"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."
Also known as Terrans, humans are a founding member of the United Federation of Planets and the backbone of Starfleet. Following a century of internal warfare and strife, Earth became warp-capable on April 5th, 2063 and caught the attention of other Alpha Quadrant races, who had previously dismissed it as an Insignificant Little Blue Planet. All in all, humans are pretty cool.
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.
Cloak & Dagger: There exists an obscure provision in the Federation Charter, Section 31, which allows for this kind of activity.
Drink Order: Root Beer apparently is very popular, even in alien bars. Non-alcholic "Synthehol" is also frequently served on Federation starships.
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.
Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Federation can't intervene in the fate of non-member states, and will often step on weaker worlds in the interest of politics. 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.
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.
*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...
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 seems to be taking everything Up to Eleven. It's stated to be the reason why Vulcans held back humanity for so long; the fact that the same individual could be at one moment as emotional and bloodthirsty as a Klingon, and the next able to logically reason with a Vulcan, made the Vulcans outright scared. Their adaptability to any given situation is exceeded only by the Borg.
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.
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".
The original Space Elves, and Trek's most iconic alien race, famous for their strict adherence to logic and reason. They were the first extraterrestrial species to make First Contact with Humans. They offered huge assistance to a devastated post-World War III Earth, enabling the elimination of world poverty, disease and crime. Nevertheless, many humans still cannot bear their pointy ears; their arrogance; their freezer-temperature sex drives (Vulcans get freaky approximately once every seven years). Vulcans appear in all six Trek series, four of which feature a Vulcan or a half-Vulcan as a crewmember.
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).
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.
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!
Duel to the Death: Oddly all duels we have seen never resulted in a death, guess they didn't feel like changing the name.
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.
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: 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."
To the extent that a Vulcan can be driven utterly insane by the horrors of war, become a deranged serial killer, yet never once give up the sincere belief that what they are doing is complete and utterly logical (DS9: "Field of Fire").
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."
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.
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: 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!")
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.
Proud Scholar Race Guy: A Vulcan's idea of a wild night is thirteen hours of meditation followed by a seaweed TV dinner.
Really 700 Years Old: There are instances of them living over two hundred and twenty years. Spock is over hundred and fifty when he goes back in time and ends up trapped in an Alternate Reality TOS-Era.
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 tend to be speciesist and rather brusk in their relations with other Alpha Quadrant races, barely masking their low regard for the illogical aliens they must begrudgingly work with. They also discriminate against those who marry outside of the race.
In the prequel series Enterprise, the Vulcans were retconned into quasi-antagonists, including a militaristic sect which was colluding with Romulus.
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.
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.
Huge, bumpy-headed Space Pirates with unlimited strength, and very little in the way of patience. Originally a recurring villain for Kirk's Enterprise, they became wildly popular and have since appeared in all four live-action spinoffs, along with obligatory appearances in most of the films. Though technically an ally of the United Federation of Planets, Klingons aren't entirely housebroken, and are always itching to make war with somebody. Protip: If you're a bartender, it's unwise to try cutting off a Klingon's drink.
Lursa: You had better be initiating a mating ritual.
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 baldrics, not bandoliers.
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.
Big Badass Bird of Prey: The iconic Klingon Bird-of-Prey. A fearsome warship in its day, this model was eventually outclassed by the 24th century. This was the first Trek vehicle to utilize Stealth in Space.
Brawn Hilda: As shown above, even the most refined Klingon women are still very hairy (particularly their eyebrows).
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. Over the years, 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")
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Skyward Scream: In 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.
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).
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.
The Romulans are a splinter group that rejected the teachings of Surak, emigrating from Vulcan to colonize the worlds of Romulus and Remus. You might consider them the anti-puritans. Interestingly, the Romulan Star Empire is very similar to that of the Roman Republic before it became the Roman Empire, with a large senate and a single committee above that. Kirk had a few run-ins with the Romulans, causing them to disappear into space to lick their wounds; they emerged as a main antagonist of TNG, effectively replacing the Klingons.
Always Chaotic Evil: Out of all the recurring antagonists in the franchise, The Romulans come the closest to playing this trope straight.
