Physiology, Liirian

From SotS


The Liir are an unusual species in more ways than one. Their bodies are sleek and dynamic, allowing for fast movement in water. Although they appear completely smooth, their skins are in fact coated with a layer of dense, fine fur. Fur patterns and colors will vary with the individual.

They bear live young. All members of the species are hermaphroditic, possessing both male and female sex organs. The majority of Liir are capable of both fertilizing as a male or bearing young as a female, but only the very oldest Liir can do both at once; it is normally impossible for a Liir to impregnate as a male while carrying an offspring itself.

Liir take on gendral pronouns to indicate the dominant pursuits of the phase of existence through which they are passing. A Liir who is gestating, birthing and nursing young, for example, considers herself a "she" since her existence is devoted to her feminine side. An Elder who has ceased to function as a female is most definitely a "he." Since Black Swimmers have cut themselves off psychologically from the aspects of their character which create and nurture life, a death-dealing Black Swimmer's feminine side, although still present, is not in ascendance. Black Swimmers as such are referred to as male.

A newborn Liir is very small, less than half a meter in length and weighing only 8 to 10 kilograms. By the time they reach the age of majority, a period of roughly fifty years, a typical Liir will be around 3 meters long and weigh approximately 120 kilograms.

There seems to be no natural end to the potential life span of any given Liir. Throughout their lives, they never stop growing. Some observers have reported sightings of Elder Liir over 60 meters long, massing many tons.

The most unusual feature of the Liirian race is not the shape of their bodies however, but the power of their minds. Liir do not have opposable digits, tentacles or any other physical means of manipulating objects; they employ a limited form of telekinesis instead. A deft Liir can use several tools at once, and can often operate many simple machines simultaneously. With some concentration they can also hurl objects with astonishing force and the spear was a traditional hunting weapon among the Liir for many centuries.

Although they have large, light-sensitive eyes, the frequency range of Liirian vision is limited. They have a very refined sense of taste and a sophisticated array of sound-producing and sound-receiving equipment however, which more than compensate for the lack of sight. Liirian echo-location is good enough to allow Liir to draw very sophisticated schematics of any machine or device simply by “singing” to it and reading the sound waves that bounce back. (Note that this, in turn, makes the Liir the best researchers overall in the game.)

The Liir communicate largely by telepathic means, although they do have some very rudimentary sound-signals that convey strong but simple emotions—being startled, amused, frightened, angry, etc.

Liir are conscious breathers, like our own earthly cetaceans. They can never be fully unconscious, or they die. They fulfill their need for sleep by allowing one lobe of the brain to doze at a time, in three hour cycles, while the other two lobes remain awake and active.


As some have guessed, the Liir's natural reproductive rate is very low and very slow. Also, it should be noted that prior to contact with the Suul'ka the Liir were not as highly advanced in the technological sense as many other races.


A Liir Elder surrounded by younger Liir.

The Liir are an air-breathing aquatic species, and bear a strong resemblance to the extinct cetaceans of Old Earth. They are the result of a long-term process of environmental change: an ice age lasting millions of years initially allowed for the development of mammalian species on the isolated tropical islands and huge ice shields of their home world, but eventually an extended warming period resulted in a planet with less than 10% of its surface above water.The vast majority of land-dwelling species returned to the sea—including the early ancestors of the Liir.

Liir have no natural predators, especially after the age of 50 or so. There are a few organisms on their homeworld that can threaten or injure a full-grown Liir, but these are rare and shy about coming too near an active pod. A Liir who goes out hunting megasharks or giant cephalopods alone is deliberately looking for trouble.

As to the Liir lack of hostility—like all behaviors of a sentient race, this is likely a cultural evolution as much as a physical one. Along with intra-species violence, various mental illnesses and aberrant behaviors seem to be unknown among the Liir—but is this because their race suffers no such aberrations naturally or is it because the sufferers of paranoia, schizophrenia or chronic depression are silently and ruthlessly eliminated from their population by mass mutual consent?

We do not really know; we have not penetrated their society deeply enough to learn all their secrets. But recent events have demonstrated that the Liir are more than physiologically capable of violence and their harmonious society certainly has never extended to all other species. They have never been Buddhist in their dietary habits, for example—they are omnivores who are known to raise and herd aquatic life forms for their own sustenance without guilt or shame.

What a Liir eats depends on age. The younger the Liir, the more they rely on hunting and sea vegetables. Optimal hunting age for a Liir is 70–200 years. As they age past this point, they move more and more toward filter feeding, until the most massive Liir are nearly constantly feeding on krill and plankton.

When in space, Liir return to nursing mode, drinking "milk" (a rich high-fat, high-carb, high-protein fluid) from spouts inside the ship. All ships are female to them for this reason, and referred to as "mother". If a human were to eat this, it would be digestible, just not very compatible with human oral cavity—you'd have to make your own feeding port, perhaps by poking in a straw. The only problem I see is that Liir fluid medium, as a food source, would be a lot like drinking uber-milkshakes three times a day. You'd have to be careful you didn't end up the size of a Liir yourself after a few weeks/months on the stuff.


Honestly, a spacer is a spacer. No matter what race you're from you're still a frail sentient creature stuck in a confined space with a whoooooole lotta vacuum outdoors. Everyone faces the same troubles out in the black—how to carry enough supplies, how to breathe, how to keep from choking on your own excretions, whatever they are.

In practical terms, a Liir ship would probably have a waste chamber. Enter, void your ducts, rapid flush the medium in the room to eliminate most of the ammonia and solids, exit the chamber. Doubtless their waste processing is biologically controlled—they've designed an organism that takes in their nasty and gives back something nice/necessary—but the basic principle is the same as a Human or Tarka toilet.

Bet the crew gets real cranky when that system is hit and bodily wastes start to poison the "air". Donning filtration gear is a real pain in the tail for them, I'm sure.

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