Author Topic: Overview of the Asari Republics  (Read 55 times)

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Overview of the Asari Republics
« on: September 17, 2016, 07:26:25 pm »
[size=130]General Information on the Asari Republics of Thessia[/size]

[size=120]Government[/size]

The cornerstone of the Asari Republics is their practice of absolute democracy, made possible by dedicated communications infrastructure. Every adult citizen (including naturalised non-asari citizens) is able to access virtual legislative chambers - akin to extranet chat rooms in basic function - where opinions are shared and their merits debated, and ultimately political policy set by the direct consensus of the citizens themselves. There are no political officials or representatives, nor any individuals or groups with special authority or right of veto. In practice though, Matriarchs are hugely influential in setting Republican policy - while having no greater absolute authority than any other citizen, Matriarchs' centuries of experience are shown great deference by the vast majority of asari, and where Matriarchs involve themselves in an issue, the discussion tends to revolve around exploring the merits of one Matriarch's position against another. Generally the process stops short of being an effective rule by Matriarchs, though, as many Matriarchs actively encourage younger asari to analyse and critique the contributions of their elders; in political circles it is often considered disrespectful to advocate another's position, even that of a Matriarch, without having thoroughly explored it first.

Given the difficulties of procedure inherent in direct dealings between such a democracy and the representative/hierarchical governments of other species, the Asari Republics Diplomatic Service serves many of the procedural functions of a hierarchical government with regard to interstellar affairs.

[size=120]Laws[/size]

Laws vary from locale to locale, as do the mechanisms for enforcement and judicial process, however a high degree of flexibility in interpreting the law is generally permitted to those passing judgement. Outright prohibitions are rare, with social and familial groups responsible for policing themselves to a considerable extent; where these mechanisms falter, local Matriarchs generally seek to address individual situations rather than enforce practices on entire communities.

The Republics are generally open to tourists and foreign commercial interests, although the processes required to comply with local regulation efforts can sometimes seem lengthy. Travel to Thessia, for instance, is heavily regulated (although not discouraged as such) to combat smuggling within the planet's element zero industry. Immigrants are similarly welcome provided they comply with local laws; the asari predilection for mating outside their species results in significant populations of aliens joining their mates in living on asari worlds, and non-asari residents without direct familial bonds are also not uncommon, usually living in enclaves, but welcomed readily enough by asari natives.

Justicars
Seemingly at odds with the generally liberal Republican approach to law are the justicars, an order of elite warriors sworn to uphold the ancient Justicar Code, which they follow to the exclusion of all else. The dictates of the Code, and thus the actions of justicars, are endorsed by all Asari Republics, but due to its absolute definitions of right and wrong which permit no room for interpretation, justicars confine themselves to pursuing only the most dangerous and destructive asari criminals. Although sometimes compared to equally powerful and colloquially 'above the law' organisations, the Justicar Order differs in that its focus is entirely internal to the Republics - justicars act against non-asari only when they involve themselves in existing investigations, or in times of direst need.

[size=120]Military[/size]

The Asari Republics' armed forces are composed of asari huntresses, who form special operations ground units, and crew the powerful warships of the Asari Navy. While the asari military is small compared to those of other species, the individual level of training and experience in each huntress serves to offset this numerical disadvantage. Huntresses are trained and equipped by their home Republics - although there is much sharing of personnel and experience between huntress forces - and each Republic forms military policy, and consults and coordinates with its neighbours, on its own initiative; the highest level of this voluntary cooperation, functionally a permanent institution, is High Command, based on Thessia and composed of Matriarchs and senior commandos from all major Republics.

[size=120]Language[/size]

High Thessian (also known as simply "Thessian", "asari standard", etc.) is the closest the Asari Republics come to a single common language. In fact, though, it is not a language in the usual sense at all - High Thessian is rather a framework of rules and conditions for combining multiple individual languages into a single multilanguage. Asari speaking High Thessian - or any of the dozens of other multilanguage structures common in asari space - switch between individual vocabularies and syntaxes, often in mid-sentence or even mid-word, in order to augment the literal meaning of their words with additional shades of meaning. In other sapients' terms, the technique bears the hallmarks of poetry, or structured musical improvisation.

High Thessian as typically spoken by asari is a combination of between three and fifteen individual localised languages - the theoretical maximum is in the low forties, but fifteen can be regarded as a practical upper limit for everyday conversation. Like many multilanguages, High Thessian sentence structure contains indicators specifying the languages an asari intends to employ, and her particular relation to them; the process is somewhat like a "handshake" in electronic communications terms, after which, having established what amount to groundrules for each participant's intentions, conversations tend to grow far more linguistically complex.

Education

As a complex linguistic structure, education in multilanguages must be preceded by a solid fluency in their component languages - virtually all asari are multilingual in the traditional sense, thanks both to the extended "childhood" period which, compared to most other sapients, affords a great deal of time for education, and the rapid assimilation of language made possible by the use of melding techniques. Asari entering primary education are typically fluent in whatever local dialect is their "native" language, as well as one of a number of more widespread languages to facilitate communication between children from different geographical or cultural areas. By the time asari begin the equivalent of tertiary education, they are generally quite fluent in most of the Thessian "grand languages" - those native to Serrice, Armali, Dassus, Kendra, and other prominent city states - as well as their own local dialects, and a number of specialist "component languages" relating to specific areas of culture and education they have taken an interest in.

