Skrell

From Aurora Information Uplink
Jump to navigation Jump to search
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
  • Consulars / Representatives

Mechanics

Species Mechanics

  • 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 use a variety of different psionic abilities.
  • Skrell can enter Srom with other Skrell when they sleep, allowing communication and lucid dreaming.
  • Slimes are naturally passive to skrell for a mysterious reason science has yet to find out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Skrell have a hemocyanin-based circulatory system, meaning that their blood is instead bound to copper atoms and not iron atoms. Skrell require copper supplements to alleviate blood loss symptoms.

Axiori Mechanics

  • Axiori take increased burn damage due to their natural habitat being colder.
  • Axiori take decreased oxygen and brute damage due to the increased pressure of their natural habitat.
  • Axiori must drink fluids more regularly when out of water.
  • Axiori sprint slower due to their larger, webbed feet.
  • Axiori have a naturally higher pulse due to their increased circulatory needs.

Biology

Adapted for life both beneath, and above, the waves, the Skrell are fully amphibious and are capable of breathing underwater whilst also possessing superior underwater vision. Their extremities are noted as having a lack of nails, and a presence of strong webbing in-between each digit. Due to their evolutionary path, the Skrell instead have hardened gums in place of teeth. Typically, these gums allow to chew on soft foods or facilitate the ability to swallow their foods whole or grind them down into more digestible forms.

They do not have visible noses, instead through nostril slits sitting in the middle of their face. Skrell have an average height ranging from 4’5” to 5’5”. The lack of significant facial muscles proves to make it relatively difficult for non-Skrell to identify the species emotions, which makes them seem rather cold and unaffected when in reality Skrell use a variety of methods to display their emotions, including the use of their vocal cords. Their eyes are black due to a pigment in their tear ducts.

Skrell have also tentacle-like "headtails" typically hanging down over their shoulders, meant to keep the skin close to the neck damp for the incubation of eggs. These headtails typically contain hundreds, even thousands, of micro-muscles that allow the Skrell to move them into a variety of positions. Though these muscles do not allow for the ability for fine control, they can generally be raised, positioned and wiggled into various forms. These headtails grow throughout the entirety of a Skrell's life and signify the age of a Skrell as they grow longer with age - with the eldest being the least likely to modify their length at spas with headtail-treatments. These headtails are often adorned with jewels, cloths chains or places, as a fashion statement. They are also used for emotional displays and gesturing. Gestures can vary from system to system.

Skrell are noted to be cold-blooded, which means that their bodies are at the same temperature as the air or water around them. When they are cold they will seek warmth, and vice versa when they get too hot. Whilst they are cold-blooded, they are dissimilar to other species within the Orion Spur, sapient and unsapient. The Skrell have a much higher tolerance for either side of the temperature gauge and are usually comfortable in a variety of different environments provided that the humidity and moisture levels are satisfactory.

Physical Appearance

See also: Skrell Ethnicities

Whilst gelatinous in appearance, Skrell skin in fact has a second layer of less translucent flesh under the surface. In dry climates, 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 that 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 the 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.

Genders and Sexes

See also: Skrell Relationships

Skrell, dissimilar to other sophonts in the Orion Spur, never developed the concept of gender within their society -- mostly due to the fact they are synchronous hermaphrodites, possessing the ability to both lay and fertilize eggs. Whilst Skrell do not have sex or gender identity, due to their hermaphroditic nature they're extremely open to adapting into gender roles of other species due to their enjoyment of foreign cultures.

While Skrell never developed the concept of genders within their society, terms do exist to characterize the biological attributes relating to the production and fertilization of egg clutches. These terms are known as F'ex'Qa (The Egg-Layer) and F'ex'Tra (The Egg-Fertilizer) amongst the species.

Aging, Maturity and Fertility

Skrell reach physical maturity at about double the age of humans, complemented by the Skrell understanding of adulthood going far beyond physical growth to include experience. A Skrell will reach biological maturity at roughly the age of thirty, but in skrellian society will only be treated as reaching "adulthood" after their second college, around the age of 50 - 60. A healthy Skrell can naturally live up to 250 years, but current medical technology within the Jargon Federation allows them to increase their lifespans to an impressive 450 to 500 years.

Due to the lingering effects of Glorsh's attempts to genetically manipulate Skrell, a sizeable percentage are completely sterile. Thanks to the intense research efforts of numerous skrellian, and non-Skrell, doctors and scientists, specialists have the capability to at least partially reverse these effects in most Skrell. The extensive treatments and investments needed to undergo the treatments for the Genopage give the reality that only about a third (33%) of Skrell can have children. These Skrell can have 1-3 children in their lifetime, whereas pre-genophage Skrell could have eight eggs hatch at a time. Without treatments, affected eggs remain inert, not developing.

