The Cardassians were a quasi-reptilian humanoid species native to Cardassia in the Alpha Quadrant. The name means in their native language "People of Discipline". (ST - New Worlds, New Civilizations short story: "The Glories of the Hebitians")
They were a generally militaristic race. The Cardassian state, the Cardassian Union once occupied Bajor and later allied themselves with the Dominion before a crushing defeat that devastated their civilization. The democratic Reunion Project political group arose to power during the reconstruction process, with the authoritarian Directorate deciding for the time to play a part in the political process as an opposition party. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
The Cardassian appear to have evolved from a creature with both reptilian and mammalian traits. Standing roughly 1.8 meters tall, Cardassians tend to possess gray or grayish-green skin tones with shiny, black hair. Members of the race are barrel-chested and slightly heavier than Humans, a result of Cardassia's thicker atmosphere and slightly higher gravity. Elongated vertebrae covered in scaly plate sections extend along their necks. Segmented brow ridges extend down from the forehead and circle the eyes, giving them a slightly "hooded" look reminiscent of a Terran cobra. An unsegmented ridge known as chufa extends upward from the tip of the nose to a spoon-shaped protrusion in the center of the forehead. Their thick skins and tough bodies allow Cardassians to tolerate pain better than most other species which meant that they possessed a higher pain threshold. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
The head and torso has an array of prominent ridges which are of cartilage construction and evolved as a defense against predatory attack. These ridges grow more prominent as young Cardassians develop through adolescence. Cardassians are a species which have many features common to both mammals and reptiles, their skin is only scaled around their ridges and females have breasts or breast like protrusions on their chests. Cardassians have straight hair that varies in color from jet black to the less common dark brown. Males typically slick their hair back, while the females have more varying hairstyles. Unbetrothed Cardassian females have a cosmetic blue coloration in the dip of skin between ridges on their foreheads. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time, et al.)
The Cardassians possessed a unique enzyme which made them immune to infestation by the Bluegill parasites. However, this did not prove to be a method of making other species immune from possession as the enzyme had the side effect of dissolving the membranes present within other species bodies. As such, only the Cardassian race has proven to be immune to the Parasites infection. (DS9 novel: Unity)
It was revealed in the 24th century that the Cardassians were genetically similar to an advanced alien race known as the Varahat with the two being cousin species. (DS9 comic: "Genesis Denied, Part II")
- Calebrian plague
- Kalla-Nohra Syndrome
- Pottrik Syndrome
- Rudellian plague
- Tzeka fever
- Viper's eye
- Sethik's disease
- Yarim Fel Syndrome
The early Hebitian people were deeply religious but the ages of hardship on Cardassia would shift the Cardassian people to more militaristic and expansionist views in order to survive. As such, the concept of religious beliefs were replaced with a patriotic duty in the state itself which results in many Cardassians being very loyal to their government which is seen as being omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent. (DS9 episodes: "The Wire", "Second Skin")
According to Cardassian beliefs, their race was raised to sentience from the swamps of Cardassia by their creators who watched over Ailam and Neeron; the first Cardassians. The Cardassians were gifted with both sentience and a soul by the creators who gave the race the umbilicus which marked their foreheads. (DS9 - Millennium novel: Inferno) Post-Oralian religion practiced the worship of the helmeted Galor, a type of demonic deity that symbolized power. This mythological, warrior being also inspired Cardassia Prime to launch the vessel class with the same name. Its shape, depicted in the hull form, with the insignia carrying the likeness, as well. (DS9 omnibus: Millennium)
Religion was a rare thing with the Cardassian government with suppression of certain groups such as the Oralian Way. After First contact with the Bajoran race, the Oralian Way was exterminated though fragments of it continued to exist secretly in their society. (DS9 novels: Day of the Vipers, Night of the Wolves)
Following the collapse of the Cardassian Union in 2376, such suppression began to be lifted and the Oralian way began to grow in popularity. The Mogrund was a creature in Cardassian mythology. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
A Cardassian's family is considered one of their greatest assets, with two or three generations living within the same household. Though this is an admirable trait, the Cardassians see orphans as outcasts and are often forgotten. (DS9 episode: "Cardassians")
This meant that females were considered too important among their people to be allowed within the military due to the capability of carrying young. Marriage ceremonies were known as Enjoinments, which typically required the woman to return to relative safety while the male continued to serve. As such, females that had lost the ability to give birth were considered outcasts among their people. In such circumstances, the enjoyment ceremony was typically canceled as part of tradition. When faced with such a fate, certain Cardassian women were known to have taken their own lives rather then continue such an existence though this was not always the case. (TLE - Terok Nor novel: Night of the Wolves)
- This is seemingly contradicted by the presence of female military officers such as Malyn Ocett in Star Trek TNG; however Night of the Wolves states that Gul Ocett joined the military in part due to her infertility.
