|This article is written from a Future Tense, and does not reflect current reality. Rather, it represents an objective, ideal, or an extrapolation based on current trends. It is probably written in the present tense.|
Dragons have held significant importance in Malatoran culture since long before the first real dragon walked the halls of the Citadel. They are seen as protectors of the land and its people, keepers of knowledge and wisdom, and guides for the lost.
- See Cytran Project for more general information about cytrans.
The very first cytrans created (in the late 2030s) were all variations of dragons. Dragons were chosen for several important and beneficial reasons:
- Due to their larger size, miniaturization of cytran technology did not have to progress as far, allowing the first cytrans to be created earlier. Human-sized cytrans would not arrive for a further year of development.
- The creators of the Cytran Project all wanted to become dragons. Since the project would not exist without them, they were granted first rights to reap the rewards of success.
- Larger bodies also mean that dragons can support additional features and hardware, enhancing their physical abilities and stamina. They remain the most powerful and adaptable of all cytran models, as well as some of the largest. Dragons have been able to use their strength, endurance, and built-in weapons and defenses to very effectively carry out their inherent task of defending FedCom from hostile outsiders.
Seven decades after their initial creation, cytran self-reproduction was perfected, and again the dragons led the way in this new development. Their size and internal storage space permitted easy installation of the new nanotech-assembler wombs, and allowed the new technology to be fine-tuned. This made all cytrans fertile, and fully self-sufficient cybernetic hybrid organisms.
Compared to humans, dragons have enormous advantages in every category. A dragon can detect humans by scent, sound, and sight from great distances. Humans are incapable of moving quietly enough to evade notice by a dragon, and cannot hide their distinctly strong scent enough to fool a dragon.
A dragon can move through any environment with the reflexes and flexibility of a cat. They can run at cheetah speeds, and fly as fast as peregrine falcons. They have a full predatory arsenal of titanium teeth and claws, skin that can easily shrug off most bullets, and sometimes a caudal (tail-tip) weapon of some kind. Their body itself is also an effective weapon, as their muscles are over 20 times as powerful, by mass, as the human maximum. A dragon's bite force averages at more than a crocodile or shark, and some can deliver up to 5 metric tonnes of pressure: enough to shatter elephant bones. Most dragons can fly, as well as shoot a pyrophoric napalm-like liquid from their nostrils, which is capable of softening steel.
A dragon can match his/her/hir body temperature to the surrounding environment, vanishing from thermal cameras. Some dragons can change their skin color to blend into the environment, like a chameleon. Dragons can see across a wide range of the spectrum, from ultraviolet through thermal infrared. Dragons can sense and home in on radio transmissions and other EM bands. Most dragons can track a human as effectively as a bloodhound. Dragons are adaptable to an extremely wide range of hostile environments, without needing any external equipment.
A single dragon, using dragon tactics and hunting techniques, can easily annihilate over 300 modern human infantry in a matter of hours, without suffering debilitating injuries. A dragon that is skilled at hunting and warfare can do it in minutes. Field experience has shown that no single human can ever hope to defeat a dragon, no matter how well-armed they are.
Dragons are capable of operating alone, but they prefer to work in small packs of 2 or more. They can use their voices and mind-speaking abilities to easily coordinate their efforts, similar to a pack of wolves, but with far greater speed and intelligence.
Dragons often ignore authority figures, and work best in decentralized groups, using swarm tactics and placing heavy emphasis on individual initiative. This has been shown to be the perfect tactic to use against hierarchical human military forces, allowing dragons to pick them apart and crush them at their leisure.
Dragons are a highly social species, with their own innate sense of morality and ethics — humans sometimes agree with these ethics, and sometimes find them to be strange, alien, or even disturbing. Dragon ethics can vary by individual, but generally follow the same basic pattern. The rule of reciprocity is a near-universal element of dragon ethics, and while some may show extraordinary restraint from violence, they are all predators at heart, and they will respond with lethal force if pushed hard enough.
It is important to remember that each species must be judged by its own merits and concepts of morality. To apply human morals to dragons is racism, and vice-versa. Dragons to not judge humans by anything other than humanity's own rules. They wish that most humans would have the wisdom to reciprocate this.
Most dragons are mononymous (known and addressed by a single name), a tradition that began with the earliest dragons, and has continued to the present.
