The Tholians are an isolationist race of exceptionally isolationist silicon-based arachnoids with a notable interstellar nation in the Beta Quadrant.
Tholian biology is based on silicon, rather than the carbon of most known complex life forms. The Tholians are an arachnoid race, with six legs and two arms. They stand as tall as an adult human - generally in the vicinity of two meters - though their body plan and physiological composition give them a great deal more mass. A moderate-sized adult Tholian weighs nearly a quarter ton. They have a bioluminescent, chitinous shell, composed of various forms of silica with a thin outer shell of naturally-excreted copper. They are most comfortable at temperatures in excess of 450 Kelvins; any major change from that temperature would cause intense pain and death as the metallic outer layer of their shell contracted more quickly than the mineral inner layer, cracking the inner layer and causing slow but severe injury.
Tholians are hermaphroditic - each individual possesses two sets of sex organs. They are not capable of self-fertilization, and any mating usually involves both individuals being impregnated. Little is known beyond that of Tholian reproduction; what is known comes from a 23rd-century study performed on dead Tholians by the Klingon Empire, which indicated that they lay eggs that hatch into immature, likely nonsentient larval forms without the modification to the forward limbs that allow them to be used as arms. Through a series of moults, the larva changes into the adult form, achieving full sentience within five Earth years of hatching and the adult body plan within ten.
Telomere studies performed by the Klingons had more startling results - the Tholians appeared to be functionally immortal, with no biological imperative toward death due to age. Observations have placed the Tholian physical peak age at around forty, with a gradual degredation in physical strength, agility, and alertness until the mid-sixties, when those traits would level out and remain constant until death due to disease, violence, or accident. It is believed by Federation sociologists that the Tholian dueling tradition is the primary cause of generational shifts in power within the Tholian Assembly, as ambitious, strong, young Tholians eliminate their elders in duels and replace them in positions of authority.
Other oddities of Tholian physiology are their venom - a neurotoxin powerful enough that a single ounce could kill an adult Targ in seconds - and their spinnerets. Tholians produce a strong, sticky silk that they use as a building material. Contrary to popular belief in some portions of the Federation, the product known as "Tholian silk" is not produced by the Tholians themselves, but by large, nonvenomous, scorpion-like arachnoids that they commonly keep as pets and beasts of burden.
The official name for the Tholians was the Tholian Assembly. During the 22nd Century, the Vulcan High Command did have some contact with them but it was fairly limited. During this time it was unknown that they were involved as a faction in the Temporal Cold War.
First Contact with Earth
During 2152, The Tholians made an extremely unusual move, when they travelled beyond their territory to seek 31st Century time travel pod which had been discovered by a Starfleet vessel. Four Tholian warships were sent and managed to disable a Vulcan cruiser while it waited to meet up with the Starfleet vessel. They in turn attacked and defeated the Suliban fleet that was in pursuit of the Earth vessel. Although the Tholians managed to remove the pod from the Starfleet vessel it returned to its proper place in time a few minutes later.
The Defiant Incident
Three years later in the Mirror Universe the alternate Tholians detonated a tri-cobalt warhead inside the gravity well of a dead star. The ensuing explosion caused the creation of a tear between the two neighbouring dimensions becoming a doorway. Due to its instability the Tholians reasoned it would be too dangerous to send one of their own through, so they transmitted a distress call into the opening hoping that someone would come through.
During 2268, over a century later a Federation vessel entered this region of space that had been annexed by the Tholians in responding to the distress call. Three weeks passed, another starship would discover the lost ship and the landing party leader cross over into the Mirror Universe.
A Tholian starship then intercepted the Federation vessel ordering it out of Tholian space. At the request of the XO to be allowed to rescue their captain, the Tholian Commander allowed a small timeframe, before they were required to withdraw. The crew was unable to rescue their captain in the time provided and the Tholians opened fire damaging the Federation vessel, however they were able to recover their captain and escape the Tholian web.
Unknown at the time, but the Federation vessel that travelled through the rift ended up not only in another dimension but in the past, where it was towed to a drydock on a small moon in the Vintaak system, deep within Tholian space.
The Mirror version of the 22nd Starfleet vessel detected the presence of this vessel and flew into Tholian space to steal it. A boarding party was dispatched onboard and the Tholians wrapped their web around the 22nd Starfleet vessel and destroyed it. However, the invaders managed to activate the systems of the "futuristic" vessel but not before the Tholians activated their web over the Drydock's entrance. The invaders with their vessel escaped destroying three Tholian ships and the moon's drydock before leaving the system.
