A Humanoid race from Denobula Triaxa. A pleasant, gregarious people, Denobulans have been exploring space for centuries. Before Humans achieved warp capability, Denobulans were visiting dozens of worlds, making contact and offering trade, building a reputation as honest businessmen and patient diplomats. Denobulans were heavily involved in early projects encouraging interstellar co-operation, including the Interspecies Medical Exchange of the 22nd century, and are today members of the United Federation of Planets. They prefer to live in large groups, being uncomfortable outside a crowd, and are noted for their complex marriage customs, where each individual takes three mates.
Denobulans evolved on the single large landmass of Denobula Triaxa, descendants of rock-clinging primate analogues. Historically, Denobulan troops built nests across the face of inland plateaus overlooking savannah, with each cliff-face home to an extended family. Today, they inhabit farms and cities in a manner not dissimilar to Humans, but they remain comfortable with mountainous terrain. They have two sexes, of which the male is on average taller and heavier, as is the case with most Humanoids. Their skin tones range from pale pink to deep tan, with hair colour sharing the same range as Humans. As a species, they have a pair of cartilaginous ridges running up the side of their faces, from the cheeks to the forehead, with an additional protective ridge on the chin. Further, they boast a vertical crevice in the forehead above an enlarged brow, and below a receding hairline. There are also bony ridges on the back along the spine, and on the sides of the hands and forearms, the latter used for climbing. In males, all ridges are more pronounced. Denobulan males also have a line of hair down the middle of the chest, reaching up to their throat.
Denobulan facial muscles are much more pronounced than in most other Humanoids, allowing them to more easily express a wide variety of emotions. Furthermore, Denobulans have a unique ability to enlarge their face, puffing it up in a similar manner to the Terran blowfish. This is a defensive instinct for when a lone Denobulan feels threatened, and cannot be consciously controlled. Another instinctive change is the eyes, which shift colour depending on the individual’s mood.
Denobulan toenails are thick and claw-like, coloured dark brown with yellow stripes. They are designed for clinging to cliffs and rock-faces, and along with the ridged arms allow for stable grip and rapid climbing. In prehistoric times the nails would be worn down quickly, and thus they grow rapidly, to the extent than in modern civilized Denobulans they must be groomed once a week. Denobulan grooming also involves scraping the tongue, which is far longer than that of a Human and can reach down past the chin.
The Denobulan immune system is particularly strong, a result of their tendency to live in large, closely packed crowds. A Denobulan can even resist assimilation by Borg nanoprobes for some time after injection. The average Denobulan lifespan is significantly longer than that of a Human, and a generation among Denobulans does not match an Earth generation. Denobulans have highly efficient climbing abilities similar to those of Earth lizards. They are capable of scaling vertical rock faces at rapid speed with no equipment, using the ridges on their arms and hands, and traditionally their sturdy toenails. They appear to “scuttle” up a rock face without needing to find handholds. Probably as a consequence of their original, treacherous habitat, Denobulans require very little sleep. Although they will, in stressful situations, spend a few hours sleeping to recover strength, they only need to do so for six days a year; a healthy individual can even get by on two. During these times, they enter a state of deep hibernation, and waking them can be dangerous. A Denobulan awoken prematurely may appear extremely disoriented and confused, and have difficulty maintaining motor skills and cognitive functions. His voice may also have a characteristically odd pitch. Before entering hibernation, they tend to put on weight by eating fattening foods. An increase in body weight by 10% is considered healthy in most adults. Eating is generally considered a ritual to be completed as rapidly as possible, likely another holdover from their pre-civilized rock-clinging ancestors, who would need to keep their grip at all times. The lengthy Denobulan tongue no doubt aided them in acquiring food without loosening their hold on the rock face. Modern Denobulans tend not to talk while eating, as this would be “a waste of time”. They are omnivorous, though with slightly more meat in the diet than most Humans. Denobulan food includes Denobulan Sausage and Denobulan Scallops. The kidneys of the Denobulan Lemur are considered a delicacy.
Denobulans are known for their cheerful optimism which, while charming, can be grating at times to their Human colleagues. The stereotypical Denobulan is kind and friendly, but never two-dimensional. Beneath their cheery exterior, they are as capable of nursing grudges or experiencing anger as any other race. However, due to the crowded living conditions on Denobula, their culture promotes tolerance and the repression of negative emotion. Therefore, it is rare for a Denobulan to openly demonstrate anger. To relieve themselves of the excess neural energy resulting from repression of anger or irritation, and to prevent such practices becoming harmful, it is common for Denobulans to hallucinate. This form of release is considered very healthy. Denobulans are honest, open, and friendly, sometimes to a fault. They are quick to recover from their transgressions and can be humble to excess. Some consider Denobulans to be pacifists, but while they certainly see violence as a last resort, on those rare occasions they feel it necessary they can certainly defend themselves. Curiosity is another well-known Denobulan trait, as is patience.
Denobulans are most comfortable in large crowds, as long as there is no prolonged physical contact with any one individual. On Denobula Triaxa, over 12 Billion people live on a single continent; out of choice, not necessity. In fact, Denobulans become rapidly uncomfortable when not in proximity to other people. They therefore tend to be very sociable and gregarious, and when offworld tend to travel in groups. Perhaps surprisingly, the Denobulans are also highly individualistic, and their crowds are certainly not homogenous in any way. Dermal art, jewellery and hairstyling make each individual distinctive, and a Denobulan typically feels the need to stand unique as strongly as he does the need to seek out others. These desires are likely instinctive; primitive Denobulans required the support of extended family troops, yet also claimed a particular handhold on the cliff-face that simply couldn’t be shared. They lived - and live - in closely packed groups, yet always there is the concept of personal space, which may be far smaller than in most species but is jealously guarded. Due to the need to demonstrate individuality and stand out from the ever-present crowd, Denobulans take great pride in their careers and personal interests. Enthusiasm for one’s chosen profession is admirable in Denobulan society, and combined with the race’s tendency towards great curiosity, makes for inventive and revolutionary scientists. The Denobulan Science Academy has been conducting productive research in various fields across the known galaxy for centuries.
