breen rivals even that of his own species.
The Pah Wraiths
"Everyone has enemies, even the Prophets."The rival deities of the Prophets. They were booted out of the Celestial Temples centuries ago and exiled to Bajor's Fire Caves. They're still plotting to get back somehow and if they do, Bad Things will happen.
- All Just a Dream: Tried to fool Sisko into thinking his life on Deep Space 9 was this.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Of course, being demons, they're pretty much this by default.
- Bigger Bad: The ultimate bad guys of the series, though they hardly show up, even at the end.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Prophets are blue colored, but these guys are orange.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Crystal Dragon Demons sums it up.
- Demonic Possession: A favored tactic of theirs when they want to take a direct hand in things. One of them possessed Keiko O'Brien during an archeological dig near the Fire Caves; this Pah-Wraith came close to zapping the wormhole with a concentrated chroniton beam, which would have supposedly killed off the Prophets for good.
- Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Pah-Wraiths are first brought up in Season Five of DS9, but only appear in about five episodes total.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Prophets. Unlike them, the Pah-Wraiths really dislike Planet Bajor and—should they escape—will gladly reduce it to a cinder on Day 1.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: Their home in the Bajoran Fire Caves is this.
- Hell on Earth: Dukat stated that if the Pah-Wraiths got their way and re-entered the wormhole, the entire universe would go up "in flames", whatever that meant.
- I Have Many Names: "Kosst Amojan", a Bajoran saying which translates to, "to be banished".
- Made of Evil: The entirety of their characterization.
- Pragmatic Villainy: They are surprisingly manipulative and underhanded in their methods. Not a single shade of Stupid Evil, unlike the Dominion, who routinely kill off their own for minor infractions.
- Then there's the fact that the Pah Wraith in The Reckoning chose Jake Sisko as its host, specifically because it understood corporeal relationships and who Jake was related to.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Tried this in Tears of the Prophets. It eventually failed and got them cast back out.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Seems to happen by default when they posses someone, although The Assignment confirms that they can suppress it when necessary.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Rather, sealed evil in some caves, as well as a small ornamental statue.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of the Kosst Amojan, which threatened to free the Wraiths from captivity once read—and locked them away again once it burned up. It's the Necronomicon of Star Trek. Seriously, just look at this thing.
Species debuting in Voyager
"I can't believe that our Caretaker would forbid us to open our eyes and see the sky."Ocampas are shrouded in mystery, but their own legends tell of a time when they were capable of great mental feats. Nowadays, they eke out a dull existence as the fragile, cloistered wards of an unseen overseer. Trek has depicted unlikely examples of evolution in its time, but the Ocampa take the cake: They live an average of nine years, their females develop a sticky mucus on their palms during mating, produce offspring out of an "egg-sac" on their back, and can deliver only one baby per lifetime. Take that, Darwin.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Kes experienced a rapid and uncontrollable blossoming of her mental abilities in adulthood. She left the ship and allowed this process to complete itself, apparently evolving into a being of pure energy.
- Tanis also claimed that Kes could join Suspiria in a subspace layer called Exosia, which he described as a realm of pure thought.
- Beneath the Earth: The Nacene, upon realizing their mistake, took upon themselves the responsibility of caring for the Ocampa. The Caretakers built a massive underground cavern with access to the only remaining natural water source on the planet and supplied it with energy via transmissions from an orbital "Array."
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Okay, they are taking the piss with Trekkies now.
Joe Ford: When somebody pitched an idea of televising an alien going through accelerated puberty via stuffing her face and having her feet massaged there had to be somebody there laughing their head off and saying it was a crazy idea.
- Living Macguffins: It does seem a little odd, considering the Caretaker's immense capacity to send ships across the universe, that he couldn't find a habitable world to migrate the Ocampa to (a common occurrence throughout the Trek saga). But then we wouldn't have had a series if he'd done that.
- Mind over Matter: All Ocampa appear to be natural telepaths, able to communicate across great distances (putting the Vulcans to shame). Among the more colorful abilities are photographic memory, precognition, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, time travel, and the ability to alter matter on the subatomic level.
- Tanis, an Ocampa living on Suspiria's array, demonstrated to Kes that she could control living things, causing them to grow or die as she wished.
