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The Tajara (Ta-jaw-rah, plural Ta-jaw-run) are a species of furred mammalian bipeds hailing from the chilly planet of Ahdomai, in the Zamsiin-lr system. They are a naturally superstitious species, with the new generations growing up with tales of the heroic struggles of their forebears against the Overseers. This spirit has led them forward to the reconstruction and advancement of their society to what they are today. Their pride for the struggles they went through is heavily tied to their spiritual beliefs. Recent discoveries have jumpstarted the progression of highly advanced cybernetic technology, causing a culture shock within Tajaran society.
For a significant portion of Tajaran history, society was controlled and directed by a very distinct group of Tajara called the Overseers. They first came to the Tajaran people, presenting themselves as the physical manifestations of the spirits, sent from the Aether to help them. They brought order and progress to a stagnant society, bringing unification to the region. Maintaining and expanding their control over the Tajaran people through the use of psychological manipulation, it eventually evolved into an oppressive regime
The treatment of the Tajara by the Overseers began to degrade after a while, with the extravagance and vanity of the Overseers becoming readily apparent. Working conditions fell drastically, poor management and mistreatment increased to beyond what some Tajara were willing to sacrifice. Magnified by various natural disasters,and injustice, some Tajara began to organize and plot to change society. They saw the Overseers as corrupted spirits, convincing others to the same viewpoint.
Riots broke out which only served to increase the tension between the two groups, which soon led to an all out conflict. Eventually, the Northern clans became involved in the fight against the Overseers, after it was discovered that they were assisting escapees. Sabotage was a common tactic against the Overseers, taking advantage of the Overseers over reliance on their undefended infrastructure.
After generations of fighting, the oppressed Tajara took control of the last Overseer controlled district, and began reconstruction of their society, splitting off into their various districts, all united under a new overarching government, the Confederate Commonwealth of Ahdomai. The CCA was formed to settle internal, and soon to be external policies, assisting in the reconstruction of Tajara society.
After the revolution, a new government was set up, this new government being The Confederate Commonwealth of Ahdomai (Abbreviated CCA). This government lets the clan leaders deal with their own affairs, but rather deal with things such as border disputes on Ahdomai and external affairs. The clans deal with their own mining contracts and such, but pay a certain amount of the profits to The CCA.
The Confederate Commonwealth of Ahdomai consists of three members of each of the three major ruling clans. The CCA members are selected once every two years by each of the major ruling clans.
Members of minor ruling clans may also attend CCA meetings, but only if it is specifically requested by the minor ruling clan and accepted by The CCA or if the minor ruling clan is specifically asked to attend the meeting. In these few cases, the minor ruling clan members are there to watch and only carry half a vote.
The Tajara are an omnivorous species of bipedal animals that vaguely resemble Terran felines, particularly lynxes. The size and shape of the body depend mostly on the climate. Those from the northern hemisphere, where it is colder, tend to have larger foot paws and thicker fur, while those in the warmer parts tend to have less fur and smaller foot paws.
Their body is almost completely covered in thick, isolating fur, exceptions are palms of their hands and feet, their eyes and finally around their bodily orifices. Usually they have a mane around their head and neck, which is thicker and more coarse than the rest of their fur.
Tajara fur tends to be monochrome in color, but they can have several colors, with the mane being darker than the rest of the fur. Tajara can have several types of patterns in their fur, ranging from stripes to spots to random color markings in their fur. This fur tends to cause problems in controlled climates or other hotter environments, as this commonly leads to a Tajaran being uncomfortably warm. It is not uncommon for them to attempt to adjust the temperature of their workplace to be slightly cooler.
The Tajara have hands very similar to that of humans, with five digits on each hand. These tend to be shorter and wider, complimented with a set of retractable claws originating from a second set of knuckles. Because of this, they need to wear modified gloves. The Tajara have a digitigrade anatomy, making it infeasible for them to wear standard footwear. Instead, they wear the traditional Caligae, which is fitted to their anatomy.
