Shrike

Factfile

Shrike3.jpg

The Shrike are a species born of suffering. Their homeworld, Maelstrom is a hellish quagmire of acid lakes and horrific predators. Their evolution reflects this, forging them into terrifying pillars of physical strength and endurance. Unfortunately for the rest of the galaxy, the Shrike are not a peaceful species and harbour an intense hatred towards all forms of life which they see as having a comparatively 'pampered' evolution.


Species Origins

Homeworld: Maelstrom
Class:
Scientific Name: Perosus daemn
Evolutionary History:
Earliest Evidence of Civilization:
Enlightenment Date:

Biology

Anatomy: Like many of the most successful evolutionary designs, the Shrike are bipeds, standing at about 7 feet tall and are vaguely reptillian. However, their hostile environment has necessitated a number protective mechanisms. The most obvious of these are the thick boney plates that cover much of an adult Shrike's body. The plates overlap in places, providing protection and mobility similar to plate armour. The colour of these plates is typically black or grey, but Shrike often paint these plates to symbolise rank.
Physiology: One of the Shike's many evolutionary quirks is the abilty to secrete a powerful alkaline mucus. This allows them the ability to move through the many downpours of hydrochloric acid as well as allowing them to swim in the planet's acid lakes. Though the abilty to secrete this mucus is largely voluntary, many Shrike will unintentionally secrete it during periods of stong emotion.
Genetics: Carbon based DNA
Reproduction: Oviparous, External fertilisation. During one of the biannual spawning seasons, Shrike females lay enourmous amounts of eggs in one of the many hydrochloric acid lakes of their world. This spawn is then externally fertilized by the male Shrike. After this ritual, the adults leave and will not return until the hatching season four months later. While the adverse conditions and dangerous predators of the acid lakes kill many of the eggs and Shrike hatchlings, the sheer number of offspring created during the spawning negates this. As sex determination in Shrike is partially temperature dependent (with incubation temperatures above 40 degrees celcius, the planet's mean temperature, leading to a male birth and temperatures of 40 or below leading to a female birth), Shrike will often migrate to hotter regions to spawn during times of war, when more males are required.
Gestation Period: ~4 months
Life Cycle: Following their hatching, Shrike develop quickly and will reach their adult stature and form their hardened carapace in only five years. Such rapid growth requires large amounts of energy, meaning young Shrike consume much more food compared to the adolescents of most species.
Diet: Carnivorous
Sleep Cycle: Shrike need only sleep for about 3 hours every day, an adaptation which likely evolved for the inherent vulnerability of sleeping for long periods on a planet like Maelstrom.

Psychology

Overview: The Shrike are aggressive, competative, sadistic and value physical strength greatly. They possess a clear strength based hierarchy, with the largest Shrike often being in positions of power.
By nature, the Shrike are scavengers and pirates. The lack the appropriate mentality, and possibly intelligence, for true colonisation efforts, and so have relatively few planets under their control. More often that not, Shrike communities can be found living in the ruins of colonies that they've recently pillaged.

Society & Culture

Sexuality:
Gender Roles: Male Shrike are typically larger and stronger than female, thus placing them further up on the hierarchy. However female Shrike are just as involved in combat as males.
Language: Drath'Tal, a language that would, to outsiders, appear to be nothing more than guttural noises. Shrike higher up in the social hierarchy often know at least some parts of the Tempest Sphere's major languages.
Art/Music: It's hard to say whether the Shrike have any understanding of art and music, but there has, to date, been no discovery of Shrike artwork.
Religion: Shrike are largely pagonistic, however religion is not a big part of their society.
Philosophical Concepts: One of the most dominant cultural characteristics prevalent in Shrike society is their deep-seated hatred of most other species. Despite its immediate appearance, this hatred is not completely unbiased. It is aimed solely at the creatures the Shrike consider to have had a 'pampered' evolution. Most commonly, this extends to races that evolved on so called 'garden worlds'. This bias is rarely seen clearly due to the fact that most races in the galaxy originate from planets the Shrike would consider garden worlds. Many have suggested that were an individual born on a garden world able impress the Shrike with their strength or endurance, they would be not be attacked. Whether this is true or not is unknown, but as most simply view the Shrike as mindless killing machines, it is unlikely anyone has ever tried.

Psionics

Psionic Potential: Yes
Rate of Occurrence: Extremely rare
Relative Power: Variable
Role In Society: The appearance of psionic Shrike (referred to as a 'shaman') is an extremely rare occurrence. However, given the natural power it imbues the Shrike in question with, they often rise far in the hierarchy. In combat, a shaman combines the raw physical strength of a Shrike with the devastating power of a psionic.