Empire ruled caste system
Highly intelligent, highly adaptable, semi-aggressive, highly social
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Originally discovered on a planet simply known by the natives as Apsha, their word for stationary, the race was quickly harvested from as a slave race presented in small numbers by Ferengi traders on the darkest and deepest levels of the black market. Only females of the species have been introduced to the Federation as sex slaves more highly prized than their Orion counterparts. A grand total of ten were taken before the trade system was discovered. Out of those ten females, five survived longer than a year and one remained long enough to integrate into society. The other four committed suicide or succumbed to various illnesses within a short period of time. The one that survived, a small female known as Alira, married into the family of a Starfleet Marine, a member of the team that had rescued her, and produced one offspring of record. All that is known of the species was learned through Aira and the extremely sparse records kept by the Ferengi traders that confiscated during a raid on their compound on a small moon in the Cheydinhall Sector just a stone's throw away from Cold Station Theta.
The Stenellis as a race are said to be old enough to have survived 10 dynasties, each lasting more than four-hundred years with a period of upheaval and relative tribal anarchy leading up to that for several hundred years. Each dynasty seems to have been lead either by an Emperor or Empress, with no sexual bias or preference to gender of ruler, who prevailed over five distinctive castes. Each caste appears to have merit with no way of crossing into or co-mingling other than by the marriage of daughters who produce sons strong enough to hoist their family name and elevate them from one caste to another. In the highest caste, known as Mondoshawan, there appear to be 5 ruling families with territories spanning over the entire planet. Only sons and daughters of these houses can challenge for right of succession and wage war against the current reining house for power.
They were discovered relatively recently in 2380 when a human scientist by the name of Walter Fitzgerald Rowe stumbled upon them while traveling with Ferengi traders. Their heavily freckled bodies and mainly aquatic nature reminded him of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and resulted in him dubbing the species “Stenellis”; a mash-up of the dolphin species' scientific name; Stenella Frontallis. The name stuck even with the race quickly learning federation standard.
As noted, the race is divided by castes, which are a relatively young system in this society. The caste systems spans for only the last 4000 +/- years, previously the species made up of nomadic tribes for an unknown length of time estimated to span at least another thousand years into the past. It’s generally accepted that the caste system is what allowed this species to coordinate itself enough to be thrown forward in the race for technology as their major technological advances have only occurred over the last thousand years.
Ruling Caste - Mondoshawan
The Mondoshawan or 'Guardian' caste comprises of 5 ruling houses and is overseen by one Emperor or Empress with no gender preference. The favorite companion of either is generally seen as their ruling half. The family figureheads are known to keep concubines of both genders, and it’s generally seen as a great honor to be chosen as a member of their court. Only members of the ruling caste can challenge for power and succession.
Warrior Caste - Makta
The Makta or 'Aggressive' caste is made up of Stenellis society warriors. These members of sociey are widely respected and often married into families of the ruling caste. They are prized for their abilities to protect and defend in wars both on and off planet and this caste, while predominantly male oriented, welcomes females with open arms.
Scholar Caste - Ma'raydio
The Ma'raydio or 'Contemplative' caste is made up of the scholars, scientists, oracles and speakers of wisdom. They, like warriors, often marry into families of the ruling caste and predominantly make up the regents of the court. Many women take up position in this caste as technology becomes more and more readily available and leave the utilization and implementation of their discoveries to the Makta.
Beneath the top three castes remain only two others. These bottom tier castes are widely considered worker and peasant castes. It’s extremely hard to find a way out of this particular portion of the political system. With no dowry, only the most beautiful and intelligent find themselves able to leave these castes, by way of becoming concubines, as they're usually seen as being unfit for marriage.
Stenellis in Society
Psy'Daio Nox - Current Empress of the Stenellis people, ruler of Apsha.
Xue'Daio Nox - Current lady in waiting, eldest child of the Empress and current Stenellis Ambassador as they consider the option of joining the Federation. Only known living albino specimen of the species.
- NOTE: Consult with species creator before choosing this species as a character***