Star Trek: The Other Klingon Classes

Posted: 2023-01-13
Word Count: 5005
Tags: fanfic star-trek tv

Table of Contents

You didn’t believe all Klingons were soldiers? […] We were a great society, not so long ago, when honor was earned through integrity and acts of true courage, not senseless bloodshed.

Advocate Kolos to Captain Archer, 2152 (ENT 2x19)

For some reason my brain drifts to Star Trek fanfic.

One originally minor character in an ever-expanding story is a Klingon doctor now working for Starfleet. Therefore, I felt compelled to establish not only her backstory but her family history and ultimately the history of Klingons outside the warrior class, by birth and by choice.

Note that like my “Gorn Synthesis” this is omega canon, i.e. wholly fan-fiction. I’ll try to keep it consistent with “alpha canon”, i.e. what we’ve seen on screen, but as I’m leaning heavily on the fan site Memory Alpha1 either past or future canon will no doubt invalidate it. (But then canon isn’t real, right? Right?)


Most historians divide Klingon society into these classes:

  1. The Warrior Class
  2. The Scholar Class
  3. The Merchant Class
  4. The Worker Class
  5. The Underclass

Some add a sixth Imperial Class for the Imperial Family during the First Empire. Arguably one could also add a Scientist Class as members of the Warrior and Scholar classes mingled, mostly to develop ships and weapons.

Unlike the social classes of Tokugawa Japan or medieval Europe, Klingons can and did move between classes through apprenticeships, adoption, marriage, or sheer determination to master a new profession. They’re treated as distinct classes only because of Klingon society’s strong notions of “family” and “house” and because families in each class share similar perspectives on honor and distinctive styles of dress.

Up until the 21st century many Great Houses specialized not in war but in essential (and lucrative) professions like medicine, engineering, trade, and politics.

Warriors

The Klingons outsiders see almost exclusively belong to the Warrior Class.2 As they have been extensively covered in multiple media, this document will defer to those sources.

Warrior Honor

Much has been written and holocammed3 on a Warrior’s code of honor, but at its most basic Warriors fight to defend their House and the Empire. To represent their committment, warriors wear military uniforms or ceremonial armor4, and carry weapons at all times, even if only a knife.

In the past few centuries the other classes and the rest of the Beta Quadrant have also seen the dark side of Warrior Honor. Warriors will lie, cheat, and steal requisition to defend the Empire … or whenever it’s convenient. They settle arguments not with reasoned discussion but with blades, or disruptors, or treachery. Too often generals and even Chancellors have conflated their own pride and bloodlust with the good of the Empire.

The Klingon Support Fleet

One little-seen segment of the Klingon Imperial Fleet is the Support Fleet. When the Warrior Class first seized power, they insisted on complete control of all space travel: interstellar, interplanetary, even ground to orbit. Most young warriors chafed at such milk runs, so the Imperial Fleet gradually handed off such duties to the Merchant and Worker classes, supervised by one or more Warriors. The military gradually lifted interstellar flight restrictions in the 24th century, allowing Merchant vessels to handle shipping and commerce while the “rebranded” Klingon Defense Force defended the Empire.

The Support Fleet, now flying ships from before the First Federation War, ferries supplies and personnel to warships outside the Empire, recovers disabled ships and their surviving crew, and carries out whatever other missions the Defense Force does not deign to undertake. In some ways the Support Fleet is comparable to Federation support ships, notably the California class.

Scholars

The Scholar Class included advocates5, legal scholars, scientists, historians, poets, philosophers, chroniclers, civil servants, social organizers, political leaders, and virtually any other artistic, scientific, technical, or social specialty found in other humanoid societies.

Scholar Honor

Like all Klingons scholars gained honor by using their talents to serve their community, their House or family, and their Empire. Unlike other classes, their greatest strength lay in their integrity and the power of ideals made real. Those who surrendered their integrity for coin or status and those who lost either their idealism or realism betrayed their class, the principles of their family, and often the Empire.

To a Scholar the greatest challenge is the pursuit of Truth. As a great Klingon general once observed, however, the first casualty of war is the Truth. Inevitably the Warriors and Scholars would clash.6

In better times scholars’ mode of dress reflected their varied and specialized roles: profession-specific traditional robes, lab coats (copied from Federation scientists), utility jumpsuits (copied from Federation technicians and engineers), finely-made variations on Merchant Class or Worker Class clothes, exact copies of Merchant or Worker Class clothes (in an attempt to blend in), even reproductions of historical Earth or Vulcan clothes of varying accuracy to literally walk in the shoes of intellectual forebears.

