The Pestilence (Pestelentia pestelentia) is a space-faring organism found mostly in Via Aylathiya. It has dozens of sub-species located throughout the nearest galaxies to Via Aylathiya such as Ventemir. As a largely predatory organism, it is only found in regions of space hosting a healthy interstellar or otherwise space-based ecosystem. Only small portions of most galaxies apart from Via Aylathiya host such ecosystems, severely restricting the range of The Pestilence organisms.
The Pestilence is a group hunter primarily relying on taking down predators by virtue of numbers alone. The reason they bear the name "Pestilence" comes from their ability to target and often hijack ships for the sake of propagation. They turn these ships into nests, often expanding on them using any material they can find. Their ability to prey on ships had lent to them becoming the most common predator of their type in the universe, often capable of dismantling entire civilizations who are not prepared for an attack.
P. pestelentia individuals are hexagonally-shaped with a long length but small width. They are coated in radiation-resistant plating that is black in color. Along the length of their body are dozens of long legs which are usually tucked into the body when within space. These legs are mounted across all sides of the body, not just the "bottom." When attacking prey, they use the sharpened ends of these legs to tear into or transport prey.
The species live communally in nests of their own creation. They are not eusocial and, instead, are better described as "pack animals." These nests can house anywhere from ten to billions of P. pestelentia individuals. Males and females alike work to build the nest, usually secreting a plastic-like polymer to seal holes in the nest. Once a nest is completed, they create an airlock in the side. They will then move the nest to a cooler location, often taking years to move it to the desired location. They will then begin bringing large amounts of ice and, if possible, gas into the nest, pressurizing it. Their young require a pressurized environment for the first several weeks as their shells develop.
If pressurization is not possible for an asteroid, they will navigate to a small moon, hollow out a space, and do the exact same thing. If there are no moons available, they will find a planet with low gravity and a thick atmosphere to reproduce in. They often attack ships because of their need for nesting. For the last million years, with little break, their galaxy has had some form of interstellar civilization within it, causing them to evolve to prefer ships over the natural alternatives. P. pestelentia penetrate hulls of ships with as little damage as possible, allowing them to easily repair the damages once they secure the ship. They usually use the individuals aboard the ship to feed.
Reproduction & Life Cycle
P. pestelentia individuals hatch from eggs. Once hatched, they require a pressurized environment to survive. Certain sub-species created artificially have this pressurized environment exist within the mother. They start at about 5 cm in length. They use their legs as propellers to move throughout the environment. Adults feed and raise the hatchlings communally, allowing them to eat before the adults themselves do. After about two weeks, the young can tolerate a vacuum and will accompany the adults outside for a small amount of time. After a further two weeks, the young are fully tolerant to vacuum.
Members of the species can live up to thirteen hundred years and, at the largest, are often over ten meters in length. After about one year, young are one meter long, are fully mature, and are capable of becoming a fully-functional member of the pack.
As a space-faring organism that is no stranger to engaging other species or even rival packs in combat. They principle weapons are their sharpened legs, made from a carbon compound rivaling many artificial materials in strength. Capable of piercing materials with a pressure of over