|Homeworld location||Far Farquahr (Beyond 3123)|
|Primary Star||K0 V|
|Reference||Michael J. Maley - High Tortuga|
In their resting form they resemble a large (1.5 to 2 meter diameter) amoeba. Their exoskeleton is made of a tough flexible material covered in minute cilia that aid in movement and serve as receptors for the senses of taste and smell. Their flexible skin can form multiple (up to 15 to 20) pseudopods, shift into a ball for rapid movement (hence their nickname 'Roamers'), or flatten out to as thin as 4 mm to slid under a narrow crack or glide through the air. Their can make these shifts rapidly (10 seconds) do to their peculiar internal body construction.
Their internal organs consist of a hefty (1200 cc) brain surrounded by a neural network, immersed in a a thick fluid that serves as internal body, circulatory, respiratory systems, and internal organs. This fluid also provides the V'Tlar their muscular power, acting like hydraulic fluid in machines. Their neural network have myriad receptors in the exoskeleton, providing the being with the ability to 'see' in all directions. This 'sight' is less than a human in normal conditions. However the V'Tlar vision system is a wonder in dark conditions or in space as it can scan in the infrared and ultraviolet range, as well in various radiation wavelengths invisible to human eyes; they suffer no penalties in these conditions. Their 'eyes' are also capable of 'flicker-flash vision', being able to process up to 650 images per second (humans normally process 30 to 35 images per second). Their have no mouth, digesting food by dissolving it with powerful digestive juices then absorbing their food through their skin. What little waste material is expelled in the same manner. They are omnivorous in their feeding habits, however their have a preference for substances high in volcanic sulfides. (Their ancestors arose in active volcanic regions of Kom, their name for their world.) Internally, V'Tlar are living chemical laboratories, capable of breaking down or compounding various substances. An example of this ability is the production of hydrogen to provide lift for easier movement or for flight. (In the last century, V'Tlar scientists have improved this synthesis by figuring out how to produce a safer, helium mixture). They possess no organs for hearing or speaking; they communicate by sight using a system of bioelectric emitters in their exoskeleton that flickers a rapid message code (similar to the old Terran 'Morse code') that is picked up by the visual sensors of other V'Tlar.
Another remarkable facet of the V'Tlar exoskeleton is its ability to convey emotion:
- Anger: Bright green
- Shock, Embarrassment: Light Green
- Scared: Bright bluish-green
- Asleep or calm: Mauve
- Sad: Light greenish-white
- Happy: Bright egg-yellow
- Laughing: Bright light yellow
- Bored: Dark blue
- Confused: Buish-red.
Dead V'Tlar have a brownish-blue hue.
The V'Tlar Komehk are asexual, producing 1d6 offspring in a reproductive cycle that runs every six years until death (V'Tlar live about 240 years). Young V'Tlar are fully formed at birth (though only 20 mm in diameter) and ready to trained to be part of society. Training takes two years after which the parent provides no care for the child.
Zero gravity creates pressure damage (called in slang 'bubble-up') upon the internal fluids of V'Tlar. Therefore any V'Tlar travelling off world does so in stasis or in a specially designed vacc suit to prevent exposure to zero-G. They also do not handle temperatures below 0°C unless protected by glyceride production or protective gear. In fact at &minus5°C, the V'Tlar become inert, with death by hyperthermia once temperature hits −10°C.
Though listed as TL–2 sentients, the V'Tlar can be considered almost TL–12 in the life sciences (medicine, biology, biogenetic, and bioelectric engineering). Their understanding of their unique systems has allowed them to become living biochemical labs. A early benefit was the ability to alter their diets in colder climates, absorbing glyceride material to produce a natural anti-freeze in their system. Another is the ability to use their color-shifting abilities for camouflage, which became useful on the surface against the large arthropod predators that once ruled the surface world. Their greatest achievement has been Qaworu, a living fiber optic vine that can exist on its own, or as a symbiote or parasite of other plant life. Combining Qawor with genetic improvements to the native flora, the V'Tlar have produced heat, light, and power from trees turned into super-efficient solar cells. They have also used Qaworu to create a widespread communication network. Qaworu is one of the chief exports of their world. V'Tlar building are cut from the native stone by the V'Tlar's powerful acids or by the use of hydrogen gas used as an explosive.
Though a peaceful race, the V'Tlar are capable of fighting and using advanced weaponry when necessary. Weapons are kept in a communal location. All the race can be considered as possessing Unarmed Combat 1. Though for most fighting, they depend on the local human population and the Araniopan Space Navy.
As a species, they are a laid back, happy group of individuals. A great deal of this is due their complete satisfaction with their racial and cultural milieu. Another factor is that their great sense of humor—V'Tlar can find humor in any situation no matter how deadly serious. This came in handy two centuries before when Far Farquhr was colonized by humans who originally thought the V'Tlar vermin. A drawback with dealing with non-V'Tlar sentients is the sense of V'Tlar physical superiority. With their highly flexible and adaptive body and its ability to generate as many limbs as needed (unlike inflexible, limited limb forms such as Aslan, Human, Poicxh, and the like), the V'Tlar consider themselves the pinnacle of creation. However, they are not petty sentients, so their chauvinism is a benignly paternal or mildly applied bits a subtle satire. Their race has psi-potential, but they have yet to development a reason or necessity to develop psi talents.
They possess no real government of the name, as all matters are handled by a gathering of V'Tlar, either at bimonthly gatherings, or at gatherings convened for special or unexpected events. There is no social level, other than child, youth, and adult. With dealing with outsiders, an appropriate specialist is appointed to deal with whatever job is needed (scientist, scout, miner, doctor, trader, etc.).
V'Tlar do have a belief in and afterlife, burying their dead with cherished remembrances of their earthly life to accompany them to the otherworld. As the mind is bioelectrical in nature, they feel the mind goes on living after the body fails, though they have no proof that this is the case. They believe the universe is bound by a divine energy (powqwasenbon) that oversees, but is not sentient in itself. They find offworlders' belief in gods to be incomprehensible and illogical.
V'Tlar names tend to be very descriptive of the individual's job, achievements or some event (good or bad) that happened to the person in their life, often sounding like humorous nicknames to humans. A sign of respect for an alien and their acceptance by the V'Tlar is to be given a V'Tlar name, often to the sentient's embarrassment.
Young V'Tlar are considered mentally mature at age eight, at which time they start their training in life. Schooling is done by the parent, first; then by older, juvenile (three to eight years old) individuals. At age eight, young are tested for aptitude and assigned as an apprentice for six years to an older V'Tlar to learn their chosen field.
V'Tlar have little use for higher equipment other than electronics, sensors, long range communication devices, and humorous entertainment. However, a few of the younger set have found delight in off-world grav vehicles. Most V'Tlar who travel off world tend to the curious, or the few doctors who are interested in non-V'Tlar medicine. A few biotech scientists have been know to attend otherworld science symposiums. A few mining experts have been lured offworld to work on asteroids for the curiosity.
V'Tlar physically are weaker than humans, but are much more dexterous. V'Tlar when not rolling (or using some aid such producing lighter than air gas) move at half the rate humans do. Also when taken two-thirds damage, they lose the ability to flatten more than 30 mm, and can only wield 1d6−3 pseudopods). V'Tlar also are incapable of not telling a joke, pun, or some kind of witty play, particularly when things are the gloomiest. They also cannot resist listening to a joke or a comedy routine.