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Cardassians: Misc



Up to date as of February 02, 2010

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Series: Deep Space Nine
Story by: Gene Wolande & John Wright
Teleplay by: James Crocker
Directed by: Cliff Bole
Production information
Episode no.: 2x05
Production no.: 425
First aired: 24 October 1993
Date: 47177.2 (2370)

A Cardassian youth living with a Bajoran becomes a political pawn with a plot tied to the end of the Occupation.









Michael O'Brien • Molly O'Brien



BajorDeep Space 9Habitat ringInfirmaryOperations centerPromenadeQuark'sReplimatSchoolroomStation commander's officeTozhat Province
Referenced only 
CardassiaTerok Nor


Referenced only 


Bonaventure (model) • USS Rio Grande

Starship classes


States and Organizations

Bajoran MilitiaCardassian GuardCardassian UnionStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only 
Bajoran ResistanceCivilian Assembly


2362Bajoran languageBajoran religionCardassian language • Cardassian law • Coup d'étatDabo • Data clip • DNADocking pylonExarchFerengi languageInternational Space StationIsolinear circuitryOccupation of BajorPrefectReplicatorRokassa juiceTarkalean tea • War orphan • Zabu stew


Related Stories


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Previous episode:
Invasive Procedures
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Previous episode:
Invasive Procedures
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chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Chapter 6, Sections 8-10
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Dark Page

This article uses material from the "Cardassians" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

ST Expanded

Up to date as of February 07, 2010
(Redirected to Cardassian article)

The Star Trek Expanded Universe Database is for fanon and related content. See for the canon Star Trek wiki.

Cardassian Gul Meloneus
"Serve Cardassia and Cardassia will remember you. Betray Cardassia and Cardassia—through us—will have justice."
— Glinn Thouves Daro, Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

The Cardassian species originates from the world of Cardassia Prime in the Alpha Quadrant. Cardassian history can be described as an uncomfortable, often painful tension between great accomplishment and great brutality by the authoritarian state.

Given the crushing iron rule under which most Cardassians have lived for the past five hundred years, it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly what constitutes true Cardassian culture and what is the cult of the state. The years ahead may soon reveal the story--after the Dominion War ended in 2375, the Cardassian Union has begun some experiments, however halting, with democracy, and only time will tell how well accepted this is by the general populace. (A Stitch in Time)



Centuries before the Cardassian Union was founded, the Cardassians were oppressed by the Gorn Hegemony, but they successfully rebelled against their oppressors. (Star Trek: Unity One)


Cardassians are most recognizable for the hooked ridges encircling their eyes, and the inverted teardrop-shaped protrusion at the center of the forehead. In women, this area is deeply pigmented, as well as the third scale of the neck ridges. These neck ridges sweep down towards the shoulders at a dramatic, flaring angle that has been compared at times to the cables of an old-style Earth suspension bridge. The neck ridges may also be an erogenous zone. (DS9: "Profit and Loss")

The chest exhibits a pattern of ridges and scales not unlike those of the face. Though ethnic variations exist, Cardassians usually have at least a slight grey cast to the color of their skin with most actually having grey skin.

The conclusive existence of multiple Cardassian ethnicities is--thus far--unique to the Star Trek: Sigils and Unions continuity, which does not retcon the appearance of the Cardassians seen in TNG: "The Wounded". All other traits described herein are species-wide.

Cardassian hair is almost always straight, and typically black or dark brown, and turns grey or white with age. Men usually slick their hair back; women show a much greater variety in hairstyle. Eye color comes in similar varieties to Humans: brown, grey, and blue have all been seen in Cardassians.

Cardassians hail from a reptilio-humanoid stock (sometimes referred to as "therapsids" similar to Earth's pre-mammalians) containing a combination of reptilian and mammalian features: they are able to grow hair on their heads like numerous other humanoid species, with a minority of men also able to grow facial hair, but the top layer of their skin is scaled. The largest of the scales, such as those on the neck ridges, are referred to as "macroscales"--the much smaller scales, only visible to the naked eye from centimeters away, are called "microscales." These microscales are capable of tightening against the lower layers of the skin to retain heat when a Cardassian is exposed to cold conditions. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions: The Thirteenth Order)

Regarding the classification of Cardassians--it should be noted that according to Earth evolutionary biology, Class Mammalia is in fact a subset of Order Therapsidia. Technically humans and Cardassians should both be considered "therapsids," but when referring to the fauna of Cardassia Prime, the term refers to a specific combination of mammaliforme and reptilian characteristics observed in a number of species hailing from that world.

That said, Cardassians rely on their outer environment to maintain body temperature to a greater degree than more warm-blooded species. This gives them a greater tolerance for high temperatures than species such as Humans, but leaves them more vulnerable to the cold. Frostbite and hypothermia are concerns that must be taken very seriously by Cardassians working in cold environments.

