For species with names starting from N to Z, go here.
Debut: Star Trek: The Original Series
Homeworld: Andoria (or Andor)
Andorians are swashbuckling romantics, exhibiting intense dislike for and mistrust of logic. They can be found harassing their idealogical opposites, the Vulcans. Andorians first appeared in the TOS episode "Journey to Babel", and have been seen or mentioned in episodes of subsequent series. They did not rise to prominence until Star Trek: Enterprise, which takes place before the Andorians become one of the founding four races who establish the Federation.
- Alien Blood: Blue in color.
- Alien Sky: Their homeworld orbits a blue, ringed gas giant.
- Beneath the Earth: Most of their cities are built underground, both to get away from the frigid temperatures on the surface and 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. By TOS, the Andorians are depicted as conniving diplomats.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: Andorian marriages are groups of four individuals. This fact is mentioned in passing in The Next Generation and it's left ambiguous as to why they do so; it could have been intended as a case of sexuality-based Getting Crap Past the Radar, but the Expanded Universe of the novels instead interpreted it as being based on Andorians having Bizarre Alien Sexes — two male-approximate and two female-approximate.
- Extra Parent Conception: According to the novels, this is why Andorians have not only four genders, but a need to form spousal units comprising of one member from each gender; all four genders are required to produce offspring, although how this works is never explained. Add in they have a variety of other fertility issues, and this is why Andorians don't appear often; the race is too busy focusing on breeding away from extinction to make much impact on the world stage.
- Fantastic Racism: Andorians are (yet another) xenophobic race, using the pejorative "pink-skin" to refer to humans.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: I'm blue, da ba dee da ba dii...
- Hot-Blooded: Though their natural environment is almost entirely covered in 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 honorable, men of their word, who serve on starships named after important vessels from history.
- Prophet Eyes: The Aenar, a sub-species of the Andorians, are albinos and are Blind Seers and telepathic.
- Proud Warrior Race: Service in the Andorian Imperial Guard can strongly influence one's social standing.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised: The Vulcans have trade partnerships with many Andorian colonies, but the fabulous wealth has not been shared. The Vulcans have no interest in Andorian society beyond which palms need to be greased to keep the dilithium flowing. This causes a kerfuffle on Coridan, where a rebel faction attempts an overthrow of the puppet government.
- Single-Biome Planet: Andoria is an ice world with no visible seas or plant life.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Loss of an antenna will badly disorient them, to the point of temporary incapacitation.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: However, the antenna will grow back after a period of nine months, which can be reduced by applying electrodes and massages to the affected area.
Debut: Star Trek: Discovery
A technologically-advanced 'predator' species, who force the pre-warp Kelpiens to ritualistically sacrifice themselves to preserve the "Great Balance" of their shared homeworld.
- Aliens are Bastards: The Ba'ul did nothing to try and alleviate the tension with Discovery. In fact, every change in the situation, the Ba'ul reacted aggressively. When the Discovery tried diplomacy, they reacted with aggression. When the Ba'ul learned that Saru was aboard Discovery, they demanded that Saru be turned over to them. When Pike refused, the Ba'ul sent ten ships to take him back. When Pike still refused, the Ba'ul threatened to detonate the Watchful Eye in Siranna's village, which would kill Sara's sister. After Saru finally turns himself over, the Ba'ul take his sister to prevent others of learning of Vahar'ai's effects. After the Discovery forced the Kelpiens to undergo Vahar'ai to show that they weren't a threat anymore, the Ba'ul decide to detonate every Watchful Eye on Kaminar, which would wipe out the Kelpiens. At this point, Pike gave up on diplomacy and decided to play the Ba'ul's game, ordering the Discovery to shoot the eyes. Fortunately, the Red Angel was also tired of the Ba'ul's shit, and chose this time to intervene and shut down the Eyes.
- Alien Sky: Kaminar is pretty Earth-like, but has a thin ring system and two moons.
- Cthulhumanoid: They have long tendrils drooping from their face.
- Fish People: They appear to be an aquatic species; one of their strongholds on Kaminar is submerged beneath a large lake and one of their leadership arrives to taunt Saru through what looks like a portal leading to the outside.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: They were originally a prey species to the post-vahar'ai Kelpiens, and were nearly rendered extinct before they developed technology that let them take over Kaminar. Now they're a warp-capable species with starships that dwarf those of Starfleet.
- Humanoid Abomination: Picture Armus, with long fingers and modern production values... yeah.
- Paper Tiger: Implied to be this compared to Starfleet as of 2257. Their sentry ships are gargantuan and they're quick to threaten violence against Discovery, but Pike's nonplussed reaction — combined with the fact that the Ba'ul had only discovered warp drive twenty years prior, meaning they must be seriously technologically inferior — suggests that his lone science vessel just might have been a match for them. After Saru emancipates the Kelpiens, the Ba'ul disappear from the narrative entirely, to the point where they don't even bother trying to force Discovery out of their system.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Their eyes aren't often visible, but when they are, they fit this trope completely.
Debut: Star Trek: The Next Generation
The IRA in 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.
- Alien Sea: According to Kira, Bajor's oceans have a greenish tint compared to those of Earth.
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: In the Mirror Universe, these guys are actually handing out assignments to the Klingons and the Cardassians, and have the Terran Empire on the run. They more or less function as The Dominion of that reality.
- In an alternate timeline ("Parallels"), the Bajorans swapped places with the Cardassians (complete with a Cardassian at Ro Laren's bridge station) and had powerful warships.
- Art Shift: A rare Live-Action example. In their first appearances, the Bajorans' trademark ridged nose was augmented by a triangular almost-Rubber Forehead (Note Ro Laren above). This was present throughout TNG and the first season of DS9 before being eliminated.
- The exact shape of their Nose Ridges changes, as well. Both from person to person and for individual Bajorans (ESPECIALLY Kira).
- Bizarre Alien Biology: During pregnancy, Bajoran women suffer from uncontrollable bouts of sneezing (rather than morning sickness). The delivery itself is a tantric experience, with relaxing incense and chimes.
- The Bajoran heart features a horizontal cardiac axis, unlike the Human heart, which has a vertical axis.
- Boomerang Bigot: During the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, some Bajorans provided aid to their oppressors, many as a means of survival, although some took a perverse pleasure in grinding their fellow Bajorans underfoot. After the occupation ended, the Bajoran government and people repaid this betrayal by deeming these "collaborators" persona non grata and banishing them.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Bajor was first introduced on TNG, where it was always referred to as "Bajora" with the extra letter at the end.
- Express Delivery: Vascularization between a Bajoran fetus and the mother is extremely high. Bajoran women carry their babies for only five months.
- Fanservice with a Smile: Quark's Dabo girls. Not all Bajoran women are nuns, after all. Interestingly, even these stacked bombshells are quite religious in private.
- Fantastic Caste System: Bajoran society used to have a strictly divided caste system (called a "D'jarra") which dictated one's profession. The castes were inherited through families and it was impossible to switch out of the caste you were born in. During the Cardassian occupation, the caste system was abandoned so that everyone could devote themselves to the task of fighting off the Cardassians, and the Bajorans did not return to the system after the occupation ended (at the beginning of Deep Space Nine). The Occupation lasted over 50 years, so the caste system hasn't been in place for half a century - this extends to the point that virtually all Bajorans (most of whom grew up after the caste system was abandoned) just consider it a historical artifact with absolutely no bearing on their lives (sort of like how someone with the last name "Smith" doesn't even frequently think that one of their ancestors was probably a blacksmith). Even the religious clergy of the Bajorans make no attempt to re-institute the caste system. It has so little bearing on the lives of modern Bajorans that only one episode even mentioned the former caste system, though it featured as the main plot...
- One episode has a time-traveling Bajoran, claiming to be the Emissary, try to restore the caste system, which would have cost Bajor its chance at Federation membership. Sisko, despite his reluctance to fulfill the Messianic Archetype he had been previously bestowed, eventually challenged the time-traveller for the Emissary title after caste-based discrimination led to violence on the station. We learn that Kira is actually a member of the artisan-caste, forbidden to serve as military officers, so she (temporarily) has to leave her post and take up sculpting (and she's really bad at it).
- Hufflepuff House: There is still some resentment toward the Federation over their handling of the occupation (or lack therof). In 2369, when Benjamin Sisko was assigned command of DS9, one of his main tasks was to groom Bajor for official membership with the Federation. However, Sisko, acting as Emissary of the Prophets, realized that if Bajor were to join at that time, it would be destroyed by the Federation's many enemies; heeding his warning, Bajor chose to remain neutral.
- According to the Star Trek Novel Verse, Bajor finally formally joined the Federation in 2376, the year after the Dominion War ended. The Bajoran Militia was absorbed into Starfleet.
- Iconic Item: Their earrings, which serve as a coat of arms for their families (a leftover from the old Bajoran caste system?). It is also a symbol of their faith: a Bajoran cleric could gain information about a person's "pagh," or aura, by holding onto their left ear.
- La Résistance: Most major Bajoran characters were part of it. The others were members of the clergy.
- Lady Land: Bajor has some shades of this. Their only-functioning military arm, the Bajoran militia, is still predominantly male. However, it's a female Kai who calls the shots. Men are free to run in the papal election, but we never see one win.
- Bajoran woman are also noted for being tough cookies; O'Brien's first question to Sisko when he stepped onboard the station was if he'd ever served with one, cautiously referring to the furious Kira in the upstairs office.
- Also Ro Laren.
- Bajoran woman are also noted for being tough cookies; O'Brien's first question to Sisko when he stepped onboard the station was if he'd ever served with one, cautiously referring to the furious Kira in the upstairs office.
- Last-Name Basis: Bajoran tradition places the family name before the given name, in the Asian style.
- Occupiers Off of Our Planet: They were this to the Cardassians during the occupation.
- Religious Bruiser: At times. Though their lack of power means they spend more time getting bruised then bruising. Their faith does give them an extreme tenacity in adverse conditions which other races can find surprising, given that they don't like war and would prefer philosophical/religious contemplation and the arts. The Cardassians found this out the hard way in the forty year long military occupation of Bajor: the resistance had little more than rocks at some points, but they just plain refused to give up. During Dukat's breakdown in "Waltz", he angrily expresses his frustration that no matter what they did, the Bajorans still prayed in their temples for deliverance, and Bajorans - from the prisoner being worked to death in a slave labor camp to the servant girl who cleaned his quarters - still looked at him with defiance in their eyes. Their faith gave them to the strength to keep the Cardassians from breaking them.
- Heck, even the Jem'Hadar compliment the Bajorans: after they slaughtered the New Bajor colony in the Gamma Quadrant, their envoy remarks that they actually fought quite well, "for a religious people" - he was surprised and impressed by how they fought to the bitter end.
- It's insinuated that under different circumstances, the Bajorans could be just as intimidating and barbaric as the Cardassians. See also the Voyager episode "Flesh and Blood", in which the Hirogen developed holographic targets based on images of Alpha Quadrant races that they downloaded. The resident Cardassian, a female programmer, ends up being rehabilitated, while the token Bajoran turns malevolent and nearly initiates a war versus all "organics".
- The Revolution Will Not Be Bureaucratized: The Bajorans have endured decades of empty promises; they aren't going to duped by more of the same from the Federation. Once the Cardassians finally packed up and left, the survivors began to show every indication of sliding back into superstition, caste lines, and tribal warfare. Starfleet deploys Ben Sisko and a small platoon to keep the peace, but adding more bureaucracy is hardly what the Bajorans want.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: When they get worked up, they really don't care who pays for another's crime.
- Skeleton Government: The Provisional Government was set up after the occupation ended. Most people expect it to implode right away, leading to firing squads and civil war. Luckily, that didn't happen, but the Kai (a cross between the Pope and, well, planet-wide regent) is still the de facto ruler of the planet. Let's hope a total megalomaniac doesn't get herself elected ...wait.
- A three-part DS9 episode, 'Homecoming', 'The Circle', and 'The Siege', featured a story arc about the Provisional Government and its inability to defuse an explosive political revolution.
- By about Season 5, the Provisional Government seems to have been replaced with a standing government known as the Council of Ministers.
- Space Elves: Subverted. While they are mystically minded they don't have an Our Elves Are Better air to them. However, the Bajorans are a very religious people, and can get pretty haughty about anything that doesn't quite gel with their beliefs.
- Space Jews: Although the writers for DS9 stated that the Bajorans were modeled after any number of oppressed cultures throughout the ages, they do have a lot of parallels with Jewish history. For one, they have one of the oldest civilizations in the Alpha Quadrant; there's also that bit about managing to reclaim their spiritual homeland after centuries of languishing under foreign domination.
- The writers in TNG said that at the time of their introduction, one of their stronger influences was actually the Palestinians - the idea that there were refugee camps of Bajorans who had fled their occupied territories. This idea influenced faded by DS9. Even then, though, the TNG writers cited that they could just as equally be Poland under the Nazis, Colonial Africa under the Europeans, or Korea occupied by Japan.
- We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The Cardassians forced the Bajorans to strip their planet down at gunpoint. Perversely, the multidue of deaths within the mines are well documented because the Cardassians are too anal-retentive not to keep meticulous records.
- Written by the Winners: There's a very effective voiceover where Picard talks about the achievements of the ancient Bajorans which plays over a pan across the ruins of a settlement where they are now barely reaching subsistence level. On Cardassia, they teach that Bajor was a backwards planet that never accomplished anything of note until the Occupation taught them to straighten up and fly right.
The spear carriers of the galaxy, Benzites are usually seen pottering around in the background in each iteration of Trek. Two of them had speaking roles in TNG, and a Benzite redshirt did what they do best in DS9. They soon lost the breathing apparatus, 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. Fortunately, the Treaty of Bajor gave them back to 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.
Debut: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Betazoids are mostly indistinguishable from humans, the only difference being that the iris of a Betazoid's eyes is bigger than a human's. Betazoids are willfully empathic and telepathic (unlike the Vulcan mind-meld).
- Beware the Silly Ones: Betazoids quickly become unstable if their empathic abilities are hampered in any way, as it is their primary mode of communication. Tam Elbrun was born without the ability to filter out unwanted thoughts, which ended up botching a sensitive First Contact and getting 47 Starfleet officers killed. Even Counselor Troi unraveled when her empathic powers temporarily switched off. (TNG, "Tin Man", "The Loss")
- The only Betazoid member of Voyager's crew, Lon Suder, had no empathic or telepathic abilities, perhaps explaining his innate desire to kill things. He joined up with Chakotay's Maquis unit, but was ostracized when he proved too violent even for them.
- Bourgeois Bohemians: They don't keep pets and prefer shuttle travel to mounted animals because they empathize too much with them.
- Elfeminate: Male Betazoids tend toward this; females tend toward the Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette.
- The Empath: Children who are only part-Betazed, like Deanna, still have this ability.
- Emotion Control: Mature Betazoids sometimes suffer from Zanthi fever, which causes them to lose control over their empathy and project their own emotions onto everyone around them. Lwaxana Troi, who was infatuated Odo, unwittingly unleashed amorous mayhem on Deep Space Nine as she caused the people she interacted with to develop random romantic obsessions with each other. Whether or not Betazoids can do this on purpose is unclear.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: An entire race of them.
- Expy: Betazoids are stand-ins for the Deltan race who were a race of empathic, sexually promiscuous Federation members. Beta/Delta being just a sign of how the naming went. They were a little much for a family friendly franchise like Star Trek at the time, though, so they had the sexuality element ramped down while Troi was the empathic one because she was a Half-Human Hybrid.
- Exotic Eye Designs: Betazoids have black irises.
- Mauve Shirt: The entire planet was seized by Jem'Hadar during the Dominion War (offsceen, mind you). The writers batted around the idea of Vulcan being occupied, but decided against it. Ironically, J.J. Abrams would later blow Vulcan to pieces.
- Mind over Manners: Due to their telepathy, Betazoid culture embraces honesty to a point considered rude by other cultures, namely humans. Lwaxana Troi, a particularly strong-willed Betazoid, commented on her befuddlement at the Human practice of fibbing to spare others' feelings or for politeness' sake.
- Mrs. Robinson: A Betazoid woman's sex-drive quadruples when they reach a certain age, meaning that half of the population of Betazed consists of cougars.
- Naked People Are Funny: In Betazoid wedding ceremonies, all participants (bride, groom, and guests) are traditionally nude. Poor Picard.(grumpily) "I'll be in the gym."
- New-Age Retro Hippie: Their culture greatly resembles the New Age movement on Earth, to obnoxious degrees.
- Poke in the Third Eye: Tam Elbrun had this going on almost all of the time, as he could not shut out the thoughts of others. Especially because of the range of their telepathy, Betazoids can get overwhelmed by strong thoughts or emotions.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Betazoids were inspired by the Deltans from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Their similarities include the Betazoid species having been named after a letter of the Greek alphabet, the Betazoids' relatively very open attitude toward sexual activities, and the species' ESP.
- Telepathy: Notably, Betazoid telepathy (and empathy) works across very long distances. For example, they can sense the thoughts of beings on a planetary surface while they are on a starship in orbit. This often became a Story-Breaker Power and the main reason full-blooded Betazoid characters appeared irregularly at best.
Homeworld: Bolarus (or Bolias)
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.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first Bolian seen in TNG (pictured above) was a female who had greenish hair. All subsequent appearances of the species, female or otherwise, are completely bald.
- Extreme Omnivore: As noted in Alien Lunch, some of the meat in their traditional cuisine includes rotten meat.
- Hidden Depths: Despite their prominent portrayal as service industry workers, the Bolians are apparently a major economic force in the Alpha Quadrant.
- Proud Merchant Race: To the point where they can go toe to toe with the Ferengi, the race whose entire thing is being merchants.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Apparently Tracey Tormé had wanted to include an Andorian in the first season of TNG, but was informed by Rick Berman that, We don't do antennae on this show. As such, the Bolians seem like a compromise: blue, antennae-less aliens.
Debut: Star Trek: The Next Generation
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 have 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.
The Borg are considered the "most lethal enemy" of the Federation and they are by far the most dangerous recurring adversary in the franchise. They are the dominant power of the Delta Quadrant and totally outstrip all other major powers in terms of technological sophistication and military might, to the point that entire fleets of starships are required to stand a chance against even single Borg Cube. That they do not consider the other races to be important or threatening enough to put serious effort into subjugating is likely the only reason the rest of the galaxy is not completely under their heel.
- Adaptive Ability: The Borg are usually able to adapt to any weapon or defense used against them, given enough time. However, as First Contact showed, sheer volume of fire and attrition can and will overcome their adaptations.
- Always Chaotic Evil: So long as they are a part of their collective, they are subject to its will.
- And I Must Scream: Going by dialogue from across the series, a person's individual identity is not only subsumed by the implants, but the sheer force of the entire collective (a trio of rogue drones compared it to a crowd screaming in their ear), making it pretty impossible to fight the process.
- Arm Cannon: A rare departure for Trek, as most species use handheld weapons. However, the drones are almost never seen using them; there are very few situations where drones could not overwhelm their targets through brute force or sheer numbers. Non-canon licensed works do depict Borg using these if those two strengths are countered.
- Art Evolution: Up until First Contact, Borg deflector shields looked like actual shields, and were transparent. After, they seem like an energy field surrounding the body, and became a pale green.
- Assimilation Plot: Their entire species is devoted to it, along with countless others.
- The Assimilator: They move from world to world, taking "technological and biological distinctiveness" and adding it to themselves.
- Above Good and Evil: The Borg sincerely think they're doing you a favor. After all, once they reach perfection, so will you... once they've "improved" you.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Some can be disabled simply by yanking the sparking cables from their necks. One tug and they're down for the count. The Borg's defense against this cunning strategy varies, though it's generally unwise to pick a melee fight with cyborgs several times stronger than humans.
