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Pipers

A species of ocean-dwelling xenosophonts with an advanced aquatic culture

The Piper world
Image from Steve Bowers
Some native technology on the seafloor of the Piper's home world. Living in an aquatic environment has caused them to take a very different path to the one followed by humanity. A ropeway can be seen in the foreground with a Piper hitching a lift, while in the background a ropeway is carrying Uncups. In the far distance are some constructions made from cultured woodcoral. One Piper is herding a small clutch of sparkworms, using wax-insulated conductive leashes.

Data panel for the Pipers

SystemPrimary: Demonia, JD 19101-11-8
Type Gv5
Luminosity 1.8 x Sol
Distance from Sol 3699 ly
Right ascension 19h31m10s
Declination 06°.32
Constellation Aquila
PlanetsCoramen
Type: AreanXeric. A dry, Mars-like world.
Mass: 0.9xEarth
Orbital Radius: 0.3au

Iridule
Type: BathyPelagic. Home planet of the Pipers.
Mass: 1.2xEarth
Orbital Radius: 0.8au

Racemosa
Type: HydroSubJovian. A small, blue gas giant.
Mass: 0.17xJupiter
Orbital Radius: 1.8au

Stillicide
Type: SuperYmirian. A large icy world.
Mass: 3.4xEarth.
Orbital Radius: 8au

Sun Blick
Type: SuperYmirianA larger, colder, icier world.
Mass: 4.6xEarth
Orbital Radius: 14au

Carpalist
Type: MicroJovian. A small, cold gas giant.
Mass: 12xEarth
Orbital Radius: 22au

Introduction

The Pipers are an aquatic xenosophont species native to Iridule (Demonia system), discovered by Keterist explorers in 8091 A.T. Their name is derived from their complex, musical vocalisations.

Biology

Planetology and Ecology

Iridule is a volcanically active, bathypelagic world. Shallow seas (between 10 and 200 metres deep) over submerged continental plains cover close to a quarter of the surface and are home to most of the planet's biodiversity. Many thousands of volcanic islands reach above the surface, and active volcanoes often produce pumice rafts which float for months before sinking.

There are three broad classes of photosynthesisers beside phytoplankton. On the islands and pumice rafts, primitive bacterial colonies resembling a foamy slime cover most of the surface.

Sea-carpets are tangled masses of fibres that float on the surface of the ocean and drape long tendrils into the depths to extract minerals. They are in fact colonial animals, evolved from filter feeders in a symbiotic relationship with algae-analogues. The largest sea-carpets can cover almost a square kilometre and host symbiotic ecologies. They are capable of limited motion and tend to congregate over nutrient-rich upwellings.

The shallows are host to wood-corals. These organisms develop tough wood-like shells of lignin, terpenes and polyamides for protection, and extend strands of oily foam for photosynthesis and feeding.

There are several dominant animal phyla, including a variety of worms and soft-bodied types, animals supported by a hoop of cartilage (which form ray-like fishes and starfish-like bottom feeders), and animals with a barrel-like endoskeleton surrounding the gut and specialised reusable nematocytes (cells which explosively release a microscopic, sometimes poisonous, barb when stimulated).

The Pipers are part of this last phylum. They evolved as generalist social predators with a variety of hunting strategies, using their complex vocalisations to co-ordinate among themselves. A group of proto-Pipers might hem-in a school of fish and extend their tentacles to all those swimming past. They might hide among wood-corals and ambush prey. Or they might brush their tentacles along the seafloor to startle any animals hiding there.

In time, Pipers pods began to communicate with each other over distances of kilometres. By sharing information about algal blooms, sea-carpet clusters, or travelling schools of fish, all could benefit. This final step, leading to language, strategy and complex social organisation, pushed them towards sophonce.


Scunatra II
Image from Rhea47
Iridule, the homeworld of the Piper species, is almost completely covered in a shallow ocean; volcanic island chains provide the only land area on this world

Anatomy

Pipers have a rounded, barrel shaped body, supported by longitudinal ribs and protected with a chitin-analogue shell. At the front end, the shell tapers inward slightly towards an oral opening. At the rear, six to ten tentacles (depending on heritage) are arranged around two muscular siphons. Two compound eyes on stalks emerge halfway down the body. Each eye has two lobes and is independently capable of binocular vision.

The tentacles are covered with nematocytes. Pipers have conscious control over whether their nematocytes are active or not. By activating non-toxic nematocytes, they can make their tentacles sticky. Pipers swim by flattening their tentacles and sticking them together to form fins.

