Turian background info

All information presented herein is taken from Myetel’s Spirit of Redemption fanfiction. Canonical information can be found on Mass Effect Wiki, http://masseffect.wikia.com.


Turians have a crop, before the stomach, which helps them digest bone and even raw meat, though most prefer their meat cooked in this modern era.

Turian females, if they do not regulate their hormones, go into estrus 3-4 times a year.

Gestation of young takes 11 months. They are viviparous, meaning that they birth live offspring. The fetus is carried inside of a sac inside the womb; there is an umbilical that attaches to the sac, but not to the infant itself. All nutrients and oxygen are absorbed from the liquid inside the sac; no contact with the mother's blood stream.

Offspring are born with teeth. A mother traditionally chews the first few meals herself, her saliva carrying important antibodies, and gives the chewed meat to the hungry baby.

Turian teeth grow back when removed or damaged, like a shark's.

Hemecyanic blood; which is to say, blue, and copper-based, like horsehoe crabs on Earth. Copper doesn't bond oxygen molecules as efficiently as iron/hemoglobin does; turian lungs have to be extremely efficient, and very large, which explains the greyhound-like chest cavities.

Turians are born runners, with legs similar in structure to a Terran ostrich.

Blood types:

Allardus: K+
Solanna: M-

Rel: M-
Rinus: M+
Serana: K-
Polina: K+
Quintus: M-

Other types:
K+, K-, L+, L-, LK+, LK-

Turian body language

One finger raised – leader to subordinates "You are not yet permitted to speak" or "quiet."

Hands palms up – "What can you do?"; equivalent of a helpless shrug, although turians also use the human shoulders-raised equivalent.

One hand, thumb to fingers, then flick – "Push off." Varies by degree of emphasis from mildly humorous to "fuck off" rude.

Both hands, thumb to fingers, double flick – complete exasperation; equivalent of a human throwing their hands in the air. "I give up."

Female rubbing her spurs against a male's spurs – mild flirtation. A female deer telling a stag "nice antlers."

Mates of either gender, hooking a foot behind the other's ankle, under the spur – "Calm down" or "I'm with you" or "Steady" given the context.


Clan paint is a relic of the colonial era; Palaven natives who do not have any colonial ancestors do not wear paint; a 'bare-faced' turian is thought to be untrustworthy. Imperials do not, generally, wear paint. Garrus Vakarian, though a native of Palaven, must have colonial ancestry, because he does wear paint.

Clan Paint

Reader Dyabel created this MARVELOUS graphic, for which I earnestly thank him/her!


Colonial History

The Imperator during the Unification Wars was Subigus the Conqueror, called, by the less-published class of historian, 'the Bloody.' His son, Comodus the Unifier, and his wife, Venisita, were the ones who brought peace to the troubled Hierarchy after the destruction left in the wake of the wars. It was Comodus who first declared that no one in the Hierarchy was different or special, and that there were multiple levels of citizenship, even his own children would be required to serve compulsory military service. This went a long way towards actually addressing many of the colonists' original concerns which had led to their rebellion.

In the subsequent generations, one of the early challenges to tal'mae weddings and blended families occurred in the reign of Vindexes:

"Vindexus' grandson, Cambuxces, had children by a first marriage and a second marriage, after the death of his first wife, and supporters of the second wife almost overthrew the government of Cambuxes' first-son, Hindallus." (Chapter 115, Origins and Deceptions.)

Edessan: The last colony to surrender in the Unification Wars, it is now a bustling commercial planet. The site of the final surrender in the Unification Wars is Niciterium Plaza, in the city of Sarbrantha.

"The bustling city of Sarbrantha, fifteen million people, with its high rises and modern streets, was actually the site on which the colonies' surrender had been accepted, close to two thousand years ago. The Peace Pavilion had been built on the site by Comodus the Unifier, to commemorate the only time his father, Subigus, had offered quarter to a foe. This is where the modern Hierarchy began, Serana had thought, in the huge, tent-like structure, which had been damaged in the Reaper War, and repaired since. The walls were all of glass, and rose and fell like a mountain range all around the central spot where Subigus had received the oaths and fealty of the rebel commanders." (Chapter 145, Reflections and Symmetries)

Thracia: Little has been established about Thracia, other than its paint color of gold, in the shape of two downwards Y's.