- Rapid Aging: Ocampa age very rapidly, resulting in an average life span of only nine years (less than that of a household pet). As an upside, they develop and learn extremely quickly.
- We Have Become Complacent: As a result of their lifestyle of ease under the Nacene, the Ocampa eventually stopped using their mental powers, causing them to atrophy.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: As pointed out by SF Debris, at peak reproductive rates the population would halve every generation since females can only produce a single offspring once. A species this short-lived really ought to produce litters. This means one of two things: That the evolution of the Ocampa race was interrupted when the Nacene took over, altering their genetic code (thus requiring the constant supervision of the Nacene), or that the Ocampa naturally mature into pure energy, rendering their corporeal lives somehow moot.
"As they say on Talax: "Omara s'alas - Good news has no clothes."A race of space warthogs who inhabit many sectors of the Delta Quadrant (Like the Kazon, their race was scattered following a war). They share much in common with Bolians, including a knack for cooking - though their jolly nature is taken Up to Eleven.
- Classy Cravat: The men all wear these.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: It was hinted at that Talaxians have a higher tolerance for spicy foods than other races. In "Faces", Neelix prepares a 'watered-down' plomeek soup, a mere sip of which knocks a sturdy Vulcan flat. Neelix, however, is able to guzzle down the soup as a beverage.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Talaxian vocal cords are actually incapable of singing on-key, though Neelix managed to wheeze out a halfway-decent ditty.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns: Negated by Talaxian pacifism. However, tugging on their whiskers is considered a pleasurable come-on.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Not a direct inspiration for Jar Jar Binks, but pretty close.
- The Scrounger: This seems to be their species' hat.
- Spare Body Parts: Surprisingly, Talaxians have two spinal columns, similar to Klingons.
"A fitting end for a people who would not share their technology. Let's see if you manage to survive... without it."Another spinoff, another replacement Klingon. The Kazon have a checkered development history, originally inspired by the Crips and Bloods. They represent anarchy, in opposition to Voyager's attempts to carve out a fledgling Federation. However, as the series went on and the actors got older, the "youth gang" theme was thrown out, and they became generic warriors.
- Alien Hair: Kazon hair grows in leaf-shaped chunks, rather than individual strands. It's supposed to resemble an afro, but it just looks like they weave rocks into their hair.
- Always Chaotic Evil: A rare completely straightforward example in modern Trek series'. Unlike the Borg or Jem'Hadar, who are given in-universe justifications for their unbending ways, the Kazon appear to be simply evil on purpose. The fact that they're never given much characterization beyond this accounts for much of their unpopularity.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: The Kazon were once a Slave Race employed by their Caucasian rulers, the Trabe, and it's stated that the entire galaxy now rues the day their earned their freedom. The Kazon are a confused mess of storytelling by writers who intended it as a commentary on redlined city districts and the cycle of crime, but for whatever reason, the species fell back into the famliar "Warlike Alien" role which Trek is used to, and their oppressors were painted with a softer (even sympathetic!) brush.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Michael Pillar, who co-created the Kazon, was the major driving force in making them VOY's main adversaries. Jeri Taylor was the first writer to abandon the idea of making them viable villains, later followed by Brannon Braga.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: After such a skillfully laid out scheme to hijack Voyager seems a little remiss for the warlike Kazon to dump the crew on a habitable planet. Must have been an "off" day for Seska.
- Disaster Scavengers: Early on, they turn their attention to the Caretaker's Array, but when Janeway destroys it, the Kazon vow to capture and dissect Voyager instead.
- Divide and Conquer: One of the Trabe's tactics in keeping the Kazon in line was to encourage them to in-fighting amongst the clans, or "sects." However, the sects learned to put aside their differences and rose up against the Trabe. In doing so the Kazon took the Trabe's ships and technology, forcing them to become a nomadic species, and never allowed them to settle on a new world. (VOY: "Initiations", "Alliances")
- Dumb Muscle/Our Orcs Are Different: The Kazon are big, boisterous, and dumb. A cunning Cardassian agent, known as Seska, was able to insinuate herself into the Nistrum sect in no time flat.
