Welcome to my website, detailing the adventures of Captain Esek Hrelle, his family, and the crew and cadets of his starship, the USS Surefoot. These stories are set in the 2360-70s, the Next Generation/DS9/Voyager Era.

When I wrote the first story, The Universe Had Other Plans, in the far off distant year of 2016, I never intended it to be a "first" story of anything. It was meant to be a one-off, a means of helping me fight writer's block on another project. I am amazed and delighted that it has taken on a life of its own, with an extended family of characters, places, ships and events.

The column on the left hand side groups the stories by significant events in Captain Hrelle's life (such as the birth of his son Misha, and the command of a new Surefoot), as well as major events in the Star Trek timeline. The column on the right hand side lists all the stories in reverse chronological posts.

The universe of Star Trek belongs to CBS/Paramount; all of the original characters here belong to me. There is no explicit sexual content, but there are instances of profanity, violence and discussions of adult subject matters and emotional themes; I will try to offer warnings on some of the stories, but sometimes I forget.

I love comments (I don't get paid for this, sadly), so feel free to write and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

CAIT AWAITS!

(Author's Note: This Special Feature was inspired by a suggestion from reader Todor back in July, and many thanks to you for it! Now that the Occupation Saga is over, I can release it, with all the bits and pieces in it that will no longer be spoilers if you have read the Saga. Read it like it's a travel brochure from years in the future... there may be one or two little hints here and there as to where things might end up!)



Discover a world that is young yet rich in history and culture, and full of wonderful experiences just waiting to be enjoyed! When you plan your getaway this year, Cait offers ample opportunities to experience something new, interesting and exciting, including activities, events, customs and places that are unique and special to the Motherworld!

Cait Awaits!

ABOUT THE PLANET

Cait is located 178 light years from Earth, and is the only Class-M world in the sector. It is the second planet of six, orbiting a moderate-sized yellow star, and has two tiny moons, Rea and Sura. The land surface consists of seven small continents and two polar caps, and has a population of 496 million as per the latest census.



The gravity is slightly greater than Terran standard, with a higher oxygen content in the atmosphere. Cait’s name comes from an Old Caitian word meaning ‘Home’, when the people we now know as Caitians discovered this world over a thousand years ago, during their Exodus from Ferasa. And when you visit, Cait will feel like home, too!


Cait is a temperate world, and while there is a Weather Modification Network, it’s only employed to eliminate or minimize storms and droughts, so the prevailing climate is hot and dry… and in the hottest months, in the equatorial regions, the locals prefer to go around wearing little or even nothing at all, so be prepared!



ABOUT THE PEOPLE

Caitians are felinoids, bipedal, with prehensile tails (Caitian furniture is designed to accommodate these), retractable claws in their paws and feet, and their bodies are completely covered in a thin, fine fur whose colours range from jet black to ivory, with occasional stripes and spotted patterns, and with eye colours that range from grey to brown to bronze. On average they are stronger, faster and more flexible than humans, with senses far beyond most normal humanoids.

Top Tip: Caitian tails are very demonstrative of their emotions; tails that swish smoothly reflect positive emotions like happiness, whereas tails that twitch sharply reflect negative emotions like fear, anxiety or anger. A baring of teeth can often be interpreted as a sign of aggression.

Typical Ferasans
The people now known as Caitians originated from Ferasa, having fled their world when a faction of Augmented Ferasans seized control and instituted a genocidal eugenics program. But both Caitians and Ferasans appear to be distant offshoots of the fearsome Kzinti, as were the Lyrans and Vedala. In the centuries since their arrival on their new world, Cait had been the victim of raids and incursions from numerous other forces, such as Orions, Hur’q, Triacans, Xindi, Malurians, and Nausicaans, but until the Ferasan Occupation of 2375, none had been successful.

First Contact was made between Caitians and Terrans in 2191 when the USS Atlantis, NX-06, encountered and rescued a Caitian scout ship from an ion storm; the Caitian crew repaid them with improvements to the Atlantis’ Universal Translator matrix, improvements incorporated throughout the rest of Starfleet.


Cait formally joined the United Federation of Planets in 2228, and many have served with distinction in Starfleet. But even in the private sector, Caitians more than demonstrate their worth in industries such as security, the arts, medicine and childcare.

Caitian society is traditionally a matriarchy, though males enjoy equal rights. They will often talk of the Great Mother, not an actual deity but rather a historical philosopher who became the  personification of all the positive aspects that Caitians aspire to, such as compassion, loyalty, patience and tenacity. They live in a wide variety of family arrangements, from single parents to clans numbering in the hundreds, in huge cities as well as tiny villages, throughout Cait and on worlds across the Federation. Their communities, no matter their size, are always richly decorated with plant life, reflecting their love of nature.




