|Homeworld||Terra (Solomani Rim 1827)|
|Reference||Best of the Journal Volume 2|
They are known for their natural swimming prowess, ebullient personalities, and keen astrogational skills. Solomani spread them through Charted Space during the Second and Third Imperiums. This species used a conventional respiration cycle consisting of Oxygen-nitrogen inhalant and Carbon dioxide exhalant. Dolphins, as other aquatic Terran mammals, breath air rather than extracting oxygen from directly from the water.
- 1 Physical sophontology
- 2 Archaeological sophontology
- 3 Cultural sophontology
- 4 Linguistic sophontology
- 5 Societal sophontology
- 6 Astrography
- 7 References and contributors
A typical male Dolphin (Tursiops galactus) measures between 2.75 and 3.95m from the tip of its powerful flukes to its snout, and weighs about 100 to 150kg. Females tend to be smaller and lighter, on average.
- Bilateral symmetry (2-ial)
- Triped (3-ped)
- 2 limbs used for swimming locomotion "legs" (flippers)
- 1 tail (fluke)
- Manipulation performed by artificial (technological) prosthetic "arms"
- Body consists of three segments
- Flukes (tail)
Their skin is smooth to the touch, and tends to be a purple-black along the dorsal surface, shading to white or light gray on the underside. Layers of fat make their hide equivalent to Jack Armour. Their eyes are located in the darker section of the face.
The brain of a Dolphin is 1.5 times the size of a human, although this should not be taken as a sign of greater (or lesser) intelligence. For the most part, this difference is due to the greater mass of the Dolphin body. The original dolphin lifespan was about 20 years, but the enhanced Dolphins typically live 50 to 60 years. Anagathics are available, with prices, benefits and risks similar to those used by humans.
The main Dolphin sense centers on their very accurate echo-location system. Geneering has improved this to give a 100m range. Dolphin hearing is able to detect sounds ranging in pitch from 150 to 150,000 Hertz (by contrast, Terran cats can hear sounds up to 50,000 Hz, bats to 75,000 Hz, and humans only up to 20,000 Hz).
Underwater eyesight is fairly keen, as it has been adapted for that environment. The lenses of their eyes are very globular and hence convex in nature in order to reverse the negative effects of aquatic reflection. However, this makes the Dolphin very near-sighted when out of the water. To counter this, many Dolphins wear corrective lenses when not in a Travel Suit (which has a special visor built-in).
Typical members of Tursiops galactus can dive for up to 15 minutes without respirator assistance. In practice, many wear tanked air supplies to allow a greater endurance for underwater operations. When swimming near the surface, Dolphins breathe 2 to 6 times per minute, increasing up to 8 after a long dive or period of exertion. Unlike humans, who normally use only 12.5% of their lung capacity, Dolphins almost completely empty and fill their lungs with every breath. Also, they store much more oxygen in their blood and muscle tissues than humans, which allows them to make such prolonged dives.
A single glance at the Dolphin body is enough to reveal the perfection of their streamlining. Nowhere in explored space is there a creature so perfectly evolved in a hydro-dynamic sense. As a rule of thumb, Dolphins can maintain 40 kph when swimming and can attain burst speeds of up to 60 kph.
Although normal swimming depth is above 30m, Dolphins can dive up to 200m in extreme cases (humans can only manage 125m unprotected). Furthermore, the physiology of a Dolphin is such that they are wholly immune to caisson disease ("the bends") which is a constant hazard to human divers.
Climate and environment preferences
This species holds the following environmental preferences:
- Terrestrial (marine) planet
- Temperate to warm climates
- Oceanic ecotopes
- Standard gravity
- Standard atmosphere
Diet and trophics
This species survives using the following methods of consumption:
- This species favors protein-heavy foodstuffs.
The diet of Dolphins, like their semi-sentient ancestors, is wholly carnivorous. Modern Dolphins do take great joy in sampling new foods and tastes. A Dolphin requires 110 calories per kg per day to sustain itself. This is far greater than the human need of 50 calories per kg per day. This translates to roughly 10% of body mass, per day.
Life Cycle and reproduction
This species has the following reproductive characteristics:
- Two genders (male & female)
- Mild sexual dimorphism
- (sexual reproduction)
- Conjugal intercourse
- Varied mating systems (primarily serial monogamy) (1m:1f average)
- Viviparous birth
- (Iteroparous): Uses K-selection and have few offspring that require considerable amounts of time to raise to maturity.
This species has had a relatively short history and is widely known for their keen astrogational skills. Dolphins have one of the finest sets of 3D navigational senses known within Charted Space.
This species originated on Terra and developed intelligence in response to interspecies competition. Dolphins were raised to sentience by genetic engineering and deliberate breeding.
Major historical events timeline
The natural evolution of cetaceans on Terra is still something of a mystery, even to sciences of the 57th century (Terran dating). However, their "uplifting" to sentient status is well documented. The Solomani corporation GenAssist, established to adapt Terran native lifeforms to alien climates, saw a need for creatures that could assist in colonizing and developing worlds with high hydrographic percentages.
To that end, GenAssist began research on dolphins during the Rule of Man. As other species were dropped from Gen Assist’s overall project, the dolphins had the full attention of the company trained on them, and rapidly attained true intelligence.
In -1988, just prior to the collapse of the Rule of Man , a handful of Dolphin colonies were seeded along the rimward frontiers of what is now the Solomani Sphere.
In the centuries since, the Dolphins have proved themselves to be fantastically adaptive and very loyal to the Solomani government. The reason for their loyalty has very little to do with political philosophies, as Dolphin psychology is radically different from their human patrons. Rather, each and every Dolphin is acutely aware that the Solomani gave them the gift of sentience, and they feel indebted to the Terrans for this. The Solomani have not discouraged this way of thinking; in fact, they have fostered it.
