From chapter 110:
"But the quarians had used the ten years since the Reaper Wars to update their combat strategy just a bit. Some still focused on agility and speed, like Zhasa did. Some still focused on being all-around warriors, like Kal'Reegar. And in the last five years, in particular, and apparently at Shepard's urging, some infantry and technical divisions had worked with the geth to devise battle suits to go over the top of their envirosuits.
The result was similar in principle to the large mining mech that Siara had used over a week ago, but smaller. More streamlined. Half the quarians exiting the shuttle stepped out inside of silvery, sleek, robotic suits, which added about a foot to their already tall frames. The overlapping armor plates on the bodies of the suits looked like leaves, or maybe teardrops or fish scales.
The suits did not move at a slow and robotic pace, either; they responded to their wearer's movements, more like an extension of the cat-like agility and speed of a quarian than something external to them. The quarians' bodies and fragile suits were completely encased in hard suit plating and metal, and they had heavy shields, as well. "The quarian marines were excited to get to field-test these," Sam pointed out. "They said these might have application against the yahg, too."
Instead of hands, the suits had claw-like pinchers, like the mining mech. "Won't it be hard to shoot inside of one of those?" Eli asked, leaning forward.
Sam grinned. Ear to ear. "I'm told they have shoulder-mounted cannons based on Collector beam weapons. Right shoulder, anyway. Forearms have regular mass-effect projectile guns that emerge on command." He patted Eli on one armored shoulder. "Increases their size and effective strength, they each become a heavy weapons platform, and they can run almost as fast as a turian in one of those."
Aluminum chloride, instead of NaCl is the salt-type in their blood. This allows them to conduct electricity much more efficiently than most other species, but requires their version of saline solution to be much different, chemically.
Mammalian, loosely; they give birth to live young and the females feed them from the breast, but their variant of milk is much thicker and glutinous than most Terran mammals.
Crepuscular origins. Like Terran lions, early quarians slept during the heat of the day and hunted in prides on Rannoch's arid plains in the dim hours of twilight and sunrise.
Eyes have a tapetum lucidem, similar to Terran felines, which gives them exceptional night vision.
"Of course quarians have marriage ceremonies. They are, by outsiders' standards, a little involved, i'm afraid. Some of them are very traditional, and some of them came into being on the ships, and are slowly being removed. But people feel odd about removing these things, you know. We were a nomadic culture for centuries, with only a few cities here and there; gradually, we settled down, but elements of the nomadic past remained in our weddings and funerals and other such rituals. And then we were nomads on the ships again. And now back to being partially settled down again. It leaves marks."
"So, what I grew up with is this: two people wish to get married. Both of them must have completed their Pligrammage, first and foremost."
"Next, they have to go to the captains of their ships and ask permission to get married. Then it has to be decided, which ship they'll live on. This is important. We're not just talking about joining two families together, although that's part of it. If a drive engineer wants to marry a hydroponics specialist, but his ship has a full complement of hyroponics specialists, he might have to transfer to her ship. If they don't have openings for a drive engineer, they have to find a ship somewhere in the Flotilla that can take both of them, and apply to that captain for billets and a change of ship name. These sort of negotiations can take months."
"In the old days on Rannoch, this would have been the dowry bartering period, probably. Now, what your speciality is, is your dowry. Someone with a specialty that's in demand, such a drive engineer in the example above, would find a position that much more easily. Some ship captains would probably take that sort of specialist on even if they were full up on similar specialists, just in case someone gets hurt or sick. Not all ships in the Flotilla have hydroponics bays. So the hydroponics specialist might have to demonstrate secondary training. It's one of the reasons why we're all so very cross-trained."
"Part of the captain's review process is a geneaological one. When your population drops almost below the viability level, you have to make sure that there's a lot of genetic variability. Which is to say, no marrying anyone who's related to you within two or three degrees. It may sound harsh, but in the first days of the Flight, there were even measures taken that had women bearing children to men other than their husbands, trying to increase the number of genetically viable matches available."
"When all the conditions are met, and you know which ship you'll be marrying into, you and your family go to that ship, and there's a day of music and dance—the dance all telling the old wedding stories, so it's primarily female dancing, although some of the men do knife and fire-dancing. Minus the fire, of course. Bad in a ship environment. It's all to welcome the couple to their new life. Even if they're not even changing ships, it still marks a change in their lives, and in the life of the ship."
"Then the captain conducts the marriage ceremony. In the days of wandering the desert, the groom had to provide a certain kind of tent; that's been replaced with a small silk tent that is held up over the heads of the couple by their parents, if they're all still living. There are usually two to four witnesses; the male witnesses used to be an honor guard, in the desert crossing days, who would help protect the couple when they traveled to whichever caravan they were going to join after the wedding ceremony. Now, they're just friends and family, and sign the wedding declaration."
