Caitians - height

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by KaRei, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. KaRei

    KaRei Ensign Newbie

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    [EDIT]
    I appologize for creating the thread in wrong forum by a mistake. This should be moved to General Trek Discussion probably.
    [/EDIT]

    Greetings.

    Currently I am trying get together information about Caitians for some RP. I've collected a satisfying amount of information from Memory Alpha & Beta and several other sites for my purposes, but because Caitians made very little appearance in Star Trek movies and series and gave even less information about themselves which could be then taken as canonical, it made enough space for contradictions between the various (non-canonical) sources. Currently I am struggling with the height of the Caitian people. Some sites describe them as about 1.6 - 1.8 meters tall (or 5' - 6'), other sites give them a range from 2-3 meters.

    So far I'm getting an impression that the correct values are those around 1.6 - 1.8 meters, and that the range of 2-3 meters is probably a mistake.
    I'm led to this by the Caitians appearance in Star Trek IV, where they are visibly of comparable height to humans, and by height of Lt. M'Ress from the Animated Series, who was smaller than Scotty. Also biography of Lt. M'Ress published by Lincoln Enterprises (1974) states that Caitians generally tend to be small.
    What I am still curious about however is whether the other information of their height being in range of 2-3 meters (for example Memory Beta carry this information), is really just a mistake, or if it appeared in some novel or other product.

    Don't somebody of you know where the Caitians are mentioned to be so tall?
    Thank you
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...We could always plead sexual dimorphism in the case of M'Ress. And perhaps the two cats in ST4 were females as well, despite being portrayed by male human actors?

    A great difference in the size of males and females was part and parcel of that other feline TAS species, Larry Niven's Kzinti, even if very little of that backstory made it on screen. Some Trek writers may have taken their cues from that, especially the ones who wanted to tie together the Caitians and Kzinti biologically (Foster's clever novelizations for one).

    I think the literature forum will be a great place for actual information on the sources you seek...

    EDIT: Out of the two sources quoted in Memory Beta for the description on Caitians, the FASA Federation sourcebook seems to cover all of it alone already, including the "2 to 3 meters in height" bit. The principal writers for the sourcebook are Bernard E. Menke and Rick D Stuart; L. Ross Babcock III is the Editor-in-Chief.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  3. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Since we really only know Caitians through M'Ress, the writers of RPGs had a free-for-all when choosing whether she was of average height for a female. Some RPGers decided that male Caitians were bigger. The two Caitians in ST IV don't have manes, so were assumed to be male (ie. opposite to Earth lions), and yes, those were actors of human-like height.

    No one at Paramount restricted height extrapolations in the licensed (eg FASA, LUG) and semi-licensed ("Star Fleet Battles") game manuals and, when Richard Arnold was involved in vetting the licensed tie-ins, he asked DC Comics to stop referencing TAS altogether.

    Shane Johnson's "Worlds of the Federation" does suggest heights for Caitians, IIRC. (One of the last books to slip through under Richard's tenure - until Roddenberry's death when TAS references started turning up again.)

    You get to choose! If you want a towering Caitian in your RPG, there's certainly enough wriggle room in the Memory Beta references. If you want a diminutive one, go for it.

    You're not the first person to venture such a query:
    http://flare.solareclipse.net/cgi2/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=001698;p=0
    Lots of the comments are inaccurate, though.
     
  4. KaRei

    KaRei Ensign Newbie

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    Thanks for the replies. I have looked into some of the sourcebooks. It's really a mess of contradictions.
    Just an FYI - The Worlds of the Federation sadly doesn't hint their height, however it contains (of course contradicting with some other sources) a specification of the 15 Lyncis as a system with 12 planets.

    Thanks for the reference to the origin of the 2-3 meters specification. By any chance, wouldn't you know where the 1.6 - 1.8 meters could appear? Anything around 1.6 or 1.7 meters, or maybe in feets around 5' to 6'? M'Ress biography states only they tend to be small, but is not more specific about any exact number, so these numbers had to be stated somewhere else. Don't know where however.
    I'm browsing additional sources, but didn't have a luck to find the origin of this reference yet.

