|Genus: Aquea Homo Fulgur|
Central Authority: The Lightseers
Paycheck Modifier: 0.7x
Allowed Command Roles: Research Director, Chief Engineer, Chief Medical Officer
Guides: This one is it
Ethereals are bizarre, bipedal humanoids that are most notable for their bright, light-emitting skin and bodies composed primarily of liquid electricity. Without a doubt one of the most curious species on Nanotrasen stations, ethereals are a rather benign people that originate from the Elix System. Second to humanity in the great span of area they occupy, each individual ethereal, above all else, often longs to see new stars. With pilgrimages that fulfill spiritual and biological needs, they are most commonly found in Sol Interplanetary Coalition space either mid-journey or cultivating wealth to fund their never-ending journey of life.
Your nutrition is fundamentally tied to your Crystal Charge, which represents the strength of the electricity flowing through your body.
Going above 100% Crystal Charge represents Overcharge, which will simply give a warning indicator from 100%->125%. In the range of 125%->150% (the latter is the highest you can go), there is a chance every second for you to begin a discharge process, which, after a small channel, will stabilize your energy and spawn a weak tesla arc on you, which will shock and chain from you to adjacent individuals. There is a 10% chance to suffer a heart attack after a discharge process. Being Overcharged increases the amount of brute damage you take, just like if your energy levels are below normal.
You are able to vent Overcharge earlier by clicking on an APC in Grab intent with an open hand. This safely removes the energy without causing a tesla arc and has the added bonus of charging the APC.
- Their body emits light of varying color, which is chosen on the character screen
- Their unarmed attacks deal burn damage instead of brute
- Slight resistance to electric shocks
- Liquid-electricity blood which electrocutes non-Ethereals
- Vulnerability to brute damage scaling with hunger
- Difficult to get blood replaced
- Unable to consume normal food
- Stop glowing upon death
- Light fades upon lower hunger
- Able to obtain nutrition from light bulbs and cyborg rechargers
- Dislikes regular food
- Additionally able to consume energy bars
- Upon being emagged an Ethereals color goes disco mode for thirty seconds
- EMP’s temporarily turn off their light
- Can light cigarettes with their own hands
- Ethereals have no gender
The ethereal people first came into being on the planet of Borealia. Their first creation came about due to the unstable atmosphere; a mixture of storms and proximity to a sun spontaneously resulted in a process that would then become known as electro-organic attunement (shortened to EOA). Via the specific combination of a pre-existing slime in specific barometric pressure alongside a presence of organic meat and lightning, a brilliant flash of light spawned the first generation of ethereals on the crystallized, high-g planet. The newly created ethereals began to generally subscribe to the same migrational cycle that the slimes on the planet did before. Borealia is notable for its long summers and longer winters. As a result, slimes tend to migrate underground into expansive, crystalline caverns that crackle with warmth and electricity for the winter, coming back up during the summer to find prey to feed on. As a result of the surface growing significantly more dangerous during times of winter (since ethereal bodies are massively unsuited to lower temperatures), settlements were primarily underground. Their natural light afforded them utility in the form of sight and also being able to better accurately gauge an individual’s health when there were few other sources, but it did prove problematic in marking them as bright beacons in the otherwise pitch-black darkness. Consequently, they often settled near basins of water that were already near electrical crystal packets, the former providing defense against slimes, the latter offering a limitless source of nutrition to the strange humanoids.
Naturally, as they were mostly underground, curiosity about the world above only escalated. There were those that ventured above, sometimes during the winter, who perished. Others who went up during the summer found a beautiful paradise of crystalized trees and rows of plants that grew all kinds of delicately-tasting sweets. While not as electrifying or as nutritious as the typical meals at home, neither were they hard and unpleasant to chew on. Some would encounter new ethereals on the surface during this time, typically after a stormy period which would prove a divine experience for any that had not felt it before. Though it took significant time for ethereals to understand their procreative process, their massive lifespans combined with a constant flow of new individuals due to EOA meant their settlements, knowledge, and organization rapidly grew.
By the point ethereals understood the origins of their creation, the surface and the stars had become divine in their eyes. Massive, distant bodies that resembled them in their ever-present brilliance made the central religion paramount in believing their descendance from the sun themselves. While this was proved to be untrue as slimes would begin to be herded into conditions to be transformed into ethereals about twice on the surface every year, there was still an uncanny link felt with the stars. This kinship with the heavenly bodies and light overall eventually led to a leadership primarily run by astronomers, who could divine the movement of those bodies in the sky and foresee the future as a result. As paper was unobtainable on Borealia, any writing done was primarily etched into stone, which made oratory tradition a baseline. The leading priests quickly garnered the title of the Lightseers, who then went on to instruct the ethereals in the ultimate goal of reaching the stars.