Overlaps with Card-Carrying Villain. Nearly every other belligerent race in the Trek 'Verse has some has some lofty goal or principle they feel justifies their behavior, be it honor and glory (The Klingons), "Perfection" (The Borg), imposing Order upon a chaotic Universe (The Dominion) or ensuring their people never go hungry (The Cardassians). The Romulans lack such justifications, brazenly bragging about their superiority and Lack of Empathy. They come the closest out of all the major races in the franchise to being evil for the sake of being evil, unless the Kazon count (whom most contend don't).
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.
Big Badass 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.
Catchphrase: A common Romulan courtesy is "Jolan Tru", similar to the Vulcan greeting. Nobody knows what it means, though.
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 Maoist 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."
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 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.
Drink Order: Romulan ale (or "Kali-Fal") is a blue alcoholic beverage which was made illegal due to a trade embargo in Kirk's time. However, the embargo is lifted when the Rolumans agree to help drive out the Dominion.
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.
Lady of War: As aforesaid 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.
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.
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.
Stealth in Space: The Klingons originated it, but 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.
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 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.
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.
Proud Warrior Race: Service in the Andorian Imperial Guard can strongly influence one's social standing.
"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.
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: Mature Betazoids sometimes suffer from Zanthi fever, which caused them to lose control over their empathy and absorb everyone's collective thoughts at once.
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.
"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?"
The Q Continuum refers not to a race, but an extra-dimensional plane inhabited by a race of non-corporeal, godlike beings known as the Q. Their attitude toward the affairs of "lower" beings is one of general indifference, with the exception of squashing species they deem too dangerous, like Humans (but never the Borg, conveniently enough). From what little we see of the Continuum, it's similar to the Greek pantheon.
Ass in Ambassador & Mouth of Sauron: Q interests regarding the human race are normally handled by a single representative. This individual has a history of insulting, tormenting, taunting, and otherwise harassing races all over the galaxy..
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.
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: 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).
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.
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.
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.
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."
The used car salesmen of the galaxy, swindling unwary customers and measuring everything in terms of profit. They first appeared in "The Last Outpost", the fifth episode of TNG, as a potential Big Bad, but were quickly downgraded to comic relief villains. Known for their business acumen and rampant misogyny, forcing their women to remain naked (to prevent them from working). Originally a parody of modern-day humans (gee, thanks), the Ferengi gradually began to exhibit some of our virtues, as well.
Acceptable Targets: The Ferengi value profit and commerce above all else, and even revere its presence in other races. They are a realistic depiction of what a pure Libertarian society would be like, minus the gender equality (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.
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. Pointedly, 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.
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.
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 continually-higher bribes. Not a bad strategy within the Ferengi Alliance... but the failure rate is quite high with Klingons, et al.
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.
Even Swindlers Have Standards: 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.
Oddly enough despite this they're the most sexist race in the series. They finally undergo a women's lib movement on DS9.
Evil Virtues: 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? 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.
Gold Fever: nverted. Like most races in the Alpha Quadrant, they accept gold-pressed latinum as barter, but the latinum carries real value.
Hyper Awareness: Ferengi have perhaps the best hearing of all the Trek aliens, able to determine 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 and amoral in his duties, and despised by the Grand Negus.
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?!"
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 colonialists merchants.
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.
Money Fetish: 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
In particular, Quark states that the Ferengi would have hammered out a mutually beneficial deal with the Dominion, 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 him and Nog. 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 determines that the Cardassians, caught with their hand in the till, would back off on arming their settlers, who in turn would be open to peace negotiations with their Terran neighbors. In essence, the Ferengi are using Game Theory to deduce the best possible outcome for all parties; Quark even manages to convince a Vulcan resistance 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 - though two of them had speaking roles on TNG. They lost the breathing apparatus in DS9 (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.
"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."
The Borg are a collection of species that have been robotocized into mindless drones by the Collective. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the blackness of the Delta Quadrant, the Borg use nanomachines to "assimilate" beings into their collective and wire them to the hive mind. The Borg has no ultimate goal other than to achieve "perfection", assimilating the unique traits of other species and discarding what they don't need. They represent a dark side of the Federation's collectivism.
