Star Trek: The Dark Age
Initial Contact: 39233.12 (2298)p. Acceptance as Federation Member: 41221.23 (2339)p. Home System: Alpha Quadrant, 58 Ophiuchi (Native Name: Aspan-Hi) p. Home Planet: 58 Ophiuchi III (Native Name Arran-Sadh)
The Sparn are a sentient race who strongly resemble the Scorpion People from ancient Terran Babylonian mythology. Until recently, they existed as numerous (and often contentious) individual hive-like clans unable to form long term alliances with each other and prone to constant internecine warfare. Their (albeit recent) ability to set aside these behaviors was key to their admittance into the Federation as full members.
Arran-Sadh is the third planet of a binary star system which receives a great deal of stellar energy in the form of heat and ultraviolet radiation. This energy has created a world whose topography is mostly barren rock interspersed with sparse vegetation. These harsh conditions have bred extremely hardly forms of life and the Sparn are currently the dominant species on their planet, which gives a clear indication of their durability.
A physically rugged species, the Sparn are centauroid in morphology. Their upper bodies are humanoid, powerfully built and bilaterally symmetrical. They possess two arms, two eyes, two ears, a nose and mouth. Their teeth are very similar to those of humans except that they possess exaggerated canines. While their arms mostly resemble that of a human, each one ends in a heavy duty pincer. These pincers can be retracted to reveal numerous tentacles whose length average approximately 25cm and are used for fine manipulation.
Sparn lower bodies resemble those of scorpions, complete with 8 insect-like legs, a broad carapace and a large, upwardly curving tail. This arrangement may appear awkward but it allows for movement overland at much greater speeds than humanoids and even certain breeds of riding animal.
The Caste each member of this species belongs to also has a profound effect on their physiology once they have emerged into it. Worker Caste Sparn develop much more raw musculature than others of their species. Their tail never develops into anything other than a heavy club – useful more for maintaining balance than combat. Their pincers also enlarge to deal with more demanding lifting tasks. In order to become more stable they actually shed two of their eight legs while their remaining six enlarge and one joint on each leg fuses together. Those of the Warrior Caste develop glossy black interlocking plates of what has been deemed “super-chitin” by members of the scientific community who have studied these people. These armored plates are extremely resistant to all manner of attack from melee weapons to heavy caliber firearms. Because they are laced with certain complex dispersion molecules they even offer protection from energy weapons. In addition to being well protected, Warrior Caste Sparn also have a variety of retractable, translucent super-chitin “blades” that can be deployed from the elbows, the outside edges of the pincers and the tail. Their tails develop a piercing barb and powerful poison glands whose secretions can kill most humanoids instantly. In addition to those changes, the Warrior Caste’s endocrine system also begins to manufacture a number of chemicals which heighten reflexes and increase aggressiveness. The Royal Caste also develops a layer of super-chitin armor, but it is not as thick as that of the Warrior Caste, bears multiple colors and is much more ornate. the only other physical similarity between them and the Warrior Caste is a poisonous tail. Although Royal Caste Sparn are not inherently suited to physical combat, they are extremely powerful psions – indeed there are few in the galaxy who can match them on any scale. Psionically weak individuals must be guarded against them for fear of succumbing to their constant mental influence – particularly in regards to servitude. It is not unheard of for members of other races with low resistance to psionic effects to begin to serve Royal Caste Sparn almost as soon as they come within range of their mental abilities.
When they first emerge from their birthing cocoons, Sparn eyes are a dull blue color, but as they age (and particularly after they undergo their final emergence into their Caste) their eyes glow more brightly. Most Castes have eyes of glowing cobalt blue, but the Royal Caste Sparn have eyes which glow either emerald green or bright red.
Female Sparn develop mammary glands much as human women do, and even give birth to live young, though very soon after birth, mothers form primary cocoons around them to protect them and assist with further growth. All Sparn females are capable of giving birth and regardless of which Caste they belong to, they always give birth to young who can emerge as any Caste.
Sparn are an incredibly long-lived species. The average worker’s lifespan is between three and four centuries. Warriors can live up to seven hundred years (though the realities of a life of combat often cut this short) and members of the Royal Caste have been known to live for a millennia and a half.
Young Sparn go through a series of rapid growth-spurts during the first twenty years of their life. By the time they reach twenty, they will experience no further growth or change until they emerge into their Caste. This usually occurs within five years of their twentieth birthday but it has been known to happen sooner in situations of great stress. There is a small percentage of Sparn who never emerge into a Caste at all. These are known as the Jot-Uri (jawt-OO-REE). They form the totality of the Sparn underclass, are sterilized and kept apart from the rest of the Clans.
Culture and Individual Personality:
Child rearing is a group endeavor performed by special members of the Royal Caste known as Uvat-she (ooh-VAWT-shee, a word which translates loosely into Federation Standard as “preparers”). These individuals work together as a team of what most humans would know as aunts and uncles. Between them, all forms of physical and emotional nurturing are provided for.
While the young are with the Uvat-she, they are inculcated with the laws and customs of their people. It is also noted which Caste each young Sparn will emerge into, but to prevent any prejudices arising in their education this is always done as late as possible in the adolescent’s life.
Casteless Sparn are considered to be children no matter how old they are. Conversely an individual who has emerged into a Caste is considered an adult regardless of when that event occurred. As soon as she emerges into her Caste, a young Sparn is expected to perform the duties it entails – there is little time for acclimation and almost none is required in any case. Genetic memory combines with telepathic support to help a newly emerged Sparn understand her place and fit in seamlessly with as little delay as possible.
Despite the harshness of their world and its impositions on their lifestyles, the Sparn are not a wholly Spartan people. They pursue leisurely endeavors when time permits. Their culture has a rich tradition of art and philosophy as well as a surprisingly firm grasp of advanced mathematical and scientific disciplines.
The personalities of individual Sparn are as varied as those of any sentient species. Many however are open, inquisitive, honest, loyal and trustworthy. This does not preclude them from prejudice or unthinking hostility by any means. Indeed much of their old Clan rivalries are predicated upon these tendencies.
Conclusions and Diplomatic Notes:
The Sparn as a people seem to want more than what their harsh world can provide them. To achieve this they appear collectively to understand that as a people they must grow and change. Signs of that growth can already be seen in their cessation of internecine warfare.
Though the Federation has had difficulty with the Sparn in the past, most of those problems have been predicated on redress for territorial violations or some other gross misunderstanding. It is believed that these highly intelligent, strong and capable people are an excellent addition to the Federation and in time will more than prove any naysayers incorrect in their fears.