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- Level 2.1
- Posts: 3
- Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:03 pm
- Nexus Client: Anshanéz Coalition
- Client Tech Level: E4
- Client Leader: Maar-Tirideh
- Client Councillor: Maar-Tirideh
- Client Species: Akanin
- Location: United Kingdom
Shown: two post-Cataclysm Akanin individuals. The documents and photos depict scenes and blueprints during the Submarine War, the inter-civilisation conflict which eventually allowed the Akanin to begin exploiting the mineral resources and geothermal potential of the deep-ocean environment. (Most Akanin survivors of the Cataclysm were within such deep-ocean facilities.)
The Akanin hail from what was once the planet of Arizih - an 8.4 billion year old, vast, highly active superearth with a surface dominated by archipelagos, harbouring a thriving CNHOAsS biosphere. Despite its age, the strong magnetic effects and tidal heating caused by proximity to its host star, Jishen, ensured that the cycling of nutrients and mineral resources would not have ceased until much further into the future - had it survived.
The biosphere of Arizih was very much characterised by the continuation and refinement of an older practice of emergent multicellular life: the creation of colonies from a large number of genetically distinct cell clusters in such a way as to produce a final organism comparable to that produced by Earth-like multicellular organisms. The development of the requisite mechanisms did serve a path for the introduction of infectious and/or parasitic agents, but the ability to almost seamlessly combine the disease-fighting capabilities of many different individuals highly incentivised this line of development. Such a process helped to shift the balance of power away from the unicellular world and towards the multicellular, a factor which vastly increased the nutrient retention potential of Arizih's upper ocean layers. Conveniently, such also greatly mitigated the effects of radiation damage on reproductive viability (and even continuous function) of the individual, thanks to the resultant genetic reshuffling and rebalancing - something which helped minimise the effect of Jishen's sporadic flares on ecological diversity.
With the biological cementation of much of the surface, the density of Arizih's biosphere was such that any would-be predators often moved away from travelling within the water proper - a labyrinth of potentially venomous, sessile organisms - instead crawling along the top, where it was far easier to spot and chase after prey. Such abundance, combined with the shift in reproductive incentives caused by the alternative development path, catalysed the development of advanced sociality in many different species and families; Arizih was, at the point of the evolution of the Akanin, a planet of superorganisms.
At the time of the rise of Akanin civilisation, there were numerous other, distinct groups with comparable tool use and level of organisation; the Akanin were, however, among the only ones able to fully take advantage of the most curious properties of the air-water interface - any other comparable groups that had previously occupied that niche had already been assimilated, merged into the Akanin gene pool - peacefully or otherwise. In their sphere they were uncontested, and so they grew - so long as they were unable to travel past the epipelagic barrier, they would encounter no intelligent entities that could match their scale of assembly.
The Akanin are semi-digitigrade animals, adopting a plantigrade posture in areas without sufficient ground support. Their front two paws are dextrous to a degree, being able to roughly grasp and/or hold objects; however, the primary prehensile apparatus is their long tail, which extends up to 1-1.7 times the length of their bodies (while in standing position). Their strong, short jaws are quite capable at cracking the shells of relatively small animals, relying primarily on crushing and grinding motions. Their large ears are tuned to the resonant frequencies of their own calls and speech, which are typically modulated by trilling motions, sudden stops, and/or pitch modulation - other signals do not travel well through the complex environment within which they developed.
Akanin reproduction has no distinct sexes - rather, every individual has the capacity to be a mother, as well as the capacity to contribute to the gene pool of any developing embryos. The reproductive organs of Akanin produce and contain undifferentiated cell clusters, and every Akanin individual has a maturing pouch; typical reproductive activity consists of adding these undifferentiated cell clusters to a maturing embryo within the pouch, which will coordinate them accordingly. If a pup is not present, food is plentiful, and an individual has not participated in sexual activity for some time, however, several undifferentiated cell clusters will migrate to an activation area - where hormonal signals communicate that these cell clusters are the 'seed cluster' - the cluster which coordinates the development of all later clusters. Then, after the activated embryo has reached a certain point, it will move into the maturing pouch. It will typically take up to eleven Earth months until the pup is able to move independently, if no contributions are made - and it is likely that it becomes a casualty of disease. However, depending on circumstances, this can be shortened down to six, and chances of survival raised significantly.
Akanin digestion is quite rapid, with just a single, small stomach and a relatively short digestive tract, as notable by a distinct lack of bulk - much of the emphasis being on the dissolution and absorption of proteins, fats, and other high-energy components - this is indicative of their ancestral choice of diet, which revolved primarily around relatively simple, soft-bodied, shelled animals. The liver, however, is quite large for their body mass - such is necessary to synthesise antidotes and buffers for the varied and plentiful toxins which tend to saturate the surface oceanic ecosystem. Among such counters exist many of the micronutrients necessary for life - as such, Akanin are relatively insensitive to dietary deficiencies.
The Akanin nervous system is extremely plastic, with certain neural cells even retaining the ability to migrate throughout the body; additionally, they are able to form points at which the cell membrane is continuous across what would typically be multiple cells. Countless viral proteins and structures are dispersed throughout, storing information and facilitating additional connections, and - as hypothesised by a fraction of Maün neurobiologists, rewiring macroscopic sections of the brain entirely. This, of course, does mean that the Akanin nervous system is incredibly energy-intensive; however, it is capable of learning, reassessing, and even regressing to an earlier state with surprising speed. Unsurprisingly, due to this, Akanin memory is incredibly spotty, especially out of context - but it need not be particularly advanced, due to the existence of vast libraries of information in the form of other Akanin. It is this, in part, which allows the formation of such large, coherent social networks - as well as to adapt to various different environments with incredible speed.
It is, perhaps, reasonable for one to observe Akanin and think that they have something of a child-like quality to them; there exists an extremely pronounced dependence on physical and social interaction, and express a distinct, tactless curiosity. They are, however, nothing if not ingenious - perhaps, if not for any other reason, due to the variability and fluidity of their style of thought and expression. They are, of course, not at all immune to the stabilising effects of personality, and the patterns it creates - but, for reasons either cultural, biological, or otherwise, are at the very least sufficiently self-aware to recognise it and when help is needed.
When put in a group, Akanin are quick to begin acting like one another one some level or other; their movements are easily coordinated, and even complex tasks requiring significant amounts of dexterity can be conducted almost seamlessly, chattering away as they do so. Even in such tense situations as those in political board meetings, representatives - regardless of any regulations or affiliations that might exist - can't help but hop out from behind their desks and mingle: something perhaps not quite conducive to maintaining independence, but quite useful in keeping the place running smoothly.
In terms of accurate spatial and/or mathematical calculation, however, Akanin are notoriously unreliable; even something so simple as a six-digit addition or subtraction, even with paper, might have to be checked several times over. Rather, it is in the stretching, adaptation, and tweaking of rough models that Akanin truly shine.
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