Yautja culture remains for the most party a mystery
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It is our aim to provide the most comprehensive guide to Yautja on the ‘net while at the same time avoiding flat out making stuff up. However; because so little is known about our favourite space-fairing psychopaths, it is at times extremely difficult to stick to this rule. A lot of the following information is speculation based on what little we do know. We would therefore like to make it clear that we are open to other theories and opinions that you might have about any aspect of the Yautja lifestyle, and we will try to make it clear when something is fact or speculation. We hope you enjoy our little shrine and find an answer to anything regarding the Yautja that you may be unclear about.
Study of the Yautja Race.
Yautja culture remains for the most party a mystery. It has been suggested that their entire way of life revolves around The Hunt, and indeed there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.
The average Yautja stands around 7 – 8 feet tall, though as with all creatures, size can vary greatly between individuals. Aside from the head, they are very similar to humans in basic shape, save for a few minor differences on the hands and feet. Small claws protrude from the side of the wrist, above the heel, and outer side of the ankle that may once have been extra digits, having receded with evolution. They have thick skin by human standards and Yautja blood also glows bright green. Yautja are incredibly strong and agile, moving from tree to tree just as effortlessly as they move on the ground. They have been known to chase speeding vehicles and catch up to them with ease, even toying with them to make the driver lose control and crash. They are also very adept at mimicking sounds. They can say words and phrases they’ve heard on The Hunt, and with the help of their technology they can set the tone of their speech to perfectly match that of the source. This is incredibly useful when luring prey into an ambush. They are extremely long-lived and it has been suggested that they may live indefinitely should they not perish in combat or of disease.
The most striking characteristic of the Yautja is the mouth. The upper jaw has two fangs centred at the front, and the lower jaw has four more which fit between the upper fangs when the mouth is closed. Surrounding these are four large mandible; one on each side of the upper and lower jaws. Yautja have no molars or incisors, suggesting a purely carnivorous lifestyle, though they have been known to eat roots dug from the ground, and fruit pulp is a common dish served on spacecraft. Yautja have something similar to human hair, only much thicker. They are commonly referred to as ‘Dreadlocks’, but more closely resemble rubbery, tentacle-like appendages than braided hair. They also have shorter hairs covering their eyebrows, jaw line, and head, and running down the chest and stomach. Though a lot thinner than the dreadlocks, these are still far thicker than human hair. Like humans, their features are quite varied. The most common difference is skin colour. This characteristic is incredibly diverse, ranging from off-white to greenish-blue. Many Yautja also have patterns on their torsos and foreheads. As with colour, these patterns vary greatly. Some have a mottled patch of black spots, while others have intricate diamond formations made up of many colours. These could indicate anything from the yautja’s bloodline to sub-species. Their purpose is unknown.
All of these features are displayed by both genders with the exception of size. Females are reported to be bigger and more aggressive than males, and are allegedly much stronger. The mating ritual is an aggressive act and many a male has been injured in the process. Like humans, female Yautja also have breasts. What class the Yautja fall into is completely unclear. They are often regarded as reptilian, though they do display some mammalian characteristics such as suckling their young. It is plausible that they may be a completely different class altogether, and there could well be many creatures displaying similar characteristics hailing from the Yautja home planet.
The Yautja adhere to a strict set of rules when on The Hunt. These rules have been known to change depending on what species the Yautja are hunting and it is also assumed that these rules may vary from Clan to Clan. Obviously this is all dependant on the individual in charge of the Clan. On the whole, Yautja Elders are extremely strict regarding this code of honour, though it goes without saying that each Clan has members who are a little more flexible when there are no other Yautja around to witness their actions. Should one of these individuals rise through the ranks to lead his own clan (which is not unknown) then this Yautja would be a little more lenient on his own underlings.
The basic Yautja code of honour restricts hunters from killing children and pregnant women, and hunting unarmed or unworthy opponents. It has also been implied that using a prey species’ own weapons against them and killing while cloaked is dishonourable though both of these practices have been observed, which adds weight to the ‘different clan/different code’ theory. The most highly frowned upon acts are the ones committed against other Yautja, in particular; taking credit for another’s kills. A Yautja known as Two-Stripes once took a Xenomorph trophy from a badly injured peer and left him for dead. When the injured Yautja survived and his rival’s actions were brought to light, Two-Stripes was stripped of his armour and weapons and left to die on the Xenomorph infested planet.
Occasionally a Yautja will commit to many or to heinous a crime and go on the run. These fugitives are known as Outcasts or Bad Bloods. Other Yautja soon grow wise to the situation and attempt to hunt the Outcast down. It has been suggested that these Yautja may be a specialist caste who’ve grown tired of hunting weaker species and seek a more challenging foe, though it could also be that they are just regular Yautja in search of a new experience.
