Benzite

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Intelligent Lifeform Index


Benzite
Benzite.jpg
Four Letter Code BENZ
Federation Status Member
Planet of Origin Benzar
Encountered TNG: Coming of Age)
Current Tech Level L
List of Named Benzites

Full ILI GalleryPermitted Species Gallery


Homeworld

See also: Benzar

History

The origin of the Benzites is comparably unique, as their history, mythology and much of their official documentation points towards the race having been genetically engineered by a parent species, known as the "Forebears".

The Origin of the Benzites

For many years after first contact with the Benzites, Federation scientists and specialists in evolution debated the possibility of life developing independently on a world with such an inhospitable environment as Benzar. Its Methane and Ammonia-rich atmosphere alone seemed not to be conducive to the evolution of any species, let alone one that was both intelligent and humanoid. After Benzar's application to join the Federation was submitted, the question was formally addressed, at which time it became apparent that the Benzites believe they are a created species. Prior to their birth on their home-planet, Benzite records refer to a mysterious race known only as the "Forebears". Very little information about this species has been retained, however, it is clear that they were technologically advanced. For all their technology however, the race that they created outlived them, as they eventually succumbed to Benzar's inhospitable atmosphere themselves, and were forced to withdraw. No records exist to show where they went, or even if they survived.

When the Forebears left Benzar, their work in creating their offspring race was incomplete, as even the Benzites were not completely immune to the toxins in their own atmosphere. Enough adult Benzites existed by that time to operate the technology that had been left to them by the Forebears, and while their understanding of the equipment was not thorough, they were able to alter the Benzite genome to allow unassisted survival in Benzar|Benzar's atmosphere, as well as develop the technology needed to construct their megalithic geostructures.

It is not known whether the "original" Benzites held any memory of the Forebears, as Benzites are reluctant to discuss their parent race among even themselves, let alone among outsiders. All that is known on the matter in terms of solid fact is that there is enough archeological evidence to support the Benzites' claims.

The Organ Wars

While nearly all of Benzite history was peaceful, there was a time when medical deprivation led to interplanetary war. During the reverse engineering of the Forebears' genetic enhancement technology, the planet was ravaged by an epidemic: a virus that attacked and damaged organs within the body. With no genetic answer available, the Benzites turned to medical science to solve their problem. What they stumbled upon was to cause the only planetary war in their history.

An unnamed Benzite scientist (it is thought that his name has been removed from official documentation to avoid casting great shame on his geostructure) made the discovery that all Benzites were compatible with each other as organ donors, and that no Benzite immune system would reject an organ transplant from a member of the same species. In response to that discovery, which was broadcast planetwide, survival instinct took over, and, within months, raids were being led by one geostructure on another to capture victims to be used as donors. It was intended that such means be used to ensure the survival of a geostructure, and the inhumane nature of the raids was overlooked, and soon forgotten.

The Organ Wars elevated to new levels when progress in genetic engineering technology allowed for the creation of Benzites with so called "martial upgrades", such as armour plates, spiked knuckles or poison sacs. From this point, the Organ Wars raged for another two centuries, until losses began to mount so high that the Benzites foresaw their own destruction. Geostructures quickly banned the creation of the genetic warrior class, and soon a decision had been made to pool their resources in finding a solution to their medical problems. In addition, it was mandated that all Benzites be genetically engineered to reject a transplant organ from another member of their species. By Earth Calendar 1980, a leading philosopher named Andragov developed a doctrine that pitted Benzites against one another in competition rather than violence, and it was this tenet that led to the eventual unification of the geostructures a few years later.

Benzar and the Federation

The Benzites developed Warp Drive in the 22nd Century, and applied for Federation Protectorate status shortly afterwards. At this point in time, many questions were raised due to the Benzites' use of genetic engineering, and the reproval of their request took an extraordinarily long time. For the next two hundred years, the Benzites adopted a somewhat isolationist stance, trading with the Federation, but preferring to remain on the fringes of galactic events. It was not until 2364 that the Benzite world government agreed that full membership in the Federation could prove beneficial.

An officer exchange program was immediately put into place, and the first Benzite cadet, named Mordock, was inducted into the Academy after passing the entrance exam. Notably, a member of the Benzite navy, Mendon, was posted to the USS Enterprise during an officer exchange of their own, and was involved in assisting a Klingon ship that had been infected by a microbiotic colony.

