Art by, frog
Common Jobs: Chemist, Surgeon, Pharmacist, Drug Dealer
Likes: Colors, music, out-of-body experiences, drugs
Dislikes: Rules, sunlight, skeptics
Attack Method: Unuxis prefer to strike under the cover of darkness, using stealth, traps, and poison to surprise and disable their opponents.
Unuxis culture is obsessed with the mysteries of life, death, and the cosmos at large. They haven't quite grown out of their superstitious old ways, and see each planet as a deity of its own, believing the gods to be inherently good.
The unuxis is a slender, amphibious alien, built for stalking the dark jungles and caves of Ux. Their skin is smooth and translucent, more commonly dark in color, and complemented by an array of colorful patterns, stripes, and spots. They have a bright underbelly, stretching from their lower jaw to tail. They are primarily nocturnal, and possess a pair of reflective, highly sensitive eyes for seeing in the dark. They have a pair of finlike "ears" on the sides of their heads, and prominent, frilly spines that run up and down their backs. These features are more pronounced and colorful in males.
The unuxi have eight limbs, each ending in webbed talons that function as both hands and feet. They scurry about on all eights, though they usually rely on their front pair for manipulating objects, and stand on their other six. They frequently rear up on their hindlegs to perform tasks, the two of which are able to support the weight of their body alone. They are quick and precise in their movements, and their webbing allows them to glide through water with ease. Their serpentine bodies are squishy and flimsy, but very spry and flexible, able to fit through openings that would seem unlikely for something their size. They are almost catlike in their ability to conform to such tight spaces. This allows them ease of hiding when chased by predator and police alike.
One of the more striking features of an unuxis is their "inner light," emitted by the colorful pigment that gives them their brighter shades. This bioluminescent pigment allows one to light up its translucent body much like a neon tube. The strength of an unuxis' glow was traditionally used as a measurement of their health, and consequently the superstitious unuxi always considered it an indicator of spiritual vitality. An unuxis who is close to death will glow much more faintly than an unuxis in their prime. They have a fair amount of control over this light, using it to fool prey to come near, or to signal emotions to other unuxi.
The body of the unuxis is incredibly good at filtering out harmful substances, the remainder of which accumulate in a waxy layer coating the skin on their backs. Historically, they would rely on this adaptation to deter predators from eating them, by consuming enough poisonous flora and fungi to ensure that anything that took a bite out of them would succumb to their effects. Unuxi hunters further took advantage of this by coating their weapons in freshly secreted poison. Such concentrations would outright kill or induce a hallucinogenic stupor in prey, which would make for an easy meal. Nowadays, the carefree unuxi take advantage of this ability to store drugs for later sale and consumption.
Unuxi have deep beliefs in the spiritual realm and if you allow them the time, and a decent stash of narcotics, will never stop talking about the gods, the state of the soul during life and after death, or the mysteries of the universe. Despite their highly spiritual nature, unuxi are nonetheless very open-minded, and more than welcome input from others about their gods and existence. Some unuxis are a tad unsettled by the idea that so many believe the gods to be evil, but they accept others all the same. On the other hand, they will usually brush off people who will insist that spirits and the gods are nothing but fairytales, finding them rude. Some unuxi will offer these people psychedelics to "expand their mind and help them see the spirits."
The social norms of the unuxis advocate for absolute spiritual freedom and encourage many practices that might seem immoral, or even disturbing to day-dwellers. While, to the unuxi, their obsession with death is perfectly normal, members of the species naturally come across as untrustworthy and sinister. En masse, they slink out during the night, seeming to manifest from the shadows themselves. Their babbling about life, death, and their offers of treatment that surely could not be legal would worry any person just trying to make their way home in the night. Those who stalk the day congregate in shady alleyways and buildings, beckoning to passerbys from the darkness. They do not see any fault in their approach, and will assume a fleeing patron to simply be in a hurry.
Unuxi see nothing wrong with their usage of drugs; medical, recreational, or otherwise. Many see themselves as a shaman of sorts, bringing the good word of their preferred, or even homemade substances with them across the universe. They are more than willing to share, bringing people together to engage with the herb and reach an ascended state of mind that they say allows them to interact with the spiritual world that was always hiding in plain sight. They believe not only in drug-based, but thrill-based enlightenment, such as the kind one gets after nearly dying, even physical enlightenment. Thus many unuxi become tour guides, taking guests closer to areas deemed lawless. Or doctors, performing surgeries shunned by most others, such as the extremely deadly "species change."
Unuxi see nothing wrong with doing this, but the legal system of many planets rejects the freedom the children of Ux praise. Mortal laws, in general, are considered trivial matters. To them life is for living and interacting, there should be no physical barriers to what one is allowed to do. To them, this life is just one step on the journey of the soul. From Ux created, to Ux returned.
The history of the unuxi prior to first contact is very sparse, with most of what was written being herbal recipes for transcendental rites, cryptic artwork, crude surgery techniques, and, of course, philosophical ramblings on the nature of the soul and the gods. It's clear that the unuxi originally believed their planet to be the most basic and important of all the gods; a god of life and death, and the source of it all. The soul of life sprouts from god, and then is returned to god when the vessel has outlived its purpose. They would host rituals and events in their god's honor, never knowing that many more planets just like it were out there.
