Humans hail from Earth (also called Terra), the third planet orbiting a Type G2 V star named Sol, in Sector 001. Several important installations are located in this star system - the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, Jupiter Station, and Pluto Flight Control - as well as colonies on Mars and the Moon. Most importantly, Earth is the capital world of the United Federation of Planets, with the Federation Council convening in San Francisco and the President's office located in Paris.
So many worlds are climate controlled to meet the narrow tolerances required by humans that people often forget the diversity of Earth's environment. From the stark beauty of the Gobi desert to the lush vegetation of the Indo-Chinese jungle, from the island ecologies of Melanesia to the frozen wonder of Antarctica, Earth holds numerous biozones equal to dozens of planets.
It can be difficult to speak of a single human personality, for as soon as you make a generalization, someone comes along who shatters it. Their dual natures puzzle most other alien species. The human psyche has great capacity for evil, displaying incredible violence, cruelty, and self-centeredness. Humans can be ruled by their passions - anger, fear, loneliness, greed, and desire. Yet, they display an equal capacity for what some have called the better angles of their nature. Courageous, altruistic, kind-hearted, curious - these are just some of the words used to describe humanity.
If indeed humanity can be stereotyped, it can be said that they are insatiably curious, principled, and friendly (especially from the 22nd century onward). They seek out what lies beyond the farthest horizon just to see it, and search for answers wherever there are questions. They stand by their principles, even in adversity, and fight tenaciously to defend them. But over all, humans are outgoing, eager to make friends with anyone and share a sense of connectedness with other beings.
In many ways, humans represent the best and worst of what any sapient species can be.
Humans form the baseline from which most demographers describe other species. They stand from about 1.5 to 2 meters tall, with skin colors ranging from dark brown to pale pink. Their hair and eye colors likewise span the spectrum. While they do not possess any dominant or noticeable bony ridges around their face or on their bodies as is common to many races throughout space, they do posses a great deal of phenotypic diversity within their species. Many aliens find the human lack of distinctiveness not only boring, but ugly.
They are a warm-blooded species with an average lifespan of around 120 years, although some individuals have achieved a much older age. Humans are bilaterally symmetrical bipeds who are descended from primates.
They have two sexes, as is common to many humanoid species, with the female of the species fertile once a month after she reaches puberty (between the age of 12-16). Gestation lasts 9 months. The make-up of Human DNA structure is significant, as, with some modifications, it allows them to cross breed successfully with a wide range of other races across the galaxy, including Vulcans, Klingons, and Betazoids.
Humans are not the strongest of species, but they are resilient. They can survive with one lung or kidney (they have two of each normally), and surprisingly they can go days without water and weeks without food due to their bodies' ability to conserve water and live off stored fat respectively. Their bodies' efficient temperature regulation allows them to survive cold temperatures to a far greater degree than other races such as the Cardassians and Klingons, or high temperatures that would be uncomfortable for an Andorian. It has also been noted that they possess more acute hearing than Cardassians.
History and Culture
Human history is marked with many dark chapters, characterized by war, hunger, disease, and want. For some 6,000 years, humanity seemingly sought to tear itself apart, as the species struggled over economic systems, political philosophies, and national boundaries. The Eugenics Wars of the late 20th century occurred after genetically bred supermen quietly seized behind-the-scenes power in some forty nations, then fell to fighting amongst themselves. World War III, the third global conflict in 100 years, almost wiped out the human race and left the planet on the verge of ecological and economic collapse. Afterward, warlords ruled pockets of civilization with an iron hand, while large swaths of the population were left to fend for themselves. It seemed as though humanity had exhausted itself.
After many years of waiting following Zefram Cochrane's historic warp flight, Earth finally embarked on a bold, new phase of history. Launching the Enterprise NX-01, humans looked skyward with anticipation and hope. They quickly encountered several alien species, some who were glad to meet them, others who couldn't care less. Their participation in the Earth-Romulan War increased their prominence.
The United Federation of Planets and Starfleet expanded the presence of humans throughout the Alpha Quadrant. Conflicts with the Klingons, Romulans, and Gorn, although not diminishing their enthusiasm for exploration, make humans more cautious. Yet their hope to bring a message of peace and friendship to other worlds remained undimmed.
After two hundred years in space, humanity was involved in intergalactic politics on a grand scale. They made peace with the Klingon Empire and maintained a stalemate with the Romulans, although new threats arose - the Cardassians and Ferengi. More and more, humans became embroiled in thorny issues requiring deft handling and subtle negotiations.
The Dominion War threatened the existence of the human way of life in a way heretofore unseen. Millions died in the conflict, as seemingly never-ending waves of Jem'Hadar soldiers marched toward Earth. The war ended in victory for the Federation, and human values, but at a high cost in manpower and material.
