a Coatzl male
up to 5 metres
up to 2.6 metres
Highly advanced (Class X/XI)
- 1 Physiology
- 2 Intelligence
- 3 Society and Culture
- 4 Technology
- 5 Military Doctrine
- 6 History
- 7 Relations with other races
- 8 In Fiction
Coatzl are tall, serpentine creatures with two arms but no legs. They move rapidly with the aid of two structures- the strong tail muscles, which flex it rapidly from side to side, and the moveable scales on their underside, which rapidly push backwards against the ground.
Their eyes are slitted and have a yellow colour to them. They do not need to blink, and the eyes are said to possess a 'penetrating stare' which causes discomfort in those who meet it. Scholars have hypothesised this sensation is in fact the result of the changing retinal patterns at the back of the Coatzl eye- this is the main means through which the Coatzl communicate; showing symbols and images displayed inside their eyes.
The mouth is lined with three types of sharp teeth- incisors, carnassials, and fangs (which are retractable and thicker, but carry only nausea-inducing poison). The tongue is tri-forked, and can sense the warmth and direction of air currents.
Their arms are pronate, and fixed to a set of feathered membranes stretching to their flanks. These do not enable powered flight, but only gliding, which the Coatzl can do with great accuracy and stability. The hands are three-fingered, with an opposable thumb and a talon on each finger. Their digits are long and flexible, so the Coatzl is able to carry out dextrous manipulation.
They have a four-chambered heart which beats an average of 90 times a minute, four kidneys which also function as livers, and large lungs. The diaphragms are two in number and wrap around the bottom of the lungs, so instead of pushing up from underneath, they push in from the sides. The lungs are connected to gas bladders which take in the lighter-than-air gases which are produced by the gut's micro-organisms, as the flatus always travels up through the oesophagus rather than down and out from the rectum.
All over their body are multi-coloured feathers, particularly on the tail fans, which serve a display purpose. Coatzl males have far larger fans than the females, and sometimes use them to club rivals. These feathers produce a volatile grease which varies from specimen to specimen, and acts as a marker for age, gender, and size. The feather alignment on the back of the head varies between Coatzl races, some having two fans whereas others have a feathery 'mane'.
The typical life expectancy for a Coatzl is seventy years, but some families possess a genetic mutation that has enabled them to have three times or more this lifespan, at the cost of slow metabolism and action. As the groups do not mate, and the longer-lived Coatzl (known as 'Chzitzicl') take employment segregated from other Coatzl, it is believed that they are diverging into separate species.
Coatzl are omnivorous, eating meat, fruits, and nectars. They are not capable of effective chewing, so break down food with their hands before consumption. The expansion of their culture has caused a recent craze in 'Kololatl', a nectar derived from a plant found originally on Lamana, but now widespread on Coatzl worlds.
Coatzl reproduction is sexual and viviparous, but can only be carried out while both animals are in flight. The female takes off, pursued by several males, and the one which is first to reach her has the mating rights. A bond forms between these two which remains for life, unless one betrays or severely harms the other.
After mating, the babies gestate for seven months before the female gives birth to a litter of 2-4 chicks. These are cared for by both parents until they are eight years old, though they can glide at the age of three and slither from the age of 10 months. They become psychologically mature at seven years old, and capable of reproducing at the age of eight or nine. Adults cannot reproduce after they reach the age of seventy, if they manage to do so.
Sapient beings, the Coatzl are intellectually advanced. They have high encephalisation quotients (7.02), with their brain being a long organ which stretches along the neck, wrapped in cartilage, to connect with the spinal cord. Their brain regions involved in sensation are large and powerful.
They feel little emotion, though travellers are advised against provoking them due to the possibility of causing a 'rage state', in which the Coatzl gains increased strength and speed at the cost of increased risk of muscle damage.
In the event of brain damage, the Coatzl are able to repair damaged neural cells not comprising the prefrontal cortex or central region. This takes several weeks, but after this they are restored to full mental functionality, though perhaps having to learn lost skills again.
