(Note: This description applies to Caitians in the Chakat Universe. The author makes no claims of relevance to the Star Trek® Universe.)
In the year 2135, the first sapient alien race that Terran explorers encountered were the felinoid species native to the planet Cait (Terranglo version of Kà'iît which translates roughly to "Sunfilled Land"), whom they crossed paths with when exploring a new star system. A generally hot and dry world, they evolved on the savannahs and, like humans, they spread to fill many ecological niches, but are still most commonly found in their original habitat. They resemble a cross between biped housecats and lions, with a large variety of fur colours, but no spots or stripes. At most they have two tones. Males and females have the same average full-grown height (digitigrade stance), which is about 150cm (~4' 11"), ranging between 145cm (4' 9") and 158cm (5' 2") at the tallest. Females have very thick long hair, while the males' hair grows even thicker and around the neck into a lion-like mane as he matures. Females always wear their wear long, and rarely bound due to their cultural beliefs. Their tufted tails are thick and strong, and are used for balance and as a prop while they are standing stationary. Their hands and feet only have four digits each. They have very short fingers and tend to use their claws for fine manipulation. Although mammalian, females tend not to be busty a B-cup being average, and a medium C-cup being very generously endowed. They never grow any bigger, with the exception of the rare medical anomaly. Both sexes have lean builds, but the males have a higher muscle to fatty-tissue ratio, so although males and females have about the same average weight, the males are stronger. They are capable of incredible feats of leaping up to twice their own height from a standing start. Although they strongly resemble Terran feline morphs, they are not genetically compatible with them.
Female births greatly outnumber male births about 9 in 11 and the common family unit consists of one male and his Rrurwanz (a 'harem' or 'pride'). The number of female co-mates can number up to six by Caitian tradition, although few actually achieve that high status. Because of the low number of available males, they evolved a tradition of mating mostly into other tribes for genetic diversity, and later when their civilisation developed, the practice became to move into other towns. Potential mates are chosen on the basis of six traditional Aspects or Virtues. These are Intelligence, Strength, Love, Fertility, Courage, and Wisdom. The Firstwife is always considered to have the Aspect of Intelligence, for she is expected to make an informed choice of a previously unmated and untested male. The other Aspects are acquired in any order. It is the 'Firstwife' who is the head of the household, not the male, and it is her duty and honour to find suitable mates for her husband in order to increase their family status. They are a very social species in general, and they enjoy a lot of physical intimacy. However, unlike humans and other Terran species, females are only rarely interested in sex outside of their oestrus. Males usually have their sexual urges triggered by the females' heats, and are able to perform as much as required in those circumstances. However, to ensure the sexual compatibility of new mates, they evolved the practice of a pre-mating night where the potential new mate and the male spend the night in physical intimacy, often with the Firstwife in attendance, to judge their ability to arouse and be aroused by their partner outside of oestrus, as well as being emotionally comfortable with them. Mating is for life, and it is considered best to find out if they are compatible before committing themselves. The males are regarded as the Mediators, and their duty is to maintain the family's well-being and harmony. Finally, when it comes down to two females trying to win the position of Firstwife, remember that it's also the Aspect of Intelligence. They must find a way to convince the male that they are the superior candidate for the position - that they can do more for the family than the other candidate. In the case of a death amongst the Pride, if the male dies, the females may choose to stay together, and if they do, will usually seek another male in order to regain social status. This isn't easy, although if there are just 3 for example, and the prospective male also has 3, then it's mutually advantageous to mate into one group with the ideal number of 6 wives. However, if they choose to break up, they risk losing a lot of status, but they have a better chance of re-mating. If a female dies, it is acceptable to find another to fulfil that Aspect, and it would usually be filled by one who has lost her male, as above. Social status is a very big part of any mating, and vacancies will usually be filled as soon as possible. Of course not all males attract six wives. Just in Terran society, there are undesirables. There is no particular order to who bears a child, with the exception of the female who takes the Aspect of Fertility. She is expected to produce her first child within a Caitian year of the mating ceremony. Female children do not inherit their mothers' Aspect; each is judged on her own personality. In the absence of any particular instructions to the contrary, the first-born male will inherit the family home. However, not all the possessions - those are shared amongst the females who bring those to prospective mates, somewhat like a dowry but more for contributing to the mating rather than a bride-price. This is to give him a head-start on attracting his first mate. If there is more than one son in the family, they will typically share until their respective families become too big, at which time the younger must leave and find his own place.
