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Introduction

Tsrul-Uthan Collective

The banner of the Tsrul-Uthan Collective

The Tsrul-Uthan Collective (Tsrul: nŭĭnm - "The Collective") is a tightly-knit cultural system composed of two sapient species, the Tsrul and the Uthan, who have colonized enormous swaths of the universe in the distant future. Although great diversity exists among the people of the Collective, a large majority of it has a fairly homogenous culture. The culture of this majority group will be the focus of this page, but exceptions to the norm will also be highlighted.

One aspect of Tsrul-Uthan culture that exhibits influence on nearly every facet of day-to-day life among members of the Collective is the fact that nearly all of its members spend their entire lives in space. Very few Tsrul and Uthan spend more than ten percent of their lives on the surface of planets. Additionally, their main form of transport allows them to travel through both space and time, allowing the race to colonize enormous areas of the universe. This has influenced the cultural and physiological development of both species to an exceptional degree, and led to the Collective's near-omnipresence during the Tsrul-Uthan Epoch of universal history.

The Tsrul

The Tsrul are, despite their dramatic physical differences from modern humans, a species that can trace their lineage back to Homo sapiens. However, The Tsrul are classified with the binomial name Cosmanthropus bigeminus, from Greek κόσμος, kósmos "Cosmos"; άνθρωπος, ánthropos "human" and Latin bigeminus "doubled" (referencing the fact that the Tsrul have two thumbs per hand and foot, as well as four eyes).

The average adult Tsrul individual ranges from around 210 cm (6'10") to 240 cm (7'10"), and from 125 kg (265 lb) to 160 kg (350 lb). However, they are typically gangly and thin, owing their disproportional weight to increased bone, muscle, and organ density.
Tsrul hand

A drawing of a Tsrul hand, with the Tsrul terminology for various anatomical features.

As stated above, each Tsrul hand and foot has two opposable digits, each one flanking the three middle digits. This gives the Tsrul an increased ability to grasp and pull themselves through zero gravity environments. This trait evolved before the advent of artificial gravity, which is ubiquitous during the Tsrul-Uthan epoch.

Their heads have also undergone many changes, the most notable of which is the addition of two eyes on the temples. Each eye has a pupil which has a circular shape when fully dilated, contracting to a figure-eight shape, eventually closing into two distinct pupils in extremely bright light. The lenses and retinas of their eyes have also changed dramatically, allowing for binocular vision in each eye, with backshine providing extremely high visual acuity in the dark. All of these factors put together give the average Tsrul a field of vision that can cover about 325° at any given time. The retinas contain twelve distinct color receptors, which allow the Tsrul to see far into the infrared and ultraviolet portions of the spectrum. The ears retain only the ear canal and a small ridge of cartilage encircling it, while the nose has diminished only to two hook-shaped impressions on the front of the face. The hair has also receded to a mohawk-like ridge on the top of the head, which is usually kept braided or dread-locked (or both). All of these features either evolved or were genetically engineered to maximize the eyes' field of view.

The physical differences between male and female Tsrul individuals have diminished fairly radically, with only a few differences separating the sexes. Women still have larger hips, but are typically flat-chested, only developing breast tissue while pregnant or nursing. This has led to many Tsrul either joking or erroneously believing that other species of humans (which have retained breasts in the women) are constantly pregnant or nursing young children. Men are generally on the shorter end of the height distributions, but are also typically heavier. Although the voices of the Tsrul women are quite deep compared to modern humans, that is mostly due to the fact that their vocal chords are larger, as Tsrul men and women usually have similar vocal ranges.

The Tsrul typically live to be anywhere from 145 to 160 years old (in Gregorian calendar years), with one exceptionally long-lived Tsrul woman named la-qoĭ-ṡo living to be 192 years, 20 days, 7 hours, 30 minutes, and 4.776 seconds old. Senescence from aging is typically staved off until the very last years of a Tsrul's life, but hits hard and fast once it sets in. it is not uncommon for a healthy Tsrul to go from the prime of their life to a frail, blind, handicapped, and senile elderly person over the span of only 5 to 10 years. However, old age is not typically regarded with fear or anxiety. It is simply seen as a challenge that one must prepare oneself to face with a caring support network. Since caring for others' needs before one's own is considered one of the highest tenets of honorable behavior in Tsrul culture, this is not a difficult task for most Tsrul.

The Uthan

Uthan

An Uthan, also showing a color-scale transcription and the relationship between the Tsrul, Uthan, and plants.

