|10.8.1 Part 1: Biology|
|The biology of the K'Luth is a curious thing. Of all the life forms we have encountered, they are the only ones that defy easy classification. We have identified two sub-species of K'Luth. One is the Warrior Caste, and the other is the Artisan Caste. The Warrior Caste seems to be specific to personal combat duties, while the Artisan Caste is found in all roles in K'Luth society, including combat. Thusly the Artisan Caste greatly outnumbers the Warrior Caste. Due to the presence of two distinct Castes, the chimera qualities of their biology, and the religious history of the K'Luth, our scientists believe that at some point in their past they engineered themselves to their current state.
While from outward appearance some identify them as insectoid, on closer inspection this is found to be patently false. The basic physical configuration of the K'Luth is actually remarkably similar to a human in its overall proportions and sectioning. They possess the basic head, torso, and abdomen, as well as arms and legs. They have four arms, each with four fingers. Two of these digits oppose the others, in effect giving them two "thumbs" on each hand. Their legs posses some vestige of having been grasping limbs in their past evolution, though this seems to have changed in the recent evolutionary cycle to allow them to be bi-pedal life forms with locomotion similar to humans. The design of their arms and legs lends some credence to them having evolved from tree dwelling stock at some point, though this cannot be verified without some information on their home world. In the Warrior Caste, the upper arms are specialized into being clawed melee weapons, and have no ability to manipulate objects with any skill. The Warrior Caste is also larger, and significantly more massive than the Artisan Caste.
As mentioned before, the K'Luth defy classification in our traditional terms. While they posses cartilaginous plates over some parts of their bodies, they also have a fully developed endoskeleton. This endoskeleton is roughly the same density as a human, with similar ability to bear weight and stress. This system allows them to have a slightly higher chance of sustaining less damage than a human from low technology weapons. The Warrior Caste has much more chitin on its surface, with a much higher density to it. Their endoskeleton is also denser, with reinforced joint areas. This allows it to suffer considerable amounts of damage. Modern weapons, however, even the field considerably.
Their entire surface is covered with a scaly hide, even over the cartilaginous plates. This hide varies from large, rough scales to very fine, smooth scaling, depending on the surface that is covered. The scales form many varied patterns and colors on the K'Luth, such that no two look precisely the same. Additionally, the coloration is capable of rapid shifts of remarkable degree. This seems to fulfill the need for expression to be displayed visually. The skin surface is tough, but quite sensitive to touch, particularly on the pads of the hands. The scale patterns also seem to have some barring on their social structure, identifying both the individual, and the group it belongs to.
The muscular system is fully developed, allowing for similar capacities in strength and speed to a Human. Their capacity for endurance is remarkable, allowing them to bare burdens about one and a quarter times as long as a human could. Tendon and ligament connections are similar in strength and ability to a human as well. The Warrior Caste's muscular system is denser and stronger than normal when compared to a Human or Artisan. This does, however, seem to cost them some speed in their reflexes.
While the information presented so far might indicate a reptilian creature, this is not the case. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the internal organ system of the K'Luth. The typical core temperature seems to be slightly higher than a human, at about 38 degrees. They also posses a four chambered heart, like a mammal. The digestive system is specialized primarily in metabolizing meat. This, coupled with their mandible system, indicates that they are almost exclusively predatory. While their digestive system is capable of breaking down raw materials, cooked food is assimilated more easily and efficiently. Their lungs take up more space than a humans, but have similar overall capacity. Additionally, they seem to be able to process air more efficiently if it is slightly denser than one atmosphere, with a slightly higher level of carbon dioxide. Our native atmospheric composition is not dangerous to them, and it is theorized that theirs would pose no danger to us.
The ability for the K'Luth to resist toxins and disease is remarkable. While they are susceptible to artificial compounds like any other life form, biologically derived chemicals seem to have absolutely no effect on them. Additionally, they have no history of plague in their species. Indeed, we have yet to find any record of a K’Luth that has had a cold.
Reproduction and Life Span
K'Luth are sexed beings, having both male and female. Identifying the between the two is a major challenge for non-K'Luth. There are no known outward signs that can help a non-K'Luth determine the gender of a K'Luth. Fertilization is done internally, with the female laying an egg approximately one week later. This egg takes about eight months to hatch into a young K'Luth. The egg needs to be maintained at a warm temperature, with a lot of sunlight. K'Luth take about 20 standard years to reach maturity after hatching. There is no solid evidence, even among the K'Luth, as to their natural life span. Measured scientific estimates place it at about 60-80 years. However, the average age at which a K'Luth dies is between 40-50. Many times they are much younger. This is primarily due to their culture. Warrior and Artisan Caste are both born in the same manner. However, the Warrior Caste is completely neutral in their sexual organs. Curiously, the Warrior Caste members still posses’ affectations of a gender. They also identify themselves with being male or female, even though they lack all means of reproduction. Somehow, the K'Luth are able to determine whether their offspring will be of the Warrior or Artisan caste, though they have no control over the gender.
