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“Life is strange. It can adapt to even the most extreme conditions. Perhaps it would even be possible for life based on an alkaline such as water could function. Perhaps carbon could replace silicon in alien biochemistry. Whatever the case, we must be open to possibilities. The facts, however, clearly support silicon-sulfur based life as the most viable option on any world at all like our own.”
Serakyachminar, Theoretical Astroscientist
The Yorchi are an unusual intelligent race native to the volcanic, sulfur rich world of Moriahra. Unlike most life, Yorchi are based on a combination of silicon and sulfur, and use sulfuric acid as a solvent and oxygen gas for respiraion. As a result, their characteristics are rather unusual relative to carbon-based life. In terms of their macroscopic structure, Yorchi possess a total of six limbs, have exoskeletons, and rely upon bipedal locomotion for lateral movement, although they rely heavily on their upper graspers for climbing. Yorchi are omnivores, capable of consuming plants, animals, fungi and even certain soil and rocks.
The Yorchi have developed a united, interstellar society known as the Yorchi Union.
Yorchi use sulphuric acid as a solvent and hydrogen sulfide for respiration purposes. As a result, their forms are highly acidic to most life, and Yorchi consider water to be a powerful chemical base. Yorchi are based upon silicon and sulfur, both of which are plentiful on their home planet Moriahra. Their internal composition also involves hydrogen, phosphorous and arsenic, as well as trace amounts of many metals. Notably, Yorchi do not suffer significant poisoning from heavy metals, although halogenic substances such as chlorine and radioactive materials such as thorium are capable of killing a Yorchi as effectively as any carbon-based organism.
External Anatomy Edit
Yorchi have a distinct head and body, as well as four arms, two legs and a tail. Most of a Yorchi's body is covered by an exoskeleton, with a significant amount of the central body covered by a protective shell.
Yorchi have two pairs of arms- upper and lower. Both are segmented and protected by a thick exoskeleton layer. Their upper arms have two segments, and end in three flexible, almost-tentacle like graspers. These graspers are used for climbing, grabbing and as weapons. A Yorchi's lower arms have four segments, which are thicker and more protected than the upper arms. They also end in graspers possessing three fingers, but these hands also possess opposable thumbs and are used for precise, delicate operations. Generally the upper graspers are called "graspers" and the lower ones "hands".
The legs of a Yorchi are also protected by an exoskeleton. Each Yorchi has two, which are both divided into four segments. A Yorchi's bony feet are unusual. They are flat, and have three toes, one protruding from the center and two curving inward from either side. These are believed to have originally been used to hook into cliffs for climbing stability. Yorchi rely on their legs and feet for locomotion. Yorchi typically move in "strides", essentially walking where each movement carries them a large distance.
The head of a Yorchi is notable for being bony and having a thick exoskeleton. This helps to protect many sensory organs. A Yorchi has three eyes, although some consider them to technically have seven. This is because two of their eyes are actually "tricompound" eyes, which are comprised of three separate crystalline eyes each. Similar to an insect's compound eyes, they provide a wide range of peripheral vision, but struggle to focus on individual objects. The final eye of the Yorchi is their "focusing" eye, which is a complex structure surrounded by gelatinous material, similar to the eye of a human. Yorchi use this eye to focus their vision and take in every detail of an object. Notably, both eyes can be used to see a significant portion of the ultra-violet spectrum.
Yorchi possess a sense of hearing and of smell, both of which rely on the internal portions of the head more than external ones. Their sense of smell and hearing is weaker than that of many creatures, but they have an excellent sense of balance. Perhaps the most important part of a Yorhchi head is however the mouth. Yorchi have two opposite rows of teeth designed mainly for tearing and piercing tough material such as shells, armor, and muscle tissues. This is because defensive measures using such materials are common on Moriahra.
Yorchi have a small tail. Unlike most creatures, however, it is not used for balance. Instead, it ends in the "crystallum", which is essentially a mechanism for storing and later eliminating waste. Yorchi tails are protected by a thick exoskeleton but are their most vulnerable appendages due to being relatively easy to snap. However, unlike most limbs, Yorchi are able to regenerate their tails over time.
The shell of a Yorchi covers most of its body, save for extremities and the neck. This shell serves several purposes. Hard material that cannot be used in any other way can be distributed to the shell. It also serves as a defensive measure, protecting Yorchi from attack. The shell is able to resist many kinds of chemical attack and sharp objects but blunt trauma is able to shatter it without too much difficulty. Yorchi are unable to retract into their shells, and as they age their shells continue to grow, which can often become a hindrance.
