Physical Appearance Edit
The following are some basic facts about the Odonans.
1. Odonans are humanoid aliens, with a slight build. The males average 1.6 m in height, the females 1.4-1.5 m. Odonans do not store fat in their bodies, and have a high metabolism, so they do not get fat. The average male Odonan weighs between 45-55 kg, and the average female between 40-50 kg. Despite their slight build, Odonans are deceptively strong, and are known as fast runners.
2. Odonans are divided into three races, with the races distinguished by height and density of body hair:
a. sankrajic - tall and with high san (body hair) density (30% of population)
b. tanigaajic - shorter and with less san(15% of population)
c. hijakic - shorter and with high san density (55% of population)
Although sankrajic Odonans make up thirty percent of the population, they make up a significant majority, 70%, of the Odonan Space Service (their equivalent of Starfleet).
3. Physical curosities of the Odonans include the following:
a, bioelectricity - Odonans evolved as primate predators that hunted prey by stunning them with electrical discharges. The electricity is generated by the starabus, an organ in the lower back, and conducted through the secondary nervous system to orsotic tips, bundles of nerves that penetrate the skin and allow the electricity to be conducted from the body. The amount of current that can be generated varies greatly by individual, but nearly all can produce a low level of steady current that can power electronic devices attached to them. Sodium is a key component to the bioelectric system so Odonans can eat a very salty diet. The chlorine is excreted, which has led to the comment "a dirty Odonan washroom smells like a clean human pool."
b. san - this is not strictly speaking body hair, but external nerve cell endings covered in keratin for protection. These san are usually 2-3 cm long, and are thick and black. The arms, legs, shoulders and backs are covered with san usually to a density of 5-10 per square centimeters (2-5 on tanigaajic Odonans). Some san are longer, with shoulder san upto 8 cm long. The san is present on both males and females. Odonan females are quite hairy and are considered unpleasant to look at by humans when unclothed or in revealing clothing (although there is a small subset of humans that find them quite attractive). The purpose of san is to allow the Odonans to move around in dark environments. They evolved on a world where there were three days of darkness and three days of light. The san allowed them to move around in the dark without running into things. They are very sensitive to air currents and movements. It is impossible to sneak up behind an Odonan. Of course, clothes do reduce the effectiveness of san.
c. Odonans generally have black hair. Because there are san in the head hair as well, Odonans do not cut their hair, either males or females, simply because it hurts to do so. Cutting a bundle of hair the thickness of a finger would hurt as much as actually cutting off a finger.
d. specialized san on the face are called phyzza. These are located on the outisde of the eyes and mouths and near the ears, and so are derisively referred to as "whiskers" by some. There are rituals around stroking and touching the phyzza, which is the Odonan correspondence to kissing (Odonans don't kiss)
e. Odonans are extremely long-lived. They do not age in the human sense, as their bodies are efficient at renewing themselves. This has led to some noticeable differences between humans and most other humanoid species and Odonans. Odonan females do not ovulate on a regular basis. When a man and a woman have sex, hormones in the semen trigger ovulation in the female. In other words, every time a couple has sex, the woman will get pregnant (but on the other hand, preventing the production of the hormone in the male is a simple process and produces a very effective birth control), Odonans also have continuous dentation. In other words, when a tooth breaks or wears out, it is replaced with a new one in ten to twelve days. Thus, Odonan dentists do just one thing, pull teeth.
Odonans do, of course, die. They can die from disease, acts of violence or an accident. The longer a person lives, the greater the odds of one of these things happening to that person at some point. The average Odonan can live between 300-500 years, but Odonans living to a 1000 are not unheard of.
f. Odonans as they age accumulate various impurities and toxins, and they also accumulate the skin pigment equivalent to melanin. In other words, as they age, Odonans get progressively darker, so the children are quite pale-coloured, and those in their fourth or fifth centuries can become quite dark-skinned.
g. Odonans evolved on a cold, dry world, so they tolerate cold well and dislike heat. A comfortable room temperature for Odonans is 12C. Their bodies are efficient at holding water. Odonans, for example, do not urinate. Waste materials extracted by the kidneys (of which Odonans have four) are dropped into the colon. The colon extracts water from the fecel matter, which is reduced to a powder that is eliminated from the body.
h. Odonans do not have fingernails, but claws. They file down their hand claws in order to allow their fingers to be useful, but they keep their toe claws. These claws are like those of a cat in that they are quite sharp (but not retractible). Odonans can cause significant injuries with their toe claws. Their shoes and other footwear are designed to accommodate the claws. In general, Odonans do not wear socks.