Once the Warrior Class took over, though, the Scholar Class’s power, their pretensions, and especially their admiration for things not Klingon undermined Warrior power and ideology. Surviving and re-emerging Scholar Class families adopt Merchant or Worker Class dress, more for camouflage than fashion. In the late 24th century, however, utilitarian Federation-style accessories like lab coats or jump suits have made a comeback.

Erasure of the Scholar Class

The military takeover of Klingon society in the early 22nd century decimated the ranks of Scholars more than any other class. Many youths abandoned a life of books and academies for the life of a warrior. Some saw how the wind was blowing, and recast their family specialties as military pursuits: starship engineers built warships, particle physicists developed deadlier weapons, doctors and biologists became field medics, and so forth. Those who proved less useful to the military – or potential threats to their power – either lost status or disappeared entirely.

Scattered records, family oral histories, and a few Great Houses that simply cease to exist imply that those who would not bend to the Warriors’ will were simply slain. Since that time, only Warrior Class families have “Great Houses”. Other classes have “families”.

The “Brain Drain”

The erasure of the Scholar Class, and restrictions on others outside the military, caused a gradual decline in all arts and sciences.

Arts

The military dictatorship restricted the forms and content of all art. Sculptures, paintings, and other graphical arts could only depict (approved) history or the heroic feats of past and present warriors. Operas could only depict similar themes, and only in the “classic” style. The only poems permitted were sagas about myth and (approved) history; the only prose works about the same history or “realistic” works meant to “enlighten the peasantry”, i.e. propaganda. The High Council banned all holovids7 except for martial training sims, and only when the real thing wasn’t available; all other holovids were “decadent” fantasy. All Klingons knew communications were monitored to ensure not only military security but artistic “purity”.

History

The official history of the Klingon Empire glorified warriors, endorsed classic warrior myths as official history, and downplayed or dismissed other classes’ contributions to the Empire. The Empire’s official historians dismissed non-warrior traditions as superstition, and formerly reputable sources as fiction. “Warts and all” history and record-keeping gave way to chronicles exalting the virtues of current leaders while concealing their flaws … unless they lost favor, in which case no calumny was too low.

Law

The military regime swept aside all laws and precedents that redressed the imbalance of power between the military and civilians. Legal representation, once a specialty of the Scholar Class, became the exclusive privilege of the Warrior Class, arguing solely based on ancient tribal traditions and military regulations. All trials became court martials before a military officer, even if the accused and plaintiff were both civilians. In effect, the law was whatever the military said it was.

Medicine

Arguably medicine stagnated the most under the new regime. First, Klingons are a remarkably hardy people: their immune systems kill most pathogens, their redundant organs mitigate most injuries, and they heal nearly all physical trauma eventually. Secondly, soldiers regarded medical assistance as admitting weakness; if wounded they’d prefer to bandage it themselves and keep going. Third, in the Warrior Class those too wounded or sick to fight would rather end their lives honorably than live a lifetime of weakness.

Thus medical officers had only basic first aid training, often riddled with errors, and soldiers preferred pseudoscientific “traditional” remedies to incompetent “scientific” treatment. True doctors with real medical training feared being drafted into the military and serving on some Great House’s death trap cruiser. Some stopped practicing entirely, others hid in small communities where they hoped to eke out a living without being found. Medicine outside the military declined as well, as educated doctors disappeared and “medical technicians” or “medtechs”8 trained in trade schools filled the gap.

Sciences

Pure scientific research virtually disappeared. The military co-opted all science and technology for weapons and warships, and funding for anything without immediate applications dried up. Like medical doctors, research scientists either gave up entirely or preserved their knowledge for a future where it could be useful again.

The Scholar Resurgence

The late 23rd and 24th centuries saw sporadic and gradual reversals of these trends.

Art

Since the 22nd century Klingon authorities have attempted to stamp out so-called “Peasant Art”: poems, prose, artwork, or rarely holo-entertainment describing the lives of non-military Klingons, admiring nature, and extolling non-martial values. Most such works passed from one person to another, copied with primitive technology or even by hand. Political officers seized and destroyed tons of such material wherever they found it, yet Klingons kept making and circulating it. Commanders issued many edicts against soldiers indulging in such things … which indicates that soldiers did so anyway, despite or perhaps because of such warnings.

