The Deltans
by S. John Ross, part of the Untaken Treks

Homeworld

Visitors from earth typically describe planet Delta IV as "Mediterranean." Breezy and warm through much of the year, Delta IV gives the impression of being almost entirely balmy, rocky coastline; that's where all the cities are. Thousands of incredibly tall, and mercifully dormant, volcanoes provide a craggy and dramatic backdrop into which the swollen red sun can set. The air is heady with spices and the sharp musk of the sea. The greatest hazard on Delta IV is untamed nature - powerful monsoons and hurricanes occasionally threaten even modern cities like Antos and Tosém, and the Deltan Ribbon Snake and Yellow Tree-Cat are still responsible for dozens of deaths every year. Deadly and beautiful, Delta IV is among the most unusual planets of the Federation.

History

Deltans are one of the very few Federation members with no wars in the whole of their species' history. Prior to becoming a spacefaring race in the early 1800's, the history of the Deltans is a languorous, heady cycle of art, philosophy, romance, and Eros. While other worlds advanced in leaps and strides in the heat of conflict, the Deltans advanced gradually, pleasantly, in the warmth of intimacy.

So unprepared were they for the realities of other cultures, and so oblivious to the dramatic impact their powers of communication might have on sentients unfamiliar with them, the Deltans nearly destroyed themselves - and several other worlds - in the 20th century.

In 1896, the first Deltan warp-vessels encountered the Ghanods, the nearest sentient neighbors to Delta IV. Humanoid, intelligent, and advanced, they seemed like good candidates for friends, and the Ghanods agreed. Trade relations began almost immediately; the two species shared a mutual fascination.

It was a romance not meant to be. The Deltans related to the Ghanods as they did to one another - with sexuality as a central component in adult communications. The Ghanods, unprepared for the intense and transforming experience of sexual "conversation" with the Deltans, fell head-over-heels, as it were, obsessed with the erotic wonder of Deltan social intercourse. They began worshipping the Deltans as gods, causing global schisms in their native, sexually-conservative religions. Centuries of Ghanodi repression popped a collective blood vessel, and an entire world went mad with lust and worship. Temples burned, and bacchanals were organized . . . but the Deltans were unwilling participants.

The Deltans found themselves, in turn, adored, worshipped, and forcibly kidnapped. In a rage, the Ghanods went to war with one another, fighting over the limited supply of Deltan colonists, who were forced to flee into the wilderness, where they were hunted down.

Leaving hundreds behind to live out their days pawed by maddened Ghanods, the Deltans had no choice but to retreat to their homeworld. With no warp-drive capability (the Ghanods had barely achieved space flight), their new worshippers could not follow.

Culture

The Deltans, almost as one mind, wept with horror and grief at the consequences of their contact with others, and foreswore all alien contact. The species suffered a global plague of desperate depression, with several pro-celibacy cults resulting in mass suicides, littering the pale beaches of Delta IV with the dead.

The Federation made first contact with Delta IV in 2262, at a stage when the Deltans had healed the generations-old trauma of Ghanodi contact, and returned to a measure of cautious curiosity regarding other worlds. With much greater care, the Deltans agreed to come forward from their self-imposed exile . . . to shake hands.

Physiology and Psychology

Deltans prize elegant communication above all else. Their ability to combine telepathic, chemical, and physical modes of communication creates an unparalleled canvas for the Deltan imagination. Their long struggle with the dangers of their natural surroundings, in turn, provides the tension lends Deltan art its genuine passion and range. The Deltans didn't avoid war because they're perfect pacifists - they avoided it by living on a world that supplies every material need in abundance while exposing them to constant mortal threat. Demand never exceeded supply, and there was always room, frequently at the expense of entire cities consumed by storms. "The lovely crucible" of Delta IV (as the 22nd century poet, Bondar, wrote) created a people who work hard to survive disaster, seeking beauty, peace, and pleasure any way they can.

While Deltan literature, art, and theater (not to mention daily life) include sexuality as a constant theme, and the Deltans consider sex a normal part of any friendly adult relationship, it would be unfair to refer to them as sexually obsessed, in the way some other species can be. The Deltan emphasis on sexuality is proportionate to its physical necessity. Deltan females cannot conceive from a single intimate joining; they require dozens or even hundreds, with the same partner, over a course of years. The result, when combined with the Deltan potential for natural disaster, is a negligible population growth over the past several millennia. Only in recent centuries has technology permitted any real "explosion" in Deltan numbers.

Fortunately, those Deltans who aren't burned, crushed, drowned or poisoned by the dangers of Delta IV can live for centuries, and Deltan children are almost always born to stable, loving couples with a long history - since short-term "marriages" never produce offspring. This contributes, certainly, to the placid nature of Deltan culture.

The Deltans communicate through skin-contact (including sexual intimacy) as easily as they do verbally. Some of the loftier Deltan concepts can apparently only be communicated when the contact is appropriately intense. This communication is both telepathic and chemical, and can include complex (if abstract) concepts and a bewildering range of emotional expressions, the latter mostly via pheromone exchange.

Studies performed by the Deltan Academy of Communication have proven that Deltan methods of Sexual interplay - including both telepathic and chemical components - are to a limited degree learnable by sufficiently gifted members of other species. This has led to the Deltan assumption that they are simply more advanced, sexually, than other species, just as Tellarites are more advanced engineers.

Their willingness to make their advances available to the Federation is tempered by an almost phobic caution. The Deltans carefully evaluate and license each species they encounter as either "sufficiently advanced" or not, to join sexually with them. Some species - such as Humans, Centaurans and Vulcans - are regarded as primitive but with potential for safe exchange under controlled circumstances, and humans on Delta IV are sometimes invited to participate in communications experiments for the betterment of Federation unity. Other species (notably the Tellarites, Andorians, and Axanari) are fully licensed for relations with Deltans. Starfleet shares the Deltan concern and caution, and requires Deltan officers to file a species-specific celibacy oath when serving onboard starships.

Noted Accomplishments

Many combined Deltan-Tellarite engineering teams have advanced civil engineering by decades at a stroke - particularly those methods directly applicable to coastal "storm-proofing" of urban development.

Noted Characters

Unuro, powerful telepathic teacher who has taught thousands of non-Deltans advanced techniques of his species' modes of communication. Gaima Ina (2241-2272), a heroic Deltan colonist on Tranganea II, who saved thousands of lives - both Deltan and Klingon - when he sacrificed himself to appease a powerful alien entity later destroyed by the U.S.S. Eagle.


Contents of this page are Copyright ©2000 by S. John Ross

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