The Klingon Empire is a market economy, however it operates under near full-time war conditions. Understanding this and exhibiting accepted Klingon conduct will help to raise you high in standing among the Klingon people. In order for you to understand why Klingons are who they are today, we need to first examine the history of the Empire.
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The Klingon Empire was founded 1500 years ago by qeylIS (Kahless) when he united the Empire by killing Molor, a tyrant Emperor. qeylIS is very revered among the Klingons. It is said that he awaits the warriors who die honorably in Sto-Vo-Kor. The first encounter with the Federation was in 2218 which resulted in a century of hostility. Eventually a treaty was agreed upon by the two parties, ending hostilities. The Klingon Empire then entered into an alliance with the Romulan Empire in 2268 when an agreement was struck to share in military technologies and spacecraft design. The first Battle Cruisers were born from this joint effort. By 2280 "Bird of Prey" was adopted from the Romulans to describe Klingon scout ships. In 2293 a catastrophic disaster happened on Praxis, a Klingon moon, that caused serious environmental damage to the atmosphere of the Homeworld Qo'noS. In an attempt to save the Homeworld, then Chancellor Gorkon began peace negotiations with the Federation. He was assassinated by Klingon and Federation personnel that desired to keep things as they were. The negotiations were completed by his successor and daughter Azetbur on the Klingon world of QI'tomer (Khitomer). In 2346 the Romulans attacked the Klingon outpost on QI'tomer in what is now known as the QI'tomer Massacre. 4000 Klingons were killed in this brutal attack.
batlh (Honor) is at the very heart of Klingon Life. In fact, Honor means more than life itself. Even affairs of the Empire take a backseat to matters of Honor. It is the desire of every Klingon to die in battle, long considered the most honorable way to give one's life while serving the Empire. Klingons, when in battle, face the enemy head-on, they do not hide, lie, cheat, or steal to win. A victory is when Honor is gained, not if a Klingon is alive. Klingons believe it dishonorable to attack a weaker opponent, thus, often, even when provoked and/or aggressively attacked by a weaker opponent, Klingons will not seek to destroy them; however, they might merely use some method to deter the attacker without killing them. Insulting a Klingon's honor is a very dangerous proposition that should be avoided. Klingons accept hardship as a fact of life, and are used to overcoming the odds. They do not question orders, unless those orders are against the good of the Empire. Klingons do not ignore their duty. They do not do anything which might dishonor themselves or their House. To do so would mean social death in Klingon society. Honor amongst the family, which is a primary source of education and a most basic building block of society, is very important as well. In Klingon society the Honor of the family is passed to each member, as is the dishonor. Because of this, entire families, many generations, are involved at once in the Imperial Forces. An individual who dishonors himself within the family will often be disowned and shunned. Anyone dishonoring the Empire will surely be disowned if not hunted and killed. If a Klingon has dishonored another wrongfully, the wronged party may invoke the bortaS DIb (Rite of Vengence) to restore honor to his House. Revenge is a legal right.
There are three attributes that should be exhibited as a Klingon: Straight-Fowardness, Aggressiveness, and Strength. To fail to exhibit these attributes would be interpreted as being weak. Now we will discuss the first attribute:
Klingons conduct their business in a very straight-forward manner. There are no pleasantries. "Hello", "Thankyou", "Please", etc. are all considered superfluous and you will be looked upon with duplicity if you use them. Klingons also do not bargain or haggle. All deals are a "take it or leave it" proposition. When addressing other Klingons, one should come directly to the matter at hand.
AGGRESSIVENESS AND STRENGTH
These two traits go hand-in-hand. When used together, they will gain respect from those you interact with. Respect is very important. On Klingon ships, if the yaS wa'DIch (First Officer) feels that the HoD (Captain) has become weak or incapable of serving his duty, the HoD will be assassinated. Similar arrangements are in place for lower ranks. This is a good example of how agressiveness and strength is exhibited. Following are some phrases that, when used, will help raise your standing in the eyes of fellow Klingons: qay'be' (No problem), bIjatlh 'e' yImev (Shut up!), ghIchwIj DabochmoHchugh, ghIchlIj qanob. (If you shine my nose I will give you your nose.). The last phrase actually means "Do not try to mislead me if you value your life." All these phrases are idomatic in nature, and are not intended to start a brawl, but rather display an understanding of the ideals of Aggressiveness and Strength.
Cursing is considered a fine art in Klingon culture. Many times, Klingons in bars will engage in something called mu'qaD veS (Curse Warfare). This is a ritualistic battle, and all within earshot will join in. One should not engage in this "warfare" unless they are prepared to accept the consequences. Following are some phrases that you will hear Dejpu'bogh Hov rur qablIj! (Your face looks like a collapsed star!) HoS lI' Dalo'Ha'chu'! (You are a total waste of good energy!) rgheorDaq luSpet 'oH DaqlIj'e'! (You belong in a black hole in the netherworld!) Hab SoSlI' Quch! (Your mother has a smooth forehead!) The last one is the worst out of the list, but by no means the last. There are new insults every day, so be alert. Usually after such an exchange, the winner will buy everyone a drink, and a lot of typical Klingon games will begin. Headbutting, arm wrestling against d'k'taghs (a type of knife), and something called B'aht Qul are usually quite popular.