The Chelon are a member of the United Rigel Worlds and Colonies, which has been a member state of the United Federation of Planets since 2164. They are native to Rigel III, and are renowned as skilled diplomats.
Chelon are descended from saber-tooth turtles which evolved to walk upright. They have cartilaginous shells, rigid beaks, and claws. They lack agility and stamina compared to average humanoid races, but they have an advantage in height, and they are more resistant to most forms of radiation.
Chelon are hermaphrodites, possessing only one sex. It has become customary in recent centuries for Chelon to assume a binary gendered identity, choosing to present themselves as either male or female, and sometimes changing gender at different stages in life. Traditional Chelon reject this notion, and are proud of their hermaphroditic nature. An openly hermaphroditic Chelon is addressed as Velom, i.e. 'this way, Velom Ganaiar'.
Chelon's also possess several redundant evolutionary defence mechanisms, with fangs that can be used as a powerful biting weapon during combat. During times of stress, Chelon emit a deadly toxin through their skin, which can be transmitted via a claw strike. But as a mostly peaceful species, they rarely have to make use of these capabilities.
Culture and History
Chelon evolved on a planet with considerable exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the star of Rigel A, outside what would normally be considered the 'habitable zone' for an M-class planet. There are very few native species of fauna or flora on Rigel III, and the Chelon are necessarily very hardy, able to resist radiation and subsist on food that other species often find unappetising. Few predatory species existed, and those that did died off after the Chelon developed their tough cartilaginous shells.
As a result, Chelon spent most of their history living a relaxed existence, free from the everyday threats of predators or starvation. Different tribes established friendly relationships or bartered for food, and they lived in harmony for several thousand years, devoting themselves to philosophy and poetry. Their peaceful nature gives Chelon a naturally patient and friendly temperament which other species can find irritating or mistake for smugness, and they are sometimes regarded as lazy or hedonistic, because the concept of having to do things on a tight schedule is relatively alien to them.
During Earth's 14th century, the Chelon were contacted by the Rigelian Jelna, who were the first of the native Rigellian species to develop interplanetary travel. The Chelon traded with the Jelna but peacefully resisted them, preventing them from establishing trade monopolies by maintaining strict trading laws and limiting levels of commerce. They began to benefit more from this trade than the Jelna themselves, and the infuriated Jelna declared war on them in an attempt to force them to buy their merchandise.
Being quite difficult to kill, the Chelon repelled the Jelna and eventually rose to an equal stature, joining the Jelna as one of the founding members of the Rigel Trade Commission. They found a role for themselves as intermediaries between the other races who inhabit the Rigel Sector, and were highly instrumental in the formation of the United Rigel Worlds and Colonies. The Chelon allowed the Jelna to present themselves as the face of the Rigel system for most of the 22nd century, but eventually grew curious and began to make more of an appearance on the galactic stage, often as negotiators and diplomats. One Chelon of note was Ambassador Jetanien, a power-player on the interstellar diplomatic stage during the late 23rd Century.