Tajara have very large, well developed eyes set above their muzzle. Their pupils are generally large. but can contract faster than most other species, their eyes are more photosensitive than humans, which greatly enhances their vision in the dark. Their teeth are long and sharp, the largest ones being the frontal corner teeth. Their teeth also grow thicker as they go further back. Tajara ears are long and upright, these are capable of swiveling around to locate sounds better.
Tajara have a notably longer sleep cycle than humans, the wake period being between 36–48 hours with a subsequent sleep cycle of 20–28 hours. Because of this, the Tajara must maintain a high calorie intake, to support themselves.
The average Tajara body is slender and highly flexible. Sexual dimorphism, except for overall size, is low between males and females, the main exception being the mammary glands, which are normally hidden, but grow out during pregnancy. After childbirth, they will slowly shrink back down. Most of their internal anatomy is similar to humans, allowing for a relatively easy adaptation for medical personnel.
Today, Tajaran culture on Ahdomai is heavily influenced by the events that transpired during the Revolution against the Overseers, as well as their spiritual beliefs which fueled it. The belief that fueled the revolution was the slant that the Overseers were evil corrupted spirits whose control over their lives left everyone at great risk. This shaped the practice of spiritualism to focus in part on the prevention of further corruption and to heal the moral damages they believe to be present. With the triumph over the Overseers leading to a golden age of freedom in their culture, canonizing the heroics of many groups and individuals who fought against the Overseers.
The Tajara tend to be quite energetic, having a strong sense of pride and duty in the tasks and projects they take on. It is natural for them to be heavily focused in carrying out their duties, with excitability and passion over the topics they enjoy. For this reason, Tajara tend to work well in positions where attention to detail is important, as they will focus their energy on the project to see it through to completion.
The reason for this boisterous behavior is that sadness, depression, and self-doubt are signs of an individual being vulnerable, putting them at risk for corruption by malignant spirits. It is thought that these spirits will latch onto an individual, corrupting their thoughts and negatively influencing their actions. A Tajara seeing someone they believe to be at risk for corruption would be concerned, and would usually try to help. This behavior makes some see Tajara as nosey.
Tajara are naturally curious and superstitious, with their beliefs being centered around the existence of spirits who influence their lives and actions. believing that the forces behind the universe are guided by the spirits, with much of their modern reasoning being that the spirits shaped the universe. A Tajara will almost always possess a personal token of sorts, usually connected in some way to their beliefs. This object would be very important to them, causing them great stress and worry if they were to lose it.
Present day, the Tajara are mostly on par with humans intelligence in the field of hard science, but also excel in fields such as anthropology, psychology, and other soft sciences. Tajara also tend to be rather open about their emotions, either to anyone, or to those they trust. In regards to the feelings of others, they have a tendency to show compassion to others. However, Tajarans are mainly concerned with those within their species, and are less inclined to worry about strangers outside their race.
There is no real concept of gender or sexuality in Tajaran society, with the only observed difference between the two being who can bear children. Sexism is non existent and while people have their preferences, they are usually open. Unions are usually between two individuals.
The social structure of the Tajara is highly involved, with a deep sense of community as it’s foundation. Tajarans are highly social .The Tajaran family structure is split into two categories, Clan, and Family. Present day clans are loosely defined as regional groups who identify themselves under a single name.
Siik'maas is the traditional tongue of the Tajara. This language was made the prominent language for the Tajara by the Overseers early efforts for unification. Humans have a great difficulty learning it, struggling with several words and pronunciations. This is due to the sounds needed for the language, non Tajara have great difficulty, speaking this language properly, an example being S turning to sh. Because of this, Siik’maas spoken by humans sounds very broken, being wholly unable to pronounce certain words. It is seen as rude to speak Siik’maas around non-Tajara in a casual or professional manner. Siik'maas is completely auditory.
