Bajoran

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For the tribal area in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, see Bajaur Agency.
Bajorans
Home world Bajor
Base of operations Deep Space Nine
Official language(s) Bajoran
Affiliation United Federation of Planets, Bajoran Provisional Government
Quadrant(s) Alpha

In the Star Trek science-fiction franchise, the Bajorans are a humanoid extraterrestrial species native to the planet Bajor. They were first introduced in the 1991 episode "Ensign Ro" of Star Trek: The Next Generation and subsequently were a pivotal element of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and also appeared in Star Trek: Voyager. The shows' writers initially depicted the Bajorans as an oppressed people who were often forced to live as refugees, whom they likened to a variety of ethnic groups. Rick Berman, who helped to originally conceive them, compared them to "the Palestinians, the Jews in the 1940s, the boat people from Haiti — unfortunately, the homeless and terrorism are problems [of every age]."[1] Ronald D. Moore similarly commented, "depending on the episode, you could also call Bajor Israel, or Iran, or even America and the Cardassians could be Germans, or Russians or several other examples… [but] we don't really try to make Bajor a direct analogy to any specific contemporary country or people."[2] Various Bajoran characters were included in several of the Star Trek series, including Ro Laren (played by Michelle Forbes) in The Next Generation as well as a number of others in Deep Space Nine, which was set on a space station near to Bajor, and which featured Bajoran characters such as Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) and Winn Adami (Louise Fletcher).

Storyline[edit]

According to the fictional storyline of the Star Trek universe, the Bajorans are an ancient species who developed advanced technology before the evolution of humanity on Earth.[3] They eventually developed space-faring ships, which took them as far away as the planet of Cardassia.[4] In 2328 the Cardassian Union, which had been taken over by a military dictatorship, invaded Bajor, occupying it for fifty years, during which time they forced many Bajorans into slave labor, using them in their various mining operations. This forced many Bajorans to flee and live in refugee camps away from Cardassian domination,[5] while other Bajorans got involved in the resistance movement, organising terrorist attacks against Cardassian targets.

The Federation could not intervene in the situation, due to Prime Directive considerations; since Bajor had formally aligned itself with the Cardassians some time before, it was considered an internal matter between the Cardassian Union and a member/subject planet. This caused some resentment towards the Federation by the Bajoran people, especially when the Federation was initially invited to administer Deep Space Nine.

In 2369, the Cardassian civilian authorities ordered the military to withdraw from Bajor, after which the Bajoran provisional government invited the United Federation of Planets to set up base on the former Cardassian mining station of Terok Nor, renaming it Deep Space Nine, and requesting membership into the Federation.[6]

In 2369, when Commander (later Captain) Benjamin Sisko was assigned command of DS9, one of his instructions was to prepare Bajor for full membership into the Federation (pilot episode: "Emissary"). This was a long-running theme during the rest of the series. In 2373, with the Dominion War on the horizon, Bajor asks to be admitted to the Federation under special circumstances. Sisko, acting as Emissary of the Prophets, warned that if Bajor were to join the Federation at that time, it would mean the destruction of that world. With this warning, Bajor decided not to accept membership at that time. At the start of the Dominion War, Bajor officially declared their neutrality ("Call to Arms"), although many Bajorans joined Starfleet and, as well, a new resistance to the occupation of Deep Space Nine is formed. According to the novel series Star Trek: Titan, Bajor finally formally joined the Federation in 2376, the year after the Dominion War ended.

Biology[edit]

Like many aliens on Star Trek, the Bajorans are human-like in appearance, but have a distinctive symmetrical facial feature: ridges on the nose between the eyes. Despite their human-like appearance, there are several biological differences between the two species. During pregnancy, Bajoran women suffer from uncontrollable bouts of sneezing rather than morning sickness. Bajoran women gestate for five months, as opposed to the nine months of human women, due to high vascularization between the fetus and the mother. During childbirth they must be extremely relaxed, and they feel little or no pain during the process.

Culture and traditions[edit]

Bajoran tradition places the family name before the given name; thus, 'Kira Nerys' is properly addressed as 'Major Kira', not 'Major Nerys'. During the series, emphasis was placed on the Bajoran's spiritual life, centering around the Orbs—objects of an alien origin believed to have been sent by the Prophets (Bajor's gods), each of which possess a unique ability (such as the 'Orb of Time', which allows those viewing it to revisit past events). Nine orbs were discovered by the Bajorans over the centuries (and a tenth is discovered during the events of the TV series), however all but one were seized by the Cardassians during the Occupation.

