Wildlife

Sheridan (Local)

Algoricans

Algoricans are one of the larger mammals to be found in the wilds outside of the small 'town' of Sheridan. They resemble a horrific cross between a wild dog and a large bear, with the body of the latter and a malformed snout reminiscent of the former. Their fur is a dark shade of brown which is easily camoflaged by the surrounding woods. They are not particularly territorial animals and are more inclined to ignore the new human population than not, even when encountered in the wild. However, they are known to be exceedingly vicious when cornered or provoked. While their large claws are more than capable of rending soft flesh, it's their jaws which are truly frightening. Even the best body armor doesn't make much difference when an enraged algorican has a mind to rip a grown man's arm off, as at least one unfortunate resident has already learned. (He did not survive to tell the tale.)

Bloodapples

With a pale greenish-white exterior and a bright pinkish-red interior, bloodapples seem to be a complete inversion of the much beloved fruit so common to Colonial cuisine. Their flavor is a bit more tangy than the various common types of apples and slightly less sweet, likely because of what seems to be a strong cranberry-flavored undertone to their flesh. The trees that produce blood apples burst into pale white blossoms for the middle two months of spring, before the petals drop and leaves take their place. The fruit itself is not produced until mid-summer, when it is small and not yet ripe. Early fall to mid-winter is the best time to harvest the fruit, with their flavor becoming milder and milder the later in the season they are picked.

Black Deer

Black deer resemble those native to the Colonies, albeit with several notable differences, the most striking of which is conveyed simply by their name. Unlike more familiar species of Cervidae, the most prevalent species of deer on Piraeus have fur which is a deep, rich shade of black. Fawns do not begin life with spotted coats, but instead as a paler shade of silvery-grey which blends well into the bare bark that lingers on the trees in the first few months of their lives, as they are generally born in mid- to late winter. The bucks tend to have much smaller antlers with much fewer points, which should perhaps be expected, given that even the largest of them tend to weigh no more than 125 lbs. (White tail deer, by comparison, weigh an average of 130-290 lbs., with the largest bucks weighing in at as much as 350 lbs., although this is exceedingly rare.) As a prey animal, they tend to be of a nervous temperment and are easily alarmed. Once startled, they normally bolt, and possess a speed that their large Colonial cousins can't quite match.

Cytherea's Breath

Cytherea's Breath is a pale pink flower that is most often found growing in open meadows and at the base of trees, although the health of the plant suffers in the shade. The blooms resemble a larger version of the common violet and give off a sweet scent, from which the plant derives its name. While many find it to be a pleasant smell, others find it to be too strong and a bit cloying — much like the white gardenias used so often in (elderly) women's perfumes. It has become a popular offering at makeshift shrines to Aphrodite.

Golden Nugget Potatoes

The Golden Nugget vine is a herbaceous, perennial plant better known for its tuberous roots than for its more visible qualities. The plant produces large, lush, heart-shaped green leaves and a white, tubular flower which blooms in late summer and early fall. As the plant does not tolerate frost particularly well, the withering of its flowers is an indication that anyone with hopes of harvesting the roots should do so swiftly, before the plant falls dormant for the winter. These roots, when dug up, are essentially a Piraean form of the sweet potato. They are starchy, sweet-tasting, and can be cooked in a number of ways. Their name derives from their color when cut open, which reveals a bright, golden-yellow flesh vaguely reminiscent of acorn squash.

Gradivus Trees

It would be easy for the untrained eye to mistake Gradivus trees for several other species of evergreen trees. Aside from their pale bark, they possess very few external characteristics worth noting. What has made of them of such interest to biologists — and food afficionados — is their sap. When tapped, the sap that runs from Gradivus trees is a bright shade of blood red. Naturally sticky sweet, and flavored much like something between lingonberries and pomegranate seeds, Gradivus sap has quickly become popular among the small population of Sheridan. It's commonly used to make juices and syrups, with one particularly popular dish being pancakes with bloodapples and Gradivus syrup. The trees have been so named because of both their tendency to 'bleed' and the resemblance to an upheld spear, speaking of a natural affinity to none other than Mars Gradivus — the most implacable of gods, to whom soldiers swear oaths of valorous battle.

