A race of insectoids, or more accurately arachnoids, native to the planet Nasat. Space-faring for many decades, they have tended to isolate themselves from the rest of the galaxy, but recently joined the United Federation of Planets. A cautious people with an aversion to taking risks, they were rarely seen off-world, but in recent years have become slightly more visible, working within the Federation government on a number of levels, and increasingly represented in Starfleet. Still, they are stereotyped as a careful, conservative people, who are slow to take action or change their ways.
Nasats bear a striking resemblance to Terran crustaceans. Humans often liken them to pillbugs or woodlice, but they are much larger, typically reaching chest height on an average Human male. As a consequence of their size and mass, they have lungs and muscles like vertebrates. They do possess an exoskeleton in place of a spine, but otherwise their physiology is dissimilar to arthropods, appearances aside. Nasats do however demonstrate a general hardiness reminiscent of insects, a consequence of their naturally armoured bodies. They possess a chorion carapace composed of flexible plates, and an almost reptilian tail, which reaches to the floor. Covered in heavy scales, it is essentially an extension of the shell, and aids in climbing. It also allows for rapid burrowing, with a Nasat capable of disappearing backward into mud or soil at incredible pace. A Nasat’s multiple limbs are exoskeletal and jointed, like those of insects. Again, this is a surface similarity only; they are actually powered by muscles not unlike those of a mammal. There is a set of primary manipulator arms, two pairs of secondary manipulators, and a pair of rear legs for standing on. Having eight limbs in all, they have earned the classification arachnid, despite their crustacean appearance. Although they spend much of their time on two limbs, Nasats are capable of moving equally efficiently on eight. The three upper pairs end in grasping pincers.
A Nasat’s head, resting directly on the shoulders and with no measurable neck, is round and smooth, resembling a chitinous dome. Projecting from the top of the skull, above the heavy brow ridge, is a pair of antennae. These sensitive feeling organs are used for finding one’s way in the dark (the Nasat people having evolved in damp caves beneath the forest). Nasats also possess attack hairs on the neck, which bristle when danger presents itself. These hairs protect the Nasat from being targeted by flying or arboreal predators. Another instinctive reaction to danger is curling. The hinged plates of the carapace allow the Nasat to curl into a tight armoured ball, and by flexing these plates outward one after another they can roll at speed. Specifically, they move backwards from the source of danger, in a continuous reverse somersault. The shell is incredibly tough, and protects a Nasat in a variety of harsh environments, even - for a period of several hours - the vacuum of space. A Nasat can also function for a limited time in an N-class environment like that of Venus, or in the crushing pressure at the bottom of oceans. The acidic atmosphere of Eridas IX is too much for them, though. The shell can even withstand directed energy weapons to some degree. On the other hand, it is not invulnerable to piercing weapons such as arrows.
A Nasat’s eyes, which are blue, black or yellow, are heavy-lidded, giving them a permanent drowsy expression. The eyelids allow them to blink, though they do so irregularly. Underneath these lids are transparent membranes, which allow the Nasat to see where it is going while its eyes remain protected from harsh environments, again including space.
Although capable of enduring a wide range of climates, they prefer warm and humid environments, having evolved in the rainforests of their planet’s tropical belt. Nasats are equally at home on the ground or in trees, having originated on the forest floor, while today residing in the canopy.
An individual Nasat - or “shell” as the Nasats themselves phrase it - can be identified by its unique bioelectric signature, which is read by passing a scanner over the forebrain region of the head. The Nasat brain contains the Central Cortex, a region believed to be the most primitive part of the organ. Whatever functions it served were long thought to have become obsolete as the species evolved. In the average Nasat, the Central Cortex might show low-level brain activity a handful of times a day, nothing more. However, there is a type of Nasat known as a “Quiet” whose upper brain functions are concentrated here. In a Nasat, a highly stimulated Central Cortex is related to communication deficiencies; the label of “Quiet” is applied as these people cannot, under normal circumstances, speak or grasp even the basics of language. Quiets hatch at a uniform rate planet-wide, regardless of shell colour, geography or heredity. One in every 750 Nasats can be expected to hatch a Quiet, and for much of Nasat history such people were left to a life of isolation, performing menial tasks and unable to participate in civic affairs.
Being a peaceful race, they prefer keeping to themselves, and thus simply cordon off their dwellings instead of aggressively colonizing or controlling the forests. All manner of animal and plant life coexist beyond the townships, relatively undisturbed by the Nasat presence.