Their forward-facing eyes possess outstanding vision, and their teeth and jaws mimic the structures possessed by apex predators such as crocodiles or theropod dinosaurs. Needless to say, the talons on both their feet and hands are capable of ripping flesh.
The turian homeworld, Palaven, has a metal-poor core, generating a weak magnetic field and allowing more solar radiation into the atmosphere. To deal with this, most forms of life on Palaven, including turians, evolved some form of metallic “exoskeleton” to protect themselves. Turian blood has a dark blue colouration, stemming from the presence of hemocyanin rather than haemoglobin.
Turian physiology is avian in evolutionary origin, but unlike typical avian species, turians have an exoskeleton consisting of thick metallic plates and scales instead of feathers. However, the crest scales possessed by male turians bear a strong resemblance to the flight scales (the Palaven equivalent of feathers) of Palaven's non-sapient avian fauna, implying that the ancestors of turians were possibly capable of flight. Turians are viviparous, and give birth to live young. Their vivipary seems to be a secondarily evolved, highly specialized trait, as it isn't seen in any of Palaven's other bird species, which are all oviparous (egg-laying).
Although life on Palaven is carbon-based and oxygen-breathing, it’s built on dextro-amino acids. This places the turians in a distinct minority on the galactic stage; the quarians are the only other sapient dextro-protein race. The food of humans, asari, or salarians (who evolved in levo-amino acid-based biospheres), will at best pass through turian systems without providing any nutrition. At worst, it will trigger an allergic reaction that can be fatal if not immediately treated.
Offspring are born with teeth. A mother traditionally chews the first few meals herself, her saliva carrying important antibodies, and gives the chewed meat to the hungry baby.
Turians have gizzards. A lot of turians simply have basic surgery to replace the function of gastroliths, since they can’t always find them on hand, and others don’t really need them in their diet anyway, as they eat very little plant matter. Most turians prefer a meat-heavy diet, and use their teeth and beak to rip and tear it enough that they can digest it without the assistance of swallowed rocks. Turian pharmacies carry dietary supplements that help keep childrens’ gizzards healthy. They’re actually glorified rocks covered in vitamins that are good for the digestion, but it’s useful to ensure sterilized ones when the alternative is doing so yourself. Plus, they tend to have fun shapes, to encourage children to take them.
Culture and Government
Turian culture is noted for promoting the values of service, unity, and a strong work ethic.
The turian ‘right’ to free expression is much closer to a privilege -- a contract drawn up by the Hierarchy and extended to each individual rather than a natural right, a privilege that exists because the members of the Hierarchy have tried it and found that it works toward the goal of promoting societal stability. The rest of the broad turian social freedoms (drug use, relatively loose sexual mores, the choice to opt-out of boot, and so forth) can all be explained in a similar manner to religion; hedonism -- provided that it operates at a positive or neutral net benefit to the state -- is respectively either encouraged or generally permissible. Turians being taught to ‘own their decisions’ isn’t trivial; although the Hierarchy is willing to provide resources necessary for individual pleasure, it also reminds turians that these resources come from the rest of society and should be used wisely. The take-away point about turian civil liberties is that there are very few things that the Hierarchy explicitly bans, but there are a variety of behaviours that are considered taboo, and because of the massive emphasis that turians place on community, societal pressure on its own is usually enough to discourage turians from any actions that the state considers undesirable.
Even outside the Hierarchy, loyalty to the group, honesty in affiliation, and self-discipline are essential virtues in most turian communities.
It’s important to note that the following perspective assumes that a turian is raised traditionally. Turians raised in cosmopolitan or completely alien environments like the Citadel or Thessia are likely to take a more heterodox, nuanced view of "turianhood", especially if they are homeschooled, sent to a pan-species school, or have at least one parent that isn’t a Hierarchy citizen. Regardless of the relationship between two turians - drill instructor and recruit, Primarch and citizen, parent and child, paired mates - all stable turian relationships are based on the "dominant/submissive" or "mentor/protégé" dynamic. When any two turians interact, one individual normally acts as the "mentor," while the other acts as the "protégé." "Mentors" take on the role of protector, tutor, and decision-maker; they’re expected to nurture the "protégé" and take an active hand in molding them into the Hierarchy ideal, while acting as a beacon of moral character and stability. A "protégé," on the other hand, is a good listener. He or she is usually allowed to ask questions and offer suggestions, but almost always falls in line with the "mentor’s" suggestion or command once the "mentor’s" decision is finalized.
Ideally, a turian’s mate should be the person who enriches his or her loyalty to the Hierarchy and the Cause the most. The selection is often made after considerable input from family members, peers, and superiors and is often drawn from the pool of relationships that an individual cultivated during boot and active duty. Mates are highly committed and loyal, though relationships are often partially open due to the turians’ tolerant attitude toward casual sex. Occasional sexual encounters outside the relationship are normally accepted provided an individual’s mate signs off in advance, but outright cheating, as a form of lying, is considered a grievous offense, and is one of the most shameful acts for a turian other than desertion.
