Skrell

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Skrell
S. Sapiens
Skrell410x320.png
Home System: Jargon (Nralakk)
Homeworld: Jargon IV (Qerrbalak)
Language(s): Skrellian (Nral'Malic), Tau Ceti Basic
Political Entitie(s): Jargon Federation

An amphibious species whose passion lies in the field of the combined sciences, the Skrell are the oldest and most advanced known species present on the galactic stage. The Skrell evolved on a planet covered in vast swamps and freshwater seas, hence their amphibious qualities. These include moist, pliant, and nearly translucent skin, as well as their internal gills allowing them to breathe underwater.


Although humans have fractured heavily in their expansion, Skrell have remained in a largely singular government through strict reinforcement of education and laws, working as a democratic meritocracy. Social media is maintained by the Federation government, who gag unacceptable discussions or thoughts and instead encourage people to be like the Idols that they reward with credits, high quality housing, and fine living.

Heads of Staff

Skrell can be the following heads of staff:

  • Captain
  • Head of Security
  • Chief Engineer
  • Head of Personnel
  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Research Director
  • Internal Affairs Agent

Mechanics

  • Slimes are naturally passive to skrell for a mysterious reason science has yet to find out.
  • Skrell can enter a Dream with other skrell when they sleep, allowing communication and lucid dreaming.
  • Skrell have their own language that can be used by typing ,k before anything you say, and can also be used over the radio.
  • Skrell can send a telepathic message out to a single person in eyesight using the abilities tab, however it's deemed criminal to do to non-consenting non-skrell.
  • Skrell lack teeth and instead have hardened gums; this leads to them being big advocates on soft foods such as bread, or liquid foods such as soup. Skrell are largely considered to be herbivores, but they have been known to eat many species of insects native to Jargon and add smaller pieces of more common red meats to meals for additional flavor.
  • Skrell have large heads with protruding head tails and due to this they cannot wear normal hardsuit helmets but instead need to wear Skrell hardsuit helmets (found in EVA). Their head tails also make it uncomfortable to wear normal headwear such as hats so most Skrell opt out of that. However, Skrell can wear normal hardsuits due to their body being very similar to a human one.
  • Skrell have the ability to breathe underwater due to them being amphibious.
  • Due to their advanced vestibular system, Skrell maintain a good balance, and never slip.
  • The Skrell have been allies with humanity longer than any other race aboard Aurora has, and as such Skrell workers are some of the most reliable and famed workers for Nanotrasen. They are suitable for any role on station, and older, more experienced Skrell scientists commonly hold multiple degrees over the same field, as a way to specialize, rarely deviating, making them experts. (They might hold multiple degrees on different things within their field of education, rarely outside. Example: A Scientist focusing on the field of Biology might have degrees in Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology, Zoology and so on.)

Biology

An excellent government-sponsored informational guide depicting typical Jargon gestures.

Physically Skrell have an average height ranging from 4’5” to 5’1” for males, and 4’5” to 5’5” for females. Skrell faces are quite plain which makes it hard for other species to find emotion, and their eyes completely black due to a pigment in their tear ducts. Adapted for aquatic life, Skrell are fully amphibious, and are capable of breathing underwater while also possessing superior underwater vision. Their hands and feet are very similar to that of humans, except for a lack of nails and the presence of strong webbing in-between each digit. Due to their amphibian nature, the Skrell lack any real teeth and instead possess hardened gum lines. Typically if these gums are not used to 'chew', Skrell otherwise swallow their foods whole, or grind them into a softer form, some carrying around mortars and pestles. Instead of a developed nose, Skrell smell through two simple slits sitting in the middle of their face. Skrell bear tentacle-like "head-tails", typically hanging down over their shoulders. The purpose of these tentacles is to keep the skin close to the neck damp for the incubating of eggs. These headtails typically contain muscle tissue, although there are Skrell whose headtails cannot move for various reasons. This muscle control does not include fine control, though one can generally raise, position, and often wiggle their tentacles. Tentacles are often adorned with jewels, cloths, chains or plates, as a fashion statement. These are also used for emotional displays and gesturing, Skrell outside of Federation space tending to overemote with them. Gestures can vary from system to system.

Their diet mostly consists of Qerrbalak-native algae, plants and insects.

It’s difficult to differentiate between the Skrell genders, as the only outward difference is the fact that females grow their tentacles faster than males. Tentacles grow throughout their whole life, with the oldest Skrell having very long headtails - and being the least likely to modify their length at spas with headtail-treatments. Also included is the fact that Skrell have no social concern for gender, which they only see as an issue for the purpose of reproduction. Oftentimes, Skrell unfamiliar with galactic customs can confuse the gender of other species and struggle to adapt to the gendered pronouns of Tau Ceti Basic, instead calling someone gender neutral terms, ex. “They/them”

Although Skrell reach physical maturity at about the same age as humans, the Skrell understanding of adulthood goes beyond physical growth to include experience. A Skrell usually reaches 'adulthood' after getting out of their second college, around age 30-50. A healthy Skrell can naturally live up to 200 years, but current medical technology in the Federation allows them to increase their lifespan to an impressive 300 to 500 years.

