The Kel'Regar: A Sci-Fi look at Elves
Twin-aspected aliens, the Kel’Regar are strange creatures, and their alien society, strange technology, and lithe bodies evoking the images of elves in some humans.
A glance at the gauges in the suit-organism’s cybernetic HUD, and she nodded. The air looked clean, despite the foreign world, despite the presence of the hulking alien wreck. She cracked the helm the suit, and beneath the pale light of the yellow sun above, her sharply lined face came into view. Darkly pigmented, a deep, rich violet, her skin felt cold under this pale light, compared to the bright blue blaze of her home, her short, pale blue hair rising into the strangely gentle breeze of shockingly sweet air, drifting over pointed ears. Behind Jae’ria, three of her soldier-betas followed suit, the women smiling faintly as they tasted the atmosphere of this soft world. And, somehow, in this air, even her voice sounded soft, rather than the harsh, powerful words she would speak at home. "Tcht. We have a mission, we cannot play around as if we were men! Tanna, blow the hatch. Sca’moi, you are on point. Kanish, keep us advised of bio-threats! They were alive enough to send out what looks like a distress signal, the stupid bahkt, they might be alive enough to fight!" "Yes, Captain-Mistress!" The three barked as one. To hesitate to obey the Captain-Mistress was unthinkable. Mutiny, after all, she could punish by death.
A brief bit of fiddling, and bio-explosives were planted, the fuse was lit. It was with a screeching blast that the alloy door tore away, leaving them room to step inside. The breath of the Captain-Mistress caught in her throat as she stepped inside, and she looked about, blinking. So.. much.. metal! Were these aliens truely so strange as to ignore the power of life? And what -was- that strange smell? "No motion, Captain-Mistress." "Or living-signs. Walls read as combination of metals, purified stone, and extremely strange, well, bio-residues. I doubt my scanners can penetrate a single bulkhead." "Then we explore the old fashioned way."
Jae’ria sighed softly, as she awoke the weapons-implant in her suit’s right arm, diamond-bone talons extending. This smell put her on edge, and the alienness of all this metal, that wasn’t helping. Slowly, the four picked their way through the derelict, scowling all the way, taking records of the strange runes inscribed on each door, until they reached a large room, with many pods visible through the doors. "Captain-Mistress, there is a beam of infrared light crossing the door. It may be the alien’s equivalent of an alarm-eye. I am also registering alien bio-signs in the pods." With an annoyed gesture, the Captain pulled up short, irritation written across her face.
The smell was strongest here, she was certain of that. The air still registered as safe, but she swore she was beginning to become feverish. Perhaps that is why she couldn’t think straight. "... I’ll trip it." Replacing her soldier-betas would be too much of a pain, this far out. If she died, her sisters on homeworld would know the danger, they would get ready for war. Curse it! She was thinking like a male! But all she could do now was trip the wire. So she stepped across the threshhold, her weapon held low, her body ready to pounce. Indeed, the light-line was a trap!
And as the metal pods swung open, she stood, tensed, waiting, watching. And as her eyes focused on the first to emerge, she shouted, her dark cheeks suddenly flushing, as she realized what the smell was. It was the aliens, and they were… "Sisters! We have found males!" Her eyes darted among the pale beings, even as one of the males started to step forwards, tapping his chest and saying something. Five male aliens. One that she thought might be female, but wasn’t certain. If it was a female, she would just have to understand, for the URGE was upon them.
The Kel’Regar female, the only variety that a human is very likely to meet in space, runs a touch shorter than human average, and is more slender of build, yet muscular. Her skin ranges from chocolate brown to midnight blue, full of dark pigmentations that deny the harsh sunlight. Her hair and eyes are much the same range of colors, her eyes narrowed and having pronounced epicanthal folds, while her ears, set lower than a humans, are whittled to sharp points.
She is highly aggressive in all her ways, for the natural resources of the poison jungle she calls home are so rarely useful that there was a time aeons ago when she was forced to compete with her own mate for food and water. Once, it was not uncommon for a female to kill, cook, and devour her mate even while bearing his children! In modern times, this aggression is channeled through a highly complex system of ritual and law, which dictates all the interactions between women, so that their species could survive the fierce competition. Eternally nomadic, no more than small groups of females can tolerate each other for very long, and they tend to wander around first their world, and now space in these tiny groups. While there is no biological barrier to her living four hundred years or more, few females celebrate their two hundredth birthday, usually finding a way to die beforehand. There is a strict structure to these bands, with arcane rituals and strange challenges determining the alpha female of the band. Within the band, her word is law, so long as it does not contradict the Laws of the Ancients, which codify the interactions of the band with each other.
