|Biochemistry||Carbon-based lifeform with partially-silica biology|
|Personality||War-like mentality out of necessity|
The Zhivysh are a race of tall, sapient warriors who are forced to die if they wish to give birth to young. This has led directly to their offhandedly violent nature.
The Zhivysh are a tall sapient species indigenous to the planet Zhvrrrmraug. They are spacefaring, and because of certain aspects of their physiology, they see war as a necessity in life.
One would immediately consider them to be sextopods — possessing six legs — however, this would be somewhat incorrect. They do not possess legs, or even tentacles as one would naturally assume. Instead they walk upon and manipulate with six powerful and thick tongues that extend out from the oral opening, located just below the body's trunk. Because these "tonguefeet" have had to adapt to being utilized for walking everywhere, they lost their gustative abilities, which have devolved until their current usage — they are now used to detect temperature fluctuations (their main source of thermoception) and, perhaps more obviously, touch. The sense of taste is now regulated instead to long barbels that grow out of the base of their tonguefeet, constantly writhing to get a proper sense of the local area.
Besides these tonguefeet, three other sections are immediately noticeable with an outward glance of a Zhivysh. First and foremost is the cap, a section which extends out from the upper portion of the body for several reasons. The cap made of a pair of toughened plates, used to act as a natural armor system against their own predators. This cap also protects the individual from rain, working in a way similar to a large hat or umbrella. Underneath this cap is several important organs, including those organs analogous to a brain, heart, and lungs. The lungs are the most obvious of these organs, as they actually periodically extend out of the body, extending small setae to aid in the absorption of atmosphere before pulling back in, presumably because if they were constantly exposed, they would be far more susceptible to harm. Many of the species' senses are found connected directly to the cap, as well.
The part directly underneath the cap is known as the trunk; while it could be considered the closest thing to a body that a Zhivysh has, it is more analogous to a mouth combined with the rest of the digestive organs, with the many eyes encircling the section of the trunk that connects to the cap. It feeds generally by using its many senses to locate prey, grasping it within its tonguefeet and lifting it up high enough for the final major body segment to come into play — the deathtongs.
The deathtongs are large blades made of a lightweight but highly durable silica which many species on their homeworld utilize in place of weapons and teeth-equivalents. Because Zhivysh do not have an absolutely definitive front, two sets of deathtongs extend from what could be considered two of the Zhivysh's four sides. When a tonguefoot has brought a foe high enough, they can clack these weapons on each side together, which is most often used to slice a foe in half. The Zhivysh is intelligent enough to make sure to keep their tonguefeet out of the way of their deathtongs when in use, which is why prey is often cut in half.
Cap Support Structure: This structure is a hardened structure that holds the two large cap plates together. It spans the rim's circumference along the edge of the cap just before an organic structure pulls underneath to form the underside of the cap, and extends through the radius from "front" to "back". Within this structure is housed the multipurpose vent and the hypacroid eyes.
Hypacroid Eyes: The hypacroid eyes are large structures that initially evolved to allow the Zhivyshi ancestors to keep track of local weather patterns, as they are incapable of bending their trunk to look upwards and bending using their tonguefeet could cause them to fall over, thereby meaning that their typical eyes could not do this for them. Since sapience, these eyes have allowed them to view the stars above them as well, and to ponder about them; this actually led to their focus on traversing the galaxy. The eyes see into the ultraviolet, and can be used during war to peek over a structure that it might be hiding behind without revealing a large amount of its body.
Multipurpose Vent: The multipurpose vent is a very important object of the Zhivysh's phisiology. It is the main organ used to vocalize, by passing air from the pneumonic organs and out, passing a larynx-equivalent organ and then out through the vent. Sounds produced through the vent make a hissing sound, and is used to pronounce their species name, Zhivysh. The flesh within this vent is also sensitive, and is used to smell. There is a diaphram-like organ that is used to suck air into the vent and push it back out. A small tracheal tube leads into the pneumonic areas, allowing the species to not have to necessarily breathe by extending their pneumonic extensions, but then they must deal with low atmosphere as they are evolved to diffuse better directly.
