|Homeworld location||Vrirhlanz (Gzaekfueg 1635)|
|Primary Star||G4 V|
|Reference||"Contact: The Hlanssai." Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society 22 40=45.|
They are widely admired for their artistic talents, grace, and dexterity, but many members of other races distrust the Hlanssai because of their justified reputation for emotional instability. Nonetheless, sheer wanderlust and versatility has carried the species far.
Physiology & Environment (Ecology)
The Hlanssai evolved on Vrirhlanz, in the Vargr Extents, a planet not totally unlike Terra. Their ancestors were intermittent omnivore/gatherer types, adapted for a semi-nocturnal existence in moderately forested areas. This species already possessed a fair level of intelligence when tectonic shifts created a "land bridge" between two continents, allowing a large number of different -- and frequently dangerous -- species to invade the proto-Hlanssai's home environment. The resulting evolutionary pressure encouraged flexible, intelligent behavior, but this was only part of the result. The new dangers confronting the Hlanssai demanded the ability to perceive situations quickly and in detail, and an awareness of all possible subtleties in a given situation. The race already possessed the acute senses of the sometime night-dweller; evolution now enhanced these to exceptional levels. Hlanssai intelligence was the product of the need to analyze and comprehend these sensory inputs; Hlanssai psychology is therefore oriented overwhelmingly towards immediate sensual awareness and possible responses, and the species' philosophies are generally sensualistic, frequently dismissive of the long term, and notoriously sybaritic and hedonistic. A Hlanssai will usually respond to each situation as it occurs, with little regard to long-term consequences, and often, therefore, dramatically. This is not to say that Hlanssai are psychopathic or vicious; they are capable of personal loyalty and affection, and their capacity for empathy is quite phenomenal, but enduring trust is alien to them.
Physically, Hlanssai are tall, but very light and slender of build. The race is homeothermic, gonochoric (individuals are either male or female), and viviparous, producing one or two young after an eight month gestation period. Hlanssai bodies are about 50% covered with a silky, glossy yellow fur, and the race seldom bothers with clothing; the most striking visual feature is the head, with its two large eyes and two even larger ears. The former are sensitive to a range of frequencies extending into the ultra-violet; the external flaps of the latter serve to detect thermal radiation and air currents with considerable efficiency, as well as focusing sound into a highly sensitive inner ear. The race's hands have three three-jointed fingers and a stubby, un-jointed "thumb" each; their feet are similar, and can provide some limited grip, especially when climbing
Psychology & Philosophy (Mindset)
Hlanssai culture had achieved a kind of static equilibrium (and a kind of elegant Bronze Age technology) when the race was first contacted by the Vargr, and the systems then used have changed only slightly since. Hlanssai psychology dictates that complex, rigid social systems and long-range planning are impossible, and even familial or tribal bonds are weak; balancing this, the species' drive to co-operation in the face of immediate danger is fairly powerful. The result is a system of administration by a system of self-interested cliques and participant democracy, anarchic to most non-human eyes but acceptable to most Hlanssai. (A Hlanssai who finds it unacceptable usually either forms his own clique or takes to demagogic politics.)
Personal violence and theft are quite common, but can represent a sufficient immediate personal danger to Hlanssai in general to trigger the co-operation instinct. Larger-scale organization for long-term aims is rare, generally only occurring when an unusually capable and charismatic Hlanssai perceives a particularly strong racial need, and persuades his people to work together to meet it.
Normally, the Vargr have poor relations with minor races within their territory unless they are strong enough to stand up for themselves, but the Hlanssai are an exception to this rule. The species' immense versatility, subtlety, and talent for empathy enable them to persuade most other races of their usefulness, and Hlanssai social scientists, servants, traders and spies have traveled virtually everywhere that the Vargr have gone (and sometimes beyond). The Vargr generally regard the Hlanssai as useful, dangerous, and fortunately weak; the Hlanssai regard the Vargr as graceless and unsubtle, but interesting and useful. Beyond the Vargr Extents, Hlanssai are widely seen as enigmatic, unstable, intelligent and interesting; Hlanssai attitudes toward other races vary, but generally involve curiosity mixed with ironic humor.
Incidentally, when humans hear Vargr describe the Hlanssai as "unpredictable" or "unstable," they often react with surprise or hilarity; the Vargr are themselves, after all, a by-word for instability among Humaniti. This is, of course, a foolish error. Vargr behavior is strongly based on the race's perceptions of charisma, status, and ambition; on its own terms, it is consistent and even logical. The Hlanssai, on the other hand, react in complex and rather less predictable ways to their perceptions of everything around them, including stimuli that seem trivial to other races. A few humans have come to understand and empathize with Vargr; it is probably physically impossible to achieve the same relationship with Hlanssai.
In fact, even a Hlanssai cannot necessarily predict another Hlanssai's actions more than a few minutes ahead; seemingly trivial stimuli can cause accelerating changes in responses over even this short a time. Human psychologists describe Hlanssai behavior as "chaotic" in a mathematical sense. Hlanssai must be continually cajoled, rewarded, or threatened to keep them on a particular course of action.
A final important concept to note when dealing with Hlanssai is that of "N'tarronth," and its converse, "N'tarronchii'a" -- a further consequence of Hlanssai sensualism. "N'tarronth" is usually translated as "shaping" or "manufacturing," but it can best be expressed in human terms as "imposing arbitrary form upon the universe." Hlanssai are acutely aware of the distinction between the natural and the artificial, and regard one of the most important aspects of individual behavior to be the extent to which a being accepts external reality and acts within existing limitations. A being who rejects things-as-they-are and seeks to shape reality to his or her will is N'tarronth and displays N'tarronth; a being who takes a passive, accepting view is N'tarronchii'a. Despite the fact that other races view them as mercurial and unstable, Hlanssai tend -- by their own terms -- to be highly consistent in being either N'tarronchii'a or N'tarronth, and regard an inability to choose between the two modes of behavior as decidedly odd, perhaps comparable with a refusal to eat or drink. This does not imply any question of good or evil in Hlanssai terms; simply a matter of normal sentient behavior. (So this is the one aspect in which well-trained xeno-psychologists can predict Hlanssai behavior.)
In general, music, applied science, law, manufacturing industry and exploration are classed as N'tarronth, whereas mathematics, figurative art and hedonism are N'tarronchii'a. To the Hlanssai, therefore, most other races tend to N'tarronth -- which is, the Hlanssai would say, their business -- but display an odd tendency to mix in elements of N'tarronchii'a. In other words, Hlanssai understand other species almost as little as other races understand Hlanssai.
Government & Politics (Leadership)
The homeworld of this race is:
World Listing: 1105
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