There’s something odd going on in the Klingon Empire. Now, though I love the Federation/Klingon alliance, I don’t mind the war going on in the game. While I intensely hope that by the (preferably far distant) end of this game, the alliance will be fully restored, Klingon culture is organized around conflict between Great Houses due to perceived slights. When the Federation appears to slight the Empire, conflict is believable. But in the meantime, this war seems to be doing strange things to the Klingon Empire. Before STO (in the series & movies), the only non-Klingon we ever saw serve on a Klingon ship was Wil Riker. Through TOS, the Klingons were regularly shown trying to take over the planets of other species. And since Kirk couldn’t be everywhere, we have to assume they succeeded sometimes. One of the big missed opportunities, I think, of TNG was not having any episodes in which the Federation had to deal with peoples conquered by their Klingon allies. Imagine something like “The Higher Ground,” in which the rebel force wasn’t fighting against a planet of the week but the ally of the series. The closest we ever got were the Cardassians in DS9 for a while, but the Klingons weren’t allies then, and that went sideways into other interesting territory.
And yet thought the late 24th century, this conquering Empire had a military filled, as far as we know, only with Klingons. Even on the streets of the First City, the only people who weren’t Klingons were regular cast members. Rome allowed barbarians to earn citizenship through it legions. Britain incorporated descendants of conquered people like Scottish highlanders, Indians (ie the people, of India), and President Obama’s own Luo grandfather in their armies.
Not so, as far as we’ve seen up to Nemesis, with the Klingons. But suddenly, now at this moment when they’re fighting an enemy who can mimic any appearance better than a Changeling can, they have an integrated First City and integrated KDF. Sure, one can imagine that all this diversity existed before, just off-screen.
But imagine a changing Klingon Empire that is becoming more open to other species. Why? Does it have to do with the size or sophistication of these species? Are Gorn just more worthy warriors than the Kirosians (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Kriosian)? But considering that one can create one’s own alien species and make them a KDF captain, that doesn’t seen that the Klingons are only letting in just a few species. With the Orions, there’s a strong suggestion in the Path to 2409 that they’re using Matron pheromones to infiltrate the Empire. But for others, it appears Klingon culture is changing.