Their technology is utterly biological, but they do not tamper with nature, they have the power to evolve life as they require. The theory is that life on their world is descended from bionano-goo, or "green goo", nanomachines which evolved a life of their own and are capable of symbiotically evolving. Cephalodian biotech is actually far in advance of 21st century humans, having living steedships and "wetware" computers capable of storing much more data using DNA as a computing substrate.
Cephalodians are carbon-based and have cellular structure like that of Earthly life. They live on a world with similar atmospheric density and gravity, thus they have similar via biological functions to those under the Kingdom Animalia. However, it is believed all life on their planet was descended from bionano-tech which evolved a life of its own and is quite capable of the symbiosis it was designed for. They are similar to the molluscs of Earth, but instead, having evolved for the land.
Their bodily structure is unusual compared to most upright and humanoid sentiences, their limbs have eight joints, which break of into two legs and two arms. Their main trunk joint is made of highly tensile muscles, which are circular and vertical and tightly coil up the trunk. They require a lot of oxygen to focus blood (pumping large amounts of amino acids) and electrochemicals to stimulate the muscle fibres to hold up their frame.
Their biology still in some ways mimicks the bionano "green-goo". For example, their brain and central nervous system has the ability to interact with all other life on their world through an unknown method of cellular, and likely sub-cellular communication (possibly biophotons). The ecology of Seladiscas is such that symbiotic evolution is even more prominent than Earth's, or many such worlds; both visually and subtly.
They change colour when they feel threatend, either yellow or red, but most of the time, they have greenish-grey coloured flesh. Cephalodians can also change the colour of their stripes in the fashion of a chameleon, by changing pigments in their skin in response to different emotions. Pink and purple, usually mean a Cephalodian is angry, however, due to their temperament, it is very rarely the case when one will come across pink and purple striped Cephalodians. Emotions are displayed more through their colour than their gestures. To a naive person, it woudn't appear that the Cephalodians have many emotions as they do not change too many colours, however, Cephalodians are pentachromats, seeing many more colours. Patterns of colour are also extremely important.
Cephalodian xenopsychology, sentience and perception Edit
Cephalodians are a couple of points higher on the sentience qoutient than humans because their neuron-analog cells are slightly more efficient at processing speed (being descended from bionano-tech). This means Cephalodians are faster than humans at making calculations, and even doing two or three activities at once, a near-impossibility at a concious-level for a human. This does not imply Cephalodians are more intelligent or concious than other species, they are adapted to their own niche and apply it differently.
Their rather unique subcelluar-cellular structure effects their perception and understanding of the universe. For example, they have a subjective mind function other species lack; ability to animate life on their world symbiotically like an artform or technology. Such species cannot comprehend what it's like for a Cephalodian to interact with the genetic sentience of cells and evolve living organisms into forms such as technology as they do in a matter of a generation or so, no more than a non-concious lifeform could comprehend conciousness. It is likely that their ability to do multiple calculations at once gives them multiple-based arithmetic instead of counting on one quantity.
- All of this also effects lifestyle and sociality. Cephalodians did not have a concept of possession until they encounted offworlders, an utterly alien idea, and they don't require hierachial ranking. Although they may have a concept of systems, likely similar to biological and ecological ones (individual organisation may shift all the time to adapt). War is unknown on their world, as is resource-taking, taking from nature or destroying life by accident even is as abhorrent* for them as genocide is to many offworlders.
*Despite this, the Cephalodians have since observed warfare. In order to defend their world from the Grox, they did use military force, with each death replaced by returning the bodies to the natural ecology (even asking their steedships to fight). They still lack at understanding warfare (compared to humans or Zazane or Grimbolsaurians), their minds are less competitive and more symbiotic. Although Cephalodians are peaceful and pacifist, they understand that "death" is neccesary for new life. What is abhorrent to them is exploiting nature for in-organic purposes, or even to cause the "death" of an ecological habitat - this is the true meaning of death to them.