The oral cavity opens into three separate chambers, separated by muscular lips line with hook-shaped teeth. In the centre is the mouth proper, leading to the stomach. On either side are water intake funnels. They lead to two muscular channels that run down the length of the body to the siphons. The digestive tract also terminates inside the siphons.

The Piper water channel system serves multiple functions. First, it contains the gills. Seconds, it serves as a continuous water jet system powered by peristalsis (the Pipers' primary mode of locomotion). Finally, it is an essential element of the Piper's vocalisations.

Multiple cartilaginous struts crossing the water channel can be extended to serve as vocal cords. These are backed up by a number of fluid-filled resonant chambers that wind around the channels. Even the Piper's shell serves as an additional resonator and soundboard. Between its two channels, a Pipe can produce up to twenty-six separate tones at a time, plus higher harmonics. Their characteristic deep, tremulous piping tones give them their common name.

Pipers have less visual acuity than humans, but are capable of seeing polarised light and have a panoramic field of view. In addition, they can supplement their vision with limited echolocation. Their tentacles have an extremely fine sense of touch and taste. Pipers are warm-blooded and can tolerate a broad range of water temperatures, though they prefer an average temperature of around 30 Celsius.

Lifespan and Reproduction

Baseline Pipers have an unusual and complicated sexual-social structure. The basic element of Piper society is the clutch, consisting of a single female and multiple males: her sons and, occasionally, brothers. Only female Pipers are sophont. Males are subsophont, with an intelligence approximating that of a dog.

Female Pipers produce male offspring by parthenogenesis. These males form her clutch. Sharing all their genes in common with the female, they are completely loyal to her and follow her directions without question.

Sexual reproduction (which only produces female offspring) happens during the female's soft times. Once per year, females molt, losing their shells. The exposed skin swells and releases pheromones to signal that she is sexually receptive. Males mate with her by stinging her: A special class of nematocyte transfers genetic information through the female's skin.

Three months after conception, the mother gives birth to one or two small, underdeveloped and soft-bodied offspring through the oral cavity. During infancy, the mother will keep her offspring in her mouth, where its diet slowly shifts from salival secretions to whatever food the mother is feeding. From four to six months of age, infants spend more time venturing outside at greater intervals, eventually travelling as a member of the clutch and learning about the world around them. They reach adolescence after 24 years. An adolescent female will separate from her clutch soon after when she produces her own offspring.

For reproductive purposes, a clutch can almost be considered a single hermaphroditic individual. Two clutches may fertilise each other's female. There may be a competitive aspect to mating, as each clutch tries to fertilise the other without itself getting fertilised. If there is a strong social hierarchy, often only the subordinate will be fertilised. Finally, a male may fertilise his clutch's female — though clutch-incest is a strong taboo in most Piper societies.

Pipers have an average lifespan of 110 years, though the upper limit without augmentation is 180 years.

When a female dies, the males of her clutch disperse, preferentially seeking out her daughters to join their clutches. If there are no relations available, orphaned males can join an unrelated female's clutch, though the resulting emotional bonds are far weaker than normal.

Environmental Requirements

Baseline Pipers evolved in saline conditions, and will die quickly in freshwater. They also require high concentrations of dissolved oxygen. As oxygen levels drop, their higher-level brain functions shut down: Females revert to a male-level intelligence. Further decreases lead to hypoxia.

Pipers are homeotherms. Though they are most comfortable in shallow tropical waters (25-35 Celsius) they can survive at temperatures close to freezing for long periods so long as they have access to sufficient food and oxygen.

Psychology

Early observations showed that Piper clutches are remarkably integrated. They act almost as a single entity. The will of a male is almost always aligned with, and directed by, the female's. Males are quite willing to sacrifice themselves for the clutch.

Closer analysis revealed the connection was even stronger than previously suspected. Other members of the clutch are actually included in a Piper's phenomenal self-model. This means that a Piper experiences its clutchmates are parts of itself rather than separate entities. Experiences of agency, emotions, and even pain are shared among the clutch.

While Pipers are sometimes given as an example of naturally evolved group minds, this is not strictly true. Piper minds are largely independent, and the female is a fully sophont organism capable of independent action.

In general, Pipers are excellent strategic thinkers, quickly able to organise themselves with those in the vicinity (which in their case can include clutches several kilometres away) to pursue a goal and outline a plan. They have a far better working memory than a baseline human, which aids with both quick strategising and their complex language.

