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 The Gorn - Background

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Registration date : 2008-11-22

PostSubject: The Gorn - Background   Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:22 pm

Not much has been said about the Gorn when first introduced in TOS episode "Arena", though since then, there have been some books and one or two other Star Trek episodes dealing with them. Sadly, they don't always agree, so I am going to put here what has been said about the Gorn, and where the information comes from. I don't know what the creators of ST:O will be using as the Gorn background information though.
Information taken from here, here and here.

Early History

The Gorn race was actually three species who were genetically identical and lived on three separate worlds. After they achieved space travel, the three Gorn races discovered one another and learnt of their similarity whereupon it was discovered, through fossil records, that none of their planets was their race's true homeworld. Seeing the similarity, the three races joined one another into a single political unit. (TOS video game: Starfleet Command II)

The Gorn had achieved interstellar propulsion technology as far back as 500,000 BC when they established a cemetery world on the planet Cenotaph. They marked this world by placing numerous kilometre wide stone sphere in equatorial orbit which were engraved with a warning that anyone who trespassed would be committing a grave sacrilege. (TOS comic: "Dying of the Light")

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. (TOS video game: Starfleet Command II)

By 2154 the Gorn were known to at least one Orion, the trader Harrad-Sar who purchased Meridor from the Hegemony. (ENT episode: "Bound")

The Gorn made first contact with the Federation in 2267 when a Gorn vessel attacked a Human colony on Cestus III interpreting the colonization as in invasion into Gorn Space. The vessel was pursued by the USS Enterprise until the Metrons, a non-corporeal species, intervened and forced the commanders of both ships to battle to death for control of Cestus, Kirk of the Enterprise won, but refused to kill the Gorn commander. (TOS episode: "Arena")

A brief lull in Federation/Gorn rivalry in 2269 enabled Gorn cadet Telosirizharcrede of Cestus Eliar to enter Starfleet Academy. (TOS novel: Dreadnought!)

The following year a Human archaeologist, Holm Baynan, travelled to the Gorn cemetery world Cenotaph to conduct research. Aware the Gorn would pursue him for pillaging their sacred world he issued a fake distress call to bring the Enterprise to the planet so that he could quickly have them take on the artifacts he discovered and make his escape. Unfortunately a trio of Gorn cruisers arrived before the Enterprise departed, demanding the ship surrender to take a quick death for their crimes. Fortunately for the Starfleet crew the lead Gorn vessel was commanded by S'alath, the same Gorn Kirk had battled before, the familiarity between the commanders, coupled with the token destruction of one of the Enterprise's shuttles by Kirk, allowed the situation to calm from conflict to a cultural exchange. (TOS comic: "Dying of the Light")

In 2282, a Federation shuttlecraft crashed on a planetoid used by the Gorn to train young warriors. A Gorn rescue party was sent to aid the survivors, who mistook them for a war party and shot their physician, Thak. The Gorn, surprised and infuriated by the unprovoked attack, prepared to retaliate, but the Humans, having realized their mistake, treated Thak's wounds, enabling him to explain the situation to his people. (TOS comic: "Alien Spotlight: The Gorn")

In the 2280s, the Gorn Hegemony was ruled by a king who was old and lacked authority. Actual running of the government was left to the King's advisors 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. (TOS video game: Klingon Academy)

The Romulans were noted in attempting to fracture the newly developed Gorn-Federation alliance, however, their attempts only served to further cement the two's relations which became based on mutual trust as well as respect. (TOS video game: Starfleet Command II)

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 were made through the efforts of Captain Jean-Luc Picard who attend the Gorn Summit that managed to aver the crisis. (TNG novel: Requiem)

Considering the fact that Gorn Crisis comes into the future, the elements within the Gorn government that were seeking to declare war may very well have been the Black Crest. Several Gorn were visiting Quark's on Deep Space 9 in 2372. Quark thought their speech sounded like air escaping the station. (DS9 novel: The 34th Rule)

In 2374, after decades of peaceful relations with the Federation, the Gorn government was toppled by a coup d'etat by the Black Crest faction, and a new offensive was launched against Cestus III. A halt to these hostilities was negotiated by the crew of the USS Enterprise-E, who also managed to pursuade the Gorn to join the Federation Alliance in the war against the Dominion. (TNG comic: "The Gorn Crisis")

Thanks to their familiarity with the Gorn the Enterprise crew were later able to convince the Gorn to join a task force to meet the 'Iconians' in the gateways crisis of 2376. (TNG novel: Doors Into Chaos)

By 2379, the Gorn Hegemony had established normal diplomatic relations with the Federation, and even maintained a diplomatic mission on Earth. The Gorn Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets that year was Zogozin, whom Federation President Min Zife of Bolarus found very intimidating. (TNG novel: A Time to Heal)
Government and Politics



The leadership of the Gorn state consists of the Imperator of the Gorn Hegemony. However, in the 23rd century, it was ruled by a King, an old head of state who delegated his authority to several vassals who became at odds with one another for supremacy of the Hegemony. The king himself was sheltered from these political problems by those loyal to him. This led to degradation within the Gorn government. It was believed that, without a strong leader, the Hegemony might eventually collapse and fall into civil war. (TOS video game: Klingon Academy)

Quote :
Recently written into The Path to 2409: 2384 the Gorn Hegemony is ruled by King Xrathis.
One political group within the Hegemony consisted of the Black Crest who attempted a coup against the government in order to engage in aggressive action against the Federation.

