Prydainian

Often referred to as “Pretani”1), the Prydainians are a tall, bipedal reptilian species covered in plumage. Particularly enigmatic at times, they very deliberately choose to behave as human-like as possible towards the myriad of other species in the Milky Way, including the humans themselves. This comes with varying degrees of success depending on the individual however.

Honorable, arrogant, kind, haughty, friendly, hostile - the Prydainians are unpredictable as a whole, with different constituent cultures that result in a wide range of personalities that can be encountered. Their history is shrouded in mystery primarily due to the fact they do not broach the topic. However, they may at times hint or suggest that they, like other super-soldier projects, were created. Beyond incredibly vague details, nothing concrete is given. Unlike the Tigers and the O.G.R.Es of the sector however, the higher ranking and more haughty individuals may, on rare occasion, hint that their current physical form is merely the latest of many iterations.

In general, the Prydainians can be deceptively manipulative and controlling of others despite their theatrically emotional expressions. Their alien, animal-like physical build and occasional uncouth habits belies their intelligence and cold, emotionally detached logic, making their emulation of human persona more suspect. Though the Prydainians utterly believe that they are superior to all life forms in the Milky Way encountered as of late, they surprisingly do not wish for the utter subjugation or annihilation of any deemed inferior. Instead, the Prydainians vehemently deny this, with their words and actions geared towards 'preservation and conservation'.

Their precise goal and motive however, is unknown and can only be assumed to be hostile due to the aggressive and confrontational means through which they pursue them.

As feathered reptilians, the most variable details of the Prydainians would be their height, physical build and plumage color; they may range anywhere from 6'6“ to 8'6” when standing at their relaxed state, fully erect and upright. These features are usually determined by their sub-culture.

The hands have five digits with two thumbs each, the outermost being thumbs; in comparison to a human hand, it appears as if the smallest finger were replaced by another thumb. The way they are arranged, it is possible to touch thumb tip to thumb tip on the same hand and having the two digits meet over the palm. A sort of Gecko patterned fuzz is visible on the inner surfaces of their hands and feet however.

They are digitigrades, which means that the Prydainians walk on the digits of their feet; in addition, these are prehensile and capable of grasping large objects like hands. The two thumbs on each foot, mirroring the hands in form, are also functional and are fully opposable. However, the feet are incapable of very fine and precise manipulation, but make up for it by being able to slice things with the large claws which can be found at the ends of each digit. Also notable is the long tail, ranging from five to eight feet ( 6' to 8' or 180 to 240 cm), which is also prehensile and highly muscular despite their appearance.

When seen without feathers, one of the most notable features would be the highly corded and ropy musculature. A prime example would be the six 'smaller' pectoral muscles in comparison to a human's 'larger' two. They occupy the same general area as a human's would; multiples of muscles can be found in similar arrangements across key points on the body to improve functionality and redundancy. A wound that would normally cripple or disable an area would no longer do so, provided one of the multiples is still in good condition. This musculature layout provides the Prydainians with a relatively compact yet hyper-defined musculature overall.

Humans and many other species often have a highly difficult time differentiating between Prydainian genders visually, as there are no visual cues such as breasts, exposed genitalia or other sexual dimorphism such as wider shoulders or hips, and often must rely on the voice used by the individual's persona in question.

A Prydainian's head is elongated and slightly taller than most reptilian species, closely resembling the structure possessed by raptors. Their mouths hold rows of neatly lined sharp teeth which, oddly enough, end in a series of molars in the back of the mouth; these serve to help broaden the variety of food that can be eaten. Despite being predatory in design, the eyes are placed on the side of the head and inside special moving sockets, giving it the ability to use a wide vision arc when not focusing forward during general activity. Another feature noteworthy on Prydainian appearance is the plumage, or feather like epidermal growths. The feathers cover the body according to the local climate, being breathable and heat deflecting or insulating and heat absorbing as needed. Like their height and physical build, the coloration depends on the ethnic/cultural type of the Prydainian in question, but varies greatly.