They tend to be relatively brusque and efficient in their social communication, but at the same time prone to gossip. (Sharing details about what was happening with the next pod over increased social cohesiveness, and thus was selected for.)

Pipers are extremely playful. Members of a clutch will spend most of their free time playing amongst themselves. Usually the games are freeform, switching quickly between chasing, wrestling, singing, or passing around various trinkets. Some clutches, however, engage in more formalised or even ritualised play. How a clutch plays amongst itself is a clear indicator of the female's personality.

There are also games between clutches, though the style of play is different, involving more competitive and strategic elements. "Conspirator games" are common. In these, two or more pods separated by long distances work towards a common goal. Meanwhile, the conspirators — a clutch in each pod — oppose them. The conspirators lose if they are discovered by their podmates.

Piper aggression is subtle and complex. Before overt violence, they are more prone to use deception and manipulation in a broader context of co-operation. When violence does occur, it comes in variations. Males may fight while the females stand by. At the highest levels of aggression, the males of each each clutch will directly attack the female of the other.

Society

Clutch dynamics always plays a large part in Piper society.

In the Imperial era a millennium before contact, for example, it was standard practice for ruling females to have extremely large clutches, with their males serving as a sort of private guard. When they ran into reproductive limits, the rulers would takes infant newborn males from other females, so they would imprint on the ruler's clutch instead. The largest undisputed clutch in record contained 318 males at its height.

Large clutches tend to have an air of debauchery, and females will rarely raise more than ten males.

In other historical periods, male-sharing has been the norm. Again, infant males are moved at birth so they will imprint on another clutch. Some societies even practiced mandatory sharing by lot. Currently, male-sharing is only practiced between very close friends.

One out of every ten thousand males will develop to full sophonce. A sophont male may retain an attachment to his clutch, or develop a desire for full independence. Some Piper societies have regarded sophont males as aberrant and executed them as soon as their intelligence became clear. Others have regarded them as unique treasures, to be taken as consorts for high-ranking females. Currently sophont males are free, but remain somewhat on the outside of mainstream Piper society.

Above the clutch, the fundamental grouping of Piper society is the pod, consisting of five to ten clutches hunting together. Among the ancestral Pipers, adjacent pods, which might be separated by kilometres, would co-operate by sharing information about local resources and herding schools of fish towards one another. Pods would on occasion meet to hunt together, with clutches often moving from one pod to another. Modern Piper society is much denser of course, but the original instincts remain.

One consequence is that Pipers tend not to be tribal. They have little sense of in-groups and and-groups. Even among primitive Pipers, networks covering many thousands of pods (each interacting only with its neighbours) could cover great swathes of the ocean, and clutches one had never met were more likely to be allies than enemies.

This is not to say that Pipers don't practice exclusion. Breaking taboos can alienate clutches from their pod. (Though significant cultural differences are less likely to cause rifts between pods unless practised in person. When it comes to taboos, it is very much a case of out of sight, out of mind.)

Nor does a lack of tribalism mean a lack of aggression and war. There are circumstances in which pods or groups of pods can find themselves competing over resources. The opposing pods may each recruit a network of allies, leading to a large-scale battle between two overlapping, interwoven alliances. For Pipers, every war is a civil war.

More generally, Piper society is characterised by a loose network. They rarely form nations. Instead, the relations between various regions shift gradually across the planet. Over their long history, the Pipers have organised themselves into everything from loose federations of quasi-anarchistic communes to empires, with a few groups establishing dominion over the rest and competing among themselves over control of the highest levels of government.

At the time of contact, Piper society was arranged into a complex networked bureaucracy, with multiple planet-girdling institutions keeping track of everything from population dynamics to science. It was often difficult to see who is in charge in any given region. Different contexts required different hierarchies, and power relations between the existing institutions changed depending on location.

There are a few isolated groups that don't fall into the planetary hierarchy and live semi-independently.

The Hadeans are a culture adapted to live in the ocean's aphotic zones, feeding off the ecosystems of hydrothermal vents. Their culture is strongly traditional, and built among a number of rituals — including the barbaric, by mainstream Piper standards, practice of removing the eyes of adolescents.

The Autocatalytic Tendency inverts the usual Piper taboo, practicing reproduction only by clutch-incest. Inbreeding has produced a large number of unusual variant forms, including giant, tentacle-free and shell-less Pipers.

