Hermat

From Star Trek: Theurgy Wiki

Hermat characters in Star Trek: Theurgy:

Hermats were a predatory, hermaphroditic race. In addition to having both male and female sexual organs, they also possessed razor-sharp canine teeth, reflecting the much more recent predatory origins of their species compared to most other humanoids. They also had a heightened olfactory sense, enabling them to track an individual by their scent alone if necessary. Their flexible joint structure lended itself to sprinting on all fours rather than upright, which gave them a quicker ground pace compared to most other species. However, they also had a relatively short life-span, averaging just 40 standard years.

Generally speaking, they displayed physical traits of both male and female examples of other species, but many single-gendered males of other species might confuse them for svelte, slight-built women.

Physiology

Broadly speaking, Hermats followed the humanoid template. However, there were several key differences, not the least of which was their hyperactive metabolism. It acted as a regenerative system, enabling an injured or sickened Hermat to recover far quicker than an equivalent example of another species. This huge energy expenditure, however, resulted in a life span that some might consider cripplingly short in this age of advanced medical technology; an otherwise hale and hearty Hermat might only live to a few years beyond 40.

Despite this low 'cap', they spent nowhere near as long in their developmental stages as other species. Hermat children stayed only a short time with their parent(s), and would be physically and mentally adult, and educated to wider Federation adult standard by the age of 3.

They possessed both male and female sexual organs, and were capable of reproduction by parthenogenesis if no partner were available or desired. This was possible due to a dual, internal ovary/testis arrangement that could pass the relevant material from the latter organ to the former with no additional assistance necessary beyond some specific stimulation and ritualised manual massage at the proper point in a Hermat's reproductive cycle. Under normal circumstances, the phallus was sheathed in order to protect the delicate organs against potentially dangerous events. As one might expect, it would emerge when aroused as a physiological reaction - whether the Hermat in question was to be the donor or the recipient. Hybridisation was possible with a few other species, though this was uncommon. In all cases, the offspring would inherit the Hermat developmental pattern, metabolism, and life span.

Image: Hermat claws. Click for animation.

Hermats were, evolutionarily speaking, closer to their roots than most other species, resulting in a strong instinctive response to danger and threat, as well as extant physiological markers; they retained sharp canines (and a sagittal crest thicker than the humanoid average to anchor their stronger jaw muscles, as well as canine tooth roots that extended to just underneath the eye orbit) and retractable claws made of an incredibly hard keratin-analogue. Their joint structure made it possible to run comfortably on their hands and feet for quicker pace - and even more if they were running on soft ground and could leverage their claws to gain traction - while their relatively quick muscle engagement times meant that they were quite capable of explosive bursts of strength as well, as when pouncing on a larger target or leaping into a tree. If the impact didn't stun their prey, they could make short work of it with their claws and crushing bite.

Partly as a result of this close heritage, Hermats required a mostly-carnivorous diet supplemented by some vegetables and nuts for any micronutrients they didn't receive from animal products. However, beyond being such near-obligate carnivores, there were no especial dietary requirements beyond that compared to most other humanoids.

Their blood was a bright scarlet, and relied on oxygen transfer via haemoglobin. Their resting heart rate tended to inhabit the mid-70s, but could rise to the low-200s during periods of heavy exertion and be maintained for a prolonged period without trouble. Their cardiovascular system was quite efficient, and allowed them to run without tiring for hours at a time.

Psychology

As a race, Hermats tended to keep to themselves. A mild xenophobia manifested itself as a broad segregation from the Federation as a whole, despite cooperating remotely with research projects and engaging in trade. In general, Hermats found it difficult to relate to other species, though there were outliers as with any other race. As contact continued, however, more and more Hermats joined the interstellar community wholesale.