Always Lawful Evil: So long as they are a part of their collective, they are subject to its will.
Arm Cannon: A rare departure for Trek. Most species use handheld weapons.
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.
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.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Emphasized in "The Best of Both Worlds." Riker's increasingly desperate attempts to buy his crew more time though protracted negotiation are instantly seen by the Borg for what they are.
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 power in the galaxy, without really being a true race at all. However, it is unlikely that they would let a frail species, such as an Elaysian, waltz into combat as an attack drone.
It's more likely that frail species that are assimilated are upgraded through their cybernetics to become much stronger; Assimilated human drones have enough power to knock a Klingon on his ass.
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 Evils of Free Will: They genuinely believe that they are bettering the lot of other species by trying to absorb them.
Expy: Ever since the Borg were first introduced, Doctor Who fans have been accusing them of being a copy of the Cybermen from that series (creepy collectivist originally-humanoid cyborgs who forcibly convert and assimilate other species). The accusation then got reversed after the 2013 Doctor Who episode "Nightmare In Silver" gave the Cybermen abilities that had never previously been associated with them, but looked a lot like the Borgs' (such as instant assimilation via nanotech, and the ability to rapidly develop immunity to attacks and share it among themselves).
Hive Mind: Although each drone makes up part of a collective whole...
Mind Hive: ...the individuality of each drone is overwhelmed by the personalities of a thousand others.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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: 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).
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 First Contact, it's become a staple for Borg drones to menacingly point an arm while flexing various hooks, pincers, and can openers.
Our Vampires Are Different\Our Zombies 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).
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.
Outside-Context Villain: 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.
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.
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. They're also HUGE (about 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.
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.
Villain Cred: "Don't! Provoke! The BORG!" ...Said the member of the Q continuum.
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 Have No Chance to Survive: A pointed out by SFDebris, 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.
"He's king of his particular hill, Commander. You'll have to treat him that way."
Pudgy, taciturn little men in mustard-colored uniforms. For nine millenia, they have been regarded as having the most brilliant strategic minds in the galaxy. (Because of this perception, no one has ''tested'' the Zakdorn in combat. Hmm.) As a result, the Zakdorn are replete with self-assuredness and overconfidence; on the few occasions the Enterprise invited them aboard, they invariably start barking out orders as if they own the place.
Small Name, Big Ego: Picard wryly remarks that brinkmanship is sometimes more important in war than actually fighting, something the Zakdorn are experts at. This prompts Worf to dismissively note that their "reputation means nothing."
The Cardassians embody the lizard brain: merciless, conniving, and xenophobic. Their society is depicted as being Kafkaesque, with criminal trials where the defendant is presumed guilty and the sentence is already decided before the trial begins. In Cardassian mystery novels, everyone is always guilty, the puzzle to work out being who is guilty of what. Their public face is one of genteel politeness, but they are dangerously smart and underestimating them is foolish.
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?"
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.
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: Televised treason trials are constant and serve as the planet's most-watched form of entertainment. The proceedings are crafted to maximize drama and schedenfreude, 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.
Complexity Addiction: This is evident in battle, as evidenced 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.
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.
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 humid planet. The cold-blooded denizens prefer warm climates and dimmed lighting. What humans consider to be room temperature is frigid to a Cardassian.
Evil vs. Evil & A House Divided: 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. 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.
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.
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.
Hobbes Was Right: Cardassia was originally a peaceful, spiritual planet not unlike Bajor. A mass famine resulted in the junta we see today.
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.
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" — hence why 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 the Cardassian Union to actually 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.
Meet the New Boss: Could be 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".)
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: 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 some to light.
People's Republic of Tyranny: Their official moniker, the Cardassion "Union", is emblematic of Cardassian blancmange. They were originally called the Cardassian Empire, but this was changed much later on, presumably to differentiate them from the Klingon and Romulan Empires. It's also useful for deflecting accusations of colonialism. (We're all in this together!)
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.
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.
