The Tal'Dani are a small insectoid race currently only found on the Ringworld of Gilmar. They are an offshoot of a much larger Tal'Dani nation which is unknown in Verion and even in most of Ceros. They bear a striking similarity to the ants of Earth in terms of appearance and social structure.
Tal'Dani are organized into five separate castes. Workers, Soldiers, Nobles, Queens and Hive Queens. They all look incredibly similar physically, most of their difference being in exoskeleton colour.
Workers stand about 3'8". Worker height can vary between the Queen that bore them, with Hive Queens birthing Workers that stand about 4'1"-4'2" and regular Queens birthing Workers that can stand as short as 3'6"-3'8". They are quadrupedal, standing upright with their thorax split into two with a joint that allows them to use their front 'legs' as hands. All of their legs have three digits. Long, opposable thumbs and two long toes. This allows every limb of a worker to be used as a manipulator if needed. Workers have a dark red-brownish exoskeleton which is strong enough to protect them in their duties.
Soldiers stand about 4'4", with Soldiers born from Hive Queens standing between 4'11" and regular Queens birthing Soldiers that can be as short as 3'10". Soldiers have a very similar appearance to Workers but they have a black exoskeleton which is notably stronger than a Worker's, able to shrug off low-end small arms (Handgun) fire.
Nobles are an extremely different caste compared to most castes of Tal'Dani. Nobles can stand anywhere between 4' to 5'4". Their exoskeletons are colours between dull orange-browns to the black of soldiers. They also are similar to Queens and Hive Queens as Nobles are both telepathically sensitive and can take control of Workers and Soldiers, as well as being sentient and having thoughts that expand beyond basic instinct. Most Nobles are EPSER 6-8.
Queens stand about 6' and have an orange-red carapace along with large wings in order to enable flight among them when they begin their own Hive. Their abdomen is usually larger than other Castes due to the eggs inside of them, which are produced at a rate that a Queen can manipulate inside of a Queen's body. Queens are usually between ESPER 8-10.
Hive Queens Edit
Hive Queens are the largest caste and are special as they are a transformed Queen. They stand between 8'8" to 10'4", with the largest Hive Queen of any Tal'Dani Hive-Nation being 18'9" in size. They have a large, white, segmented abdomen and have the largest control over their egg production, being able to choose what eggs to lay and they are able to stop laying eggs if they choose to. All Hive-Queens are ESPER 11.
Workers and Soldiers tend to reach maturity five to six weeks of life, living to around the age of 3-5 years old with death from old age at an age as young as one not unheard of. Nobles are much longer lived, maturing at a similar rate as Workers. Nobles tend to live 50-60 years. Queens and Hive Queens live the longest however and mature only at a slightly longer rate, taking only 7-9 weeks to reach total maturity after hatching. Queens can easily reach 100-140 years and Hive Queens reaching 240 years or older. Worker and Soldier eggs usually hatch within 8-10 weeks, with Noble and Queen eggs taking up to 6-10 months of gestation to hatch.
Tal'Dani display large amounts of teamwork, easily able to coordinate efforts due to their natural base ESPER level of 2, and outside command by Nobles and Queens. Large construction projects are able to have many times the workers that other species are able to put onto them due to the natural abilities for Tal'Dani to cooperate and coordinate their actions, and ship crews are able to operate at higher efficiency levels due to telepathic communications.
Tal'Dani are omnivores and often lower castes can be described as omnivorous scavengers. An extremely long digestive tract lining most of their abdomen enables Tal'Dani to strip the most nutrients out of an extremely large amount of food, often stripping the waste matter of most water as well. The Tal'Dani show evidence of evolving in an arid environment as well. Several pouches are found in the abdomen of every caste which inflate with water which is passed through an organ which filters out solids and waste matter. These pouches are drawn on in times of drought and there are usually 4-6 pouches in the abdomen, each capable of holding up to five gallons of water.
The Tal'Dani have a centralized circulatory system, an oddity for insect-like lifeforms. They, however, have three two-chambered hearts. These hearts are located within each section of their body and keep blood moving evenly throughout the Tal'Dani body.
Birth rates are extremely high, as Queens are able to produce up to 650 eggs per day, with Queens being able to lay as few as 30 per day, and Hive Queens are able to lay up to 1200 eggs per day. These birth-rates often threaten Tal'Dani stability as an established Tal'Dani region is quickly and easily capable of outstripping its food supplies with ease.
Queens born from a Hive Queen can be kept in a stasis-like state in their eggs for up to 10 years before hatching, the signal being given from the Hive Queen via pheromones when the time to incubate is, and separate pheromones emitted that contain enzymes to break down the old pheromones signal the time to hatch.
