Spotlight on an Original Sentient Species – Arisians
Arisians have a funky history.
When I first started writing Star Trek fanfiction, I was big on one-offs and “Alien of the Week” plots. At the same time, I was also learning how to plot, so I used the five senses as inspiration. For touch (and, by extension, feelings), I decided to write a lighthearted romance about Hoshi and a below-decks crewman who couldn’t quite hit his marks.
Further, I wanted to begin to explore sexism as an inspiration. Therefore, I created a society that had scapegoated women so thoroughly that there were no more women anywhere in their species. As a bonus, I had been seeing some rather nasty homophobic rants. People would not so subtly joke about gay characters being too sissified to ever make it to Starfleet. The story that grew out of these ideas was There’s Something About Hoshi.
As standard humanoid aliens, the only physical description of the Arisians is a beautifully detailed pattern on their foreheads. This is somewhat akin to what later evolved into the Calafans.
As the aliens themselves explain, women got the blame for all sorts of issues. Also, much like in ancient Rome, they could not leaving their homes without an escort, a fact that also figures in with Daranaean third caste females in Take Back the Night. Arisian scientists took it to an extreme, though, and began to research how to reduce pregnancy terms. Once the term could be reduced down to nothing, they genetically engineered only male children. So while they didn’t out and out kill the remaining women, they didn’t replace them.
Reproduction occurs via cloning and the use of artificial wombs. These are much like an incubator or a bassinet, but with more scientific sophistication. The groups of genetically identical males are referred to as Accordancies. As an Accordant explains, the relationship among the members of an Accordancy is fraternal. This is even though often the age difference can be very great.
But things are changing on Aris. Its inhabitants now understand the absence of women did not prevent wars or other disasters or hard feelings. As a result, their ruling council decides to obtain female hormones. And, as Sandra Sloane annoyedly points out (thereby prefiguring her sharp tongue and short temper in Reflections Down a Corridor), they did not ask for help and simply took whatever they wanted, without permission.
In addition (and in exchange), they inject Hoshi and her MACO escort, Frank Todd, with a certain kind of chemical stimulant. The Arisians think Frank and Hoshi are a couple. But they aren’t. Frank is the toughest guy in the room, and he is gay (as are, presumably, all of the Arisians).
For Frank, perhaps, Aris would almost be a kind of paradise. But he’s got a boyfriend, and he’s loyal. There’s no hookup for Frank on the planet.
As for Hoshi, the chemical has a far different effect on her and the straight men on the Enterprise. She’s become irresistible. And that’s kind of scary.
In the sequel, There’s Something Else About Hoshi, the Arisians are finding that women – although, perhaps, exasperating – turn their society around. But maybe later they’ll just go back to treating women like doormats again. I don’t know.