Salt the Earth: The Changelings and Vorta tried to glass Cardassia-Prime in retaliation for an uprising against them.
The Social Darwinist: In addition to invading weaker worlds to 'civilize' them, Cardassians regularly pick each other off, too, seeing no need to preserve that which is no longer useful.
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. A dissenting position is taken by Gul Ghemor, who regretted seeing his artistic-minded daughter abandon her sculptures to join an intelligence outfit, and mused that 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.
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.
In a nice Terry Gilliam touch, we even see a Torture Technician inviting his young daughter into the chamber in a sick parody of Take Your Child To Work Day.
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.
It's worth noting that their theme music in Star Trek Online, a bombastic "Battle Suite", includes a harpsichord as one of the instruments.
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 been known to happen (in fact we never see or hear of legitimate charges), but that doesn't matter because there is only one verdict on Cardassia, and that verdict is always the same.
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.)
The IRAin space!, the Bajorans suffered under the heel of the Cardassians for fifty years. A resistance movement drove off their oppressors, and now the planet is struggling between freedom, religious dogma, and order. The Federation could not intervene in the Cardassion occupation, due to Prime Directive considerations; as such, the Bajorans are in no hurry to become a Federation member. Similar to the Trills, the Bajorans' makeup was the result of a injunction by Rick Berman against marring the beauty of Michelle Forbes. It also simplified the task of filming an entire crowd of Bajorans at once.
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. In another reality ("Parallels"), the Bajorans have essentially 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.
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 scantily-clad bombshells are quite religious in private.)
Hufflepuff House: There is still some resentment toward the Federation over their handling of the occupation (or lack therof). In 2369, when Commander (later Captain) 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. Possibly a leftover from the old Bajoran caste system.
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.
Last Name Basis: Bajoran tradition places the family name before the given name, in the Asian style.
Religious Bruiser: At times. Though their lack of power means they spend more time getting bruised then bruising.
It's insinuated that under different circumstances, the Bajorans could be just as aggressive and threatening as the Cardassians.
The Revolution Will Not Be Bureaucratized: Once the Cardassians finally packed up and left, the Bajorans 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.
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.
"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.
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.
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. Odam 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 is the Trill answer to the Vulcans' 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. ("Facets")
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.
Shapeshifting aliens whose default form is a gelatinous liquid. They run the Dominion and are revered as gods by their slave races, the Vorta and Jem'Hadar, who are genetically programmed to revere them. (With gods like these, who needs devils?). They spend most of their time in the "Great Link," a huge puddle of liquefied Changeling that covers the surface of their planet, but many years ago they sent out 100 individuals of their race to make contact with the "Solids" of the galaxy. And Now You Know how Odo got to the Alpha Quadrant.
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.
Alien Sea: The Great Link resembles a reddish ocean.
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.
Blob Monster: Their true form is a shifting, translucent reddish ooze.
Blonds / Blondes are Evil: With the exception of Laas, all the Changelings we see have blond hair in humanoid form. Laas had completely mastered his shape-changing abilities over two centuries, but chose not to alter his face because, unlike Odo, he did not identify with solids and saw no benefit in emulating them.
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.
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.
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.
Evilutionary Biologist: They either created or heavily modified the Vorta and Jem'hadar to do the heavy lifting for them.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Real Men Wear Pink: Literally, as even the male Founders wear flowing pink garments. These are ankle-length and resemble Arabic thawb robes.
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.
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!
Spanner in the Works: The Wormhole, for staters. Word of God 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 Federation ship.
The Vorta are genetically engineered to serve as the administrative wing of the Dominion, with the Jem'Hadar serving the military role. They also function as field commanders to the Jem'Hadar, who despise them. Despite being hatched from the same Dominion-run bioreactor tanks, the two races are as similar as night and day; Vorta are frail, scheming, and made up entirely of Expendable Clones. (The reasoning being that Changelings are too paranoid to get acquainted with new attachés all the time)
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.
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.
Bad Boss: 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.
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 fulfilled this promise by DNA-splicing 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.
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 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. ("Rocks and Shoal")
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.
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.
