The Venturi are an ancient reptilian member of the Federation. Their planet, Alpha Venturi Major, circles a cooling star. The seas and soil are dying as the sun shrinks. The United Federation of Planets has been petitioned since the 2280s to provide aid and help the home planet. When efforts were not perceived as sufficient, some of the Venturi sought out their own technological solution. Some of them found ancient butterfly-like starships that they then restored and used for acts of piracy to aid their world.
Most of the Venturi have opted to stay on their world and this political ‘hot potato’ has kept resurfacing for decades. Protests reached an all-time high when President Ra’ghoratreii announced substantial Federation aid to the Klingon home world of Kronos, a former enemy planet. Ra-ghoratreii showed sympathy but in the end the issue is a dying star, which surpasses Federation scientific abilities at this time.
Starfleet has been addressing the issue on two fronts: an unprecedented scientific race is underway to find a way to reignite the star (successfully achieved by Gideon Seyetik in 2370) or to find an alternative way of heating and lighting the planet. Secondly they are fronting a temporary evacuation programme to get as many Venturi off the planet before the dwindling ecosphere collapses.
Starfleet Academy utilises the plight of the Venturi as an instructional tool. It also replays the Alshoff Incident, where one Venturi- Prelate Alshoff- gained substantial mental powers. The missions help the cadets to question why the Venturi are acting as pirates and to address the very real issue that even federation member worlds are subject to natural disasters.
Alpha Venturi Major
The cooling planet has a climate that now approximates the warmth of an Earth Spring of circa 10-20 Celsius and drops to -50 Celsius or more in winter. The twilight of 8 months of the year only allows a short time for crops to grow; Federation agricultural technology has used giant hydroponics farms and advanced fertilisers to accelerate crop growth and keeps the ecosphere functioning. The longer-term fear is the death of the forests, trees and oceanic algae that help to generate oxygen for the planet. This insurmountable issue will eventually mean that there is not enough oxygen to support Venturi life on the planet.
The main spaceport delivers food and other aid, as well as emigrating Venturi. Starfleet has been attempting to alter the atmosphere to try to keep the warmth in, using reflectors to try and capture more light and heat for the planet; maximising what output the star is providing, to bring a few more decades’ breathing room to find a solution one way or the other.
The Papal Inquisition Service
This is the security arm of the Holy Order of the Venturi. The PIS answers to the Pope and his council of Cardinals. The PIS covers all aspects of security on Alpha Venturi Major, according to the religious doctrines. Religious crimes against the prime commandments carry the highest penalties. Murder and blasphemy are rated the most severe crimes, balanced by the aspect of forgiveness by either the victim or the family of the victim.
Prefect Yintex is the current head of the PIS. A former Prior of the Convent of New Risac, Yintex was selected, after extensive religious trials and interrogation, to become the new head of the Papal Inquisition Service. His uncle was a respected Cardinal in the Holy Order and put in a good word for the young Yintex, who joined the monastery at a young age. He showed he possessed the virtues of piety, learning and austerity, mastering the spirituality and defensive arts of the Venturi faith.
The PIS consists of Holy Offices across the planet, administering religious justice to the people, headquartered in the Palace of the Holy Order. Protecting the faithful and punishing the sinners. It’s motto is: "spread sound Venturi doctrine and defend those points of Venturi tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines". The PIS employs cardinals, bishops, priests and canon lawyers.
The PIS retains some of the advanced interrogation technology from the time before the Fall. This technology is not spoken of, and denied to Federation representatives. This advanced Venturi technology can perform interrogations, forcing the victims to speak truthfully. It can also be used for cognitive re-programming. It is rumoured that the PIS has more technology in reserve to maintain its undisputed position in government. As the planetary situation continues to deteriorate, this rumour could be pressed into being revealed as either truth or fiction.
Cult of Alshoff
This cult sprang up in 2288 after the incident with the enhanced Venturi known as Alshoff. The cult centres on Alshoff as a prophet for the restoration of the Venturi home world. They have a few high-profile followers in the Venturi government and their influence extends as far as the Federation Council. The cult has taken over many of the religious buildings on Alpha Venturi Major and has regular pilgrimages and services to mourn the lack of help. Some Venturi have attempted to mimic the method of Alshoff to enhance their mental abilities but to no avail.