Siik'tajr is a tail based sign language created during the revolution. Used to communicate with others without the Overseers knowing, it is seen as a symbol of pride to know how to use it. It uses tail movement to communicate simple messages and information. It is nearly impossible for a non Tajara to grasp the moment enough to understand it.
Rr'hangar is the traditional language of the northern clans, sounding like a harsh growling sound. It is the language spoken by the Tajara who inhabit the northern mountains of Ahdomai. Normally only spoken within that region, they opt to speak Siik’maas when outside of their homeland when communicating with others. Due to the sounds and structure of the language, it is not possible for a non Tajara to speak Rrhangar.
Due to facial anatomy, a Tajara speaking Galactic Common, or Sol Common have the R sound extended.
Tajara names tend to use a lot of r, n, m and h, with the occasional j and g. Tajara names also tend to have pauses, example: Mikam Ja'hmka. They also tend to sound slightly Arabic.
Religion on Ahdomai is unified with several core principles, with their implementation varying region to region. The unifying belief is the existence of entities called spirits who reside the Aether, a separate plane of existence above reality. In Tajaran Spiritualism, there is no god or divine being, only spirits of varying power and strength. It is believed that most of the more powerful spirits have since retreated deeper into the Aether, having spent most of their energy. Comparatively, lesser spirits remain present, both malevolent and malignant.
The Tajara believe that the universe was created when the primordial entities of the Aether discovered what is referred to as The Nexus, which is the source and center of all the energy in existence. It’s discovery caused all of its energy to be released, empowering them to create and shape the universe to what they saw fit. The remaining energy was kept by the remaining spirits, some becoming the seeds of life that developed.
The Tajara believe that the spirits can Influence living beings on a personal level. The belief is that the spirits are always present, both good and bad, some of which are believed to be capable of changing the hearts and minds of those who are mentally vulnerable. To protect against this, Tajara try to keep their self-confidence up. With self-doubt, despondency or depression being signs of vulnerability to the negative influences of the spirits. To help ward against the malignant entities during times of trouble, Tajara will perform various traditional rituals to shield themselves.
Rituals are seen as an honorary tradition, being performed for various occasions. Today, they are commonly used to ward off bad spirits, ill fate, or to seek protection from the benevolent spirits. With the more significant rituals taking place in elaborate temple like buildings on Ahdomai, often used for occasions involving both life and death. Smaller rituals can be performed anywhere, usually pertaining to the dispelling of malevolent spirits, or for clairvoyance from the kindhearted spirits.
It is not uncommon to find a Tajara that does not have some sort of token in their possession. This could be a ring, a necklace, a worry stone, or any other object. Usually etched with runes, they usually provide mental fortitude, good fortune and good health for a Tajara. These items can be passed down, created, or given to their loved ones. These objects are always very important to a Tajara, the loss of such an item would cause them great distress.
Death in Tajara society is seen as cause for both sadness and celebration, with family gathering for their funeral ceremony. The method of handling the body varies from region to region, but usually involves the cremation of the deceased, releasing every last part of their soul from their body. The ceremonies themselves are usually elaborate, taking place in elaborate buildings dedicated to such events.
A significant part of Tajaran spiritualism, as well as post-revolution society is the veil. The first veils came about during the revolution as a means of protection against the Overseers light based area denial weapons. It gained symbolic significance as a sign of resistance and protection from the Overseers, who were believed to of been corrupted by evil spirits as well. Presently, it is used as another defense to ward off bad spirits, and to provide mental fortitude.
Its use led to the belief that the eyes are the most vulnerable part of the body, and must be protected, particularly against those who may have ill intentions. For this reason, a Tajara typically only will show their eyes to very close friends, family, or loved ones. Forcefully removing the veil from a Tajara is seen as an unforgivable insult, and is considered a very serious taboo among the Tajara.
It was traditionally woven out of the silk of an insect found in the southern parts of Ahdomai. Younger Tajara are usually believed to be more immune to the negative influences of spirits, becoming more vulnerable the more cognizant they are of it. For this reason, a Tajaran is given their first veil around the age of six, which is replaced at thirteen, and their last traditional veil at the age of twenty. The veils of today are much more advanced than their traditional counterparts, being made out of a lightweight and durable alloy, as well as the traditional silk cloth, and featuring various technological capabilities. These include holographic heads up displays, communication and providing different visible spectrums.
