|10.8.4 Part 4: Society|
|K'Luth society is an interesting thing. The most startling thing about it is that it is not terribly different than Human society. They have dreams and fears, they love, hate, feel joy, and feel pain. Most curious is the fact that they are deeply religious in belief. This alone has disrupted some of our theories about what makes an advanced society, as it was assumed that as a species gains more and more scientific knowledge, they drift farther away from their religious beliefs. On the contrary, the K'Luth have historically always had a strong belief system.
As a species starts to recognize it's own intelligence, it seeks to identify what differentiates itself from the lower animals. The K'Luth are no different. They feel that an event they refer to as the "Awakening", which they believe is the point that their species gained its telepathic abilities. Over time the K'Luth realized that they were the only species on their world with these abilities. It is by this that they judge the intelligence of a life form. Humans are the first species that they have encountered with intelligence outside of their own. As you might imagine, it came to quite a shock to them that we don't posses a single bit of the mental abilities that they identify with intelligence. It should be noted that there are references to another species known as the Kraddax. This species is as of yet unknown to us. There seems to be some confusion as to what the Kraddax are. The closest thing the K'Luth have been able to give us a reference point to is the expert systems AI computers that are present in most colonial hubs and research facilities. Of interesting note is the research that the K'Luth have done into human history. They claim that the references of our texts to "magic" and other mystical phenomenon are actually references to psionic abilities that have manifested themselves in the past. They also claim that we have, for whatever reason, embarked on an ages long campaign to eliminate this trait from our species. Our scientists firmly denounce this theory in light of the lack of the specialized nerve clusters in modern and ancient Humans that the K'Luth use for their abilities.
K'Luth are born with no knowledge of how to survive. Indeed, when they hatch they are as helpless as a human baby. Rather than being cared for by parents, they are left as an egg in the care of a communal infant care system. Immediately from birth, they are educated in the principles of their society. If these principles were to be summed up in one word, that word would be "conflict". Young who are unable to remove themselves from their shells before they starve to death are deemed too weak to survive. Their communal education system imprints on the K'Luth a strong social loyalty. Despite what we have observed from the outside, and what the media has told us, the K'Luth posses a society at least as fractured as our own. Young K'Luth are divided into groups based on their markings. These groups are affiliated with a group within K'Luth society, known as a Tribe. Within K'Luth society there are a handful of major Tribes. Each major Tribe has several smaller Tribes associated with it.
In ancient times, each Tribe specialized in one field of expertise. However, this didn't last too long. After the K'Luth became the major threat to K'Luth, different Tribes recognized the need to maintain a military force. Additionally, they all recognized the need for innovation and scientific inquiry. Over the course of approximately 8,000 years, the K'Luth have fought wars among each other. There has never been a point in K'Luth history where their species has not been struggling against something, be it the elements or other tribes. However, even though each Tribe now has several similar concerns, each also associates itself with a particular discipline, and seeks to excel beyond all others in that field. The K'Luth government has seen fit to allow this to continue. Their theory is that the constant conflict between Tribes for dominance in certain areas leads to overall excellence for the species. Individual Tribes generally pick symbology that they feel represents things that that particular Tribe idealizes. The large red symbol we identify the K'Luth with is a Tser'Ak. This creature is a top predator from their home world. A sort of large, arboreal, insectoid lion. From what we have uncovered, it is very fast, very stealthy, and can attack with incredible ferocity. It is also very territorial. Make no mistake, when presented with an outside threat the K'Luth unify quickly and seamlessly. It is almost as if their constant infighting is to keep them in fighting trim for combat with eventual foes. Indeed, combat is only second to religion as a theme in K'Luth life.
As with Humans, young K'Luth get into scrapes and fights. However, rather than being taught to control these urges, the K'Luth embrace them. They learn very early on how to engage in melee combat, utilizing speed, intelligence, and strength in proportion to the levels the individual K'Luth is given. No handicaps are given in these fights. If one K'Luth is stronger than another, then the weaker K'Luth is expected to use attributes that it posses in greater quantities to even the field. If the weaker K'Luth has no attributes that are superior, then it will lose, plain and simple. This philosophy is the premise for how they settle all arguments. Due to the nature of K'Luth psionics, if debates were to occur over disagreements, then their whole society would lock up in endless arguments. Rather, when there is a divergence of opinion, and those who represent the opinions believe strongly in them enough to not back down, a combat ensues. Each major Tribe has, over the course of it's history, developed it's own styles and techniques of melee combat. Contrary to popular belief, there are rules that accompany these "arguments". Combatants agree ahead of time what the point of victory is. One proposes a starting point, usually "Until one yields", then the other either accepts or raises the stakes by one level. If one does not feel that the fight is worth the stakes, they may either yield the whole argument, or accept the stakes as is. Rarely do the stakes reach the level of "To the death", but it is not unheard of if both believe in the subject matter enough. Even more rarely, the development of a "draw" has occurred. Generally speaking, these only happen when those in disagreement cannot settle their argument due to distance, or some other limiting factor. Usually, draws remain in place until the restriction on the representing parties is removed. Melee combat is one of the highest arts in K'Luth society. So ingrained is it in their culture, that you cannot find a K'Luth without a melee weapon of some sort. These weapons vary greatly in application, from daggers all the way up to pole arms. Each is unique to the individual, and is as much a symbol of station and wealth as it is a functional weapon. Even their clothing has been influenced by the K'Luth fixation on combat. Most of their clothing resembles some kind of body armour, and usually functions in this regard to some degree. An interesting note here is that the K'Luth lack any weapon such as a pistol. This isn't from a barrier in technology, but rather a philosophical decision. They generally feel that if you need a ranged weapon, then one with auto fire capabilities would be better suited to the task than a single fire pistol limited by short range. If an enemy is close enough that a sub-machinegun sized weapon is not an effective tool, then they are in melee range and hand to hand weapons are the best for that. It is because of this that many of their ranged weapons incorporate melee capacity in them.