In 2381, the Gorn Imperator condemned Federation President Nanietta Bacco's "compulsory summit" of foreign ambassadors to shore up support for the Federation's war with the Borg Collective, noting that Gorn Ambassador Zogozin might try to eat President Bacco or a member of the Federation Cabinet. (Destiny novel: Mere Mortals.)

There exists certain groups within the Hegemony which include King's Fleet Guard, Guardians Errant and the Defenders of the Egg. (TOS video game: Starfleet Command)

Quote :
The name of this government was revealed in "Bound", although there was apparently no official UFP contact with the Gorn until Kirk's era. The name "Gorn Hegemony" had been used in non-canon books and video games for years before this episode was written, however. Since the full government name went unmentioned in later appearances, it is unknown if, or in what form, the Gorn Hegemony exists in the 24th century.

Federation-Gorn relations were described, in the Star Trek Encyclopedia, as "cordial" during the 2370s. While some references tell us that there was a settlement reached over the Cestus settlement, there is no specific evidence from any canon source stating how friendly the Federation and the Hegemony might have become
.

From the Cadet's Orientation Source Book comes an interesting bit on the Gorn Alliance:

Quote :
The government of the worlds controlled by the reptiloid race known as the Gorn is called The Alliance. ... The Gorn Alliance is controlled by two Autarchs, one who represents the Gorn homeworld and the other who represents the Gorn colony worlds.

This could lead to something interesting in the game if the Gorn homeworld (whichever Cryptic deems as the one since 3 have been named) and if there are colony worlds as based on the two Autarchs.

Foreign Relations

The Frontier Accord was the formal agreement between the Federation and the Gorn Hegemony following the attack on Cestus III, which led to the end of hostilities between the two powers. (DS9 short story: "Where I Fell Before My Enemy"). This agreement was signed in 2281. (FASA RPG: Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update).

This story suggests a state of war still technically existed between the two power as late as 2372 (perhaps through the events of The Gorn Crisis). The story also refers to the Gorn state as the "Gorn Alliance," a term later contradicted by ENT episode "Bound".
Culture

The Gorn species are noted to be aggressive and almost primitive by Klingon tacticians though they were quite intelligent which meant that it was a mistake to underestimate them at any point. The Gorn attack approach involved the use of brute force with overwhelming attacks against their enemies rather then make use of finesse involved in carefully planned strikes. As such, a Gorn was more likely to slug their way out of a situation then think of a solution through it. (TOS video game: Klingon Academy)

Meridor is a blue drink which is made by the Gorn Hegemony, among other organizations.



When Captain Jonathan Archer, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed and two MACOs visited Harrad-Sar's barge in 2154, the vessel's commander, Harrad-Sar, introduced the away team to Gorn Meridor. Captain Archer remarked that the drink was "delicious". (ENT: "Bound")


Beliefs, Religion and Mythology

Gorn mythology states that the founders of their species consists 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 scale coloration which is blue-yellowish. 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. (TOS video game: Starfleet Command)
Military

Despite the political problems of the Gorn Hegemony, it was known that in the 2280's that the Gorn state possessed a strong, disciplined military that prevented overt attempts against Gorn colonies.

Gorn Space Command was the primary defense organization that managed the Hegemony. Even though the Gorn possess fewer ships compared to their neighbours, the Space Command maintains a fleet that is highly feared by its enemies. Gorn officers are highly trained with a great deal of combat experience. This combination makes the Gorn a fearsome foe to face in battle. (TOS video game: Starfleet Command II)

Starship Classes
King Snake class - The King Snake-class was a class of frigate starship that was known by the Klingons to be used by the Gorn in the late 23rd century. (TOS video game: Klingon Academy)
Anaconda class
Euromastyx class
Grendel class

Territory

The Gorn Hegemony was located spin-ward of the United Federation of Planets along the galactic axis and coreward of the Romulans. This positions the Hegemony squarely between the galactic arms which contains a sparse region of space with only a few habitable worlds that the Gorn have colonized. (TOS video game: Starfleet Command II)

Planets
Gornar - It places this planet in a region of space to the coreward end of the Federation space, sharing a short border with the Cardassian Union and a larger one with the Romulan Star Empire.
S'sgarnon - a temperate, warm Class M planet with a local gravity of 1.4 G. I have yet to find any information on where exactly this planet is located in the universe
Gihdahr - Gdhar I, Gdhar II, and Gdhar III, presumably in the Gdhar system (not sure why spellings are different)

Apocrypha

The RPG The Dominion War Sourcebook: The Fires of Armageddon, published by Last Unicorn Games after they had lost their Star Trek licence, states that in 2373, the Gorn signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion.

In the novel Articles of the Federation one of the characters says that the crew of the USS Enterprise convinced the Gorn to join the Federation Alliance and fight against the Dominion in the war. This is from the graphic novel The Gorn Crisis by Kevin J. Anderson and illustrated by Igor Kordey. There is no canon evidence that the Gorn took sides in the war, however.
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