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Planet Of Hats / Star Trek

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The Star Trek series are actually the prime examples of this trope, nearly every species having one defining trait. This was often subverted in the Expanded Universe, and occasionally in-show.

  • "A Piece of the Action" is interesting because the culture's true hat was mimicking others — their entire society had been built around a book about 1920s gangsters in Chicago.
    • In the final issue of the Marvel comic book series Star Trek Unlimited, after being visited by the Enterprise they experienced a cultural revolution and began dressing like Kirk and co., which the Enterprise-D discovered. The concept of revisiting the planet and discovering a similar effect was considered for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but dropped in favor of revisiting "The Trouble with Tribbles" instead.
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  • The Vulcans are all logic all the time.
  • The Klingons are all war all the time. They'd tell you their true hat is honor, but that's not what you get in practice, to protagonist Klingon Worf's disillusionment... The problem is that the word "honor" has multiple and very different meanings (even in our world.) They actually are a perfectly reasonable representation of a society that runs on honor. They care about reputation, face, and glory a great deal, but the modern western concept of honor which is all tied up with ideals of chivalry, sportsmanship, and individual conscience means nothing to them. A prime example comes from "The Way Of The Warrior" where humans consider waiting cloaked near a disabled enemy ship to ambush any would-be rescuers to be cheap and cowardly and thus dishonorable, but to Klingons it's laudable because "in war, nothing is more honorable than victory." Worf tries to use both systems, with limited success; when the two are in conflict he tends to go with what his human adoptive parents taught him. The Orcs from World of Warcraft are also accused of being this, but with the exception of Worf in the Klingons' case, the Orcs are usually slightly more multidimensional.
    • Klingons actually became this as a result of Flanderization. Originally, they were just Star Trek's analogue for the Soviet Union, and their depiction in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country hinted at a rich culture who even enjoyed Shakespeare — this was the trope namer for In the Original Klingon, obviously. After the fall of the USSR, their Proud Warrior Race qualities were dialed up to 11.
    • It falls under Planet of Copyhats, too, because the first Klingon episode has Commander Kor as its main villain, and he is very much like what Klingons will later become. Although a villain, he's genuinely Affably Evil, honorable in both senses of the word. He'll even sit down and politely have a drink with a Worthy Opponent before facing him in combat the next day, would rather be fighting in glorious battle! than subjugating those who are (apparently) unable to fight back. He hates how spineless the Organians (apparently) are and laments that "it is always the brave who have to die." When the Organians show their true colors and put a stop to their battle, not just here but everywhere for the sake of the galaxy, Kor says of the looming war that will now be put on hold, "A shame, Captain. It would have been glorious." In other words, he's exactly what the TNG/DS9 fan expects a Klingon villain to act like... and he'll be pretty unique until much later when suddenly one day the Klingons are a whole species of Commander Kors.
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    • Moq'bara is the martial art practiced by Klingons everywhere, because while a peaceful society like the Federation will have hundreds of styles ranging from kung fu to boxing, a warrior culture will clearly only have one. In curious contrast to the toughness and brutality of the Klingons' hat, most of the Moq'bara we see is very gentle and low-impact, resembling Tai Chi more than any other Earth style. (Worf does teach some soft judo-type throws in one Moq'bara scene.)
    • A more accurate hat for the Klingons might be violence rather than warrior. Even outside of the militaristic aspects of Klingon culture, it seems that violence permeates every aspect of their lives: religious, legal, ceremonial, and interpersonal. There are very few Klingon rituals seen that do not involve bloodletting, legal disputes are more often than not resolved with sword-play, Klingon sexuality is always Destructo-Nookie, even their wedding ceremony—at least the long version seen in "You are Cordially Invited..."—involves a triumphant retelling of how the Kliingons killed their gods, followed by sword-play, followed by vows which include a promise to kill each other's enemies, followed by the wedding party attacking the bride and groom. In war or peace, the Klingons are always, always violent.
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    • That isn't to say that we don't meet Klingons who are not Warriors. One episode of TNG makes reference to a Klingon Carpenter. On DS9 we meet a Klingon restaurant owner who plays a concertina-like instrument for his patrons. Worf enjoys Klingon operas, meaning there have to be Klingon opera performers. Worf's grandfather was a lawyer (albeit a military one as he held the rank of Colonel), and we meet another Klingon lawyer on DS9. However, they all do share one hat, in that they all do what they do with a great deal of passion, treating every endeavor as a battle to be won; the Klingon lawyers view the courtroom as their battlefield, and in another episode a Klingon scientist considered their work as a form of fighting a battle against ignorance.
