Help design (or choose) an alien character

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Kuri, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2016
    Greetings, humanoid lifeforms!

    You guys were spectacularly helpful when knocking together my last series (USS Ulysses), so I thought this would be the best place on the 'net to ask again.

    I'm working on a new series. Need a science officer, who will be called "Lonic" for now. I have whittled down to two options. First, after scouring Memory Alpha (and Beta) up and down every single species I did not find exactly the right one for my story needs, so put together a new lifeform. Then I decided an Arkenite would work after all for reasons unimportant here. I don't like creating entire new species when playing in the universes of others; much better to use the tools already provided. However, having gone through the process, it was rather fun, and I'm sorta liking my new guy. BUT well... you know, maybe it won't go down so well with the readers.

    It's a matter of taste, an opinion call. I waver one way then the other, daily. I'd appreciate your input.

    I'll introduce Lonic Option 1, my creation: A T’lli Betan (mentioned in dialogue only during a TNG episode – Picard was on his way to meet them for unknown reasons).

    The T’lli Betans (they call themselves Betans, like some other peoples) are a genetically created race. NOT augmented; CREATED from scratch. The T’lli (whom they refer to as their “Alphas”) were an ancient, advanced race but could not solve their problems of being short-lived due to susceptibility to radiation, despite all their developments in genetic technology. As their overactive sun gradually killed them off, they created a “child” race to carry their legacy.

    Mostly humanoid, the most distinctive feature of the Betan is a waxy, almost translucent (hairless) skin that is highly resistant to radiation. They are also engineered (the T’lli could not help themselves) to have good hearing and sight, and are highly intelligent. They are not particularly physically strong or robust; they are not created to be soldiers. Perhaps more of a side-effect than intended, they are strongly resistant to psionics, and have some empathic abilities (short of true telepathy) which they keep quiet about.

    The Betans are essentially clones of one another, created literally equal. They are conditioned to be calm, non-confrontational and patient, always to put the needs of the group above themselves. They do not fear death and are not superstitious. They know and accept without resentment their unique ancestry: If challenged they reply to other species, “Do not we all have creators? It is only the manner of creation that differs. Our creators were mortal, but at least we could meet and talk with them.”

    The society places a great emphasis on stability and tranquillity over individualism. The clones are conditioned to accept this. Think Brave New World. To overcome problems of inequality and social tension, they use a system of “rotation”, in which Betans choose careers from different sets (classes) for limited time periods. This is often based on age; young Betans perform service sector and/or factory/menial work, while older, more experienced clones may choose more advanced work. Combined with strict rules on minimum wage and pricing and a strong sense of mutual respect for all stratas of society, it works for them in that they have achieved stability. Individuals live long lives passing through different kinds of work/careers as they choose, gradually building on their life experience in total.

    However, it has also stunted their development as a race and held back industry. They had a head-start technologically, but have developed little since then. It is reminiscent of ancient human communism and Betans readily admit, “It would never work nor be desirable for other species.”

    When Picard met and studied them, he petitioned for their joining the Federation. For their part, after a period of isolation and faced with a hostile galaxy, the Betans saw the value in joining an even larger “society”. Now (TNG era) a trickle of Betans are enrolling in Starfleet; the option is attractive for those who wish to try something outside the Rotation, perhaps even specialise in a career for longer than the previously prescribed time periods. This is seen by the current controllers of the race as a potential boon for the society as a whole, but also a danger if it presents disruption to their cherished stability. A lot rests on the success of the first recruits.

    * * *

    I have a small crew with very intense conflicts. Lonic is a kind of passive, placid harmonizer for the group, trying to resolve confrontations with patience and consensus. Though scientific, he is not unemotional like a Vulcan or Android. His passion is collecting new experiences / information, and he knows he is representing his race – both to the Federation, and to his own people (to show they can be successful), and has a weight on his shoulders about this. His psionic and radiation resistance are to be used as plot devices in a couple of episodes, as is his empathy (which he hides, fearing distrust and prejudice until a crucial moment later in the series).

    So, the waxy clone, or an Arkenite with exactly the same traits as above (without the history lol) and (fairly unusual) psionic abilities?

    I find a visual always helps set it straight in my mind. I’m veering towards the Arkenite right now.

    [​IMG]

    OR

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for your opinions!

    K
     
  2. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    And of course there's always one thing: Betans are androgynous and recreate in laboratories using techniques passed down by the T'lli, carefully controlling their population a la Brave New World.
     
