Ocampa

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by Bry_Sinclair, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's been a while since I last saw Caretaker, but I really liked the pilot, as it helped set up the premise and give a good introduction to the characters.

    Thinking back to what we saw, I remember getting the impression that as a species the Ocampa weren’t actually very numerous, due to the damage done to their planet, their very brief lifespan, how they’ve been babysat for generations, and they only seem to have a single child. No evidence was given of other underground cities and the one we did see didn’t seem to be crammed full of people. Since they never said about how many life-signs they picked up on the planet there is no way to really know.

    In Cold Fire there were around 2000 Ocampa on Susperia’s Array, not exactly a huge amount for a separate colony that had left the homeworld “generations” ago.

    Anyone else get the same impression about them? Also, does anyone want to hazard a guess on how many there might be?
     
  2. KaraBear

    KaraBear Captain Captain

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    I always loved the idea of the Ocampa. Usually in Trek we see aliens that are "better" than humans. They live longer, have better abilities. Seeing a species that didn't outlive humans was a refreshing change. Unfortunately their short lifespan became the only unique thing about them. I kind of wish Kes was more interesting and stayed on. It would have been interesting to see a character's entire life played out durrin the run of the show

    I dont think that their population was very big. I would imagine it was a few tens of thousands. There was a mention of ocampans that lived outside of the city, the ones that grew the medicine that she hands to B'Elanna. So maybe there are several groups around

    I also always figured that having only one child was something done by the caretaker. The same way Kes said that their mental powers had deminished since his arrival. A species that only has one child will die out in a numbe of generations. But Kes mentined that she had an uncle, maybe multiple births were common.
     
  3. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ocampa are the most silly race ever. Just how do they even reproduce? They give birth standing up through their back and someone has to catch the baby...but what if someone isn't there? And they're also only fertile once in their lives... never mind that whole mustard hand mating freakish bit. So assuming there are no dropped babies, that means at best they can only maintain their population assuming -everyone- reproduces. Both Kes and her daughter were shown to have single children so they don't have litters or anything.

    Not to mention, gee they're fully sexually mature within a year of birth... and don't get old looking until their last year of life. So did the Caretaker or someone engineer them fully as sex slaves or something? No wonder the Kazon wanted to get to their underground city.
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The other problem with them is their senior medical and scientific specialists could have at most only 9 years of experience in their chosen field. Not necessarily someone you'd want to trust for a delicate surgical operation or advanced theoretical physics.
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Apparently Kes had near perfect recall when the doctor was giving her medical manuals to read. They'd have to, if they only have nine years.
     
  6. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, but even if you memorized every Chilton's car repair manual in existence, you're not going to be a good mechanic without practical experience.
     
  7. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    Actually if everybody had one baby, their population would be cut in half every generation. A woman has to have two children to replace herself and the father.

    Perhaps Ocampans have a lot of triplets and quadruplets, but I doubt the writers gave it that much thought.
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    We see three examples of Ocampan births. All of them are single children.
     
  9. Zippo and Flask

    Zippo and Flask Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    That's pretty true of most plot elements in Voyager.
     
  10. KaraBear

    KaraBear Captain Captain

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    Kes mentioned having an uncle, so multiple birth do happen

    The 9 year lifespan is probably something the caretaker did to them to make them easier to control. Remember, the ones who left with Susperia lived a lot longer.

    I just figure that in their natural state before the Nacene messed up their planet, they lived a much longer time, had more mental powers (as Kes mentioned) and had as many kids as they wanted.
     
  11. Pondwater

    Pondwater Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe since their underground lair and limited space, the Ocampa might have had a one child policy? Anywho, since they probably don't live underground and are free from the nanny state of the Caretaker, they probably had more children.
     
  12. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The one child policy actually makes some sense with the concern about their limited resources.
     
  13. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Of course a 1 child policy is not without it's problems, i.e. your population will halve each time. Unless it's a variable policy. I.e. they maintain a population size of approx x.
     
  14. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    A one-child policy makes sense, but that's not what was said onscreen.

    What WAS said on-screen was this:

    To me that sounds like each Ocampan can only have one child. Which makes absolutely no evolutionary sense.
     
  15. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Some interesting points being raised here. I'd forgotten about Kes' uncle, so twins may be quite common for Ocampa.

    Comments on the Caretaker's manipulation and control of the Ocampa don't seem right to me. He struck me as an over-protective parent and not a controlling master, so their 9-year lifespan is probably natural (Susperia's lot had to develop technology to allow them to live longer).

    I always saw the Ocampa on the planet being more stunted than manipulated. After their world started to deteriorate, the Caretaker came to them and cared for them, to the point where they didn't need to do things for themselves as it was all provided for them. Such things as their mental abilities atrophied over time and their development plateaued. The ones who went with Susperia are about where they should be, since they were allowed to progress more naturally.

    It does look as though most would agree that their population isn’t very large, which will be very useful.
     
  16. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There is no one child policy. An Ocampan female is fertile once in her life near her third birthday. Kes was petrified that she was too young to have a baby and that it might hurt her terribly to go through with a pregnancy but pissed that this might be her only opportunity ever to have a baby.

    Multiple babies and bugger all males.

    Consider that Kes' father died of presumably natural causes when Kes was 1 years old, which means that her mother was four when he was 9 and dying, so he must have been 8 when he knocked up mum.

    Either this is the natural pairing off, that old men do it with young girls and then the women raise their children alone over their husbands grave or... Polygamy. Each man continuously fertilises a stream of 3 three year olds during the course of his short life time.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The other obvious interpretation is that a female at elogium can choose whether to pop the cork on child-bearing or not. If she has a child, she can then proceed with dozens; if she does not, she becomes a drone whose evolutionary niche is acting as dry nanny for the children of others.

    The method of bearing the children outside the body might suggest massive production rates: a single child is brought to hatching term very rapidly (the vulnerable external position wouldn't allow for anything else), and then another can be started, with minimal stress to the body of the mother.

    As for the polygamy angle, I'd rather think the Ocampa approach would be "life is too short for fewer than two marriages per year". Single births, all with different but consecutive fathers, and with plenty of child care available from those who chose differently at elogium. It's a working survival strategy for some of the short-lived, small-litter lifeforms here on Earth, mainly birds.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Ocampa must regularly have twins or triplets, otherwise they will die out.

    If they on;y are able to reproduce once in their lives, and they typically only have 1 child, then you have two people producing one offspring. Each generation is effectively halving the population of the previous generation.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    With polygamy, the odds are not as bad as that, but eventually the species will still disappear.

    However, the dialogue in "Elogium" never establishes flat out that the Ocampa would only be fertile once in their lives. The closest it comes to that is the phrase quoted above, and as said, it can be interpreted as meaning that the Ocampa females can only start producing children at this specific time; nothing goes against them continuing it thereafter.

    I agree that the Caretaker probably did tamper with Ocampa family planning policy, perhaps even promoting a policy leading to extinction. But the elogium thing could work out fine as is nevertheless.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Caretaker said that he had been looking after the Ocampa for 1000 years.

    If their population had been halving every generation for the last 1000 years...

    Meanwhile how much water did they have that they would need an underground ocean if there were only a couple dozen of them?