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Old 05-24-2015, 01:36 PM   #1
J. Edward Tremlett
 
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Lansing, MI
Default SkipTime extras - Pyramid 3/79

Hey folks

Hope you enjoyed the article. As per usual in a work this size, some things wound up on the cutting room floor due to space constraints. Mostly background stuff that might be of some use to GMs.

So... here we go:

The OceanWe - Extended Version

The OceanWe are hairless, genderless, endoskeletal humanoids: tall and thin, almost willowy, with light pink skins dyed yellow from near-constant immersion in sulfur. They have webbed hands and feet ending in blunted claws, scaly pads on their knees and elbows, and small, almost vestigial tails just above their dorsal excretory organ.

Their eyes are big and black, with thick lids and nictitating membranes to protect them from especially grainy rainfalls. They have a flat, thin mouth with no teeth and a short, prodigious tongue, capable of mimicking many different forms of spoken language, and tasting the air. Their ear-holes are small but quite powerful: OceanWe can literally hear a pin drop from across the marketplace.

If they open up wide enough, especially when laughing at one of their seemingly-nonsensical jokes, onlookers can see a filtering mechanism, just past the tongue: this is for straining the water when they feed. Mealtimes are communal, with all OceanWe lining up at the shoreline at daybreak and nightfall, when the microbes are most active, and walking hand-in-hand up to their eyes to take in the bounty of HomeOcean. Then, at some imperceptible signal, they turn around and return to shore in silent, eerie unison.

OceanWe tend to wear very little in the way of clothing: mostly a long, woven scarf that they throw over their faces if the air gets too heavy with particulate matter. Pregnant OceanWe sometimes wear an additional cloth over their developing children, so as to protect them from having their birth sacs prematurely burst.

Each OceanWe is capable of reproduction by the time they reach their 10th year (roughly 18 Earth years). They have complete control over this process, and can generate up to four children per pregnancy. Children gestate within semi-transparent pouches under the pectoral muscles, and develop quickly – usually erupting within 30 to 35 days. They instinctively know how to strain the ocean for food, and a baby’s first feeding is considered a great and reverent event. So, too, is the day when a child is tall enough to feed while touching the bottom, rather than having to be held up by a parent.

Reproduction can be done alone, in which case it produces exact duplicates of the parent – handy in case of a serious, population-decreasing disaster. However, in most cases the OceanWe exchange genetic material with one another through the extended touching of hands. Which individual carries the resulting children to term is a matter of choice, though most couples agree to share at least one child apiece.

The OceanWe are freakishly healthy beings, and have never known disease, plague, or sudden organ failure. Their medicine consists of healing wounds from accidents that were somehow unforeseen, or simply unavoidable. Barring death by such misfortune, they often live to be 40 years old before their bodies begin to wear down.

When they feel their health finally flag, they bid family and friends goodbye, and, after engaging in one last daybreak feeding, walk one of the river paths until nightfall. Then they go inland until daybreak, at which point they use their claws to dig a deep but skinny grave – just big enough for them to stand upright, and just deep enough for their eyes to be above the ground. Then they crawl in, turn back towards the city, and will their bodies to die.

The graves quickly fill up with water, allowing the bodies to rapidly decompose. But for a time it appears the dead OceanWe is feeding from the rocky surface of their planet.

(If guests ever get far enough out to see some graves, the guide will always know who it is. However, the guide will just say it's only "(name), feeding.")

ReligionNone

The OceanWe believe that HomeOcean is alive, and living through them. The ability to SeeSay is its gift to them, so that they may see the right way to go, and therefore want for nothing. The magnetic field is its power in motion, which they only use when absolutely necessary. They come from HomeOcean, they live on HomeOcean, they return to HomeOcean.

They have no active worship or days of reverence. To them, all acts are sacred, as HomeOcean is with them always, guiding and shaping to the end of their days. This, then, may be the reason they don’t care to travel away from their world – what is the rest of the universe when compared to the divine?

Never, ever ask an OceanWe if they would do the opposite of what a SeeSaying revealed. The very concept is anathema, and cause for a great deal of confusion and embarrassment as the being so-queried tries to understand exactly what the inquirer could have possibly meant by that. It’s one of the few times these beings seem even tempted to become violent.

HelpHere

All diplomatic issues are resolved through a specific, assigned representative, known as the ListenSpeaker. Much like with SeeSayers, each different delegation has its own ListenSpeaker, who reports back to the City Council. Any issues or requests are answered within a few hours’ time, and with no real deliberation. The Council clearly already knows the answer, but seems to want to ponder the meaning of the question, itself.

HomeRoam

Visitors are allowed wide latitude in their wanderings. They have the run of the city, and may speak to anyone, see anything they’d care to, so long as they are given direct consent. As the OceanWe have an instinctive knowledge of when not to be around someone, they consider a visitor’s unwelcome presence to be disturbing, if not downright offensive, and are not at all shy about telling their offworld guests when to leave.

There are always some OceanWe in the Visitors Market, standing or sitting in knots and whorls. They either watch in silence, or else try to imitate the speech and mannerisms of their guests, much to the interest of their fellows. Sometimes they ask strange questions, or share their somewhat surreal jokes, but they never engage in any direct business with aliens – that’s for the SeeSayers to do.

PastNone

One of the reasons why the OceanWe may be so interested in the exacting historical affairs of other species is that they do not have such a detailed one, themselves.

They can say with conviction that they went though a series of genetic changes that quickly evolved them into the upright beings they are now. They know that, thanks to the SeeSaying, they have since mastered their environment to the point that further changes to their genetic structure are no longer necessary for adaptation. They also know they once had spaceships, but no longer need them, now that they have portals, and the hub.

Past that? Day becomes night, year blends into year. Clouds seethe above, wind blows between, rain falls slowly down. Children are born, live and grow, assume a task, and eventually leave to die.

Only the city stands forever, there at the ocean’s shore. What more needs to be remembered?

LogosTech

The OceanWe have an advanced, piezoelectric-based technology – one that takes advantage of both their ability to seep semi-crystalline genetic material from their skin, and power their creations with HomeOcean's strong magnetic field. They only use this technology when absolutely necessary, content to use the same, basic methods of construction and manufacture for everything else.
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"Or the light that never, never warms" (Boc. 6:55)

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