- Bee People: Low-level mooks are "drones", and their commander is euphemistically called the Queen.
- Breakout Villain: With how iconic they become to franchise and how much of an impact they had, it's easy to forget that in TNG they only appeared in four episodes, and two of those dealt with a rogue drone and a splinter faction.
- Bystander Syndrome: Individual drones won't engage intruders unless the intruders prove themselves hostile in some fashion.
- Characterization Marches On:
- When the Enterprise first encountered the Borg, Q didn't say anything about the assimilation of the crew, just their technology. It wasn't until "Best of Both Worlds" when the Borg express a desire to bring others into their collective, whether they liked it or not. By the time Seven of Nine showed up, it appeared the writers had abandoned the idea of the Borg as a biological species unto themselves; they seemed to be wholly composed of other species they had assimilated.
- Their earliest appearances had the Borg not just take people and technology, but also entire cities, which they scooped wholesale out of the ground. After "Best of Both Worlds", the concept was just quietly dropped, with the previous "excavations" retconned to include assimilation of the city's inhabitants. Likewise, the "nursery" mentioned in "Best of Both Worlds" was retconned into a "maturation chamber" which is essentially a Rapid Aging device to bring assimilated children to full productivity in a greatly reduced amount of time.
- Clingy Costume: Hope you like black.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Especially when said cybernetics are optimized for the job.
- Deflector Shields: The built-in, personal variety. Made even nastier in that they can adapt to threats just like the rest of their technology.
- The Dreaded: Starfleet considers them the most dangerous potential threat to the Federation due to their advanced technology, relentless tactics, and no-negotiations mentality.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Collective itself, prior to their Villain Decay in Star Trek: Voyager.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Borg are the most powerful and feared faction in the galaxy, without really being a true race at all. The Borg assimilate anything which they believe will aid in their goals, sapient beings included. Snippets of dialog indicate that some species are more suited to certain roles than others, however; it is unlikely that they would let a frail species, such as an Elaysian, waltz into combat as an attack drone. Thus far, the only species the Borg have been shown to outright shun are the Kazon, deeming them so inferior that assimilating them would degrade the Borg.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Despite the races they encounter attempting to resist assimilation, the Borg are so Obviously Evil that they cannot grasp why.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Federation. In some ways, they make for a better comparison than the Dominion, as they aspire to being a uniform society under one banner, rather than an empire of subjects. Unlike the Dominion or Federation however, the Borg do not operate under any code of conduct; what morality they possess considers the assimilation of a starship's crew as equal to the assimilation of an entire race. Moreover, any race that is subject to assimilation loses all semblance of identity and becomes no more than part of a single, homogeneous whole.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: The Borg like to operate with a constant temperature of 39.1 °C (102.38 °F), with 92% humidity. Odd, given the fact that the average Borg vessel is like a giant CPU, and most modern computers function more optimally at lower temperatures.
- The high temperature is, however, close to human body temperature, and may represent a working average of body temperatures of the various assimilated species on board. This would allow a drone to shut down any self-regulation of body temperature except when outside this environment, thus conserving energy, playing right into the Borg Collective's hat of ruthless efficiency.
- The Evils of Free Will: They genuinely believe that they are bettering the lot of other species by trying to absorb them.
- Evil Wears Black: All Borg wear black body armor.
- Expy: They have notorious similarities to the 1960s-created Doctor Who antagonist species the Cybermen (creepy hive-minded cyborg humanoids who assimilate other cultures by force and are sometimes treated like techno-zombies). This was highlighted in the IDW spin-off mini-series Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation², which crossed over the two franchises with a Villain Team-Up between the Cybermen and the Borg, and reversed in the 2010s Doctor Who episode "Nightmare in Silver", in which the Cybermen were given abilities much closer to the Borg's, such as rapid cyber-conversion via nanotech infection, and adaptation to weapons.
- Flanderization: Assimilation wasn't as huge a part of their character in TNG as it is now. Turning Picard into a drone required personally abducting him and implanting him with Borg cybernetics. After Star Trek: First Contact, assimilating lifeforms become their main form of attack, where Borg drones would inject other beings with nanoprobes that would turn them into more Borg drones.
- The Fog of Ages: According to Seven of Nine, the Borg suffer from this, as their memory from over 700 years ago is beginning to fragment.
- Greater-Scope Villain: In TNG and subsequent shows, they are shown to be the greatest threat to the Federation, and to the Galaxy at large. 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.
- Hive Drone: The fate of assimilated victims, although a drone's individuality is merely suppressed, rather than being destroyed or absent, something most explicitly demonstrated in the Voyager episode "Unimatrix Zero". Drones such as Hugh and Seven of Nine, who are separated from the Collective, are capable of regaining individuality with varying degrees of success.
- Hive Mind: Although each drone makes up part of a collective whole...
- Hive Queen: The Borg Queen, who claims to personify the Collective rather than lead it. The characters aren't quite sure how this works either. There may be more than one, or else multiple bodies for the same mind; being killed in her first appearance doesn't seem to have slowed her down much.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: Unlike the eco-conscious Federation, Borg tech isn't terribly dolphin safe. We see a brief glimpse of a post-Borg Earth in Star Trek: First Contact, and it's not pretty.
- Implacable Man: Part of what makes them so scary is that once they've adapted to your weapons, even the lowliest drone is virtually unstoppable.
- The Juggernaut: You may be able to pick a few off, but the collective as a whole will eventually adapt and keep relentlessly coming until they overwhelm you.
- Knight of Cerebus: A case could be made for the discovery of the Borg changing the tenor of the entire franchise. Before they were discovered, the Federation was in a state of peace not unlike the Pax Romana. Local threats like the Romulans and Cardassians were matched by Starfleet, and there was a general sense that they were ready for anything. After the devastating and devastatingly short conflict in "The Best of Both Worlds," the Federation came to realize how complacent they'd become, and the repercussions would echo throughout TNG, DS9 and VOY.
- Here's one species whom Captain Picard absolutely can not negotiate or reason with. He might as well be lecturing at a brick wall.Borg Cube, speaking as one: We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours.
Picard: Impossible! My culture is based on freedom and self-determination!
Borg: Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply.
Picard: We would rather die.
Borg: Death is irrelevant.
- Here's one species whom Captain Picard absolutely can not negotiate or reason with. He might as well be lecturing at a brick wall.
- Logic Bomb: In The Next Generation, a proposed weapon against the Borg was to send them a geometric figure, the analysis of which could never be completed, and which would, therefore, eat more and more processing power until the entire Borg hive mind crashed. Obviously the Borg don't use floating point numbers.
- Logical Weakness: Averted and played straight.
- Averted when it comes to their ships. 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.
- Played very straight when it comes to how their species conducts itself in combat. When the Borg encounter alien society, their only instinct is to assimilate it (either by way of its technologies, its cities, or its lifeforms). Through doing so they acquire everything they need to know about the race, including information on their weapons, defenses, and strategies. Works fine for most enemies, but falls apart when they attack Species 8472, whose life-forms and bio-organic ships are entirely immune to all forms of assimilation. Since the Borg have only the most basic methods of studying alien races without assimilating them, this means they're stuck with zero information on their enemy once the inevitable counter-attack happens. By the time Voyager gets involved, Species 8472 are curb-stomping the Borg so hard they're in danger of mass extinction.
- Mad Libs Catchphrase "I am X of Borg. Y is irrelevant. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
- Meat Sack Robot: All of the Borg are these being that they are reverse cyborgs. They have assimilated various species (via injecting Nanomachines into their victims) into its AI's unifying conscious in order to turn their victims into Meat Sack Robots.
- Mind Hive: The individuality of each drone is overwhelmed by the personalities of a thousand others.
- Mordor: The Borg have their own version of Utopia Planitia, dubbed the "Unimatrix", where hundreds of Borg cubes link up to form a massive, geometric city. The Collective has several of these installations all over the Delta Quadrant, but the most sizable one is Unimatrix 01, where the Queen hangs out (along with trillions of drones).
- Multiple-Choice Past: Information on how the Borg came to be is vague at best, contradictory at worst. This is even Justified in-universe; according to Seven Of Nine, the Borg's knowledge of events nine hundred years ago is fragmented. Meaning even the Borg themselves might not know their origin.
- First Contact has the Borg Queen stating that the Borg used to be organic (also, "flawed" and "weak"), but that they eventually "evolved to include the synthetic".
- Voyager hinted that the Borg were originally a benign "Cooperative", using nanotech and brain interfacing to improve the lives of its people. Eventually, they lost sight of their principles and devolved into an all-consuming Collective (a la the Soviet Union).
- Early fanon speculated that V'Ger was masterminding the Borg. The extra section of the game Star Trek: Legacy contains the "Origin of the Borg", which tells the story of V'ger declaring all carbon-based life an infestation of its creator's universe (unaware of the existence of non-mechanical intelligent life, including the humans who built it). Shatner picked up on this idea and included in his line of books.
- In the graphic novel Star Trek: The Manga, the Borg resulted from experimental medicine gone wrong. An alien species facing extinction created Walking Transplants and then stored them in space. Over time, the medical facility deteriorates and so too does the programming of the nanomachines. The nanomachines begins infusing themselves into the patients, interpreting them as parts of the satellite in need of repair. Among the patients is the daughter of the head medical researcher of the satellite, later to become the Queen.
- In the novel Lost Souls (the third book in the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy) the Borg aren't evil because of their cybernetic nature or Hive Mind, but because the first assimilation process went horribly wrong, and subordinated the will of its drones to an Elder God-like alien whose mind had entirely faded away, save for an all-consuming hunger.
- The Needless: Borg don't eat and they don't require sleep, although they do need to 'regenerate' in alcoves to refill on energy. Alcoves are packed together and stand vertically to save on space.
- Noodle Implements: Since "Best of Both Worlds" it's become a staple for Borg drones to menacingly point an arm while flexing various hooks, pincers, and can openers.
- Obliviously Evil: That the Borg are doing anything immoral does not seem to cross their Collective mind, except that other species think of them as such. They truly believe that they are doing people a favour by assimilating them into the Collective, and are not violent or even interested in anyone they do not consider either a target or a threat, to the point that you could freely walk around a Borg ship and be completely ignored (although, granted, that's Tempting Fate quite a bit). The fact that they do not consider themselves to be doing anything wrong is probably one of the scariest things about them.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Early Borg designs were more like vampires than anything else, given that they produce "bite marks" on the necks of their victims (from the assimilation tubules) and all short out if the "head vampire" (the Queen) is killed. This was before the Borg's appearance was changed from chalk-white (like a vampire) to looking discolored and gross (like a rotting zombie)
- Our Zombies Are Different: Lily in First Contact referred to the borg as "Bionic Zombies", and B'elanna Torres in Voyager equated the collective as a whole to an insect colony.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The Borg were originally conceived as being more insectoid than anything else. When budgetary restraints dictated that they be played by humans in costume, a different way to make them scary and "inhuman" was needed, so the writers settled on cybernetics and zombie-like behavior, though the Collective as a whole still captures an insectoid vibe.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The iconic Borg eyepieces always contain laser sights.
- Rogue Drone:
- Hugh (rendered from "You") the Borg from the Next Generation. Although he initially follows standard Drone behavior, his separation from the Collective causes him to take a liking to Picard's crew and develop a sense of individuality.
- Seven of Nine from Voyager is the most famous example. Her full designation is 'Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One'. She came forward as an Emissary when Voyager was obliged to form an alliance with the Borg, only to backstab them at the earliest opportunity. Once her link to the collective is severed, she struggles with her rediscovered humanity.
- "Unimatrix Zero" is a subcollective of drones who retain their individuality and can interface while in stasis. They are eventually freed from collective control and start a civil war within the Borg.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: At one point in TNG, Picard's crew debates whether or not they're in a state of war with the Borg. War was never formally declared, but Troi points out that it's only because the Borg don't bother with diplomatic niceties like that.
- Sinister Geometry:
- The Borg cube and sphere. Cubes are exactly that, a maze of redundant systems with no individual piece standing out from than the whole; if a Borg ship is 78% damaged it can continue to function effectively. They're also HUGE (roughly the mass of Manhattan and 12x times bigger than a Galaxy class), and able to overtake the Enterprise at Warp 9. Word of God stated that the "indifference" of the Borg cube is what makes it so scary. Spheres appear to be the Borg equivalent of cruisers. There's also the rarely-seen aymmetric freighter (used by Lore's rogue Borg cult, and fried in a solar flare by Dr. Crusher in "Descent") and the Queen's ship, which is octohedronally-shaped (seen in "Dark Frontier").
- Gene Roddenberry originally intended for the Borg to only use spheres, since it can be mathematically proven that a sphere is the most efficient shape (in the sense that no other shape with the same surface area will have as great an interior volume). However, spheres were too hard for the special effects people to produce so he was forced to use cubes instead. Even then, cubes are still a highly efficient shape in and of themselves, and are still the most efficient shape that can tessellate (stack together), something spheres cannot do.
- Story-Breaker Power: If it weren't for Villain Decay, The Borg would be in here easily. Before Star Trek: Voyager, they could basically copy and negate the technology of any species they came across, and design nanites that integrated the physiology of any species they encountered into their collective. One of their ships could bring the Alpha Quadrant and any races less powerful than Organians or Douwds to their knees (case in point, a single Borg Cube requires an entire fleet of Federation ships to combat, and in terms of pure firepower the Cubes still have the edge). Indeed the Borg were so powerful that no good reason was ever given why the Borg hadn't conquered the entire galaxy: the writers could only combat this by handing the Borg multiple Idiot Balls and eventually sticking them in many of Voyager's Idiot Plots.
- Technologically Advanced Foe: In "Q Who" it took the Enterprise crew the entire episode to realize just how hilariously outgunned they were compared to a single Borg Cube.
- The Unfettered: They will do anything to pursue perfection.
- Villain Cred: "Don't! Provoke! The BORG!" ...Said the member of the Q continuum.
- Villain World: The Borg managed to conquer Earth in a possible Bad Future. It is teeming with nine billion Borg, with copper-colored waters, metallic soil, and bridges stretching over the sea like cobwebs. (Star Trek: First Contact)
- In the series proper there is also briefly referenced a parallel universe where Picard was never saved from being Locutus and the Borg went on to conquer Earth and spread throughout the Alpha Quadrant. The alternate version of the Enterprise is barely functional from battle damage and blows up trying to escape their universe rather than go back.
- The Virus: Upon assimilation, the subject loses all of their hair, sprouts Tainted Veins (from the nanomachines clogging up their arteries), and develops an ashen, moldy skin coloration.
- Was Once a Man: We see former humans, Romulans, Klingons, and even Bolians amongst their ranks.
- We Have Reserves: To the Borg, individual Borg are like antibodies in a human body — freely sacrificed to protect the whole. Borg will march towards threats heedless of their own safety, as each Borg sacrificed makes adapting to their enemy's weapons that much easier. For the price of a relatively small number of Borg, they're usually guaranteed to get a far greater return.
- Wetware Body: By the time the nanites reach your brain, you are, for all intents and purposes, controlled by the Collective's CPU. Eventually some drones will retrieve you and prepare your body for Borg enhancements. However, you can still do a lot of damage without them.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Their ultimate goal is the attainment of 'perfection' through the forced assimilation of diverse sentient species, technologies, and knowledge."Why do you resist? We only wish to raise quality of life, for all species."
- Voice of the Legion: They actually do tend to talk in unison - an individual drone only has a slight 'electronic' edge to their voice.
- You Are Number 6: The Borg do not have individual names, merely designations illustrating their location, sub-group, and function. Typical designations include "Third of Five" and "Seven of Nine".
- You Have No Chance to Survive: A pointed out by SF Debris, the Borg standard hail isn't a threat. It's a verbal equivalent of a wrecking ball. Your species has been selected for assimilation, and that's the end of it. Might as well make it easy on yourself and not try to resist.
- You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: While the Borg have acquired vast stores of knowledge from civilizations they have assimilated, they seem to have lost the ability to innovate. They now learn solely by assimilating knowledge from other races, doing no research or inventing of their own. This proved to be a devastating disadvantage when they faced a species that resisted their assimilation technology.
- Ex-drones have a hideously difficult time adapting to life outside of the Collective, as Seven of Nine demonstrated. Hugh was released back into the wild after being unplugged, with the hope being that he would enlighten them. Instead they formed a brand new Collective (under guidance of the manipulative Lore), even forcibly recruiting others into it.
- The level of difficulty seems to stem mostly from the age and development of the individual prior to assimilation. Most individuals that were assimilated as adults generally regain their individuality fairly quickly, aside from a severe case of PTSD. Picard regained his original personality almost immediately, being fit for duty within a couple of weeks (although Starfleet relegated Picard to duties away from fighting the Borg the next time the collective invaded), and several other examples exist in Voyager. The reason that Seven has such an issue is because she was assimilated as a child and essentially never had a childhood, as the Borg artificially accelerate assimilated children to maturity. The group formed by Lore could have been a Cult Colony that had nothing to do with the Borg, that was only done so they could include Hugh back into the story.
- Zombie Gait: While not zombies as such, the Borg play by many of the rules of zombies, including continuing to plod slowly no matter how many of them get shot, and never using weapons other than their Assimilation Tubes of Doom.
- Averted in the Elite Force games, in which the Borg attack without provocation, move much more quickly, and actually fire their arm cannons. Granted the Borg only fire weapons in this scenario because they are trapped in the same situation Voyager is in, lost a good chunk of their cube to harvesters, and are up against the harvesters as well as Species 8472, two species that cannot be assimilated. The Borg are actually playing their characterization straight, as they adapt to the situation.
Debut: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
A race of nefarious Master Chief impersonators who talk entirely in gibberish. Previously mentioned in TNG, very little is known about them. Ordinarily mute and reclusive, they turn into intractable killers if provoked.
- Bilingual Dialogue: The one permanent exception to Star Trek's normal Translation Convention. Their language is always the same Black Speech, even when everyone else in the scene can understand them perfectly via Translator Microbes.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: And how. The only species never seen in the flesh, for starters. Common knowledge says the Breen hail from a very cold, non-Earthlike climate. However, Weyoun confides that this is a carefully-constructed lie: the Breen homeworld is quite temperate. So what's with the refrigeration suits?
- Dr. Bashir mentioned that a fellow Dominion Internment Camp prisoner, a Breen, was never blood-screened to check if he was a Changeling. Not that they didn't try; there just wasn't any blood to draw from him...
- The Breen are so weird, in fact, that the head Changeling feels way more comfortable around them than with ordinary 'solids'.
- Blue and Orange Morality: What little is known about their culture suggests a greater emphasis on pragmatism than the whole good versus evil thing.
- Combat Pragmatist: The only true example in the Star Trek universe. Every other race has lines they won't cross, even the Changelings, but not these folks. Shooting escape pods, torturing prisoners, and attacking planets without so much as a declaration of war is all fair game, to them.
- The Dreaded: The Romulans fear the Breen. The Cardassians fear the Breen. The Klingons fear the Breen. And all that fear is 100% justified.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In "Indiscretion", we hear human grunts and screams as Kira plugs some Breen with her rifle. Oops. Also, Worf's claim that no one who has ever seen what is underneath a Breen's helmet and " has lived to speak of it!" seems to contradict this episode, since Kira and Dukat knocked out two Breens and stole their uniforms, including the helmets.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: The Breen are generally considered by other races in the Alpha Quadrant to have evolved in an icy environment. Regardless of whether or not that is true, they are recognized as experts at refrigeration. As Sisko put it, "If anybody knows how to keep things cold, it's the Breen".
- And yet Weyoun mentions their homeworld is actually pretty warm.