    • The prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise establishes that Klingons used to be less fixated on violence, but their Warrior Caste came to dominate their entire culture. When Captain Archer is put on trial in a Klingon Court, his elderly lawyer remembers the old days and misses them.
    • Star Trek: Discovery shows that individual Klingon houses can have their own hats. House Mo'Kai, for example, is known for espionage and referred to as "weavers of lies".
  • In TOS, the Romulans are a Proud Warrior Race (or more precisely, a Proud Soldier Race given their disciplined and strict way of life) — or Space Romans (with home planets named Romulus and Remus) — but TNG and DS9 gave them an additional hat that has since become their primary trait: they are all intrigue all the time. Star Trek: Picard explores Romulan duplicity and secrecy in greater detail, and they permeate 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 aspect of Romulan society.
    • 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.
    • Rios describes the Tal Shiar to Mr. Vup as:
      Rios: They are treacherous, violent, ruthless and subtle. Their concept of honour is rooted in their skill at deceit.
    • 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.
    • While this is less overt than their love for secrets, Picard also continues the theme that Romulan culture doesn't tolerate any form of weakness, and the most extreme example of this was revealed in the TNG episode "The Enemy", where Bochra informs Geordi that Romulan babies with birth defects are killed because they are a waste of resources.
      Narek: You find vulnerability and brokenness beautiful?
      Soji: Is that strange? To find beauty in imperfection?
      Narek: It's certainly not very Romulan.
    • Their original hat, while no longer dominant, hasn't been forgotten, and later productions expand on this. The Romulans 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 (e.g. Nero and his men in Star Trek (2009)) and duels (e.g. Tenqem Adrev initiated one against Picard in Star Trek: Picard, and there are several Romulans carrying swords at North Station on Vashti). 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).
  • The Ferengi are all profit all the time, plus misogyny. Culturally, money is sort of their state religion. Ferengi tourist sites on their homeworld include the Great Marketplace and their stock exchange, and they consider any remotely non-capitalist actions (including things like giving workers holidays and allowing them to form unions) either incredibly distasteful or crimes worthy of being shunned from being allowed to do business with any Ferengi for. As for the misogyny: It's as though nobody has ever made the argument that allowing half of their population to earn money and buy things will be an economic boost.
    • It's in fact at the center of their actual religion. Upon death, the Blessed Exchequer weighs the profitability of your life to determine if you enter the Divine Treasury or are damned to the Vault of Eternal Destitution. Prayer involves inserting slips of gold-pressed latinum (their currency) into a bank in his likeness and begins with the words, "Blessed Exchequer, whose greed is eternal, allow this bribe to open your ears, and hear this plea from your most devout debtor."
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fixed the misogyny part. Quark's mother Ishka instigates a cultural revolution that begins to give women an equal place in Ferengi society using that very argument.
    • Nog, meanwhile, attempts to escape the "all profit all the time" part by joining Starfleet. His rationale is this: some people just don't have "the lobes" for business. His father Rom, for example, has a lot of technical knowledge, able to fix Quark's replicators and holosuites, often from scavenged parts. But his lack of business acumen keeps him from rising above the level of being a waiter/gofer for Quark. Nog knows he doesn't have the lobes for business either, but knows he can still make a good life for himself without having to become a businessman. Even then, he still has some business sense, as he quickly becomes The Scrounger for Chief O'Brien in "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River".
    • Actually, the Ferengi themselves are victims of flanderization, in the opposite direction of the Klingons. When first presented, Ferengi Heavy Cruisers were on par with the Federation's Galaxy Class capital ships, and they had a disdain for what humans would consider soft, attractive features. In one episode of TNG, a group of Ferengi are seen commenting on the ugliness of Beverley Crusher, due to her pale skin and soft features. Compare this to the DS9 Ferengi, who are basically all about Where Da White Women At? when they aren't concerned with profit. The decision to flanderize them into their current form was one done by Rick Berman, and is noted on Memory Alpha. However, even in their current flanderized form, their true hat is deception. Too bad the Romulans and Cardassians also wear this hat, arguably better. Also, while it's treated as more of a side-effect, the Ferengi are very good with numbers and math. This doesn't come up much on screen, but it's made pretty clear in Deep Space Nine between the robustness of Ferenginar's economy and the complexity of their Poker variant.