By 2372, the cautious and rigorous tests of whether or not Federation membership would be beneficial was concluded by the Benzites, and their application for full membership was accepted.

During the Dominion War, in 2374, Benzar was briefly occupied by the Dominion. The Benzites were liberated by the forces of the Romulan Star Empire.

Mordock, the first Benzite in Starfleet.
Ensign Mendon, an exchange officer who visited the USS Enterprise.

Timeline

Date Event
1680 A scientific discovery relating to organ transplants during a time of medical crisis is the trigger for brutal and violent civil war.
1980 The Organ Wars are brought to an end, followed swiftly by the acceptance of Andragov's doctrine. Benzar begins an age of peace and enlightenment.
2172 Warp Drive technology is discovered by the Benzites of the Belaxalar geostructure.
2173 The Benzites apply to the United Federation of Planets for protectorate status.
2177 After years of debate relating to the Benzites' use of genetic engineering technology, they are granted protectorate status by the Federation.
2364 Mordock, the first Benzite to join Starfleet, is accepted into the Academy. In the same year, the Benzite navy enters into an officer exchange program with Starfleet.
2372 Benzar is accepted into the Federation as a fully fledged member world.
2374 Benzar is captured and occupied by Dominion forces. Later in the same year it is liberated by a force of Romulans operating under the Federation/Klingon Alliance.
2380 Benzite Councillor Melnis retires from the Federation Council and Federation Judiciary Council.

Government

The Benzite government is a devolved gerontocracy. The eldest member of a geostructure is ultimately responsible for its administration and day-to-day running. When matters of global or galactic import are to be discussed, all 16 geostructure leaders meet to discuss the issue and decide on a course of action.

Description

Benzites are characterized by smooth, hairless, blue skin. A thick protrusion of the Benzite skull extends down over the face, displaying a prominent nasal lobe and brow. Two facial tendrils droop down from above the upper lip. Initially, Benzites were unable to breathe in an Oxygen/Nitrogen atmosphere, needing rebreathers that attached to the front of their uniforms to provide them with the required gases to survive. However, due to a mandate by the Federation Council permitting the correction of what was termed "a genetic flaw that was bestowed upon their race by the Forebears", many Benzites have now undergone genetic alteration to allow them to breathe without the use of their rebreather technology. Benzites have two opposable thumbs on each hand.

The average Benzite is 5'9" tall and weighs 150lbs.

A Benzite hand, with two opposable thumbs.
The characteristic Benzite barbells.

Physiology

Benzite bodies are protected by a smooth, chitinous covering that ranges in colour from purplish-blue with tan streaks, to green-blue, to dusky, pale blue with glistening silver undertones. Their head is bald and smooth and possesses a prominent, fleshy nasal lobe and brow. Two catfish-like barbells protrude from the region above the upper lip, another extends from each side of the nasal lobe; the Benzites refer to these barbells as “whiskers”. A Benzite’s ears are positioned high on the skull, and rise into points. Their hands feature two opposable thumbs, one on each side of the palm, with three fingers situated in between. Webbing may connect the fingers to a limited extent in some individuals. This is one of several physiological details suggesting that the genetic experiments that supposedly gave rise to the Benzites used amphibians as a starting point.

An example of a Benzite rebreather.

Benzites breathe in a gas heavy in chlorine, which is exhaled in the form of carbon trichloride. The gaseous mixture also contains essential mineral salts and a lot of moisture. Benzites traditionally wore an artificial breathing apparatus, a form of vapourizer, when away from Benzar. They could survive without it for a limited time, but prolonged exposure to standard class-M atmospheres resulted in lung damage that would eventually prove fatal. In 2372, genetic resequencing techniques allowed most Benzites to overcome this disadvantage, and the rebreathers are no longer necessary, although it should be noted some Benzites refused the resequencing and still use them.

The Benzites' forced adaptation to high levels of atmospheric toxicity gives them a hardiness beyond their build and a potent resistance to most poisons. A Benzite is capable of digesting a wide range of substances inedible to most species, but out of politeness, most limit themselves to the default 'menu choices' of the non-Benzites with whom they live and work. Some compromise by programming industrial replicators in their colonies or work sites for a wide variety of mineral salts which, being toxic to most non-Benzites, could not be produced in their food replicators.