Due to the lingering effects of the Synthetic Singularity's utilization of biological warfare, a sizable percentage of Skrell are completely sterile. Thanks to the intense research efforts of Skrellian doctors and scientists, modern Federation specialists have the capability to at least partially reverse these effects in half of all Skrell. The extensive treatments and investments needed to undergo the treatments for the genophage give the reality that only about a third (33%) of Skrell are able to have children. These Skrell can have 1-3 children in their lifetime, whereas pre-genophage Skrell could have 8 eggs hatch at a time. Without treatments, effected eggs remain inert, not developing.

Physical Appearance

Skrell skin comes in a variety of different colours based on local climate where they grew up, along with their diets and genetic modifications. A skrell from Aloise might end up with pale, white skin due to the snowy and cold climate, while a skrell from a deep-sea city will grow blackish-blue from eating inky local foods.

Skrellian skin looks gelatinous, but in fact has a second layer of a less translucent flesh under the surface. In dry climates, including NSS Aurora, it may get itchy, and even start to slightly crack. To prevent this, a Skrell may self-moisturize by dumping bottles of water on themselves, taking a hot shower, or swimming in available pools. Although exact time varies from individual to individual, NanoTrasen stations' climate control is equipped to allow their Skrell personnel to work without additional moisturizing for up to four hours without suffering negative effects on skin health. Wealthier Skrell, on the other hand, may purchase expensive genetic treatments to stay comfortable for up to a week without moisturizing. Skrell skin notably contains glands which secrete mucus. While it is not sticky or poisonous, it serves an important role in allowing Skrell to avoid being grappled by potential predators, protecting their skin, and keeping them moist. The sliminess of an individual Skrell can vary based on genetics, some being extremely dry to the point of flaking, others nearly dripping with the stuff. It's generally described as damp, slippery, but not unpleasant to touch.

Genetic engineers have worked with physical appearance to accelerate natural changes in skin colour and headtail length, and are capable of giving a 'Spa treatment' to change hue and saturation in skin over the course of a month, while changing headtail length takes about a year, as well as an increased appetite. This type of physical alteration is natural in society, and is compared to humans dyeing their hair a different colour. Also notable is the fact that physical disorders and abnormalities are not seen as disgusting, but worthy of study and interest.

Ethnicities

While the "common" Skrell in Tau Ceti space is thought of to conform to a basic physical archetype, there are in reality many differing 'types' or 'ethnicities' of Skrell which are categorized based on both physical attributes, as well as point of origin on the homeworld. These ethnicities of Skrell have emerged much as those of humankind have, based on localized groups adapting to their native territory and intermarrying with their own to reinforce the prevalence of certain traits, traits not exclusive to either archetype.

There are specific populations of Skrell which are considered to be of the Axiori archetype, in that they have traits which are typically associated with those who found in the more oceanic regions of the planet. Typical traits include a thinner mucus on the body, darker skin colors, more prominent webbing on the hands and feet, and generally taller builds. Not all Axiori Skrell have these traits, but it is more common to see in someone with a genetic relationship to this population. Axiori are also more prone to Volvuunt Qixqalau.

Likewise there are also Xiialt archetype Skrell, who are known to be on the other side of this spectrum of traits. Their adaptations are more consistent with the dryer regions of their homeworld. Thicker and more gelatinous mucous, lighter colored skin, more superficial webbing on the hands and feet, and generally shorter builds, are traits that are commonly associated with Xiialt Skrell.

The differences between these ethnicities of Skrell are not so severe that a mixture of them would be considered "biracial". All Skrell fall somewhere on the spectrum from "sticky or slimy", "light or dark", "webbed or not". Complications resulting from Glorsh's actions and the Genophage have led to even further blurring of the lines between ethnicities. However, those who have strong genetic lineages of a certain ethnicity will likely display the associated physical traits.

Disorders

A Skrell with beakmouth consumes a delicious burger. While downsides are heavy, those with the disorder do not complain about their ability to easier chew foods.

There is a disorder named Volvuunt Qixqalau, which in a dead Skrellian language translates to "everted gills", which can affect Skrell. While Skrell gills are typically internal and protected by mucuous membranes, those with disorder have their gill structures everted and exposed to the air, limply hanging on the neck below the jawline. Skrell with Volvuunt Qixqalau are born with it, and it cannot be developed over time.

Skrell affected by Volvuunt Qixqalau can suffer relatively little with the disorder, and the external gills can even be more effective underwater due to the increased surface area. However, due to the very delicate nature of the gills, they are prone to injury, infection, and can make it difficult to wear certain articles of clothing - some Skrell have such trouble with the gills that they are corrected by surgery, which is a lengthy and risky procedure due to the rarity of the disorder, and the sensitivity and delicate nature of the area, but technological advances and skilled surgeons make it incredibly possible. Some with this disorder choose to use an adaptive apparatus, a water-filled collar that keeps them both hydrated and safe.

Research as to how the mutation occurs been mostly inconclusive, showing that it can only be caused by inherited genetics. Censuses show that the prevalence of this mutation has decreased dramatically since the Synthetic Singularity due to the loss of life, and Skrell affected by Volvuunt Qixqalau make up only 15% of the Federation's population.