    • Their shift in depiction is due to the failure to make them the new Klingons. They weren't found very scary in their debut appearance, especially with their monkey-like mannerisms. Now, their devotion to personal gain was always there, but it went from "species of the super-deadly-dangerous Space Pirates" to "species of the used car salesmen." Even so, while there is more comedy to them, they can still be quite dangerous. While moving and talking as they do in DS9 instead of early TNG, they'll still loot your ship, or sell you into slavery, and not hesitate to deal with you via disruptor blast to the face if you get in the way or there's profit in it. Even Rom once came close to killing Quark but couldn't go through with it, and Quark was impressed that he'd come so far. A Ferengi who wouldn't sell his own mother for a few bars of gold-pressed latinum would probably leave said mother wondering where she went so horribly wrong, and that is Not Hyperbole. Don't expect them all to be as relatively huggable as Quark and his family just because they're not the new Klingons.
  • The Cardassians are all service to the state all the time, in that Cardassians will always claim that whatever it is they're doing, it's for the good of Cardassia. By virtue of being the focus of Deep Space Nine (along with the Bajorans), we get a very rounded view of life within the Decadent Court of Cardassia. A significant number of Cardassians are all Magnificent Bastardry all the time because of this, while others are far more straightforward examples. Some, like Garak, are both. One guy even tried to shame his government into admitting the atrocities the Cardassians had committed against the Bajoran people during their occupation of the Bajoran homeworld...for the good of Cardassia. Although note that it's not clear whether this is an innate quality or something fostered by centuries of indoctrination by the military dictatorship that ruled them until DS9 season 4.
  • Also from Deep Space Nine were Odo's people, The Founders, whose hat was essentially "order," both small and big scale. They were given a reason for itnote , but were pretty forceful in making others put the hat on too.
    • The Jem'Hadar are the soldiers who serve under the Founders. Their hat is that they're all genetically engineered and bred to be Blood Knights. They have a ritual prayer before engaging in a fight.
    We are dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives!
  • The Wadi from the Gamma Quadrant are all about playing games. Making first contact with them proved to be exceptionally boring for Commander Sisko, because Quark proved to be a better host just because he had all the games.
  • The Orions, the go-to example of the Green-Skinned Space Babe, are all about Seduction. Their society is Matriarchal because females give off natural pheromones that allow them to easily "persuade" the weak willed - specifically, the male gender of just about every alien species that exists.
    • They became more fleshed out into a Mafia aliens and then even further into "Every man has his price" merchants. Or if you want a more positive twist, there hat maybe that there is they never let onto there real motives.
    • Basically, they are the Mafia IN SPACE!. The famed "Orion slave girls" are simply a different tactic - the males go in for strong-arm tactics while the females use Honey Trap tactics aided by their pheromones. Since the one in "The Cage"/"The Menagerie" was an illusion, literally the only Orion we've seen who wasn't a villain is Uhura's roommate from one scene in the '09 movie.
    • Although in Star Trek Lower Decks we see a young woman from Orion who is part of Starfleet and does not fall into any of the usual stereotypes about Orions.
  • Tellarites "do not argue for reasons, they simply argue." Spoken by a member of a species that apparently doesn't have such great relations with the Tellarites, but eventually proven true once we get to meet more. Negotiations are often opened by trading insults.
  • Conformity as a Hat has been done a few times, most notably with the Borg. With the introduction of Seven of Nine, "efficiency" and "perfection" were added.
  • Cheron in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is (or rather, was), supposedly, a planet of racists. (They are black on the left side. We are black on the right side!)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation brought in the Risians to wear the sex hat. Risa's hat is more accurately hospitality: "All that is ours is yours." Free and open sexuality is just a part of that; a part most aliens fixate on.
  • Supposedly the El-Aurian hat is "listening," but we've only met three members of the species... one (Guinan) specializes in listening, but one was a con man (in a Deep Space Nine episode which lampshaded the "listening hat" thing by having a fellow prisoner try to come up to the con man and tell him his life story in jail, whereupon he responded by begging the guards to take the guy away from him) and one was a mad scientist. In that sense the El-Aurians have managed to subvert the usual Trekkian "one hat per species" rule. Although Guinan literally does wear some awesome hats.
    • That said, the mad scientist was still quite effective at listening. He would listen to Picard trying to talk him out of his mad scheme to blow up a star, and then repeatedly No-Sell a Patrick Stewart Speech because of it.
  • Taking place clear across the galaxy from these others, Star Trek: Voyager has its own hat species, such as the Kazon (society revolves around infighting between the various rival groups), the Vidiians (society revolves around medicine and organ-stealing due to the disease they have), the Hirogen (society revolves around "the hunt"), and Species 8472 (society revolves around eradicating lesser, "weak" species.)
    • In the case of the Hirogen, there's a slight Deconstruction when one of their leaders comes to realize that wearing their hat is causing their species to devolve. There was a point where they were a highly developed species, even developing the enormous communications array, but as hunting dominated their entire culture they became a nomadic race with no homeworld who just hunted various parts of space before moving on. Hunting Voyager causes them to realize how far they've fallen and they soon attempt to use Holodeck technology to become less nomadic and more stable as they rebuild the civilization.