The importance of Zefram Cochrane's first faster-than-light space flight cannot be overstated. Using research he started prior to the Third World War, he constructed a prototype of his "warp drive," which solved the problem of relativistic space by "warping" space around the vessel. On the first test flight, the warp signature of Cochrane's ship attracted the notice of a passing Vulcan survey ship. Realizing that humanking now had the capacity for interstellar travel, the Vulcans landed near Cochrane's settlement in Montana. Although he embarked on his endeavor to earn money, Cochrane instead revitalized humanity.
This first contact with extraterrestrial life sparked a remarkable recovery from the recent nuclear war. Humans once again learned to look up from their problems, to imagine the possibilities open to them.
With new vistas to explore and new challenes to meet, the human race rose to confront the root causes of their dark past. They began to conquer hunger, eradicate poverty, and cure many of the diseases that plagued humanity - cancer, heart disease, diabetes. By the 24th century, this transformation of human nature is complete. Free from suffering, want, and pain, the human condition changed from one of strife to the true pursuit of happiness.
The acquisition of wealth is no longer the primary driving force in the lives of many humans. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the importance of continued societal and self-growth. Because of the Federations socialist-capitalist hybrid economy and the development of replicators, material needs are largely satisfied. Money (currency) is no longer used by humans within the Federation, but they use gold-pressed latinum and other forms of currency (such as Bajoran litas and Federation credits) in places where it is still needed. The idea behind not using money is that Humans work to better themselves and the rest of humanity. It must be noted that all of this more specifically applies to Humans within the Sol System, as many Earth colonies are known to have developed vast cultural differences from other Humans and some have even fallen into anarchy, mostly notably Turkana IV.
Alongside this social revolution came a political one, as well. The old United States of America merged with the European Hegemony and the Pan-Asian Alliance in 2113, to establish the planet's first united world government. Though dozens of countries held out (Australia was the last to join, in 2150), the drive toward political unification was inexorable. With a forum to discuss global issues and the political muscle to enact global policies, along with a dedication to democratic principles and individual freedoms, humanity eliminated the root causes of war.
These changes culminated in the incorporation of the United Federation of Planets in 2161. After the devastating Earth-Romulan War of 2156-2160, humans feared a return to conflict and strife, only on an intergalactic scale. Andorians, Tellarites, Vulcans - all could become potential adversaries in the same way Earth's nations contended over land and philosophies. Humanity sought to expand the principles of unity, peace, and self-determination on an interplanetary scale by forming a federation of planets. The Vulcans, Tellarites, Andorians, and Centaurans, each with histories similar to those of Earth, agreed to band together into an alliance of worlds, where differences could be aired peacefully and all would share equally in prosperity.
The United Federation of Planets would bring its message of peace, friendship, mutual respect, and freedom to dozens of worlds over the next several hundred years.
Compared to many other space-faring civilizations, human culture is very young. Having developed over the last 25,000 years, it is a flourishing, vibrant, though some might say arrogant and naive, civilization. When the Vulcans first encountered them, they believed humanity to be a savage species ruled by emotions, a belief they would not shake for some time. The Tellarites thought humans unsophisticated philosophically and politically. Many other species, though, would be amazed at humanity's optimism, openness, and vitality.
Humans have a lot of customs, held over from ancient nation-states, religions, and ethnic groups. Humans take a great deal of pride in their balkanized past. They are proud of their heritage, and many can recount where their ancestors originated from across many generations. Indian or Scots, French or American, these distinctions remain important touchstones to the past, while not limiting their potential. Many retain their attachments to their individual ancestries; they enjoy their regional foods, celebrate ethnic holidays, wear regional garb and practice regional art forms, and speak thousands of languages and dialects. In short, humans celebrate their diversity, while remaining distinctively human.
Exploration and Innovation
Humans are seemingly consumed by a desire to see what's beyond the next horizon, to climb every mountain, to plant their feet on virgin ground. And when asked why, their answer is simply "because it's there." From the first raft of lashed-together logs that set off from a nameless shore for parts unknown, the human experience has been one of exploration. Explorers like Amerigo Vespucci, Magellan, and Marco Polo braved the unknown in their quest to travel to unexplored parts of the globe - and are celebrated heroes to this day. And when they had spread across their world, they looked to the stars.
Humans don't believe it when they're told "it can't be done." Heavier than air flight was considered impossible, until the Wright Brothers launched their fragile airplane. Traveling faster than the speed of sound was thought impossible, until that was done, too. Sending humans to the moon and getting them back safely wasn't feasible, until Neil Armstrong took his first steps. Superluminal space flight was once thought science fiction, until Zefram Cochrane broke the light barrier.
These twin impulses, common in human society, led them to fling themselves into space. The moon shots of the United States in the 1960s, the Voyager space probe program, the Jupiter missions, and the launch of the Enterprise are all steps on an unstoppable march into space. Humans are confident they can do anything, and that it's their destiny to go where no one has gone before.
- Bridges, Bill, et al. Star Trek Roleplaying Game Book 5: Aliens, Decipher, 2003. ISBN: 1582369070.