The Ocampa or Ocampans were a humanoid species who lived on the planet Ocampa in the Delta Quadrant. Their early history was shrouded in mystery but their own legends told of a time when they were capable of great mental feats. (VOY: "Cold Fire", "Shattered")
About five hundred Ocampan generations before 2371, Nacene explorers from another galaxy inadvertently damaged the atmosphere of the planet Ocampa so badly that all nucleogenic particles were lost, thus rendering the atmosphere incapable of producing rain. The planet rapidly became a desert, a time the Ocampans later remembered as "The Warming". The Nacene left two of their kind behind to "honor the debt that could never be repaid" to the Ocampa. The male Nacene, known as the Caretaker to the Ocampa, led the endangered species through tunnels into a vast underground city constructed especially for them. The Caretaker provided them with food, entertainment, water from subterranean sources, and power from the Caretaker's array nearby in space. The Nacene then sealed the Ocampa in, using a force barrier. The Ocampa ruling Elders were subsequently charged with discovering the wishes of the Caretaker, who had become almost a deity to the Ocampan populace. (VOY: "Caretaker")
By the late 21st century, the female Nacene, called Suspiria by the Ocampa, had decided to leave her mate to seek out "more interesting places." She established her own array, with a colony of Ocampa. Despite this, the Ocampa had no tales of any of them leaving or being taken by aliens. Under Suspiria's guidance, these Ocampa colonists developed their mental talents and eventually created technology capable of increasing their natural life spans to as much as twenty years. This made them arrogant to the point that they might look at other humanoids like they looked at pets. (VOY: "Cold Fire")
On Ocampa, a dissident movement had developed among the younger generations by 2371. They moved out of the city and began to provide for themselves. They were fascinated by ancient stories stating that the Ocampa once had extraordinary mental capacities. The Elders claimed that the stories were apocryphal, but the dissidents believed these mental powers had only become dormant after centuries of dependence on the Caretaker. In that same year, their reliance on the Caretaker was forcibly ended by the entity's death and the destruction of the array. They had enough energy in the city's reserves to last until 2376 – then they would be forced to return to the planet's surface. (VOY: "Caretaker")
They aged very rapidly, resulting in an average life span of only eight or nine years. (VOY: "Jetrel") Consequently, they developed and learned extremely quickly. Most of their growth took place in the first six months, and by one year old, they had reached a young adult stage. They remained in this stage for several years.
Between the ages of four and five, female Ocampa entered the elogium, the time of sexual maturation. During the elogium, a mitral sac formed on the back of the female. The sac accommodated a developing child (or children), and it was from the sac that the child was born, as its mother stood upright.
The ipasaphor, a sticky yellow substance, appeared on the female's hands for the six-day mating bond. Once the ipasaphor had appeared, mating needed to commence within fifty-two hours. (VOY: "Elogium", "Before and After")
Having remained young-looking for a number of years, they reached middle age sometime around their seventh year. Again, their aging seemed to stop, only to rapidly increase near their ninth year with the onset of the morilogium. At this stage of life, the Ocampa moved from middle age to extreme old age in the space of a few weeks, becoming confused and amnesiac before dying. (VOY: "Before and After")
It is interesting to note that the rapid development and aging was a dominant trait. It was found in half- and even quarter-Ocampa. (VOY: "Before and After") Though in the case Kes's alternate great-grandson, he appeared as a child at age 1, rather be fully grown. This demonstrated Ocampa rapid devlopment began slowing or disappearing in hybrid offspring the more the Ocampa DNA was reduced by reproduction with other species. At this time it's unknown if this would alter reproduction.
All Ocampa appeared to be natural telepaths, able to communicate with members of their species and those of other species, as well. Among the more unusual mental abilities exhibited by the Ocampa were eidetic memory, precognition, telekinesis of varying strength, and the ability to sense and manipulate the subatomic level of matter. Tanis, an Ocampa living on Suspiria's array, demonstrated to Kes that she could control the life force in living things, causing them to grow or die as she wished. Tanis also told Kes that the Ocampa could join Suspiria in a subspace layer called Exosia, which he described as a realm of pure thought.
In early 2374, Kes experienced a rapid and uncontrollable blossoming of her mental abilities. Her body and everything around her, including Voyager, began to destabilize at the subatomic level. Kes left the ship and allowed this process to complete itself, apparently evolving into a being of pure energy. She could then move objects through space without need of conventional propulsion, and later exhibited the ability to travel through time. In 2376 an angry and bitter Kes came back to Voyager and almost destroyed it with her mental powers; only by seeing a recording of herself made before she left Voyager was the timeline changed; Kes elected to return to her homeworld; her subsequent fate is unknown; she either choose to live out her remaining two years of species normal lifetime or if she elected to live in a subspace layer called Exosia,
On Ocampa, mates were chosen for life (due to their short lifespans), and there was no distrust, jealousy, envy, or betrayal in this relation. Upon hearing this, The Doctor speculated that the Ocampa must have had very dry literature. (VOY: "Parturition")
A list of all appearances of Ocampa (excluding all appearances of Kes):
The first material evidence of the Ocampa is the note of a single word, "Androgynous", which was part of a couple of brief notes on Star Trek: Voyager's early development that were written on 30 July 1993. By 3 August 1993, it was still undecided if the species was to have genders or be androgynous, though a lifespan of seven years had been postulated for the species and the aliens had been nicknamed "Mayfly", since their short lifespan would be in common with the insect of the same name. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 175, 176-177 & 199) The aliens' ultimate lifespan of "only about nine years" and the fact that they have genders were chosen on or had been chosen by 17 August 1993, when another series of notes described the female main character from this species (i.e. Kes) as a "delicate creature" and suggested, "We might want to endow her with some kind of special, super-human ability." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 189) There was, in fact, a continuing discussion about giving her one or more types of psychic ability, which culminated in parapsychological research being carried out by Zayra Cabot and Joan Pearce Research Associates. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 199) On 21 September 1993, the producers received the research report from Joan Pearce. Following examination of the possibilities presented in the document, the producers finally decided to initially imbue the female Mayfly with some measure of telepathic ability and to then see how stories developed from that point onward. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 206) The species had been named Ocampa by the end of that month, at which point the name appeared in the first draft of the series writers' bible. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 208)
In the String Theory trilogy, The Doctor was sent to Ocampa's distant past by a Nacene who wanted The Doctor to prevent the birth of a Nacene/Ocampa hybrid that it perceived as a threat. During this visit, it was revealed that Ocampa sometimes received residual memories from ancestors after they were born, their short lifespan making such a detail a valuable bonus. Kes, it would appear, was one such Ocampa, and it is revealed that she had told all she remembered to The Doctor prior to her departure from the ship. It was also shown that, in the past, Ocampa was a planet on a level similar to Earth in the Middle Ages, with a nobility-style system, but with certain military generals possessing powerful telepathic abilities.
To explain how the Ocampan population could be maintained despite each female only giving birth once, the Star Trek: Myriad Universes novella "Places of Exile" (in Infinity's Prism) suggests that twin and triplet births were common among Ocampa. In the acknowledgments, author Christopher L. Bennett credits Bernd Schneider's Ex Astris Scientia website for the idea.