Letheans are a bipedal race of gifted psychics hailing from the 6th planet in what they refer to as the Haadis system which is in a small purplish dust nebula named the Lethe nebula after it's river-like shape and the effects it had on early navigation sensors (Lethe was a river in the Greek underworld whose water would cause amnesia when consumed). After a diplomatic snafu over a century ago, no Federation diplomatic attempts have been successful and few non-Letheans are allowed more than a brief visit to their landlocked cities and no one is known to have visited one of their floating cities. Most information comes from earlier interactions, the rare Lethean willing to reveal their secrets, or from rumors and hearsay overheard from visitors. With their siding with the Klingon Empire, who seem fine with their xenophobic leanings, there is little chance of expanding upon the knowledge below. The Starfleet Cultural Diversity and Research council reminds you that much of the information below is potentially fallible.
Haadis VI is a cloudy, swamp-like medium-sized planet orbiting a red dwarf, with a slightly purple atmosphere consisting largely of brackish oceans and muddy beaches with large areas of volcanic rock forming island chains and small continents. There is little more than primitive plant life, however various species of fungus have evolved to fill the roles normally filled by vegetation. Fauna tends to take the form of various invertebrates, reptilians, amphibians, fish, and jelly fish. There appears to be no bird-like (though there are flying creatures that make their homes in the undersides of large toadstool caps, helping to spread the mushroom's spores), or mammalian creatures based on limited studies. Lethean cities are built either on the stoney continents or on the backs of massive lily pad-like fungus caps that float in the deeper waters of the planet. These floating cities often have features built under the water as well as above. Travel to and from these cities is accomplished either by air or more commonly via rafts formed from large clusters of Cnidarian-like creatures that float along the surface of the water with tentacles hanging below to collect food.
Despite their reptilian appearance and the common belief that that is what they are descended from, the creature that the Letheans evolved from most closely resembled an amphibian version of an Earth cephalopod that became somewhat of an apex predator in Haadis VI's brackish oceans. Unlike an earth cephalopod, the progenitor species of the Letheans features a primitive cartilage skeleton that allowed for better mobility over the muddy beaches. Over time, a subspecies of the animal began spending more and more of it's life on land, developing a proper skeleton and began to become bipedal and developed into what we know as Letheans today. The maintain vestiges of their cartilage skeletons in the folds in their skin. Rumors speak of another sentient race evolved from the same animal that is fully aquatic and even more psychically gifted, but Letheans refute any mention of it. It does raise questions as to why their floating cities are also rumored to have underwater structures, however. The average Lethean stands between 5'10" to 6'6", though there are individuals who are shorter or taller than that. They have skin that varies from being smooth and salamander like to more ridged and reptilian like, albeit lacking scales. This appears to be largely a territorial difference, the reptilian skinned individuals coming from deeper inland than the smooth skinned. There appears to be no cultural bias based on skin type, however many individual have pronounced spots that are usually based on paternal inheritance. The reason why some families have the spots or blotches is unknown, but it is known that families with these formations tend to be in leadership roles. They have retained vestigial teeth on the outside of their mouth that are now little more than bone protrusions, forming a "+" shape down the nose, over the chin, and on both cheeks. Coloration and how pronounced the teeth are vary from individual to individual. Their eyes retain an acuteness from their cephalopod ancestor and eye color and pupil shape can vary, but is usually humanoid. Autopsies performed on captured or killed Letheans have shown a very simple, though unique anatomical system, presumably due to their invertebrate roots. They possess a strong 3 chambered heart and a multi-chambered stomach and their lungs contain small swim bladders on their anterior side and appear to be capable of holding in and processing the majority of oxygen, indicating that they are still somewhat amphibious. This assumption is backed up by a finely tuned inner ear, allowing them to maintain which way is up, even in extremely murky water, and an anatomy that seems capable of handling deeper water pressures without ill effects. Combined with their psychic prowess, they are well suited for surviving in even the deeper oceans where large, monstrous predators are said to dwell. The average native Lethean diet consists largely of fish, meat, and fungus and they have show difficulty processing complex plant matter. Their multi-chambered stomach processes toxins found in many of the indigenous fishes and fungi, making them immune to most of their own planet's natural toxins and they have shown a resistance, albeit mild, to the toxins of alien planets as well. They otherwise seem to do fine with alien cuisine, and have developed