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"In my opinion, the Astertaltes are one of the most mysterious and relentlessly aggressive species in all of the galaxy. Their sheer size being large enough to dwarf most starships, and it's looks enough to psychologically traumatize one after an encounter. Nevertheless, we all have been blessed with the rare chance to research and document these incredible lifeforms, their origin, and their biology." -Sarah Waynes, a Human biologist sent on a research mission to document the Astertaltes.

Overview

Astertalte is a species of cosmic leviathans residing in the the Palioxis Starfield, best described as a swirling aberrations of tentacles and mouths. Only situated in the outer reaches of The Gathering, and having a recorded population of only two thousand, the Astertalte is one of the least studied space-borne species in the Palioxis Starfield. Many of the sightings and encounters of an Astertalte have spawned countless stories and myths regarding the horrors of these space-borne leviathans.

The origin of Astartoths is completely unknown, but depictions of them in ancient scriptures on a Pax Aterna have shown evidence that they are closely linked to the Guardians, and are likely the very creations of the species itself. Other pieces of evidence from ancient texts show that Astertalte have likely been around for over seven billion years, further proving the evidence. This makes Astertaltes one of the most successful organisms, and are clearly able to live very long lifespans.

Potentially, Astertaltes can survive for over a million years, mostly in a hibernation state. Active Astertaltes live relatively shorter, with the oldest confirmed active Astertalte living for over 700,000 years. Genetic technology is also able change this.

Appearance

The Astertalte typically take on the appearance of a swirling mass of unproportional tentacles, mouths and eyes. On typically, the Astertalte have an average body shape of a ball or oval, usually brown of red in coloration, and rarely, gray in coloration. However, what is seen in every documented individual, is that tentacles of unknown usage and varying sizes have made a major effect on the appearance of every Astertalte. These tentacles always tend to face toward the back-side of the creatures, and typically tentacles on the very rear tend to be the largest.

The mouth of an Astertalte is essentially a large opening in the middle of their body, covered with large and sharp teeth. The front teeth are backward-pointed, an effective way of essentially trapping the prey, while the teeth inside tend to be tiny and often unnoticeable. The sheer bite force of an Astertalte alone can destroy even the largest of spacecraft with relative ease. Many alternative and far smaller mouths are also seen on the Astertalte, which mysteriously do not seem to lead anywhere, and the amount of them is varying per individual.

The Astertaltes possess a high amount of eyes, the size and location of which can vary per individual. Typically, these eyes are able to impressively see even the smallest movements many hundreds of kilometers away. All of these eyes are colored pure black, however, when enraged, the eyes of Astertalte can glow deep and dark red in color. This effect, although seemingly common, has not been observed in many documented instances of Astertalte.

As sound does not travel in space, the Astertalte possess no hearing organs common on other lifeforms. Many small internal organs lie deep within in Astertalte, allowing it to effectively sense vibrations, notifying the Astertalte of potential prey or intruder.

Behavior

To begin with, all Astertaltes appear to share a desire to live a lonely existence. Individual Astertaltes almost never interact with one another, preferring to stay in their own territories. Nevertheless, the Astertaltes are highly aggressive creatures, fearlessly attacking any living organism it seems, even ones far larger than itself. This behavior is the direct cause of the low intelligence of Astertaltes, being on the brink of classified as non-sentient creatures.

One of the most territorial creatures discovered, Astertaltes have specific territories similar to homes that they will protect at any cost, even if it takes days to chase a prey out of their territory. This territorial behavior is most noted by many miners who have unluckily stumbled across a wild Astertalte. Many lives have instantly ended just by stumbling a little into the territory of an Astertalte.

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