The Tletkettoyi were the original inhabitants of Thessia Major, and very alien even by the standards of the Hogedep
. Brutal, territorial, and impossible to communicate with, they fiercely maintained an empire bordering the Ksreskézaian expanse for hundreds of centuries, rarely expanding their territory but never participating in trade with the outside. The culture of the Tletkettoyi is easily amongst the greatest mysteries of Thet's history, and inspired many theories and fictions after the planet was recolonized by humans and other species.
Physically, a Tletketti resembles a large trilobite, ranging anywhere from a metre in body length at birth to thrice that at maturity. Motility and manipulation was aided by a number of pseudopodia that extended from the underside of the thorax and were up to two metres in length.
Communication was most likely accomplished primarily through telepathy of some sort, owing to their formidable magical advancement (see below), however it was also known that they could communicate auditorially through clicking and buzzing a membrane between their limbs. While no recording of this survives, the inscribed form of their language was eventually translated by archaeologists in the second millennium IKY, long after recolonization.
Reproduction and development
Cultural evidence indicates that the Tletketti had three distinct sexes, all of which were required for reproduction. Gametes and accompanying fluids from all three parents are mixed together in a small nest or depression, and the first triplet to merge successfully emits a biochemical signal to prevent other cells in the same pool from undergoing zygogenesis. The remaining fluids become a yolk and protective membrane for the developing the fetus, although chemical evidence suggests the yolk was most likely toxic to potential predators.
The Tletketti were also very unique in their inventions and how they used them. They relied much more heavily on the TMF (magic) system
than either the Hogedep or Ksreskézai, using extremely complex and ornate programs to carry out everyday tasks, usually in preference to their pseudopodia. The Tletkettoyi lived almost exclusively underground on their home planet, and rarely if ever left, able to operate their empire remotely through the use of magic-powered probes. We know in particular that they had different words for the surface of Thessia Major and the underground tunnels, and treated the two as though they were as different as separate planets.
Each member at maturity was implanted with a small TMF transceiver that connected them to a computer network which permeated the tunnel system. It has been theorized (albeit not proven conclusively) that they actually lived in a rich virtual world powered by these implants, and rarely if ever saw the carved stone walls around them. This would help explain why they felt no need to physically visit other places.
Objectives and Motivation
It is not understood why the Tletketti were so isolationist. Most cultures in the history of the universe attempt to spread their ideas and culture when they achieve certain needs or accomplishments, or at least have some faction interested in such dissemination and expansion. In thousands of years of conflict with the Hogedep and Ksreskézai, their only known non-defensive action was the systematic eradication of the Khúsak
, and with it the apparently deliberate instigation of hostilities between the other two superpowers. Several theories have been discounted as to why they remained so distant:
There is little if any evidence to support the idea that the Tletketti considered it a point of enlightenment that they were uninterested in other civilizations. While little documentation on the religious aspects of their culture is available, they do not appear to have had a rich sense of individual expression, and seemed more concerned with group well-being.
There is no evidence to explain why they did not attempt to stamp out the Ksreskézai or Hogedep threats. It has been shown that they had superior military capability, and were aware of it. No document suggests an interest in helping either culture become more stoic, or indeed any interest in the health of any other civilization except as threat analysis.
It is unlikely their resources were sufficient. The complexity and heavy usage of their spellcraft strained the TMF emitters near the Thessian brane, and even if they ran into no natural resource limitations, many of the tunnels were constructed shortly before their decline, indicating significant population growth.
Because of the lack of external pressures forcing the Tletketti to stay put, most of the theories still under consideration depend on the existence of some internal concern that prevented expansion:
They may have been battling some form of disease or social blight that kept their intellects busy. The remains of a large number of malformed and destroyed egg-sacs have been found dating to the very end of their civilization, which may have been disrupted artificially or developmentally.
They may have been focused on some greater problem of cosmological purport, such as repairing a fault in the TMF network, stabilizing the brane, or unlocking some deeper secret of the universe that would have granted them a significant long-term survival advantage. This is supported primarily by inscriptions referring to an anticipated 'great changing' that was expected to follow, although no dedicated facilities were ever found.
They may simply have been unable to travel away from their computer network due to interdependency.
Exactly which of these three models is the most likely depends on the person being asked, although many fanciful and baseless suggestions to satisfy the second theory have been proposed over the years, especially recently. Reportedly, Tetragnostica
performed a detailed survey of the Tletketti but refused to share her findings.