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Submitted on
October 27, 2010
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Species: diyari-di/dyarith/"Spiders"

Nation/Polity: The Diyari Ua'ma Confederation (DUC) of Tree-States. Many Dyson Trees and settlements on Tyorag are unaffiliated with the DUC, and are totally independent, sometimes squabbling, nations unto themselves.

Language: Selon Ua'ma ("Orderly/Good/Beautiful Speech") and a Morse Code-like language transliterated from Selon Ua'ma.
Planet of Origin: Tyorag/ Dahanta Qaura/ Larunda II (H'nav-Titan language/Diyari language/Human designation)

Sun: Maau/Mahv/Larunda

Range: Tyorag, the Dyson Trees orbiting Tyorag, two clusters of Dyson trees within the Habitable Zone of Tyorag's primary. Before contact, their range has been restricted to his region, and even now, the vast majority of diyari-di live in the Larunda/Maau/Mahv system.

Abilities/Skills: Temporary survival in zero-gravity and hard vacuum;estivation for longer periods; spinning webs and silk; climbing and clinging to surfaces; tough armor and thick skin, speed, skill with technology.

Weaknesses: Individual: Small size with a corresponding lack of strength, can be given "headaches", dizziness, or irritability with sufficiently disordered patterns.
Civilizational: Relatively technologically primitive, basic weaponry, no real standing army (instead, militias of city/village/dyson tree/ship crews)

Imports: Advanced technology, rare elements, knowledge, exotic organisms, cultural information/art/entertainment.

Exports: Labor, tourism (to their habitats and to the Titan ruins on Tyorag), Titan artifacts, arts and crafts, biomechanoid ships, dyson trees, and other exotic organisms.

   ~0.5 meters high, black, armored, spider-like, with cephalothorax and abdomen. Total of 9 legs attached to cephalothorax, 3 on each side and three on the front. The legs look superficially similar to spider legs, but are more like thick, segmented rubbery-looking tentacles. Each leg is tipped with a round foot, with three evenly-spaced curved claws. The foot can split open into three petal-like toes, with soles covered with rubbery skin covered with gecko-like clinging hairs. In addition, the three front feet each have three retractable,thin claw-tipped tentacles for precision work.
   There are a pair of eyes covered with thick golden lenses, on the ends of thick, segmented eyestalks, with thick, heavy eyelids. (Lenses protect the eyes from bright light and radiation and so do the eyelids.)
     Immediately behind the eyes are sensory pits for hearing and smell. There is a second pair of thinner, longer stalks, immediately behind each eye. Each of these stalks is tipped with an ovoid-to-spherical (the exact shape varies) bioluminescent organ. Diyari-di use these stalks as part of their body language, in mating displays, in dance, and to communicate in space without radio.

   Under the cephalothorax, on the ventral (belly) side, between the legs, is a sharp, parrot-like beak for eating. Behind the cephalothorax is the abdomen, covered with a segmented shell. This shell bears markings in diyari writing (which is naturally printed on the shell at birth) depicting a random sequence of letters and numbers--a serial number. On each side of the abdomen is a spiracle used for breathing,speaking,and jet propulsion in microgravity. Due to the structure of the vocal system and their small size, they speak with small, high-pitched voices that often seem comical or cute to humans.
On the bottom of abdomen are the genital pore and anus. At the very end of the abdomen are a pair of spinnerets, which spin a silvery silk. (The color and properties of the silk can be changed by diet, and sometimes by will.) and a disc-shaped "sucker" organ, covered with adhesive bristles, used to affix oneself to a surface.
       Diyari-di can survive and work in the vacuum of space for 2-3 hours at a time, and estivate for 1-4 weeks in vacuum and years in air. To survive in vacuum, they are able to seal their orifices against the vacuum, and have tough shells and skins to maintain pressure. The black skins and shells protect against cosmic radiation.

    Diyari-di are hermaphroditic. They have both male and female organs, but switch their predominant sex in a weekly-to-monthly cycle. Their sex is not obvious, even to other diyari-di, and their sex is not an integral part of their identities, as it often is for humans. (However, it is considered rude, and tantamount to a sexual advance, to ask a diyari-di's sex.) They mate, one choosing to be male, the other female. The acting male gives the acting female a packet of sperm, then the acting female lays a cluster of eggs and sticks them to eir back and that of eir mate. The parents tend to the eggs until they hatch into sessile anemone-like larvae. The parents feed the larvae pre-digested food, or, if in the microgravity environment of a Dyson Tree, allow them to filter aeroplankton and small "insects" from the air. The larvae feed and grow and eventually become nymphs, with pale shells, looking otherwise like miniature adults. At the beginning of the nymphal stage, diyari-di recall the language that their creators had encoded into their genomes, which is also printed on their bodies. At adulthood, nymphs become sexually mature and capable of surviving hard vacuum.