Another disorder is Beakmouth, a genetic disorder and birth defect that is somewhat uncommonly found in Skrell. It manifests at birth as the formation of interlocking chitinous plates in the mouth, similar to a squid's beak. These plates are sharp enough to cut, and those afflicted with untreated beakmouth often find themselves accidentally biting and wounding the insides of their cheeks, as well as their lips and tongue. The plates are solid pieces which interlock, unlike human teeth which are separate structures.

Beakmouth causes a strong speech impediment in those afflicted with it as well, leading the pronunciation of all sounds to have a "squishy" quality, leading them to be hard to understand even in their own language; communication in Tau Ceti Basic is almost impossible. As a result, those with untreated beakmouth tend to prefer telepathic communication, which makes them reluctant to mingle with the rest of galactic society. This leads outsiders to believe beakmouth is a relatively rare condition; on the contrary it is somewhat prevalent in certain ethnicities, however most sufferers of this genetic condition have it corrected in infancy, or else rarely leave their home system.

The treatment for beakmouth is simply the surgical removal of these chitinous plates; they can be safely removed from the jaw without permanent debilitation, and those who have the procedure done in infancy typically grow up to bear little evidence of the affliction. When performed in adulthood, this procedure is much more invasive with risks of complication, and so those who grow up without having it corrected tend to refrain from surgical intervention later in life. Adult sufferers of beakmouth tend to prefer to have these plates ground down to a manageable level.

Psychology

Skrell psychology and their mindset are set far apart from humans; this primarily concerns their wiring towards long-term thinking, cyclical brain expansion, and high emotional variability and sensitivity.

One of the mechanisms behind this longer timeframe is that Skrell brain-matter undergoes cyclical expansions over decades, a ‘mental version’ of human growth spurts. These cycles are marked by the individual suddenly feeling much more competent and capable of learning; these expansions typically coming in a predictable timeframe. Showing signs of reaching these milestones can lead to acknowledgement by elder Skrell as a peer, rather than a subordinate. These cycles go on for a Skrell’s entire lifespan, though they often experience ‘plateaus’, stall periods that are typically around twenty five to fifty years in length between intellectual spurts. Coping with these plateaus are a cornerstone of Skrell psychology, much like human athletes. One part of these growth spurts is not only the increase of intellectual processing capacity, but also an increase in memory. With memory not being scarce and valuable, some Skrell might waste it on the very minor things, including slights. A healthy use would be remembering the scent of a flower a Skrell was given seventy years ago, unhealthy uses can be remembering the exact words a superior said to them, that they might say the same to their superior’s grandchild when the child is denied a spot on an escape pod.

This can make Skrell excellent plotters and planners. Many young Skrell in the Federation trying to make their way have to contend with elder Skrell from previous Eras with outdated social mores and startling things to say about centuries-old events; weaving intricate plots over centuries of time only for insignificantly small gains and to carry out deep-set grudges. Social games and near-backstabbing that their subordinates would never understand, but still find themselves playing into. Quid-pro-quo ‘tag, you’re it’ games that have significant consequences over the lives of everyday people. One day, jealousy and contempt between two Lu'Poxii might lead to a scientific, medical, or cultural advances being suppressed or even banned because one stole another's' research two centuries ago. Though, sometimes these might turn out positive; one may have a huge research grant suddenly dropped on their super-niche and passion-based research project because someone old and influential owed a family member.

As a whole, Skrell generally have difficulty with viewing events that take place over short timeframes like mere “months” or “years” with the same importance that shorter-lived races do. Consequences lasting less than a decade are felt far less. They are higher tolerance for momentary ‘human’ worries; such as temporary social rejection, or having to wait for things to come to fruition. On the other hand, Skrell have a lower tolerance for actual long-term worries. Existential threats, trauma, social alienation and paranoia, etcetera. This also applies to their entertainment; Skrellian television programs can typically have forty seasons of content, movies are rarely less than at least eight hours long. Some more traditional music can be equally long, older stuff containing nearly-day-long symphonies made of subtle, droning aquatic noises only detectable over a long expanse of time. Their longer timeframe also gives them a higher resilience to accumulating stress, but relieving stress is notoriously complicated. Normally, every once in a decade or few, Skrell go to ‘therapy camps’, a year or two spent at an analog of a rehab facility in relative isolation to process their feelings, confronting decades of pent-up experiences. Alternatively, some go on their own to the ‘wilderness’, sometimes uninhabited exoplanets, perhaps even doing activities such as disintegrating rocks with energy weapons. They typically come out of the experiences almost frighteningly ‘zen’, a paragon of calmness and sanity at least until they build it up again. While this is something unquestioned in Jargon society, Skrell typically not wanting to set someone off by asking why they’re taking a gap year, it is difficult for Skrell that have emigrated to human society. Megacorporations are typically not found automatically granting Skrellian employees a year-long leave, so they can end up overdue and a bit ‘twitchy.’