Advanced age is a sign of great dignity. Cardassians respect authority and age, usually equating the two. A junior will attach himself to an up-and-coming superior or already successful elder, assisting his chosen mentor in any number of tasks intended to further their career, and presumably furthering his own, as well. This can be dangerous, however, should the mentor's fortunes turn, as the apprentice makes a convenient patsy on which to blame everything.
The older a Cardassian, the more feared he is because he is likely to know many secrets and maintains an extensive, and hidden, web of connections. When a Cardassian dies, he leaves his secrets to his relatives so they can gain the benefit of his knowledge, use the information to preserve the family's fortunes, and exact revenge on his rivals. Family is very important to Cardassians, with several generations living under one roof. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Cardassians were noted for their love of trickery and pranks that they played on both enemies as well as allies. They often did such jokes in order to gloat upon the misfortunes of others. (DS9 novel: Vengeance)
Within Cardassian society, men and women are treated equally and both are allowed to participate within the military. However, only men were drafted into service while women were given the optional choice to enter the military or not. Women often opted to enter the field of science working for the Cardassian Science Ministry. (TNG episode: "Journey's End"; DS9 episode: "Destiny")
A typical Cardassian is xenophobic, arrogant and paranoid. They believe theirs is the greatest civilization in the universe; other, lesser species are intent on preventing Cardassia from taking its rightful place as the most powerful empire in the quadrant. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)
Certain Cardassians tended to think their species were superior to other races. This was particularly the case with the Bajorans with many Cardassians claiming that they were victims to terrorist attacks while they were attempting to "uplight" the Bajoran people. This went as far as certain Cardassians claiming that the Bajoran race was genetically inferior, with studies claiming that their brains were not very advanced. (DS9 - Millennium novel: The Fall of Terok Nor)
The Cardassians valued efficiency, Cardassian mines were almost always on class M worlds, as the expense of excavating in other non-native environments was not cost effective. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky)
- "Anger is a tool. Use it; do not let it use you." quoted by Gul Verden. (TNG novel: Debtors' Planet)
- "The truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination." quoted by Garak (DS9 episode: "Improbable Cause"
Foods and drinkEdit
- See Cardassian cuisine.
- See main article: Cardassian history.
The Cardassians had entered space relatively near to future Federation space as early as the 2150s. At least one Cardassian resided on Vulcan as early as the 2240s; the Starfleet admiralty was secretly aware of the existence of the Cardassian Union in the mid-2260s, due to hostile encounters with long-range Federation scouts. As far back as the 2280s, the Federation had settled colony worlds close to the Cardassian border (such as the Iadara Colony), which created a number of political tensions on both sides, and resulted in the UFP colonists of that region growing tough, resourceful, and not easily rattled. (ENT episodes: "Dead Stop", "Observer Effect"; VAN novel: Storming Heaven; TOS novel: Unspoken Truth; DS9 episode: "Destiny")
Nevertheless, by the early 24th century, the Cardassians were still largely an unknown entity when initial moves were made to form diplomatic relations with the species. Within the next 20 years of the opening of official diplomacy, peace talks would fail, leading to the Federation-Cardassian War. (TOS comic: "Enter the Wolves"; Star Trek novel: Articles of the Federation)
The Cardassians later allied themselves with the Dominion, an act which would eventually cause disaster as the Dominion attempted genocide in the final hours of the Dominion War. On the wreck of Dominion-devastated Cardassia, a new democratic government arose. (DS9 episode: "What You Leave Behind"; DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
Later on, the Cardassians had revolted under Gul Kentar, who attacked the Federation's Reserve fleet while the Federation was counterattacking the Borg, built a technology that allowed Species 8472 to enter "our" realm. The Klingon Battle Fleet then brutally put down the rebellion, and Chancellor Martok personally killed Gul Kentar. (TNG video game: Armada II)
Cardassian cuisine was something of a unique taste; following the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor, Quark had a great deal of foods and drinks, such as Kamoy syrup, which he found impossible to sell. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky)