|Intelligent Lifeform Index|
|Four Letter Code||KLNG|
|Planet of Origin||Qo'noS|
|Encountered||Encountered by the USS Enterprise (TOS: Errand of Mercy). First encounter on Earth in Broken Bow, Oklahoma (ENT: Broken Bow)|
|Current Tech Level||N|
|List of Named Klingons|
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Klingons are a warrior people, originating on the planet Qo'noS. Proud, aggressive and with an almost religious regard for tradition and honour, Klingons have had a military orientation as far back as their historical records show, and their warlike attitude make them a power to be feared and respected on a galactic scale.
Anatomy & Physiology
In common with many races in this sector of the galaxy, Klingon DNA is compatible with that of Earth humans, and crossbreeds, although are rare, are not unknown. This is due to their common origin four billion years ago when a humanoid progenitor race seeded Class-M planets with their own DNA. The Klingon forehead is a major distinguishing feature of this race, consisting of a ridged, bony pattern. This pattern is different for every Klingon, and is as distinguishing as fingerprints. A common curse heard among them is: "Hab Sosil' Quch", which means, "Your mother has a smooth forehead." Also, a bony backbone resembling that of a dinosaur runs up and down their spine. Klingons cannot cry, even if they wanted to - they have no tear ducts. Klingons have enhanced senses. Three of them, acute taste, smell, and vision, are genetic, but the third, combat reflexes, is learned from childhood, and is therefore second nature to Klingons. They are larger than Terrans with a greater percentage of their body weight being muscle.
Klingons are a warrior race who hold personal and family honor above all else. A Klingon ritual is the R'uustai, or bonding ceremony, in which two individuals join families, becoming brothers and sisters. The Klingon Empire is composed of hundreds of family lines, commonly referred to as Houses. A family line may be considered as a Major or Minor House depending on its size, wealth and political influences within the Klingon Empire. A family line is not necessarily composed entirely of blood relations; if a line is open, it will occasionally adopt new members if they have skills, contacts or material goods that will bring honour, fame or fortune to the House. While the customs for ratification vary from line to line, generally any family member can sponsor another individual for adoption into his house line. If the newcomer is ambitious, the offering of handsome gifts and bribes when requesting adoption with a line could offer many benefits in return.
Klingons have a genetic predisposition to combat. They are immensely strong, and are able to sustain serious injury yet remain functional, thanks to their unique biological structure, which incorporates duplication of all essential organs to allow for damage to vital bodily functions. This is known as brak'lul in the Klingon language, and is what makes Klingons superb warriors in close-quarters combat. Klingons are proficient in the use of ritual hand-to-hand weapons and unarmed combat, and will actually prefer to fight using these methods over beam weapons. They frequently train in off-hand weapons training in order to surprise opponents. All Klingons will train in at least the bat'leth and the d'k tahg, and many frequently train in some of the other ceremonial Klingon weapons. Some also train in Mok'bara - the Klingon martial art form.
However, such hardiness is not matched by Klingon medical technology, advanced though they are in many other fields. This is primarily due to the fact that, in Klingon society, death in battle is the ultimate vindication of Klingon life, to be celebrated as the freeing of the warrior's spirit. Indeed, a wounded Klingon unable to face his enemies is expected to perform the ritual of Hegh'bat - literally, The Time to Die - a ritualised suicide akin to the rite of Seppuku practiced in the Japanese islands of Earth, until the 20th Century. Klingons also have a ritual bonding ceremony known as R'uustai in which participants can become brothers and sisters. In Klingon society, the death of a warrior is not mourned, especially a warrior who has died honourably, as in battle or the line of duty. In such cases, the survivors celebrate the freeing of the spirit. Although Klingons believe in an afterlife (traditionally Sto-Vo-Kor, or an alternative version called "The Black Fleet"), but there is no burial ceremony. They dispose the body in the most efficient means possible.
There is no equivelant to the devil in Klingon mythology, although a beast known as Fek'lhr is believed to guard the underworld of Gre'thor. According to myth, ancient Klingon warriors slew their gods a millenium ago. They were apparently more trouble than they were worth. Klingon tradition holds that "A Klingon is a man the day he can first hold a blade". Klingons believe that they have the instinctive ability to look an opponent in the eye and see the intent to kill. Klingon tradition holds that a Klingon who dies by their own hand will not travel across the River of Blood to enter Sto-Vo-Kor. If a Klingon warrior strikes another with the back of his hand, it is interpreted as a challenge to the death. Klingon warriors speak proudly to each other - they do not whisper or keep their distance. Standing far away and whispering are considered insults in Klingon society.
History & Politics
The Klingon Empire is rich in intrigue and political history and is centered around the planet Qo'noS (pronounced 'Kronos'), which is almost invariable referred to as the Klingon Homeworld. The Klingon Empire was founded approximately 1,500 years ago by the revered warrior Kahless the Unforgettable. He finally unites the Klingon people after killing his evil tyrant brother Morath with the Klingon sword of honour, known as the Bat'tellh.
The Homeworld of the Klingon Empire is Qo'noS, and First City is its large and sprawling capital. It was once an enormous fortress, and its architecture reflects a military sensibility in its ease of defence and Spartan decoration. First City's skyline is dominated by the immense structure known as the Great Hall - the ceremonial building which functions as a parliament, a supreme court and a public square for the Klingon people, and from which the Klingon High Council rules its interplanetary empire. Because of its unique function of providing a common meeting place within a warlike society, First City is designated neutral ground among the many political factions within the Empire. The Klingon definition of neutral conduct, however, does not appear to preclude acts of assault, assassination, and kidnapping, providing they are carried out discreetly.
Culture & Entertainment
A typical example of Klingon culture can be found in the Old Quarter of First City. One form of popular entertainment for its inhabitants is to frequent local nightclubs which, to non-Klingon sensibilities, appear to be sophisticated country clubs run by gangs of criminal thugs. Indeed, the level of recreational violence in First City nightclubs is so high that it is not unusual for criminal acts to occur in full view of the clientele, who are not in the lest distracted or disturbed. But this side of the Klingon personality should not detract from the Klingon sense of honour - especially in battle. Although an Empire in name, the Klingon Empire is actually ruled by the Klingon High Council with the leader of the council assuming authority through a complex Rite of Succession.
From the 21st Century to 2369, a period which includes the disastrous first contact between humans and Klingons in 2218, the High Council assumes complete rule in the Empire. However, in 2369, a clone of Kahless is produced by the monks of Boreth, using blood from a religious relic, and is hailed as the original Kahless. Although this claim is quickly disproved, the clone is recognised as rightful heir to the throne and installed as the ceremonial Emperor of the Klingon People.
By this time, the Klingon Empire is at peace with the Federation - a startling departure for a naturally warrior race. However, the circumstances that causes the end of hostilities are as much about economic realities as they are about peaceful intentions. In 2293 one of Homeworld's moons Praxis, is almost completely destroyed. At the time Praxis is a key energy-production facility, but overmining and insufficient safety precautions, exacerbated by a economy stretched to its limits by military expenditures, leads to a catastrophic explosion.
The ecological effects of this disaster threatens to deplete the oxygen in the Homeworld's atmosphere and because of the planets importance to the Klingon Empire, contemporary Starfleet estimates conclude that the Empire can last no longer than Qo'noS itself - about fifty years. These estimates match those make within the Klingon government. With the Klingon economy now in tatters, Gorkon, the leader of the High Council, takes the historic step to sue for peace. The resulting diplomatic initiatives undertaken in light of this threat lead to a decades-long peace between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingons, and change the balance of political power in the Galaxy.