Spotlight on an Original Non-Sentient Species – Procul/Prako
When I wrote the E2 Star Trek fanfiction stories, I decided that the Amity planet would have plenty of wildlife, but that none of it would have developed a backbone. Enter the procul (pronounced PRO-kull; the word is Latin for distant).
Huge, lumbering, and dumber than a box of rocks, procul (also called prako, which is pronounced prah-KO) are essentially giant ambulatory amphibious squid.
The image is pretty close to what I’m shooting for, but procul are graced with a total of fourteen legs, and their eye spots (much like are found in flatworms – planaria – here on Earth) are on the underside of the animal. This makes them blind on land but surprisingly graceful underwater as they swim in a manner that we would perceive as being backwards.
First seen in the E2 first timeline in Entanglements, no one really knows what to make of them. It isn’t even known whether they are sentient, and communication is even attempted. When it’s determined that they are no smarter than maybe an herbivorous fish, one is shot by Jay Hayes and brought back to the ship for study. Once the study is complete, he brings some pieces to the galley, and Lili cooks them, although she tries it raw first. When she shoves a piece of uncooked procul into Jay’s unsuspecting mouth, he has a rather visceral reaction to what is, essentially, a come-on.
In the prime timeline, prako are offered at a large open-air Calafan market in Local Flavor. Lili inquires about their cost but determines that they are too expensive for her current limited budget. The reader learns that the carcasses have been brought in by Eska hunters. In The Three of Us, it is revealed that Amity is called Archer’s Planet in the prime timeline.
Procul only have one known predator (other than sentient hunters) – malostrea, which the Eska call hard devils.
Nothing is known about their behavior in water. However, on land, they herd together, much like cattle. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, they are herded by dogs.
Since they are all hermaphrodites, the natural leader is the largest animal, as opposed to, perhaps, a male which would have been analogous to a bull or a stallion. The leader, at times, rears up on its back legs and rubs two forelimbs together. This produces a high-pitched sound, not unlike that of a penny whistle.
They also have chromatophores, and are observed changing colors, from rust to celadon to milky white. They have open circulatory systems, much like is found in mollusks here on Earth.
Chameleon-like in coloration, circulation like in a clam, legs like an elephant, call like a cheap wind instrument and dumber than a box of rocks, procul are a bit of a mess, but I like them.