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For species with names starting from A to D, go here.
For species with names starting from E to M, go here.
Debut: VOY, "Caretaker"
Not much is known about the Nacene. They are explorers in their own right, hailing from another galaxy. One particular alien, dubbed "The Caretaker" by his Ocampa followers, mistakenly destroyed their planet while crossing over from its own dimension. As penance, the Caretaker devoted the remainder of its life to preventing the extinction of their race. Shortly after abducting Voyager, and recognizing that its death was imminent, the Caretaker warned Captain Janeway that the Kazon must not be allowed to use his array, forcing her to destroy it.
- The Atoner: The Nacene had no idea that their technology would be so destructive to the Ocampan atmosphere. They could never repay the debt, and so two of the Caretakers stayed behind to feed them energy and water.
- Author's Saving Throw: Suspiria was initially conceived of as a "get out clause," designed to change the format of VOY if such a need arose. This was because the Paramount executives were leery of the lost-in-space premise that was central to the story, and wanted an ejection button prepared in case the show didn't perform well. As it turned out, the Caretakers appeared only twice, and Voyager found other methods to get back home.
- Blob Monster: The Caretaker is a great big translucent blob. His mate, Suspiria, is a tentacled pillar of goo.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: At the start of VOY, the Caretaker has reached the end of its 1,000-year lifespan and could no longer maintain the Ocampa habitat. It begins snatching random spacecraft from various ends of the Milky Way to find a suitable mate (as you do).
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Caretaker first appears to the Voyager crew as an elderly human, Banjo Man. His inner chamber is a holodeck which conceals itself as a ranch. Suspiria cloaked herself in the guise of a little girl in Victorian dress.
- His Name Is...: The Caretaker dies of old age before he can return Voyager to the Alpha Quadrant. Whether he ever intended to do so is a mystery.
- Hostile Terraforming: Accidental. The engines of the Nacene's exploratory vessel caused a contamination in the atmosphere of the planet, reducing it to a desert.
- Last of Their Kind: The Caretaker was left high and dry after his companion, Suspiria, parted with him over ideological differences.
- No Body Left Behind: The Nacene shrink down into a tiny piece of crystal when killed.
- Power Floats: The Caretaker is a Metroid. Didn't see that one coming in 1995...
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Slightly skewed — the Ocampans do not recognize the Nacene as God, but more of a benign ruler or father. The Caretaker's inner sanctum is just a fancy holodeck.
- This Was His True Form: The Caretaker only reveals his real form when a Kazon warship crashes into the array, causing his holograms to fail. This exposes the 'farmhouse' as the interior of an alien ship.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: One of them is still out there somewhere
- Woman Scorned: The Caretaker did not realize that his philanthropy was rendering the Ocampa utterly dependent on his assistance. His mate, Suspiria, did realize this and left the planet, taking a small group of Ocampa with her. She later hunts down Voyager to avenge the Caretaker's death.
Debut: TNG, "Tapestry"
A large, brutish race somewhat similar to Klingons. Unlike Klingons, though, the Nausicaans don't seem to care about honor, and have a tendency to be thuggish body guards or pirates. Distinctive physical features include a series of tusk-like protrusions around their mouth area, as well as bony-forehead ridges. While a relatively minor race, they have appeared regularly throughout the franchise's run, even appearing retroactively in Enterprise for a few episodes.
- Alien Hair: Most Nausicaans tend to have long, occasionally braided hair rather closely resembling styles worn by Hair Metal bands.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Every Nausicaan seen is malevolent. They're basically space orcs.
- The Brute: The Nausicaans are large, violent humanoids with a reputation for being thugs or bodyguards.
- The Bully: The three Nausicaans who heckled Picard and his friends especially, although many of the other Nausicaans seen embody this trope.
- Combat Pragmatist: Nausicaans have no problem with cheating or fighting dirty.
- Dumb Muscle: Nausicaans aren't particularly bright, but their strength makes them ideal bodyguards, enforcers and strike-breakers.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Most of them have deep voices, and all of them, or at least all the ones shown, are evil and brutish.
- Gonk: Demonstrated quite clearly in the above image.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: It doesn't take much to make a Nausicaan mad.
- In the Back: As a young Jean-Luc Picard found out, the Nausicaans have no problems doing this during a fight.
- Macho Masochism: In one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a pair of Nausicaan bodyguards can be seen passing the time by throwing darts at each others' chests. It's also mentioned during the same scene that most Nausicaan games involve pain.
- Meaningful Name: The Nausicaans take their name from Nausicaa, which means "burner of ships." Given the species' penchant for being marauding pirates, it fits quite well.
- Named After Their Planet: Their homeworld is called Nausicaa.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Kind of. The Nausicaans love to fight, but their conduct tends to be less than honorable.
- Space Pirates: One of the most prevalent examples of such in the franchise, especially in Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Trash Talk: Tends to come with the species' boorish nature.
- Wolverine Claws: Not quite actual full-length claws, but the Nausicaans on Star Trek: Enterprise have bony, spiked protrusions on their knuckles. Getting punched by one does not sound fun.
Debut: VOY, "Caretaker"
Ocampa, or Ocampans, are Space Elves shrouded in mystery, but their own legends tell of a time when they were capable of great mental feats. Nowadays, they eke out a dull existence as the fragile, cloistered wards of an unseen overseer. Trek has depicted unlikely examples of evolution in its time, but the Ocampa take the cake: they live an average of nine years, their females develop a sticky mucus on their palms during mating, produce offspring out of an "egg-sac" on their back, and can deliver only one baby per lifetime.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
- Kes experienced a rapid and uncontrollable blossoming of her mental abilities in adulthood. She left the ship and allowed this process to complete itself, apparently evolving into a being of pure energy.
- Tanis also claimed that Kes could join Suspiria in a subspace layer called Exosia, which he described as a realm of pure thought.
- Beneath the Earth: The Nacene, upon realizing their mistake, took upon themselves the responsibility of caring for the Ocampa. The Caretakers built a massive underground cavern with access to the only remaining natural water source on the planet and supplied it with energy via transmissions from an orbital "Array."
- Bizarre Alien Biology: The Ocampa only live about a decade, so their puberty is extremely accelerated, and generally entails extremely exaggerated appetite and massaging their feet also helps somehow...
- Living Macguffins: It does seem a little odd, considering the Caretaker's immense capacity to send ships across the universe, that he couldn't find a habitable world to migrate the Ocampa to (a common occurrence throughout the Trek saga). But then we wouldn't have had a series if he'd done that.
- Mind over Matter:
- All Ocampa appear to be natural telepaths, able to communicate across great distances (putting the Vulcans to shame). Among the more colorful abilities are photographic memory, precognition, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, time travel, and the ability to alter matter on the subatomic level.
- Tanis, an Ocampa living on Suspiria's array, demonstrated to Kes that she could control living things, causing them to grow or die as she wished.
- Named After Their Planet: Ocampa.
- Playing with Fire: They can create fire by manipulating the subatomic.
- Rapid Aging: Ocampa age very rapidly, resulting in an average life span of only nine years (less than that of a household pet). As an upside, they develop and learn extremely quickly.
- Single-Biome Planet: Their homeworld is a desert from pole to pole, without a single river or ocean to its name. Justified in that this is the result of an environmental disaster caused by Nacene explorers: the atmosphere lost the ability to produce rain, resulting in Global Warming that evaporated all the water on the surface and trapped it in a thick atmosphere.
- Telepathy: They can occasionally read minds or sense presences.
- We Have Become Complacent: As a result of their lifestyle of ease under the Nacene, the Ocampa eventually stopped using their mental powers, causing them to atrophy.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: At peak reproductive rates, the population would halve every generation since females can only produce a single offspring once. A species this short-lived really ought to produce litters. This means one of two things: that the evolution of the Ocampa race was interrupted when the Nacene took over, altering their genetic code (thus requiring the constant supervision of the Nacene), or that the Ocampa naturally mature into pure energy, rendering their corporeal lives somehow moot.
Debut: TOS, "Errand of Mercy"
Another god-like alien species who revealed themselves in Kirk's time, but a good deal more mature and pacifistic than most. They spend most of their time secretly observing and judging mortals, and live on a small planet that just happens to lie smack in the middle of the battle lines between the Federation and the Klingon Empire in the mid-23rd century. After disarming both forces with ease, they get them to play nice before vanishing into obscurity once more.
- Above Good and Evil: They take a rather hands-off approach to organic life; they don't interfere with their business, and will leave them to live or die in a nearly callous fashion.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: They consider interfering with the affairs of others to be utterly repulsive; their true nature would probably never have been brought to light if the Klingons and Federation hadn't been champing at the bit for a war over their planet.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Like the Q, the Organians used to be humanoids, but became energy beings millions of years ago.
- Can't Argue with Elves: They give humanity and the Klingons a fairly brutal dressing-down before leaving, making it clear they have no intention of dealing with their crap. Even Kirk admits he sort of deserved it in this instance, though.
- The Empath: Part of their pacifism stems from the fact that they find the intense, discordant emotions of less highly-evolved beings to be downright painful. It doesn't quite work as a Poke in the Third Eye, though.
- Energy Beings: Their true form. Their humanoid appearance is just something they use to interact with humanoids. Their energy-based forms are basically blobs of light so intense it hurts to look directly at them.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: On their own planet, they take on the form of a simple pre-industrial culture to communicate with outsiders, and don't give anyone else any reason to suspect otherwise unless in extreme circumstances.
- Grand Theft Me: They take over the bodies of Malcolm and Travis while observing the NX-01's approach to dealing with a lethal alien virus.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: They induce this on the crew of the NX-01, keeping them from remembering their presence. Other media suggests they may have done this to the rest of the galaxy at large after making the Federation and the Klingons play nice with the Treaty of Organia.
- Reality Warper: They seem to be this, capable of making their home planet into what looks like a primitive pre-industrial world with ease... not to mention what they can do from a distance.
- Perfect Pacifist People: They put up no resistance against Klingon occupation, and calmly accept all their demands. It helps that they're never actually in danger from the Klingons, and for all their power, they seem to utterly despise violence.
- Screw You, Elves!: Surprisingly, Archer is more successful at arguing with them than Kirk, calling them out for their callous attitude in leaving two of his crew to die.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Indeed, with the usual The Omnipotent, The Omniscient, and The Omnipresent tropes applicable to them and their abilities. They personally enforce the peace between the Federation and the Klingons, preventing a direct attack by superheating any weapons they intend to use - even fists. They seem to have the same godlike powers as the Q, but are usually a bit more subtle and hands-off with them.
- Walking Spoiler: Their nature as energy-based godlike beings isn't revealed until the end of their debut episode, and their identity is kept hidden until near the end of their only other appearance.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite being personally responsible for preventing the Klingons and the Federation from diving into war in 2267 - and presumably, for enforcing the peace treaties afterwards - they are nowhere to be seen by the time of the Original Series movies, and war with the Klingon Empire is treated as a legitimate threat again.
Debut: TOS, "The Cage"/"The Menagerie, Part II"
The Orions are known for two things: their women, who named the Green-Skinned Space Babe trope, and the Orion Syndicate, a massive cartel operating in the Alpha and Beta quadrants. The Syndicate is notorious for its slave trade, which the Federation has been trying to stomp out for centuries.
- Bald of Evil: In Enterprise, male Orions (those that we see in the Syndicate, anyway) are hairless. Discovery, however, depicts males as having hair too.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: According to Osyraa, "Orion hearts have six valves. Blood flows in both directions."
- Distracted by the Sexy: In addition to their natural looks, some Orion females can release pheromones that can disorient and even control humanoid males.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: By the 24th century setting of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Orion Syndicate's ranks include a lot more non-Orions than seen in previous series. That said, there are certain places which are Orion-only, with Tendi warning Mariner (a human) that she will be killed on the spot unless she disguises herself as an Orion.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Orion women are the Trope Namer, treated in-universe as being irresistible sex symbols.
- Matriarchy: Despite appearances, it is actually the women who control Orion society, using their pheromones to manipulate the men around them. Although these pheremones, and the men actually being slaves, are Early-Installment Weirdness concepts that don't feature after being introduced in "Bound", other than a Continuity Nod in Lower Decks where Tendi says she's not that type of Orion.
- Named After Their Planet: The planet Orion.
- N.G.O. Superpower: By the 32nd century, the Orions and the Andorians have teamed up to form a huge syndicate called the Emerald Chain, which poses a legitimate threat to the Federation (which was badly reduced by the Burn in circa 3069) and serves as the Big Bad of Star Trek: Discovery's third season.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: Syndicate ships often raid civilian vessels, both for material goods and slaves for auction.
- Sex Slave: Their women are usually sold for this purpose, although many of them have been known to turn the tables on their new masters to elevate themselves into positions of power.
- Sexy Dimorphism: In their original appearances, there was a notable contrast between the "green animal women", held in-universe to be among the most gorgeous and voluptuous of all humanoid females, and their men, who although they were very big and muscular were not good-looking. Star Trek: Discovery introduced more conventionally attractive and/or slender-framed Orion males, including male Orion sex workers in a co-ed Orion brothel on Qo'Nos.
- The Syndicate: The Orion Syndicate, easily one of the most powerful criminal organizations known to exist in the Star Trek universe... at least until the Emerald Chain (also Orion-led) succeeded it in the 31st century.
Debut: VOY, "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy"
One of the last species to be encountered by Voyager on their return trip to the Alpha Quadrant. Although visibly based on Doctor Who's Sontarans, the Overlookers are their polar opposite in terms of machismo. They are scavengers who, due to their unwieldy bodies, rely on wiretaps and long-range espionage to survive.
- Generican Empire: Their government, known simply as "the Hierarchy".
- High Collar of Doom: Hard to feel intimated by a potato in a gym sock.
- Meaningful Name: Their government, the Hierarchy, is one of the most regimented societies seen in the Star Trek universe outside of the Borg.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The Hierarchy weighs everything in terms of risk vs. reward.
- Stealth in Space: Seem to be one of the only races in the entire Delta Quadrant with cloaking technology. Even then, it just takes some sensor remodulation to spot them, so obviously theirs isn't as advanced as the Klingons' or Romulans'.
- Vast Bureaucracy: The social structure of the Hierarchy is regimented in such a way in that each crew member has a single work station and duty to perform, minimal social interaction, and limited access to the rest of the ship.
Debut: DS9, "The Assignment"
The rival deities of the Prophets. They were booted out of the Celestial Temples centuries ago and exiled to Bajor's Fire Caves. They're still plotting to get back somehow and if they do, Bad Things will happen.
- All Just a Dream: Tried to fool Sisko into thinking his life on Deep Space 9 was just in his imagination.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Of course, being demons, they're pretty much evil by default. Then again, they may simply be more like an evil faction than an evil race, as they are presumable the same species as the Prophets, just their equivalent of dangerous extremists.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Prophets are blue colored, but these guys are orange.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Crystal Dragon Demons, although, unlike most examples, they show no signs of being Stupid Evil.
- Demonic Possession: A favored tactic of theirs when they want to take a direct hand in things. One of them possessed Keiko O'Brien during an archeological dig near the Fire Caves; this Pah-Wraith came close to zapping the wormhole with a concentrated chroniton beam, which would have supposedly killed off the Prophets for good.
- Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Pah-Wraiths are first brought up in Season Five of DS9, but only appear in about five episodes total.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Prophets. Unlike them, the Pah-Wraiths really dislike Planet Bajor and—should they escape—will gladly reduce it to a cinder on Day 1.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Downplayed, but when the Dominion sought their help in Tears of the Prophets, the Pah Wraiths just did what they wanted instead of letting Gamma Quadrant re-enforcements through the wormhole, and likely didn't care that it angered Weyoun.note
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: Their home in the Bajoran Fire Caves is this, although its extra-dimensional nature means it's not normally visible to mortals, and can't normally interact with any that haven't died. note
- Greater-Scope Villain: Of DS9 as a whole. They are the single most dangerous recurring enemy on the show and even the Dominion absolutely pale in comparison in terms of both threat level and influence, as they potentially threaten the entire universe and are behind numerous events on the station. The Prophets, who can casually destroy an entire Dominion fleet with little trouble, regard the Pah-Wraiths as the real enemy to be feared, and sure enough it's the Pah-Wraith who turn out to be the True Final Boss of the show through their new agent Dukat.
- Hell Invades Heaven: Tried this in Tears of the Prophets with Dukat's help. It eventually failed and got them cast back out, although we never see the actual battle.
- Hell on Earth: Dukat stated that if the Pah-Wraiths got their way and re-entered the wormhole, the entire universe would go up "in flames," whatever that meant.
- I Have Many Names: "Kosst Amojan," a Bajoran saying which translates to, "to be banished."
- Omnicidal Maniac: If Dukat is to be believed, their ultimate goal is to burn down the entire universe.
- Pragmatic Villainy: They are surprisingly manipulative and underhanded in their methods. Not a single shade of Stupid Evil, unlike the Dominion, who routinely kill off their own for minor infractions.
- Then there's the fact that the Pah Wraith in The Reckoning chose Jake Sisko as its host, specifically because it understood corporeal relationships and who Jake was related to.
- Whatever special attributes being the Prophet's Emissary, and being "half-Prophet" himself, bestow upon Sisko are vague and metaphysical at best. Meanwhile, the Pah-Wraiths gave their Emissary cool telekinetic and pyrokinetic super powers.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Seems to happen by default when they posses someone (the possessed person's eyes go red), although The Assignment confirms that they can suppress it when necessary.
- Revenge: Their primary motive seems to be to destroy the Prophets as revenge for casting them out of the Celestial Temple. Afterwards, according to Dukat, they'll destroy the universe For the Evulz.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Rather, sealed evil in some caves, as well as a small ornamental statue.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Like the Prophets, the Pah-Wraith are non-corporeal entities with a non-linear existence in time and space, and are powerful enough to be compared to literal gods and demons. While the Founder pose as evil deities, the Pah-Wraith are much closer to the genuine article.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of the Kosst Amojan, which threatened to free the Wraiths from captivity once read—and locked them away again once it burned up. It's the Necronomicon of Star Trek. Seriously, just look at this thing.
- Villains Blend in Better: Unlike the Prophets, who clearly don't have the best grasp on corporeal matters, and come across as off-putting on their best days, the Pah-Wraiths are much more... well, "human," for want of a better word. The one possessing Keiko O'Brien does a horrifically good impression of her that at first Miles thinks it's just kidding when it explains what's going on, and no-one else suspects a thing is up.
Debut: TNG, "Samaritan Snare"
Homeworld: Pakled Planet
A race of pirates/scavengers who steal technology from others.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Star Trek: Lower Decks uses this as a way to explain the Pakleds tendency to flip-flop between being a threat and a joke, by implying that they can be genuinely competent at a task if they put their minds to it. Unfortunately for them, they also have a hard time actually focusing on the same task for too long at a time and can change their mind about what's currently important at a moment's notice.
- Battle Cry: Tend to yell one when physically attacking people. It is, of course, "Pakled!"
- Buffy Speak: Are notoriously inarticulate (like they mentioned looking for "things to make [them] go".)
- City of Gold: Their capital city plays this completely straight, being apparently made out of solid gold purely for show.
