(ASS-tuz) Sapient, spacefaring race. Their home-world is located approximately 3,800 light-years from Sol. Astas are a manufactured race, believed to have been created in the 21st or 22nd century as hybrids between the D'Teth and humans.
Astas are hybrids of humans and an extinct race – remembered only as the D'teth – designed to possess the average of each parent species' traits. They have slender limbs, grayish skin, elongated faces, and large eyes. Their bones are more flexible than those of humans and do not break as easily. Their muscles are tightly knit but lack human strength.
Astas have no body hair, though thin, pale hair does grow from their scalps.
Astas have no measurable sense of smell and only a weak sense of taste. However, they posses excellent sight. Their bodies also produce a weak electromagnetic field which surrounds them for several meters. They can sense disturbances in this field, giving them the ability to “feel” nearby objects.
Since Astas are a manufactured race, they lack a role in any planet's ecology. Their teeth are softer than a human's, and they have trouble chewing tough foods. They can consume soft plants and meats, but most prefer to mechanically liquefy food. Otherwise, their diet is almost identical to that of humans and most Asta take quite readily to the flavor of human cuisine.
Astas have males and females, though the physical differences are less pronounced than in humans. In fact, at a glance it is often hard to identify the sex of an Asta. Mating and child-bearing is very similar to that of humanity, with females carrying their young for about nine months before giving live birth. Astas tend to form lifelong relationships with their mates and children.
Due to genetic differences, humans and Astas cannot interbreed, however that has not kept a small number of interspecies couples from becoming romantically involved.
In most regards, Asta psychology is very similar to that of humans; they have the same sense of passion, wonder, and insatiable curiosity. There is diversity in their motives, morality, and loyalty. However, their emotions are blunted. They never feel love, hate, anger, or happiness with quite the same force as a human. This stoic disposition has kept their race united but set them at arms-length from their human counterparts who often view them as dispassionate.
Painfully aware of their status as a manufactured race, Asta thinking is filled with existential quandaries. Their culture is dominated by questions about what they ought to consider themselves and what they ought to do with that information. Are they primarily human, primarily D'Teth, or something completely new? Does their status as a manufactured race make them less worthy than their ancestor races? Or are they, in fact, superior to both? While some Astas have rushed to extremes – seeking plastic surgery to appear human or immersing themselves in a purely alien identity – most will find some middle ground or never settle this question at all.
Astas produce art of every imaginable kind, including music, literature, sculpture, illustration, and architecture. However, current trends are rather ascetic, with most buildings sparsely decorated and clothing sacrificing fashion for functionality. Asta architecture favors tall structures, and most of their cities look like pincushions of pointed buildings with sloping sides.
There is no single religion that dominates Asta society. Some have devoted themselves to human faiths or even the Sirini philosophy of Thet. Others have rejected religion outright, sometimes for the same reasons humans turn to atheism, and sometimes out of a self-deprecating belief that an artificial race has no eternal soul or divine nature, thus making religion irrelevant to their species.