Distant Fringe Sophont
|Homeworld location||Fieral (Halcyon 3027)|
|Primary Star||F7 V M8 VI|
|Reference||Ade Stewart - Distant Fringe|
The Meroquan evolved from ambush predators. They have an elongated serpentine body, a pair of arms ending in manipulator claws and a narrow head that contains the brain and the major sensory organs. Compared to humans, Meroquan are big. They weigh close to twice that of a human and are more than three times as long. They have a distinctive natural odor, often described as being akin to damp earth, rotting leaves or garden mulch.
Meroquan are focused and single-minded, inquisitive, physically (though not psychologically) patient, and utterly determined. While they can be stout allies and sound friends, they think nothing of brutal criticism and have a reputation for abruptness, rudeness and arrogance. Older members of the species grow to enormous size, becoming sedentary and relying on the assistance of others to see to their needs.
Meroquan are carnivores native to forest terrain on their homeworld: their ecological niche is defined as "pouncer". They are endothermic bilateral "walkers" classified HBS-T-AN-NN-T, with a cartilage skeleton, lymph internal fluids, and leathery exteriors. They breathe atmospheric oxygen, respirating via an airway connected to the mouth that also connects to their "nose". They have a cylindrical head topped by a sensory frill – their "nose", a long serpentine torso and a long flexible tail that retains two vestigal posterior flippers used by the semi-aquatic infant growth stage of the species. They have two long paired anterior arms terminating in beak-like grippers that cover three flexible tentacles: these may be extended to perform delicate tasks, but are normally retracted within the gripper for protection. Meroquan have no distinctive natural weapons. The colour and markings of the hide vary depending on ethnic origins but are most typically a mottled reddish-brown. Based on their profile: thick and oversize, the Meroquan are around 6m long, mass around 120 cubic liters, and weigh around 120kg. The Meroquan's speed is rated as slow: maximum speed is 30kph. A typical Meroquan has a Stamina of 7.
- Energy: V-16-GBP. Meroquan vision is broadly similar to that of humans, though its center is shifted slightly towards the near uv spectrum. Meroquan have binocular vision, with two eyes sensitive to visible wavelengths of light, located within their head.
- Vibration: H-14-9282. Meroquan aural perception is slightly inferior to that of humans. They can hear sounds at frequencies from about 30 Hz to 18 kHz. Meroquan have a number of ear-pits on the sides of their head, adjacent to the eyes.
- Volatiles: S-12-3. Meroquan have a sense of smell that is slightly superior to that of humans. Their "nose" is a retractible fern-shaped organ that emerges from a tubular protrusion at the top of the head. It connects to the digestive system and imparts a sense of taste.
- Matter: T-08-3. The Meroquan's skin and manipulator tentacles are slightly more sensitive to texture, temperature and pressure.
- Fields: A-2-1. Meroquan are mildly sensitive to both Mag and Lek, and are able to perceive fields as barely visible lines, streaks, glows and flashes. The sensory organ resembles an opaque third eye located between and above its optically sensitive eyes.
- Aura: P-0. (oblivious).
A baseline Meroquan has the following characteristic ranges:
- Strength 4D (actual 12+2D)
- Dexterity 2D
- Stamina 2D
- Intelligence 2D
- Education 2D
- Social 2D
Walking: Meroquan use their muscles and their coarse leathery hides in order to "walk". Movement is achieved with the lower abdomen and the long thin tail. The front third of the body is held upright, raising the head to maximise sensory intake and releasing the arms for independent activity. Their upright posture give the Meroquan an apparent height of around 2m.
- Lateral Undulation: The leathery belly of the Meroquan pushes off of any irregular surface in order to gain traction and move forward in a wavy motion: the body is in sliding contact with the ground. They are not able to move over slick surfaces such as ice using this method.
- Concertina: While more difficult, it is an effective form of motion in tight spaces. The Meroquan braces the back portion of its body while pushing and extending the front portion. It then drops the front portion of its body, straightens, and pulls the back portion along.
- Sidewinding: Similar to Lateral Undulation, but the body is always in static contact when touching the ground. The head appears to be "thrown" forward, and the body follows, being lifted from the prior position and moved forward to lie on the ground ahead of where it was originally. In this way, the Meroquan progresses at an angle, leaving a series of mostly straight, J-shaped tracks. Sidewinding movement produces the fastest speeds but is tiring.
- Rectilinear Motion: A slow, creeping, straight movement. The Meroquan use leathery ridges on their belly to grip the ground while pushing forward.
