Grey flying things’ anatomy
Before I go on to explaining how Triband language works, I think I should explain more things about those strange creatures I introduced to you in my last post and the odd way they perceive the world.
Firstly, I’ll speak a bit about their bodies:
Tribands are sapient invertebrate animals (their ‘skeleton‘ resembles our rib cages and is composed of much more flexible ‘bones’ which are also lighter than ours). They are able to walk on their feet and swim (they propel themselves by moving their feet, wings and tail), but spend most of their lives flying. With the help of their tails (which work as rudders), they can fly elegantly and effortlessly (which is more easily accomplished as Nikoté’s atmosphere is a bit denser and the gravity is slightly weaker). They often run a little before they take off, just as Earth’s birds do.
Most of them have no problem hooking things with the spurs in their wings (usually known as wingspurs by humans), but they perform most of their tasks using the 4 tentacle-like things surrounding their mouths which are known as stomopods (meaning ‘mouth-feet’, completely unrelated to a kind of crustaceans with the same name) which they can move with supreme dexterity. Related species use them mainly for approaching food to their mouths, but the Triband use it to a much larger extent, including manipulating tools and modern technology. They are also used for reading and writing.
Unlike humans, Tribands don’t have discernible heads nor a brain but a massive neuronal net similar in complexity to centralized brains such as Human’s.
Triband’s way of perceiving the world is just as different to ours as their bodies. Two senses, however, match ours almost exactly: touch and taste. There are haptic sensors all over a triband’s skin. There are, however, two zones which are specially sensible: the bands (three light-colored stripes in their chest) and their stomopods. Taste and smell are detected in the mouth (which is also used to breath).
On the other hand, the other senses are entirely alien to humans (even though they exist in some animals of our world). For example, there is an organ surrounding mouth which can detect infrared radiation, effectively given them a sort of heat-vision (like some real-world boas) which is, however, very limited (specially when compared to that of other creatures in Nikoté, their planet).
The three bands are no only extremely sensible to touch but also emit and detect ultrasounds, which let the Triband perceive the world by echolocation, just as bats and dolphins. This is their main mean of perception, their way of ‘seeing’. They ocelli (singular ocellus, the eyespots in their back) can also emit and detect them to a lesser extent.
However, the main function of ocelli (a term which is also used for the eyespots of some butterflies and fish) is communication, as they are able o emit and receive radio signals which are used by the Tribands to speak, just as a large number of Nikotean species. Each species uses a number of specific wavelengths (usually between 2 and 4, but there are species which use as little as 1 or as many as 8) which may overlap with those of other species. Tribands make use of three distinct frequencies which are usually mapped by humans to the three light wavelengths we perceive: red, green and blue. This convention is arbitrary as the Tribands are just as blind to the colours we see as we are to their radio signals.
Tribands are social beings. Many of them live in cities and towns while the ones which live in the countryside aren’t completely isolated. They have developed a monetary system not unlike ours. Tribands are omnivorous, they grow crops and raise cattle (which includes native terrestrial and acuatic species, so it could be said that fish farming is also known to them). Hunting wild animals (even for food) is considered barbarian to many tribands. They cook most of their meals.
They prefer inhabiting warm zones and most of them wear nothing but some ornaments such as necklaces which are used around the wings. In some places, footwear is customary while it’s almost completely unknown to others. The tribands which live in higher latitudes (with colder weather) often use coats, some of which allow them to move and fly easily while others cover them completely making them unable to fly (they are used only when the Triband is to stay in his house). As heating systems become widespread, the latter kind of coats is becoming rarer.
They are scientifically advanced (though not as much as humans), having a wide range of industries and technologies such as vehicles (cars, boats and plane-like machines), electricity and synthetic materials. They have yet to develop space technology. In the past, they used to write on a clay-like material which they could press with their stomopodes when soft so as to write and that hardened in a pair of hours. Nowadays, that materials have been replaced by similar synthetic materials.
Even though there is a number of cultural differences between the Tribands which live in a region or another, there’s a large deal of interaction between them. Almost every triband is able to communicate in a lingua franca known to humans as Triband language (which is not based on sounds but radio signals), and in one or more regional/familiar languages. When two tribands who share a secondary language want to keep a conversation secret and there is another triband which doesn’t nearby, they usually speak in their own language. This is not considered impolite. There is a certain taboo on teaching a stranger one’s regional language, so human beings have been unable to collect any information about them other than the fact that many use signal combinations which aren’t used by the common language.
In my next post, I’ll speak about this common language: my conlang, the Triband language. See you!