    The two from ST4 are missing female features (breasts and mane) so they are definitely males.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Of course it is. Each set of authors was free to extrapolate on the only example they had: M'Ress.

    Don't sweat it. Invent heights that will be useful for your game.

    No, it could have been someone working out that M'Ress was "shorter than Scotty". Memory Beta is compiled/edited/reedited by hundreds of Trek fans and not every change is necessarily accurate to a specified source.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    So that would make it a M'Ress of contradictions?
     
  7. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Purrfect contradictions.
     
  8. KaRei

    KaRei Ensign Newbie

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    I just thought about updating the Memory Beta by adding a note that there is also a variant with small-sized Catians besides the already mentioned 2-3 meters. I was curious if there is more reference to small Caitians than just M'Ress biography.

    For the purposes of the RP I got what I needed. Thank you ;)
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't know where the "2-3 meters" thing came from, but it was probably coined by someone who doesn't know much about metric measurements. That's 6.5 to 9.8 feet, which is absurdly huge for a species that's never been portrayed as larger than normal human size. You should just ignore it -- it's a silly mistake somebody made. If Memory Beta gives the 2-3 meters figure, then it's just one more indication that Memory Beta is not an authoritative or consistent source and doesn't have very good quality control.

    In short, don't be so dependent on written authority; feel free to apply your own judgment.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Then again, three meters would be perfectly fine for one of Larry Niven's felinoids. And three meters is basically what we get for Trek's onscreen take on the Kzinti, too:

    http://tas.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/1x14/theslaverweapon_055.JPG

    M'Ress being the only onscreen example of Caitians is a great excuse for postulating that she's just a wee kitten as far as her species goes. And if a source presents Caitians as an offshoot of Kzinti (like the FASA sourcebook does), then onscreen evidence is very much on the side of the 2-3 meter height range.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The original "offshoot" source is from Alan Dean Foster's "Star Trek Logs", when M'Ress relates a story of how she once had to impersonate a male Kzinti during a Starfleet mission. FASA is just extrapolating from Foster's stories.

    Foster's "Logs" have several Caitians mentioned in his bonus material - several other females on the Enterprise crew, plus discussion of M'Ress's parents and siblings - and there's no indication that M'Ress is unusually small for a female Caitian.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But since FASA is hardly authoritative about anything and has been contradicted six thousand ways to Sunday by now, that's hardly a reason why anyone should feel obligated to take their speculations seriously.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps not. But FASA is quite entitled to speculate just that way, and can plead canon support if it wants. Foster has been contradicted six thousand ways to Sunday, too, and can also be safely ignored if one swings that way...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. KaRei

    KaRei Ensign Newbie

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    So what you say is that the other 2 Caitians seen on screen in ST4 are undersided too, right? From whole race that normally should be by that source towering 2.5 meters in average, dwarfing all other standing around them, there were selected by a simple coinsidence 3 representatives of the species for the screen that have not even 2 meters. Sorry, that is far from being called an onscreen evidence to support 2-3 meters range ;)

    Neither relation to Kzinti is an explanation. Kzinti may have 2.5 or 3 meters in height, so could the Ciatians have in ancient times, as they are/were predators. But the way some species looked like long time ago doesn't mean it'll look like the same forever. Evolution could cause Caitians getting smaller when they abandoned the hunting style of life. They could be getting smaller even before abandonment of hunting, if there was smaller prey on their new homeworld for which their extraordinary height and strength would be unnecessary or which wouldn't be so nutritious to cover the energetical requirements of the huge ancient Caitians. There are many reasons why the modern Caitians can be smaller, even IF their ancestors were ever much larger.

    I don't say the 2-3 meters for Caitians can't be possible, but it has no strong enough evidence that it is the only possibility or that this variant should be more autoritative than others.

    Where exactly the canonical appearance of Caitians support the FASA's statement of Caitian extraordinary height?
    FASA's statement is actually contradicting the canonical appearance of Caitians in both FAS and ST4. There is not a tiny sign an ordinary Caitian would have 2-3 meters. All Caitians that appeared in canon did not have even 2 meters in height in fact.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Who says Caitians abandoned hunting? In my portrayal of a Caitian colony in The Buried Age, they're definitely still predators.