They are an emotional race, with a great love of food, music and dance of many worlds, and they like to hug, in order to take in the scent of others. They have a special regard for children, or ‘cubs’ as they call them, making Cait an ideal vacation spot for families of every race!




MAPS OF CAIT









NOTABLE PLACES ON CAIT

The Capitol, First City, M’Mirl Province


Built on the edge of the Bay of Seraya, First City was, as the name suggests, the first major metropolitan centre on Cait following their arrival.


And the Capitol Building, the seat of Parliament and central government, is the tallest building on Cait, at an impressive 250 floors. A city within the city (with its own accommodations, restaurants, museum, hospital and entertainment facilities) that serves as a workplace for thousands of officials and staff, the Capitol is a fully independent, self-sustaining structure with a long and distinguished history. The Capitol is open to all visitors, though some sections will be restricted during Parliament sessions.



First Landing, Zingara Province

The site of one of the first Ark Ships to land on Cait, the remains of the original hull can still be found on the Zingara Plain, offering a tantalising hint at the immense size of the starships that had reached the Motherworld a millennium before.

Flyer and Groundcar excursions are available to tour the hull, and there is a museum on site with recreations of the Ark's original Bridge and Habitat Rings. And the cubs can also take part in a treasure hunt for traces of Arakanium, the valuable, nigh-indestructible alloy that once lined the hulls of the Arks!



Port of Sekuro, Mnara Province

A wild and woolly sea town, Sekuro is the home of the Free Fleet, the guild of independent fisherfolk who ply their trade in the Free Seas, bringing back the finest hauls of fresh sleekfish, oosils, kydrae, scybdils and guthiks for shipping out to the rest of the Motherworld.

The Free Fleet employ the same methods of travel, fishing and catching that their ancestors have done over the centuries, and excursions can be arranged to accompany them. Participants can learn to live and work like the Southern Fisherfolk: climbing the masts, tying the knots, hauling in the catches, tasting some rum and learning a few saucy sea shanties! Avast Ye Hearties! Adventure Ahoy!



Kaetini Temple, Mrell Province

Nestled in the jungles of Mrell is the Temple of T’Grerish Nein, the home of the Kaetini Order, the paramilitary organisation that has existed as long as the Caitians.

Like the Terran Knights of the Round Table and the Klingon Dahar Masters Guild, the Kaetini, armed with arakanium alloy swords, became legendary for maintaining peace and order during the early days of colonisation. And though the need for independent warriors diminished as Cait became more unified and organised, their authority and mystique remained strong, and they served the people openly and valiantly during the Occupation, sacrificing many of their number to drive the Enemy from the Motherworld.


Tour the Temple, speak with the Adepts about the history of the Order, even witness a display of the Caitian martial art of K'Gressir from actual Kaetini warriors.



Wild Shuris Lands, Bahari and Hria Provinces

To the west of Mrell lie the open lands left for the shuris, the local apex predator of Cait. Shurises are huge, porcine mammals that can grow up to two metres in height, and weigh over 1500 kilograms, and their meat is among the most succulent and rewarding, whether it's grilled, fried, baked or roasted.

Most shurises are raised as livestock on farms in the Northern Hemisphere, but the breeds of shuris in the Wild Lands are protected and remain feral. Aerial and ground-based tours of the herds, some of which number in the thousands, are available.



Kamar-Taj City, Meru Province

Kamar-Taj has long been the playground of the wealthy and famous of Cait, who live and vacation there. Kamar-Taj hosts the annual S’Ralcha Film Festival and Awards Show, as well as the Hetash Yacht Race, and it is the only part of Cait where casino gambling is permitted (albeit under strict government regulation).

Sit on the Suncoast Quay, sip sparkling wine from the Rrori Vineyards and watch as the hydrofoils glide over the sparkling azure waters. Many modern celebrities can be spotted here throughout the year, such as Dnaris Arnam, Mi’Tree Shall, Shan Canri, and even singer David Meowie, so don’t forget to bring an autograph PADD!



Shanos Major, Ujanka Province

Set on the edge of the Sea of C’Mau, Shanos Major has long since been seen as one of the cultural centres of Cait. Boasting many beautiful and unique ampitheatres and concert halls, as well as Academies of the Music and other Arts, Shanos Major has produced some of the most renowned painters, sculptors, dancers, composers and authors in the people's history.

