15 Lyncis System
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Caitians are a feline humanoid race from the Federation with distinctive feline features and also speak in purring notes.
The people of Cait, or Ferasa did not keep detailed records of their ancient history and much is unknown as time has somewhat erased the elders' memories. The earliest records of the Caitian homeworld were kept from around the time of the Renaissance on Earth, from around 1500 AD. The people of Cait were just learning to work together, though there were some tribes who were determined to rule everyone else. It was because of these tribes that the fighting of Caitian against Caitian lasted as long as it did, well into the 1700s. Eventually, the lack of loyalty to their world erupted into a war that engulfed their world, with much fighting of tooth and claw.
During the Earth year of 1921, leaders of Caitian tribes began allying themselves in an attempt to take over their world. In six months the bloodiest war in Caitian history began and did not end until three years later. One tribe was completely wiped out and the planet itself was all but decimated and was now unfit for sustaining life. The leaders of the tribes came together to form a world union and to try to undo the damage inflicted by the Great War. Also, because of the massacre of the thirteenth tribe, it is now dishonorable to fight with tooth and claw and punishable by exile.
Within the next decade the world of Ferasa would achieve space flight and land on one of the two moons, Rea, successfully visiting the other moon, Sura, within another five years. They discovered that a planet in their system, Cait V, was also habitable and decided to take advantage of the farming opportunities while cleaning up their homeworld. Within 50 years, Cait IV was a clean and fertile world again. The large birds that the Caitians preferred to eat were more numerous and the trees with the distinctive smell became commonplace. It was during this era that the Caitians' love of beauty and creed of cooperation and loyalty came to be. The tribal tensions were still there and people were far more loyal to their tribes than outsiders, but cooperation was key to keep the wars from consuming their world once more.
Around 2172, Caitians decided to leave their homesystem and see what was in the stars. Their first meeting with alien lifeforms were the crew of the USS Apollo, a bizarre mix of Humans, Andorians, and Tellarites. It was uncomfortable as they did not know what to expect from these strangers but they learned one thing: they were not alone.
The first hostile contact the Caitians had was with Orion pirates some years after the contact with the Federation. With two ships and two crews captured, the Caitians turned to their allies for help. The Federation assisted willingly and this eventually led to a Federation presence being placed in the Cait system. Within a few decades, in the year 2231, the Caitians entered the Federation as a full member.
The first Caitian in Starfleet was a woman known as M'Ress, and on her success others soon followed. Within 30 years, half the Starfleet installations in the Federation had at least one Caitian in their ranks. By the year 2368, Caitians in Starfleet uniforms were a common sight. Caitians tend to fight out of honor and loyalty and it was put to the test in the year 2371 when fighting broke out along the Cardassian and Klingon borders. Caitians began enlisting in Starfleet at an accelerated rate and, when the Dominion War started two years later, Caitians were twice as numerous in Starfleet than they had been previously. With their homeworld threatened by the occupations of Betazed and Bolarus IX, Caitian civilians began practicing with their ceremonial weapons in an attempt to arm themselves against the Dominion forces, though it was later proven to have been unnecessary.
The Caitian representatives on the Federation Council, however, wished to reject Bajor's second application to the Federation on the grounds that they withdrew it once and might do it again. When Bajor was admitted to the Federation, the Caitian representatives made it clear that they were welcome on Cait.
First contact for Caitians was with the USS Apollo under Captain Erik Dagurssen. The Caitian bridge crew did not know what to make of this pink-skinned, bulky man with yellow hair on top of his head as he was unlike anything they had seen previously. His crew were much more terrifying as some of the Caitians believed that the blue ones with the white hair were actually demons and pointed to their horns as proof. Once they were able to communicate with them, the Caitians understood that no one meant them harm and were happy to exchange information about themselves for more data about the interstellar community. They remained close allies of the Federation until they became members in 2231.
