The World of Cherani Station


What's New on the Station 4/24/03

Overview

Cherani

Cherani Station is the counterweight of a beanstalk that was built in partnership by the Shayanans and the people whose planet (Ahhrasak) the beanstalk is attached to. There are about 8 species that regularly come through the station, including Shayanans, Earthans (Humans), Imperials and others. The people on the planet don't come up off it (part of why they agreed to the partnership, which lets them take advantage of their economically valuable location).

Construction of the station began several years after the Shayanans regained control of their world from the Imperials. There are still occasional problems with the Imperials, who officially don't acknowledge that Shayanans are sentient.

There are actually two main sections of the station. At the zero-gee point, there is a a major freight depot. The counterweight section where most of the people live is far enough out that centrifugal force provides 'gravity'.

The Chief of Police of Cherani Station is an Earthan named Daffydd Rhys Owens. Imperials admit Earthans are sentient: we had nukes before they first encountered us, and they get no financial advantage by claiming otherwise.

Imperials

The Imperials are decadent, 300 pound, free-range chickens, except they have teeth, arms instead of wings, and dinosaurlike tails. (The females are smaller.) A few centuries ago they showed up at Shayana, dropped a large rock from orbit onto the only city with electric lights, and announced that they now owned the place.

Throughout the Occupation the Imperials had orbital platforms in place that could target the entire planet. However, even at the peak of the Occupation, Imperials on the ground never had access to more than about 40% of the major continents... "And that's if you count places where they patrolled in double-platoons and didn't dare to step out of each other's sight to relieve themselves". Once the orbital platform controls were finally hacked, the Imperials found out the hard way that a lot of Shayanans lived in places Imperials didn't consider habitable, so they were way more outnumbered than they had ever realized.

Shayanans

Shayana is a world with dinosaur-sized macrofauna. The Shayanans themselves are about human-sized (on average).

There are seven subspecies of Shayanans, ranging in size from the mostly arboreal Vine People, small enough to be ignored by Imperial motion detectors, to the Sea People, who can weigh as much as walruses, though not flabby. Land Shayanans are generally shaped like very large spider-monkeys. The more aquatic varieties are shaped more like sea otters.

All Shayanans have shiny, almost glassy-looking skin. Most varieties have markings that remind Earthans of felines: tabby cats, tigers, leopards, jaguars, ocelots, cheetahs, etc. The colors mostly look like shades of green to human eyes: ranging from an almost golden yellow-green through green, turquoise and teal to an almost pure blue. Shayanans see farther into the ultraviolet than humans, so the colors look different to them.

They have four opposable fingers on each hand (or foot) and can also grasp things with their prehensile tails.

They are chemically very complex: venomous, with stingers in their mouths, and possessing grooming-oil glands at their wrists and at the base of the gripper part of the tail. They have chemical sensors (taste/smell) on their palms and tail-gripper as well as in their mouths and respiratory system. They have a fair amount of conscious control over the fine composition of their venoms and grooming oils. Crossbreeds between the sub-species tend to have a broader chemical repertory, and traditionally filled roles as healers, priests and shamans, also forming the traditional aristocracy in some cultures.

Shayanans are individually dangerous, but they are not pack hunters, and they have strong instinctive and cultural inhibitions against intraspecific violence that left them live in crowded communities. Think of seals or penguins that hunt alone but gather in dense groups to rear their young, though Shayanan culture is quite complex and they often prefer to hunt in pairs. They had no words for war or battle before the Imperials arrived. That's one reason the Occupation lasted as long as it did.

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Copyright © 2003 Elyse M. Grasso