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Tartles

Tartle, while still holding its old Scottish meaning, also refers to a species of aliens within the LIR that are descended from turtles that crossed from Loki to their home planet of Tartle 1 (real imaginative naming there, g̶u̶y̶ ̶w̶r̶i̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ LIR). They're used heavily in the military because, despite lacking fast reflexes, a particularly large amount of physical strength, speed, quick thinking, bravery, cunning, brilliant hand-eye coordination or any of the other things that make good fighters, they come in ludicrous numbers.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Imagine if a turtle had no shell and could walk and was a little thinner.

Biological Traits

Skin colours: grey, green or brown. Eyes: iris sizes, as well as eye sizes, vary. A few have small remnants of shells at the bases of their backs. Some have spots on their arms.

Genetics and Reproduction

Females lay anything from 27 to 36 eggs every 14 to 17 days. Unused sperm from previous mating sessions will be stored in the female for if she cannot find a mate and will even be sorted through by a type of white blood cell for any that would make a deformed child (such sperm are destroyed). Males and females are born at a 2:3 ratio and the species has on-off monogamy (as in pairs stay together and raise young but will sometimes split up afterwards) but the LIR will often force them to mate in proportion to the numbers of either sex despite this to increase their numbers. Unfertilized eggs get laid anyways and just never hatch with parents being unsure whether it's that a child died before hatching or that the egg just wasn't fertilized.

Growth Rate & Stages

After hatching (which takes about a week), the younglings will grow to adulthood over the course of 6 months. During their puberty, going from the 4th to 6th month, they are capable of breeding but the females will produce much smaller numbers of eggs.

Ecology and Habitats

They naturally inhabit collections of islands with shallow water between them (so shallow that any titanic sea predators that are native to their planet, for example, are unable to reach them), prefering those with lots of large rocks or boulders in the water for them to weave between and the islands themselves to steep cliffs so that they and their eggs are safe from crab, crocodile etc like creatures.

Dietary Needs and Habits

They eat seaweed, sea plants, shell creatures, anything they can scavenge, the eggs of other animals and the vegetation that grows on their islands naturally. Due to their intelligence, they've also figured out traps and nets and so expanded their diet to include fish, some of the very creatures that prey upon them and even some of the titanic sea beings that they used to hide from in their islands.

Biological Cycle

They moult their outer layer of skin every year or so, keeping them safe from any fungi or parasites inhabiting that layer of skin. At this point, the 2nd layer of skin is now the 1st and a 5th layer of skin is grown due to the previous 5th becoming the 4th. After becoming 400 years old or so, their skin stops shedding but more keeps growing and so it and any nasties on it have to be removed manually (the skin on parts of the head is usually allowed to stay as a way to show status from oldness).

Additional Information

Social Structure

Seniority = Superiority. The elderly get spare food from the others, as well as to be first in line for mating (although this is more because old age is considered attractive as any genes that get you to 600 years old have got to be good ones) and often receive requests for advice from the younger Tartles on things like romance, making friends and so on.

Domestication

They're usually raised from birth to do a particular task and have no option of not doing it. They're sometimes even used as pets/servants by other races.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

The LIR breeds them for use as cannonfodder soldiers and expendable labour. They're often used as the first colonizers of worlds because they can keep replenishing their numbers so long as enough food is sent in whenever something goes wrong. They're sometimes eaten by the "better" races of the LIR.

Facial characteristics

Stare into the face of a turtle. Tartles have slightly flatter faces and thinner necks.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

They're put pretty much anywhere in the LIR they can survive and then culled to make room for other races, but there's generally always at least a crap tonne of them on multi-worlds. Artificial settlements can be made for them floating on the oceans of any Loki-touched planet that actually has oceans.

Average Intelligence

A small bit less intelligent than humans, especially in regards to cunning, ability to quickly memorize things and okay they're a fair bit less intelligent than humans.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Brilliant sense of smell, sight and hearing in water. Being out of said water decreases those sensory abilities to being worse than those of humans, especially hearing.

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

All sorts of fungi and bugs call the skin of the Tartle home. Some are parasitic, making holes in veins to drink the blood of the Tartle after burrowing through the skin, others merely eat the dead skin or use the Tartle as a means of germination and some are symbiotic by releasing bodily fluids that help the Tartle's skin or attack the parasitic creatures. Entire ecosystems can form if a Tartle does not wash itself.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Oh boy, imagine having to name 27-36 kids every 14-17 days. Yeah their names are pretty varied for the sake of distinguishing between such massive numbers of kids and in the military they're referred to as combinations of numbers and letters (although the symbols for numbers are also used as letters in the Common LIR Tongue (which is not as common as it's made out to be)).

They have 942 traditional names in their current culture and many parents will find themselves going through all of them.

Major Organizations

The LIR is the main user but there are plenty of pirate groups with them among them (usually in non-combat roles for obvious reasons) and the CHG has its own secret little society of Tartles for the recruitment of spies and saboteurs.

Beauty Ideals

Old = much sexiness. Sharper claws and beaks, bigger eyes, better swimmers, more fat stores, gotten laid the least recently (more unfertilized eggs for grabs and larger amounts of sperm to receive), stronger, better climbers, better huggers.

Gender Ideals

There's not much difference: acquire food, sniff kids to see which are yours, give spare food to kids which are yours, if there's still plenty of food give to all the kiddies and the adults too, give hugs, create kids. Not having any diseases.

