Urahlian Electrosensory Communication Language in wow that's a lot of stars | World Anvil

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Urahlian Electrosensory Communication

wow that's a lot of stars is a sci-fi setting about adventure, exploration, and discovery. Every person, place, and thing has a story to tell, if you listen closely.   Setting Intro | Visitor's Guide | Author's Intentions
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The now-extinct alien species known as urahl used a form of electrogenesis to communicate with each other. It was akin to body language for the effectively-blind species, and operated off of touch. Our knowledge is based on how one specific urahl culture - the Niris - used this ability.   Messages were expressed based on the intensity of the electrogenesis and the location on the body the touch took place. Urahl were able to convey far more nuanced emotions using this method, as they could manipulate the target's nervous system to reflect how they felt.
 

What It Was

Urahlian electrogenesis delivered an electric-like pulse through the hand (as opposed to creating an electric field, such as the electric eel is known to do). If touching a wall or the floor, they could send the pulse through surfaces and use it as a form of electrolocation. Most commonly, however, it was used when touching another person, as a form of communication.  

Why It Was Used

Since they could not see the physical form of those around them, urahlian electrogenesis became a non-verbal supplement to spoken language. Essentially, their version of body language. When sent through a living creature, these electric-like pulses could affect the recipient's nervous system, either adding to information given through spoken word or sharing what otherwise wasn't said. Meaning was conveyed through the intensity, location, and intent.  

How It Was Used

Methods

Intensity

How far through the nervous system the pulse travelled.
Low
part of the conversation
Mid
adds to conversation
High
its own conversation

Location

Where on the body the pulse originated.
Hands, arms
frequent, everyday
Shoulders, inner elbow
friendship, familiarity
Wrist, spine
intimate, personal

Intent

How the pulse affected the nervous system.
Expression
impart an emotion
Comfort
ease tension
 

Meaning

Basic Communication

Everyday interactions between urahl would involve many small touches. These didn't always involve electrogenesis, but it was common to reciprocate. It was their version of communicating through facial expressions.
  • Touches to hands or arms
  • Used in greeting, introduction, or as part of standard conversation
  •  

    Conveying Emotion

    With friends and family, communication became more nuanced and meaningful, with moments of deeper sincerity. In manipulating the recipient's nervous system, an urahl could convey emotions more clearly than words, or provide comfort in trying times.
  • Touches to shoulders or the inner-elbow to reach more of the nervous system
  • Imparted specific emotions, whether in expression or to comfort the recipient
  • What about arguments?
    Because this form of communication relied upon trust, it often wouldn't be used in the most heated arguments. In order for it to function, both parties needed to be calm enough to communicate and listen.
       

    Expressing Intimacy

    At its most personal, this communication was a conversation unto itself. With higher intensity to more sensitive areas of the body, they could express complex thoughts and feelings, and react to how the recipient responded in kind.
  • Touches to the wrist or back were shared between partners and lovers
  • Expression of mutual trust
  •   The back of the neck - the root of the nervous system - was the most intimate location for electrogenesis. From there, the urahl could affect the recipient's entire nervous system, effectively gaining a map of their body. This was only done in privacy, behind closed doors, and never in public.  

    Did you know?

    For the urahl, wrapping one's arms around another person was a personal, intimate act, especially since this often involves touching the back. That humans hug so casually would be deeply uncomfortable for them.

    Terminology

    Electrosensory
    Sensations related to electricity
    Electrogenesis
    Ability to generate an electric field
    Electroreception
    Ability to sense electrical stimuli
    Electrolocation
    Ability to sense bioelectric signals

    Information

    Spoken by
    Though it's likely all urahl had the same form of electrogenesis, it's possible not all urahlian cultures developed this type of communication.

    Related



    Cover image: by Aaron Lee, Nick Ong, Norah Khor

    Comments

    Author's Notes

    This article was written as part of Summer Camp 2023. Follow the link to learn more.


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