The Arlosian Empire


The relations between the Commonwealth and the Arlosian Empire are the most complex of the interstellar politics of the last decade of the Twenty-Third Century.

Arlosians are a hermaphrodite species: each Arlosian possesses both male and female gonads and other reproductive organs and can be classified as extraterrestial placental mammals. Their height and physical strength are similar to those of human males, although their red skin, yellow sclerae and green irises provide a striking physical contrast with humans. Arlosians possess no cranial or facial hair but are endowed with body hair in similar density and distribution to that of humans.

As well as the vivid colours of their irises and sclerae, Arlosian eyes are also distinguished by their elliptical pupils in which the horizontal diameter is elongated. This anatomical feature is believed to be derived from the evolution of Arlosians from plains-dwelling animals.


Terrestrial languages are not equipped to deal with words for referring to hermaphrodites and the relevant pronouns from Arlosian have been incorporated into English.

  • Uush: equates to he, she or it
  • Uushee: equates to him or her / himself or herself
  • Uushon: possessive, equating to his or her


Arlosian reproduction involves male and female gametes that are analagous to sperm and ova. The fertilised ovum develops in a uterus and birth is via delivery through the vagina. Despite these similarities with humans, Arlosian reproductive physiology does not involve overt menstruation and in addition the process of labour is typically less arduous than for a human.

Descriptions of Arlosian parent-child relationships are also not rendered with sufficient specificity by English, although the terms mother and father have direct Arlosian equivalents and are therefore retained.

If an Arlosian provides the oocyte and carries the pregnancy, uush will be referred to as the mother; the Arlosian who impregnates the gestation is the father. However, as an Arlosian can be either the mother or the father to any of uushon children the existence of terms to denote these different parental relationships is necessary in Arlosian. The word uuthmeem indicates a child for which the Arlosian parent was the mother. The term uuthriin refers to a child for which the parent was the father. It is common for any Arlosian who has more than one child to be the mother to some and the father to the others.

The Arlosian libido is high. In the early years of their civlisation this, coupled with the low maternal morbidity and mortality attendant on the simpler process of Arlosian childbirth, resulted in high infant and childhood mortality rates as a consequence of birth rates considerably exceeding food resources. Thus, the development of effective contraception arose considerably earlier in Arlosian history than in any of the other space-faring races.


Hedony and promiscuity are said to be the two defining features of Arlosian culture, although it would be as accurate to state that there are two main drives: the pursuit of physical pleasure and the acquisition of power. As the possession of money facilitates both the Arlosian economy is heavily financially based and is very energetic. With the Commonwealth also retaining a monetary-based economy and similar benefits to wealth possession, trade sustains human-Arlosian political and economic relations.

Casual intercourse is common among Arlosians and most will number sexual partners in at least scores before they marry. Nevertheless, sexual fidelity is a key component of an Arlosian marriage, possibly because of the implied devotion to the spouse the eschewal of other partners represents. Skill in providing physical gratification is a powerful tool for an Arlosian looking to advance in many careers and fields.

Despite conceptualisation of Arlosian culture by humans as revolving around fornication and finance, Arlosian society is in fact rich in diverse arts and has a complex history.

Internal Politics

The designation as an Empire is not merely a historical relic. The supreme head of the Arlosian government remains the Emperor. The emperor does not wield absolute, dictatorial authority but nevertheless is empowered with a block vote which constitutes a significant proportion of the total votes in the legislative and executive aspects of the Arlosian government. Below the government, Arlosian society is dominated by the main families which constitute the Arlosian oligarchy. Each family consists of around twenty-five thousand members. The core of the oligarchy is formed by twenty-five families but vagaries in internal politics can see that swell to forty depending on transient ascendancies.

The Arlosians operate a system of weighted democracy in which the value of an indivuidual's vote depends upon uushon position in Arlosian society. The votes of members of the oligarchical families are much more powerful than those of ordinary citizens and it is thus possible for a core of no more than one million Arlosians to be able to outvote a remaining electorate of billions. However, such a system suits the members of the oligarchy and provides opportunities for those outside the oligarchies either to gain patronage or to acquire power through other means and has thus remained stable for decades despite its apparent suppression of the influence of the ordinary majority.

Interstellar Relations

The relative location of the Zhekhlan Dominion and the stark differences beween the Zhekhlan and Arlosian cultures has resulted in only perfunctory relations between the two federations.

Although the Empire shares a broad border with the Revaran Republic the lack of a monetary economy in the Republic means that little trade occurs between the Arlosians and Revarans. In blunt terms the Arlosians have little use for the Revarans but the open nature of Revarans allows cordial relations to be maintained with little effort on the part of the Arlosians.

At a superficial level, the Arlosians would appear to have the closest ties with the Commonwealth. However, this is grounded in trade only. The Arlosian Empire includes among its possessions several preindustrial worlds whose inhabitants are used as slaves by the Arlosians and there is an everpresent suspicion of Arlosian expansionist tendencies that it is conjectured the only reason they have refrained from invading the Commonwealth or other federations is that the Arlosians lack the superiority in military numbers and technology to be successful.

Humans are often uneasy around Arlosians. This discomfort relates not only to the persistence of slavery in the Empire and the lack of what humans would call true democracy but also to the strong sexual attraction which Arlosians manifest towards humans. It is rare for the attraction to be reciprocated but instances of Arlosians employing means to satisfy their desires in the absence of consent are well known.

The official stance of the Arlosian government to the Terran Independent Alliance displays the Arlosians' adept handling of a delicate political situation. Nevertheless, their true attitude is one of sympathy towards TIA and an alertness to exploiting any opportunities which might arise from a schism.