Mariah IV is an Alpha Quadrant world outside of Federation territory, near the Cardassian Union, the Breen, the Tzenkethi Coalition and, a bit more distantly, the Ferengi Alliance.
For several decades, it was part of a trade alliance with nearby worlds Valeria, Ultima Thule and the more distant Fahleena: this trade alliance was a major supplier of dolamide (a chemical-based energy source used in power generators, reactors, transporters, short-range transports and weapons). During the Dominion War, they supplied dolamide to the Dominion (continuing a long term trade relationship with the Cardassians). The trade alliance has been struggling since the end of the war: the Cardassian Union is in disarray, the Breen have closed their borders, and other potential trade partners treat them with suspicion.
Recently, Mariah IV has decided to forge a new path and has applied for Federation membership. The Federation council feels that Mariah is not yet ready for Federation membership, but has agreed to repeat their arrangement with Bajor: Starfleet will operate a deep space station in orbit around Mariah IV and will work with the Marian Government to help prepare them for readiness to join Federation. The Federation believes that this is an exercise that will take at least a few decades.
A station was recently decommissioned and refit and is currently being towed to the Mariah system to become the new Deep Space 11. The station had been constructed during the Dominion War, and was used for war operations and resupply. It was decommissioned at the end of the war.
Mariah IV is the fourth planet in the Mariah system, a binary star system with two F5V stars. The system has two planets in its garden zone — a Class J gas giant (Mariah III) and the inhabited world Mariah IV. The gas giant has a marginally terrestrial satellite (Class L) that remains uninhabited.
Mariah IV is a Class O planet, 97% covered with water and with small landmasses where the Marians live. It has 2 satellites, the larger of which is inhabited.
The Marians are native to Mariah IV. They evolved from aquatic life forms and retain a number of aquatic characteristics, although they are land-dwellers. They have bilateral symmetry, with two arms and two legs, plus a tail. Their hands and feet have four digits each and both hands and feet are webbed. They also have long claws, which can make hand-to-hand combat particularly dangerous. They walk digitigrade. The average Marian stands 1.9 metres tall (6’ 3”), and they tend to appear lanky to most Federation species.
They reproduce by laying eggs in water. These eggs have an unfortunate resemblance to the egg pods from Alien/Aliens. The species have two primary biological sexes (essentially male and female), with a very rare third sex that does not reproduce. Beyond reproduction, biological sex doesn’t really play any role in their society, with all social roles available to all sexes.
There’s a lot of variation in skin colour: the most common colours tend to be greyish-green, greyish-teal and greyish-blue, but some Marians have brownish colouration, including some very deep browns, and also more vibrant teals and fairly rare koi-like bright orange colouration. Skin colour is derived by the complex interaction of a number of genes and families will often have a large number of different skin colours. Marian society doesn’t attach much importance to skin colour.
Mariah IV currently has a multi-nation government. Each nation is represented in a Council of Nations, which is the body that has voted to apply for Federation membership.
The nations of Mariah IV include:
Oolondria: an old, and historically powerful nation. Essentially a democracy, but with a remaining figurehead monarchy/aristocracy. The nation has a long history, and until about 60 years ago, was the economic driver of the world: it really hasn’t accepted its diminished status in world affairs. They are also a former colonizer, having previously occupied two of the other nations — a history that colours their diplomatic relations to this day. The urban centres tend to be bustling and chaotic. Centuries-old stone buildings exist side-by-side with modern shopping centres with neon and obtrusive holographic advertisements. Of all the Marian nations, it’s the one that experiences four seasons, but it’s still rainy and wet most of the year. This climate has been an attraction for a non-trivial number of Ferengis who’ve emigrated to Mariah IV.
Ooloskiya: an old monarchy, with considerable economic disparity between its ruling class and it working class. While it has moved on from serfdom, much of the society is practically feudal. The nation is near the northern pole of the world, making it cold and icy. While the urban centres are fairly modern, technology-wise, rural areas are living with very basic technology. It seems to favour stark, almost-brutalist architecture. They have a large military, which is top-heavy with officers. Historically, Oolondria and Ooloskiya have had an antagonistic relationship with each other.
Tirooslio: a desert nation, and one time colony of Oolondria. Much of Tirooslio has been strip-mined for dolamide during its time as a colony. As the dolamide dried up, Oolondria lost interest in the nation and let them declare independence. Culturally, they’re level-headed and laid-back, although they can sometimes be prickly toward Oolondria. They’re particularly interested in trying to restore some of the original nature of the landscape, lost to mining, but don’t quite have the technology or economy to carry that out. The current Speaker for the Council of Nations is from Tirooslio (a role which rotates between the nations).
Imaroo: Mariah IV’s largest moon maintains a colony, originally established by Oolondria. This colony earned its independence around 80 years ago in a tense stand-off with Oolondria. Imaroo is currently technology-rich and the wealthiest nation on Mariah IV. It also heartily embraced Ferengi business practices, and see commerce as the key to its success. It is heavily involved in dolamide mining in the asteroid belts. Imaroo has been hurting, economically, since the end of the Dominion War, leading to political unrest, resentment and a rise in Xenophobic attitudes, especially toward Valerians (who many view as authors of the Dominion trade agreements).
