2267 (USS Enterprise)
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The Gorn had achieved interstellar propulsion technology as early as 500,000 BC when they established funeral world on the planet Cenotaph. They marked this world by placing numerous kilometer wide stone sphere in equatorial orbit which were engraved with a warning that anyone who trespassed would be committing a grave sacrilege.
Early in their history, the Gorn people encountered the Paravian species. The encounter led to hostilities between both races and eventually to the extermination of the Paravian people by the Gorn's hand. The next species they encountered was the Romulan Star Empire. Because the Romulans lived in a poor region of space, the Gorn Hegemony and the Romulan Star Empire battled in a war for resources over the few planets they managed to discover. The Gorn achieve several victories but each were costly and bloody. This resulted in a constant state of conflict between the two races. Both set of hostile encounters clouded the Gorn’s view on other races.
The Gorn's first contact with the Federation took place in 2267, when the Gorn attacked a Federation colony on Cestus III. The Gorn saw the strike as a preemptive move, since they regarded the Cestus star system as part of their territory. The USS Enterprise pursued a Gorn starship from Cestus III into a previously unexplored region of the galaxy, near 2466 PM. There, both starships were immobilized by the Metrons, who transported James T. Kirk and the Gorn captain to a planet's surface, where the two captains were instructed to settle their differences in a "contest... of ingenuity against ingenuity, brute strength against brute strength." Although the Gorn captain was physically stronger than Kirk, Kirk was able to construct a makeshift cannon out of materials on the planet's surface and defeat the Gorn. When Kirk showed mercy to his defeated opponent, the Metrons sent both captains back to their respective ships and transported the Enterprise out of the area.
The Federation sent a team of diplomats into Gorn space immediately after receiving the Enterprise's report, in order to establish at least rudimentary diplomatic relations between the species, and to come to an arrangement over the matter of Cestus III. After a year of negotiations, the Gorn agreed to make restitutions to the settlers of the original colony, and the world remained in Federation space, with a Gorn settlement on the main continent becoming sovereign Gorn territory; much in the way an embassy's grounds are considered the sovereign territory of its assigned state.
The Gorn Hegemony was ruled by a king in the 2380s, who was old and lacked authority. Actual running of the government was left to the King's advisers and children. Though the government suffered political problems, it was still quite a powerful military force that was more then enough to challenge other governments near their territory, and such information was included as a point of learning in the Klingon Defense Force's training materials for new officers.
In 2370, there was growing unrest within the Gorn empire with a more militant faction seeking to undermine the dominant government and declare war against the Federation. Peace talks brought about through the efforts of Captain Jean-Luc Picard - after initially beginning the process as captain of the USS Stargazer in the 2340s - at the Gorn Summit were able to avert the crisis, and led to stronger ties between the Gorn and the Federation.
In 2374, after decades of peaceful relations with the Federation, the Gorn government was engulfed in a civil war, with the Black Crest faction seeking to usurp power from the government's rulers, and declare war upon the Federation, the first action of which would be an attack on Cestus III, now a Federation member world in its own right. A halt to these hostilities was negotiated by the crew of the USS Enterprise-E, which was already en-route to the Gorn Hegemony in order to attempt to request their aid in battling the Dominion. Though they were able to assist the Gorn Imperator in putting a stop to the coup d'etat and prevent an attack being launched on Cestus III, they were unable to gain their support for the Federation's war efforts, as the Gorn instead seek to reinforce the defences of their own territory.
In 2376, after the war's conclusion, the Klingon Empire, fearful of the repositioning of the Hegemony's assets, with much of the Gorn's military might being distributed along the border facing the Klingons, began focussing their wartime rebuild primarily on their Gorn-facing border, even before focusing on their border with the Romulan Star Empire. This action instigates both sides to practically declare a Cold War between the two powers, with only the Klingon's post-war wounds and the threat of Federation intervention being all that stops outright hostilities.
By 2379, the Gorn Hegemony had established normal diplomatic relations with the Federation, and even maintained a diplomatic mission in Berlin, Earth. The Gorn Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets that year was Zogozin, whom Federation President Min Zife of Bolarus found very intimidating.
A number of skirmishes were reported in 2386 between the Gorn and the Klingons - who had now been able to almost completely rebuild their forces following the Dominion War - in the space which acted as a barrier between their two territories, in addition to the space on the opposite side of their empires from the Federation. Though none of the skirmishes were considered major battles by either party, the United Federation of Planets lodged an official notice of disapproval with both Earth-based embassies.
Gorn are a cold-blooded, reptilian species with green, rubbery skin, red blood and an average height of approximately two meters. They tend to be many times stronger than most humanoids, albeit slower and less agile but with greater stamina and, like most cold-blooded species, prefer warmer temperatures. Their ears are simple holes on the sides of their skulls, while their mouths boast an impressive array of sharp teeth and their hands and feet possess vicious claws. It has been suggested that the Gorn are comparable to that of the extinct velociraptor, based on one Gorn's size and bite radius. Some Gorn display eyes that are silvery and faceted, much like the compound eyes of insects, while others have typical humanoid eyes complete with pupils.