Courtship Ideals

For the fact that they have a reproduction cycle lasting 14-17 days, they are surprisingly romantic. Both males and females will go to great lengths to woo those they are attracted to from performing impressive (they usually aren't) feats, making low-quality jokes that they regret immediately, being very bad at how subtly they try to be as close as possible to their crush at all times, trying to get paired up with them in communal hugging sessions, doing favours, being slightly creepy on accident and so on. Okay so their methods of trying to woo one another are fairly similar to those employed by 12-year-old humans but in their defense they get into this game at 4-6 months old so what can one expect?

Relationship Ideals

Being careful about how many younglings they make, hugging one another regularly, working together to get food, not cheating, meditating together, doing stuff together, etc.

Average Technological Level

They're using commodities within the LIR, some of which include highly advanced technology. Their weapons aren't as good as those in the hands of other soldiers but they're still better than the best in the hands of any 2019 Earth military.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

The LIR enforces a Common Tongue onto them but these guys are masters of making slang so every settlement has its own little dialect.

Common Etiquette Rules

Don't eat their stuff, touch them or touch their young without their permission, no breaking their stuff (especially since they usually don't have much), don't sit down on anything unless they say it's okay (especially if you're of a bigger species that might break it and in case it's not actually a chair), basically just don't do anything in their own home or to their stuff, with themselves being their own property, without checking with them first.

Common Dress Code

They don't dress...

Culture and Cultural Heritage

The LIR completely replaced their culture with their "killing all of them and raising the hatchlings under our rule" thing and so their new one was very pro-LIR and conformist. Less conformative cultures have arisen with time, probably helped along by the Tartles noticing that they're just cannonfodder and cheap labour and how their quality of living is even worse than that of other races in the LIR. Within the capitalist sections of the LIR, some Tartles have actually seen great success as they can save up money over large periods of time and work together to form companies, but stuff just sucks in the authoritarian sections.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Naming the children being a communal event, funerals being where corpses are sent out to sea (or other bodies of water) to go to the Topper-worshiper good afterlife, feasts (when food is plentiful), celebrating hatch-days (like a birthday but you share it with 30 twins), communal huggings, etc.

Common Taboos

Bullying or attacking your fellow Tartle is a big no-no. Not hugging back.

History

They were entering an age when they were first making brilliant, even if primitive, ocean-crossing vehicles to germinate their species to all the collections of islands in their world and making traps for any predators they found in these collections of islands so that they and their young could be safe. They were fortifying the areas around their islands to prevent entry into the shallows by predators. A truly beautiful time. Surely, they would've eventually, at some time, one day gotten around to smelting metal.

But everything changed when the LIR-nation attacked! Yeah these guys didn't stand a chance, even with their sheer numbers. The LIR was, however, quite impressed when their initial invasion force lost because all of their ammo ran out and so decided that these creatures would make a very good addition to the LIR's military. A second, larger and with more ammo per soldier force was deployed to conquer just a tenth of their population pockets and then, 10 years later, an absolute horde of Tartles with little plasma guns conquered the rest. This Tartle force was made by killing all of the adults, seperating the children from the eggs, breeding the children once they reached adulthood, and then killing those newly made adults, and then when the eggs hatched the children from them were indoctrinated into the LIR as worshipers of the Toppers. The same process was repeated on the newly conquered 9/10 of the planet. Yikes.

They were bred up again to massive numbers, floating habitats were built on their planet to house and breed more and then said habitats were also built on some other LIR ocean worlds that were previously scheduled for drainage (later the waters beneath would be utilized for housing Decapods, which the Tartles were essential to the conquering of) and then, when it was figured out that they just need pools of water to avoid muscle problems and to drink quite a lot of it (and can handle any amount of salt in it), the habitats for them were built in many locations, allowing them to grow massively in number to be properly utilized by the LIR. Many LIR ships, especially the big ones that smaller ones are deployed from, will have their own internal enclosures in which the Tartles are bred to replenish forces after or a few months before predicted harsh battles (6 months to grow up before use... *unless you use child soldiers*) - and yes there are lots of Tartles who are literally just born, taught the basics of how to use a weapon and who to shoot, and launched head-first into battle without any certainty as to why they're fighting beyond that they're just told "humans (or other enemies of the LIR) bad LIR good".

Historical Figures

The other races wouldn't like to admit that there have been some real achievers amidst the ranks of the Tartles but there have indeed. [C-92][C-24][C-52][C-2][C-73] saved the life of General Skull-Collector, which ultimately allowed the LIR to defeat the Avian Space Empire and add the Avians to their ranks because the LIR is very bad at finding competent generals and Skull-Collector was a rare case.

Common Myths and Legends

Most of their stories have the protagonists being charitable or escaping from danger or using wits rather than force to defeat enemies, probably because of how all the other species around them are so much better at fighting.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Bullied and looked down upon by other races, practically unable to penetrate high society and rarely entrusted with important jobs.
Scientific Name
ille turture
Origin/Ancestry
A species of turtles on Loki that waltzed on through some portals.
Lifespan
Up to 850 years, but something else usually offs them before then like disease or getting shot.
Conservation Status
Wiping them out is like trying to... do something... uhhhh... basically impossible.
Average Height
4.5 feet.
Average Weight
145 pounds.
Average Physique
They don't really do much to keep in shape because round is a shape. With regards to strength: they ain't got much outside of water.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Spots and patches are common. Said spots and patches can be: reddish, yellow, black, light greens or just changes within the usual skin colours of green, brown and grey.

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