The Bajoran people were originally divided into castes, called d'jarras, that dictated a person's place in Bajoran society; members of a lower-ranking d'jarra were expected to defer to those of a higher caste. When the Occupation began, the d'jarra system was abolished as the resistance movement encouraged all Bajorans to unite, regardless of caste. When the former Bajoran spiritual leader, Akorem Laan, attempted to reintroduce the caste system, it was rejected because it would have made Bajor ineligible for Federation membership (caste based discrimination is forbidden under Federation law).

Bajorans wear large, chained earrings and ear cuffs called d'ja pagh on their right ears, as symbols of their religious faith. Before the war against Cardassian occupation, the earring also symbolized one's d'jarra. Even after the Occupation, there were still different styles of earrings passed down through families, but they had lost their original significance. When Akorem Laan encountered Major Kira he recognized from the style of her earring that she is a member of the artisan d'jarra, even though she was a member of the military, and she explained that the different styles of earring no longer signified anything.

Homeworld[edit]

Bajor
Planet type Class M planet
Notable locations Alpha Quadrant
Notable people Independent, Cardassian vassal, Cardassian Union, independent, Federation Autonomous State

Bajor (/ˈbɔr/ or /ˈbʒɔr/) is the homeworld of the Bajorans. Bajor is a Class M planet that has five moons. A Day on Bajor has 26 hours. Bajor's atmosphere has a greenish tint; as a result, oceans viewed from space will appear more green than blue.[7]

Bajor, the seventh planet in the system, orbits the star Bajor-B'hava'el in the Bajoran sector. Other inhabited planets in the Bajoran star system include Andros (Bajor VIII), a Class K planet (similar to Mars) and the fifth moon of Bajor, Jeraddo.

Religion[edit]

The Bajoran religion, also called the Way of the Prophets, is a major unifying force on the planet. This religion, unlike so many others in the galaxy, is unique in that the religious figures are physical (but non-corporeal) entities, although not on the same plane of existence.

The Prophets, or "Wormhole Aliens" (as they are referred to by Starfleet) exist within the wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants, the Alpha end being located within the Bajoran system. This wormhole, and home of the Prophets, is referred to as the Celestial Temple by the Bajoran people. The Prophets exist as timeless beings, with their first (known) encounter with corporeal beings (specifically, Benjamin Sisko) resulting in a long and confusing conversation as to how linear time works. Their motives remain unclear; on several occasions they proclaim their disinterest in the physical world, while at other times actively participate in the physical world, most often in the general interest of Bajor and its people.

The Prophets are also believed to be the providers of sacred objects called Orbs or "Tears of the Prophets". These Orbs exist as crystalline, hour-glass shaped, glowing objects apparently floating within their containers. Though the Orbs defy scientific analysis, they stimulate what are known as "Orb Experiences", visions and images which have a measurable effect on the nervous system of humanoids. It is debatable, however, whether the Orb Experiences are, in fact, actual experiences, or merely dreams or hallucinations. Orbs known to exist include the Orbs of Wisdom, Prophecy, Change, Time, and the Emissary. The Orb of Time has an effect on physical matter, as shown by its interactions with the Starship Defiant in the episode "Trials and Tribble-ations"(DS9). Additionally, the Orb of the Emissary seems directly tied to Benjamin Sisko, who is seen as the Prophets' Emissary to Bajor.

Another aspect of the religion is that of the Pagh (roughly translated as 'immortal soul'). If a person has followed the will of the Prophets, his Pagh is 'clean' and he will be permitted to enter the Celestial Temple and dwell with the Prophets.

Religious practices are unclear. The Bajoran religion involves regular services which are intended to teach the "Will of the Prophets". Meditation and prayer (either in groups or privately) are commonly used, but not strictly observed.

The hierarchy of the Bajoran faith has never been explained in great detail, though a certain amount is known:

Titles in the Bajoran religion include a "Prylar" (roughly equivalent to a Christian monk), "Ranjen" (a rank falling between Prylars and the next rank, and responsible for a variety of tasks), "Mylar" (priest or minister, mentioned in "Ties of Blood and Water"), "Vedek" (cardinal, bishop) and "Kai" (equivalent to the pope in Roman Catholic theology or Patriarch in the Eastern Orthodox theology). All of these ranks seem to be open both to men and women.