- 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.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Nope. As Worf and Ezri quickly learn, the Breen do not screw about with prisoners. Try to bust the door open? Won't work. Fake an illness? Won't work, and even then Breen never just send one guard in at a time. On occasion, they'll even go as far as to hang prisoners from the ceiling by their feet.
- Hired Guns: Some Breen go out into the galaxy to make a living as mercenaries. They're good enough that they're in the same league as Klingons and Naussicans when you want something done.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: The Breen make their entrance into the Dominion War known by bombing Starfleet headquarters on Earth, and end that same episode by blowing up the Defiant. The Breen do not fuck around.
- Nothing Is Scarier: We learn so little about them — and what we DO learn about them is so disturbing — that the Breen more or less embody this trope.
- A Klingon fleet was sent to conquer the Breen homeworld and was never heard from again. Breen privateers will raid ships in the night, steal their cargo and leave no survivors or trace they've been there. A Breen prisoner will not utter a word until the instant you turn your back, whereupon you're toast. Nobody, but nobody, messes with the Breen.
- Organic Technology: Tuvok mentions that the Breen use Organic Technology much like Species 8472. We don't seem to get confirmation of this on DS9, but it does seem radically different from most other technologies in the Alpha Quadrant.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Subverted. They're very warlike, only they value winning, not honor.
- Psychic Block Defense: Like the Ferengi, the Breen are said to be immune to The Empath.
- Shout-Out: Their outfits look very similar to a certain Star Wars disguise. This is lampshaded by Col. Kira, a Bajoran, swiping a Breen's armor and leading her two "prisoners" (two Cardassians, in place of Chewie) at gunpoint — straight into the Dominion stronghold.
- The Unintelligible: Gargle gargle bleep. One of the few recurring races who aren't heard speaking English.
- Villain Cred: That quote up there? Spoken by a Romulan...
- Dukat was surprised to find the Breen setting up shop so far outside their territory, even moreso on a desert planet. He said the adaptability of the Breen rivals even that of his own species.
Debut: Star Trek: The Animated Series
Humanoid cats, as the name would suggest. Caitians can vary in color from brown to black, and the females speak with a purring quality.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal/Does Not Like Shoes: Most Caitians do not find it necessary to use footwear.
- Canon Immigrant: Caitians were among prominent new species of the animated series. Caitian admirals appear in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
- According to Expanded Universe materials released at the time of the Animated Series, the Caitians are cousins of the Kzinti. The Kzinti were created in the novels and short stories of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, but became Canon Immigrants in the Animated Series episode "The Slaver Weapon," based on Niven's short story "The Soft Weapon." Notably, the live action cat person pictured here next to M'Ress looks much more like the Animated Series's version of a Kzin than he does like M'Ress.
- Cat Folk
- Cat Smile: The Cat Girl Lieutenant M'Ress had one constantly.
- Multi Boobage: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier featured a gratuitous, triple-breasted cat lady doing a table dance, though it's unclear if she's of the same species.
- Never Heard That One Before In Star Trek: New Frontier, Caitian officer M'Ress grouses that she's heard all the cat-related jokes in existence."So let us be clear with one another, Admiral. I have one life, not nine. I have never been killed by curiosity, my parents do not live in a cat house, my mother did not rock me as an infant in a cat's cradle, the preferred Caitian method of self-defense is not cat-boxing, I do not deposit my earnings into a kitty, if I am trying to be delicate about a subject I do not pussyfoot around - shall I go on?"
Debut: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Homeworld: Cardassia Prime
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. They claim to abhor violence and talk in five-dollar words, 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?"
- Alien Lunch:Barry Waddle: You know what Cardassians drink in the morning? Fish juice. Hot fish juice. After six months, I was HOPING the Klingons would invade.
- Any scene with Cardassians will likely include kanar, an alcoholic beverage served in distinctive, spiral-shaped bottles. What's strange about kanar is that it's thick as pudding and dribbles out of the bottleneck like maple syrup. The main ingredient in real life is, in fact, corn syrup, and poor Casey Biggs (DS9's resident lush) got sick from downing so many glasses of it. Kanar can be enjoyed by humans, unlike Vulcan spirits — though O'Brien warned that it seriously takes some getting used to.
- Always Need What You Gave Up: The Cardassians are naturally chagrined at the discovery of a stable wormhole in Bajoran space... after they have already pulled out from Bajor. They're constantly waiting to swoop back in and take it. All under the guise of helping the new Commander find his sea legs, of course.
- Always Someone Better: The Obsidian Order prided itself on being the best damn spy service in the Alpha Quadrant, knowing everything about a person right down to their favourite food. The Dominion still has them beat, as Garak painfully learns. Within a day of contacting some old friends on Dominion-run Cardassia, Garak finds they've all caught a bad case of dead.
- Armies Are Evil: The military, led by Gul Dukat, extended an olive branch to the Dominion in exchange for their share of the Alpha Quadrant once it was conquered. This didn't work out so well.
- Art Evolution: The weird headgear that the Cardassians wear in their first scene. It looks like Gul Macet goes to work in bondage gear which doesn't exactly convey terror. The body armor is much blockier than normal, and a Cardassian with mutton chops is just wrong.
- Authority in Name Only: Cardassia operates under a tripartite system of the civilian government (Detapa Council) the ruling junta (Central Command) and the intelligence service (Obsidian Order); in practice however, the Counsel was completely toothless and allowed the other two to operate in complete autonomy.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: In the end, the Cardassians were forced to become this: guerrillas fighters struggling to take back their planet.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: The females of their species are turned on by argumentative males. O'Brien learns this the hard way after getting into a spat with a Cardassian engineer. ("I'm very fertile.")
- Big Brother Is Watching: It was said that the average Cardassian could not sit down to dinner without the contents of the meal being noted and logged by the Order.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: The Cardassians evolved on a hot planet and prefer temperatures that human find sweltering. When the Federation takes control of Deep Space Nine, they discover that the Cardassians set the station's temperature around 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Several Cardassian and half-Cardassian characters complain that the station is too cold.
- Blue and Orange Morality:
- The Cardassian justice system is radically different than those of Federation civilizations; whereas the Federation operates under the assumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, the accused in Cardassian courts is assumed to be guilty by default, with the trial simply being a formality to explain why the accused is guilty before they are sentenced. The defense council for the accused is not supposed to actually get their client acquitted; to succeed in getting their client free is practically career suicide, or worse.
- Cardassian popular culture has different standards than those of Federation civilizations. A popular genre of novel for Cardassians is "Enigma", mystery novels detailing the trials of the accused who are always declared guilty, with the appeal being in determining who is guilty of what crime. Federation citizens don't see the appeal, just as how Cardassians fail to see the appeal of Shakespeare's tragedies, since they can guess who is going to die by whose hand and don't see how, for instance, there is tragedy in Julius Caesar when Caesar is killed by his best friend.
- Boring, but Practical: The humble Cardassian phaser rifle. No tricks or frills or added apps like its Starfleet counterpart. Just point and click. But, like the AK-47, with careful maintenance you can get years of trouble-free service from it. Hell, you can drag the damn thing through the mud and it'll still fire.
- Bread and Circuses: Cardassia Prime is an autocratic military dictatorship which lets the civilians have their say (Detapa Council) and then does whatever it wants to anyway, with the Council serving as a sort of steam valve for popular discontent and opinion but not exercising any actual governance over the country. This changes rapidly, and later forms the basis for a resistance movement against the Founders.
- Televised treason trials are constant and serve as the planet's most-watched form of entertainment. The proceedings are crafted to maximize drama and Schadenfreude, such as prodding the weeping families of the accused to renounce their husbands/fathers/sons and testify against them, to discouraging private conferences between consul (which the viewing audience can't overhear). Odo exploited this flaw in the system by staging continual Courtroom Antics until the Arcon (Judge) finally got sick of him and the case and released Chief O'Brien rather than be further humiliated on live TV.
- Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Exterior shots of Cardassian-Prime always include a giant Jumbotron barking out slogans to the populace.
- Cannon Fodder: Weyoun barely stifles a yawn as Damar (the Dominion figurehead) protests the sacrifices that Cardassia has made and how not one family hasn't lost somebody in the war. As far as the Dominion is concerned, the Cardassians are meat shields — the first wave of troops sent into every battle to cushion the blow for the Dominion ships behind.
- Complexity Addiction: This is evident in battle, as seen in "Soldiers of the Empire" in which a Klingon speaks admiringly of Cardassian adversaries who always had "a plan within a plan within a plan leading to a trap". A popular Cardassian board game is Kotra, which, as Garak describes it, favors bold tactical maneuvers over defensive play; hence his annoyance at a Ferengi's attempts to stockpile his 'assets' during their match.
- Daycare Nightmare: The Cardassians pride themselves on having the best education system in the Alpha Quadrant. At the age of three, Cardassian children were placed under such intense mental training that by the time they reached high school age they had perfect recall and could resist a Vulcan mind meld. Exactly what kind of hell the poor buggers are put through to achieve this has not been disclosed, but it can be inferred from Dukat's statement that "Education is power; joy is vulnerability."
- Deadly Graduation: Within the Obsidian Order, at any rate, having to torture a loved one or close acquaintance is used as a test of loyalty for New Meat recruits. Blegh.
- Deal with the Devil: Dukat makes a deal with the Dominion, supposedly to restore his people to glory, but really just for his own sake, where Cardassia and the Dominion become best buds. And then the war starts dragging on, and Cardassian casualties just keep mounting. The Cardassians reach their breaking point when the Founders stop treating them even as second-class citizens: now they're third-class citizens behind the Breen. Unbelievably a secret itemized treaty is drafted offering territorial concession from Cardassia to the Breen but it doesn't list what they are. The Dominion is literally giving chunks of the Empire away. Damar realizes he has to act soon to preserve his peoples' dignity.
- Dumb Is Good: They are meticulous record keepers, even training other worlds on the art of bookkeeping. Like most imperial powers, their art and sciences are second to none. Finally, the Cardassians themselves all have photographic memories, which means you can't even trust them glancing at your tech.
- Early Installment Weirdness: They were originally called the Cardassian Empire, but this was changed to Cardassion "Union" (a name which drips with blancmage) much later on, presumably to differentiate them from the Klingon and Romulan Empires.
- On a related note, the Obsidian Order were caught building a fleet of next-generation ships in the barren Orias System in "Defiant". Dukat mentioned that the Order never approved of the peace treaty with the Federation, and were planning to re-invade the Badlands with those ships, going entirely over the heads of the Central Command in the process (presumably to set up a kind of "CIA Evil, FBI Good" scenario). Later on in the season, Enabran Tain explains the fleet is part of a joint-operation with the Tal Shiar to launch a first strike on the Changeling's homeworld. This is slightly more in line with the Obsidian Order's stated goals of maintaining security and carrying out espionage.
- Evil Albino: Some Cardassians are a reptilian green, a trait seemingly common to the solider class; others are a chalky white.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Cardassian literature often confounds humans, and vice versa. Garak complains that any fool can figure out during the first act of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar that Brutus is going to betray him, and cannot understand why Caesar doesn't figure this out (or is willfully blind to an impending coup d'état) until the knives are literally coming at him from all directions. Likewise, most Agatha Christie novels cause Cardassians great difficulty; whilst the idea of a VIP being killed under mysterious circumstances appeals, they can't grasp how one person carried out the deed without any help.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: Cardassia is a dry planet and the cold-blooded denizens prefer warm climates and dimmed lighting. What humans consider to be room temperature is frigid to a Cardassian.
- Evil Is Not Well-Lit: What humans or Bajorans consider to be suitable lighting is far too much for sensitive Cardassian eyes.
- Evil Virtues: Cardassian culture is fervently patriotic, and while the ugly facist side of that all-consuming fixation on dutiful obedience is frequently noted, their willingness to endure misery and misfortune in the name of duty is often admired.
- Family Values Villains: In theory. Cardassian culture is for the most part a deeply nurturing and family-oriented culture, but there are many ugly exceptions to the rule.Picard: When children are taught to devalue others, they learn to devalue everything else. Including their parents.
- Fantastic Racism: Dubbed "Cardies" and "Spoonheads" by veterans of the Cardassian-Federation war. The Cardassian government clearly had a much worse racism against Bajorans, tormenting them in huge numbers in Holocaust-type death camps.
- False Reassurance: Cardassian jurists are more like father confessors. The Judge presiding over the Miles O'Brien case assured his Captain that the Chief was enjoying "the most efficient criminal investigation system in the quadrant" and "the best counsel in all Cardassia." Sounds great, but run it through the Newspeak translator and you soon discover what Cardassian "efficiency" really means. ("Tribunal")O'Brien: Have you ever won a case?
Public Conservator: Winning isn't everything!
- Generational Saga / Patriotic Fervor: One of their most revered forms of literature is the repetitive epic, the most celebrated of which is The Never-Ending Sacrifice, which traces a family throughout history, focusing on each generation's virtually identical allegiance to the state. Dr. Bashir finds it dull as dishwater.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: A good Cardassian never has a single hair out of place.
- Slipknot Ponytail: The standard Cardassian hairstyle is severely slicked back and shiny, to compliment their reptilian features and metallic uniforms. Whenever a Cardassian gets their hair out of order, it's a sign that sh!t just got serious.
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Central Command would not move on the issue of Dominion encroachment or the wild attacks of the Klingon Empire. The reasons for this are numerous. For one thing, the Federation's peace treaty, while skewed in Cardassia's favor, discredited the military and loosened their grip on the homeworld; the Central Command were rapidly losing authority to the Detapa Council, who wanted to move toward peaceful coexistence with their neighbors. To paraphrase Spock, the Council had the right idea, but at the wrong time. The Central Command were also afraid of losing even more territories in a war. Thirdly, opportunists like Dukat were secretly brokering an alliance with the Dominion, leaving them in an advantageous position when the Jem'Hadar finally invaded. Gowron and Garak also suggested that there might have been Changeling infiltrators on Cardassia Prime to promote a policy of non-aggression.
- Hobbes Was Right:
- Cardassia was originally a peaceful, spiritual planet not unlike Bajor. A mass famine resulted in the junta we see today.
- The most maddening thing about Cardassia is the unflagging pride in their culture and the attempts to 'educate' the Bajoran people. The arrogance of this race knows no bounds: they excuse the raping of a planet and its people in the name of progress.
- Hollywood Atheist: Most of Cardassia's finest religious artifacts were sold in order to beef up the military. Symbolically, this represented the Cardassians (then-known as "Hebitians") exchanging their old faith for a quasi-fanatical nationalism.
- Interservice Rivalry: There has always been friction between Central Command and the Obsidian Order as their mission statements didn't gel; the former worked to expand Cardassia's borders, and the latter fought to insulate them. This power-sharing agreement finally came to an end when the Order launched a botched attack on the Changelings' homeworld in the Omarion Nebula without permission from the military. This failure allowed the Central Command to disband the Order, but at the cost of crippling Cardassian security. This resulted in the dissident movement gaining significant ground and restoring the authority of the Detapa Council. For a time the government was concerned mostly with putting down riots all over the planet.
- Intertwined Fingers: Touching palms is the equivalent of a kiss on the cheek.
- Kangaroo Court: Court proceedings work in reverse on Cardassia. Sentencing is determined from the start, and then a sham trial is conducted on live TV for the purposes of celebrating "the wisdom of the state". The most illustrious defense attorney on Cardassia has a win/loss record like Glass Joe's.
- A defense lawyer who actually wins a case, even by accident, is executed for not doing their job poorly enough.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Ever since their introduction, the Cardassians generally slipped past karma's sight. However, when they were finally hit by it in the end of DS9, they were hit far harder than anybody expected.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Dominion came with promises of extending Cardassia's power. However, they ended up consuming their resources, causing their territory to shrink, and occupied their homeworld with various Dominion-affiliated species.
- When Damar led a resistance group against their "allies", the Dominion retaliated by implementing a scorched earth-policy on Cardassia Prime. Luckily, the Founder in charge was taken into custody before she could kill them all. However, the ruination of their home planet set Cardassian culture back a hundred years — just as the Cardassian occupation had set back the Bajorans. Also, the Cardassian Union is completely smashed and Garak no longer recognizes his homeworld. It's interesting the words he uses: He declares that Cardassia is "guilty as charged." For a species obsessed with law and order, turning such a loaded term on his own government is a huge paradigm shift.
- Lizard Folk: Self-explanatory. We've come a long way from the Gorn. In "The Way of the Warrior", when some Klingons beat up Garak, Bashir mentions they fractured "seven of his tranverse ribs", also known as gastralia, which protect a lizard's soft underbelly. Probably a throwaway line, but it checks out.
- Meaningful Name: The name of the actual species, "Hebitians" ("Cardassian" is actually the name of the culture that came to dominate their homeworld) comes from hebi, Japanese for snake.
- Meet the New Boss: They could be also considered a refinement of the Romulan menace on TNG, as they were introduced just as Sela and her cohorts were phased out. Funnily enough, the Cardassian Elim Garak, no stranger to magnificent bastardry himelf, threw shade on the entire Romulan race in "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges".
- The Cardassians really are to the nineties what the Klingons and Romulans were to the sixties: While Gene's generation were scared of a monolithic 'other' threatening atomic annihilation, the nineties brought the fear of government surveillance, false flag operations and political upheaval.
- They were also finally a believable villain for the later seasons of TNG. The Ferengi were ultimately too comical to be villains and proved to be better as comic relief characters. Meanwhile, the Borg went too far into Eldritch Abomination territory for the TNG writers to come up with a believable plot with Collective as the antagonist after Best of Both Worlds, with only a rogue group of drones under Lore's command making any further appearance during the series (Later retcons in Star Trek: First Contact at least allowed Voyager writers to feature them). Thus the Cardassians were created to serve the antagonist role.
- Men Are Uncultured: Similar to the Romulans, the Cardassians don't discriminate based on gender. However, there is some shoehorning regarding their vocation: men are expected to enlist in the military, leaving the sciences and engineering fields to the women. While we see no evidence of Cardassian men being inferior in these areas, it has given rise to a bias that men can't even replace a spark plug without help.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name:
Doctor: Are we also going to tell them where you honed your surgical techniques? A footnote, perhaps. "For further details, see: Cardassian death camps."
- The allusions to the treatment of prisoners during the Second World War is not even slightly disguised. Picard is put through the physical and psychological hell in "Chain of Command" including sensory deprivation, sensory bombardment, forced nakedness, stress positions, dehydration, starvation, physical pain and cultural humiliation — and this is just the warm-up for his interrogation. He has always been shown to be the stalwartiest of Starfleet Captains, only breaking once when he was physically and psychologically stripped of his identity (when he was turned into Locutus of Borg). This time an Obsidian Order agent (David Warner) finishes the job for them.
- If the Occupation of Bajor is compared with the Holocaust (with Gallitep standing in for Auschwitz), the Cardassians never really faced their Nuremberg. They escaped justice and resumed their policy of colonial expansion. That is, until the end of DS9 when they end up a lower member of the Dominion and treated as such, some members of the military turned into rebels like their formally occupied Bajorans and their planet utterly scorched in retaliation. All in all, the Cardassians were set back a hundred years in development and even Garak, a Cardassian himself, says that they pretty much deserved it.
- The ethics of using Nazi science are discussed in "Nothing Human" (VOY), in which the Doctor revives a Mengele-type from the Bajoran Occupation as a hologram. Naturally, the Cardassian scientist is all honey when chatting about his work. Eventually the Doctor deletes the hologram when the subject's horrors come to light.
