First Elder, First Admiral, First Minister
The Ocampa are a people native to Ocampa IV, a planet quite near to the edge of the galaxy which represents the furthest place that any Federation starship had been from Sol until Starfleet returned in the 2390s. A short-lived species, they are noted for being capable of immense social change over a time period that most other races would consider incredibly fast. They are also quick learners and are similarily capable of developing technologies with relative ease, a potential that was never unlocked until they were forced to become independent from the protection of a Nacene known as the Caretaker.
The Ocampan people have a complex history that has often intersected with that of other races. For hundreds of years, they lived in an underground city on Ocampa IV after the Nacene accidentally devastated the planet's atmosphere by destroying the nucleogenic particles necessary for the formation of rain. With the planet rendered uninhabitable, they found refuge under the surface. In 2371, the Nacene left behind to care for them, known only as the Caretaker died and his array was destroyed by the starship Voyager to keep it from being used by the Kazon.
In the ensuing years, the Ocampa were faced with extinction, as they only had enough power reserves for five years. This spurred a technological renaissance in Ocampan society, as they had never been asked to take care of themselves in that way before; using data from the array and analysis of their own energy banks that stored tetryon power from the array, they were able to shore up their city by both expanding down to get access to geothermal power and by developing a form of tetryon reactor based on Nacene technology that was able to power the city.
This did not go unnoticed by the Kazon, who sent several ships to attempt to secure the planet. They weren't expecting, though, that the Ocampa were willing to fight to defend their planet, and they managed to seize several ships from the invading force. With space travel now an option, this is when Ocampan society began to fracture: was the right answer for the path forward to stay the course, to leave Ocampa IV, or to seek retribution? This lead to the first moment in Ocampan history where the society as a whole was not unified, but has led to the parallel development of three distinct factions all connected and emerging from Ocampa IV.
Some races such as the Haakonians and Talaxians are aware of the Ocampa and have limited trade relationships with the Expansionists and Militarists. Some races such as the Kazon and Vidiians avoid Ocampan space because they are treated with extreme hostility--the Kazon for their long history of attacking and raiding and the Vidiians after an Ocampan colony ship was abducted in the 2380s.
The Ocampa are largely divided into three societies that are divided along ideological lines: the Traditionalists, the Militarists, and the Expansionists. The Traditionalists have continued to live in the city that the Nacene built for them, now relying on reverse-engineered tetryon reactors rather than regular burts of energy from the array, believing in a near-religious fashion that the lifestyle the Caretaker designed for them is the best way for any Ocampa to live. The Militarists have seized and enhanced a sizable contingent of Kazon ships that foolishly attempted to conquer the Ocampa following the death of the Caretaker; they zealously protect the Ocampa system and the surrounding space from incursions and are especially hostile towards the Kazon, believing that the Ocampa do belong in the Ocampa system but simply hiding under the surface is an insufficient way to protect that lifestyle. The Expansionists believe that the period the Ocampa spent under the protection of the Caretaker was as a childhood for their race and that without him to protect them, the only way they can ensure the continuity of their civilization is to expand beyond the Ocampa system; they have exploratory vessels and have established a half-dozen colonies.
These three factions generally exist in symbiosis, putting ideological concerns aside to help one another when necessary. For example, the Militarists monitor the surface of Ocampa IV and defend it against aggressors, even though the Traditionalists think this is unnecessary, but the Traditionalists have established a conduit to the surface to allow the Militarists to resupply and even occasionally visit the city. The Expansionists rely on occasional patrols by the Militarists to deter raiders, and provide them with food and intelligence.
Following the destruction of the Caretaker's Array in 2371, the bulk of the Ocampan people were focused on securing their city and keeping their future underground on Ocampa IV. Following the seizure of several Kazon ships in the late 2370s, the Traditionalists elected to continue the lifestyle that the Caretaker had developed for them, relying on his technology to power and secure their city. They do not allow outsiders into their city and they only monitor the surface in a very limited number of ways, including a conduit for contact with other Ocampa and the security measures on a number of secured pits on the surface that contain the debris from the Caretaker's Array, both to keep radiation from poisoning the planet but also out reverence for the Nacene.