Turians normally slide easily and naturally into a dominant or submissive role with one another. There are many factors that they consciously and unconsciously use to make this distinction when they first meet someone new.
Most conventional turians parent their children in a similar manner to how they’re supervised by the Hierarchy. From a young age, turians are taught ‘rules of fair play’, teamwork, and a healthy amount of deference to authority figures like teachers, military police, and Primarchs. Children are encouraged to perform to the best of their abilities, but outright competition with their peers is discouraged. As long as these core precepts are met, turian parents tend to be watchful but laissez-faire in the affairs of their children, trusting that if a child does begin to get on the wrong track, either they or someone else in the community will notice. Mainstream turian culture typically depicts raising a child as one of the highest and most beautiful expressions of loyalty to the Hierarchy - they enrich the population, and, when properly raised, can contribute an immeasurable amount of good to society. The ideal love of a turian parent isn’t based on blood or a strong sense of personal pride in a child’s accomplishments. Instead, it is based on the satisfaction of molding a child into a model, self-sacrificing instrument of the Hierarchy. It’s a slightly more personal version of the same sort of philia that any supervising turian is expected to give their subordinates.
Turians generally attend state-run schools and academies which supply a basic foundation of mathematics, science, language, history, and physical education. However, there are also formalized, mandatory classes on ‘turian culture’, which help to strengthen teamwork and implicit trust in superiors and subordinates. This is further reinforced by classroom pedagogy in the other subjects: collaboration and group work are encouraged. Students are introduced to a watered-down version of the citizenship tier system early: they are screened for aptitude and placed in advanced, academic, or remedial sections upon entrance into school. A student’s performance is later used to personalize his or her recommended career path once they reach boot.
Parents are also free to home-school or send their children to a pan-species school or private institution, but the Hierarchy sets minimum core standards that must be met before a child can progress to boot, including ‘turian culture’ classes and mandatory standardized tests so that officials can keep abreast of an individual’s progress.
On induction into boot camp, turians are subdivided into cadres based on their estimated aptitude and measured performance in school. The initial year (“boot”) consists of demanding weapons training, drills, and further team-building exercises. There’s also a classroom component - as legal adults who are no longer under the supervision of their parents, boot inductees are goven adult life classes - household budgeting, cooking, and sex education. Recruits are routinely monitored throughout the initial training year in order to further evaluate what role they’d best play in the Hierarchy military. Individuals are generally presented with a list of recommended roles that their supervisors feel would suit them best upon graduating from boot - recruits aren’t under any legal obligation to select a recommended role, but strong turian cultural emphasis on self-sacrifice ensures that most will accept one of their recommended posts.
At 30, turians have one of two options: remain in the military or retire from active duty and attempt to build a career. Most turians who take the latter option use their peer connections and recommendations from their officers to secure jobs in the vast Hierarchy military-industrial complex. A crack marksman, for example, might secure a job as a consultant on sniper rifles at Armax Arsenal. When a turian is promoted within a corporation, they typically send a commendation to the Hierarchy which raises the turian’s citizenship tier accordingly. Others opt for graduate school, especially those who are interested in politics, education, medicine, or research positions. Hierarchy citizens normally qualify for a substantial tier promotion once completing an advanced degree. The exact promotion usually varies slightly based on their performance in school, but most gain around 5 tiers for the successful completion of a master’s level program and 10 tiers for a doctorate. Although turian university programs in the arts and most of the social sciences excepting history are the stuff of punchlines (and in some cases they lack such programs entirely), they consistently rank at or near the top in the applied sciences, especially in engineering, military science, surgical and emergency medicine, and other “hands-on” subjects. The media in Council space also praise turian universities for the enthusiasm of the research mentors, and their commitment to developing the ‘whole person’; all students, turian or not, need to pass core classes in survival skills, turian morality, and physical education. Students of turian universities graduate fit, well-connected individuals, and with little tolerance for (or, more cynically, understanding of) the academic backroom politics common in the other species.
Regardless of their exact career path, most turians remain registered in the reserves after retiring from active duty, as society generally expects most adults in this age bracket to serve in some capacity. If a turian is severely injured on the front lines during active duty, he is still typically able (and willing) to adapt to a support role in the reserves. Their experience is generally like most present-day Americans in the reserve - most undergo one weekend of training per month when not on active duty.
