Thursday, January 20, 2011

Umrazi

Thick-skinned, predominantly plains and desert-dwelling nomads, the Umrazi are a notorious, if little known, people who tend to pass through very many places but linger in few. Tough, adaptable and physically well-suited to extremely harsh environments and a wide range of climates, the Umrazi are often found where others fear to tread. Literally. The Umrazi endure much that others would find intolerable or impossible, training themselves to withstand extremes in temperature, pressure, acidity or alkalinity, even the more insidious forms of toxicity present in dead salt lakes, bacteria-rich mudflats or stagnant oasis-swamps. Umrazi do not fear microorganisms or pathogens, indeed they actively seek such things out, that they might test themselves against such things, and either prevail and improve themselves, or die in the attempt.

Physical Appearance
Umrazi are stockier than average, heavily boned and powerfully built. They operate in a much wider range of local gravity than most other genocultures with some bands having explored worlds with upwards of three times the established baseline level recognized by the Deep Infrastructure. Umrazi are duly proud of this ability and do everything that they can to push their limits by enduring every conceivable hardship, surviving in the midst of desolation and barrenness, even toxic wastelands, and going farther outwards than any of the weaker, tamer, less courageous genocultures.

Umrazi eyes have an array of self-assembling filter-membranes that allow them to adapt to whatever ambient level of brightness or dimness they need to cope with, allowing them to see into ranges of the spectrum few others can perceive even with technologically enhanced sub-systems. The Umrazi also are known to have extensive internalized nanological subsystems to help them breathe in various pressures, adjust their metabolism to suit their environment or necessity (they can eat nearly anything organic), and a host of other capabilities that are only suspected or conjectured upon as their internal security systems also obscure their persons from all but the most invasive forms of observation. Since it is considered not just bad form to pry, in this respect, but a very dangerous insult, the Umrazi's privacy is respected even by archivists and the Paparazzi.

The Umrazi are suspected of having encountered a number of feral artilects, AI, nanologues and other sentioforms in their travels, many of which they treat with the respect that they show to any other microorganism. No one is completely sure just what all lurks within the cells and systems of an Umrazi's body or blood, but it is known that it is not at all wise to attempt to find out without permission for their defensive immunological responses are truly impressive, even legendary.

The Umrazi exodermis is a specialized, massively-redundant constantly-regenerating flexible surface that acts as a whole-body filtration system, in fact the Umrazi exodermis is considered to be a self-mobile secondary personalised micro-ecology unique to each Umrazi. The exodermis is awash in millions of cultures, spore samples, bacterial colonies, viruses and other forms of microorganisms collected over the course of an Umrazi's travels and deliberate, repeated exposures to such things. They ritually roll around in muck and mud and carry the dried-on, almost scabrous evidence of their devotions much like a saddhu with their ashes.

Scholars who've attempted to study the Umrazi (all three of them, each of whom met with unfortunate and untimely --even unrecoverable-- deaths in the course of their field work) have put forth a number of theories concerning the Umrazi, but very few facts are actually known with any measure of certainty.

One fact is very well established however; it is nearly impossible to poison an Umrazi. Even one of the Ketanjin would hesitate to attempt such a thing.

Cultural Aspects
Umrazi are fringe-dwellers and nomads who prowl the Bad Land Worlds and other places out past the Perimeter of the Known Worlds. They rarely have any use for the softer, weaker worlds and tend to avoid the company of those who have not proven themselves robust enough to endure their company. One must have excellent immune system augmentations and enhancements to spend any amount of time in close proximity to the Umrazi or else risk major infections.

There are a few amongst the Umrazi who feel it is important that they return to Civilization in the course of their lives, at some point best determined each for themself, so that they can carry back the biological legacy of their people and their explorations to one of the Core Worlds so that they might share it freely with all the Descendant Children of Humanity. This effort, a sort of quasi-mystical pilgrimage of sorts, is most often undertaken by a lone individual, or a small family group. Once they reach the Core World that they've picked as a destination, they often take up residence in the Dregs, the less-well regulated Under-Districts, or similar such marginal areas for what they regard as long enough. Often this is no more than a single year. Then they gather up what few belongings they care to bring with them and they head out along a completely other route to go explore entirely new regions and new worlds.

The Umrazi prefer to wander on foot through the environments of worlds unsullied by names, and if they could reach them, they'd prefer to wander amidst worlds outside the serial-code numbers imposed by the Deep Infrastructure as it catalogs all the Known Worlds.

1 comment:

  1. I nice science fictional concept. They have elements that call to mind a couple of different species from fiction, without seeming derivative of anything.

    ReplyDelete

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