Tal'Dani society is controlled by the Nobility and Queens. Queens and Hive Queen are capable of exercising direct control over every single one of their workers and soldiers, having large brain capabilities in order to manage the large amounts of multitasking required for this. Workers and Soldiers usually have enough brain capability to be issued a broad order and work together with other workers in order to achieve what their Queen wants, a Noble or the Queen coming in to order to work with more complex goals.
Soldiers, although simple compared to the individuals of other species, are however endowed with the ability of limited abstract thought. Highly aggressive Soldiers are kept in line by their superior Officers, low-ranking NCO's usually being made up of the more intelligent of the Soldier caste, and higher ranking NCO's and CO's being Nobles. Soldier are characterized by tight bonds of comradely and intense loyalty to their Queen. Regiments have been noted to fight in tight-order Line Infantry formations when out of munitions in order to carry out bayonet charges rather than surrender or retreat, charging into hostile machine-gun nests, foxholes and other defensive emplacements.
Nobles tend to act as scientists, commanders, artists and other specialty roles which require individuality in order to achieve. They have an elevated ESPER level and with a Queen's manipulation of a Worker or Soldier's mental state, they are able to directly command and control Workers and Soldiers even at their lower ESPER levels. Nobles are noted in their caste to act disturbingly like individuals in other sentient species. Living in their own, separate area in every major Hive, Nobles fall victim to the same vices that other species would. Gambling, alcohol consumption, smoking and others are activities which are extremely popular. Nobles also often pair off into romantic pairs, something which is disturbingly like what non-Tal'Dani do. These pairs are often used to raise younger Nobles, getting them acclimated to life in the Hive.
Hives are notoriously loyal to their Queen, willing to fight to the death to protect the individual who bore them. Queens and Hive Queens desperately onto the idea of sovereignty Hive, displaying willingness to sacrifice thousands if not millions of Workers and Soldiers in order to preserve their own political sovereignty and to gain political representation in most cases on the frontier. This often results in infighting between Hives within a single Hive-Nation. However most in-fighting happens during peace as a form of endemic warfare. The extremely high birth-rate of the Tal'Dani means that a developed nation outstrips its own ability to produce food extremely quickly. By sacrificing workers and soldiers in domestic warfare, the Tal'Dani can prevent famines. The result of which would be mass amounts of feral Workers and Soldiers.
Despite the extensive infighting within a Hive-Nations, they maintain themselves as stable political entities. Hive-Queens maintain iron grips over their power - or rather their ability to birth queens, knowing that their death would mean a full-scale civil war rather than the endemic limited brush fighting that normally happens. Hive-Queens often maintain several 'Death Squads' of top-tier Special Forces. These squads are used for the sole purpose of mopping up unstable Queens with unchecked ambition and to dispose of Queens who undergo the transformation into Hive Queen to preserve the stability of the nation.
However large societal disruptions, either on the small or large scale, do pose large problems for Tal'Dani nations. The death of a Queen results in feral Workers and Soldiers. The feral state in Tal'Dani is only caused by starvation, and Tal'Dani Workers and Soldiers who deal with the death of a Queen fall into a near-catatonic state. In this state they starve and dehydrate themselves, relying on limited fat and water stores until they turn feral. Feral Tal'Dani are typically marked by extreme ease of manipulation, often being so susceptible to suggestion that an ESPER 2 can control limited numbers of them. Control of Feral Tal'Dani is extremely unstable and often lapses at a moments notice. Another marker of the feral state is suicidal aggression. Although easily willing to throw their lives away for their Queen prior to the feral state, a feral Tal'Dani will actively seek out a fight and only end it when either it or its prey is dead. A feral Tal'Dani will also display no distinction between alien and Tal'Dani, often turning on their own Queens and Nobles. Famine also results in feral Workers and Soldiers and a small food-shortage that grows can result in the destruction of numerous Hives within a Hive Nation as Tal'Dani Special Forces are sent in to deal with the aftermath.
The castes are hard-wired into Tal'Dani society biologically. Workers and Soldiers do not have the mental capability or psionic capabilities to act as Nobles, preventing them from moving up in social class. Noble females are sterile which prevents them from breaking away and forming their own Hives, and Noble males have their breeding with Queens strictly controlled in order to prevent the degradation of Hive bloodlines and intermixing with secessionist elements.
The Tal'Dani have no spoken language, verbal or telepathic. Communication with their written language is done telepathically for day-to-day communication and is through the expression of written words within the mind of themselves and aliens who learn their language. The result of this is that the Tal'Dani language has no pronunciations and can often be difficult for aliens with a verbal and written language to deal with. Tal'Dani however, once they learn a language with a verbal element, are able to understand it and replicate it in their telepathic speech.