- Economy Cast/The Usual Adversaries: For a nomadic tribe of brigands, they sure do seem to control a huge diameter of the Delta Quadrant. By Season Three of VOY, even Exec. Producer Rick Berman had had enough:
"If you think about it, traveling for a year-and-a-half through a part of space dominated by one group is pretty amazing! I think traveling at warp speed for a year-and-a-half you would pass through the Federation, the Klingon Empire and a few other places."
- Evil Counterpart Race: As the Jem'Hadar are to DS9 and the Gamma Quadrant are the Kazon to VOY and the Delta Quadrant. The Kazon are no Jem'Hadar, though... (OR Klingons, for that matter)
- Everyone Has Standards: The Kazon are the only species the Borg refuse to assimilate, on the basis that they are so incompetent they will detract from the Collective.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: A Kazon prison is a line drawn on the floor that the prisoner is told not to cross. Sigh.
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien:
- Their attempt to reverse-engineer something as mundane (at least to the Federation) as a food replicator causes big problems and wipes out an entire Kazon crew. The image of Kazon melted into the bulkheads and floors is quite macabre.
- The Borg found the Kazon so utterly unremarkable that they refused to assimilate them, on the grounds that it would add nothing to the Collective. And yet Tribbles are a-OK!
- Low Culture, High Tech: The Kazon don't exactly inspire confidence with their technical abilities. However, they only recently acquired it, namely by overthrowing their Trabe conquerors.
- Meet the New Boss: Not content with looking like the Klingons and acting like the Klingons the Kazon also have moodily lit ships adorned with weapons…like the Klingons. They were intentionally modeled on the Klingons right down to their makeup, so this comes as no surprise.
- No Blood for Phlebotinum: Somewhat bizarrely, in Star Trek: Voyager, the Kazon, an oxygen-breathing species traveling in hydrogen-powered ships, will kill, steal, or trade hostages for water. When he first arrives on the ship, Neelix is similarly shocked by Alpha Quadrant species' ability to synthesize water.
- Planet Looters: Basically, the Kazons' advancement as a civilization has come entirely from piracy. They are a primitive people with no understand of the technology they steal, or how to reverse-engineer it.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: In another VOY episode, a Kazon boy wishes to become a man by killing Chakotay. He then explains that killing a person is the rite of passage for the Kazon; apparently, killing a clansman is also acceptable in some cases. Chakotay tries his damdest to find common ground between him and Kar but the real difference between his uniform and Kar's name is that one is earned in an air-conditioned building and the other is earned by putting one's life on the line to protect territory. That's a bridge that can never be built between these two. At the end of the episode, instead of killing Chakotay, he turns the weapon onto his maj, becoming the new maj in the process (similar to the Klingon Promotion).
- Space Jews: The marriage of the three sects resulted in an arrangement not unlike the Arab League.
- The Spartan Way: When given the chance to kill Chakotay the children reach for a phaser like kids in a sweet shop and it goes to show how quickly they breed fear and bloodlust in their young.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Kazon were once a subjugated race, used as slave labor by the Trabe, who had conquered their homeworld.
- Would Hurt a Child: The idea of the Kazon killing their young if they fail in battle, but only after honoring their return is obscene. The drama works particularly when Kar holds back tears at his reunion with his father.
"Oh, well now, aren't you contentious for a minor bipedal species."Not much is known about the Nacene. They are explorers in their own right, hailing from another galaxy. One particular alien, dubbed "The Caretaker" by his Ocampa followers, mistakenly destroyed their planet while crossing over from its own dimension. As penance, the Caretaker devoted the remainder of its life to preventing the extinction of their race. Shortly after abducting Voyager, and recognizing that its death was imminent, the Caretaker warned Captain Janeway that the Kazon must not be allowed to use his array, forcing her to destroy it.
- The Atoner: The Nacene had no idea that their technology would be so destructive to the Ocampan atmosphere. They could never repay the debt, and so two of the Caretakers stayed behind to feed them energy and water.
- Author's Saving Throw: Suspiria was initially conceived of as a "get out clause", designed to change the format of VOY if such a need arose. This was because the Paramount executives were leery of the lost-in-space premise that was central to the story, and wanted an ejection button prepared in case the show didn't perform well. As it turned out, the Caretakers appeared only twice, and Voyager found other methods to get back home.