Over the next century contact with the elusive race would be minimal. In 2353, the Tholians destroyed a Federation starbase with only one survivor.
The amount of the attacks would remain sufficient enough for Starfleet to develop Tholian-based battle simulations.
They remained a threat even well into the 2360's that if a Klingon civil war would break out that the Tholians would become involved. Fortunately, this did not come to pass.
Trade and diplomacy
The Tholians conducted business with a Bajoran trader named Razka Karn during the early 2370s. Due to the trader's unscrupulous "business" practices they chased after him only for the trader to take refuge in the Badlands.
The Tholians maintained ambassadors with the Alpha Quadrant powers. In 2372, after a Tholian observer was killed in the bombing of the Antwerp Conference on Earth by a Dominion infiltrator led to the Tholians signing a non-aggression treaty with the Dominion in 2373, prior to the outbreak of the Dominion War, remaining neutral throughout the war.
During 2379, Romulan senator Tal'Aura had an "appointment" with the Tholian ambassador to Romulus, conveniently causing her to leave the Senate chambers only moments before the assassination of the entire Senate.
The inner operations of Tholian government are largely a mystery to the Federation. It is known that the Tholian Assembly is a vaguely oligarchical republic - the Hall of Assembly consists of a hodgepodge of representatives of various regions, trade guilds, military societies, and distinguished bloodlines, all of which are chosen by vote. Thus, while an average Tholian citizen votes only for their regional representative, an officer in a military society, worker at an important corporation, or member of an important family votes to choose one or more extra representatives - often with a far smaller pool of voters. As each representative in the Assembly wields equal weight in the formation of consensus opinion, this gives far greater weight to the beliefs of the elite of Tholian society.
The Hall of Assembly does not hold formal votes, instead holding debate until a consensus is reached. This debate can get quite spirited, and often devolves into threats or actual violence. Duels are not uncommon among the representatives, sometimes happening on the floor of the Hall of Assembly itself during debate, and it is a rare session that every representative leaves the Hall alive.
The Tholians have no official head of state; for diplomatic purposes, the leader of the plurality party in the Hall of Assembly is recognized by the Federation as the head of state, but that leader holds no true executive power.
Society and Culture
The Tholians are renowned for their territoriality, their dueling tradition, and their punctuality.
In their personal interactions with others of their race, Tholians have been observed to be quite passionate. They argue passionately, fight passionately, engage in business passionately, and love passionately. The heated debates on the Assembly floor are the most commonly cited example of this passion, but it pervades all parts of their society.
The Tholians have a highly developed dueling tradition. They will duel over insults a human would see as trivial, and these duels are always expected to be to the death. They are fought unarmed, through ramming and stinging, and both partipants are usually seriously injured and envenomated before one falls. The cause of death is usually severe blunt trauma from multiple full-speed collisions. The duels are highly ritualized, with rounds of ramming punctuated with brief grapples as both combatants try to sting weak points in the other's armor. When a particularly severe insult is perceived, the duel is often preceded by both participants willingly allowing the other to sting them, resulting in a shorter, more brutal fight as they try to debilitate one another before the venom fully takes hold.
The greatest insult a Tholian can pay to another is to be deliberately late to an appointment. Decades-long blood feuds resulting in dozens of dueling deaths have been precipitated by missed engagements.
When dealing with other species, the Tholians are aggressively isolationist. They do not want others in their territory, and have accepted diplomatic contact with the Federation, Klingons, Gorn, and Dominion only due to pure necessity. Their philosophy does not recognize the sentience of humanoids, yet unlike the Breen, the Tholians do not engage in slave trafficking. They would rather kill interlopers than enslave them, and have made clear to their neighbors that they will only tolerate outsiders in their space under the most dire of circumstances.
- See Tholian Assembly at Memory Alpha
|TASK FORCE 93|
|Task Force||Overview • Simulations • Forums|
|Area of Operations||Canterra • Raeyan Transit Corridor • Hobus • Triangle Region|
|Federation Assets|| Curtiss Outpost • Faltan Station • Outpost 93 • Providence Fleet Yards|
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|Major Powers|| Federation • Romulan Star Empire • Klingon Empire • Gorn Hegemony • Tholian Assembly|
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