Incidentally, usage of tight fitting clothing tends to cause molting, exposing the disturbingly pink skin and sharply contrasting blue veins; as a result, soldiers often only have feathers from the neck up. The largest feathers are located on the head, projecting out from along the crown of the head to the sides, acting as a crest on both males and females - in appearance, it resembles a fan which radiates in all directions.

The feather crest may move about to display various emotions or general moods, and even patterns in how they are arranged. Older Prydainians will have head feathers up to two or three feet long, though somewhat curling up from age, often looking like long hair ending in curls when relaxed. When relaxed, the feather crest is directed back when not expressing something, but fully slicked back when a more stoic expression is put on. Equally important are the subtle facial twitches and expressions often going unnoticed by other species.

Infants, Children and Adolescents

Infants are typically at 8 inches (20.3 cm) in height, appearing to be more like a species from which the Prydainians have descended from due to differing proportions and colors. They have dulled, mottled colors to assist in hiding within underbrush and low foliage. They are much more chubby, with slightly larger heads in relation to the body and typically scurry on all fours. Children are often around 1'4“ ( 35.6 cm) in height, their bodily proportions still off, with the head being a little big and body on the chubby side. Adolescents are 2' (61 cm) on average, the plumage on their heads finally starting to gain proper color and luster, baby fat significantly reduced, and heads in a more proper proportion in comparison to adults. Young Adults are in the same proportion as Adults proper, with their most distinctive difference being their body plumage slowly shifting colors to the adult patterns.

Though psionics are generally rare, the Pretani are unique in that they are one of few species that have all members of their society as functioning psions. This does come with its peculiarities however, as their abilities are innately defensive in nature despite being highly formidable. This manifests as typically blocking themselves off from mental interference and preventing or nullifying direct psionic attacks. Meanwhile, the most capable of them are able to branch out into other psionic schools, albeit ones that do not directly interact with the physical world such as various forms of perception.

This peculiarity requires them to use specialized tools known as psi-amps in order to go on the offensive or more directly interact with the physical world, but even then, at the cost of lowering their various mental barriers and defenses.

Though carbon based, their largest difference in comparison to most forms of life is the reliance of copper over iron for oxygen carrying in blood. The Prydainians are surprisingly sturdy and difficult to incapacitate due to the robustness and sheer capability of their biology, which is coupled with a very high pain tolerance.

Nervous System

The Prydainian nervous system consists of a standard nervous system with a brain, spinal cord and various nerves branching out and into the body. However, this is supplemented by a lymphatic system occupied by free floating nerve cells which may temporarily act in the main system's place to circumvent damaged nerve tissue, relaying messages from the brain to the body, and vice versa. In comparison to the normal nervous system, detours made into the lymphatic nervous system is not as efficient, with notable delay in reaction speed and precision.

The lymphatic system, or secondary nervous system, encompasses the entire body and has branches following the nerves; when the lymph-nerve system is damaged, functionality can be maintained so long as the liquid is contacting liquid. However, neural bottlenecks can occur if too many messages are sent and when not enough lymph fluid is available to support the volume of information. This only occurs when the lymph system is severely damaged and has drained, resulting in slower reaction times.

Skeletal Structure

At a glance, and compared to the average human skeletal structure, there are several similarities resulting from convergent evolution, or similar traits in unrelated species or lineages. This similarity is attributed to efficiency; the shape of ribs, spine and other bones are similar merely because the form is presumably efficient, and easy to get to in terms of evolution.

However, similarities end at the cosmetics. The Prydainian bone structure is significantly lighter and stronger than human bone tissue. The general bone structure is somewhat hollow, with either honeycombing, struts or trusses throughout the internal structure to increase strength where applicable. In the chest, the most notable difference is the presence of a keel, or extension and enlargement of the sternum which serves to provide additional muscle attachment points.

More subtle is the fused collar bone, providing more strength to the thoracic skeleton. A more subtle difference would be the uncinate processes of ribs. They are slight overlapping bits that strengthen the ribcage and increase the efficiency of respiration. With these numerous differences, the overall skeletal structure still has some cosmetic similarities to a humanoid and conventional reptilian systems. However, there is another distinct difference; most bones are fused into single ossifications, simplifying the skeletal structure and further increasing the structural integrity, and in the process, visual appearance.