Conflict and strife are almost non-existent in ethereal history despite the density of population as well as the varied opinions on the best way to free their people from atmosphere. As relatively pro-social creatures with lessened reactions associated with stimuli considered negative in a communal environment, the technological, developmental, and cultural progress made by the ethereal people far outpaces the rate of any other known sapient species. Conjoined records indicate that in about 1541, crystal-powered vehicles made of gems, stone, and metals crackled with electric engines beyond the atmosphere. The matter of power was never an issue- more the level of safety in attempting to utilize a Tesla-like engine combined with materials that would withstand basic space debris and maintain pressurization. This, in addition to an ability to harness more stabilized bluespace crystals, enabled FTL travel for the ethereal people centuries before other species.
Expanding out into their system, the ethereal people, over the span of a century, slowly began to construct new settlements and stations closer to Elix. Those who were born in this new age of space exploration began to push out and seek new stars from other systems. The greatest weakness of their spread, however, was their lack of information infrastructure. Due to the massive density and lack of literacy established among most of their people, efforts to make long-distance communication were difficult. As a result of the various groups and communities that set out into the cosmos almost immediately, fragmentation of religious belief as splintered groups experience different “revelations” began. While the Lightseers remained dominant due to their entrenched position on Borealia, several denominations began, and as wood and paper returned to the main system, literacy finally began to disperse among the people. Additional technologies, while primitive in relation to humanity’s progress by the 19th century, helped to form ethereals into a more connected people.
2323 saw ethereals encounter the ex’hau, a species of humanoid moths who quickly grew to admire the ethereals for their light-bending, heavenly forms, some going so far as to deify the creatures, to the express dismay of the pro-social, friendly ethereals. At this point, as the ethereals had gone and explored several other systems (such as Alpha Centauri or Palt), pilgrimages to varying stars to understand the spiritual ancestors of their people became paramount. 2465 saw the ex’hau reference ethereals to humanity. Diplomatic relations with the SIC remained quiet, though the Board lightly requested that respect would be shown to the Coalition’s borders. While some nations grew envious of the highly valuable crystals and worlds that the ethereals occupied, tensions with the Remnants of Vxtvul ensured that, despite their nigh non-existent military, none of the ethereals would see formal invasion. However, they remain a popular target for pirates, as their ships often carry valuable minerals or artifacts sought by anthropologists or archeologists.
In the present day, ethereals can very rarely be found in SIC space either in passing, in residence after their pilgrimage, or in work, seeking to fund their expeditions. While still targeted by less-than-benign individuals, the friendliness and presence of an ethereal have made their presence warmly accepted by most other sapient species, their empathy and soft nature portraying them as simultaneously naive and wholesome, despite the several pressures to be untrusting and selfish in the cruel space between the stars. Only a single alarming development threatens to pose them into alert: the strange, increasing rate of ship disappearance not tied to piracy. Some justify this as their traveling too far beyond the stars, teetering on the edge of a swallowing Void that consumes them whole. Others worry about technical difficulties with their designs of bluespace engines, as disappearance tends to occur after the ignition of an FTL drive. Regardless, most ethereals continue on, ignorant of the dread that has slowly begun to permeate their traditional travel.
Ethereal naming conventions in Galactic Common consist of a star's name followed by a number of roman numerals, ideally the next number in line, as some ethereals may use the same star, and so a communal database exists to keep track of this very purpose. This star is often the prime goal of one's first, if their only pilgrimage. While this is confused sometimes and leads to duplicate names, it's generally handwaved within ethereal space, as their general form of identification has to do with birthmarks, and whichever wavelength of starlight an ethereal is born under. While not translatable, a name effectively correlates to something regarding their wavelength, then their birthmark, then their chosen star at birth. A systemized form of counting is eschewed in this case. In the rare case that differentiation is still required, some notable, admirable social trait is tacked onto the end of the name, after an individual's fifth nameday. Very few ethereals incorporate these standards into Galactic Common, though some more traditional insist upon it.
Some who eschew or care not to be identified by their pilgrimage will take on a simple name, one that often emphasizes vowels. Human researchers have noticed interesting parallels between their pronunciation and the written records of certain biblical figures, but whether this is coincidence or mysterious implication is unknown.
Ethereal culture, while it varies from colony to colony, tends toward extremely communal conditions mixed with a general theocratic hierarchy. As an ethereal's existence is relatively low-maintenance, community tends to be more about spiritual and social fulfillment, rather than pragmatic defense, as predators have mostly been removed or cordoned in their communities (such as the case with slimes, which must be maintained in order to ensure future generations of ethereals may exist). Older, longer-time members of a community, so long as they have fulfilled a pilgrimage, are considered to be wise in matters of all things. Those more experienced in travel can tend toward the clergy, whereas scientists or engineers might be respected, though not necessarily revered.