Pallas Trees

The pallas tree is a type of coniferous evergreen which is, for the most part, fairly unremarkable upon first examination, as its appearance differs very little from its cousins on several of the Colonial worlds. It greatly resembles the blue spruce, with thin grey bark and needles that vary in color from a pale grey-green to glaucous blue. These needles are its most notable feature, as they — like many types of evergreen needles — can be brewed into a tea. Pallas tea is pale in color, packed with antioxidants, and has a faintly minty flavor buried underneath the normal evergreen taste. It is unusual, however, in that it is definitely caffeinated, unlike most other herbal drinks.

Shriekmunk

Shriekmunk.jpg

Discovered during the clearing of the grounds for the Temple on Piraeus, the Shriekmunk resembles the colonies chipmunk, except it is purely black in color. When threatened, it's cheeks expand three times their normal size and emit an ear-piercing screech that can cause vertigo and headaches when directed straight at a target. They live in coniferous trees and feed on nuts and berries and tend to hibernate in the winter only to become active for mating season in the spring. Despite the urgings of Augustus Garrido, they are called Shriekmunks, not Frakmunks.

Global

Fumarella

Yes, that fumarella. You know, the stuff they have on the Colonies? The fumarella found on Piraeus is, essentially, exactly the same species. If it were to be differentiated from the leaf commonly dried and smoked by the Colonials, it would be as a different 'breed' more than anything else — like the difference in breeds of dogs. It is paler in color and less pungent in taste than its cultivated twin, particularly the farther one strays from the planet's equator. The plants found at the northern and southern edges of the planet are hardly worth bothering with at all; it'd be like giving cornsilk cigarettes to someone accustomed to smoking pipe tobacco.

Piraean Dire Wolf

The Piraean dire wolf is, at least upon cursory inspection, quite similar to its smaller colonial cousin. Their physical structure is closely aligned to the common Grey Wolf, albeit greatly exaggerated by the sheer size of the native species. (The dire wolf averages about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in length and weighs between 50 kg (110 lb) and 79 kg (174 lb). The common grey wolf, by comparison, has males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb).) Their fur is generally brown, with the exact shade determined by the location in which they are found, as slight variations of the species exist all across the planet. Considered dangerous to the personnel of JTF Nomad, their numbers in and around Sheridan have been severely thinned. However, there are a handful of wolves that have been known to lurk around the borders of the planet’s only settlement. It may be a testament to the inherent connection between man and his supposed best friend or they may simply be scrounging for an easy meal.

Skrank

Skrank probably wasn't named by some curious botanist. More likely, skrank was named by some Marine that had the misfortune of encountering it in the wild. It's a dark green plant that is found growing low to the ground, but with a tendency to spread onto anything it can cling to, like ivy. It wouldn't be much of a problem, save for its malodorous nature. When stepped on, it emits a faint but unpleasant smell all too reminiscent of a dead skunk. When dried and burned, the smoke coming off of it smells even worse and has a rather unfortunate staying power. So why would someone go to the trouble of doing so? It's a powerful decongestant, clearing out the sinuses and the upper respitory tract faster than even the strongest, and hottest, of spices. (Of course, that could also just be from the fit of coughing and sneezing that results from breathing in the smoke.)

Southern Hemisphere

Flying Acorn Tree

The tree, good for lumber, has a peculiar way of spreading seeds. Like so many others, the seeds are lightweight and designed to blow in the wind. Unlike others, they're the size of an acorn with an umbrella on the top. In a strong gust, you might see hundreds cross the sky like a flock of birds. This is problematic for the engines of various airframes, which may be part of why Sheridan was built in the opposite hemisphere of where the little suckers are found. However, when ground, the seeds make a highly nutritious, protein-packed paste with the consistency of chunky peanut butter.

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