a liking for delicacies ranging from Klingon to Ferengi foods. Letheans are relatively short lived, commonly living up to 60 years, but some reportedly live up to 90 Earth years of age, though they are rather physically frail at this age, usually due to bone loss. Much like Klingons, their young mature quicker than humans, reaching puberty after 10 years and the young can take sufficient care of themselves at birth to survive being left alone if the mother dies (see below). Reports conflict as to when their race's psychic abilities manifest, but it appears as though they have them from birth, but they are suppressed by hormones until puberty. Children are born 3 to 5 at a time, though it is not uncommon for the birth process to kill one or two of the children. Females are only capable of reproducing a few times in a Lethean year. Whether they are capable of, or engage in, sexual interactions the rest of the year is unknown. It is known however, that males possess small grasping tentacles to either side of their reproductive organ that appear to have some very rudimentary level of dexterity. Their exact function is unknown, but it is assumed that it works much like an Earth shark, holding the female closer to the male while he deposits his sperm. Females of the species are almost never seen (see the Culture section for more on this) but reportedly have similar appearances to the males. Gestation reportedly lasts close to 52 weeks and culminates with a birthing ritual that is reportedly dangerous to mother and children alike. Stories indicate that, during childbirth, the psychic abilities of the offspring become active and the new found sensory input of leaving the womb causes them to lash out and potentially injure the mother, the child's siblings, or the child itself. As such, when it is time to give birth, the mother makes a trek alone to traditional secluded grottoes that can only be accessed from underwater. Labor allegedly always lasts less than a day and, if the mother does not return, the father goes to the grotto to retrieve any surviving offspring.
Culture and HistoryEdit
From early contact with the Letheans, we were able to learn some of how their culture developed. Unlike another psychically gifted species, the Betazoids, whose telepathy caused them to create a society based on openness and honesty and to suppress their potentially violent talents like telekinesis, Letheans culture become cutthroat and paranoid, with those who could shield their thoughts rising above their fellows via violent power struggles, often fought purely with their mental powers. Their culture values privacy and security to this day, leading to their xenophobic stance on visitors. They view those who cannot resist their abilities as weak and tend to be sadistic in combat against “lesser” races. There exists a almost hunter-like subculture that honors those with the skills to take on tough opponents, especially if victory is achieved by cunning use of their abilities. It is these hunters that more commonly become the assassins for hire that has become the stereotype for the species. It appears that they gained their more advanced technology after an unknown species landed on their planet. Before this point, the culture was rather primitive and tribal, though it retains many of its tribal roots to this day. Their first contact caused their species' development to increase at an incredible rate. Their insular culture allowed them to adopt the technology and take the space travel without causing much in the way of massive social change or civil strife. Despite large deposits of useful ore, mining operations are few and far between due to a reverence of their planet. They much prefer to use pilfered or traded technologies to allow the building of complex structures and particular fans of replicator technology. They learned how to incorporate technology into their structures, including the biological ones formed from large fungi formations. Reports from planetary visitors indicate that they even genetically modified some of their fungi to be bioluminescent, a feature heavily seen inside their cities. When on their home planet, advanced weaponry is almost never used, with a strong leaning towards daggers carved from beasts as yet unknown to Federation Science when physical violence is called for. Woe be to the individual who sees this as a weakness as it is reported that one of the reasons outsiders are largely forbidden from visiting their cities stems from an occasion when someone drew a phaser only to have his mind attacked by every Lethean within earshot before he/she could even fire. Rumors of the autopsy of the individual supposedly indicated incredibly massive cerebral hemorrhaging with such pressure as to crack his/her skull. They adopt whatever technology is useful to them, and are known to use phasers, disruptors, and various other weaponry in equal amounts. They also have little concern over the use of biochemical weapons when used on “lesser” species. Their only form of agriculture, other than mushroom farming, is in the form of a psychotropic plant that, besides being imbibed for religious/spiritual reasons, is utilized to create form of cloth similar to cotton but can also be processed to create extremely strong ropes and other textile materials. They have also developed a reliance on imported textiles, belying their xenophobic nature. They greatly enjoy the comfort of clothing made from cloth, but leather is still very common. They