Friday, March 7, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#110)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)

1091. Tarro. Tarro look a fair bit like humans in general, but generally have flatter noses, receding hairlines, and really severe expressions. They also have sharp teeth and clawed seven-fingered hands. They traditionally have been very isolationist.

The defining feature of the Tarro, however, is that about a hundred years before the movie era, their sun blew up for unclear reasons (rumors abound that someone was testing a superweapon, and many of the rumors suggest it was the Tarro themselves), and there were only five hundred of them living offworld. By the time of the original trilogy, their descendants' numbers had dwindled to a mere three hundred and fifty.

Not helping matters such as preservation of their culture, Tarro by nature are very individualistic and independent, and so the efforts towards cultural unity and preservation by the elders are shot in the foot by the fact that they kind of refuse to do what they're told.

Rating: 3/5. It's ridiculously more heartbreaking when a population has a little tiny group of survivors who can't stop their slide into extinction than when all of them or all but one of them are wiped out in a single stroke.

1092. Tasari. The Tasari are funny-looking reptile/bird people.

Rating: 2/5. This is a waffly judgment, because the picture's awfully small; I might bump it up if it were bigger and I could resolve the details better.

1093. Taung. The Taung were somewhere between the titular hunter race of the Predator movie series and what my sister likes to call Orklingons, i.e. they basically look like they're designed to be antagonists, with big, rough, and sharp lines all over.

They're a little more interesting than that, though.

See, the Taung seem to be the original natives of the galactic capital, Coruscant. Also living on Coruscant in that prehistoric time period were apparently humans, who are ambiguously native to the planet as well. (How are humans native to the same planet as a humanoid species that's so different from them? My favorite theory, espoused by a rather nice fanfiction, is that a Star Trek starship fell into a wormhole and ended up in Coruscant orbit, then managed a controlled crash landing. My second-favorite theory is that human refugees escaped the dystopian world of George Lucas's own THX-1138, which almost became canon once, though it would have made humans "native" to Corellia if it had-which my sister likes better. Anyway.) The ancient humans, known as the Zhell, fought many long wars with the Taung, and nearly went extinct when Zhell territories were devastated by the fallout of a volcanic eruption, which caused the Taung to call themselves the Dha Werda Verda ("Warriors of the Shadow"), which makes the ancient Taung rather pretentious-and that's hilarious for reasons I'll explain.

However, since I'm talking about the Taung in the past tense and humans in the present tense, it's obvious things didn't go the Taung's way forever, and eventually the Zhell drove the Taung off of Coruscant; the Taung would take refuge on the distant planet Roon (which I will mention is known for special rocks called Roonstones-BAD WRITERS, SIT DOWN AND NO MORE PUNS FOR YOU).

There, the Taung sat on their duffs for thousands of years, until a leader roused them to new heights. The name of that leader?

Mandalore the First.

In honor of Mandalore, the Taung would then become commonly known as the Mando'ade ("children of Mandalore"-I'll note that it was translated specifically as "sons and daughters" but also that the language is canonically gender neutral and so that doesn't necessarily make sense), or Mandalorians.

But wait, you say, aren't Mandalorians human?

No, actually, not exactly. You see, while the individual Mandalorians we see are human, Mandalorian society is accepting of any species and any individual who has what it takes. When the Taung-Mandalorians set out to conquer new worlds under Mandalore the First, they basically became very friendly and assimilationist in some respects, and would accept anyone, and that tradition continues... even though the Taung apparently went extinct four thousand years before the film era.

Yes, the Taung founded the ultimate Star Wars warrior society, and then died out as far as anybody knows.

Rating: 5/5. My gosh you guys I can't even put how I feel about the Taung into words. The fact that for some reason they're the original natives of the galactic capital just makes it even more beautiful.

1094. Taurill. Taurill kind of look like six-limbed alien monkey things, and for the most part, they are.

Except that they also have a hive mind.

This sounds sinister, and it happened to be used in a way that made use of the sinister aspects, but here's the part of this that is wonderful: While the hive mind (known by the not at all ominous name of Overmind) was in the employ of a Hutt and thus obviously a villain, it was basically still a monkey, just a really smart one in command of lots of bodies.