Caitians appear physically to be somewhere between a humanoid and a feline animal. Their legs have both knees and hocks and they walk on their toes, some Caitians not needing to wear shoes. They are not tall, averaging around 1.8-1.9m (6'0-6'4), covered in fur with long, flexible tails used for balance. Their hands appear to be more like paws and their faces are more similar to a cat's than a humanoid's. The females carry their young 5 months before giving birth to a litter anywhere from 2 to 4 babies. They have less endurance than most humanoids nor are as strong, but their heightened senses make up for it.
Their fur can range in color from tan to reddish brown to black and they may or may not have a lion-like mane of hair around their face. Their faces also vary, from similar to a small cat to a large jungle cat. The males are somewhat more muscular than the women, though neither are very sturdy.
Their hearing is more on par with animals' than humanoids and their cat-like eyes provide for excellent night vision. Their hearing makes them very able as linguists and communication officers, and also engineers as they are able to hear the problems in the engines.
Caitian society has a love of beauty in all things, and they believe things that look natural are more beautiful because of that quality. Hence there is much wood and stone in Caitian architecture. The Caitians' love of beauty has led many to become poets and artists but also engineers at Utopia Planitia and other shipyards in a concerted effort to make starships as beautiful as possible.
Cooperation is key to Caitian ideals as lack thereof nearly destroyed their planet. In an effort to ensure that it does not happen again, Caitians have been taught for generations the importance of cooperating with one's neighbors to ensure that all live well and happy, not just oneself. However, loyalty often conflicts with this, as loyalty to one's clan and family conflict with the desire to help one's town. As a result of the Great War, it is dishonorable to fight with tooth and claw, punishable by exile from Cait.
Caitians also value their families very highly, in fact their families and tribe are only slightly lower than their god. The Caitians have an alter to their ancestors that they pray at to ask Mraownr for help in this life and to help their families in the next. The loss of a family member can cause great psychological trauma to a Caitian, even to the point of needing care. The children of a tribe are raised by all adults in that tribe, giving new dimension to the human phrase "it takes a village to raise a child". As with children, the elderly are given care by their descendents and are treated with kindness and great respect for their wisdom and experience. It is so important to do honor to your family, that if a man wronged his wife, he would be punished, even to the point of death.
Caitians believe in the existence of Mraownr, the Great Creator, who made the universe and everyone in it. A part of each meal is burned in a sacred fire to give thanks to the Creator and ask for blessings. Caitians often have small statues of family that have passed into the Great Forest to honor their family members and to ask them to plead their case to the Creator. Caitians also believe in the existence of spirits and that some of them must be kept at bay on the Day of Remembrance, else their homes will be overwhelmed with the ghosts of dead soldiers.
Each town is ruled by a council of elders, elected from among the people, who then discuss situations as needed and then decide the wisest course of action. If there is nothing pertinent or pressing the people at the time, the council of elders may not even bother to convene. Each province is similarly governed, taking action only when necessary and dealing only with the problems of the day.
The planetary government is a group of elders elected by the people to best represent them, though no one is allowed to be voted in unless they are nominated by the people of their province.
The judicial laws are the same as the rest of the Federation's and works in much the same way, innocent until proven guilty. A trial is presided over by a village elder and the jury consists of members of the town or city that said crime took place in. The accused is given a chance to prove their innocence, while the prosecutor is given a chance to prove the accused's guilt. The jury's decision is final.
The punishment for crimes is similar to other Federation planets, trying to correct the behaviors and mindsets that lead to criminal behavior. Once the behaviors are corrected, the convicted party will serve a predetermined sentence in a penal colony and then be released back into society.
The Caitian language is almost sung by its speakers, consisting of multiple soft tones and deep purring resonances. It is this purring quality that makes it difficult for Caitians to adapt to other, more phonetic languages and leads many to rely on subdermal translators.
Caitians prefer to eat fruit, vegetables and grains for the greater part of their diet, though they will eat meat to supplement it. They prefer wild game if they can get it, but also fish and fowl.
Science and Technology
As a Federation member, Caitians have access to warp drive and phaser technology, as well as replicators and holodecks. Caitians are also some of the best warp engineers in the Federation, due to their heightened sense of hearing.