Cephalopods (short Cephs or derogatory squids) are a sentient species of somewhat humanoid-lovecraftian body and embroiled in a brutal war with Humanity. Not much is known about them.
The first contact was a genocidal display of devastation wrecked on the Human colony Aurora.
Despite the nickname Cephalopods only have superficial and structural similarity to squids in the layout of their hand analogues.
They however share some structural and physiological similarities to Terran octopuses, though this is a case of convergent evolution. Cephs are bilateral-symmetrical with three pairs of limbs, the latter pair being used like Human legs for erect locomotion. The skin with its (presumably) collagen-analogue is of the same rubbery texture as of the common octopus, though it is covered in microscopic scales preventing dessication. The head looks alike to octopuses as well, including tentacles for feeding. The eyes are not protrusions from the brain like the vertebrate eye, but invaginations of the skin and (probably) lack a cornea, focussing achieved by muscular control over the lens (like a camera). It is covered by a membrane. The visible part of the eyes shows a substantial amount of sclera, which combined with the pupils allows an observer to judge which way a Cephalopod is looking.
The nervous system is partially decentralised, explaining the resistance and continued activity beyond the total obliteration or removal of the head. Furthermore the important nerve clusters are protected by calcium shells, an adaptation that likely evolved on the species' path to sentience.
A presumed adaptation to land-dwelling life is the emergence of an internal skeleton very unlike Terran octopuses, though the latter do have their gladius as vestiges of their mollusc ancestry. In how far this supports the purported muscular hydrostat is unknown.
Though Cephalopods evolved to have ear holes and audio reception, they do not seem to have a vocal apparatus. Their lungs function akin to birds; they are faveolar, pushing air through parabronchi. This allows for a higher O2-intake in the blood. They work by inhaling air through the trachea into a first set of air sacs, then exhaling from this first set to the lungs with the parabronchi. From there the second inhalation sucks the air from the lungs to a second set of air sacs, and a second exhalation expels this air back out of the trachea.
The hind/lower limbs are used for erect locomotion with a sturdier adaptations of their endoskeleton and limb structure, losing the prehensility in the process. The four upper limbs retained this feature and additionally feature a second set of smaller tentacles at their ends, analogous to a human hand.
Their blood is copper-green, suggesting a hemocyanin-analog to be the protein responsible for oxygen transport. Since the O2-affinity of copper-based metalloproteins is roughly a fourth of that of haemoglobin, the evolution of faveolar lungs may have been in compensation for the low affinity of their hemocyanin.
Most processing nodes are decentralized, speculatively based on the Cephalopods own biological blueprint. They have presumable similar functionality as their human equivalent, providing ant-aging, communication, life support, augmentation and, quite vexingly, self-destruction. They're technologically superior, and likely not just by virtue of using and consisting of more biological advancements.
Currently it is speculated the Cephalopod Society to be fully organised in the military with a two-way communication into the computational grid, allowing for relay of information and reception of orders.
Cephalopods have the upper hand in everything in regards to warfare; they field faster ships, better guns and are generally technologically superior. The main factor they have not yet overrun Humanity is not entirely clear, but the integrated role of Magical Girls in the Human military seems to be one of the more deciding factors.
That's the only reason Cephs are able to field lighter and faster and still better armoured ships wielding better weapons than Humans and still be defeated by mages, especially if employed the advantage the Cephs were not yet able to out-compete technologically – stealth and detection. Since Magi Cæli deal devastating damage in close range, the prevalent doctrine of the Cephs is field carriers in the back supplying fighters and bombers for the frontlines of the battle. In battles of sufficient size the carriers are joined by one or more siege-range blink cannons. In any case, a nearly overwhelming complement of drones of various purposes usually join the fray. In the event of significant heavy capital ship losses the Cephalopods prefer to withdraw.
Early in the war the Cephs established outposts surrounding the totality of Human space, encapsulating it.
By now the Cephalopods are aware of the danger mages pose to their troops and equipped their field personnel with shrapnelling self-destructs as well as deploying snipers aiming for Soul Gems, and in cases detonating heavy ordinances in close proximity to their installations if they detect anything slightly indicating a Human MagOps insertion.
- (Heavy) Carrier
- Blink Bombardment Cannon
- teleports heavy ordinance into the middle of human fleets
- aim experiences a short phase-in period
- Heavy fire platform
- Not FTL capapble
- Defense against MC
- Cover for bombers
- Heavy fire support
- Planetary bombardment, WMD deployment
- Often sacrificial pawn to delay Human fleet
- Heavy anti-personnel platform
- Deploys hard radiation bombs and EMP pulses
- Light anti-personnel and patrol platform
- Deploys "shrapnel" flak and minefields
- Strategic Vessels
- Operate independent of fleets
- Goal: Terror, Raiding, break supply lines
- FTL and Blink capable