Maru ( 2612 C8C5330-B Lo Ni Fl ) circa 1116
Maru has a carbon/sulphur based ecology and is the site of a major
research centre. The aipess is the most well known of the Maruvian
life-forms. At 800 kg the aipess is the same size as a terran buffalo.
There though the similarity ends. The aipess has a yellow transluscent
skin and 6 motor limbs. Its fearsome reputation is due to various
factors: the herds of a dozen or so in which it travels, the three long
frontal horns, and the long snout that has been known to flatten
xenobiologists in an absent-minded flick. The snout with its
furrball-like head is used to sweep the sulphur dust from the surface,
so starting the respiratory process. Despite its fearsome aspect the
aipess is a herbivore, although that term can be difficult to interpret
on Maru. Due to the slower metabolism many Maruvian creatures have long
inactive phases when they revert to a "plant" form. Even the aipess can
pass through such a phase, brought on at will or when food is scarce.
In the case of the aipess it buries itself except for its snout, and
the snout catches passing sulphur whilst the body absorbs sulphur and
other nutrients through osmosis. Maru provides never ending sources of
fascination for xenobiologists and much remains to be discovered.
David Burden (firstname.lastname@example.org)