Skagarans appeared nearly identical to Humans with the exception of distinguishing red protrusions above each eyebrow, on their throat, and in front of each ear. They also had red blood, like many humanoid species, and their body had a higher tolerance to alcohol than a Human body. They were similar enough to Humans to produce children with them and to breathe the same air as them.
Society and culture
Technologically, the Skagarans achieved warp drive by Earth's mid-19th century. They possessed particle weapons ("guns which emitted a beam of light") and, reportedly, had transporter technology ("they could move through thin air from one place to another"). Aboard Skagaran starships, they recorded logs in data modules, which used crystal-like data chips.
During the 19th century, Skagarans were establishing colonies and were in need of workers. One Skagaran ship was sent to Earth. The vessel's crew abducted several thousand Humans from the United States' western rocky desert regions (as well as horses, dogs and cattle) and took them as slave workers to help the Skagarans start a colony on a planet which was located in the Delphic Expanse but had a climate similar to Earth's.
According to the Human account, Cooper Smith was a folk hero who overthrew their Skagaran masters. However, the Skagarans recorded a slightly different version of events, calling Cooper Smith "rahk'tar", which meant "butcher". According to the Skagarans, Smith and his men burned the Skagarans' ship, destroying their weapons and murdering most of them, including entire families. To ensure the Skagarans could never enslave the Humans again, Smith wrote the first laws that kept the Skagarans from going to school, owning property or marrying. By the mid-22nd century, the Skagaran population was less than a thousand and most lived in settlements, one of which was named "Skag town" by the Humans. At this point, at least some Skagarans no longer shared their ancestors' attitude toward slavery, calling it a great crime. There were also some Skagarans that had intermarried with Humans and produced viable hybrid children; a Human with a single Skagaran grandparent had no outward Skagaran traits.
In 2153, the NX-class starship Enterprise visited the Skagaran colony planet, which was still inhabited by Humans and Skagarans. When an away team beamed to the surface of the planet, T'Pol and Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker discovered the wreckage of the Skagaran ship that the Skaragans, three hundred years earlier, had used to transport Humans to the planet. In the ship's data module, T'Pol and Tucker found some data chips, which contained Skagaran log entries. The Skagaran logs were brought aboard Enterprise, where the crew learned that the Skagarans had suffered many disciplinary problems. Six months after the Skagaran ship had arrived, there were no more logs made. Although Enterprise was too small to carry the six thousand Humans who lived on the planet back to Earth, Captain Jonathan Archer planned to return to the planet and provide aid to the inhabitants. Archer believed that when Starfleet was eventually able to send ships to the planet, the crews of those vessels would find that the Humans had changed some of their laws.
Although some Skagarans, such as Draysik, were employed in saloons, they were not allowed to drink with their Human masters and therefore reacted badly to alcohol. Skagaran whiskey was illegal, but a barber named Henry was allowed to keep a bottle of the potent alcohol for pulling teeth.
If a Skagaran killed a Human, it was considered a hanging offense, even if the Skagaran had been acting in self-defense.
Legally, Humans were not encouraged to harass the Skagarans, though a Human who defended a Skagaran from other Humans could possibly be arrested. It was deemed illegal for a Human to teach Skagarans and the minimum punishment for doing so was ten years in jail. However, some Humans, such as Bethany, taught Skagaran children outside at night. A subject that Bethany taught her students was mathematics, including the study of multiplication and long division. The students who Bethany taught wrote on slates. Some of her students were called Yral, Kret, and Taliyah. Bethany herself was one-quarter Skagaran. When the starship Enterprise left the Skagaran planet, Bethany had been allowed to legally teach Skagaran and Human children together. One of the subjects she taught was Earth history, including the study of the first airplane. (ENT: "North Star")
List of Skagarans
The nickname "Skag" was invented by "North Star" writer David A. Goodman. He used a "k" sound and a "g" sound in the word because he thought they made it sound "nasty", which was his intention. However, Goodman has admitted thinking that, because it is a fictional term, it will never "have the power of one of the awful [real] words." ("North Star" audio commentary, ENT Season 3 Blu-ray special features)
In the final draft script of "North Star", Skagarans were not physically described, other than being referred to as "alien humanoids".
When it came time to design the look of the Skagarans, it was deemed appropriate for their makeup appliances to not seem too alien. This was because Skagarans were to be established as capable of interbreeding with Humans and producing offspring that could be mistaken for being Human. ("North Star" audio commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD/BD special features) However, David A. Goodman was left with the impression that the makeup was slightly too subtle (at least at the start of the episode, when the species is introduced). ("North Star" audio commentary, ENT Season 3 Blu-ray special features)
Executive Producer Brannon Braga once referred to the Skagarans as "a poignant little metaphor for the Native American Indians." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 151, p. 30) In fact, the plot point regarding the criminality of teaching Skagaran children was thought up as a way to make the aliens' predicament slightly more sympathetic than originally conceived. ("North Star" audio commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD/BD special features)
The Star Trek: Titan novels have a Skagaran from North Star, Lieutenant Ethan Kyzak serving aboard the USS Titan.