- It is, however, notable that, despite the frequent Nazi allusions made throughout the series, the Cardassians' actual crimes bear a far closer resemblance to those of the British Empire and other European colonial powers, as do the Cardassians' justifications for it. This is, perhaps, most obvious in Gul Dukat's attitude towards the Bajorans - as a 'lesser culture' that the Cardassians were 'helping' by imposing Cardassian customs and exploiting them to the benefit of Cardassia itself, an attitude that bears a marked similarity to those expressed by British civil servants about the British Raj. (It should also be noted that, while the Nazis are most infamous for their concentration camps, they were originally a British invention, having originated during the Boer War.) The goal of the Occupation does not seem to have been the wholesale extinction of the Bajoran people, as it was with the Nazis, but rather the complete subjugation of the planet to Cardassian rule and the exploitation of its populace - in short, exactly what European colonial powers did to Africa and much of Asia throughout the nineteenth century.
- Police State: It was boasted that even the poorest Cardassian citizen could walk the streets without fear... of the civilian population, that is.
- Psychic Block Defense: The Obsidian Order's agent training program is so advanced that they are made immune to most forms of interrogation, including Vulcan mind melds.
- The Quisling: Cardassia was the first Alpha Quadrant power to sign on with the Dominion, in direct opposition to the Federation. When Dukat says that everything he is doing is to make Cardassia strong again you can see a semblance of logic (there's that word again) behind selling his people out.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: They are reputed to display pack-like behavior, desiring to establish — or at least determine — dominance in any social situation. They're also self-confessed xenophobes.
- Retired Monster: For the most part, the head honchos who ran the Bajoran occupation went on holiday and were never punished. Crell Moset, a virologist who performed illegal experiments on Bajoran slaves, was rewarded with a chair at a top university. Gul Darhe'el, who ran the brutal Auschwitz-like work camp where countless Bajorans perished not only escaped the Kalla-Nohra disease through a lucky break that saw him being out of the camp during the accident that caused the outbreak, but lived to a ripe old age and was buried as a hero with full military honors in a respected memorial. Garak is running a clothier's, though he was actually forced into retirement. Some of the collaborators fled to Cardassia Prime. Kubus Oak, a Bajoran official who worked closely with the occupiers, rubber-stamped extradition orders sending his countrymen to their deaths in the mines. After going into hiding on Cardassia, he decided to retire to Bajor, confident he would never be tried. Indeed, the government was forced to grant him amnesty out of embarrassment for other untold crimes.
- Rule of Symbolism: Prominent in their architecture, especially with Terok Nor. The bridge is designed so that everyone in the work pit looks up to the prefect's office with respect.
- Salt the Earth: On their way out of Bajor, they trashed the station and the planet itself was ecologically devastated, almost certainly intentionally rather than general disregard. Dukat said that some in the Central Command would have preferred that Dukat wipe out every last Bajoran on the planet when they left just to spite both the Bajorans and Federation. Karma caught up with them when the Dominion tried to glass Cardassia in retaliation for the Cardassians turning on them in the final hours of the Dominion War.
- The Social Darwinist: In the relaunch novels, Cardassia is a world defined by its hunger. It's a survival-at-any-price mentality and a determination to endure no matter the cost which fuels the Union.
- The Spartan Way: Cardassians favor tough-minded pragmatism over the kinder emotions. Dukat once declared, "Education is power, joy is vulnerability", the Cardassian credo for raising one's children. Gul Ghemor was a dissenter, expressing regret over his daughter abandoning her sculptures to join an intelligence outfit. "Cardassia could use more artists."
- Secret Police: Cardassia Prime has its own flavor of the Tal Shiar, the "Obsidian Order."
- Take Up My Sword: Another heartwarming Cardassian family tradition. On his deathbed, the father uses his dying breaths to read a list of names. It falls to the eldest son to ensure daddy's enemies don't go unpunished.
- The Shri-tal is normally read to family members, but there are exceptions: Legate Ghemor told his secrets to Kira Nerys, whom he considered a surrogate daughter, even though she was Bajoran. ("Ties of Blood and Water") Garak also allowed a human, Dr. Bashir, to be present during his father's dying breaths, although his father had gone blind and assumed that they were alone (plus all his enemies were already dead).
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The females have telltale blue marks on their foreheads and neck ridges. Their lips are also a darker hue.
- This Means War!: The Dominion destroys a major population center, Lakarian City, to set an example for any other would-be heroes who might support the revolution. This act of cowardice causes the Cardassian ships to break from the rest of the fleet and turn their guns on the Founders.
- Torture First, Ask Questions Later:
- Torture is so ubiquitous in the C.U. that it's practically a cultural custom. If a prisoner is said to be "well-treated", you can bet that unfortunate person is getting the full treatment, all right.
- Cardassians are known to enjoy torturing their prisoners whether there is information to be extracted or not. For instance, the Orwellian "Bureau of Identification" has the bland task of keeping dental records of all Cardassians, usually by Age 10. Non-Cardassians who commit crimes in their space are also required to hand over a molar. This is akin to being tortured by the DMV. (The supervisor's cheery would you care to make a confession? is a nice, customer service-orientated approach to police brutality.)
- In a nice Terry Gilliam touch, we see a Torture Technician inviting his young daughter into the chamber in a parody of Take Your Child To Work Day. The fact that he doesn't hide his work from his children is creepy but it drives home their survivalist attitude, showing humans to be squeamish and weak.
- Vestigial Empire: Dukat's assessment of the Cardassians is that they were once a race whose very name bred fear and now they are just bit players, too frightened to fight back in case they lose what little is left. Unknowingly Dukat has put his finger on why the Cardassians are so quick to submit to the Dominion. Developments next year would see them regain their once mighty reputation only to watch them fall father than ever before.
- 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.
- What the Romans Have Done for Us: After a catastrophic plague, Cardassia's religious leaders were overthrown by the military, who restructured their entire civilization and created an expansive empire, giving many a newfound sense of purpose. However, after Cardassia is nearly obliterated by the Dominion, Garak privately admits that it was their militarism that brought them to this point.
- Wicked Cultured: The Cardassian education system is top-of-the-line, even by Federation standards. They seem to produce Magnificent Bastards at an unusually high rate.
- Boasting about one's education and intellectual prowess is considered a form of flirting among Cardassians.
- Witch Hunt: When Picard spoke of the "drumhead trials" in Earth's past, he might well have been describing Cardassia's legal system. Fake charges have also been known to happen. But that doesn't matter because there is only one verdict on Cardassia, and that verdict is always the same."Whatever you've done, whatever the charges against you, none of that really matters in the long run... This trial is to demonstrate the futility of behavior contrary to good order."
- Wrench Wench: The females of the species have a high aptitude for engineering, coding, and (according the novels) medicine. Whether this is by nature or nurture is up for debate.
- The EMH on Voyager encountered a holographic Cardassian who could repair her own software and was entirely self-taught.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In addition to invading weaker worlds to 'civilize' them, Cardassians regularly pick each other off, too, seeing no need to waste resources on that which is no longer useful.
- You Talk Too Much: Conversation might just be the best tool in their arsenal, as even the planet's head spymaster agreed. Most Cardassians love the sound of their own voice. As a downside, they find silence most unsettling. Garak once broke a man by mutely staring at him for hours.
Debut: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Homeworld: A rogue planet in the Omarion Nebula
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.
- There's also the Female Changeling's comment that the Founders hadn't been expecting any of the infants they sent out coming back any time soon, along with an implication they'd sent them out a long time before (Odo was several decades old, but her implication was he'd been away far longer).
- Alien Sea: The Great Link resembles a reddish ocean.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Their highest law is that no Changeling shall ever harm another.
- They don't always follow this law faithfully. After Odo killed a fellow Changeling, the Founders afflicted him with an infection that would have killed him unless he returned to the Great Link for judgment. Also, in "The Die is Cast," the Changeling posing as Lovok did not intervene when Garak tortured Odo. (And he also forgot to tell the Jem'Hadar not to attack the shuttle that he gave Odo to escape in.)
- Appropriated Appellation: According to one Founder, "Changeling" was originally a slur used by Solids. This species adopted the name and persevered to make it evoke awe as well as fear.
- Asshole Victim: Considering their bigotry and history of genocide, every changeling that died pretty much qualifies.
- Badass Long Robe: Founders all wear the same flowing pink garment, which is ankle-length and slightly resembles an Arabic thawb robe. They were changed to orange by Season Four. It's not very intimidating, but it does get across that the Dominion has been kicking around for 2,000 years and hasn't changed much in that time.
- Blob Monster: Their true form is a shifting, translucent reddish ooze.
- Combat Tentacles: Shapeshifters are able to fire tendrils across a room.
- Control Freak: Their hat. Even Odo, Deep Space Nine's Token Heroic Orc, has heavy tendencies towards this, bordering on Super OCD at times. Their obsessive need for order and control is implied (and sometimes outright stated) to be a reaction to their own malleable, ever-changing physiology.
- Crapsaccharine World: In "The Search", the Changeling homeworld first appears to be a pleasant planet of gardens and monoliths. Covering the planet is the Great Link, a sea of liquid Changelings living in blissful physical union with each other. Later, viewers learn that the Changeling Founders are conformist, hostile to "solids", and the tyrannical leaders of the Dominion.
- Designer Babies: The Vorta were once a minor biped race. The Founders fast-tracked their evolution: sharpening certain characteristics (intelligence, loyalty), and restricting others to keep them helpless & dependent on the Jem'Hadar. The Jem'Hadar were programmed to be the perfect soldiers, with only one flaw: they are born with an addiction to White, an insurance policy against insurrection. Most importantly, if the Dominion were to collapse tomorrow, the troops would pay the price in dead. The Jem'Hadar would go mad without their drug supply, killing all the Vorta before topping themselves.
- Disproportionate Retribution: It's practically their bread and butter. Violating their territory, even without knowing it, is grounds for them to send the Jem'hadar to kill you. Attacking them, even in self-defense, is grounds for them to declare war and try to wipe your entire species out. It's even the basis for the existence of the Dominion: once upon a time they were persecuted by solids, so they decided to conquer and dominate as many solids as they could to keep themselves safe.
- Divide and Conquer: The Founders didn't anticipate making contact with our side of the galaxy for another 300 years. Since they rely on the Bajoran wormhole for reinforcements and supplies, they wisely decided against a direct strike on Bajor and instead sent a cadre of spies/ambassadors to soften up the Alpha Quadrant powers: Earth, Romulus, Qo'nos, and Cardassia Prime. The Cardassians and Romulans were infiltrated first, suckering them into an ambush inside a nebula where the more hawkish elements of the Quadrant — the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar — were severely weakened or destroyed. The Klingons came next, with the Chancellor's top advisor replaced by a Changeling who goaded him into attacking some outlying Cardassian colonies. Initially, all three species regarded the Dominion as a looming threat; the Romulans even loaned Starfleet one of their cloaking devices to do some snooping around in the Gamma Quadrant. But once war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire flared up, Romulus decided to sit back and watch how this played out.Sisko: The Founders see it as their sacred duty to bring "order" to the galaxy—their order! Do you think they'll sit idly by while you keep your chaotic empire right next to their perfect order? NO! If you watch us go under, then what you're really doing is signing your own death warrant!
- The Dividual: The Founders don't see any real need for names or identities of their own. When asked about the relationship between the Founders as a whole and the Great Link, Odo was only told "the ocean becomes the drop".
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Section 31 virus which afflicts the Changeling race is reminiscent of the HIV epidemic. First, the virus is spread by the physically intimate act of linking, the closest Changeling analog to sex. Like HIV, the virus is lethal, at least until a cure is discovered in season 7. The lesions that appear on the infected Female Changeling resemble Kaposi's sarcoma, a cancer that sometimes co-occurs with AIDS. Finally, the virus is deliberately developed by Section 31, a shadow organization under the Federation government, as a means of bringing about a Changeling genocide. This strategy is reminiscent of early conspiracy theories surrounding the origins of HIV.
- Driven to Villainy: It's been suggested by Weyoun and others that humanoids have an intrinsic fear of shapeshiters. The maladaption of the Changelings to a hostile universe is understandable.
- Dying Race: The Changeling race is dying from a virus engineered by Section 31. In the series finale, Odo returns to the Great Link to cure his people of the virus.
- Eviler Than Thou/Out-Gambitted: The downfall of the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar is beautifully timed as 150 Jem H'adar ships make themselves apparent. Suddenly, the big boys of the Alpha Quadrant don't cut the mustard anymore. The Founders have vacated their planet, an armada is waiting and they have a Changeling spy in their midst who orchestrated the whole "operation" to mop up the two biggest intelligence agencies in the Quadrant so the invasion could start in earnest.
- Evil Counterpart: The Dominion emblem is a black diamond with single white star, possibly representing the Changeling homeworld. It's a stark contrast from the patriotic Federation banner with its many stars.
- Evilutionary Biologist: They either created or heavily modified the Vorta and Jem'Hadar to do the heavy lifting for them.
- Fantastic Racism: They don't trust "Solids", or "monoforms". In part, it's because centuries ago, Solids didn't trust them, and they were on the receiving end of a lot of Fantastic Racism. It left them embittered and paranoid.
- Fantasy Axis of Evil: The Dominion is a deconstruction of the Federation by Ira Behr and others. The "Big Three" races of Trek — Humans, Vulcans, and Klingons — are parodied and done in reverse:
- Founders: Eldritch. The Founders went out into the universe to meet new races and add to their sum total of knowledge of other species but they were beaten, hunted, and killed.
- Vorta: Crafty. Has pointy ears and specializes in diplomacy. Where the Vulcans are honest to a fault, Vorta thrive on deceit.
- Jem'Hadar: Savage, obviously — Though they aren't particularly happy about it. To contrast with their foils, the Klingons, Jem'Hadar are obsessed with the chain of command and rarely misbehave.
- Cardassians: Fallen, once they join up.
- Freudian Excuse: The Female Changling claims that her race was abused and persecuted by solids in the past, thus they try to control solids to prevent it from happening again.
- A God Am I: Their slave-races believe them to be such, and they're certainly in no hurry to disabuse them.
- God King: In the eyes of the Vorta and Jem'Hadar.
- G-Rated Sex: Linking.
- Guilt-Free Extermination War: Played with. Many in the series see them this way, but there are still some who try to argue that genocide, even against the changelings, is wrong. Not that the changelings themselves have ever had any problem with genocide.
- He Who Fights Monsters: More ironic still, it's hinted that the changelings were only persecuted by solids after they started the whole dominion thing.
- Hive Mind: The Great Link.
- Homage: The blood test is ripped squarely from The Thing (1982) but given the inimitable Trek twist of morphing into alien slime.
- Hypocrite: The Female Changling preaches that "to become a thing is to understand a thing". They show a consistent lack of desire to understand or care about them dumb Solids.
- I Gave My Word: One of the few better things to be said about them. When they sign a treaty of non-aggression, they keep it, with no weaselling around trying to get casus belli. They also make sure their allies do the same. As Dukat and Damar look forward to eagerly taking back Bajor after taking DS9, Weyoun icily informs them the Dominion signed a treaty with the Bajorans, and they will follow it.
- Just the First Citizen: The "Founders" is a purposely misleading title. Which species? Male or female? How many? Nobody in the Gamma Quadrant is even certain if they exist.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After untold years of Blighting any planet which dared to resist them, the Changelings were laid low by a Federation bioweapon.
- Make an Example of Them: The nuking of Lakarian City wasn't one of their brighter moves, but it's understandable given the sick Changeling's desperation. Truth be told, she never cared for Cardassians and had pledged to eradicate them after the Omarion attack, but relented once they agreed to put a Dominion garrison on their soil.
- When Teplan was still powerful, they thought that nothing was beyond them and they could even defeat the Dominion. It's the same fate that could so easily happen to Earth if they defy them: the Jem H'adar obliterated this world and left behind the Blight as a parting gift, condemning them all to a painful death.
- The Man Behind the Man: Starfleet initially mistook the Dominion emissaries, known as the Vorta, to be the Founders themselves. The Vorta were happy to nod along and further the confusion, until Odo stumbled upon a rogue planet the Changelings were hiding on.
- Moral Myopia/It's All About Us: The Changeling homeworld rivals Equestria in terms of peace and love. Yet they are ruthless in enforcing rules and boundaries on other cultures.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: All Changelings share the same medium height and build while in human form, but they're a lot stronger than they look. Odo stopped a free-falling lift with his bare hands. The Female Changeling was able to lift a Cardassian man by the neck while in her death throes. You can imagine what a Changeling at full strength might do.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name:
- Like the Nazis, the Founders consider themselves intrinsically superior to "solids" and justify their constant border wars as a need for protection. Even, say... breathing room?
- It is fitting that a Vorta is the one who puts forward a Final Solution for dealing with the Cardassian rebels. He is taken aback when the Founder not only embraces this idea but commits the rest of their forces to a planet-wide extermination of the species.Weyoun: That...might take some time...
Founder: Then I suggest that you begin at once.
- The Needless: They do not require food, water, or oxygen to survive. They rejuvenate naturally by reverting back to ooze for an hour or two.
Quark: The Jem'Hadar don't eat, don't drink, and they don't have sex. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Founders don't eat, don't drink, and they don't have sex either. Which, between you and me, makes my financial future less than promising.
- In fact, this is a key component of their servant races, too. Undoubtedly, the Founders lack an understanding of or even respect for basic humanoid desires. This was played for laughs by Ziyal (albeit unknowingly) when she gets fed up with Quark complaining about his business suffering under the Dominion.
Ziyal: It might not be so bad. For all we know, the Vorta could be gluttonous, alcoholic sex-maniacs.
- No Biochemical Barriers: Averted. The Section 31 virus is deadly to Changelings but harmless to humanoids. Likewise, diseases that afflict humanoids aboard Deep Space Nine do not affect Odo.
- No Body Left Behind: A dead Changeling simply reverts to his liquid state or, in the case of one Founder ("The Ship"), crumble into black ash. Mirror Odo exploded into gibs when shot with a phaser.
- One-Gender Race: In their natural state, Changelings are sexless. However, some seem to prefer a masculine or feminine gender presentation while in humanoid form.
- Paranoia Gambit: A favored tactic, often seeking to provoke Divided We Fall among the Alpha Quadrant.
- Planet of Hats: Above all else each and every blob that makes up the Changeling race loves law and order and seeks to impose them wherever they see lawlessness and chaos. For the Founders it means creating a fascist interstellar empire and controlling their subjects right down to the genetic level while for the much less morally bankrupt Odo it simply means protecting the peace of his community as a policeman (and making sure that everything in his apartment is always in exactly the right place). Either way, the natural instincts that drive them are the same.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: They usually keep to themselves and delegate the running of the Dominion to the Vorta, but occasionally they act as spies and infiltrators.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Their obsessive need to impose order on everyone and the fact that they view solids the way we view rats.
- Seriously Scruffy: This is used as shorthand to show that there's something physically wrong with a changeling. If Odo has gone too long without a regeneration cycle (or under a huge amount of stress) his usually immaculate uniform starts to darken and flake and his slicked-back hair gets crazy. Also seen with the female Founder in the last season, albeit at a much slower pace.
- Shadow Dictator: The Dominion has spent 2,000 years hiding behind a massive surveillance and military apparatus. In "Vortex", when Quark unwittingly foreshadows the Founders' paranoia of "solids" and tendency to remain hidden (either by remaining on their homeworld or secretly impersonating solids).Quark: Paranoia must run in your species, Odo. Maybe that's why no one has ever seen another shapeshifter. They're all hiding!
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Come to think of it, the same can be said of their children (the Jem'Hadar and Vorta), too.
- Spanner in the Works: Word of God (Robert Hewitt Wolfe) clarified that the Founders did foresee having to acquire a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant at some point, they just didn't estimate it to be so soon. The bottleneck between the Gamma Quadrant and Bajor causes them quite a few problems, enough to disrupt their usual strategy of bullying, buying off, or eradicating their neighbors ad nauseum.
- Starfish Aliens: Their default form is gelatinous liquid. Furthermore, they collectively form a giant living ocean called the Great Link.
