The following alien profile was written by Johnson Borrero as an entry to the Alien August competition.
The yzaz are a sapient species from the planet Gan, a warm, tide-locked world around the red dwarf sun Ir. They originated in and lived on the sunward side of Gan, in a toroidal (donut-shaped) region, between the edge of the night side of the planet and the perpetual cyclone on the east pole of the planet. The sunward side is largely covered with forests of black-leaved plants , with fungus fields in the regions of perpetual shadow created by the unmoving sun. There are three main landmasses on the sunward side, which most of the yzaz live on: Ngur, Isat, and Urum. The yzaz live in cities largely made up of warren-like domes of earth, typically arranged in crescent shapes with the points facing away from the sun. The dome roofs are used for growing plants, while the shadow regions behind the cities are used for aboveground fungiculture and small livestock farming. The yzaz live on four other worlds: Ishi, Uhada, Ayir, and Za. Together, these five worlds, governed by nested councils, comprise the Gannic Holarchy.
To the human observer, the yzaz, with their eusocial and subterranean lifestyles, flat heart-shaped heads, black, armored furry skin, jointed limbs, antenna-like tentacles, and fat, bulbous tails, rather resemble ants. However, they are warm-blooded and belong to a group more akin to armored vertebrates. Despite misconceptions bred by cultural differences and generations of science-fictional portrayals of insect-like extraterrestrials, the yzaz have individual minds and personalities, which do not comprise a hive mind, and are not controlled by their queens. (Note: The rest of this article will conform to Linguistic Standard UN/GH-ECD, and refer to yzaz queens as Mothers, due to the “derogatory insectile and monarchical connotations of the word ‘queen’”)
The yzaz average around 1 meter in height and 1.5 meters in length, with some size variation. They have black, red, or brown, partially-furred shell-like armor, four legs (with the fore pair adapted for digging and knuckle-walking, and the hind pair, backward-facing and for walking), and a fat, partly furred tail used as a fat store and as a prop when sitting.
They evolved from eusocial, egg-laying diggers, and retain this general form, with each yzaz family being made up of a Mother, 1-3 male mates, and 6-9 sterile male or female workers. 3 or more families comprise villages, towns, and cities. Yzaz can live for 150 – 200 years.
Recorded history began on Gan approximately 100,000 years ago, with the invention of writing. From then, their technological progress would be slow, with brief periods of rapid advancement separated by thousands of years of stasis. Speculation abounds as to why the yzaz progressed so slowly, varying from having a much smaller habitable landmass on Gan to a much slower economic and cultural system. The true answer is likely to be both and more. It would not be until around 500 BCE that the yzaz achieved faster-than-light travel, eventually discovering and colonizing what would become the other four planets of the Holarchy.
Yzaz cultures have regional variations, though over hundreds of thousands of years and living on only the smaller habitable portion of their world, the local cultures have blended together, as have their religions, which have become, depending on the scholar, a single intricate super-religion, or a family of elaborate compatible religions, analogous to Hinduism. All of them hold a Super-Solar Mother, from which lower godheads (The Solar Mother and then the Oversoul Mother, respectively) and the lower pantheons, as well as the physical cosmos, emanate from. Worship is typically given to the lower pantheons, and the renowned dead, who are seen as more amenable to yzaz concerns than the three higher godheads.
Interactions with Humanity
The yzaz have the distinction of being (despite rumors to the contrary) the sole species to have visited the Earth in ancient times. However, the yzaz did not build the Pyramids, Stonehenge, or any other monuments. Around 500 BCE, A Holarchy ship, testing the then-experimental stardrive had crashed into the desert of what was then Persian-controlled India and is now the disputed Kashmir region of India and Pakistan. The crew of eleven was stranded for five years. Their presence would have left nearly no trace, had it not made its way into the writings of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. In his “Histories”, Herodotus wrote about a race of giant, gold-mining ants in Persian-controlled India that dug tunnels, unearthing gold dust that the inhabitants collected. There are rumors of yzaz remains kept by the Pakistani or Indian governments, but due to political tensions, these are unlikely to be confirmed.
A detail mentioned in the Histories explains why the yzaz had not returned to Earth sooner: “The Persian king [Darius] has a number of them [gold-mining ants/yzaz], which have been caught by the hunters in the land whereof we are speaking.” (Histories, Book III) In fact, the yzaz gave the name of their captor as Thari-Yausha, which resembles the name of King Darius the Great (Old Persian: Darayaush) The crew managed to be rescued, except for six who were killed by hunters or succumbed to illness. As a result of this disaster, the conservative Gannic space council placed a 3,000-year moratorium on exploration of the Earth.
In 2047 CE, once the moratorium was lifted, the yzaz returned, bringing a small contingent of defense vessels, only to find a humanity that had advanced much in three millennia. Rather than land, they broadcasted a message greeting humanity in the only language they knew: Old Persian. A peaceful, if cautious, interchange between the two civilizations has been going on since.
Written by Johnson Borrero
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