The Naram were the first T-space capable race mankind met. Their similarity to mankind was taken as a sign that man and his close allies were meant to rule the galaxy, a sentiment that continues today within TOG. Through the centuries of close association and intermarriage with mankind, the Naram have presented men with an interesting mirror in which to see what we might have become had circumstances been different.
The range of physiological traits shared between the Naram and Human species is truly remarkable. The Naram tend to be slightly taller and more slender than the average Human. Their range of skin, eye and hair colors is narrower than Human norm, with blond or blue-eyed Naram being rare. The average Naram has dark, thick hair and dark eyes. Male Naram can grow lush beards, though Humans tend toward having more and heavier body hair than their Naram counterparts.
Genotyping of both Naram and Human beings was one of the first tasks undertaken after the initial contact in 2461 AD. The DNA compatibility worked out at 99.974825%. This has led to a test that can establish if an individual is Naram or Human, but the test has some difficulties associated with it; first, it is very expensive, and second, the fact that Terran Mayans were actually a Naram colony means that Naram genetic qualities have already spread throughout the Human population. (Obviously Naram and Humans can interbreed.)
Naram pregnancy lasts, on average, two weeks longer than human gestation, but their offspring mature about two years faster. The Naram also seem immune to many of the diseases that afflict mankind, though the Snow Plague did take its toll among them as well. Naram life expectancy is slightly higher than Human norm.
The evolution of two so similar species on worlds 35,000 light years apart has sparked all sorts of debate about everything from Creationism to punctuated equilibrium. Tribalists immediately embraced the Naram as the lost tribes of Israel and used them to "verify" the divinity of the Bible. Some evolutionists have even begun to accept the possibility of parallel development. As one noted, "The thing about statistics is this: just because the odds against such a thing happening are 55 zillion to one, it doesn't mean that one time won't happen."
Prior to the Naram/Human meeting in 2461 the Naram culture went through what their historians identify as three golden ages. The first, which has become known in popular literature as "the Surfacing" took place in antiquity and on a world the Naram have yet to identify. It apparently culminated in an apocalypse that nearly destroyed the Naram species. In fact, some believe the conflict was race-related and point to it as the reason why blond Naram are so rare (not because the blonds lost, but because a fleet of dark-haired Naram left home to find another world).
After this migration the newly-arrived Naram disassembled their starships and settled down to a more pastoral lifestyle, possibly be-cause the technology that produced space travel was somehow linked to the war that nearly destroyed their homeworld. It is not believed the Na-ram had T-Space technology at that time, or if they did it was not refined. Still, the fact that one migratory spaceship made it to a new world has been used to suggest that perhaps another made it all the way to Earth to establish the human race, or yet further to another galaxy where more Naram wait to be reunited with their progenitors. (A Naram arrival early enough to have established Humanity is generally discounted.)
While the Naram attempted to keep conflict out of their lives on this new world, it did arise. More wars, over the course of the next 300,000 years, took the Naram to the brink of extinction on no less than four occasions.
It was during a lull between these wars that a group of Naram "rediscovered" interstellar travel and perfected T-Space technology. Having been ostracized for breaking the ancient taboo against rockets, they left to find another homeworld so their race could be preserved. Their leader was Maya Tikal and her name (shifted to the possessive Mayan) was given to her colony on Earth.
Mayan did not last very long because of trouble with human neighbors and internal, philosophical disagreements. In the end the Mayans decided to leave Earth and return to their old homeworld. The Mayan pacifist movement became very strong when the Mayans returned and took on religious significance.
The Naram, now aware of Humanity, monitored its progress for a number of centuries. Their interest picked up as mankind discovered radio and began to broadcast chronicles of worldly happenings. Apparently some Mayan officials pushed for direct intervention in Human affairs during the Second World War, but they were overruled by the anti-Mayan elements in the military. The Naram have denied any connection with UFO incidents in the late 20th century, and their monitoring records seem to suggest that no interstellar craft actually visited our world. (The failure of two Soviet probes aimed at Mars in 1988/1989 was directly caused by the Naram to avoid revealing the location of their listening station.)
