Livid Embrace

From 2speccers2tools wiki

A previously overlooked ecology despite its ancient presence are the Lego Cell floats - sometimes referred to as “legofloats”. Distant cousins of the multicellular legobox fauna, these microbes often form tight, sturdy colonies which can float on the water’s surface; fueled by a consistent abundance of nutrients supplied by oceanic gyres, these colonies can grow to titanic proportions, even to square kilometers in area. Many of the larger floats impose a prominent shadowy overcast over a given area of seawater, which seemed to befuddle the Highcap Tanglebells - jellyfish-like soopyfauna which normally surface this far only at night; this did attract a wealth of plankton (and larger prey) however, so these soopies would acclimate to spend their entire lives here. Some aberrant highcaps would even attempt to affix themselves onto the bottom face of the float, moving very little but still well within the great influx of food. As generations progressed, these stationary highcaps became more prevalent and diverged further from their ancestral stock, now with sturdy, adhesive-based affixes, and fleshy tendrils to better restrain prey with - both terminating a stalk-like form. These soopyfauna would become the first Livid Embraces, and among the first colonists of the legofloats.

Similar to a terran sea anemone, the Livid Embrace lives much of its life suspended from a legofloat’s bottom face; it achieves this thanks to adhesive secretions from its apex (located on the bottom base). These adhesives are structurally derived from the compound connecting the soopy’s asshole cells. If for any reason it needs to relocate, specialized apical epithelial (poopy)cells are triggered to secrete just enough enzymes to lightly loosen its hold on the float face and awkwardly crawl along it while its bell pushes the soopy against this surface. Speaking of the bell, it is rimmed with prominent tentacles composed of assholey muscular tissue, and are likely derived the ancestral oral sphinciter muscles. Both assholey muscular and connective tissue alike ensure some structural consistency for the soopy’s stalk as it often sways about in the currents.

The chief function of the Livid Embrace’s tentacles is to secure passing prey, with the stalk giving it decent distance from its apical base into the water column. While the tentacles themselves are capable of restraining anything passing by, the killing blow is actually administered by its poopy-derived spite-bearing cirral tendrils. Any unfortunate fauna that dares brush against these hair-like organs will experience agony - if only for a moment, as the sheer density of spite can totally shut it down in mere minutes. As its spite-resistant soopyfauna cousins are abundant, the Livid Embrace has means of dispatching them as well; the spite concentrations alone are enough to drive such catches out of their senses - but to actually do them in, a decent dose of venomous enzymes is applied via stiff, non-spiteful cirri on the tentacles’ inner sides, and is similarly fast-acting. Besides dispatching prey, the spiteful cirri make for an effective predator deterrent.

No matter which manner of prey is subdued, it is heaved into the Livid Embrace’s digestive processes all the same. The tentacles shove the catch into a muscular sphincter-mouth, which widens considerably to take it in. At the other end of the mouth is a blind gut densely lined with digestive bruh tissue, and once the sphincter muscles seal up, the digestive process begins. If the Livid Embrace succeeds in subduing a particularly large catch (like an adolescent Paintface Swark), it may subsist on its surplus energy for quite some time, even up to a couple of weeks in some healthy individuals; to accomodate for such hefty meals, this soopy is thrice as large as its ancestral dimensions as to provide more room for nutrient-storing tissue. A sated individual will curl its tentacles into itself and retract its stalk slightly, only unwinding to allow waste matter to escape. It is worth noting that this organism’s food-acquiring adaptations easily lend it its name.

The Livid Embrace’s senses are governed by a bruh-derived nerve net, ferrying information from external inputs throughout the soopy’s body, prompting it to react accordingly. While otherwise somewhat sparse throughout its form, particularly dense nerve clusters sit behind its ring of large eyes. As it is quite shady underneath a legofloat, these eyes are keen to any nearby source of light, and in turn, prey silhouettes. Similarly dense with nerve endings are rings of vibration sensitive cirri on the stalk and chemoreceptive cirri on the tentacles’ outer sides, all assisting in the location of prey.

Some time in the Livid Embrace’s evolution, its line became one of many of the soopyfauna to switch to sexual reproduction. During times of notable nutrient abundance, many embraces expel copious gametes into the water column; with the apex now used to fasten the fauna onto a legofloat face, gametes are instead bud from a ring of gonopores between the apex and the eyes. When gametes conjugate, they form into a zygote and begin developing into a 2 millimeter-wide larva resembling the Soopybell. After gorging on plankton for about a month, the immature, 5 cm-wide Livid Embrace must find a suitable legofloat surface to situate on.

The Livid Embrace sports a peachy russet color, making it hard for sight-seeing fauna to discern against the solid legocolony above them.

A sated Livid Embrace. Note the widened gut, tucked tentacles, and slightly compressed stalk.