Unlike humans, dragons have no concept of gender roles. This is often seen as a social evolution in response, in part, to the appearance of the third gender (hermaphrodites), of which a notable percentage of the first dragons were. The other major factor was the elimination of all strength-based excuses for defined gender roles: a female dragon (dragoness) can have the exact same physical body and capabilities as a male dragon (drake), with only the genitals being different.
- See Sexuality below for more.
Dragons do not have a concept equivalent to human marriage ceremonies. Instead, they merely ask each other for consent to engage in a type of relationship: if both consent, that type of relationship is immediately active. Dissolving a relationship is merely the reverse.
Although exceptions exist, dragons are prominently a polyamorous species, and members of all genders frequently take multiple mates. Dragons have a multi-tiered system for organizing their complex networks of relationships:
- Casual Relationships are the equivalent of a human fling, and is often a sexual partner purely for pleasure, and not for romance. It may be brief, or a recurring relationship.
- Companions consist of people that the dragon feels a strong connection to: better than a best friend. Companions often share beds and sleep together, just because they enjoy the company so much. Companions are also often, but not always, a sexual partner.
- Nestmates are formally 'mates', in the sense that the two individuals have fallen in love, and have probably settled into a healthy sexual relationship. Nestmates share living quarters and the same bed. There isn't really a human equivalent, but it lies somewhere between engagement and marriage.
- Lifemates are exactly what they sound like: mates bonded for the remainder of their lives. Humans might call this 'marriage', but since there is no option to divorce, and dragons can live indefinitely, this takes on a much deeper and larger scale. A related human concept is that of the soul mate, though even this barely scratches the surface of what a lifemate really means to a dragon. It is said that one actually has to be a dragon to fully understand it, and that it is beyond humanity's comprehension for this reason.
The nestmate phase is something of a 'test' for a relationship: it is traditionally required that any new nestmate pair must remain at this level for a minimum of six months before upgrading their relationship to that of lifemate. This gives enough time for infatuation to dull, and prevents hasty decisions. Since a lifemate declaration cannot be undone, it is much more important to ensure that a relationship will withstand the test of time.
As was mentioned earlier, most dragons are polyamorous. It is not uncommon to find a dragon with one or two lifemates (sometimes three, or even a few more, though the higher numbers are rare), several nestmates, and even a few Companions as well. In turn, each of those individuals may have their own collection of mates and lovers. Complex families often juggle their mates around, to evenly distribute the love and attention.
Whereas human families branch upward like a tree, dragon families tend to look more like spreading spiderwebs. They usually refer to their "family web" in the same sense as humans use the phrase "family tree".
Dragons pride themselves in their evolved sensibility. Fights among dragons do occur, but rarely escalate beyond the verbal stage. Dragons do not duel, ever. Most physical fights are settled in the Veater, where no real-world damage can be done.
In their entire history, there has never been a single recorded case of any dragon killing another. This fact is something that quite a few dragons like to hold above humans... usually to shame humans into behaving better, but it often comes up as a point of evidence in the occasional 'more noble species' debates.
There are many unfortunate misconceptions about dragons that are still prevalent in human society around the globe. Most of these stem from old stories about mythical dragons, leading to erroneous expectations about the real thing.
Dragons as Symbols
Humans sometimes see dragons as symbols of strength, power, greed, sin, and perhaps primal violence. In the eyes of the dragons themselves, they no more have any symbolism than humanity does.
Dragons are Reptiles
Although many have scaly skin, dragons are no more reptiles than humans are fish. Dragons can vary their skin temperature to match their environment (to a limit), similar to poikilotherms... however, their brain temperature must remain constant, making them a combination of poikilothermic and homeothermic systems (which does not have any comparisons in organic terrestrial life).
Dragon do not lay eggs, either. Their young are born live, very similar to placental mammals.
A dragon's "Horde"
The myth that dragons are vain creatures that horde treasure and shiny objects comes from old European stories, and is extremely false and insulting to real dragons.
Monsters / Beasts
Being called a monster or a beast is particularly infuriating to real dragons, since they are fully sapient beings, possessing even greater mental capacity than humans.
While they can be extremely vicious in combat, a dragon is also extremely kind and loving to his/her/hir friends, regardless of species.
