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The following is a transcript of the only surviving record of an anthropological study carried out on the inhabitants of Ghost in the year (922). Though most of the data was collected in secret through methods that were less than scientific this unfortunately represents the best picture of day to day Ayansh'i life we posses. Later, scientific studies, have nearly always had their data contaminated by the locals, making their findings considerably less reliable.
Several of the entries have addendums attached to them containing more recent and reliable data, these addendums are always accompanied by the year of the survey for ease of reference.
The physical differences between the Ayansh'i and the remainder of the peoples that form the gene-pool referred to as humanity are less pronounced than the differences found on a genetic level.
It is these genetic differences that have caused the greatest consternation amongst members of the scientific community and have been at the heart of an argument over whether the Ayansh'i are indeed human or whether speciation has occurred. The point being, are the Ayansh'i significantly different from the rest of humanity to deserve a different species classification? Scientists argue that while individuals descended from the Homo Sapiens Sapiens Solomani root stock are more than capable of producing viable offspring with individuals of either the Homo Sapiens Vilani or Homo Sapiens Zhodani sub-species, the Ayansh'i appear to be completely incapable of producing viable offspring with any of these groups. So it would seem that in spite of the number of physical similarities, the people of <Ghost are probably deserving of a new species classification, Homo Ayansh'i.
Addendum (1200): It should be noted that the Ayansh'i possess, on average, a body temperature which is six degrees below the human norm. This difference in temperature is so noticable to the touch it is probably the reason that the Ayansh'i are described as "cold" in early manuscripts. It is likely that this temperature difference is the result of genetic climatic adaptaion. With an average surface temperature of just less than ten degree's celcius and limited seasonal variation it would appear that the forces of Natural Selection on Ghost have favored a lower body temperature and a slower metabolism. It has been postulated that this basic difference in body temperature between Homo Ayansh'i and other Homo Sapiens sub-species could be a contributing factor to the lower birth rates between species.
It should also be noted that the Ayansh'i are considerably more vulnerable to the effects of heat prostration. To this end all Ayansh'i in Confederation service are to be issued combat environment suits with a base temperature five degrees lower than the current setting.
Height and Weight: Averaging two meter's in height, the males are, on average, five to six centimeters taller than the females. When their height is combined with their light skeletal mass it gives them a delicate, almost fragile appearance. The average Ayansh'i weighs between five and eight kilograms less than a comparably sized human.
Appearance: Their faces are thin and angular with high cheek bones, small mouths and large eyes. Perhaps their most striking features is the near total lack of optical sclera, nearly 95% of the visible eye is pigmented iris. This oversized iris can only be explained as compensation for a combination of generally low light levels and nocturnal activity. Ayansh'i eye pigmentation is also highly unusual varying from the regular human blues and greens on through yellows, reds, gold and a color best described as copper.
It has been suggested that the structural differences in Ayansh'i physiology are due to large scale genetic engineering performed by the Ancients combined with a certain amount of natural selection on their planet. Oddly enough, while the Ayansh'i both recognize and understand these concepts they claim that neither hypothesis is true, their differences are the direct results of the conscious decisions of their ancestors. Unfortunately no one has been permitted to perform a archaeological excavations on the planet to disprove either theory.
Diet: Like most human species the Ayansh'i are omnivorous in nature and are more than capable of surviving on a standard human diet. They seem to prefer to exist on two large meals a day, one late in the afternoon and the other roughly three hours after dusk. After the second meal has been consumed they eat two more very small meals, often referred to by offworlders as "midnight snacks."
Rest: Ayansh'i rest periods are organized to conform to their thirty hour day, unfortunately due to their unusual daily routine (see later) and general nocturnal nature there seems to be no clear delineation of "work," "sleep" and "rest" periods. However, it can be generally assumed that the Ayansh'i sleep, if it can be called that, for roughly ten hours, usually during the daylight hours and spend the remaining twenty hours either working or resting.
Addendum (1200): There is some question as to whether the Ayansh'i truly "sleep." This is due to their habit of entering into long periods of, for lack of a better term, "meditation." It has been postulated that this may be some sort of psionically induced stasis although this remains unproven.