Vedeks, the second highest level, also make up the Vedek Assembly, the committee which is responsible for the spiritual issues of the Bajoran people. A new Kai is elected by the Vedek Assembly (loosely analogous to how the College of Cardinals elects a new pope).

The Kai is the spiritual leader. She/he has a great deal of influence on the Bajoran government despite having no official power in that way. After Kai Opaka departed in 2369, the election of a new Kai from the members of the Vedek Assembly led to the election of Kai Winn, who remained Kai until her demise in 2375.

The central figure in the Bajoran faith is known as the 'Emissary', a being believed to be sent by the Prophets to aid Bajor. Benjamin Sisko, a human Starfleet officer, filled this role when he made first contact with the beings believed by the Bajorans to be the Prophets, and the enigmatic beings spoke to him on several other occasions, either to deliver a message or fulfill a task. Although his role was never entirely clear (and Sisko himself was visibly uncomfortable with it for the first few years), the Bajorans respected and admired Sisko as their Emissary, and he carried Bajor through several hardships. In this respect, the Emissary nominally holds even more religious and secular power than the Kai or the First Minister. For example even the politically ambitious Kai Winn sought religious guidance from the Emissary, and Akorem Laan was able to single-handedly reinstate the observance of the obsolete D'Jarra caste system in 2372 when he briefly claimed the title of Emissary.

Similarly to Christianity's Lucifer, Kosst Amojan ("The Evil One") was a Prophet who was forced out of the Celestial Temple after a failed attempt to seize control, with the other Pah Wraiths. In several other incidents, the Pah Wraiths attempted to leave their physical prison (the "Caves of Fire") and return to take control of the Celestial Temple, but none of these attempts succeeded. There continues to be a minority group on Bajor who worship the Pah Wraiths as the True Prophets, but they are generally shunned as outcasts and heretics.

In another similarity to Christianity, the non-canon Deep Space Nine Relaunch novels reveal the existence of a form of 'excommunication' from the Bajoran faith: when Kira Nerys interferes in a growing civil war, despite being ordered not to do so by the Vedek Assembly, she is declared 'Attainted' and can no longer attend Bajoran services, set foot in a temple, or study from an Orb or the Bajoran sacred texts.

Politics[edit]

Provisional Government[edit]

The provisional government was set up after the occupation of Bajor by Cardassia ended in 2369. It consisted of a council of elected officials headed by the First Minister and was responsible for administration of the planet and to a certain extent Deep Space 9. A three-part episode, 'Homecoming', 'The Circle', and 'The Siege', featured a story arc about the Provisional Government and its inability to resolve an explosive political revolution. In the immediate aftermath of the Cardassian withdrawal, many characters felt that the provisional government would collapse within a matter of weeks, leading to civil war (which the Cardassians might use as an excuse to return to "restore order"). Sisko managed to convince Kai Opaka to declare the support of the Bajoran religious hierarchy for the new government, which prevented it from outright collapsing. In the early seasons of the TV series the provisional government is shaky and precarious, but over time by the later seasons of the TV series it grew more stable, particularly after the election of First Minister Shakaar.

Bajoran Militia[edit]

The Bajoran Militia was the military arm of the Bajoran Provisional Government, originally made up of many former resistance fighters from the Occupation of Bajor.

The structure was comparable to that of an Earth army, with similar ranks. Bajoran officers were organized by divisional specialty, wearing different uniform colors for each (similar to Starfleet). Flag officers wear a more elaborate version of the normal duty uniform

Officers of the Militia were usually graduates of the Bajoran Military Academy, although many commissions were awarded on the basis of demonstrated skills and merit of the soldiers who were part of the resistance against the occupation.

The militia jointly operated Deep Space 9 with Starfleet. From 2369 to 2375 the station was commanded by a Starfleet command level officer and the executive officer was a Militia member. When the station's commander, Captain Sisko, disappeared in late 2375, his executive, Colonel Kira, took command.

It was said in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Rapture" that if Bajor joins the United Federation of Planets, most of the Bajoran Militia would be absorbed into Starfleet. In the non-canonical relaunch novel Unity, this happened in 2376.