Language, Literature and Culture

Piper languages are among the most complex and information dense spoken by sapients. Each syllable consists of a chord with as many as thirty separate notes (though the mean is nine). Further, each word can be supplemented by a wide variety of embellishments.

The number of notes available in an octave varies by language. The lowest is 43; the highest, 129. Usually, semantics are based around the intervals from the root, with emotional and other paralinguistic information being contained by overtones above the first octave, trills, and shifts in timbre. A small number of extinct Piper languages are arranged differently.

Long-distance speaking is an essential part of Piper communication. All languages have a specialised variant for exactly this purpose, consisting of the tones and timbres that can be clearly heard from kilometres away. In modern Piper society, in fact, long-distance speaking is often a social issue. With higher population densities, speech pollution can become a problem, and is often regulated.

Written languages are just as complex as spoken languages. Pipers have adopted a writing system resembling musical notation, where individual symbols represent specific intervals and pitches are combined to form chord-syllables. Since their vision has relatively low resolution, they tend to writing for other senses, predominantly touch and echolocation.

Textural scripts are written with rough segments against a smooth surface. A Piper can read the surface by "stinging" it with nematocytes — the rough sections provide more grip and feel stickier. It is also possible for a Piper to write on a soft surface by scratching it with nematocytes. Textural script is very compact. Individual symbols may be less than a tenth of a millimetre across.

Sculptural scripts, read by echolocation, are used for distance reading. In contrast with textural scripts, they can be very large indeed. Naturally, each script has its appropriate niches. Textural scripts serve best in books and manuals, and sculptural script is used for public signs.

Poetry, too, is complex, given the large variety of ways in which Piper vocalisations can offer repeating patterns of sound — including chord progressions, melodies among the root note or higher harmonics, rhythms and inversions. In fact, nearly all Piper literature uses prosody in some form — even industrial documentation and textbooks. And for Pipers, poetry and music are one and the same art.

Interactive musicals are a popular form of entertainment, combining narrative, improvisational theatre, and strategy games. The musicals usually take place in open water in regions several kilometres across. The audience gather into various pods surrounding the performers, and the performers draw the audience into the musical, changing the story depending on their decisions.

Outside of music, gardening and landscape architecture is a popular cultural universal. Piper gardens can be giant, complex structures featuring arrangements of wood-corals and sponges, stone and resin sculptures, and flowing patterns of bubbles.

Cosmetic shell modifications are popular among all Pipers. The social function is roughly equivalent to clothing and body modification among baseline humans. The specific details vary by culture, but there are certain commonalities: They carve patterns on their shells, draw patterns with resins, or attach ornamental objects (anything from small stones to resonant chimes to living organisms like sponge and anemone analogues).

Science and Technology

Early Technology

The Piper equivalent of the Neolithic used a wide variety of easily accessible materials.

Commonly used minerals included volcanic glass, for making sharp blades; pumice, which served as an excellent abrasive; and gold, which is found natively and can be worked without fire.

Wood-corals were the biggest source of early Piper biomaterials. Their shells offered a useful building material. Just as importantly, wood-corals produce a form of epoxy resin to heal damage to their shells. Coral resin hardens underwater when a curing agent (also produced by corals) is applied. Depending on the species, coral resin can hard and brittle or soft and rubbery. It serves as a glue or, when poured into a stone mould, as a material itself.

Second to the wood-corals were slime-squids. These animals produce large quantities of mucus filled with silk fibre. When extracted, squid silk can be braided into extremely strong threads and ropes, or even made into a sort of paper. Later on, Pipers would combine silk ropes under tension with resin to develop a structure like pre-stressed concrete.

Several animals in the arctic region produce waxes in the outer layers of their blubber. When warmed by friction, the wax becomes malleable enough to work. When treated with wax, silk paper becomes impermeable to water. These waxfish have long been hunted or herded for this reason.

Early Pipers also domesticated crownfish, powerful swimmers resembling vertical manta rays. Crownfish are relatively intelligent but docile animals and submit to being harnessed. They are capable of tugging an entire pod of Pipers behind them. Sparkworms are bioluminescent fish-like animals which give off a powerful electric charge when hunting or under threat; the Pipers domesticated these at an early stage.

Alongside these, Piper animal husbandry extended to a wide variety of coral-dwelling and pelagic food animals. However, the most important step in Piper agriculture (and indeed Piper science in general) came from understanding the ocean. By collecting biological waste to cultivate decomposers, and erecting structures to divert nutrient flows, they could attract and manipulate schools of fish, and better feed their livestock.

