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Erisians

Also Known As

The Colonizers , Eris Mystery Creatures, Gnahurgh, Xk'immi, Irtzwee

Type of Group

Species

Role in Story

Minor Characters

Book

The Ionans (working title) by E.E. Buchanan

The Erisians, or Irtzwee (EAR-thwee) in their own language, known to humans as the Eris Mystery Creatures and to other Extraterrestrials mostly as the term Erisians or "the Colonizers" because of their habit of doing exactly that to any empty or unclaimed area they find near their home, are a little-understood sentient people who inhabit not just Eris but other dwarf planets and large asteroids in the Kupier Belt on the edge of the solar system. Their scientific classification is incomplete, for only one Earth person has seen one and has pictures to show their appearance. They have incredible technological knowledge, but simply not enough fuel on their barren little worlds to run most of it, or to send even unmanned spacecraft any farther from their home worlds than possibly Pluto or Charon. They experimented briefly with teleportation technology, but realized quickly the same problem applied - they simply hadn't the fuel enough to run such a large machine. This is how the only contact with Earth and these creatures occurred - a human convoy using Ionan transport rocket technology to visit Ionan allies on Saturn's moon Titan, happened to be there when the teleporting Erisian accidentally arrived there, before being quickly summoned back to her world again. What is known is from her explanations, and subsequent radio signals between Eris and Titan. Through these communications, many species of non-sentient and a few more of sentient extraterrestrials the Erisians have contacted have been described to humans though this information is fragmented and mostly hearsay and not fully compiled anywhere as yet.

Created by ScottyBlue.

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Description

According to both pictures of and conversations with Irwa (EAR-wah, the one Erisian contacted directly) and subsequent radio communications for clarification, the Erisians are a strange creature that cannot as of yet be properly scientifically categorized. They are small, six-limbed creatures lacking external ears, but they are not insects/arthropods. The six limbs are all slightly long and elbow-jointed above the back, like a spider's legs. They have wrists and feet with opposable digits, lined with the same setae found on a gecko's foot, allowing them to climb nearly any surface, even polished glass or ice . Reportedly, Erisians walk with the back four legs and use the front two as "hands", but they can go six-legged or two-legged, if they want. They have powerful muscles and like a flea can jump many times their own height with little to no visible effort. On their back, there are two large sail-like 'fins' rather like those of a spinosaurus but with more 'ragged' appearing edges. These can be expanded and contracted like a fish's dorsal fin and when expanded fully function as parachutes/gliders for the jumping Erisian. Irwa was clocked gliding at 15 MPH for a distance of 400 yards. They also possess many spikes, which can cause nasty puncture wounds, on the tips of these fins. They have internal skeletons, of exceptionally light but strong hollow bones. They are usually about the size of a very large cat or small-to-medium-sized dog, about 26 inches long (not counting the tail) and 17 inches tall at the shoulder at the largest but often much smaller, and most individuals are nearly weightless on Eris and only a few pounds on other worlds. They have soft skin and are warmblooded animals, which is as well as there is very little warmth to be had in the worlds they inhabit. Their bodies, save the fins, are lined with a thick blubbery substance to help as well, and they are covered in a seal-like coat of thick, practically waterproof hair ether gray, slate, or black in color. Their eyes (always bright yellow and jewel-like) and faces in general are froglike, as are their sticky tongues, and they have no teeth, but very bony 'plates' inside their gums. They have very tiny, almost vestigial, nostrils, and no external ears but do have functional hearing organs with holes leading to them. They possess much smaller versions of their back ridge on their nose bridge and forehead, rather like a dual mohawk hairdo. The tail is long, and curves up over the back like a scorpion's tail. Also it has a stinger at the end, but this is in the form of another retractable fin spike/barb rather like a manta ray. Supposedly, the venom of an Erisian's sting is fatal to smaller animals and causes severe, agonizing pain to anything larger than themselves but not death unless the victim is allergic to it. Erisians choose whether or not to let their venom into their stingers and can use it as simply a poking/spiking weapon, which is normally what they do with it. Because of this combination of mammalian, fish, and amphibious characteristics, it is currently impossible to characterize these creatures according to earth Taxonomy. They are fully sentient and highly intelligent/technologically advanced, and the closest so far that humans have discovered to aliens as depicted by Hollywood, on that score. They do wear clothes, mostly full-body baggy space suits with belts and weapons and devices all strung around and slits in the back for the fins and tail, for though the fur protects them they wish to protect the fur itself when they can as losing it could do them harm.