A dragon may choose to 'adopt' someone else, but they do so freely, and will never appreciate being called a pet. A dragon's loyalty to someone they are protecting has been compared to that of a domestic dog toward its master; the difference being that a dragon is their own master, and will never surrender that freedom to anyone or anything, ever.
Dragons are, unfortunately, still mistakenly thought to be antagonistic toward humanity. In truth, dragons would much rather be friends with humans. Unless in a foul mood, they will usually take pity on helpless humans, and help them.
Yes, some dragons have been known to eat human flesh, but only if that human was an enemy. Dragons have never made a habit of preying on humans. It is a taboo to prey on any sapient species (such as humans). However, this does not rule out scavenging on any fresh meat source, if hungry.
Simply keep in mind that dragons are predators at the very top of all food chains, and they will behave like they are. Dragons have no natural predators (not even humans), and have no fear of any creature. They are a practical species, and tend to view most things in terms of predator/prey and strong/weak comparisons.
Like all modern cytrans, dragons can reproduce independently, and no longer require the transplant of an existing mind into a dragon's body.
Dragons have three genders: male, female, and synchronous hermaphrodite. The males and females are equivalent to their human counterparts, while the herms can easily take the role of either gender, and are fully compatible with all three genders. Consequentially, all herms are bisexual, occasionally leaning a toward one gender preference, but always calable of being the male or the female.
Dragons are notably more promiscuous than humans, and are almost never embarrassed by being caught in the act. Like humans, dragons have sex for more than mere reproduction; in the case of dragons, sexuality is primarily for pleasure.
Being a triple-gendered species, it is extremely rare for any dragon to have any issues regarding homosexuality (and these are invariably first-generation dragons, created from human minds). In the case of the herms, the entire concept no longer applies.
The technique is comparable to that of mammals, though dragons are nearly as diverse in their love-making as humans (and possess greater flexibility, too). The genitalia is also typically mammalian, though individuals vary considerably (especially in the case of the penis, which may sport a very diverse range of textures, bulges, and other pleasure-enhancing features).
Conception and Pregnancy
Dragons do not naturally have an estrous cycle, but some may chose to simulate one, for personal reasons. Rather than leave it up to chance, dragon mothers choose to make themselves fertile, and they can also select the gender of their child, too.
The female or herm chooses to release an ovum (selecting a gender, if they want, or leaving it random), as which point she/shi will be fertile. A love-making session will then follow, during which her/hir chosen sire (a male or another herm) then fertilizes the ovum. The DNA of both parents is combined and optimized, the embryo implants in the side of the womb, the cervix seals up, and pregnancy begins. The mother knows instantly when implantation occurs.
Gestation is highly predictable, right down to the exact day of birth. Ten months is normal for all dragons. The mother can remain active throughout her/hir pregnancy, and suffers absolutely no ill effects. Even near birth, a mother is still fully mobile. Pregnancy is usually not externally visible until the sixth month. Mothers have larger appetites for food than usual, as their bodies need to collect specific elements for constructing the infant's body and feeding the infant's developing brain.
Gravid dragons enjoy a constant pleasurable 'glow' sensation coming from their womb, which begins almost immediately, and slowly intensifies as the pregnancy progresses and their child grows. By the time their womb is filled with the infant, it is nearly orgasmic. This has the added effect of boosting their libido to levels that will challenge their mates to keep up. The cervix remains tightly sealed to prevent any damage to the infant, despite this inevitably vigorous pleasure-seeking.
The mother has known for the past ten months what day she/shi will give birth on, but the exact hour will not be known until a few days beforehand. Typically, the entire family then comes to visit and offer their support.
While humans find birth to be painful, a dragon finds it extremely pleasurable. The birthing process invariably triggers intense orgasms, which cause rhythmic contractions to help speed the infant out. The umbilical automatically detaches within seconds of birth, and retracts into the mother for recycling. The newborn is covered in gooey lubricating fluids, but other than that, the birth process is totally clean.
A newborn dragon's body is roughly the same size as a Labrador Retriever, with shorter and thicker legs, a short tail, wings with half the proportions of an adult, and a big head with a short muzzle. Adorably cute, by dragon standards.
