The Tenctonese (Homo extraterrestris), also known as Newcomers, are a genetically engineered hominid species of extraterrestrial origins. The ancestors of the Tenctonese were abducted from Europe by an extraterrestrial species several thousand years ago.
Created on an Earth-like planet named Tencton, the Tenctonese were genetically engineered and bred to adapt and labor in virtually any environment.
Tenctonese are taken from their parents as children at the age of ten and their tasks are allotted to them. Some of these children are chosen to be "Kleezantsun" or overseers and were specially conditioned. The slave ship overseers use an hallucinogenic gas that induces fear in order to keep the Tenctonese slaves submissive. The overseers ware jagged wrist tattoos on their arms. The reason the Overseers are not controlled by the gas was that their tattoos contain a substance that is released over time which nullifies the effect of the gas.
On October 19, 1988 a slave ship named "Gruza" arrived in California's Mojave Desert just outside of Los Angeles. The six mile long space ship was loaded with 260,000 Tenctonese in frozen hibernation, a type of extended deep sleep. A malfunctioning autopilot had landed them here by mistake. They were many degrees off course and many hundreds of light-years from their intended destination. Because the vessel's peculiar and incomprehensible fuel system was exhausted, the Tenctonese were stranded here on Earth-the homeworld of their ancestors.
Initially the U.S. government quarantined the aliens for several months and with the assistance of the Immigration and Naturalization Service all the Newcomers were assigned human names when it was found that their own varied from the difficult to the unpronounceable. They were assigned these names arbitrarily upon arrival and processing through the quarantine camp. Most of the first Tenctonese to be processed, received "normal" human names (Cathy Frankel, Bud Anderson, and so on). However, as the aliens continued to pour in, INS workers became bored and overworked, and at times chose whimsical names (reflecting historical or literary characters and geographic settings) as if to relieve the immense task before them. Some examples: Albert Einstein, Wyatt Earp, Betsy Ross, Emma Bovary, Silas Marner, Kenny Bunkport, Norman Conquest, May O'Naise, and Paul Bearer.
After being released from quarantine, the majority of the Newcomers settled in an area of Los Angeles now known as Little Tencton and assimilated into American culture, taking jobs wherever their individual talents might lie and becoming just another minority in the L.A. melting pot. Unfortunately, the Newcomers are hated by some humans, self-proclaimed "Purists" who fear the alien presence on the planet. These people use the pejorative term "slags" or "spongeheads" when referring to these interstellar refugees, who in turn derogatorily call humans "terts".
Tenctonese are highly spiritual and have at three major religions. The most common Tenctonese religious tradition is called the Celinus, and is based on the idea of living by the example set by Celine and Andarko, a Tenctonese woman and man who sacrificed their own lives long ago to save many.
Another religious tradition, pre-Celinism, is distinguished by its matriarchial traditions and worship of the goddess Ionia. A third tradition is more like an Eastern tradition, being more "internal." Various "Liubof" sects also exist among the Tenctonese, as well as a number of smaller cults that have broken with mainstream Tenctonese religion.
Despite having religious differences, Tenctonese do not experience many religious conflicts. Even members of the same family may follow different faiths. Many Tenctonese of different faiths observe the same secular holidays, such as the Day of Descent.
Some Tenctonese spiritual practices transcend religious differences. One example is the serdso, a colorful, palm-sized artifact which is said to carry the soul of an individual Tenctonese. It is placed near the bed every night, so that the soul, which wanders during sleep, can return to the waking world. Warriors in Tenctonese society were said to have fought for their serdsos.
In addition, the matriarchial system of the pre-Celinists has been inherited by the Celinists and other Tenctonese religious groups, from the Pre-Celinist tradition. In the most traditional of Tenctonese villages, women are said to have made all the decisions, while the men only gathered roots and had babies. This has been relaxed by modern Tenctonese, but the matrilineal social structure has been maintained, as is evident in the female-dominated Tenctonese clergy and the tradition of men moving into women's homes, or "nests".
Practitioners of the Celinist tradition make use of an object known either as the "Portal" or the "Heart of Tencton," a technological marvel in the form of a small box with symbolic ornamentation, which is in fact capable of projecting virtual environments, including alien worlds, for its users to navigate as they attempt to reach a higher spiritual plane. The box contains a highly powerful energy source, and if opened incorrectly, will burn its handler into a charred corpse. The box, officially the property of the Tenctonese elders, was at one time appropriated illegally by a Tenctonese millennial splinter cult.