- Blob Monster: The Caretaker is a great big translucent blob. His mate, Suspiria, is a tentacled pillar of goo.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: At the start of VOY, the Caretaker has reached the end of its 1,000-year lifespan and could no longer maintain the Ocampa habitat. It begins snatching random spacecraft from various ends of the Milky Way to find a suitable mate (as you do).
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Caretaker first appears to the Voyager crew as an elderly human, Banjo Man. His inner chamber is a holodeck which conceals itself as a ranch. Suspiria cloaked herself in the guise of a little girl in Victorian dress.
- His Name Is...: The Caretaker dies of old age before he can return Voyager to the Alpha Quadrant. Whether he ever intended to do so is a mystery.
- Hostile Terraforming: Accidental. The engines of the Nacene's exploratory vessel caused a contamination in the atmosphere of the planet, reducing it to a desert.
- Last of Their Kind: The Caretaker was left high and dry after his companion, Suspiria, parted with him over ideological differences.
- No Body Left Behind: The Nacene shrink down into a tiny piece of crystal when killed.
- Power Floats: The Caretaker is a Metroid. Didn't see that one coming in 1995...
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Slightly skewed — the Ocampans do not recognize the Nacene as God, but more of a benign ruler or father. The Caretaker's inner sanctum is just a fancy holodeck.
- This Was His True Form: The Caretaker only reveals his real form when a Kazon warship crashes into the array, causing his holograms to fail. This exposes the 'farmhouse' as the interior of an alien ship.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: One of them is still out there somewhere…
- Woman Scorned: The Caretaker did not realize that his philanthropy was rendering the Ocampa utterly dependent on his assistance. His mate, Suspiria, did realize this and left the planet, taking a small group of Ocampa with her. She later hunts down Voyager to avenge the Caretaker's death.
"It must be impossible for you to understand how any civilized people could come to this."The Vidiians are Mad Doctors, possessing medical technology far more advanced than Starfleet. They've had a lot of practice, as they must constantly replace their skin and organs with transplants (often stolen) to remain alive. They suffer from a necrotizing plague called "the Phage", which causes their bodies to devour their own flesh.
- All Genes Are Co-Dominant: They are able to steal organs from every other sentient race for transplant with no risk of rejection, a feat which even current Federation medical science cannot replicate. Despite this, they seem unable to actually cure the phage to begin with.
- Deadly Doctor: Vidiians wield a surgical instrument as a weapon. It acts as a combination phaser, medical tricorder, and transporter tag.
- Driven to Villainy: The Vidiians are driven to their organ raids out of extreme desperation; before the Phage struck, they were a peaceful and cultured race of scientists.
- Facial Horror: The current crop no longer even remotely resemble their original selves.
- Meaningful Name: The name for the disease comes from Greek φᾰγεῖν phagein, which means "to eat". The organs of people suffering from the Phage literally devour themselves.
- Misapplied Phlebotinum: The Vidiians are able to split hybrid humanoids into fully functional beings. Doing so, they should be able to create as many organs as possible to meet their needs, or cure the Phage.
- Mix-and-Match Man: Their bodies are patchwork of different alien skins — anything they can lay their hands on.
- Organ Theft: Trying to cure the phage has become an obsession with the Vidiians and many of their politicians and scientists have never developed compassion for the people that keep them alive. Scenes of them walking through the ship, gunning redshirts down and cataloguing their organs for later extraction are appalling (with the EMH trying to help a pregnant women proving to be particularly tense).
- Something We Forgot: The Phage was eventually cured by the same alien "Think Tank" which tried to recruit Seven, but Voyager had long since passed Vidiian space by then.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Their makeup and modus operandi is rather grotesque compared to the rest of the show, even compared to all of the many visually and morally unappealing Rubber-Forehead Aliens that litter the show. In the aptly-titled "Faces", one of the Vidiians steals a goldshirt's face and applies it over his own.
- Weaponized Teleportation: With their hand-held weapons, Vidiian organ harvesters can zap a victim and "beam" organs straight from their bodies.