Psychology

Because of their long lifespan, Skrell tend to have a “long view” not common in other races. Passive observation and study is far preferred than immediate action, and do not mind that decades or even centuries can pass before their decisions begin to pay off. Older Skrell can seemingly make incomprehensible decisions, but further investigation often reveals that these choices are often related to carefully laid plans.

Due to their “long view” approach, Skrell generally have difficulty with viewing events that take place over short timeframes with the same importance that shorter-lived races do. Consequences lasting less than a decade are deemed inconsequential and has resulted in the species’ higher tolerance of momentary worries; such as waiting for things to come to fruition. On the other hand, this has resulted in a much lower tolerance for long-term worries, such as existential threats, and can lead to high levels of accumulated stress.

Stress impacts Skrell to a lesser degree than in other species, and is usually exhibited through the secretion of black liquid through orifices such as their eyes, often remarked as being similar to crying. It is quite obvious to tell whether a Skrell is beginning to become overstressed, as there will usually be dark stains across their skin.

A Skrell’s mindset and emotions can be heavily impacted by tidal cycles, as creatures heavily attuned to waters. This can vary from Skrell to Skrell, some feeling lethargic or anxious on a new moon, others feeling rejuvenated and full of energy. 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 cause full-scale personality shifts.

Psionics

Nlom

All Skrell have a general “thought field” called the Psionic Wake or Nlom. When in the psionic wake, 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.In some ways, it forms an echo chamber,, where the same popular thoughts resonate over and over. Because of this, new ideas are often introduced very slowly into Skrell society. Skrell share the Wake across great distances, commonly enveloping entire planets - however, the Wake's main barrier is outer space. Signals that the Wake is composed of can be voluntarily concentrated, which is what telepathy is - accessing the thought field directly.

Skrell are commonly divided into two psionic categories -- receivers and listeners. This difference is decided genetically on birth and splits the Skrell roughly 9:1, with the majority being receivers. Currently, there is no genome modification that can accurately predict the type of psionic category a Skrell will fall into, nor is there any way to modify it. Papers published call this “The Great Lottery” or “Psionic Gender”.

Receivers and Listeners differ in their individual submission to the greater Wale around them. In other words, while Receivers are psionically guided to accept the common ideas and influences currently circulating Skrell society, Listeners feel much less outside pressure to conform or unnaturally agree with the ideas at hand. Because of this, Listeners are often looked upon with suspicion, while Receivers are usually found in the upper echelons of Skrell society. Some Skrell find it difficult to classify themselves and have been known to feel more or less attuned to the Wake at different points in their life. Regardless, most Listeners often succumb to the powerful psionic force of the Wake and become conformed to society one way or another.

Some Listener groups have recently begun to stir with increased ostracization, government surveillance, and general prejudice from the more popular Receivers. While these groups promote Listener advocacy in a peaceful way, a select few underground cells have begun teaching a more extreme, “psionic-isolationist” idealism, where Listeners purposefully disconnect themselves from the greater Wake.

Zona Bovinae

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 subsequently in almost all other species inhabiting the Earth, was previously presumed to be responsible for some form of communication - with herd animals having the organ developed and active, and solitary predators possessing a similar, but atrophied, part of the brain. When first contact with Skrell was made, however, it was discovered to be responsible for psionics.

Although most other various species do not perceive the Wake, they can still be affected by direct influences. The effects of long-term exposure of direct Wake signal transfer to other species has been tested, but results have shown that unaugmented members of other species can suffer negative effects from long-term, prolonged exposure to psionic influence.

Cooperation between the Jargon Federation and the Solarian Alliance has resulted in laws against the usage of most psionic actions against unaugmented sentients; the exchange of psionic communication being legal, however, other uses of psionics against those not augmented with a Nlom-receiver can result in various charges related to battery and assault. Those augmented with a Nlom-receiver have loosened restrictions in regards to psionic actions levied against them, however, consent is required for any actions other than psionic communication.

Srom

When a Skrell's body enters ‘deep’ sleep, it stops transmitting signals of the Wake. Instead, Skrell enters 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 dream bubble 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 dream bubbles can widely vary in appearance, with landscapes embodying the “strongest” memory or lucid concept dreamt up. Larger dream bubbles, such as on the Homeworld, resemble the environment they’re built around.

Psychic individuals can actively 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 can cause 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 appear in the Srom or change it.

It is difficult to keep one's lips sealed in the Dream, with social inhibitions easily melting away. However, it is also much easier to create and brainstorm in Srom.. Ways to hide from the dream clutter of a dream bubble are somewhat numerous. Distancing yourself inside the Dream is the most common tactic, but it is also known that aluminium (typically headpieces, blankets, or plated walls) blocks off sections of a dream Bubble entirely.