In the 24th century as the military eased communications and travel restrictions, “Peasant Art” appeared in hidden servers on the comm-net and at stalls in town bazaars. Chancellor K’mpec issued an order not to seize such materials “unless they spread falsehoods or impugned the honor of brave warriors”. Some military police interpreted the order broadly, but in other areas “Peasant Art” emerged from the shadows. Today physical and virtual shops offer “Peasant Art” and translations of foreign works alongside “approved” sagas, operas, and chronicles.

History

During times of good relations with the Federation, outside historians have explored old archives and visited planets beyond the usual military strongholds. Federation historians have slowly assembled an alternative narrative of Klingon history at odds with the official warrior-centric version. This “People’s History” as some have termed it gives more credit to the other social classes and even enslaved workers for creating and stabilizing the Empire. More controversally it highlights the Purge of Scholars at the hands of the Warrior Class. Official sources repudiate this version, but some schools outside the Warrior Class teach this evolving narrative in parallel with “approved” history.

Law

Shortly before the Praxis disaster Gorkon had drafted a set of legal reforms which would have ended slavery in the Empire, established a “resident alien” status for non-Klingons, given non-military Klingons legal recourse against the military, and, ironically for James T. Kirk and Leonard McCoy, set strict standards for evidence, testimony, and proof of guilt. He died before he could introduce these reforms to the High Council, whom he anticipated would reject them out of hand.

Chancellor Azetbur attempted to implement her father’s reforms, but other concerns dominated her reign: purging conspirators in her father’s assassination, struggling against the “old guard” of the Klingon High Council, cleaning up the fallout of Praxis on Qo’noS9, and managing the Empire’s new Federation alliance and increasingly strained relations with the Romulan Star Empire. Chancellor K’mpec introduced some of these measures during his rule, but Chancellor Gowron rolled them back during the Second Federation War. Chancellor Martok introduced them a third time, where his High Council argued only about details and implementation.

Medicine

Years before his assassination in 2293, Chancellor Gorkon established the Imperial School of Medicine. For nearly a century a secretive group of medical scholars preserved the knowledge of disbanded medical houses and collected what they could about medical practice on Federation, Romulan, and unaligned worlds. Gorkon, learning of this cabal, offered them a permanent headquarters on the planet Kori’dyr and immunity from information control laws if they agreed to make their knowledge public and open their doors to students.

The Imperial School of Medicine is the finest (some might say only) medical school in the Empire. Tuition is free but necessary materials cost money. Prospective students compete to get in and to stay in, as their grueling class schedules and fiendishly difficult exams weed out about half of each class each year. It’s no wonder that most Klingons interested in medicine prefer to learn in the military or at medical technology trade schools.

The 2373 case of Lurlenn Qegh highlighted the dire state of medicine in the Empire, despite the Imperial School of Medicine. Chancellor Martok attempted to mandate that all military medics attend ISM classes, but its demanding curruculum proved too much for most. In the end the ISM founded “associate schools” in principle similar to the “medical trade schools” they had previously disdained, but held to a strict standard of scientific accuracy and best practices.

Dr. Qegh developed some of the curruculum for these schools, but her 2388 defection to the Federation underscored the vast difference between medicine in the Federation and the Empire.

Science

The gradual easing of travel and communication restrictions allowed scientific knowledge from the Federation and other sources. Merchant families, first to bring back much of this knowlege, exploited it to create new products and enhance existing ones. Eventually they and the well-hidden scholarly families turned to pure research, not only for its own sake but to catch up to and one day exceed other powers in non-martial technology.

These new scholars ran into the same problems as the old ones: members of the Warrior Class either forcing them to focus on military applications or banning other technologies like genetics10 as obscene and un-Klingon. Those that could adopted the same solution as the Imperial School of Medicine: relocate to a more tolerant jurisdiction, find a wealthy patron – sometimes the ISM itself – and found an academy.

Merchants

The Merchant Class today includes not only traditional traders and shopkeepers but macroeconomists, data analysts, information systems specialists, contract lawyers, salespeople, middle managers, investigators, and private security guards.

When the Klingon High Council allowed non-military personnel to operate (leased) spaceships and starships in the late 23rd century, the Merchant Class expanded to include civilian pilots, technicians, engineers, medics, and other specialties formerly found only in the Warrior Class.

