The Gulchabrahva Picture

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The Gulchabrahva or “Gulcha” for short are sentient, symbiotic aliens native to the western quadrant of the Milky Way. Rather recent in galactic terms, they are timidly beginning their journey across the stars, hoping to make ends meet in the new world before them

- Homeworld: Luch
- Average height: 4’ (Females) 7’ (Males)
- Average lifespan: ~123 years
- Dominant language: Gulchunn

General characteristics:

The Gulchabrahva are amphibious creatures with an extreme display of sexual dimorphism. The females, between four and five feet at the shoulder, vaguely recall wading birds with their elongated shapes and hunched posture. Where their arms should be there are large fleshy “wings”, completely useless for flight but ideal as sails that drive the owner effortlessly through the waters. The actual arm grows straight from the chest, thin but nimble and very dextrous, with a zygodactyl hand and double joints not unlike The Risen. The legs are muscular and end in webbed four-toed feet for quick propulsion. The head is crowned by long stringy hair that goes all the way to the back, their eyes are large and fish-like, coming in varying shades of yellow, and the jaws reveal an omnivorous dentition that appears to lean towards predatory. A single nostril opens in the middle of the face.

Males, reaching over seven feet in length, are stunted in comparison. Lacking limbs of any sort, their serpent-like forms don’t even have most organs necessary to survive, only a brain, a lung, a simplistic heart and a set of genitals. But this vulnerability belies an extremely violent nature and a body largely comprised of muscle; their bristling fangs are strong enough to seriously injure or even impale a full-grown human.

Skin tone in the females is usually a blue-ish grey, with the males having a shade of orange, but other colours such as pale grey or a bony white are known to exist, as well as different skin patterns and body proportions, owing to the wide array of ethnicities within the race. What hair they have typically never strays too far from magenta.

Anatomy:

Uniquely among the known galactic races, the Gulchabrahva can only survive long-term by becoming symbionts of one another. Shortly after birth a male has his body inserted within a cavity in a female’s back, where an enzyme instantly melts down his flesh and merges their nervous and circulatory systems together. From there on the couple is fused for life, each complimenting the flaws of the other. A female gains protection for her frail body as well as an enhanced awareness of the world, for her brain is naturally underdeveloped at the area that handles self-preservation, and in return she takes care of locomotion and all metabolic functions. The male, on the other hand, provides reproduction, confronts challenging game and receives a mindset far more complex than lashing out at everything

A female has keen eyesight and can modify her pupils for a crystal clear view underwater, but her hearing and sense of smell is somewhat under average. The male has poor eyesight, but his other senses are very sophisticated, able to sniff out or hear unseen danger, and lash out at an attacker with lightning speed

Due to the conditions of their planet, the Gulchabrahva are unable to breathe in places with high quantities of oxygen, and need to wear environmental suits when off-world. Similarly, their bones are rich in mercury and other metals, and their organism overall is full of toxins. Contact with their saliva, sweat, feces or even breath can result in mild sickness for non-Gulcha races, and their foul-smelling silver blood is poisonous.

Other peculiar traits are the female’s enormous heart and lungs, a necessity to support living for two, and two sets of liver-like organs to filter poisons present in food to more tolerable levels. Naturally, this means the Gulchabrahva are almost immune to being poisoned themselves, and that their “livers” are ridiculously toxic.

Origin:

The Gulchabrahva evolved from a splinter lineage of predatory fliers in the miserable planet they call Luch. Millions of years ago, Luch was hit with extreme geological activity that shattered its landmass, reducing it to countless scattered islands, archipelagos and sub-continents. Worse than that, it threw up a massive variety of toxic gases, poisons, metals and all sorts of hazardous compounds into the atmosphere, permanently turning the planet into a grim realm of low oxygen, scarce resources, acid storms and omnipresent toxins. Mass extinctions followed, and those life forms that didn’t die off eventually evolved to become symbiotic with others to survive.