How individual Yautja can expect to be treated is all dependant on their role in the hierarchy (see ‘Castes’ section). On ship, the lower orders share one large living area of little luxury. Only the most revered members of a clan have their own quarters away from their inferiors. These living conditions are basic to say the least. Even the most luxurious quarters hold just enough room for a bed, weapons and armour, and occasionally some of the yautja’s more cherished trophies. Quarters are often quite dirty and littered with cables and pieces of machinery which hang from the ceiling.
Life is competitive onboard Yautja spacecraft. When not training or maintaining their equipment, the lower orders are usually fighting or trying to invoke a fight. In this situation, the fighters enter a large arena to settle their differences. This is observed by all the lower orders who stand at the side of the arena to cheer on their colleagues, and it is supervised by the clan leader. The rules are very simple: keep fighting until one of the yautja gives up (very unlikely), gets thrown out of the ring, is knocked unconscious or dies.
Female Yautja are not often encountered, implying that very few of them bother to hunt, despite being superior in size and strength to the males. Why some of them choose to hunt while the majority of them don’t is anyone’s guess. It is unlikely that female Yautja hunt in clans as so little of them bother to hunt at all. Presumably, if they were required to go through the blooding initiation with the males, they would show up their counterparts. It has been suggested that a fully armed male Yautja might just about be able to put up a fair fight against an unarmed female. Male yautja will sire many offspring throughout their lives, furthering their bloodline. Even the act of mating is dictated by their social rank. Yautja who are known for their poor combat skills risk ritual castration to lessen stop their defective skills being passed on to a future generation. Up until a certain age, the Yautja would be raised by their mother, though if they are male they would eventually join a hunting clan. At what age this occurs is unknown, and whether they are required to join their father’s clan or choose their own is unclear.
Yautja do not have a government in the same way we are used to. As suggested before, each Clan may be responsible for their own laws, but on the other hand if a Yautja disobeys the honour code too much he will be hunted down and killed. This implies that Clan rules can only bend so far before a higher power steps in. It could be that the Elders of each Clan meet up from time to time to form their own council spanning all Clans. If this is true then these meetings would be used to exchange new technology, reach important decisions regarding new laws, warn each other of new renegades, and of course; brag about their own Clan’s recent accomplishments.
The Yautja social structure is divided into castes. The lowest caste are the Un-bloodeds, next up are the Blooded Warriors who are presided over by a Clan Leader who is in turn under the command of one or more Elders. There are also many sub-castes such as Young Bloods and castes that have no role in the hierarchy.
Un-bloodeds are the Yautja who do not yet have enough experience to hunt unsupervised. Like most students, many of them are egotistical, unruly and full of delusions of grandeur. Many a student has been stupid enough to challenge his Clan Leader only to be met with humiliation or even death.
Once the Un-blooded have learned the basics of The Hunt and gained enough knowledge and skill they are taken on a Blooding. This typically involves seeding a planet with Xenomorphs and hunting them under the supervision of the Clan Leader or Elder. When they have passed this test and their superiors are satisfied that they are responsible and capable enough to hunt properly, they become Blooded Warriors. This involves burning the Clan Leader’s emblem into the young yautja’s forehead with Xenomorph acid, though not all Yautja have these initiation marks, suggesting that not all clans perform this ritual.
The Clan Leader is responsible for the Un-blooded and Blooded Warriors under him. He enforces the rules of The Hunt and teaches the Un-bloodeds the basics of honour and survival. He also makes important decisions and strategies on the Clan’s behalf.
Elders are the most experienced Yautja. Their battlefield prowess is a force like no other. They are usually capable of hunting large groups of prey single-handedly, or prey many times stronger than themselves armed only with the most basic weapons. The Elders of a Clan do not usually inhabit the same craft as their underlings, but are known to pay visits on important hunts.
As mentioned before there are various lesser castes in addition to the ones listed above. These include Young Bloods, Warriors, and Bad Bloods to name but a few. Young Bloods are the Yautja who have only recently passed their initiation and as such they are subject to slip ups and scrutiny from time to time. Warriors are those who have left the Clan to hunt alone. At which point they depart fro the Clan is unknown, but it has been assumed that they may sometimes meet up again when they eventually become Elders. Bad Bloods are Yautja criminals and fugitives. They are the most dangerous of all as they often have no regard for honour and are extremely unpredictable. They have even been known to kill and cannibalise their own kind. This kind of behaviour does not go unnoticed and they are soon hunted down by more experienced, honourable Yautja.