- Crazy Cultural Comparison: Unlike other Alpha Quadrant species, these guys have taken cues from Dark Helmet, in that large headwear is a representation of status and power in society.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: A species-wide example. Apart from being able to steal from Romulans (see Obfuscating Stupidity below), they prove themselves to be dangerous enemies to the Federation as of Star Trek: Lower Decks, despite their slow wits.
- Didn't See That Coming: The Federation was taken completely by surprise because a race that they once wrote off as a joke managed to become a legitimate threat capable of taking down their smaller vessels, and have spread throughout the quadrant.
- Dumb Muscle: What they lack in smarts, they often make up for in sheer overwhelming force.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Their homeworld is destroyed by a Varuvian bomb in the Lower Decks season 2 finale, supposedly planted by "Klingon extremists", but actually by Pakleds doing it themselves, on purpose. The planet itself remains mostly intact, but with a huge chunk blown out of its crust (leaving the molten core exposed to space) and no life remaining on the surface.
- Fat Bastard: Every Pakled seen so far has been depicted as noticeably overweight, and none have been depicted in a positive light. Lower Decks slims them down somewhat to make them more of a physical threat, but they still have a noticeable gut.
- Foreign Queasine: They prefer mushfruit, a sort of white mush, which they eat with their bare hands.
- Hat of Authority: Leadership in their society is determined by whoever is wearing the largest hat.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: A villainous example. Turns out that mentally dim but physically strong individuals capable of quickly adapting new technology for their own ends can become a rather intimidating threat if left ignored.
- Logical Weakness: The Pakleds' ships being hodgepodges of different starships means that various different software systems have to be interacting with one another with virtually no filtering or firewall. This makes their systems extremely vulnerable to computer viruses.
- Low Culture, High Tech: They lag far behind the other spacefaring races of the galaxy, to the point that it's not even clear if they're properly warp-capable. They try to make up for this by stealing technology from other races, even though they don't know how to properly operate or maintain it.
- Made of Iron: Can survive being ejected into space in a coma-like state and can revive themselves when placed in a more favorable environment.
- Might Makes Right: Expressed in their simple but direct way, they believe if they can take something it belongs to them.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: From the Lower Decks season one finale onwards, they prove themselves to be a formidable threat to the Federation, in spite of their low intelligence.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: A prime example. While they truly aren't particularly intelligent, they seem to be fully aware of how benign and unintelligent they appear to other species, and they take full advantage of it. Their managing to snatch some tech from the Romulans should be a clear indicator that they're far more intelligent than they let on.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: They have noticeable folds under their eyes and heavy brows, complete with tufted eyebrows that angle upward towards their foreheads.
- Shaped Like Itself:
- The Pakled homeworld is simply called "Pakled Planet".
- Pakled starships are called "clumpships", and the one given a name is simply called Pakled.
- Smarter Than You Look: While they may be spectacularly unintelligent for a spacefaring race, their ability to adapt stolen technology into their vessels would require at least some technical skill, even if their use of it is far below standard.
- Space Jews: They bear a strong (and hopefully unintentional) resemblance, in both appearance and mannerisms, to people with Downs syndrome. Lower Decks would eventually steer them from this trope to being their own species, much like DS9 did with the Ferengi.
- Space Pirates: They have a reputation for faking distress calls so they can raid other ships for their technology.
- Stronger Than They Look: They're able to use an industrial saw as a ramming device... successfully.
- Swiss-Cheese Security: Because Pakled ships are a mishmash of technologies stolen from other races, their code base has to be largely unprotected in order for everything to work together properly. This makes them very vulnerable to computer viruses and hacking attacks.
- Took a Level in Badass: In their debut episode, "Samaritan Snare", they were mostly a joke who only got the upper hand because Riker picked up the Idiot Ball in dealing with them. Fifteen years later, in Lower Decks, they've managed to steal and adapt enough technology to create mismatched warships that can pose a threat to smaller Starfleet vessels in a straight fight, and are willing to engage in melee combat to seize other vessels.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: At the same time, the Lower Decks Pakleds are somehow even stupider than in their first appearance (appropriately for a comedy). Whereas the first Pakleds were stupid mostly by virtue of their limited vocabulary, their species at large also demonstrates a tenuous perception of reality, frequently misidentifying people and objects even after being corrected multiple times. The Pakleds from TNG may have actually been ahead of the curve for their species.
- You No Take Candle: Downplayed. Their sentences are grammatically correct, but their vocabulary is very limited and basic.
Debut: DS9, "Emissary"
The proverbial gold everyone in the wild west is fighting over. Prophets are the Deus ex Machina of the Dominion War, handing out cryptic assignments to Sisko and warning of looming trouble. They live in the Bajoran Wormhole, the shortcut between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants, and are implied to be the power source keeping the wormhole stable. The Bajorans revere them as gods, and anyone who communicates with them is an "Emissary" or messenger.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Prophets deem themselves above our trivial corporeal matters, but will swing into action if Bajor itself is in danger.
- Almighty Idiot: They're pretty badly versed when it comes to corporeal matters, which might explain some of their God and Satan Are Both Jerks tendencies. One time, a Bajoran who thought he was the Emissary told the Prophets he'd be better off dead after learning he was not; the Prophets offered to make this happen, seemingly not out of malice, but simply because they took his words literally. Fortunately Sisko was around to step in and offer an alternative.
- Although Kai Winn was clearly not the saint she saw herself as, she might not have turned to the Pah Wraiths had they at least spoken to her, given that she resisted her own turn to darkness and later tried to redeem herself when it was almost too late.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Because they're so different from corporeal beings, they have little concept of what humans and Bajorans think is okay.
- Catchphrase: "...Aggressive... adversarial..." Often said in response to Sisko or another corporeal being acting a bit too assertive towards them for their liking.
- Cryptic Conversation: Try having a crisis management session with somebody who doesn't know what day it is. It would drive you nuts.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus:
- Or rather, Crystal Dragon Angels. A Prophet possessed the body of an Earth woman, Sarah, in order to impregnate her with a half-human, half-Prophet son.
- The Pah Wraith stuff is a much more generic way of handling the show's religious themes than the first five or so seasons. The idea of the Prophets as existing beyond mortality and corporeality in a way that makes them terrifying and awe-inspiring. Turning them into the good guys in some eternal struggle changes them (and the show) into a Judeo-Christian archetype.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: They communicate by taking the appearance of one's friends, acquaintances, and even enemies in visions. For instance, the "inquisitive" Prophets appeared as Sisko's pre-teen son, Jake; the "empathic" ones look like Opaka and Kira; the "authoritative" guys are Odo and Weyoun; the "hostile" ones are Locutus (the only Borg whom Sisko has personal experience with) and Dukat.
- God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Doesn't help that the Prophets define "good" in terms of what's good for Bajor (i.e. themselves), and "bad" as anything which furthers the Pah-Wraith's goals—not necessarily the welfare of individual people or the Alpha Quadrant as a whole.
- To give an example, when Sisko is starting to get itchy feet regarding this Space Moses business, the Prophets send back through a wormhole a long-dead Bajoran poet who claimed to be the original (and thus, standing) Emissary. With the help of Kai Winn, he promptly re-institutes theocratic law on Bajor as it existed before the occupation, along with the caste system. Lesson duly noted, Sisko puts a stop to the pretender (by no means a bad man, just one whose ideas were 300 years out of date) and hauls him before the Prophets, who restore him to his own time. The Prophets also remind Sisko that he can't shirk his duties as the Emissary, or Winn will completely take over. Too bad it took at least one death for Sisko to get the memo. That man was Imutta, a cleric who suddenly found himself one of Bajor's untouchables.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: In "Sacrifice of Angels", Sisko flies the Defiant into the wormhole to intercept a Jem'Hadar fleet en route to the Alpha Quadrant. As he predicted, the Prophets intervene because they can't let the Emissary—Sisko himself—die just yet. He convinces them to destroy the fleet within the wormhole, apparently the only offensive measure the Prophets have (outside of possessing Kira's body in "The Reckoning", which didn't do much good). The Prophets warn that this is a one-time deal, however; from now on, Starfleet is on its own.
- Have You Seen My God?: A number of Bajorans turn to the Pah-Wraiths after the brutality of the Occupation and the Dominion War, feeling that their gods don't care. Then again, if the Prophets exist in the future as well as the present then they must have foreseen that the Bajorans would eventually drive out the Cardassians without revealing the wormhole's existence to feuding alien races.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Bajoran wormhole is their domain, and they can alter reality within it at their whim. Thankfully, after first contact between them and Sisko, they decide to let ships travel through the wormhole without incident. Nonetheless, they prefer to be left alone: when Grand Nagus Zek tried to use them to see the future, they retaliated by brainwashing him and turning him into a paragon of philanthropy (practically the Ferengi's personal Anti-Christ). And that's to say nothing of when they made a Jem'Hadar fleet of 2,800 ships disappear without a trace...
- Kryptonite Factor: Chroniton particles. Not only can't the Prophets perceive linear time, they are allergic to it. This also makes it a potent weapon against the Pah-Wraiths. Oddly, the Orb of Time, which they created, emits Chroniton particles when activated, which usually happens quite a safe distance from the wormhole.
- Living MacGuffin: Without the Prophets and Pah-Wraiths, there would be very little reason not to collapse the wormhole with photon torpedoes and prevent the Dominion from even invading. Sisko was willing to do just that in "The Search", but only if there were no other options left. The Klingons and Romulans were thinking along the same lines in "Visionary".
- Made of Phlebotinum: They exist as something but it's damned near incomprehensible to corporeal forms. Whatever it is prevents the wormhole from collapsing and shifting about the galaxy as others do.
- Mysterious Watcher: The Prophets decide if and when you can have an audience with them. They claim to always be watching.
- Non-Linear Character: They don't even understand what "linear" IS until Sisko explains it to them.
- Omniscient Morality License: The Prophets know what they need to know, what they will need to know, and they've always known it. Refusing to their bidding merely puzzles them, since you are fulfilling your role as set out by them by definition and can't do otherwise, because they've already seen it.
- It's how they treat the whole Sisko family. They possess Sarah and force her to have a child with Joseph Sisko, because they know that Ben will be their Emissary. Given that Sarah ran to Australia without a word as soon as she was freed, this was not consensual, and losing a wife he thought loved him didn't do any favors for Joseph either.
- Portal Door: The Celestial Temple rests in an abstract dimension connected by two entrances that allow it to serve as a wormhole.
- Starfish Aliens: The Prophets are extremely non-corporeal, possessing no physical body and existing in all points of time simultaneously.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Their Celestial Temple is the Bajoran "Heaven," albeit one with high-volume space traffic.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Similar to the Q Continuum but not quite as all-powerful or omniscient, especially when it comes to corporeal matters. The Prophets don't even know the meaning of humor, let alone the human concepts of love, grief, or even the passage of time. The novels at least indicate their power level in the higher dimensions is at least comparable to that of the Qs.
- Time Dissonance: Because they don't exist in the normal flow of time, when Sisko first encounters the Prophets, they are completely perplexed by the idea of linear time. The concept that a corporeal lifeform cannot travel back in time to change events that have transpired, nor perceive the future until it has come and gone, is completely alien to them.
- Time Master: They exist outside of linear time, can alter the timeline without the usual side-effects (as in "Ascession"), and gave the Bajorans an artifact that allowed time travel.
- Since they first learned about linear existence from Sisko, this implies that their impact on Bajoran culture and ensuring Sisko was born, may have been a direct result of this "future" meeting.
- Vagueness Is Coming: They never get the hint that being cryptic is keeping people from fully carrying out their orders. The Pah Wraiths are much better at forming coherent sentences, logically because they exist in a physical location in the known universe (the Fire Caves) and are more attuned to linear time than the Prophets.
- Verbal Tic: They refer to corporeal beings by their names prefaced with "The" ("The Sisko," for example). After Sisko uses baseball as a metaphor for linear time, they also begin to refer to the linear flow of time, as well as Sisko's life, as "the game."
A non-sapient, bat-like species, one of which Phlox keeps a pet.
- Alien Animals: They look just like Earth bats.
Debut: TNG, "Encounter at Farpoint"
The Q Continuum refers not to a race, but an extra-dimensional plane inhabited by a race of non-corporeal, godlike beings known as the Q. Their attitude toward the affairs of "lower" beings is one of general indifference, with the exception of squashing species they deem too dangerous, like Humans (but never the Borg, conveniently enough). From what little we see of the Continuum, it's similar to the Greek pantheon.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Q hinted early on that his species were once not unlike bipeds. This was later confirmed by Quinn, who (unlike Q) had no reason to lie. Picard speculates that Q might be testing humanity because he thinks we have the potential to one day evolve into beings like the Q, and he is afraid that we might turn out wrong.
- "Ass" in Ambassador/Mouth of Sauron: Q interests regarding the human race are normally handled by a single representative. This Q has a history of insulting, tormenting, taunting, and otherwise harassing races all over the galaxy.
- Badass Fingersnap: If a Q snaps their fingers then everybody else has good reason to be terrified! It not only means that they are using their godlike powers, but they want to be dramatic about it!
- Brought Down to Normal: A common punishment for if a Q breaks the law is to spend the rest of their lives as a mortal being. One Q in particular was temporarily turned human as punishment for making the Borg aware of the Federation.
- Creative Sterility: The Q have experienced literally everything. Leaving them stagnant and bored. It is suggested that the Q who pestered the Enterprise did so and caused trouble across the universe just to shake things up.
- Damned by Faint Praise: Probably the nicest thing anyone's said about the Q is Guinan's comment that some of the Q are almost respectable.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While not explicitly evil, the Q do feel they have the right to judge whether or not an entire race has the right to live or die. However, they do not condone abusing their power to torment entire races simply for fun, something which got the main Q stripped of his powers and made mortal. Even when Q got his powers back it was implied that if he went back to his old ways, the same punishment would be inflicted on him again.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Whenever a Q communicates with mortals, they always appear to take the form of another human. When the continuum is shown to the crew of the Voyager in the episode "Death Wish", it is presented as a desert waystation on a road that could lead to anywhere in the universe. The other Q live in the waystation, sitting around and doing nothing in particular, since they had already done everything, seen everything, and learned everything. Later, in "The Q and the Grey", the continuum is transformed into a Civil War-era battlefield, with members of the Q appearing as both Union and Confederate soldiers.
- God of Order: Not quite, but the Q are gods in all but name and consider themselves forces of order who serve as Space Police, at least when some of them aren't Great Gazoos.
- Great Gazoos:
- Q society and their physiognomy is mystery. Picard was offered the chance to study one; he decided that the experience would probably drive him 'round the bend and flatly turned it down.
- Q sent Voyager to witness the birth of the universe ('you could be the origin of the humanoid form!'), and when they didn't take him up on his offer, he shrank the ship and hanged it on a Christmas tree.
- Humanity on Trial: Part of the reason they tend to interfere with humans. When Q first appeared, he took on the appearance of Ollie North (referencing the Iran-Contra arms deals) and a drug-infused space trooper from the future. Earth's been warlike for most of its existence, and it could fall back into old habits very easily.
- Immortal Immaturity: A trait TNG's Q is infamous for, although his straight-laced friend, Q2, had a surfer bum quality of his own. Even Quinn, easily the nicest Q we see, still does petty things like barge into people's chambers without knocking or accidentally wipe out half the crew of a starship and not apologize.Tuvok: I am curious. Have the Q always had an absence of manners, or is it the result of some natural evolutionary process that comes with omnipotence?
Quinn: I suppose at some point we stopped thinking about the little niceties.
- Immortals Fear Death: Most of the Continuum find mortality terrifying, and they imprisoned Quinn rather than let him go through with his suicide.
- Jerkass Gods:
- Starfleet officers are instructed to go to Red Alert if they detect the arrival of any Q (although due to the "gods" part, this is a pretty useless measure — if the Q in question was truly hostile, there is absolutely nothing any ship could do to stop them).
- Whenever they assume human form, they always make a point to wear the highest-ranking uniform in the room. Q even cycled through an Admiral's and Marshall's clothes, just to irritate Picard (a Captain, albeit one of a flagship).
- From knowledge gained in her extensive travels and long life, Guinan points out that most of the Q are actually responsible and benign beings who mind their own business, and find it immoral to interfere in the lower planes of existence, much as the Enterprise will not interfere with primitive hunter-gatherer aliens. The Q who visits the Enterprise-D is just a jerkass even by their standards (to the point that once they even briefly stripped him of his powers because he kept using them irresponsibly). If the Q are Aesir, the Q who pesters humanity is their Loki — a trickster who stirs up trouble (although he gets more well-intentioned as he goes along).
- Meet the New Boss:
- According to second-hand sources, Q was inspired by Trelane, a childlike-yet-omnipotent trickster from TOS who shared Q's taste for medals and epaulettes.
- Some fanon and even licensed (but non-canon) works have retconned Trelane into being a member of the continuum, if an immature one.
- Multiple-Choice Past: The very, very few hints we get about the Q's origin are very contradictory. Quinn claims that the Q weren't always omnipotent, were formerly humanoid, and evolved into their current state over eons. Q, in a later episode, claims that the Q Continuum never evolved or "came" into existence, but were just always there.
- The Omnipotent/The Omniscient:
- Q is a lower version of this; while he claims omnipotence, other Q can still hurt him or take away his powers.
- Quinn politely admits to Janeway that despite Q's bluster, the Q are not actually "gods." Moreover, he says that while they are practically "omnipotent," this is for every possible frame of reference to human comprehension. They can make entire galaxies explode with a thought, or with a snap of their fingers turn the entire Borg Collective into cute puppies. But Quinn insists that up in the higher planes of existence in the Q continuum, there are still things they can't do, although such things are beyond our comprehension or description. He is much more modest about his race than Q is.
- Planet of Steves: Nearly every member is named "Q" or has a Q in their name somewhere. In fact, all Q address other Q simply as "Q," and every other Q knows who that Q is talking to without elaboration.
- Reality Warper: Big time. Even the babies are capable of altering the orbits of entire planets just days after birth.
- Smug Super: As Lady Q informs B'Elanna during a snark-off, the Q attitude about themselves isn't a God Complex, it's a fact. They are that powerful (although it is worth noting Lady Q's pretty smug even by their standards).
- Space Police: They're god-like beings who can easily wipe out entire galaxies out of boredom, but they do have the universe's best interest in mind.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Rumors persist in some Trekkie circles that the Q are not as powerful as they say; it's all just smoke and mirrors.
- Teleportation: They often appear out of nowhere.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: During their first encounter with Q, the Enterprise-D crew acknowledged he was potentially dangerous, but failed to find him at all awe-inspiring. Picard outright implies that the Federation had already become accustomed to dealing with pushy, god-like energy beings (which, if Captain Kirk's career is anything to go by, is quite true).
- Who Wants to Live Forever?:
- Quinn sought to kill himself rather than be stuck with these people for one more second. The Q do not even acknowledge each other, having exhausted all conversation over the eons. Horrifying.