Buoyancy

The first big revolution in Piper technology was the uncup: An inverted cup or bowl made from resin, coral shells, or wax paper, weighted with stones, and used to hold gases. The earliest gases would have been air, taken from the surface, but an uncup could hold gases from other sources.

Uncups offered two initial advantages.

The first and most important was buoyancy. Dense objects could be made to float. Crownfish and Pipers could carry larger loads. Architecture took a large step forward as the Pipers supported immense buildings with buoyancy.

Second, uncups of air held beneath the surface store energy (of course, the original source of energy came from the Pipers themselves; uncups only stored their muscle energy). Steady release of air could drive agricultural mechanisms unattended. A net could be extended rapidly from below. The first air clock dates from the early buoyancy revolution.

Electricity

The second revolution in Piper technology came from electricity. Pipers had already experimented with sparkworms — animals resembling electric eels — in stunning their prey. Selective breeding made the sparkworms docile and easy to handle. Pipers found that a tube of waxed paper could extend the reach of a sparkworm's attack. Banks of sparkworms together could create a powerful current. In time, gold wires were used to increase the efficiency of the process.

Electrolysing seawater gave the Pipers access to Chlorine, Hydrogen (both held by uncups), and sodium hydroxide (kept in concentrated form by resin of waxed paper containers). Electro-accretion of other minerals gave the Pipers new building materials.

It was only at this stage that the Pipers developed fire, by funnelling hydrogen and air, or hydrogen and chlorine together. The hydrochloric acid produced by the latter could be captured in resin pots, and was used extensively in stoneworking.

With fire came primitive metalworking. Early metals and cermets were used in drilling, leading to the discovery of natural gas, which supplanted hydrogen as a fuel source. Early metals were of limited value in long-lifetime applications until the discovery of cupronickel. Thereafter, this corrosion-resistant alloy became common in engineering. A slightly more convenient form of heating came from the exothermic reaction of sodium hydroxide with water, or with hydrochloric acid. Subsequent demand for electricity became so high that sparkworms were farmed intensively, held in massive banks of paper boxes with pipes for food and waste.

Eventually sparkworms were supplanted by a form of bacterial fuel cell, which was more efficient and easier to handle.

Bacterics and Chemistry

Pipers have cultivated and used bacteria and other microbes for a wide variety of purposes. Early on, certain strains were applied as pest-control to certain corals. Others made an effective, if bland, source of food. At the time of contact, bioluminescent bacteria are still the most common source of light in Piper cities, and bacterial cultures were used in sewage and nutrient management.

Bioleaching was often used to extract metal from various ores and, in its most sophisticated form, to produce shaped metal artefacts.

Chemistry has always been important. Solutes in the ocean determine whether it is suitable for agriculture, comfortable, or even lethal. Early on Pipers used impermeable barriers made of waxed paper to experiment with dissolved chemicals and bacteria. Uncups and electrolysis added to their repertoire. Polyvinyl chloride was discovered relatively early on, and remained an important material until contact.

Mechanics

The third major strand of technology, developing slowly alongside buoyancy and electricity, was mechanical and fluidic engineering. Rope transmission, powered by rising air, was an early achievement. Gears and other mechanical elements, made of coral wood, moulded resin, or (eventually) cupronickel, came later. Fluid pumps quickly followed. Grinding surfaces made of gravel embedded in resin gave ever greater precision to mechanical elements.

The Pipers made a wide range of machines for farming, preparing food, weaving textiles and moulding resins. Moveable type for textural script used patterns of microscopic hooks. It was applied to a sheet of resin, which is then cured.

Industry

The motive power for the Pipers industrial revolution came from ocean currents. Ocean currents are slow moving, having an average velocity of 3kph, but continuous, and, because of the density of water, carry immense amounts of energy.

Banks of turbines hundreds of metres tall drove rope transmissions, gear trains and jerker lines to powered the age of mass production. Inverted bucket-chain excavators pulled air to the seabed, where it could be compressed by pumps. Resin-exaction farms operated continuously, and grinders machined new tools are they emerged from the moulds. Pumps kept farmed sparkworms fed and clean. Looms operated continuously. Ropeways carried goods hundred of kilometres. A search for further sources of energy drew the Pipers to wind turbines, wave energy converters and OTEC using Stirling engines.