- STD Immunity: Averted with the Section 31 virus, which is spread by linking, the closest Changeling analog to sex. By season 7, the virus has spread like wildfire through the Great Link.
- Sweeping Ashes: What happens when you kill a Changeling. Unable to hold form, they collapse back into their gelatinous state, which in turn crumbles to coal.
- Synthetic Plague: The Section 31 virus, which quickly spreads through the Changeling population.
- The Trickster: Played with. Their shapeshifting skills allow them to impersonate humanoids and sow discord across the quadrant. Even Laas, who is not immediately hostile, create disruptions with his shapeshifting while aboard Deep Space Nine. Despite their skill at deception and discord, their own society is largely static and conformist.
- Utopia Justifies the Means They do pretty horrible things to people that don't dance to the Dominion's tune, yet claim their victimizing in the past justifies this. In a painfully ironic example, they infected a planet with a disease designed to kill the population over generations just to make an example of them to the rest of the Gamma Quadrant. They don't see anything wrong with this.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Their hat. The foundlings are pretty poor at it, since they require hands-on training from others Changelings to morph. The Founders themselves can imitate pretty well anything, from wild-haired Klingons, to crystal pillars, to girderwork on a Jem'Hadar ship.
- We Are Everywhere: It goes without saying that the Founders' main talent is gathering intel. They rule through whispers and fear, letting their adversaries know that they're aware of everything goes on in their world (or Quadrant).
- We Have Reserves:
- The high breeding rate of Jem'Hadar leaves little room for valuing their lives and they are treated as tools by both Changeling and Vorta alike, to be called upon or sacrificed as needed. In "Rocks and Shoals", Keevan knowingly sends his unit on a suicide run rather than admit to them that he's run out of White. Sisko having to mow down Jem'Hadar from a safe perch leaves a bad taste in the mouth; there is no sense of honor in slaughtering an enemy that cannot fight back.
- "We had a rich and ancient culture. Our literature, music, art was second to none. Now so much of it is lost. So many of our best people..." S.6 explores some of the Vorta's inadequacies, namely poor eyesight and a lack of aesthetics. A Vorta really wouldn't know whether to frame an exquisite painting or use it as a table mat. What starts as a joke takes on a sinister overtone when you realize Weyoun thinks nothing of bombing Cardassia back into the iron age.
- Not that Vorta are safe from disciplinary measures. When they fail to rustle up a vaccine for the Changeling virus, one of the Founders proves how ruthless she is by ordering all of the Vorta doctors eliminated and their replacement clones activated because fresh eyes might yield better results! No one in the Dominion is irreplaceable and that's just how the Founders like it.
- In the case of the Vorta this isn't as extreme as it sounds at first. New clones have their memories intact and at least some continuity of self; Weyoun in particular treats dying as a minor annoyance.
Debut: Star Trek: Enterprise
On their homeworld, the twelve billion Denobulans all share one continent. Consequently, living space is at a premium and Denobulan culture had come to embrace polyandry and communal lifestyles. All in all, Denobulans are pretty weird. They can inflate their heads (similar to a pufferfish) when threatened, have Overly Long Tongues, mood-ring eye colors, and a ridiculously creepy grin.
- Bio-Augmentation: Subverted. Phlox states that the Denobulans have been using genetic engineering since the twentieth century - but only under strict regulation, to repair what would otherwise be debilitating genetic conditions (blindness, late-onset insanity, etc.) But he adamantly points out that they only use such technologies responsibly: to repair and never in an attempt to "improve" on their basic biological template to create a race of supermen. They never went through an analogue of the Eugenics Wars like humans did, with genetic "supermen" like Khan.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: The Denobulans are perfectly happy in their mixed marriages, as it meant relatives could leave for extended periods and not inconvenience the family. Truthfully, Phlox admitted, he'd begun to miss the company of some of the other husbands. (Ahem.)
- Go Mad from the Isolation: The Denobulan homeworld only has one relatively small continent, and a population of 12 billion. As Phlox directly explains, they could have kept the number smaller with population controls or spreading to space colonies once they developed light-speed travel, they simply chose not to. Their society evolved to be very communal, with multiple polygamous marriages for both men and women at the same time. Denobulans prefer crowded habitats to socialize with large numbers of other people, and they actually can't stand being completely alone. In one episode the rest of the crew has to be sedated for a week to pass through a dangerous patch of space, except for Phlox whose physiology is not adversely affected (and so he can monitor the crew). He has to spend the entire journey alone by himself. By the end he becomes increasingly paranoid and starts suffering from hallucinations.
- Polyamory/Exotic Extended Marriage: Denobulans are both polygynous and polyandrous. Dr. Phlox has three current wives, each of whom have three husbands (him and two other men). One of his wives appears in one episode, and he has no problem that she is sexually interested in Trip. From what little we have seen of the Denobulans they are not sexually outgoing or adventurous (they're not Deltans), they just have a casual and relaxed attitude towards sexual relationships. Their social structure is simply very complex and well, "alien".
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite having ties to Earth, they're not heard from past the 22nd century (outside of the Star Trek Expanded Universe, anyway).
The species that Arex belongs to.
Debut: Star Trek: The Next Generation
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.
- Abstract Apotheosis: Raw capitalism at its best. And worst. However, they never went as far as slavery or colonialism.
- Acceptable Targets: The Ferengi value profit and commerce above all else, and even revere its presence in other races. They are an exaggerated caricature of what a mercantile (possibly corporatocratic) oligarchy would be like, with gender inequality included to make them even more detestable (at least until Zek granted suffrage at the behest of his wife).
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
- An entire culture based on that principle. You are expected to pay an entry fee just for entering another person's house (after which you are expected to recite a traditional Ferengi greeting stating you will not steal anything, so yeah, an RPG come to life).
- Even worse is public facilities. Think a visit to the doctor's bad as it is? Now add having to charge not only just to get through the front door, but to just to stand in the waiting area.
- Alien Lunch: Ferengi are big insectivores, and the jingle for their version of Pepsi is about how slimy it is because it contains algae.
- All Trolls Are Different:
- Butt-ugly? Check. Obsessed with gold? Check. Untrustworthy? Check.
- As the species mellowed out in the nineties, they began to incorporate some hobbit traits, including their dome-shaped clay huts which definitely draw inspiration from Tolkien.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Originally portrayed this way on Next Generation, but this ceased to be the case later in that series and on Deep Space Nine.
- Big Bad Wannabe: A Real Life example. The Ferengi were built up as the over-arching Big Bad of TNG, a reflection of humans when they were still avaricious and violent — but they never came across as anything more than buffoons because Roddenberry insisted they were supposed to enemies to be pitied, not feared or respected note . The writers eventually wised up and stopped taking them seriously.
- Bizarre Alien Biology:
- Ferengi kids shed their baby ears, instead of teeth. Eek.
- They mention at some point also that Ferengi have ascending ribs (small near the neck and get larger towards the midsection).
- Blue and Orange Morality:
- The Ferengi value street smarts and business savvy over an honest transaction. They're known for slipping dubious clauses and disclaimers into their contracts (for instance, an obscure provision buried on Page 21, Subsection B, Paragraph 12 stated that Quark was entitled to feel up his Dabo girls). That said, they can justify cheating, tricking, and swindling their customers only within the confines of The Contract. Rule of Acquisition #17 sternly reprimands, "A contract is a contract is a contract." Under Ferengi law, any Ferengi who breaks a signed contract with another Ferengi automatically has their assets liquidated by the FCA and is blacklisted within merchant circles. In a culture where profit-earning ability is everything, this is tantamount to capital punishment.
- The Ferengi and Federation are both at odds in terms of their senses of morality. The Federation believes themselves to have the moral high ground over Ferengi because of the fact that they abolished currency in favor of a society where the needs of the citizenry is met without fail, and everyone is treated as equal. Ferengi, on the other hand, feel superior to the Federation because they are at least honest in their greed and had never, in their history, practiced slavery over another sentient race, unlike humans during the darker periods of their history.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: The Ferengi claim they invented warp drive before any of the other Alpha Quadrant species, including Vulcans. Actually, they bought it from somebody else.Quark: The speed of technological advancement isn't nearly as important as short-term quarterly gains! (Can't this thing go any faster?)
- Characterization Marches On: A race that originated as a caricature of the worst parts of capitalism ultimately became more rounded-off and sympathetic as time went on.
- When the time came to have a Ferengi as a series regular, Quark rejected the whole notion of his people being a 'backward' race. (After all, the Ferengi don't have anything resembling death camps in their history.) This was later retconned as propaganda on the part of the Ferengi government, which was frightened by the idea of Federation culture rejecting the acquisition of wealth as a goal and wanting to keep them at arms length in order to come up with a way of interacting with them.
- Children Are a Waste: The Ferengi consider pregnancy to be a rental, with the father being termed the lessee.
- City of Gold: The Divine Treasury, exactly what it says on the tin. (Though in this case, it's latinum, not gold.) Possibly; the only time we've seen it is in a dream sequence and the dreamer thinks it's tacky.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The more successful examples... (Quark's cousin bought his own moon.)
- 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 an animal in submission.
- Do You Want to Haggle?: A Ferengi's idea of self-defense is to offer higher bribes.
- Not a bad strategy within the Ferengi Alliance. But the failure rate is quite high with Klingons, et al.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The original depictions of the Ferengi made them seem base, confrontational, and uncivilized approaching the point of feral in behavior. Armin Shimerman, portrayer of Quark and two prior Ferengi characters, later lamented his earlier character performances as a horrible thing to do to the Ferengi. Later depictions made them much more orderly and civilized, albeit still greedy.
- Energy Weapon: Ferengi soldiers are shown packing stun whips (!) on two occasions: Once in TNG and again on ENT. It's got great range and negates the height difference between them and their opponents. In real life, this would seems like a good way to electrocute yourself. Of all the weapons that should be combined with electricity, a whip is definitely one of the worst.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother. Rule of Acquisition #31.note
- Even Evil Has Standards: Genocide and slavery are completely unknown in Ferengi history, nor have they ever engaged in a major interstellar war. They feel this makes them morally superior to the Federation. Because Ferengi society places such emphasis on material success and outsmarting others, violence carries a stigma of failure — to be used strictly when defending family members or when there are no possible avenues of escape. Traveling throughout the Alpha/Beta Quadrants also requires a degree of open-mindedness: While they can be a bit bigoted (there's no love lost between them and hew-mons), racism is an alien concept to the Ferengi. Why would a Ferengi merchant pass up a chance for profit based solely on their customer's race? Equally, revenge and crimes of passion are nearly unknown among Ferengi; again, they rarely see any profit in either.
- Racism is abhorrent to Ferengi: in Season 1 of Deep Space Nine, when mob opinion suspects Odo of a murder purely based on anti-changeling racism without hard evidence, Quark of all people is the only one who openly declares his disgust at everyone else. When it's pointed out that he is Odo's perpetual enemy, he bitterly says he is, but compared to everyone else, that makes him the closest thing Odo has to a friend.
- Oddly enough despite this they're the most sexist race in the series. They finally undergo a women's lib movement on DS9.
- While they may not call it slavery, The Ferengi do practice indentured servitude. Quark explicitly says, with worry, that his mother will be sold into indentured servitude when he catches on that she's been earning profit illegally. Since Ferengi females are forbidden from taking any jobs other than child rearing, there can be only one interpretation to what the servitude is.
- According to Odo, the Ferengi abhor collaborators. He explicitly claims that they won't sell out their world for profit.
- Every Man Has His Price: Rule of Acquisition #98.
- Evil Virtues: They're extremely industrious, with their leader having worked non-stop for most of his lifetime. And Ferengi are nothing if not penny-wise. Every bar of latinum they spend is invested into further means of generating profit. In fact, going into debt is considered a mortal sin.
- Rom: You don't think we're in that... other place?Nog: The Vault of Eternal Destitution??Quark: Don't be ridiculous! (terrified) The bar was showing a profit!
- Exotic Equipment: A Ferengi male will invariably try persuading a female of another race to massage his ears. They frequently leave out the part about Ferengi ears being sexually stimulating. This practice is called Oomox, and there are entire Kama Sutra-sized tomes dedicated to it.
- Fantastic Fragility: The sensitivity of the ears, while providing great sensual pleasure, also made them vulnerable to pain (just biting a Ferengi's ear will immobilize them with pain) and other problems, including some life-threatening infections.
- Fantastic Slur: To the Ferengi, "Philanthropist!" is tantamount to calling someone a Nazi.
- Foil: To hew-mons in DS9.
- Out of all the bawdy races of the Alpha Quadrant, Ferengi are the ones Vorta seem to despise the most (Eris, Keevan, Yedrin). It's as though the Vorta resent their inability to con such a streetwise race.
- Fridge Logic: Invoked by Ishka in her bid for equal rights for Ferengi women. A culture which focuses so heavily on profit, yet which doesn't allow an entire half of its population to participate in the generation of it, makes no sense.
- Gold Fever:
- Inverted. Like most races in the Alpha Quadrant, they accept gold-pressed latinum as barter, but the latinum carries real value. Probably because the gold can be replicated.
- Predictably, their religion is based on the principles of capitalism: they offer prayers and money to a "Blessed Exchequer" in hopes of entering the "Divine Treasury" upon death, and fear an afterlife spent in the "Vault of Eternal Destitution". Several expanded universe sources mention that the Ferengi see Earth's now-defunct Wall Street as some kind of holy site.
- Harmless Villain: In Season 1 the script literally calls for them to "jump around like excited hamsters".
- Hiss Before Fleeing: Not a very intimidating bunch, these Ferengi.
- Honest John's Dealership: The less successful ones. Starfleet instructors specifically warn their fledgling officers about Ferengi hucksters they may come across in ports.
- Hyper-Awareness: They might be terrible soldiers, but the prized "lobes" are super-sensitive, making them really good scouts. This grants them incredibly acute hearing, enough to cut through electronic interference, or detect changes in air temperature, or measure how many decibels the volume in a room is.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: The Ferengi Commerce Agency (FCA). These bozos have jurisdiction over any Ferengi business anywhere in the universe. They police Ferengi ideologies, such as union-busting, with zeal seldom seen outside of the mafia.
- To be fair, though, the only FCA representative we meet is Brunt, who is confirmed to be particularly rabid in his duties, and despised by the Grand Nagus. The dude brought two Nausicaans with him to serve as strike-breakers! Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your bladder control.
- Jerkass: Even the nicer (or at least more tolerable) Ferengi can come across as this. It is telling that a traditional Ferengi greeting involves telling someone not to pinch your stuff ("My home is my home." "As are its contents.").
- Klingon Promotion: As a rule, Ferengi don't encourage this. A man must get into power via the strength of his greed, so that he may be a shining example to others. But there are exceptions. Grand Nagus Zek mentions having had several attempts on his life over the years, and one prior Grand Nagus was assassinated while in office, after having screwed up in an incredibly spectacular fashion. He was, in fact, the only Nagus to be assassinated while in office.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: The Ferengi value mercantile skills over all else, and look down on those who can't directly go into business and sales. Heartbreakingly lampshaded by Nog, who explains to Sisko that his father Rom, in the Federation, could have wound up the chief engineer of a starship, but in Ferengi society has wound-up an exploited mechanic scraping to survive in his own brother's relatively low-value bar. This is what pushes Nog to try for something better for himself by joining Starfleet.
- Language Equals Thought: In a reference to the old "Eskimos have 200 words for snow" gag, Quark mentions in the episode "Let He Who Is Without Sin" that due to the Perpetual Storm that lashes their home planet, the swamp world of Ferenginar, Ferengi have 187 words for "rain" (he uses the word "glemmening" to describe the rain on the resort world he's currently visiting). He also mentions that they don't have a native word for "crisp", because the high humidity makes all their food naturally mushy.
- Mad Libs Catchphrase: The Rules of Acquisition, of which there are over two hundred. Possibly the only code of honor the Ferengi follow.
- Meaningful Name: The name "Ferengi" is a corruption of the word "farhang," which was a derisive word used in some parts of Southeast Asia to describe European
- Variations are used across Asia, ultimately all distortions of the word Frank, i.e. somebody from France, mistakenly interpreted to mean all Europeans.
- "Ferengi" was also the name of a princess in the Persian Shah Nameh, in keeping with the Star Trek practice of naming races after mythological figures.
- Meet the New Boss: The ultimate goal of any underpaid Ferengi worker, being exploited and swindled by their boss is to one day get his job and become an exploitive swindler himself.
- Money Fetish: Ferengi ears are said to tingle whenever they sense opportunity. Indeed, you can see them involuntarily stroke their ears when large sums are read aloud... wait, how does one perform Oo-mox again?
- Mr. Vice Guy: On their better days. As Jadzia put it, they're plenty of fun if you accept you can't turn your back on one for a second.Armin Shimerman: The Ferengi are a number of those old seven deadly sins stuck together.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Rule of Acquisition 112: Never sleep with the boss's sister.
- Not So Different: Ferengi love to point out that other races are Not So Above It All. A throwaway line in Star Trek: Voyager mentions that the Ferengi revere the history of 20th/21st century Wall Street. In another instance, Quark spends an entire episode of Deep Space Nine proving that a Klingon was using financial means to take over a Great House, getting a healthy dose of Villain Respect from the Klingon High Council when he showed up for an honor duel to defend his accusation in combat (he knew enough of Klingon society to know that such a Curb-Stomp Battle carried no honor and would lead to the offending Klingon being discommendated).
- Persona Non Grata: Ferengis who violate the law may have their business license revoked by the FCA, leaving them legally disallowed from associating with other Ferengi or returning to the homeworld.
- Pint Sized Power House: Ferengi are shorter than the average human, but there are subtle hints that they have Vulcan-level Super Strength — in one DS9 episode, Quark is shown snapping a bar of gold in half with his bare hands, whilst in another, a startled Sisko finds himself picked up and thrown several meters by a ticked off Ferengi, who did so effortlessly.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Rule of Acquisition 33: It never hurts to suck up to the boss.
- Proud Merchant Race: The most triumphant example in Star Trek.
- Psychic Block Defense: Data says that Ferengi are naturally immune to Telepathy, perhaps because of their four-lobed brains. Interestingly, they are not immune to Emotion Control, as Lwaxana Troi, while suffering from Zanthi Fever, unintentionally affects Quark with her powers the same as humans, Bajorans and Trill.
- Reconstruction: After being introduced as Big Bad Wannabes, DS9 showed how they could function as an actual society.
- Roswell That Ends Well: Turns out it was Quark's contraband-carrying shuttle which crashed in New Mexico, sent back in time via an accident. (DS9:"Little Green Men"). Quark actually gets called out by the hew-mons he meets for sounding like an Honest John's Dealership in the process as well.
- Rule #1: The Rules of Acquisition, which range from harsh ("A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.") to pragmatic ("You can't make a deal if you're dead.") to Pet the Dog ("Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them.")
- Scary Teeth: Ferengi teeth are quite horrible looking, almost like the fang equivalent of British Teeth. Angular, uneven upper jawlines, snaggle-toothed tusks and similar twisting of the teeth are quite prominently displayed amongst the Ferengi cast.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: The Ferengi have no shame.
- The Scrounger: Many Ferengi believe in a "Great Material Continuum", likened to a river that can be navigated through wheeling and dealing to obtain the desired product. Nog, the first Ferengi to join Starfleet, demonstrates that even in a moneyless society, good business sense can be a very useful trait to have.
- Sentient Cosmic Force: The Great Material Continuum! Ferengi visualize it as a great river flowing throughout the cosmos, bartering goods and services between those that need them. A good Ferengi knows how to "navigate" this river to turn a profit. (O'Brien compared it to rough water rafting when Nog roped him into a risky deal.)
- Single-Biome Planet: Ferenginar is comprised exclusively of swamps and wetlands, constantly lashed by a Perpetual Storm that rages across the entire planet.
