Respiration and Gas Exhange
Relatively little is known about the exact physiology of the Vyaeh, as contacts have been limited and no Vyaeh bodies have ever been captured or dissected. But from limited diplomatic contact, it can be inferred that their homeworld as approximately 75% of Earth’s mass and a biosphere that has a certain amount of breathable oxygen. Vyaeh have been observed subsisting without incident in atmospheres with 25-33% less oxygen than Earth, but they also appear to require certain noble gasses such as argon and krypton in much higher concentrations than Earthlike or terraformed atmospheres.

This is why Vyaeh colonies in the Disputed Systems have been observed to set up atmospheric generators even on planets with high oxygen concentrations, and why Vyaeh operating in atmospheres which appear to have enough oxygen are usually equipped with units to supply the needed gasses. Unlike humans, the systems for taking in nutrients and gas exchange are completely different; Vyaeh have spiracules on their sides that intake and exhale in a manner that is unclear but appears to be broadly similar to “book lungs” on terrestrial arachnids.

Limbs and skeleton
Vyaeh limbs are more fragile than human ones, and several have been observed to sustain major fractures from relatively minor falls. They appear to compensate for this, on planets with higher gravity, by augmenting themselves with powered germents or armor. Their skeletal structure appears to be a mixture of an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton, with the two appearing bonded in areas where greater strength is required such as the middle of limbs. It’s been speculated that the exoskeleton develops as Vyaeh age, rendering them more protected but less motile.

It has also been noted that Vyaeh vary in their number of limbs, posessing anywhere from four to eight appendages aside from their head. They have shown some specialization, with four-legged Vyaeh bearing heavy loads, three-armed Vyaeh operating as snipers or engineers, and those with the most human-like configuration (two arms and two legs) serving as commanders. Speculation exists that the number of legs is a matriarchal trait passed from mother to daughter, with males providing the neccessary genetic diversity between the various lines (not unlike cuckoos on Earth). No details on reproduction are known, though it appears to be sexual and two sexes have been noted in communications.

They appear to primarily consume liquid food with a limited capacity to grind up more solid particles in a gizzard-like organ; this has led to speculation that they evolved from herbivores or filter feeders. It has also been speculated that the other creatures often seen with Vyaeh troops, which have been observed to eat solid food, exist in a sort of symbiosis and have evolved to be “milked” of a nutrient slurry. Like so much else about the Vyaeh, this is relatively unknown.

Vyaeh posess adept but delicate “pinhole camera” eyes, perhaps most analogous to Earth chameleons and cephelopods. Their vision is poorer in terms of field of vision with notable blind spots, and their eyes must be physically rotated and focused much more laboriously than those of humans. As with their legs, the number of eyes that each Vyaeh posesses varies, with two, three, and four eyes all observed. Unlike the number of limbs, the number of eyes does not appear to be linked to any stratification of roles.

Vyaeh speech is complex, with an audible component from their “book lungs,” pheromones released from glands near their mouths, and a number of subtle shades of meaning communicated through the position of eyes and limbs. Contact and negotiations resulted in the development of a translator which can read and interpret Vyaeh language with a degree of accuracy. Their script, which relies on light frequencies outside the range of normal human vision, has likewise been deciphered to a degree through negotiations.

Vyaeh culture is primarily mercantile and matriarchal. Accumulation of power is based around accumulation of wealth, and there is no centralized military. Rather, individual units are raised and equipped by powerful figures and then sold or rented to the central government. The lack of centralized control has led to a number of unfortunate incidents, though the government has intervened several times to prevent all-out war.

Virtually nothing is known about the Vyaeh central government, the Orphaned Court. It has been speculated to be made up of ancient matriarchs, but is treated as a singlular entity. It is both the primary civil and religious leadership of the Vyaeh, but it does not seem to interfere in major decisions very often and demonstrates an apparent preference for subtle manipulation. Such is its prestige in Vyaeh society, though, that its orders are generally obeyed unquestionably and many actions appear to be undertaken with the express object of currying its favor.

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