Species:Klk'k

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Species data
Klk'k
Homeworld (Origin) Ktah (System)
Age of spaceflight TBAL ESY
Physical characteristics Height: 1.3-1.5m (normal stance)
Limbs:4
Life span TBAL ESY
Habitat Oxygen-Nitrogen
Number scheme Radix 12

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Contents

Klk'k

One of only five extant species to have achieved some measure of space-flight prior to contact with other sentients, the Klk'k had what can be readily argued as the worst first-contact experience on record. Although the Andolian backed Ktah Restoration Project did much to stem and repair the damage caused by the Lightbearers during their occupation of Ktah, nearly a quarter of the Klk'k species were killed by the Lightbearers, the majority of the deaths stemming from the Lightbearers retargetting their fusion-tipped anti-orbital defense missiles for ground impact and launching all batteries in a scorched-earth response to the Hoshino Uprising. While the laser-induced fusion warheads were exceptionally clean in the radiologic sense, the scale of the bombardment was such that there remain a number of areas of Ktah which have not fully recovered, even at more than two centuries remove.

Currently, almost all Klk'k are citizens of the Andolian Protectorate. While the Klk'k are self-governing over their own colonies on domestic matters, with a government centered in Ktah, they defer to the Andolians on external affairs. A significant minority of the Klk'k population have become active adherents to the Andolian meme-group, living integrated existences networked into surrounding Andolian populations. Several mixed-species colonies featuring both Humans and Klk'k exist, and there is both a human and Klk'k presence on all Purth worlds.

Physical characteristics

normal_KLKK_A.jpg


The most anthropoid of the sentient species that humanity has encountered (admittedly, two arms, two legs, two eyes, one head is enough to place them ahead of most others), the Klk'k are nonetheless notably alien in nature. Bipedal, with bilateral symmetry, the Klk'k stand 1.3 to 1.5 meters tall on two splayed, reverse-jointed, muscular legs, balancing on extremely elongated feet. Two arms, disproportionately long by human standards, drape down from the shoulders, each ending in a hand with four wiry fingers and two thumbs, one on each side. The thumbs have something resembling nails, while the rest of the fingers terminate with a hard, leathery, callus covering the top and front, the finger-tips remaining fleshier. Klk'k toes terminate in short, thick, blunt, stubby claws far more useful for climbing than for tearing. The Klk'k head is wide and somewhat squat in comparison to its breadth, being noticeably wider, at the bottom, than the Klk'k neck. The Klk'k face features two large eyes and a mouth that opens most of the way back to the jaw hinge. The jawbone continues in an outward direction somewhat as it goes down from the skull, further accentuating the width of the Klk'k head. The Klk'k air passageways and digestive tract are separated. Breathing is performed through two rear-facing nasal openings, one on each side of the back of the head, situated behind and under the jawbone attachment, opening where the head curves back to meet the neck. The two eye sockets are protected by pronounced brow ridges. Inside the mouth is a resonating click cavity, and two tongues. Klk'k have several smaller, sharp, front teeth, and a smaller number of larger grinding teeth, present only at the back of the mouth. Klk'k ears have minimal external presence compared to human ears, presenting themselves primarily as a furrow curving back and down along each side of the Klk'k skull. The ears are water-tight, and Klk'k underwater hearing is significantly superior to that of humans.

Klk'k are hairless, and the skin tends toward a swampy, uneven green-brown, excepting the secondary sexual characteristics which express themselves as thin, rosy-to-purplish highlights on the sides of the head, hips, wrists, and ankles. Skin tends to be smooth, and slightly leathery in texture, but a substantial layer of subcutaneous fat keeps it from being hard to the touch. Both sexual and excretory organs are positioned similarly to those of humans, at the posterior of the torso. The Klk'k have two genders, the female of the species tending to be the larger of the two, and distinguishable, among the adult population, by the presence of more purple, rather than rosy, highlights. Distinguishing between the genders of Klk'k children is a more difficult task for the untrained human eye.

Klk'k have single fetus (with few exceptions) internal pregnancies, and exceptionally long gestation periods. The later stages of the pregnancy are extremely debilitating to the mother, eventually leaving her nearly immobile as the fetus grows to increasing size and the birthing blister migrates progressively closer to the surface. However, at birth, the newborn Klk'k can already walk, swim, and consume normal food.

Klk'k speech is produced primarily as a combination of vowels and tones from the nasal airways and clicks from the tongues and resonating chamber. Manipulation of the closures to the nasal airways also produce a smaller number of consonants. The tonal nature of each airway is independent, and harmonics have semantic and syntactic meanings in most of the native Klk'k languages. The iconic Klk'k nasal horn takes explicit advantage of the dual-tonal capabilities of the Klk'k. Some human observers have likened Klk'k speech to listening to a pair of Hawaiians having an animated conversation with a pair of Khoisan, but most real xeno-linguists attempt to discourage such simplistic comparisons as more misleading than informative. "Klk'k" is itself an anthropic transliteration of their word for themselves, likewise for Ktah, and Tk'latl, etc. As the Klk'k have proven far more adept at understanding spoken human tongues, than the reverse, even if they cannot produce the full range of human sounds, the anthropic forms have become accepted standards, rather than requiring all humans to utilize translator devices to refer to anything of Klk'k origin. Klk'k living or traveling among humans tend to equip themselves with vocalizing augmentation devices that fill in the missing gaps in their ability to emulate human speech.