Fashionable Asymmetry: Vorta wear a combination tunic/blazer which is missing a sleeve. They also favor shirts with a flashy leaf pattern. Kilana, a female Vorta, sported an appropriately low-cut shirt to disarm potential adversaries, but the collar still fit this trope.
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. In "The Ship", this crossed over to Fanservice with a Smile: Kilana kept calling time-outs to offer refreshments to Sisko's twitchy crew.
Goggles Do Something Unusual & High-Class Glass: The Jem'Hadar don't include viewscreens on their ships: Rather, a slick, shoulder-mounted eyepiece that allows them to observe what's going on outside the hull. There are only two headsets allotted to each ship: One for the Vorta, and another for his Jem'Hadar "First." Cardassians are shown using them with ease, but the headsets cause humans to have splitting headaches after a while.
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."
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: The strict hierarchy states that a Jem'Hadar can't question the orders of any Vorta, even if they're clearly stupid. Pop quiz: Which of the two races are bred for war, and which is a colorblind wimp who won't even touch a phaser?
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."
Professional Butt-Kisser: 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.
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."
Also genetically-engineered by the Founders, the Jem'Hadar are bred to fight and die on behalf of the Dominion. They are all Gattaca Babies (there are no females) and are kept under control due to a genetic and inherent addiction to a drug called Ketracel White. They are also short-lived, but can be produced by the thousands as needed. The Klingons believe that the Jem'Hadar are no more than honorless machines, but they're not as slavish as they look...
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.
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.
First: (solemn) We pledge our loyalty to the Founders, from now until death. 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,
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.
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.
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 unsettling blend of Klingon brutality and Romulan level-headedness.
Nightmare Fetishist: When Dr. Bashir treats a wounded Vorta on the battlefield, he gets crowded out by the accompanying Jem'Hadar who are forming a little operating threatre of their own. We see weary resignation upon the Vorta's brow, 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 are that short.
"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 when 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.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: They take no chances when it comes to taking people prisoner. Even when placed in a locked cell, they'll hang their captives upside down by their legs to ensure that they absolutely cannot escape. Before taking a prisoner out to be interrogated, they'll go in three at a time and stun their target before dragging them out of their cell.
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".
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.
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.
Idiot Ball: They never get the hint that being cryptic is keeping people from fully carrying out their orders. The fact that the Pah Wraiths are capable of speaking normally logically dictates that the Prophets should be as well.
Since the Pah Wraiths exist in a physical location in the known universe (the Fire Caves), they became more attuned to linear time than the Prophets, as the Celestial Temple itself does not exist inside the known universe, other than its two entrances that allow it to function as a wormhole.
Made of Magic: They exist as something but it's damned near incomprehensible to corporeal forms.
Omniscient Morality License: 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.
Timey-Wimey Ball: 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.
The Pah Wraiths
"Everyone has enemies, even the Prophets."
All Just a Dream: Tried to fool Sisko into thinking his life on Deep Space 9 was this.
"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."
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 SFDebris, the Ocampa would all have to produce children at once just to maintain zero population growth. 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.
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.
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.
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 devlopment 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.
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.
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.
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)
Insufficiently Advanced Alien: 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: 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. 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.
"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 requested to Captain Janeway that the Kazon should not be allowed to use his array, forcing her to destroy it.
Author's Saving Throw:invoked 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).
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.
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.
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 civilised 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.
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.
Weaponized Teleportation: With their hand-held weapons, Vidiian organ harvesters can zap a victim and "beam" organs straight from their bodies.
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")
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.
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 irides. 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.
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 Six: Species 8472 is their boilerplate Borg designation. Their Starfleet moniker, "Undine", was introduced in Star Trek Online.
"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")
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 their's 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."
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.
"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. This may have something to do with the fact they've been using Genetic engineering since the twentieth century.
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.)
Puffer Fish: When threatened, their heads explode to three times their normal size because why not.
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.
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.
"In the service of the Makers, all actions are blessed ones.""
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.
Hostile Terraforming: The Spheres are used to make planets 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 forsaw that the Federation would repel their eventual invasion, and sought to snuff Earth out preemptively.