The Uthan are a race of extraterrestrial life, and bear only passing resemblance to any Earth life. To say that the Uthan have different organs is technically correct, but is a miscommunication of the true structure of the Uthan body. In truth, the entirety of an Uthan's body is composed of a dense polyphosphazine bio-elastomer scaffolding with special-purpose "organelles" suspended inside it. Structures that are analogous to, say, a human stomach or lung are more or less sinus-like cavities in this scaffolding, rather than separate, easily-distinguishable organs. This makes the boundaries between different organs less discrete than Earth biology, but there are still noticably different structures within the Uthan body that perform specific functions.
Uthan Joy

A color-scale transcription of the concept 'joy' in the Tsrul-Uthan Creole

The large saucer-sized (15-20 cm/6-8") scales on their backs are color-scales. These glossy, bioluminescent structures are what the Uthan use to communicate, and are capable of creating brilliant colors. The different light-producing structures within each of these scales can create 12 separate colors, putting out light in an infinite range from completely black to about 1700 lumens (about the brightness of a high-powered household light bulb). each Uthan has 36 color-scales, though their size and shape differ from one individual to another, much like the difference between the hair on two people or the markings on a zebra's fur. The pupils of their eyes are consciously controlled, and can be "blinked" to add more meaning to their color scales. Only the secondary lower eyes are used for this purpose, with their blowhole-like opercula opened and closed to add additional gestures for meaning.

Due to the fact that there are no distinct boundaries between most organs, the Uthan mesoskeleton acts as a sort of hybrid of an exoskeleton (like that of an insect or a crab) and an endoskeleton (like that of a human or a cat). It is tough and rubbery on the outside and in the limbs, blending to an extremely rigid, metallized internal protective support structure on the inside of the main body and on the hooves and color scales. These "bone" structures are fairly flexible and non-metallized at birth, but eventually become strengthened with Iron, much the same way a newborn human's cartilage eventually becomes calcified into bone later in life. The fact that the bones are strenghtened with Iron rather than Calcium makes the Uthan extremely dense and durable. The strength of the skeleton in adulthood depends on nutritional intake.

The Uthan jaw, which is articulated on the top of the skull rather than the bottom, is also metallized. it is able to exert a bite force of almost 3000 kg (3.3 tons) at its strongest point.

Though they are extremely variable in size and volume due to the nature of their flexible outer mesoskeleton, they typically range in length from about 250 cm (8'2") to 300 cm (9'10") when relaxed. they generally weigh from 300 kg (660 lb) to 400 kg (880 lb).

They breathe nitrogen and have a very efficient pair of lungs, which work much the same way a bird's lung works. Their blood is platinum-based and acts as a catalyst, breaking the bonds of diatomic atmospheric nitrogen and allowing it to become NO2, which is more easily broken by the Uthan's organelles. Their muscular organelles contain a high amount of an analogy to myoglobin (which stores oxygen for the muscles of Earth animals). This, coupled with their opercula, allows them to spend a very long time between breaths. Since their bodies are also very robust, these traits allow them to accomplish feats such as staying conscious unprotected in the vacuum of space for significant periods of time (sometimes up to a minute). They breathe out O2, which is one of the reasons the Tsrul and Uthan became such a symbiotic group.

many of their physical traits are the result of having an aquatic ancestor. Their mesoskeletons are extremely dense because water originally supported their bodies (negating the need to have a light skeleton), and they are filled with bubbles and gaps that originally provided room for bouyant ballasts. They use a light-based, rather than sound-based, system of communication due to the fact that sound is not as easy to produce in a dense medium like water. Their opercula provided a plug to prevent water from entering their respiratory tract. Their high nitrogen-storage ability allowed them to dive for long periods of time. As a result of these traits, Uthan are also extremely efficient swimmers.

Uthan undergo what is called ‘burst sleep,’ a state of consciousness that is similar to seizures in terran animals. it is a series of quick bursts, lasting about 20 to 40 seconds, where the Uthan enters a state of paralysis with intense neural activity. the bursts are spaced apart by about 5 minutes, and the entire cycle lasts for around two hours. The Uthan’s pupils move around frenetically while in this state. they are easily woken from burst sleep, but will fall back into it as soon as they are able. burst sleep occurs twice in a crepuscular pattern during their 17-hour day. Tsrul who suffer from epilepsy (who, as a result, are typically not paired with an Uthan) are not said to have seizures in the Tsrul language; the episodes are referred to with the same terminology as burst sleep.

