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I've watched the following scene:

Quote from it:

Spock: Good morning. Two months ago, a Federation starship monitored an explosion on the Klingon moon, Praxis. We believed it was caused by overmining and insufficient safety precautions. The moon's decimation means a deadly pollution of their ozone. They will have depleted their supply of oxygen in approximately 50 Earth-years. Due to their enormous military budget, the Klingon economy does not have the resources with which to combat this catastrophe. Last month, at the behest of the Vulcan ambassador, I opened a dialogue with Gorkon, Chancellor of the Klingon High Council. He proposes to commence negotiations at once.

Admiral Cartwright: Negotiations for what?

Spock: The dismantling of our space stations and starbases along the Neutral Zone, an end to almost 70 years of unremitting hostility which the Klingons can no longer afford.

The Klingon have an Empire with dozens of planets. Why didn't they simply abandon Qo'nos and get another planet to be their capital, at least for some time? They are warriors and during wars, one sometimes loses important locations. That does not mean you stop fighting. After abandoning Qo'nos, they then could've had time to clean the atmosphere over a longer period of time.

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    "the Klingon economy does not have the resources with which to combat this catastrophe" – Valorum Feb 12 at 9:22
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    @Valorum I don't have the resources to buy a house. But I can take a loan and pay it over time. So, they do not have the resources to fight it over 50 years but maybe over 100 or 200... – Shade Feb 12 at 9:34
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    @Shade - A better analogy would be whether you were willing to be homeless for 50 years in return for getting a house to live in at the end – Valorum Feb 12 at 10:13
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    There's billions of them. Moving their entire civilisation to planets without the infrastructure to feed and house them would be akin to asking everyone in Japan to move to the centre of Australia in a fleet of minivans – Valorum Feb 12 at 10:37
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    Also, species tend to be a little sentimental about their home world...I wonder why. – Philip Klöcking Feb 12 at 12:33
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They can't afford to.

The Klingon Empire had a massive defense budget. Around them was the Federation (an entity they did not trust) and the Romulan Empire (an actively hostile state). They'd even been in two wars with the Federation over a relatively short time (in STD Season 1, and in TOS Errand of Mercy).

Any solution to the Qo'nos crisis involved diverting funds from the military, including abandoning the planet. This is why an offer of peace from the Federation was so welcomed. With one of the other two major powers ending hostilities, all military resources tasked with surveilling/scaring/chasing federation ships can be re-tasked, either to deal with the crisis directly, or to be laid up to free the financial resources to deal with the crisis.

This way, the Empire doesn't have to take on debt to deal with it, (remember, the Klingons value honor, debt in inherently dishonorable), which in turn preserves their security the best it can be when the home planet of the Empire is dying.

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Think about what it would take to move the population of Qo'nos. Assuming similar development to Earth, there are likely billions (possibly even tens of billions) of Klingons living on the homeworld.

To move that population, the Klingons would need thousands or even millions of warp capable ships with life support systems (so cargo freighters would need suitable modifications). They could make multiple trips over time, but that's still a huge number of ships, and trips.

Also, you can't just drop a million people on a new world - they need food, shelter, infrastructure. Even an established colony would have trouble absorbing a sudden increase in population like this.

And, as someone else mentioned, there's a huge ecology of Qo'nosian species that are unique to the homeworld. Even if the Klingons don't care about saving these now endangered species, there will be some that are vital to Klingon culture and as food sources. Then there would be other species vital to those ones. Suitably large populations of these species would need to be transplanted to ensure genetic diversity on each new world. Again, dropping large populations of non-native species can be devastating to unprepared ecologies.

If the Klingons started to invade worlds to get the resources needed for this mass migration, the Federation would be likely to intervene, making a costly endeavour even more costly. The Chancellor, and his daughter, obviously think it would be better to achieve a peace and divert military resources.

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Imagine what would happen if the Klingon home world were threatened with destruction. Not only Klingons, but millions of species that evolved along with Klingons, would be at stake. Even if Klingons had a purely utilitarian attitude toward them, this would mean the loss of enormous biological potential for the discovery or development of plants and microorganisms useful in agriculture and medicine. It would mean the loss of any nature preserves and historical buildings that the Klingons had retained for sentimental or practical reasons. The longest-standing family estates in the Empire would be rendered uninhabitable, with severe disruption of political alliances and exploitation of weaknesses. By comparison, if the Klingons chose to preserve their home world, they would be faced with a political challenge that, properly handled, could unite their species behind a common goal rather than divide it.

