Besm

From Station

Overview

The Besm are a Humanoid species native to Vega II, which they name Home. The planet is only a provisional member of the Federation, and few Besm have left their world.

Description

Essentially humanoid, Besm come from a high gravity world. As a result, most are somewhat shorter than human average and are more solidly built. Their most distinctive features are their larger than human eyes, and their bright hair of primary colors. Their eyes are approximately double the size of a human's, and have a higher rod-to cone ratio. This allows them to see well at low light levels, but conversely makes them sensitive to brighter light. Hair colors of blue, red, and green are common, with purple and black seen occasionally.

History

In the aftermath of the fall of Kahn Noonian Singh's empire, biologists and geneticists were looked at with fear and suspicion. The Pan Asian nations particularly swarmed to reestablish traditional values, which led to the oppression of highly educated women of all disciplines.

In the months following the Kahn's downfall, while Colonel Green's Optimal Movement was gaining power, a group of these highly educated women seized a colony ship from a facility in Earth orbit. At the same time, recognizing that they would need children if they were to establish a viable culture elsewhere, they seized orphanages throughout the Asian continent. Because of deep-rooted social prejudices, most of the orphans were female as well.

Some of the women were educators, in positions where they could steal the latest educational databases, and information on research not yet completed. This data would serve the coming colony well in years to come.

The ship was a converted ice freighter, large enough to hold all of them, but without many comforts. It had been in dry-dock, having the then brand-new Cochrane warp drive fitted to it. They headed the ship into the unknown, fearing that they were being pursued. They did not know much about the rest of the galaxy, but they had a list of stars that might have planets capable of supporting them.

When they reached the Vega system, their ship was on its last legs. Its consumables were almost gone, and even the hull was beginning to show wear. Vega II was only marginally habitable - its gravity was half again that of Earth, it was hot and mostly dry, with most of the plane's moisture held in suspension as permanent cloud-cover.

That cloud cover, however, was an unlooked-for blessing. The fugitives grounded their ship, and set about establishing a world in hiding. They developed a civilization with very little radio-frequency emission. Nearly everything was carried by wire, or by line-of-sight laser relay.

In their silence, they changed themselves. Their new world, which they called simply "Home," was heavy. They used their knowledge as biologists to create a new generation that had denser muscles, to give them the strength they would need, sped their reflexes to compensate for the faster speed at which objects fell. Their world was dark, permanently covered in thick clouds, so they gave their children eyes better suited to seeing in the darkness. An unexpected side effect of the changes was that all Besm became psychic nulls. Even the strongest telepaths and empaths can neither read from, nor send to a Besm; nor do the Besm themselves have any psychic ability whatsoever.

Once landfall was achieved, all of the founders who wished to take part in the upbringing of the orphan children threw their names into a collective lottery. Some declined to participate, either for selfish reasons or out of a genuine concern that they would not be able to devote the needed time to such an important task. In the end, there were far more children than "Mothers," and a central home was set up, where those who bore responsibility for raising and educating the young could assist each other, and the older children could assist with raising the younger. This was the beginning of the crèche system, which endures to this day.

Each of the children was sampled for the genetic archive. Genetic diseases and fatal flaws were removed, but no other material was deleted from the gene pool. It was not their intent to destroy all variance in their children's genetics, but simply to safeguard them from what was curable. Even those genes thought undesirable were stored, kept for further study and against future need.

Due to the societal worry about persecution, no state religion was established; all are encouraged to choose a faith if one speaks to them, and legislation exists to protect all faiths within reason, but there is no widely-condoned practice. All public ceremonies and convocations are performed without church influence.

A basic government was established, modeled on the Senate of Rome, which was easily expanded as the population grew. Representatives volunteer for service, and are elected for life, unless impeached. At first, there was a clear gender-bias toward women, due to the disparate number of men and women who made up the original population, but as the creche-groups matured and entered society, the numbers began to even out.

Virtually all children born to the settlers were born in artificial wombs, carefully tended by professionals throughout the gestation and birth. As they grew, they were taught by professional pedagogues.

This became the mold of their society. Within a very few generations, families as they had been known on Earth were forgotten. Crèche groups of genetically identical children, clone siblings, would be planned to meet the society's needs, incubated together, raised together. Soon, the only family relationship that mattered was that among clone siblings.

The geneticists who plan Besm society keep the numbers of male and female children balanced. Currently, the typical crèche group consists of ten male and ten female children, of very close types. Children choose their own personal names, often having some unifying theme among the names chosen by the siblings. As a group, they chose a shared, family, name as well.

Marriage and the biological gestation of young are looked upon with distaste by typical Besm; however, a crèche group that distinguishes itself is often honored by having its genes selected to be used for further generations. It is not uncommon for there to be a handful of crèche groups of different ages drawn from the same genes, though the geneticists are very careful not to overuse any one genome, and are constantly recombining and refining gene sets.

In the year 2357, a mining expedition from a Federation colony, comprised of a mix of races, set out for Vega II, seeking dilithium and other mineral wealth. They were quite surprised when they dropped under the clouds, and found Newer York, Home's capital, waiting beneath them.

In the ensuing years, Federation ambassadors have visited Home, and the planet has been accepted as a provisional member of the Federation. Negotiations continue regarding the planet's possible exemption from Federation laws regarding cloning and genetic engineering.

The Council of Geneticists, an advisory body of the Senate of Home, realized that the time had come to send representatives of their own out into the galaxy, to see, to feel, to report back. Carefully, they began designing a gene set which would have the potential for high intelligence, great emotional stability, curiosity, and, perhaps most importantly, wanderlust. As the children of those crèche groups matured, they encouraged those traits.

Fifty years after contact with the Federation was established, the first of these Besm explorers are moving out from their world. Some have joined the Starfleet; others have chosen civilian careers. All are learning about the Federation, and perhaps, the Federation is learning about them.

Language

The official language of Home is Bokohua, which literally means "Mother's Language." Though it has its roots in Terran Japanese, Korean, and several Chinese dialects, it evolved naturally during the voyage to Vega II and the centuries of the planet's isolation, and is now only vaguely related to those languages.

The written form of the language uses a syllabary, similar to the Hiragana and Katakana of Japanese.