Aliens: The Snakes of Rist

Rist is an Earth-like planet orbiting a yellow star. Astrogation has not yet pinpointed the location of the system. Explorer craft are free to enter the system but are not permitted to contact or send exploratory missions to Rist or the other planets without expressed permission from the Rist governments. This permission has never been previously forthcoming.

System: Rist is the second of six planets in the system, located sunward in the habitable zone. The remainder of planets consist of two gas giants, two rocky plants and one methane ice ball. Rist has two moons, both captured asteroids, which are used by the local population for telling the time. Neither are large enough to cause significant tidal effects. Rist orbits it’s star every 209 Earth days and rotates once every 214 days. The ‘Northern’ pole is almost always daylight though due to cloud cover this varies from baking heat to a bright greyish sky.

Atmosphere: Rist has a warm temperate atmosphere rich in Carbon dioxide (20%), Nitrogen (60%) and Argon (8%). Low levels of Oxygen (5%) and high levels of Water vapour (4%) mean the atmosphere is not conducive to human respiration. Atmospheric pressures on Rist are estimated at 4 times that of Earth but natural humans will only require respirators or rebreathing apparatus. The atmosphere in the equatorial region is very wet and has a musty taste.

Climate: due to extreme axial tilt, Rist has one polar ice cap, on the side facing away from its sun. The opposite pole is water, with temperatures reaching 350 Kelvins during its ‘summer’ and reducing small islands in the region to baked deserts. The tropics and equatorial regions, dominated by a single mountainous land mass have a fertile belt, irrigated by the heavy precipitation, which has led to prodigious vegetation growth over land and sea.

Population: It is estimated that Rist is home to 2 billion native sentients and an unknown population of animals and plants. The sentient inhabitants call themselves by several names, the audible component of their common name being ‘rist’, from where their system gains its name.

Physiology: The major life forms on Rist are biologically similar to Earth creatures as evidence of convergent evolution. Their respiration, blood and skeletal systems harbour significant differences but they have a form of nucleic acid encoding of genes and are known to use proteins and amino acids as the building blocks of their cells. Their foods are therefore digestible by humans and vice versa. Their skin is similar to that of Earth amphibians and their musculature has been identified as being similar to Annelid banded structures. Skeletally, they grow a flexible protective structure analogous to cartilage. Externally, they look like Earth snakes or earthworms. Their epidermis is often blistered, these are known to be part of their reproductive structures – blistered Rist are thought to be males. It is believed that the males keep their sperm sacs on their bodies and then bathe in egg pools secreted by their females. Each blister has one opening which is approached by the egg and then sealed after entry. The egg is therefore fertilised within the blister and it assumes the function of amniotic sac and placenta. When the young Rist are mature enough, they break out of the blisters.

They breathe through multiple trachea-like structures in their epidermis that lead to multiple redundant book lungs. Their mouths, symmetrical and lateral, are more related to stomachs – they have no teeth but digest their food directly in their mouths with a corrosive saliva and ‘drink’ the juices thus provided. This gives the impression that the snakes have “bad breath” but they seem unconcerned. Their saliva is not corrosive enough to be used as a weapon. Communication with other snakes is through touch and sound, caused by blowing air through their trachea tubes. Rist find our atmosphere to be devoid of the gases they require for respiration and also unbearably dry. Rist diplomacy has thus far been unable to find any Rist volunteers to visit Unityspace for any decent period of time.

The Rist which have been in direct contact with humans have ranged from 2 metres to 8 metres long. They hunt and gather their food using a servitor species which may be a junior developmental stage of Rist sentients but the fully grown Rist is very strong and may use it’s bulk as a clubbing or crushing weapon.

The servitor subspecies mentioned above is most likely a junior stage of development and possesses a Rist thorax and abdomen but also six jointed legs covered with a rigid exoskeleton. These legs are later discarded and the fleshy internal structures recess into the body of the Rist, though they can be extended in a tentacular fashion for tool use.

Government: There are 72 identified sovereign states, three quarters of which form a coalition which dominates the others economically and in terms of military strength. As a result of this coalition, there have not been any military conflicts on Rist for the last 200 Earth years.

Religion and Mythology: There is no information on this subject. These are considered restricted subjects for outsiders. Trader envoys will be contacted to see if the information can be traded for.

History: The sentients on Rist achieved interplanetary space flight around CE 400. By CE 1200 they had established several off-planet colonies in their solar system. Their first contact was with another unidentified race around CE 1400 which approached via slower than light drives. This ended in a short conflict which destroyed the visitors. They are described only as predatory invaders.

It is unknown whether Rist developed Key drives themselves or whether they were traded for. Human Unity has not yet had sufficient access to Rist archives to be able to determine this.

Technology: Interplanetary and wormhole craft have been directly observed. Their designs are similar to Human Unity designs due to restrictions of streamlining and engineering. Internally, humans find the walkways to be cramped and narrow, seldom exceeding 1 metre in diameter. Most vessel functions are carried out by the limbed junior stage in conjunction with the mature Rist overseers. The craft have full atmospheric controls and are designed to provide an optimal atmosphere for the Rist to work. Humans have found conditions to be unbearable even with rebreathers and in response, Rist environmental engineering has been able to replicate an environment which humans have been able to tolerate. Currently one Unity Astrobiology team has been placed aboard a Rist vessel in order to facilitate understanding.

Though in theory more advanced than Human Unity, Rist science moves at a much slower pace. Rist technology is much more durable and reliable than the equivalent Human Unity item on average. In terms of military strength, Human Unity is estimated to be at twice the strength of the Rist in terms of armament and craft. Human Unity has no intentions to test this theory.

Relations: Human Unity considers the Rist to be friendly. The Rist have also shown willingness to vouch for Human Unity with other races.

Proximity: Rist can be reached by the Alcub wormhole nexus, 1.8 AUs from Alcub and 1.05 AUs from the Solar wormhole exit point. The Alcub exit point is 4 AUs from Rist. There is a second wormhole in the Rist system, out beyond the sixth planet. Preliminary investigations indicate it leads to another inhabited system.

About matt

Gamer. Writer. Dad. Serial Ex-husband. Creator of The 23rd Letter, SpaceNinjaCyberCrisis XDO, ZOMBI, Testament, Creed. Slightly megalomaniac
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