(Homo Sapiens Giganti)
The Alaerin are a race of modified near-humans native to the Orion-Cygnus arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. They can trace their genetic origins to their homeworld of Alarie, and also to other varieties of Homo Sapiens. Their most distinguishing feature is their great, (and arguably physically impossible,) size.
Alaerin are a near-human species, the average individual standing roughly ten to twelve meters tall. They possess maroon-colored blood and skin pigmentation in shades of blue, giving them skin tones ranging from light to dark in both blues and purples. An average female of 12m height may weigh around 12,500kg, while the average 10m male may weigh 10,500kg, give or take considerably.
All Alaerin have long, tapered ears extending backwards, though in some ethnicities they may also grow outward at varying angles from the head. Alaerin’s ears can move slightly, though this is a vestigial ability that amounts only to a slight “flickering” when excited or agitated in most individuals; though some retain more full control over the angle of their ears.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Alaerin have a very developed sense of hearing, with their ear structure making their directional hearing capability quite good as well. In all other senses, they are comparable to humans, though an Alaerin’s sense of touch si slightly more sensitive.
The Alaerin body is lithe and somewhat elongated; with notably over-long legs and a slightly more compact torso in comparison to humans. Their organ structure is almost identical to humans; with the only major differences being two supplementary blood pumping organs located in the thighs to ensure effective blood flow to the legs. Almost all Alaerin organs are notably more efficient than those of Terran Humans, though this is more than negated by their immense size.
As a species Alaerin have a slightly more complex system of gender roles than most humanoids; being broken up into four distinct groupings, Separated by male and female, as well as the expression of a ‘hunter’ gene. Typical Alaerin males stand around ten meters tall, and possess developed telepathic and telekinetic abilities. The Typical female, by contrast, expresses the aforementioned ‘hunter’ gene; while failing to develop telepathic abilities beyond vestigial tele-empathy, they stand on average around twelve meters tall and have more developed musculatures than the typical male.
Roughly one in fifty females will fail to express the hunter gene, and develop the same abilities as males, while being somewhat shorter and lighter than them, approximating the size difference of human males and females. Likewise, about one in fifty males will express the gene, and grow to the those same relatively human like dimensions compared to the typical female. The Y chromosomes in Alaerin sperm cells contain a terminator gene that expresses generally four-fifths of the time; leading to approximately five times more female than male births.
Male Alaerin in general tend to be somewhat less physically capable and inclined than females, with the exception of those expressing the ‘hunter’ gene. Males typically have larger ear structures than females, and somewhat shorter legs.
Female Alaerin of either type are generally the more physically capable of the genders, being on par or exceeding males in most attributes of physical prowess. Unlike human females, Alaerin females convert fairly little of their nutrient intake into fat during most of their lives. However Alaerin females hormonal changes during pregnancy are far more pronounced, shifting their bodies use of resources to more approximate that of other humanoid species females. The acquisition of fat and generally sudden and noticeable increase in breast size are dead giveaways of pregnancy even during its earliest stages.
Outside of pregnancy, Alaerin females on average display much smaller breasts than most other near-humans. As such, they typically eschew brassieres or chest wraps, and in fact before they encountered humans, such articles of clothing were considered an oddity. Given the generally much larger size of Alaerin females, males possess, on average, proportionately larger genitalia than their human counterparts.
Males, and ‘non-hunter’ females, possess highly developed telepathic and telekinetic capacities that, as explained below, form the lynchpin of the Alaerin family unit. The ability to communicate non-verbally extends over a range of approximately three kilometers, depending on the skill and inclination of the individual. Psionic individuals can glean surface thoughts without difficulty, but refrain from doing so without permission, though thoughts of an extreme nature they perceive as being “shouted” and cannot ignore easily. Typically only with permission or with close family members will a Psion delve deeper into another’s thoughts. They can often collect images, as well as access memories the subject may not have easy access to themselves.
Psionic individuals express the capability to bring about a lucid-dream state in themselves, and if they and others are telepathically linked during sleep, in other individuals. Though it rarely occurs, Alaerin psionics have displayed the ability to override the senses and motor control of unprepared or confused individuals. Though the use of any such ability outside of self-defense or therapy is considered heinous.