Benzite blood is based on mercury and platinum; it takes the form of a thick orange liquid when oxidized. A Benzite’s average body temperature is several degrees lower than that of a Human or a Vulcan.

Benzite cellular growth patterns are unique; apparently a consequence of their engineered biology, although ironically this quirk of their physiology appears to be the result of tampering by the Benzites themselves, not their Forebears. Following the horrors of the Organ Wars, Benzite scientists altered their race’s genome to prevent organs from other people being implanted into an individual. This means it is now impossible to successfully transplant organs into an injured Benzite. There was little Doctor Julian Bashir could do to save the life of the Benzite Monyodin when his alveoli were liquefied by a polymer gas in 2376.

Mistaken Identity

All Benzites from the same geostructure are physically similar, so much so that they are indistinguishable to a non-Benzite. This is because each geostructure tunes all of its Birth Chambers to the same settings. Benzites themselves are used to distinguishing each other by extremely slight variations in facial features and skin pigmentation.

Reproduction

Reproduction amongst Benzites is a very similar process to many other humanoid species. The difference, however, is that once the child has reached the embryo stage it is transferred to a Birthing Chamber, where genetic modification is commonplace. Should a child not be exposed to the Birthing Chamber its skin will be clear, lacking the normal Benzite pigmentation, but more importantly it will be in serious danger of developing chronic genetic defects that may give rise to life-threatening medical conditions in early or adult life. A second period of incubation in the Chamber is undertaken at a later age, which strengthens the immune system to a point where Benzites are resistant to most forms of disease. The age at which this takes place is not set.

Psychology

Benzites are often seen as tightly-wound overachievers due to their dedication to personal achievement and progress. They are not natural team players, as they are highly competitive by nature, and enjoy reaping the rewards of completing a challenging piece of work unassisted. This can often lead to conflict with races who do not share this outlook on life. Benzites find failure deeply shameful, and as a result may tend to keep the results of their work hidden from their commanding officer until they are sure that it is accurate. Some Benzites have difficulty respecting the chain of command, tending to contact the highest ranking duty officer rather than the head of their department should a problem arise.

Those Benzites who manage to balance the conflicting nature of their guiding doctrine with life aboard a Federation starship prove to be meticulous workers, and often gravitate to the Command and Operations departments, although some take the opportunity to expand their knowledge in a ship's Science department.

Benzites devote their lives to hard work and obsess over achievement. As such they do not understand the concept of fun, or sense of humour.

Religion

Benzites do not worship a deity, neither do they embrace any traditional form of religious belief. Instead, their society as a whole lives by a philosophy known as Andragov's Doctrine. This doctrine provides a positive numerical score for personal achievement, and a negative score for failure.

At the start of each day, a Benzite will share his list of duties with those around him. Completion of the duties results in reward or praise, but any failures are publicly announced at the end of the day as a form of ritual humiliation. The score that the Benzite has accumulated for that day is added to his life-long total, and after death the final score is inscribed upon his or her tombstone. In this way it is easy to tell which Benzites have contributed the most to society during their lifetime. Historically, Benzites that reached a certain negative score were expected to commit ritual suicide, or be exiled to Galmut Chi Panzor, but this custom was abolished in recent years to provide Benzites with low scores with a chance to redeem themselves before death.

Mythology

The Benzite people have little use for storytelling, and as such, myths are few and far between. However, their one widely accepted myth is that of the existence of the Forebears, the race that allegedly engineered them from aquatic creatures. Arguably this has some basis in history, as there is archeological evidence that would support this claim. The unwillingness of the Benzites to discuss the Forebears amongst themselves, and their refusal to discuss them with outsiders, leaves the race shrouded in mystery.

Society

Benzite society revolves entirely around their geostructure system. This resembles a clan-based society, although the Benzites widely regard their geostructures as their home, their family and the team for which they compete.

On Benzar, a [[MA:geostructure|geostructure] is not only considered to be an enormous city, but also the entire of the rest of the continent on which it is built, including the land, the sea and any other forms of natural life. Honouring the geostructure with personal achievements and the forwarding of society is paramount. Those who shame their geostructure are exiled, while those who make a ground-breaking discovery in a science or create a valuable invention quickly become well-known.

