Tellarites are slightly shorter and stockier than humans on average, and their bodies are covered with a heavy fur. Their faces resemble other humanoid faces, and share the skin coloration of humans and Centaurans, but have piglike snouts for noses. Tellarite males have thick facial hair from a young age, sporting beards at ages as young as 10 years.
Tellarites tend to have personality extremes, be they extremes of happiness, irritability, heroism, passivity, or anything else. Other members of the Federation find this tendency amusing, irritating and often bizarre, but the Tellarites' many good qualities more than make up for it. For instance, a Tellarite diplomat might get so involved in arguing that some people only think of him as a nonstop debater. Only later do they realize that his questions and counterpoints often make them consider problems in new ways and develop unique solutions.
Such behavior might also stem from the Tellarites' hatred of the unexplained. Tellarites who find themselves confused or out of place may ask more questions about the situation than would three-year-old human. This need to know serves them well in their professions, especially for those who become engineers and scientists. It also means they spend large amounts of time working on problems that other people consider inconsequential. While such tendencies can be annoying, they also make the Tellarites ideal for problems that require fastidiousness and attention to detail.
While Tellarites can run to extremes of cheerfulness, jocularity, enthusiasm and the like, they rarely become incredibly indolent. Despite their girth and pig-like appearance, they are physically active by proclivity. Naturally energetic, they take great pride in accomplishment, no matter how minor that accomplishment might be. Like most beings, they enjoy having their achievements recognized, though vanity does not rule their race.
Tellarites especially admire deeds that help ensure their own security. Tellarite's rarely enjoy finding themselves at the whims of chance. They always want a backup plan, like to know that someone else is watching their backs, and hate to operate without a safety net. Part of the reason they so willingly embraced the Federation was the additional security it could provide them. Some say this also helps explain their desire for extreme levels of detail; they hate the unknown, no matter how little it may be.
Their obsession with detail also shows itself in how they set up their administrations and bureaucracy. Tellarite bureaucrats can prove nightmarish for those who don't know how to deal with them, insisting that every form get filled out properly and go through the proper channels. However, Tellarite bureaucrats often know what those channels are and, unlike many other bureaucrats, rarely try to pass the buck. A good listener can quickly sift through Tellarite bureaucracy simply because their instructions are accurate and their bureaucrats accountable.
While humans may not find Tellarites beautiful, they take great pride in their swinish appearances. A light fur covers their short, stout bodies, and they can grow very full beards and lush heads of hair. These beards do nothing to obscure their porcine-like snouts, however; and these upturned noses do more to contribute to their similarity to Terran pigs than does anything else. The Tellarite snout proved an asset on Tellar's thinner atmosphere, however, Tellarite blood runs rich with oxygen. This helps explain their much vaunted endurance, which enables them to work longer (and argue louder) than others.
Their deep-set eyes, smooth skin, short fur, and abundant hair run the gamut of colors, and they take such pride in their natural colors that they rarely use dyes. Whatever their skin color, they tend to take on a reddish hue due to their higher blood pressure and bright red blood.
Descended from a Tellar mammal with similarities to Terran apes, boars and groundhogs, they share features will all of these. They have fewer fingers than humans, and their digits tend to be much larger, but they can maneuver these with a surprising dexterity. Their ancestors left them with a well-defined fatty area around their midsections, and Tellarites can live off this area for a long time, if need be. They still eat and drink a great deal, though their body tends to quickly burn through the effects of alcohol. Omnivorous, Tellarites enjoy eating a wide range of plants and animals, including more than a few that make humans ill. Alien cuisines catch on easily on Tellar, and the planet even hosts Klingon-style restaurants.
Society and Culture
Tellarites were known to be an impatient people. They had a propensity toward strong emotion. However, they enjoyed a good argument, which was even considered a sport on Tellar. Tellarites often began an interaction with a series of complaints; this was how they started arguments with someone they had recently met. If they had nothing to complain about they would simply insult the person. Because of their ability to argue, Tellarites made excellent politicians.
Tellarites have an inborn love of debate and argument, seeing an challenge to their position or opinion as an opportunity to debate. Tellarites are not all shy about expressing their opinions, nor are they shy when it comes to questioning another's position or opinion. Many Tellarites engage in debate merely for the sake of the activity, and have been known to argue the opposite of what they believe simply for the enjoyment of the debate. This love of debate makes Tellarites some of the best debaters in the Federation.
Tellarites also have a strong sense of engineering and mechanics, with an instructive understanding of how objects work together. Through their clockwork view of the world around them, Tellarites see the galaxy as a vast machine, and seek to understand the workings of that machine. Their curiosity and unwavering determination to make things work drives them to solve problems which appear unsolvable, and to find explanations for those events which defy scientific plausibility.