Cardassian chemical tolerance, however, is quite high; Cardassians are able to metabolize toxins, including the intoxicants in kanar, to a degree that humans cannot.

Cardassian senses are largely comparable to most humanoids; however, their hearing is slightly weaker than Humans. (DS9: "Distant Voices")

As one of the races (along with, Humans, and Romulans) descended from the ancient humanoids that seeded the galaxy, they are also capable of interbreeding with a number of other species, to include Bajorans, Kazon, and possibly Humans.

Society and culture

The ancestors of the modern Cardassians--the First Hebitians, were once a highly religious people, with one of the most prominent religions being the Oralian Way. Following the disastrous climactic upheaval that triggered widespread famine and unrest, the militaristic Cardassian Union rose and set out to vanquish the old culture. Nonetheless, the memory of the Oralian Way would remain buried among the Cardassian people until the beginnings of a revival in the waning years of the dictatorship. (TNG: "Chain of Command", A Stitch in Time)

Modern Cardassian culture places its greatest emphasis upon two things: the family, and the state. Cardassians demonstrate great dedication to their children and reverence towards elders, with multiple generations often choosing to live under the same roof. However, orphans tend to be dismissed as having no place in Cardassian society, their care often seen as a waste of valuable resources.

The education of children is taken with the utmost seriousness, making the Cardassian education system one of the strongest in the quadrant. Critics, however, have leveled accusations against the intensity of this mental training, which begins at four years old. (DS9: "The Maquis, Part I")

Advanced age is regarded with great reverence; Cardassians generally do not seek to hide the physical signs of aging. Nor do they speak euphemistically of their age. In fact, it is quite acceptable, even polite in Cardassian society to refer to a person as "old." Conversely, terms seen as endearing by many other races (such as "young man" or "young lady") can come off as insulting.

Courtship is often marked by heated verbal sparring--something which can occasionally lead to unintended consequences when people of other races get in spats with Cardassians of the opposite sex. Great emphasis is also placed upon the woman's ability to bear many healthy children. (DS9: "Destiny")

Death and funeral rites are quite elaborate. A dying Cardassian ideally seeks to pass his or her secrets to a blood relative for use against his or her enemies in a ritual known as the shri-tal (Ilojan transliteration: çriytal). After death, Cardassians often regard it as something like sacrilege for other races to look upon the remains. Funerals themselves are elaborate, often very public affairs in the case of noted military officials. (DS9: "Duet", DS9: "Indiscretion", DS9: "Ties of Blood and Water")

One of the key forces that has shaped Cardassian culture is the hierarchical instinct, which is a source of strong family and social cohesion among the people. When abused, however, corrupt leaders are sometimes able to perpetrate abuses against the Cardassian people and other societies without serious questioning or rebellion for much longer than they might be able to get away with it in other societies, though. Assuming, however, that Cardassians are incapable of reaching their breaking point with unethical or immoral activities is a serious mistake. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--"Ties That Bind: Culture and Instinct in Cardassian Relations")

The state and military

Cardassians have a reputation for arrogance and xenophobia, fueled by the brazen atrocities committed by many in the Cardassian Guard such as Skrain Dukat and Madred. Thanks to the pervasive nature of these abuses--especially the Occupation of Bajor and the Setlik Massacre, it is commonly supposed that such behavior is universally approved by Cardassian culture. However, while many Cardassians do approve of or seek to downplay the atrocities, there have been several notable encounters with those even in the military, such as Tayben Berat and Tekeny Ghemor, who defy this stereotype and have formed bonds of friendship and even love with members of races traditionally regarded as the enemy. (DS9: "Second Skin", DS9: "Ties of Blood and Water", Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order)

Patriotism is perhaps the highest Cardassian value; nothing is more prized than loyalty to the state, and nothing more reviled than treason. The rights of the individual are generally subordinated to the desires of the state, and citizens and foreigners alike have no expectation of privacy or freedom. The state and its leadership can be said to have taken the place of gods in mainstream Cardassian society. Nowhere is this more evident than the workings of the Cardassian justice system, where before the trial even begins the verdict is always known, and is always "guilty." (DS9: "Tribunal")

The Cardassian Guard is known for a combination of ruthlessness and innovation that, despite somewhat inferior technology to other regional powers, makes them a feared opponent on the battlefield. The degree of ruthlessness varies, however: some commanders, like Dukat, Madred, and Darhe'el are known for outright atrocities. Others, like Macet and Berat take a more measured approach, even engaging in diplomacy. (TNG: "The Wounded")




Canon series

  • The Next Generation
  • Deep Space Nine
  • Voyager


Fan fiction

  • Dragon Ball Z vs. Star Trek: The Beginning of Infinity
  • Star Trek: Gibraltar
  • Star Trek: Phoenix-X
  • Star Trek: Sigils and Unions
  • Star Trek: Unity One
  • Star Trek: War Aftermath

External links

This article uses material from the "Cardassian" article on the ST Expanded wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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