K'Luth thought is completely open; they cannot disguise an opinion they hold. This lends itself to many of these arguments, and K'Luth diplomacy is said to be quite the exercise. Of particular interest to Humanity is the fact of this system of open ideas. It seems that because of this structure to K'Luth communications, the concept of a secret is foreign to them. Indeed, even though something may be written down to be kept secret, whomever wrote what was written knows of what they wrote. Thusly, that concept will be transmitted to any K'Luth nearby whenever they think of what they have written. Because of this, the K’Luth have never developed the art and science of espionage. Make no mistake, they understand and practice the art of surprise and stealth, but the concept of secrecy is beyond them. They don't even posses a word for a secret, instead having to invent one after dealing with Humans. This word roughly translates into "quiet knowledge". Do not mistake the K'Luth for some stupid or unimaginative species. They know full well the weakness they posses when it comes to espionage. They also realize that they cannot understand this concept in the foreseeable future. However, they also realize that Humans are masters at espionage, and that we have a weakness when it comes to personal gain. Utilizing this, they have constructed an intelligence organization that is completely run and operated by Humans, who have sold their loyalty to the K'Luth for money, power, or some other kind of reward. Rumors indicate that the K'Luth are using their vast knowledge of bioengineering as a bargaining tool.
The K'Luth posses a vast knowledge of biology, and a grasp of chemistry beyond ours as well. Many of the concepts that they have knowledge of don't even translate into terms that Humans can understand. Theory is that they have used this knowledge to engineer their species to its current state. The K'Luth believe that they are the epitome of the K'Luth form. They look on artificial augmentation, like cybernetics, as a corruption of the whole. However, should a K'Luth lose a limb or other major organ, their technology is such that they can regrow the organ or limb from the original body, creating a perfect replacement. While indications are that they cannot engineer anything that is not from their home world, we do know that they are working feverishly to unlock the genetic intricacies of life from Earth. K'Luth sciences are not as comprehensive as ours in the realms of physics and computers. Interestingly enough, while they can build jump drives with remarkable proficiency; they actually don't know the science behind its function. The K'Luth have developed jump drive technology approximately 80 Sol years ago, as an accident during an unrelated experiment in power generation. The 420 years of their interstellar space flight before this time seems to be filled with the use of very advanced cryo-stasis units and slower than light drives. They pushed themselves into deep space before the development of faster than light drives due to some kind of insatiable thirst for knowledge. The path of the scientist is one of the most revered roles in K'Luth society, second only to Priest.
K'Luth religion dictates that they are children of their star. That all life flows from the stars, and that, through the gathering of knowledge they shall discover a way to "Ascend" to some state of being beyond what they are now. What this "Ascension" may be is unknown to us at this time. Regardless, they associate all life they encounter with the star that originated it. The K’Luth word for Humanity translates roughly as "Children of Sol". As a side note, the translation of the word for Kraddax comes roughly out to "Devourers of The Children". Priests are thought of very highly in K'Luth society, and even claim to be able to "Hear the star's speech". While we don't fully understand what this means, they are able to predict stellar events with uncanny accuracy.
The highest place in K'Luth society would have to be the Tribe leaders. There is no set way of deciding how a clan is run. Each has it's own process, from a series of declared monarchial leaders, to a democratic system who's voting process is active, to say the least. Each clan generally picks a representative to participate in the ruling of the whole of the K'Luth species. These representative aren't necessarily members of the ruling caste in a particular Tribe, but are usually held in high regard nonetheless. Below this is the general populace. They posses social strata within each Tribe generally determined by economic position, much like Humans. Artisans represent both the general populace and the Tribal rulers. The Warrior caste is generally kept separate from regular society and does not participate in the ruling process. They seem to have no problem with this, and we attribute their complacency to a pre-engineered condition. When not engaging in combat duties, the members of the Warrior caste seem to enjoy in participating in heavy labor. Arguments between Artisans and Warriors are not unheard of, and the same rules apply for combat that would apply for a combat between similar caste members. Personal relationships between Artisans and Warriors don't go beyond the acquaintance stage.
Personal relationships between individuals of the same caste do form, however. The K'Luth have friends, enemies, and even loved ones. K'Luth society does not encourage monogamous relationships, and they have to institutions like marriage to represent them. Despite this, K'Luth have been known to form monogamous pairings on their own. There does not seem to be any social stigmata incurred by this. Due to the K'Luth process of "discussion", even they don't know their lifespan. It is estimated to be similar to a human, but no K'Luth is known to have survived to die of old age.
Contrary to the media, the K'Luth do not eat Humans. They seem to have the same social aversion to eating another sentient life form as Humanity. Additionally, life from Earth, including Humans, does not provide the proper nutrients for K'Luth nourishment.
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