K'Luth possess excellent senses of touch, similar in sensitivity to a Human. Their sense of taste and smell are also very similar to ours as well. Hearing in the K'Luth seems to be less sensitive than in Humans, with a particular slacking off in the upper frequency ranges.
Eyesight is unique. Artisan eyesight is excellent at less than 5 meters. Indeed, it far surpasses Human eyesight at up-close work, allowing them to see things that would be microscopic to a Human. Also, they can see in a broader spectrum of colors than a human, with a great deal more precision in determining between colors. Their eyesight drops in ability after about 100 meters, giving them almost myopic sight acuity.
The Warrior Caste, conversely, has remarkable eyesight at range, and can see far beyond Humans with accuracy and detail. They also have excellent low-light vision, letting them see in very dark environments. They have little ability to see beyond the most basic of colors, and their sight ability at close range is poor. This lack of color actually lets them discern camouflage patterns much easier than a Human can, so don't be fooled into thinking you can easily hide from them.
The K'Luth skull is a reinforced case. Rather like a Human skull, it houses the single most important organ in the K’Luth body. The K'Luth mind is a fascinating construct. It has two major halves, like a human. Also, it has reasoning lobes in the fore with motor located at the lower rear near the brain stem. However, it also has two additional lobes. These are located to the lower rear of the brain, one on each side of the head.
The mental capacity of an Artisan is the equal to a Human in every way. They are capable of at least the same level of abstract reasoning, creative thinking, analytical thought, and predictive conjugation. Do not be fooled into thinking that these are unintelligent beasts. The Warrior Caste seems to have a reduced capacity for thought. While they are not stupid by any means, they seem to posses the mental maturity of a 10-year-old human. An aggressive, violent 10 year old. This actually lends them to be instinctively dependent on the Artisan Caste for leadership. It is because of this that we think that this reduced capacity in the Warrior Caste may actually be intentional.
This was the most difficult of all to unravel. While we were able to determine how the K'Luth project visual signals by adjusting their skin patterns and colors, we couldn't decipher their spoken language. It seemed to be nothing more than a series of grunts and roars, with no construction or pattern to it. The Deconstruction Department actually provided the key to understanding how the K'Luth communicate, while trying to unravel the mysteries of some of the K'Luth technology.
The K'Luth, it seems, are psionicly active. Later interviews with K'Luth prisoners have verified this theory, and given us a great deal of information on how this functions.
Let us separate some of the fact from the fiction on how the communication works. Firstly, think of this like a radio. In order to receive psionic communication, you must also be able to send it. The two come hand in hand, and cannot be separated. Secondly, you always transmit your signal. It cannot be turned off. Whatever thoughts are formed in your head are transmitted. Thirdly, this is not a narrow beam transmission. Everyone in the area who is psionicly active is receiving your transmissions, as well as transmitting their own. Finally, only formed thoughts are discernible, emotion is like static. Emotion is not formed and directed, and so is a small chaotic burst of signal. Formed thoughts are stronger than the static from emotions, and so can be picked out with relative ease. Like hearing a human voice over the background sound of a busy street. The range on this communication seems to be around 300 meters. At that range it is a concerted effort for a K'Luth to understand a thought that is "shouted". This form of communication is instantaneous to all who can hear it.
K'Luth are taught at a young age how to discern thoughts from static and how to form them themselves. Fortunately for us, they cannot "read minds", "see the future", or even hear a humans thoughts or emotions. We know that the two lower rear lobes of their brains are what allow them to manifest their abilities. These specialized areas work continually at filtering and prioritizing the thoughts of the K'Luth nearby. If a Human were capable of this form of communication, it would probably damage their brains in short order. There is one curiosity here. According to the K'Luth, they aren’t the only things that transmit in this way. They also claim that stars put off static the same as emotions. Some among them even claim that they can hear thoughts from the stars themselves. It is because of this that we feel that insanity is not a plague on Humanity alone.
Some members of the Artisan Caste claim to be able to "feel" the DNA structure of other life forms with their powers. They also claim to be able to manipulate it using these powers. This has been neither confirmed, nor discounted. However, if their ascertains are correct, this process takes many hours of intense effort on the shaper's part.
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