The Crystalloids are a race of intelligent life forms which are derived from crystal, also containing silicon and other elements. They are unique in that they have no discernible sensory organs or limbs, instead manipulating their environment almost entirely by the manipulation and detection of energy fields and pressure. Their size and dimensions can vary greatly, typically depending on the age of the Crystalloid and the amount of stored data they have, as well as if they are budding or have extra crystals for various purposes.
The name is a work in progress which may come out in RP, though prospective names are also Kesshou/Kouseki/Suishou (the Yamataian words for crystal), or the likely Nepleslian choice: “those glass ####ers”.
Rather than having a complex structure of joints or comparable components, the fundamental structure of a Crystalloid is an array of carbon-based crystals with silicon and energy absorption components within that serve in various capacities. The crystals are layered, almost always with one or more dense transparent crystals surrounding one or more inner crystals.
The outer crystalline shell of the Crystalloid is perhaps the most important component for interacting with the universe, providing both sensory and motor elements as well as power generation and matter absorption. The outer layer contains a more uniform structure of impurities, giving a uniform transparent or translucent shade ranging from clear to light blue or milky white. The more clear the shell, the more efficient the system and the more robust its energy manipulation capabilities.
The outer shell is not only capable of absorbing damage and taking on matter to repair itself, but it also serves as a panoramic sensory organ and an energy manipulator. It is receptive to pressure as well as wavelengths of sound, radio, light, and energy emissions. These crystals are also capable of transmitting the same, effectively integrating all forms of input and output save for pressure into one format for easier processing.
Normally, the Crystalloids put out energy in the form of broadcast sound (their language sounds much like elaborate wind chimes) or broadcast or directed radio transmissions, but they can also use directed energy in the form of light or energy waves. This directed energy allows them to defend themselves, as well as to float. They can also push, pull or rotate objects. Using higher energy outputs, such as those equivalent to an energy weapon, is draining. For this, they prefer to use sonic waves if needed to protect themselves.
As needed, the Crystalloid can nestle itself against a deposit of minerals (perhaps after using sonic waves to expose the deposit) and absorb needed minerals for regrowth and expansion of its silicon circuitry. It is ideal if the area is well lit, as they absorb energy from light and sound to perform this regrowth.
The Inner Crystal shines with a diverse array of colors, the variance caused by the connections of naturally-occurring three-dimensional silicon circuits which form its memory systems and personality. The color can vary from red all the way to purple, with a mother-of-pearl like sheen also possible. Older entities can even have all the colors of the rainbow, though there is no known maximum life span limit for the Crystalloid.
This contains the mind of the Crystalloid, as well as its photovoltaic power generation properties. It contains some of the same sensory and matter absorption abilities of the outer shell, but these are redundant to allow it to recover lest its external shell is damaged. Damage to this portion can cause memory loss, change of personality, or even death, though it is usually shielded by the outer shell of crystal.
Reproduction is conducted by budding from parent crystals, but has various possibilities. A budded Crystalloid can have a minimum amount of data provided by a singular parent, data which the parent deems important, a complete copy or transfer of the parent's data, or a set of data contributed by two or more Crystalloids. There is no sexual reproduction among crystalloids, and this allows for a form of race memory to varying degrees. This is not only used to reproduce, but can also be used by a Crystalloid to form themselves a brand new body with all of their memories. This is occasionally done by a Crystalloid to start with circuitry optimized for their memories and skills, much like fragmenting a computer or optimizing it for its primary role. While not done with specific regularity, it is treated with little more ethical concern than a snake shedding its skin. In a case where a Crystalloid expects to perish, they can make a copy of themselves, and leave it dormant until needed.
A Crystalloid, first and foremost, needs energy. Radio, sonic waves, light, radiation, and many different energy types can be absorbed to various degrees of efficiency. It also requires a small amount of minerals to form the electrical pathways and semiconductor circuits needed to form new memories, though a Crystalloid can go without consuming new matter for a number of years before leeching the needed minerals from their outer shell. A 'starved' Crystalloid will thus have a brittle outer shell with is less efficient at absorbing energy. To repair itself or to bud, a vastly larger amount of minerals are required. Water is also used as a purifier, to cleanse absorbed minerals of impurities as well as to clean budding surfaces and to clean the surface layer of the Outer Crystal to keep energy absorption optimal.
While Crystalloids do not have a specific need for an atmosphere, they maintain one aboard their ships for the purposes of sound transmission and low energy communication. They are capable of functioning in vacuum without issue, and can usually handle up to 20 times normal gravity and pressure before starting to see the formation of cracks. That being said, they consume far more energy toward movement in such conditions.