- The renegade Q seemed to really enjoy life, and opposed Quinn's courtroom battle to end his existence. Quinn tries to make Janeway understand in her own terms by suggesting she think about what her life as an explorer would be like if there was nothing left to explore. Q tries to bribe Janeway with the chance to spend her life with him (just like Vash), which can be interpreted as a desperate need to be able to see the universe through the eyes of a humanoid. It demonstrates exactly what Quinn was saying: that there is nothing left to explore and the only alternative Q can think of is to see it afresh through a mortal's eyes.
- World of Silence: A consequence of their Creative Sterility. In Quinn's words:"It's all been said. Everyone has seen everything, heard everything. They haven't had to speak to each other for ten millennia. There's nothing left to say."
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: A non-malevolent variation. Mortals can't perceive the Q in their natural appearance, to say nothing of the realm they inhabit.
Debut: Star Trek: Nemesis
The Remans are the telepathic, photosensitive denizens of Remus, a neighboring planet to Romulus. They were subjugated by the Romulans sometime prior to the 22nd century, and serve as the Star Empire's heavy infantry as well as hard laborers.
- Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: Well, elite slave bodyguards: when the Romulans were introduced in Enterprise Season 4 - after Nemesis came out - the production team dusted off some of the leftover Reman costumes to give them a cameo, because logically they should have been around (see "Remember the New Guy"). A powerful Romulan senator appears with Reman bodyguards hovering behind him to intimidate his subordinates.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: While not explicitly stated, it's implied that the supernova that destroyed Romulus also wiped out Remus.
- Looks Like Orlok: Their appearance was directly inspired by the Trope Namer, Nosferatu, although the Remans look more bat-like.
- Mind Rape: At least some Remans are telepathic, which Shinzon's viceroy uses to physically assault Deanna Troi in Nemesis.
- Mooks: Seem to serve as these to high-ranking Romulans, with the implication in Enterprise that if a Romulan screws up sufficiently, he's handed over to the Remans.
- Named After Their Planet: The planet Remus.
- Proud Warrior Race: Unlike the Romulans, who are more of a Proud Soldier Race, the Remans seem to relish combat.
- Remember the New Guy?: They supposedly saw a lot of action in the Dominion War, but weren't actually seen on-screen until Star Trek: Nemesis, set four years later.
- Slave Mooks: They do a lot of the Empire's dilithium mining, and were frequently used as Cannon Fodder during the Dominion War.
- Tidally Locked Planet: Remus is one. The Remans live on the dark side, hence their photosensitivity.
Debut: TOS, "Balance of Terror"
Homeworld: Romulus (originally Vulcan)
The Romulans are a splinter group of Vulcans who rejected the teachings of Surak, emigrating from Vulcan to colonize the worlds of Romulus and Remus. You might consider them the anti-puritans. Interestingly, the Romulan Star Empire is very similar to that of the Roman Republic before it became the Roman Empire, with a large senate and a single committee above that. Kirk had a few run-ins with the Romulans, causing them to disappear into space to lick their wounds; they emerged as a main antagonist of Star Trek: The Next Generation, effectively replacing the Klingons.
- After the End: Romulus was destroyed in 2387 after its star blew up, so the Romulan Star Empire ceased to exist after this cataclysmic event. The government which then emerged among the survivors is called the Romulan Free State, but it's nowhere near as powerful as its predecessor once was.
- Alien Blood: Their blood is green because it's copper-based.
- Amazon Brigade: The Qowat Milat is a very ancient order of Romulan warrior nuns, reputed to be among the best single-combat fighters in the galaxy.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Zhat Vash is a secret society which predates the Tal Shiar that has been pulling the strings behind the scenes for most of Romulan history.
- Surprisingly, given some of the below tropes, many Romulan antagonists have sympathetic motivations, backstories, or otherwise admirable traits.
- The Zhat Vash is even more immoral, deceitful and ruthless than the Tal Shiar, but its mission is to prevent Ganmadan ("the Day of Annihilation"), which is the destruction of all life in the galaxy. Those who serve this shady organization believe that sentient androids will be the root cause of this mass extinction, so their operatives will do anything (including sacrificing their own lives) to eliminate all Artificial Intelligence that they deem to be dangerous.
- Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: They have retained an ancient tradition of using swords in a duel, like Nero and his men, and it's not unusual to see a Romulan carry a sword in public, such as North Station on Vashti. A tan qalanq, which is an Absurdly Sharp Blade, is the main weapon of the Qowat Milat.
- Balkanize Me: The Romulan Star Empire collapsed after their homeworld was destroyed by a supernova, so that by the time of Picard, their badly weakened successor is the Romulan Free State. According to Word of God, the former territory of the Romulan Star Empire fragmented into several successor states. The Romulan Free State is by far the largest and most powerful of these, particularly because it's the successor state that the Tal Shiar decided to support. This is loosely similar to what happened in Star Trek Online, in which the Romulan Star Empire also balkanized into more than one successor state after their homeworld was destroyed in a supernova.
- Ban on A.I.: Unlike most races, the Romulans make no use whatsoever of Artificial Intelligence. Even their computers are purely numerical machines. The reason behind this is a Driving Question in Star Trek: Picard.
- Beast of the Apocalypse: In Romulan mythology, Ganmadan is a great pale hellbeast whose name means "the Day of Annihilation."
- Big Bad:
- On TNG. Not as powerful as the Borg, not as slippery as the Cardassians, but more recurring than either and are behind half the evil schemes in that series.
- They arguably became this again on Enterprise, until a planned arc involving the Federation-Romulan War was Cut Short.
- The Romulans (more specifically the Zhat Vash and the Tal Shiar) are also the main villains in Season 1 of Picard.
- Big Brother Is Watching: The Tal Shiar, their secret police, is the second-best spy service in the galaxy, and they are always watching... specifically, other Romulans. This means the civilian population of Romulus are pretty damn twitchy even on a good day, especially if strangers show up and start asking questions.
- In Picard, Romulus is gone, but the Tal Shiar is still active. It routinely monitors all incoming and outgoing transmissions on any Romulan facility, including the Romulan Reclamation Site. The movements of everyone on the Artifact are also tracked, social interactions are observed, and the Zhal Makh meditation chamber is under surveillance.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: On the surface, they still look almost identical to their Vulcan ancestors. Inwardly, a few thousand years of separation mean there's just enough difference to make medical transplants impossible. The modern Romulan is actually more biologically compatible with a Klingon than a Vulcan.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: What the Tal Shiar views as honourable behaviour is very different from ours.Rios: They are treacherous, violent, ruthless and subtle. Their concept of honour is rooted in their skill at deceit.
- Catchphrase: A common Romulan salutation is "Jolan Tru." It's used as both "Hello" and "Goodbye," but the literal translation is unknown.
- Character Focus: Star Trek: Picard features not just one but two Romulan characters as part of its main cast, Narek and Elnor. This series is the first in the franchise to delve fairly deeply into Romulan culture, and we're introduced to many new elements such as the Zhat Vash, Romulan mythology, the Qowat Milat, qalankhkai, tan qalanq, shaipouin, pixmit, tan zhekran, Zhal Makh, etc.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Romulans consider everything within their field of vision to be rightfully theirs. Accordingly, it goes against their character to honor any truce or treaty, even when the betrayal is utterly stupid (pissing off the Federation and Bajor during a war for their very survival, for example). Their tendency to betray people is frequently lampshaded, such as Weyoun's quote above.
- Contemplation Location: The Zhal Makh meditation chamber is a sealed room with a winding path painted on the wooden floor, and around it are lanterns. The participant is expected to walk barefoot along the path which represents the "journey into the center of the mind's most intimate space, where deepest truths are hidden."
- Cool Sword: The tan qalanq (the iconic weapon of the Qowat Milat) is a straight, single-edged Absurdly Sharp Blade which happens to be evocative of some East Asian swords. Both the hilt and scabbard are wooden, so the tan qalanq's understated beauty mirrors the sisterhood's graceful Fantastic Fighting Style. When it's brandished by a Qowat Milat, this Romulan sword is as elegant as it is deadly, as a lone warrior nun can vanquish multiple foes armed with energy weapons and behead a person with one smooth stroke.
- Covert Group: The existence of the Zhat Vash is kept secret not just from the general public, but the Tal Shiar as well. Zhaban, who was once a member of the Romulan Secret Police, dismisses the ancient cabal as just a myth to frighten new recruits. However, the Zhat Vash is indeed real, and this shadowy group is The Unfettered to an even greater degree than the Tal Shiar.
- Cultural Rebel: The Qowat Milat warrior nuns follow the doctrine of the Way of Absolute Candor, which runs entirely counter to everything that the secretive Romulans hold dear. Naturally, they are the enemies of the Tal Shiar, who fears them.
- Culture Police: Unlike the Klingons, who were depicted as "strong & silent" types before being retooled into Boisterous Bruisers, the Romulans went in the opposite direction. On TNG, the Romulans became much more rigid in style and demeanor, echoing Communist China upon which the new Romulans were based. This goes for the females, too. (No more long-legged femme fatales, like the ones we saw in TOS and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. note ) The Tal Shiar is everywhere, and everyone dresses inconspicuously on Romulus to avoid attracting their attention. They are the modest utilitarians to Cardassia's Gucci-wearing aesthetes.Garak: (grimly reminiscing) Ah, yes, Romulus. How well I remember it. You'll find the predominant color to be grey: The buildings, the clothes, the people. Did you know that the Romulan heart itself is grey? It's true. And altogether appropriate for such an unimaginative race.
- Decadent Court: All indications are that Romulan politics is extremely and possibly very literally cut-throat. Make the wrong move, piss off the wrong person, and it becomes easy to "disappear". Possibly into a Reman's stomach.
- Destroyer Deity: In Romulan mythology, the female twin khalagu ("demons") that bring about Ganmadan ("the Day of Annihilation") are Seb-Natan ("the Foreteller") and Seb-Cheneb ("the Destroyer").
- Double Standard: Although it's perfectly acceptable for Romulan women to do anything their male counterparts can do, a Romulan man who has what is regarded to be a feminine occupation is subjected to Gendered Insults. Elnor, who was raised by the all-female Qowat Milat sect and follows their traditions, is taunted by the townspeople as a "sisterboy."
- The Dreaded: The Earth-Romulan War was so hard on the Federation founders that, even centuries later, the Federation is still terrified of going at war with them again, with only the Borg surpassing them.
- Duel to the Death: This is an ancient Romulan custom which is still practiced on the cusp of the 25th century as a nod to their roots as a Proud Warrior Race. In Picard, Tenqem challenges the eponymous character to a Sword Fight with the intent of killing him, and it's a long-standing tradition for a Zhat Vash and a Qowat Milat to fight each other to the death in unarmed combat.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Romulus was destroyed in 2387 when its sun went supernova. Although Ambassador Spock attempted to prevent the supernova from striking the planet using red matter, he was ultimately unsuccessful and Romulus was blown to bits.
- Enemy Mine: With an alliance with the Cardassians, and a neutrality agreement with the Romulans, the Dominion had the Federation on the ropes. Captain Sisko realized they couldn't fight the war without help, and needed to convince the Romulans that their truce with the Founders would not last. To that end, he cooperated in assassinating a Romulan Senator and pinning it on the Dominion. And it worked! How very Romulan.Garak: And the more the Dominion denies their guilt, the more the Romulans will believe they're guilty, because that's exactly what they would have done in their place!
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Some of their top-ranking officers and politicos are women. They had an Empress at one point according to Q.
- Romulans also have gotten rid of the very unsavory side of their Vulcan heritage. They don't experience the Pon Farr and as such no longer partake in Vulcan rituals where a woman could have a man challenge her fiancé to a duel to the death and end up with a man she's forcefully married to and have sex with.
- This high level of gender equality is maintained even after they lose their homeworld. Their women continue to work alongside the men in all sorts of occupations (e.g. at the Romulan Reclamation Site, the head surgeon is a Romulan woman and there are Romulan females on the security team). However, Picard introduces a Double Standard where Romulan men who are judged to be effeminate are made fun of.
- Establishing Character Moment: "Balance of Terror" shows everything one needs to know about the Romulans: they're Vulcans who did not reject their warlike past, so devious their ships are invisible when it's supposed to be impossible, the Federation didn't know their faces until they chanced over a century after they fought a war with them, still honorable in their own way, and extremely dangerous when they actually bother to fight.
- Evil Counterpart Race: To the Vulcans, their ancestors. Because both species are Space Elves, the Romulans and the Vulcans are the Trek Verse equivalent of Dark Elves and High Elves, respectively.
- Evil Eyebrows: Theirs are accentuated by a distinct, "V"-shaped forehead ridge. In the films, the ridges are completely gone, but the eyebrows are still longer and hairier than the Vulcans. Picard establishes that Romulans with ridges are Northerners.
- Evil Is Bigger: In the 24th century, their warbirds are roughly as big as the Federation's flagship Galaxy-class starships or even the Klingons' battleships, though mostly as a result of huge negative spaces in the hull. A "compressed" Romulan ship is likely of similar or less mass than an equivalent Starfleet vessel.
- Evil Virtues: Picard makes it clear the same Romulan embrace of emotions makes them also prone to compassionate moments and sincerely caring about those close to them. As a result, many of them are Worthy Opponents and they are genuinely concerned about keeping their workplace safe.
- The Faceless: Romulans were aware of Humanity for some time before Earth knew of them. Infiltrating the highest levels of the Vulcan High Command, the Romulans got a full scope of Earth's capabilities. The Enterprise NX-01 inadvertently encountered a Romulan minefield at one point, officially the first time Humanity became aware of the Romulans. Even after fighting the Earth-Romulan War, it wasn't until the 23rd century that Humans actually saw the Romulans without their helmets on. (ENT: "Minefield"; TOS: "Balance of Terror")
- Fantastic Fighting Style:
- Although the hand-to-hand combat practiced by the Qowat Milat sisterhood hasn't been named onscreen in Picard, it's nevertheless the first time in the franchise that a specific Romulan martial arts is showcased. It's more "fantastic" than that of the Klingons or the Vulcans because the Romulan warrior nuns develop Super Reflexes during their training that are fast enough dodge multiple energy weapons fire note . This Amazon Brigade is remarkably adept at wielding a tan qalanq while also utilizing Combat Parkour, Hit-and-Run Tactics and stealth to single-handedly defeat several opponents.
- This featurette focuses on a Deleted Scene from Picard's "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" where Narek uses a Capoeira-like Romulan martial arts to take on five Soong-type androids.
- Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity: Romulans use "disruptors", which are a kind of Ray Gun like the phaser, but unlike phasers they always kill and their blast is green.
- Fantastic Racism:
- The Romulans believe themselves to superior to everyone, and still cling to the idea that that one day, the Romulan Empire will rule the entire galaxy. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "Data's Day", "The Enemy") According to Miles O'Brien, there was no piece of technology that the Romulans didn't claim they invented before everyone else.
- Picard reveals they have a deep fear of sentient AI, and helped pressure the Federation into the synth ban even after the destruction of their homeworld. Moreover, the series also shows that some Romulan-owned businesses on Vashti feature "Romulans Only" signs, and the planet is the hotbed for the Romulan Rebirth movement. The Zhal Makh, a form of Romulan meditation, is taboo to non-Romulans. The Romulan pejorative for humans is "round-ears" and the Romulan slur for xBs is "half-meat."
- Fashionable Asymmetry: In their TOS appearances, the male Romulans wore gold tunics with a sash over their shoulder. (Violet sashes for commanders, blue for the worker bees.) The ladies, however, wore form-fitting uniform with a violet sleeve.
- Flip-Flop of God: Trek's star charts place the Romulan Empire into the Beta Quadrant of the galaxy. However, in Deep Space Nine, they are changed to an Alpha Quadrant power to include them in the Dominion struggle.
- The loose explanation they came up with is that the capital planets of the Romulans and Klingons are in the Alpha Quadrant, but most of their empires are located in the Beta Quadrant. The dividing line between Alpha and Beta runs through Earth. Most of the Federation is in the Alpha Quadrant, but parts spill over into the Beta Quadrant. If the disk of the galaxy is viewed top-down with Earth at the bottom, the Romulans and Klingons are "east" of the Federation, while the Cardassians are "west." The Romulans are located core-wards from the Klingons (which also explains why advanced Borg scouting attacks hit both the Romulans and Federation, but not the Klingons).
- Glass Cannon: The Romulans are the only major political power consistently shown to fully match the Federation's technology level — the Klingons mostly rely on brute strength, and while the Cardassians are intelligent, their ships are limited by their poor resource base. In contrast, Romulan ships are tricked out with all sorts of advanced technology (like artificial singularity power cores), not to mention they invented the cloaking device (so theirs are always better than the knockoffs they gave the Klingons). The only drawback is that their technology is a little too advanced to easily repair battle damage — while a half-crippled Federation ship's engineers can repair their own leaking warp core in a few hours with tape and a little glue. The Romulans work around this by embracing a first strike battle strategy: most of their advancements are focused on devastating weapons and refined cloaking devices, at the cost of difficult maintenance, as well as inferior engine speed. The TOS Enterprise was able to defeat a Romulan Bird-of-Prey by engaging in a drawn-out, running battle, which the latter couldn't sustain because their two advantages (cloak and extremely powerful plasma weapon) required so much power that they ate through their power reserves in no time flat.
- HeelFace Turn: Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery reveals that centuries after Spock's disappearance in 2387, his efforts to reunite the Vulcans and the Romulans paid off, and the Romulans not only returned to Vulcan, but joined the Federation as well.
- Interservice Rivalry: As with the Cardassians, the regular military hates the Tal Shiar, who can pull rank on them with impunity. Some commanders are more vocal about their dislike than others.
- Lady of War: The franchise has featured several female Romulan military commanders. When presented as a Worthy Opponent, they will likely be this.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: The image-conscious Romulans prefer to play a waiting game with their opponents, attempting to trick them into breaking — or appearing to break — an agreement so as to give them a solid justification for striking.
- Man Behind the Man: If some villain is implied to have a secret benefactor, the benefactor will probably be the Romulans. Especially if the villain is a Vulcan or a Klingon, just to show how traitorous or gullible they are as both species regard the Romulans as long-standing enemies.
- Manipulative Bastard: They spend a lot of their screen time on Enterprise setting the Alpha Quadrant's major players against each other.
- Matriarchy: There are at least two Romulan institutions which are female-dominated.
- The Qowat Milat is an all-female sect. On rare occasions, the warrior nuns may teach a man their ways (such as Elnor), but even after he completes the training, he can never be higher than The Apprentice in terms of his official position within the order.
- Although the Zhat Vash accepts men into its ranks (such as Narek), the cabal is run by women, and only women are allowed contact with the Admonition. When Oh speaks to the female initiates, she informs them that their foremothers were the first ones to visit the octonary star system, which indicates that the precursor of the Zhat Vash was also matriarchal.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: In contrast to the secretive nature of mainstream Romulan society, the Qowat Milat follow the Way of Absolute Candor — or, as TVTropers would call it, Brutal Honesty.