Thesserit

Notable among languages employed in education is Thesserit, which occupies the role of a "scholarly language". Thesserit is a multilanguage structure, like High Thessian, with which it shares a significant amount of its structure, however it also encompasses a range of unique linguistic properties and a considerable vocabulary, drawn from multiple fields of study but most prominently epistemological theory. Half-evolved, half-designed, Thesserit is a precise, content-rich language which in its use encourages open discourse and critical thinking. Most asari will be at least familiar with introductory forms of Thesserit; asari who have completed university-level education can generally be expected to be fluent in the complete Thesserit multilanguage, and will habitually use it in academic settings.

Written Language

The written forms of asari languages share the multilanguage structure, employing shifts between alphabets and writing styles to a similar effect; alphabets are not so much linked to specific languages as defined as a series of overlapping areas of influence. The majority of scripts include calligraphy-like features which modify or alter the meanings of the more conventional alphabetic forms they surround; the practice is intended to replicate the array of meanings added to spoken language by non-verbal cues, such as intonation, body language, facial expression, and so on. In some cases, particularly in artistic compositions and lyrics, phonetic alphabets may be omitted entirely, with the written language taking a form more akin to expressionist artwork.

Nonetheless, virtually all asari written languages (barring certain forms used primarily in ceremonial settings) can be transcribed in "plain text" if needed, although to non-asari, the "plain" alphabets used in such cases still encompass a seemingly unwieldly number of distinct characters.

[size=120]Biology[/size]

Asari resemble humans in terms of basic skeletal structure with five fingers on each hand and legs that are relatively straight. This similarity allows asari to wear human armor. A typical asari has a blue to purple complexion, though a teal complexion is possible albeit seemingly rare. Some asari have facial markings, which are unique colored patterns that vary for every asari. Some of these facial markings resemble the eyebrows that humans have, but the asari do not think of the markings as such themselves. In the place of head hair, asari possess semi-flexible, cartilage based scalp crests that grow into shape. These structures are rigid, and do not "flop around" as some believe. Asari are said to have navels as well as breasts that continue to grow with age. Asari also have a robust cellular regenerative system; while they do not heal faster than other species, they are known to reach over 1000 years of age. Asari blood is purple.
There is some conflicting information regarding the gender of the asari. Asari are a mono-gendered species with no concept of gender differences. Male and female have no real meaning for Asari.  At the same time, asari are often viewed as an all-female race. To humans at least, asari appear female with breasts and voices that sound female. Even among the asari, individual asari are referred to using feminine pronouns like “she” and “her” instead of gender-neutral terms like “they" and "them." Asari also bear feminine titles like “huntress” and “matriarch” and asari offspring are usually referred to as “daughters.”

However asari gender is defined, they are innately different from humans, for asari can mate and successfully reproduce with any other gender or species. Although they have one gender, they are not asexual and do in fact require a partner to reproduce. However, asari reproduction is very different from other forms of sexual reproduction. An asari provides two copies of her own genes to her offspring, one of which is passed on unaltered. The second set of genes is altered in a unique process called melding, also known as the joining. During melding, the eyes of the asari initiating the meld dilate as she consciously attunes her nervous system to her partner's, sending and receiving electrical impulses directly through the skin. A common phrase used before melding is "embrace eternity", presumably to help focus the partner's mind. Effectively, the asari and her partner briefly become one unified nervous system, sharing memories, thoughts, and feelings. The offspring is always an asari, regardless of the species or sex of the "father" and in the case that the offspring is of two asari, the father is the one who does not give birth.

Uniquely, the asari are known to be perceived as attractive to many other species. This may be because of shared physical characteristics. The offspring resulting from such interspecies pairings are always asari as no DNA is taken from the partner. Instead, the asari uses the meld to explore her partner's genetic heritage and pass desirable traits on to any offspring and as a "map" to randomize the genes of the offspring.
The drawback to the asari means of reproduction are the Ardat-Yakshi. These individuals possess a rare genetic defect that causes an asari’s mind to overwhelm and destroy her partner’s mind when joining. The condition seems to appear only amongst pureblood asari, those whose parents are both asari.

It is also possible for an asari to meld with another for the sole purpose of transferring thoughts, without reproduction. The asari initiating the meld can both send and receive information. The melding of minds is a sign of a deep connection between two individuals, something often reserved for friends and family members; it is also a way to say “farewell.”

Life Stages

Asari pass through three climacteric life stages, marked by biochemical and physiological changes:

The Maiden stage begins at puberty and is marked by the drive to explore and experience. Most young asari are curious and restless, and it is not uncommon for many to try their hand at dancing in bars or working as mercenaries during this time.

The Matron stage of life begins around the age of 350, though it can be triggered earlier if the individual melds frequently. This period is marked by a desire to settle in one area and raise children.

The Matriarch stage begins around 700 years of age, or earlier if the individual melds rarely. Matriarchs become active in their community as sages and councilors, dispensing wisdom from centuries of experience. Their knowledge and guidance may be one reason why Matriarchs are rarely seen outside asari space.

However, it should be noted that each stage can be started whenever an asari feels that she has reached the correct level of maturity. While each stage of life is marked by strong biological tendencies, individuals do make unexpected life choices. For example, there are Maidens who stay close to home rather than explore, Matrons who would rather work than build a family, and Matriarchs who have no interest in community affairs.

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