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February 14, 2009
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Gkaz by M0AI Gkaz by M0AI
M'Sshaila and I met a Gkaz the other day while taking a tubecar trip to the other side of the Ring. Never heard of the Gkaz? That doesn't surprise me. They're not a very outgoing species, and there's only a few of them on the Ring. They're very tall, and hexapods, like so many aliens. Vertical eyes, but still good binocular vision. She was eating some grasses and some grub-like things when we asked if we could sit down with her. Her hands were also her mouths, we found out immediately. She communicated to us by whistling through her multiple nostrils. I have translation patches for all known sophonts on file in extramemory, and I quickly shared it with M'Sshaila so that she could join in the conversation. Once we made sure that we were not intruding or being offensive, we began to question her about her biology. M'Sshaila is a former exobiologist, you know. Gkaz have three great gas bladders coming out of the topmost part of their bodies, and we soon learned that they have numerous smaller internal lungs as well. Somehow, their respiratory system is so sophisticated that they can breathe in almost any atmosphere, but don't ask me how; M'Sshaila understood and was fascinated, but I was out of my depth. One the Gkaz' lateral bladders was smaller than the other and was dark and opaque, so naturally we questioned her about it, hoping that it wasn't a terminal disease or something sensitive like that. As it turned out, she was pregnant, and one of her gas bladders had converted into a womb. Gkaz reproduce by inhaling spores, you see. Once a spore becomes fertilized, it migrates to one of the bladders, implants there, and the bladder hardens and fills with nourishing fluid. The extra weight on the side of her thorax was uncomfortable, she said, but that was one of the joys of motherhood. M'Sshaila nodded knowingly. I felt very alone in my maleness for a moment.
She said that she would give birth to twins, as Gkaz always do, and that she would give one of the twins away to be raised outside of the family, as is customary with the Gkaz. I began to inquire about whether she would ever consider giving the child to parents of another species--I was interested, I admit, and it wouldn't have been the first time that I raised an alien, believe it or not--but M'Sshaila saw immediately where I was going and changed the subject. She's wiser than I am, that woman of mine. The Gkaz admitted to us that she was rather radical for her species, since she had chosen her mate and inhaled his spores in an enclosed chamber. Traditionally, Gkaz males release their spores into the winds, and females, when they decide to become receptive to spores, never know whose seed it is that they're inhaling. Females in offworld environments, where there isn't likely to be a preponderance of Gkaz spores in the atmosphere, are able to purchase canisters of randomized spores, to ensure anonymous fertilization, but our new friend chose to take a more unconventional route. Good for her!
Anyway, about an eighth-rotation later our tubecar arrived at our destination, and we parted ways. Our new friend allowed us to take this holoprint of her before we left. We looked her up on the directory some time later and were pleased to see that her pregnancy went well, and that her other child went off to a good foster family, also Gkaz. M'Sshaila chided me again for wanting to adopt the child, but what can I say? I always like to try new things.

***

Another alien, done in the same style as my Carisapiens, and described by the same narrator. I may update this image, or upload another one, showing this alien with some clothing and/or accessories.
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:iconmetalsonic3000:
metalsonic3000 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2014
Like the story. Getting a Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy vibe from it.
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:iconoblivionjunkey94:
OblivionJunkey94 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
very cool story love the pic so much
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconoblivionjunkey94:
OblivionJunkey94 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Youre welcome
Reply
:iconchrestovenator:
Chrestovenator Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012
"I thought I was in love, once, but then I remembered that my species reproduces with a cloud of spores..."

I'm really enjoying these little anecdotal stories, the narrator and his wife both seem like interesting characters. I get such an "old married couple" vibe off them that I can't help but picture them as wizened and grey, despite the references to rejuve made in other stories. The way the narrator rambles reminds me of every octogenarian I know.

Also: the idea of a "lung-brooder" is really neat, like a stranger take on mouth-brooding cichlids, or those Australian frogs that incubated their eggs in their stomachs. For them, giving birth must be the deepest and most satisfying cough imaginable!
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks very much, man! Your comments are much appreciated. I'm glad they have that old married couple vibe. That's exactly what I was going for! I imagine that they'd actually appear to be in their early fifties, though they'd both be actually a few hundred years old (I think...it's been a while since I've been active on this project, so some of the ideas have gotten a bit hazy).