"Since we're all in suits, obviously, there's no exchange of rings. The captain swraps a silk binding around the couple's clasped hands, and says a few words, and then it's done, other than updating the ship's roster and so on. In lieu of a kiss, some couples exchange one breath of air between their suits."
"Now, if someone's getting remarried after a divorce? The rituals of greeting can be cut down a bit. Especially if this is their third or fourth marriage. It's considered a bit tacky to ask people to do the whole welcoming ceremony for the fourth time." *Zhasa's voice is merry*
"And now that we're settling down on Rannoch, of course, quite a bit of this is changing. Young people are already asking why they should have to ask a captain's permission to get married, and why it should take months to arrange, when all they're going to do is go build their own house, or live in a family home with their parents. Some of the older people are shocked, because those months of negotiation were thought to keep society stable, made sure bad marriages didn't happen, or at least, didn't happen as often."
Homeworld and Lore
"Pretty," Dempsey had noted, calmly, pointing out the window to their left as Zhasa piloted the shuttle inbound, towards Rannoch's primary, a star older than Sol. Similar to Khar'sharn's star, it was a K-class star, orange in spectrum, with a stellar lifespan far longer than a G-class star like Sol. Zhasa glanced up, following the direction of Dempsey's fingers, and caught sight of what he was looking at—a cloud of dust and gas that filled half the night sky on Rannoch—for half of its yearly orbit, anyway. The Perseus Veil was only a few light years away, all in all, and the nebula was seventy light-years in size, similar to the Orion Nebula. Newborn stars glimmered behind that veil of dust and gas, and it was that which Dempsey was reacting to; the nebula itself was dark, as seen with the naked eye. Early astronomers on Rannoch had called it the veil of darkness in ancient Khelish, because no stars besides the handful glowing at its heart could be seen in that swathe of the sky. Half a dozen, a stellar nursery. All very close to one another. To the naked eye, here in the depths of space, they were tiny golden flecks, really.
"It's much prettier through sensors… and the stars themselves are the only things you can pick up through the Veil." Zhasa told him. "When you can see the infrared wavelengths, and the different types of gases are all mapped to different colors, all swirling, all feeding on what's around them. They're all close to one another, drawing in spirals of the dust and gas. But that's all anyone's ever managed to see through the Veil. Except the geth, of course." Because they exist out there. There are planets and star systems that already exist out in that nursery. Inimical to organic life, but perfect for them.
"Still pretty," Dempsey told her. "For all that they're, what, thirty, thirty-five light years away? And considering that they're in the middle of that … they must be massive, and very damned bright."
Zhasa nodded. Her people had formulated an entire mythos about the Veil; in some, the Veil had been the opposite and equal of the Milky Way, the band of stars which it, from the perspective of those on Rannoch, periodically seemed to obliterate. Spirits were said to walk the path of stars or the path of darkness, and battles were said to be fought in the afterlife between those who chose to walk one path or the other. The stars held inside the Veil had been said to be golden eggs, from which a whole new 'path of stars' would hatch, in other myths. And, of course, the stars had been used to help guide caravans in the night, a bright group that was visible at least during half the year, in addition to Rannoch's pole star, Aluizhka. —Chapter 128, Death, Part 2
Based on Russian, to match Tali's accent in-game.
doienya — melon
Gostinista Khistvaya — literally, clean hotel
klubnika v'cliivoie — red berries with cream. "v' = 'with'
kuryatina soup — chicken soup, or the equivalent
meela’helai — quarian martial art; descriptions based on capoeira.
pevii — closest relative of quarians on Rannoch; Partially bipedal, leopard-like creatures, about as closely related as chimpanzees are to humans. No spots.
soia — soy equivalent, protein-rich planet developed into nutrient pastes.
Quarians in the Prothean database
"Subject Species 112. Developing on arid planet. Intriguing physiology, similar in some respects to Subject Species 83. Dextro-based. Also some similarities to Subject Species 131—mammalian. Unusual, however. Predators that have moved to omnivorous life-style. Crepuscular to nocturnal habits, understandable given the hot and cold deserts of planet of origin, designated Arrk'igravkh in stellar cartography database. Highly social, intelligent, and adaptive. Blood chemistry fascinating. Highly reactive to electricity and energy currents, unlike any others we have ever discovered. Complete lack of element zero on Arrk'igravkh suggests that no form of life will ever naturally develop biotic potential that those who built the gates between so prized. We have introduced several slight genetic variations in highly social and adaptive individuals—biotic potential, with markers, and mutations to the hyroid bone and palate shape, to allow the development of speech. Remarkable specimens will be captured and preserved for study and storage at later dates." — Chapter 118, "Weal and Woe"