Europans

From Growing Horizons

Appearance

The Europans are an aquatic species that greatly resembles Earthern cuttlefish, however they are bisymetrical, with a pair of shells covering their mantle. These shells grow continuously during the 180 year lifespan of an Europan.

The symmetry axis runs along the laterally through their body with upper and lower half of their bodies identical. Their main body is about two meters in length, with six pairs of tentacles of up to three meter length, two of which end in sophisticated eyes with V-shaped pupils for a total of four fully mobile eyes, as well as two pairs of tentacles that split into sub-tentacles, which act as hands. Their mouth, with four beak like structures, is situated in between the tentacles and capable of cracking the shells and bones of the various animals that are on the Europan diet.

The main mode of propulsion for the Europans are a double pair of swimming fins running along the edge of their shells, though they can maneuver quickly with using their four siphons. Additionally, Europas also make use of their tentacles for motion, should the need araise.\\[0.5em] Embedded into the Europan shells are a multitude of chromatophores, which are used as their sole mode of active communication as well as emoting.

Biology

The Europans are a species that has, in todays form, evolved on Europa over the past 1.5 million years, since they have settled down on the Jovian moon. Like Earth life, their DNA is based on the same four bases, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. Likewise, their protein structure is related to Earth organisms. However, their cell structure is vastly different to Terrestrial life.

Over the past 1.5 million years they have adapted to their environment and can digest Europa native life, and have developed a much higher resistance to pressure as well as cold water, even though their preferred environment is warm water, as is found within their floating and sea floor habitats.

Procreation

Europans are a three gendered species, with a male, female and neuter gender with semi-regular mating periods every 100 orbits of Europa around Jupiter. A group of three individuals, one of each gender, make up a family unit.

The female of a family unit produces up to thirty ten centimeter long tubular eggs, which she attaches to the shell of the neuter, followed by each egg being fertilized by the male with a pair of bone like needles inside two of his tentacles. An incubation time of the eggs is about one hundred fifty Europan orbits, during which time the neuters' role is to defend the eggs, while the male and female are left to work and support the neuter.

Of the thirty eggs, only about two to five eggs hatch a shell less larva that keep close to the neuter. Following a successful mating and hatching of the larva, a family unit does not mate again for at least ten years.

Life stages

{> !Life stage !From (age) !To (age) !Duration (years)} |- |Larva || 0 || 5 || 5 |- |Adolecent || 5 || 10 || 5 |- |Adult || 10 || 120 || 110 |- |Elder || 120 || || |- |}

Larva

The larval stage of the Europans lasts about five Earth years, or 525 Europan orbits, during which the larva keep close to its neuter parent for protection, while they are slowly developing from an instinct driven animal like creature into the more child like intelligence of the Adolescent stage. During this stage it is not unusual for a larva to perish from any cause, up to and including sibling cannibalism, accepted by the Europans are normal.

During this life stage, the Larga grows from a length of about fifteen centimeters to half the size of an adult at one meters length.

Adolescent

The adolescent stage of is as long as the larval stage and the Europan develop their full intelligence and dare to explore away from their neuter parent. During this time the neuter is responsible for teaching the adolescents of its family unit.

The adolescent grow to their final adult size within these five years as well as the first layers of their shells, absent during the larval stage.

Adult

The adult stage of the Europans is like the adult stages of other intelligent species, as they are most active during this stage.

Within the first 200 Europa orbits of an Europan reaching adult hood, groups of three will find each other and form new family units, which each unit remaining together until the end of their lives.

Elder

The Elder stage of the Europans finally begins when the sexual drive stops at an age of 110 Earth years, and the Neuter ceases to care for taking care of any more eggs layed by the female.

Society/Sociology

Little is known about how or why the Europans ancestor species has moves and hidden on Europa and not even the Europan Gods have been able to shed any light into this mystery.

The current Europans have evolved to survive in their current, rather unique environment, which are large partially artificial structures of living corals living off warm water currents, created by either sea floor magma vents, or free floating hydrogen-hydrogen fusion reactors, their cities[1] Up to several ten thousand family units may live inside an Europan city, working in various jobs from fish swarm herders, over priests to scholars.

Technology Level

The technology level of the Europans can well be described as being 'schizophrenic', as they are living with massive differences in various technologies.

On one side, Europan technology includes massive hydrogen-hydrogen fusion reactors, complete with support and control systems, as well as the massive autonomous computer systems that are the Europan AI Gods, each controlling one of the Europan Cities, as well as mobile autonomous service robots. However, these technologies are only available to the AI Gods themselves.

To any normal Europans only technologies on par with the terrestrial 19th century are available, making use of steam, high pressure water and mechanical force. Electricity is limited to illumination and some signal transfer. The most complicated Europan non AI God technology at the time of first contact have been a Babbage style mechanical computer system and a mechanical camera system.

It is to be noted the AI Gods actively suppress any technology more advanced than the 19th century equivalent for reasons, unknown even to the AI Gods.

Government

Government types of the Europans vary vastly between the different cities, each of which is independent of any other. While monarchies and theocraties are the most common, complete anarchic, communist or democratic societies are not unknown.

Religion

While there are as many religions among the Europans as there are cities, all Europan religions share the reverence of their cities AI Gods, who in turn are not averse to work with their divinity, like the instance where they suppress technologies.

Europan Contact with non-Europans

The existence of the Europans was first indirectly discovered when the Europa Orbiter probe detected quite a lot of magnetic anomalies beneath the icy surface of Europa in 2030, most of which were slowly moving around in random patterns. This created a rush for discovering what exactly those magnetic anomalies were and multiple nations sending manned missions to the Jovian moon to uncover the this mystery. First contact with the Europans was made on November 5, 2036, when a submarine probe of the joint Canadian-American mission breached the surface ice in a relatively recent break of the ice and almost immediately met a number of Europan sholars on an expedition attempting to take a look at Jupiter.

Actual contact could only be made two years later, when a submarine probe of the Peoples Republic of China manages to reach an European city and communicate with its resident AI god, who in turn readily exchanged linguistic data.

It is sadly of note that almost all Europans cities are unwilling to open any form of contact with extra-Europan life forms, choosing to either simply ignore, or act hostile to any form of contact. As such there is only few Europan Cities in contact with humanity since First Contact in 2056.

So far there is only a single AI God[2] that has left Europa to settle on Ceres, taking in various Europan family units that have either been exiled by an European City or choose to leave Europa.

Footnotes

  1. The actual word used by the Europans is unknown, due to their visual communication through color patterns and animations..
  2. The, at that time, brand new AI God 'Gravitas Free Zone'. The AI God named itself after a fictional AI entity form an early 21st century novel