    And I still think the simplest explanation for FASA's bizarre "2-3 meters" claim is that whoever wrote that page of the sourcebook didn't understand metric measurements.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, the first thing M'Ress, M'Viore, O'Hyr and R'Leez do, when affected by a virus in the bonus scenes of "Star Trek Log Ten", is to hide on the, umm, catwalks and prey on the rest of the Enterprise crew.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Obviously not. But what I originally said stands: material exists that claims a relationship between the two felinoid species, and material exists that claims no such thing. If one assumes that the two species are related, then 2-3 meters is a better range than 1.8-2 meters, per onscreen evidence. If one recognizes that it's sort of futile to explain the similarities of Star Trek species by claiming that A1 and A2 are lost colonies of A (because the whole alphabet wouldn't then suffice for covering all the cases of B1 through B999 having shared characteristics, C1 through C999 likewise, etc), then Caitians are short and Kzinti are tall and that's it.

    That's downright mean of you.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. KaRei

    KaRei Ensign Newbie

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    What onscreen evidence you speak about?
    The only onscreen evidence what I know of is that none of the shown Caitians was reaching even at least 2 meters.
    There is evidence that Kzinti were tall to 3 meters as you shown, but not evidence of such large Caitians. Or is there?

    The argument "Species_A and Species_B are related" is irrelevant for height of either of the species.
    Look at this comparison chart of animal sizes. Notice the obvious difference in size between Lion, Cheetah and Jaguar. They are all felines having same roots, but it didn't prevent them to develop into different sizes. Especially notice that Cougar is about half size of Lion:
    http://myuui.deviantart.com/art/Animal-Size-Comparison-Chart-109707959

    So IF one assumes that the two species (Caitians and Kzinti) are related, then there is still no way how to guess height of Caitians from Kzinti, or reason to claim that 2-3 meters are better.
    (Caitians could be the Cougar and Kzinti could be the Lion from the example above).
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Only in case of the "they are the same species, just split" theory.

    If the two were split so far back in history that there has been time for them to evolve to markedly different heights (read: tens of thousands of years, barring special circumstances), their technology levels would probably be very different from what we see, as splitting would only take place after interstellar travel is invented.

    ...Unless we postulate that splitting happened long before discovery of spaceflight, and only the smaller or the larger variant went interstellar, leaving the other behind - but that would be putting even more weight on the difference between the two from the get-go, and would not really be part of the "the species are related" theory that e.g. Foster and FASA put forth. That particular theory explicates the "lost colony" concept that does not allow for tens of thousands of years of differentiation.

    If the Kzinti of Trek were the same as the Kzinti of Niven, then of course there would already be great physical differences - the pink batwing ears and rat tails of the Kzinti, as opposed to the general purriness of M'Ress. But "Slaver Weapon" shows us Kzinti kittycats that are no more different from M'Ress than the two felinoids of ST4 are; the funny ears are lost in the generic orangeness of the animation, and we never see an exposed tail.

    So, "related" in this particular storytelling sense means "biologically identical", just as with Vulcans and Romulans - a separation of populations for mere thousands of years at most, not enough to separate the species biologically. Save for whatever the species did to themselves, by biotechnological means. (Which do feature heavily in Niven's Kzinti, but not explicitly in the Trek version.)


    EDIT: Actually, we do see an exposed Kzinti tail. And it's Caitian rather than ratlike. Although as far as plot logic goes, this picture is a mere coloring error, because there's no real reason for this tail to be exposed:

    http://tas.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/1x14/theslaverweapon_131.JPG

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. KaRei

    KaRei Ensign Newbie

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    Let say this:

    There is a small green alien in a film.
    There is also a tall blue alien in the film.
    You write a book where green aliens are offshoot of blue aliens and you make the green aliens tall as the blue ones in your book.
    Would you say, that there is an evidence (or proof in other words) in that original film that green aliens are as tall as the blue ones?
     

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