Chuians are known the galaxy over as brilliant technicians and scientists, and Conturians are well known as running some of the greatest libraries preserving cosmic knowledge found on any sentient world. Cute, friendly and deceptively cunning, what's their homeworld like? Let's find out!
>> Where Is Contura?
Contura is found in the Jaclab star system. The main sequence star is located in a neighboring spiral arm relative to Earth, very near the galactic center. A jump gate within their solar system itself means that Contura is not quite as remote as some other star systems. Contura’s closest habitable planetary neighbor without using a jump gate is Nikiticha.
Jaclab is expected to enter its red giant phase in close to two million years, so Conturian efforts to colonize the planets of Insuro and Dosi are currently in the planning stages.
Contura is the fifth planet in its system, and has one large and closely orbiting moon.
>> What Does It Look Like?
Contura’s physical appearance is quite similar to Earth, with defined continents in a constant tectonic drift and wide oceans. Due to the combinations of minerals found in the rock and dirt of Contura and the types of trace gasses in the atmosphere coupled with the light from their aging star, Conturian water appears almost black from space.
The Conturian coastlines are constantly changing shape and design due to the enormous force of tides caused by their moon.
With weather primarily warmer than that of Earth, Contura’s poles hold only a small quantity of ice. The majority of Contura’s land masses are covered in sprawling jungles.
How does Contura's moon change the weather?
Because Contura’s moon is so large and orbits so closely, its gravitational pull on the water of the planet is quite great. Tides on Contura are comparable to tsunami on Earth. Sentient life can not colonize or live on the coastlines, because all structures would be rapidly destroyed by the pounding of giant waves.
These waves also cause extreme erosion, completely breaking down and rebuilding beaches within a monthly lunar cycle.
While some plant and animal life thrives in these extreme tidal zones, the sentient species of Contura avoid them except during carefully calculated times.
The impact of these enormous tides is felt inland as well. The sudden change in the currents of the oceans and subsequently the temperature of the air causes a violent, almost dangerous wind to form at dusk and sweep over the land. Visibility is reduced, and smaller species may find themselves at risk for being blown away. Species capable of flight, however, find the evening breezes enjoyable.
A second tidal breeze is felt in the mornings, but in general the air is both less forceful and warmer as it is pulled out to sea.
>> What Kind of Life is On Contura? Contura is host to an assortment of fabulous and exotic ecosystems. Mammals dominate the planet at this present time, but invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians are also common.
The Chuians and Conturians themselves are small in stature compared to the other creatures they share their planet with, and would, if not for their superior intellect, surely be prey.
Life on Contura has been described as a young Earth where predators still stalk the exterior walls of cities and the oceans are still writhing with monsters.
The most common land predator is the tsutu, which can be found in all climates. The field tsutu is the largest of the genus, and poses the greatest threat to lone sentients travelling over the grasslands. Most active in the evenings, the tsutu's excellent sense of smell allows it to track its prey. Using its powerful hind legs to pounce, the tsutu attacks by driving its frontal blades into the body of its prey and holding it in a vice grip until its meal is subdued enough to be consumed.
Another field predator which must be watched for is the greater flit. While common flits are considered little more than a nuisance and are no larger than an Earth houscat, greater flits are vicious avian predators which circle the skies at dusk on the hunt. Capable of carrying off a Nikitak easily in its powerful claws, the greater flit is only swayed by high winds and cold weather. While it is safer to travel during the day, a hungry greater flit might still attack - their five eyes are stunningly sharp. Life in the ocean
The oceans are perhaps the most hostile climate on Contura, and once flight was invented all efforts were made to avoid crossing the ocean via the small fishing boats usually reserved for rivers and lakes.
The greatest oceanic predator of Contura, feared throughout the galaxy, is the gripper. An enormous icthyoid, its dark coloured backside makes it nearly impossible to spot from above as it draws upon ships. When within range, it surfaces slightly - resembling an enormous slick stone. Uninformed sailors draw near, expecting land, only to be ensnared by hundreds of viscous tentacles which guide the ship toward the gripper's jaws. Grippers have been known to consume boats, space craft and even other grippers.
Many smugglers attempt to land on or near the ocean only to meet an untimely end between the waves and the animals who dwell there.
Life in the jungles
While less dangerous than the oceans, the jungles still hold their share of predators. Most are nocturnal hunters and can be dissuaded with a simple light or fire.
The least dangerous and most common jungle creature is the hexaworm, a boneless eight-eyed scavenger covered in small hairs. The hexaworm spends most of its days in the trees, wrapped around a branch. The hairs on its hide can change hues along the cool end of the colour spectrum, allowing it to blend in. While not violent or dangerous ordinarily, the hexaworm does pose a threat to smaller species such as Myches, Chuians and Conturians. The animal has been known to drop down on people from above and constrict prey - though it would much rather find the remnants of another animal's kill.