Society and Culture
Coatzl society is somewhat feudalistic, with the 'Cahuatlec', or emperor, receiving the loyalty of the various Coatzl lords, or 'Nahuatlec', each of which controls a colony. Families tend to live together, though when a couple settles together they move into a new building. Any adults past reproductive age will live with their accommodation provided by the state, and must work to keep this.
Chicks are educated from the age of three, and they learn subjects such as the sciences, geometrics, architecture, cultural education, and history. They must do this until they age of seven, where they can make a choice- leave school and go into a job in labour or as a low-ranking soldier, or carry on studying until the age of twelve, where they can specialise and prepare for their future employment. There is around a 50/50 division.
The most common jobs taken are in engineering, research science, and the military. Coatzl seek to be honourable and famous. They can better their reputation by meeting new races, creating a following in the public, making discoveries, or defeating threats.
The region's Lord gives special honours to those showing these traits. They will gain a higher income, better accommodation opportunities, equipment and other such things. If they accept these things, they gain them in exchange for loyalty to the region's Lord, and serve as 'Taxacatlec', or Knights.
These Knights can then give twenty others the rank of 'Quetixlec', and these others will be given accommodation next to the Knight. They benefit from better housing, higher income, and subsidised purchasing, but must give all their earnings to the Knight for it to give out. amongst them. They also swear fealty to him, and will accompany him on any voyages he undertakes.
Coatzl have a tendency to follow the more powerful individuals amongst them, even to this day. They often deliberately move near the rich and famous, so a large group of houses containing followers will surround the individual. This helps protect the individual and also means that the Coatzl following them will be able to get jobs in their (probably high-pay) company.
Coatzl have several kinds of art. They create sculptures and structures, usually from stone, which are of great size and appeal to tourists.
They also create music with instruments such as pipes and plucked harps, synthesisers and drums. There is currently a movement attempting to stop the rise of electronic instruments amongst Coatzl. Music accompanies all rituals and is a method of signalling across areas.
They also have literature. Much of this is epic fiction, though Coatzl read far less than they did in the past.
Coatzl communicate in two different ways. Complex conversation is done by eye contact, where the two stare into each others eyes and send messages by using their chameleonic retinas to create symbols and images. This type of messaging is far faster and can carry much more information, but is only possible between two people at a time and limited by eyesight.
They can also communicate with sound, which can send messages such as "move 50m forward!", "stop!", or "I hate you!" through hisses and shrieks.
When they are communicating with other species, they wear goggles which process their eye signals and turn them into audible sounds.
Different Coatzl cultures have had different mythologies, though after the rise of the Coatzl Empire (which has existed for four hundred years) these were all amalgamated to encourage social mixing.
The dominant deity was the Great Serpent, who had created the universe from heavenly fire and shaped all things in the beginning, so that he could find an answer to the question "why do I exist?". He also created the other gods, which were the sun and moon and the stars (this no longer features in the remaining Serpent Cults).
Tozhlocticzon was the planet which the Great Serpent was said to have come down to billions of years later, in order to check on the progress of his creation. He discovered that some of the gods had turned against his great plan, and were trying to destroy his worlds.
There was a great war between the Great Serpent, with his remaining loyal allies, and the destroying gods. Eventually, the Serpent defeated them, and created the Coatzl from the fires of their leader. He allowed the others to live on, as he hoped evil would make the surviving races better able to answer the Question.
He told the Coatzl that they were his most recent Chosen Race, and that they should go out and manage the evil of the universe, to keep Life working towards the Answer.
Few Coatzl believe this mythology any more- a recent census showed that only 6.9% of the population believe in the Great Serpent, and only 4% in the other particulars.
The Coatzl are an advanced species, at Technological Class X and nearing XI.
Coatzl spaceships can be vast. They are armoured with a layer of compressed boron and a layer of aligned nanotubes lining a nanotube-nanodiamond matrix superstructure, spaced with tungsten and with repulsion fields and sheets on every square centimetre.