  • Want to do a Green Aesop in Voyager? Then it's time to wheel out the Malon, whose hat is, of all things, pollution. They're saved from being an entire race of Captain Planet villains because they're not polluting just for the sake of it — it's simply that they've never bothered to invent "clean" technologies as long as the waste is transported a long way from the homeworld. To make matters worse, they know that they can use clean technologies without any hassle, but making the switch would have devastating effects on their own society. The exporting of industrial waste is the backbone of the race's entire economy.
  • In a similar fashion to the Hirogen mentioned above, the Gamma Quadrant features the Tosk, who are also obsessed with hunting. The key difference, though, is that they specifically breed members a race that appears to be a Jem'Hadar variant just to be the hunted target ("Tosk" may actually just refer to the hunt target, but if so the main race is given no name). To be the hunted is the greatest honor anyone of their species can ever be given. They live just to be hunted, give a good chase, try to outsmart them for as long as possible, and eventually be killed. Being captured is the greatest dishonor imaginable.
  • Humans don't quite have a Hat, and — especially in the Gene Roddenberry days — were sort of the anti-hat: Having finally gotten it right, humanity's made a perfect future for itself, finally free of the undesirable qualities that some of the other species represent. Then again, being "perfect" eventually became humanity's hat, until the Deep Space Nine era, where that hat was rather rudely yanked off, set on fire, and thrown into a wood chipper. Alternatively, from the perspective of the other species, it would seem that condescension became humanity's hat. Every non-Federation character seemed to find humans in general and Starfleet officers in particular extremely patronizing.
    • On Star Trek: Enterprise, Vulcan Ambassador Soval complains at length about humanity's lack of a Hat:
      Soval: Of all the species we've made contact with, yours is the only one we can't define. You have the arrogance of Andorians, the stubborn pride of Tellarites. One moment you're as driven by your emotions as Klingons, and the next, you confound us by suddenly embracing logic!
      Admiral Forrest: I'm sure those traits are found in every species.
      Soval: Not in such confusing abundance.
    • Soval goes on to explain that pre-logic Vulcans were similarly hatless in a way that now scares them.
    • In the original pilot, the Human Hat was a hatred of captivity—even pleasant, benevolent captivity.
    • Knowledge/Exploration could be the human hat. Most of the other races explored the galaxy, but for profit, power or domination.
    • The modern novels often suggest that humanity's hat is creativity. In one novel, a Tellarite says creativity defines humans as logic defines Vulcans. This creativity expresses itself in various ways, including the formation of a vast variety of cultures, religions and nations that outnumber those of most other species, making the apparent lack of a hat actually a part of our hat.
    • Another possible hat for humans is freedom. Several episodes have someone telling an alien how humans hate imprisonment (even if it is paradise) or how they require a challenge to truly live.
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise, Archer (however unintentionally) proposes that humanity's hat is diplomacy; humans know when it's time to put aside their differences and look at the bigger picture. This is perhaps the primary reason every other galactic power is an empire of some sort, while the Federation is a coalition.
    • There's also a lot of evidence that Humans Are Warriors is in play. Despite the massive number of races in the Federation, Star Fleet and the officer corps in particular is overwhelmingly human (with Vulcans a distant second). This led a Klingon diplomat in Star Trek VI to sarcastically call them a "Homo Sapiens only club" and make a crack about Inhumanable Alien Rights.
    • The case could be made that Humanity's hat is "curiosity." A theme in every Trek series is that humans are driven to not only solve the mysteries around them, but to actively seek out new mysteries to solve. Many characters (some of them human) have pointed out that curiosity tends to get humankind into trouble more often than most species.
    • Humans in the 24th century seem to own hemp vests with V-neck shirts underneath, and nothing else.
  • On the flip side of the Federation (pun definitely intended) is the Terran Empire of the Mirror Universe, whose hats are Treachery and Subjugation. Ever since Nazi Germany took over the world in World War 2, Humans have developed to conquer and enslave all who stand in their way. Tellarites? Slaves. Andorians? Slaves. Vulcans? Slaves AND corrupted to a point where they see the logic of conquering others, and agree with it. In sharp contrast, Cardassians and Klingons aren't too different than their normal universe selves, but they're allied with each other just to fight against the Terran Empire, making them the good guys in the grand scheme of things.
  • The Star Trek Expanded Universe novel How Much for Just the Planet?, by John M. Ford, features a world whose hat is comedy routines. It eventually turns out that they're just putting it on to keep their visitors off-balance.