"They'd visited Thracia, too, for the site of the Battle of Three Moons. All three of Thracia's moons were still dotted with wreckage of the ships from that long-gone battle. Two of them were inhabited, and farmers on the surface still turned up odd bits of metal, and called for archaeologists periodically. The third moon was almost airless, except for a thin haze of sulfur dioxide belched out of its various volcanoes, and the impact sites of the various ships were still visible on cloudless nights from Thracia's surface. Two armadas had collided here, forty rebel ships against a hundred loyalist ones, and the rebels had, using the gravitational handles of the moons for very precise maneuvers, managed to win. It was still studied, to this day, as a sample of incredible tactical thinking and exceptional flying." (Chapter 145, Reflections and Symmetries)

Rocam: Little is known about Rocam in terms of the Unification Wars period, but it was recently blockaded during the Batarian-Yahg conflict. This jungle world is the Hierarchy's chief source of medical supplies.

Galatana: Little is known about this strongly agrarian colony in terms of the Unification Wars period, but it was recently blockaded during the Batarian-Yahg conflict.

Nimines: Most of the colonial tactics on Nimines involved preventing Imperial troops from using air transports, forcing them to march on the ground, and letting the freezing cold debilitate them. Partisans were also known to hide among civilian populations here.

Macedyn: Most of the colonial tactics on Macedyn involved preventing Imperial troops from using air transports, forcing them to march on the ground, and letting the desert kill them. Partisans were also known to hide among civilian populations here.

Bostra Outpost was the last settled of the Unification War-vintage colonies. There had been handfuls since, like Taetrus, but it was the last colony to have adopted its own unique face-paint: a solid blue mask with white stripe down nose. The blue is a reference to this garden planet's deep oceans, the white, to the massive amounts of palladium found in its crust.

The colony has been settled for 1,500 years, give or take, but it attracts a different type of turian than the cultured city dwellers of Edessen, or the farmers of Galatana. Mining is still the number one occupation, followed by fishing and herding. Humans have been known to refer to Bostra as the turian Wild West, and that's not far amiss, though it's a far more law-and-order place than the North American West of Terra in the 19th century.

Spirit-callers are among the most respected people in Bostra society; they provide points of cultural focus for this rather more rough-hewn turian society than people from Palaven or Edessen or even Macedyn might expect.

The major spaceport is Halikanus, and the city itself boasts only fifty thousand people. Small, for a turian planet.


Turian calendar:

Palaven's orbit is 445 days

Week is 8 days long (unless it's a galactic week, which boot camp does follow)

5 weeks a month

11 months a year

5 extra days each year, on which they celebrate the new year and seasonal changes


New Year's day

Primus 40 days

Secdus 40 days

Tertius 40 days

Xlorae—Celebration of spring

Quartus 40 days

Quinus 40 days

Castrum—Celebration of summer

Imperus 40 days (The sixth month was renamed for the Imperial Family during Unification Wars)

Septus 40 days

Octus 40 days

Aristum—Celebration of autumn

Novenus 40 days

Decius 40 days

Finus 40 days

Brumae—Celebration of winter

That means that Rellus' birthday is Quartus 14, if anyone is actually interested.



Turian Governance

Regional governmental units are prefectures, such as Dacia.

The Conclave of Lawgivers is the group of lawyers and judges assembled to study laws and write new ones. There are 600 lawgivers in the Conclave. All are appointed for life, and must have at least 20 years' standing as a minister of the law, adjudicator, or judge. They are appointed by command of the Imperator, although he selects them from a list prepared by his ministers of state. A combination of the law-writing and law-adjudication principles of the Supreme Court and House of Representatives of the United States.