Their naivety has been mildly tempered by piracy and the outbreak of disease upon meeting the ex'hau, though weaponry and matters of military are still generally frowned upon. Most ethereals have never touched a firearm, nor do they relish the idea of resorting to violence. That being said, the idea of hiring mercenaries or bodyguards is generally handwaved as a necessity of galactic interactions.
Forms of media tend to be visually artistic in nature, though the jingling of wind chimes is exceptionally therapeutic to ethereals, as it's reminiscent of the crystalized percussion that would sound out for music on their homeworld. Visual art tends to be vague and interpretive, often a central structure surrounding by drapes. These exhibitions are two-fold, as ethereals constantly produce light. As a result, there's not only the structure immediately present in the middle of an art chamber, but the shadows cast by oneself can tell a tale on the canvases surrounding the structure. Such creative exhibits have been coined shadowtales by human anthropologists.
Literacy, while now commonplace among their people, is less regarded as a form of entertainment and more a necessity of life. Entertainment in this fashion tends to be vocal, ranging from sermons to plays. Drama as a form of presentation and play is exceptionally popular among their people, though traditional human tools such as spotlights are scarcely used. However, some troupes and popular plays utilize sheets to conceal one's light before they make a dazzling, splendid entrance onto the stage.
Attachment tends to never be individual with ethereals, due to their significantly communal origins in addition to no biological need for a partner. Any that grow "close" to an ethereal tend to be invited to join a community or explore with the ethereal themselves, though the idea of partnership is slowly becoming accepted among their people, due to the safety and general benefits it can provide on one's journey to see the stars.
While ethereals might commonly accept authority, they may question the ethos of any they serve under, to gauge their competence relative to their experience. Most curious is the surprisingly distasteful response ethereals have to systems such as nepotism. While some are polite about criticizing such forms of election of employment, others will directly address and confront employers or politicians with iron-solid belief in their righteousness and the foolishness of putting someone not qualified into a position where expertise is expected.
Lifespan and Health
Ethereals have massive life spans which offset their naturally low birth rate. Generally succumbing to old age at about 800 years of age, the deterioration they face is often a simple burnout of the body, as they are heavily correlated with starlight in their existence. Those less lucky can spontaneously, painfully combust before their light simply winks out, their charred husk slumping where they stood just moments prior. Very rarely do they die of other natural causes, such as disease or organ failure, though some extreme cases have been documented. As a result of disease being an extraordinary circumstance, the diminished glow of a sick individual often causes great distress to said individual and their community.
As a result of their exposure to high-g environments on Borealia, most enjoy a relatively leisurely experience in the artificial gravity that humanity induces in its stations and ships. As they rarely induce artificial gravity on their own ships, some can suffer from low-g bone and muscle deficiencies if they do not exercise properly. More recently, efforts to standardize exercise and body health among their populations has become paramount if they were to return to the homeland to regal others with their experiences and visions.
They are typically not a fan of any standardized foods, be it raw, cooked, processed, or natural. The only food within SIC they tend to enjoy are "energy bars" which are imported from Remnant space, typically meant to give charge to Preterni workers in an isolated environment but have sometimes been consumed by humans in an attempt to jolt themselves awake.
Mental ailments are few and far between, even those caused by substance abuse. While naive, very few suffer from trauma due to negative experiences or unideal environmental conditions.
Ethereals generally stand shorter than humans and are genderless. Their average height is about 5'4", with a standard deviation of 4".
- Not necessarily pacifist, but tends toward amiability and friendliness, seeking to resolve conflicts in a cooperatively beneficial fashion
- Lives incredibly long; upwards of 800 years, in addition to rapid maturation. That being said, they are considered juvenile for the first 100 years of their life, also requiring they have completed their first pilgrimage before being recognized as an adult
- Depression and common mental ailments are exceptionally rare, though they can be prone to feeling nervous tics and anxiety for others as a result of heightened empathy
- Particularly amused by ex’hai or mothpeople, due to their fascination with light
- Horribly terrified of the dark, despising envirosuits or anything that covers their skin fully as a result. Lamplight can be acceptable in these conditions, but nyctophobia is prevalent among the species
- Finds most beverages and liquids distasteful, preferring to avoid water altogether
- Can either be wholly uninterested in reading as an activity or absolutely fascinated with the Latin alphabet used in Galactic Common
- Lacks lethargy in most cases, due to their homeworld existing at 1.7 g’s