Denobulan mating practices are complicated. As stated, Denobulans dislike prolonged physical contact, despite their tendency to congregate in large groups. Therefore, in order to convince the male to mate with her, the female Denobulan naturally releases potent pheromones during the mating season. The pheromones sometimes work too well, however, and males competing for mates can become violent. The drug Niaxilin can be successful in helping them settle down, but even with this medical assistance male Denobulans are unusually volatile during the mating season. The actual act of mating, known as Jaa-uu-gah, can require medical supervision. Because they are adapted to respond to pheromones, Denobulan males get severe headaches when exposed to those of Orion females. Because of the discomfort a Denobulan feels when touched, outside of the mating season lovers do not kiss or hug one another, but instead show affection by inhaling each others’ scent, deliberately and demonstratively.
Denobulan families are large and complex; the family of Phlox, a typical member of the culture, had 720 members, with 42 romantic partnerships. An individual usually aims to acquire three spouses, each of whom will themselves have two other mates. Other combinations are not unknown, but tend to be frowned upon by mainstream Denobulan society. Mates are chosen, never arranged, although the mating selection process can involve combatants, if multiple males respond to a single female. Both sexes contribute to the nurturing of the offspring: Denobulan society in general appears to have moved beyond gender-specific social roles. Sexual relations outside of marriage are not unusual, as Denobulans have no taboo against remaining sexually available after acquiring all three spouses. In fact, a Denobulan will often express pride when one of their mates is pursued by others; it suggests that they have chosen well. Lovers can also seem to treat long periods of separation incredibly casually to Human eyes. When Phlox was reunited with one of his wives for the first time in four years, he cheerfully informed his Human friends he was in no hurry: another minute or two of separation wouldn’t make a difference.
Denobulans tend to giggle, rather than chuckling or laughing. Their entertainment no longer features motion picture films, because, to paraphrase Phlox, his people realized their real lives were much more interesting. Denobulans also do not keep pets, but they do collect animals for medicinal or research purposes and can grow quite fond of them, in a cheerfully detached way.
Denobulan medical ethics are centred upon the will of the patient. If the patient does not wish to be treated, there is nothing a Denobulan doctor can ethically do, other than attempt to convince them otherwise.
The Denobulan language (Denobula’an) frequently makes use of prefixes to place words in context. For example, medical terminology is signified with the prefix Ya-Sah. Double vowel combinations are common in Denobulan words, as are gurgling “g”, “k” and “m” sounds. The syllable “ah” is frequently encountered at the end of nouns, verbs and adjectives relating to people; given that Vahl appears to be Denobulan for “I”, the syllable likely signifies a sense of base humanity (Denobulanity). The Denobulan written script is based on a series of small circles, which come in various sizes and may be linked by thin lines, which perhaps signify polysyllabic words. The script is read from left to right, but the written symbols in a complex piece of writing may be positioned on more than one plane, almost like a musical scale, introducing a vertical element. Sometimes, circles are linked by diagonal lines while positioned on different vertical planes; two circles linked in this manner probably signify a double vowel. Brackets are placed around certain circles, or chains of linked circles positioned along a line in the midst of unlinked symbols. Some diagonally linked circular pairs have both circles bracketed, some only one, some neither.
Bak: A profanity.
Dee Dah: “Having Trouble” (“Dee Dah eht suut vahl mey proveet” would be “I’m still having trouble with the transitive verbs”, or, literally, “Having trouble still am I: transitive verbs”).
Eht: “Still”, adverbial, as in “I’m still here”.
Faardah: “Teaching me” (“Denobula’an faardah tunah mek-Phlox” would be “Dr. Phlox has been teaching me Denobulan”, or, literally, “Denobulan: Teaching me has been Dr. Phlox”).
Jaa-uu-gah: The act of mating, sexual intercourse.
Kweesah Essah: Literally, “One is impressed”.
Mek: “Doctor”, a medical professional. Phlox is mek-Phlox.
Proveet: “Verbs”, plural. Mey Proveet are transitive verbs.
Suut Vahl: Literally, “Am I” (declarative, “I am”).
Teyaneema Garkohuda: The closest translation would be “Son of a bitch”. This insult is typically expressed “Garkohuda. Teyaneema Garkohuda”, literally, “Insult. Bitches’ son insult” or “I am insulting you. You are a son of a bitch”. Tunah: “has been”, when describing the ongoing actions of another person.
Ya-sah mai gaa-am: The thyroid gland.
Ya-sah degata: The hypothalamus.
Ya-sah dofkul: This could be mistaken for the “big toe”.
Ya-sah kaduu ta-aul: The zyphoid process. The lyrics to a popular Denobulan song: “Darickmay kal’paron ripa, Oochi vanka luu! Bareet suut vahl, suut vahl, suut vahl! Ba-reet suut vahl.” Note that “suut vahl” translates as “I am” (or literally, “am I”).
The Denobulan Phlox uttered the following string of Denobulan words while trying to capture his Pyrithian bat: “Taa ke mai loo! BAK! See rem tahlaa! Treyst Berat kara tok ah see!”