- Mythopoeia: Narek provides the most detailed account of the Ganmadan myth. note "A story of the end of everything. Some say it dates back from long before our ancestors first arrived on Vulcan. The story of Ganmadan ("the Day of Annihilation") begins with two sisters, twin khalagu ("demons") who come at the end of time to open the way and unleash the ch'khalagu ("very bad demons"). One sister is called Seb-Natan, the Foreteller. She plays a drum made from the skin of children. She strikes it with a chain of skulls so hard and so long that her heart bursts from the effort. The other sister is called Seb-Cheneb ("the Destroyer"). She carries the horn from a great pale hellbeast called Ganmadan. When she blows a blast on the horn, it will unleash all the ch'khalagu who have been waiting since the beginning of time. The sky will crack, and through the crack in the sky, the ch'khalagu will come ravening. You know about the Thousand Days of Pain. The streets will be slick with entrails of half-devoured corpses. The worlds will burn. And the ch'khalagu will feast and nurse their brats on blood, and pick their teeth with bones."
- Named After Their Planet: Their adopted homeworld, Romulus.
- National Stereotypes: Picard establishes that Romulans who are from the Northern part of Romulus are stereotyped as being stubborn.
- The Neutral Zone:
- Star Trek has a number of Neutral Zones, each established after a never-seen war sometime during the 23rd century, but the buffer around Romulus is the most notorious and the most-fortified. In fact, almost everybody in the Trek Verse just refers to it as "the Neutral Zone," rather than by its proper name (the Romulan Neutral Zone).
- Picard establishes that the Romulan Neutral Zone collapsed after the destruction of Romulus. Without any official form of law enforcement, the whole region devolved into a Wretched Hive crawling with warlords and criminals.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Coalition of Planets that would eventually become the Federation was formed in large part as a response to the threat of the Romulan Star Empire and its attempts to destabilize neighboring civilizations so they wouldn't become such a threat.
- Noble Bird of Prey: When Surak's reforms spread rapidly across Vulcan in the 4th century, a minority rejected Surak's ideals. Those rebels adopted a raptor as their symbol, becoming known as "those who marched beneath the raptor's wings," which became the symbol of the Romulan Star Empire. Their warships are designated "Bird-of-Prey" (not to be confused with the Klingon Bird-of-Prey from the same century) and the "Warbird" (24th century battleship). The latter sports a unique wrap-around design and stretches about twice as long as a Federation Galaxy-class, but with a lower top speed.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: They're one of the most dangerous alien empires that the Federation has ever faced because they act like a rational, pragmatic, and ruthless real-life political power. They're not a bunch of Boisterous Bruiser, Honor Before Reason warriors like the Klingons, nor are they pretentiously obsessed with the public displays and outward trappings of totalitarian power like the Cardassians (who believe their own propaganda even though in terms of tech and resources, they're something of a paper tiger). They make it a point to only attack when their enemies are weak -- preferably after destabilizing them with covert intelligence operations — but will not hesitate to retreat when they're losing to shepherd their resources. Facing the Romulans isn't acting out the fantasy of the small, but plucky Good Guy alliance defeating the barbaric alien hordes through superior technology (Klingons), or the triumph of individualism against the horde of hive-minded alien locusts (the Borg): they're just as smart as the Federation itself. The fact that they're not a bunch of moustache-twirling comic book villains actually makes them a lot more dangerous.
- The Nose Knows: Romulans are confirmed to possess similar superior olfactory sense as Vulcans do in Picard because Narissa is able to detect Soji's scent on Narek, and after she bends down to sniff his neck, she observes that the combination of Narek's and Soji's scents is carnal.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: In Picard, the Romulan Star Empire is no more, but its successor, the Romulan Free State, is still a bureaucratic nightmare.Naáshala: My residency was supposed to start six months ago, but the Romulan Free State revoked it when I was halfway here. I have no idea why, or why they finally reinstated it.
Soji: Well, that sounds about right.
- Officer and a Gentleman: In the novels, they often come across as dignified and ultra-conservative aristocrats rather then simply as bad guys, although the Romulan commanders that appear on TV sometimes do have that aspect to them. The more "admirable" ones seem to behave this way.
- Our Demons Are Different: In Romulan mythology, there are at least two different types of demonic creatures; the twin sisters Seb-Cheneb and Seb-Natan are khalagu ("demons"), and the former can summon ch'khalagu ("very bad demons") who will ferociously devour all living beings.
- Planet of Hats: Their society is heavily based on deception and secrecy. Picard explores this in greater detail, and it permeates even mundane aspects of Romulan daily life.
- Laris mentions that calling the Tal Shiar the "Romulan Secret Police" is redundant, since the word "secret" applies to every facet of Romulan society. She also reveals the existence of the Zhat Vash, who are secretive even by Romulan standards.Zhaban: "Zhat Vash" is a term sometimes used to refer to the dead — the only reliable keepers of secrets.
Laris: No, fitting, because that's the sole purpose of the Zhat Vash — to keep a secret so profound and terrible, just learning it can break a person's mind.
- Romulans perpetuate lies about the true effectiveness of some of their technology to trick aliens into not using it.Picard: [Romulan forensic molecular reconstruction methods] are also unreliable, and the results are dubious at best.
Laris: Ah yeah, that's exactly what we wanted you to think.
- Narek trolls Soji in what is the most humorous exchange about Romulan secrecy in the franchise.Soji: Can I ask you a question?
Narek: Sure, just don't expect an answer.
Soji: Are we allowed to be sleeping together, or is that a secret?
Narek: Very much the latter.
Soji: Is everything Romulans do a secret?
Narek: Ooh, I'm not at liberty to divulge that.
Soji: Is your name actually Narek?
Narek: It's one of them.
Soji: So is there anything you can tell me about yourself?
Narek: Yes. I'm a very private person.
- Hugh is surprised that Soji has read Ramdha's Romulan dossier because he doesn't have access to it even though he's the Executive Director of the Borg Reclamation Project.Soji: Usually I find that if I ask people for help, they're happy to give it.
Hugh: That has not been my experience, in particular with Romulans.
- In Ramdha's pixmit card set, there's an image of a shaipouin, which is a false door.Soji: Traditional Romulan houses always have a false front door that's never used. You have to go around the back.
- Narek mentions to Soji that:Narek: Terran passenger lists are a matter of public record, which is shocking for a Romulan sensibility.
- Withholding the truth is such an ingrained behaviour that Romulans naturally assume that everyone else must be doing the same thing.Soji: Romulans love secrets. You think everyone's hiding something.
Narek: Everyone is hiding something. Whether they know it or not.
- Romulans use different names depending on who they're with.Soji: Romulans have a name for outsiders, and a name for family, but your true name, you save for the one you give your heart to.
- Of course, all this gets turned on its head when the Romulans return to Vulcan and join The Federation. They end up becoming more honest and less secretive than their Vulcan brethren.
- Laris mentions that calling the Tal Shiar the "Romulan Secret Police" is redundant, since the word "secret" applies to every facet of Romulan society. She also reveals the existence of the Zhat Vash, who are secretive even by Romulan standards.
- Powered by a Black Hole: Some Romulan ships, including their iconic D'deridex-class warbird, use artificial "quantum singularities" to power their reactors in lieu of a traditional matter-antimatter warp core.
- Pragmatic Villainy:
- The Romulan Empire wants to start a war with the Federation, but only the Federation. Their plots are thus focused on either making the Federation seem like the aggressor so their allies won't also join the fight, or trying to sever those alliances directly so the Federation will be isolated. Primarily, the Romulans are concerned that any war with the Federation would also entangle the Klingons, who would be more than happy to aid the Federation if the two powers came to blows. Indeed, the one time the Romulans successfully tricked Picard into making such a blunder, they backed down because Picard wisely roped in the Klingons anticipating such an outcome.
- Since the Romulan population was decimated after Romulus was destroyed, the infamously xenophobic species, whose survivors are governed (sometimes loosely) by the newly-formed Romulan Free State, has to make some small concessions in terms of cooperating with other aliens. At the Romulan Reclamation Site, there are scientists of various backgrounds who are working there, including Federation citizens (e.g. Trills, Andorians, etc.), whom the now-defunct Romulan Star Empire has long viewed as the enemy. Hugh, an ex-Borg drone who's either human or a Human Alien with Federation citizenship, is the Executive Director of the Borg Reclamation Project, which is independent of the Romulan Free State by treaty.
- Proportional Aging: Picard notes that, unlike him, Zani hasn't aged at all since they last met fourteen years ago. Romulans have a longer life span than humans, and hence they age more slowly.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: More like a Proud Soldier Race, given their disciplined and strict way of life. However, they must have been a Proud Warrior Race in the distant past (possibly as far back as when they were still living on Vulcan) because some Romulans still continue the tradition of sword fighting and duels. The Qowat Milat sisterhood is a relic from that era, being an order of warrior nuns who preach the Way of Absolute Candor and who may choose to bind their sword to a quest that they deem to be worthy (i.e. a lost cause).
- Red Is Violent: The logo of the Romulan Free State is a stylized red raptor, and it will kill anyone who breaks the terms of one its treaties (as opposed to giving the accused a fair trial and potentially offering a less severe punishment). Narissa receives the authorization from her government to execute Hugh, a Federation citizen who is the Executive Director of the Borg Reclamation Project at the Romulan Reclamation Site, after she overhears him plan an insurrection against her people.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: They started out that way in the 4th century after splitting off from the Vulcans because they refused to accept Surak's new philosophy of unemotional logic and peace. They lost this conflict and fled to space in primitive starships, back during Vulcan's ancient colonizing period (which Spock said was as brutal as any in Earth's history). They lost contact with each other for nearly two millennia after that because it took Vulcan centuries to recover from their nuclear war.
- Sort of a Foil to Khan in that way: both the Romulans and Khan's Augment genetic supermen were the losing side of a global war who fled to deep space, and their homeworlds couldn't follow them because they'd been recently devastated by a nuclear exchange.
- Rubber-Forehead Alien: Star Trek: Picard demonstrates that there are variations to their rubber-foreheadedness; Northerners have more prominent forehead ridges (although not to nearly the same extent as Klingons).
- Secret Police: Known as the Tal Shiar. Although as ex-member Laris points out in Picard, given how many elements of Romulan society are secretive, calling them that is a little redundant.
- Shoulders of Doom: The infamous "mattress cover" costumes used on TNG. It's hard to look menacing when dressed up like a character from Dynasty (1981).
- Sickly Green Glow: Most of their technology emits a green light.
- Smug Snake: The typical Romulan from TNG onward is one who doesn't bother hiding their belief that they are better than whoever they're talking to, and enjoy promoting their superiority.
- Snakes Are Sinister: Picard introduces the Snakehead, a Romulan scout ship, which reinforces the theme of Romulan culture identifying itself with predatory animals (the most famous being the raptor) to reflect its history of violence and conquest. The curved "wings" of the vessel are somewhat reminiscent of the hood of a cobra.
- Sneaky Spy Species: Formerly depicted as another Proud Warrior Race, by TNG they are now notorious for their duplicitousness. Quite apart from their habit of spying on other races and waiting to strike, their infamous Tal Shiar keeps a close eye on their civilian populace at all times, and is rivalled in efficiency only by the Cardassian Obsidian Order.
- The Social Darwinist: Romulan babies with birth defects are killed because they are regarded as a waste of resources. In general, any form of weakness is not tolerated.Narek: You find vulnerability and brokenness beautiful?
Soji: Is that strange? To find beauty in imperfection?
Narek: It's certainly not very Romulan.
- Space Cold War: Throughout the franchise, they are depicted as frosty, Machiavellian schemers who are always at war or in an uneasy truce with the Federation.
- Space Elves: Along with their pointy ears, Romulans are stronger, longer-lived and have a heightened sense of smell compared to humans. The most Elf-like character in the franchise is Elnor, who looks like he had transported from Middle-earth to the Trek Verse. note
- Space Romans: The two habitable planets in their solar system are called Romulus and Remus. Their raptor emblem is reminiscent of Ancient Rome's aquila note . They have a Senate and they're ruled by a Praetor, with the Proconsul and the Vice-Proconsul just below that, and the other members are Senators. Centurion is a rank in their military. In TOS, their soldiers wore bronze-ish helmets.
- Spikes of Villainy: Their soldiers wear baldrics lined with spikes.
- Stealth in Space: The Romulans almost never fly anywhere without the cloak permanently switched on.
- Stereotype Flip: In the 32nd Century, the secretive Romulans have become more open and understanding, whereas the Vulcans have become insular and secretive, albeit for different reasons.
- Strawman Emotional: Disagreed with Surak's logic and left to start their own, more amoral, militaristic society.
- Although overall, they are still very composed and disciplined. Ironically, despite their imperialistic empire, they seem to contradict the idea that Vulcans who don't control their emotions are a dangerous menace, since on a personal level, they rarely lose their temper or hint at uncontrollable emotions.
- Even the modern Vulcans admit that the Romulans aren't nearly as bad as the barbaric ancient Vulcans used to be.
- Strong as They Need to Be: Similar to Klingons, on the few occasions they've gotten into physical altercations with Enterprise crew members, they really haven't given them too much trouble even though they should be about as strong as Vulcans. In contrast, Kirk handily gets his ass kicked whenever he ends up having to fight Spock for one reason or another. The 2009 Star Trek reboot does show the Romulans as being somewhat stronger than humans, but still not to the degree that Spock is (although Spock is biologically unique and also benefits from Vulcan mental discipline and bodily control).
- Super Strength: In Picard, Romulans Elnor and Narek can punch and kick Soong-type androids with enough force to cause them to fall down. It should be noted that Narek is not a good fighter, but he still has a better chance against the synths than the humans Rios and Raffi, who don't even try to engage them.
- This featurette of a Deleted Scene from "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" demonstrates that Narek was originally meant to be far more badass than what we got onscreen, and the missing action sequence gives us an idea of how a lone Romulan with a dance-like and acrobatic Fantastic Fighting Style fares against five Soong-type androids in unarmed combat.
- There Are No Coincidences: One quirk of Romulan culture is that they do not believe in the concept of "luck", good or bad. If something goes wrong, it's either unintentional (someone screwed up) or on purpose (treachery).
- Token Evil Teammate: In their Enemy Mine alliance with many other Alpha Quadrant powers to combat the Dominion.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In TOS and Star Trek VI, they were treated with far more respect and deference by the Federation. Romulan diplomats are even allowed to attend Presidential briefings. This underscores just how foul and alien the Klingons are judged to be. The dynamic was reversed in TNG, the Klingons becoming allies to the Federation while the Romulans grew more insular as a result of an alliance they perceived as a threat to themselves.
- Ungovernable Galaxy: After Romulus was obliterated when its star exploded, the Romulan Star Empire no longer exists, and without assistance from the Federation, the Neutral Zone collapsed. The Romulan Free State emerged from the ashes, but this new government doesn't have the resources to patrol such a vast region, so large areas have become lawless, including the planet Vashti where over 250,000 Romulan refugees reside.
- Unrealistic Black Hole: The Romulans use artificial singularities to power their warp drives, as opposed to the matter-antimatter reaction of most starships.
- Wild Card: The Romulans have always been the most opportunistic of Alpha Quadrant races, and with the Dominion incursion, they are put in the perfect position to watch their biggest rivals slug it out in a long, futile war. This could explain why Starfleet or the Klingons didn't approach Romulus for help at once: they could go either way. Since the Federation was taking such heavy losses already, it would just about have finished them off to have a third fleet turn against them.
- Worthy Opponent: Several of the most memorable Romulan characters in TOS, as well as a number of times in the novelizations.
- You Are Number 6: Being an Obstructive Bureaucrat, the Romulan Free State assigns numerical designations to every employee and patient at the Romulan Reclamation Site, such as Patient 8923 stroke 3 (the "Nameless" Borg drone who undergoes the reclamation procedure) and Employee badge 74983 stroke 2 (Dr. Soji Asha).
Debut: TOS, "The Man Trap"
Ages ago, a civilization of these mysterious creatures lived on the planet M-113, before they were wiped out. The last one was initially believed to have been killed by Dr. McCoy in the mid-23rd century, but they'll occasionally pop up in seedier parts of space, hunting for food. Their diet consists entirely of salt, but they seem to have a particular predilection for absorbing it from other living beings.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Played surprisingly straight. Even though they can apparently feed off ordinary table salt (though they need quite a bit of it), they seem to prefer sucking it out of other lifeforms, and it's never explained why.
- Dying Race: Only a handful of them are still alive, and they've resorted to feeding off of other lifeforms to survive.
- The Famine: A bad one wiped the vast majority of them out.
- Humanoid Aliens: They have a generally humanoid build, but are covered in light gray fur, have noseless faces and gaping, jawless mouths, and large, three-fingered hands covered in suction-cup-like growths.
- Literal Maneater: Their usual method for stalking prey is to take on a form that their intended target finds pleasing or trustworthy, then lure them into a remote area to feed. Note that they'll go after either gender, and don't seem picky about what form they take to lure in prey.
- Master of Illusion: They use their Psychic Powers to put up an illusion of being a trusted or attractive individual. Since this illusion is projected straight into a target's mind, they can appear as a different person to different people in a crowd.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Alien beings that absorb salt from their prey.
- Paranoia Fuel: They seem to have become this in-universe; especially since it was discovered that the individual on M-113 was NOT The Last of His Kind...
- Super Toughness: One of them easily tanks several punches from Spock, a half-Vulcan three times stronger than a human of similar build. It then easily backhands him into a wall, displaying Super Strength.
- This Was His True Form: Their illusions will fade upon death, allowing people to see what they truly are.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: They can't process the copper-based blood of Vulcans, giving them a measure of safety from being stalked.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Salt. It's their entire diet.
Debut: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
A big-eyed species of reptilian humanoids and members of the Federation. Their distinctive, unusual appearance made them largely referred to but unseen since TOS, with the occasional mention of Saurian brandy. A Saurian served aboard the USS Enterprise during V'Ger's incursion, though his screentime was severely limited. With the debut of modern special effects, a Saurian named Linus serves as a Spear Carrier on the Discovery, and one has also been seen on the bridge of the Titan alongside Captain Riker.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Those huge eyes give them incredible vision, but their multiple complex sinuses make it hell to get a cold. They also shed their skin once a year.
- Gargle Blaster: Saurian Brandy is extremely potent, and more popular than one might expect. It apparently "sneaks up" on you, suggesting it's not actually strong-tasting, but has a very high alcohol content.
- The Ghost: Right up until season 2 of Discovery. Saurian Brandy has been part of the franchise as far back as the first season of the original series, but the only appearance of the species themselves until very recently was a single obscured scene in a large crowd.
- Lizard Folk: Though they're more affable than most examples.
- Named After Their Planet: Sauria.
- Starfish Language: Their language is made of clicks and pops, and even the universal translator of the 23rd century has some trouble wrangling it.
Debut: DSC, "Species Ten-C"
An extra-galactic species of Living Gasbags, active in the 32nd Century.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Their technology is focused on keeping themselves safe, such that they have no weapons to speak of. Their capture orbs are their only means of containing hostile vessels, and when those don't work they have no backup plan.
- Dyson Sphere: Their homeworld's sun, and that of their new star system, are surrounded by "Dyson rings", which serve the same purpose on a smaller scale.
- Higher-Tech Species: A millenium after the likes of Picard, Janeway, and Sisko, these guys make the Federation of that time look like children by comparison. Dr. Hirai classified them as a Type II Kardashev civilization, as their energy consumption is greater than the output of entire stars.
