Spotlight on Original Species – Daranaeans
This is a wholly original sentient marsupial canid species. Pronounced: Da-ra-NAY-un.
What’s a Daranaean?
As for the Daranaeans themselves, they are sentient marsupials with foxlike triangular faces and fur on most of their bodies. They are very canid in a lot of ways, including packlike behaviors for their social lives, but also their battle plans and even their ship designs.
I tend to use pointy-faced dogs, foxes or bats for pictures. Naturally, the reader will need to use his or her imagination a bit.
Females are divided into three separate castes, depending upon the intensity of their smells. Prime Wives have the most privileges and the most education. Secondaries tend to do most of the reproductive heavy lifting. They also act as primary educators. Third caste females are generally relegated to manual labor, and may be illiterate. All females are sold into marriage, but Prime Wife marriages are generally arranged without the need for a public auction. Wealthy Daranaean males, including members of the Beta Council and most higher-ranking military men, have a wife from each caste.
Pregnancy and Pouches
For Daranaean females, pregnancy has two parts, as opposed to our three trimester configuration. There are about six months of a conventional-type pregnancy, and then another six with the infant in the mother’s abdominal pouch. Much like marsupials on Earth, the infant (called a pouchling at birth) is born very small and helpless. Unlike Earth’s marsupials, a Daranaean mother places the baby right inside the pouch, as opposed to requiring that it crawl there on its own.
Pouchlings nurse and sleep most of the time, and it’s important for the mother to keep the top of the pouch clear of obstructions. Therefore the tops that the women wear can be tied. This allows for air passage. The mother also sleeps on her back or her side while pouch feeding. When the pouchling is a good five months old or so, the mother can lift the top of the pouch to peer at the infant, if she wishes, but the infant can get cold while doing so. This shouldn’t be done too frequently.
During this time, the mother sleeps with a soft baby blanket in order to pass her scent onto it.
After about six months in the pouch, the pouchling is ready to emerge. First, a hand comes up and holds the top of the pouch. Then, the pouchling generally pushes down so as to get leverage, and may even use the front tied piece of its mother’s top in order to pull up and out.
Once out, the mother cleans the infant and swaddles it, and wraps it in the blanket. Newly-emerged pouchlings can be called infants. They don’t hear or see very well, as a parallel to what newborn puppies are like.
After a few weeks, the infant attempts crawling, and soon will begin cruising and walking, much like a human infant. The baby still nurses, but solid foods can be introduced at a young age, as slightly pointed teeth erupt not too long after emergence. Because Daranaean women have four breasts (two inside the pouch, and two where we would normally see them), the emerged infant can still nurse for a while.
Very young Daranaean children are kept at home and cared for by the older females. For a very young child, life at home is filled with basic learning such as getting along with others. The family may visit other families or go on trips, which can be educational or just for recreation. Seppa, at right, is only four years old in this picture. A somewhat typical day for Seppa is shown in Some Assembly Required.
Young Daranaean children are home schooled. After several years, the males are sent to a big school, as are the Prime Wife females. This is for more advanced learning, such as is necessary for space travel. The other female children remain at home and can continue to be home schooled.
A Daranaean tween or teenager becomes interested in marriage and all that it entails, but marriages generally don’t occur until about ages eighteen to twenty or so. A young Daranean tween girl such as Cria, right, continues her home schooling and helps with chores and the care of her younger siblings, but also has time for some fun and for learning the household skills she will need as a wife. A fairly typical day for Cria is shown in Temptation.
Young married Daranaeans are much like young marrieds in any culture or species, enjoying their new lives and working toward the future.
For young Daranaean wives, this means pregnancy or preparing for pregnancy, as the species suffers from Thylacine Paramixovirus and, as a result, big familes are needed in order to replenish the population. A young wife such as Seppa, aged eighteen here, might become pregnant very quickly, and be expected to begin raising a household full of children.
Daranean women of wealth do not work outside the home, as the care of children is paramount.
Daranaean men hold jobs, and there is still a monetary system in place. Doctors include Varelle and Trinning, reporters include Craethe, and Beta Councilors include Boestus and Elemus.
Later Adult Life
For Daranaeans, later life changes, depending upon caste. Prime Wives, such as Dratha, pictured here, can live fairly long lives. For wealthy families, the Prime Wife is treated like a queen and is not expected to help with child care, although she can if she wishes.
Secondaries, such as Mistra and Cria, shown above, have children on a regular basis until menopause, and are then expected to continue helping the young adult children prepare for life in their own housholds.
Third caste females, like Seppa, above, have children until menopause, when they are either euthanised or are donated or sold for medical experiments.
Daranaean men live out their lives and have the longest life expectancy of all.
Politics, Government and Justice
Daranaens are ruled by an elected Alpha who is advised by an elected Beta Council, which meets regularly and is very open to the press. None of the women can vote, not even Prime Wives.
As a member of the Beta Council, Vidam (pictured to the right) is expected to present bills, debate on them and vote. Voting in the Council Chamber is open and is accomplished by all of the representatives standing. Then the opponents of a bill sit. Anyone left standing is then counted as supporting the bill in question. A simple majority rules, but ties can be broken by the Alpha. Abstentions are rare – much like dogs on Earth, Daranaeans mainly see their issues in black and white. A debate about granting Prime Wives the right to vote is shown in Debate.
Trials are public, and the trial of a wealthy Daranaean, even a Secondary, is fodder for the press. There are no juries, rather, an accused is judged by a judicial panel. A trial is shown in Take Back the Night.
Aside from the generally fatal Thylacine Paramixovirus, most Daranaeans are usually in good health. Prenatal care is available for Prime Wives only. The other two castes are expected to care for each other. Their infants are delivered at home. Prime Wives deliver in hospitals.
Researchers, such as Trinning, shown at about age six here, work diligently to try to find a cure for the virus. Research is limited by budgets, training and time. The virus is somewhat similar to canine distemper and Newcastle Disease on Earth.
Daranaean Third Caste wives who are menopausal are sometimes sold for medical experiments, and are needed to test vaccines.
First Contact, Friendships and Relationship with The Federation
First Contact was between the NX-02 Columbia and a pleasure craft owned by a wealthy Daranaean man named Elemus. It occurred in February of 2160, and did not go too well. First contact is shown in The Cure is Worse than the Disease.
Second contact went considerably better, and is shown in Take Back the Night. This generated some friendships between Daranaeans and humans, including Jonathan Archer and Seppa, and Malcolm Reed and Mistra.
In 2191, a young Inta went on a blind date with a human, Hank Harrison. While things did not work out romantically, the two became friends. Their date is shown in Hearts in Time.
Daranaeans became allies with the Federation, and called upon them later, and made themselves available as well.
Such a sexist society will need to change in order to continue to grow. Stay tuned. Big things are in store for the galaxy’s only sentient marsupials. More insights will be posted!