Reproduction: Unfortunately little data has been gathered on Ayansh'i reproductive practices. However, the following facts are known: 1) Ayansh'i gestation is roughly 300 days, 2) females are only fertile for a short period approximately every six months, and 3) multiple births, particularly twins are not uncommon.
Senses: As evidenced by their enlarged orbital sockets the Ayansh'i have extremely acute night-time vision. It has also been observed that Ayansh'i are capable of hearing sounds far below the range of a normal human. Unfortunately due to their nocturnal lifestyle they are particularly vulnerable to sudden changes in light intensity.
Life-span: Little data has been gathered on this subject however it is postulated that the Ayansh'i possess a life-span of at least 100 years.
Addendum (1057): As time has progressed it has become increasingly apparent that the Ayansh'i have life-spans well in excess of the Vilani 200 years. Though we are still uncertain as to how long they live their life-span estimate has been upgraded to 250+ years.
Ayansh'i psychology is perhaps the most difficult part of this race to grasp, for like all other human species they are a population of individuals with their own internal processes. However, having said this one can make certain generalizations about their behavioral patterns.
The Ayansh'i are extremely deliberate in their actions, nothing seems to be done in haste and everything would appear to play itself out according to their desires. Intelligent and resourceful they are capable of grasping concepts far beyond their own technological limitations.
Individual freedoms are prized above all else as no Ayansh'i would consider forcing their own beliefs or opinions on an unwilling recipient.
Though they are gifted with a sense of patience that would seem to transcend all reasonable bounds the Ayansh'i are not without their dark sides.
Ayansh'i are often described as devoid, detached and emotionless. In truth nothing could be further from the truth. They do however guard their emotions carefully from strangers. It has been said the Ayansh'i possess the best "poker face" in Imperial Space. If there is one thing the Ayansh'i can be said to be passionate about it is their art. Nothing holds greater significance for them and nothing is capable of stirring their emotions faster.
Curiously the Ayansh'i also suffer from periodic bouts of near suicidal melancholia. Though there seems to be little rational explanation for these episodes they do become more frequent and more intense as the individual ages. While this may simply be an offshoot of their highly artistic nature, a representation of the classic "Id" versus "Ego" conflict, it is possible that this may be a outward manifestation of a more deeply rooted psychological problem as the Ayansh'i continue to distance themselves from the outside world.
Addendum (1200): More recent studies focusing on Ayansh'i melancholia have noted a curious biological imbalance resulting in the release of massive doses of an as yet unnamed hormone at irregular intervals. These hormone releases seem to be tied closely to the episodes of depression. Currently scientists are working on a serum to counteract the hormones debilitating effects.
Addendum (1200): Perhaps their most fascinating aspect is their gift of foresight. The Ayansh'i seem to be gifted with an ability to understand and see future events long before anyone else is able to. While this may be due to some kind of latent psionic ability is would seem likely that this ability is more of an outgrowth of their abilities to subtly influence the people and events around them. This ability, while known at the time of the original publication was probably purposely omitted due to the psionic suppression laws of the time.
There is an essential dichotomy in the Ayansh'i lifestyle that dominates their every minute. To them the universe is divided into two realms "Ayata," the "world of the living" and "In'chata," the "world of the mind" or "spirit." (The exact translation of the latter is somewhat unclear.) Everything in the Ayata is seen as a manifestation of the In'chata. These often possess multiple layers of meaning and while every individual is free to interpret the hidden meanings of the Ayata, only the Oracle and her aids can interpret the symbolism of the In'chata.
The Oracle holds an extremely special place in Ayansh'i society for she is the intermediary through which the In'chata speaks. While the Oracle herself holds no true political power rarely are decisions made without consulting her and rarer still is her advice ignored.
It should be noted that twins play a particularly important role in this system as they are seen as a physical representation of this dichotomy. Each existing solely in but one of the two realms and each entirely dependent upon the other.
Ayansh'i life is largely nomadic, a classic hunter / gatherer lifestyle with small closely knit groups traveling about the landscape. In contrast to his nomadic lifestyle are the massive ceremonial centers constructed and maintained by the populace at strategic locations about the planet. It is from these ceremonial centers that the planet actually acquired its name.
