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Carleans are a species of intelligent dragonlike reptiles, hailing from Carlea in the Cnara System. They are primarily located in Florathel, and are only just beginning to spread out outside it. Carleans are mostly known for their cooperative, fair and peaceful attitude, which has allowed them to mediate thousands of different treaties. This causes most of the civilizations in Florathel to trust them to mediate fair treaties between enemies, which actually gives them quite a lot of power.

Compared to other species, Carleans are quite smart and resilient, which has led many of them to be scientists. Many species attempted to invade them on the assumption that they would be total pushovers due to their peaceful nature, however they will still defend themselves with astonishing ferocity. However, their attacks are specifically designed to not hit any civilian populations, and because of this, their army actually contains more defectors than native enlisters, as those who attack them are often much more ruthless than they are.

With a history of rapid advancements, they became a K2 civilization, one of the quickest to do so without help. Over many millennia, Carlean subspecies have originated, the descendants of the colonists of strange worlds, genetically engineered to live in their environments without support. As they colonized the Cnara Cluster, they came across the Frealee System, a system with a nascent K1 civilization. They spent a few years decoding their language, started a dialogue, sent a whole bunch of technology plans, and the civilization there rapidly rose to K2. They joined the Cnaran Federation, their system was named the second capital, and the federation was renamed the Cnara-Frealee Federation. This is a prime example of their cooperativeness.

Appearance

Carleans are blue-gray winged reptilian creatures around fifteen meters long. Their long necks are lined with structures that look vaguely like gills. A Carlean's underbelly is covered by lighter, less stiff scales, and late in a pregnancy or after consuming a massive amount of food, these scales become slightly translucent. The tail of a Carlean has a set of long, thin spikes which can be shot like arrows in the case of danger, but this capability is useless as of the modern day.

Biology

Subspecies

Carleans are spread throughout the stars, and as such certain members of their species are adapted to many different environments. The most major among them are described below:

The Skara subspecies is the most common of them, and the closest to their ancestral form in the skies of ancient Carlea. They are considered the "baseline form" of the carlean species.

The Verenn subspecies of the Carleans is found primarily on low-gravity planets, and as such has relatively shorter wings. However, there are some unexpected physiological changes, such as the fact that the gestation period is longer for no apparent reason.

The Deralka subspecies is found primarily on worlds with relatively thin atmospheres compared to Carlea itself. As such, they have lost the capability of flight, and their wings are vestigial. Deralka have the interesting capability of swallowing and digesting incredibly large objects, and they more commonly give birth to 4 or 6 children.

Respiratory System

Carleans have a relatively simple respiratory system evolved from their marine ancestors. Air travels in through gill-like structures to the lungs, where oxygen is extracted and carbon dioxide is put back in, then deoxygenated air is blown back out. Carlean lungs, being required to take in enough oxygen to sustain a creature of this size, are quite large and span the length of the neck.

A major benefit of this system is that it never interfaces with the digestive system. This eliminates the risk of choking, though it does cause a few limitations in speech, as the openings cannot be used as efficiently to articulate sounds. This causes some annoyance from other species, but it is tolerable.

Digestive System

Because of their huge size, Carleans need to eat a lot. To help facilitate this, Carleans evolved to have this odd-looking extendable jaw that can extend up to several meters from the individual in seconds, grab something out of the sky, and swallow it. This jaw can "unhinge", allowing a Carlean to ingest objects up to the size of itself. The esophagus is also rather stretchy, allowing for rapid conveyance of very large food items to the stomach.

The stomach is a relatively simple affair, made up of a really stretchy bag that produces extremely powerful acid to digest food. Interestingly, it has an incredibly high capacity, with the potential to contain and digest another Carlean. This gives you an idea of how much food they can hold at once, so they can eat less often.

After the stomach's contents are fully digested, they are passed through a really long wrapped up tube, the intestine. This absorbs all the nutrients and water in the liquified soup before it's voided.

Carleans have an interesting capability to consciously switch off the production of stomach acids. This serves two purposes, both of which are mostly obsolete in the modern technological society. The first purpose is to allow a Carlean to swallow huge amounts of food and regurgitate it for their young. The second involves protection. If a Carlean is under threat and near her young (or anyone's young, really), they can simply gulp them down and turn off digestion, protecting them in her belly until the threat passes.

Nervous System

Being intelligent species, Carleans have rather large brains. Due to the large size of their bodies, Carleans have evolved to have incredibly fast nerve impulses to be able to reach the other end of the body in a reasonable timeframe.

Senses

Carleans have six main sensory inputs: vision, scent, taste, hearing, touch, and a thing called "proprioception". The first five work about how one would expect, the only difference being that the Carlean visual spectrum is significantly wider than, say, Humans. Proprioception, the sense of things happening within the body, is much sharper than in most life-forms. For example, a pregnant Carlean could acutely feel everything their unborn children are doing in the womb. No one's entirely sure why this sense evolved to be so sharp.

Reproductive System

They reproduce ovoviviparously, which means that the eggs are inside the mother's womb up until a few days after hatching. This means that the eggs do not require hard shells. Carleans almost invariably give birth to sextuplets (roughly 97% of the time) with the next most common numbers being 4 and then 2, with any other number occurring extremely rarely. The Carlean gestation period is approximately 1.5 standard years long, though there is some variation either way. During pregnancy, a layer of fat develops, surrounding the womb and protecting against any strikes. This ensures that the unborn children will not be hurt in a potential scuffle.

Demographics

Carleans are almost solely found in Florathel, especially within the Cnara-Frealee Federation and neighboring states. The only known Carlean habitations outside of the galaxy is the CFF embassy to the Confederacy of Borealis and to the Shev'ra.

Culture

Carlean culture has been influenced throughout the millennia by their pacifistic nature and other important properties.

Religion

There are many minor religions scattered through Carlean space. However, most Carleans today and throughout their history are primarily atheist, as only 14% of the Carlean population follows any religion.

Language

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