Yorchi consume a variety of foods. ranging from living matter in plants and animals to the soil of Moriahra. They are able to metabolize such a wide variety of substances thanks to their three-stomach digestive system. After swallowing food through their mouth, the material is sent to the first Yorchi stomach, where microbial digestion breaks down a large amount of it. This is often called the "slow stomach" due to being the slowest acting stomach a Yorchi has. It is also the largest. The second stomach is often called the "rock stomach". It too uses microbial digestion to break down food, but the microbes contained within it are also lithovores, and break down many rocks and soils into useful compounds. On the way to the third stomach, the transfer tube absorbs a large amount of nutrients. The third and final Yorchi stomach is often referred to as the "quick stomach". It uses chemical digestion in the form of an alkaline substance which breaks down any remaining material. This material travels through the intestine, which absorbs any remaining useful vitamins, minerals or compounds.
Undigested waste is sent to an organ known as the "crystallum", which is the crystal at the end of the tail of a Yorchi. The crystallum, after a couple of days, is removed by deliberately breaking a large portion off. It can also be forcefully launched away, although this function mainly serves a reproductive purpose. The crystallum is essentially the equivalent of feces for a Yorchi.
Internal Anatomy Edit
Perhaps the most important organ of a Yorchi is their brain. The Yorchi brain has two main segments, generally known as the "forebrain" and the "hindbrain". The forebrain is responsible for most actions of movement, such as respiration, peristalsis (digestive contraction) and striding. It also interprets sensory information, such as hearing, sight and balance. The hindbrain is responsible for storing memories, feeling emotions and for making conscious decisions. The two segments often work in conjunction with each other. For example, if a Yorchi decides to step forward, the conscious though occurs in the hindbrain, which sends a signal to the forebrain. The signal is then interpreted and sent to the legs, which move accordingly.
The Yorchi heart is rather unusual. It has two segments, typically known as the "heart pump" and the "heart filter". The heart pump, more technically known as the musculocardium, is a powerful muscle located almost directly in the center of mass of a Yorchi. It is responsible for pumping the equivalent of blood throughout the body through a single way artery system. After entering capillaries and delivering hydrogen sulfide, the blood cells begin a transformation where they adapt to become similar to nearby cells. The "heart filter", more scientifically called the "hepatocardium" releases specialized cells that collect waste material. They travel using a capillary system and return back to the heart filter where the waste material is filtered out. The heart filter is also responsible for filtering poisonous materials from the bloodstream. Yorchi blood is a pale yellow when sulfated and a dull yellow-green when not. As a result, most Yorchi internal tissue tends to have a yellow tinge.
The Yorchi respiratory system begins with the mouth, where air is inhaled. From there, air travels to the lungs. Yorchi have three lung sacs, two of which intake air and one of which exhales waste. The main reason for this structure is so that certain microbes can be encouraged to inhabit the area where air is transferred from inhaling lungs to the exhaling lung. These microbes can break down some materials found in the air and create additional oxygen, which is required by the Yorchi.
Yorchi have a tendency to think of a situation as it is rather than how it could be. This makes them have relatively few aspirations as they focus mainly on what they believe they can achieve rather than what they wish to accomplish. Yorchi tend to consume four main meals in a day due to their fast metabolism. They are also typically very stubborn, refusing to be persuaded without absolute and undeniable evidence. An interesting result of their waste disposal system is that Yorchi tend to view gemstones and crystals the same way humans view sludge and fecal waste.
The reproductive system of the Yorchi is reliant on the crystallum and an organ known simply as the reproductive gland. This gland is responsible for secreting a liquid containing reproductive cells. Yorchi have the ability to actively launch their crystallum. The process take a few seconds, during which pressure is built and reproductive liquid is sent to fill any open spaces in the crystallum. When enough pressure has been built, the crystallum is forcefully propelled away. This function was originally adapted when Yorchi were primarily climbers, as substantial force was needed to keep the crystallum embedded in a vertical surface. Launched crystallums essentially act as eggs, and thy can be told apart from waste by the yellowish color created by the liquid within.
Not all reproductive liquid is forced into the crystallum before it is launched. Some remains in the "tail", and this liquid is used to fertilize an "egg". Notably, Yorchi lack genders, and any Yorchi can contribute their genetic material. As such, Yorchi mating is typically a mass event. Fertilized crystallum take around a year and three months to develop and emerge into a young Yorchi.
- The Yorchi are Methanogen's first SporeWiki fiction.