Hah! I like the idea of the cough! In an earlier (and longer) draft of this story, though, the gkaz actually gave birth by the lung rupturing, to regenerate later.
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:iconmarsuwai:
Marsuwai Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2009
Very interesting ideas! :D
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconbaragon2001:
baragon2001 Featured By Owner May 28, 2009
Ring? anything to do with Larry Niven's ringworld?
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner May 28, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Vaaaguely similar in concept. More like an orbiting habitat from an Iain M. Banks novel. It's basically a huge generation ship with a rotating ring a couple hundred miles wide that has been converted into a stationary space habitat. The Ring has been added to and modified quite a bit over the years, so it's much more of a disk now, but the original nickname has stuck.
There's some more detailed explanations in some of my responses below.
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:iconbaragon2001:
baragon2001 Featured By Owner May 29, 2009
oh okay
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:iconterrichance:
Terrichance Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2009  Student Digital Artist
Just reading your descriptions, as narrated by the alien couple, is quite a joy. Have you considered doing a full-fledged series, starring our intrepid duo? I would very much like to see our narrators themselves, maybe sitting down to a cup of Agean expresso with their latest subject.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I have indeed considered doing a full series of these. Lately, though, other projects, and distracting/stressful life events have kept me from doing it. Soon, though, soon!
Thanks for the comments!
Reply
:iconzippo4k:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009
KEWL!
I really like it when people make aliens that actually look... well... alien. :XD:
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, Zippo!
Reply
:iconstinkywigfiddle:
stinkywigfiddle Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2009   Traditional Artist
Hey, cool. I like the alien and the story. Great work.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconmarty-party:
Marty-Party Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
By Ring, do you mean something like a Ringworld?
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Something vaguely like a ringworld in principle, but different in several important aspects. The Ring is actually an enormous generation ship that became obsolete before it could be put to use, so it was converted into an orbiting habitat instead. There's a central shaft which holds the engines, and perpendicular to that is a rotating disk a few hundred miles in diameter and a few miles thick. The inner parts of the disk simulate lower gravity while the outer parts simulate higher gravity, and it is divided into several areas of different atmospheres. The sunward side contains many farms and parks and the occasional high-end shopping district, while the dark side contains many casinos, hotels, and some nocturnal habitats. Between these two sides is several thousand cubic miles of habitats, corridors, shopping centers, arenas, private dwellings, temples...everything a billion inhabitants divided into dozens of different species could need.
Reply
:iconmarty-party:
Marty-Party Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
is it mostly urban with artificial lighting?
kind of like the Citadel in Mass Effect?
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I had to look up Mass Effect to see what the Citadel was, but yeah, it seems broadly similar. Urban, artificially lit interior space.
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:iconkingacer:
kingacer Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009
I hope you do more of these, loving it.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I will do more. Thank you!
Reply
:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009
What can I say, another masterpiece! :) I love the torqued corkscrew twist on the thoracic area, and the impression of tender pink skin, as if she just emerged from a fairly insulated environment like a naked mole rate colony. But more than anything it's the "concept that makes the creature" here, imho. There is such a density of stunningly original ideas in your description, especially as relates to the biology and politics of reproduction--something I don't see nearly enough of in sci-fi. I'm also intrigued by the assertion that her hexapodal body design is common among alien species. While I realize this may be a tongue-in-cheek way of rationalizing an aesthetic preference on the part of the artist, as a panspermia enthusiast I also flashed on the possibility that certain genetic traits and morpholoigcal predilections may have been "seeded" across broad areas of space in the distant past and are therefore more prevalent in certain regions of the galaxy. Even to the point where the offspring of various rival seeding projects may find themselves at war with each other in the future over relatively minor cosmetic differences...

Anyway, it's fantastic as always and this first-person narrative approach seems to be a creative goldmine for you...There's a certain endearing quality to the personalized descritptions of these aliens, as if they are little people we can come to know and love. I can't wait to see where you go with this in the future!
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, Tapir! You guessed right about me rationalizing about my preference for hexapods.:) Your panspermia idea is fascinating, and I just might make it a part of the background of this universe. It would also help explain why there are a number of intelligent species of roughly the same level of development in this universe.
I do enjoy writing as this friendly retired guy meeting aliens in a space habitat.:) I will do more of these.

Hey, have you read "Wild Seed" by Octavia Butler? I'm thinking of illustrating a scene from that.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
I have! It's not my favorite of her books, but I enjoyed it. What scene are you thinking of illustrating?

Ooo, I remembered something I wanted to tell you about panspermia, but it's a long story...I'll have to note you!
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2009
now I'm wondering if the creator-commanders of your Facilitators [link] have good relations with the creators/majority civilization/species of the Ring.

sorry.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
The scene I'm thinking of is the scene where Anyanwu confronts Lale. If you don't remember, it's right after Isaac guides the ship through the big storm on the first crossing of the Atlantic. Lale reaches out into Anyanwu's mind and creates a hallucination that he's transformed into some sort of monstrosity, so she transforms into a leopard and makes short work of him. I think it'd be a cool scene to paint.
Lookin' forward to that note.:)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2009
Oh, that would be cool...I can't wait to see it!