Psionics express telekinetic abilities as well, able to nullify the effect of gravity and impart motive forces on objects of sizes based on the individual's skill and talent. In general, objects or persons the size of an Alaerin child are the maximum, though some very skilled individuals have been seen to lift and move about multiple adult Alaerin with effort.
Hunter-expressing individuals share some very slight degree of telepathy, but in general can only read surface emotions at short ranges; though those with practice can impart messages “towards” psionic individuals. In close knit family groups, the male or a psionic female often develops the subconscious skill of “routing” such telepathic messages to different members of the household, bouncing these strong surface thoughts from sender to recipient. It is worth noting that all Alaerin can recognize people they have become familiar with by the :sound" of their emotional presence, in addition to their voice and appearance.
Alaerin ear structures contain a complex nerve bundle at the very tip; which makes them incredibly sensitive. Sweat glands at the tip of the ear tend to become active when an Alaerin is focusing on locating something; adding to these sensitive spots ability to help them detect wind direction. The nerve clusters also serve as extensions to their tele-empathic capabilities, amplifying their ability to send and receive, as well as lending them a better capacity to triangulate the location of other sentients via such means.
The Alaerin gestation period is approximately 17 Terran Months. Children reach puberty at roughly 16 T-years, and are typically considered adults at around 28 T-years, with physical development stopping sometime around 30 to 34 T-years. For Telepathic individuals, the general rates of development between males and females mirror humans, while for hunter-gene-expressing individuals, growth after puberty is typically immediate and fairly rapid, though there is a great degree of variance.
Alaerin middle age sets in at around 80 years, though it is culturally recognized at 120. The average Alaerin natural lifespan is estimated at around 180; though the somewhat regenerative nature of some of their telepathic capabilities can sometimes push that closer to 240, while modern medicine makes the expected lifespan of any individual roughly 300-320 years.
At its lowest level of organization, the family unit, Alaerin society has changed very little over the eons. A Family unit will typically consist of a male and his mated females; sometimes as few as one, but average two to four, and sometimes considerably more. The families adult children may choose to remain with the family, developing into the next largest social grouping, a Clan.
An Alaerin clan consists of any number of related individuals living in the same general geographic location. An example clan may consist of a Male and his mates, their children, some of their children's mates, and grandchildren. A Clan is best defined as any blood or marriage-related group that self-defines as such. For instance, if a male is mated to a female and chooses to live with her clan, he typically becomes a part of it. If she chooses to live with his, the opposite is true.
Clans are typically headed by the oldest family unit within them; or by the consensus of all family units. Clans can be beholden or swear fealty to others; making the default Alaerin governmental style a feudal one; though like most races, they have experimented with many forms of government over their history.
Within a family unit, power is broken up with the male as the ‘head’ of the household; though unlike with human cultures their power is not authoritarian so much as advisory. On emotional, cultural and spiritual matters, the household’s male is seen as the primary authority, with any psionic females as close seconds. Pragmatic matters such as finances, property, work and, traditionally, hunting, food gathering and defense, are handled by the females.
Alaerin take a different view of personal property than humans in some regards. While mostly the same, an Alaerin proud of a new possession will tend to invite others to make use of it, rather than dangle it in front of others as humans have a tendency to do. This sort of behavior means that Alaerin living in a certain location may also have fewer of certain less used goods. For instance, not every Alaerin on a block will own, say, a lawnmower. Instead whoever shows up with one first has won the honor of lending it out to others. This is true of a great many high-cost items that are used infrequently; and helps underline a sense of thrift in Alaerin society that stems from the massive resource investment even simple things are for them historically.
Alaerin courtship can be somewhat a convoluted affair. At its basest level it resembles human behaviors; One party takes a liking to another and vies for their attention. However, the criteria by which a mate is chosen and pursued can be much more complex. The opinions of existing family members, political considerations, infighting and favor trading can all become components of Alaerin courtship, though they are loathe to admit it.
Unlike in humans where the male typically initiates courtship, either gender of Alaerin may initiate an encounter, depending on the circumstances. A young male with no bonded mates will most certainly be more proactive in seeking them out, while a more experienced female may choose to actively seek an existing family unit for the stability it represents.