Because of their origins, Caitian clothing is generally based on loose robes that are not too hot, and allow cooling air to circulate. In cooler climates, and places like Federation starships which have an average controlled environment that is cooler than they prefer, they will usually choose warmer, form-fitting clothes. Many of their cities are still based on the old walled-city designs that kept out predators and buffered them against dust storms. Because they only have eight fingers, they evolved a numbering system of base 8, which tends to cause a bit of confusion when dealing with the rest of the Federation which uses base 10. Caitian physical sciences were very advanced when they were first encountered in a stellar system that both they and Terrans coincidentally started exploring it at the same time, but their medical sciences lagged behind a little, though. Their language is considered to be the most complex and difficult to master of all the sapient species in the Federation. However, they have no difficulty mastering Terranglo, and nowadays most Caitians are bilingual at least. They specialise in diplomacy, command, communications, and advanced technology. They have a tradition describes as the politician-scholar. They understand charisma, but have significantly less respect for those who seek authority without having thoroughly studied the appropriate subjects in addition to a more well-rounded education. This also reinforces their tendency to excel at diplomacy and command. The capital city of their world government is Kt'trr'nass, and it has a high concentration of non-Caitian species working and living there.Although there are variations on dogma, there is a universal belief in a female supreme being who has no name because she existed before anything, including the need for names. She is referred to simply as the Goddess. She is said to have given birth to all of life, and she created males so that her children could give birth to their own offspring. Caitians believe in the First Pride, the first six females and the first male, who have been elevated to demigod status. They are:
Traiash, the male, who stands for Mediation, and is the focus of a harmonious Pride. Females pray to him so that he may send them a good mate.
Mentarkan, who stands for Intelligence. She was the first to approach Traiash. Priestesses of her normally marry couples. If no priestess is available, the Firstwife of any pride can have the honor to do that.
Virdoana, who stands for Strength. She protected the first couple with her strength, and earned her place as Secondwife. Those who have this Aspect are often soldiers or police.
Nashar, who stands for Love. Because of her beauty of both mind and body, she won the heart of Traiash who made her Thirdwife. Prides who have love-trouble in and outside the bed seek her priestesses out for counselling.
Caitours, who stands for Fertility. Although she was only Fourthwife, she was the first to give Traiash a child, and is considered to be the mother of all the Caitian people, and they pray to her for safe pregnancies and successful childbirth. In a Pride whoever has this Aspect traditionally acts as a midwife for birthings.
Ariz, who stands for Courage. She asked Mentarkan if she could be the Fifthwife of Traiash at a time when the First Pride were enduring great hardship.
Raftir, who stands for wisdom. She knew that the Pride wouldn´t be complete without a Sixthwife and approached the Firstwife to discuss with her why she would be needed as a final mate.
Adult Caitians who marry into a Pride and get an Aspect, usually have to learn differrent things in old times which they learned from the pristesses where they lived. Nowadays there are classes they can attend.
Males are required to learn time management.
Intelligence females should learn to listen and foresee needs, and plan for the future.
Strength females should learn at least one combat discipline and tactics.
Love females should learn pleasuring techniques, for both in the bedroom and outside of it.
Fertility females should learn medical techniques and midwifery.
Courage females should learn team mangement. They have to tell the others if something is amiss in the Pride and normally are obliged to impart bad news.
Wisdom females should learn to mentor others. They tend to be the teachers for the cubs.