- Hive Mind: They exist as a single consciousness, and have trouble conceiving of beings that don't think this way.
- Homeworld Evacuation: Their original homeworld, a gas giant in extragalactic space, was destroyed by an asteroid bombardment in the 22nd century. The survivors colonized a star system two light-years away and terraformed its three planets into duplicates of their homeworld.
- Never Be Hurt Again: After their original homeworld was obliterated and a fair number of them killed because they couldn't all be evacuated, their entire civilization became focused on making sure such a tragedy never befell them again. The hyperfield exists for the sole purpose of making sure nothing can get to them.
- Obliviously Evil: They deployed the DMA in the Milky Way assuming it wasn't home to sapient life, because they categorized such life as being like them. They are horrified when they realize what they've done.
- Starfish Aliens: The 10-C are gigantic, insect-like beings that dwell in the atmosphere of gas giants.
- Starfish Language: They communicate through pheromones that convey emotion, and can generate complex patterns of lights from what constitutes their face. They're so alien that they have to devise a bridge language using mathematical concepts just to communicate on a level that Federation species can understand.
- Stealth in Space: Their new home system is protected by a hyperfield that completely conceals all forms of radiation, rendering it impossible to find unless you know exactly where to look.
- Terraform: Their new home system contains three gas giants of identical mass and composition. It's implied that the 10-C terraformed them to be exact replicas of their original homeworld.
Debut: VOY, "Scorpion"
The only species the Borg truly fear. They hail from another dimension called fluidic space, and are territorial rather than outright hostile.
- Absolute Xenophobe: Species 8472 considers the existence of other species that can enter their dimension to be an existential threat to their own survival, and respond with total annihilation. The Voyager crew do manage to persuade them that the Federation will leave them alone, ending the potential Species 8472 threat to the Alpha Quadrant.
- Absurdly Sharp Claws: The main mode of attack. One swipe can decapitate a helmeted Hirogen.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Their immunity to Borg nanoprobes and weaponry made their war a decidedly one-sided affair, with the extinction of the Collective a foregone conclusion until the Voyager crew intervened.
- The Dreaded: They are this to the Borg, who are The Dreaded to the entire ST universe. And it makes absolute sense:
- They use organic technology which the Borg are unable to assimilate, and ridiculously outgun them. Case in point, a single Bioship destroyed a fleet of Borg cubes, And the only reason the Bioship took damage was because a Cube performed a suicide run, and that only put out the ship temporarily.
- On a personal level, they are Lightning Bruisers that are twice as tall as humans, strong enough to match or exceed almost any shown species, capable of surviving in a vacuum, and possessing a Healing Factor that makes them practically unkillable and immune to even Borg probes and nanites, with telepathic powers on top of it.
- On top of that, they are highly smart, capable of scheming, infiltration and manipulation, the latter two the Borg suck in. It's lucky for the ST universe that they chose to start their annihilation campaign in the Delta Quadrant and against the Borg. Otherwise the Federation and their peer societies would have never known what hit them.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The only known race in Trek to do this repeatedly, Species 8472 prefers to simply destroy planets entirely rather than try to conquer them. After all, their goal isn't conquest, it's extermination.
- Eviler than Thou: They're more lethal than even the Borg. Yes, the near-unstoppable, all-consuming cybernetic Hive Mind that has been the terror of the galaxy for centuries is completely outclassed by the genetically superior, highly territorial eldritch aliens. The Borg want to assimilate everyone into their collective; Species 8472 wants to annihilate every other living thing because they consider it an affront to their vaunted purity. The good news for the galaxy, however, is that Species 8472 fundamentally just want to be left alone in their dimension and cease their incursions when Voyager's crew persuades them that the Federation will respect their isolation.
- Evil Is Visceral: Their ships are organic and the (CGI) aliens themselves look "more organic" than the usual Rubber Forehead Alien because they don't wear clothes, have extra limbs and strange eyes with complicated irises. Also, they hail from something called fluidic space.
- Evil Versus Oblivion: Species 8472's war with the Borg: the latter is a deadly force that wants to assimilate the galaxy, the former is an unstoppable juggernaut that wants to destroy it entirely. Contrary to what the Borg claim, Species 8472 are not aggressors; it had in fact long been known that the Borg themselves started the war between the two species by invading fluidic space to assimilate their technology. Species 8472 "merely" launched a counter-invasion to end the threat to fluidic space forever.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Concerned about the threat posed by Voyager, Species 8472 dons meatsuits and builds a recreation of Starfleet Academy as a staging ground for an intelligence gathering mission on Earth. The plan is uncovered by Voyager and peace talks commence. Voyager eventually convinces them that the Federation has no quarrel with them.
- Genocide Backfire: The Borg discovered and invaded their native dimension, known as Fluidic Space, intending to assimilate their species like so many others. 8472 not only drove them out of their realm, but launched a counter-invasion of the Milky Way that threatened to wipe out the entire Collective.
- The Giant: Twice as tall as humans.
- Healing Factor: Their regenerative cells work incredibly fast, as demonstrated in the episode "Prey", when a lone Species 8472 is attacked by a Hirogen hunting party with heavy weapons. Thinking it dead, they take it back to their ship, only to discover otherwise...
- Their incredibly powerful regenerative capabilities are also the primary reason why they pose such a threat to the Borg. Species 8472 is outright immune to Borg assimilation because any Borg nanites that are injected into their blood stream will be dismantled by their immune system faster than they can replicate.
- Kryptonite-Proof Suit: Their autoimmune system makes them impervious to Borg assimilation, destroying the nanites before they can even take hold.
- Lean and Mean: They are a bit on the thin side.
- Living Ship: They travel around in a type of organic spacecraft known only as a bioship, which is composed of the same flesh as their pilots. The bioship's main weapon is powerful enough to destroy a Borg cube in only a few shots. Likewise, when a Borg cube rammed a bioship, both vessels were blown to bits despite the comparatively smaller mass of the bioship. The weapons of eight bioships (referred to in Star Trek: Armada II as "Species 8472 battleships") can combine firepower to destroy an entire planet. And they also heal like their pilots.
- Mind Rape: They subject Kes to violent and disturbing visions, premonitions, and threats whenever they're close enough to sense her thoughts.
- Poisonous Person: Their somatic cells can become extremely virulent when in a foreign blood-stream. When a member of Species 8472 attacks a victim with its claws, some of the former's cells are left in the wound. These stray cells multiply rapidly, consuming their prey from the inside out while the victim remains conscious.
- Social Darwinist: Implied to have this mindset from their first statement of intent to Voyager's crew: "The weak shall perish."
- Super Strength: Strong enough to charge through walls, send people flying, figuratively and literally crush the super strong cyborgs that are the Borg's, amd tear through starship hulls.
- Telepathy: Species 8472 is telepathic and can send Kes and Tuvok messages.
- Ultimate Life Form: The Borg view them as "the apex of of biological evolution." Unfortunately for them, it turns out they're also capable of No Selling their assimilation techniques.
- You Are Number 6: Their real name is unknown. "Species 8472" is their boilerplate Borg designation. Star Trek Online, which is non-canon, calls them "Undine."
Debut: ENT, "Harbinger"
A race of transdimensional beings, they created the Delphic Expanse to make our universe more habitable for their people. To do this, they built a number of spheres that could distort normal space, making it more amendable for themselves. Being transdimensional, they have the ability to see multiple timelines and foresaw a reality where they were on the brink of total conquest, but were defeated by the Federation. To prevent this, they developed a divinity among the Xindi and convinced them that humanity would wipe them out in the future, setting the plan to destroy Earth in motion.
- Abusive Precursors: They created the Delphic Expanse a thousand years ago for the purpose of transforming our galaxy into something their race they can inhabit.
- Diabolus ex Nihilo: We never do learn why they want to invade the galaxy, but they've been working on it since at least the twelfth century.
- God Guise: The Xindi referred to the Sphere-Builders as "the Guardians," and revered them as religious figures. After the destruction of the Xindi homeworld, the Builders appeared to the Xindi survivors (convenient, that), lending them maps to habitable planets and resources. Similarly, the Triannons referred to them as "the Makers," and believed that they were transforming the Delphic Expanse into a paradise for their eventual return.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Of the Temporal Cold War. Their relation to the Suliban and the Na'Kuhl is unclear, but it's a good bet that the Sphere Builders' mission was by far the most destructive of that conflict, and their ability to examine alternate timelines put them perilously close to achieving it.
- Hand Blast: Demonstrate the ability to fire energy balls from their hands when they personally attack the Enterprise.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: As a result of their plan to destroy Earth, Enterprise ended up destroying the sphere network, making it unlikely they'll invade in the future.
- Hostile Terraforming: The Spheres are used to make normal space habitable for their race prior to invasion. In the Bad Future seen in "Azati Prime", they wiped out 50,000 light-years of space (1/3rd of the galaxy) before The Federation finally pushed them back in the 26th century.
- Immune to Bullets: Being transdimensional beings, phaser shots just pass right through them. Dr. Phlox eventually comes up with a method of rotating the phaser frequency that makes the phasers come close enough to hitting them that they're finally forced to retreat.
- It's The Only Way To Be Sure: They're desperate to prevent the Federation from being founded, and are constantly pushing the Xindi to exterminate mankind down to the last child to make sure there won't be any chance of a revival.
- Rubber-Forehead Alien: Hairless, with a vertical ridge along the bridge of their nose and a slightly different skull shape.
- Sinister Geometry: The spheres, which are nineteen kilometers across and made entirely of a single alloy.
- Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Using their inter-dimensional abilities, the Builders foresaw that the Federation would repel their eventual invasion, and sought to snuff Earth out preemptively.
Debut: ENT, "Broken Bow"
The Suliban are Space Nomads whose homeworld became uninhabitable centuries ago. Since then, many of them have become a proxy military for Future Guy, a mysterious figure from the 28th century who gives them genetic upgrades in return for doing his bidding in the 22nd century.
- Bald of Evil: They have no hair, and the majority of them that we see are bad news.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: An alien race called the Suliban are being used as terrorist frontmen, in a show made in the early 00s.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: The Suliban were originally just a backwards race from a nondescript world. Thanks to Future Guy's genetic meddling, they now have a host of superpowers and cloaking technology, making them a threat to many of the spacefaring species in the Alpha/Beta quadrants.
- Giving Radio to the Romans: Their technology and genetic upgrades come from Future Guy, who offers them in exchange for the Suliban helping him achieve his ends in the Temporal Cold War.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Not all of them work for Future Guy. In "Broken Bow" Archer encounters a Suliban resistance against the Cabal, and in "Detained" the Tandarans have an internment camp full of innocent Suliban civilians.
- Mysterious Employer: They're essentially footsoldiers for Future Guy, a shadowy figure from the 28th century, whose identity was never revealed in the show.
- Rubber Man: Thanks to Future Guy, many Suliban have the ability to squeeze through tight cracks and bend their limbs at unnatural angles.
- Space Nomads: After their homeworld became uninhabitable, the Suliban scattered across the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. Many of them live among alien populations such as the Tandarans, while others live in space stations called Helixes.
- Starter Villain: Served as the main recurring antagonists of Enterprise for the beginning of the show, before being replaced by the more credible threat of the Xindi in Season 3.
- Stealth in Space: Their ships have cloaking devices, which gives them a significant advantage against the more well-established species in their area of operation.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the 23rd and 24th centuries, despite being a well-known species in the 22nd.
- Visible Invisibility: They have a cloaking ability similar to that of the Jem'Hadar, one of the many genetic gifts from Future Guy.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Silik and Sarin, at least, are capable of changing their appearance to match other humanoids. Another reward from Future Guy, no doubt.
- Zerg Rush: Most of their starships are small single-pilot pods known as "cell ships". They're not very powerful on their own, but they can be a threat in large numbers and can even link together to form larger ships or space stations. The largest individual ship we see is a light cruiser which crews twenty Suliban.
Debut: VOY, "Caretaker"
A race of space warthogs who inhabit many sectors of the Delta Quadrant (like the Kazon, their race was scattered following a war). They share much in common with Bolians, including a knack for cooking, although their jolly nature is taken up to eleven.
- Binary Suns: Their homeworld is located in a trinary system.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: It was hinted at that Talaxians have a higher tolerance for spicy foods than other races. In "Faces", Neelix prepares a 'watered-down' plomeek soup, a mere sip of which knocks a sturdy Vulcan flat. Neelix, however, is able to guzzle down the soup as a beverage.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Talaxian vocal cords are actually incapable of singing on-key, although Neelix managed to wheeze out a halfway-decent ditty.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns: Negated by Talaxian pacifism. However, tugging on their whiskers is considered a pleasurable come-on.
- Named After Their Planet: Talax.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Not a direct inspiration for Jar Jar Binks, but pretty close.
- The Scrounger: This seems to be their species' hat, following the conquest of their homeworld by the Haakonians. Most of the Talaxians we see across Voyager are just trying to make a living and don't have much in the way of political motivations. It's not even clear if they still have a government.
- Spare Body Parts: Surprisingly, Talaxians have two spinal columns, similar to Klingons.
Debut: TOS, "The Cage"/"The Menagerie, Part I"
Homeworld: Talos IV
The very first antagonistic aliens created for Star Trek. A species of incredibly powerful telepaths, the Talosians eke out a blissful existence beneath the ruined surface of their homeworld, Talos IV. Little is known about their culture or technology, but Starfleet has barred all access to Talos — punishable by death — for fear of their telepathic abilities becoming a danger to the Federation.
- After the End: The Talosians destroyed their old civilization in a nuclear war thousands of years ago, and the survivors moved underground to escape the ensuing holocaust.
- Binary Suns: Talos is a circumbinary system, with eleven planets orbiting two suns clustered at the center.
- Creative Sterility: As a consequence of using their telepathic projections to escape the bleak realities of their post-apocalyptic lives, the Talosians have forgotten how to use or maintain most of the technology built by their ancestors.
- Dying Race: The Keeper fears the Talosians are facing extinction as a result of their Creative Sterility, hence his plan to create a colony of human slaves on Talos IV.
- Godzilla Threshold: Starfleet General Order 7: "No vessel under any condition, emergency or otherwise, is to visit Talos IV." As of 2267 it's the only regulation that carries the threat of capital punishment if broken. The exact rationale for this directive is never explicitly stated, but presumably the Talosians' telepathic powers scared the bigwigs quite a bit.
- My Brain Is Big: The most non-human thing about them is their enlarged cranium.
- Named After Their Planet: The species' true name is unknown; the name "Talosian" is given to them by the crew of the Enterprise.
- Numbered Homeworld: Talos IV. Again, that's the Federation's name for their planet — the local name is unknown.
- Psychic Static: The only way to block out their telepathy is anger and hatred, thoughts too primitive for them to handle.
- Telepathy: Their signature ability. Not only can they read minds, they can project complex and incredibly realistic illusions into the minds of others across galactic distances.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: They're not bad guys, just desperate. Everything they put Captain Pike and his crew through is part of a last-ditch attempt to stave off extinction, and when they finally accept that they've failed they allow their prisoners to go free with no hard feelings.
- We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The Talosians tried to create a colony of human slaves through Captain Pike and Vina in order to stave off extinction.
Debut: TNG, "Darmok"
Homeworld: Sigma Tama IV
A scaly, humanoid race whose most distinctive feature is their incredibly unusual language. Diplomacy with them was nearly impossible, because all of their spoken grammar, syntax, and vocabulary are non-literal, poetic allusions to a rich and detailed literary and mythical culture they memorize in childhood. Their language has been loosely described as something along the lines as "if humans spoke entirely in Shakespeare references that only make sense if you've memorized the author's entire works". This essentially turned anything they said into Word Salad when put into translation technology.
Once Picard, Troi, and Data were able to puzzle out how their language worked, progress was made on integrating them into the galactic community.
- Anthropic Principle: The writers have admitted that the Tamarian language would not be practical for such an advanced society (science, medicine, and a whole lot of other disciplines would be nearly impossible to discuss). Short stories have introduced the concept that Tamarians have a secondary music-like language used exclusively for science and mathematics.
- Lost in Translation: The Tamarians speak entirely in allegories referencing their people's mythology and literature. The universal translator can translate the words of their speech, but without the context behind their phrases, actual communication proves difficult. By Star Trek: Lower Decks, Starfleet has managed to update the universal translator to accurately convey the intent behind their language, though it slips every so often.
- Noodle Incident: Much like human pop-culture references, it is implied that many of their allegories are based on real events.
- Popcultural Osmosis Failure: Aliens who communicate soley by exchanging (their) pop-culture referenceswhich make no sense to anyone else.
- Planet of Hats: Zig-zagged. Their culture is portrayed as pretty understandable if you read their literature, but their language is basically the main thing that makes them unique.
- Serious Business: Memorizing stories by heart is this in their culture.
- Speaks in Shout-Outs: Their spoken language is all either references to, or quotes from their myths and literature.
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: The Tamarians are an entire civilization of these. Forget subject-verb-object in any order, the language consists almost exclusively of "proper noun, prepositional phrase."
Debut: TNG, "Where No One Has Gone Before"
Homeworld: Qo'noS (or Kronos)
Targs are boar-like creatures, indigenous to the mountains of the Klingon homeworld.
- Full-Boar Action: They look much like Terran boars, except bigger and with spikes covering their heads and spines.
- Hot-Blooded: Wild targs are every bit as tempermental as the Klingons they share their planet with. They can, however, still be domesticated as both Worf and Martok had pet targs in their pasts.
- Older Than They Look: In Enterprise, Antaak, a Klingon doctor who looks to be in his sixies at least, claims that his pet targ was his first patient when he was a child. This indicates that targs can live for decades, much longer than pigs or boars on Earth.
Debut: TOS, "Journey to Babel"
Homeworld: Tellar (or Tellar Prime)
Along with the Humans, Vulcans and Andorians, founding members of the United Federation of Planets. Forthright pig-like aliens with broad bodies and bushy beards, they thrive on argument.
- Alien Blood: Their blood contains hemerytherin and is purple in color.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Blustering insults represent formal politeness; a conversation begins with complaints and insults.
- Hufflepuff House: One of the founding races of the Federation, but get very little screentime or mentions.
- Jews Love to Argue: Of all the TOS races to be brought back in Enterprise, these guys are painted with the broadest brush. "Sarek said something in a scene once that was meant to demonstrate that he was stand-offish and kinda rude, but we like Sarek, so it's now the defining attribute of this species."
- Named After Their Planet: Tellar Prime, or simply Tellar.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Short, hairy, and with a bad attitude, the Tellarites are Space Dwarves to the Vulcans' Space Elves.
Debut: TOS, "Mirror, Mirror"note
Homeworld: Earth (or Terra)
An alternate human species hailing from the Mirror Universe. In that reality they have forged a brutal Empire that rules through terror and frequently enslaves or exterminates aliens, making for a stark Evil Counterpart to The Federation.
While originally considered physiologically identical to prime-universe humans, Star Trek: Discovery reveals that Terrans are photosensitive and almost hard-coded toward hostility, solidifying them as a slightly different species.
