The Cerva are an offshoot race dating back to the Sundering of Vulcan. Their primary territory lies in the Beta quadrant, with poorly defined boundaries. Until only recently, the Cerva were an entirely nomadic race with no known homeworld. As such, their borders are diffuse and often conflicted with established borders placed by other governments. In the most recent decade, they have named the planet Adelira as their capital world. However, the Cervan people are still largely nomadic. The largest population estimate is approximately seventy million, which is thought to be inaccurate due to their nomadic nature.
The Cerva can be traced back several centuries to the Sundering of Vulcan, in which groups of travelers left the planet looking for a new world to settle. The voyage was rough, with ships disappearing or being destroyed along the way.
One ship was struck with tragedy, a rare disease that struck down the majority of the male Travelers. Their population cut in half and most of their breeding stock gone, the Travelers aboard the ship in question thought the end was near. However, soon after this tragedy, they came across a kind species manning a living starship. This species, sympathetic toward the suffering Travelers, accepted the females and the few surviving males into their ranks aboard the living ship. This would prove to be a fatal mistake.
The female Travelers took advantage of this kind new species, killing the females of the species and keeping the males for breeding purposes. As new generations of this mixed breed came forth, they eventually extinguished the breeding males, establishing themselves as a new species, the Cerva.
The Cerva soon found the breeding ground of the living starships like the one they now controlled, just beyond what would be Romulan space in the Beta Quadrant. They forged a pact with these living starships, forming a symbiotic relationship with them. Ship and Cerva alike quickly became masters of the art of war. The living Cervan ships learned how to form weapons on their own hulls and how to use those weapons against their enemies while the Cerva learned how to telepathically bond with their ships, becoming pilots of unmatched power and grace.
For thousands of years, the Cerva existed as an unknown power in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, surviving off the living bioships. Generation after generation of Cerva lived on these ships, never making contact with any species.
However, in the 2370s, this changed. First, the Romulans ran afoul of the Cerva, starting a decades long feud between the two peoples. Soon after, the Cerva discovered Starbase Republic in their space, above the planet Timorel. Timorel was the Cervan holy ground, and the Cerva immediately declared war on the station. Thus began the Cerva Conflicts. During this struggle, a small group of Cervan ships defected, becoming the Cervan Republic. Also during this conflict, Starfleet assigned the only Cervan officer in the fleet to Starbase Republic. Soon, the Conflicts came to an end.
For several years, the Cerva remained at relative peace with the rest of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. Then came the Federation-Klingon War. The Cervan Empire joined forces with the Klingon Empire, while the Cervan Republic allied itself with the Federation and her allies. After the war, the two separate Cervan peoples reunited under the Cervan Empire flag. They settled in the region that had been their territory for centuries, finally adopting a capital planet. The planet went unnamed for quite some time, with most referring to it as “Cerva Prime”. Now the planet is officially named, by the Cerva, “Adelira”. In the Cervan language, “Adelira” means “home”.
The Cerva are both scavengers and inventors, adapting what they can find for their living starships, and improving upon existing designs. One of their most unique features is a biological cloaking device, leaving none of the usual background radiation. A typical Cervan ship is the size of an Intrepid-class starship, fast and maneuverable but incredibly deadly. Some Cervan warships live long enough to become what are termed as “worldships”. These ships are the size of the island of Manhattan, and while they do not have as much firepower for their size, they do hold millions of people on board. The worldships now are mostly unused as the Cervan Empire has planets on which to live, but they are often used for long journeys or as colony “worlds”.
The Cerva are a matriarchal society, only allowing women to hold political office and join their military. Class and marriage hold distinct places in Cervan society, with married women held in higher esteem and men of high classes often used to gain power through marriage. They are a warrior race, considering war an art form.
Cervan males and females are roughly the same size, approximately the height and weight of a typical male Vulcan, with the females generally a bit taller and heavier. Their Vulcanoid features are minor and hard to spot, mostly limited to noticeable but slight points on their ears. Eye colors vary, with silver appearing only in very dominant females and pale gold appearing only in very submissive males. The eye color is present at birth and does not change.
Female Cerva have heightened telepathic ability, able to sense strong emotions and form telepathic impressions. Cervan females use this ability to bond their chosen mates to them, which is the Cervan equivalent to marriage. Although this bond can be broken, most Cerva mate for life. This bond allows married couples to remain in contact with each other despite distance and can provide a stabilizing influence for both partners.
Between the ages of seventy and seventy-five, most Cervan women enter what has been termed the “Matriarch stage,” during which they become more fertile. Females who have entered the Matriarch stage often leave the military and return home to start families and raise children. Many Matriarchs are employed by the Cervan universities and war colleges, where they teach and train the next generation. This stage of life lasts approximately thirty years, after which the female's biology stabilizes and starts returning to its earlier state. Women who have completed the Matriarch stage are offered the choice of re-entering the military at a significantly elevated rank, entering government positions, or remaining a civilian matriarch to continue their new careers as teachers.
As Cervan women approach the ends of their natural lives, they are offered greater government positions. Though some positions are attainable only through blood line (such as that of the Empress), most others are appointed after a review of their military record. Special achievements are also taken into account, particularly those related to training new soldiers.
The Cervan Empire has a military government, with the only people of note outside the military being priests and priestesses. In order to receive a government position, a Cerva must have at least twenty years of military service, eliminating men from participating (unless they work in a religious capacity). To be allowed into a high-ranking government position is a great honor.
The Cerva are a polytheistic people, worshiping a group of deities most often referred to as “the gods”. However, there is no official religion and individual Cerva may practice whatever religion they desire.
The Cervan family name comes first, followed by the given name. In the Cervan military, ranks come after the individual's name. Cerva serving in Starfleet may opt to be addressed with their rank first, as it is more familiar to those that they serve with.