copyright © 2005-2006 Dennis Paul Himes
The contents of this page are preliminary. They won't become canonical until the first version of the Tale of Tifa Walbatnuwa Siina is up. - DPH
The asiit (singular asit, female asu / asus, male asa / asaa) are a sapient species which originated on the planet Umuto.
The asiit are the most humanoid of all alien sapient species. There are a number of surprising cases of parallel evolution throughout the galaxy (such as the akres on Left Shoulder 2290, which look just like kangaroos), and a number of species which could pass for primates, but the asiit are the only species I know of which would cause a pre-contact human think that he was looking at some sort of human, albeit a very strange sort.
Asiit have the same basic body structure as humans, a torso with a head, two arms, and two legs, jointed basically the same.
Asiit are taller than humans, though. An average asit is about two meters (six and a half feet) tall. There is no height difference between asaa and asus.
An asit is covered in short fur everywhere except for the face, the palms of the hands, the bottoms of the feet, the buttocks, and the genitals. This fur is generally gray, although it can range all the way from pure white to pure black. The variation is greater now that the asiit have genetic engineering. Dying the hair, especially in striped patterns, has been done since antiquity.
When we first arrived on Umuto and saw the range of skin color among our greeters, we assumed we were looking at asiit of many different races. It turned out that we were looking at asiit from geographic zones having different seasons. Asiit tan much more quickly and extremely than humans, so that the same asit will have the skin color of a Northern European human in the winter and of a Central African human in the summer.
Asiit eyes are very similar to humans', although they are proportionally a little bigger relative to the face.
A typical asit nose looks something like an African human's, except that it only has one nostril. (This nostril actually splits into two inside the nose, but it looks from outside that there's only one.)
A typical asit mouth looks something like a European human's.
One of the most noticable differences between asiit and humans is that they have no ears as such; they have ear ridges instead. An ear ridge (which is shared by all Umutonian megafauna) is a ridge from front to back on the top of the head with a hole on each end. These holes function as the ears.
An asit only has four fingers on each hand. An asit hand resembles a human hand missing the pinkie and the section between the pinkie and the wrist.
An asit's foot is about halfway between a human hand and a human foot. It has a definite heel, but the toes (of which there are four) are longer, and the big toe resembles a thumb. Asiit can grasp things with their feet not quite as well as they can with their hands, but much better than humans can with their feet.
Asiit genitals resemble humans', although the vagina is placed further back.
There is less sexual dimorphism among the asiit than among humans. There are no beards, no mustaches, no breasts. (They do not produce milk.) Asus do have wider hips than asaa. Asaa also tend to be stronger.
A newborn asit is not quite as helpless as a newborn human, but wouldn't last long on its own. It's believed that in prehistoric times mothers would feed babies food which they had pre-chewed. This happens occasionally even now. Asus do not produce milk. (Indeed, no Umutonian animals do.) However, from the earliest recorded history asiit have been making special food just for infants.
An asit reaches puberty (i.e. becomes nubile) at about the age of 16 (about 22 Terrestrial years). This age is the same for asaa and asus. Asaa maintain their sexual potential for the rest of their lives, although the libido gradually diminishes. Asus cease being sexually receptive at about the age of 40 (about 54 Terrestrial years).
Asus are not continuously sexually receptive, like humans. They enter a sexually receptive state, known as heat, for one or two days every twenty-five days or so for about half the year (i.e. 16 - 18 times a year). This half year starts in early autumn and lasts until early spring. Since gestation is about half a year (i.e. about 210-220 native days, or about 240-255 Terrestrial days) the babies are born in the spring or summer.
With the development of genetic engineering, many asus go into heat throughout the year. I know of no case where an asu was engineered to have human-like continuous receptivity, and as far as I can tell there's no desire to.