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Tajaran technology, prior to the technological renaissance that occurred when they were brought into the galactic community, stood on the brink of colonizing their own star system. They had established a minor colony on their neighboring planet, S'ranjir, and had an extensive network of unmanned probes in fabrication for scanning their local system, as well as plans to send at least two on trips to scan their nearest stellar neighbor. Since meeting humanity, their technology level has been racing to catch up with the more advanced species, though they still have some time before they will be at an equal playing field.
The Tajara have advanced remarkably far in the field of robotics. This, by itself, would be no surprise given their propensity for drone warfare and drone labor. The majority of their military strength (when it comes to an equivalent of the “grunts”) and their manual labor fronts tend to be occupied with machines rather than the Tajara. There are exceptions, of course - mining is done in conjunction with machines and their Tajaran creators, especially as they go further and further into the galaxy, having less and less space to bring their larger drones with them. Even industries such as food service are slowly being mechanized, though some push-back against this does exist - citing that the drones are unthinking, as the Tajara have yet to invent or embrace any true AI, and the common belief foods made with someone with a soul tend to be of higher quality, created with a passion that a machine cannot match.
The machines are commonly limited to a local network, a practice that was put into place after the Overseer rebellions - it was seen, by and large, that a planetary network of their machines would simply result in another rebellious faction rising up and causing another catastrophe. This cultural embrace of robotics has fueled the rise of prosthetic augmentation being a part of the average Tajaran’s life. Implants, cybernetic limb replacements, and even full-body replacements are slowly but surely taking root across Ahdomai. This is especially prevalent in the larger space-port cities, as they have the largest contact with the universe at large, and the best access to greater technology. Perhaps the highest quality of these mechanical parts belong to Dyson-Rhyn’yai Cybernetics, a Tajaran-Human joint company that is dedicated to providing highly expensive, but highly effective implants, limb, and organ replacements.
This movement towards cybernetics has caused division between different elements of Tajaran culture. The belief that one’s soul resides throughout the body has clashed with the idea of the willing replacement of appendages and, at times, the entirety of the body itself. Proponents of the practice make claim that the soul is, in all ways, something that will continue to exist and reform itself so long as the mind exists. The soul, while present throughout the form, is held together by the will of the mind, only lost when the mind itself is. Opponents hold that the soul is lost to the Aether immediately upon the destruction or loss of a part of the body, effectively being severed for the remainder of the individual’s life.
The Tajara do not currently possess some of the more advanced technologies that humanity has begun to take for granted. For instance, the Tajara lack laser-based weaponry or adequate shielding for their troops and vessels. To make up for this, the Tajara use a high quantity of ballistic weaponry and point-defense turrets for their warships, troops, and drones. The Tajara also lack cloning facilities, instead preferring to contract out human companies dedicated to the business to do necessary cloning.
Cloning itself is viewed with a somewhat more positive light, owing no small part to the organs being “natural,” though there is still a rather divisive disagreement over whether a cloned organ or body could truly be considered to be a part of the whole, or if the soul will not be reformed with the newly grown tissue. The cloning facilities in use tend to only be found in high-density areas or in military installations, due to their high cost and the fact that they are contracted out from human medical organizations, which is a major point of non-spiritual contention for opponents of the practice.
Most important of the technologies the Tajara lack is the Bluespace drive. While they have a gateway installed in their system (built by humanity), they lack the technology and resources necessary to manufacture their own bluespace drives. This has led them to purchasing bluespace-enabled vessels from humanity and the skrell in order to fuel their own scouting of the cosmos and defense of their system. While they are currently attempting to work with humanity to secure some plans to build a drive, negotiations have yet to proceed to a point where such a move would be agreeable for the SCG.