Lately, besides studying and getting ready for the Christmas season, I’ve been re-watching some choice episodes of Deep Space Nine, my favourite Star Trek series. Why is it my favourite? For several reasons. First of all, DS9 was the first series to have a major story arch, and not consist of self-contained episodes. DS9, like all other Star Trek series has a large ensemble cast (a personal favourite of mine) and a variety of alien species and cultures.
For the next few weeks, I’ll be analyzing a different episode of Deep Space Nine, looking at the major themes and message. This week, we’re going to do a quick study of the major alien races of Deep Space Nine, to facilitate all future analyses.
The Ferengi are essentially a mockery of American capitalism. Aside from their trollish features, their entire moral compass is based on the idea of profit. Their world is governed by the “Rules of Acquisition” and they are used by Deep Space Nine to demonstrate the folly of devoting oneself solely to money. Quark is the main Ferengi character.
The Trill are a species who’re characterized by their ability to be “joined” meaning a trill can act as a host to a symbiont, a species who then imparts the host with the memories of all past hosts. While this relationship in itself is complicated, the Trill are used in DS9 to demonstrate an extremely competitive, bureaucratic society. In order to become a host, an extreme vetting process is required, and the series delves into the consequences of this intense competition. Very relatable for those doing college applications 😉
The Bajorans are a race who have just come out of a brutal military occupation. They are heavily defined by this, as they try to rebuild. They are also deeply religious, and DS9 uses them as a way to explore the relationship between faith and science as well as the dangers of faith intermingling with government. Kira Nerys is the main Bajoran character.
The Cardassians, while humanoid, have a very reptilian appearance. Like the romulans before them, they are characterized as untrustworthy and brutal. However, they are also used to exemplify the problems that xenophobia and blind loyalty to the state cause. The Cardassians were also the ones who occupied Bajor. They tend to regard the occupation as a positive, even as beneficial to the Bajorans.
The Klingons are one of the most well-known Start Trek species, having made their debut back in the original series. They have many of the characteristics of vikings, as well as a quasi obsession with honour, which is the value the prize above all else. Commander Worf is the main example of a Klingon in DS9.
The changelings are perhaps the most confusing of all the Deep Space Nine races. They can change their form at will and their base state is honey(?) They seem to share very few traits and values with humanoids, and are motivated by a need for control.