Central Alliance Species
The Central Alliance is a multi-species partnership made up of many different people united by trade, cultural exchange, and mutual defense. While there is no policy excluding non-hominid life forms, the nature of the Alliance tends to attract mostly hominid participation. There are many species in Central space that are of "non-standard" body forms, but only a few, such as the A'Kii and the Skiatla, choose to be fully participating members of the Alliance.
[This section will be expanded soon with in-depth information about various species as well as pictures]
Zhool- es- koo. "Zh-" as in French jour.
Census: 12% of overall Alliance population.
Of all the non-human life forms, the zhulescu tend to be the most psychologically similar to humans in mental outlook if not in body form. Slightly smaller --almost unnoticeably so-- and slimmer on average than humans, the zhulescu evolved from pack hunting primates that dwelled on savannah-like plains. This similarity to human evolution has been pointed to as one of the reasons why the two species frequently get along so well and are mostly comfortable in each others' societies.
The zhulescu have springy, digitigrade legs that facilitate leaping, jumping, and running but at the sacrifice of load-bearing capacity. Both lower legs and forearms are covered with hair that at one time served as protection from various thistly plants but are now softened and less thick from milennia of disuse. The zhulescu have very little overall body hair, with only thin, sparse patches elsewhere on legs and arms as well as the pubic region. Eyebrows exist but tend to be fairly thin.
The zhulescu have a short, blunt muzzle-like facial feature called a zhikal (zhi-khal). It is considered insulting to call a zhikal a 'muzzle', as only animals have muzzles whereas zhulescu have zhikali (the "-i" suffix indicates the plural). The tip of the zhikal has two prominent nasal opening that facilitate breathing and cooling when running.
Zhulescu ears are not typical ears but rather short, sensitive, velvity 'aural spikes' that rotate to fully absorb sounds and locate where sounds come from. These spikes are sensitive, with gentle caressing considered pleasurable while sudden, sharp strikes can cause temporary, minor incapacitation. Zhulescu hearing is superior to human hearning, and their music --to human ears-- tends to be seen as particularly "soft".
Zhulescu have head hair similar to human hair, although in comparison it is thinner and smoother. Zhulescu have whiskers that extend from their jaws but these are thin and short, and seem to be used primarily as means of expression.
Zhulescu eyes have diamond-shaped pupils and tend towards violet, amber, and brown colors. Skin tones tend to be a sort of honey-yellow color, yellowish-bronze, and a brownish umber color.
A gender co-equal society, full marriage equality is enjoyed, with male children inheriting their family names of their fathers, while female children inheret the family names of their mothers, and issues such as homosexuality and an entrenched history of socially-sanctioned sex work dismissed as a non-issue by all but the most conservative of families. Zhulescu were united by a weak world government that oversaw competing remnant nations when they were contacted by the Djeriessi Hegemony, which they saw as a human-centric institution with which they tried to peacefully co-exist without joining as long as possible.
"Thenn": soft "th" sound like at the end of with, +"enn".
Census: 12% of overall Alliance population.
Pictured: Thenn female in ancient, traditional garb but with modern rifle.
The thenn are small, compared to humans, and are evolved from cave-dwelling primates. The typical thenn reaches the shoulder height of an average human male. Their primary skin color is a pasty white with very little pigmentation that burns easily in direct sunlight. Their bodies are covered by large dark splotches of dark color, typically black but some ethnicities are known to have dark brown spots. The spots are thicker and tend not to burn in the sun; they also have the effect of breaking up a thenn's thermal signature when seen in infrared, where a thenn is most comfortable seeing.
Thenn eyes are large and dark, and are always surrounded by large, heat-suppressing splotches so that their eyes are not overwhelmed by their own thermals from their faces. Thenn faces tend to be flat and nearly featureless, compared to other species in the galaxy. Their lips are thin to the point of nonexistance; their browridges are also lacking prominance. Their cheeks and foreheads sprout coarse whiskers which, in the dark, alert a thenn if she is brushing up against a rock face. Thenn head hair is thick and coarse. They have no other body hair except for the tufts at their feet.
Thenn teeth are not individual bones, but rather two complete bones sprouting from the lower and upper jaws and braced with gums. Their enamel coating is far thicker, and the teeth are regularly used to make clicking noises as a aural means of expressing emotions from amusement to annoyance. A thenn with a cracked "tooth" is rare, but dental problems need to be seen to and corrected a squickly as possible before infection spreads throughout the bone.
Ears are flat and are more attuned to using echolocation from sounds bouncing off of near rock walls, and lack the prominant cupping of cartilage found on human ears for directing sound into the aural cavity.
Hands are wide and muscular, with three fingers, all of which can provide grasping power as well as fine locomotor control. The fingers are tipped with thick, heavy caps of chitin on the tips to facilitate digging and tapping on rock for communication and listening for thickness and consistency. Thick claws, rather than thumbs, are based in the wrists. While potentially strong, they are also capable of a surprising abount of gentle, controllable pressure.
The thenn feet are thick and chitinous, frequently compared to a hoof more than a foot. Thick, coarse hairs surround the lower part of the leg and ankle, an evolutionary holdover protecting the thenn from hazards on their cave floors.
Thenn society is matriarchal, with females taking the lead in most social situations, including government, technical, and military affairs. The last few generations have seen strides taken in thenn society for gender equality, and while there has not been discrimination against males for many years, certain social mores continue to be automatic and assumed, with females seen as the dominant voice.
To outsiders, thenn can be hard to tell apart at first. Females do not grow breasts until pregnant, and while thenn males tend to be a bit thinner and more angular, with females more rounded, the differences can be difficult to see by the untrained eye. Thenn females, due to giving birth, have wider hips than males, and their voices are slightly higher, but all thenn voices tend to be lower and "huskier" than human voices across the board. Thenn are also frequently considered to have unreadable facial expressions, a claim to which there is some truth since facial expressions had little meaning in frequently dark cave societies, and the role filled by facial expressions was usually replaced with teeth clicking signals instead.
After evolving underground, with more or less near-constant temperatures, the thenn have a hard time adapting to climate extremes. Temperatures deemed comfortable for most humans, zhulescu, and others seem extremely hot to a thenn, and so they tend to wear thermal control garments when mixing in standard company. This has given rise to speculation that the thenn are religiously prudish or have excessive body shyness (neither of which is typical).
Census: 10% of overall Alliance population.
Descended from tree-dwelling arboreals, the wanni also show evidence of a past as swamp-dwelling creatures. Their short, wiry bodies are covered in a thick layer of fur that is coated with a naturally-occuring layer of protective oil that would be appropriate for protection during long periods in murky water.
Wanni come up to about the chest of the average human male, but they are strong and flexible by nature.
Census: 8.5% of overall Alliance population.