Early explorers in the Ghost system determined from orbital surveys that massive structures were present one the planet and that a number of large life-forms also existed. However, due to the differences in Ayansh'i physiology they were unable to locate any human life-forms. Thus, when the explorers finally made landfall and began to explore the structures they were amazed to discover them remarkably intact. Soon stories began to spread about the Ghost planet and it wasn't until two months later that initial contacts were made with the indigenous peoples. Apparently the local's had been observing the interlopers and only made themselves known when the Scouts were about to begin excavating a series of burial mounds.
There are only two groups of people who seem to reside year round in the ceremonial centers. The "Patza'itah," the "disciples of the Oracle" a term roughly denoting a ceremonial priesthood and the "Inoshans" their highly trained guard. The Patza'itah act as local interpreters of the Oracle while the Inoshans provide temple security and are in charge of maintaining the fields around the ceremonial centers. These fields are the only active forms of agriculture on the planet and represent a break from the tradition hunter / gatherer lifestyle of the general population.
Addendum (1057): It has been noted that the members of both the Inoshan Guard and the Patza'itah are all twins. With one twin being a Patza'itah and the other belonging to the Inoshan Guard. It is believed that this is a continuation of the basic duality of Ayansh'i life, Ayata vs. In'chata, and the symbolic importance of the twin in that system.
Ayansh'i technological limits are extremely difficult to determine for while they seem to maintain a material technology around the 1-2 border they possess knowledge of numerous technological and theoretical principles far beyond that. However, for the terms of UPP classification it has been decided that since the upper limits of their material technology is roughly a low tech 2 the planet will be classified with that number.
Though a number of high-tech instruments have been introduced to the planet, these labor saving devices have been ignored in favor of more traditional methods.
Addendum (1057): More recent studies seem to indicate that these higher tech concepts possessed by the Ayansh'i are a purely local development. How they came to understand or even speculate on the nature of Jump Space, Genetics, Atomic Theory and Quantum Mechanics is currently unknown.
Addendum (1200): It has been theorized by a number of prominant scientists that the lower technological level found on Ghost is a matter of personal choice rather than being unable to grasp the conscepts of higher technologies. As discussed in the 1057 addendum the Ayansh'i seem to possess an instinctive grasp of higher knowledge. However, with their dramatically lower body temperatures it would seem likely that most Ayansh'i find the temperatures generated in even a low tech forge so unbarable that they have simply chosen to ignore that avenue of advancement.
Maintaining both written an oral records of their history which apparently date back several millennia the Ayansh'i are an ancient people with a proud history. Unfortunately other than carefully selected snippets they are unwilling to share any of this story with offworlders so most of it remains lost to us.
Addendum (1057): Curiously enough as the years have passed and the Ayansh'i have learned more and more about Imperial society they have become less and less willing to share their own history with us. Most scientist are uncertian as to what this means but it has been noted that in recent years Ayansh'i artisans have begun demanding high tech goods in return for their services. Most notably, the Duke of Terra recently sent five "Patrol Cruisers" to Ghost in exchange for his new gardens. The Ayansh'i are characteristicly tight-lipped as to why their payment demands have changed so radically in the past few decades.
The Ayansh'i possess their own language which is completely unrelated to any previously known human dialect. While this language is free for all to learn it is generally so complicated that few offworlders have attempted and fewer still have actually mastered the tongue. The learning of the Ayansh'i tongue while useful in attaining insight into the Ayansh'i culture is practically of little value as most of the populace speak excellent Anglic.
Ghost is a planet possibly best known for its contributions to the fine-arts of the Imperium. Nothing on Ghost goes unadorned, from the humblest carving knife to the most impressive structure everything on the planet is a work of art. These art works are currently exported and collected throughout the Daibei Sector and may one day become as highly sought after in the remainder of the Imperium. Though the Ayansh'i rarely leave their homeworld they have, on several occasions been persuaded to do so by clients they judge worthy. The "Ducal Gardens" on Wariner were created by the Ayansh'i as was "The Scepter of Seasons" possessed by the Arch-Duke of Terra and the "K'sium Matari" in the Imperial Palace on Capital.
To the Ayansh'i everything is a tapestry, a statue, a painting or a carving. The beauty is all there just waiting for someone to uncover it.