When mankind appeared to be expanding in a direction that might bring them into conflict with the Naram, the Naram revealed themselves to Humanity. Playing upon all they had learned of Hu-manity through the centuries of monitoring television broadcasts, the Naram prepared a damaged ship and left it in a system they knew Humans were bound for. The crew sent out a distress signal when the Human ship entered the system. The Humans immediately rescued them. By the time the Human ship returned to Earth with its cargo, a Naram task force had arrived to recover its rescued crew and to open negotiations with Humanity. (Curiously, a number of the couples who met through that contrived circumstance did remain together.)
From that first meeting, Naram and Human worked together closely through cultural and scientific exchanges. Both species respected the other's territory and worked to build up a strong economic bond between their empires.
The meetings with the Baufrin, KessRith and Ssora bound mankind and the Naram even more closely in an attempt to stave off these threats to their independence. The KessRith/Ssora captivity went no easier on the Naram than it did mankind. The Naram managed to adapt to it because of the way their culture reacted to change and separation from family. Whereas a Human torn from his family to work as a slave in a distant world would consider himself alone, a Naram would be adopted into a new family or would forge a family group around himself. This difference has been seen as the contrast between mankind's belief that God has a plan for him versus the Naram philosophy of acting to make a current situation better instead of suffering while waiting for a sign from God.
When Alexander Trajan revolted against the Ssora, he found ready allies in the Naram. With Trajan's support, Naram world after world exploded with rebellion. The KessRith were shocked by the ferocity of a people they had believed to be docile for thousands of years. The KessRith realized that trying to maintain control of their Naram holdings would tie them down and give the New Roman Republic even more targets to shoot at. Reluctantly, after twenty years of losing battles, the KessRith withdrew from the embattled planets and the Naram established their own Republic.
In their Human cousins the Naram noted a change. If the captivity had been a crucible, it served to harden men in a way that disturbed the Naram. They kept the New Roman Republic at arm's-length politically, but still coordinated activities with them militarily. This rough compromise characterized Naram/Human relations throughout the early development of TOG.
The Seduction of the Naram, as it is known in TOG, or the Rape, as it is known among the Naram, started in 6717 when TOG signed a Treaty of Peace and Friendship with the Naram Republic. Lictor of mixed Human/Naram blood infiltrated the Republic and converted, corrupted, co-opted or compromised political individuals and organizations over the next ten years. By 6727 roughly 40% of the Naram Republic's territory was ceded to create TOG's Dalvik District, and the rest of the nation became little more than a puppet state.
Since this conversion deep divisions have arisen in Naram society. Many people liken it to the old disputes that nearly caused the extermination of the Naram people. Leaders on both sides of the TOO/anti-TOG line recognize that open civil war would allow TOG to come in to settle things down. They fear an ambitious Diaspora policy being imposed on the Naram, and the eventual loss of the Naram identity.
The Naram have an expanded sense of family. Descent and inheritance are matrilineal - that is, they follow the mother's bloodline. Men, when they marry, leave their own families and join their wife's family through an adoption process that confers on them the same rights as actual blood kin. More often than not, three and sometimes four generations of Naram inhabit a "family town."
A "family town" is the closest translation for what the Naram call the buildings/living quarters they inhabit. One central building or apartment - human anthropologists have called it a "hutch" - serves as the general living quarters for everyone in the family. Here they live and play and eat. Satellite buildings or apartments - "dens" in anthropological terms - are allotted to adult individuals and couples for privacy and sleeping. These are connected to the hutch through hallways or enclosed tunnels/paths and seldom do these dens have their own private entrances or exits.
In the countryside this living arrangement produces a vast mansion with a dozen or more outbuildings, each of which may have yet smaller buildings linked to them for now-adult children. In urban settings whole apartment buildings become honeycombed with linked apartments and may vary in ownership from floor to floor. This linking of domiciles is perhaps most unique in the fishing families that live out their lives in vast flotillas of large and small vessels. There the connections are more flexible and consist of lines slung between ships or complex networks of ropes that make passing from one ship to another slightly less difficult than a trapeze act.