Language

Shortly after joining the Federation, Hermat educational institutions began teaching all children Federation Standard as a matter of course, alongside native tongues. In a concession to their biology, however, they added a set of pronouns to better describe themselves to others, aided by existing Standard pronouns for inter- and agender species:

'hir' replaced 'him' and 'her', and pulled double-duty for the possessive equivalent of the latter, also. It was pronounced as 'here' rather than 'her'. 'hirs' replaced 'his' and 'hers' 's/he' replaced 'he' and 'she'. The 'h' was pronounced separately from the 's', resulting in a 'se-hee' construction.

An unfortunate side-effect of their perceived 'superiority' to non-hermaphroditic species was a tendency to ascribe slurs when such a person offended them or fell short of an expectation. One of the more common terms was 'bino' (a contraction of 'binary') to derogatorily refer to species with more than one gender. Despite their exposure to species with more than two sexes (such as Andorians), the term was used as a catch-all.

Home World

Name: Hermat
Diameter: 19,861km
Gravity: 0.93G
Axial Tilt: 13.3 degrees
Moons: 3
Orbital period: 394 days
Rotational period: 25.2 hours
Classification: M (surface water 54%)
Atmosphere: 108kPa - 72% Nitrogen, 26% Oxygen, 2% trace
Climate: semi-tropical/temperate
Population: ~9 billion

Culture & Customs

Hermat society had a deep appreciation for all forms of artistic expression - which grew to include many examples from other species, once they joined the Federation, in a rare turnabout from their usual standoffish nature when it came to other species. Generally Hermat society as a whole tended to be quite conservative when introducing new ideas and concepts - perhaps a symptom of their short lives. They had less opportunity in the span of a single life to correct any misstep, compared to most humanoids, and it was considered a matter of course that a Hermat must fix their own mistakes.

Hermat childhood was a tumultuous time for any involved. Usually, children would form small gangs of between four and eight members, and would hunt in packs through the countryside when not involved with their intensive and regimented education system (necessarily so, in order to impart a college-level education from an elementary start in only three years). Hermat adults would avoid these gangs, as their high energy, rough 'play' and relatively aggressive behaviour were seen as undesirable traits at best and dangerous ones at worst - and more than once, feuding gangs had to be separated by force. In almost all cases, such aggression faded with the completion of puberty and the onset of adulthood, though Hermats retained a highly influential hindbrain that could quite handily call upon their baser nature when necessary.

The most obvious convention to an outsider would have been their naming custom: usually consisting of a single name and a number, such a naming system was unusual for a race that subscribed to an individualist mindset. It did, however, neatly account for the fact that many Hermats would only have one parent. The number indicated how many times a name had appeared in a family line, or perhaps in Hermat history. A Hermat named "Eskat 212" would be the 212th Hermat by that name to appear on a particular census. The exact system for determining this was unclear.

Hermat society had no concept of distinction along gender lines, which proved a source of great friction when meeting alien races for the first time as they made their first warp flights out of their home system. Misunderstanding in both directions caused nothing but problems, and, in the case of several expeditions, destruction of the Hermat explorer ships as contact soured. There was enough contention that the Directorate ended all extra-system journeys and strongly discouraged outside trade until the arrival of a Federation contingent some decades later.

Hunting remained an important and popular part of Hermat life - careful husbandry of the planet's animal resources had been crucial throughout the species' entire history, and strident efforts were made to preserve a prey species whenever it had been over-hunted. Debates usually bubbled back and forth as to whether climb-and-drop, stalk-and-ambush, or sprint-and-stun methods were best for any given situation or prey. The world itself trends towards tropical and continental climes, and the heavy forest cover lends itself to most kinds of pursuit.

History

Nator159-01.png

The archaeological record on Hermat indicated that the species of the same name was descended from a predatory species of a caniform simian suborder of the order Carnivora, in the Mammalia class. As a result, they have been of great interest to most geneticists and other anthropological scientists as they provide a unique opportunity to study alternative evolutionary possibilities from the humanoid norms.

