Hello everyone! I only recently joined Starbound, but I came up with a new race which I thought would be fun to play; The Shaleth! I apologize if the artwork is hard to see, I'm still practicing pixel art (more difficult than I was expecting)... I do hope you like the idea though! The Shaleth (pronounced 'shale + eth') Cultural Style: Chinese Qing Dynasty Appearance: Crystal-like The defining characteristics of the Shaleth when they were first discovered was 'neutral until the slightest provocation', otherwise 'hot-headed', and followed with an 'attack first, ask questions later' mentality. The term 'dense as stone' seems to qualify on all fronts of the Shaleth both physically and mentally. Their bodies are made entirely of stone or crystal making it relatively difficult for basic attacks to do any significant damage to them, however they aren't the brightest when it comes to technological advances and having an incredible inability to solve even the simplest puzzles. They do have the amazing capability to commit and never give up when their mind is set on something, having a 'one-track-mind' until the current task is done regardless of whatever that might be. It can be noted that there is no record of a married Shaleth couple ever getting a divorce. Thus those who are bent on defending justice and becoming friends with other races are some of the most straight-edged and memorable guardians. Update! 12/18/14: I added in an additional note of interest at the end of the Biology section further detailing another aspect of their culture/lifestyle. Backstory (Read at your discretion) This species generally ignores space travel and can only be accounted for their spread of civilization by catastrophic circumstances over millenia. The Shaleth sustain themselves on fine silicates. As a result some call them “Sand-eaters”, most with less than friendly overtones. Some planets do not have plentiful resources, so they will send a single preordained subject from birth, cultivating him specifically for space travel. They can survive on the surface of airless planets (as long as they are exposed to sunlight), however when submerged, the porous structure and heavy nature of these beings makes deep water very dangerous for them. Their travelers are expected to enter space with one goal, return with more food. Often this “programming/indoctrinating” is followed unquestioningly. However when faced with challenges, and being some of the few who are taught to “adapt to complete the mission”, the space faring Shaleth are those who come back with stories and nuances that slightly imprint on the society. This was most significant when their arrival on Earth in China's early and more formative years, a Shaleth traveler was enamored with the structure and hierarchy. They happily offered up sand to the 'god of stone', giving him the name 'Shenshi'. Upon his return to his planet with bountiful food, this became the first injection of culture that transcended planets, as Shenshi would become the first 'Lord' of his entire race, ushering in a new age for the Crystalline. Their “empire” would begin a very slow and systemic expansion to the stars... Needless to say, the first contact with the Shaleth was not a peaceful one. A group of human miners found their way into what looked to be a crystalline cave filled with precious stones. Excited with their 'find', the first strike ended up hitting a sleeping Shaleth citizen in the shoulder with the miner's pickaxe. Enraged, the Shaleth female yelled and attacked without a moment's hesitation, scaring the miners right out of the cave and out of the mine shaft. One of the miners stated that she chased them all the way to the surface until they made it to their ship, to which she returned back into the cave after glaring at them for a time. A second attempt to make proper contact was made a week later after the incident to meet with these new beings, thankfully with better success. The Shaleth's Interactions with Other Races Humans: The Lord, Shenshi, reveres them for their creation of their culture, however most Shaleth deem them unpredictable and unsavory. Apex: Because of their strong associations with similar animals, they have difficulty properly acknowledging them as individuals, looking down on them as inferior. Avian: Because of their strong associations with similar animals, they have difficulty properly acknowledging them as individuals, looking down on them as inferior. Floren: Strongly despised, but the Shaleth are often ignored by the Floren for their lack of useful resources and most engagements result in more Floren casualties than Shaleth. Glitch: Strongly respected and honored for their devotion to their linear programming. Hylotl: Ironically the Shaleth get along great with the Hylotl. With little to no associations to amphibious life forms, they revere Hylotl individuality and culture. The Hylotl reciprocate and marvel at the natural beauty the Shaleth possess. Novakid: The Shaleth strongly dislike Novakids for the fact that they are considered 'irritating' or 'immature', though the Shaleth tolerate them. Novakids love them for the simple fact that their light reflects through them, causing 'prismatic light shows' on occasion, but more importantly, their disposition makes them easy and amusing to annoy. Biology (Read at your discretion) The Shaleth, crystalline in nature, are simplistic intellectually yet extremely complex physically. The outer layer of the entire body is comprised of a basic and dense crystalline structure (varying from different crystal types) along with a microscopic porous layer while the interior of a segmented section is that of a very fine, flexible, and sensitive conductive material. The entire internal formation of the body's segments are comprised of this material with the only exception that the head and torso appear to have more complex components or additional objects which could be considered organs. The interior of a Shaleth's head is completely thick with the conductive material along with another type of undiscovered material, the most neural activity occurring here. The mass of neural-electric activity in the head (upon scanned observation) has shown that the activity flows in a shape similar to a brain with variable differences. Their eyes are almost compound-like with the crystalline receptors taking on similar shapes like those of 'cones and rods' in human eyes on a similar microscopic scale. Their eyes give off a feint glow (which generally can be seen in darkness) as receptors take in light. The glow appears to move about the eye, implying that that's where the Shaleth's focus is 'looking'. The Shaleth have the ability to see in the dark so long as there is enough visible light. Their eyes are incredibly durable to most infliction of force. The conductive material protrudes from the head down through the neck, leading into the torso and spreading throughout the entirety of the torso as well as to the limbs. The central chest area has a strange assortment of various flexible, translucent, and porous silicates; this is assumed to be the 'lungs' as they expand and contract in rhythm with the Shaleth's breathing. It's still unclear what a Shaleth needs to breathe to survive as they appear to breathe just fine in open space but begin to suffocate in water without direct starlight. The lungs also seem to serve as their 'stomach' as they always inhale after they devoured their granulated silicates. Just below the lungs are two condensed, gelatin-like spheres that are made of the same material that make up the conductive material in the Shaleth's body. This appears to be their method of reproduction as they have no specific gender (the only 'discernible' difference being the tones of their voices and their corresponding body-shapes). After 80 years of development from childhood to adulthood, the parent Shaleth reach their 'prime' and one (or both) of the gelatin spheres are expelled from the lungs at varying and unpredictable times out through the mouth. At this time, the parent may decide to offer the 'childseed' to someone else or care for it themselves. The process of procreating a Shaleth child takes place in a 'silicate bath', where the gelatin spheres are placed into the bath under direct starlight. Being of delicate nature at this stage, the bathes and the spheres inside are cared for regularly, adding more silicates and fluids into the bath as necessary. It's not uncommon for some parents to hire a caretaker to help with this process. The child reaches full development after 10 years of residing in the bath and is removed from the bath. However, due to recent technological innovations, the amount of time in the procreation and developmental process has been reduced to mere seconds after the Shaleth realized that their numbers were dwindling fast and were willing to receive outside aid. How they process the devoured silicates is still mostly unknown, however the Shaleth undergo a sort of 'grooming' season every 5 years. This was originally thought to be a social trait, but in fact is related to their physical health as a Shaleth who does not polish and shave himself/herself will naturally become rotund, rough, and stiff; this is best described as their form of obesity. While the Shaleth do not look down on those who 'neglect' this grooming, they are often given fewer tasks to meet their reduced capability. This concludes the biology report on the Shaleth. A word of gratitude has been extended to the Shaleth volunteer, Bianyuan, who graciously allowed us to perform tests and scans.