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History & Culture
First contact with the Kazon was made in 2371 between the Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager NCC-74656, and Maje Jabin leader of a Kazon-Ogla group living on the Ocampa homeworld.
The Kazon are one of the most violent and hostile races in the Delta Quadrant. Theirs is a male dominated society in which children are initiated into warrior sects before puberty, while adults survive through a combination of force and treachery. They are somewhat taller than the average human with well sculpted features and great masses of hair.
The Kazon are a patriarchal society, and under normal conditions their women play no part in their military endeavours; in fact no Kazon female has ever been seen by anyone within UFS. Generally women seem to have very little power or respect in a society which, like that of the Klingons, appears to be based around a very macho ideal of warrior bravery.
The Borg designated the Kazon as Species 329, and deemed them unworthy of assimilation; their species' technological inferiority would have only served to detract from the Borg’s goal of perfection
While Kazon history does not excuse the race’s continued hostility, it does give some insight into the sects’ behaviour.
For many years, the Kazon were kept in squalor and slavery by the Trabe, a highly evolved species famed for their art and science. They were especially persecuted by the Trabe police. Trabe children knew nothing of the barbaric conditions in which the Kazon are kept, only that they were not allowed anywhere near them. The Trabe encouraged the Kazon to fight amongst themselves, in the hope that this would have distracted them from their real enemy, their Trabe masters.
The few races that knew how the Trabe were treating the Kazon were reluctant to cause a fuss for fear of losing highly valuable Trabe trade.
By the time the Kazon finally rose up against the Trabe, when Jal Sankur briefly united the sects to overthrow their masters, they had become and angry, violent and merciless force. The Trabe did not stand a chance in these circumstances.
At first sight the Kazon culture seems primitive. Most of the technology and all of the ships the Kazon possess are stolen from the Trabe, and the Kazon themselves have little understanding of advanced technology; a settlement on the surface of the Ocampan homeworld has not yet discovered the secret of making water from elementary particles. Despite this, the Kazon seem to be doing a reasonable job of keeping the stolen Trabe ships running relatively smoothly.
Their ships are pumpkin orange in colour with a huge vertical fin hanging from the front and drive engines at the rear. Although the vessels have displayed warp capability, photon torpedoes, and masking technology similar to a primitive cloaking device, the Kazon do not posses transporter, replicator or related technologies.
Since gaining freedom from the Trabe the Kazon race has remained divided into sects, each one commanded by a First Maje. Each sect wears its hair in a slightly different fashion, and this can be used to tell the groups apart. The number of such groups changes daily, as do territorial claims, but as of today 9 different sects are known to the UFS.
Each Kazon sect has specialised goods which it trades with the others. However, when trade is not possible, battle is an acceptable alternative.
The Kazon-Nistrim are one of the most aggressive and violent Kazon sects, led by First Maje Jal Culluh. The Nistrim were once one of the strongest sects, under the leadership of Culluh's grandfather. However, his descendants proved to be less capable, and the Nistrim waned in strength. These days, along with the Oglamar, they are one of the weakest sects. This also indicates that the position of First Maje is at least partly dependent on inheritance rather than merit.
Another well documented sect is the Kazon-Ogla. As soon as a Kazon-Ogla male can protect his younger siblings from attack, he is deemed ready to attempt his first mission. To succeed, the boy is expected to kill his enemy or be killed himself.
If a Kazon-Ogla male successfully completes his task, he earns his ‘Ogla’ name and adds the word Jal to the front of the name given to him at birth. If the male fails his quest then he is called a ‘Govin’ or outcast. He will be forced to wander from sect to sect, and each one will cut off a finger before sending him on his way. It is assumed that other sects conduct similar rituals.
Training takes different forms. The children fight amongst themselves and compete for the right to slay an enemy if the opportunity is offered by an adult warrior. Once they are sufficiently prepared, youths are taken to training bases such as the moon Tarok, operated by the Kazon-Ogla. The moon’s surface is riddled with booby traps and hidden weapons; live ammunition makes a very effective training tool for the young men. The location of the Kazon-Ogla training moon, Tarok, is kept a closely guarded secret. All of the weapons on Tarok can be remotely detonated at once by the Kazon-Ogla First Maje, destroying the moon’s surface. This is seen as a last resort, however, due to the high cost of replacement weaponry.
Kazon initiates have pride in their own sect drilled into them, and in the presence of superiors, they berate enemies for having the audacity to enter their space. To them territory equates with power.
Technology is power. It is the means by which one of the disparate sects can gain control over another, and perhaps go on to rule the entire quadrant. The Kazon-Nistrim pursues new technology relentlessly, and are particularly obsessed with obtaining Federation technology.