     Sometimes, whether due to a very low population, the imminent death of a Dyson Tree, or due to random mutation, an individual diyari-di will become an Allparent, fertilizing itself and laying many eggs by itself. In olden days, if a Dyson Tree were about to die, an Allparent and a select population of diyari-di would carve a silk-lined tunnel inside a Dyson Tree seed, and launch themselves into space and go into estivation, to awaken when and if the tree takes root.

     The diyari-di were created by the species known as the h'nav in their own language. The Diyari language term for the h'nav is Qana'u, meaning "giant", translated into English as "Titan". The h'nav were immense beings, about four meters high, and twice as long, scaly and armored, walking on three elephantine legs, using a cluster of tentacles around the mouth to manipulate. The h'nav built up a complex and grand civilization, with many colossal buildings, whose ruins exist to this day. They also modified Tyarog's biosphere with their many genetically-engineered creations. The h'nav created the diyari-di to maintain their orbital Dyson Tree habitats, their biomechanoid spaceships, as well as their cities, acting as technicians, workers, slaves, and pets.
    Approximately 1 million years ago, the h'nav went extinct without ever having left the solar system, as far as can be told. The cause of their extinction is unknown. The diyari-di have conflicting legends about the extinction of the h'nav, but nothing concrete. However, to this day, the diyari-di maintain the ruins of the h'nav cities on Tyorag immaculately, repairing them, restoring their artwork such that they look as they had when the h'nav disappeared. Much knowledge of h'nav technology has been lost, and in many ways, the diyari-di live as pre-technological people, making use of biotechnology they could not have created themselves. However, with excruciatingly slow scientific progress, and reverse-engineering and translation of h'nav artifacts, they made a great leap, and succeeded where their dead masters failed: 22 years ago, a coalition of diyari-di tribes were able to construct a very crude and dangerous star-drive, which they used to travel to nearby stars and make first contact. This is considered the beginning of the modern diyari-di calendar.

Culture and Psychology:
     Diyari-di psychology is recognizable to humans, and can be characterized, albeit with simplification, as a case of species-wide Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Constant attention to detail, making sure everything is straight and clean and fixed and in proper order is characteristic of the diyari-di mindset, and useful for living in an environment where a tiny air leak can kill the entire population of a Dyson Tree habitat. They are known for tending towards ritualistic behavior and superstition. There are many superstitions and rituals meant to ensure the good health of a Dyson Tree or larva or ship, a safe journey, the continuing operation of a machine, good luck, and to ensure or prevent anything else a diyari-di may worry about.
     Their psychology also impacts diyari-di religion. Diyari-di religion is almost uniformly polytheistic. Two gods create the universe and struggle endlessly, the god Ua'ma (Order/Good) and the god Iruta (Chaos/Evil). Ua'ma gave birth almost the entire pantheon of good gods, while Iruta gave birth to a hierarchy of chaos-spreading demons, as well as, in some myths, the Titans/H'nav. In other myths, the good gods create the Titans, seen as demi-gods, who are allowed to create the Diyari-di, but then abuse their power, causing the gods to smite the Titans. However, there are some gods and spirits in the pantheon who are Titans or portrayed as Titans. There is speculation that at least some of those deities are based on historic figures from the pre-extinction era. There are some cults, often forbidden, or at least highly persecuted, that venerate or at least downplay the evil of the chaos god, often not using the name Iruta for this deity, instead using other titles.
    Diyari-di culture is strangely homogenous. This is a result of having the same basic spoken and written language, Selon Ua'ma, programmed into their genomes by their h'nav creators. Only regional words for things other than pre-extinction subjects, and slangs differ, and even then, Diyari-di dialects are more or less mutually-intelligible. Another result of this programming is that all diyari-di nymphs and adults are literate and fluent in at least basic Selon Ua'ma.
    The script for Selon Ua'ma is printed on their skins and shells, as well as the surfaces of the other genetically-modified plants and animals created by the h'nav. As mentioned before, each larva is born with a serial number adorning their shell, and later their abdomens, as nymphs. This is the first name they are given, their Bodyname. It cannot be changed until adulthood. The Bodyname is the name they are referred by. At adulthood, the individual is given a Given-Name, based on some feature of their appearance, a talent, their date of their adulthood ritual, or other basis.

Examples of names, translated into English...

Bodyname: 110039Ka
Feature: Brightstalk (unusually bright glow-stalks)
Talent: Weaver
Date of Adulthood: Seven Branch (seventh day of the month of Branch)
Information on the diyari-di.
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Sarelm Dec 21, 2010  Student Digital Artist
When the spiders start building guns. Then it all goes down hill. Thanks to you, I will not sleep tonight.
... At least I think that's what "Relatively primitive" technology would include.
... I wanna hug one. :/
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