Telecommunications and information technology

Piper telecommunications developed from their natural distance-speaking capabilities. Acoustic telegraph transmitters ere gigantic machines powered by compressed air that produced a broad variety of clicks and booms, mounted alongside a moveable parabolic dish to aim and focus the signal. A parabolic dish and hydrophone at the receiving end transcribed the signal into a code that could be read off. A telegraph transmitter could also be used to broadcast long-distance speech to a large volume such as a city.

At the time of contact, Pipers used primitive fluidic logic computers, with air as the working fluid. The computers were slow and bulky — the most powerful are hundreds of metres across. They were used for keeping and accessing records and modelling everything from ocean flows to economics. There had been some experiments in linking computers by acoustic telegraph, though none had proved useful.

Transportation

Two factors affect transportation in an aquatic environment. It is possible to haul much greater loads (especially with buoyancy technology), but far harder to maintain a high speed.

The earliest revolution in transportation came from mapping ocean currents. With an average speed of 3kph, one can travel 72 km in a day with no expenditure of energy. The next step was sailing. With the wind, Pipers could travel to many area inaccessible by ocean currents. A Piper ship is mostly underwater, of course. Only the sail extends above the surface, though it can be retracted for maintenance. The earliest hulls were simply an open framework to attach goods. Later designs included streamlining.

Powered transport came in the early industrial age. The submersible plane had long wings and was powered by compressed air. It moved in a series of ascending and descending steps. In the ascent phase of a journey, air was expanded into tanks above the cabin. The wings were angled upwards, pushing the craft forward as it rose. In the descent phase, the air was released and the wings were angled downward, continuing the forward motion.

More energetic, and considerably more expensive, powered transport used water screws powered by Stirling engines. The heat source came from burning hydrogen or petroleum, reacting hydrochloric acid with sodium hydroxide, or dissolving water in sodium hydroxide.

The last word in powered transport was a rocket-powered hydrofoil that burns petroleum. It was far too expensive to be used regularly, though a few such craft were used for emergencies or conspicuous consumption.

For all of this, the two most common forms of transport infrastructure at the time of contact were the "lazy river" and the powered ropeway. For short distance travel within cities, Pipers used the lazy river — a pipe with slow-moving water pumped through it and regular exit hatches.

A dense network of ropeways covered the entire planet. Most maintained a speed between 3 and 9kph, though high powered express ropes, using special streamlined capsules, could reach an dizzying 30kph.

Contact

Iridule had already been identified as a life-bearing world by long-range telescope, but it was not until the arrival of the Keterist ship Eschatographer that Piper civilisation was discovered in 8091.

The uploaded crew of the Eschatographer have been both applauded and condemned for their subsequent actions. They studied Piper civilisation for 30 years, documenting every aspect of the biosphere, civilisation, and culture in excruciating detail, only sending their results back home when they were finished. Then they initiated contact.

The Pipers were exposed without warning to a vast barrage of information. Ultratech avatars appeared among them, preaching the Eschatographer's variant of Keterism and freely giving away advanced technologies. Within a century, Piper civilisation was changed entirely. Dozens of aquatic habitats were dotted across the system. Terraforming efforts were underway on Coramen, Stillicide, and Sun Blick. Uploaded Pipers travelling the Lightways started to appear across the Sephirotic Empires.

The Pipers adopted their own variant of Keterism, adapting it to their own needs. Males were provolved to full sapience. Many clutches became true group minds. In other cases, an S1 female overlooked a clutch of S0 males.
In the rest of the Terragen Sphere, there was a very real concern that the native culture of the Pipers had been all but obliterated by the changes.

Still, some Pipers turned away to Keterism and moved elsewhere across the Sephirotics, seeking a new life. Around them congealed a new authenticist movement, not conservative, but not radically Keterist either. The Pipers kept the advantages of Terragen medicine and habitat design, but chose to live in cities modelled after those of their youth. The largest authenticist Piper populations can be found on Metropolis Ring City, the Ocean of Ys, and the Edasich Xenological Garden.

Singer
Image from Steve Bowers
A Piper individual showing the tentacles and eyestalks

 
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    Strategies and policies for contact with alien life forms (xenobiota) and Xenosophonts (intelligent alien life).
  • Xenobiont  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for alien (non-terragen) lifeform. May be animal-like, plant-like, protistan, exotic chemistry, or any other possibility. Does not have to be sophont. In fact just as on Earth, very few alien species ever evolve any measure of cognitive intelligence.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Liam Jones, 2018
adapted from the original article 'Singers', written by John B
Initially published on 01 June 2002.