Lifestyle

Erisians' original planet they were created to inhabit is not 100% known. They are mentioned in reference to Eris because right now their home base is there and it may well be that is where they were first. However, there is some confusion on that point. The Erisians discovered and perfected technologies very quickly using minerals available on their home because it seemed unlikely they could survive long without doing so and thus are technologically far more advanced than earth in some areas. Given they, and their subspecies, are pretty much the only sentient being in the entire Kupier belt (with very few exceptions), this means that all inhabitable worlds they can reach via their rockets in that area are pretty much up for grabs, and frequently they colonize new asteroids, dead comets, and dwarf planets. They have invented ways of keeping food fresh practically indefinitely and other such devices useful for colonization. As they have no teeth, they eat only things they can crush or swallow whole, and tend to hoard/stockpile these when times are good to make ready for the scarce times. Most food stuffs - both animal and vegetable - on these dwarf planets and asteroids are spiky, unpleasant smelling, poison, or so full of heat/capsaicin as to almost be poison, but the Erisian tongue is practically numb and sense of smell practically nonexistent. Furthermore their stomach acid is so powerful they can even digest small pebbles if they ingest them by accident, so they are capable of eating pretty much anything they can get a nutrient or protein from, even bacteria-molded soil. They do not often cook for fuel shortage reasons - nearly everything they eat is cold. Any poison they digest that isn't destroyed or expelled goes into the cocktail of venoms that they can inject with their tails, much like how nudibranchs operate.

Many Erisian colonists live in their space ships at first, much like humans live in trailer homes, sometimes choosing to stay in them even after the colony has long been established, where they are sheltered from the elements and where there are many modern conveniences. The way they generate most electricity is with wind power - wind is something there is no shortage of in the objects on the Kupier belt. However, in open space, this isn't available and can't be used to power rockets or other such machines, hence their limited travel abilities. On Eris itself, and in any colony that has been around a while, which usually consists of a couple thousand, most Erisians live in large family groups but these families consider themselves parts of the whole. Erisians have a very ant-like mindset of work, duty, and the majority over the individual, and any constructed buildings and cities represent this, everything being close together and multi-story so no one is far apart from everyone else for long. Erisians are very gregarious and do not do well separated from their peers for any length of time, and are nearly always, even on scouting or piloting missions, seen in groups of no fewer than a dozen. Seeing Irwa alone was, according to her, a rarity, and she was already missing having her husband, children, and others of her species around her minutes after she arrived.

Culture and Families

All of the below is hearsay and has not been directly confirmed, given as told by Irwa. According to her, The Erisians, when not survival-focused, are an exceptionally curious people who love computing, inventing, and science and are constantly seeking out these things and ways to improve them. However, the whole society is under strict oaths, especially the regarding biological science, to never, ever, EVER put science in front of the safety or even emotional well-being of another sentient being, the rule being, "if it hurts someone or dehumanizes (they have a different term, nearest English translation for the term is "dehumanize") someone to find it out, we don't need to know it." This is due to an unfortunate incident some 470 earth years back that occurred between the main/type species and a much more primitive and agricultural subspecies that erupted into a long and bloody war. Reportedly, they love to study the plant and animal and mineral and other material life they find in new places, nearly to a fault. They have information on a bewildering variety of species, including a couple sentient peoples, Their main problem, lack of fuel, is constantly being researched as well, to find viable alternative options but so far tests have proved negative or inconclusive on that score. They are colonizers but not invaders, and part of the oath all who become scientists or travelers must take is that if they discover a world already populated by other sentient beings they will leave it alone, save to try to make peace with whoever is there before they leave so they don't start a war.

There's some ambiguity as to how many Erisians exist thanks to census taking being nearly impossible, but the number is very high, possibly more than 3 million or even higher than that, though mortality rate is very high as well. Lifespan is in theory as much as 300 earth years, but very few Erisians die of old age - most die of usual issues that beset colonists such as disease, unfriendly non-sentient animals, unfriendly climate, malfunctioning machinery, the elements, and so on. To die of old age is considered a great honor among their people and to be among those who helped said elder die of old age even greater honor. Those who make great discoveries to aid their survival are also held in great honor, as are pilots, for flying their incredibly fast but short-lived spaceships is an exceptionally complicated and dangerous process from which many do not return. Female Erisians tend to be the better scientists, analysts, and warriors, and males the better pilots, inventors, and machine operators, as a general rule, but there are exceptions. Again, according to Irwa, Erisians don't use technology to invent weapons as a general rule, though they do possess gun-like rock shooters and electrically charged knives/spears for hunting food.