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  • Come to think of it, Earth is in the same situation. – Invisible Trihedron Apr 16 at 17:58
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In my opinion, it is a mystery why the Klingon Empire can't simply relocate the population of the Home planet, which should be merely one out of several thousand, million, or billion inhabited and civilized planets in the Empire, to other inhabited and civilized planets in the Empire.

In "Errand of Mercy" Kirk tells the Organians:

KIRK: Gentlemen, I have seen what the Klingons do to planets like yours. They are organised into vast slave labour camps. No freedoms whatsoever. Your goods will be confiscated. Hostages taken and killed, your leaders confined. You'd be far better off on a penal planet. Infinitely better off.

So Kirk apparently has seen planets with native populations ruled by the Klingons, and probably producing products for Klingons to use.

And Kor expects that the klingons are about to conquer many more planets, which will no doubt include many planets where they can live as comfortably as on Organia:

KOR: Sentimentality, mercy. The emotions of peace. Your weakness, Captain Kirk. The Klingon Empire shall win. Think of it, as we sit here, in space above us the destiny of the galaxy will be decided for the next ten thousand years. Can I offer you a drink? We can toast the victory of the Klingon fleet.

And Kirk tells the Organians:

KIRK: We have legitimate grievances against the Klingons. They've invaded our territory, killed our citizens. They're openly aggressive. They've boasted that they'll take over half the galaxy.

There are hundreds of billions of star systems in our galaxy. So if Kor and Kirk exaggerated the number of stars that the Klingons hoped and expected to conquer from the Federation by only a thousand times, the Klingons would still be expecting to conquer hundreds of millions of star systems with their planets. And the Klingons would need to already rule hundreds of thousands or millions of inhabited planets to have any expectation of conquering hundreds of millions of planets.

Suppose that Kor and Kirk exaggerated the number of stars and planets that the Klingons expected to conquer by a million times. Then the Klingons would be expecting to conquer "only" a "mere" few hundred thousand stars. And the Klingons would need to already rule hundreds or thousands of inhabited planets to have any expectation of conquering hundreds of thousands of planets.

In "A Private Little War" a Klingon named Krell, who seems to be comfortable enough on a class M planet, tells his local ally Apella:

KRELL: You will be rich one day, Apella, beyond your dreams. The leader of a whole world. A governor in the Klingon Empire.

In "The Trouble with Tribbles", "Friday's Child", and "A Private Little War" Klingons seem to have no trouble breathing the air and otherwise living on class M planets suitable for humans, which seem to be very common in Star Trek. So if the Klingons rule a large region of space they are likely to rule many planets suitable for them to live on, as well as ruling many subject planets which produce products for Klingon use.

In "Day of the Dove" Mara says:

MARA: We have always fought. We must. We are hunters, Captain, tracking and taking what we need. There are poor planets in the Klingon systems, we must push outward if we are to survive.

This implies that Klingons live on several worlds, and that they need imports to survive, even before Praxis explodes, and that their main export that they pay for imports with is life; i.e. they don't kill people who provide those imports.

The Klingons still rule an unspecified number of planets about a century later in the TNG episode "The Mind's Eye":

Captain's log, stardate 44891.6. The Enterprise has been ordered to accompany a special emissary from the Klingon High Council to the Kriosian System, where one of their colonies is fighting for independence.

[Ready room]

KELL: There was a time when the Empire would crush a rebellion. Now it is tolerated. We have enough problems on the home planet. We don't wish to divert resources to such a trivial war.

The rebellious people on Krios might be a non Klingon species, or Klingon colonists, or a mixture of both.

In Star trek V: The Final Frontier the history of Nimbus III, the Planet of Galactic Peace is described briefly.

[Paradise City saloon backroom]

CAITHLIN: Gentlemen, I'm Caithlin Dar.

TALBOT: Ah, yes. Our new Romulan representative. Welcome to Paradise City, my dear, capital of the so-called 'Planet of Galactic Peace.' I'm St. John Talbot, the Federation representative here on Nimbus Three and my charming companion, here, is the Klingon consul Korrd.>

KORRD: Ugghhhh!>

CAITHLIN: I expect that's Klingon for hello.