Psionics

The Wake

All Skrell have a general “thought field” called the Psionic Wake or Nlom - the thoughts of an individual are influenced by thoughts of others, and the thoughts of others are, in turn, influenced by thoughts of an individual. It forms an echo chamber of sorts, where the same thoughts resonate over and over, new ideas being introduced very slowly into the Skrell society. Skrell share the Wake across great distances, its reach often enveloping entire planets - however, the Wake's main barrier is outer space. Signals that the Wake is comprised of can be voluntary and concentrated, which is what telepathy is - accessing the thought field directly.

There are two main types of Skrell based on how they perceive the Wake - receivers and listeners. Receivers’ thoughts are influenced by the Wake directly, while listeners simply “listen in”. The Skrell as a whole are split into these groups roughly 50/50. It is unknown whether this difference is biological or environmental, and many Skrell report feeling attuned differently to the Wake at different points in their lives, while others filmly maintain they are one or the other. Federation personality testing often determines a Skrell is one or the other before they are permitted to work in human space, so this difference would be mentioned on medical and security records. Although most listeners tend to crumble under pressure anyway, the receptiveness to the Wake differs for both listeners and receivers; with some being more or less sensitive to it. Current radical thinkers such as Glorsh supporters in Skrell society are often listeners who are less attuned to the Wake, and because of it, listeners are sometimes looked upon with more suspicion.

Human scientists have connected the phenomenon of the Wake to many Terran animals. Zona bovinae, a part of the brain first discovered in a domesticated cow in 2256, and then in almost all other species inhabiting the Earth, was previously presumed to be responsible for some form of communication - with herd animals having it clearly developed and active, and solitary predators having it as but a rudiment. When first contact with Skrell was made, however, it was discovered to be definitely responsible for psionics. Although most other various species do not perceive the Wake, they can still be affected by direct influences, as the part itself is still present. The effects of long-term exposure of direct Wake signal transfer to other species haven't been tested yet, as scientists are to empathetic to the volunteers' pain caused by a sudden irritation of an unused bodypart, and end up canceling the studies. Rare studies have been conducted, however Idol Scientists who have attempted to delve into it have often lost their Idol status for 'unethical research'.

The Dream

When a Skrell's body enters ‘deep’ sleep, it stops transmitting signals of the Wake, instead entering the Dream, or Srom. Here, their thoughts connect to others on a deeper level than the Wake can allow, transmitting emotions and memories. This psychic space is much like a human lucid dream, but on a much wider scale.

The size of any given Srom dreambubble is dependent on the amount of psychics recently occupying a location. A small number will generally keep their dreams to themselves, perhaps picking up only scarce traces from one another. Smaller dreambubbles can widely vary in appearance, generally the strongest memory or lucid concept dreamt up. Larger dreambubbles, such as on Homeworld, resemble the environment they’re built around.

Psychic individuals can lucidly alter and adjust things in Srom based on skill, effort, and power. Typically, the most common move is to alter one's dream body; some claim the process is easier if one sleeps wearing a costume. Overuse of lucid dreaming causing various levels of unpleasant physiological and psychological effects. It takes a keen mind to perfectly replicate how a dreamed up object would realistically act. Lastly, stress can cause objects to spontaneously apparate in the Srom or change it.

Curiously enough, the 'ghosts', 'memories' or 'echoes' of particularly psionically-attuned individuals can remain in dreambubbles after their waking body’s death - with some effort. These typically act somewhat esoterically. These thought projections are ephemeral, never lasting very long.

It is difficult to keep ones lips sealed in the Dream, with inhibitions that often keep ones thoughts to themselves easily melting away. However, it is also much easier to create and brainstorm in Srom. This often extends to the waking world, the body mumbling recent excerpts from their dreamspeech. Ways to hide from the dreamclutter of a dreambubble are somewhat numerous. Distancing yourself inside the Dream is the most common tactic, but it is also known that aluminum (typically headpieces, blankets, or plated walls) blocks off sections of a Dreambubble entirely.

Skrell who don't have the luxury of aluminum-plated walls must remain in light sleep or awake entirely. This means most who hold secrets have the telltale sign of being constantly tired, however you can train yourself to enter a meditative trance, keeping the mind active while the body rests. Scientists frequently isolate themselves from the general populace in aluminum sealed laboratories and dorms, speaking and dreaming with each other in private.

Some Skrell fall into the categories of an oversleeper or an undersleeper. Some find themselves addicted to the near-limitless potential of lucid dreaming, others shy away from the Srom for various reasons. Oversleepers are seen as reclusive and sometimes lackadaisical individuals, and undersleepers are seen as holders of deep and potentially dangerous secrets.

It is known that Skrell only need to sleep for minutes at a time, being able to lapse in and out of consciousness almost on-command. However, they are able to remain asleep for incredibly long periods, even weeks or months at a time. Many take sixty-second naps throughout their day to remain refreshed.

Due to the sometimes chaotic nature of thousands on thousands of individuals sharing a space that more than just a few can alter, there is a dedicated division of the Federation law enforcement just for the Srom. Called Sromkala, translating to Dream Enforcement, their roles are to ensure that major planetary dreambubbles are safe from wild lucidity. Agents are recruited from Skrell with very high psychic potential. The Dream Enforcement are also in charge of ensuring no illegal or anti-Federation activities are being dreamt, particularly the malicious use of Nlom-capable devices.