- Was Once a Man / Tragic Villain: The Vidiians are introduced as a race of Frankenstein's monsters, composed of a grotesque patchwork of body parts taken from other species, which in turn are deteriorating due to the phage. It's fairly jarring when in a later episode they compile a holographic recreation of what a healthy, uninfected Vidiian would look like: they basically look like humans, without even much Rubber Forehead Alien going on. Their hairline is a bit taller (sort of a reverse-widow's peak), and they have a slight forehead ridge, a single line extending up from the nose to their hairline, but otherwise, like humans. The contrast lets you see just how badly the phage has ravaged their bodies (compared to if a healthy Vidiian looked like a Klingon or a Ferengi). They make the holographic recreation so they can interact with a comatose female Vidiian doctor (linking her brain to the holo-projectors). Even though her brain will die if it stays hooked up to the holo-projectors for more than a few weeks, for a time she seriously considers that living for a few weeks as a healthy person would be preferable to a long life trapped in her decaying, patchwork body. She also apologizes that the Vidiians were driven to their organ-snatching by utter desperation, until after a while many of them just stopped caring where they got the parts from.
Species 8472 / Undine
"They are the apex of biological evolution. Their assimilation would have greatly added to our own perfection."The only species the Borg truly fear. They hail from another dimension called fluidic space, and are territorial rather than outright hostile. One of the few Starfish Aliens to have a regular role on Star Trek.
- Absolute Xenophobe: All that is known of Undine aka Species 8472's culture is that they are highly territorial; they consider all other lifeforms to be genetically impure. Any intruder entering fluidic space is seen as 'contaminating' the realm, and is dealt with accordingly. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II")
- Absurdly Sharp Claws: The main mode of attack. One swipe can decapitate a helmeted Hirogen.
- Enemy Civil War: Versus the Borg. Contrary to what the Borg claim, the Undine are not aggressors; it had in fact long been known that the Borg themselves started the war between the two species by invading fluidic space to assimilate their technology.
- Eviler Than Thou: They're more lethal than even the Borg. Yes, the near-unstoppable, all-consuming cybernetic Hive Mind that has been the terror of the galaxy for centuries is completely outclassed by the genetically superior, highly territorial eldritch aliens. The Borg want to assimilate everyone into their collective; Species 8472 wants to annihilate every other living thing because they consider it an affront to their vaunted purity.
- Evil Is Visceral Their ships are organic and the (CGI) aliens themselves look "more organic" than the usual Rubber Forehead Alien because they don't wear clothes, have extra limbs and strange eyes with complicated irises. Also, they hail from something called fluidic space.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With / Humanoid Abomination: Concerned about the threat posed by Voyager, the Undine don meatsuits and builds a recreation Starfleet Academy within as a staging ground for an intelligence gathering mission on Earth. The plan is uncovered by Voyager' and peace talks commence. Voyager convinces the Undine, led by an individual posing as Boothby, that the Federation has no quarrel with them.
- Genius Bruiser: Species 8472 is telepathic and can send Kes and Tuvok messages.
- Hellish Pupils
- Kryptonite-Proof Suit: Their autoimmune system also makes them impervious to Borg assimilation. Undine blood simply rejects the nanites.
- Living Ship: Undine travel around in a type of organic spacecraft known only as a bioship, which is composed of the flesh as their pilots. The bioship's main weapon is powerful enough to destroy a Borg cube in only a few shots. Likewise, when a Borg cube rammed a bioship, both vessels were blown to bits despite the comparatively smaller mass of the bioship. The weapons of eight bioships (referred to in Star Trek: Armada II as "Species 8472 battleships") can combine firepower to destroy an entire planet.
- Manipulative Bastard: Secton 31, Tal Shiar, Obsidian Order, The Founders? Yeah they're nothing compare to Species 8472.
- Poisonous Person: Their somatic cells can become extremely virulent when in a foreign blood-stream. When a member of Species 8472 attacks a victim with its claws, some of the former's cells are left in the wound. These stray cells multiply rapidly, consuming their prey from the inside out while the victim remains conscious.
- Healing Factor: Their regenerative cells work incredibly fast, as demonstrated in the episode "Prey", when a Undine is attacked by a Hirogen hunting party with heavy weapons. Thinking it dead, they take it back to their ship, only to discover otherwise...