- The So-Called Coward: Whilst it's true that most Ferengi are relatively cowardly; if you do manage to piss one off they are extremely cunning, are perfectly fine with fighting dirty and at least a few possess strength equal to that of a Vulcan (Quark once snapped a gold brick in half using nothing but his bare hands and another one effortlessly threw Riker several meters). They also have an impressive navy, with starship weapons capable of taking out a Galaxy class given the right circumstances, and the best shields money can buy.
- Space Jews: In TNG, capitalism is treated into a kind of pathology, espoused by a race that would be easy to mistake for a bunch of stock Jewish stereotypes (even down to ballbusting mothers). Gene Roddenbery, who scripted TNG's first season while high as a kite wanted them to have prodigious penises as well, but he was reigned in by Brannon Braga and Herb Wright. The stuff about Ferengi always trying to steal our Earth women is ripped straight from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
- Space Pirate: Their original characterization when they were planed to be serious villains. Implicitly Retconned to be just a few who couldn't make it in "legitimate" business. After years spent getting away from this idea, we meet some Ferengi Space Pirates in an episode of Enterprise.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Holy freaking yikes. Ferengi women aren't allowed to earn a profit. Or talk to strangers. Or go outside. Or wear clothing at any time. Their job is to prepare and chew their childrens' food for them, and teach them the Rules of Acquisition. That's it. Any woman that does earn profit is put into indentured servitude. As Deep Space 9 goes on, Quark's mother manages to kick-start a revolution allowing them to become independent. They apparently had at least some rights before this, since Rom apparently lost most of his money in a messy divorce in the backstory.
- Strange Salute: Ferengi bow and point their palms outward, like a possum.
- Straw Character: Straw Capitalists to be precise. While later series rounded them off, their "hat" remained firmly in place.
- Stupid Crooks: The Ferengi space pirates in TNG frequently prove to be no better at crime than DS9 would imply that they were at mercantile pursuits.
- Super Senses: The Ferengi have highly sensitive ears, allowing them to hear sounds outside the range of other species' hearing. In one Deep Space Nine episode, Sisko chooses Nog to relay his commands to the Defiant crew because Nog's Ferengi hearing will allow him to hear Sisko over the din of battle. In another episode, Quark hears a noise coming from a ship's compartment, allowing him and Odo to discover a hidden bomb.
- Super Strength: They're not militant enough to use it, of course, but there are subtle hints that Ferengi are at least as strong as Vulcans.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The females of their species have (relatively) smaller earlobes. This was revealed in an episode where a Ferengi girl wore prosthetic ears to fool the boys' club (and nearly got away with it, too!).
- This Loser Is You: Word of God paints the Ferengi as 21st-century humans, particularly Anglo-Saxons.
- Turned on its head a little though, if Quark can be trusted, in that while Ferengi are greedy as a virtue and sexist/xenophobic as a culture, they've also never taken it to the same extreme that humans have, citing that the Ferengi never had concentration camps, slavery or massive-scale warfare.
- To Win Without Fighting: See this comment from "Body Parts":"We're not Klingons. We're businessmen."
- In particular, Quark states that the Ferengi would have hammered out a mutually beneficial deal with the Dominion (and given them a little something for their trouble, say Betazed), as opposed to the Federation's "independence at any cost" stance. Though in the episode Quark says that in, he guns down a Jem'Hadar soldier who was coming to kill his nephew. This serves as a possible microcosm into Quark's attitude, in that negotiation only works if the other side doesn't find killing you and taking your stuff easier than negotiation.
- In "The Maquis". Quark reasons the Maquis are better off agreeing to a cease-fire than continuing to shoot down the Cardassians' weapon freighters. The logic goes that the Central Command, caught with their hand in the till, will back off on arming their settlers, who in turn will be more open to peaceful coexistence with their Terran neighbors. In essence, the Ferengi are using Game Theory to work out the best possible outcome for all parties; Quark even manages to convince a Vulcan guerrilla fighter that his logic is sound.
- War for Fun and Profit: Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #34 states "War is good for business". However, Rule of Acquisition #35 rebuts "Peace is good for business." Basically, this entitled Ferengi to sell guns to both sides of a conflict, but also notes that it's a bad idea to lose a customer, and that any war that goes on for too long will have a negative impact on commerce.
A reptilian species who live in the Alpha Quadrant, known for being highly territorial and vicious. Their government is the Gorn Hegemony.
- Anti-Villain: The first time we see the Gorn, they attack a Federation colony and kill everyone present, but as Kirk and co. note they were responding to what they thought was a territorial violation by an unknown aggressor. Doesn't excuse not bothering to check first.
- The Bus Came Back: Aside from a brief appearance in the animated series, they didn't make an appearance in a Trek series after "Arena" until Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Explosive Breeder: Judging by a comment Bones makes in Into Darkness, Gorn give birth to multiple young at once. And they're apparently born with teeth already grown out.
- It Can Think: In their first appearance, the Gorn captain was slow-moving (partly because of the constraint of the actor's costume) and didn't speak. Kirk was in for a rude awakening.
- Lizard Folk: Think a humanoid Komodo dragon, but with brains and a bad attitude.
- Made of Iron: They're tough lizards. Kirk threw a huge rock at the Gorn captain and it barely phased him. It took multiple shots from phasers for Mirror Archer and his minions to kill Slar.
- Translator Microbes: Natural Gorn speak consists of hissing and snarling, with translators putting it into something we can understand.
Debut: Star Trek: Voyager
The Hirogen are a Proud Warrior Race in the Delta Quadrant, roaming vast distances in pursuit of worthy prey. Word of God made no bones about drawing inspiration from Predator, which shares their veneration of 'the hunt', the collection and display of hunting trophies, the use of a breathing apparatus for alien atmospheres, and so forth.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Their "tetryon" weapons are unfamiliar to Starfleet. Their ships also have "monotanium" armor plating. This plating has the added effect of scattering phaser blasts. (VOY: "Hunters")
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Hirogen culture required a hunter to study his prey to understand its abilities.
- Battle Trophy: Not only for bragging rights, but also an instrumental part of their mating ritual. Female Hirogen are attracted to hunters in possession of rare or unique trophies acquired during a hunt.
- One of them threatens to remove Seven of Nine's intestines as a trophy, as "Unusual relics are prized. Yours will make me envied by men and pursued by women!" Seven, who rivals the Hirogen in the big ego sweepstakes, is unimpressed.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Inverted. The Hirogen, as a rue, do not empathize with their prey. However, in keeping with the Native Americans themes, they prefer to kill their targets quickly and painlessly.
- Flanderization: In "The Killing Game," the Alpha, Karr, recognizes that this has happened In-Universe; the Hirogen have become so obsessed with the hunt that their entire civilization has began to fall apart, and Karr resolves to bring them back from the brink of extinction.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In "The Killing Game" two-parter, a pack of Hirogen ships trapped the crew to in a vast WWII holoprogram to better study their battle capabilities.
- Lack of Empathy: The Hirogen alpha in "Demons of Air and Darkness", who, like most Hirogen, relates to other sapient beings only as prey. At one point, he reflects on how one of his victims cried that she had a husband and children, "as if the family structure of prey was of any relevance."
- Malevolent Masked Men: While wearing their breathing masks.
- Predator Pastiche: The Hirogen lack most of the Predator's overt features, but have the hunting culture down pat. To the point it's shown to be slowly leading to the decline and eventually potential destruction of their civilization.
- 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.
- Space Nomads: Nobody knows exactly where the Hirogen come from, or even if their homeworld is located in the Delta Quadrant. They don't seem to be interested in planets, preferring to roam the stars in small packs in search of worthy prey.
- Spikes of Villainy: Hirogen armor.
- Triage Tyrant: In "The Killing Game", When a crewmember with life-threatening injuries and a Hirogen with minor burns are both brought in, the Hirogen medical officer orders the Doctor to treat the Hirogen patient first. The Doctor protests that this goes against the rules of triage. The Hirogen replies "your rules, not mine" and switches him off when he refuses to comply.
- Turned Against Their Masters: In "Flesh and Blood" the Hirogen are using holograms to train for the Hunt. Unfortunately they get smarter and smarter after being hunted down and killed constantly until...
- Victory Is Boring: Hirogen have been known to express disappointment when the species they're hunting proves to be unchallenging. (VOY: "Hunters") As a result, being called "worthy prey" by a Hirogen was meant as a great compliment.
Debut: Star Trek: The Original Series
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 strife and social collapse, 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.
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council:
- Only the best of the best can attend Starfleet Academy (even Wesley Crusher failed his first exam), and out of those hand-picked cadets, only a couple dozen join Red Squad. They only show up 3 times in Star Trek, and it always means trouble. Picard and Sisko, both Starfleet Captains, had no knowledge of a secret clique called Red Squad at the Academy; they had to find out about it second-hand, from other Red Squad hopefuls, which suggested that it was a new addition. In "Paradise Lost", Admiral Layton tapped them to carry out his attempted coup d'état. Layton knew that Red Squad were too overzealous to refuse an order, however treasonous.
- The storyline of "Valiant" strongly suggests that Watters intentionally hid the location and status of a Defiant-class starship from Starfleet. After his commanding officer was fatally wounded, he was given a field commission as (acting) Captain, which he promptly used to promote the remaining Red Squad cadets to officers. By resuming his "mission", he had an excuse to avoid returning to Starfleet and becoming a mere cadet again.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: No contact with pre-warp species.
- On TNG, it was made clear by the Cardassians that any planet which resides outside of the Federation (like say, Bajor or other Cardassian colonies) has the right to turn away their help. Starfleet at least recognizes that Bajor's plight should be heard even if their non-interference policy means they can do nothing about it. Picard wants to address the situation with the Cardassians quietly and behind the scenes, meaning that Starfleet will excuse so long as he doesn't apppear to be doing so.
- The Assimilator / Benevolent Alien Invasion: In-Universe, the Federation is often accused of this by detractors, being a "Homo-Sapiens Only Club" that masquerades as an inter-species alliance and who makes peace with enemies, simply to get them to take their "rightful place" in the Federation council.Eddington: You know, in some ways you're even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious. You assimilate people and they don't even know it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Quark had some choice words to say about hew-mons in wartime, suggesting that if you take away their creature comforts, fancy technology and put them through the wringer, they've got the potential to be even more frightening than Klingons.
- Boldly Coming: It seems that a lot of Federation citizens are fans of Risa. No to mention the several human / alien relationships seen throughout the many series, and the offspring of some of those relationships.
- Cloak & Dagger: There exists an obscure provision in the Starfleet Charter, Section 31, which allows for this kind of activity.
- Crapsack World: 21st century Earth wasn't good for anyone. After the Eugenics War, society clearly tried recovering, but by the 2020s, unemployment and homelessness in America was so bad that the entire country decided the best solution was to cram all of them into "Sanctuary Districts" (read: Ghettos with none of the charm or comfort) and forget all about them, which somehow didn't work out. Thanks to a seismic event, a large chunk of California (L.A. included) was sunk. Meanwhile, Europe was having its own problems, with mention of "Neo-Trotskyites", and terrorism resurgent in Ireland. Then World War III came along, with six hundred million killed just by the war alone.
- Drink Order: Root Beer apparently is very popular, even in alien bars. Non-alcholic "Synthehol" is also frequently served on Federation starships.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: The first Federation President was human, the legislature is located in the Presidio of San Francisco, and Starfleet HQ is a bit further south. At least two Presidents in Star Trek were aliens, but they still conduct their business on Earth.
- Feudal Future: At its peak, the "Great Khanate" covered more than a quarter of the plant's surface, from Australia to Asia to parts of the middle east. The "Eugenics Wars" were highly destructive and plunged the planet into a new dark age, which the Third World War exacerbated.
- Good Is Not Soft: Despite being physically weaker than Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons and a variety of other alien species, they can be a force to fight when push comes to shove.
- Gunboat Diplomacy:
- The Federation can't interfere in the politics of non-member states, but they will often step on their own weaker worlds in the interest of peace. To avoid breaking their treaty with Cardassia and starting another war, the Federation forcibly evacuated settlers in the (Cardassian-owned) Badlands, giving rise to the Maquis terrorists.
- The initial appearance of the Cadassian Union exposes the naiveté of the Federation (Troi states that they have to trust the Cardassians because they are their allies now) and the hypocrisy of it, too (Worf says that their trust has to be earned). The trouble is, neither of them is especially right but there is a grain of truth in each opinion. This tension will come to a head in TNG's "The Wounded", the Maquis struggle and later the Dominion War.
- Humans Advance Swiftly: Lampshaded in Enterprise, where Vulcan Ambassador Soval freely admits that the reason they've been trying to keep them back is because humans are advancing so fast, they are literally scaring the crap out of a race that actively suppresses their emotions. Q echoes the same concerns in the first season of TNG.
- Humans Are Diplomats: One of the founding four races who established the Federation, alongside the coldly logical Vulcans, the emotional Andorians, and the stubborn Tellarites. In addition, the first Federation President, Jonathan Archer, was a human.
- Made more impressive since these species had been traditionally at each other's throats for hundreds of years, especially in the case of the Vulcans and Andorians. Humanity managed to make earn enough points with each species to unite them into a loose Coalition of Planets by 2155, leading to the Federation officially being founded six years later.
- Humans Are Special: It's been argued that this trope is Star Trek's defining philosophy. At its core the franchise is meant to depict a utopic future for mankind free of vice, meaning that the writers tend to use alien races to examine (and at times embody) societal ills that exist in the modern world. In practice this means that humans tend to look almost comically perfect in relation to other alien species, being unfailingly generous, progressing impossibly fast in scientific endeavors, achieving breakthroughs in all forms of art and social development, being unparalleled leaders in diplomacy, and commanding a formidable standing military force. The only consistently-mentioned flaw of humanity is that they performed violent and barbaric acts against each other in the past (which they're quick to remind you they've evolved beyond) and that they tend to be sort of patronizing. It's worth noting that humanity's more egregious Mary Sue Topia traits relative to other species really only came to the fore in Next Generation and after; in Kirk's day, humans were at least as likely to walk away from an encounter with Sufficiently Advanced Aliens like the Organians, Metrons, or even Balok feeling humbled by the experience.
- Humans Are Ugly: Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Home Soil": The ship is taken over by intelligent microscopic crystals that call humans (and every other sentient being on the Enterprise) "UGLY BAGS OF MOSTLY WATER".
- Averted with most other species. The Ferengi pretend to find humans below their standards, but are such deviants that they can't help themselves.Lwaxana: They're as bad as humans. Look at that leer on his face.
Daimon Tog: Actually, his is a look of revulsion. But it is not a feeling that I share. (stares at them pervertedly)
- The first lines we hear from a Ferengi (whose ugly face is filling the viewscreen) is that the hideousness of humans has clearly not been exaggerated!
- Even in Star Trek: Voyager, when a Cardassian double-agent fell in love with her human mark, she still expressed relief that their love-child took after his momma. "Thank goodness he doesn't look too human; you all have such weak foreheads."
- And in Star Trek: Enterprise, although humans aren't aesthetically unpleasing to Vulcans, they do smell terrible.
- Averted with most other species. The Ferengi pretend to find humans below their standards, but are such deviants that they can't help themselves.
- Insane Admiral: It does have to be pointed out nearly all Federation admirals to engage in paranoid campaigns to get rid of all presumed traitors in Starfleet (including those who think they've gone too far), attempt coups d'etat, mess up the timestream or otherwise wreck the place have been human.
- Interservice Rivalry: The Federation would like nothing better than to bury the hatchet and let Cardassia/The Dominion join them, but Starfleet (and Section 31) has other ideas.Vreenak (Romulan Senator): The Dominion is resolved to win the war at any cost. You and I both know the Federation has already put out peace feelers.
- Mary Sue Topia:
- In "Time's Arrow", there is a rare moment of criticism about the Federation, its lifestyle and principles when Mark Twain struts around the Enterprise-D and is distinctly unimpressed by the future. Conquering this corner of the galaxy with politeness, luxury to the point of indolence, no personality and a lack of any vices...he declares the future a very bland place to be. Perhaps on TNG; had he wound up on DS9 he would be trading raucous stories and getting drunk with Morn.
- Discussed in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where it's revealed that some races consider the Federation to be one. Quark and Garak have some fun comparing it to Root Beer, apparently the favourite Drink Order of people from Earth.*Quark offers some root beer to Garak, who tries it and gags*
Garak: It's vile!
Quark: I know. It's so bubbly and cloying... and happy.
Garak: *Greatly amused* Just like the Federation?
Quark: And you know what's really terrifying? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
Garak: It's insidious!
Quark: Just like the Federation...
- Monumental View: Starfleet Academy enjoys a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which unfortunately would place it in the middle of a mountain range. Star Trek VI retconned it satisfactorily: an establishing shot of Starfleet H.Q. shows it is built into the mountains on stilts.
- Most Writers Are Human: Which is why all Star Trek series to date have centered around a human captain.
- No Poverty: A central part of the setting, humanity solved this problem after meeting the Vulcans.
- No Such Agency: Section 31? Never heard of it.
- No Transhumanism Allowed: Transhumanism was considered the new frontier of science and humanity's great hope, until Khan Noonien Singh and similar warlords cropped up. Following a ghastly Eugenics War which enveloped the whole world in chaos, genetic engineering was outlawed, and mankind turned to the stars to find a slower path toward evolution. These days, genetic engineers find work on the black market, performing augmentation on mentally-disabled or otherwise challenged children. While Dr. Bashir turned out fairly normal (although he had to hide the truth from Starfleet Academy), "Statistical Probabilities" showed us three individuals who could have lived perfectly productive-if-simple lives had their parents not tried to play God. The result? Social maladjustment, sadistic behavior and a life behind bars (or as good as).
- Planet of Hats: Averted; we're the only planet that doesn't have a hat. Unless you count Ron D. Moore's "Starfleet walk."
- Several characters have commented on how relatively fast humanity expanded compared to other species and how quickly humans tend to pick up a skill or job. Humanity's hat is its adapability: The Vulcans are scared of how humanity was able to recover from a total nuclear war in one tenth the time it took themselves, Quark is terrified at how an average human can become more bloodthirsty than a Klingon if driven to the edge, and individuals such as Eddington (who is a human himself, by the way) draw chilling comparisons of humanity to the Borg. In turn, the Borg have taken quite a special interest in humans, whilst humans are one of only two races (the other being Species 8472) to be able to repel repeated direct attacks from the Collective.
- Society is clearly moving in that direction though; nearly every time Star Trek humans end up in modern or near-modern America the amount of cultural diversity freaks them out. This actually comes up subtly in several Expanded Universe novels. Scenes taking place during the Enterprise era tend to explicitly mention different human characters' nationalities in the narration more than scenes set later in the future. This isn't as noticeable in the Enterprise novels themselves, but the flashbacks to that era in Star Trek: Destiny are rather jarring when compared to the 24th century scenes.
- Planet Terra: Used a few times (the Mirror Universe has the Terran Empire; the original series occasionally contrasts "Terrans" with "Vulcans").
- Puny Earthlings: We're generally portrayed as weaker, less intelligent, and shorter-lived than other major species in the Alpha Quadrant. Vulans and Romulans, in particular, are downright patronizing in their dealings with humans, whom they regard as dim children.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: The Maquis, consisting of Earth colonists who objected to losing their planets to the Cardassians after a treaty redefined the border after the war. Eventually wiped out by the Jem'Hadar when the Dominion allied with the Cardassians.
- Terra Prime in the 22nd Century, a Xenophobic group that objected to alien nationals being on Earth and experienced a massive surge in popularity after the Xindi Incident.
- Section 31, a rogue Black Ops group within Starfleet, dedicated to keeping Earth a paradise by any means.