Skrell who don't have the luxury of aluminium-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, some Skrell can enter a meditative trance, keeping the mind active while the body rests. Scientists frequently isolate themselves from the general populace in aluminium sealed laboratories and dorms, speaking and dreaming with each other in private.

Circadian Rhythm

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

It is known that Skrell only need to sleep for about an hour a day, and are able to lapse in and out of consciousness almost on-command. They are also capable of entering a kind of hibernation for incredibly long periods, even weeks or months at a time.

Nlom-devices are often two-way interfaces within a dream bubble, 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 Skrell require a large amount of training and practice to operate Nlom-devices.

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 this on non-consenting alien species to be a criminal offense similar to assault, as to dissuade mind-probing being outlawed in other systems. Skrell will use this ability 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 Skrell scientists are exceedingly empathetic to the volunteers' pain and end up cancelling the studies. Rare studies have been conducted, however, though scientists who have attempted to delve into this field have often lost their Idol status for 'unethical research'.

OOC Note: Psionic Pinging a location for the pure reason of hunting down Synths is just not in good taste. Don't do it without prior suspicion, and if you somehow confirm it, use different RP avenues! Perhaps instead of reporting them, you extort them? Don't shut down a character idea, but instead entertain it.

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' labourers. 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. An 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.

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.

Emotional

Skrell lack complex muscles within their face and have next to no facial expressions or difference between facial appearance.. 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, the many tones a Skrell can project are lost to all non-Skrell and thus Skrell have a very difficult time expressing emotion to them. In contrast, when matched with another of their kind using 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.

The most common racial slurs that are used against Skrell are “Frog”, “Squid”, “Ratajani”, and various other creatures that have aquatic connotations. 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.

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

Humor

Skrell sense of humour 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 skrellian settings.

While human humour 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 humour 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 humour go hand in hand for Skrell, and just like military soldiers learn to suppress fear, they also learn to suppress humour. Nowadays, this is done with robust genetic treatments, 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 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 925 BCE 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.

Skrell are capable of producing a range of sounds, which often have a link to their emotional state. This can include; squealing, shrilling, warbling, croaking, chirping, chirruping and lastly quiet grunting.

Expressive Language

It is widely known that the Skrell rely on a mixture of psionics, body language, and aural noises to convey their emotions -- which has proven to be rather difficult for other species to understand. This has lead to an almost "secondary language" to emerge amongst the Skrell known as Nral'Balak amidst contemporary Skrell. To other species, this may seem as simply a skrellian version of sign language, but in reality its a very intricate and complex process designed to facilitate easier understanding of skrellian emotions.

It has been observed that Skrell feeling upset, or disgruntled, may blow their cheeks out. Similar to that of the Solarian Anura Species, which has added onto the slur of calling the species "Frogs". It is also notable that some scrunch their headtails up, emitting several chirrups that are deliberate and obtusely released, sometimes even narrowing their eyes. It is believed that this was a biological reaction originating within Proto-Skrell in the event they were attacked or confronted by a possibly fatal situation, in an attempt to make themselves seem much larger than they actually are.

The feeling of happiness, or that of being euphoric, amidst the Skrell is one of the "easier" emotions to discern. Skrell will usually involves a varied mixture of headbobbing, shrills, and positioning of their headtails to convey their joy -- such as curling their headtails and warbling in a much higher pitch than normal. Skrell are also observed to struggle to contain their joy, resulting in such often spilling over into the rest of their body and making rather spasmodic events (such as rapidly blinking) a rather obvious sign of their happiness.

Sadness, or even melancholia, within Skrell is one of the harder emotions to convey for the Skrell -- or at least, harder for other species to understand. Dissimilar to other species within the Orion Spur, emotional pain often translates to physical pain for the Skrell. Several studies have linked the pronounced Zona Bovinae of the species to this biological feature, which is often displayed through several gestures: quiet, low chirps; shifting of their headtails to hide their neck; fidgeting and rubbing of the headtails and/or digits; and lastly avoidance of eye contact.

Confusion, or even fear, is yet another "easy" emotion to discern amongst Skrell. Confusion has been noted to almost force Skrell to emit a mixture of both high-pitch and low-pitch blends of both warbles and croaks, alongside continuous shifting of their head from one side to another. It is said this is to allow optimal processing of audible information, such as someone speaking or noises within the dark. Skrell also have the innate need to cover their neck with their headtails, hiding their digits and opening their eyes wide. It is believed through their evolution, Skrell adapted to protecting the most vital points of their anatomy to ensure their survival in the event they were attacked and forced to flee.

Notable Information

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.