A circulating cold-plasma sheath also surrounds the ship, blocking electromagnetic and ionising radiation selectively.
They travel faster than light using an Uberdrive system.
The largest ships are the Taalax megaships, at up to 5000km long and equipped with a particulate driver. This weapon uses an extremely powerful coilgun to accelerate small grains, yielding enough energy to cut through a planet's crust They also have thousands of smaller particle beams and mass drivers. They can carry 2.4 billion Coatzl, but usually carry far less.
Yaaxit battleships are up to 96km long, and armed with twenty powerful modulated lasers which have greater impact yields than helium bombs. They are also equipped with mass drivers and bombs, and can carry 100,000 Coatzl. They cannot travel as fast as megaships.
The smallest ships are Lochticlix cruisers, which are 700m long and equipped with only mass drivers. They can carry a few hundred Coatzl. They are used most often for supply and messaging.
Major Coatzl worlds have Tuetlex stations in orbit, which create enormous coilgun zones for ships to enter and be accelerated. These are around 40km tall and 50km long, with a large hollow circle going through their centre. They are very heavily armed and defended, and can hold 50,000 Coatzl.
Coatzl infantry possess powerful mass accelerator hand cannons, which can fire single slugs or bursts of metal shards. They wear fullerite-plated reactive armour with built in repulsors, and also has defensive spikes embedded with it. In melee, they use bladed clubs and swords.
The Vorahmoq gun is a rapid-fire hand cannon launching a 30mm shell, which can be accelerated to around 20km/s. However, speed is usually kept much lower, a fragmentation shells are usually used rather than penetrators.
Similar is the Paraethoc gun, though this sacrifices rapid firing for an extremely complex targeting system that allows the Coatzl to hit anything within line of sight, using IR, visible, UV and high-res MADAR superimpositions to detect enemies even through walls. The gun usually fires a 30mm slug, accelerated to up to 23km/s.
Quazamotl Launchers are a form of rapid-fire RPG launcher. There is a magazine of rocket-propelled grenades attached under the device which contain a two-stage antimatter-lead charge to saturate a small area with x-rays.
Huehmaqatl Repeaters are like heavy machine guns. They have a selectable rate of fire, even reaching up to one hundred thousand rounds per minute. Each bullet is 7mm expansive and contains a shaped microcharge so that the bullet's impact is preceded by a spray of molten metal over the area which will be hit, allowing greater armour penetration.
Coatzl computers are highly advanced, and AIs have been created. However, the Coatzl do not trust them, and so computers capable of showing intelligence are never given responsibilities.
Coatzl have created constructs to do their labour. These are 10m tall robots made primarily of stone, which are used for lifting loads and guarding areas. They are equipped with legs and arms, as well as jets so they can move through the air.
Coatzl send small, shielded storage devices into the spatial catapults they produce. This allows them to communicate faster than the speed of light, and send large amounts of information.
Coatzl live in cities, ships, and constructed habitats.
Their cities are large, with the buildings being tall and often multi-storeyed, looking like stepped pyramids. Other buildings are long cuboids or cubes.
Coatzl ships are large because they contain everything a large population of Coatzl needs. They have large shafts for mating flights, massive supply banks, and extensive crew quarters.
The space habitats made by Coatzl are often a hundred miles or more across. They are placed at Lagrangian points, where they remain stationary relative to the planet and its star. They have many different shapes, but can all carry a hundred thousand or more Coatzl.
The Coatzl are currently building a ringworld around Tozhlocticzon. At present, it is half finished, and one year into construction. This will house hundreds of millions of people, and also perform energy-gathering functions using Cuehmoc's light.
The Coatzl have experienced a large number of wars. As such, they have a well-planned military strategy system.