The Kazon’s acquired technology began with their uprising against their Trabe oppressors. For the most part their tech is similar to that of the Federation. They have various classes of ship including Kazon Raiders, shuttles and specialised vessels such as the Kazon Armoured Shuttle which features a modified bow to allow it to puncture the hull of enemy ships.
Kazon technology though similar to that of the Federation is generally inferior. Throughout 2372 USS Voyager engaged the Kazon on numerous occasions, often outnumbered though she always managed to come out on top each time.
Kazon sensor equipment is rudimentary; a Federation tricorder is able to pinpoint in minutes life signs that a Kazon device would take weeks to track. The race’s medical technology is also primitive by comparison.
The ongoing conflict between the Kazon Collective and the Trabe is one of the most tempestuous in the Delta Quadrant. As blood enemies, the Kazon and the Trabe are governed primarily by their own self interests, and by their common desire to eliminate each other. Within the Kazon, allegiances amongst the different sects shift swiftly and unpredictably, but all are enemies of the Trabe.
The hatred between the two races is deep rooted and historical. It is too ingrained into both cultures for a peaceful solution to be a realistic proposition. In 2346, after years of enslaving the Kazon on the Trabe homeworld they eventually came to reap what they had sowed. By treating the Kazon like animals they had unwittingly turned them into a violent army that rose up against them.
After this revolution the Trabe stood no chance of containing the Kazon, and were soon exiled from their home planet. Today the Kazon sects are a powerful, marauding force in the Delta Quadrant. Despite the infighting and political machinations that occur between the rival sects, all Kazon are united in their mistrust of the Trabe. Meanwhile the Trabe live as nomads on the run through space, as soon as they try to settle a new world, the Kazon attack and drive them away.
From the Kazon perspective, they once paid a price – living in squalor and misery – that they refuse to pay again. In their mind, the Trabe are the villains of the entire Quadrant who will do anything they can in order to conquer and suppress the Kazon again. Sadly it seems that there will be no easy solutions to the problems between these disparate races while the Kazon continue to behave like outlaws and the Trabe are all too willing to act as executioners.
As touched upon earlier, there are nine Kazon sects that the UFS is aware of, however there are believed to be as many as eighteen. In addition to the Kazon-Nistrim and the Kazon-Ogla, there are Kazo-Hobii, Kazon-Mostral, Kazon-Oglamar, Kazon-Pommar, Kazon-Relora, and the Kazon-Sari.
The two most powerful sects are the Ogla and Relora, who possess most of the Kazons' manpower and ships. The Nistrim were once a powerful and influential sect, however their power has diminished – by 2372, they possessed fewer than six raider vessels.
The different sects of the Kazon Collective vary in strength, combat capabilities and style of dress but they also share a number of common factors. Each Kazon sect seems to adhere to the same tribal structure, which places a single male in a position of supremacy above all others. Known as the First Maje, this Kazon warrior acts as a combination of tribal headsman, starship commander, military general, and lawmaker.
It is often the First Maje who makes first contact with another ship, or who decides which sects can be considered allies and which enemies, and when that situation should change.
The definition of the Kazon word ‘Maje’ is nebulous, but it appears that it is used in a similar manner to the generic ‘leader’, or ‘chief’. Most sects seem to have a number of lower-ranking Majes serving under the First Maje.
A lesser Maje might be placed in charge of a Kazon warship, such as their massive Predator-class vesels, scoutships, or smaller fighter sized battleships, but it appears that the FirstMaje acts as the given sects supreme commander.
As part of an aggressive warrior based, male-oriented society, all the Kazon sects prize their traits of strength and fortitude, and admire cunning and ruthless warriors within their own ranks. To become a Maje, a Kazon warrior must begin to display these capabilities from an early age. Failure to exhibit the required killer instinct results in an early death.
It is important for younger members to keep the right side of a Maje, as the commander of a starship holds the right to direct their lives. A Kazon crew often contains young boys who have not yet reached adolescence, or made their first kill. It is the Maje, and he alone, who decides when these novices should be allowed to join in the battles.
It is important that a Maje makes an accurate decision about when a boy is ready to become a man; there is only one chance to succeed in Kazon society and as we already know, if the child fails, he will become an outcast.
Obviously it is within the Maje’s best interests to ensure that as many youths as possible succeed and become warriors, so that the sect is strengthened. The Maje of a Kazon sect wields an absolute power that is uncommon among the races encountered in the 24th century. It is a position that demands great responsibility, and, for a Maje who wields his powers wisely, the rewards are many.
The vast majority of Kazon colonies are on the far side of the Nekrit Expanse, however UFS is still prone to occasional encounters with the Kazon-Ogla and Kazon-Relora, and as such they must never be underestimated.