  3. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Scotland
    The Betans sound like a very interesting concept (I love taking a race mentioned once and expanding on them), with their cloning quality reminiscent or the Arcturians (Starfleets cannon fodder according the backstage notes from TMP). Given the type of character he is, either options would work in quite well--it would depend on how the unique Betan traits might work into helping with plots, depending on the situations they faced.

    Have to say, I love the use of the Raven-type ship it really was a shame we never saw more of her.
     
  4. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    @Bry_Sinclair
    Many thanks, Bry - that's a vote for the waxy clone and a boost to my confidence in species design.:bolian:

    The Aerie-class was perfect for my needs in this story: long range and fast surveyor but can be operated with a minimal crew, small but big enough to have spooky spaces and dark corners for figments of their imagination to jump out from.

    Well spotted on that, by the way. Though I shouldn't be surprised by the level of expertise here.

    I think you were instrumental in putting together the premise/crew ideas for the Ulysses so I thank you for your input again.

    I'm thinking of naming this ship Parula or Iora (the science vessels are named after birds) and I wanted something pretty that flits around. USS Swallow is also available. Any thoughts?

    K
     
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Don't mention it, we're all here for our love of Trek and should support one another where possible. I'd love to use the Aerie-Class for something as well, but haven't been able to figure out just what.

    Thanks to my dirty, dirty mind I can't see 'swallow' without giggling like a fool to myself (just like how I laugh at "nobody tosses a dwarf" in LotR, childish I know but a dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste!). You could always look out for any alien birds from Trek, or create one yourself to name her after. I do like Iora of the ones you suggested.
     
  6. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Planet Spaceball
    I don't know if this will be relevant or helpful at all, so I'll just throw it out there.

    If you're unsure about creating a new species for a pre-existing franchise, there may be a way to have your cake and eat it too. The Klingon, Roluman, and Andorian Empires must be ruling somebody, yet we almost never see their subject species. If you created a new species that lived under the rule of one of these empires, you' be helping to expanded a part of the "Star Trek" universe desperately in need of expanding, while also having the freedom to create your own race.
     
  7. Dulak

    Dulak Commander Red Shirt

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    Pacific NW
    The trek shows do this all the time, and in the background during various assemblies, there are always "star wars cantina" numbers of heretofore unmentioned species. It seems like starfleet is pretty species blind as far as postings, so there will be no artificially created diversity or quotas on any starship (except the all vulcan one...intrepid?). There will be plenty of species not covered in the shows (because they are usually there for dramatic purpose when a main character.)

    So, no problem with a created race.

    What I'd like to know is what are the species weaknesses (other than not being very strong physically), from a psychological or sociological standpoint? Species are more interesting when they have some way of dealing with the universe that is in conflict with other members of the crew, and create opportunity for learning.

    Just a mellow, zen-like team player race, with psychic abilities might not add any conflict to your series, unless the characters only purpose is to be an annoyingly calm mentor-like character to contrast the violence prone self promoting individualist humans.

    Just an aside, they are empathic, but resistant to psionics? Something rings a bit too convenient about this. It would be more "realistic" to assume a vulnerability to psionics as a result of their empathy.
     
  8. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    @Bry_Sinclair - yes that problem with Swallow did cross my mind :biggrin:. Iora or Parula or as yet unknown third option then. I've scribbled in my notes that "Sparrow" has been used twice before in Mem Beta but that still might be possible. Thanks again buddy!

    @WarpTenLizard That's a great idea thanks will think about that.

    @Dulak Hmmm good point re: empathy. Will just keep the psionic resistance as that links with the radiation resistance. Weaknesses yes he's got a few. I also rather tire of every trek alien being superhuman.

    Thanks all. The Betans seem like a go (so far), which means I can have my Arkenite amongst the characters on Deep Space One (aso coming soon :bolian:).

    K
     
    WarpTenLizard likes this.
  9. ItIsGreen

    ItIsGreen Captain Captain

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    Coventry, UK
    Er

    Why is your yellowshirt Ashley Cole?
     
  10. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Scotland
    I can't speak for Kuri, but when I "cast" my characters I go for the look of people not who they are so you can end up with singers, athletes, models, etc in the mix, because there is something about them that embodies the person I have in my head.
     
  11. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Jun 9, 2016
    @ItIsGreen yes, @Bry_Sinclair nailed it - he had the right face for the character I had in mind, and also lots of good quality face-photos online easily workable for episode front cover images.
     
  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm curious about the rest of the crew, how many there are and what they all do onboard.