That is to say, Overmind had a minimal attention span and was constantly distracted by the shinies.

Rating: 5/5. Kevin J. Anderson's Star Wars novels are generally rather sub-par, but every now and again he has a fantastic idea.

1095. Taï. Taï are ambiguously canonical amphibious people, described as friendly, gentle, and short and noted as being able to survive at great depths, from an ambiguously canonical planet.

Rating: 2/5. Eh.

1096. Tchuukthai, or Wharls. The Tchuukthai are big ceratopsian-shaped creatures who, for a long time at least, strongly discouraged outsiders from interacting with them by acting like extremely savage beasts, and were considered borderline mythical. They couldn't speak Basic (English) properly, and so this reinforced the idea.

Their poetry is frikking amazing:

"When lightning rushes over the evening plains,
I return to my cold den
with a thula rat in my jaws.
Then, I smell your sweet spoor
smeared on the bones by the cave's maw.
Then, then my head fins begin to tremble
And my tail sways majestically as my mating howl
begins to fill the hollow of the night."
―Tchuukthai love poem (from The Courtship of Princess Leia)

My link to the story it appears in reveals one of the best things in one of my favorite of the EU novels: C-3PO actually tried to suggest to Han Solo that he try reciting Tchuukthai poetry to Leia in order to charm her. (Keep in mind it actually sounds really poetic and impressive in the original Tchuukthese.)

Anyway, one of the few known Tchuukthai individuals was known as Thon, and he was a Jedi Master. Because he was of mysterious origin and the Tchuukthai were poorly known and he wasn't going to broadcast he was a member of a supposedly nonsapient species, he let Old Republic bureaucrats label him a "Wharl," which doesn't seem to have any actual meaning.

Rating: 5/5. A final note: Tchuukthai is fun to say, especially if you go for standard English pronunciation for the whole word and don't do any silent consonants.

1097. Teeks. Teeks are shaggy-furred rodent people. Their very high metabolisms give them very high running speed for such a short, stumpy species, making them essentially comic book speedster characters.

The first Teek character was known only as "Teek," which strikes me as a bit of a racist retcon (i.e. making that individual's apparent name the species' name-unless I'm misremembering some things about the second Ewok movie, anyway). Anyway, while the Teeks aren't native to Endor, a number of them live there, being among the ridiculous number of species with smallish populations founded by shipwrecked people.

Many people have trouble regarding them as sapient, and they're also known for "exchanging" items in a rather too typical "our morality is super-simple" way.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, I dunno. There's not really anything about them that jumps out at me any one way or another, other than the fact that it's a little offensive how they're treated.

1098. Teevans. Teevans are basically human, but all contortionists.

Rating: 1/5. Meh.

1099. Tefauns. The Tefauns are ugly aliens with two named individuals, a Jedi named Soth Petikkin (a pretty rad name) and another known as either Kelek the Blue or Kelek the Insensate (which is an unbelievably rad name).

Kelek the Insensate (clearly this is her best nickname-and yes, Kelek is a she) was trying to run a ridiculously big gladiatorial thing, but she ran out of money and sold her stuff to pay off her debts. Which is a little disappointing as a biography for a character called Kelek the Insensate, but on the other hand it does kind of match up with "insensate."

Rating: 3/5. For appearance and names.

1100. Teirasans. Okay, this is a new one for me, and I kind of had thought I'd learned about almost all the general historical waves of the galactic history in the EU:

About twelve thousand years before the movies, a religious cult called the Pius Dea gained control of the Galactic Republic. They weren't very nice, and laid waste to a planet, rendering it entirely uninhabitable and forcing its natives into a nomadic existence. The Teirasans basically said "Hey, guys, not cool" and the Pius Dea-controlled Republic was all "WHAT YOU SAY NOW WE INVADE YOU."

What's both wonderful and terrible about this: This was known in the history books as the Twelfth Pius Dea Crusade.

Rating: 2/5. I'm giving them a point by virtue of them clearly not backing down in the face of lunatic oppressors.

-Signing off.

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