The Plants

The sacred plant life of the Tsrul-Uthan Collective is one of the most important factors that led to the Tsrul-Uthan Collective's domination of the universal stage during the Trul-Uthan Epoch. Although the ancestor race of the Tsrul benefited greatly from the fact that Uthan breathe out oxygen, The Uthan needed to find a source for their own respiratory requirements, and both races needed a way to eliminate the earth-based race's carbon dioxide waste gasses. Though both races could technically use their own home planets' native plant life, the volatility of Uthan nitrogen-producing plants made them a poor choice for space travel. When their form of transport proved capable, The Tsrul and Uthan scoured the universe. Eventually, a perfect form of life was found in the infinite expanse of space and time.

The aluminum-nitrate-based plants, which used thermosynthesis, existed in two varieties: one let off heat, the other absorbed it. This heat exchange system was also beneficial to the space-faring races, as it eliminated the need for complicated heat management systems in the cold depths of space. better still, the plants' efficient respiration relied on the intake of carbon dioxide, and the release of nitrogen. They rooted easily into a wide variety of substrates, making them easy to transport and maintain in low-gravity environments.

The plants resemble moss, growing mostly in fractal, gemoetric shapes to aid in the radiation or absorbtion of heat. Most have a blue-green color, but can also be shades of red, purple, white, and black.

Once these plants were harnessed by the newly-founded Tsrul-Uthan Collective, their ability to traverse the vast expanses of space and time enabled them to become a massively important part of the universe's history.

Culture

Behavior and Activities

Both the Tsrul and Uthan enjoy socializing and sharing food and drink. However, the two races typically only share between one another, as each race's food and drink is pure poison to the other. However, Social interaction both among and between the species is a very important aspect of Tsrul-Uthan culture.

Superstition has a significant presence in Tsrul-Uthan culture, with many people having various habits or tics to improve their good fortune or dissuade bad luck from coming to them. these acts are highly varied, such as touching the first taste of food or drink to the bottom lip before opening their mouths, catching falling things that are or once were alive (such as the falling leaves of a tree), and reassuring those who yawn, sneeze, or cough of their continued good health.

Religion

A large majority of the Tsrul-Uthan Collective is shamanistic in its religious tendancies. Although many drugs are banned from production or trade in the TUC for reasons of popular safety, Tsrul and Uthan Mystics are not only entitled to the personal supplies of a few drugs, but almost unanimously encouraged to use and share them while in the process of conducting many religious rites. For the most part, the beliefs of the Tsrul and Uthan appeal to the żúṡul, (lit. the Fates). Not necessarily considered deities or spirits, the prayers to the Fates are more along the lines of hopes or wishes, simply attempting to affect the fortunes of practitioners. Tsrul and Uthan Mystics are considered extremely lucky, and able to affect the fortunes of others. Thus, they act as religious leaders, consulting with others and fulfilling favors for the benefit of their good fortune.

Life Cycles

Both species have lifespans of roughly 145-170 years, with the Uthan typically living marginally longer than the Tsrul. Tsrul offspring are born much the same way that human babies are born, developing in the uterus and passing through the birth canal. However, their gestation period lasts nearly 20 months, more than twice the time of normal human gestation. Caesarean section is never performed unless a natural childbirth would be considered a threat to the life of either the child or the mother. In the Tsrul language, the term for a child's birth puts the animacy of the action with the child rather than the mother, as in English; ṗobabaḋaŏ (the active form), translates to 'one is born,' while impobabaḋaŏ (the passive form) translates to 'one gives birth.'

Tsrul children are very similar to human children, even in size. This is at odds with their much larger adult size, but their growth from juvenile to adult sizes is generally slower, with puberty beginning at about age 12 and ending at around age 55. Even putting a Tsrul lifespan into the same amount of time as a human lifespan, this would make puberty last about the same duration and placement in time as a typical human child's entire education, from preschool all the way through a postsecondary degree.

However, the Tsrul mind matures at a much faster rate than the human mind, in part due to the retention of its childhood plasticity for such an enormous span of time. The average Tsrul, with a mind that functions at the level of most other Tsrul, would have a genius-level intellect compared to even the smartest of humans. In fact, dran qexo baḃa, The Tsrul woman who invented the power core that enabled time travel, was considered a polymathic genius even among the Tsrul, and was incredibly gifted in many areas of learning. Apart from being able to create beautiful pieces of photo-realistic art in mere moments, She solved every known mathematical construct that had no known solution before she was halfway through puberty. On her deathbed, she wrote down twenty-six new problems, all of which were unsolved for over twelve generations and half of which remained unsolved for the entirety of the Tsrul-Uthan Epoch. She was responsible for designing the only Tsrul warship that ever needed to be built, and created the safeguards which prevented her power core from being able to travel farther into the past than its creation; these safeguards were only sucessfully bypassed one time, and by another particularly brilliant person, at that.