By the time the race achieved sentience, the broken state of the world resulted in hundreds of different cultures that fought fiercely for dominance, generations and generations of bloodshed that stained the seas and swamps and marshes until the Gulchabrahva finally managed to unify

It was during this time that the art of bioengineering was solidified. Since ancient times the Gulchabrahva had adopted and controlled the animal species that proved useful to them, but soon they were able to breed and modify them to suit their needs, and the advances in biology increased the odds until technology was entirely scrapped in favour of living tools. The process was slow and needed to be checked carefully, but the results spoke for themselves. Metal was relegated to reinforcement purposes, inorganic coatings to add a bigger measure of protection to vital, unprotected components

The next ground-breaking point in Gulchabrahva history, however, would be in more recent times, when The Risen discovered their existence during a research mission. After an extremely short conflict (born out of fear and cultural clash more than anything) both races achieved an understanding, and in their philanthropy The Risen decided to “uplift” the Gulcha. Eventually Gulchabrahva biotech and overall knowledge became more advanced than ever before -and still expanding- head-started by the introduction of bioships, and the Risen became their closest –and thus far, only- allies

Life Cycle:

The Gulchabrahva life cycle is simple enough. A female becomes fertile towards the end of the year, and her male answers to this by extending a rather long, prehensile penis, in a manner similar to barnacles, to reach her vaginal canal and mate.

After seven months, the female gives birth to a litter of eight pups, male and female, in a communal bog the clan will have settled as a nursery. The clan nurses will then merge each male and female with a carefully chosen partner, which may originate from other clans to prevent inbreeding. Much like bird hatchlings, Gulcha pups depend heavily on adults and for several months do little but sit and watch, taking in all knowledge teached to them like sponges in preparation for the future

Gulchabrahva reach maturity at the age of nineteen, which also the age they’re expected to have coordinated as partners. With the rare exception, the average life-span is of one hundred and twenty tree years

Psychology:

The symbiotic way of life of the Gulchabrahva has influenced their insight on the world around them. Every sentient has half a soul, and by uniting they become complete, able to fully enjoy the fruits of life. Non-sentient composites like their biotech and the native Luch animals, on the other hand, are simply blissfully, mindlessly unaware of their incompleteness, and the Gulcha are doing them a favour by giving them a purpose. The teamwork mentality extends to society; Every Gulchabrahva is eager to collaborate on the well-being of their friends and their clan, for it amounts to everyone making a single soul, and bringing balance to the scheme of things, Oto “the Whole”

Naturally, this belief was brought into question with the discovery of sentient beings that aren’t symbiotic. While things have vastly improved in the recent years and they perfectly accept The Risen (who are close enough in mentality anyway), an average Gulchabrahva still feels uneasy among races such as humans or Alaerin, for to the Gulcha common sense they’re something that shouldn’t be, beings happy to be incomplete as if they were mockeries of the natural order.

For obvious reasons, talking to a Gulcha "couple" is essentially facing two different personalities. A typical female will be openly friendly and reasonable, with a drive to be productive and helpful, if perhaps naive. On the other hand a typical male is blunt, cautious and quite willing to use force if necessary, sometimes to the point of paranoia

Sexuality and love:

For lack of a better term, it’s a given that the Gulchabrahva are a monogamous species. Thought they do experience love, it is different from what other races experience, more of a deeply protective affection for the opposite gender that’s been sharing body and mind with them their whole lives. Concepts such as marriage and divorce are entirely unheard of in their culture, and can’t seem to understand it very well

Gulchabrahva have no taboo regarding the sexual act, and as the females are only fertile late in the year it’s widely seen as just something to pass the time, pleasurable for both genders and that strengthens the bond between the two. All things said, they’ve only recently learned to watch the timing, for other races aren’t too comfortable when a Gulcha couple standing next to them suddenly starts mating out of boredom

Religion/Mythology:

The Gulchabrahva traditionally worshipped a small pantheon of gods, but over the years and the rise of the Ur’ Oto (Nation of Whole), many of them have decreased in popularity. The most prominent deities are Mwaru and Cebl, the “Overlovers”, depicted as an ethereal male and female pair in eternal sexual intercourse. From them the Gulchabrahva came, and to them they will all eventually return, absorbed within their bright, limitless soul to take part of the Sh’yn (“All Mind”) and experience eternal, enlightened bliss in the Whole

The male Gulcha’s thirst for aggression, which is consequently experienced by the female, has influenced many religions and celebrations into including periods of savage hunting sprees and non-lethal ritualistic duels

Language:

The many dialects of the Gulchabrahva race are collectively known as Gulchunn, comprised of snorts, gargling sounds and throaty barks that can be difficult to replicate. Instead of writing, they have a wide series of crude glyphs embodying specific concepts that can be combined to achieve different messages

Organic translator devices and speakers are employed when dealing with off-world situations.