Taloo: a smaller nation with a democratic government, but long-term corruption issues. Starfleet intelligence believes that the Orion Syndicate has influence over the cultural and political lifeblood of the country. The nation produces considerable art and cultural artifacts.
Moaska-La: a loose coalition of islands in the archipelago of land masses near the planet’s equator. For years, the islands were colonized by (and stripped of resources by) Oolondria. The Moaskans actively rebelled against this colonization and won their independence 30 years ago. They’re considered the weakest member of the Council of Nations. Moaska-La is currently wrestling with the question of trying to return their culture to its nomadic, sea-faring traditional culture, or accept that their society has been permanently changed by colonization and move on from there.
Additionally, there are two existing space stations in orbit around Mariah IV:
Tranidoo Station: an old, O’Neill-style station originally built by Oolondria, but which is now considered to be part of Imaroo. This station is responsible for system traffic control. Tranidoo Station tends to be the agricultural provider for Imaroo.
Prekk’s Place: a small Ferengi station established 15 years ago. The station operates as a mall, casino, storage bay, and place of business. Many of the businesses operating at Prekk’s place are owned by Prekk himself and others rent commercial space on the station. Most of the businesses are Ferengi-operated but not all. Bajorans, Orions, Boslics, and other traders are among the merchants who work there. Recently, Prekk’s daughter Rigga has been taking a more active role in the station operation: a situation that would have been socially unacceptable to Ferengis under former Grand Nagus Zek, but the new Grand Nagus Rom has abolished the tired, old gender politics of Ferengi society.
Marian society is thousands of years old, and is close in age to human society.
Mariah IV did not invent warp drive. Instead, they were introduced to warp drive by the Valerians who made contact with the Marians about 100 years ago (if the Valerians had been part of the Federation, this would have been a violation of the Prime Directive). The Valerians recognized that Mariah IV was rich in dolamide, and forged an alliance with them.
Over the last 100 years, much of the newest technological advancements in Marian society has been introduced by the Valerians, rather than being invented on Mariah IV itself. This has lead to a society that is research-impoverished, and dependent on its mining and business sectors to drive the economy. They have not developed a post-scarcity economy.
For the last 80 years, the Valerians have primarily focused their trade relationships with the moon colony of Imaroo, which contributed to Imaroo’s rising wealth and political advantage over the other nations. Since the end of the Dominion War, Imaroo (along with Vereria) has weathered a significant economic reversal.
Mariah IV tends to be around 100 to 150 years behind the Federation in terms of technology. They are able to construct Warp 8 starships (although Warp 7 is much more common in non-military ships), and use shipboard disruptor cannons and hand-held disruptor pistols and rifles. At one point, around 25 years ago, the Ferengi energy whip became a popular weapon in Ooloskiya, where it is still commonly used today, even though it has fallen out of favour among Ferengis.
Transporter technology exists but is generally available to only the wealthiest strata of Marian society. Imaroo military vessels have Transporters, but most other nations do not. Replicators are similarly rare, existing only in the homes of the wealthy.
While Marians aren’t especially religious, they do have Marian-specific religions. While these religions tend to differ along national lines, most of these religions share a common narrative of the ocean being the mother of the Marian people.
Tirooslio and Moaska-La tend to be a bit more visible in their religious practice, and the traditionalist side of Moaska-La tends to be vocal about the roles of fishing and sea-faring in religious “our Mother provides for us” language.
As a former outpost of Oolondria, Imaroo follows the Oolondrian religion, but modern Imaroo society doesn’t tend to practice it much.
The Oolondrian language is the dominant language of Mariah IV, and most Marians can speak that language. All other nations (except for the moon colony of Imaroo) have their own language. Marians from the Moaska-La archipelagos are the most insistent on using their own language: most other Marians will default to Oolondrian when in a group from multiple nations.
Universal Translators are rare on Mariah IV and generally only used by government actors, although the Marian languages are easily translated by Federation Universal Translators.
Deep Space 11
In consultation with the Marian Council of Nations, Federation ambassadors have negotiated a deal with Mariah IV for the establishment of a star base in orbit around Deep Space 11. This star base will operate as a Federation presence in the system. Further, the Federation will have an ambassador who joins the Council of Nations in an observer/advisor role. The expectation is that the ambassador and the station commander staff will advise the Marian Council of Nations on decisions that will ready the world for a formal application for Federation membership. The Federation will otherwise attempt to maintain carefully neutrality on Marian affairs.
The Marians are wary of the idea of a “military base” being established in their space, and have asked for some concessions to assuage that concern.
- First, a Marian liaison will be installed on the base (including the liaison’s staff), and is entitled to be informed/advised of any station actions that involve Mariah IV.
- Second, the base will supplement its personnel with Marian personnel (officially, these personnel are members of Council of Nations Forces, but all are members of their home nations’ militaries).
- Thirdly, the station will operate a first-rate hospital/infirmary that’ll be open to Marian citizens.
Deep Space 11 will also operate as a Federation way station for the region. A secondary objective of the station is to operate survey updates of several of the nearby worlds.
Finally, Deep Space 11 will be the closest Federation outpost to the Breen Confederacy: as a result, Starfleet hopes that the station will keep an ear out for any signs of any return to hostility among the Breen.