After puberty, the Tsrul have a slightly different sexual cycle than modern humans. Rather than having a menstrual cycle, Tsrul women have somewhat of an estrous cycle, with an anestrous period of about 8 months, then a period of roughly 2 months where they are "in heat," and capable of becoming pregnant. Tsrul men also have a similar cycle of sexual activity and inactivity, making sex more a matter of timing than of romantic attraction. If the women do not become pregnant, the endometrium of their uterus is resorbed by the body, not bled out as in a menstrual cycle. If they do become pregnant, once they give birth (almost always to just one child), they undergo a period of roughly 4 months before the anestrous period begins again, making most childbirths a full 34-month process. At about 70-80 years old, Tsrul women undergo what is referred to as qalu amhapum, 'The Mother's Victorious Loss,' the cessation of their estrous cycle. This comparatively short time of child-rearing years makes Tsrul children very treasured to parents and the other individuals in the network of care of a child.

due to prolonged space travel, the typical Tsrul has a body which resembles that of some sort of cave-dwelling animal. their skin is pasty white, and their hair is typically red, light brown, blonde, grey, or white. Black hair is incredibly rare, and usually turns grey within a few years after birth, but a few retain their black hair into old age. eye colors are invariably either pink or white, with much of the diversity in eye color being lost by the time the Tsrul became a species. Their pupils, while fully dilated, are circular and close to 2cm (1in) in diameter. However, they close into a figure-eight shape, eventually closing off into two distinct pupils, each of which can shrink down to about a milimeter.

Uthan are born under incredibly different circumstances. Since the Uthan species reproduces purely through parthenogenesis, it has no sex or gender to speak of.

Social Networks

Social networks are an important and complex aspect of Tsrul culture. For the most part, Tsrul are social butterflies, spending a small amount of time on short visits with small groups of friends. However, they also spend a significant amount of time crossing paths with acquaintances. TAs a result, knowing a person's name holds less significance in Tsrul culture. This is partly because the Tsrul have so many acquaintances. However, it is also based on the fact that the Tsrul can travel through time. Although one person may have seen an acquaintance only a few minutes ago, that acquaintance may have traveled to a different point in time and spent several months in another time frame, and forgotten the person's name. upon meeting again, it would not be considered impolite for that acquaintance to ask the person's name again.

Family is somewhat less important than in modern western society. This is also due in large part to the fact that the Tsrul can travel through time. any particular person can meet practically any other, and meeting distant descendents or ancestors is not an uncommon occurance. Since such a huge amount of familial connections are available, the most important familial connections are typically the connections between parents and their children. sibling-to-sibling connections are also important, but are mostly viewed the same level as friend-to-friend connections. Beyond the immediate family connections, the Tsrul typically have an elaborate clan structure, based largely on when and where individuals are born.

In fact, Tsrul naming conventions make the time and place of an individual's birth a large part of their identity as a whole. Following the personal and familial names, Tsrul individuals have a Birth name, which details the galaxy and year that the individual was born. The personal name, composed of two or three cores, is basically the same concept as a person's given name in modern culture. The parents of a child will choose the name, assigning it to their child upon its birth. The familial name follows the given name, and is typically the first core of each parent's personal name, with the name of the parent who carried the child being first. Surrogate mothers are considered heroic in Tsrul culture, and if a surrogate is involved in the birthing process, the child's Familial name will be the first core of the surrogate, no matter what. Then comes the name core of the parent whose gamete was fertilized, then the parent whose gamete acted as the impregnator. Since Tsrul genetic technology is more advanced than current technology, it is possible for two men or two women (or indeed, more than two partners) to have genetic offspring with one another.

Finally, The species's relationship with the Uthan is perhaps the most important of all. The Uthan, a race of intelligent alien life forms, are markedly different from any earth life. Their biology led to Tsrul genetic engineering driving the Tsrul to be able to see far into the Infrared and Ultraviolet spectrum, led to the ability of both races to become permanent space-faring entities, while their culture helped create the governing body of the Tsrul-Uthan Collective, and made the two species into a major power in the Tsrul-Uthan epoch of the Universe. Tsrul and Uthan children are paired up at an early age, and spend their entire lives working and living together. The Tsrul-Uthan connection is far and away the most important connection in Tsrul culture, moreso even than the connections between Tsrul parents and their children.