Art, music and literature:

Literature is non-existant in Gulchabrahva culture, but they have a strong oral tradition and there’s hardly a celebration or party that doesn’t include a storyteller to entertain the crowd. They’re also pretty fond of music, either vocal or with living instruments.

Mastering genetic engineering has also allowed recreational purposes in their society. Known examples include one-off, baroque composite-creatures intended as living works of art, and “gardens” of entirely artificial ecosystems

Society:

In modern times the Gulchabrahva are organized under the Nation of Whole, which encompasses all Luch clans (Gulch’ee, “Flocks”) and off-world colonies. The government is led by a council, whose members are the leaders from the most powerful and influential clans. It is them who take all important decisions, and save the extremely rare exception citizens are all too happy to follow. With the galaxy revealed to them the Gulchabrahva’s sentiment of collaboration has intensified, an entire race overjoyed to expand their horizons and work together to bring even more good fortune to the Whole

Such a belief, often compared to communism/socialism, is carried since childhood. Young Gulchabrahva are looked after by clan nurses who educate them in the ways of the Whole, and once they reach a certain age they’re labelled “Gul” (Helpers) and put to perform menial tasks, becoming the clan’s lifeblood while developing the bond with their partners. Once they mature both physically and mentally they’re referred to as proper “Gulcha” (Contributors) and set free to pursue their destinies, doing what’s best for the clan and the Whole in general.

Since the development of spacecraft, a sizable number of Gulchabrahva have taken to seek profit off world, gaining all the wealth and resources they can for their clan. Selling biotech proves to be good business, but the Gulcha are in more demand as spies, mercenaries or assassins, where they can exploit their knowledge of poisons, their nearly-silent organic weaponry, and the chance to quell the shared bloodlust. Their return home with goods often coincides with the arrival of interstellar merchants

The Risen are held in very high regard by the Gulchabrahva as their benefactors and first and closest of allies. Breathing suits, living starships, organic buildings and many other items of advanced biotech were made possible thanks to the study of Risen technology, and some aspects of their culture are deliberately being shaped after that of their comrades as a respectful homage, which The Risen are admittedly flattered at. It should be said, however, that not all Gulcha seem to approve of this relationship; a small but vocal faction known as Hap’r Bk’a (“Sin Breakers”) believe the Gulchabrahva race should have achieved progress without help from obscene foreigners, and are committing acts of terrorism to prevent this from expanding any further

Military:

The Gulchabrahva are never openly conflictive, but if threatened they are savage and destructive, with an unnerving willingness to sacrifice themselves for the good of all. Their organic fleets are more vulnerable than the metallic armies of other factions, and they make up for it with sheer numbers and crippling battle tactics. Corrosive acids, super-heated vomit-cannons, swarms of parasites, explosive egg-bombs, air-clogging poisons and metal-eating molds are just some of the bioweapons at their disposal, severely weakening enemy numbers if they’re lucky, causing mass deaths if they aren’t. Their main military unit, the ‘Shka (“Thresher”) is sleek and speedy and equipped with reinforced metal jaws to rip hulls open for soldiers or more engineered swarms to pour through

In ground-or-water combat, foot soldiers rush to the enemy alongside bio-tanks, soaring jet-creatures with piercing screams and dozens of different modified war-beasts. A single soldier might be physically frail, but she’ll be equipped with a wide range of biological ammo for her writhing weapons, and her male will be a flurry of brute force, mowing down the enemy with impaling tusks. With the heat of war raging all around, it is not uncommon for a male to get overzealous, and unless his female keeps him focused and coordinated he will lose himself in an orgy of violence
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