Like the Holy Order governing the Venturi, the Cult displays its roots as a breakaway cult with a similar power structure and traditions. The leader of the cult inevitably is named Alshoff as a physical reincarnation and embodiment of the original Alshoff. Some say that due to the extreme mental abilities of the original Alshoff that, like a Vulcan Katra, the essence of Alshoff has been able to be transferred from one individual to another.
The Papal Inquisition Service and Federation Security are monitoring everything to do with the Cult; Starfleet Security, with assets from Starfleet intelligence, have provided assistance to contain what has proven itself to be a dangerous, radicalised organisation.
The Cult has discovered that the Venturi civilisation was once far more advanced than it is now. The religious Holy Order of the Venturi assumed leadership only a few thousand years ago, after bloody civil wars killed millions of Venturi in an episode that mirrors the fate of Atlantis. The Holy Order set about burying the technology of the past to secure a peaceful present. The Cult has located the butterfly ships that were used in 2288, amongst other technological marvels. Their understanding of this technology is limited, but they hope to use it to both restore the planet and cement their position as the true rulers of Alpha Venturi Major.
The Cult has discovered 'butterfly' ships and other technologies, long buried by the Venturi in their distant past. They are attempting to use this technology to restore their own world; these new discoveries are also used by a minority to carry out acts of piracy against Federation transports and other ships. This has caused great consternation in the Federation Council; a member race prepared to perform acts of piracy against other Federation ships is unacceptable. The Butterfly ships are said to be 70 000 years old.
With the encroaching issues of famine and ecosystem collapse from the cooling sun, the Venturi government is struggling to maintain control of the situation. Despite the Federation aid that is delivered daily, many have petitioned the government to withdraw from the United Federation of Planets, citing the Humans, Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites have preferential treatment; even the Klingons have had more positive results from the Federation aid.
This political stance has been taken further by Venturi politicians to appeal to the outer colonies of the Federation, pointing out the them-and-us differences between the luxuries and perfect lifestyles of the central core worlds and colonies versus the life on the outer worlds. Some of the outer colonies have shown a sympathy to the Venturi, seeing them as the old and wise race being patronised and humoured by the Federation Council on Earth.
The fear of losing not just their homes but their whole civilisation: monuments, buildings, cemeteries and battle grounds, mountains, hills, rivers, sacred places and other personal places means that the Venturi people are facing the obliteration of what they are. It is this fear that threatens to bring the population down into anarchy. Fringe groups and anarchists have attempted to bring about just such a coup, only with Federation assistance has the government continued to function. The government buildings themselves are cordoned off and people are checked before they can approach.
The Federation Science Council and Vulcan Science Academy have annexes on Alpha Venturi Major studying the progress of stellar diminution and the effects on the ecosphere. Both of these programmes are seen as a visible sign of Federation intention to address the changes, both were driven by President Ra-ghoratreii, afraid of the negative influence the Venturi protests were having.
Venturi representative on the Federation council on Earth for the last nine years. Outspoken in his views of both the poor standing of the Venturi in the eyes of the Federation and their home world’s plight, Olriff is one of the more colourful characters on the floor of the senate. Despite the common acknowledgement that the Venturi are an old and honoured race, that honour does not seem to extend beyond to their standing in the Federation council, they are not members of the Security Council and do not share the esteem that the Vulcans and Andorians possess for simply being founder members.
Olriff was selected by papal decree in agreement with the council of cardinals. His brief was to keep the pressure on the Federation President and keep the Federation Science Council working on a solution to the plight of Venturi Major. The senator has been seen over the years in many memorable clashes with the president and senior senators over the resources used to save the Venturi world over evacuating them. Heated, impassioned speeches have been directed at the Earth and Vulcan representatives.
Olriff has been famously implicated in a scandal involving sensitive information being leaked to the Federation News Network, yet another means that the outspoken senator has applied pressure to the Federation council. Like all Venturi in the religious order of state, Olriff wears flowing, flamboyant clothes; this attire only adds to his presence when he is seen on screen ranting about the plight of the Venturi people, of how the Federation has decided they are only destined to be refugees. Think of the Reverend Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland...