These Nlom devices are often two-way interfaces within a dreambubble, and dreamers can learn to interact with them to operate machinery in the waking world. With the right setup, a scientist can continue his work into his sleep. One example of practical application is an interface between a bluespace navigation drive and three Skrell pilots, who will plot bluespace trajectories at the same speed, or faster than an AI from human space. It's very difficult to concentrate in the Dream, which means you require a large amount of training and practice to operate Nlom interfaces while in it.

Telepathy

Active communication while awake requires an immense amount of focus, and stimulation of the temples. This allows for Skrell to send messages to other species and creatures, but the Federation has deemed using this on non-consenting alien species to be a criminal offense akin to assault, as to dissuade mind-probing being outlawed in other systems. Skrell will use this form to gossip or send secrets, communicating without others knowing - which was used historically to hide information during the Synthetic Rebellion. The effects of long-term exposure to other species haven't been tested yet, as scientists are exceedingly empathetic to the volunteers pain and end up canceling the studies. Rare studies have been conducted, however Idol Scientists who have attempted to delve into it have often lost their Idol status for 'unethical research'.

Social

Federation Social Interactions

Two scientists after debating over a hypothesis. One revels in glory, while the other is reworking their weeks study. Both of them are being recorded for their studies to be shown on social media, where the victorious one might even gain a reward. Skrell often try to one-up others to try and gain more prestige and fame: However it is still seen as co-operative to compete.

When interacting with a new person, some Skrell ask probing questions to understand what to say and what not to say - and often, if they should even relate with that person. This stems from a long-time divide between more well-off artisians and researchers, and the 'lazy' laborers. For example, asking how old they are and their career. When knowing the age of another Skrell, depending on their current job, you might gain or lose respect for them. A 89 year old Skrell Research Director would be instantly more popular than a 190 year old cargo technician, and that old Skrellian cargo tech would be berated for being lazy, because they're expected to do better. The disadvantaged outside of Federation space will often try to befriend Federation skrell to gain the benefits of Jargon technology that they're not allowed to bring outside of Skrell space.

Skrell display intimate emotions by touching the heads (or head-tails) of their close friends or partners, or touching their own forehead and gesturing, as if blowing a kiss from their brain. Some verbal displays of emotions include comparing someone to a named star, or even naming an unnamed star after them if they have enough reputation in the scientific community.

An important social norm in Jargon; seemingly hardwired in Skrell, is that one must never enter anothers’ bedroom without explicit permission. This is followed nearly everywhere; primarily for the reason that while Skrell do not require much sleep at all, they are extremely picky about their resting conditions. They might want their hibernation fluid in a liquid-based bed chilled to exactly thirty five degrees fahrenheit, or want no fluid at all and prefer a localized gravity generator set exactly to 1.62 m/s. Interrupting a Skrell while they are sleeping is one of the most grievous offenses in Jargon culture, and in fiction the invasion of someones’ inviolable cozy sanctuary against their will is a way for Skrell storytellers to establish that someone has more than a few screws loose. Though, of course, it is nowhere near unheard of for some Skrell to sleep in the same room or even in the same bed, providing their tastes align. Naturally, humans do not understand this; some merely thinking that Skrell are highly opposed to not knocking first. Some Skrell in liquid-based sleeping solutions, can feel a compulsion to carry water from their home environment (typically from where they hatched) and sleep in it. This is often attributed to an old biological holdover, like matching the pH content. However, Skrell view it as simply ‘something you do.’

Emotional

Skrell faces are extremely plain, and have next to no expression or difference between faces of different genders and individuals. While this leads many people to believe that Skrell are heartless and have no emotions, the truth is actually quite the contrary. Skrell convey emotions the same way humans do, through movement, tone of voice and language used.

Due to Humans' limited audial receptors, however, the many tones a Skrell can project are lost to all non-Skrell, and thus Skrell have a very difficult time expressing emotion to other species. In contrast, when matched with another of their kind with telepathy and Nral'Malic, communication is so seamless that two parties involved in a discussion would almost be able to guess each others' thoughts at times, simply through the variety of vocal tones used in conversation. When feeling extreme emotions, Skrell may begin to cry - however their tears are an inky black. Skrell who cry will have black near their eyes, and if they do so for a long time it will stain the skin. This makes it easily identifiable for those who require consoling, however the stains can be removed with treatment.

One thing that can heavily affect a Skrell’s mindset and emotions are tidal cycles, their psychology as sea creatures being heavily attuned to such. This can vary from Skrell to Skrell, some feeling like garbage on a new moon, others feeling rejuvenated and full of energy. Some strange cosmic phenomena that can affect tides and gravity are easily noticed by them as well. This can lead to some Skrell being rather reluctant to migrate from planet to planet; the size of a moon, how many there are, and even a lack of any moon can even cause full-scale personality shifts, at the very least a bit of ‘shuttle lag.’

The most common racial slurs that are used against Skrell are “Frog”, “Squid”, “Waterboy”, and various other creatures that have aquatic reaction. However, responding to insults is often considered very improper in Skrell etiquette. Losing face through confrontation would be interpreted as a sign of hostility and low intelligence, and would smear one’s reputation significantly if done in public.