Dragons are famous for having particularly intense protective mothering instincts, akin to that of a mother bear. It is exceptionally dangerous for anyone to dare harm any child under a dragon's protection. Depending on the severity of the infraction, this can result in intense intimidation, to a full-blown unstoppable rage. Depending on the individual, the mother may defer to restraint, or snap without any warning. Male dragons have the same response, which is as strong as in the females and herms in the newest generation.
This instinct is not triggered by placing the child in the care of a trusted friend or mate (who usually automatically assumes the same protective instinct). The babysitter of course has to answer to the mother for any failures on their part.
The same protective instinct can surface in regard to anyone a dragon 'adopts' (even humans).
In the case of young dragons, there is also a mild empathic bond, which links mother and child through a constant radio connection. This helps the infant bond to the mother, and allows the mother to instantly know when the child needs something. Some humans might call this bond 'telepathy', based on how the mother always seems to sense what the child is up to.
This bond usually persists until just before the young dragon reaches sexual maturity.
A newborn dragon is called a "cub" (the general term for the young of a large predator). While this may sound unusual to humans unfamiliar with very young dragons, simple observation will quickly highlight another reason why they are called that: they behave a lot like the cubs of big cats.
Cubs are precocial, and fairly well-equipped to face the world around them. They are born with eyes open, and are capable of an awkward walk on all fours within an hour. Dragon cubs can eat solid food when only a few hours old, and have a full set of teeth and claws. They lack significant motor skill and coordination.
Dragons mature at roughly twice the speed of humans, though the first few years are marked by a pace of development that is several times faster than humans. Normal development is generally as follows:
|Age||Motor Skills||Speech Skills||Sensory Skills||Cognitive Skills|
|minutes||• Holds head up|
|• Empathic bond with mother established|
|1 hour||• Can walk, but clumsy||• Vocalizes||• Recognizes mother|
|4 hours||• Holds head steady|
• Can eat ground/pre-chewed food
• Can expel wastes with assistance (reflex)
|3 days||• Can chew own food|
• Can walk steadily
|• Hand regard||• Recognizes sire|
• Recognizes siblings
|1 week||• Learning to run||• Chases a light on the floor||• Very much like an intelligent kitten at this point|
|2 weeks||• Catches first prey: insects||• Learning vowel sounds||• Ticklish|
• Recognizes own name
|4 weeks||• Enjoys vocal play||• Squeals with delight appropriately|
• Discriminates dragon facial expressions
|6 weeks||• Can run and walk easily||• Learns double-syllable sounds, such as "mama" and "dada"||• Fixes sounds to their source|
|2 months||• Babbles tunefully||• Imitates facial expressions|
|3 months||• Can flap wings together||• Learns basic commands, such as 'sit' and 'stay'|
|4 months||• Learns to swim||• Babbles a few words repeatedly||• Reliably obeys learned commands|
• Object permanence fully established
|5 months||• Begins to use hands for manipulating|
• Breathes water comfortably
|• Keen sense of smell is developing||• Extremely curious about everything|
• Passes the mirror test for self-awareness
|6 months||• Toilet trained & independent||• Has a few dozen words in vocabulary||• Learns to see in near-infrared||• Basic tutoring has begun|
• Refers to self as "I" and "me"
• Parallel play
|1 year||• Masters all basic motor skills||• Speaks in simple sentences||• Increased social interest|
• Asks questions
|18 months||• Attempts to glide|
→ Body swapped for child version
|• Speaks in complete sentences||• Learns to see in thermal infrared|
• Learns to see in ultraviolet
|• Curious about reproduction|
• Cooperative play
|2 years||• Can glide||• Learns to mind-speak||• Learning mathematics & science|
|4 years||• Discovers pleasure of masturbation|
|5 years||• Sense of self-ownership develops|
• Makes own decisions
|6 years||• Assertive|
• Questions & challenges authority
|7 years||→ Body swapped for adolescent version|
• Proficient hunter: brings down large prey
|• Can knowingly give sexual consent|
|8 years||• Learns to fly alone||• Puberty|
• Observantly watches adults having sex
• Experiments with love-making
|9 years||• Masters volumetric (3D) spacial awareness||• Understands concept of a lifemate|
• Might have a Companion
|10 years||• Proficient at self-defense||• Might have found a future lifemate|
|11 years||→ Body swapped for adult version|
• Sexual maturity: can reproduce