The Tenctonese look generally similar to humans of European-descent, but have bulbous craniums and no hair on their scalps. Instead they have large brown spot-like markings on their heads and down their spines. These "potniki" spots are an erogenous zone and will identify the individual and family.
Since they had been bred as slaves, the Newcomers are 30% stronger and 20% smarter than the average human, as well as having a life expectancy of about 140 years and keener senses. This is partially due to the way they have been bred for adaptability but also due to their anatomical differences, which include having two hearts. With two hearts, the onset time of poisons is halved. If one heart is damaged, the other will work harder for a limited time. One heart is located in approximately the same spot as a human heart, the second is located in the center of the chest at the bottom of the rib cage.
Additional differences include the fact that Tenctonese bodies do not assimilate the nutrients of food if it has been cooked. Their main diet consist of raw animal flesh such as uncooked small mammals (weasel, beaver, muskrat), organs (spleen, pancreas), and insects. Drinking sour milk affects them in the same way that humans are intoxicated by alcohol. Rather than blush, the eyes of the Tenctonese change color with embarrassment. Instead of getting tense around the neck when they feel stress, their feet swell. Tenctonese ears look more like slits or holes in the sides of their heads but are still more sensitive than human ears.
Some terrestrial diseases appear to affect the Tenctonese as well, though their reactions to these diseases may be different. For example, instead of sneezing, a Tenctonese affected by the common cold has a tendency to blink rapidly and in succession.
Tectonese have very sensitive nerve clusters, or axials, just underneath their armpit that are the physiological equivalent of human temples. Striking them there has the equivalent effect of kicking a human male in the groin. If precisely struck with enough force, a blow to the axial can be fatal.
Certain common compounds found on Earth that are poisonous to humans are harmless to Tenctonese and some compounds are poisonous to the Tenctonese. Poisons include monosodium glutamate (MSG) (mild poison); chocolate (gives them the shakes, leads to a heart attack); tobacco (makes them stutter, leads to laryngitis); fluoride (strong poison); fluorocarbons (choking, leads to asphyxiation); and caffeine (causes dizziness). However, methane, alcohol, asbestos, radon, and arsenic have no effect on them.
The Newcomers have a number of organs that humans don't have, such as the spartiary gland, which produces a substance in Tenctonese blood cells that accelerates healing by rapidly carrying oxygen and needed nutrients to injured areas, and gives Tenctonese blood its pink color. Because of the color of their blood, the skin of the Tenctonese has a pinker hue than human Caucasians.
In order to control breeding, the species that enslaved the Tenctonese engineered them a have a very complex method of procreation. For the Newcomers to conceive, there are two kinds of Newcomer males, gannaum and binnaum. Fertilization of the female's egg requires both types of male.
Tenctonses linnaum (females) do not have a menstrual cycle. Instead they require a binnaum to fertilize them with a fluid that contains hormones and enzymes that together both triggers ovulation and makes an ovum capable of being penetrated by a sperm cell. The binnaum prepares the linnaum with this catalyzing emission called "akla fluid", and the gannaum (the father) provides the sperm. The binnaum does not contribute genetically to the offspring. A binnaum is recognizable by the oversized spots on his head. Binnaum make up only one percent of the Tenctonese population and most do not take permanent mates. Instead, they are expected to grant their services as needed for the continuance of their race.
These individuals form a brotherhood and each of them service hundreds of females a year. The ceremony of fertilization is shared by close friends. While holding burning candles, those in attendance discreetly turn their backs on the female as the binnaum prepares her for her spouse.
Another major reproductive difference between Newcomers and Humans is that the male and female Tenctonese share the burdens of reproduction equally, with the female carrying the baby for only the first eight weeks of the pregnancy. The baby is incubated in a pod called the haffacotta (pod surrounding the fetus) inside the mother's womb. The time of passing the pod to the father is a much celebrated happening in which the entire family participates. The mother enters a state of relaxation to allow her body to begin the process of transferring the haffacotta. The female's navel opens and the pod's tentacle emerges. This tentacle is gently encouraged to suction to the father's chest. The pod is then passed out of the female womb through the navel. Charcoal powder is sprinkled on the navel to ease its closure. A hard shell develops around the pod as it dries in the open air, this shell is immediately cracked off gently and in some cases a piece is eaten by either or both parents. The sex is identifiable once the haffacotta is completely shelled and then the pod is gently placed inside the male's "lingpod flap" by both parents. The male will carry the haffacotta inside his lingpod flap for the remaining eight weeks of pregnancy, similar to a kangaroo's pouch, until he gives birth, much like a male seahorse.