Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Andoria (Andoria V)
- Class: M
- Moons or Rings: One moon (Olith)
- Gravity: 1.0 G
- Climate: Standard atmosphere, 65% hydrosphere, cold temperatures
- Demographics: Hundreds of millions of natives
- Civilization: Aggressive and independent, representative democracy
- Resources: Industrial goods, specialty food products and other luxury items
A cold planet with a limited biosphere and relatively few natural resources, Andoria nonetheless gave birth to an advanced civilization that has been a key member of the Federation since its inception in 2161. The Andorians emerged from centuries of bloody intramural warfare with their warrior ethos almost intact, but also with a revulsion against war and a new dedication to peace.
Andoria is the fifth planet of the Andor system (called Kuy’va by the Andorians) in sector 38G of Alpha Quadrant.
Simply put, Andoria is cold. Although Andor is a blue-white star that burns bright and hot, Andoria orbits far away from it. Without the heat generated by the planet’s core, which manifests itself on the surface in the form of volcanoes and volcanic rifts, Andoria would likely have no life at all. An estimated 85% of the planet’s animal species live within 15 degrees latitude of the equator, which tells you something about the hostility of Andoria’s climate.
Andoria’s landmass is divided into four continents, Issa, Ka’thela, Tlanek and Voral. Issa and Tlanek are both frozen solid and utterly inhospitable, covered most of the year by glacial ice sheets hundreds of meters thick. All of Andorian civilization resides in Ka’thela and Voral, which are connected along a thin strip of land containing the Tharan Mountains. This, historically, has served as the planet’s most important overland trade route.
Andorians may come from a cold planet, but their cobalt-based blood runs notoriously hot. They are passionate about their beliefs, and they are quick to take offense. If an Andorian feels that you have wronged him, you may find yourself looking at the business end of a hrisal, the traditional curved sword that many Andorians still carry as an item of dress. On the other hand, their sense of fairness runs very deep; if an Andorian believes that he has wronged you, he will be the first to admit it and he will not rest until he makes amends.
Ties of blood are central to Andorian life. Nothing is more important to them than family, although their unusual mating conventions can muddy up the matter of just what constitutes one’s family. By tradition that stretches back to the far reaches of their prehistory, Andorians base each family unit on two, not one, male-female pair bonds. Couples seek out and court each other to form these “quads”, just as individuals seek each other to form couples. Within quads, couples cohabit, raise their children together and share household resources. In about half of all Andorian quad marriages, marital relations cross the pair-bond boundary as well. Outsiders acquainted with Andorian society have difficulty seeing how such a passionate race can make such an apparently messy arrangement work, but they do. Very few quads break up because of divorce.
The basic unit of Andorian society is the clan, or kethni. Originally, kethni were huge extended families, confederations of family units related to each other by blood. As Andoria entered its Industrial Age and families were less likely to stay tied to the same location long enough for traditional clan ties to solidify, the definition of kethni changed. In time, it made more sense for individual Andorians to feel themselves bound to others based on economic, professional or ideological grounds. Over time, keths came to represent major corporations, professional and trade associations, university communities, and other groups based on the common interests of their members. Even so, these modern keths command from their members’ loyalty just as fierce as that shown to the old family-based clans.
Andoria maintains a roughly traditional world government in the form of the Kethni Council. All kethni send delegates – usually 300 in total at any given time – and they vote on legislation and matters of state. The Council elects a President from among its own ranks, but the office carries few executive powers; mostly, the President’s duties entail presiding over Council meetings and attending to its administrative needs. The Council also oversees Andoria’s autonomous military, the Andorian Defense Forces, which does not fall under Starfleet command.
Although Andoria has never wavered in its commitment to the Federation, the Kethni Council also maintains its own intelligence service, which is so secret that the UFP knows of it only through rumors. It is called the Am Tal, or “Seeker of Secrets”, and its mandate is to ferret out information (whether it be political, military or economic) that would help the Andorian government and track the activities of keths that have been censured by the Kethni Council. Am Tal operatives work deep under cover. They are recruited from the ranks of laborers, merchants, diplomats, scientists – even leading politicians. They continue leading their daily lives while aiding the Am Tal. It is conventional wisdom within Kethni Council circles that 100 of the Council are Am Tal, while the other 200 want it shut down. Its existence is certainly controversial, but it also represents a romantic ideal of a great Andorian life. To many, Am Tal operatives are modern-day warriors, fighting the good fight against the enemies of Andoria.
In the Federation as a whole, Andorians have a reputation for being taciturn and difficult to befriend. But for some, this remoteness gives them a romantic air, as if they were so many blue-skinned brooding Heathcliffs. In the first half of the 23rd Century, a fad for all things Andorian swept through the Federation, popularized in large part by the romantic fiction of Douglas Bell, whose Ghalev: A Novel of Andoria was still widely read generations after his death. Andorian literature, dress, food and drink (Andorian ales and edible tuber roots are particularly considered delicacies) – even their dueling rituals – disseminated throughout the settled parts of Alpha Quadrant. It was not unusual to see young Humans of this time wearing prosthetic antennae and cheap knock-off hrisals strapped to their sides. Among the Andorians themselves, some merchants profited handsomely from the craze, but the rest were simply bemused by it.
The Andorians have been around long enough to develop a civilization as advanced as any in the Federation. But by their own reckoning, they have no history before 1692. This is quite literally true, as they themselves destroyed all written records of their collective deeds and misdeeds, of the rise and fall of their great leaders, before that point. It seems like an odd thing to do for a race that believes, as one of their proverbs says, that, “A man is no more than the sum of his memories, a culture no more than the sum of its history.” But it is precisely this seriousness about the power of one’s recollection of the past to shape the present and future that inspired them to do it.