Merchant Honor

Many accuse merchants of measuring their honor not in great deeds or service to the Empire and Klingonkind but in darseks, which has a grain of truth. Merchants, however, believe money is the lifeblood of the Empire. Money ensures the makers of goods and renderers of services receive compensation for their labor. Money reminds the Empire and its military that its people require rewards for their loyal service. Money flows to the rich, notably the Merchant Class, only so they can channel it to necessary services and worthy investments; the profit they keep rewards them for taking risks. Like a Klingon body without blood flow, an Empire without money will die. (How the Federation functions simply baffles them.)

Just as Warriors have their uniforms, so do Merchants: a colored shirt, dark-colored breeches, leather boots, and especially a neutral-colored11 quilted cloth or leather sleeveless coat with pockets. Tasteful embroidery on the shirt and coat advertises a merchant’s prosperity, although nothing too ostentatious: they’re not Ferengi. Merchant women often wear a patterned kaftan instead of a coat. Merchant pilots, however, prefer streamlined flight suits or vacuum suits, again to advertise their ability.

Warriors have their weapons, and so do merchants: loose darseks to tip or bribe servants, bank chips for more substantial transfers, personal communicators, PADDs and mini-PADDs, product samples, and for investigators an assortment of spy gear. Private security and merchants in unsafe areas may also carry literal weapons. Most of their gear fits in a coat or under a kaftan, but in rare instances – like payments in gold-pressed latinum – merchants may carry briefcases.

Merchants and the Economy

Merchants have always stood apart from the other Klingon classes. In earlier eras most Klingons considered the Merchant Class as nomads without a true home, only slightly more respectable than the Underclass. Merchants tell a different tale: the first Klingons to leave Qo’noS were not warriors seeking conquest but merchants seeking new goods and new economic opportunities. They bring new goods and new wealth to the Empire, but also strange ways.

Three peculiarities of the Klingon financial system limit economic growth but keep the Klingon economy stable. First, all large transactions go through the Klingon Central Bank, which despite the name is actually a system of distributed and redundant databases in which every Klingon (and some non-Klingons) have at least one account. Accounts are supposed to be confidential, but the High Council can and has compelled the Bank to divulge the owner of an account. The Bank limits and monitors withdrawals in cash: metal tokens with unique and cryptographically authenticatable identifiers to defeat counterfeiting and to track money through the “black market”. Anyone who wants to hide large quantities of wealth must get paid in gold-pressed latinum and place it in a secure vault.

Second, Klingon lenders do not charge interest, let alone compound interest. In fact a Klingon lender never truly lends money. A lender buys one or more assets on behalf of the borrower, which the borrower may legally use as they wish as long as the borrower makes regular payments. The sum of all payments almost12 always exceeds the asset’s actual cost, so that the lender may profit. If the borrower fails to make payments – details vary by lender – the contract is void and the borrower reposseses the item.13

Third, Klingons have no concept of corporations or limited liability. Klingon law assumes all businesses are family businesses, and the family will contribute all its assets has to its success. If a family cannot pay its debts, the family is dissolved and its remaining assets sold. Responsible creditors will renegotiate the family’s debt and take material assets as partial payment. Predatory creditors will demand either immediate repayment or a valuable asset, like marriage to a family member.

Merchant Ships

Star-travelling merchants lease ships from the Imperial Merchant Fleet, a mismatched flotilla of aging ships from before the First Federation War. After protests from several influential merchant families, the High Council allowed merchants to refit salvaged freighters and build wholly new ones, as long as they registered each ship with the Imperial Merchant Fleet.

The Klingon Defense Force reserves the right to commandeer any ship in times of war. In practice most merchant ships lack the speed and weapons to serve as effective warships. Older ships are simply obsolete, while most private fleets customize refits and new ships to serve as slow but moderately armed freighters and transports, nimble and heavily armed escorts, or swift but lightly armed couriers.

Klingon Free Traders’ Guild

Formed in 2386 as a rescue flotilla before the destruction of Romulus, the Klingon Free Traders’ Guild exploited ambiguity in Klingon law to register as a “merchant family”. This group of unrelated strangers assigned family roles to their members: “patriarch” (president / CEO), “matriarch” (vice president / COO / CFO), “heirs” (senior management), “bondsmen” (middle management), and “servants” (employees).

In the following decade the Guild expanded to provide a counterbalance to the Warrior Class monopoly on starship crew training and experience. Most commercial pilots in the Empire either belong to the Guild or trained under Guild instructors. It has acquired several influential sponsors among the Merchant and Worker Classes, notably the Qegh Conglomerate.