While predators are certainly a concern, the mischievous winged flits seem to cause more damage over all. Approximately the size of a human fore-arm, the feather-adorned flying reptiles congregate around travellers with an honestly obnoxious curiosity. While their small hands are not particularly good at gripping objects, this does not stop them from opening backpacks and leaving the contents strewn about.
It has been suspected that flits might be domesticated in the near future, as their bright plumage makes them visually stunning. However, it appears that when a flit is removed from its group it becomes morose- the colours fading, and the flit itself eventually dying.
While a burden to those attempting to remain stealthy because of their excessive chatter, flits are a mostly harmless jungle inhabitant.
Life in the cities
Chuians and Conturians seem to have exclusively domesticated insects and small reptiles, which makes these the most common city animals by far. It is speculated that the original purpose of this domestication was to supplement the diets of two species who are both small omnivores.
The cities are where the small Chuians and Conturians themselves dwell, in carefully controlled climates away from the dangers of their planet. The two species agreed to work together for mutual survival and the plan has thus far worked admirably in their favour.
Most animals found in cities are either pets, pests, or dwell in the domed gardens that can be found in most buildings. Both pets and garden animals are outfitted with genetic and cybernetic enhancements to both help their city environment and assist their owners.
>> What are the Buildings Like?
Because the wilds of Contura are inhospitable to the small, prey-originated species that call the planet home, most life goes on in domed cities scattered across the planet. Many Conturians live their entire lives inside one city without leaving, but Chuians are more prone to travel and trade. The cities are so numerous that they are not referred to by name, but simply by number. While some outcast hermits do exist, they tend not to survive long. As such, almost all architecture has adapted to an urban environment.
Those visiting Contura are often most struck by the architectural dichotomy that can be found in the cities. While all cities are encased in a bubble dome which can be closed against the evening winds, the buildings within the dome fall into two distinct styles.
Conturian architecture is distinctly angular, and those building within the style take great glee in seeing how many flat surfaces can fit on a building until it appears ‘too round.’ The generally accepted shape for a Conturian building is octagonal or septagonal. They often have flat roofs.
The reasoning behind this design is simple: The Conturians collect literature and knowledge in all forms. The more flat walls you provide yourself with on the interior, the more shelves you can fill with knowledge. The inside of Conturian buildings has been described as almost honey-comb-like.
Chuians, contrary to their cousins, prefer everything to be very curvaceous and rounded. Almost all Chuian structures have domed tops, and most doors are arced. There has been some speculation about this, but the most generally accepted is that curves and domes provide sounder, more wind-proof structures which can sustain blows to the exterior with more efficiency. They are safer and, as such, the inhabitants inside feel safer as well.
Chuians are, however, great fans of open air. As such, bubble dome technology is incorporated quite frequently in their architecture.
Bubble dome technology is a mixture of a liquid similar to latex and microscopic simple robots commonly known as nanobots. The nanobots move and shape the liquid, allowing it to form solid or passable barriers, as well as enabling it to turn from opaque to clear. Bubble dome technology is used prominently in architecture, replacing conventional glass windows entirely. Many eateries or other shops which encourage an open air atmosphere have a bubble dome on the front of their building to assist in both security and climate control.
Bubble domes are also used to keep the gardens which adorn many Conturian buildings safe and protected from vermin, pollution or bad weather. During the best growing seasons or rains, the domes are opened- But during poor growing seasons (fall, winter) and evenings to the domes are closed to protect the plant and animal life within. These smaller domes are also used to block out weather in evenings, making it outdoor dining possible at all hours.
Larger domes are used in a similar fashion to protect entire cities. Visible from space, they resemble a soap bubble resting in the middle of a forest. Due to the programmable nature of the bubble dome, there have never been any crashes where a ship struck the dome and was destroyed - the domes respond with elasticity and adhesive qualities, providing a soft (if gooey) landing for any out of control ship which may be coming in for a crash.
Landing platforms utilize both bubble dome technology and their own sense of protective tech. While the platforms themselves are contained within the city dome, their personal domes act as a protective barrier both against any ship pollution or radiation and against any bacteria that may not have been detected or quarantined yet.
Manned entirely by holographic artificial intelligence “helper” units, all landing platforms have their own designation (such as Leilo) so that authorities may know when or where a problem is.
The stem of the landing platform contains no fewer than three elevators which carry passengers to the surface in small groups while explaining the basics of Contura. During these rides, the inhabitants are scanned and sterilized to prevent from infecting the native species. If a dangerous contagion is detected which can not be controlled or contained, the entire ship’s party must return to the platform and await a hazmat crew. They are free at any time to return to the planet they departed from, but may not enter the city.