What sort of empire is the Klingon Empire?

I know they like prune juice. And I’d assume Rokeg Blood Pie has a pastry crust of some sort.

It does give us a glimpse into Klingon psyche, though.

MOST empires give themselves the BEST of their subject peoples’ stuff (insert anecdote about how the old Romanian term for “pig’s knuckles” was “patriot,” because they were the only part of the pig that stayed in the country).

KLINGONS, on the other hand, seem to want to impress everyone with how incredibly badass they are on every count, including diet. “Steak? What is this steak garbage? Get rid of this and bring me some gagh, serpent worms. And make sure they’re wriggling!”

My fanwank is that TNG Klingon concept of honor was an overreaction to the events of Star Trek 6. After the near collapse of the empire they started, through propaganda, to encourage and over emphasize Klingon warrior culture in a desperate attempt to keep the it together. Somewhat similar to what the Japanese did with Bushido pre-WW2.

My guess that after the Dominion war the Klingons are all “warred” out and a return to more practical ways to govern would be probable. If they ever get around to make the Captain Worf series Michael Dorn is always talking about, having Worf’s naive sense of honor clash with a colder, more calculating, empire would be a a cool theme.

In A Private Little War the Klingon tells the local chief that he will be rich beyond his dreams, “a ruler of an entire world, a governor in the Klingon Empire.”

We also met Worf’s childhood nanny on TNG.

There was also a Klingon chef on Deep Space Nine. He was even a recurring character, I think, but always in the background.

I missed the Klingon Chef. So many missed opportunities…

My personal fanwank theory is that Klingons have been bumpy-headed for all their recorded history but for one ~50 year period (which ended shortly before the events of the first Star Trek film) they had shifted from a feudal-warrior society to a militaristic-communist one and it became fashionable in the name of unity and conformity for Klingons (or at least the members of their military) to “smooth away” their individually distinctive cranial ridges by various medical and surgical means. This convention faded away fairly abruptly and is now a topic that TNG-era Klingons consider shameful. Survivors of that era (such as Kor, Koloth and Kang) had themselves more-or-less restored to their pre-conformity appearances.

You clearly haven’t watched Star Trek: Enterprise. Do yourself a favor and don’t.

Oh, I saw it, or at least some of it. My fanwank theory was formed before that show came into existence (and was of course undermined by it, but that’s okay, since it undermined just about any possibility of reconciling the apparent conflict). I vaguely recall an attempt to explain the smooth vs. bumpy Klingon disparity as part of some plot about genetic enhancement, but by then I’d been kind of soured on the show by that interminable Xindi season. I’ll give the third and fourth seasons another watch sometime.

Actually, as far as I know, the only moment in Trek history that even suggests an explanation is needed is the DS9 episode about the tribbles, which has the only instance of a bumpy-headed Klingon commenting on the appearance of smooth-headed Klingons. But for that, I’d be okay with just assuming the Klingons were always bumpy-headed, it’s just that the “historical documents” (i.e. TOS episodes) rendered them as smooth.

There’s an Episode of TNG where two planets under Klingon rule are openly fighting each other and the Klingons were mediating. If being in the 24th century Klingon Empire were so terrible, it seems like that wouldn’t happen.

On the other hand, in the Star Trek universe, people from different planets can interbreed. Not just Vulcans and Romulans, either (which canonically does actually make some sense); but very famously Terrans and Vulcans, and Terrans and Klingons, Cardassians and Bajorans, Klingons and Romulans–basically, everyone in the galaxy this side of the Horta were apparently interfertile.

The Klingon Empire’s being made up of conquered species made the whole “We were victims of a genetic experiment. We do not like to talk about it!” storyline not just unnecessary but downright silly. It would be entirely logical that we would find conscripted members of different species (without the characteristic cranial ridges, etc.) stationed in different parts of the Empire, just like in the old Soviet Union. To paraphrase Lenin, putting (e.g.) Tajik troops in Latvia means that there would be “no hesitation on the trigger finger” when it comes to maintaining control.

The change in makeup (i.e., the addition of all those cosmetic appliances) could have been explained more easily (and logically) just by assuming the Empire was a multiracial/multispecies entity. Hell, not even the Klingon makeup in TOS was applied consistently, something that gave Fred Phillips (their makeup artist) fits. It was assumed in at least one short story by Ruth Berman (“Visit to a Weird Planet, Revisited”) that the inconsistencies were due to the Klingons belonging to “two races of the same species.”

IIRC, it was also originally assumed that the term “Klingon” referred to a warrior caste, rather than a distinct species.

It all comes back to tribbles.

My theory on Klingon history posits a long period during which the Empire actually consisted of two highly distinct subcultures in a state of subtle conflict. The noble/warrior caste (B faction), distinguished by their greater size and bony armor, were superficially dominant, heirs to a period when they subjugated the smaller subspecies (the S faction). However, the sciences, exploration, and contact with other races were dominated by the S, due largely to a long-term gambit that played out early in the Klingon space age.

The S faction, at a severe disadvantage in open combat, had developed a culture of treachery and (relative) subtlety in order to survive and advance their status. When they came in contact with other spacefaring species, they brought the same tools to bear, resulting in the Klingons we first encountered in TOS. The Bs–except for certain pragmatic individuals who were complicit with the S–were kept occupied with wars of conquest and remained satisfied so long as the S maintained the appearance of honorable dealings where the Bs could see them.

Unfortunately for the S, that illusion was shattered with the events on space station K-7. The exposure of their agent and the poison plot cost them a planet and a great deal of very public dishonor. The S, their position already weakened by the Organian Peace Treaty, were unable to suppress the details back home, and the Bs erupted in fury at being dishonored by such tactics. (The accidental tribble infestation probably didn’t help, either.) The S were too entrenched in critical positions to be ousted all at once, but the next several decades saw the Empire wracked by purges that sometimes broke out into civil war, and eventually the S were, if not wiped out entirely, at least broken and removed from all positions of power and contact with other races. By the time period of the movies, the S faction were no longer directly a factor, although the events of STVI show that at least one of the pragmatic B collaborators was still in a position of power.

Of course, having done away with most of the people who were actually holding the Empire together, the Bs found that they had to bend their traditions a bit in order to get the work done. Being a noble warrior is grand and all, but if no one had taken on the less “glorious” roles of lawyers, mediators, and so forth, the whole Empire would have gone smash.

We park our cars in the same garage! :cool:

Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Is a piece of work
When no hot humanoid greenskinned alien babes are within range of the transporter
He’ll do a Horta

Kor was military governor. And he also mentions “a long or tedious” list of rules, almost as if he is exasperated by them.

I always got that he was a military man, and he was annoyed with dealing with the bureaucracy, rather than it being a simple case of Kilingoins are only warriors…


Although more so in theory rather than in practice, the actualcharacter was kind of brooding.

I always took the “warrior” thing to be more cultural than actual. Sure, there are those that really seem to be warriors, but there are also warriors against criminals, warriors against ignorance, etc. It’s more a pretext to satisfy their honor system.

I also suspect there was a fundamentalist revival of the old ways between TOS and TNG.

“Today is a GOOD day to … clean the toilet!”

I am… waging mortal combat against those insidious germs. Kindly take your hands off of my sponge of mass destruction!