Physical characteristics Edit
The Medusans were trilaterally symmetrical with three arms and three stilt-like legs, which resulted in humans giving them the nickname "stilties". (HH1) A typical Medusan stood 2.3 meters tall, although they could settle to less than a third of that height on their unique, tripedal legs. Their joints were all ball-and-swivel, as with most animals on the planet. Medusans had the ability to splay their legs out on the ground and ride out storms, or pull them in and set up a fast, gamboling trot.
Each arm ended in a six-fingered hand, of which three fingers formed dominant graspers and three smaller fingers provided the ability to manipulate objects. Legs end in feet with three toes also capable of grasping objects.
The top of a Medusan's body case had three eyes, one over each of the arms, with three olfactory spiracles above the eyes. The mouth was located under one of the three hip joints, the primary excretory apparatus below the hip joint clockwise from the mouth, and the third hip joint protected the cloacal sex organs. (Companion)
Medusans produced a strong 'stomach acid' which they expelled over their food, then massaged it with their hands before squatting over it to eat it. This made cooking their food mostly unneccessary. They can go for longer periods without feeding than a human can, though they grow gradually more torpid as time passes.
In Medusan culture, the touching and handing of partially digested food to other members of the social circle was a gesture of goodwill. (Companion)
Medusans reproduced sexually; their mating drive occured near the end of summer, triggered both by the length of the day and by the availability of food. Females began to eat ravenously and grew thick around their upper carapace both to prepare for pregnancy and to signal their readiness for mating. The males used semaphoric threat displays and prepared a large ritual meal.
Medusan pregnancy lasted nearly ninety T-days, after which the female typically gave birth to fraternal twins who matured rapidly. Sexual maturity occured at the age of eight local years (five T-years) and old age set in at seventy local years, or about forty-eight T-years. Females were nearly impossible to distinguish from males unless they were preparing for mating. (Companion)
Medusans communicated primarily by semaphoric body language, supplemented by vocalization through their spiracles, with scent changes for emphasis. A human linguist described the polyphonic Medusan language as "singing operas through sneezing".
Manticoran efforts to make a sign language system involved a holographic projector to overcome the shorthanded limitations of human physiology. A workable trade pidgin using two arms and exaggerated facial expressions and head motions was in use since 1881 PD. (Companion, HH9)
At the time of their discovery by humans, the Medusans were a very primitive culture with a level of civilisation comparable to that of Bronze Age humanity. They were originally nomadic people, but some of the tribes have settled into city-states. Nomads clans joined into federations.
The Medusans were seldom violent, having a culture of shamanism and priesthood. (HH1)
In the final years of the 19th Century PD, the shamans of the Outback regions began to condemn the off-worlders as evil people. During that time, their planet as well as the entire Basilisk System were annexed by the Star Kingdom of Manticore to protect the local wormhole terminus.
After the annexation, limited trade relations were set up on the planet in the various enclave areas, and pressure rose to open up direct trade with the Medusans. The main items of trade for the Medusans were Tilik moss and Bekhnor hides.
In 1900 PD, the Medusans organized under leadership and arms gained from the People's Republic of Haven. A Medusan army attacked the Manticoran government compound, but was defeated by Marines from HMS Fearless, and NPA agents. (HH1)