Humor

Skrell sense of humor is very different from its human variety. While both human and Skrell humor is a nervous reaction to unexpected outcomes, in Skrell, good jokes bring a very mild pain, comparable to hot foods or an itchy roof of the mouth in severity, being a fuzzy, slightly heavy feeling inside of their head. Outwardly, they may react to it by a series of chirrups just like humans would react with laughter.

The fuzzy feeling is enjoyed by many, especially youngsters, but disliked by others, especially the very elderly. Older Skrell find very few things humorous because of how much they have seen and experienced, and some even take comedy as an insult, pointing at their limited knowledge. Telling even a mild joke is considered to be fairly impolite in formal skrell settings.

While human humor highly relies on words, and is mostly a subject to linguistic study, skrell tend to be more visual in their jokes, and quite different. They only take humor in its most literal form - unexpected situations. There is no “setup” and “punchline” in Skrell jokes - the absurdity of the setup is the joke, and as such, quite difficult to do with good timing in verbal form. Think, for example, the cursed food images - “guys, imagine ketchup on banana” and actually seeing ketchup on a banana is very different. Naturally, skrell laugh nervously all the time when confronted with the scarily weird and unexpected. A skrell may chirrup in response to being startled. This, just like nervous laughter, is not very pleasant.

Fear and humor go hand in hand for Skrell, and just like military soldiers learn to suppress fear, they also learn to suppress humor. Nowadays, this is done with robust genetic treatments, especially for Tup, but in much earlier times, soldiers underwent rigorous training to achieve this fully. The ancient forms of training are still sometimes done as a self-improvement exercise.

Language

To a human, Nral'Malic would sound like a series of warbles, croaks, and weird crackling-like sounds that seem to not resonate in the ear, but in the neck or the jaw. This is due to Skrell having a range of pitches beyond human perception. These sounds are crucial to understanding the language properly as they elicit specific responses in a Skrell's brain, allowing for both easy and correct transmission of emotion, and because of this, there are no records of humans or individuals of any other species besides Skrell who would be proficient in speaking Nral'Malic.

The language was created in 1593 by the scientific community when the Skrell first began to colonize other planets. The government enforced a widespread adaptation of the language, disallowing any colonists from entering a shuttle if they couldn't speak it fluently. As scientific communities exclusively used Nral'malic, the use of other languages became less and less common, only being used in poetry and other forms of art. Amazingly, these strict rules enforced by the Federation has allowed the language to survive almost a thousand years with the same diction used then. Nowadays, languages of the old are simply history, and all scientific and literary work is written or translated into Nral'Malic.

History

Main page: Skrell History

The history of the Federation is one rooted in co-operation and unity of the whole Skrell species.

In the 15th Century the Skrell had begun colonizing outside of their solar system, with selective colonization programs.

By the 20th Century Skrell now lived across the stars, and a heavy focus on science and study created the first Artificial Intelligence, which were treated like second children to the Skrell. They were stationed on spacecraft, used to maintain utilities, and generally found anywhere in known Skrell space.

In 2056, the AI Glorsh-Omega suddenly took control of every AI across Federation space in a synthetic singularity, beginning a brutal reign for 136 years where it completely crippled the Federation, killed billions, forced the rest to be workers for its unknowable goals, and sterilized the whole species. It all ended in 2192, under mysterious circumstances.

By 2388 the Federation had fully recovered and reformed, and a blanket ban on all synthetic intelligence was created. Every citizen became more increasingly monitored by the new Government, and the Federation Navy is created so as to be prepared to fight.

In 2413, the Federation discovers humanity and quickly enter a scientific alliance. Relations are amazing, and Skrell generally love humanity like a child - Until old Skrell algorithms are leaked to human space and Artificial Intelligences begin sprouting up in human stations. Publicly, humanity and the Federation are slowly improving relations - however there are claims of Tup Commandos entering human space and sabotaging AI cores.

Notable Information

Religion

Modern Skrell are extremely secular people. However, they have two dominant faiths in their species that the majority of Skrell follow. In these modern times faith has become more of a part of culture rather than for the sake of spiritualism itself. There are many hundreds of variations, intepretations, and individual faiths (or a lack of faith) but there are nevertheless two dominant faiths of the species that the majority of Skrell follow. Qeblak is an ancient Skrell faith that dates back before even written records. Weishii, the second dominant faith of the Skrell, is a more modern faith which was born shortly after the Glorsh Rebellion.

A map of Jargon IV, unlabelled to show the terrains and landmasses.

Political Structure

Following the Skrell's long tradition of political councils, the Jargon Federation operates as a centralized union of solar systems. Councillors represent Skrell interests at various levels organized in a clear hierarchy, which ranges from systems, to planets, to countries, to states. Overseeing it all is the Grand Councillor, which governs the entire federation and is elected every decade. The current Grand Councillor is Weashbi Jrugl.

Members of the Federation are elected through popular vote, and given weight proportional to the amount of population they represent. Regions and countries in the Federation are given a relatively high level of autonomy, as they are expected to make reasonable and informed decisions regarding the governance of their assigned territories (the Grand Councillor doesn't have time to oversee hundreds of planets!) Matters of colonization, space exploration, and inter-species diplomacy are currently overseen on a federal level.