Though curious and inquisitive, Tellarites do not rush into circumstances which might be dangerous or volatile, and approach most new experiences with a great deal of caution. Once a Tellarite learns the nature of any new experience or circumstance, however, his curiosity takes over and he dives into analysis and study of the new and unknown in hopes of learning as much as possible.
Tellarites seldom back down when confronted with opposition, regardless of the type. Their willingness to take a stand for what they believe makes them pillars of the Federation.
Tellarite culture reflects their inquisitive and argumentative nature. All Tellarites seem born with a love of technology and a drive to make devices and machines more efficient, and many decorate their homes with small, handmade clockwork devices similar to those which adorn Tellar's cities. The Tellarites' expertise in argument and debate also makes them skilled merchants; some say that only Ferengi are better at handling money than Tellarites.
Spirituality does not play a large role in Tellarite culture, and most Tellarites would probably describe themselves in terms which humans would equate with either agnosticism or atheism. Though they don't look down upon cultures which embrace spirituality, their eminently practical view of their world often causes them to question any culture in which spirituality completely overshadows practicality.
Free speech, public debate, and the free exchange of information are cornerstones of Tellarite society. Embracing these ideals saved the Tellarite people from killing themselves during the Voice Wars centuries ago, and the Tellarites have not forgotten that. Though the resolution of the Voice Wars led to the unified world government which has ruled Tellar ever since, differences between Tellar nations remain in place but whereas once these differences led to war, now they serve as a source of subjects for debates and arguments.
The scientific and technological advances developed by the Tellarites have contributed, and continue to contribute, greatly to the advancement of Federation and Starfleet interests across the galaxy. Tellarite engineers invented the alloy duranium, one of the key materials used in the construction of starship superstructure frames. Working with engineers of other early Federation members, Tellarites helped develop the hull designs which would eventually be used in nearly all Starfleet vessels, including the Horizon-class starship (which became the basis for most modern Starfleet starships). They also participated in the development of the means by which dilithium mining became practical, leading to the proliferation of warp-drive travel throughout the Federation, and took the initiative in many other Federation mining projects, such as those projects run by the Tellarite Mining Corporation, as well as the Dytallix Mining Corporation, both which have their headquarters on Tellar.
Tellarites considered canine to be something of a delicacy. They sometimes took mud baths and found human room temperature to be cold.
Also see: Tellar#History
Tellarites were warp capable and involved in inter species communication as early as the 20th century. In 1957, a Tellarite freighter picked up the distress call of a Vulcan ship that had crash landed on Earth, near Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania. They passed this information onto the Vulcan High Command.
In April 2152, a passing Tellarite vessel directed the Earth starship Enterprise, suffering severe damage after an encounter in a Romulan minefield, to an automated repair facility. Subcommander T'Pol then stated that Tellarites are generally considered trustworthy.
In March 2153, the Tellarite bounty hunter Skalaar, working for the Klingons, captured the Human, Jonathan Archer, captain of the Enterprise. However, he later helped him to escape from the Klingon ship. Skalaar's brother, Gaavrin, who worked on a space station at that time, used to run a freighter, the Tezra, together with him.
In November 2154, a Tellarite delegation lead by Ambassador Gral was being transported to the planetoid Babel by the Enterprise to resolve a long standing trade dispute with the Andorians. The original conference agenda covered only trade regulations for the sector. However, a Romulan plot to destabilize the region had the opposite effect and created a temporary Alliance among the Andorians, Vulcans, Humans, and Tellarites. The proceeding conference later helped bring peace to the strained Tellarite-Andorian relations.
In 2155, a delegation of Tellarite ambassadors was sent to Earth to join in talks of forming a Coalition of Planets. Minister Nathan Samuels joked that the new universal translators were working a little too well when it came to talking to the Tellarites.
In 2161, Tellar would become a founding member of the United Federation of Planets along with Earth, Andor and Vulcan. As a result, the Tellarites held a seat on the Federation Council and served as Starfleet officers.
In 2267, the planet Coridan sought admission to the United Federation of Planets. However, due to the wealth of dilithium available on Coridan and the presence of illegal mining operations, Coridan's admission was a controversial subject between Tellarites and Vulcans. The Babel Conference was convened to settle the matter and ultimately approved Coridan's admission. Tellarite Ambassador Gav was among the delegates to the Babel Conference but was killed by an Orion infiltrator in Andorian disguise onboard the Federation starship USS Enterprise. On the conference, Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan was ultimately credited with achieving the consensus towards admitting the planet to the Federation.
In 2285, at least one Tellarite was serving on the Federation Council.
During the 2370s, Tellarite freighters would occasionally conduct trade through starbase Deep Space 9.
- Bridges, Bill, et al. Star Trek Roleplaying Game Book 5: Aliens, Decipher, 2003. ISBN: 1582369070.