Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Species of the week #4 -Cardassians

I have been away for some time, and will be away for two weeks more with my free time sapped so I shall post next weeks species post now. I bring you the Cardassians, one of the most interesting species of the Star Trek universe I feel. What makes them so interesting is, despite them being a major part of the plot of the Deep Space Nine series and subsequent appearences in Voyager and various novels and comics there is relativley little known about them when compared to the vast amounts of knowledge regarding the Federation, Klingons, Romulans etc.

Cardassians hail from the planet Cardassia in the Alpha Quadrant, and have formed their own empire known as the 'Cardassian Union'. It is unsure how expansive this empire is or what other species are members of it, aside from the once captive Bajorans. Its is speculated that the size of the Cardassian union is roughly a third of the size of the Federation making it vast and likely including many planets and potentially as many species. While the Bajoran's are the only species documented as 'conquered' by the Cardassians their well equipped military and experienced espionage and intelligence division, the Obsidian Order, would hint at a past of war and conquering considering their imperialistic nature. At the same time, they have good relations with a number of neutral species though never had any formal relations with the other major powers of the quadrant save for non agression treaties along the neutral zone. With no solid relations it would suggest they are indeed a powerful group to be able to deter any possible attacks from the Klingon and Romulan empires. At the end of the Dominion war, while their military was drastically reduced it is believed they are still a major power and certainly have the capacity to rebuild.
The species themselves are humanoid in appearence with thick leathery skin and scales and have raised ridges along their eyelines and centre forhead . They are a cold blooded reptilian species favouring arid climates. They are a very proud and well educated race, largley as a result of the strict upbringing and education system within the Union, and while being more than capable warriors seem to also have a natural gift for using words as weapons. They are quite aristrocratic and seem to share a preference for upper class luxuries and goods again reflective of their proud nature. Their intelligence network is second to none in the alpha quadrant, rivalled only by the Tal Shiar of the Romulan empire. Their adeptness in this field is greatly enhanced by two main factors the species have, all Cardassians have a nearly or completley photographic memory and are naturally resistent to all but the strongest of mental, empathic and telepathic probes. Their memory allows them to adapt quickly to situations and pick out an opponent's flaws with little difficulty.
However, their memory has also been a great weakness on occassion. Relying too much on recalled information than trying something new a number of Cardassian captains have come out of a fray on the losing side, particularily when opposing humans who also adapt quickly though rely far less on memory and more on imagination. Another major weakness of the species is thier inability to cope in cold climates, as the low temperatures slow their metabolism.
The species has a great deal of untapped potential and unexplored regions of their 'Union' making them prime candidates for future novels and comics of the Star Trek expanded universe.

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