On the relationship front, most turians begin to look for a mate in earnest once they reach the age of 30. As previously mentioned, a turian normally selects their mate from a handful of sexually-active “warm” relationships that they cultivated during their active-duty stint. The process for finding a turian’s ideal mate can take several years, with the peers, superiors, and family members of both individuals offering their own input and attempting to reach a consensus as to who the individual’s partner should be. Once a decision is reached, however, courtship follows quickly. Because mates are usually quite familiar with each other by the time they’re officially declared a couple, they normally start a family quite rapidly. Fertile heterosexual mates normally conceive their own children, while infertile and homosexual couples either create designer babies or adopt. All options are viewed positively; live births increase the Hierarchy’s population, while adoptions allow the state to offload the responsibility and cost of raising a child to private citizens.
Media and Entertainment
The turian media mirrors their wider economy; the lion’s share of music, Extranet vids, news, and games are produced by the government, either directly by the Ministry of Culture or indirectly via Ministry-endorsed megacorporations trusted to produce material considered acceptable for mass consumption. While there are few overt restrictions on self-produced and self-hosted Extranet content, any material that appears within a state-sanctioned medium needs to pass the muster of MoC censors, who ensure that classified material is redacted, opinions critical or dismissive of the Hierarchy are ‘objective’, and dead bodies of soldiers -- a long-held turian taboo -- are not displayed. Because of the collectivist nature of the Hierarchy, turian fiction rarely has a central individual as a protagonist. Sympathetically-portrayed loners are normally good people at heart who simply need a little more friendship and Hierarchy in their lives, while those portrayed unsympathetically are dangerous, subversive antagonists. A common trope is the ‘squad story’, a small group of Hierarchy citizens each using their unique talents to complement one another in solving some kind of problem that would be insurmountable alone.
Turian games, such as the smash-hit Galaxy of Fantasy, emphasize player-player interaction that is usually cooperative in nature. MMOs, for example, emphasize team-based PVE content, while simulation games often pit teams of human players against a VI. PVP elements are ways to resolve inter-player conflict and ‘blow off steam’, just as they are in off-Extranet interactions. Common themes in fictitious media include turian history (especially pre-Hierarchy), conflicts such as the Unification War and the Krogan Rebellions, and, in the closest equivalent turians have to human romantic comedies, finding one’s ideal mate by putting aside personal first impressions and listening to the advice of one’s peer group.
Food and Drink
Turian food includes the following:
- Dulglyci: A confection analogous to chocolate.
- Lecra: A meat.
- Orakan: A distinct "Palaven style" exists.
- Pulan toast: A breakfast item similar to French toast.
- Zampta: Often served boiled.
Craticula: Macedyn style barbecue.
- Charra - A fruit.
- Old country style - Translates into "spicy as all hell" for those not raised with Solregit’s spices.
- Kheelie: A (delicious) game animal. Think venison or moose.
- Krautchi - A farm family staple of fermented vegetables with spicy sauce; often considered an acquired taste by those not raised on it.
- Rouladen - A roll of tenderized meat containing pickled vegetable, tangy sauce and covered in gravy. The human equivalent is made with pickles, mustard, onions, and beef with beef gravy.
- Solregit spicy wrap - A popular ethnic dish on North Solregit "discovered" by a fastfood chain and marketed all over turian space as a watered-down, more-mainstream-ingredient, less-flavourful, cheap-meat version of itself.
Quite a few aspects of turian cuisine are adapted from quarian culinary arts (pre-Geth War). Being the only other dextro-based species in known space made it inevitable that they’d share recipes.
- Black Tooth: An alcoholic cocktail of palma juice and cana.
- Olukir: Unspecified 'strong' alcohol.
- Gimgin Kanasus: Unspecified 'strong' alcohol.
- Forilia Veridium: Unspecified dextro wine.
- Ultamita Teronis
- Uklatia: A type of wine.
- Ark Palaven, an archaic language which is now spoken fluently only by a small number of scholars, in addition to the elders of the Viy Tora Kay.
- Aplis: The primary language on Solregit.
- Palaven Standard
- Catus Imperative - a special and important mode in Ark Palaven and Palaven Standard.
Technology and Vehicles
Unlike other species, turian spacefaring draws less from a maritime tradition than it does aviation, and flight in general. Hence, turian ship types tend to be based on either 1) aircraft, or 2) the names or activities of birds and other flying creatures, with some overlap between the two.
Reconciliation Class: One of the rare privately-designed turian vessel classes.
Centurion-class: A post Reaper War design.
Titans (Turian): Early mythology.
Temerarus Program: Moon landings.
Krogan Rebellions: The alliance between the turians and the Citadel Council.
Turians and Humans
"Do you know why turians wear pants? Because of pockets. Very few humans would value pockets so much that they would consider it the primary reason to wear pants. Modesty, maybe environmental comfort are top answers for us, turians don't care about those, well not to that great a degree, the main reason they want pants is just because they have pockets. Now best keep that in mind when dealing with them. If we cannot even agree on why you should wear pants, than who knows what else we vastly differ about."
Threads of Note
Fringe Amplification And You: Some tips on making that fringe look as good as possible!