Symbiotic Evolution - why life is so important Edit
Evolution is heavily symbiotic on their world, although it could be argued that symbiosis is always an important feature of evolution. It is enough to prominently affect not only their minds and bodies, but society, culture and philosophy.
Culture and society Edit
The Cephalodians are a pacifistic, non-hierarchical people. For the most part they live in small subsistent communities within nature. What bound cultures and development on their world was to do with symbiotic interactions and philosophies. Using scientific basis, they were able to breed ever more advanced technology and living standards, yet with negligable exploitation (which is easily accounted for). They realised that Seladiscas would not last forever, so journeyed to the stars to ensure the safety of life. Biologically, they are omnivores, but where they do not need it, they stick to extreme veganism.
When in space, they adhere to the Ecologist archetype, seldom ever finding conflict, and only to protect life. They often guide races who are less kind to the enviroment. They oppose the Grox and Legion of the Deathmarch, but not in arms.
Glimpsing Cephalodian art is a rare site, for it never lasts for long. Other concepts of "art" only a Cephalodian could understand, relating only to their symbiotic intelligence and senses. For art in the visual sense; first a Cephalodian must make communication with an organism capable of producing Chromatophores, cells capable of changing pigments, and wait for it to accept. As symbiosis the Cephalodians must give something back, like the promise of food or water. Then the Cephalodian must get it to "paint" its pigments, the organism must be allowed to give up the picture when it wants, so Cephalodian art rarely lasts long unless it has been captured by recording technology. Bodily art also exists; Cephalodians can also change their colour, some, if their will is strong enough, can even tattoo themselves with colours and patterns.
The true meaning of their art is difficult to feel for aliens without emotional translators (different qualia), although many offworlders try. Alien art-interpreting is a popular game.
Belief systems Edit
Philosophy of classical and modern Cosmospawn Edit
Also see Cosmospawn & The Quest for Cosmospawn
The Cephalodians have a belief system similar to biocentrism and John Wheeler's Participatory Anthropic Principle. It is drawn from when ancient wisdom combined with their discovery of quantum mechanics. Cosmospawn if a belief that the universe is a single quantum superposition, and that the emergence of life from chaos observed and collapsed it, creating an ordered, fine-tuned universe. Life is the fabric that holds together existence and the universe is the construct life uses to live and play.
As the Cephalodians spread across the stars, they discovered life everywhere. This didn't fit with their picture of the universe, because if life makes the first observation, all life in that universe must descend from the prime observer. Refusing to give up, a crew of Cephalodians equipped a steedship with a spacetime shield supplied by the Apalos and navigated a cosmic string that existed since the origins of the cosmos, using it as a tipler cylinder for a device of time travel. They discovered life there too and witnessed the first scourge, initiated by the Xhodocto. The Cephalodians now believe that while not all life descends from each other, all life in each scourge depends on the Xhodocto to maintain it, to clean up the entropy life builds.
Living worlds Edit
The Cephalodians also believe in something along lines of Gaia theory, that planets support an equilibrium for life, and if disruption to a system in the planet's climate occurs, then the planet finds a balance. The Cephalodians have combined this with the Biocentric universe, in that planets, also organisms, help support the equilibiums for life, so life can go on and observe the universe, decohering its quantum state and springing it into existence.
The Xhodocto Edit
The Cephalodians were horrified by the concepts of the Xhodocto, and it was believed that Hell were universes where all life has been extinguished, with the only observers to shape existence left beings the Xhodocto and the demons of Inferno. Because of this, the Xhodocto shape these universes as they seem fit to them, turning these universes into hell. They now have abandoned this belief, and think that the Xhodocto are gardeners; that fertilise the soil, sow the seed, then plough and till, starting over, weeding out life before it overwhelms the universe.
Biological immortality Edit
Yet another theory, based from science and its philosophical consequences, is biological immortality. When an organism dies, as long as it is not in an environment unsuitable of detritivores, the organism will decompose. However, the creatures DNA (or alternative biochemistry version) could still last for thousands of years. As the creatures material body rots, its genetic information, its genes and perhaps even memories can survive for periods of time. The bacteria and other orgnanisms feeding on the body, are capable of absorbing these strands of DNA, which is continued to be passed on through countless other lifeforms, from viruses to plants and that experiences of past lives, are simply the memories of previous people, that has been absorbed into that individual. So when a Cephalodian dies, the Cephalodians will ensure that he or she is able to decompose quickly, to save as much information as possible, so there is enough of that creatures mind to spread and walk to the next plane of existence, which lies among the natural environment.
