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Outlining the antagonistic race, the Nephilim, from my work-in-progress novel, "Still". They are interesting race dependent on biotechnology to the point where survival without it is impossible. Some of their biotechnology stretches so far back, they aren't even sure where it came from, such as the tentacles necessary for communication.

Parts I haven't gone over include their culture and their technology. They wear an armour nearly at all times that is actually alive. If the host is killed, the armour will continue attacking with the host still in it, which should be sufficiently demoralizing to an enemy. Their weapons and daily life are ruled by shaping organisms into useable, symbiotic structures capable of various tasks.

Anyway, that'll be in a later essay. For now, here's a breakdown on the physiology behind how they work. Hopefully I can work out little kinks in them. While their bodies probably cannot naturally occur in an ecosystem, I am mostly curious in whether they are physically possible.

Proper Name: Homo Nephilim (Fallen Man)
Common Name: Nephilim

Name Origin:
"Nephilim" in the Bible refers to a race of man who were called "giants". Supposedly, they are the offspring of a mating between humans and angels, among many other interpretations. I have always been fascinated by the more interesting verses in the Bible and the theology that comes alongside it, and for the longest time, the Nephilim has been something I argued with myself over.

For the sake of "Still", the Nephilim take on a different light(pun unintended). They are not offspring of angels and man, nor are they anything having to do with religion. It is assumed in the book that the Nephilim are mentioned in the Bible as the only explanation man could give for the species' existence at the time.


Average Height: 5'11" to 6'5"
Average Weight: 160 to 210

The Nephilim are technically a race of men, and a common ancestor, upon billions of dollars of searching, could probably be discovered. The link between man and Nephilim has long died out at the time of the book, though, and Homo Sapiens tend to look upon Homo Nephilim with fear or derision as nearly alien creatures. And in fact, they do resemble alien creatures. Their systems are so vastly different from men, I hesitate to classify them as such. I suppose they would best fit in a category all to themselves, but I like the idea of being able to trace Nephilim back to Homo Sapiens, even if it means going back even before the primates.

A Nephilim without his armor appears entirely black. Their bodies are covered completely in melanin, which is necessary for their survival. Their sustenance comes purely from the absorption of energy; everything inside the visible spectrum, and much of the radiation outside of that. To increase the surface area used in absorbing energy, many threadlike tendrils hang from their bodies, very similar to down feathers, except much longer. The longest tendrils come from the top of the head, and can reach lengths of nearly a foot. They grow considerable thinner and shorter as they move from the top of the head down to the back of the neck. There are sparse tendrils coming from the shoulders and back. Some Nephilim can carry far more or far less, and is helpful in recognition of an individual, especially when shaped into cosmetic designs.

The tendrils are light, able to catch the air quite easily. Upon movement, this can give a Nephilim a rather smoky appearance, leading further to their illusion of being shadow creatures.

Their body has two spiracles at the base of the neck on each side, similar in structure to gills. They can open and close consciously, and stay partially closed to limit exposure to adverse elements. They open very wide in cases of tension or stress, allowing the body to receive more oxygen. The body is air-cooled. Flaps inside the trachea can release excess heat to cool the body.

Nephilim do not have mouths or noses, and instead have a small proboscis that can reveal itself from protective flaps of skin beneath the eyes. The proboscis is usually somewhere between 6 and 4 inches, and has small drilling sections used to crack the outer shells of fruits or creatures. They can then use other mouthparts to suck useable moisture. It is also possible to utilize normal water for hydration, and breaking into a plant or animal is not explicitly required. The water is filtered in the section of the face where the mouth is on Homo Sapiens. Small glands rather similar to the saliva glands are used to filter the water, which is then distributed into the rest of the body. The processed waste is held in a bladder in the same area and is removed via expulsion from the proboscis. To be short, they drink water and excrete waste from the same instrument. Bacterial infection does not occur anymore, but had once been a problem. The bacteria do not invade the substance until it leaves the body, at any rate.

The proboscis can withdraw entirely into the facial area and gives the Nephilim the appearance of having a rather smooth and expressionless face. Basic bone structure in the skull resembles it's human counterpart, with the jaw being fused together and the absence of teeth. Rudimentary and rather vestigial jaw muscles still exist, though.