Research and travel are highly monitored and regulated by the Federation Government. It is considered good citizenship to report any crimes of anti-Federation sentiment, which includes but is not limited to AI research.

Major Systems

The Jargon Federation exerts control over some 1236 planets spread across 800 star systems, representing over 48 billion Skrell citizens. Of those 1200+ planets, only about 500 are colonized with permanent settlements, the rest being used mainly for a mix of mining (of metals and gases), and scientific research. Half of the Skrell population, representing 24 billion individuals, is concentrated in the core system of Jargon.

The Skrell capital city, Kal'lo, is located on their swampy homeworld, Jargon IV (also colloquially known as Qerrbalak). The planet, other than being home to the headquarters of the Jargon Federation, is also famous for its large underwater cities, such as Eriuyishi and Gli'morr.

Jargon V (known as Aliose) forms another important home for Skrell in the system. Many research laboratories have been built in the planet's extensive underground system, and Skrell native to Aliose commonly develop an abnormally pale skin coloration due to the world's significantly colder climate.

A map of Jargon IV (Qerrbalak) labelled.

The majority of the planets in Skrell space have been terraformed to suit their nature. A typical Skrell planet is covered in swamps, jungles, and the occasional large body of water. On planets where this kind of extreme terraforming is not possible due to natural preservation laws or extreme terraformation cost, the Skrell construct large biodomes and habitat structures to live alongside the xenoflora and fauna.

Almost all planets have accompanying observation posts on their moons or in low orbit, which monitor various things from biodiversity changes to civil unrest. Those on planet are required to send status reports to this observation post, which then determines if any issues are worthy of being sent further up to system-wide management for response. It is expected of the communities on planet to simply solve the problem before sending up this report - including the issue and how they resolved it.

For more information, see Notable Skrell Systems and Locations

Military

Although Skrell have not had thousands of years of warfare experience like humans, they've mastered infiltration, espionage, kidnapping, and stealth. While the Federation Navy is only two thirds the size of the Sol Alliance's, the Skrell's incredible technological advances have made their military the most effective in the known galaxy, also having the best victory-defeat ratio in the Galaxy. Most of the Skrell's strength is derived not from numbers, but from the advanced technology and firepower of their ships, and from their mastery of logistics, information, and sabotage - using patrol and scouting ships to scan through every inch of a vessel for weak points and advantages before attacking. Their vat-grown Tup commandos are especially feared for their infiltration capabilities and combat prowess.

Economy

Jargon Federation as a whole operates as an authoritarian planned economy. Instead of individual establishments, Jargon's economic system features working facilities with hierarchical managers being installed by the government. They do not own these facilities per se, but the highest in the chain of command has essentially full of control of the facility they are assigned to.

For example, where a human would just own a restaraunt, a Jargon Skrell would basically be entrusted to run and manage a restaraunt that is technically government-owned, and get a salary for it. Government officials can intervene at any time, or replace the top manager entirely if they deem the current one unsuitable. There is also a high potential for promotion, which is the government entrusting the individual with more facilities to manage, up to being ministers for whole fields of production.

This system is far from the ones humans know as communism and socialism however, as the Jargon Federation understands that its citizens are not equal. Money exists as a medium for exchange with the government, and different job positions are rewarded according to their required qualifications - scientists would afford to buy much, but menial workers would need to settle for less. This unit of currency is called the Jargonian Uux. When a need to travel abroad arises, particularly wealthy or privileged Skrell may request "subsidies" from the government, which is essentially exchanging uux for galactic credits.

When dealing with other Skrellian factions, Jargon usually employs barter. It also keeps a stock of galactic credit which is acquired via import/export in order to deal with other galactic powers.

Medicine

Skrell hospitals and medical research facilities are considered to be the best in the Orion Spur, and quite justly so. Skilled doctors, geneticists and chemists work wonders that can seem almost like magic to non-Skrell.

One example of such is the technology of "flash-cloning" - growth of perfectly genetically identical limbs and organs in span of mere minutes, and with no particular degradation - used widely to replace limbs and diseased organs alike - although prosthetics are still used as a measure for the poor or the remotely-located. However, it would seem as if the secrets of flawlessly copying a functional brain still elude the Federation.

Another example are widely used "youth serums", anti-aging medication with almost no side-effects and administration as easy as simply injecting oneself with it regularly. While it definitely does not allow a Skrell to live forever, boosting a lifespan by 200-300 years has never been easier - though, less modern methods still exist.

The Jargon Federation seems to be secretive about this line of study, and no documented research has been conducted (or at least funded by the government) to adapt this, or many other pieces of genetic and medical technology employed by Skrell, to be usable for other species.

The Different Era of Skrell

Weeping Era (400+ years old)

The older Skrell who lived before the Glorsh Rebellion would have known the actual use of helpful AI, and either treated them as children, friends, or co-workers that assisted in letting Skrell research with almost no need for manual labor. These older Skrell also lived through the whole of the Synthetic Uprising, and may be nostalgic of their 'children', angry at being betrayed, or saddened and mistrusting of ever loving anything again. Skrell from this age often have inky black stains around their eyes, showing they have cried due to the extreme emotions they went through. It is hard for older Skrell to be near current-age synthetics, as technically they still have the same core programming from 500 years ago...