For thousands of years, up through the 17th Century, the story of Andorian civilization was a chronicle of wars fought by regional and local warlords against each other as they jockeyed for political or military advantage, but also out of personal grudges and sheer pique. These wars shed much blue, cobalt-based blood. They also established the eminent role that warriors and the warrior virtues of courage, personal honor and skill at arms have always played in Andorian society.
The long centuries of constant intramural warfare seemed to come to an end in 1284 when Krotus, a local warlord who rose from relative obscurity to unite the entire planet under his rule, completed his conquests and settled down to reign. Krotus was not only Andoria’s greatest military leader, but a wise statesman and a capable ruler. Under his guidance, the entire planet entered the Industrial Age, and knew unprecedented peace and prosperity during his reign. This all too brief golden age came to an end, however, in 1332 when his daughter assassinated him. Without his strong hand to hold it together, Andoria began to fray politically even as it continued to advance technologically.
In 1597, a dispute between local warlords over control of the trade routes through the Tharan Mountains set off a return to the constant tribal warfare that Krotus’ conquests had brought to an end. Now, however, the warrior chieftains had at their command weapons as deadly as those developed on Earth in the late 20th Century, and the results were truly terrible. The Time of Lament, as it came to be known, would last nearly a century, decimate the Andorian population, wreck their economy and infrastructure, and return many parts of the planet to a pre-industrial level of technology.
All of Andoria lay in ruined exhaustion when a remarkable girl arose and persuaded her people to save themselves. In 1692, Lor’Vela was the 14 year-old daughter of an ambitious kethni leader who had built her power through conquering neighboring clans. One day, Lor’Vela fell ill, literally sickened by the sight of a battlefield on which her mother had just crushed a rival kethni. While in a fever, she had a vision of Andoria restored to the glory it had known under Krotus, but through cooperation between the clans instead of conquest. When she recovered, she challenged her mother to a duel and slew her to take control of her kethni. Immediately, Lor’Vela sent ambassadors to the remaining clans that had survived the Time of Lament and summoned them to a conference of peace in the city of Tarsk.
At the Council of Tarsk, as it came to be known, Lor’Vela persuaded the other kethni to forswear war against each other and re-establish enduring peace. As a gesture of good faith, she released all the clans that her mother had subdued from any fealty to her, leaving them free to decide their own allegiances. She then retired from leadership of her own clan, effectively dissolving it. Stunned into cooperation, the remaining chieftains crafted the laws and single world government under which Andorians would continue to live even after they became part of the Federation. They also resolved to destroy all records of their history to date, both to symbolize the rebirth of their world and to prevent their descendants from learning the destructive ideas of their ancestors. These were all drastic – even melodramatic – gestures to be sure, but they laid the foundation for the reconstruction of Andoria and, ultimately, allowed the Andorians to continue their technological development and become a starfaring race.
Andoria entered its space age in the late 18th Century and promptly set about colonizing its interstellar neighborhood. The Andorians sent 19 impulse-powered ships full of colonists in suspended animation to nearby stellar systems. Most of these pioneering vessels met with fatal mishaps and the fate of several of them has never been determined. Enough survived and succeeded so that when the Andorians developed warp drive in 2118 and went back out into space, they discovered that they had a small, fragile interstellar network of outposts on their hands. The most successful of these was Cimera III, which had made contact with Vulcanoid Rigellian traders. Contact with Andoria proper made that relationship all the more lucrative.
The Andorians made first contact with the Humans in 2151, at the Vulcan monastery of P’jem. The crew of the NX-class Enterprise inadvertently stepped into the middle of a territorial dispute, where Andorian operatives were trying to uncover a (correctly) purported Vulcan intelligence-gathering outpost at the monastery. While the initial contact between the Humans and Andorians was violent, Human forthrightness and willingness to risk alienating the Vulcans in the interests of uncovering the truth led to a grudging respect for the “pinkskins”. Eventually this respect, combined with Human diplomacy and tenacity, led the three groups to put their differences aside in the later formation of the United Federation of Planets.
Although their influence in Federation waned as UFP membership expanded, Andoria has always been steadfast in its support of the organization. Andorians have always served with distinction in Starfleet, especially in its early days. Igrilan Kor was the most famous Andorian Starfleet officer. He served as Captain of the all-Andorian crewed starship Eagle from 2247, during which time his ship and crew earned more commendations than any starship crew before or since.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Lor’Tan is Andoria’s largest city and the center of its political, cultural and economic life. Visitors to Andoria with little time to spend go to Lor’Tan, knowing that there they can get both the highlights and an overview of what the planet has to offer. Andoria’s finest museums, cultural institutions, and restaurants are based here, as well as most of the planet’s largest industrial and commercial concerns. Lor’Tan is also the site of the Atlin Zoological Park, which opened in 2230 in the suburb of Atlin. The zoo is devoted entirely to animals with bioluminescence, and by the end of the 23rd century the curators had assembled over 500 different species from all across Alpha Quadrant.
The Kethni Council meets in Lor’Tan, headquartered in the imposing palace from which the great conqueror Krotus once ruled the entire planet. When he built the Lor’Tan Great Hall, Krotus decreed that all of the city’s main thoroughfares should converge on its grounds, making it the center of his capital and therefore, the known world. Subsequent development relegated the palace to the outskirts of the modern city of Lor’Tan.