Deadlier than a Scorpion's Sting – Introduction
Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager and crew belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended. The only thing I lay claim to is the solar system I created for Pegasi 51, the background and culture the inhabitants of the Pegasi 51 system, and the original character Alexa Nikoleon.
Note: This story diverges from the canon storyline during the events of Scorpion II, and thus is essentially an AU story.
Feedback: Always welcome, feedback is what encourages me to keep writing. Please let me know what you like and what you dislike about the story.
AU – Astronomical Unit, the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
Nietzschiests – German philosopher of the late 19th Century, he questioned the prevalent foundations of morality and values.
Revision History: 02/14/06
Summary: History and brief introduction of Pegasus system, culture, and beliefs.
Between the years of 2110 and 2150, due to advances in technology, medicine, and the memories of World War III almost a century before, disease, poverty, crime, and hunger were almost completely wiped out on Earth. A United Earth government was formed in 2113, with only Australia declining at the time; though they would join as well in 2150. Mankind was closer than ever before to creating what the majority of humans though was an ideal Earth, a utopia of human opportunity, as mankind stepped out onto the galactic stage.
But not everyone agreed, in 2123 a privately funded ship, the Mariposa, contained a group of Irish colonists seeking to colonize Bringlois V, a planet in the Ficus sector, and leaving behind Earth's high technology lifestyle. Upon Earth itself, the traditionalist movement was well underway and eventually resulted in the creation of several agricultural parks across the planet where people could live less technological lifestyles.
In 2127 four privately funded ships, the Cumann-1 thru Cumann-4, DY-500 C class sleeper ships capable of warp 3.6, set out for Pegasi 51, a G5 star 50.1 light years from Earth. Unlike the settlers of Bringlois V, this group of 2,000 settlers did not eschew technology, they disagreed with the idea of creating a utopia where every human's needs were automatically provided for from birth to death, whether that person contributed to society or not.
They were not survivalists, though they did believe that a person should demonstrate that they could survive in harsh conditions. They were not Nietzschiests, because they thought the idea of 'will to power' the striving for domination over others, was the root of all types of social and personal evils from war to common criminal acts such as murder, and assault of all types. They did not deny that such an impulse existed in humanity, but they believed that any such tendency had to be mastered and sublimated for the good of society. In fact, one could say they were anti-Nietzsche, because they wanted to actively weed out of their society those that gave in to such anti-social impulses.
They called themselves Ice Age Humanists, for the time period in humanities development where they faced creatures such as the Saber-toothed Cat, Ice Age Mammoth and survived, and they believed in some very controversial ideas. The most controversial was the idea that people did not have the right to produce offspring without regard as to whether such an action was good for their society. That a person or couple should first consider whether or not they, and their immediate family or social group had the resources to provide and care for the child, and secondly that the proposed genetic pairing showed that they would produce a healthy child instead of an unhealthy one that would be a drain on society.
They believed that any individual should prove that they were capable of two things before being allowed to become a full member of society and produce offspring. One, that they were capable of surviving in the same conditions as primitive humans, and two, that they were capable of cooperating with others, that they understood that humanity could not have become Earth's dominant species if it were not for the fact that humans cooperated with one another. Those who thought they were above their fellows, that they deserved to rule over, dominate, manipulate for their own self gain, were to them as undesirable as the person too mentally or physically weak to survive a month with minimal equipment in the wilderness.
People called them genetic elitists, a term they begrudgingly agreed with, though they strongly disliked the comparison it inevitably brought up with the Chrysalis Project which had created the genetic supermen who had brought about the Eugenics Wars. They did desire to create a genetically elite group of people, a group whose individuals were not only mentally and physically tough, but who were also 'socially fit' for lack of a better term. Who showed that they were capable of balancing their own individual needs with those of society, and when necessary bowing to societies needs over their own for the good of their society.
In compensation for this loyalty to society, they believed that society owed the same loyalty to its individual members, that both should be passionately interested in the welfare, and wellbeing of the other. In this way a powerfully caring and unique society could be created, one in which the individual and society shared powerful bonds that tied them together in a partnership. In essence, they had their own ideas of what a utopia should be, and those ideas sharply contrasted with the ideas held by the majority of humans on Earth, who believed everyone, no matter what they gave back to society, deserved the same basic living standard.
The Ice Age Humanists chose Pegasi 51 for a reason, there were two planets in its solar system, in the habitable zone, one they planned to settle, the other they planned to use as their advanced testing ground. Pegasus was a large and dense planet, giving it a gravity of 1.2 G's compared to an Earth standard of 1 G. The planet rotated around its sun at 1.3 AU, slightly farther away than Earth from Sol, it had slightly less water coverage, 67, compared to Earth's 70, and its axial tilt was shallower than Earths, at 16.9 degrees compared to 23.2 degrees. The 16.9 degree axial tilt gave the planet a wide temperate zone, a narrow tropical zone, and relatively small polar caps.
These three facts, the increased distance from the sun, the shallower axial tilt, and the greater average land mass, all combined to make Pegasus's overall climate colder, and in the temperate zones, more extreme in its seasonal variations than Earth. In the planet's wide temperate zones, summer's were hotter and the winter's colder, spring's warmer and fall's cooler, compared to the same seasons on Earth, and due to the greater land mass, the temperature variation across the larger continents was highly variable from coast to interior.