TALBOT (OC): Won't you come in, my dear? Blockquote

(Sybok and his followers approach Paradise City)

AITHLIN: Twenty years ago, our three governments agreed to develop this planet together. A new age was born.

TALBOT: Our new age died a quick death. And the settlers we conned into coming here, they were the dregs of the galaxy. They immediately took to fighting amongst themselves. We forbad them weapons, but they soon began to fashion their own.

CAITHLIN: Right! Then it appears I've arrived just in time.

The population of Nimbus III includes many species which were not seen previously, who could be from various Federation, Romulan, and Klingon worlds.

The Klingon prison planet Rura Penthe in Star trek VI: The Undiscovered Country has Klingon guards but the prisoners all seem to be members of non Klingon species. I sort of doubt that they were all foreign travelers who committed crimes in the Klingon Empire, so most of them should be members of subject species from subject worlds in the Klingon Empire.

It seems to me that if the Klingons move to many different planets in their empire and thus move closer to the producers of products that used to be sent to their home world, they will eliminate the shipping costs for those products and thus could reduce their taxes on their subjects while increasing the goods they receive from the subjects. If the klingons have a population of ten billion on their home world, and send ten million Klingons to each of a thousand technologically advanced subject planets which have average populations of one billion, that will result in a mere one percent population increase on each subject planet, which should be something they can handle fairly easily.

So supporting a relocated Klingon home world population should be easy for the Klingon empire unless they rule only a small number of planets. And if the Klingon Empire has to shirk in size to rule only a small number of planets, then the other Alpha and Beta Quadrant powers that border the Klingon empire, like the Federation and the Romulan Empire, also have to shrink in size to explain why the Klingons haven't been totally defeated, conquered, and annexed already.

So the various Star Trek productions give very contradictory indications of the size of various space governments that are depicted.

See also my posts number 8 and 21 in this discussion, https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/who-should-the-next-rival-of-the-federation.303030/1 for more information about the puzzle of the sizes of the various powers in Star Trek.

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  • So, basically, what you're saying, is that there has never been an explanation to why they did not relocate within their empire?! – Shade Feb 12 at 15:19
  • At the time I considered the Kriosian colony rebels to also be klingons. However I was wrong - in the sense I didn't see India being a colony in the same way Australia was - that is a colony is for population transfer. Anyway the subject worlds of the various empires particularly Klingon allies was insufficiently explored. – lucasbachmann Feb 12 at 20:53
  • @Shade The information about the sizes of the various powers in Star Trek has always been rather contradictory, so it is hard to figure out anything certain about the capabilities of those powers - in this case, for example, the ability or otherwise of the Klingon government to relocate the population of its home world. – M. A. Golding Feb 13 at 23:06
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Given that Qo'nos seems fine in the TNG era they were able to fix it not abandon it. The quoted language points out that the ozone layer was messed up. It is way easier to make a new ozone layer or fix other aspects of an atmosphere than move 10 billion people. Even the recent Picard show nonsense focuses on a planet evacuation. I'll never watch it but apparently they preferred to sink their time into building ships instead of using preexisting ships. I figure one Galaxy class could move 400,000 people a year assuming 2 weeks between trips. If the klingons really wanted to evacuate it would take 500 starships working 50 years non-stop - that's a crazy high number for a fleet in the TOS era.

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  • Do you have any reference for the 16.000 people a Galaxy-class ship could transport? That would be 16 times the normal crew. – Volker Landgraf Feb 13 at 10:48
  • It appears to be from the tech manual. See scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/52605/… and this video describes how there is a vast amount of space on the ship youtu.be/Lwx5uB0pyhQ Note in a true crises people would be sleeping in the hallways and going hungry. I assume the life support systems could work harder as that is the least fantastic technology in star trek. – lucasbachmann Feb 13 at 17:35
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All of these answers are incorrect, in a manner of speaking:

The devastated planet was Praxis, not the homeworld of Qo'nos

The devasating effect of the destruction of Praxis was economic in nature, as to why Gorkon pressed for peace. Spock's words in the clip say it very clearly:

"an end to almost 70 years of unremitting hostility which the Klingons can no longer afford"

In other words, to directly answer the question - there was no reason to evacuate Qo'nos, it was fine, but the future was grim economically. To evacuate to another planet would do nothing.

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