Alaerin, especially young Alaerin, have an open attitude to short-term relationships and casual sex. Because of their gender ratios and polygamous nature; Alaerin have no particular stance on homosexuality. Often it is such a non-issue that they can be confused as to why it is for humans. The only situation that arises where it is frowned upon is where two males in a homosexual relationship have no female partners; and this is typically only an issue for females who feel left out or marginalized.
Typically, even mated Alaerin may have lovers of either gender outside of their family. Contrary to humans feeling that this is “cheating” Alaerin see it as perfectly natural. it only becomes problematic if children come of it; or if one or either partner tries to keep the affair a secret. Alaerin frown on secretive relationships, and an Alaerin who is not introduced to her lover’s other relationships will inevitably feel as if their lover is somehow embarrassed by or ashamed of them, with predictable results.
For Alaerin raising children is very much a communal act. They do not consider a child the offspring only of their two parents, but more so of the entire extended family. Of course their two “birth parents,” will have a special place in their upbringing, but their father’s other mates and any other live-in relatives will take a great deal of responsibility for them as well.
Given that an Alaerin is all but guaranteed one telepathic parent; their social development begins early and can be more rapid and solid than with most other species. The Telepath in the family can empathize and console a child in an extremely direct manner and on a very deep level; and also act as a bridge for other family members to do so. Generally such contact begins several months before the child is even born, and Alaerin babies are typically born knowing the members of their family by presence, if not by sight.
An Alaerin youth’s first time away from their family can be especially jarring because of this however, the sudden cessation of constant telepathic contact is often linked to a brief onset of anxiety or outright panic; though most are able to get over this fairly quickly. Individuals who are telepathic themselves have a far easier time of this; but the disconnect from the family members they are used to “reaching out to,” during their day-to-day lives may be similarly upsetting.
Alaerin History is generally agreed to have begun at the hunter-gatherer stage. before the tribal culture of those earliest years, archaeologists have discovered literally nothing. Combined with the lack of clear evolutionary paths and dissimilarity to any other species on their homeworld this seems to settle that Alaerin were engineered and seeded on Alarie by another, older species; perhaps that which is responsible for the plethora of humanoid races in the galaxy.
Due to the family-centric, clan-based architecture of Alaerin society, their earliest form of government was a sort of simple feudalism. The history of the Alaerin mirrors human history in many regards, if their development was markedly faster up to a point, and lacking in any large-scale inter-species conflict.
Alaerin were far quicker to observe the environmental impact of heavy industrialization; though in part their smaller population and less goods-oriented lifestyles led them to pursue such advances at a slower pace than humanity. Until the discovery of anti-gravity effects, Alaerin had no real means of flight due to their immense size and mass; rendering traditional aircraft all but impossible.
Alaerin have experienced occasional spats of organized violence, but for the most part have no real concept of total warfare as humans do. Acts of warfare are traditionally small scale and raid-like in nature. In short, Alaerin as a whole still have a “warrior” mentality where defense and offense are concerned, as the concept of the professional soldier is not something they have ever completely developed.
The earliest Alaerin expansions into space after discovery of warp drive was to a planet named simply “New Alarie,” and soon from there to hundreds of other worlds. Unlike concentrated human colony efforts; Alaerin colonists generally chartered passage on privately owned or state subsidized long-distance transport craft. These early ships could take years to reach their destinations, and were often crewed by close-knit family groups. Some of the earliest Alaerin exploratory vessels even relied mostly on autonomous systems while the crew were cryogenically frozen. This practice fell quickly out of favor as drive speeds improved.
During the early expansion era, communications, travel, and trade were all mostly handled by this slow-moving network of charter ships, often making brief detours to drop off hopeful colonists on some recently surveyed planet.
One such colony was the location of first contact with humans, when one of the first earth colony ships arrived. The world was a highly magnetically active, cold-climate planet that the humans called Nordlys, and the Alaerin “Jewel.”
First contact for both sides went better than some had feared, if more roughly than most had hoped. Still, the result was a close bond between the two colonies on the same planet, which soon reached out to nearby worlds of both species.
While relations between individual states can still be rocky, for the most part the Alaerin and Humanity maintain a cordial relationship; and inter-species projects and colonies abound in the present day.