  • An alien on Voyager once used this trope to describe different species — his own species' hat was an inherent understanding of languages (they are living Universal Translators, capable of learning any language- written, spoken, or computational- just by hearing or seeing a few words or numbers) while humanity's was "a great generosity of spirit." However, it turned out he was buttering the Voyager crew up so he could get revenge on them for indirectly causing his own species' extinction.
  • The episode "Patterns of Force" has the Nazi Planet. (Not their native hat, it was imported by a Well-Intentioned Extremist historian from Earth).
  • The Yridians are all information dealers.
  • The Redeemers are all religious fanatics.
  • The Bretheren are another "hunt" race, but they don't like it when they lose. They're aligned with the D'Myurj, whose hat is "enlightenment." Except for one, who believes that life itself will destroy the multiverse.
  • As noted above, there are actually several episodes with planets whose inhabitants made their hat by copying something from Earth — gangsters, Nazis, ancient Greeks...
  • A Star Trek spinoff novel lampshaded this one by explaining that on most planets, war and oppression and genocide have had a homogenizing effect on sentient species. Humans figured out how to live together peacefully before that happened to them. As a result, Earth has a far greater range of cultural and ethnic diversity than can be found on most other planets.
  • While the Bajorans are one of the most varied races in Star Trek, they do have two hats, they're all deeply religious (but not fanatics) and they're mostly ex-freedom fighters. In general, the ones in the religious hierarchy have a calm spirituality (even Kai Winn is good at faking it) and the rest are quick to anger.
    • Bajoran religious leaders do tend to have a degree of political power that would make the Medieval Catholic Church blush
  • The Pakleds all act like they have serious developmental problems, coming across as mentally and socially retarded. But in large part, it is an act. And in the words of Data's... actually stunted brother, "they are fat."
    • Given they only played an in-person role in one episode, it it hard to say what is characteristic of the Pakleds as a whole, and what was characteristic of the specific group of Pakleds in their introductory and sole speaking appearance episode (Samaritan Snare). Certainly, those Pakleds very an unholy blend of Obfuscating Stupidity and just plain stupidity, and the Pakleds have a clearly poor reputation, but given that several of the background extra Pakleds worked as mechanics when maintenance was one of the main things the Samaritan Snare Pakleds proved unable to do...
    • When they reappeared in Lower Decks it was played with. They still use a Simpleton Voice and refer to every Federation ship as "an Enterprise", but they've upped their game on the "fake distress signal" trick to the point that their Space Pirate ships are conglomerations of patched-together ship components and weapons from dozens of different races that can effortlessly curbstomp standard Federation ships. Still not advanced technology of their own, but for comparison the main example of O'Brian and Rom's technical genius on DS 9 was that they could get components from three races working together.
  • In "The Mark of Gideon," Kirk was kidnapped by a race whose universal pro-life tendencies had led to horrible overpopulation, to the point that they tried to start a pandemic with germs from Kirk (who had been exposed to meningitis in the past).
  • The Caldonians in "The Price" are a race of scholars who are so dedicated to pure research they don't want to be distracted by administrative tasks.
  • The Breen's hat in DS9 is basically "mysterious and enigmatic," to the point that no-one knows anything about them, including what they look like under their refrigeration suits, and whether they really need the suits in the first place. In the Star Trek Novel Verse, their hat is "anonymous egalitarianism"; they're a multi-species society who wear the suits so that each person is judged entirely on their merits and not as a member of whatever species they are (only one of which really needs the refrigeration properties). It's suggested that each race in the Breen Confederacy has their own hat, but given the above, they try to keep quiet about it.
  • The planet Freecloud from Star Trek: Picard is Space Las Vegas, a den of hedonism which provides numerous forms of entertainment, including casinos and luxury hotels. Its motto, "Freecloud keeps your secrets," is similar to "Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."
  • The Gelrakians in Star Trek: Lower Decks base their entire social structure around crystals. Their planet is so rich in this substance that giant crystalline deposits dot the whole landscape, their symbol of peace is the honor crystal, the people wear crystal jewelry, their weapons are made out of crystal, their space ships feature enormous crystals that jut out from the top and the bottom, and a humongous adjudication geode is used as a method of execution. The Gelrakian boarding party covers the Cerritos in "crystal graffiti," and a few invaders demand crystals when attempting to break down the doors to the bridge.
  • The inhabitants of Mavok Prime are described as a wood-worshipping civilization. Their fertility totem is a piece of wood.
  • And finally: The Tamarians communicate exclusively in metaphors involving their race's mythology, making them a Planet of Tropers.


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