- Science Hero: Since the Federation mines research from throughout the Alpha Quadrant, and they haven't despoiled their territories like the Romulan or Cardassian empires, by the 24th century their tech is considered some of the mightiest in the galaxy.
- Swiss Army Weapon: The Starfleet phaser rifle is bulky, loaded with tacti-cool targeting systems and features, and useless as a field weapon because too much can go wrong with it. Insert Federation joke here.
- Took a Level in Badass: Even with the Vulcans supposedly delaying their warp program, Humanity still managed to go from being survivors of a nuclear war, to one of the founders of an interstellar alliance in just under a century. The latter only ten years after the launch of their first Warp 5 vessel, which brought them properly into the interstellar community.
- We All Live in America: Or at least the West. All the names are surname-last, alien cultures that were inspired by other Earth cultures are seen as mind-blowing, and the French all sound like grumpy Englishmen. note
- We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Averted as the Federation has abandoned money-based economics, at least within its own borders. There apparently is some form of currency used when trading with other races outside the Federation. Note that the "moneyless economy" concept first appears in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and there is nary a hint of it before that; and indeed, the TOS episodes "The Trouble With Tribbles," "Mudd's Women," and even "The Devil In the Dark" make no sense if you ignore all the references to money. Whether this represents an in-universe change in the Federation's economic policy (perhaps coinciding with the development of replicators) or a Retcon meant to change the meaning of those TOS episodes depends on which fan you ask.
- 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".
- Played straight in the TOS episode The Trouble With Tribbles, as Uhura casually makes an offer to purchase a tribble from a Federation citizen on a Federation station. Kirk also mentions docking Scotty's pay in another episode, so clearly money of some form is in use during their era, though many often just chalk this up to Early Installment Weirdness.
- Revived on Voyager, after a fashion, due to their perpetual energy shortages before the writers got tired of having to remember they were stranded decades from resupply. In order to conserve their ships power supplies, the crew are issued periodic replicator rations, which serve as a form of credit and even an impromptu medium of trade among them.
- World War III: An atomic war broke out in the early 21st century, with a death toll of 37 million. After that came a period in which victims of the nuclear fallout were shunned. A few zealots, led by Colonel Phillip Green, attempted to the cleanse the species of impurities.
Debut: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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 just soulless machines bred to kill without honor. 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.
- Badass Creed: "Obedience brings victory. Victory is life!"
First: (solemn) We pledge our loyalty to the Founders, from now until death.
- They are required to recite a loyalty oath in exchange for more white. Subverted by the rote nature of the exercise, as well as the constantly looming threat of having your head torn off should you accidentally run out of the drug.
Weyoun: (bored, reciting) Then receive this reward from the Founders, may it keep you strong. *Sigh*
- Bad Boss: The First, and by necessity when your underlings are perpetually bad-tempered super-soldiers barely kept under control at the best of times. If they're so out of control they won't do as they're told, the First hasn't really got any other choice but to snap their necks.
- Battlecry: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.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Jem'hadar soldiers, by and large, place loyalty to the Founders, service to their First, and completion of their missions above all else. Any that would jeopardize these is dealt with swiftly and decisively. In the DS9 episode "To the Death", this is demonstrated among a group of renegade Jem'hadar when the First's subordinate and Worf get into a brawl. The First executes his subordinate for violating his orders, while Sisko has Worf confined to quarters while off-duty, with the Jem'hadar first being astounded that Sisko doesn't eliminate what he believes to be a threat to Sisko's command, while Sisko argues back that killing Worf would rob him of the chance to learn from his mistakes and cost the loyalty of his crew.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: To the extent that Sisko completely disregards anything the Vorta say, and only negotiate with their messengers.
- Cannon Fodder: They're superb soldiers, but their uniform characteristics, short lifespans, and the ease of replacing them renders the Jem'Hadar disposable in the eyes of Vorta/Changelings.
- Chameleon Camouflage: Jem'Hadar, being reptiles, use a personal camouflage ability known as a "Shroud" to sneak around and confound their opponents. It's not as effective as shipwide cloaking, since you can still spot their darkened outlines, but in an outdoor setting it is rather diabolical. Unfortunately for the troops, it starts to sputter when they run out of White.
- Church Militant: They are simply instruments of God's wrath, nothing more. In "The Jem'Hadar", one of their ships rammed into a retreating Galaxy-class starship (the same class as the Enterprise-D), destroying it. All to send a message.O'Brien: (baffled) We were retreating. There was no need for a suicide run.
Sisko: They're showing us how far they're willing to go.
- Evil Counterpart Race: To the Klingons. Both are Proud Warrior Races that're literally bred to fight. However, the Jem'Hadar have none of the Klingons' Joie de vivre, their passion for aesthetics, or even their taste in liquor. All they do is fight and kill. As a result, the Klingons come to regard them almost as Boogeymen, and General Martok became nigh phobic of them during his tenure in a Dominion internment camp. For their part, the Jem'Hadar relish the opportunity to fight with Klingons, considering them Worthy Opponents.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: First Omet'iklan cannot, for the life of him, explain why Sisko intervenes when a rogue Jem'Hadar was about to kill him, after Omet'iklan had previously threatened to kill Sisko.
- Functional Addict: Although genetically engineered like the Vorta, Jem'Hadar loyalty is not as reliable, so all Jem'Hadar are addicted to a drug called Ketracel-white, which only the Dominion can provide.
- Genius Bruiser: An unnerving blend of Klingon brutality and Romulan level-headedness.
- Iconic Item: The only distinctive marking on their uniforms is a little pocket for Ketrecel-White vials. The drug funnels through a tube which is plugged straight into their necks. Unlike the Borg, making a grab for their neck-tubing would not work since Jem'Hadar can carry on for at least 24 hours without a fix.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Without a steady supply of "the White", the Jem'Hadar turns into an entire legion of these.
- Meaningful Name: Related to the ranking system in Kipling's Finest. Jem'Hadar do not have ranks with flashy or self-aggrandizing terms. The highest-ranking in a group holds the rank of "First" (roughly analogous to "Captain", if he commands a ship). The rank below "First" is "Second", behind "Second" is "Third", and so on down to at least "Seventh". Individual Jem'Hadar actually do have names, so we have examples of First Omet'iklan, Third Remata'klan, and Second Ixtana'Rax (an Honored Elder). But while the Jem'Hadar do refer to their squad-mates by name, their Vorta overseers will basically point at them and say "you there, Fifth, make a suicidal charge on that sniper's nest". It emphasizes how replaceable and expendable the Jem'Hadar are to the Vorta.
- The Needless: One perk of drug addiction is that it includes all the nutrients they need on the battlefield.
- Nightmare Fetishist: When Dr. Bashir treats a wounded Vorta on the battlefield, he gets crowded out by the military escorts who are forming a little operating threatre of their own. The Vorta reacts with weary resignation, but not surprise: They've never seen what the insides of a Vorta look like.
- Noble Demon: They're violent and fanatically loyal to the Founders, but they have their moments of honor and respect for their opponents and care enough about their fellows that they'd rather kill themselves than become a burden to them; even if this is a programmed response given to them by the Founders, the Jem'Hadar still see this as a Necessary Evil. Sisko gains enough respect for them that he tells Remata'Klan that the Vorta don't deserve their loyalty.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Case in point: A group of Jem'Hadar forms an Enemy Mine with Sisko in order to take out a rogue group of Jem'Hadar who had stumbled upon an Iconian Gateway. Using a piece of long lost technology which allows the user to literally travel anywhere in the galaxy instantly was too powerful (and too unsporting) for anyone to use, even by the Jem'Hadar's standards. They knew they could instantly invade and take over Earth with it, but it's just not who they are.
- No Social Skills: Jem'Hadar are intrinsically hostile. They're occasionally shown shooting the breeze with each other, as long as there are no Vorta around. But their relations with other races remain uneasy.
- One-Gender Race: The Founders reproduce the Jem'Hadar through cloning, so they have no need to sexually reproduce. It is directly stated that there are no female Jem'Hadar (and that the males have no sexual desires). The Founders apparently genetically engineered the Jem'Hadar from some pre-existing stock (similar to how the Vorta used to be primitive ape-like animals before they were uplifted), so it is possible that the original species had binary sexes of male and female. That is, the modern Jem'Hadar are not technically sexless neuters, they are an all "male" race (they use male pronouns), they just don't have female anymore.
- Phlebotinum Dependence: Ketracel White is the only nourishment they need, but it also (usually) keeps them from going insane and attacking anything in sight before eventually dying. This dependence further ensures their engineered loyalty. In rare cases, a mutation will cause a Jem'Hadar to lack this addiction.
- Proud Warrior Race
- Rapid Aging: They can reach their full growth in a few days. Among the ranks, certain Jem'Hadar that have reached the age of 20 are known as "Honored Elders."
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: They're drug addicted religious zealots who look like humanoid ceratopsians (or possibly Jackson's chameleons). Despite this, however, they're still probably the most pleasant out of all the Dominion races... which really says a lot about the Dominion.
- Scary Black Man: They look more or less like human children of African descent for the first few days of their existence before they begin growing their iconic pale green armored scales. This is largely due to the writers briefly trying to use them as a metaphor for the crack epidemic.
- The Scapegoat: The "order of things" states that the Jem'Hadar commander (or "First") disciplines his own men, and the Vorta leader disciplines the First. Since Vortas have no jurisdiction over troops of lower rank, they tend to come down especially hard on the First.
- Seppuku: Entire platoons have been known to kill themselves if a Founder dies under their watch. ("The Ship")
- Smarter Than You Look: They're the quiet, obedient muscle for the Dominion. Doesn't mean they're stupid, as demonstrated in "Rocks and Shoals" when Remata'Klan reveals to Sisko that he knows of Keevan's treachery. But even when they know they're being played, their intense loyalty will (usually) cause them to obey suicidal orders anyway, because the Founders have dictated that they're to obey the Vorta in all things."Despite what Keevan may think, the Jem'Hadar are often one step ahead of the Vorta."
- The Stoic: They don't emote often. In their dealings with other species, their manner is polished and no-nonsense. Very rarely, they smirk (as one Jem'Hadar did when anticipating a duel with Worf.)
- Suicide Attack: Dominion troops love using their ships as homing missiles, making an already-chaotic space battle even worse. During the Battle for Cardassia you can see them zig-zagging and smashing into Klingon and Romulans ships left and right.
- Super Soldier: And they're damn proud of it, too.
- Tragic Villain: The more is learned of the Jem'Hadar, the more it becomes apparent that creating them may have been amongst the Founders' most utterly evil acts. They're completely dependent on a drug that kills them painfully if their supply runs out. They're built to revel in violence and hate non-Jem'Hadar to the point where long-term cooperation with other species is an utter impossibility. Their average life expectancy barely reaches into the double digits (this might not be biology, but due to a stunningly high attrition rate and "fight till you die" set of orders). Perhaps the worst thing is that despite all of this, they're hard-coded to love and obey the creatures responsible for their miserable state, and to see it as the greatest of gifts to serve them.
- Tyke Bomb: Created to fight for the Dominion. They age to maturity quickly and can't be dissuaded from seeking out their people and joining the enemy lines.
- Undying Loyalty: Zigzagged. The Jem'Hadar are genetically engineered to be utterly loyal to the Founders, but even with the White, the control is not always absolute, something Weyoun begrudgingly lets slip. Occasionally, some Jem'Hadar have gone rogue (in one episode, Weyoun mentions that if the rogue group of Jem'Hadar had gotten access to the Iconian Portal, they'd have been able to convince enough of their compatriots to overthrow the Dominion within a year). That said, the average Jem'Hadar is perfectly willing to do as they told.
- Uterine Replicator: Vorta are hatched fully-grown from their cloning pods. Jem'Hadar are grown in birthing chambers, reaching adolescence in only three days, and awakening with all the skills they need to pick up a gun and fight.
- Victory Is Boring: These fellas deal out beatings so often that it gets tiresome for them. If the occupying Jem'Hadar are met with meaningful resistance, they compliment the survivors. If the battle is short and sweet, they complain.
- Villain Decay: They seem rather easily disposed for such a lethal warrior race, which is explained by Elias Vaughn as 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. Their main strengths are their unbreakable morale and endless reserves; with their supply lines cut during most of the war they could never really bring their numbers to bear in the Alpha Quadrant like they had in early engagements.
- Villainous Valour: They take pride in their discipline and prowess and are generally treated tragically rather then as faceless mooks. If they were more chivalrous they would be considered Worthy Opponents. As it is, they are perfect foils for the Klingons.
- We Are as Mayflies: See Rapid Aging above. Jem'Hadar rarely live past 5 months, and none live past 30, as one Jem'Hadar explained to Jadzia Dax. This is mostly due to them dying in battle before they can reach that point, but their lifespans seem to be that short. Any Jem'Hadar that manages to live 20 years gains the title of "Honored Elder" - they don't form a ruling council or officially gain a higher rank, they just tend to be respected more for their experience, and because they've served that long they tend to be Firsts in command of ships or army groups.
- Because Jem'Hadar can find themselves "promoted" at any time, they lack any rank insignias or other extravagances on their gear. In fact, it's impossible to tell at a glance who's in charge (apart from the Vorta hanging safety in the rear).
- You Are Number 6: Designated "First", "Second", "Third" and so on. They do have birth names, however.
Debut: Star Trek: Voyager
Another spinoff, another replacement Klingon. The Kazon have a checkered development history, originally inspired by the Crips and Bloods. They represent anarchy, in opposition to Voyager's attempts to carve out a fledgling Federation. However, as the series went on and the actors got older, the "youth gang" theme was thrown out, and they became generic warriors.
- Alien Hair: Kazon hair grows in leaf-shaped chunks, rather than individual strands. It's supposed to resemble an afro, but it just looks like they weave rocks into their hair.
- Always Chaotic Evil: A rare completely straightforward example in modern Trek series'. Unlike the Borg or Jem'Hadar, who are given In-Universe justifications for their unbending ways, the Kazon appear to be simply evil on purpose. The fact that they're never given much characterization beyond this accounts for much of their unpopularity.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: The Kazon were once a Slave Race employed by their Caucasian rulers, the Trabe, and it's stated that the entire galaxy now rues the day their earned their freedom. The Kazon are a confused mess of storytelling by writers who intended it as a commentary on redlined city districts and the cycle of crime, but for whatever reason, the species fell back into the famliar "Warlike Alien" role which Trek is used to, and their oppressors were painted with a softer (even sympathetic!) brush.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Michael Pillar, who co-created the Kazon, was the major driving force in making them VOY's main adversaries. Jeri Taylor was the first writer to abandon the idea of making them viable villains, later followed by Brannon Braga.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: After such a skillfully laid out scheme to hijack Voyager seems a little remiss for the warlike Kazon to dump the crew on a habitable planet. Must have been an "off" day for Seska.
- Disaster Scavengers: Early on, they turn their attention to the Caretaker's Array, but when Janeway destroys it, the Kazon vow to capture and dissect Voyager instead.
- Divide and Conquer: One of the Trabe's tactics in keeping the Kazon in line was to encourage them to in-fighting amongst the clans, or "sects." However, the sects learned to put aside their differences and rose up against the Trabe. In doing so the Kazon took the Trabe's ships and technology, forcing them to become a nomadic species, and never allowed them to settle on a new world. (VOY: "Initiations", "Alliances")
- Dumb Muscle/Our Orcs Are Different: The Kazon are big, boisterous, and dumb. A cunning Cardassian agent, known as Seska, was able to insinuate herself into the Nistrum sect in no time flat.
- Economy Cast/The Usual Adversaries: For a nomadic tribe of brigands, they sure do seem to control a huge diameter of the Delta Quadrant. By Season Three of VOY, even Exec. Producer Rick Berman had had enough:"If you think about it, traveling for a year-and-a-half through a part of space dominated by one group is pretty amazing! I think traveling at warp speed for a year-and-a-half you would pass through the Federation, the Klingon Empire and a few other places."
- Evil Counterpart Race: As the Jem'Hadar are to DS9 and the Gamma Quadrant are the Kazon to VOY and the Delta Quadrant. The Kazon are no Jem'Hadar, though... (OR Klingons, for that matter)
- Everyone Has Standards: The Kazon are the only species the Borg refuse to assimilate, on the basis that they are so incompetent they will detract from the Collective.
- Expy: Of the Fremen in Frank Herbert's Dune. Both the Fremen and the Kazon are warrior races of formerly oppressed people who live on inhospitable desert planets and value water above all other commodities.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: A Kazon prison is a line drawn on the floor that the prisoner is told not to cross. Sigh.
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien:
- Their attempt to reverse-engineer something as mundane (at least to the Federation) as a food replicator causes big problems and wipes out an entire Kazon crew. The image of Kazon melted into the bulkheads and floors is quite macabre.
- The Borg found the Kazon so utterly unremarkable that they refused to assimilate them, on the grounds that it would add nothing to the Collective.
- Low Culture, High Tech: The Kazon don't exactly inspire confidence with their technical abilities. However, they only recently acquired it, namely by overthrowing their Trabe conquerors.
- Meet the New Boss: Not content with looking like the Klingons and acting like the Klingons the Kazon also have moodily lit ships adorned with weapons like the Klingons. They were intentionally modeled on the Klingons right down to their makeup, so this comes as no surprise.
- No Blood for Phlebotinum: Somewhat bizarrely, in Star Trek: Voyager, the Kazon, an oxygen-breathing species traveling in hydrogen-powered ships, will kill, steal, or trade hostages for water. When he first arrives on the ship, Neelix is similarly shocked by Alpha Quadrant species' ability to synthesize water.
- Planet Looters: Basically, the Kazons' advancement as a civilization has come entirely from piracy. They are a primitive people with no understand of the technology they steal, or how to reverse-engineer it.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: In another VOY episode, a Kazon boy wishes to become a man by killing Chakotay. He then explains that killing a person is the rite of passage for the Kazon; apparently, killing a clansman is also acceptable in some cases. Chakotay tries his damdest to find common ground between him and Kar but the real difference between his uniform and Kar's name is that one is earned in an air-conditioned building and the other is earned by putting one's life on the line to protect territory. That's a bridge that can never be built between these two. At the end of the episode, instead of killing Chakotay, he turns the weapon onto his maj, becoming the new maj in the process (similar to the Klingon Promotion).
- Space Jews: The marriage of the three sects resulted in an arrangement not unlike the Arab League.
- According to Word of God they're mostly based on white Californians' conception of LA street gang members.
- The Spartan Way: When given the chance to kill Chakotay the children reach for a phaser like kids in a sweet shop and it goes to show how quickly they breed fear and bloodlust in their young.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Kazon were once a subjugated race, used as slave labor by the Trabe, who had conquered their homeworld.
- Would Hurt a Child: The idea of the Kazon killing their young if they fail in battle, but only after honoring their return is obscene. The drama works particularly when Kar holds back tears at his reunion with his father.
Debut: Star Trek: Discovery
A self-proclaimed 'prey species'. The Kelpiens are sapient livestock to a technologically-superior species called the Ba'ul and are universally skittish as a result.
- Alien Sky: Kaminar is pretty Earth-like, but has a thin ring system and two moons.
- Cowardly Lion: A pre-vahar'ai Kelpien's first instinct is to run and hide whenever danger presents itself, but when forced into a fight their Super Strength and Super Speed make them deadly combatants. Post-vahar'ai, they lose their threat ganglia and with them, the contant fear.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In season one of Discovery, Saru describes Kaminar as a Death World with no food web: one is either predator or prey, and the Kelpiens are constantly being hunted by apex predators, hence their Super Strength and Super Speed. Season two retcons this into a fairly different situation: Kaminar is an idyllic world, where the Kelpiens live in total harmony with their environment but are ritualistically culled by the technologically superior Ba'ul species when they begin a maturation process called vahar'ai.
- Had To Be Sharp: Assumed to be the reason for their Super Strength, Super Speed, and excellent reflexes. It turns out that in reality, the Kelpiens are themselves apex predators, and the Ba'ul (their former prey) have been preventing them from maturing past their Cowardly Lion stage.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: The Ba'ul claim that post-vahar'ai Kelpiens become this if left unchecked, hence the need for the regular cullings.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: When a Kelpien feels threatened, their threat ganglia stand out. This sixth sense borders on precognition, to the point where at one point Saru is confident that Discovery will survive a Suicide Mission because his ganglia aren't reacting at all beforehand.
- One Head Taller: Kelpiens are much taller than humans.
- People Farm: Kelpiens are periodically harvested by the Ba'ul, supposedly for food. The Kelpiens generally accept this as a necessary part of preserving the "Balance of Kaminar".
- Planet of Hats: Planet of Cowardly Lions.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Kelpiens have bald and boney faces with threat ganglia at the back of the head and hooves in place of feet, but otherwise appearing totally human.
- Spike Shooter: Post-vahar'ai Kelpiens have these where their threat ganglia used to be.
- Super Speed: Kelpiens can reach a speed of around 80kmph.
- Super Strength: Capable of crushing a Starfleet communicator in their bare hands.
Debut: Star Trek: The Original Series
Homeworld: Qo'noS (or Kronos)
Huge, bumpy-headed Proud Warrior Race Guys 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 five live-action spinoffs, along with obligatory appearances in most of the films. Though technically an ally of the United Federation of Planets in the later series, 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.
- Alien Lunch:
Dax: You haven't touched your racht.Arjin: No, I have. It's (gags) interesting.Dax: No, you've been moved it around your plate to make it look like you've touched it.Arjin: I didn't have to move it. It moved itself.
- Live, squirming racht and gagh! (Gesundheit.) Served fresh, of course. Interestingly, gagh is actually more palatable to humans than Klingons, who hate the taste but love the feeling of something dying inside of them.
- There are actually 51 different types of gagh, each with its distinct taste and texture, including Bithool gagh (which have feet), Filden (which squirm), Meshta (which jump), Torgud (which wiggles), and Wistan which is stuffed with targ blood. Yum yum.
- Alien Sky: Qo'noS has a much greener sky than Earth's, and as of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country its only moon, Praxis, is a Shattered World.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Klingons are generally portrayed this way in Kirk's time, but not so much in the others. Even in the 24th century, the Klingons walk that very fine line between being a warrior poet and complete child; the politics in Qo'nos comes down to little more than playground shoving (the blue bloods vs. the rank-and-file) and the military structure isn't much better. It proves that despite their fighting prowess and instincts they are still prone to childish tantrums.
- Always Someone Better: In Star Trek, Humans Are Special, but Klingons are Ass-Kickers. Every time the Federation gets into a straight-up, all-out war, the Klingons are winning. In Discovery, the Federation nearly resorted to outright destroying Qo'noS to win, and in TNG an alternate timeline has the Federation on the losing end of a twenty year long war.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Klingon divorce proceedings. Followed by a Spiteful Spit.
Lursa: I hope for your sake that you are initiating a mating ritual.
- Alternatively, in Generations:
- If you strike another male Klingon with the back of your hand, it will be interpreted as a challenge to the death. Better to use your fist.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: See "Klingon Promotion", below. In addition, political candidates seeking to be elected Chancellor must first duel each other to the death. (Well, that's one way of making the election cycle exciting.) This weeds out any chickenhawks from the election pool; the Chancellor can't blithely declare war without prior field and hand-to-hand combat experience.
- Back from the Brink: In the mirror universe, the Klingons were nearly exterminated when the Terran Empire blew up Qo'noS. A century later, they've not only rebounded but have become an equal partner in the Alliance, the dominant power of the Alpha Quadrant.
- Badass Bandolier: Gold in TOS, chainmail in TNG. And they're actually baldrics, not bandoliers.
- Badass Beard: A good deal of them have this, or in some cases a Badass Mustache.
- Battle Couple: Klingon Mythopoeia is about the first two Klingons pillaging the heavens. Later legends tell of Kahless and Lady Lukara. And Klingon couples are often found fighting side by side.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Klingons are loaded with redundant organs.
- Bling of War: From TNG onward, the Chancellor wears a resplendent overcoat with humongous lapels, each weighed down with medals, and a sash.
- Brawn Hilda: As shown above, even the most refined Klingon women are still very hairy (particularly their eyebrows).
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Targs are similar to boars but with spikes on their backs. They are not hunted, but rather used as bloodhounds by Klingon hunters.
- Characterization Marches On: The original series had the Klingons as being mostly warlike with few redeeming traits. Gene Roddenberry didn't like them being the "Black Hats" of the saga so in The Next Generation he made a Klingon a regular cast member and established the "honor" aspect to their society.
- Cleavage Window: Female Klingon uniforms often have these.
- Conlang: Provided one of the earlier examples of a completely fictitious language, and Klingon holds the distinction of being the most widely spoken fictitious language on Earth (with Tolkien's Elvish coming in second). If you're going to any Star Trek convention worth its salt you'll see at least a few Klingon cosplayers conversing in the tongue.
- Cultured Badass: Klingons are passionate opera lovers.
- Death of the Old Gods: According to their legends, Klingons slew their own gods.Worf: They were more trouble than they were worth.
- Death Wail: For the Klingon death ritual, it's traditional for those on hand to howl into the sky as a warning to the afterlife that a Klingon warrior is about to arrive.
- Democracy Is Bad: The Klingons' brief foray into representative government is treated by their historians as a kind of Dark Age.Dax: ...but, it's interesting to note that this first and only experiment in Klingon democracy actually produced several reforms that—Sirella: You are STRAYING FROM THE SAGA!!
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The mythological first Klingon Battle Couple sacked the heavens. They read the story at weddings. That's what Klingons consider romantic.
- Dies Wide Open: The Klingon Death Ritual involves holding the eyes of the deceased open to allow their soul to exit the body, then let out a loud howl to alert the warriors in Sto-vo-kor that a new warrior is on their way.
- 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.
- Early Installment Weirdness
- The most obvious "weirdness" is their early appearance, which consisted mainly of a spray tan and evil hair.
- When they are first introduced, they are described as a military dictatorship, with conquered planets being strictly controlled and dialogue even suggested the presence of a Secret Police to ensure loyalty and compliance. Later works softened the Empire as a collection of mostly autonomous satellite planets, and the Secret Police concept (along with others exclusive to Errand of Mercy) was instead pushed onto the Romulans as the Tal Shiar.
- Klingon women were far more passive in the original series. In later installments, the role of women in Klingon society was considerably more egalitarian, as Klingon mythology included Kahless and his mate Lukara slaying 500 warriors together.
- Enemy Mine: Their own riff on the book of Genesis had the first Klingons, Kortar and his mate, dueling to the death with bat'leths. Kortar's adversary had him at swordpoint, but chose to spare him because, "If we join together, no force can stop us." And thus the Gods speaketh, "Oh, Crap!".
- Even Evil Has Standards: Klingons and Romulans once shared an alliance for a number of years. Big mistake. A number of disasters - including the Khitomer Massacre, the result of failed encroachments on Klingon colonies - led the Klingons to develop a deep-seated hatred for the Romulans. The Romulans are probably the species that Klingon society in general despises most of all. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident"; TNG: "The Neutral Zone") They hate the Romulans so much that a single Federation starship coming to their aid against a Romulan attack meant the difference between a lasting friendship and all-out war with the Federation. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise")Worf: They have no honor! They consider Klingons and humans to be a waste of skin!
- Worf once angrily berated Alexander for being a school bully on the Enterprise-D, as it is the lowest form of dishonor for a warrior to bully those weaker than he is.
- Evil Is Hammy: Veteran Klingon Robert O'Reilly told all neophyte Klingons that the most important part was to say their lines with utmost belief, and "go all the way." Qapla'!!
- Fallen Angel / The Ferryman: Klingons who die without honor aren't allowed into Valhalla (or "Sto-vo-kor"), but are instead sentenced to Gre'thor, their version of Hell. The Barge of the Dead is the mythological ship to Gre'thor, captained by Kortar, the very first Klingon. When Kortar became more powerful than the gods who created him, he destroyed them, and, as punishment, he was condemned to ferry the souls of the dishonored for all eternity. (VOY: "Barge of the Dead")
- Fantastic Slur: Crossing one's arms across the chest outside of a discommendation ceremony is a grave insult in Klingon culture.
- 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.)
- Fire-Forged Friends: With the Federation, first predicted by Ayelborne and then fulfilled by Gorkon and Azetbur after the Praxis explosion. According to Crewman Daniels, the Klingons will eventually join as full-fledged Federation members.
- Flanderization: Originally depicted in The Original Series as calculating Warrior Poets akin to Samurai. Later became Vikings IN SPACE!.
- Lampshaded in Enterprise, where 22nd Century Klingon doctors and lawyers comment that they're finding themselves increasingly under the thumb of the Warrior Caste. By the 24th Century, the Warriors are all that's left.
- God-Emperor: The Klingon treatment of Kahless the Unforgettable.
- Glory Seeker
- Hand Cannon: The visual design of Klingon Disruptors is based on an antique flintlock pistol.
- Hand Wave: The Klingons' varying appearance used to be the single most popular piece of fanwank among Trekkies.The real reason for the discrepancy between TOS Klingons and their feature film and later television series counterparts was a lack of budget. Kang, Koloth, and Kor each gained a ridged forehead when they reappeared on DS9. Worf acknowledged the continuity holes when the crew of DS9 visited Kirk's Enterprise in the episode "Trials and Tribble-ations," but offered no explanation, saying merely, "We do not discuss it with outsiders."
- A canonical reason was given for the change on Star Trek: Enterprise, revealing that it was caused by a failed attempt to create Klingon Augments, due to their fear that Starfleet were creating super soldiers after encountering some relics from the Eugenics War. Due to one of the test subjects having an alien form of flu, it mutated into an airborne plague that swept across the Empire, killing many until it was finally cured, but causing them to lose their ridges as a side-effect.
- Informed Ability: Arguably, their status as mighty warriors, seeing as they're routinely defeated in hand to hand combat by Humans, who are supposedly several times weaker than Klingons and have no redundant organs. This is particularly noticeable in the Deep Space Nine season 4 opener "The Way of the Warrior"
- Jabba Table Manners: The Klingons of the Star Trek universe universally gulp and slurp down food like slobs. In their case, it is to show how tough and free of pretentious "good manners" and straightforward and honest their society is, not to show how "evil" they are.
- Inverted in a TNG episode, when Riker joined a Bird of Prey as part of an officer exchange. As part of his hazing, he wolfed down some gagh.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: Painstiks are also used in the "Sonchi" ceremony to confirm the death of an old chancellor: Contenders seeking to become the new chancellor take turns jabbing the corpse with a painstik while issuing verbal challenges. The lack of response to these insults is taken as confirmation.
- Klingon Promotion: Trope Namer and Trope Maker. In one episode, Dax explains the intricacies after hearing O'Brien and Bashir talk about the trope. Only a direct subordinate can make the challenge, and only after a severe infraction (cowardice, extreme failure, dereliction of duty). To be clear: you can't simply "assassinate" your superior officer, you have to challenge him to a formal duel.
Gowron: Now the war... may continue.
- The Imperial High Council is more civilized, but not by much. Gowron was once challenged by a member of the High Council while he was in the midst of a civil war against the Duras sisters. They have a duel to the death right there on the council floor, which Gowron wins. After which...
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Partly justified. After all,Martok: Klingons make great warriors... but terrible doctors.
Worf (to Keiko): "You may now give birth!"
- We actually see this work during the birth of Molly O'Brien, in ten forward. Worf acts as the midwife, blandly announcing the cervical dilation and getting agitated by Keiko's screaming.
- Lampshaded in Enterprise, where 22nd Century Klingon doctors and lawyers comment on being increasingly overruled by the Warrior caste and worry about the flanderisation of their species. Towards the end of the show, in "Affliction", it's bemoaned that Klingon science suffers from the warrior mentality.
- Lady of War: Klingons have Bridge bunnies, too, but they tend to be a little more...butch. Klingon noblewomen are tough cookies, also.
- Martyrdom Culture: The greatest glory for a Klingon solider is to die in battle.
- Ritual suicide is often preferred over living life as a cripple, especially if you're a veteran. Even if you aren't a cripple, to allow oneself die of natural causes is a profound disgrace for a military family. No wonder Klingons are constantly hungry for the next, big war. A key point, however, is that a Klingon must die by the hand of (or with the assistance of) another. Unassisted suicide is considered completely honorless, and a one-way ticket to Gre'thor (hell).
- Men Don't Cry: Spock said once that Klingons lack tear ducts; however, Klingon myth states that Kahless once filled the ocean with his tears, and at least one Klingon, Kurn, has produced tears.
- National Weapon: The Bat'leth.
- Also The Mek'leth, a short sword curved inward.
- 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.
- Nay-Theist: As the Klingons believe it, their creator gods were destroyed by the first Klingons.
- 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.
- Persona Non Grata: Klingons who dishonor themselves gravely may be "Discommendated", wherein their status in society is reduced to the point where they are barely considered living, sentient beings.
- Prefers Raw Meat: When a Klingon comes aboard the USS Enterprise as an exchange officer, he says "I will try some of your burned replicated bird meat".
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Easily the Trope Maker (at least in televised science fiction). We don't often see them interact with Alpha Quadrant races other than humans, but when they do, stand back and watch the fireworks.Romulan: (haughtily) Romulans don't believe in luck.Martok: All the better! It leaves more for the rest of us!
- To prove why they fit this whenever it's not an Informed Attribute making them more a race wide version of Miles Gloriosus, consider the fact that the Klingons utterly embarrassed the Cardassians during their war, enough to make the arrogant Gul Dukat admit that they'd been reduced to a "third rate power."
- They also are shown to have the Federation on the ropes in one bad alternate universe, have conquered it's imperial counterpart with the Cardassians in another, and for a period of the Federation-Dominion War, bore the vast brunt of the fighting.
- Rated M for Manly: Their idea of a bachelor party is four days of Macho Masochism. Their idea of a honeymoon is going on a hike through the nastiest terrain in the galaxy. Their idea of a joyous wedding night is for the happy couple to gleefully beat each other to a pulp. And their idea of a wedding ceremony is to tell how two mythical Klingons showed their love for each other by teaming up to sack and destroy the heavens. Isn't that romantic?
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Klingons became the primary antagonists of Kirk's crew, in part because the makeup necessary to make Romulans was too time-consuming and costly.
- Retcon: Discovery makes a massive change in how Klingons look and dress, looking far more "alien" than their previous Rubber-Foreheadedness.
- Ritual Suicide: A Klingon who is unable to fight, and hence is unable to live as a warrior anymore, has the traditional obligation of committing the hegh'bat. Tradition dictates that the eldest son or a close personal friend must assist. That person's role is to hand the dying Klingon a knife so that he can plunge it into his heart, remove it, and then wipe the blood on his own sleeve.
- Shoot the Medic First: Klingons are notorious for targeting field hospitals and doctors in their raids. From a Klingon's perspective, they are rewarding their wounded enemies with an honorable death. So it's not uncommon for Klingons to go around a ward stabbing each patient with bat'leths one-by-one.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Klingon foreplay... is energetic. When choosing a mate, it is traditional for a female Klingon to bite the male's face, allowing her to taste his blood and get his scent. Actually, the male comes out looking the worse for wear.
- Worf once told Wesley Crusher that per the Klingon mating ritual, "Men do not roar. Women roar. Then they hurl heavy objects." Of men, Worf said, "He reads love poetry. He ducks a lot."
- Soldier vs. Warrior: An interesting mix of both. Like warriors, Klingons devote their lives to preparing for battle and way of life. They place a strong emphasis on individual achievement and individual glory. Like soldiers, they devote themselves to a greater cause namely the empire. Individual glory or goals are second to the greater good of the empire. They are willing to retreat when necessary and not waste resources on individual glory that could jeopardize the war effort. Disobedience and stupidity is punished with a dishonorable death. Generally, they consider themselves soldiers first and warriors second especially in times of war.
- Spare Body Parts: There is a good deal of multiple redundancy in their organs, a novelty they call brak'lul. This allows Klingons to survive severe injuries in battle. They have twenty-three ribs, two livers, an eight-chambered heart, three lungs, multiple stomachs, and even redundant neural function. It's best not to wound a Klingon unless it kills him outright.
- Funnily, Klingons are comparatively ignorant about their own biology as their medicine is poorly developed. This was largely due to warrior tradition: a wounded Klingon is expected to use the last of his strength to slay the enemy, or to kill themselves honorably.
- Theme Naming: Klingons love the letter K. The Original Series gave us the iconic triumvirate of Kang, Kor, Koloth, and Kahless; and the movies have Kruge, Klaa, Koord, and Gorkon. And on the Enterprise, there's Worf. In the Expanded Universe, their home planet used to be called Klinzhai, but the official canon later renamed it Qonos (pronounced with a K sound).
- Vestigial Empire: They went through a period of this between the 2150s and 2256, as the Great Houses' in-fighting reached a breaking point and left the Empire in a state of perpetual civil war. T'Kuvma eventually snapped them out of it via a Genghis Gambit against the Federation, which is what sets the events of Star Trek: Discovery into motion.
- War Is Glorious: The whole point of Klingon society.
- Warrior Poet: It turns out many of William Shakespeare's works (particularly the histories, which are quite bloody and violent) are quite popular throughout the Empire, which ends up becoming the Trope Namer for In the Original Klingon.
- Wild Hair
- With Friends Like These...: When allied with the Federation, they are an awesome ally! Unfortunately, their government system is incredibly violent and possibly even unstable, with transfers in power occurring often with outside intervention for the sake of maintaining a modicum of order in the Alpha Quadrant.
- Yellow Peril: Klingons are typically portrayed with dark skin and Fu Manchu facial hair suggestive of Asian peoples. In fact, the only physical description of them in the script for "Errand of Mercy" (the Klingons' first TOS story) is "oriental" and "hard-faced". Then again, budget constraints limited creativity.
- Oddly, the Klingons typically fill the Dirty Communists role, with the Romulans standing in for China. This became more apparent on TNG, when the Romulans adopted more severe hairstyles while the Klingons took up drinking, not to mention the series' Token Heroic Orc being literally adopted by humans in Minsk.
Debut: Star Trek: Voyager
Homeworld: Malon Prime
Fat, leprous waste extractors hailing from
- Captain Ersatz: Taking inspiration from a certain David Lynch film, eh? ...Ah, Eraserhead, of course!
- Dangerous Workplace: Waste disposal is one of the most lucrative jobs in their society, because all that radiation is not good for your health. It's even worse for the core laborers. Their deaths are practically guaranteed, but they make in one run what the grunts make in a year, benefiting their families.
- Evil, Inc.: Evidence suggests the Malon could recycle their energy if they so desired, but technological advancement is being stonewalled by giant energy companies, et cetera. After all, the Waste must flow....
- Evil Redhead: Chalky-looking gingers, in oversized rubber suits.
- Green Aesop: Ah, the subtleties of late-90's environmental messages.
- Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: The Vihaar is a bogeyman in waste exporter parlance: A foul creature who skulks around Malon garbage scows and is undetectable to sensors. The myth was proven to have some basis in reality when a core laborer become theta radiation-resistant (a rare occurrence), went mad and started picking off his co-workers. His resistance to the radiation allowed him to soak up so much of it that he couldn't be distinguished from the ambient radiation.
- Trash of the Titans: Malon Prime is supposedly the jewel of the Quadrant. It's kept that way because they have an entire industry dedicated to dumping their waste output in other star systems.