Surprisingly enough for a species that retained such distinct genetic evidence of their predatory origins, they enjoyed a fairly peaceful history with very few recorded periods of civil unrest or aggression. This allowed them to develop and grow as a people until they finally managed to master the skills needed to build and fly vessels capable of space travel, despite their relative isolation from the rest of the galactic community up to that point. Unlike worlds closer to larger empires - the Klingons, for instance - Hermat did not need to worry about annexation nor any other manner of unsavoury outcomes for their people, which helped them develop their science in peace.

Once they had learned to build interplanetary craft, they turned their efforts towards interstellar ships in order to explore the nearest stars to their own. These ships were crewed mostly by skilled volunteers; individuals selected for their particularly adventurous spirits. What came next, however, were a number of first contacts with other species that were horrible failures due to the unexpected fact that those species all had two (or more) distinct sexes, something they had originally deemed impossible and later the subject of a general societal disgust. Most experts agree that it was this unexpected discovery and their unique status as a dual+ gendered species which caused so many unexpected and often disastrous encounters. Interaction with alien species could not be conducted in the same way as they would interact with strangers from their own world, given the Hermat crews' revulsion and lingering taboos.

They instead withdrew to their homeworld and built a small fleet of warships to protect themselves from the violence and unexpected negative reactions they had encountered. It was almost 50 years before a diplomatic vessel arrived from the Federation seeking to make contact. Ambassador Coradin, despite initial robust deterrence, persisted, and he was eventually able to convince them that they had nothing to fear from him, his staff, or the Federation as a whole. This revelation resulted in a number of very long and often strained series of diplomatic meetings that ended with the Directorate finally agreeing to allow the Federation to build a defensive and strategic starbase outside of their star system.

Coradin's efforts, as well as the ongoing embassy work performed by the starbase, resulted in a series of protocols and informed policies that would ensure less misunderstanding between them and other species - similar to the oath of celibacy that Deltans take before leaving their own homeworld - which fomented an environment under which Hermats could join interstellar society at their own pace.

Government & Military

The Hermat global nation-state was known as the Hermat Directorate, administered by a council of Elders. Given the relatively short lives of the Elders in question, the exact council was always fluctating in absolute size and make up, but was run as a strict meritocracy. Only those Hermat who proved themselves as the most intelligent and capable of complex problem solving and adaptation were eligible for selection to the Council. This ensured a stable government despite the relatively high turnover of representatives.

Following more successful diplomatic relations with the Federation, the Directorate demobilised and dismantled almost all of their native navy and armed forces, bowing instead to the greater umbrella of Starfleet. What remained was a picket force of destroyer-displacement vessels used for in-system policing efforts and customs interdiction only. However, the number of Hermat joining Starfleet stayed low; as of 2370, the number of Hermats on the roster remained in the low hundreds, with many of the species choosing instead to contribute to the whole in other ways.

Technology

As was the case with most new members of the Federation, the Hermat technological base lagged somewhat behind their peers in the UFP until relatively recently. Hermats were a canny and adaptable people, however, and worked hard to catch up to the Federation standard despite lingering reluctance to fully integrate. Hermat researchers were a boon to most projects they responded to requests to join; given their natural intelligence and abstract reasoning abilities, and still being separate enough from the rest of the Federation, they could provide fresh insights where other more dogmatic institutions failed.

Accepting the argument for pragmatism, however, the Directorate made the production and maintenance of standard-pattern Federation infrastructure mandatory within two decades of joining the UFP, meaning they no longer bore the burden of keeping pace with the galaxy - it would be done for them. Logistically, this freed a sizeable sector of their development pool to focus on other tasks.

Mythology

A wide range of philosophical and theological systems were in place on Hermat, most of which revolved around the concept of triples due to their homeworld's lunar arrangement. Generally speaking, co-operation, self-sacrifice, and adaptability were the ideals of most of their organised schools of thought. Each of Hermat's moons were named after a deity representing one of these ideals, though a pantheistic religion has not existed on Hermat for several hundred years.