The Tal'Dani language is also extremely contextual, lacking all forms of conjugation, lenition or eclipsis. All words maintain a singular form which is expressed both with the subject and a time or place. An example would be where most species would say roughly "They are going fishing tonight," the Tal'Dani language would say "They be go fish at this night."
Tal'Dani Government is an absolute monarchy. Officially, all administrative, military, diplomatic and economic power is vested in the Hive Queen of a Hive Nation. She rules with complete authority and can make any changes to the system she wants at any time. In small Hives, this power is often left unchallenged due to the lack of power concentrated in the Queens. However in larger Hive-Nations, which almost always have some form of parliament or senate to voice the concerns of the other Queens of the nation.
Within the Hive-Nation of Gilmar, the Kunzeti is legally powerless. However every Hive within the nation has it's own military force capable of defending themselves if they decided to secede from the Hive-Nation at large. Although a small revolt would easily be able to be crushed by the Gilmar Hive-Nation Armed Forces, a large revolt caused by the veto of bills passed by a majority would tear the nation apart. It is this fact that grants Parliament its power to pass bills and enforce legislation, as the rejection of the Kunzeti can cause a devastating civil war.
Every world is granted a certain number of seats in Parliament, which is decided upon by the combined Noble and Queen population. They are elected on each world by a split vote, one vote being to elect representatives for Queens and the other being to elect representatives for the Nobility. The election cycle is once every three solar-cycles on Gilmar, with a full Kunzeti term being nine years before re-election. The election system is a proportional system, with the amount of representatives given to each world being divided between the Queens and Nobility of a world. The voting is done with candidates ranked from one to five, transferring the vote down every time a candidate reaches the number of votes needed to win a seat.
630 members make up the Gilmar Hive-Nation Kunzeti.
The Gilmar Kunzeti is controlled by a coalition government made up between Tutrai Maitet and the Free Economic Alliance, and opposed by a Minority Coalition of Tutrai Olati, the GNP and HDP.
Tutrai Maitet - 44.2%
Tutrai Olati - 24.8%
Free Economic Alliance - 11.9%
Gilmar Nationalist Party - 7.1%
Hive Defense Party - 4.7%
Independent Representatives - 7.3%
Armed Forces Edit
The Tal'Dani's strength lies in a massive ground force. Capable of deploying their soldiers in vast numbers planetside and supporting them with bombardment, the Tal'Dani Navy ties into military doctrine immensely. The Tal'Dani Navy is designed and used like every ship, worker and soldier aboard is disposable. Armour is slapped on via primitive techniques which enable the Tal'Dani to churn out ships, maintenance is skimped on to afford more vessels, and industrial sectors devoted to the Armed Forces are often churning out new ships constantly during wartime. Technologically the Tal'Dani fall behind as well, eschewing advanced and more effective modern weapons technologies for cheaper, easier to make, less advanced weapons.
The Tal'Dani Army suffers the same. Relying on their marginally thicker exoskeletons to protect them from fire, Tal'Dani Soldiers often charge into battle with Bolt-Action and Semi-Automatic rifles. Affixing their bayonets and charging into hostile machine-gun nests and pillboxes with the hope of swarming and overwhelming the enemy with their superior numbers is not uncommon. Soldiers, however, make up their own Non-Commissioned Officer Corps to relay the orders of Nobles to the front without a Noble having to risk their own life.
The Tal'Dani also make use of foreign mercenaries and auxiliaries to augment their forces in the field. Often either hired for a far larger cost than an entire Operational Division or levied from enslaved and subjugated populations, their auxiliaries are treated with slightly better care. Although rampant xenophobia in Tal'Dani society often puts auxiliaries into the same situations, where swarms are used to bring numbers to bear over tactics.
For the most part, the economy of the Tal'Dani has no wide-reaching effect over the majority of its Worker and Soldier populations. The Tal'Dani Economy, for the most part, is based off Crown-Chartered, Noble-Ran corporations which trade in the Tal'Dani Zlitny. These corporations operate in a Capitalism-for-the-Hive idea where the goal is to acquire assets for the betterment of their Hive and Corporation, rather than liquid assets for the executives. The Zlitny is rarely used as a common man's currency, instead being found in large notes and coins that can range between 10,000-100,000,000 Zlitny. It is used for Inter-Corporate and Inter-Hive trade as a liquid asset, backed by the production of individual Hive workers. Every Hive-Nation issues its own unique variation of the Zlitny, and the value of the Zlitny can vary depending on what Hive issues the note or coin.
Total Zlitny in circulation: 440 billion Zlitny
Average value of the Gilmar Hive-Nation Zlitny (USD to ZLY): 1 to 18
Total Tal'Dani Population in Verion: 888,200,000 (Rounded to the nearest hundred thousand)
Queens: 19,750 (20,000 eggs)
Hive Queens: 1