Strike: Meroquan are capable of a strike, a sudden explosive burst of speed that combines a sidewinding motion and a jump. This ability is part of their natural hunting technique – their ancestors stalked and ambushed prey, rapidly striking and killing target animals at the climax of the hunt.
Climbing: Meroquan are adept climbers given a suitable surface, though they struggle on sheer faces. They are most proficient at scaling trees and are able to coil around boughs and branches. Their primal ancestors used this technique to lie in wait for prey: modern Meroquan find it relaxing.
Swimming: Despite the fact that their infant development stage is semi-aquatic, adult Meroquan have no particular affinity for water. Indeed, most adult Meroquan cannot swim – it is an ability that must be relearned.
Dual gender: two individuals of different genders pair for reproduction. Genders are broadly equivalent in size and appearance, with no obvious external differences. The ratio of females to males is approximately 50-50. The majority of individuals will pair-bond with an opposite gender partner for life.
Females have a gestation period of approximately 90 days and give birth to 3–5 live young, each typically weighing 0.25 kg. These infants ("wrigglers") incubate within a growing pond for approximately 2 years, becoming larger and stronger and towards the later stages of their development occasionally emerging from the water to practice moving on dry land. Throughout this period of growth they are closely monitored by family members, supplied with their nutritional needs (chiefly insects and small fish), and tended to as necessary. It is not uncommon for large wrigglers to kill one or more of their siblings within the growing pond.
Meroquan continue to grow and develop during childhood, becoming close to adult size. During this time they develop language skills and begin their formal education. Gender differences do not appear in Meroquan until approximately 10 years of age. Adolescence continues for a further 8 years, until the individual becomes physically mature at around 18 years of age.
- 0 Infant (wriggler): 2 years.
- 1 Child: 8 years.
- 2 Adolescent: 8 years.
- Career starts at age 18.
- 3 Young adult: 2 terms (8 years).
- 4 Adult: 3 terms (12 years).
- 5 Peak: 4 terms (16 years).
- Physical aging begins (54+ years). Stamina (and physical size) increases dramatically.
- 6 Midlife: 3 terms (12 years).
- 7 Senior: 1 terms (4 years).
- 8 Elder: 1 term (4 years).
- 9 Retirement: 2 terms (8 years).
- Mental aging begins (82+ years).
Diet and Trophics
Meroquan ingest food through a vertical mouth located at the base of the head: the mouth is also used for respiration. The mouth connects to a long coarse muscular throat that tears and breaks down food before it enters the gut. Meroquan have a preference for smaller prey - they prefer creatures of 25kg or less, and the fresher the better. A Meroquan may enter a "digestive trance" – often lasting several hours – after consuming a large meal.
Meroquan are descended from Carnivore Pouncers native to forested wetland terrain on Fieral, their homeworld. Their primordial ancestors stalked and ambushed prey animals, killing them by striking at them, anchoring onto them with their manipulators, and enveloping them within the coils of their body and tail. They constricted or crushed the target and then consumed it whole, typically head-first. Almost all modern Meroquan rely on farmed and processed food, though more often than not such nutrition is a preserved and properly dressed and seasoned whole prey animal.
Psychology & Philosophy
Younger individuals tend to be inquisitive and ambitious and keen to improve their lot in life. The Meroquan have a long and complicated history and they take immense pride in the antiquity and richness of their culture.
Meroquan psychology is driven by factors common to many sophonts:
- Acquisition (stemming from the need to gather adequate nutrition),
- Preservation (derived from the need to continue their personal existence), and
- Perpetuation (the urge to continue the species).
A number of other factors loom large in the mental processes of the Meroquan:
- Curiosity. Meroquan have a strong desire to know and to learn. Elements of this can be traced to their instinct to track and stalk prey animals, predict their behaviour, and successfully ambush them.
- Intrusiveness. Meroquan can be extremely inquisitive and nosey, failing to respect even the most personal of boundaries and limits.
- Pride. Meroquan derive deep pleasure and satisfaction from their own achievements, the achievements of their close associates, and from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. Many individuals collect trophies, mementos and relics: these are typically of personal importance rather than having any inherent value. Many Meroquan adhere to a personal code of honor and take their reputation (and impugnments to it) very seriously.
- Arrogance. Frequently, Meroquan display spectacular arrogance, caring little for the feelings or emotions of others. Whilst they rarely mean harm – Meroquan are as a rule painfully honest – their outspoken nature and sharp opinions frequently land them in trouble.
