Betazoids are a telepathic member race of the Federation from Betazed. They have been Federation members since 2273 and have made a swift impact on the dynamics of the Federation council. Betazoids are notable for their dark retina and cultural requirement for nude weddings. The capital city of Rixx has been described as a paradise of the free universe.
Unlike the Deltans, Betazoids do not have the aspects of pheromones and their psionic abilities develop at puberty and not birth. They are open with their abilities and what they sense; the regulations regarding thought privacy more an aspect brought in from the Federation (see open attitude of Lwaxana Troi and Tam Elbran, in episode Tin Man). Like other telepaths, their ability to sense pain in others makes them natural pacifists.
The University of Betazed is renowned throughout the Federation for their Psychology facilities. The University has had a close relationship forged with Starfleet Academy to teach both psychology and other social sciences. Comparative psychology and atypical psychology are both popular courses at the establishment. Felamina Wish is the current Principal of the University; Wish was a former Vice-principal and has served in the psychology department for two decades. She was instrumental in creating the current close ties with Starfleet Academy. For Cadet Hawkins, the time he spent at the University of Betazed on secondment from the Academy, helped him to become the Psychologist and Social Scientist he is today. By the time he entered the Academy, the Betazoids that were also joining had lived most of their lives as Federation citizens. The pacifistic and almost spiritual attitude of the Betazoids was starting to be felt in terms of ethics and diplomacy over conflict.
Whereas the Deltans see races like the Klingons and Andorians as passionate people to whom they feel an affinity, Betazoids sense the actual, sometimes violent, thoughts these races exhibit. Comparisons have been made broadly between the Deltans and Betazoids, but the emotional intelligence and sensuality of the Deltans is a degree of difference from the telepathy and openness of the Betazoids. Whilst the Deltans havce the full package of pheromones and empathy that has made them put their home planet off-limits to non-Deltans, the Betazoids, by comparison, are fully open and encourage visitors to their world.
Koline Trin is a Betazoid journalist from the Federation News Network. She was head-hunted from the Federation News Service and has headlined the peak news programme on FNN for the last ten years. There is no secret that part of the success of Trin is her ability to sense when the interviewee is lying or hiding something. This has made some companies and individuals send psi-blocking representatives for the interview, or avoid the show altogether. The skill of Trin has been to turn this fear of being caught out as a sign of guilt. Indeed, many people use her gift to their advantage by forwarding their case by telling the truth.
Beyond her natural talent, Trin is a first class journalist who has been unafraid to take on the controversial issues facing the Federation today, including immigration, the Romulan crisis, the plight of the Venturi and the militarism of Starfleet. One article that brought her Federation-wide notoriety was the exposť about Starfleet Intelligence using telepaths. This flagrant breach of the Mental Privacy Act (2286) cost the Head of Starfleet Intelligence their early retirement and great viewing figures for FNN. Some say it would have cost Ra-ghoratreii his next election if he was able to have done another term; he was lucky not to be impeached.
One of the notable characters is Senator Toroxin Besh. Besh is a pacifist and senior member of the Federation council. He has made the case for politically engaging with the Klingons, Tholians and Romulans and sees military action as a failure of the Federation to abide by the principals of its formation. Besh mirrors the current British politician George Galloway MP, of the Respect party in Bradford. As with his 21st Century counterpart, Besh was turned on politically when the Romulans attacked Federation space in an aggressive blitzkrieg.
Besh has been described as a Romulan sympathiser, but has recently started to forge a political bloc with the Deltans, Vulcans, Tellarites and Venturi to de-militarise the Starfleet and to politically engage with the neighbours of the Federation. One of the recent results of this bloc is the announcement of the Starfleet Review, which aims to look at making Starfleet Fit for Purpose for the 24th century. This pacifist bloc is attempting to pressure Starfleet Commander-in-Chief Admiral Khmelnova into reducing the tactical element of the Starfleet, especially in light of improving relations with the Klingons and the withdrawal of the Romulans from the active scene.
Betazoids were introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Encounter at Farpoint" in the form of main character Deeana Troi. The Betazoids were a modernised, television-friendly version of the earlier concept of the Deltans that Gene Roddenberry imagined. Gone were the bald heads and sexuality, instead there was a television friendly idea of telempathy and mind-reading. The most daring that Betazoids got was their naked weddings - a point that came to a head in Star Trek: Nemesis.
Unlike in other cultures, the female surname is the dominant one that is adopted at weddings. Most Betazoids seen have been female: Marina Sirtis as Deeana Troi, Majel Roddenberry as Lwaxana Troi and Alicia Coppola as the ill-fated Lieutenant Stadi from Star Trek: Voyager "The Caretaker". Tam Elbrun was the most notable male Betazoid, seen in third season TNG: "Tin Man". Elbrun was both gifted with powerful abilities, but also cursed from the effects of those same abilities.
The main theme of Star Trek: The Interim Years is change. The Betazoids are a big part of that. As fairly recent new members of the Federation in 2273, the Betazoids - along with the Vulcans, Deltans and Venturi - are forming a pacifist bloc in the Federation Council. Their aim is to de-militarise the Starfleet and project a more peaceful and diplomatic front to the explorering Starfleet personnel. Conflicts with the ISC and Romulans are weighed up against diplomatic successes with the Klingons. The hope is to create a better Federation and, through Starfleet, project a better vision of this nation. This will explain the change in attitude from Kirk and Sulu to Picard.