The other leg of the government is the Conclave of the Dominae, or the nobles. Technically, anyone with noble blood or who has been presented with a patent of nobility can speak here; in practice, only about 2,000 people actually do. The CoD, like the US Senate or the British House of Lords, has approval or disapproval voting rights over laws that originate in the CoL. They also control the governmental budget/the exchequer. In theory, they can vote against the wishes of the Imperator. It is rare that they will overturn a law that he has expressly backed, himself.

The Imperator or the Imperatrix (if the first-born happens to have been female) is the third leg of the turian government, the supreme executive power. He is head of the military, first law-giver, and first-lord, but does have some restrictions on his power. He cannot break the law. He can make changes to existing laws or propose new ones, but the CoL exists to make sure that no laws are made that do not reflect precedent in some fashion or another, and the CoD is permitted to exercise restraint.

Ecology of Palaven

Humid and often jungle-like with dinosaur-like fauna.


Turian rank structure:


Hastae E1 grade; private or seaman.

conculae E2, private first class

Pilae E3; lance corporal

chalsae E4 corporal

Centurion. E5. A centurion is a sergeant, but the rank carries a great deal more weight in the turian military; there aren't as many gradations of sergeant as in the human forces, where there were gunnery sergeants and staff sergeants and master sergeants, a centurion was a centurion.

If there are a lot of centurions in a unit, some of them might be given the designation senior centurion, just for clarity's sake.

Above centurion, there are two routes to take:

Optio, ranks 1-4: From an old name for a soldier who could read or write; these were staff or highly technical positions, roughly equivalent to a human warrant officer. They rose from enlisted to officer at that point, but retained their centurion years for pay purposes, while gaining an officer's commission.

Primus pilus centurion—first file centurion. Ranks, 1-4. Primus pilus centurions spend a lot of time in the field, and are the real reason the turian military runs as effectively as it does.


Lieutenant, j.g., O1

Lieutenant, O2

Lieutenant-commander O3

Commander, O4

Captain, O5

Tribune, 05 (Lt. Colonel)

Prefect, 06 (Colonel)

Legate or General; depends on translation or branch of service., 07 (General, 1 star), or Nauarchus, Admiral, 1-star

Senior legate or Senior admiral = 2-4 star general

Imperator = 5 star general. Hereditary rank.

Turian military decorations

There are vast numbers of these, ranging from good-conduct medallions to unit-wide awards. When awarded, they are literally still medallions, hanging from ribbons, looped around someone's neck; when worn on a dress uniform, they are ribbons, similar to the bar of ribbons human military organizations use. They are not worn on working uniforms, or, obviously, armor.

aes clipeus – "copper medallion" – turian medal given for gallantry

agata clipeus – "silver medallion" turian medal given for conspicuous gallantry

aura clipeus - "golden medallion" turian medal given for conspicuous heroism. Usually awarded posthumously. Also known as the Dead Man's Decoration, for that reason.

clipeus celare – secret operations medal. Awarded in copper, silver, or gold.

Police/CID medallions:

aes mereo – copper 'pay' – awarded for meritorious service, an investigation that shows intelligence and diligence.

agata mereo – silver 'pay' – awarded for exceptionally meritorious service, including saving the life of a fellow officer, exceptional diligence or gallantry

aura mereo – gold 'pay' – awarded for extreme service or gallantry, generally laying down one's life to save a civilian or a brother cop. Tends to get handed out a lot to people in bomb disposal units.

pugnator siderious – combat star. Awarded for SWAT activities that involved gallantry.

clipeus volatere – medal of flight; awarded to an ace. Multiple awards possible; awarded every five confirmed kills.

commina narthecium – coffer of unguents, the award given to combat medics. Blue ribbon if the medic's blood spilled while treating his or her patient.

sangua clipeus – "medallion of blood" = Turian Purple Heart

Notable People

Linianus Pellarian
Lantar Sidonis
Rellus Velnaran
Rinus Velnaran
Serana Velnaran

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