This is part 3 of 3
The cetaceans joining the galactic community as members of United Earth and the Federation began the day after the Great Visitor left the solar system, but the change took time.
Only a few pods of cetaceans maintained any long-lasting contact with humanity, but a pod of bottlenose dolphins that visited San Francisco Bay, and a pod of orca that ranged around the islands of New Zealand led the efforts to secure permanent representatives in the parliament of United Earth.
By the mid-24th century, the United Earth parliament had six percent of its representatives as cetaceans including the governor of the Atlantis Project situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Medical technology caused a drastic change in cetaceans’ interactions with humanity. Before, many of the more active species such as bottlenose and common dolphins had short lifespans that amounted to rarely more than two decades in their native habitats.
Medical treatments and preventative medicines quickly more than quadrupled their lifespans by the end of the 23rd century, and by 2375 most highly active cetacean species had lifespans on par with humans themselves. Additionally, cybernetic implants became commonplace for cetaceans, the most common of which were artificial arms and hands that could allow them to interact with technological devices designed for common use.
The development of miniaturized antigravity harnesses allowed most cetaceans to leave their watery homes and move over land and through buildings.
As cetaceans broke free of the oceans and rivers they had called home and began moving amongst humanity, it was only time before the first cetaceans began attending institutions of higher learning and wishing to join Starfleet to range into the greater universe.
The first cetacean to attain an officer’s rank in Starfleet graduated in 2301, and many followed. Cetacean culture has evolved significantly since the arrival of the Great Visitor, with traditions forming around the Whale Probe itself. Many cetaceans believe that the Great Visitor brought a sign that beings like them are common elsewhere in the universe and that Earth’s aquatic mammals should act as emissaries to bridge the gap between the humanoids of the Federation and the unknown Visitors.
Some feel that the Great Visitor represents a threat to Earth regardless of species, but since it spoke in languages that only cetaceans understood, that they must be the ones to face the challenge of stopping the Visitors again.
The descendants of George and Gracie do not speak of what their ancestors heard from the Great Visitor, and only ask that others respect that the Great Visitor left of its own accord. Because of the ongoing mystery, a small number of cetaceans follow the humpback whales as they glide through the currents of Earth’s oceans and stylize themselves as Followers of the Knotted Ones, helping protect the still small numbers of humpback whales from accidents or injury in a hope that it may prevent the return of the Great Visitor and forestall the destruction of Earth.