- You Are Number 6: Species 8472 is their boilerplate Borg designation. Their Starfleet moniker, "Undine", was introduced in Star Trek Online.
"Their ships are poison."Fat, leprous waste extractors hailing from
- Captain Ersatz: Taking inspiration from a certain David Lynch film, eh? ...Ah, Eraserhead, of course!
- Dangerous Workplace: Waste disposal is one of the most lucrative jobs in their society, because all that radiation is not good for your health. It's even worse for the core laborers. Their deaths are practically guaranteed, but they make in one run what the grunts make in a year, benefiting their families.
- Evil, Inc.: Evidence suggests the Malon could recycle their energy if they so desired, but technological advancement is being stonewalled by giant energy companies, et cetera. After all, the Waste must flow....
- Evil Redhead: Chalky-looking gingers, in oversized rubber suits.
- Green Aesop: Ah, the subtleties of late-90's environmental messages.
- Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: The Vihaar is a bogeyman in waste exporter parlance: A foul creature who skulks around Malon garbage scows and is undetectable to senors. The myth was proven to have some basis in reality when a core laborer become theta radiation-resistant (a rare occurrence), went mad and started picking off his co-workers. His resistance to the radiation allowed him to soak up so much of it that he couldn't be distinguished from the ambient radiation.
- Trash of the Titans: Malon Prime is supposedly the jewel of the Quadrant. It's kept that way because they have an entire industry dedicated to dumping their wate output in other star systems.
"The way a creature behaves when it is wounded is the key to its destruction."The Hirogen are a dominant Proud Warrior Race in the Delta region, roaming vast distances in pursuit of worthy prey. Word of God made no bones about drawing inspiration from Predator, which shares their veneration of 'the hunt', the collection and display of hunting trophies, the use of a breathing apparatus for alien atmospheres, and so forth.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Their "tetryon" weapons are unfamiliar to Starfleet. Their ships also have "monotanium" armor plating. This plating has the added effect of scattering phaser blasts. (VOY: "Hunters")
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Hirogen culture required a hunter to study his prey to understand its abilities.
- Battle Trophy: Not only for bragging rights, but also an instrumental part of their mating ritual. Female Hirogen are attracted to hunters in possession of rare or unique trophies acquired during a hunt.
- One of them threatens to remove Seven of Nine's intestines as a trophy, as "Unusual relics are prized. Yours will make me envied by men and pursued by women!" Seven, who rivals the Hirogen in the big ego sweepstakes, is unimpressed.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Inverted. The Hirogen, as a rue, do not empathize with their prey. However, in keeping with the Native Americans themes, they prefer to kill their targets quickly and painlessly.
- Flanderization: In "The Killing Game," the Alpha, Karr, recognizes that this has happened In-Universe; the Hirogen have become so obsessed with the hunt that their entire civilization has began to fall apart, and Karr resolves to bring them back from the brink of extinction.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In "The Killing Game" two-parter, a pack of Hirogen ships trapped the crew to in a vast WWII holoprogram to better study their battle capabilities.
- Lack of Empathy: The Hirogen alpha in "Demons of Air and Darkness", who, like most Hirogen, relates to other sapient beings only as prey. At one point, he reflects on how one of his victims cried that she had a husband and children, "as if the family structure of prey was of any relevance."
- Malevolent Masked Men: While wearing their breathing masks.
- Putting on the Reich: "The Killing Game" featured the Hirogen capturing the Voyager crew and forcing them to re-enact WWII, with the Hirogen taking the part of the Nazis in occupied France. They wore their Nazi uniforms when outside the holodeck too. Somewhat averted, in that only one of them is truly enamored with the Nazi philosophy - the leader is ready to strike a deal with Janeway in exchange for the holodeck technology.
- Spikes of Villainy: Hirogen armor.
- Triage Tyrant: In "The Killing Game", When a crewmember with life-threatening injuries and a Hirogen with minor burns are both brought in, the Hirogen medical officer orders the Doctor to treat the Hirogen patient first. The Doctor protests that this goes against the rules of triage. The Hirogen replies "your rules, not mine" and switches him off when he refuses to comply.