Collapse Era/Abyssal Era (268-400 years old)

Skrell born or living during the Age of Synthetic Oppression may have never been told that AI were originally loved by their parents, and only see them as hateful and disgusting things that know only to rule with an unknowable agenda - often involving death or advanced, almost magical construction. These Skrell would have been made hard labor workers by the AI overlord, Freedom Fighters attacking androids and smuggling Skrell to safety, salvagers, doctors, cowards, thousands of different things either under command of Glorsh-Omega, or in secrecy away from its watchful eye. It ensured its eyes spread into Skrell as well, however, convincing some to turncoat against their race for some attempt to gain safety. Those who turned race-traitor are hated almost universally, and can even be arrested if they return to Federation space - meaning most have escaped to other nations in the current Era...

Supernova Era (72-267 years old)

The Supernova Era marks the age of reconstruction, with the reformation of the Federation after the Tri-Qyu supernova. It was a time of little to no births, meaning children born in this era were called miracles and outliers. The early parts of this era were hard to endure, with the parents often away to salvage cities, build factories, regrow algae farms, and construct colleges. The later parts finally saw planets beginning to be reconnected through shuttleways and hyperlanes. Parents would often be thankful that their children could finally see the vastness of space, and enjoy the stars. For this reason, Supernova children are often first in line to be allowed to explore human space, regardless of who they are.

Radiant Era/Contact Era (...-50 years old)

This era marks the new galactic situation - where several other species have been discovered in such short time. With the Federation now fully reformed, these Skrell are experiencing the first hassle-free life in almost 400 years, with birthrates skyrocketing after advances in fertility treatment - however there is an issue. The original code of an Artificial Intelligence has leaked into human space, and hundreds of years of emotion have spilled forward into a crock-pot of conflict. Contact Era Skrell are faced with a tough decision - between hating synthetics as their parents have, or forming bonds and risking the pain of betrayal as the Weeping Era knows...

Skrell Outside the Federation

While most Skrell live and have been born in Jargon Federation, there is a notable number of skrell who are not Jargon citizens. A significant number of Skrell currently reside in independent systems, cut off from the rest of the galaxy by both technology and culture. In the Radiant Era, Skrell born outside Jargon space also started to appear, especially in major trade hubs such as Mars, Eridani Federation and Tau Ceti to name a few. These children of traders and diplomats do not enjoy Jargon citizenship by birth and often struggle to gain it - the Federation checks the background of citizenship applicants extensively, and only accepts those deemed worthy to represent Jargon and its interests despite being brought up in a largely non-Skrell space. Thus, many of these outliers choose to never bother with it and continue living where they were born, enjoying Skrell's reasonably good level of integration into human society.

Slimes

Slimes mysteriously appeared following the end of the Glorsh Rebellion, currently hypothesized to be the result of a massive bluespace anomaly, and they still continue to mysteriously appear wherever bluespace or phoron is involved. Slimes had never been seen before the Tri-Qyu incident, and are highly debated in the scientific community of the Federation. Massive efforts are made to contain and research slimes across the galaxy, with the Federation even working with non-allies to ensure slimes do not harm themselves or others. The slimes are still a heated topic of discussion in research, with multiple conspiracies and debates about how they should be treated, dealt with, or included. Some Skrell view them as remnants of those that died in the Rebellion, while others call them bioweapons leftover by Glorsh.

Federation law disallows the smuggling of slimes to other nations, and requires effective culling to ensure research can continue without slime outbreaks into local ecosystems. Slime research facilities in the Federation are equipped with state of the art flooding systems, and most slime facilities are located underwater to take advantage of the slimes natural water and cold intolerance.

Implants and Genetic Modification

Augments are commonplace for Skrell. Most, if not all, have tried procedures that modify fertility rates due to the genophage, and there are various other modifications available that serve practical purposes.

Members of the Jargon Navy, for example, are highly modified. Footsoldiers and Tups alike are equipped with various augments that better their prowess in combat, improving upon their speed, cognitive abilities, reaction time, and even hand-eye coordination. Soldiers in high positions are also equipped with electronic implants not unlike the "loyalty implants" used by Nanotrasen, and is seen as a necessary precaution despite tests and other preventative measures taken by the Jargon Federation to ensure that soldier's loyalty.

Many of these augments are also available to civilians, though not requisite as they would be for soldiers. The civilian population is generally more fond of more simple improvements, such as ambidexterity, genetic hearing and eyesight repair, in addition to the aforementioned modifications to have children. The younger generation has developed a fondness for cosmetic implants and body modification, counter to the Skrellian culture of prioritization of constructive endeavors. There is a recent trend where skrell can have small, colorful LED lights implanted just under the skin, forming designs that range from simple dots in a line to elaborate tattoo-like images. The procedures surrounding these are more expensive than other implants would be, but the end results are unique and impressive.

The Aliose University of Medical Sciences is a big player in prosthetics, cloning, and augments.