The Khtaikos (Neuroenoteta Xenosapiens; HPA pronunciation /'xtʌj.kʰos/; singular Khtaikos) are a species originating from the planet referred to as Uiskvla. This species came to dominate its homeworld via a system of communal groups that organized a greater intelligence than individual members could. Ultimately, after much genetic experimentation, most of the species was incorporated into a vast planet-wide “super-organism”, the Khtaikos Neurome. When the Enlightenment arrived, the Neurome developed a new ambition to spread its unity across the stars. Nonetheless, many groups of Khtaikos remain cut off from the Neurome, forming their own groups or wandering alone, either because of genetic incompatibility or because of active opposition to the Neurome's collectivism. Members of the species consequently show great variability.

Species Origins

Homeworld: Uiskvla
Scientific Names According to Various Species:

Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Uisculozoa
Class: Niezamyslozoa
Order: Chtaecosoidea
Family: Chtaecotia
Genus and species: Neuroenoteta Xenosapiens

Evolutionary History: The Khtaikos evolved from nets of predatory cells resembling the hyphae of fungi on Earth. On Uiskvla, recurring unfavorable environmental conditions interspersed with occasional periods of relative prosperity caused such hyphal nets to undergo far more frequent genetic drift and speciation than the corresponding terrestrial organisms. The most significant consequence of this was the eventual development of rudimentary neural networks parallel to the hyphal networks that aided them in harvesting nutrients in times of scarcity. As an energy-conserving measure, these neural networks over millennia adapted to withdraw into a centralized location and lie dormant during times of abundance.

A period of near-cataclysmic natural upheaval within the last half-billion years resulted in a period of swift adaptive radiation in the Uisculozoan clade. One significant consequence of this was the development of basic social interactions between Niezamyslozoan organisms in particular. This, coupled with the capacity of their nervous systems' flexibility, eventually resulted in intelligence arising in individual organisms. Simultaneously, the unique nature of the distributed nervous systems allowed numerous organisms to interface with each other neurally, resulting in the formation of communal societies unlike the competitive hunter-gatherer societies formed by early humans. As each organism grew intelligent, so, too, a sort of multi-organismal intelligence arose among groups of these Niezamyslozoa.

The ultimate result was the emergence of several varieties of Khtaikos, each having arisen from one collective group and varying somewhat by genetics and by culture. Subsequently, heavy self-modification and widespread experimentation in genetic engineering resulted in further divergence of subgroups. The Khtaikos themselves do not identify themselves as a single species, but as multiple groups, each with differing biological sub-specifiers.

Note that, while Khtaikos are provisionally classified as 'fungi' by Terran scientists, they are not an actual fungal clade.

Earliest Evidence of Civilization: ~ -17,000CE
Enlightenment Date: 2414CE


Anatomy: The Khtaikos lack skeletal structure; instead, their central body structures are reinforced with hard chitinous formations forming a roughly conical bauplan. The limbs of a Khtaikos consist of a 'foot' formed of an amorphous hyphal-neural mat which can be re-arranged at will and a set of small and relatively ineffectual tentacle-like appendages arrayed radially near the top of its main body. Some degree of bilateral symmetry has developed in the body, with three weak photosensors in the infrared range present on the 'front' side of the main structure, along with a number of other sensing organs, some of which are not yet understood. Most organs are encased in the central chitinous cone, but some reproductive organs protrude outward, rearward, and downward. A highly developed but decentralized nervous system is distributed throughout the organism, with significant nodes encased in chitin and three neural interface cords running outward radially from the underside of the organism. Circulation is mostly conveyed via a circulatory system, but some minor hyphal functions are still carried out at a cell-to-cell level, largely a vestigial mechanism. Musculature, in the sense it is recognized on Earth, is absent. Nonetheless, there are systems in place to enable relatively quick movements and responses.

Physiology: The Khtaikos hyphal-neural mat has varying cellular layers that can be re-arranged to provide locomotion, to ingest nutrients directly from captured prey, to sense vibrations in the ground, or to provide some combination of these functions. The upper tentacles seem to have functions used primarily for mating displays and secondarily for manipulation of objects; the hyphal-neural mat usually manages this latter function, however, with considerable dexterity but little strength. The cognitive abilities of Khtaikos exist on both an individual and super-organismal level, with a capability for very high intelligence when the neural interfaces on its underside are used. A slow cell-to-cell mycelial transport system can still support Khtaikos organisms if necessary under very unfavorable environmental conditions, but under ordinary circumstances, a second circulatory system that acts much more quickly supports all major bodily functions.

Genetics: Triplicate form of X-DNA (Expanded DNA with a 3-nucleobase codon system), levo-amino acids for protein synthesis.

Reproduction: Khtaikos can undergo any one of three different reproductive cycles to produce offspring, depending on environmental conditions and desire to excahnge genetic material. Reproduction by spores is the simplest method, used under the harshest conditions. Reproduction can also occur via external mutual fertilisation, with either two or three organisms exchanging genetic material.

Life Cycle: Spores are generally dispersed into the atmosphere for any community to take up, and they are likely the reason that the species has stayed as genetically unified as it has despite its rampant genetic experimentation. When conditions become moderately favorable, spores will release young. Young that survive the first few weeks are cared for by their community for a period generally lasting until 25-30 years of age. Much of Khtaikos society is consequently built around education of and interaction with young.

Diet: Khtaikos hyphal nets are capable of ingesting nutrients from most sources, biotic or not, if they are present.

Sleep Cycle: Khtaikos do not generally sleep, but neural functions analogous to dreaming are often carried out by portions of communities when organisms are interfaced. Lone individuals do not show any need for sleeping behavior.


Overview: Compared to species that evolved in competition with each other, Khtaikos are generally more collectivist and less prone to social aggression. Individual psychology can be quite instinctual and emotional at many times; however, larger groups tend to rely more on reasoning to reach decisions. A tendency to place little value in individuals is also seen among large groups, but small groups long-separated from larger divisions can be quite individualistic. Because of the great variety existing between groups culturally and genetically, it is difficult, if not impossible, to form an accurate generalization of Khtaikos psychology.

Society & Culture

Sexuality: Reproduction occurs asexually or sexually.

Gender Roles: Due to external fertilization and communal raising of young, two or three biological sexes never differentiated despite the presence of sexual reproduction. Consequently, no gender roles developed.

Languages: Tulkhuis, Aisklukhmlak, Mlai, etc.

Art/Music: Art and music are typically carried out internally (mentally) by large groups, whereas smaller groups more often express their creativity on their environment, producing art and music rather than thinking it.

Religion: Large communities tend to be atheistic; smaller groups often look to the very large ones as deities, despite being members of the same species. However, more distant or independent small groups and individuals have more idiosyncratic traditions, which often appear bizarre or inexplicable to other species and, indeed, to many other groups of Khtaikos.

Philosophical Concepts: The Khtaikos vary greatly philosophically, but often see preservation and dissemination of their species as a high priority. The Khtaikos Neurome places great emphasis on understanding, mutualism, and cooperation within the species, but a subtle xenophobia nonetheless pervades it and many smaller Khtaikos communities.