- Turned Against Their Masters: In "Flesh and Blood" the Hirogen are using holograms to train for the Hunt. Unfortunately they get smarter and smarter after being hunted down and killed constantly until...
- Victory Is Boring: Hirogen have been known to express disappointment when the species they're hunting proves to be unchallenging. (VOY: "Hunters") As a result, being called "worthy prey" by a Hirogen was meant as a great compliment.
"Acceptable risk. The Hierarchy approves."One of the last species to be encountered by Voyager on their return trip to the Beta Quadrant. Though visibly based on Doctor Who's Sontarans, the Hierarchy is their polar opposite in terms of machismo. They are scavengers who, due to their unwieldy bodies, rely on wiretaps and long-range espionage to survive.
- Fat Bastard: Though the Hierarchy are not particularly malicious, just opportunistic.
- High Collar of Doom: Hard to feel intimated by a potato in a gym sock.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The Hierarchy weigh everything in terms of risk vs. reward.
- Stealth in Space: Seem to be the only race in the entire Delta Quadrant with Cloaking Technology. Even then, it just takes some Sensor Remodulation to spot them, so obviously theirs isn't as advanced as the Klingons or Romulans.
- Vast Bureaucracy: The social structure of the Hierarchy is regimented in such a way in that each crew member has a single work station and duty to perform, minimal social interaction, and limited access to the rest of the ship.
Species debuting in Enterprise
"The Suliban don't share humanity's patience with natural selection."
- Bald of Evil
- Rubber Man: The Suliban were originally just a backwards race from a nondescript world. Thanks to Future Guy's genetic meddling, they now have a host of superpowers, including the ability to squeeze through tight cracks.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the 23rd and 24th centuries, despite being a well-known species in the 22nd century.
"I thought human reproduction was complicated. You Denobulans make us look like single-cell organisms."On their homeworld of Denobula, the twelve billion Denobulans all share one continent. Consequently, living space is at a premium and Denobulan culture had come to embrace polyandry and communal lifestyles. All in all, Denobulans are pretty weird. They can inflate their heads (similar to a pufferfish) when threatened, have Overly Long Tongues, mood-ring eye colors, and a ridiculously creepy grin.
- Bio-Augmentation: Subverted. Phlox states that the Denobulans have been using genetic engineering since the twentieth century - but only under strict regulation, to repair what would otherwise be debilitating genetic conditions (blindness, late-onset insanity, etc.) But he adamantly points out that they only use such technologies responsibly: to repair and never in an attempt to "improve" on their basic biological template to create a race of supermen. They never went through an analogue of the Eugenics Wars like humans did, with genetic "supermen" like Khan.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: The Denobulans are perfectly happy in their mixed marriages, as it meant relatives could leave for extended periods and not inconvenience the family. Truthfully, Phlox admitted, he'd begun to miss the company of some of the other husbands. (Ahem.)
- Go Mad from the Isolation: The Denobulan homeworld only has one relatively small continent, and a population of 12 billion. As Phlox directly explains, they could have kept the number smaller with population controls or spreading to space colonies once they developed light-speed travel, they simply chose not to. Their society evolved to be very communal, with multiple polygamous marriages for both men and women at the same time. Denobulans prefer crowded habitats to socialize with large numbers of other people, and they actually can't stand being completely alone. In one episode the rest of the crew has to be sedated for weeks to pass through a dangerous patch of space, except for Phlox whose physiology is not adversely affected (and so he can monitor the crew). He has to spend the entire journey alone by himself. By the end he becomes increasingly paranoid and starts suffering from hallucinations.
- Polyamory/Exotic Extended Marriage: Denobulans are both polygynous and polyandrous. Dr. Phlox has three current wives, each of whom have three husbands (him and two other men). One of his wives appears in one episode, and he has no problem that she is sexually interested in Trip. From what little we have seen of the Denobulans they are not sexually outgoing or adventurous (they're not Deltans), they just have a casual and relaxed attitude towards sexual relationships. Their social structure is simply very complex and well, "alien".
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite having ties to Earth, they're not heard from past the 22nd century.
- At least 1 appeared as background characters is Star Trek: Elite Force II, along with several NPCs in Star Trek Online.