The Coatzl themselves rarely go into combat. Instead, they send their constructs to fight on the front lines, which are far harder to kill and easily replaceable. These are equipped with cannons, blades, and other weapons. Some are sent into the air to force the enemy to move together, where the high-volume-of-fire ground troops can deal far more damage.
However, the Coatzl will always choose to fight from spaceships if possible. Attacking from them has far lower casualties and causes far greater damage. Megaships bombard the planet from thousands of kilometres away, then send in battleships to clear up resistance.
The Coatzl have a single military, with the Emperor as its commander-in-chief. The Nahuatl manage their colony's standing army, but not those who leave to form the Great Army.
The standing armies have between 5,000 and 40,000 soldiers, armed mainly with light weapons and little armour. They are effectively militia, and while they spend two of the seven months of the Coatzl year training, they spend the rest policing, administrating or serving the community. In case of emergency, all the standing army members are brought together and equipped. These armies usually have many constructs.
The Great Army has many more kinds of equipment, including heavy weapons, armour, and artillery support. They are divided into warrior societies, each with their own parallel hierarchy, and each based around an animal from Tozhlocticzon. The most famous and well-trained are the Vorazotl Warriors, who wear a Vorazotl hide over their armour and are highly effective shock troops.
The Coatzl developed sapience a few hundred thousand years ago, at a time when the planet was heating and the forests were shrinking. Vicious predators, evolving to take all they could from the declining ecosystem of the forest fringes, were intense competition for the then aerial Coatzl.
The Coatzl then moved to the ground, and here they were able to use their hands to create fire and tools, enabling them to outcompete and kill the predators that they had fought against before.
However, they kept their wings (though these were no longer capable of extended flight) and were able to fly away from ground predators or move into the forest to escape flying ones.
This versatility let them spread around Tozhlocticzon, and they began to adopt a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. They became the dominant species, exploiting each and every habitat.
It was in 3.924(.???) AM that the Coatzl built their first city, after settling down to use a more reliable source of food, domesticated animals and agriculture. They built enormous pyramids in the forests, and formed kingdoms which waged war on each other.
After thousands of years of strife, the Coatzl Empire that still exists today was founded in 3.998(.915) AM. Under their new Emperor, Coatzl began to work together, and in trying to defeat the rebellious factions advanced greatly in terms of technology. In 3.998(.970) AM, they built their first starship, and soon after came mass-dampening technology.
As their home system was so far from any other region of inhabited space, it was many years before their first contact.
They entered the Illuminis Galaxy and met the Irihil, just slightly less advanced than they. The two races, quite similar in ideology, became allies, and assisted each other in exploration and advancement.
A year later, they entered Aisva and encountered Aian ships. Though they had a bad start, the two species were reconciled with the aid of the Irihil.
They also travelled to several other galaxies in the system, meeting many other races. Their war with the Aoarus began at this time.
Recently, the Coatzl have retreated into themselves somewhat. They have not explored any new galaxies within the last decade.
Relations with other races
The Coatzl are widely travelled, and so have contacted a large number of species.
The Irihil were the first race that the Coatzl encountered, and the Coatzl were the first species that the Irihil had met. Their similar ideologies meant that they were on friendly terms from first contact.
They assisted each other in exploring the Illuminis Galaxy, in research, and also in reaching the Aisva Galaxy.
The First Contact between the Coatzl and Aians was somewhat confrontational, and so the two species began their relations badly. However, with Irihil aid, they circumvented this and put aside any hostilities.
The Coatzl and Aoarus are old enemies. They have been locked in war for 400 years, and thousands die each day on the disputed worlds.
The Cyrians and Coatzl are firm allies. Despite their general withdrawal from the universe, the Coatzl keep sending ships to the Cyrians.
Sephirah often join the Coatzl in fighting the Aoarus.
The Coatzl have encountered the Slavnye. The two races are on peaceful terms. However, battling the Aoarus means that they cannot supply forces to assist in fighting the War Machine.
The Coatzl have fought War Machine forces on one occasion. The result of the battle is unknown.