Workers

Somebody in the Empire has to ferment bloodwine, raise gagh, grow food, construct buildings, assemble disruptors, build ships, and all the other things a functioning society requires. Several past rebellions have proven that the Warrior Class can’t leave such things solely up to slaves. Thus the Worker Class, historically the most populous class in the Empire, persisted through revolutions, an influx of enslaved prisoners of war, and at last the prosperity of the mid- to late-24th century.

Worker Honor

Workers serve the Empire and gain (some) honor for their family by growing things, making things, and doing things for others. Without the basic necessities of life Workers harvest, and the many useful tools, structures, utensils, and weapons they build, Warriors, Merchants, and Scholars would have nothing.

Workers dress for comfort and sustainable exertion throughout the day. Typical laborers planetside wear sleeveless tunics and calf-length breeches in hot climates, and warmer breeches and tunics, coats optional, in cold climates. Reflecting their connection to the land and nature, colors tend to be earth tones or muted blues and reds; a cheap saffron-like dye adds a bit of color. Shoes are either sandals or leather boots, again depending on weather.

Wealthier Worker Class wear similar clothes but with more embroidery, decoration, and silver or gold thread.

Those who work in hazardous conditions wear the necessary protective gear, or a close-fitting, streamlined shirt and trousers that fits under their space suit, hazmat suit, diving suit, etc.

Working Life

While most workers perform manual unskilled or semi-skilled labor, for the most part they are not uneducated. Each family ensures their children learn to read and write, perform arithmetic, and learn basic facts about the Empire and the larger galaxy. Small villages leave such things up to parents and government holovids, but larger and more affluent Worker Class families supplement home education with community-funded primary schools, apprenticeships, and trade schools.

Some Worker Class families have gained wealth and prestige comparable to the Merchant Class through generations of hard work, wise investments, and acquiring the means of production: farms, factories, vehicles. Despite having scores of other Workers (and slaves) doing their labor, these families rely on their Worker Class roots to smooth over difficulties with their laborers. Usually it works.

While the Warrior Class serves as police on Klingon worlds, most Workers Class prefer to police their own without involving Warriors. This has less to do with class solidarity and more to do with the soldiers acting as police: young cadets with more fighting spirit than sense, old veterans being put out to pasture, and brutes who can’t tell the difference between Working Class citizens, slaves, and enemy guerillas.

Underclass

Below even the Worker Class is the Underclass: conquered peoples and in some eras all non-Klingons within the Empire regardless of status.

Underclass Honor

In a specifically Klingon Empire, its slaves and second-class citizens must adopt Klingon ways or starve (or worse). Even its supposedly honored “guests” must learn how not to offend or find their status reversed in an instant.

Most members of the Underclass dress like members of the Worker Class as that’s how they survive. Those who can dress like powerful visiting dignitaries to discourage casual abuse from warriors. The rest wear rags from their old life that they can’t afford to replace.

“Aliens”

At one time, Klingons assumed any non-Klingon in the Empire was either a slave, an invader, or (rarely) the guest of some higher-ranking Klingon. Until the late 24th century Klingons had no notion of “naturalized citizen”. Either a being was Klingon and a citizen of the Empire, or one was not Klingon and thus at risk of imprisoment or expulsion for any crime (or none).

Within the Empire are not only non-Klingons taken as slaves and their descendants, but a few species seen only in Klingon space, as their worlds were among the first the Klingons conquered.

Atapi

Atapi (or as Klingons call them, “Yellow Ones”) have bright yellow skin, no hair, and ears whose points slant straight back. Their hardiness and extremely agreeable nature made them excellent slaves, so nearly every industry requiring cheap labor has some Atapi.

Even the Atapi have limits, however, and those who exceed them first find their Atapi will do exactly as they’re told, no more and no less. If mistreatment continues, acts of sabotage start small but escalate, ultimately ending in a full work stoppage by all Atapi on the property.14 Many Klingon overseers died trying to force Atapi back to work at this point, as the seemingly passive slaves suddenly become a vicious and shockingly coordinated army with no regard for their own lives.

Worker Class Klingons learned from prior mistakes, however. Atapi become fiercely loyal to those who treat them well, ane even after the end of slavery most Atapi elected to work for their former masters.

Grolik

Grolik come from a world with twice standard gravity. Grolik have bluish-gray skin and compact but heavy bodies. Their heads have wide-set eyes, ears flat against their skull, a flattened nose, and a mouth with nearly immobile lips. They walk on all fours like Earth gorillas, except that a round pad covers their knuckles when they curl their fingers. While “standing” only about a meter tall, their broad shoulders and sturdy limbs can carry loads far heavier than their size would indicate, especially under normal gravity.