Ambassadors

Traders

Pirates, Defensive tactics, and Warfare

Since many Tsrul-Uthan pairings work as traders and movers of valuable comodities, piracy is a constant threat to them. Despite the fact that their ships are capable of exiting most threatening situations immediately, they are unable to do so while outside of their ships, or when persued by other Tsrul vessels. As such, defensive tactics are frequently employed to mitigate threatening situations, despite the fact that most Tsrul and Uthan individuals are fairly non-violent.

Despite their non-violent default demeanor, taking on even a single Tsrul-Uthan pairing is one of the most dangerous acts a pirate can attempt. Tsrul weaponry is capable of using directed energy defensive tactics (including electric, magnetic, photonic, and plasma barrages), as well as sheer force. One particular device, the electromagnetic coilgun, is practically standard-issue to Traders, Ambassadors, and Mystics. The gun is capable of firing any suitably-sized magnetic projectile to nearly the speed of light. The sheer kinetic force of such a projectile is capable of utterly destroying all but the most heavily-shielded Tsrul Vessels. Even without weaponry, a well-built Tsrul individual would be easily capable of punching a solidly-build boxer's jaw off.

The Uthan are frequently referred to as "Blinder-Brawlers" (Tsrul: gampon-gaṡanl) by pirates, due to their tendancy to use high-powered flashes of light and relentless rough-and-tumble fighting tactics to incapacitate threats. One of the most gruesome, yet effective, means by which the Uthan defend themselves is referred to as "Leave One." Essentially, if a threatening opponent has more than one of a specific body part (eyes, ears, hands, legs, etc.), The Uthan will tear, shatter, gouge, or cut all but one of them off using nothing but their own strength and bare hooves. However, the Uthan will always do as much as possible to ensure that the opponent is still able to survive. Although the tactic is not completely foolproof, it deterrs nearly any offenders from a second attempt.

There is one Tsrul warship, known as "Galaxy-Render." It has the power to remotely convert or relocate mass from many sources to any chosen point in the universe. No matter how powerful or well-shielded an enemy's ship may be, having a black hole temporarily teleported to overlap it in spacetime will end any threat it poses immediately.

Mystics

Planet-Dwellers

Reckoning

Eons separate the Tsrul-Uthan epoch from the modern day. as a result, many of the conventions used to keep track of measurements have been forgotten to history. The most important measurement is determined by the Tsrul-Uthan Collective's main data network, which is composed of billions of hyper-fast warp nanites which can cross the physical expanse of the cosmos (at the moment of the Tsrul-Uthan Collective's foundation) in just 0.429 seconds. This time unit (abbreviated UT) is integral to the determination of many other measurements.

For instance, it determines the reckoning of time. 60 of these Tsrul "seconds" create one Tsrul "minute," and sixty minutes create on Tsrul "hour." however, rather than 24 hours that we have in our day, there are 60 hours in a Tsrul "day," 60 of these days in a Tsrul "month," and 60 months in a Tsrul "year." The Tsrul word for this "year" translates as cycle. this creates a Tsrul cycle that lasts 12 years and 45 days on the Gregorian Calendar (including leap days). The average Tsrul lifespan is 12-13 cycles, or roughly 145-160 years.

The Tsrul second also determines distance measurements, with the basic unit of distance being the distance light travels in a vacuum during that amount of time. This "star unit," (abbreviated US) much like the time units, is multiplied and divided by orders of magnitude in base-60 to achieve more appropriate distance measurements, just like the meter is multiplied or divided to provide measurements like the kilometer or the centimeter.

Scale Unit (Translated) Abbr. Conversion
Stellar long jump JL 634.264 lightyears
jump J 10.571 lightyears
short jump JS 0.176 lightyears
Systemic long orbit OL 0.003 lightyears
orbit O 462,999,470 km
short orbit OS 7,716,657.84 km
Basic star unit US 128,610.964 km
Planetary long distance DL 2143.516 km
distance D 35.725 km
short distance DS 595.421 m
Human long length LL 9.924 m
length L 16.539 cm
short length LS 2.757 mm

Mass is determined by the mass of a free proton (Mp) multiplied by 60 to the 15th power. this equation (Mp×6015) yields a mass of 786.441552 grams, or 1.73380684 pounds. this measurement is known as the mass unit (abbreviated UM).

(This section will be updated with more information later.)

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