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.