The Kel’Regar male, meanwhile, is taller than a man, yet slightly stocky, and in some ways, would be considered to be ‘soft’ by many humans, and certainly by the Kel’Regar female. Running, on average, a hair over two meters tall, and nearly a hundred and twenty kilos, this ‘softness’ does not run to the same kind of fat as a human, for it deposits in the muscle like a stag’s. Fair of skin and hair, many males would be considered albinos by human, were it not for the sparkling color of their eyes. Physically, their face is much akin to the females, though generally softer and rounder, compared to the lean, angular female.
Evolved, as it were, as a source of both seed and feed for the female, the male’s survival abilities have always lagged behind the female’s meaningfully. Until, that is, the advent of tools, agriculture, and language. Now, the males serve as the race’s repository of science, technology, and artistry, congregating in walled communes, into which the females can be let into at their leisure. A male Kel’Regar typically lives to be about three hundred.
Both sexes have a poorer vision for light and detail than a human will, for their sight is keyed in on motion and movement instead. Their hearing, likewise, is keyed in on changes in volume, distance, and direction, rather than the harmony and dissonance that a human can hear so well. However, foremost among their senses is their sense of smell, allowing them to identify many complexities of their environment.
Kel’Regar society is a complex weave of ritual, desire, and need, and is nearly impenetrable to humans who are likely to encounter them. It is a delicate weaving of the nomadic fierceness of the female of the species, and the sacrificial communal tendencies of the male. The center piece of all, however, is generally the male’s communes.
A typical commune may hold anywhere from a few score to several hundred males, rarely even a thousand. They are often a small complex of buildings, surrounded by many acres of farmland, which is ringed by a high wall, defended by the organic technologies of the Kel’Regar. Within the commune, the males practice a comparatively simple life of farming, philosophy, and artistry. The advance of technology also comes from within the communes, for two potential reasons, the first being the advancement of philosophy, while the second is request from the females.
Each commune has associated with it a number of nomadic female bands, often roughly even in number with the number of males within the commune. These women first foraged and hunted the areas near the communes, later mining and partially industrializing them. They also may serve as traders between communes, gleefully working one off the other.
Interaction between male and female is also highly ritualized. A female may only enter an enclave under two conditions. A lone female may be invited into the commune for trade purposes. Under this invitation, she is confined to a small area of the enclave set aside for this purpose, during which she must wear a special mask, which blocks out her potent sense of smell, so that she might keep her mind on the task at hand. Secondly, a band of females may request entry to an enclave in order to breed. At the gate, they must surrender all weapons, equipment, and even clothing, before they are led to a certain building inside the complex. For the trip, they must don the scent-concealing mask, but this may be removed once they enter, and are locked within. Inside this building, and only inside this building, they are permitted to follow their instinct, the tremendously potent desires unleashed. While it is no longer common for females to actually eat the males, deaths during mating are not nearly as uncommon as the males would prefer.
Due to a peculiar quirk of genetics among the Kel’Regar, these meetings most frequently result in the birth of twins, one male, one female, while quadruplets and sextuplets are rare, but not unheard of. Any odd number of children being born is always the result of a partially failed pregnancy. Males are left at the nearest enclave, while females are raised by the band their mother belongs to, typically leaving the band to find her own around the fifteenth year of her life - While in ancient times, both male and female reached sexual maturity in about fourteen years, most modern males are not considered adult until their thirtieth birthday, though this may vary from commune to commune.
Even in space, this basic societal structure remains largely unchanged, with males congregating in small cities and space stations, while females continue their nomadic existence, or work in semi-tribal 'industrial communes', though on a far grander scale than ever before.
‘War’ as it is known by humans is unknown to the Kel’Regar, as the men have never needed to fight each other with any great urgency, and the females are almost incapable of organization on a military scale. When forced to fight, they will almost always devolve immediately to asymmetric guerrila warfare.
The fourth planet out from a brilliant white star, the world of Regar is warm and wet, nearly 80% of its surface covered in water. There is a single large continent, and the warmth and high precipitation dictates that the slim majority of the surface is jungle, with much of the rest covered in a temperate rain forest. Plant diversity is tremendous, and because the conditions favor them so, mega-flora are common.