Notable members of the Bajoran militia included Major Kira Nerys and Odo.

Kai[edit]

The Kai is the supreme religious leader of the Bajoran faith.

This individual could be either male or female, could be married, and could even have children. The Kai is chosen in an election held by the entire Bajoran people, though typically candidates come from the Vedek assembly of high-ranking clerics. He or she also seems to hold a fair amount of political influence on Bajor; the government is headed by a First Minister although Bajorans typically will listen to whatever the Kai says.

When Starfleet forces initially arrived at Deep Space Nine, the Kai was a woman named Opaka Sulan. She introduced Commander Sisko to an Orb or Tear of the Prophets. In time, two leading candidates emerged to succeed her. One was Vedek Winn Adami - a member of a small conservative order on Bajor who harbored anti-Federation feelings. The other was Vedek Bareil Antos, a kindly man who had a relationship with Major Kira Nerys. However, Bareil withdrew, so that Winn became the next Kai.

Bareil became a trusted advisor to Kai Winn, influencing her to adopt a more friendly stance towards the Federation and Commander Sisko, and to conclude a peace agreement with the Cardassians.

Kai Winn later tried to consolidate her hold on power after the death of the Bajoran First Minister. Her actions nearly caused a civil war. Major Kira of DS9 convinced her old friend and resistance cell leader Shakaar Edon to run for election to the post to head off a civil war. Kai Winn withdrew, and Shakaar was elected to the post of First Minister.

Later, at the beginning of the Dominion War, Captain Sisko convinced Kai Winn as well as the Council of Ministers to sign a non-aggression treaty with the Dominion. Sisko felt the time was not right for Bajor to choose sides in the war — if they did they would be destroyed.

With the end of the Dominion War in sight, Kai Winn was tempted to join with Dukat — who had been surgically altered to appear as a Bajoran — in worship with the Pah Wraiths. When she discovered who the man really was, she was devastated by having fallen for the deception. When she sought Colonel Kira's advice, Kira advised Winn that she could be redeemed if she stepped down from the post, but Winn refused.

Kai Winn turned away from the prophets, and became a tool of the Pah Wraiths. In the final moments of her life, Kai Winn turned back to the Prophets and tried to throw the Book of the Kosst-Amojan into the pit of fire. She was then consumed and killed by the Pah Wraiths, leaving the post of Kai again vacant at the end of the Deep Space Nine television series.

First Minister[edit]

The First Minister of Bajor is a role analogous to Prime Minister, a separate office from the religious leader, the Kai. The First Minister is the Bajoran head of government and also serves as the head of the Chamber of Ministers, the Bajoran legislature. (A separate organization, the Vedek Assembly, serves as an advisory body to the Kai.)

Office-holders since 2370

Language[edit]

The Bajoran written language consists of square symbols. They are fluid and are composed of thick lines. There are a large number of different symbols that can be used in any of eight rotations (normal, horizontal flipped, vertical flipped, 2 ways of diagonally flipping, 90 degree rotation, 180 degree rotation, and 270 degree rotation). This gives approximately 200 symbols in the written language. As with other forms of alien writing in Star Trek, no translation for these symbols exists. Bajoran can be written both in vertical top to bottom columns arranged right to left or in horizontal left to right lines arranged top to bottom.

Federation membership[edit]

In the Deep Space Nine premiere episode "Emissary", Captain Picard informs Benjamin Sisko that one of his tasks as commander of DS9 is to develop a continuing evaluation of Bajor for potential membership in the United Federation of Planets. In the non-canon Deep Space Nine relaunch novels, Bajor finally joins the Federation, with most of the Bajoran Militia being absorbed into Starfleet, and Kira Nerys receives the Starfleet rank of Captain.

Notable Bajorans[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nemecek, Larry (1995). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. Page 178.
  2. ^ Moore, Ronald D. AOL chats. http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Memory_Alpha:AOL_chats/Ronald_D._Moore/ron012.txt
  3. ^ "Ensign Ro". Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season Five.
  4. ^ "Explorers". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Season Three.
  5. ^ "Ensign Ro". Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season Five.
  6. ^ "Emissary". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Season One. Episode One.
  7. ^ Major Kira, upon seeing Earth for the first time, remarked about how the seas did not look green enough for her.

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