- Inferiority. Meroquan who fail to live up to their own expectations or achieve desired aims can sink into a depressed, recessive state. They display subservient behaviours, remaining silent and becoming more open to suggestion.
- Dedication. Meroquan are purposeful, adamant, and outspoken. They are unwavering in their loyalty, either to a cause, to a group or to an individual, and are generally absolutely resolute in their intent.
- Patience. Meroquan display incredible physical patience, resilience and tolerance. They are able to spend hours utterly motionless and silent, before suddenly exploding into a sudden burst of frantic activity. This is instinctive, derived from their ability to lie in wait of prey.
- Introspection. Meroquan can be brooding, introverted, and pensive. If their opinions or actions are called into question they can become inward-looking and given to doubt and self-analysis.
- Stubbornness. Meroquan are known for being obstinate, wilful, difficult, contrary, and recalcitrant.
- Ambition. Meroquan have a strong sense of purpose, resolve and determination.
- Solitude: Though Meroquan are social and function in family groups, they are descended from predators that hunted alone. Most Meroquan prefer to work in isolation and seclusion, and often struggle in the crowded urban environments preferred by humans.
- Pragmatic: dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations
Philosophy: Naturalism. Everything is natural. There is one level, the material world, with no spiritual aspect. All ideas, feelings, visions, and inspiration come from the physical workings of the brain. Everything in the world can be understood by understandable physical laws.
Theology: Atheism, (i.e. there is no God)
Ethics: Ethical relativism. Right and wrong is relative to the situation, to what’s happening. There is no absolute right and wrong.
Psychology: monistic self-actualization. You have the potential to become whatever you decide to become. You have to be in touch with what’s right for you at the given moment.
Society & Culture
- Homogeneity: A (Discordant)
- Acceptance: 7 (Aloof)
- Strangeness: 8 (alien but familiar)
- Symbols: A (bizarre, hidden meanings, ritual)
The primary means of communication is through vocalisation.
A great many languages and dialects exist.
Family structure based around pair-bonded individuals and a close family group
strives to create opportunities for all Meroquan to make meaningful contributions to decision-making, and seeks to broaden the range of individuals who have access to such opportunities.
They form small communities based around pair-bonding and extended family, with each community specialising in a particular trade or activity. Most Meroquan dislike crowds, preferring open spaces and solitude.
Council of Blades
- Government by advice and consent of the population
- Government Structure: participating democracy
- Speakers, who gather the support of citizens and add their votes to the total
Laws and Justice
Local justice, vote to decide on fate of offenders.
The Meroquan only raise military forces on an "as needed" basis.
More conservative elements of Meroquan society prefer an isolated existence, far from the throngs and crowds that humans and hoppers seem to find so agreeable. Other more outward individuals thrill at the opportunity to explore and discover, to travel within the great heavens and the strange alien realm of the humans.
For the most part Meroquan get on well with other sophont species, but they feel a particular kinship with humanity, sensing within them a shared deep-rooted curiosity. Meroquan do not like the Unity of Sed, a lunatic and violent human state that has declared its abhorrence of all non-human intelligence.
Primal ancestors of the Meroquan develop intelligence (ca 1 million years BCE)
Timeline of Historical Events
- Human contact (2355AD onwards)
Technology & Trade
Current Average Meroquan Technology: TL-7
- Energy: 7 (Solar energy, early Fuel Cells)
- Computers: 6 (Electronic Computers (Large Model/1 bis))
- Communications: 7 (Early Satellite, Video recording)
- Medical: 9 (Limb Regeneration, Cryogenics, Fast Drugs)
- Environment: 6 (Skyscrapers, Weather Predict, Underground Cities)
- Land Transport: 7 (Hovercraft, High-Speed Trains)
- Water Transport: 5 (Personal Self-Propelled Boats, Steel hulls, Early Submersibles)
- Air Transport: 6 (Early Jet, Helicopters)
- Space Transport: 8 (Space Shuttles, Space Stations, Maneuver-3-5 (non-grav))
- Personal Weapons: 7 (Grenade Launchers)
- Personal Armor: 6 (Filter Mask)
- Heavy Weapons: 8 (Particle Accelerators, Target Designated Missiles)
- Heavy Armor: 7 (Composite Laminate)
- Resources: A (Abundant)
- Labor: 6 (Millions)
- Infrastructure: A (Extensive)
- Efficiency: +3 (Improved)
This race is primarily located in the following areas:
The homeworld of this race is: