Kalatri

KALATRI
Biocode: O-LDL-D11

The kalatri, best known as the dominant sophont species of the Voniensa Republic, are a warm-blooded oxygen-breathing species, originating from a protein-lipid biochemistry with nucleic-acid based genetic information storage. In terms of standard interspecies morphology, they are upright bipedal lacertians, possessing a squamous integument in shades of blue or green, with a crest of short, stiff white pseudo-fur along the line of the spine from skull to mid-back; this actually serves as a chemosensor. Having evolved from hexapedal ancestors on their homeworld of Vonis Prime, they possess a double pair of arms, the mid-arm of which has migrated towards the head creating a complex double-shoulder joint; the outer arms, referred to as the major arms, possess three-fingered hands and are used for tasks requiring strength and grip; they are also used as secondary transportation limbs for brachiation. The inner arms, the minor arms, have developed six-fingered hands used for fine manipulation. The tail common in lacertomorphs is largely vestigial in kalatri, and when occasionally present is considered a genetic atavism and typically removed surgically shortly after birth. Nutrition, originally biochemically compatible post-mortem plant and animal matter, but in the modern era more commonly corresponding synthetics, is ingested through a single multi-toothed mouth located on the anterior surface of the inferior portion of the head. Excretion, copulation, and parturition take place through a single combined cloaca located upon the ventral surface of the inferior terminus of the torso.

The kalatri head (containing the brain and primary sense organs) is also lacertian in form, although relatively platyopic. It bears no respiratory orifices; kalatri respiration makes use of neck vents. The kalatri possess dual, stereoptic eyes on the anterior surface of the superior portion of the head. Immediately lateral to these are a pair of large auditory tympana. Kalatri visual range covers from galle to mid-blue, and aural range from 45 Hz to 29 kHz.

Kalatri are a bisexed, usually pair-bonding, dianisogamic, and ovoviviparous species, K-strategy, typically producing a single offspring at a time, which requires fourteen to sixteen years to reach physical maturity. Offspring are functionally helpless and require parental care for the first several years of their lives. Unmodified kalatri lifespan extends to between 90 and 130 years, with gross physiological deterioration setting in the last 20 years.

Psychologically1, against baseline average, kalatri can be considered moderately ludic, mildly xenophobic/chauvinist (although commonly-seen kalatri cultural elements decry this), moralist, moderately precautionary and uninnovative, low-trust, and susceptible to an unusually high degree to conscious and subconscious peer norming, with consequent prosocial/counteregoic tendencies.

By the standards of the Associated Worlds, Republican kalatri are a near-baseline species: While their technological base in other areas remains relatively well-developed, Republic law prohibits a variety of technologies, including but not limited to volitional machine intelligence (or, rather, the development of volitional machine intelligence, and the full recognition of the personhood of machine sophonts is dubious), seed AI, the uploading of organic sophonts into algorithmic form (such uploaded sophonts are denied personhood within Republic space, except by special treaty arrangement) and its concomitants, synnoetic integration of organic and machine intelligence, bionic enhancement, the majority of non-industrial-grade nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetic enhancement of sophonts and most other forms of genetic manipulation except under strict controls, immortagens and other high-grade anagathics, and intelligence enhancement by technological means. Those kalatri who have abandoned the Republic for one of the few independent kalatri colonies in Worlds space are not externally prohibited from using these technologies, but usually find it hard to shake off their cultural conditioning.

– A Comprehensive Index of Sophonts, ed. Trestat hr-Mirek, Third Order Publishing


1: Authorial aside: Given that the kalatri are also about as close to psychologically human as anyone in-setting can be, interested readers can occupy themselves reverse-engineering what the Worlds’ modal sophont species is like from this…

The Heart of Mediocrity (1)

“No-no-no-no-no,” Arúaz Váriz Xinak Laníc Kúran viKoriaz said, hsis heads moving in some agitation.  “Absolutely not, never.  We and our crew cannot be paid enough to take you to Vonis Prime, no.   The kalatri do not like visitors of our kind, no-no-no.  Cause us/us/ours too much trouble, risk, damage.  Cannot pay us/us enough to make that voyage worthwhile.”  Hse peered at the suited figure through the hydrocarbon fog.  “Why do you want to charter a múrast ship anyway, oxygen-breather?  Our icehull has no cabins suited for your air and warmth, and the months to Vonis are a long time to stay in a suit.  Besides, the kalatri would only be more suspicious.  No-no, no answers, not our business.  We and ours will not take you.”

“It is a matter of my cargo, not myself.”  The suited figure tossed a cryp-token into the negotiating area.  “This, for the charter rate to Vonis.  This much again,” as a second token joined the first, “for your trouble, as well as,” a third joined them, “this more, for no further questions.  And as much again, and the cost of repairing any damage, when we return.”

viKoriaz stared at the tokens, counting; nearly four times the going rate for the charter lay in front of hsem already.  “With no further questions, how can we/we be sure we/we will ever return to see that pay?”

“Be sure?  You cannot.  But I assure you that I do not plan to throw my own life away on some foolish plan.  I am merely… in need of fast transportation, and yours is the only ship for charter in Fínar space right now.”

viKoriaz’s minds argued inwardly for a moment, before hse curled back into his oil-bath and took possession of the cryp with a tongue-flick.  “It seems we/we can be paid enough after all, oxygen-breather.  We/we/ours can be ready to depart from midwatch tomorrow.  The Consensus of Múrethch.  Bay 171-RR.”