Habitat

Ktah is a warm, wet world with an Oxygen-Nitrogen atmosphere and vast open stretches of ocean surrounding the two major continental bodies. The Klk'k originated on the smaller of the two continents, developing amidst the seemingly endless criss-cross of rivers and bayous that dominate it. Though not amphibious, the Klk'k are quite at home in the water, being excellent swimmers.

Culture

Humor plays a deep and intrinsic role in Klk'k culture, far beyond that in any human one. While the Klk'k equivalents of humor and even laughter have strong similarities to their human counterparts, the situational appropriateness of humor is viewed quite differently. There are few things that necessitate a somber decorum for a Klk'k - they would see nothing inappropriate about joking and laughing at someone's deathbed, funeral, execution, summit, board meeting, intelligence briefing, etc. Indeed, quite the opposite is true. Even war and combat are not seen as entirely serious realms -- there are numerous Klk'k stories involving tales of foes refraining from death blows because each was waiting for the punchline of the other's joke. Humor is also seen as appropriate in public actions, officials, and governmental entities. In one particularly long-running tradition, legislation is frequently put forward to change the Klk'k anthem for the duration of a visiting dignitaries arrival in order to make atrocious puns.

Being unable to find or generate humor in one's situation is a sign, in a Klk'k, of a present or imminent psychosis, if often only a temporary one. Klk'k can be riled to an indignant rage that, if short lived, is still disturbing in its intensity. In Klk'k martial arts, such as Amakakt, sparring contestants are often required to keep a running dialog of humorous insults. If one of the combatants becomes noticeably silent, the match is suspended, as it is a sign that control has been lost, and the onset of rage may be approaching.

The basic Klk'k family unit is the the bond-set, based around a mutually polyamorous clique arrangement. A bond-set usually consists of 3-6 adult Klk'k and their assorted children, with the parentage of the children coming from any arbitrary pairing within the bond-set. Bond-sets consisting of only 2 Klk'k, save as a result of the death of additional members, or as an initial state, are considered strange, and their members potentially dysfunctional if that arrangement persists. Bond-sets will continue to grow over time by mutual interest in inclusion until they reach a steady point for the individuals involved. Bond-sets with more than 6 members exist, but are rare, as finding large numbers of co-interested partners is a non-trivial task. Four members is the median expectation, and many bond-sets of three partners will delay having children until a fourth has joined. Some researchers believe the extended size of the basic family unit to have roots stemming from the degree to which the later stages of Klk'k pregnancies are completely incapacitating, leading to a need for a larger supporting family unit.

Bond-set Naming Conventions

The dominant culture for quite some time has used a strict two-name scheme. When a bond-set is formed, the members choose a name for themselves, and that is the bond-set name for those children raised by that set. If the set changes, through addition, the name may be changed or it may be kept, but the children will retain the old name, unless very young. If the set changes through attrition, the name does not change in order to honor what was, even if it is no more. One is known by one's bond-set name (the name of those who raised you) and your personal name, usually given in that order, thus Klk'k names are not lineage tracing beyond a single generation.

Clothing and Ornamentation

Nudity was not a big deal in any notable pre-contact Klk'k culture, and continues to be of little concern except among those Klk'k visiting human worlds obsessed with particularly archaic taboos. Common Klk'k coverings are as much practical and protective as shielding from the public eye, featuring pockets, belts, places to put or hang things, footwear, and isolated pieces to prevent scrapes and scratches to various sensitive areas.

Klk'k style uni-gender semi-formalwear tends to be variants on a loose, sleeveless (there is fabric straight from shoulder to neck, but no collar), single-piece garment that runs completely flat across the front, tapers slightly out from waist down and is slit in the back somewhat below the end of the torso (the rear opening being convenient for the Klk'k as their legs bend opposite those of humans). Ornateness, except in extremely formal clothing, is highly restrained, with patterns being limited to the edges and waist area, running in thin seams around the garment. The prime regions of Ktah are quite humid, and ostentatious layering would not have been comfortable. Those looking for a more vibrant appearance tend to do so with body paints on exposed skin rather than additional clothing. Informal Klk'k clothing tends towards a short, loose skirt, with tops, if any, varying by region.

There is also specific clothing to show respect, show allegiance, and traditional body-paintings and tattoos. In particular, Amakakt tattoos are expected among those practicing the martial art. A Tk'latl is tattooed on the upper left topforearm/shoulder area, with annotations denoting rank and record in Amakakt (the martial art heavily featuring said Tk'latl). The ranking is above the Tk'latl, and consists of a series of vertical bars of different color, denoting increasing ranks attained, from left to right. A history of the matches is recorded in colors corresponding to the rank of the opponents, and lies below the Tk'latl, with vetical bars for victories and horizontal bars for defeats.

Klk'k members of the Simons are known to frequently sport dynamic tattoos, making their membership explicit when desired and hidden when inconvenient.

Religion

The Klk'k frowned intensely upon organized religion even before they settled under the wing of the Andolians. Klk'k history had been rife enough with false prophecies and self serving church-like establishments (including a theocracy that once dominated much of Ktah) that the Klk'k analog to the Enlightenment had been rather total in its sweeping reforms. Klk'k culture, however, has a long history of veneration of ancestors, which continues in various ritualized forms of behavior. There is no belief among the Klk'k that the deceased may be contacted, nor is there any particular spiritual nature to the reverence for those who came before, merely the conviction that it is one's duty to honor the fact that, without them, one would not be.

Number scheme

Base 12.
With numeral set derived from 2x2 entries in (2,3) double base number system.

See also


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