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Areta was the name given by its natives, the Aretians, to the Class M planet Beta Circinus III. Areta was devastated by nuclear war late in the 8th century CE. 1,457 years later, the planet was mostly covered by desert, including radioactive "hotlands", but the regions around the cities began to flourish as they worked toward restoring life on their world.
As the nuclear war loomed, a mysterious wanderer named Sadar-es, having somehow foreseen the coming catastrophe, spread the word to as many people as he could, resulting in the salvation of the nomad tribes, as well as the cities of Sendai and Andasia - the only two civilized settlements remaining after the devastation, having built fortified underground shelters to survive the nuclear holocaust. Sadar-es set the basis for the nomad tribes' system of government, before he disappeared into legend.
After the holocaust, the populace was divided into three distinct castes: The townspeople who resided in Sendai and Andasia, the tribes of nomads who lived in the deserts, and the mutants who were isolated in the mountains. The traders were organized into households, with the trader and his heirs. The nomadic tribes were led by chieftains, or shinsei, with a makleh serving as a combination of tribe treasurer, secretary and advisor.
Various animals managed to survive the devastation. Among them were meercans, which were used as pack animals and considered sacred by the nomad tribes; uchas, a gazelle-like creature used both for food and clothing; and toreps, a falcon-like bird that was used by the nomads as a hunting aid. The mutant tribes of the mountains also bred dog-like creatures.
The United Federation of Planets had conducted surveys of Areta in the past, concluding that the three distinct sects of society were isolated from and hostile towards one another; it was the hope of Starfleet that the Aretian civilzation would become viable again. Thus, in 2249, Captain Christopher Pike of the USS Yorktown was sent to possibly open up trade negotiations between the nomad tribes and the townspeople. He went to the surface alone, in the guise of a wanderer (indallah, in the Aretian tongue) who appeared to a nomad tribe in the midst of a sandstorm; Sadar-es had appeared in much the same manner when he spread his message. As a result of this coincidence, "Indallah Krees", as he was known, was welcomed by Shinsei Farnah, whose tribe often camped close to the city of Sendai. Pike had arrived on Areta in an effort to bolster the planet's healing process by encouraging trade between the nomad tribes and the men of the cities. After the trade connections were made, Pike returned to the ship; his disappearance from Areta was accepted as part of the "wanderer" persona he had adopted.
Pike later admitted that the success of his efforts had come with a great deal of luck.
Four years later, Pike - now commanding the USS Enterprise - returned to Areta to solidify the trade efforts he had made on the first mission, to restore harmonious interaction with the distinct factions of the planet. While en route, the Enterprise was also called to investigate the possible re-discovery of Vulcan's Glory, an ancient gemstone that had been one of Vulcan's most revered artifacts. Lost sometime after Areta's devastation, the information led to the location of the He-shii - the ship that had carried the Glory - crashed on the planet GS391. The ship's message beacon indicated that a life shell (a self-sustained shuttlecraft/escape pod) from the He-shii had set a course towards Areta. The metal fragments of the life shell were found in the great desert, but dismissed during the initial survey of the planet as possibly being relics from the nuclear war. An all-Vulcan Enterprise landing party led by Lieutenant Spock beamed to the surface and located the life shell's remains, recovering the precious stone and having a burial detail recover the bones of the eight Vulcans who'd escaped the dying He-shii.
After the rediscovery of the Glory, Pike returned to the tribe of Shinsei Farnah to carry out his mission, where he discovered that Farnah's daughter, Silene, had vanished, along with two of Farnah's best meercans. Farnah's wife Ingarin and his tribe's makleh, Berendel, both knew that Silene had fallen in love with a town boy named Bardan Aliat, the son of Melkor Aliat, a trader from Sendai with whom Farnah's tribe had opened the negotiations four years earlier. Both young people had eloped into the desert to escape from their fathers, both of whom disapproved of the romance. The trail ended at Tisirah Oasis, the winter camping grounds of Farnah's tribe, where they discovered that mutants had taken both Silene and Bardan into the Druncara Range - a fact that mystified Pike, as the oasis was very far from the mountains. No one had ever returned alive from the Druncaras, with only bones left behind of anyone who'd ever ventured there, leaving Farnah and Aliat to believe their children dead.
Stepping away to "meditate" on the matter, Pike contacted the Enterprise and requested some alien members of his crew, including one Vulcan, beam down to the surface. Lieutenant Spock was chosen to beam to the surface, as were Lieutenant J.G. Ars Dan, a Dioptan engineer, and Lieutenant Endel, a Kelyan security officer. Their appearance - which would be appropriately strange to the "normal" Aretians - allowed them to pass off as Aretian mutants. Pike declared that these were his friends and were at his service, and declared that they would go into mutant lands and find the missing lovers, or their bodies; Farnah and Aliat declared that they would wait five days at Tisirah for Pike to return, assuming that he and his comrades would be dead if they did not.
After a brief scuffle with the mutant tribes, the Enterprise landing party discovered Bardan and Silene, alive and unharmed. The leader of the mutants, Panlow, explained that he took them captive as part of his efforts to end the mutants' isolation. The mutant tribes were discovered to be quite advanced even compared to the other two sects of Aretian society, mining precious metals in the mountains and creating wines superior to those of the townspeople. Bardan and Silene were chosen to be Panlow's emissaries to their respective factions, explaining that their youth made them more susceptible to listening, but their maturity would allow them to understand and deliver their message. Returning four days after they had set out, Pike led a mutant delegation, with Silene and Bardan as the ambassadors, showing the fine wares the mutant tribes offered. The trade agreement between mutants, nomads and townsfolk would be solidified with the marriage of Bardan and Silene.
|planets visited by the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) (2243-2264)|
|Robert April's command (2243-2251)||Earth • Romulan planetoid • Tarsus IV • Faramond|
|Christopher Pike's command (2251-2264)||Earth • GS391 • Areta • Magefferus III • Pharos siteworld • Rigel VII • Talos IV • Darien 224 • Prairie • Neyda Prime • Liria • Jubal • Theta Kalyb • Algol II • Temazi • Corinthia VII • Eridios|