Skull and Vertebra

What is most remarkable about their skeletal structure is the clearly engineered skull and vertebra, which is composed of Bolham Meta-Polymer, a ship-armor grade bio-organic polymer. The skull is very clearly made to withstand ballistic and energy hazards, while the vertebra features a total of six bio-organic micro-fusion reactors. These are vital to powering their most personal of equipment, and though their output is relatively small, they were very clearly designed with longevity and durability in mind. Small, redundant ports for refueling exist in the bone structure itself, with the skin over the ports being configured to part aside when pressure from the appropriate fuel nozzles are pressed against them. In addition to these, neural interface ports, as well as direct access ports to the bloodstream and main body cavity are present for medical purposes.

These features are bio-engineered into their own genetic structure, and function seamlessly with the rest of their body.

Muscular System

The Prydainian muscular system is very complex, having a few smaller muscles instead of a single large muscle to do the same job. The most notable example of this, is the set of pectoral muscles every Prydainian has; unlike humans who have two pectoral muscles, one for each side, Prydainians have a total of six smaller pectoral muscles, with three for each side. The best analogy to help in visualizing the muscle group would be if someone had separated a single pectoral into three by slicing it twice horizontally.

It is surmised that this helps to retain functionality if the muscle is injured; a slice may sever two muscles, but the third would be intact and functioning, compared to the heavily damaged and thereby disabled single muscle in a human. This pattern in musculature can be seen throughout the body, with muscles such as the biceps, and quads divided up, giving the skin over it a very corded and rope-like appearance.

Respiratory System

The lungs are highly efficient in absorbing oxygen, and are very similar to those found in avian species; the fresh oxygen rich inhaled air never mixes with stale oxygen poor air that is to be exhaled. There are a set of air sacks for each lung, the anterior and posterior sets, which act like bellows; they ventilate the lung, keeping a constant pressure and airflow through the it.

Among most noteworthy features, is that the lungs do not have alveoli like most mammals do. Instead, they have millions of parabronchi. The partial pressure in the lungs are also constant, at the same pressure as the environment. Instead of just having vocal folds, also known as vocal chords, the Prydainians utilize their syrinx as well, the area where the trachea forks into each lung.

Due to this feature, the average Prydainian is capable of making a wide variety of sounds, ranging from bird-speak and song to gunfire. More experienced Prydainians may even make more than one sound at once. In extreme cases, more than one person speaking at once, or the firing of an automatic rifle, complete with shell casings landing on cement, most often done by the most revered and experienced singers and vocalists.

Due to the unique characteristics of the Prydainian respiratory system, they breathe very slowly when not active; the sound of breathing is very minute. Even when strained, the respiration rate of a Prydainian only rivals that of a humanoid species, but is harder and higher in pressure.

Digestive System

The Prydainian digestive system is geared to cater to both a low inactive metabolism and a high metabolism that they have when active. Due to this, the system is very efficient at breaking down food and stripping nutrients from it. Normally indigestible things such as dietary fiber, also known as roughage, can be broken down for energy. As this ability suggests, the digestive system may also handle things other than the traditional intake of meats, bone, fur and feathers - It is capable of digesting and absorbing plant matter if necessary. They have two stomachs, one for initial digestion of flesh and food, the second for breaking down fur and bone.

Circulatory System

The most obvious feature of Pretanian blood is that it is blue and faintly luminescent, as it contains cobalt and copper based oxygen carrier metalloproteins similar to hemocyanin and coboglobin in the place of hemoglobin typically found in red blooded species. More importantly however, is the bio-luminescence resulting from the unique cells that the Pretani employ. In addition to more traditional blood cells, Pretanian blood features many nano-scale cells collectively referred to as Blue Cordial. Together, these all play key, vital roles, working together to repel threats and repair bodily damage more efficiently than natural biological processes alone. These 'nano-cells' are energized, and as a result, emit light with increased activity.