Apart from their spikes, and their venomous tails, their main weapon against extinction is the rapid birthing rate, for Erisians are somewhat eusocial by nature. They live in very large family/friend groups, led by one dominant elder couple, sometimes more than one in larger groups. However, unlike most eusocial creatures, the dominant couple is not the one who does all the reproducing. Any Erisian couple can reproduce whenever they want to but thanks to certain hormones and pheremones emitted by a female who is taking her turn as the birthing "queen", most in her near vicinity don't feel the inclination to. Generally the Queen will be a very young female or even an adolescent and she only has a short stint at being queen once in her life. She will have one semi-larval baby once every 8 hours or so, before her body's supply of eggs is exhausted, usually about 40-50 children total. She will be excused all work duties during this time, as will her husband, who is the primary caregiver for the young their first few hours of life, and for his wife. Once she is done, one (or sometimes two or three) of the other young couples will take their turn. Irwa already had taken her turn, hence her being free for the experiment.

Surviving Ionan newborns are blind, naked, and completely helpless and underdeveloped - Irwa had a picture of one with her. They have none of their ridges/spikes/fins and their limbs are so small as to be practically useless. While their eyes open within days, they take a long time to grow up - Irwa estimated it would be about 40 earth years to reach full adulthood, and at least 12 before they can functionally walk instead of wriggling along like seals. At this age there is also supposedly an explosive but non-painful metamorphosis of sorts when a young Erisian gains their fins, spikes, tail barb, sticky toes, and head ridge, happening during a very deep that lasts about 28 hours. For the first eight or so earth years, they are kept mostly indoors and tended by all adults in the family group as well as their parents, and do not nurse but are fed mush of vegetable and protein-rich bacterial matter, until their fur and blubber grow in and they are able to fend for themselves food-wise. They are taught and often apprenticed by older Erisians once they are just at the beginning of adolescence. Each child is recognized as an individual and individually lavished with great affection and love despite their great numbers, to prevent any resentment breaking out among family members. However, due to similarities of appearance, children wear their names on collars about their necks much like kittens or puppies until they are large enough to be individually told apart, usually early adolescence. They are raised with the same oaths and values as their parents, by the family as a whole, with duty to family, community, and world well-being in general strongly emphasized.

According to Irwa, the Councils of Colonies, and the Head Council on Eris, are elected by the people once every 100 earth years or so and have great power as a body, but no individual in it is a leader or stronger than the other. The Head council on Eris has about 250 members, while the Councils of Colonies vary based on colony size, usually only about 30 individuals at most. Everything is decided by majority vote, from passing ordinances, new colonizations, and so forth, to wars, peaces, and truces, most of the time with little argument among the group, but the Colony councils are strictly regulated by the Head Council. They also serve as the judge and jury of criminal trials. Crime of any sort, even minor, is completely and strictly forbidden in Erisian society. There are not enough resources to imprison large numbers of people, so only accused criminals awaiting trial are imprisoned. Trials are exceptionally thorough and fair, supposedly, but the slightest hint of a guilty verdict for any theft, vandalism, unwarranted assault, trespass or breaking of any other ordinance is severely punished with things such as physical beatings, very heavy fines, hard labor and/or taking of property. Sometimes the life of the perpetrator is taken if they are defiant and unrepentant, but this usually is reserved for severe assaults that cause permanent damage, or a great theft/property damage that leaves innocents unable to provide for themselves in the harsh climate. Murder very rarely happens but is an immediate death sentence, unless it is proven beyond a shadow of doubt that the murderer was acting in self-defense or defense of another. Looting, especially after a disaster, is also punishable by death, as is performing any potentially harmful scientific experiments on sentient beings without their full contractual and willing consent. For this reason, though these crimes in the past made these harsh laws necessary, crime rates are ludicrously low in most Erisian societies, with the most frequent offense being blackmail of a minor "calling in favors" sort if someone is keeping the hidden breaking of some ordinance secret for another party, and though blackmail in itself is punishable by fines and taking of property for restitution, it isn't usually reported. Death sentences are always carried out by firing squad, usually in an underground bunker. Family members of the condemned are allowed to plead on his/her behalf if the execution is for any other offense but unrepentant murder, and if they can prove it is necessary they be spared for the family's survival, they will be, but with very severe beating of the condemned, and the members of the family who plead will all be held responsible/liable to punishment if more crimes are committed by the perpetrator.

Language

Irwa

Example of Erisian script

Little is known of the Erisian written language save it has only 4 or 5 characters and rather resembles a sort of binary code. Irwa had some of it on her devices, shown in the attached picture -she said these were just labels describing what they were. Erisians have invented translators which allow their speech to be translated into the language of any creature they scan, but their own language is like harsh birdsong, very screechy, fast, high-pitched and loud, though of course with their poor hearing they do not see it as loud as others do. The "ee" syllable and the "w" and "th" consonants are the most repeated sounds. Irwa wasn't able to give a good explanation of their language since everything she said was translated via her little device into English. However, she did explain that voice inflection/pitch affects the words as much as syllabic differences do, much like singing. They sound as if they were constantly yelling/arguing with one another, according to Ionans who have had later dealings with them after the meeting with Irwa.

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