- Absolute Xenophobe: They're characterized this way in Discovery, but TOS and Enterprise portray them as more Equal-Opportunity Evil despite still being human-centric.
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: 22nd century Terrans have all the tech of their counterparts and more (an Enterprise NX-01 with a cloaking device, tractor beam and escape pods, all features the "good" Enterprise lacks)... but they're also violent, bigoted assholes who got that tech via murdering and enslaving the crap out of everyone they run into. The theft of the Prime universe Constitution-class Defiant ensures that they remain roughly on par with the Federation into the 23rd century, before they were ultimately conquered.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: This is practically a way of life for them, to the point that it's amazing they have enough people to run an empire.
- Do Not Go Gentle: According to the 32nd century historian Kovich, a Terran with a terminal disease will look for a way to go down fighting and die a good death.
- The Empire: The Terran Empire is very much this, being devoted to conquest and control of alien races, and even provides the page image.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Aliens are permitted to join Starfleet and even serve as officers, although they're still largely treated as second-class citizens. This has the effect of an Enterprise which is more cosmopolitan than the good version, in terms of crew (regular Enterprise is eighty-odd humans, one Denobulan and a Vulcan who didn't want to be there. Mirror Enterprise has Andorians, Tellarites and Orions in its crew).
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite being almost entirely made up of evil xenophobes trying to conquer everything in sight, plenty of them are capable of love and loyalty. Mirror Georgiou and Lorca loved their Burnham (maternally and romantically, respectively). Mirror Lorca had at least one follower who was loyal years after he disappeared, apparently dead. He was also tortured by a different Mirror Starfleet Officer for getting his (the Officer's) sister killed.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The majority of them are vicious, raving nutcases who are incapable of acting good for even five seconds (Mirror Kirk and co were apparently outed almost instantly after manifesting in the prime universe). Mirror Georgiou isn't able to restrain her Fantastic Racism and arrogance for that long. Even after turning vaguely good-ish, some of them (Mirror Bashir, for example) are still unstable psychos. However, there are a few occasional subversions, such as Smiley O'Brien, or Mirror Gabriel Lorca, who was able to impersonate his prime counterpart for a few months.
- Evil Counterpart: To the United Federation of Planets.
- Evil Is Hammy: Mirror Kirk, Mirror Archer, Mirror Georgiou, Mirror Lorca... you'd think the Empire went into space mainly to find unchewed scenery.
- Fantastic Racism: Their hat until Deep Space Nine.
- For the Evulz: They essentially live by the credo of doing stuff for no other reason than "felt like it". That's the exact words a Federation historian describes them with.
- HeelFace Turn: In Deep Space Nine they're fighting for freedom against the Klingons and Cardassians, and have largely left their xenophobia behind. They've even got aliens such as Trill and Ferengi in their ranks!
- In Spite of a Nail: Despite their radically different history from that of the Federation, the same people generally end up in the same places at the same time.
- In the Blood: During Discovery, it's suggested their many, many unpleasant traits are actually partly biological. Mirror Geogiou casts scorn on this one, and this may have been an interrogation tactic rather than actual truth.
- Klingon Promotion: A common way for Terran Starfleet officers to advance in rank. Unlike Klingons, who actually have systems in place, Terrans will just do it at the drop of a hat (although Chekhov's dialogue in "Mirror, Mirror" suggests that whoever's gunning for the promotion had better have a good excuse ready).
- La Résistance: After being enslaved by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, the Terrans eventually put together a rebellion and try to win their freedom back.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After two centuries of violently killing everyone who didn't bend the knee to them, they were overthrown by a Klingon-Cardassian-Bajoran alliance.
- Made a Slave: The entire race suffers this after the Terran Empire is overthrown by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, in a nice stroke of irony.
- Planet Terra: Zig-zagged. In Enterprise, Mirror Earth is still called Earth, but in Discovery it's Terra.
- Sigil Spam: The Terran Empire plasters its logo everywhere, from the hulls of their ships to doors and computer monitors.
- Space-Filling Empire: The Terran Empire is said to control an astonishingly huge tract of the galaxy by the 23rd century, more territory than prime-universe Starfleet has even explored in its century of existence.
- Technology Uplift: Terrans were just a bunch of violent maniacs stuck on an insignicant little blue-green planet 'till some guy called Zefram Cochrane cobbled together a primitive warp-capable vessel, which attracted some nearby Vulcans (who up until that point had figured mankind was too primitive to bother with). The minute the Vulcans landed, the inhabitants of Bozeman, Montana mugged them and stole their ship, and from there...
- The Unfettered: The more bonkers ones tend not to be constrained by little things like morality, empathy, sanity, reality... they'll just do what they want, consequences be damned.
- Weakened by the Light: Terrans are slightly photosensitive compared to prime universe humans, which is a major plot point in Star Trek: Discovery.
Debut: TOS, "The Tholian Web"
A temperamental and isolationist species of crystalline builds. The Tholians aren't on good terms with the Federation, generally staying in the borders of their own territory, responding to any violation of their territory with force. By the 24th century, diplomatic relations with the Federation are still decidedly frosty.
Originally appearing as a one-off species in the original series, the Tholians became memorable for just how little was revealed about them. For near forty years, a head on a viewscreen was the only image of them, until Enterprise, and the advent of CGI, allowed a better look at them.
- Beehive Barrier: Their famous Tholian Webs, energy barriers generated by their ships, which can imprison and destroy other ships. The more Tholians there are around, the quicker they can make them.
- Berserk Button: Don't lie to them. They take it poorly.
- Bystander Syndrome: They decided to sit out the Dominion War, signing a non-aggression treaty.
- Crystalline Creature: They resemble crystalline centaurs, with six radially-symmetrical legs, a pillar-like torso, two arms and a roughly diamond-shaped head. They also require a temperature of 404 degrees fahrenheit to feel comfortable, and freeze solid and shatter at temperatures humans can tolerate.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: Their preferred climate has a temperature of 480 Kelvin. Tholia is often speculated to be a Y-class planet, the most hostile environment possible for humanoids.
- Extremophile Lifeforms: Their preferred environment is hundreds of degrees hot. An M-class environment will kill them instantly.
- Ludicrous Precision: Punctuality is their hat. If they grant you "one hour and fifty-three minutes" for a rescue mission, you have exactly that long to finish up before they open fire.
- Named After Their Planet: The planet Tholia.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Or in the case, means the plot doesn't get written. Ron Moore wanted to use the Tholians during DS9, but the technology required to depict them just didn't exist in the 90s. It wasn't until season 4 of Enterprise that the Tholians could be shown in all their glory.
- Silicon-Based Life: According to the script for "The Tholian Web", though not stated outright on screen. They provide the page image for this trope.
- Spider People: A vaguely-humanoid head and torso with claws and six legs. It's hinted that they can produce webbing ("Tholian silk"), which presumably inspired their signature starship weapons.
- Starfish Aliens: They stand out as one of the odder species. Insectoid androgynous crystalline things, who survive in extreme heat and can even function as short-range living communicators.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The cold. Since they operate at extremely high temperatures, lowering it causes them pain. Lower it far enough, and they shatter.
Debut: TOS, "The Trouble with Tribbles"
Homeworld: Iota Geminorium IV
Headless, legless cat bodies which can reproduce by the thousands. Most of a tribble's physiognomy is comprised of the uterus, as they are born pregnant.
- Big Eater: Actually, a tribble can subsist on very little (a crumb is enough to spawn a litter of ten), but their appetites are apparently bottomless.
- The Blank: Tribbles have eyes and mouths, but they are located near the belly and are so small as to be imperceptible. The original prop tribbles were based on a lucky rabbit's foot keychain.
- Body of Bodies: Huckster Cyrano Jones attempted to genetically modify the tribbles to reproduce less, making them safe for human ecosystems and "a great pet." Unbeknowst to Jones at the time, his lab work was "slipshod" and caused the Tribbles to instead grow to huge size. Dr. McCoy figured out that these so called giant tribbles were actually a colony of tribbles, similar to a rat king.
- Cuteness Proximity: Proximity to tribbles has been known to induce cooing and petting in all non-Klingon lifeforms. Not even Changelings and Vulcans are immune.
- The Dreaded: Their voracious appetites and rabbit-like rate of reproduction make them a cause of concern. Klingons are quite unnerved by them, in particular, considering them an ecological disaster and singlehandedly carrying out their extermination.
- Explosive Breeder: Assuming an average litter of ten, every twelve hours. And there's every indication Tribbles breed a lot faster than that. McCoy even figured the little things are born pregnant.McCoy: Which seems to be quite a time-saver!
- Fantastic Racism: They hate Klingons.Worf: THE FEELING'S... the feeling's mutual.
- Fling a Light into the Future: A number of tribbles were accidentally brought back to Deep Space Nine from the past, and the species was re-established, undoing the Klingon Empire's efforts to bring about the extinction of the tribble. Deep Space 9 was subsequently overrun with the creatures.Sisko: I'm open to suggestions people.
Dax: We could build a new station.
- Happy Fun Ball: Klingon hunting parties were no match for the tribble. Eventually they got fed up and plotted a course to the tribble homeworld, blowing it to smithereens.Odo: Another glorious chapter in Klingon history. Tell me, do they still sing songs of 'The Great Tribble Hunt?'
- Horde of Alien Locusts: Much like actual locusts, they can swiftly devastate a planet's entire ecosystem, and are capable of swiftly stripping the agricultural base from entire planets.
- Multiple-Choice Past: In Star Trek: Enterprise's "The Breach", Phlox claims that the tribbles' Explosive Breeding is an evolved response to living on a Death World swarming with reptilian predators. However, the Star Trek: Discovery Short Trek "The Trouble with Edward" (set a century after that) contradicts this by making it the result of a Mad Scientist who wanted to speed up their reproduction to use them as a food source.
- The Nose Knows: A tribble can detect a Klingon no matter what they look like.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Tribbles evolved to purr whenever they're touched by a humanoid. The cooing sound produces a tranquilizing effect—but the fun ends there. Tribbles are also used as a healing device by petting them while on away missions in the Orion Pirates video game and in Star Trek Online.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: Klingons are unique among Star Trek's races in their extreme hatred of the creatures. The feeling was apparently mutual, because tribbles emit a loud shrieking noise instead of their normal soothing purr in the presence of Klingons. This caused problems for Arne Darvin, an undercover Klingon spy.
Debut: TNG, "The Host"
Trills have evolved to coexist with an ageless alien slug (known as a symbiont) in their abdomen. Ordinary Trills are weak, standard humanoids; when "joined," however, they gain the knowledge and experience of the symbiont's previous hosts. Left to their own devices, the symbionts are an endangered species, living out a dull existence in underground pools. The Trills sported a rubber forehead on TNG, but makeup artist Micheal Westmore unashamedly changed their look when Terry Farrell was cast as one. Westmore then suggested, meh, just give her spots like we gave Famke, and the rest is history.
- Alien Sea: According to Jadzia, Trill's oceans have a purple tint compared to those of Earth.
- Bizarre Alien Biology:
- They are noted for their cold hands, for some reason. This is probably the least bizarre thing about them.
- The brain of a joined Trill has two cerebral nuclei and two brain wave patterns. Dr. Bashir compared them with two linked computers, which both work for the same task.
- Body Surf: In a toss-up, the life of the symbiont matters more than its host's. In the event of sudden injury, sometimes the body is sacrificed to keep the worm alive.
- Can't Live Without You: Ninety-three hours after the joining, the host and symbiont are completely interdependent, but once that threshold is passed, the joining can't be reversed without killing the host. Worse yet, an unjoined Trill will suffer a panic attack at losing all of their memories and talents.
- Likewise, the symbiont will also die unless returned to their habitat (pools of nutrient-rich milk on the Trill homeworld) or rejoined within 48 hours.
- Depopulation Bomb: As revealed in Star Trek: Discovery's third season, the Burn in the 31st century devastated the Trill population, to the point that the symbionts actually outnumbered the hosts for a change, and forced most of them to return to their homeworld to stave off extinction.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: It's not a fault of TNG that DS9 would later state that the Trill have a much larger presence in the Federation than is initially shown (Curzon Dax was responsible for the signing of the Khitomer accords, probably the single most important piece of legislation next to the Prime Directive) but in hindsight it jars with the "The Host", which goes to great pains to show that nobody in Starfleet (not even the esteemed Dr. Bev) knows anything about the nature of these beings. The TNG Trill also have rubber foreheads rather than spots, and the symbiote is shown as totally taking over the host instead of forming a combined consciousness.
- Fantastic Caste System: The joined have more prestige then the unjoined.
- Government Conspiracy: The official records state that the viability rate for Trills to become hosts for symbionts is one in every thousand. What the Symbiosis Commission is hiding, however, is that approximately half of the total Trill population is capable of bonding with a symbiont. The reason for the deception is that there are simply too few symbionts in existence, and letting the truth of host viability be revealed would cause civil unrest and place the symbionts at risk. When Jadzia Dax started to fall deathly ill due to the emergence of suppressed memories from Joran, a previous host that had been designated as "unviable," the Symbiosis Commission was prepared to let her die to protect this secret.
- The Hedonist: A largely positive example. As part of their contribution to their symbiont's massive library of experiences, Trill hosts are encouraged to indulge in just about every pleasure under the sun(s).
- Heroic Host: The Dax symbiont helped negotiate the Khitomer accords, and even (gulp) dated Bones McCoy in medical school.
- Human Aliens: At least for the humanoid Trill. The only outside difference is the leopard-like spots on the neck. The Trill symbionts? Not so much.
- Immortality Bisexuality: Dax has been married six times: four times as the bride, and twice as the groom. In one episode, Jadzia Dax bucks the system and kisses her former spouse, who happens to be a lady. Odan tried to put the moves on Dr. Crusher once his symbiont was transplanted into a woman but she emphatically said no.
- Kangaroo Pouch Ride: The symbionts are surgically inserted through a slit in their host's abdomen.
- Literal Split Personality:
- The zhian'tara, the Trill answer to the Vulcan katra. It allows joined Trill to convene with their previous hosts for a day. During the rite, the personalities of the old hosts are telepathically implanted into willing participants (usually loved ones or friends) by an employee of the Symbiosis Commission.
- Trills can also commune with old hosts on their own using the Rite of Emergence, although it only works on one personality. This involves lots of chanting and an incense pot full of mud; possibly the kind the symbionts live in, although this is just conjecture.
- Little Bit Beastly: The spots go "all the way down," baby.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Joined Trills have a big legacy to live up to. With that in mind, the most important quality looked for in candidates (after high intelligence and aptitude in their chosen field) seems to be a bon vivant personalty that has a good chance to nurture a noted scientist, artist, or politician.
- Loss of Identity: Unjoined Trill without a strong enough will and personality run the risk of being overwhelmed by their symbiote's if joined. This is one of the reasons that potential hosts are vetted carefully; for example, Ezri (who was not meant to be a host) spends months being uncomfortably barraged by Dax's memories and emotions before finally getting a handle on them.
- Magic by Any Other Name: There's no small amount of mysticism surrounding the symbionts and the joining process, which often manifest as what can only be described as supernatural forces. In addition to the zhian'tara mentioned above, the symbionts seem to be the Domain Holders of their caves beneath the surface of Trill, and can temporarily Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence at will, sometimes bringing their hosts along for the ride.
- The Masquerade: It is widely believed that only a small fraction (0.1%) of the humanoid Trill population is suitable for being joined with a symbiont, which is why unjoined Trill have to undergo such an extensive vetting process to become a candidate for being a host. In truth, almost half of all humanoid Trill are capable of being joined. The Trill government continues to perpetuate the myth, lest the symbionts become a commodity to be bought, sold and fought over. As long as it is widely believed that only the chosen few can become hosts, the government reasons, such piracy can be avoided.
- Named After Their Planet: Their homeworld is simply called "Trill". A planet called Trillius Prime was mentioned in Star Trek: Enterprise, but it's not clear if they're the same place.
- No Biochemical Barriers: In rare cases, symbionts can be joined with non-Trills, but the differences in biology means this is normally only a stop-gap. Commander Riker was briefly joined to the Odan symbiont in "The Host" so that Odan could complete peace negotiations, and to keep Odan alive until a replacement host arrived. While this ordeal saved Odan's life, it nearly killed Riker. On the other hand, a human named Adira has been successfully joined with a squid and survived with nothing worse than temporary amnesia, but only with the benefit of medical technology a millenia more advanced than Riker had access to.
- The Nth Doctor/Really 700 Years Old: The symbionts. The humanoid Trill have a lifespan close to humans'.
- Progressively Prettier: In addition to the forehead, we never see Dax's enflamed belly bulge out disturbingly as Odan's does in "The Host", and more importantly he doesn't sport the distinctive Trill markings. There are definite perks to being a Trek regular.
- Trill Guardians (the monk-like unjoined Trill who care for the symbiotes in their natural habitat) seem to possess an assortment of semi-mystical abilities similar to those used by Vulcans, such as the ability to transfer memories/consciousness through touch (even to telepathy-resistant races like Changelings and Ferengi), as well as seemingly being able to "sense" intimate details about a symbiote simply by looking at the host. These abilities don't seem to be possessed by the general Trill population, including joined Trill.
- Unjoined symbiotes in their pools communicate via bioelectrical signals.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Trill are strongly allergic to insect bites, because the toxins interfere with the biochemical reactions between host and symbiont.
- You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: The symbionts are helpless, slimy worms who possess the cumulative knowledge of their previous hosts, but lack the important stuff, like hands.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Joined Trill are forbidden to marry someone they were married to in a previous life. This is done in order to prevent "an aristocracy of the joined," according to René Echevarria. Word of God is that the episode delving into this particular taboo was written specifically so the two current hosts were both female, allowing audiences in the 1990s to identify with an otherwise completely alien custom.
Debut: PRO, "Lost and Found"
A highly advanced, but isolated race that was first contacted by Starfleet in the 2380s. The discovery of other intelligent life was devastating to their society, which fractured into those who wanted to embrace the galactic community and those who preferred isolationism. The conflict that followed left few survivors, who implemented a plan to go back in time and prevent the Federation from contacting them... and get revenge on Starfleet at the same time.
- Alien Hair: Of the "hair tentacle" variety.
- Bad Future: In a possible 25th century, the Vau N'Akat destroyed themselves in a civil war following First Contact with the Federation.
- Dying Race: The Diviner maintains that he and Gwyn are the Last of Their Kind. The truth is more complicated: as of 2383, their homeworld and civilization are still alive and well, but he's a time traveler who witnessed their self-destruction in the 25th century and went back in time to prevent it. It's revealed in the second half of season 1 that at least one other traveled back in time as well, hiding herself among Vice-Admiral Janeway's crew. To the extent that their race survives in the future, their civilization has been decimated but a small fraction survived the war.
- Fantastic Racism: Prior to First Contact with the Federation, the Vau N'Akat believed they were the apex of creation. A large percentage of their population were unwilling to accept that they were just one of countless intelligent species, and pushed for isolationism rather than maintaining diplomatic relations with aliens. This divide sparked a civil war on their homeworld that ultimately destroyed their civilization, and only the worst of them made it out the other side.
- Foil: The Vau N'Akat's story of first contact is an inversion of humanity's. Whereas humans were struggling to recover from the worst conflict in their history when they first learned of extraterrestrials, and quickly unified into a thriving new society, Vau N'Akat civilization was at its apex when the Federation found them, after which they devolved into a civil war that left them nearly extinct. (Additionally, both races had an attempt made to avert first contact using Time Travel. For humans, it was by an enemy attempting to destroy them. For the Vau N'Akat, it was by themselves attempting to prevent their own destruction.)
- Mecha-Mooks: Their standing military consists mainly of robots. The two types seen so far are "Watchers", scorpion-like drones which serve as sentries and guards, and "Drednoks", which are intelligent Do-Anything Starfish Robots used as soldiers and special operatives.
- Meaningful Name: "Solum", the name of their homeworld, has two (unrelated) meanings in Latin. One is "ground" or "soil" (meaning that, just like humanity, their homeworld is essentially called "Earth"). The other is "alone", or "isolated". The Vau N'Akat believed they were alone in the universe until the Federation made contact — and many of their people wanted to stay that way, which led to an apocalyptic civil war.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Those that survived the civil war want to destroy the entire Federation to prevent their Bad Future, eschewing more rational attempts at communication, because they also want revenge against the Federation for not helping when the civil war broke out.
- Psychic Block Defense: They're naturally resistant to telepathy, though not completely immune.
- Telepathy: Though they evidently can't read the minds of other species, they are able to mentally communicate with one-another, though they usually don't.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Humanoids with a pale complexion and some other alien features.
- Unreliable Narrator: Just about everything we know about them comes from the Diviner, a zealous xenophobe with a rose-colored view of his species' glory days.
Debut: VOY, "Phage"
The Vidiians are Mad Doctors, possessing medical technology far more advanced than Starfleet. They've had a lot of practice, as they must constantly replace their skin and organs with transplants (often stolen) to remain alive, a procedure that makes them somewhat unpopular with almost everyone else in the Delta Quadrant. They suffer from a necrotizing plague called "the Phage", which causes their bodies to devour their own flesh.
- All Genes Are Codominant: They are able to steal organs from every other sentient race for transplant with no risk of rejection, a feat which even current Federation medical science cannot replicate. Despite this, they seem unable to actually cure the phage to begin with.
- Deadly Doctor: Vidiians wield a surgical instrument as a weapon. It acts as a combination phaser, medical tricorder, and transporter tag.
- Driven to Villainy: The Vidiians are driven to their organ raids out of extreme desperation; before the Phage struck, they were a peaceful and cultured race of scientists.
- Facial Horror: The current crop no longer even remotely resemble their original selves.
- Meaningful Name: The name for the disease comes from Greek φᾰγεῖν phagein, which means "to eat." The organs of people suffering from the Phage literally devour themselves.
- Misapplied Phlebotinum: The Vidiians are able to split hybrid humanoids into fully functional beings. Doing so, they should be able to create as many organs as possible to meet their needs, or cure the Phage.
- Mix-and-Match Man: Their bodies are patchwork of different alien skins — anything they can lay their hands on.
- Organ Theft: Trying to cure the phage has become an obsession with the Vidiians and many of their politicians and scientists have never developed compassion for the people that keep them alive. Scenes of them walking through the ship, gunning redshirts down and cataloguing their organs for later extraction are appalling (with the EMH trying to help a pregnant women proving to be particularly tense).
- Something We Forgot: The Phage was eventually cured by the same alien "Think Tank" which tried to recruit Seven, but Voyager had long since passed Vidiian space by then.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Their makeup and modus operandi is rather grotesque compared to the rest of the show, even compared to all of the many visually and morally unappealing Rubber-Forehead Aliens that litter the show. In the aptly-titled "Faces", one of the Vidiians steals a goldshirt's face and applies it over his own.
- Weaponized Teleportation: With their hand-held weapons, Vidiian organ harvesters can zap a victim and "beam" organs straight from their bodies.
- Was Once a Man: The Vidiians are introduced as a race of Frankenstein's monsters, composed of a grotesque patchwork of body parts taken from other species, which in turn are deteriorating due to the phage. It's fairly jarring when in a later episode they compile a holographic recreation of what a healthy, uninfected Vidiian would look like: they basically look like humans, without even much Rubber-Forehead Alien going on. Their hairline is a bit taller (sort of a reverse-widow's peak), and they have a slight forehead ridge, a single line extending up from the nose to their hairline, but otherwise, like humans. The contrast lets you see just how badly the phage has ravaged their bodies (compared to if a healthy Vidiian looked like a Klingon or a Ferengi). They make the holographic recreation so they can interact with a comatose female Vidiian doctor (linking her brain to the holo-projectors). Even though her brain will die if it stays hooked up to the holo-projectors for more than a few weeks, for a time she seriously considers that living for a few weeks as a healthy person would be preferable to a long life trapped in her decaying, patchwork body. She also apologizes that the Vidiians were driven to their organ-snatching by utter desperation, until after a while many of them just stopped caring where they got the parts from.
Debut: DS9, "The Jem'Hadar"
The Vorta are genetically engineered to serve as the administrative wing of the Dominion, with the Jem'Hadar serving the military role. They also function as field commanders to the Jem'Hadar, who despise them. Despite being hatched from the same Dominion-run bioreactor tanks, the two races are as similar as night and day; Vorta are frail, scheming, and made up entirely of Expendable Clones. (The reasoning being that Changelings are too paranoid to get acquainted with new attachés all the time)
- "Ass" in Ambassador: They have the half-placating, half-goading attitude of somebody who's very close to royalty. Also, they're immune to almost all forms of poison, a trait the Founders implemented into their "recipe." One can only speculate how many Vorta were bumped off before they got the hint.
- Bandwagon Technique: One of the arguments they use when trying to persuade people over to the dark side- I mean, the Dominion.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The Vorta believe, perhaps apocryphally, that they previously existed as timid, ape-like aliens living in hollowed-out trees. Legend has it that one day, a family of Vorta hid a Changeling from an angry mob of "solids" that were pursuing it. In return, the Changeling promised that one day they would be transformed into powerful beings and placed at the head of a vast interstellar empire; the Founders kept their word by gene-sequencing the Vorta into humanoids (at the cost of dampening their senses, such as sight and smell) to be employed as their tools of conquest.
- Blessed with Suck: Vorta only have a ridiculously limited sense of taste, a feature installed in their genes to remind them of their humble origins. They generally have no appreciation for art. Combine that with an intrinsic belief in the Founders as gods, bad eyesight, and zero sex life, and the Vorta might have been happier as monkeys.
- Brain Uploading: The Changelings succeeded in being able to clone people with everything intact, including memory. Bradley Thompson (DS9 writer and co-producer on Battlestar Galactaca') hypothesized, "...they download their memories every so often into some kind of 'brain jar.' It's just like backing up a computer program. You still have what you had the previous time you backed it up. But if you had a bad disk or something like that, it's going to be a corrupted copy."
- Classy Cravat: The fops of the Gamma Quadrant, which informs their role as courtiers and diplomats.
- Vorta clothing always features a flashy Arabian pattern on the robe or undershirt, again piggybacking on the Jihadist undertones of the Founders.
- Cloning Blues: The Weyoun clone who went renegade and almost cost them the war. Weyoun 7 asides that the cloning process is rather dodgy and doesn't always work as intended; on the surface, Weyoun 6 was a perfect copy, but he lacked his progenitor's "appetite for cruelty."
- Cloning Gambit: Each Vorta has several clones on standby at all times, all of whom share their predecessor's memories. The main Vorta of the series, Weyoun, was actually the fourth one when he first appeared. He was on his eighth life when the base holding his clones was destroyed, and was finally Out of Continues when Garak shot him in the finale.
- Compulsive Liar: A common characteristic. While it does catch people off guard, anyone who has dealt with the Vorta more than once quickly learns not to trust them. On a number of occasions, this lack of trustworthiness seems bafflingly detrimental, notably in "The Ship", but when you consider who they work for...
- Cyanide Pill: The termination implant; they are supposed to activate it immediately upon capture, but not all do. Apparently the Founders made them a little too devious.
- Dirty Coward: One glitch in the Vorta's programming was that their self-preservation instinct outweighed other concerns. While the Jem'Hadar are known to commit suicide should they fail, the Vorta do not; in fact, Weyoun purposely misled the Jem'Hadar into attacking a Changeling's ship (albeit a Changeling openly cooperating with enemies of the Dominion) rather than catch heat for an intelligence breach. Another Vorta, Keevan, willingly sought protection with Starfleet rather than face his own men, who were stranded on a barren rock due to his ineptitude and would soon figure out he had no White left to supply them.
- "You know Captain, if I'd had just two more vials of White, you never would have had a chance." a Vorta's gratitude.
- Dr. Feelgood: A Vorta and his ever-present drug suitcase. In addition to organizing troops and waiting on the Founders, a Vorta's main job is distributing ketracel-white — the drug which ensures the loyalty of the Jem'Hadar — to his assigned unit. Not the safest job in the universe.
- Evil Counterpart Race: A species of pointy-eared, conflict-averse diplomats and academics like the Vulcans, but with their Manipulative Bastard tendencies and cultural superiority complex dialed up signficantly.
- Expendable Clone: Part of the Vorta's schtick was that they were grown as clones and had the memories of their identical predecessor imprinted on them. Their Changeling bosses are not above killing them en masse just to motivate the next Vorta in line to work a little harder.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: It's been observed how the ugly aliens in Star Trek are always the evil ones, whereas the humanoid aliens are treated more sympathetically. The Xindi-Reptilians are the most aggressive faction on ENT, for example, whereas the Xindi-Primates are more cautious. Now look at what DS9 did so well when presenting its antagonists. When the viewer first meets the Jem'Hadar and the Vorta, the audience's sympathy lies with the Vorta because it looks more humanoid and helpless. As the show goes on, however, the viewer realizes that the Jem'Hadar are actually more capable of honor and a degree of empathy than the Vorta are.
- Fanservice with a Smile: In "The Ship", Kilana kept calling time-outs in the midst of battle to offer refreshments to Sisko's twitchy crew.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The standard attire for men and women, usually a tunic or jacket with a crooked collar and missing sleeve. Weyoun wears a sort of two-toned, double-breasted jacket: The right half is solid (brown or blue leather, for that extra touch of sleaze), while the left half is sleeveless and made from cloth.
- Faux Affably Evil: Vorta are jerks and relish the suffering of races who defied Dominion rule. The big smile is just a pretense.Weyoun: This is a momentous day. You and I have just taken the first step towards insuring peace between our peoples.
(smash cut to Captain's Office)
Sisko: They're going to attack. [...] The moment I said we were not going to remove the mine we both knew there'd be war. Everything else was just words, a feeble attempt to lull the other into a false sense of security.
- Food as Bribe: For some reason, when latinum and flattery doesn't work, Vorta resort to using cuisine as a bargaining tactic.
- Flaunting Your Fleets: A lone Vorta is no threat at all, but can very well have a swarm of Jem'Hadar ships and ground units at their disposal.
- General Failure: Despite being accorded positions of authority in the Dominion, their aptitude for military matters is practically non-existent. The strict hierarchy of the Dominion states that a Jem'Hadar can't question the orders of any Vorta, even if they're clearly wrongheaded or cruel (such as the Vorta abandoning his entire unit to save himself). Pop quiz: Which of the two races are bred for war, and which is a colorblind wimp who won't even touch a phaser?
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: The Jem'Hadar don't include viewscreens on their ships: rather they use a headseat eyepiece (picture an alien buying his Google glasses in installments
) that allows them to observe what's going on outside the hull. There are two headsets allotted to each ship: One for the Vorta, and another for his Jem'Hadar "First." Cardassians and Bajorans are able to use them with ease, but the headsets can cause splitting headaches for humans after a while.Garak: It's like having a viewscreen inside your brain.
- Happiness in Slavery: Exemplified when Odo tells a Weyoun that Vorta and Jem'Hadar only view Changelings as gods because they're programmed to. Weyoun's response? "Of course. That's what gods do."
- Henchmen Race: They exist for no other reason than to the serve the whole, but unlike the Borg, it's a one-way street. The chain of authority doesn't care for their input. The same goes for the Jem'Hadar.
- Manchild: When they're not being devious, they can come across as curious and easily excited about new things, which complements their youthful appearance.
- Mind over Matter: One Vorta, Eris from "The Jem'Hadar", is shown to use telekinetic blasts. Ronald D. Moore stated that this was an ability the Founders gave to some Vorta, not an inherent trait.
- Mouth of Sauron: Every Vorta takes directions from one of the shadowy Founders, then relays them to those further down the chain. Chatting with a Vorta is the closest most people will ever get to meeting the Founders.
- The Napoleon: Vorta have cooler heads than the Andorians, but on the demerit side, they tend to be arrogant and petty, without a sense of honour. The tallest one we see is Yelgrun, played by Iggy Pop (admittedly something of a miscasting according to Word of God). In general, they come across as Hobbits IN SPACE: they look affable, with their youthful appearances and piercing blue-white eyes, but just underneath the surface lie generous helpings of cruelty and deceptiveness.
- The Neidermeyer: Vorta are particularly callous and cruel toward their soldiers. Sometimes the Jem'Hadar get fed up and vaporize them, but more often they keep a stiff upper lip and take it.Sisko: I was on a mission with the Jem'Hadar once—before the war, of course. They were good. Tough, professional. It was an honour to serve with them. But their Vorta, (grimaces at the memory) ...he was something different.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: The baseline bargaining tactic for enrolling new planets into the Dominion. Robert Hewitt Wolfe put it succinctly:"Hey, you're nice people, here's some M-16s and some popcorn, and whatever else you want baby, alcohol, fire-water? All you have to do is sign this little contract and we'll make you cool.' Then there's the Jem'Hadar. So the Vorta say, 'Oh, you don't want to play ball? Then meet these guys. They're gonna kick your asses."
- Sycophantic Servant: In fact, this trope is the hat of the entire Vorta race. They were genetically altered to regard the Founders of the Dominion as living gods. They are well aware of this, and take it in stride. After all, doesn't the Bible say that God created man to serve Him?Weyoun: What's the point of being a god if there's no one to worship you?
- They Killed Kenny: If one Vorta gets killed, the Founders usually just clone him or her again.
- Trademark Favorite Food: They enjoy kava nuts and rippleberries, as they did before they were genetically engineered, but little else.
- Transhuman: They were, supposedly, uplifted from ape-like beings into what they are now by the Changelings. The other main Dominion race, the Jem'Hadar, are also genetically tailored by the Changelings into loyal super-soldiers; it's possible they originated from a more pacifist race.
- Undying Loyalty: The Vorta will do anything — even die — for the sake of the Founders.
- You Are Number 6: How else do you keep count?Damar: Clones. Keeping track of 'em's a full-time job.
- Younger than They Look: Many Vorta, being clones, are younger than they look. Consider Weyoun, who has a propensity for getting killed (often). Many of the Weyoun clones are merely months or even weeks old when we meet them, and some have lifespans shorter than a year.
Debut: TOS, "The Man Trap"
Homeworld: Vulcan (or Ni'Var)
The original Space Elves, and Trek's most iconic alien race, famous for their strict adherence to logic and reason. They were the first extraterrestrial species to make First Contact with Humans. They offered huge assistance to a devastated post-World War III Earth, enabling the elimination of world poverty, disease and crime. Nevertheless, many humans still cannot bear their pointy ears; their arrogance; their freezer-temperature sex drives (Vulcans get freaky approximately once every seven years). Vulcans appear in all seven Trek series, four of which feature a Vulcan or a half-Vulcan as a crewmember.
- After the End: Like humans, the Vulcans were once a warlike species who decimated their planet with nuclear weapons before becoming enlightened.
- Alien Blood: Green, on account of being copper based. It's also a lot chillier than human blood, according to McCoy.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: They left pre-warp planets alone before the Federation established the Prime Directive.
- Alien Sky: Vulcan's sky is (usually) red or beige in color, and its sister planet, T'Khut, can often be seen looming over it.
- Arranged Marriage: Vulcan marriages are determined at birth. If, for whatever reason, the female does not want to go through with the marriage, then the ceremony of koon-ut-kal-if-fee ("marriage or challenge") is invoked: The male fights for the right to keep his mate against a challenger of her choosing. This is a Duel to the Death.
- The Atoner: They were once a Proud Warrior Race that was probably even fiercer then Klingons or humans. Horror at the results of this made them turn to the teachings of Surak and follow the rather painful creed of the time of the show to control their violent emotions. And Romulans are Vulcans who did not follow Surak. Although they are not as aggressive as their ancestors, either, they are a warlike, militaristic society.
- Bad Samaritan: Vulcans were concerned that we could either be powerful allies or end up like the Klingons. They banked on the latter, and sat back and watched as Florida was obliterated.
- Badass Bookworm: A Vulcan's idea of a wild night is thirteen hours of meditation followed by a seaweed TV dinner. You could probably take one of these weenies in a fight... right?Sisko: I, uh, ended up in the Infirmary with a separated shoulder, two cracked ribs and a very bruised ego.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: The Vulcans may at times seem like the nerds of the Federation, but they will be violent and ruthless if it's the logical thing to do. Star Trek: Discovery revealed that Vulcan's early contacts with the Klingons often involved immediately opening fire since logic dictated that was the only way to win the Klingons' respect.
- Binary Suns: Vulcan orbits the orange star 40 Eridani A, which has two stellar companions.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: A Vulcan's heart is located on the right side of the torso, in between the ribs and pelvis.Dr. McCoy: He's lucky that his heart is where his liver should be, or he'd be dead!
- Cerebus Retcon: The Vulcans are always the heavies in Star Trek: Enterprise, hiding behind religious piety while secretly harboring deep-seated racist and totalitarian beliefs. Indeed, their temple on P'Jem, the most sacred of Vulcan monasteries, is where their covert surveillance apparatus is stashed. In "Twilight" (which took place in an apocalyptic future), T'Pol speculates that her government deliberately withheld technology from Earth for 100 years to leave them utterly dependent on Vulcan and unable to defend themselves. When coupled with the Vulcans' treatment of other races (including half-breeds), this paints them in an especially negative light, much like the Visitors of V who pretended to offer friendship to humans while secretly pursuing their own agenda. This was a sticking point with some fans. Yet another Author's Saving Throw was hatched by producer Manny Coto to explain why 23rd century Vulcans are so dramatically different. The aborted Season Five was planned to cover the Earth-Romulan War, possibly leading into an Enemy Mine scenario.
- Church Militant: The Syrannites are this for Vulcans. Subverted as it's revealed that instead of the radical terrorists they're portrayed as by the Vulcan High Command, they're actually be a peaceful movement who desire to return the Vulcans back to the original teachings of Surak. And they succeed.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The Vulcan Science Academy spent much of Enterprise dubbing things like time-travel "impossible." This is despite the fact that their first rule of metaphysics is "nothing unreal exists."
- Cultural Rebel: The V'tosh ka'tur is a small group of Vulcans who embrace both emotions and logic.
- Death World: Vulcans are a pretty tough bunch, but given Vulcan itself, that might not be much of a surprise. The planet largely consists of deserts filled with giant bear-like creatures, the weather is volatile, the oxygen is pretty thin, and there's a good deal of active volcanoes around.
