Catullans are a race of people who evolved on and inhabit the planet known to the Federation as Catulla, or to its natives as Cendo Prae.
- Proper Name: Catullan
- Pronunciation: ka TULL an
- Proper Name: Cendo Ipraem
- Proper Name: Cendo Prae
- Common name: Catulla
Follows standard sapient species development on many M-class worlds:
- Tribes became small city-states.
- City states combined into larger economic and political units (kingdoms, empires, republics) by aggression or treaty.
- Larger units fractured back into smaller ones as conditions changed: earthquake/famine/plague/storm decimated critical population centres, inherited leadership failed, technological discoveries granted temporary economic or military advantage to rivals, etc.
The peninsulas and islands of Cendo Prae ensured that smaller city-states lasted longer and occurred more frequently in Catullan history than in the histories of peoples from drier planets. Amalgamation under a single world government was achieved much later than for the average Federation member world.
Not all, but most of the planet's arable/inhabitable land is within two days' foot travel from sea, and generally slopes perceptibly upward from coast into mountains. There are very few plateaus or plains above sea level. This made travel by water easier and more common than travel by foot, and as a consequence naval power rather than infantry was traditionally the dominant means to control territory.
Some scholars assert that the necessity to make the most of every single accessible resource in order to survive and progress has contributed to Catullan engineering prowess. They point to the need for
- terraced agriculture and irrigation,
- freshwater conservation,
- earthquake/storm-resistant architecture,
- gains in arable land by early terraforming (berms and seawalls),
- mining which caused the minimum possible disruption of other surface uses,
- ships which made the best possible use of rare timber and metals,
- technology for navigation and cartography,
- portability, durability (water-proofing?), replaceability and recyclability as features in item development.
Other scholars dispute this, pointing out that on many worlds species which develop in warm, welcoming tropical climates have the least pressure to evolve, as food resources are more plentiful and basic shelter is less urgent. Academics agree, at least, that in this case expertise in shipbuilding has translated into expertise in space vessel design and construction.
Negotiations between the Federation and the Catullans for membership were underway as early as 2269, stardate 5832. Actual membership was granted that year.
Catullans elect representatives to one of seven regional councils. Each regional council then selects three of its members to send onward to a senate for matters of planet-wide significance. Technically, all three members from any one region are expected to vote as a block, but in practice much secret negotiation and jockeying for influence back home (at the expense of one's regional colleagues) has occurred. Currently, elections occur every seven years, one region per year.
Now that the Catullans are members of the Federation, a final three members from the global senate act as a delegation to the Federation's governing assembly. Replacements are elected to their seats at the planetary level. To some extent, contact with other spacefaring races (which in prominent cases vastly outnumber the Catullans) and membership in a galactic federation have taken some of the energy out of the global political process for Catullans. Some view the planetary senate as just another level of regional government-- not that important in the big picture.
As a race, Catullans tend to warm skin tones, from pale gold through a rich peach. Blushing, tanning, and sunburn can alter skin tone temporarily, although these reactions may be hard to detect in some cases. Hair colour ranges from a near-snowy-white to pastels, with undertones in one or more of a range of hues (although to non-natives the differences may seem indistinguishable.) Some comparison between Catullans and the natives of Gamma Trianguli VI has been drawn by biologists, but no link has been established, and convergent evolution is considered a likely explanation.
Adult height can exceed the M-class average, but is more likely to fall below it; some attribute this to the slightly higher-than-M-class-normal gravity on Cendo Prae.
Some Catullans (perhaps a quarter) can tolerate and even delight in sour flavours more than M-class averages. Catullans have a higher tolerance for salt. These variations reflect Catullan evolutionary biochemistry, and the available nutrient sources and biohazards on Cendo Prae.
Religion and Mythology
Since life on and near the sea was so much a part of life for Catullans, nearly every religious pantheon that developed on the planet featured a sea deity as a primary figure.
Kliegerst: The holy storm, a subtropical region of the Catullan seas in which (by coincidence of local land masses and ocean currents) storm activity was nearly continuous for centuries at a time. Many Catullan cosmologies believed that the souls of the wicked were tossed in these storms endlessly, and that when these storms peeled free and drifted onto land, damaging cities and farms, it was a punishment either for the victims or for the cursed souls. Good souls drifted toward the bright, calm eye of the storms; this was either heaven or a sign that the soul was ready to ascend to it.
Vorde Telkoode: A trickster figure, somewhere between a particularly tenacious, powerful spirit and a deity-- always female, most frequently old. She was said to sail around the seas of Cendo Prae in or on a cauldron of variable size, which she used to stir up trouble, both literal and metaphorical. In some stories she stood inside the cauldron, and it only came up to her waist. In others, the cauldron was so large that she sat on one handle like a child might sit on a swing.
Small but intense storms, especially if they were unexpected and inconvenient, were said to be brewed by Vorde. She also cursed or transformed people. On occasion, she might deign to help someone; but if she did, she would make the help unpleasant to employ, or the help would come in the form of obstacles put in the way of a third party. At the end of the story it would often be revealed that Vorde had gained more from the whole process than the protagonists had. She was said to spend much time drifting around the outer edges of thekliegerst, peeling secrets away from the cursed like seed fluff off a thorn bush. Furthermore, she was said to be able, for a price, to call a particular soul out of the storm, so it could be asked questions or tell secrets it had not told in life. But paying the price for such a consultation seldom ended well for anyone except Vorde.