Perhaps the most curious aspect of the Yautja race is how they’ve advanced to the level of a space faring species with technology far superior to our own while still retaining such savage and primitive customs. This has led to speculation that their technology is traded or stolen from other races. However, some believe that the Yautja code of honour would not allow this. What is known is that their technology is a force to be reckoned with. Even the most basic weapons such as spears and swords utilise great innovations often giving them multiple uses or making them more compact when not in use. Most weapons are constructed from a manufactured alloy which the Yautja themselves call “D’lek”. This substance is both lightweight and incredibly strong and resilient, allowing for maximum performance. Their hunting regalia is also an invaluable asset to them, allowing them to become near invisible by bending light around the wearer as well as letting them see in several spectrums.
The Yautja home world has not yet been encountered. It could be that their birth planet may be an unpopulated desolate wasteland by now having been drained of all resources. While it has been theorised that male Yautja are purely nomadic, only leaving their ships to hunt, the females have to reside somewhere and every so often the males would have to return to them to mate. Like any space fairing race it is quite likely that the Yautja have colonised many planets as they continue to extend their reach throughout the stars. With this in mind there could well be countless sub-species of Yautja, each having been influenced by their planet’s environment..
We can only guess as to what the necessary requirements for a Yautja friendly planet might be. It is assumed that the climate would need to be quite hot, as they always seem to prefer tropical temperatures when hunting and relish the heat. It has also been suggested that it may be very dark, hence the Yautjas’ ability to see in infrared, but how a planet could be so hot while at the same time being so dark is implausible.
The Yautja religion is shrouded in mystery. They have a very primitive belief system which seems to revolve around their code of honour. They often refer to an all powerful deity they call The Black Warrior. Some speculate that the Black Warrior is the embodiment of life and death. While others argue that it is a metaphor for the Yautjas’ most revered prey; the Xenomorph. Like the human envision of heaven and hell, the Yautja believe the Black Warrior judges them after death and assigns them an eternity based on the life they’ve led. Depending on how honourable their existence has been, they are rewarded or punished accordingly. This is obviously why most Yautja regard the honour code so highly.
It is known that the Yautja will completely abandon the honour code in times of war. They also seem to have a habit of judging their prey by their own code and therefore miss-interpret certain actions. A colonist on the desert planet Ryushi once stumbled upon a Yautja blooding mission. The Yautja attempted to kill him for fear that he would alert others to their presence. In an attempt to escape, the colonist lost control of his jet bike, knocking down the Clan Leader and eventually crashing into the Yautja ship, destroying it and killing himself in the process. With the Clan Leader badly injured, a rather vicious Un-blooded took control and viewed the colonist’s behaviour as a kamikaze act of war. He then led the Clan to the nearby colony where they proceeded to slaughter women and children alike with no regard for honour or fair play. Another Clan went all out to try and kill a group of humans including an NYPD detective when they got a little too close to a dead Yautja.
It is not known whether the Yautja often go to war, but because of their sheer ferocity and battlefield prowess it is wise not to provoke them into such incidents. Judging by the fact that single Yautja can eliminate entire squads with little effort, it is safe to assume that it would only take a relatively small group to cause major devastation to an opposing army. When on Xenomorph Queen capture missions, the Yautja are required to walk into the very heart of a Xenomorph hive and to defend themselves against the seemingly impossible odds, they employ weapons powerful enough to destroy entire swarms of Xenomorph before they even have a chance to attack. Regular hunting equipment pales in comparison to these destructive machines and with this in mind it is quite possible that they possess weapons even more powerful that are capable of destroying entire planets in seconds.
The Yautja have a somewhat unique way of interacting with other species. It typically involves skinning them and taking their skulls. Shaky alliances have been formed under rough circumstances however, and Yautja have been known to give humans a helping hand from time to time if they think they’re in trouble. Throughout history their have been occasional instances of Yautja rescuing humans from sticky situations (usually involving other humans.
Given their very nature, it is doubtful they form permanent alliances with other sentient species they happen to run into. They certainly have no need to ally with anyone, due to their high level of technology and survival skills. As mentioned before however; it is possible that their technology comes from another race, so we should not rule out the possibility that they have formed some kind of mutually beneficial partnership.
The Yautja have had quite a profound effect on our civilisation during ancient times. Some have speculated that they may be responsible for hunting the dinosaurs to extinction, though there is no evidence to back up this theory. They are responsible for a number of legends and have been regarded as demons or even gods by some primitive cultures. It may even be possible that some of these cultures are completely derived from Yautja encounters on Earth.
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