The vast majority of the creatures of the jungles are venomous in some fashion or another, and although the Kel’Regar have evolved resistances or immunities to many of these venoms, even they must take care in this jungle. Unfortunately for the Kel’Regar, the forests of Regar have few easily domesticated plants and no easy cereal grains, making what agriculture they are able to muster primarily a thing of flowering fruits. The primary food-animal evolved with rough convergence to the earthling boar, nosing around for grubs and roots with powerful tusks.
Regar has few readily accessible deposits of metals, with many of the most valuable formations beneath miles of sea water. Instead of the art of the forge, then, the Kel’Regar took up fighting and farming with the tools that their environment gave them - the trees and creatures around them. Accordingly, Kel’Regar technology is primarily based around biological ‘devices’, first trained, then bred, and finally, gene-engineered to their purposes. While electronic technologies are known, they are still rare, and always interfaced with the familiar, comfortable biological devices. Even their starships are alive, bizaare, chitinous creatures grown around and through the Thoronic warp-cores that drive them through space - They are piloted by a specially trained Kel’Regar female, who has undergone the process of implantation, the insertion of a specially designed ‘interface’ organism that functions much the same way a cybernetic datalink does in a human.
Even weapons technology is primarily organic, the Kel’Regar fighting with living, symbiotic bone claws and strange, organic guns capable of throwing a piercing needle, or even explosive projectile, at nearly bullet-like velocities.
The Kel’Regar have a very difficult time interacting with other sentient races. Almost invariably, they trigger one of three reactions within the Kel’Regar female: Predator, Prey, or Male/Female. As the chance of meeting a female is far, far higher than the chance of meeting a male, this primal creature is the impression that the majority of other races have of the Kel’Regar, leaving them isolated.
While males are capable of suspending instinct long enough to deal with outworlders, they are completely incapable of understanding the concept of urgency or the importance of time. As a consequence, they tend to view other races as strange and quixotic, and do not often seek out contact outside their communes. For a human to step into a commune is like stepping out of this universe and into a strange, parallel one of music, song, and plants, a bewildering and disorienting experience.
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? Responses (13)
Updated: Pushing this live, finally.
I liked the opening presentation, with the Kel'Regar investigating the alien spacecraft. Everything was well-presented and detailed.
I also thought that the racial background presented was nicely detailed and made their culture credible. While they have resonances with elves, they seem to be 'Space Drow' more than just elves. The strange reactions they have to other races would make their behavior seem incomprehensible or evil to other species, while maintaining a bizarre internal logic (One of the usual issues with Drow as a race is how their culture seems to make little sense).
I'm impressed with the alien aspects of the race and their cultural quirks. Their emphasis on other senses (rather than the visual) was a nice touch. All in all, the Kel'Regar would be an interesting species to encounter.
A significant portion of the idea here was to have significant sexual dimorphism. The female are meant, indeed, to be akin to drow, while the male are meant to be akin to Tolkien's elves. I'm not certain the level of the divide was properly emphasized.
The only question I have is without an industrialized society and scientific sector, how did the Kel'Regar develop space travel?
Very, very slowly, and it would have come from the enclaves first. They do not have an industry capable of mass production. The majority of useful tools are bio-engineered. This does not mean that they do not have capable philosophers, scientists, and inventors, especially within the communes. Once I'm ready to prime the pump, I will create a codex of organic & hand crafted technologies, which races such as the Kel'Regar may employ.
One thing I wonder about though: with their lack of organization and scarce industry, they'd soon fall to one of the more ruthless races, such as the ever-popular Bugs. What keeps others from gobbling up the space elves?
If their hunting patterns resembled the lioness more than the cheetah, it would be to their advantage...
I suspect that their homeworld (and any established colony worlds) would be filled with lethal biologicals exported from their 'poisonous' home jungles: Plants and animals to which they have some resistance, but which are lethal to most other species that share a similar biology. In order to colonize such a place, the original ecology would have to be entirely edadicated.
Siren's description of their biotechnology gave me images of a 'Cthorran' biology, with specially bred symbiotic species and microorganisms serving as integral parts of their technology.
its all been said, more or less. Fascinating race and culture, and interesting comments to boot!
The species does seem a little one sided in this presentation. It also has that Lensmen/ pulp scifi feel. The basics are interesting, the manifestations seem a bit unsupported.
I would like to see some more of the tech. Just a couple of thing to mention in the tech place would be sufficient until you go gonzo and write up the entire listing.
As a request, I would like a bit more on both their space tech AND their daily lives. Those are both sort of implied and hand waved in this write up.
Could have swore I voted before. This is a great sub!