Regeneration

Injuries that would normally take months to recover from in other species, including lost limbs, can regenerate over a course of weeks with adequate food. Upon the severing of the limb, the skin quickly grows to cover the wound, and under this new covering, a blastema which consists of de-differentiated skin cells forms. At the site, the cells that have reverted into stem cells form into the most distant part of the limb, such as the hand, with help from stem cells migrating from the stem cell colonies inside the torso. As the most distant part of the limb is undergoing the final stages of regeneration, the intermediate portions of the limb are filled in, bringing the limb to proper length. Major organs can also be rapidly repaired by the stem cells that can migrate out of their bones, while the blue cordial nano-cells refine and accelerate the process, boosting efficiency and speed.

Anatomically, the Pretani feature a blend of both reptilian and avian features which lends them a particularly colorful display.

Feathers

The feathers on the Prydainians are one of their most important features. They provide protection from heat and excessive sunlight by becoming reflective, preventing thermal radiation from directly contacting the body. Besides this, they also promote air circulation, with the layers working in conjunction to gently move air through their ranks, removing excess body heat. During cold weather, the outer layer and surface changes to rapidly absorb thermal radiation, while sealing off and insulating the body to retain what heat is produced by the body.

Perhaps more importantly, is the role they play when conveying information. The feathers on the face and head arrange themselves in certain patterns that indicate different moods or emotions. Though the crest on the head is most easily seen, the facial movements are far more subtle and difficult to notice. These are used in conjunction to blood flowing through the veins, creating patterns which can only be seen in the infrared spectrum. During cold weather, this becomes less and less active.

Nose

Olfaction in the Prydainians is well developed, and allows for the tracking of other members of their species as well as the tracking of other species when deployed on military duty. An interesting feature is present in the nostrils; they can be sealed or closed off by internal flaps to prevent undesirable scents from being perceived, or to protect the inner nose from foreign objects. When sealed, an airtight lock is formed, keeping both air and moisture in and dry air or contaminants out, but can be opened slightly to act as a makeshift filter for particulates such as dust.

Teeth

The teeth are always aligned in neat, straight rows and are best for cutting through flesh.

The addition of molars was meant to increase survival rates in both civilians and soldiers when cut off from supplies, broadening the range of food that can be consumed. As teeth are lost, if they ever are, new ones quickly grow in and replace the lost one, realigning itself in the process. They are highly dense, prolonging lifespan of the tooth, and making them more difficult to break.

Tail

The tail is five to eight feet ( 6' to 8' or 180 to 240 cm) long, and sensitive enough to be useful as a makeshift third hand in some cases; the sensitivity of the tail varies as it's usage varies from individual to individual. If it is used to whip or bludgeon, sensitivity goes down, where as the usage in fine manipulation will bring the sensitivity back to normal levels.

The tail projects out from the rear towards the ground, but curves away, being held off the ground by a few inches during most circumstances. It is often treated much like another hand in that it is kept away from unsanitary things when feasible despite the proximity to the floor As a result, the tail itself as cultural significance. In times of duress, such as when the tail is caught in something deadly, the owner may have it consciously detach, and grow back within approximately two weeks without medical assistance.

Hands

Prydainians have two hands, one for each arm. A single hand has three fingers and two thumbs opposite one another. In comparison to a human hand, the proper analog would be to slice of the pinky and graft on a right handed thumb in it's place. A gecko-like pattern of setae can be found on the inner surface of their hands, which serve as a self-cleaning and consciously controlled adhesive, allowing for a stronger grip and ease of climbing The naturally occurring claws are often replaced with a synthetic material at adolescence; the synthetic bio-claws bend and flex along with the rest of the fingers' movements as though it were merely an extension.

They also contain a network of neural tissue, allowing their motions to be controlled and sensations such as touch and temperature to be felt. Lastly, they may also harden into fixed forms for cutting and tearing. Visually, they have the appearance of standard claws, except for the small logo of the company that produced them located on the underside; the symbol rests just before the claw joins into flesh, generally measuring 1.5 millimeters in size.