Society, Culture and Customs
Catullans are still so rare in Federation space, as compared to wider-ranging species like humans, that many Catullans get mis-identified as members of some other more populous species whose appearance has been altered for entertainment purposes. This is a source of some frustration for them; individual Catullans deal with it in different ways.
Given the warm climate of much of Cendo Prae's land masses, historical dress tended to be loose and light. Informally, a combination of sarongs or kilts for the lower body, and light blouses, chest wraps, or short vests for the upper body, were deemed sufficient. (Although Federation norms make trousers a more common choice for the public and professional lives of both sexes, at home many Catullans still enjoy traditional styles.) Formal wear, as in many M-class societies, meant more complex layers: headgear, undertunics, longer vests, complete jackets, sashes and belts heavy with ornamentation.
Life on Catulla has often meant life aboard a boat or ship. With the shortage of land, houseboats (in the case of the poorest, lean-tos on reed rafts) provided shelter for many. Post-warp, given replicator technology and abundant energy resources, houseboats can now be a lifestyle choice, rather than a necessity. Still, until very recently, whether rich or poor, living on land or on water, Catullans have been forced to make do with much less personal space than citizens of similar socioeconomic niches on worlds with more land.
Historically, their customs and their expectations about 'personal space bubbles' reflected that shortage of room. Household goods were designed to take up as little space as possible. Multi-purpose spaces, with furniture that could be moved or put away, were a necessity.
The peninsular/island societies of Catullan history developed a wide variety of different languages and dialects, but eventually, as with many Federation worlds, a single dominant language emerged at the same time as a world government began to form.
The relative scarcity of Catullans in Federation society has meant that the completion of universal translator databases for Catullan has not been a priority. Many informal phrases (exclamations, obscenities) and some cultural references without equivalent in other cultures (real and mythological plants and animals, food and drink, cultural artefacts such as garments, etc.) are still passed along unchanged by the translator. A partial list of some common elements and constructions from Catullan Standard follows.
- en/eyn: Equivalent to Galactic Standard for 'er/ers', 'or/ors', indicating someone or something which performs an action or a role
- jad/jayd: possessive (my/our)
- in: adding the pronoun object 'it'
- agget: indicating a verb gerund (the 'ing' of doing, making, being)
- ers/erst: noun/adjective indicators for the spiritual, having to do with the realm of the gods or spirits; often indicating the collective mass of all the Catullan souls who have ever lived which, in times past, was believed by Catullans to influence fate as much as their gods
- saat: city/town/municipal entity
- ur: past tense
- zaude: prefix indicating great intensity or extremity
- Ao!: Oh!
- loeg: extremely informal designation for friend, companion ('buddy', 'dude' but gender neutral)
- moeg: a knot or cluster
- benvod: a shrine
- tausch: fate, doom, curse
- klieg: a storm
- tsood: bodily waste
- frek: to have penetrative sexual activity
- strachte: to menace, threaten, scare
- zoon, tal, zuit, lar: names of the Catullan alphanumeric symbols for the sounds 'oo', 't', 'ee', and 'l'
Aquatic sports: Catullan shore life is reflected in the range of sports most commonly pursued, which include most sailing, swimming, surfing and diving variants. Mountain climbing and gliding are also popular to a lesser extent.
Jekker: Jekker is the planet's most popular organized team sport; it has been compared to Terran 'keep-away.' The game developed from sailors trying to keep control of a wineskin while at sea, tossing it from friend to friend while moving around a ship.
The modern game is played instead on sand. Poles with crossbeams sticking out replace the masts; they provide perches for players to swing out of reach of their opponents, and gain height before passing the wineskin, or vatvang, to their teammates. The most common method of scoring is to complete a four-player chain of passes, with each player holding the skin for two and a half seconds. They can also gain points for some maneuvers on the masts, such as if they can get up enough momentum to flip from one mast to another. The vatvang is now constructed of a more resilient polymer than its original leather, but it is still kept exactly half-full of liquid, in order to make its trajectory more difficult to control.
Much of the broadcast content on the planet's sports channels is related to jekker, and successful players, such as Ribo Bantiker, are at least as famous on Cendo Prae as any Federation Parrises Squares champion, although nearly unknown off the planet.
Food and Drink
Zorsulte: A tangy, rich Catullan liquor made from the fermented rind of unripe sulte fruit, small citrus-like pods that grow on bushes in sandy soil. Replicated zorsulte is more likely to be clear, indicating its origin, unlike naturally-aged zorsulte, which will have tiny flecks from rind and seeds accidentally included in the pressing. Daagenzeelt is considered a premium label.
Because it contains alcohol, zorsulte can serve like other alcohols as a crude means of sterilization.
Like most other Catullan products and cultural references, indeed, like Catullans themselves, zorsulte is relatively rare outside Cendo Ipraem.
Economy and Technology
Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems maintains both a corporate center in Utyoyomsaeg, one of Catulla's major cities, and an orbital shipyard above it. A significant portion of the homeworld's population, although not a majority, is employed there, either living in the associated space station or commuting from the surface daily. Students from Catulla frequently tour the shipyard as part of their social studies or career development.