There are some great visual possibilities with that series, I have to say. I loved what Barlowe did with Anyanwu for his Wild Seed cover and in the Guide to Fantasy.
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:iconblue-f0x:
BLUE-F0X Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lol That's cool
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, man!
Reply
:iconblue-f0x:
BLUE-F0X Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Welcome
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009
my hunch is that the lobe-fin analogues-ancestors of the Gkaz floated on the surface of the ocean, their arms darting at prey that swam beneath it.

it's a good sapient, you have here.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
That's an excellent hypothesis. I like it very much!
Also, my own theory for their elaborate and adaptable respiratory systems is that there are extreme hot and cold seasons on their world. In the cold season, many gases in the atmosphere freeze and form glaciers. So, the composition of the atmosphere is always changing.
Thanks for the comment!
Reply
:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
thank you.

makes sense.
(a while ago - back when stargate sg1 was in the second or third season, i think - I thought of some worlds where the planet zips close enough to its sun for at least half the ocean to turn to fog and thicken the atmosphere...but I abandoned it as I couldn't think of what would live there)
I like your idea better.

you're welcome. and thank you for taking the time to reply.
Reply
:iconsaremu:
Saremu Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009
Oh! Also aliens and their beasts of burden. Alien royal processions, or funeral processions. Alien... I need to stop. I want to draw now. Sorry about that. Just thought it would be cool if you drew some of those things.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Cool ideas!
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:iconsaremu:
Saremu Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
I'm glad you think so. :D
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:iconsaremu:
Saremu Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009
I think she is beautiful... -_- You know what I mean.

Anyway. I would like to see the clothes you mentioned below as well. I'm also very interested in the stories that accompany these deviations. I still don't really know what the ring is, although I imagine some sort of space station. You may have said that somewhere. A deviation of the narrator and M'Sshaila walking through a busy part of the community would be a cool way to see a bunch of aliens together and see the ratio of humans to other creatures.

Whatever you do. Keep these alien designs coming. There isn't enough of this on DA.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, Saremu! I did give her a feminine figure, didn't I?
As for the Ring, I first used the name just to provide some sort of generic space habitat as a backdrop for these stories. The concept has evolved a bit in my mind since then, though. Here's what I think about the Ring so far:
It's a generation ship. There's a central shaft containing the engines and other technical things, then there's also a big disk that rotates perpendicular to the main shaft. It's a few hundred miles in diameter and three or four miles thick, and supports a population of about a billion. Before this generation ship was put to use, though, the FTL (faster than light) drive was discovered, and the ship became obsolete, and was put into use as an orbiting habitat/tourist destination instead.
The interior of the Ring is very complex, since it supports habitats for many different species of sophonts. There are several regions with different atmospheres. The innermost parts of the rings are lower gravity, while the outer parts of the ring, which rotate faster, simulate higher gravity (with "down" in any level of the Ring being towards the outside of the Ring). The side of the ring facing the sun is devoted to agriculture, parks, and the occasional high-end marketplace. The starward side of the Ring contains many hotels, suites, casinos, and habitats for nocturnal species. Between these two sides of the ring, in the interior, is thousands upon thousands of cubic miles of habitats, transportation lines, life support systems, and any number of other science-fictiony things.
Long response to your comment, I know.:) I think I will do a Deviation showing a busy part of this community, like you suggested.
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:iconsaremu:
Saremu Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
Awesome! I hope you have fun when you do it.

Long response was fun to read. You explained the ring really well. I hadn't even thought of different atmospheres, habitats, and gravity. Sounds like a cool place to visit or even be from.
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Wow, that's a lot of comments! Thanks, everybody!
Reply
:iconhalonut117:
halonut117 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
you have an excellent imagination my friend, these creatures and their descriptions are amazing. please enjoy your day :wave:
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, man!
Reply
:iconrobertlaszlokiss:
RobertLaszloKiss Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Student Artist
Really cool creature, love the fact that she reproduces with spores.
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, Venom!
Reply
:iconneustrasbourg:
NeuStrasbourg Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009
The question is, is it normal for them to walk around naked :D?

Anyway, once again thanks for sharing this wonderful character ancd her story with us!
Reply
:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
"The question is, is it normal for them to walk around naked :D?"

No, not really. I imagine her wearing some sort of wrap, but I haven't decided how that'll look yet, and I was impatient to post this.:) I'll post another image with some different clothing options.
Reply
:icondeer-in-headlights:
Deer-in-Headlights Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Student Digital Artist
All your hexapods look too cool : D
Nice story too, I could see how reproduction by spore inhalation could work.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, Deer!
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