Because the Naram cling to this sense of family so tightly, any Naram far from his true family can easily feel out of touch with the world. Naram families regularly "take in strays" and adopt single Naram. An adopted Naram would then somehow notify his family of this new connection, forming for them an obligation to return the favor to another Naram from the family that adopted him, or to another Naram altogether. A complex network of debits and credits exists within the Naram worlds that few but the Naram understand.
This focus on the group produces other effects within the society. The Naram conception of possession is radically different from that common in Human society. Aside from a few very personal items - generally gifts or keepsakes of particularly strong sentimental value - everything seems to be communally owned. Whereas a Human might count his blessings by enumerating everything he owns, a Naram would tally them by looking at how much he has shared with his family, and how much they share with him. This sharing attitude creates within the Naram a desire to make sure everyone is happy with a situation. For this reason the Naram are seen as more trustworthy than Humans and have proved easier-going than the other non-human races.
This openness and giving nature extends to personal relationships. Naram do fall in love and marry, forging a strong alliance between their two families. The Naram conception of fidelity, however, gets back to the family concept. There is nothing wrong with one sister sharing her husband with another sister or cousin. It brings pleasure to each partner and, if there is a child produced by the union, it is considered a gift to the family.
The Naram equate the length and condition of their hair with the length and quality of their life. It has been suggested that this is a holdover from a time when nuclear weapons were used in one of their genocidal wars. The survivors, who lost their hair, marked survival by how much had grown back and how long it was by the time they died. The fact that hair is also very nutrition-dependent echoes this linking of hair with the length and quality of life.
As a result of this philosophy, virtually no one but warriors cut their hair. For warriors, the ritual of cutting off their hair signifies a transition from child to warrior and an acknowledgement that life might not be very long or pleasant. The other times hair is shorn is in social protest. A hunger striker, for example, will shear his hair to signify his willingness to die to accomplish a change in whatever policy or governmental body he is protesting against.
Government among the Naram is an extension of the family system. Grand Elders are those individuals who have grandchildren living with them. Elders are those who have children living with them. Each family selects one Grand Elder to sit on the local Grand Elder council, and one Elder per 20 people in their family group to sit in the Elder Assembly. The Elder Assembly, also known as the Lower Chamber, drafts and passes laws for the Grand Elder Council - or Upper Chamber - to ratify or reject.
Candidates for higher offices must be Elders or Grand Elders. It is assumed that if their own family will not elect them to the local council, there is no reason they should be trusted on any higher level. The people directly elect leaders from the local to continental level. From there all offices are filled by the Elder Assembly and Grand Elder Council. The Grand Naram Elder Council elects one of its own to be First Consul, and that individual is recognized as the leader of the whole Naram people.
The Naram desire to share and accept others as family forms the core of their philosophy and has been the key to their survival. However, pro-TOG and anti-TOG families each see the other as rejecting their offer to join together, and righteous anger seeps in where Humans might decide to live with a difference of an opinion. The desire to avoid another race-wide war has put a strange stamp on Naram Renegade Underground terrorism. Instead of destroying an enemy family, the Naram make overt and covert signs to chasten that family into seeing the light. When the rumor started that the First Consul was a TOG agent, billions of anonymous cards signed with the Renegade R flooded the capital postal system.
This should not be taken as a reluctance or inability on the part of the Naram to wage war, because that is directly opposite to the truth. While the Naram are not as given to individual or spectator violence as Humanity, they are ferocious combatants. Because they identify themselves so closely with their family, and because they know what grief their death will cause, they fight hard to avoid dying.
Within the Naram there is one strong, quasi-religious movement known as the Mayan People. Its philosophy stresses cooperation and pacifism. While assailed in some circles as little more than an excuse for collaboration with the slavemasters, it has remained strong. It addresses the Naram desire for unity and is occasionally credited with the survival of the Naram race. Some believers leave their families to join the larger Mayan People family, and Mayan mystics serve as the equivalent of chaplains within the armed services.
The Naram can be characterized as beautiful, easy-going humans, but that would give short shrift to the true depth of their commitment to family and their desire to share with the world. Naram are the best of friends and will form their own "family" when surrounded by strangers. When betrayed, however, they can be as unpredictable and nasty as their human counterparts.
- Primary source: Legionnaire (RPG) Sourcebook