Feet

Being digitigrades, the Prydainians walk on their toes. Their feet are prehensile, capable of grasping some objects with the three large toes and toe-thumbs. Though not as precise or sensitive as the hands, they are very strong, allowing the average adult to grasp onto obstacles and climb with ease. The three center toes of a foot are large, and are often used for traction, ripping into prey or attacking adversaries. Like the hands themselves, the inner surfaces also feature a gecko-pattern of setae which bond with surfaces on command to enhance their grip. Additionally, claw prosthesis with neural integration is also very common with their feet, just like their hands.

Eyes

The eyes of the average Prydainian have vision ten times sharper than the standard humanoid, with approximately 1,200,000 photo receptors. The most notable cosmetic feature is that they have cross shaped irises much like Peron's Tree Frog - though in that case the cross shape is a false optical feature, it is the actuality of the eyes on the Prydainian.

Pupils may move to mimic vertical slit pupils, horizontal slit pupils, or close up to resemble circular pupils for different purposes. The eyes have a high flicker threshold commonly at 120 Hz, allowing for the tracking of rapid movement as well as being able to distinguish moving objects such as stars, planets and sun. Besides functioning in the visible light spectrum, their eyes also function in the infrared spectrum, allowing them to see heat or the lack thereof.

Iris colors primarily range from brown to yellow, with red and blue being the least common of the colors. Prydainians have excellent night vision due to the presence of a tapetum lucidum, or reflective layer, in the eye, which. This results in 'eye-shine' when a light source is pointed towards the face. During daytime, visibility is slightly reduced due to the reflection; to compensate, there is a special cellular layer put into place above the reflective layer.

During daytime hours, this cellular layer darkens, turning black, effectively preventing light from reaching the tapetum but not interfere with the rods and cones of the eyes. At night, the layer becomes clear and non-refractive, allowing light to pass through freely and enhance night vision. The eyes also have nictitating membranes which assist in protecting the eye.

These membranes themselves move horizontally in comparison to the normal eyelid, and are translucent, allowing the individual to see through them when they sweep across the eye to swipe away dirt, excessive fluid or move by reflex. The eyes have a wide range of motion - in effect, they are capable of repositioning from a forward looking 170 degrees for enhanced depth perception, to a 305 degree field of view at the cost of depth perception.

Blood Squirt

Prydainians may squirt blood up to 10 feet from their eyes by elevating blood pressure and rupturing tiny vessels around the eyelids. These regenerate within a matter of minutes, and allow the individual to temporarily blind the threatening opponent by projecting the blood into their eyes; the stream can be accurately aimed.

As a side effect to having this defensive mechanism, when in stressful situations, Prydainians tend to appear to weep blood from their eyes, as the blood pressure rises enough to tear open the vessels but not properly rupture and project the blood. Individuals that 'cry' often usually have small, thin indentations or canals formed by the bleached and stained feathers where the blood repeatably flows.

Brain

With exceedingly rare exceptions, all Prydainians have an Anam in the place of a brain, which sits deeply buried inside their hardened skulls. The seemingly armored, walnut sized black sphere houses everything that they are, and contains their consciousness, memories and their mental processing power. Similar to the most pivotal technologies, the Anam is a Black Box - its internal processes are a complete mystery, and is viewed solely in terms of input and output. Inside the skull, the Anam is suspended in a gelatinous insulation, held perfectly in place by strong, web-like filigree and connected to the body as a whole by a lattice of nerves and blood carrying vessels of numerous sizes.

Prydainians reproduce sexually, with the male fertilizing the female when she is ovulating during estrus, which occurs approximately every 180 days or every 360 days depending on conditions. Pheromones released cause the emitting female to appear and smell attractive - during normal circumstances, there is no sexual interest between the sexes or genders.

All individuals have both male and female chromosomes present.

Reproductive Organs

Unlike most species, Prydainians are asexual throughout most of their lives, with organs of neither sex present. It is not until an individual with a female gender, a psychological and social role, approaches estrus that the appropriate organs begin to form internally and produces pre-estrus pheromones which cause nearby males to undergo the same process. By the time the males' organs have come to maturity, the females transition from pre-estrus to estrus for a time span of three days to one week. During this time, they can be made gravid by males. Afterwards, both males and females revert to their asexual states, only retaining their genders mentally.