Dolphin culture is based on a belief in total equality. Everything is shared equally and each citizen is entitled to the full benefits of the society’s capabilities. They are unable to understand many concepts which seem almost absolute to humans; for example, the ideas of property and land ownership. If one Dolphin has a tool that another needs, the latter simply takes the tool and returns it after use (it is customary to ask if the current holder has finished with the object first, but this is not unlike a human request to “borrow” an item). Further, the concept of land ownership is beyond them. They point out that “the sea is always in motion, so how can you claim a portion of it as yours?” In the same way, the land is in motion (although far more slowly), and similar reasoning results.
These concepts can result in problems when Dolphins interact with other lifeforms. On starships, for instance, Dolphin passengers have been known to take objects (such as jewelry) which appealed to them, without asking permission if the object did not seem to be currently in use. If confronted with the “theft”, they gladly admit to it and cheerfully return the object as long as they have finished “using” it. Dolphins who have spent a great deal of time among other races eventually learn that this is considered improper behavior by many others.
At this point, they usually modify their behavior and ask to use things which others seem attached to. In such cases, they see this as a game they must play in order to “fit in”.
The actual number of individual Dolphins varies widely from world to world. On Terra, the original dolphins are extinct (they still thrive on a few other worlds, though) and the latest census counted about 2.5 million Dolphins.
Morality and ethics
Dolphins do not usually gather in large communities, but live in extended family groups of between 15 and 20 individuals. Family groups interact frequently, and it is not uncommon for two or more of them to dwell very near to one another. They simply do not have a structural society such as envisioned by humans and others.
Dolphins seem to have a natural sense of altruism, which is widespread throughout Dolphin communities.
The Dolphin language is sometimes called Delphinic Trinary in reference to its' three-layered logic system. Trinary is a complex aural language of acoustic signals, of which there are two types called clicks and whistles.
Dolphins are also capable of learning the sign language of Solomani Humaniti. However, while Dolphins can understand the visual nature of sign language, they must use mechanical hand devices to communicate using sign language. Many Waldos have these devices built into them for this purpose. Additionally, Dolphins use a language called Primal Delphinic, which harkens back to their pre-sophontic days as highly intelligent animals.
However, in practice, Dolphins use Language Translators to communicate with other sophonts. Apart from learning the their native languages of Delphinic Trinary and Primal Delphinic, the vast majority of Dolphins also learn Terran English and Galanglic. This is due to Galanglic's status as an interstellar trade language and the very close relationship that most Dolphins have with the Solomani.
Government and politics
Dolphins are not politically organized as a species. Most dolphins are citizens of other governments, usually those of humans. In most cases, colony worlds composed primarily of Dolphin settlers are classified by the Scouts as Government code 0 (anarchy).
Military and intelligence
Dolphins are not politically organized as a species and thus function as parts of other species' militaries.
Business and trade
Dolphins, as a generality, have difficulty understanding interstellar trade. Few engage in mercantile vocations.
Research and technology
Dolphins seem to have a natural sense of curiosity that makes them enthusiastic research scientists. Many Dolphins have been enthusiastically studying Uplift technologies and hope to develop natural manipulatory limbs.
Specialized Delphinic Technology
While Dolphins are well-adapted for aquatic environments, they are handicapped when removed from them. In order to overcome such difficulties, science has come up with a number of devices which make life much more pleasant for Dolphins who must function out of the water.
The Travel Suit (or TeeSuit) is a garment especially designed for Dolphins. This garment is a combination gravitic vehicle and environment suit, which contains a super-humid atmosphere for the health and comfort of its wearer.
Another device important to Dolphins is the Waldo. A serious handicap which Dolphins suffer is their lack of manipulatory appendages. This is near unheard of in naturally-occurring sophont species, but is not uncommon among the Solomani’s uplifted races. At TL-12 neural control plugs are available to be surgically implanted into the skull of a Dolphin, allowing them to control devices through direct nerve impulses.
The same neural control plugs that allow control of waldos can be connected to larger equipment, including vehicles and starships.
Dolphins prefer an atmosphere with a standard oxygen-nitrogen composition, but also very humid. Dolphins employ humidifiers in any non-aquatic environment, such as aboard starships, to maintain comfortable moisture levels for Dolphin crew members, or passengers, without having to keep starship compartments flooded.
Finally, Dolphin starships have certain modifications specifically tailored to their occupants. The most instantly obvious change is that such craft maintain a zero-gravity field aboard them at all times, even while grounded, so that the crew can move freely about without Tee Suits.
While most Dolphins are located within these two supra-polities, some Dolphins have ventured beyond these two demographic concentrations.
This species can primarily be found within Charted Space in the following locations.
- Alpha Crucis Sector
- Banners Sector
- Corridor Sector
- Dagudashaag Sector
- Diaspora Sector
- Gushemege Sector
- Magyar Sector
- Solomani Rim Sector
- Spinward Marches Sector
Dolphins can be found on the following systems and worlds:
References and contributors
- Loren Wiseman. "Bestiary: Dolphins." Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society 6 (1980): 38-40.
- Loren Wiseman. "Bestiary: Dolphins, part II." Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society 7 (1981): 35-40.
- Gary L. Thomas. "Dolphins." The Travellers' Digest 13 (1989): 15-20.
- Jon F. Zeigler. GURPS Traveller: Rim of Fire (Steve Jackson Games, 2000), 33-34.
- Jae Campbell. Encyclopaedia Dagudashaag (Signal-GK, 2017), 92.
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science