Many centuries ago, a Klingon general thought to use them as infantry, only to discover their poor reaction times and slow, careful movements made them only suitable for disruptor fodder. The Merchant Class found a role for them in factories and in shipyards which requires slow, careful, but meticulous work.

Grolik prefer to have children on their homeworld, as children born and raised on worlds with less gravity never develop their parents' prodigious strength and endurance.

Malk’yri

Malk’yri live on Malk’sh, a seemingly lifeless world only a dozen light-years from Qo’noS. At some point in Klingon history the Empire tried to conquer Malk’sh. The war ended at what can optimistically called a Pyrrhic victory: whatever resources Malk’sh contained became dust and ash, its cities melted into glass craters, its people supposedly exterminated. Yet generations of warriors have kept watch over Malk’sh without knowing why.

In 2379 Outpost 44, a centuries-old monstrosity orbiting Malk’sh, broadcast a message from Chancellor Martok offering peace. Surprisingly they received an answer three days later, in slightly archaic Klingon, arranging a meeting with representatives of the Klingon “Emperor” in two weeks time. Martok sent three of his best negotiators and asked the Federation to send a moderator, which they did. The four envoys waited in an underground chamber until four humanoid figures emerged from the darkness; all four Malk’yri were tall and wiry, clad in ragged gray cloaks or robes, with what appeared to be dark purple skin and huge black eyes. (The Federation moderator insists the “skin” was a kind of bodysuit under the gray rags, and the “eyes” were some kind of goggles.)

Accounts of what happened next vary, but when the envoys stumbled back onto the surface one of the Klingons was dead underground, and the other died of his wounds shortly after the team beamed up. A second message asked that the Federation send negotiators without the Klingons. The Chancellor has yet to respond.


  1. Memory Alpha links will mark names and events which are in canon; a lack of links usually implies something that I invented … or my wiki-fu is weak. ↩︎

  2. Memory Alpha uses the term “warrior caste”, but Kolos in the clip linked at the top clearly says “class”. Castes implies something hereditary and unchangeable, whereas for example Antaak switched from war to science (and was disowned). ↩︎

  3. Camera that takes holographic images. 22nd century models looked much like their 21st century 2D forebears; by the 24th century reporters used small drones programmed to find the best angles. ↩︎

  4. Warrior armor may turn aside a badly-placed blade, but it will not stop a disruptor bolt or even a stun phaser. ↩︎

  5. Like English barristers, advocates argue cases in court. ↩︎

  6. In the First Empire the Emperor wanted people to tell them the truth, albeit in private, so he kept Scholars and Warriors in balance. ↩︎

  7. Sequential or interactive entertainment on a holoscreen or later holoprojector, similar to 2D “videos” and “video games”. Not to be confused with fully immersive holosims on a holodeck, although in the 23rd and early 24th centuries the same restrictions applied to that medium as well. ↩︎

  8. While doctors spend the better part of a decade learning biology, physiology, pharmacology, surgery, and other arts and sciences, “medtechs” train two to four years on how to operate medical devices and provide first aid. Medtechs are the equivalent of early 21st century EMTs, diagnostic technicians, and nurse practitioners. ↩︎

  9. Even at the dawn of the 25th century Qo’noS has less than a tenth of its population before Praxis. It remains the center of government and Klingons’ spiritual home, but most Klingons who evacuated to other worlds in the Empire stayed there. ↩︎

  10. In 2154 a retrovirus meant to augment Klingon warriors caused Klingon subjects to lose their cranial ridges, then mutated into an airborne plague. While scientists halted the plague, the High Council banned all genetic experiments on Klingons. Some military authorities extended this ban to all genetics research and even standard genetic therapies. ↩︎

  11. To avoid any resemblance to the 23rd century Klingon Imperial Fleet uniform, merchants never wear gold-colored coats or black shirts. This tradition has carried into the early 25th century. ↩︎

  12. A lender may forego profit as a favor to a relative, very close friend, or prospective business partner, or because they are receiving some other kind of non-monetary benefit best left to the imagination. ↩︎

  13. Yes, this is based on the Islamic approach to lending. ↩︎

  14. Atapi have racial telempathy: they can feel how others near them feel. This creates a network effect: the feelings of one Atapi spread to nearby Atapi, which spread to Atapi they’re near, and so on. It also spreads to family members regardless of distance, so Klingon overseers learned early on to keep Atapi siblings and children together lest stoppages spread across a planet. ↩︎