Gestation

The gestation period takes about 3 months, at the end of which the female lays a flexible and tough 'shell-less egg' with a normal diameter of 5 inches, or approximately 13 centimeters. This contains both the fetus, and the necessary nutrients to support it for the next three days until hatching time. The young may use either the newly developed talons on their feet, or a special egg tooth to cut a way out. 82% of all hatching/births are single, with 18% leading to twins inhabiting the same 'egg'.

Due to numerous reasons - including their biology - they are not only incapable of safely having intercourse with any other species, but also have a species wide lack of desire to do so.

When born, Prydainians are semi-sentient, and in some cases, fully sentient. In either case, the hatching trauma is retained in memory with full sentience coming into being within 2-3 weeks. Infants are born small, chubby and with big heads at the average length from head to foot being 8 inches (20.3 cm). This stage lasts for one month at most, with the infants primarily moving on all four limbs, with only brief moments of standing on both legs.

Childhood lasts for an additional two months, with the Prydainian now at 3-4 feet in height and their proportions closer to matching that of an adult - unlike infants which cannot speak, children can. Their voices when using language sound as though they have soft palates however, giving them particularly childish pronunciation. At this point, they may also begin mimicking noises and sounds besides becoming bipedal in locomotion. Appearance wise, they still have their less colorful and ruddy colors.

It is not until Adolescence at the third month of age that drastic changes happen - a sharp, sudden growth spurt begins that brings them into the same height as an adult. Body fat is quickly burned off as the energy is used to grow and develop musculature and skeletal tissue. Appetite increases as well to support this growth spurt. Though the adolescent will reach adult height first, their musculature will still be under developed, lagging behind and giving them a particularly lanky, thin look - their plumage will also still be drab in coloration, with only some brighter colors beginning to show. It is only towards the end of this stage that a Prydainian is considered a Young Adult, with the primarily difference between it and Adults being the slowly changing plumage colors.

By the end of the third month, and when the forth month begins, the Prydainian is an adult in peak condition.

On average, the Prydainians are technically capable of living indefinitely due to the presence of Blue Cordial in their bodies, but typically are observed to live 200 years at most. Towards the last few decades, the body is deliberately allowed to fall into a state of disrepair, causing organ failure and death. At this point, the braincase is collected and disposed of despite its viability.

Laughter

Prydainian laughter is typically very high pitched and giggling, disturbing in its quality due to both human and non-human qualities. Usually, laughter is only attributed to humanoid species, and observing this behavior in an entirely different species is disturbing by itself. In addition, the laughter does not taper off as the individual loses breath, instead keeping its volume and tone consistent throughout the entire ordeal. The best comparison to the noise generated by a Prydainian when highly amused, is the laughter of an animal known as the “Spotted Hyena”.

Panting

In order to regulate body temperature in hot weather, Prydainians pant with their mouths open and tongues held mid-air. Air is circulated through the mouth and over the tongue, rapidly evaporating water in the saliva; this creates a cooling process that assists in keeping the body temperature at an acceptable level. The rate of panting is slow and deep, with the air channeled directly over the tongue, rather than fast paced and sloppy as with most species that use panting as a cooling method.

Pinning

The act of voluntarily dilating or constricting the iris is known as 'Pinning', and is used as a form of expression. Generally, dilated iris' with large, black pupils indicates that an individual is at ease or relaxed, sometimes to the point of being sleepy or lazy. Meanwhile, a constricted iris with a 'pin' for a pupil in the center of the cross is usually seen when individuals are alert, angered, agitated or excited. Pinning can be done untruthfully however, and can also expedite eye adjustment between areas of different lighting.

OOC Notes

  • This is an NPC species meant as an antagonist in the setting
  • Change blood to circulatory system and expand on that

1)
The Painted Ones
  • species/prydainian.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/12/26 06:27
  • by cadetnewb