Common Name: Viper
Scientific Name: Xenocrotalus Sapiens
Species Name: Sshi'ygha
The Vipers are one of the more unsettling of the various invading a
lien species. Their eerie similarity to terrestrial rattlesnakes evokes a common fear among X-Corps personnel. Indeed, early field reports suggested that this might have been a creature genetically engineered from Earthly fauna, grown to enormous size and grafted with arms. However, these creatures are a completely Alien species; sentient beings with the remnants of what must have been an amazing culture. Our initial interrogations have given us the name of the Viper home world, Sshi-yii
, and a general idea of its location. From the subject's description, we suspect that this world is actually a moon of one of the earliest extra solar planets that had been discovered. It is known to astronomers as HD-70642 b, orbiting a type G5IV-V star, approximately 29 parsecs from Earth. More detailed information of this world is unknown to us at this point.
The Vipers are a carnivorous race, able to eat only freshly killed meat. They appear to be comfortable on land, but prefer shallow water, suggesting a swamp-based origin. In keeping with their generally reptilian appearance, a Viper's body is covered in thousands of pentagonal scales, except for the head. Eleven large plates of bone-reinforced scale protect the head itself. These scales provide excellent natural armouring of vital areas, and allow these aliens
to function in a wide variety of conditions. Also similar to their terrestrial counterparts, the Viper jaw is capable of dislocating from the skull, allowing the mouth to open to prodigious widths in order to ingest large prey. The lower jaw also contains vestigial venom sacs that feed into the lower fangs. The venom produced is soporific in nature, but of insufficient amount to cause alarm. A bite from a Viper might make a child seriously disoriented, but is likely to result in no more than momentary dizziness in an adult, therefore, it represents no real threat to our operatives on the field.
While sentient in their own right, the subject refers constantly to “the Master”, from whom all its' kin take orders. From the context of these statements, we are sure that the subject does not merely refer to its own leaders, but a
completely separate species that seems to be directing the Vipers'
incursions on our planet.
The Viper species reproduces asexually, laying
between thirty and fifty softball-sized eggs at a time in a frenzy of ovulation. The eggs are released into a common, water filled gestational pit, where the soft jelly-like mucus that protects each egg can come in contact with another individual’s ovum. This contact allows for a transfer of genetic material between the different eggs, resulting in fertilization. Eggs cannot be fertilized by sibling ova. The soft covering requires that the eggs must remain immersed in water in their natural state. However, according to our current subject, the Vipers have developed a symbiotic relationship with the creatures they call Achidnas, specifically their defensive secretions. When in contact with these venomous secretions, the vulnerable covering of the Viper egg hardens, forming a tough leathery shell. The substance also apparently affects the foetuses to a genetic level, providing them with immunity to the Achidna venom. After an extended period of time (unfortunately, we are unable to accurately translate time measurement), all viable eggs within a birthing pit hatch within brief period and a feeding frenzy begins amongst the newborns. Out of several hundred fertilized eggs, only a dozen or so will survive the hatching. Once the hatching is complete, the birthing pit is opened to the Achidnas, who devour the shells, along with any unhatched eggs. The amniotic fluid clinging to the inner portion of the shell fragments contains a number of enzymes required by an Achidna's body to produce its venom.
The Vipers we see today are the remnants of a once great race. Their civilization developed in the swampy temperate zones of Ssth-Kr'th When reading this the first time it did not become clear that Ssth-Kr'th is a part of Sshi-yii.. perhaps find a way to explain this more clearly?
, and spread across the entire planet. With their innate resistance to adverse conditions they built cities in every climate, from the blazing heat of their tropics, to the frozen poles. Theirs was a great world, just developing space flight when the Master came. Of all the Alien species we have encountered so far
, the Vipers are the most similar to our own, both in thought and temperament. If our two species had met before they had fallen under the thrall of the Master, who knows what we could have done together?
(Correct me if wrong on the caps of Alien/alien. I think that alien means 'not native to our planet' in this context, and therefor should be non-cap. But I'm pretty new around here.. also, was it intended that the text was no longer separated according to which research produces which part, and the Engineer section has gone AWOL? What does 'snapback' 100355 do?)
Edited by kander, 26 November 2004 - 10:52 AM.