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!zzr

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Created by: Garry Stahl
Appearance: Starbase 600 game
Name: !zzr is pronounced with a sharp "click", in Humanoids made with the tongue on the roof of the mouth followed by a buzz ending with the "r" sound. There is no vowel or assumed vowel in the name.
Number of Members: 7 billion
Nature of Members: 6-foot tall insects. They usually walk about on four legs and have wings. They can fly, but only under conditions of lighter gravity and higher than normal air pressure and even then not well. Their bodies are slender with an upward curving abdomen and their legs are long. They are obligate quadrapeds and the thorax is usually held at a 45 degree angle to the ground.. Only their upper most limbs can manipulate objects. Their heads are dominated by their huge eyes that give them 360 degree vision, and their complex mouth parts. !zzr have two brains. The visual cortex occupies the entire area of the head, and the rest of the brain is in the upper part of the abdomen. They can live without their heads. They lose vision and olfactory abilities obviously, and need food pre-chewed, but if they survive the shock to the nervous system it can be done. They speak though control of the spiracles, again in the abdomen.
     !zzr are a striking glossy Prussian blue color with green to purple iridescence in their caprice. Their eyes are black. Antenna are also black.
     !zzr have three sexes. Right, Left, and Middle. Left and Right supply genetic material to the Middle sex, whom are visually different from the Left and Right, having a shorter and much thicker abdomen. The Middle gives birth to two to six larva in 4 weeks time. Middles live apart from the other two genders, and are "rented" for the purpose of childrearing by the Left and Right couple. The larva pupate to a Left or Right sexed individual in 1 year The sex is dependent on conditions during larva hood, and Middles are careful to see that a balance of Left/Right children develop. The young !zzr then joins it's seed parents and undergoes a series of molts until adulthood some nine years later.
     Middle sex !zzr reproduce among themselves by laying eggs internally that undergo a similar process of growth and maturity and are always Middle sex.
     Imperial biologists have determined that the !zzr are actually two related species that have developed a symbiotic reproductive relationship. Middles cannot produce Middles until they have hosted a Left/Right. Left/Rights or "Sides" as they are sometimes called cannot reproduce without the Middles. Middles are hermaphrodites. The !zzr said they knew this all along, but it wasn't a matter of concern among themselves.
     Common usage calls all "Sides" "He" and all Middles "She".
Organization: Hierarchy; !zzr have developed a government by examination. They are locally governed by a Tri-part council that has three members of each gender on it that have scored highest on the Tri-part Council Examinations. The term is for nine years and once a citizen serves they cannot serve again. Similar councils govern the planetary divisions and localities. Employment is by competitive exam, and terms are for nine years.
     !zzr have no native word for "lie". They had to borrow a word for it from the Anglish. As a result they still deal with each other in terms of fact and truth. Their government and industry work on that principle. As a result of learning about the concept of the lie they have restricted their government to their own kind, and developed the concept of Trust, but Verify when dealing with non !zzr.
     The Imperial System was briefly tried on Loos but abandoned when the !zzr buried the Imperial officials with documentation on "why that shouldn't be done here". Said officials managed to dig out well enough to raise a white flag. The !zzr are part of the Trantorian Empire, but on !zzr terms.
Game Role: Something for flavor.
World Role: Live and reproduce.
Relative Influence: Moderate, while only one race in the larger Empire their dedication to truth makes them noticeable, if not always popular. They are prized for the long view afforded by their longer lifespans. Except of course for those whose short term political ox just got gored.
Public or Secret?: Public
Publicly Stated Goal: To seek truth and beauty wherever they are found.
Relative Wealth: Moderate. They are an active part of the Empire.
Group advantages: !zzr have seemingly open ended lifespans. They continue to grow throughout life. They molt ever more slowly as they age, and always a little bigger than before. Few have ever reached 300 years of age, and those that do are often 7 foot or taller. Something usually takes them down first.
Special Abilities: !zzr are masters of beauty and truth. Among their more noticeable talents is the ability to grasp even seeming alien truths. They are among the greatest artists and most intuitive scientists in the Empire.
Group disadvantages: !zzr are exothermic arthropods. Cold quickly kills them. Likewise they must undergo an extensive conditioning phase before they can leave their home world. Many must still wear a supplemental oxygen pack to function at anything but the lowest level of activity.
Special disadvantages: While great scientists and artists, the !zzr are poor politicians. They tend to blurt out their truth whether it is the most prudent thing to say or not.
Those who favor them: Seekers of beauty and truth.
Those opposed to them: Those with truth to hide.
Area of Operation: Trantorian Empire
Headquarters Location: Loos, a world with a 0.8g surface, and a 26% oxygen atmosphere at 20 psi average.
Notable Members: Nic't!ck: This left person lived to be 416 years old and was 7'5" tall at his death. His exoskeleton is preserved in the Hall of Memory.
     Tic'tic: He defined the principles of the energy economy that prevented the Trantorian Empire from consuming itself.
History of the Organization: Loos is a world poor in mineral wealth. The !zzr when found by the Trantorians were a primitive people still living in wood and paper cities, and growing simple crops. The visitors from the stars were greeted with understated friendship, and new dances.
     The !zzr were willing to join the star people, but were adamant on doing it their own way. Scientific proofs were presented until the Trantorians, still new in the Empire business and not yet ossified in their ways, relented.
     As a result the !zzr have been a beacon of light in the increasing muddled and dark atmosphere of the Trantorian Empire. The delicate bugs are beloved for their arts, their ability to see through problems, and their dedication to Truth. Likewise they are despised in certain circles for that self same dedication to truth when it leaves the realm of art and science and intrudes into Imperial politics. A place where truth is seldom welcome at the table.

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