4. Odonans evolved as carnivores. They prefer meat, but can eat tuber or seed vegetables (things like the equivalent of potatoes and berry-type fruit). They cannot eat leafy vegetables, however, as they cannot digest cellulose and equvialent materials on Odonan planets. Eating lettuce, for example, would usually require a stop in sickbay to remove an intestinal blockage. Modern Odonans, of course, do not raise animals and slaughter and eat them. Instead, their meat is replicator-generated. Odonans have taken replicated food to an art form, producing a huge variety of replicated food items and recipes that could not be made any other way. Odonans will rarely eat alien foods, but they can take alien foods and design an Odonan food that matches it in taste and appearance, and then replicate it for consumption. The reverse is also true. Alien races visiting Odonan planets can sample Odonan foods with the Odonan taste and textures and appearances, but the food is adjusted to be compatible with the alien biology.
5. The key component to the Odonan equivalent of hemoglobin is chromium, which fulfills the same role as iron in human blood or copper in Vulcan blood. As a result, oxygenated Odonan blood is a dark red and deoxygenated blood is almost black.
6. Yasuembahn - This is perhaps the strangest and most peculiar practice of the Odonans. It is ancient, going back tens of thousands of years. Essentially what this is is a pair-bonding ritual. Odonans, at birth, are injected with a very tiny amount of tam-ulk-yr, a dilithium-like substance, usually a millimetre or less in diameter. This is inserted into the brain stem at a particular point, and as the child grows up, this crystal becomes intertwined with brain neurons. The bonding ritual is done between parent and child and between siblings, and allows a person to "sense" his parents and his children and his siblings, but the most important pair bonding is between husband and wife. Odonan marriages are generally arranged at a young age by the yasuembanan, who are skilled in selecting people who are compatible.
The marriage ceremony has three steps, each with mystical bonding rituals and special technology that the yasuembanans guard zeolously:
a. the initial ceremony occurs when the children are three or four years old, when the first bonding takes place. The two children continue to live with their respective families, but spend time with each other, to get to know each other. If the children prove to be incompatible, the process can be reversed, but this rarely happens.
b. the second ceremony occurs when the children are teenagers. More bonding is done, and this produces bond-links as strong as between parent and child. The couple starts living with one or the other of the families, although they might split time with either family, and at other times, they can live separately, especially when they are separated while off at different schools.
c. the third ceremony occurs when the children are sexually mature and adult (sexual maturity occurs between 20-25 years of age) and ready to live on their own. The final stage of the bonding is completed, creating a strong bonding. In all Odonans, it allows them to sense the emotional state of their mate, and even locate them. In some Odonans, the bond is strong enough to allow for full telepathic communications. Such "telepathically bonded" couples have been used to allow communications between two locations when other, conventional communications are not possible. The marriage bond is so strong that if one of the couple dies unexpectedly or badly, that could cause trouble with the surviving spouse when the bond breaks. Such bond breaks can be very traumatic.
Odonan couples can divorce, but this is very rare. The bond links cannot be broken, however. The bond-links essentially make the couple committed to each other and would never consider the divorce route. All Odonans marry (homosexuality is unknown among the Odonans), and all are expected to have children. There is strong social pressure on Odonans to have at least two children (and a series of government and social measures that makes having the required children desirable) in order to maintain the population. Most Odonans will space the children so that one grows to maturity and is on his or her own before having another. Thus, the terms "brother" and "sister" are rarely used by the Odonans. Instead, they use terms that can be translated as "younger brother" and "older brother," and "younger sister" and "older sister." Odonans, when colonizing a planet or after the Great War with the Klingons that ultimately saw ninety-five percent of the prewar population die, can be encouraged to have lots of children to repopulate a location. There are records of Odonan woman who gave birth to over a hundred children, but spaced over centuries.
The Odonans are the major alien race introduced into the "Athena" stories and other related stories. They were introduced as an allied race to the United Federation of Planets and were meant to be more technologically advanced than the Federation simply because they had been a space-going race for a longer period of time. In "Star Trek," the implication has often been that the key Federation races achieved warp travel and entered a region of space that was essentially occupied, as all prior races appeared to have died out or else prior races turned into hostile powers, such as the Klingons and Romulans. The presence of the Odonans suggested that there were longer-term and advanced races around and that they were not automatically antagonistic towards the Federation, and at the same time, not all that keen to join either.