The eyes have a similar capacity to human eyes, except the added usage of a tapetum lucidum and being a way to excrete more waste. This waste comes in the form of energy. A Nephilim's eyes can glow with visible light after absorbing an excess during the day. The body is constantly absorbing radiation of various kinds, and cannot actually stop: although sweat glands have been modified to block excess UV. Upon sweating, the substance can block extra light, including some of the visible spectrum. Various bacteria have grown to live off of the Nephilim's body and can help release excess sugars as light. Nephilim long ago learned to use the bacteria for cosmetic purposes.

The eyes' optical function can work normally, but a ring surrounding the actual eye ball is used to release waste. A very small and more advanced (highly organized) form of tapetum lucidum can be used to pick up the excess light and use it for excellent night vision, further adding to the effect of a Nephilim's shining eyes.

A Nephilim's ears are incredibly similar to a human's except for the rather smaller and smoother skin instead of a humans' patterned, large earlobes. The ears are also slightly misaligned; one ear is usually a little higher than the other ear on the head. This means that a Nephilim's hearing is not nearly as sensitive as a Homo Sapiens', but they can pinpoint the sound with stunning accuracy.

A Nephilim's fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet and toes are all strikingly similar to a human's, barring the extra joint in the Nephilim's thumbs. This makes the thumb longer, giving them an unsettling appearance to humans. The limbs are longer, but roughly the same diameter, making them look tall and gangly. The body mass is roughly similar to a human being's, except in matters of size. They are thinner and taller, with the chest cavity not having to incorporate a digestive system. The insides are arranged similarly to a human's; the heart being flanked by lungs. There is a smaller and more rudimentary heart underneath the normal one which can continue working upon the first one's failure, albeit only for a limited time. The main function of the smaller heart is to keep vital systems alive long enough for help to arrive, but not strong enough to support the functions required for conscious movement. As a result, Nephilim undergo a "little death" as the body shuts down and the smaller heart begins it's work. The lungs are larger than a human's. The body cavity in a female Nephilim below the lungs are mainly for the raising of offspring. A male Nephilim is easily recognized for having a smaller body cavity: very thin and shorter than a human's would be.

The reproductive systems function differently from Homo Sapiens. Males are fitted with genitalia able to deposit sperm cells within the female to fertilize multiple eggs. Nephilim are most likely to give birth to twins, and often, even more. A single live young does not often occur. The act of mating is not an act of intimacy more so than a duty to society. Sexual interaction is not particularly pleasurable, but nor is it uncomfortable. Male genitalia are hidden beneath flaps of skin similar to the proboscis, and the testes are internal.

Nephilim skeletal structure is nearly exactly the same to a humans', except for the aforementioned differences in the body cavity and the skull. At birth, Nephilim skulls are not soft, and completely cover the brain. The larger hips of a female Nephilim and increased room for young allows for an easier birth, despite this difference from Homo Sapiens. Sexual maturity occurs in roughly 18 years, and full maturity occurs in around 20.

The tentacles are the last noticeable characteristic of the Nephilim. Four to eight tentacles protrude from the back of the head and neck, each with an individual nerve net capable of operating separately from the brain of the host. This is because they were once technically a separate creature, but years of evolution have denied it's ability to live outside of the host species. The tentacles act as a form of communication between Nephilim who can otherwise create no vocal noises.

The tentacles grow seamlessly out of the skin, and are the same colour. They are fed by the host system, and the nerve net can directly tangle with the central nervous system of the Nephilim. This allows the host to directly hijack the tentacle's most notable characteristic: telepathy. The creatures have an uncanny ability to communicate with any of it's kind anywhere within a 10 mile radius through a biological origin of radio waves. The waves are picked up by tentacles and absorbed through the melanin in it's skin. But instead of processing the waves into energy, they are processed for information, and the information is dumped directly into the host's central nervous system. Messages can be sent and received at the speed of light, and telepathy allows the rate of conversation to move at unprecedented speed.

As an added feature, the tentacles have grown a protective stimulus response to attack: if they are touched by an enemy, they release painful stinging sensations, similar to a jellyfish. The tentacles can be "programmed" to react to anything as if it is an enemy, and may be used to attack. They can stretch to an amazing length of nearly 5 feet to touch an enemy, lashing at them like a whip.
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