The faithful among the unuxi were taken aback by the revelations of the greater cosmos, unsure of what to make of the universe and the idea that their most wondrous of gods was so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Some unuxi returned to their world and their tribes, shutting themselves away from space so they could keep the secret away from their people. But others, through deep contemplation, had accepted a more loose, free stance, embracing the limbo teachings and recognizing the other planets as gods in their own right. This included associating their main god with that of the Neo, whom they see as a kindly and merciful god, rather than one of evil and torment. Even the part where the Neo devours the souls of the deceased just seemed like the natural course of things.
For what little is known about the history of the common inonunuxis, or "soul unuxis," even less is known about their albino cousins. Though it is unclear how a normally rare mutation led to the rise of an entire subspecies, common speculation is that omonunuxi were driven underground due to their sensitivity to sunlight and primitive misconceptions about their spiritual condition. Having been funneled into the deepest, darkest pits of Ux, they found each other and propagated their own tribes. Though the greater culture of the unuxis has matured in their scientific understanding and gladly reintegrated these individuals into their communities, the ghosts themselves have nonetheless retained their morbid, secretive ways.
Nowadays, starbound unuxi tend to lurk along the outer reaches of lawful space, having quickly learned that typical societies do not take kindly to their disregard for the rule of law. They offer goods and services that are rare elsewhere due to their questionable legality. Being the masters of chemistry they are, their potions are sometimes quite literally to die for. To this day many tribes of unuxi are isolated, having no knowledge of the universe outside their view, and being unaware that their fellow unuxi are sailing the skies as the gods are said to.
As the unuxi see their spiritual selves as being born of the land, their name is actually derived from their homeplanet itself; that being "unuxis," which roughly translates to "(child) of Ux," or more literally "from Ux created." The unuxis homeworld, Ux, is dominated by a large main continent filled with dense jungles and river valleys. The atmosphere is thick and moist, with the planet's surface being blanketed in a perpetual mist. Beneath the impenetrable canopies of foliage, it can be difficult to tell day from night, and in places the woods can be so dense as to be indistinguishable from caverns. Flying over the planet by daylight, one could easily mistake it for an uncivilized place, save for the convenient landing zones strewn across the planet. As the locals are all cave-dwellers and infrastructure is rare on the surface, an uninformed visitor could easily go their entire trip without crossing paths with a person.
The night, however, is when the planet truly comes alive, as this is when the majority of the planet's fauna and flora "shine." Animals, fruits, flowers, and fungus alike emit marvelous, colorful light; though much of these are actually poisonous in nature, and can be fatal in large doses. Under the planet's surface is a network of vast, wet caverns connected by unuxis-made tunnels. These environments have their own complex ecosystems, complete with subterranean fauna, flora, and fungus. Close to civilization, it's not unusual to hear music echoing through these tunnels, though pinpointing the source of these sounds can often prove futile.
Omonunuxis: Loosely translated as "ghost of Ux," the omonunuxis is a specimen born with genetic albinism that causes their bodies to lack the bioluminescent pigment that gives inonunuxi their brilliant inner light. Unlike their more colorful brethren, they can produce naught but a barely visible glow from their phosphorescent skeleton. Since a weak inner light is associated with poor health, ghost unuxi are said to be treading the line between life and death, perhaps even undead.
While the inonunuxi above praise the spirits, the ghosts below speak grimly of death, as if death is life casting away the deceased. They refuse to share their culture or integrate with the ideas of outsiders. Anything they consider to be a secret, from what they believe happens after death, to their most prized recipes are kept locked away from prying eyes. While omononuxi would emerge from their holes for scouting, trading, or even the occasional soul-searching endeavor, any ghost who attempts to abandon their society or spread their secrets freely will be punished. Due to this, the culture of the omonunuxi is largely unknown; a frustrating fact to some, as ghosts will frequently be encountered with a rare good or service of unknown composition and origin, trading it casually as if a typical event.
Psychedelic Skin: The body of unuxis is incredibly good at filtering out toxins, and this allows them to consume a great deal of a drug or poison with little to no adverse effects. Due to the substance accumulating in the waxy coating of one's back, simply licking an unuxis can give the effect of consuming a pill. If anything were to try and eat the unuxis, it would quickly succumb to its effects. This coating can harvested for other purposes.
• The efforts of famed unuxis explorer Mirira Se-Vorta to uplift the hokkan species led them to migrate to Ux in droves. Here, they enjoy the pleasures of being spiritual equals with the unuxis. The two species have formed a kinship of sorts; with hokkans fighting back predators during day, while unuxi care for them in the night. Local unuxi have taken to affectionately referring to them as "inonunhoxzanis."
• Of all the species in the universe, there are few, if any, whose company the unuxi enjoy more than the gondii. The two species can spend many a long night endlessly sharing ideas about the great mysteries of the universe and whatever lies beyond. They will often seek gondii for a highly sought after green herb, one unable to grow in the dark jungles of Ux, and in turn, the gondii know that they can always rely on the unuxis for a good fix.