Science and technology Edit
The Cephalodian's technology is alive and most often self-aware, so much so, that the Cephalodians do not exploit biotechnology, rather, they are symbiotic with it. Technology is never built, only evolved, grown and breeded, often within a generation or two in modern times from direct cellular manipulation. This differs them from other species in the galaxy that use organic and/or living technology e.g. some Milky Way precursors, Apalos and the creators of wild bioships (most spacefaring organisms).
- Mechanising ecology to bacteriotech - direction of advancement
Many analogies can be drawn between human industrial revolution and Cephalodian biological advancement. Whole ecologies could be made mimicking ever more powerful technologies. But they soon began to be minimalised, eventually into bacteriotech. At this point Cephalodians were able to alter the chemical structures and creating tough exoskeletal parts that can withstand extremes like great temperatures.
- Wetware and genetic computers
These days, the Cephalodians can even create computers which outstand the fastest silicon counterparts.
These are large spacecraft. No Cephalod craft are quite the same, and are composed of tough, exoskeletons. These spacecraft (including weapons and armour) have the ability to "learn".
Despite the Cephalodian's use of living creatures and ecology, the Cephalodians have attempted to build technology with the aid of alien species offworld. Their greatest innovation was the Eden ship, with the function of "seeding" planets with life.
Many have drawn similarities between the Cephalodians and the Na'vi from Avatar. However, I created creature the concept back in early 2009 before the movie was released and before I had any knowledge of it. Similarities between life on Seladiscas and Pandora (Ewya in particular) cannot be denied, however, there is a difference. While life on Pandora is connected as an environmental "brain" of bio-electric circuits that grants communication, mind uploading/downloading and a vast library of all Na'vi that ever lived; life on Seladiscas doesn't have this property. Instead, life communicates at a subcellular level either due to evolutionary pressure or the Cephalodians, symbiotically co-evolving in ways offworld species like humans could never understand without seeing coming from different biologies. Na'vi upload, download and meld minds with native wildlife while Cephalodians and other species program each other.
- If anything, the Ithorians from Star Wars were an inspiration of their culture, while their body plan and concept was inspired by the Megasquid from the documentary, Future Is Wild.
I came up with the concept that all life on Seladiscas evolved from run-away bio-nanotechnology to make a more somewhat believable explanation for how life on Seladiscas achieves such deep levels of symbiosis, rather than lets say, a cheap explanation using essence. I have no idea if other people have thought of similar ideas.
Quotes from other EmpiresEdit
- - High Priest Pepis
“There are very few civilisations that understand the Empire's purpose in existence. The Ectobiomality is one of these.”
- - Emperor Ghelax Dreyk of the Girdo Empire
“Not sure if I would like to sit inside something organic when flying between starsystems, but who am I to judge? Everyone have their little funny way to travel.”
- - Diplomat Gibek of the Gablinus-Avis Empire
“Their technology and their biological advancements interest me... I will see how they can be of use to me... after I've crushed them.”
- - Kralgon Emperor
“Perhaps I can, "borrow", a few of their ships... and maybe they could lend me a couple of their species...”
- - Falrik Zaarkhun
“An admirable species among the younglings of the universe. We see quite a potential in them.”
“They are an insult to our Brotherhood!”
- - Brotherhood of Dantirboreale
“They must be honored to be so close to the natural beauty of the universe. They have reached an elemental harmony that any one of us would be envious to reach.”
- - Sedulan
“What a nice, cool and kind civilisation. I just love the biological technology they possess! And their ships are amazing too. The universe needs more civilisations like this one. The Cephalodians are an example to try to follow.”
- - Moostake the Hairy from the Slukatian Empire