seem to have few qualms with nudity, but never show their bodies to offworlders. Communal nudity is supposedly common, although is usually limited to inside their homes or for certain religious observations. Family and societal structure is strict and almost entirely patriarchal. Females are almost never seen outside the home. There are two prevailing rumors as to why this is. One states that the females are so psychically strong that letting them out of the home other than to give birth causes a sensory overload (similar to what the children experience at birth) that would make them a danger to themselves and others. When they do leave the home, they are usually escorted and swaddled in cloth, blind except for their senses. The other rumor states that the women are so weak psychically, that a male has to keep her away from other males, lest they be manipulated and stolen. Infidelity is a massive taboo in the culture, for men and women alike. It is unknown whether marriages are arranged or not or if there is a concept of divorce. It is known, however, that Lethean males find the majority of other species unattractive. Most, if not all, Letheans who go off world maintain a dwelling on Haadis VI and return whenever possible. Their society is lead by a tribal council drawn from the noted families from each of the biggest cities on the planet. Their word is law and communication of edicts is spread from individual to individual via telepathy, allowing for swift social changes when necessary. Laws are allowed to vary from region to region as necessary, however certain laws are seen as so essential to their way of life as to be treated almost as holy doctrine. Their floating cities appear to be large temples or spiritual sites, but information on them is extremely limited and guarded. Non-Letheans are strictly forbidden from setting foot on them on penalty of a very slow and painful death (which is made extremely clear to anyone who is permitted to visit their cities for any length of time.) Little is known of their religious or spiritual believes, but it seems to involve a form of ancestor worship and a subsection of the population follows an ascetic, monk-like lifestyle, striving to perfect their abilities, though the majority of the population does constantly train to strengthen their skills. These monks apparently devote their whole lives to this cause and never leave the planet. It is known that the majority of the population indulges the use of a psychotropic plant for religious reasons. The exact nature of the effect it has on them is unknown, but they take it's spiritual use so seriously that anyone, Lethean or not, that is found to be in possession of the plant while off world or using the plant recreationally is killed. Rumors that their spiritual beliefs involve the rumored aquatic species cannot be verified.
Relations with other speciesEdit
If it has not been made clear, Letheans are, on the whole, a xenophobic race content to keep mostly to themselves. However it is quite common for them the leave the planet for a variety of reasons. Most common is an interest in either testing their skills and thus becoming the well known psyassassins or a general interest in exploration. Less common is trade, though a few Lethean traders do leave their planet to maintain business relations. They maintain a rudimentary trade deal with Ferengi, though Ferengi don't often admit it and dislike their tendency to barter with goods as opposed to dealing with latinum, but so long as the trade deal is amiable, Ferengi are not ones to turn down business. Letheans have managed a grudging respect for most of the races currently pledged to the Klingon Empire. While few show the psychic prowess of the Letheans, the Nausicans, Gorn, and Klingons are all respected for their warriors and particularly approve of the Klingon's honor code, even if they don't adhere to it in the least. They show a great dislike for Orion. Supposedly, some of their people fell for the Orion trick of selling slave girls and they quickly learned the chaos that can bring. They keep an extremely tight rein on themselves in the presence of a female Orion and don't tend to linger around them. There are some rumblings that, as soon as current allegiances prove conducive, that they will stage their first large scale assault known in an attempt to eliminate the Orions. The truth to these rumors is unknown, but there are any number of ways that they would be capable of doing so. They do not necessarily have a strong dislike for the Federation, but see them largely as meddlers due to their early interactions. Their relationships with member races vary wildly, though contact between them are very few and far between. As such, their overall stance on other races known for psychic abilities such as Vulcans, Betazoids, Aenar, Ocampa, or Reman remain unknown.
As is widely known, Letheans possess psychic abilities strong enough to prove fatal almost all but the strongest individuals. They are known for their ability to distract the senses of those around them as to almost be invisible. They still show up on sensors, surveillance and cannot hide their physical traces, but they can manipulate the minds of others so that their attention cannot focus on the Lethean. Though not all Letheans appear to be capable, telekinesis is not uncommon. No Lethean is known to have skills lower than a strong telepathic ability and the vast majority are capable of training to be capable of mental manipulation.