They also find music of particular interest, sometimes making their own brand to evoke assorted emotions, or listening to alien broadcasts which attract their fancy.
Most of the technology used by the Crystalloids is cultivated rather than built. It is easy for Crystalloids to bud non-sentient pre-programmed systems or tools, effectively using their budding capabilities to develop computer systems which are deeply compatible with their form as well as forming the cornerstone of their technology. A base Crystalloid may only have one multi-layered crystal, but between budding offspring and support hardware, they may have multiple crystals for different actions which they do not wish to strain their main crystal/self with. Some extra crystals in a Crystalloid can act as supplemental energy generation and manipulation organs, serving in a role comparable to added sensors or a weapon. Others help with processing more readily given a specific task much like datapads or personal computers do. The Crystalloid can readily integrate the tool into the self by budding the tool based on shared common information.
It can also go a further, where Crystalloids make systems independent of their bodies. It started with Crystalloid constructs designed for various dangerous tasks that the Crystalloids didn't wish to do themselves, but eventually Crystalloids and their constructs were working together budding buildings and even components of spacecraft. Again, this relies on communication and shared common information.
As a result, most crystalloid technology is derived from the same components as the Crystalloids themselves. Crystalloid technology takes the form of multi-layered crystals, with the innermost crystals being specialized nodes. If needed, however, specially made constructs and technologies capable of processing other materials to varying degrees have been made for specialized purposes. Even their spaceships tend to have this appearance.
Crystalloids, rather than continuing to strip their colonized worlds of resources as they had before the war, have instead opted to implement matter collection technology to absorb solar wind. After obtaining Hydrogen, they fuse it multiple times into Helium, then Carbon and higher elements to sustain themselves. In this way, they can obtain minerals and metals for themselves without being destructive and in predictable capacities over billions of years.
Indigenous to an as of yet undiscovered world, the Crystalloids evolved on a mineral-rich and energy-intensive world where silicon impurities were common in the crystals that grew there. The transistor was not a technological innovation, but an evolutionary one. Logic gates followed. Three-dimensional complex circuitry eventually developed, along with the ability to collect and manipulate the energies which bathed them from their nearby star. Eventually, they gained the abilities of locomotion and thought. Construction of large crystalline structures serving as shelters began approximately 2000 years ago, indicating the emergence of an actual society.
Computer science started as an extension of the natural life cycle of these beings, blurring the line between living entity and work force. Mineral quarries were common, and lesser beings were constructed which handled those tasks which the crystalloids did not wish to do. These constructs were sentient and sapient as well, albeit more primitive, and rebelled against their makers to cause the first war in their history. This conflict, taking place roughly 1600 years ago, which would be known as the Construct War. The rebellious constructs were not as intelligent as their makers, and lost, but the power granted them to do more dangerous jobs resulted in the constructs being able to cause the deaths of many. The victory was a hollow one for the Crystalloids, who knew that they could only blame themselves for their crime.
After the war, limitations and standards were placed on the intelligences of constructs made from that point forward to keep them from becoming sentient and sapient to avoid suffering or another rebellion, while constructs from before that time which had survived were permitted to live freely. Some of these chose to keep working, some left to form their own colonies, and others still chose to live freely among the Crystalloids. The memories of most Crystalloid still hold the memories and lessons learned of this conflict, and carry them onto their descendants. Perhaps because of this, most Crystalloids prefer to avoid conflict, and tend to be careful in how they conduct themselves among others. Some family lines, however, remember the conflict differently and thus pass on malice and intolerance to their descendants which may be responsible for future conflict…
Crystalloids do not age and die as readily as other forms of life, so by 1000 years ago they had dominated their planet to the point where space and mineral depletion were concerns. Due to this, they would eventually develop spacecraft and colonize other worlds to look for more space to sustain their race while also adopting solar wind collection and fusion devices for more ecological methods of sustenance. With the advent of Faster Than Light travel and the detection of radio broadcasts from other worlds, they started to carefully explore the stars while wary of causing or encountering conflict.
The government of the Crystalloids is managed by representation not of population or location, but by clan. Those descended from specific Crystalloids in history tend to stick together, and have an elder which speaks for them in necessary matters. As such, the clans run themselves, with larger issues seeing a council of these clan heads acting on behalf of the race. The clans tend to share beliefs due to shared race memory, and thus the system works well for them even on larger scales.
After learning that a more unified body would work best for communicating with other worlds and deciding things on behalf of the race as a whole, the council was elevated to a level of use not seen since the Construct War. In all matters related to exploration and space, the Crystal Council is the decision-making body, and the face of Crystalloid Government to off-worlders.