The "holy" texts are often used as good night stories for cubs to teach them all the kindness that the Firsts had for each other and that they learn why the aspects are so important. They mark them off on their fingers, and when the cubs inevitably ask what the eighth finger is for, they are informed that it's for the children, of course!
Their version of global competition equivalent to the Terran Olympics is Garrn'tesskrr "The Great Challenge". Open to both males and females (with both sexes competing against each other within most events, unless there is a very valid reason not to), these are an old way to "show off" for participants from groups other than your own. Traditional wear is scant, little more than a long strip of fabric wrapped like a loincloth called the Nariss, although particularly busty females can "strap themselves down" with a second. Simple hooded cloaks provided protection from the sun between events. In addition to more obvious physical contests (running, weapon use, feats of agility and strength, team sports, etc.), there were the evening contests of a more intellectual nature. These might include lengthy memorization, quizzes on history, science, or mythology/literature, and even mental puzzles.
The most popular Caitian authors (at least among other Caitians) are considered politician-scholars and are (or were) actively involved in politics. It's not uncommon for a seated official (elected or appointed) to publish during their time in office. Most are just articles, but the most honoured produce actual books. A few even create literature fiction and garner acclaim not only on Cait but on other worlds as well. One thing that (more insular) Caitians have trouble grasping is the idea of the professional speech-writer. While they do have such people, for them it's unthinkable for the speaker to not be involved in the writing.
A "back to the soil" group who, in Terranglo, are called the "Savannahs," are a group espousing old, semi-nomadic (and not always accurate) traditions. For the most part they're considered quaint eccentrics who'd rather live in tents with no running water. Some compare them with today's Amish or Mennonites. They do have a few radical groups, though, that try to cause disruptions in city services to "prove that they're unreliable."
Homosexuality Caitians enjoy physical intimacy. However, if the females step beyond that into sex exclusively with other females, it is regarded as a violation of the principle of Aspects of Marriage. Oddly enough, actual non-exclusive sex between females is not frowned upon, and may happen between co-mates within a normal family. (Incidentally, that is why M'Lai can have therapeutic sex with her herm co-mates with no moral repercussions.) So, bisexual female Caitians will normally have no problems, but full lesbians would not be able to gain a male mate to "legitimise" their relationship. Homosexual males would have bigger problems because there isn't a provision for a second male in the family even if they're bisexual. So what is the upshot of all this? Well, in the current time frame, laws against this have been relegated to the past. However that's only half the problem. Marrying into a family increases one's status. Mating with their own sex decreases their status. There a lot of social and career repercussions to this, and because its a cultural thing, it cannot be simply legislated away. Some homosexual male Caitians have found a satisfactory alternative in Terran morph partners, usually living on Chakona or Earth to avoid the social complications.
The largest community of Caitians outside of their homeworld can be found in the township of Harrn'tuk'harr on the Flinders Continent of Chakona, on the coast north of the Amistad spaceport. This community was not established as a normal colony but specifically for Caitians who wanted to create a new society that was not bound by the old traditions. The translation of the town’s name means Golden Destiny, and there you will find Caitians openly in lesbian and homosexual relationships, monogamous matings, and inter-species relationships, all without the negative social repercussions of their home world. The community is still relatively young and feeling its way socially, but new traditions are slowly being established, especially some needed to deal with the fact that they still breed females disproportionately. For example, homosexual males are asked to be sperm donors for the benefit of unmated or lesbian couples. This is not compulsory, but there are incentives given to those that can do so. Terran gene-tech intervention is also available to those who can afford it to guarantee male children, or for inter-species couples who want children. This community alone accounts for a huge proportion of the Terran-alien hybrids in the Federation.
Text copyright © 2011 Bernard Doove. Art copyright © Kacey Miyagami and Ted Sheppard. Modified by Jonathan Rich. Character belongs to Bernard Doove and Boyce Garald Kline Jr.
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