Culture

Benzite culture is dominated by the Doctrine of Andragov, causing individual Benzites to strive to improve themselves with constant urgency. Day-to-day activities are endlessly efficient. Every Benzite keeps a record of short-, medium- and long-term objectives, which may vary as they grow, but are always shared with others in their geostructure. In addition, records of each Benzite's Andragovian score is kept in each geostructure's central registry, allowing for "failing" Benzites to be issued with reminders of how far they are from the socially acceptable score for their age.

Even Benzite sports revolve around mathematics and split-second judgement. Benzites may admonish each other with the phrase "your accounting is off", which is an accusation of having made a mistake.

Customs

Benzite names usually consist of two or three syllables. The name of a Benzite's geostructure is used as his or her family name, but only ever written down in an official context. A Benzite's geostructure name is rarely, if ever, spoken aloud, for example a Benzite named Carpak Valtoss would be referred to as "Lieutenant Carpak" officially, and "Carpak" unofficially.

Relationships

Marriage between Benzites is signified by pledge-stones, which are worn somewhere as an item of jewellery. Pledge-stones contain slots, into which other, smaller stones can be fitted. An empty pledge-stone shows that the Benzite is single; if one slot is filled they are engaged; if both are filled they are married.

Benzites are not obligated to reproduce with their marital partner, in fact marriage and reproduction are naturally seen as quite different things. As such, gender is irrelevant to Benzite partnerships, and homosexual marriages are as common and as accepted as heterosexual marriages.

Technology

Benzite technology is comparable to that of other mainstream Federation worlds, particularly in terms of medicine and genetics.

Economy

As members of the Federation, the Benzites have taken it upon themselves to assist in the rebuilding of the Federation fleet in the aftermath of the Dominion War. The Mantoss, Jepkoss and Vilmoss geostructures lead in the construction of starships and their component parts; this was a natural progression, as these communities were initially the lead producers of Benzite craft.

Military

The Benzite fleet has exacting standards and codes of procedure, most of which are different from those aboard Starfleet vessels. One such difference is that Benzite officers do not report anomalies or unexpected events without first conducting a full analysis and devising a solution. Reporting such an anomaly before developing a solution is frowned upon, and results in a negative score towards the day's tally.

The ships in the Benzite fleet are most usually designed to function underwater as well as in space. This is as a result of the necessity of underwater shipping on their home planet.

Federation Intelligence Files

  • In 2364, Mordock became the first Benzite to join Starfleet Academy.
  • In 2365, Mendon took part in the Officeer Exchange Program between the Federation and Benzar. He served aboard the USS Enterprise during an incident with a Klingon Bird-of-Prey that became contaminated with a microbiotic colony.
  • No Benzite admitted to the Association of Birthing Technicians is permitted to hold a position off-world. This is due to the ethical connotations that are attached to their work.
  • While genetic engineering is outlawed in the Federation, the Benzites are permitted to continue with the use of their Birthing Chambers due to a loophole in the Federation Charter. Officially, it is recorded that the Benzites' use of this technology is as inherent to their culture as is the Code of Surak to the Vulcans, and the Code of Sentience to the Betazoids. In addition, it has been argued and maintained that the Forebears' creation of the Benzites was not perfect, leading to their need to use the Birthing Chambers to produce stable, healthy members of their race.


Sources

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Coming of Age,A Matter of Honor
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Ship,The Reckoning
  • Memory Alpha
  • Memory Beta
  • DeCandido, K. R. A.: Star Trek: A Singular Destiny (Pocket Books, 2009)
  • Star Trek RPG: Aliens (Decipher Inc., 2003)
  • Star Trek RPG: Worlds (Decipher Inc., 2003)
  • Cox, G. & Betancourt, J. G.: Devil in the Sky (Pocket Books, 1995)
  • Ward, D. & Dilmore, K.: Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Time to Sow (Pocket Books, 2004)
  • Perry, S. D.: Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Avatar (Pocket Books, 2001)
  • http://www.stogeek.com/wiki/Benzite

SDC

This file was updated and approved by the SDC on 20 February 2014

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SPECIES PROFILE UPDATED
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REV 239601.18
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