|Intelligent Lifeform Index|
|Four Letter Code||HERP|
|Planet of Origin||Unknown/none (destroyed)|
|Current Tech Level||P|
|List of Named Herpitites|
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The Herpitites are a nomadic race of intelligent amphibians exhibiting a level of technology far beyond that of Starfleet. Having suffered the eventual destruction of their own planet through what appears to have been a combination of global, intraspecies warfare and the natural fluctuations of their sun, the Herpitites live only on their massive, semi-organic Mother Ships. Herpitite civilization has no equivalent to the Prime Directive, living instead according to what they call their First Commandment: to assist other, less enlightened species to attain peace and prosperity through the technological advancement association with the Herpitites can bring. In the one known and Starfleet-observed instance of the First Commandment in action, however, the Herpitites proved themselves to be deeply concerned with cultural, military, and environmental domination, and transformation of the "less-enlightened" planet into a world suitable for Herpitite habitation. This seems less the result of malevolence than of zealotry, however.
The Herpitites are tall, long-limbed amphibious humanoids with short, squat bodies, wide heads, and four limbs (two arms, two legs). Each arm ends in a slightly webbed hand with six elongated fingers. Herpitites have large, bug eyes, often golden-red in color. Their skin has an oily sheen. The average Herpitite stands perhaps six- to twelve-inches taller than the average Terran.
Amphibious by nature, Herpitites are equally comfortable breathing oxygen in the air or in water, although they appear to prefer humid, swamp-like climates, and maintain the interior environment of their vessels in this fashion. They seem to respond less to sensory cues than to violence or violent emotions, and persons exerting strict control over their emotions (such as Vulcans) have passed among Herpitites without occasioning notice.
Herpitites have no known telepathic or empathic powers, but they are capable of emitting an organic radiation similar in kind to Omega radiation when provoked. Skin color varies according to mood, with lighter and cooler colors (pastels, blues, greens) indicating passivity and calm, and brighter or darker colors (bright oranges and yellows, dark reds and purples, or black) indicating anger, fear, or hostility. They seem incapable of disassociating their skin color from their emotions, and the radiation emission levels from their emotions, so that, as the radiation levels increase, the skin color of the Herpitite seems automatically to change.
Culture and Civilization
Herpitite civilization is radically democratic. All actions of the Herpitites, whether on the part of individuals or the entire Mother Ship, must be presented before a gathering of the Herpitite Conclave and voted upon by all Herpitites present at the meeting of the Conclave. Although smaller groups may vote on occasional minor matters, the full Conclave numbers 1001 Herpitites. As the Herpitite vessel appears capable of holding multiple thousands of individuals, it is not clear whether the greater number are ruled by the 1001 members of the Conclave, or if there are numerous Conclaves within the Mother Ship. In either case, it is the role of the Recording Officer to round up members of the Conclave as well as to make known the results of each vote, and this officer does appear to wield some power over other Herpitites and members of the Conclave.
In addition to the Conclave, and the unique role of the Recording Officer, there appear to be some standard structures characteristic of Herpitite society aboard the Mother Ship. Herpitites reproduce in spawning ponds, and infants are born into nesting bogs, where they presumably live underwater until they mature to the point of metamorphosis. Herpitite infirmaries are also located underwater, in bogs. Despite their democracy, it seems that their society is somewhat hierarchical along gender lines, wherein males are mated to more dominant females. Male Herpitites have been characterized as "aggressively subservient."
The First Commandment
Given their First Commandment, and interactions with Starfleet to date, it appears that the Herpitites are genuinely convinced of the beneficial effects on the peoples and worlds they attempt to bring under their imposed order. They express confusion, dismay, and sometimes offense at Starfleet's Prime Directive, as they do not see how an advanced civilization can legitimately shirk its responsibilities to assist those cultures suffering from the social and environmental ills common to less advanced societies -- war, famine, poverty, disease, pollution, and so on. Nevertheless, in the service of enlightenment and the First Commandment, the Herpitites appear willing to employ almost any means, including military assault, murder, brainwashing, and torture. Herpitites themselves seem unwilling to engage in physical violence, and thus in conflict they tend either to resort to radiation emission or to employ members of other species to perform violent acts on their behalf.
The Herpitite spoken language is a combination of sounds and colors, in accord with their deep reliance on color for emotional expression. Rear Admiral Hollis Calley noted that, in this respect, they are like the Avios of E'mu IX. Their written language combines symbols and colors, such that the individual symbols and combinations of symbols can have multiple meanings, depending upon the color in which they are displayed or written. Thus, a set of three symbols could mean “The aliens are non-combative” when light green in color; “The aliens are dangerous” when orange; and “The aliens must die” when dark red.
Given the destruction of their homeworld at some unknown date in the distant past, the Herpitites have developed a series of advanced technologies both to replicate aspects of their homeworld and to assist them in the development of other worlds for eventual Herpitite habitation.