In short, the higher gravity and more extreme conditions made the second planet from Pegasi 51 ideal in the Ice Age Humanists point of view, allowing them to prove themselves against its environment.
The second habitable planet was the third planet from Pegasi 51; they named this planet Crucible, for the process of refining and tempering they hoped it would achieve on their people. Crucible had a planetary axial tilt of 45 degrees; this extreme tilt resulted in the planet essentially having no temperate zone at all, only polar and tropical zones. The planet was smaller than Earth, had a gravity of 0.95 G, and its atmosphere was thinner than both Pegasus and Earth. The climate of the planet was a result of the combination of its tilt, atmosphere and 1.6 AU distance from Pegasi 51. The side of the planet facing the sun was hot, averaging 51 degrees Celsius; the side of the planet not facing the sun was correspondingly cold averaging -30 degrees Celsius. Only the hardiest and well prepared of people would be able to survive for any length of time on Crucible, and that was just what the Ice Age Humanists desired.
The journey from Earth to Pegasi 51 took the four ships thirteen months to complete, on February 5, 2129, Earth time, they entered orbit around the white shrouded, blue and brown planet Pegasus, their future home. The next day, the 11th day of the third lunar cycle of the Pegasus year they landed. Pegasus had three main land masses, along with two large continent sized islands, and various smaller islands. The colonists landed on the largest land mass, on a vast grassland plain surrounded by older mountains, where their scans showed there would be relatively little chance of volcanic activity or earthquakes. Ten Pegasus years later, or fifteen Earth years, as the Pegasus year was 540 days or 1.5 Earth years long, the colony was fully formed and thriving.
They named the single moon which orbited the planet, Bellerophon, after the ancient mythical rider of Pegasus. Bellerophon took 33.75 days to orbit the planet, which meant that the 540 day year had 16 lunar months. The settlers, a majority of whom were from Ireland and the British Isles, along with other families from Europe, Russia, and America, decided to celebrate the old Solstice and Equinox holidays along with the beginnings of every season. They decided that the four months containing a Solstice or Equinox would be 33 days long, and the other twelve months 34 days long.
As soon as the settlement was built they began creating their version of utopia. They had decided upon their criminal code and the resulting punishments before ever leaving Earth. The result was startlingly simple; either you committed a social crime, or a social and personal crime. A social crime always resulted in counseling for the first two offenses, and lifetime imprisonment for the third, social crimes were all crimes other than violent assault with intent to kill, murder, and rape, which were defined as personal and social crimes and resulted in immediate lifetime imprisonment. The reasoning behind the decisive punishment was two fold, one to protect society, and two to prevent a person who would commit such crimes from ever having offspring.
Secondly, they developed the tests by which Pegasus's citizens would prove their fitness as individuals and members of society. The tests were divided out by the elements, Fire, Water, Earth and Air, and the tests would take place first on Pegasus and then on Crucible.
The tests of Fire and Water were simple survival tests of hot environmental conditions and cold environmental conditions. The test of Earth was a test of one's ability to create the essential necessities for survival from the simplest implements; the test of Air was a test of one's leadership abilities, showing that you could guide others and ensure their survival as well as your own.
The tests of Fire, Water and Earth were four part tests, the first part tested how well one contributed to the success of a randomly selected group undergoing the test with you, the second part tested how well one fared in the same circumstances as an individual. Parts one and two were held on Pegasus, then the tests repeated, only upon Crucible. The test of Air due to its nature was a two part test, first leading a group on Pegasus, and second leading a group upon Crucible.
They began testing first with the older adults, developing and refining the challenges to be overcome, and then, once the tests were close to their final form, they began testing those who had just reached the age of adulthood, which they decided would be 11 Pegasus years or 16.5 Earth years old.
The reward was a very public one, an intricate blending of old Earth Celtic knot and tribal tattoo design combined into a complex facial tattoo, the completed design was comprised of smaller parts, one for each test completed. Once one had completed all four tests on Pegasus, and all four tests on Crucible, the entire left side of the face would be covered by the tattoo, making a very obvious statement of one's accomplishments. The public nature of the tattoo had the desired effect, one risked extreme social disgrace by choosing as a partner someone who had failed to complete at least the Pegasus portion of the tests.
The flip side of the draconian laws and expectations was the emphasis placed upon medical care for pregnant women, ensuring that the unborn fetus was as healthy as medical care could guarantee, and that any defects, genetic or otherwise, were found and cured before the increased gravity caused a miscarriage. After the child was born, the child and their family were provided with free counseling throughout the entire 11 years of childhood, to make sure that the child was mentally and socially well adapted and that they could meet the societal expectations placed upon them.
For those who could not adapt to the planet, or the intense societal expectations, transportation was provided to take them back to Earth when contact was reestablished 26 Pegasus years later. Every year thereafter, transportation was provided for those who wanted to leave Pegasus, but surprisingly, after the first group of dissatisfied colonists returned to Earth, subsequent years resulted in very few of Pegasus' citizens choosing to leave their home. After becoming part of the Federation, those sentenced on Pegasus to life imprisonment were given the opportunity to serve standard Federation sentences in Federation prisons for their crimes, but once they had finished serving their Federation terms they were never again allowed on Pegasus.