Strigo are a species of sapient molluscoid alien who settled on the planet Dynae. The current name for the species is human in origin and refers to the owl-like appearance of the alien's head.
At first blush Strigo, with their large heart-shaped dished heads, appear much like owls. However, they lack flight and stand upright on several prehensile tentacles. Standing at roughly 3m tall, they are very slender and able to move dexterously, especially in 0G environments by whipping their limbs out and grabbing and pulling themselves through corridors. Primary “arm” tentacles are used to gesture and manipulate objects. The majority of their organs are hidden under a mantle that is connected to the head. On that head, a pair of dishes receive soundwaves enabling echolocation in place of optical senses.
Strigo language is characterized by tonal chords, clicks and beats produced by focusing air through various channels and tubes in the lower half of their face. These sounds are repeated and hummed to create a three-dimensional map of their surroundings by listening to how echoes subtly interact with surfaces. This echolocation and related proprioception is critical for Strigo to interface with their surroundings. As a result, strigo tech has three-dimensional displays and textured surfaces. A side effect of the dished ears of the species is a sensitivity to a portion of the ultra-high frequency microwave spectrum, which with training and cybernetics allow Strigo to visualize other wavelengths of light.
The near-constant humming or clicking of Strigo can come off as contemplative or focused to other species. Additionally their uncanny memories for locations and spatial reasoning build an impression of wise and thoughtful species. Their large craniums may double this impression among humans.
Strigo lack gender but procreate sexually. A pair of strigo embrace each other for several months at a time incubating their fetus until it can survive outside of the bond of the parents. The offspring reach maturity after roughly twenty years, during which, the responsibility of raising the child is shared by the community and typically falls to more sedentary elders.
Lifespans for Strigo are around 60-80 years.
Strigo are omnivorous and traditionally eat a diet of small insectoids and fruits.
Strigo were some of the first settlers of the planet Dynae. The initial Strigo colony ship arrived 750 years ago (Beacon Reckoning) and landed in the Kyrolisil Delta of Dynae with 5,000 people and are recorded having built the first self-sufficient town on the surface. The brackish water out to sea and loamy fertile soil of the delta proved a solid location for Strigo settlement and the city of Kyrolisilport (as it was later recorded by humans) was continuously settled for over 400 years. Control of the Kyrolisil river, its port, and the agriculture of the surrounding region was a pivotal key for various powers during Dynae’s warring-states period (also known as The Age of Discordance by modern Dynaeans) to feed and fund armies. While subservient to various political entities before The Great Cataclysm of Dynae, Kyrolisilport maintained local control for its entire history under the Parliament of Kyrol: a council dominated by strigo elders.
There is considerable debate within academic circles as to the origins of the Strigo. Two major camps exist one that propose that they were from an aquatic world or aquatic biosphere, while others posit that they are more closely related to void fauna and tahora. The latter theory is especially popular in Whai circles and among the Strigo living in the Rangi.
Bal’ipp Ahe - The Pirate Monarch
Bal’ipp Ahe, a famous pirate scoundrel of Early Beacon Space History, is the most well-known Strigo in the sector. Plunderer and privateer, they assembled a massive fleet of raiders and terrorized the fledgling colonies of Beacon Space. In 650 BR, amassing an obscene amount of infamy and wealth, Bal’ipp Ahe turned their attention to Dynae. Domination of the planet was their first step towards controlling all of the sector. With a relentless blockade and surgical invasions, Bal’ipp Ahe brought the wealth and splendor of the planet into their grasp in just seven months. Secure in Teuthem space, Bal’ipp Ahe’s fleets launched an offensive on the surrounding systems. However, their reign was not to last. During the demonstration of a new weapons system, a rogue torpedo careened directly into the observation deck of the pirate's capital ship killing them and most of their high command. Power struggles between the remaining officer staff split the grand pirate fleet which eventually dissolved into feuding clans. Some believe that Bal’ipp Ahe was assassinated by one of the officers, while others believe they fired the torpedo at their high command as an act of repentance for the horror they inflicted on the people of Dynae and the sector at large. In any case, among many today Bal’ipp Ahe’s name is synonymous with a cruel and ruthless leader who pursues wealth and power with no cause but their own aggrandizement. They are remembered as the failed pirate monarch who stopped at nothing in pursuit of their shallow goals.
Modern strigo lack any unified "government" and generally scoff at brash unilateral leaders who might have an air of Bal’ipp Ahe to them. Consensus among Strigo is typically found by listening to elders with calm and pensive voices.
As survivors of the Great Cataclysm on Dynae, Strigo are commonly seen amongst the Tahora Whai in Sector-West's Kikorangi o te Tahora Whai and have much of the trappings of their fellow Whai: cybernetics, tattoos, Vāk implants etc.
Strigo outside of Whai space tend to operate in small groups; many fear the absence of other Strigo voices to give them comfort and guidance. The species affinity to microgravity makes them a rare sight on most planet surfaces and reside typically on small moons, stations, or on their ships.