The Herpitites live in what they call their Mother Ships, by way of which the Herpitite species escaped destruction with their homeworld. The precise number of Mother Ships in existence is unknown even to the Herpitites. The Mother Ship is a wedge-shaped, semi-organic, bio-technological vessel. The one Mother Ship encountered by a Starfleet vessel measured 2222 meters in height, 1222 meters wide at the top and 222 meters wide at the bottom. It was able to respond to threats in many of the same ways as the Herpitites themselves -- with changes in surface color mimicking changes in Herpitite skin color, as well as a large-scale organic radiation weapon. The radiation weapon has been observed to consist, at least in part, of "a small percentage of Quantum singularity mixed in with neutrinos," and it triggers the same color changes in use as does the radiation emission of individual Herpitites. Although the Mother Ship has a marked lack of conventional weapons, in addition to the radiation weapon the Mother Ship hosts a very large number of small, fighter vessels, which it uses to conquer and dominate violent factions on the worlds it assists on the way to enlightenment.
The internal structure of the Mother Ship is largely organic, varying according to the different purposes of different areas within the vessel. There are large, water-filled areas that comprise the nesting and infirmary bogs. Much of the vessel observed directly by Starfleet representatives was rocky in appearance. The Mother Ship contains many holding cells where enemies are kept for deprogramming and/or re-education, and the walls and doors of these cells are composed of a strong, thick, gel-like substance.
Perhaps most technologically impressive of all, the Herpitite Mother Ship is powered by a contained singularity they call "the dark eye."
- Floating silver balls directed Starfleet representatives around the Mother Ship on the one known occasion upon which the two peoples interacted. Other uses for the silver balls, as well as their precise composition, design, and purpose, are unknown.
- The Herpitites use a large device (eight feet by six feet) implanted in the polar regions of a planet to melt the ice caps and thus increase the percentage of the surface covered with water. This device also enables the Herpitites to change the surface temperatures and gaseous content of the air of a planet to better suit their physical needs.
- Homing beacons, hidden in the vessels of their enemies, appear to be one way in which the Herpitites better target their attacks in combat.
- The Herpitites have also been known to implant single nanites into the bloodstream of other persons (in this case, Rear Admiral Hollis Calley and Ensign Jefferson Reed of Starfleet), although the nature and purpose of the nanites is unknown.
- Although they lack transporter technology themselves, the Herpitites have either developed or acquired the ability to manipulate transporter beams (even through shields) and redirect them as they see fit. Their transporter manipulation beam appears to be a special thoron beam with polaron ions, although derivation from Borg technology cannot be confirmed.
- The Herpitites have and employ a sophisticated torture technology, involving the application of electricity throughout the victim’s body by way of a device much like a Terran cattle prod. The current is heightened and distributed more completely throughout the body by way of the implantation of a large (10cm) electrode in the victim, at the back of the neck, which is powered through the heat transmitted by the victim's circulatory system. This electrode also seems to heighten the effects of the Herpitites's capacity for radiation emission.
- Stardate 237908.26: The Herpitites were first brought to the attention of the Federation by a covert anthropological research base on the planet of Ditrik Prime, in the Ditrik System. Dr. Vongray of the research mission alerted Starfleet to the interference of the Herpitites in Ditrikian affairs, in contravention of Starfleet's Prime Directive.
- Stardate 237909.04: The USS Triumphant, under the command of Rear Admiral Hollis Calley and staffed by the crew of the USS Kodiak, depart for Ditrik Prime to investigate.
- Stardate 237909.20: Rear Admiral Hollis makes First Contact with the Herpitites.
- Stardate 237910.07: The Herpitite Conclave passes Resolutions 66713 and 66714, authorizing the “removal” and “neutralization” of the most warlike elements of Ditrikian civilization. The Herpitites recruit some Ditrikians as guards and militia, arming them with advanced disruptors well beyond their level of technology (Ditrikians had at this point developed only projectile handheld weapons). USS Triumphant observes that the climate of Ditrik Prime is changing. Leading an observation and First Contact team on the Herpitite Mother Ship, Rear Admiral Hollis learns that the Herpitites are responsible for the change in climate.
- Stardate 237910.29: The Herpitites begin global assault on Ditrikian military and political leaders. While attempting to rescue imprisoned Starfleet officers and Federation scientists on Ditrik Prime, four members of the Triumphant crew (Lieutenant Commander Rhys Bejain, Lieutenant Solok, Lieutenant JG Jose Habag, and Crewman Auda Al-Farad) are captured and transported to the Herpitite Mother Ship. While Rhys, Habag, and Al-Farad are held only "for their own protection," Solok is tortured in the attempt to "re-educate" him. Two other Starfleet personnel (Terran Ensign Lucy Siegel and Vulcan Cadet T'Reieena) die at the hands of the Herpitites; many others are injured.
- Stardate 237911.09: Rear Admiral Hollis intervenes in Ditrikian and Herpitite affairs, broadcasting information about the true nature of the Herpitites’s actions to the people of Ditrik Prime. The USS Triumphant breaks orbit and leaves Ditrik Prime to the Herpitites, who come under at least minimal attack from the Ditrikians before out of Triumphant sensor range.
The present status of Ditrik Prime, the Herpitite Mother Ship, and the Ditrikian-Herpitite conflict is unknown.