|Home world||Tellar Prime|
|Affiliation||United Federation of Planets|
Tellarites are a fictional species from the planet Tellar from the Star Trek television show. Though not used in a great number of episodes, they are one of the founding races of the show's United Federation of Planets, to which Earth belongs. Notable Tellarites include Ambassador Gav (from the original Star Trek episode "Journey to Babel"), bounty hunter Skalaar, and his brother Gaavrin (both from Star Trek: Enterprise).
Tellarites are a roughly humanoid species with pig-like features. They have black pupils set in deep eye sockets and large snouts. Tellarites are very hairy; besides having beards and large bushy hair, they also have coarse pinkish-brown skin. Tellarites prefer temperatures slightly above human standards.
In Star Trek: The Original Series they are usually portrayed as having three fingers (including a thumb) on each hand. (One Tellarite seen in the episode "The Lights of Zetar" had hands with five fingers.) In Star Trek: Enterprise, they are shown with five fingers. There are also differences in the makeup and prosthetics between the 1960s series and the 2000s series.
Tellarites were warp-capable during the 20th century, but their first contact with humans was made on March 21, 2153, by the Starfleet ship Enterprise under the command of Captain Jonathan Archer. Although this encounter was rather hostile (a Tellarite bounty hunter kidnapped Captain Archer), the relations between humans and Tellarites apparently improved in the next few years until both species became founding members of the United Federation of Planets in 2161. A key moment in this process was an incident in 2154, when humans forced them to work together with their enemies the Andorians to prevent a Romulan attempt to destabilize the region. For the next several hundred years, Tellarites continued to be an important species in the Federation (although they were only rarely seen onscreen). By 2267, in the TOS episode "Journey to Babel," the Babel Conference, which included many Federation worlds including Tellar, was considering the fate of the disputed world Coridan, with its rich mining resources.
Gav, leader of the Tellarite delegation, made heated charges that other ambassadors were either hindering or actively seeking the Tellarites's removal of any say in the negotiations. He accused Vulcan ambassador Sarek of the most serious charges. Gav suddenly turned up in one of the Enterprise's Jefferies tubes, murdered by what appeared to be tal-shaya, an ancient Vulcan execution technique, snapping his neck. The subsequent investigation uncovered a plot which the notorious Orions had hatched to wreck the conference and continue to steal and smuggle Coridan's dilithium.
The Tellarites were described by Sarek in "Journey to Babel", as being argumentative, not to make a point, but simply to argue. Hailing from Tellar Prime, they built a trade empire for dozens of light-years around their homeworld, by both hard negotiation and combat. Despite a reputation for being tough and ruthless, the Tellarites were honor-bound in their business dealings.
In combat, however, despite local success, the Klingons of Deep Space Nine found them easy prey. During the 2373 Klingon-Federation conflict, one Klingon captain boasted of decapitating a Tellarite helmsman, saying of the victim "The pig barely had time to raise his weapon."
Tellarites are renowned for being rather direct and forceful in conversation, and are known to be so quarrelsome that arguing is a sport on their home planet, Tellar. They consider normal polite conversation to be a grave insult; it is recommended to be insulting and crude when speaking to a Tellarite. Because of their ability to argue, Tellarites make excellent politicians. They like taking muddy baths. However, Tellarites take great umbrage if compared to the habits of Terran swine, saying they in particular are not food.
The non-canon fan-produced webcast series Star Trek: Hidden Frontier has featured Tellarite culture prominently. A Tellarite medical officer, Henglaar, features a variation of the TOS look of the species. Henglaar is described as being "curmudgeonly", and "an expert on how not to be married", and a Tellarite Starfleet engineer, Barc, is a major character in the novel Avenger.
A Tellarite individual can be seen in the first level of the 1992 PC Game Star Trek: 25th Anniversary.
As of 2153, the Tellarites have more advanced ships than Earth; even their smaller shuttlecraft can attain speeds of warp 4 (around 64 times the speed of light on the old warp scale, 101 times on the new one). During the Babel Crisis episodes on Star Trek: Enterprise, it was stated by Ambassador Gral that the Tellarites were less advanced than the Andorians.