Olriff has been making some in-roads into gaining support from the outer colonies and non-founder members of the Federation. He has made the case, successfully some would say, that the Federation council is a clique of founder members who for a half dozen worlds who dictate terms for the remaining dozens of members. Worlds near the Klingon and Romulan borders, as well as some of the newer members have been swayed into siding with the wisdom of the ancient, honoured Venturi for a reform of the Federation council to make a more even representation.
Federation security has a file on the Senator, as has Starfleet Security. The activities and movements of the Senator have been monitored in a low-key manner by order of the President and close aides. The potentially-subversive activities of the Senator provoking this extreme move. After the emergence of the Cult of Alshoff, the Federation council and Federation Security have been more weary of potentially radical Venturi. Much in the same vein how CND and communist party members have been monitored historically in the UK...
Leader of the Venturi people and top tier of the theocratic venture culture. Akariv was chosen by the council of cardinals to succeed as pope. The holy order of the Venturi are still recovering from the actions of Prelate Alshoff in 2288. Akariv, formerly Bendex, adopted the name of one of the founding fathers of Venturi society. As with the catholic pope. The Holy Order is in a time of great strife: the planetary decline continues, whilst rioters, anarchists and the renegade Cult of Alshoff threaten to challenge their authority. An authority that has been set in stone for eons. The Pope and cardinals have been deep in meditation and prayer for an answer to their plight. The Federation council has been chastised for falling short of a result; the evacuation of the cultural home of the Venturi has been seen as an unacceptable answer.
With the planet in terminal decline, the pope tends to remain with his people—partly as a symbol of hope for the people, partly out of fear of a coup whilst he was away. The Holy Order has seen many of their religious locations and churches taken by the Cult of Alshoff; they are trying to regain their property by using the Papal Inquisition Service but this has had a limited effect. A cross between the Spanish Inquisition and the FBI.
Modern Venturi history:
The Venturi became Federation members around the time of Jonathan Archer. The planet was only observed as a culture with a late stage star, with unusual gravimetric readings. The culture was found to have warp technology and were approached for First Contact by NX-04, U.S.S. Discovery. They were offered membership to the Federation and aid to keep their planet habitable. Despite the religious overtones, it was found that the Federation ideals of peace and democracy appealed to the Venturi.
Later it was discovered their sun was dying, rapidly cooling much faster than expected. Whereas the star would have normally be expected to progress over millennia, the rate of decay was vastly accelerated to the point that by the late 2280s the crops were failing and planetary evacuation was the only option.
The star has been the subject of multiple studies by science vessels, all seeking to find the answer to the rapid decline. A recent study by a specialised Oberth class starship has confirmed the presence of some technology present (with possible Venturi aspects). The device is thought to be some sort of stellar stabilisation technology of a level never seen before. Due to the location of the device within the chromosphere of the sun, it is not possible to either approach it, nor remove it. The device possesses a strong gravimetric property and it is unknown what effect removing the device will have. Transporter locks are ineffective with the gravimetric interference.
It is thought that the device works by using the sun’s own energy to create a gravimetric field to counteract the natural tendency of the exhausted star to collapse. The star has now reached a critical tipping point of mass and is now catching up with thousands of years-worth of decay.
The device is an ancient Venturi sun-stabiliser that has kept the Venturi civilisation going for hundreds of thousands of years before the Fall. The existence of the device was forgotten over time and it is only now the device has malfunctioned that the star is now destabilised. Perhaps the device is merely broken, or perhaps it cannot compensate for the stress of maintaining a star long overdue collapse and has reached a tipping point: explaining neatly how the Venturi have so suddenly got a stellar disaster on their hands within decades not millennia.
2288 - Alshoff Incident raises the profile of the Venturi plight.
2291 - Hirayama takes aid to Alpha Venturi Major en route to the Tabula Rasa systems.
2293 - Protests after Federation announces aid package to Qo'noS.
2297 - ISC skirts past Venturi system as their sun is dying.
2299 - President Ra-ghoratreii announces a new aid package to Venturi. A renewed effort to sell the idea of a new Homeworld as the best option.