"Even after Earth is destroyed, there will be residual presence in the system. I intend to hunt down and eradicate every refugee caravan, every colony, every last outpost they have."A unique race consisting of five distinct sub-species: primates, arboreals, reptilians, insectoids, and aquatics.
- Artistic License – Biology: Of the "You fail biology forever" variety. There are six Xindi races, all of which evolved on the same planet. They are directly stated to be "about as genetically different as humans and Neanderthals"...two of the races are one human-like one, and one humanoid sloth-like race. On some outside chance, primates and sloths are loosely related given that they are mammals. The next is an aquatic dolphin/seal-like race. Okay, maybe an aquatic ape adapted to living in the sea. The Xindi-Avians went extinct in the war that destroyed their homeworld so we never got to see one (a giraffe-skull was used to represent their skull). But...the Xindi-Reptilians are blatantly lizard-men, yet are still "about as different from the Xindi-Humanoids and Xindi-Arboreals (Sloths) as humans and Neanderthals"? The point when you'll stand up shouting at your TV is that one of the Xindi subspecies are the Xindi-Insectoids. Yes, vaguely humanoid insects. Vertebrates and Arthropods are not that closely related!
- It should be noted however that the humand and neanderthals thing was consider a good analogy by Phlox, he never stated it was 100 accurate one.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The Xindi Primates are seen as the most honest and trustworthy Xindi species. It was a Primate scientist who designed the planet-destroying weapons intended for Earth.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Insectoids are giant ants.
- Hot-Blooded: The Reptilians are perpetually grouchy, making even the most bad-tempered Klingon look mellow.
- Jerkass: The reptilians, to a man... er, lizard. An old arboreal saying claims that arguing with them is like arguing with the sun - you accomplish nothing and come away burned.
- Made of Iron: Reptillians can shrug off the stun setting of phasers.
- Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: And how. Even when united in wanting to wipe out Humanity, they simply cannot stop arguing. First it was about what methods, form and delivery the attack should take, then after they fixed on the Planet Killer design, they began arguing about when and how it should be deployed.
- Token Evil Teammates: The Reptilians are the most outright aggressive of all the Xindi species, and are typically the ones leading the charge when it comes to attacking humanity. Following them are the Insectoids, who are responsible for the destruction of their homeworld, and tend to work with the Reptilians.
- The Unintelligible: The Insectoids and the Aquatics don't speak the same language as everyone else, the Insectoids in clicks and hisses, the Aquatics in whale-song like noises (though the Aquatics do learn to speak English).
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Xindi were tricked into believing that humanity would wipe them out in a few years.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: One of Earth's most prominent enemies from its early days of exploration, and is never heard from again past the 22nd century.
- Recently added to Star Trek Online as bridge officers, duty officers, useable reptilian & aquatic starships and at least 1 NPC.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Arboreal Xindi don't like water. Reptilians dislike heights.
"In the service of the Makers, all actions are blessed ones.""A race of transdimensional beings, they created the Delphic Expanse to make our universe more habitable for their people. To do this, they built a number of spheres that could distort normal space, making it more amendable for themselves. Being transdimensional, they have the ability to see multiple timelines and foresaw a reality where they were on the brink of total conquest, but were defeated by the Federation. To prevent this, they developed a divinity among the Xindi and convince them that humanity would wipe them out in the future, setting the plan to destroy Earth in motion.
- God Guise: The Xindi referred to the Sphere Builders as "the Guardians," and revered them as religious figures. After the destruction of the Xindi homeworld, the Builders appeared to the Xindi survivors (convenient, that), lending them maps to habitable planets and resources. Similarly, the Triannons referred to them as "the Makers," and believed that they were transforming the Delphic Expanse into a paradise for their eventual return.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In their plan to destroy Earth, Enterprise ended up destroying the sphere network, making it unlikely they'll invade in the future.
- Hostile Terraforming: The Spheres are used to make normal space habitable for their race prior to invasion. Contrary to their name, however, they aren't actually responsible for building them - just providing the blueprints.
- Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Using their inter-dimensional abilities, the Builders foresaw that the Federation would repel their eventual invasion, and sought to snuff Earth out preemptively.