Sutākame

Adult Form, Art by Doomguy26

First sighted during The Nanjing Incident, the Sutākame (スタ-カメ) are a horrifying species utterly feared for what they have committed, and are capable of.

Artificial in origin, the Sutākame, or 'Star Turtles', are a floating mass of armored chitin and powerful tentacles created by the Prydainians as very specific retribution against The Empire of Tai Pan for insults made during negotiations. The Sutākame were deployed as the primary unit of heavy infantry during the invasion of the Taianese planet Nanjing as both insult - being a direct reference to the more unsavory and sordid parts of the human cultures the Taianese drew from for inspiration - and a clear statement of the Prydainians' own ability and power. As a result of their deployment, the offending admiral surrendered herself to the Sutākame and their Prydainian masters, ending the brief but terrifying rein of terror and firmly establishing The Principality of Prydain as one of the few powers that Tai Pan is truly wary of.

Following these events, the Sutākame were released from servitude, with some choosing to remain with the Prydainians, while the majority made to establish themselves as a minor power. As a nation, they are semi-nomadic isolationists who keep to themselves, but fiercely defend themselves when provoked, even going so far as to live broadcast acts of cruelty against the perpetrators to make their message clear. Despite their capacity for violence and their proficiency with its use, the Sutākame are in fact polite and mild mannered creatures of great intellect. However, they are well aware of the heinous acts they have committed due to their compulsion to obey the Prydainians and the resulting views the international community has towards them. As a result, the Sutākame have simply chosen to do the most logical thing; use their reputation of fear as a defensive measure.

Despite hyping themselves up as psionic horrors however, they are among some of the most capable and coveted engineers.

The head of a Sutākame is perhaps their most distinctive feature, and is responsible for their name. Greatly resembling that of a turtle or tortoise in appearance, their heads are composed of two solid pieces of armored chitin, with one for the upper head and jaw, and the other for the lower jaw. Roughly triangular in shape, with smooth, rounded edges and a total of four eyes to either side, the powerful outer beak serves to either grasp or break open objects for the inner beak to gnaw, chew and crush food. This head is connected to the body by a thick, soft neck can extend out from the carapace in much the same way as certain land tortoises in order to facilitate both consumption of food, as well as provide better visibility.

Under normal circumstances however, the head is retracted. In this resting state, the gaps between head and body are relatively small, providing additional protection against any potential hazards. Meanwhile, the body itself is curved. As the head and body are relatively similar in their shape, the body itself is almost angular like a wedge, giving it a better ballistic profile which may bounce certain bullets. Further down the body however, the long tentacles of the Sutākame project downwards in an almost gown-like manner.

Despite having more in common with insects, the chitinous carapace of the Sutākame closely resembles the texture and patterns commonly seen on terrestrial turtles and tortoises.

Besides their already formidable physiology, the Sutākame possess a universally powerful aptitude for psionics, which is cultivated by all members of their species. As a result, each individual is a powerful psion, though the degree to which abilities are refined can vary from individual to individual. Some abilities however, are universal, such as their preferred method of locomotion; levitation. Others include the mind-to-mind interactions necessary for their society to function and psychometry, in order to help in maintaining their migratory flotillas. Those that have more specialized vocations, such as dedicated technicians or soldiers will have their psionics trained accordingly.

As physically powerful as they are intimidating, their shells are capable of resisting lighter, non-armor-piercing small-arms fire such as 7.62x39mm, while their heads are only resistant to handgun calibers like .45 ACP. Repeated shots will weaken the shell enough to penetrate, though they are capable of rapidly regenerating. Meanwhile, the limbs of the Sutākame are very capable of carrying large loads or bending metal pipes on their own. In addition, the limbs themselves are capable of precise work, and unlike octopi, do not need direct line of sight in order to coordinate their motions. Instead, like humans and other sapient species, they are mentally aware of the spatial location of their limbs. This, coupled with their limbs' abilities to lengthen, narrow and roughly manipulate its own shape, means that the Sutākame are also very well suited to mechanical engineering.

Despite this, their short life-span is perhaps one of their most limiting factors, living for 30 years on average. Though they are able to learn quickly like humans can, this means that the balance between the time spent on education and the time being productive is very poor. As a result, the Sutākame are not competitive and fair very poorly in comparison to species such as humans. However, their reproductive properties help to compensate with this. Though they require living organisms to incubate eggs in in order to raise viability to acceptable levels, their psionic aptitude also means that offspring maturing in other organisms begin to retain random memories, compensating for their shorter life spans. In addition, they are also reproductively compatible with the majority of species as well. 3/4ths of all offspring are Sutākame, with the other 1/4 being the other species, but with a probability for psionic potential. Out of that quarter, one quarter of them will be a hybrid-species, with physically stable but varying characteristics. One individual may have hard plates covering their body with only a few tentacles coming out of the back, while another may be relatively normal from the waist up, but nothing but tentacles from the waist down.

Typical Sutākame offspring go through three stages of life. They first start off as a serpent-like larva capable of using their psionics to hide themselves and acquire food. When particularly threatened, these serpent-larva are capable of entering the bodies of larger organisms for safety, providing control of their psionic abilities in a form of symbiosis until maturity. In worse case scenarios though, the Sutākame young will instead assume direct control and imitate their hosts by using their psionics to steadily 'mine' glimpses of memories. This comes at the cost of being able to use their psionics, but allows them to hide in safety. The second part of their lifestyle begins after creating a cocoon or pupa outside or in a host, from which they emerge in a 'crab' or 'turtle' form.

In this form, the Sutākame is quadrupedal, and very closely resembles the namesake of the species with its four, stubby proto-tentacles. These juveniles, still adolescent in their development, cannot exercise their full scope of psionic power like adults can, but still have a formidable amount of power available. Capable of running, climbing and leaping across distances using this psionic ability to boost themselves, these more well protected adolescent young are fairly mobile. Though they do possess other small, functional tentacles used to manipulate objects, their four fat, stubby, leg-like proto-tentacles are their primary means of locomotion.

It is from this form that the Sutākame eventually become adults, levitating themselves off the ground.

OOC Notes

  • One of several major causes of the Wangdaio Colonies and their fall
  • Multiple stages in life, including serpent, turtle and flying turtle; youngest stage can attach and form symbiotic or parasitic relationship with individuals
  • Work on that culture article
  • species/sutakame.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/02/25 20:30
  • by cadetnewb