The residents of Shanos Major had been profoundly affected by the Occupation, and in particular by the destruction of their sister city Shanos Minor. In addition to taking in and treating the few survivors of that terrible day, many Shanos Major artists have subsequently commemorated the tragedy through their works, such as Frana Mhan’s celebrated opera Within the Light.




Shanos Minor Memorial Site, Nashea Province [Restricted]

For centuries, the city of Shanos Minor had been nicknamed ‘The Radiance’, both for its preponderance of glass-fronted buildings reflecting sunlight, and for the number of scientific advances and legal reforms that had helped evolve Caitian society, in much the same way that her sister city Shanos Major had helped shape Caitian Arts.


The most vocal opposition to the Occupation occurred here, and on Sabraday, the Seventh of Firewane, 1095 After Landing (Stardate 52483.37, Terran Old Calendar 31 August 2375), the Ferasans chose to make an example of them, dropping a nuclear weapon on the city with an explosive yield of 1,520 isotons.
3,225,558 Caitians died that day.


In the years following the Occupation and the latter half of the Dominion War, a concerted effort was made to thoroughly decontaminate the affected area, so that by 2380 it had been restored to the degree where wildlife began to thrive among the ruins. The decision had been made by the Caitian Government not to resettle the area, but rather to preserve it as a memorial for those lost on that terrible day. Permission to visit the Site must be first obtained from the Ministry of Tourism.



Navron Prisoner Camp, Ravath Province

Navron was one of the largest established prisoner camps in remote locations around Cait by the Ferasans at the start of the Occupation, to experiment on the viability of Caitian females to carry Ferasan and Caitian-Ferasan hybrid embryos, as well as to physically modify Caitian cubs to more closely resemble their own offspring, regardless of the physical and psychological trauma it caused them. By the end of the Occupation, over 100,000 people died in the camps, with many more still recovering from the physical and emotional trauma they experienced at the paws of the Ferasans.


Navron differed from the other camps, not just in its size but as it had been built around the Caitian Weather Modification Array Station, which the Ferasans had modified to manage their Transporter Network, allowing them to mass move troops around the planet instantly, while also using the Caitian prisoners as living shields. But during the military event designated Operation: Uproar, the Array Station was disabled with a precision attack carried out by the legendary Skycat Aerobatic Squadron, without any further loss of Caitian lives.


Navron is one of the few camps still intact and open to visitors year round (though expect greater numbers of visitors during the anniversary of Operation: Uproar), with a museum and many memorials to those who did not return from this or the other camps.

The Ministry of Tourism recommends that those who are young and/or emotionally vulnerable should be prepared beforehand for some of the more explicit images and descriptions that will be on display. 


But it is also acknowledged that, as horrific as these events were, and how profoundly and indelibly they affected the Caitian people, it is also believed that they must be remembered, to honour those who died and survived, and to ensure that such nightmares do not occur again.



Kaijushima Nature Reserve Island, Free Seas [Restricted]

An isolated micro environment in the Southern Hemisphere, Kaijushima features prehistoric creatures long since dead on the rest of the planet. An underground facility was established years ago, officially for scientific teams to stay and study the local ecology, but few were aware of the additional sublevels built to serve as an emergency outpost for the Caitian Secret Service. This facility became the Headquarters for the Resistance during the Occupation.


Popular interest in Kaijushima remain consistently high, but visits to the island are restricted to scientific teams, arranged in advance and with the approval of the Caitian Ministry of Science.



Stonebay Town, Mnara Province

Hsova is a rich and verdant region, featuring some of the most beautiful orchards producing succulent tavaberries and Brafel Pears. The outdoor markets of Stonebay, its largest town, are open from dawn to dusk every Sabraday and Tensaday, and is renowned for the many handmade rugs, glassware, and silver and gold jewellery on sale... and don’t be afraid to haggle over the prices! 

Also of note in this region is the Shall Clanlands, home of such redoubtable individuals as former Fleet Captain and current First Minister Ma’Sala Shall, veteran actor and Taleteller Mi’Tree Shall, Starfleet Commodore Esek Hrelle and his wife Captain Kami Hrelle, and Commander Sasha Hrelle, the only human to become a member of the Kaetini Order. The original Clanhouse was destroyed in a Ferasan bombing raid but has since been rebuilt approximating the original specifications.
 

NOTE: The Shall Clanlands is a private residence and is not open to the public, and because of the high-profile nature of the occupants, there are many hidden security features on and around the property. Do not visit unless invited!



Hsova Province and the Hsova Run

East of Mnara, the Hsova Province is a sparse but strikingly beautiful savannah region, the home of the large flightless orobaks and burrowing muskers. There are numerous nature and camping excursions available to explore Hsova by flyer and groundcar.