Cap Plate: Two large keratinoid-silica plates are thick and useful as armor, with the organic keratinoid bits latching onto the fewer silica bits to create a sort of natural alloy structuring. They often used these plates to glance off blows during more technologically-low eras. During modern times, many suits now use the area taken up by the plate as a type of shield to deflect weapon blasts. These plates help allow rain not to drip onto the main eyes, lowering their need to be wiped clean, but also are pocked on a microscopic level. These pocks are filled with magnetite, allowing the Zhivysh a powerful sense of magnetoception. As such, they naturally know where they are exactly when on their homeworld, and can often find their way around other worlds, especially if they are accustomed to its magnetic field through multiple arrivals on-world.
Calcite Eyes: The calcite eyes are the main eyes for the body. They are made of calcite, calcium phosphate, and eudialyte, which may act as a sort of catalyst in the initial formation of the eye, in a similar manner to how a grain of sand is needed to start a pearl. Unlike the planet Terra, eudialyte is fairly common on the Zhivyshi homeworld, and so is not hard for organic species to obtain and utilize in their structure. Like the hypacroid eyes, the calcite eyes also see into the ultraviolet. There are many of these eyes, and they completely encircle the upper portion of the trunk.
Pneumonic Extensions: The pneumonic extensions are the lung-equivalents for the Zhivysh and similar species on their homeplanet. They can be inverted and plopped out of the body to directly diffuse atmospheric molecules, and periodically pull them back into the body.
Birthing Sacs: The birthing sacs is where the young of the Zhivysh are perpetually stored. Before they become impregnated, the organ doubles as a bellow sac, allowing them to produce infrasounds, which is how the "vrrrmraug" is pronounced in the name of their planet, Zhvrrrmraug. The longer these sacs go with filling up with larvae, the less bellowing they can do, and the name of the homeworld is therefore all but impossible to say amongst the eldest of their kind. The birthing sacs are strange as they must be ruptured to release the young...
Deathtongs: The deathtongs are the natural weapons of their species, and "clack" together to slice foes in half with the leading edges of each tong. There are two sets of tongs. A hollow latticework allows them to be quite lightweight for their size and strength.
Barbel: The barbels are long, thin tendrils that writhe to and fro constantly in order to taste the local environment. This is the Zhivysh's only way to taste their environment. They are often wrapped around foes when bringing them towards the deathtongs to taste them and also make sure that they are not poisonous to consume.
Tonguefoot: The tonguefeet extend from the oral orifice, but extend from outside of the beak itself, allowing the creatures to feed without severing their mobility. They used to be able to taste but in their species and many of their close relatives and ancestors this taste has disappeared and be regulated to the barbels. They are capable of incredible manipulation in a similar manner to the tentacle-arms of cephalopoids.
Toe Pad: The toe pads allow the Zhivyshes to keep themselves balanced and allow for somewhat-finer manipulation by closing over an object with the four toe pads on each foot. They possess a form of setae, which is mostly useful in larval stages, as at their adult height they certainly cannot easily cling and support their entire body weight in such a way. However, the setae of the adult form can make it difficult for struggling foes or prey to work their way into a proper escape before the deathtongs come clacking down along their middle.
Multipurpose Vent: See above subsection.
Cap Support Structure: See above subsection.
Moisture Nozzle: One of the many organs placed inside the cap is called the hydrosac. It is a long, short bladder that entirely encircles the cap directly above several nozzles that extend below the cap itself. The hydrosac is where hydration is stored for these nozzles, although the rest of the cells in the body are hydrated on their own as well to keep the being alive. These nozzles are used for the express purpose of squirting a misty spray onto the many calcite eyes. This is mostly to remove objects like sand that may come in and block their vision, as their eyes are hardened calcite. This mist can either be left on the eyes to drip off on its own or wiped off by the barbels, by lifting up a tonguefoot. Moisture is added to the hydrosac by either excess moisture from consumption or there is also a valve within each multipurpose vent that blocks off the other organs and opens up for the hydrosac, thus allowing them to take a really quick dip to quickly fill it up.
Pneumonic Extension Valve: The pneumonic extension valves are a set of protective covers made up of six keratin plates each. These have small recesses in the skin around them to retract into to allow the pneumonic extensions to extend out of the body. These plates help protect the organs from outside sources when they are in the cap.
Calcite Eyes: See above subsection.
Trunk: The trunk is the portion of the body that holds the calcite eyes, the birthing sacs, the mandibular beak, and the digestive and sexual organs. It is also where the tonguefeet connect to.
- The Zhivysh were created for the Kosmosis forums, although the site died before it was written for storywise.
- The Zhivysh were originally posted to the Kosmosis forums on May 7, 2010 at 8:47am.
- The thread for the Zhivysh can be found here.