- Depending on the Writer: Much like the Time Lords in Doctor Who, the attitude of Vulcans can vary wildly. In the 23rd century, the Vulcans whom Kirk encounters are stuffy bureaucratic types, barring "Amok Time" which examines the contradictory nature of the Vulcan psyche. A few are mildly antagonistic. In Star Trek VI, Valeris conspired to kill the Klingon Chancellor and the Federation President —a twist which spawned multiple "Fix Fic" novels explaining how Valeris hadn't been 'trained' properly—without the knowledge of the Vulcan High Command. At their worst, the Vulcans in DS9 and VOY are at best condescending jerks.
- Duel to the Death: Oddly all duels we have seen never resulted in a death, guess they didn't feel like changing the name.
- E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The ENT episode "Carbon Creek" implies that Velcro was given to us by stranded Vulcans.
- Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity: Vulcans prefer the lirpa as a weapon during ceremonial combat. It's a staff with a fan-shaped blade on one end and a hefty counter-weight on the other, good for slashing or bludgeoning enemies.
- Fantastic Racism: Despite their devotion to logic and being one of the founding members of the Federation, this, surprisingly, is not uncommon on their approach towards a foreign species, especially Humans. This perhaps comes to show that Vulcans, while intellectually prominent, are not by any means flawless. Now, to be fair, Vulcans, like any other race, can be on the receiving end of this as well. Slurs like "pointy," "pointy-eared" or "green-blooded" have been used to refer to them. Some don't like the Vulcans merely because they find some of them to be uncompromising and stubborn at times and thus assume all Vulcans are like that.
- Feel No Pain: Vulcans are substantially more resilient to anything that harms or afflicts humans and other humanoids. In "Kir'Shara", Soval says this is because their mental disciplines allow them to suppress pain.
- Fluffy Tamer: Vulcans keep sehlats as pets. Sehlats are large mammals which Spock's mother refers to as "a fat teddy-bear with teeth." It looks like the combination of a bear and a set of knives. They might not actually be fully domesticated, given T'Pol's comments on how Vulcan children are never late with their sehlat's dinner.
- Good Is Impotent: Zig-zagged. The Romulans, having embraced war and avarice, also lost the ability to pull off mind melds or nerve pinches. On the other hand however, the Romulans don't appear to be susceptible to severe emotional disorders to the same degree as Vulcans, and have not been evidenced experiencing anything like pon farr. More pressingly, the Romulans despite starting with a smaller population are clearly far more powerful in terms of sheer military might than the Vulcans, being able to convincingly oppose the Federation, which is basically the Vulcans plus a hundred other weak species.
- Hates Being Touched: Justified due to their telepathic abilities. And since the palm is the focal point of mind melds, it's rare for a Vulcan to even shake your hand.
- Hate Plague: Bendii Syndrome, a condition that can afflict Vulcans over the age of two hundred, causing their telepathy to start broadcasting their repressed emotions outward, while at the same time they lose control of the ones that stay put. And at two hundred years old, that's a lot of repressed emotions. There Is No Cure, either.
- Heavyworlder: Due to evolving on a harsh desert heavy-gravity world, Vulcans have about three times normal human strength and, combined with their high degree of mental control over their bodies, can withstand a number of environmental hazards much better than humans can.
- Hive Mind: TOS implied on two occasions that Vulcans have some form of low-key connection to each other. First, when a ship crewed entirely by Vulcans is destroyed and Spock senses their death, and second when Spock is sent back in time before the race adopted Surak's teachings and began to behave as the savage Vulcans of the time did.
- Insufferable Genius: Do not argue with a Vulcan. You will lose. Quark however, managed to successfully out-logic a Vulcan by applying a capitalist variation of game theory to conflict resolution, which goes to show that it is possible.
- Kryptonite Factor: Long-term exposure to trellium-D not only strips them of emotional control, it's turned them into mindlessly-violent shamblers.
- Kung-Fu Jesus: Vulcan's answer to Jesus and Moses, a wise man named Surak, saved the species by devising a new philosophy based on logic. Surak concluded that the root of the problems on Vulcan lay in the uncontrolled outpouring of its peoples' emotions. Although this new ideology spread rapidly across Vulcan, a minority known as "those who march beneath the Raptor's wings" rejected Surak's message. A destructive war began including the use of atomic bombs, and among the victims was Surak himself.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Vulcans refuse to lend Humanity any aid during the Xindi Incident, even though the Earth is facing certain destruction should the Xindi attack again. With the loss of Earth, human civilization would be pushed back a few centuries, thereby keeping us off the galactic stage and out of the Vulcans' hair. The destruction of Vulcan in the new Kelvin Timeline of Star Trek (2009) could be considered severe karmic payback for this.
- Living Memory: Some Vulcans can "cheat death" by implanting their katra — essentially their memory — into another person via mind-meld ("Rememberrrr..."). Dr. Bashir in the episode "The Passenger" explains this away as "synaptic pattern displacement."
- Long-Lived: There are instances of them living over two hundred and twenty years. Spock is 157 when he goes back in time and ends up trapped in an Alternate Reality TOS-Era.note
- Mate or Die: Every seven years, Vulcan males and females experience an overpowering mating drive known as pon farr, often focused on a single object of desire (or a holographic facsimile thereof). Once triggered, Vulcans must have sexual contact with someone, or else face insanity and death. If a mate is not available, there are other ways to relieve the effects of the pon farr. The first is meditation; The second is violence. This is seen in the Voyager episode "Blood Fever", when B'Elanna Torres and Ensign Vorik fight in the traditional Vulcan manner. The violence ends the pon farr. The other option is extreme shock; in the TOS episode "Amok Time", Spock believed he had killed James T. Kirk, his "best friend," thus providing sufficient shock to nullify the effects of pon farr.
- Memetic Hand Gesture: The Vulcan salute, usually accompanied with the phrases "Live long and prosper" and "Peace and long life." Nimoy based it on a Jewish blessing representing the Hebrew letter Shin (ש).
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read:
- The Vulcan Mind Meld has some limited aspects of a Mental Fusion, most notably that the exchange of thoughts through the psychic connection defaults to being two-way unless the Vulcan is adept enough to maintain full control over the meld.
- Few can handle the high-grade emotions of a Vulcan getting beamed directly into their skull. Vulcans respect this, and usually don't perform melds on an unwilling victim. Usually.
- Somebody as logic-bound as Tuvok needs a reasonable motive for Lon Suder's (a psychopath) crime. It highlights his lack of understanding of emotional behavior in that he does not consider 'I didn't like the way he looked at me' as a good enough reason. He wants to mind meld with Suder because he thinks that it will give the killer some peace in his mind, and Tuvok will gain some valuable insight on how to prevent crimes on the ship. What he fails to realize is it's a trade off: If Suder gains some of Tuvok's inner peace then of course Tuvok will be infected by Suder's inner turmoil.
- My Skull Runneth Over: Picard's decision to perform a mind meld with Sarek to conceal the Vulcan's growing senility. It's probably the riskiest thing we ever see him do. If it goes wrong there is every possibility that he could be afflicted by the same mental illness. He admits to feelings of apprehension about the process but even he couldn't predict the outpouring of such a forceful regrets and feelings that would nuke his mind. It's uncomfortable to watch and reveals many of Sarek's inner demons to the audience. Picard nearly has a stroke from the wild flux of emotions: sinister, giddy, sleazy, and bitter all in the span of a minute or two. He had to endure that for hours. Patrick Stewart got a migraine from filming this scene.
- Named After Their Planet: The planet Vulcan, although it was later re-named Ni'Var.
- Neat Freak: Vulcans do not like to touch their food with their hands, preferring to use utensils whenever possible. Even if it's a breadstick.
- Nerves of Steel: Vulcans are chill dudes. According to McCoy, Spock (and presumably all Vulcans) have almost no blood pressure. With an average body temperature of 91°F, they don't even need to sweat. ("That green ice water you call blood!")
- The Nose Knows: According to Enterprise, Vulcan noses are particularly sensitive, which makes things difficult being around all those smelly humans, to the extent they have to take nasal numbing agents just to get through the day.
- No Sense of Humor: Vulcans are renowned for this, although many of them are Deadpan Snarkers instead. They would arguably be the most deadpan of snarkers, ever.
- Not So Stoic: Even though Vulcans pride themselves on being The Stoic via Emotion Suppression, there are times when sufficient stimuli (such as a powerfully traumatic event, or the onset of the pon farr) can break a Vulcan's self-control.
- Out of Focus: They rarely appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation. This was a deliberate choice by Gene Roddenberry to differentiate TNG from The Original Series. They don't appear much in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine either.
- The Paralyzer: Vulcan Nerve Pinch. This is not a canonical name for the attack, but the writers on VOY finally caved and had Tom refer to it by that name. This move is not, in fact, exclusive to Vulcans only: at least one non-Vulcan character per show has mastered it, usually the replacement Spock (Data, Odo, Seven of Nine). Picard also acquired the ability after mind-melding with Sarek.
- Passion Is Evil:
- Vulcans need to keep their emotions in check, or else they risk turning into raving lunatics.
- To the extent that a Vulcan can be driven utterly insane by the horrors of war, become a deranged serial killer, yet never once give up the sincere belief that what they are doing is complete and utterly logical (DS9: "Field of Fire").
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Vulcan marriages are arranged at birth and, for the most part, tend to have quite happy marriages, although they will break off the marriage if it isn't.
- Please Select New City Name: Following the Vulcan-Romulan re-unification, the planet Vulcan was renamed Ni'Var, which means "two form" (in reference to the two cultures now sharing the planet).
- Rage-Breaking Point: Vulcans have to live with this trope, due to their culture of logic over emotion. They spend years training to keep them in check, but when anything breaks that control down, Vulcans can become as violent as their ancestors were.
- Screw You, Elves!: The only loveable Vulcans in Star Trek are the ones already affiliated with Starfleet or other organizations within the Federation. Native Vulcans are brusque, speciesist, and rather uncooperative in their relations with other races. They barely mask their low regard for the illogical aliens they begrudgingly work with. Vulcans also discriminate against those who marry outside of the race.
- Single-Biome Planet: Vulcan is almost entirely arid, although Star Trek: Discovery sometimes subverts this by depicting lush vegetation on the surface.
- The Sleepless: Downplayed. They still need sleep, but can go for ten days without it.
- The Smart Guy: Vulcans are the most scholarly among the Alien races, being mathematically and scientifically proficient. The Vulcan Science Academy is the most advanced and prestigious educational and research institute in the Federation.
- The Spock: Trope Namers, makers, and codifiers.
- Spock Speak: Vulcans speak in a low, dull monotone and generally avoid using contractions.
- Stereotype Flip: In the 32nd Century, Vulcans are now insular and suspicious like Romulans, while Romulans have in turn become more open and understanding.
- Strange Salute: The Vulcan greeting is holding the hand up straight and spreading the fingers out, but keeping the index and middle finger touching, and the same with the ring finger and pinky.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: A solid Type 2. Just because they're governed by logic doesn't mean they are a hive mind. A Vulcan can 'reason' themselves all the way into, for example, committing treason (Star Trek VI) or running guns for Maquis settlers (DS9: "The Maquis"), if it seems logical to do so.Gul Dukat: You believe her? Why? Because Vulcans don't lie?
Sisko: As a rule, they don't.
Gul Dukat: They don't blow up ships, either, "as a rule."
- Super Strength: Vulcans are about three times as strong as an average human, owing to Vulcan's higher gravity — although a phaser blast will still take one down easily.
- The Teetotaler: For obvious reasons, Vulcans are said not to drink alcohol, although they are depicted indulging for ceremonial rituals or when the storyline warrants. In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Repression", Humans and Vulcans are shown drinking a Vulcan alcoholic drink called "Vulcan Brandy." A Vulcan's constitution is probably immune to our comparatively weak alcohol.Spock: My father's race was spared the dubious benefits of alcohol.
McCoy: Now I know why they were conquered.
- Telepathy: Although they are most often shown using Touch Telepathy, Vulcans have demonstrated other forms of telepathy, even Mind Control, on occasion.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the prequel series Enterprise, the Vulcans are presented as quasi-antagonists for the first three seasons, foiling Earth's attempts to explore the Quadrant. Season Four revealed a militaristic sect had taken over and was colluding with Romulus to conquer Vulcan.
- Touch Telepathy: The famous Vulcan Mind Meld, which is so well known in popular culture that the term is often used to describe Touch Telepathy generally. Some Vulcans with very advanced skill can use telepathy without touch, but this often requires great effort or that the target also be telepathic.
- Tranquil Fury: Contrary to what one might assume from their stoic personalities, Vulcans are a race that are constantly reigning in their passions. It was those passions that led to a devastating global war, and it is those same passions they chose to restrain in the pursuit of logic and reason. In Voyager, when Tuvok confronts a telepathic criminal who essentially sells negative emotions like drugs, he gives him a taste of just how extremely and utterly bloody pissed a Vulcan can be when the criminal attempts to force a mind-meld, essentially causing the foul villain to overdose on Tuvok's rage. And then, of course, there is pon farr.
- Unusual Ears: The distinct Pointy Ears of Vulcans are often lampshaded by bob-earred humans.Soval: What is their fixation with our ears?T'Pol: I believe they are envious.
- Veganopia: Of course, there are plants, and then there are Vulcan plants. In a Star Trek novel set on Spock's homeworld, the characters are attacked by a mobile, shrieking, carnivorous plant native to the region... and after it's been phasered to death, Spock eats some of it.
- One of the early TOS novels postulated that Vulcans were vegetarians partly because the herbivores previously used as meat died off during Surak's time.
- The most common reason given for their vegetarianism is the same one that led them to pacifism. They are such a violent and destructive race that they have to go to extreme lengths to not destroy themselves/conquer the universe/destroy the universe. This includes eating spinach, rather than sating their bloodlust with meat.
- However, it's mentioned that the Rite of Ta'loth involves young Vulcans being sent into the desert armed only with a ritual blade, implying that when push comes to shove, they will meat in order to survive. Unless these deserts are commonly populated with aforementioned Man-Eating Plant, of course.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Vulcans have a reputation for being truthful, both in and out of universe, but this is rarely the case. It's more that they don't lie unnecessarily; if they do find it necessary to do so they are perfectly capable of doing so, and are quite good at it, even when not employing Double Speak and From a Certain Point of View.
Debut: ENT, "The Expanse"
A unique race from the Delphic Expanse consisting of five distinct sub-species: primates, arboreals, reptilians, insectoids, and aquatics. A sixth species, the avians, went extinct during the destruction of their shared homeworld in the 2030s.
- Artistic License Biology:
- There are six Xindi races, all of which evolved on the same planet, which are stated to be "about as genetically different as humans and Neanderthals". Two of the races are a human-like one and a humanoid sloth-like race. Primates and sloths are loosely related in that they are both mammals. The next is an aquatic dolphin/seal-like race. Okay, maybe an aquatic ape adapted to living in the sea. The Xindi-Avians went extinct in the war that destroyed their homeworld so we never got to see one (a giraffe skull was used to represent their skull). But... the Xindi-Reptilians are blatantly lizard-men, yet are still "about as different from the Xindi-Humanoids and Xindi-Arboreals (sloths) as humans and Neanderthals". The Xindi-Insectoids are, further, vaguely humanoid insects. Vertebrates and arthropods are not that closely related.
- A humanoid-sized insect would be unlikely to be evolutionarily viable, at least on a planet presumed to be roughly equivalent in gravity and atmospheric pressure to Earth. The reason exoskeletons are common among small insects, but rarely seen in organisms larger than a tortoise, is because the Square-Cube Law is not kind to them at larger sizes. Though the Xindi-Insectoids don't get a lot of on-screen action, it is enough to show that they are faster and more durable than they ought to be compared to their endoskeletal cousins.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: More or less. The Primate and Arboreal Xindi (the two closest to humans) are the ones who take Archer's side, while the Reptilians and Insectoids (definitely not human-like) continue the campaign to destroy Earth. The Aquatics come closest to inverting this trope, as they're not humanoid but keep the coolest heads and eventually join Archer.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- The Primates are seen as the most honest and trustworthy Xindi species. It was a Primate scientist who designed the planet-destroying weapons intended for Earth, albeit reluctantly.
- The Aquatics, characterized as being perpetually cool-headed, have by far the largest and most powerful warships in the Xindi fleet.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Insectoids are giant ants.
- Dying Race: Between the loss of their homeworld, their constant in-fighting, and the Negative Space Wedgies slowly consuming the Expanse, they're having a tough time keeping themselves alive. The events of Enterprise resolve the latter problem, at least.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Their century-long civil war ended when the Reptilians and Insectoids, who were losing, set off explosions in Xindus' fault lines that shattered the planet.
- Hot-Blooded: The Reptilians are perpetually grouchy, making even the most bad-tempered Klingon look mellow.
- Kill All Humans: They went through a phase of this during Enterprise's third season, convinced that humans would one day do the same to them.
- Jerkass: The reptilians, to a man... er, lizard. An old arboreal saying claims that arguing with them is like arguing with the sun - you accomplish nothing and come away burned.
- Made of Iron: Reptillians can shrug off the stun setting of phasers.
- Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: And how. Even when united in wanting to wipe out Humanity, they simply cannot stop arguing. First it was about what methods, form and delivery the attack should take, then after they fixed on the Planet Killer design, they began arguing about when and how it should be deployed. And even after the idea of a bio-weapon was rejected, the Reptilians still pursued it behind the council's back.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Aquatics have this as their Hat. One Primate councilor recalls a minor incident during which it took the Aquatic councilors six days to agree to attend the meeting. He does, however, credit them with being a voice of reason more often than not.
- Planet of Hats: Reptilians, Insectoids, and Aquatics are aggressive, impulsive, and deliberate, respectively.
- Space Nomads: The survivors of their homeworld's destruction wander the Delphic Expanse, occassionally setting up shop on various planets for a time but lacking a true world to call their own.
- Token Evil Teammate: The Reptilians are the most outright aggressive of all the Xindi species, and are typically the ones leading the charge when it comes to attacking humanity. Following them are the Insectoids, who tend to work with the Reptilians (until the Reptilians get so extreme that even the Insectoids have second thoughts).
- Two-Keyed Lock: Each species has a set of command codes. Three out of five are needed to activate the Weapon.
- The Unintelligible: The Insectoids and the Aquatics don't speak the same language as everyone else. The Insectoids speak in clicks and hisses, and the Aquatics in whale-song like noises (although the Aquatics do learn to speak English via translator).
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Xindi were tricked into believing that humanity would wipe them out in a few centuries, hence their attempts to exterminate us.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: As a result of debuting in a series set before all other ones but produced after the bulk of the ones it's a prequel to. They were some of Earth's most prominent enemies from its early days of exploration, and are never heard from again past the 22nd century (outside of the Star Trek Expanded Universe and Star Trek Beyond, anyway). According to Daniels, they do join The Federation at some point prior to the 26th century. The Xindi-Insectoid do finally make a reappearance in season 4 of Star Trek: Discovery.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Arboreal Xindi don't like water. Reptilians dislike heights.