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The Taik are a massive reptitilian species native to the planet, Keerat. Taik society is based entirely around personal worth (how the individual can benefit the many), and anyone who cannot pull his/her own weight is deemed worthless.
The race is known for travelling the cosmos in vast fleets, challenging any intelligent species it meets to brutal wars of attrition. Should the challenged species prove its worth by defeating the invading taik forces, it will be given a place in the taik empire. Conversely, if the species cannot hold its ground then it will be hunted to near extinction (if not total extinction), and its planet will be stripped of resources before being glassed.
Taik are easily the most diverse sapient species in The Vale. The race is divided into as many as seven distinct subspecies, and each one is designed to thrive in a specific biome on Keerat. Despite this, however, most taik subspecies share common traits. The average taik is between 7 and 8 feet tall, and weighs upwards of 400 pounds. Their powerful bodies contain little to no fat deposits; their incredible weight being made up largely of thick scales and muscles. They are bipeds, meaning they walk on two legs. Beyond reproductive organs, there is no discernible difference between male and female taik.
Taik are vaguely similar to reptiles found on Earth. They are exclusively cold-blooded, have a layer of scales over their skin, and lay eggs opposed to giving live birth. Their extensive fossile record indicates that they were once avian in nature, to the point of being capable of flight (or at the least, extended periods of gliding). Of the seven subspecies, two still retain avian-esque features such as talons and plumes of feathers.
Having evolved on the hostile world of Keerat, the taik do not rely on liquid water for sustainance, and instead drink liquid formamide. H2O in any form is extremely toxic. Even walking through fog, or getting caught in rain can be fatal. Subsequently, taik are seldom seen on Earth-like planets for more than a few weeks at a time. When they are, they often restrict themselves either to arid regions such as deserts, or to the interiors of buildings and underground structures.
The taik evolved as apex predators, and they retain many corresponding traits. As mentioned, very little of their weight is made up of fat deposits. As a result, taik metabolism tends to be very slow, taking the time to extract as many nutrients from food as possible. A meal every few days will generally keep a healthy taik going until death by natural causes. In order to stay topped up, taik do not chew their food per se. Rather, they swallow most meals whole, and their thraots can expand nearly 16x in diameter to accommodate when necessary. Similarly, their stomachs can expand over 10x in size. Their mouths contain rows of hook-like teeth that aid in "eating", directing chunks of meat down into their digestive tracks. An adult taik can swallow a fully matured deer in a single -if time consuming- gulp. This particular trait came into play as a potent form of psychological warfare during the human-taik war. Hundreds of human POW's were literally swallowed alive, and killed in via a slow and painful digestion. Despite this terrifying death, most taik who took part in consuming humans were poisoned, and subsequently killed, by the high concentrations of water in their victims.
Taik are commonly listed as carnivores. This is technically false: Taik are omnivores, capable of eating vegatation. However, plants, even those native to Keerat, provide just a fraction of the energy needed to keep an adult tiak healthy. It is entirely possible for one to survive on plants alone, but it is very impractical.
Taik are unique in that they lack a sex drive of any kind. This is largely why male and female taik are so similar biologically: There is literally no reason to attract a potential mate. The act of reproduction is simply a form of social interaction - it is something that is done casually among comrades, and is no more outlandish than holding a conversation.
The actual process is somewhat similar to the method used by Earth's fish. A female taik will lay a large clutch of eggs, which are then fertalized by a male taik. In both sexes, reproductive organs are interior. In modern taik cities, there are designated areas for reproduction. There are a number of misconceptions over the nature of these areas, especially among humans. The most common mistake being that these areas are akin to brothels. Other -more derogatory- ideas compare these areas to restrooms.
Once an egg has been fertalized, it will take roughly 5 weeks for the fetus to develop and hatch. Taik infants are given no care from either of their parents; from day one they must fend for themselves. They are left to the mercy of the elements, wildlife, and, most importantly, other taik. While generally frowned upon, it is not uncommon to hunt and eat taik children as one would do to wild game. Immedately after hatching, infants are given a sudden jolt of energy from reserves found in the actual egg, allowing them to function for the next couple of days, during which they search for food. This period of time is usually very bloody, as the infants commonly canibalize their brethren for sustainance. While this usually shunned by other races for its grizzly nature, it is neither considered immoral nor taboo to the taik themselves.
Taik mature very rapidly, reaching breeding age after just two years. Full adolescence is not reached until age four. Despite the hostile environments of Keerat, and the cannibalization of tiak children, the race's population is in no danger of dropping. There are roughly 6 billion healthy taik females of breeding age, and each one can lay up to 2000 eggs in the span of a year. Even with an infant mortality rate of 92%, as many as 960 billion taik survive long enough to reach maturity every year.