In addition to being a haven for naturalists, the province also hosts the bi-annual Hsova Run, an 800-kilometre endurance marathon held during the month of Fellnight, stretching from the western to the eastern points of the Province. Since its inception 78 years ago, only one participant, Dr Jhess Furore, has managed to win the Race more than once, so if it sounds too strenuous an undertaking, why not just wait at the finish line on the Sea of Hatash, sipping frozen tavaberry daiquiris on the sparkling white beaches instead?



Skycats Memorial Aerodrome, Pakui Province

Pakui is a rugged province of dunes as high as mountains, natural sculptures of petrified, 10,000-year-old sablewood, and occasionally, giant burrowing sandworms. Excursion tours on sandsails gliding over the dunes are available, which offer an unforgettable experience.

But the prominent feature of the province is the Skycats Memorial Aerodrome, home of the legendary 409th Aerobatics Squadron, using aerofighters based on ancient designs and materials, operating without transtator technology or even computers, communicating over aetherwave frequencies and navigating with basic radiolocation.

More recently, their services were called into genuine combat when they joined the Resistance forces against the Occupation. Their performance during Operation: Uproar, though it cost nearly all of their number, was key in helping to saving the lives of thousands of captives in the camp in Navron, and disabling the ability of the Enemy to easily transport their troops around Cait.

 
In the years since, a resurgence in popularity for aerobatics and vintage aircraft has ensured the efforts of the Skycats has not been forgotten, in part driven by Illyan Biggleshen, the son of the late Captain Majes “Biggles” Biggleshen, who in addition to learning aerofighter flying and maintenance, and training with the surviving members of the Skycats, has also popularised the personal Jet Pack as a sport and hobby.

In addition to the year-round air shows, there is also the Aerodrome Museum, where visitors get the opportunity to sit in one of the original Aerofighters, and see ancient Vivids of early combat.


Hope Ferasan Settlement, Sa’Ran Province

Following the defeat of the Occupation Forces and the destruction of Ferasa from a natural but rare natural phenomenon, there still existed a small number of non-combatant Ferasans who no longer had a homeworld, and who were still threatened by extinction from genetic degradation.

Following the recovery from the Occupation, an effort was made by the Caitian government, led by First Minister Ma’Sala Shall, to offer the former Ferasans Caitian citizenship, medical treatment and an unpopulated area of Cait, a temperature coastal area called where they could settle and live simply, preserving as much of their remaining culture as possible, while still rejecting its more negative aspects (misogyny, militancy and racism).

A Ferasan male retaining his
characteristic sabreteeth
In the years since the settlement was formed, many of the people have been successfully treated, visibly losing most of the physical attributes that originally distinguished Ferasans from Caitians, and the younger members of the community have ventured out to live and work in the wider world. Initial hostility and discrimination towards them by Caitians because of their past actions occurs, but is actively discouraged and in fact criminalised.

Visitors here can observe traditional dances, listen to music and partake of the delicious fish that is caught and prepared in this part of Cait.


R’Trerah Archipelago, Northern Circle

One of the northernmost settlements on Cait, only a few kilometres from the Northern Circle, the Archipelago is a hardy environment, where the fisherfolk cut through the icefields in their iron trawlers, in their quest for the deep sea sleekfish and gillisakes, and where visitors can watch the icebergs crash against each other as the currents carry them eastward. The Archipelago is also noted as the birthplace of Commodore Hrelle, and his ancestral home is now a small museum operated by the local Council.

Teen singing sensation Sreen Hrelle

And all that has been revealed here is merely the start. If you are interested in visiting us, send a subspace message to the Caitian Tourist Ministry Portal for further details!



A Message from Commodore Hrelle: 
I want to thank you for considering a visit to the Motherworld. We welcome all who come in peace and with an open mind and heart. There is so much on offer on Cait, for the curious, for the adventurous, for lovers of food, fine arts, sports, history or for those who just want a relaxing week or two on the beach under our glorious yellow sun. We have a saying: ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once can be enough’. So come to Cait, and do it right!

Oh, and if you’re in Stonebay, be sure to stop off at Roscoe’s House of Shuris N Waffles, on Longfur Avenue, for the finest deep-fried shuris pieces and waffles to be found on Cait. Mention my name to Roscoe and get a free carton of Twisty Fries!”*
*Roscoe's Shuris N Waffles is not officially endorsed by Starfleet   








(Many thanks to all the artists whose fine work is on display here. If any have any objections to my using their art, please contact me and I will credit them or remove their work)












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