The traditionalists are led by a council of elders and their effective head of state is the First Elder.
In the late 2370s, a number of Ocampa seized a group of Kazon ships and decided that the best way to stay safe in a dangerous galaxy was to take their safety into their own hands and to do what the caretaker no longer could: defend the Ocampa system by force of arms. They developed more creative tactics than the Kazon were capable of and quickly seized a sizeable contingent of ships, turning each attempted raid into a gain for the Ocampan defensive fleet. They have developed a reputation as being fiercely aggressive to defend their territory, and they have cultivated this reputation to minimize the number of engagements they must participate in. In the 2390s, they are attempting to develop their own vessels, but have successfully modified their appropriated Kazon ships with tetryon-based engines and weapons. The militarists live on their ships and rarely visit Ocampa itself. Generally, they hide their vessels in magnetic and gravitational blindspots above planetary bodies to make it look as if the Ocampa system is abandoned; this allows them to surround threat vessels at their leisure.
The militarists are led by a military hierarchy and their supreme leader is the First Admiral.
When the Kazon ships were seized, the Expansionists saw it as an opportunity for the Ocampa to leave their homeworld behind and move out into the galaxy. Rationally, relying on a single planet was a sure way of ensuring their eventual extinction. Starting at first with just a single ship, they colonized a planet in a nearby star system and gradually built up a small fleet of transports and exploratory vessels. They maintain trade relationships with a number of other species, but their main priority is building their society and making an event like the one that confined them beneath the surface of Ocampa IV an impossibility.
The expansionists are led in a parliamentary system which is led by the First Minister.
Ocampan technology is advanced and relies on tetryon-based technology reverse-engineered from the Nacene, as well as appropriated Kazon (and hence Trabe) technology. Their general capabilities are unknown, but their vessels do pose a threat to Starfleet ships if angered. They have been observed to be using Kazon Carriers, Raiders, and Destroyers, though they are known to be developing their own starships.
The Ocampa are humanoid and resemble Humans except for a few folds of skin around their ears. They are born without the ear folds, which grow when the infants grew older.
They age very rapidly, resulting in an average life span of only nine years. Consequently, they develop and learn extremely quickly. Most of their growth took place in the first six months, and by one-year-old, they reach a young adult stage. They remain in this stage for several years.
Between the ages of four and five, female Ocampa enter the elogium, the time of sexual maturation. During the elogium, a mitral sac forms on the back of the female. The sac accomodates a developing child (or children), and it was from the sac that the child is born, as its mother stands upright.
Ocampan babies come out of the mitral sac feet first and with an evident navel, suggesting that an umbilical cord detaches from the abdomen during or shortly before birth. The ipasaphor, a sticky yellow substance, appears on the female's hands for the six-day mating bond. Once the ipasaphor had appeared, mating needs to commence within fifty-two hours.
Having remained young-looking for a number of years, they reach middle age sometime around their seventh year. Again, their aging seems to stop, only to rapidly increase near their ninth year with the onset of the morilogium. At this stage of life, the Ocampa move from middle age to extreme old age in the space of a few weeks, becoming confused and amnesiac before dying.
- The Ocampa were the first race contacted by the crew of the USS Arcturus. After being surrounded by militarist vessels, they were able to establish contact with both them and the Traditionalists on the surface to establish tenuous diplomatic relationships. There is significant distrust from the Ocampa, as they blame Voyager for the death of the Caretaker.
The Ocampa in Play
- Due to their short lifespans and ability to learn quickly, Ocampan society has diverged wildly from the last time we saw them on screen--the three factions have general characteristics that apply to them, but you're also likely to encounter members of this race that don't fit neatly into any box.
- The Vidiians have captured an Ocampan colony ship. What use could they have for these fast-developing humanoids?
- The Ocampa are very protective of their home system, so approach with caution. Wouldn't you shoot first and ask questions later if you'd spent your entire life near the Kazon?