Gorn are born from specialized eggs that belong to the different castes of Gorn society. Among the hardest to produce eggs were those of the military branches as their biology required specific environmental factors that were very hard to find naturally. An average Gorn male weighs about 215 kilograms. Their leathery hides is naturally strong which serves as natural armor, able to take incredible force. During the first skirmish between Captain Kirk and the Gorn captain, Kirk hurled a boulder at his opponent, only for it to bounce off the Gorn's skin. Later, he caused a giant boulder to roll down a mountain and hit the Gorn captain. Though this temporarily disabled him, he was not injured. Kirk finally managed to down the Gorn captain with gunpowder, causing him to bleed.
Their physical strength is even greater then what their appearance suggests as they possess a great deal of muscle mass. Though this is impressive among the males, the female Gorns are even more fearsome as they can average around 2.5 meters high and typically are 250 kilograms. As such, the females tend to be the stronger gender among the Gorn race. Due to this, it is not uncommon to see a large number of female soldiers and officers within the Gorn military.
Some Humans have an instinctive revulsion to the Gorn, as they are a type of reptile, and may think them primitive or unintelligent. This is unwise, as the Gorn are at least as intelligent as Humans.
As of the late 23rd century, much of the Gorn technology was on par with Starfleet's. Some of their ships were so fast that a Constitution-Refit-class starship would have to push its engines to dangerous speeds to overtake them.
Their weapons are based upon a similar design concept to Klingon disruptors, rather than the phasers used by Starfleet, and were capable of very high power settings; capable of completely disintegrating targets at ranges of between 1,200 and 1,500 yards. When utilised at this higher power setting however, the destructive power came with the compromise of accurate firing, with shots often completely missing their targets. The shielding systems are the primary focus of almost all Gorn vessels, with the energy barriers able to take several barrages of phaser and photon torpedo fire before buckling.
Beliefs, Religion and Mythology
Gorn mythology states that the founders of their species consist of the Mistress of Fertility S'Yahazah and a figure known as the "Great Father". Emphasis would be placed on the Great Egg Bringer S'Yahazah, for she saved the young Gorn eggs from being devoured by their father. The Great Father would be banished into space and never be worshipped again.
Among Gorn, there exists a rare colouration of the scales which is blue-yellowish in hue. These Gorn are believed to be protected by the Mistress of Fertility, for they are nobles and spiritually pure. Those hereditary families that have a large number of blue-yellow scaled Gorn are considered blessed with a symbol of Gorn strength.
Ussegssirr is a concept roughly translated to mean "manifest destiny", and it forms one of the basic tenets of the Gorn philosophy. Their race, long before they had attained space travel, believes that the strong have the right and the duty to extend their dominion over the weak. It is thus considered wrong for the strong to be limited or denied. This combined with gessegrissgir forms the base line of Gorn honour.
Psychology, Society and Interactions with Others
The Gorn race are known to be somewhat xenophobic due to the initial encounters they made with other races. Gorn starships are created to reflect the attitude of the Gorn race which is straight forward and to the point. What little contact the Federation had with this reptilian race in the earlier century of coexistence with them lead most to think of it as an aggressive species, dominated by warriors. Further observation both reinforced and contradicted this. Individual Gorn exhibit aggressive, assertive and determined behaviour: They seem set in their ways, and it's difficult to get them to deviate from their planned courses of action. While interaction between Humans and Gorn remains limited, they now work together on Cestus III, and Federation xenologists hotly debate what they observe.
No one denies that getting between a Gorn and his objective can prove hazardous to one's health. When on a mission, be it battling an arch-foe or slaughtering cattle for food, the Gorn pursue their goals with a single-mindedness second to none. Anything that tries to interfere with their duty is ignored, brushed aside, moved out of the way or destroyed. Humans on Cestus III contend that such actions rarely interfere with life there and that the Gorn have proven themselves considerate neighbours. As a result, they managed to coexist on Cestus III after the Gorn made restitution for the settlers they killed during an early misunderstanding. Since then, the Gorn remained on their part of the world, and physical conflict between the races rarely occurs.
No Human believes the Gorn suddenly became pacifistic, however; instead they seem to have taken a long time to make up their minds, almost ignoring a situation until they decide what they consider the best course of action. A Gorn does little until he believes he knows the right course - and then he lets nothing stand in his way. First contact with the Gorn came after they discovered a Human encroachment into what they saw as their space. Following a long debate, the Gorn leadership decided to exterminate the new threat. The Gorn sent to carry out this decision devoted themselves wholeheartedly to this endeavour, only stopping when an outside force made it impossible to continue. This sums up much of Gorn behaviour: Don't act until you're sure that you're right, and then let nothing stop you.
According to Orion privateer Harrad-Sar in 2154, the Gorn "brew the finest Meridor in the five systems."
OOC Information for COs
- The Gorn are a Trek Canon race created for Star Trek: The Original Series, in the episode "The Arena".