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Mummy-nest

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The Mummy-nest is a bizarre, pinkish-red, tundra-dwelling creature from around Glacier Cap North on Darwin IV. They have a peculiar relationship with the mummy-nest flyer.

From a distance of 100 meters, it is hard to make out what this object is. It is hard to tell from a distance if it is an animal or some inorganic formation. A much closer view reveals that it is topped by a dim yellow bio-light, which means that the object is organic and alive - or has once been. For reasons unknown, many other animals (like Unths) will take great measures to avoid blundering into one of these mummy-nests.

Parting around
It is now a withered, flattened husk that more resembles some sundried vegetable than an animal. But in this case it is the merciless arctic wind, not the suns, that has brought the creature to its desiccated state.

Strange surface features become more apparent upon closer inspection: serpentine tubes twist over and through furrowed folds which circle sphincter-like holes. Its bizarrely baroque texture sheds little light on the creature's original appearance. Larger features, such as a dorsal whip-like appendage and a frontally situated leg-like limb, are equally mysterious.

This 3.5-meter-tall mummy has something strange in its "head." There is a dark opening just beneath the dimly glowing bio-light. In the hole there is emptiness that seems to confirm that this is nothing more than a mummified carcass. But why is the bio-light still glowing? The answer is very strange.

A mummy-nest flyer will often appear and circle the mummy-nest. Within a minute or so, the black flyer swoops down; with blurred wings it hovers, then lands upon the mummy's "head" and disappears into the hole. The flyer then never seems to reappear.

So convincing is the carcass's morbid appearance. In spite of the bio-light, the frozen husk appears as wind-desiccated as any dead creature on the tundra. It turns out that this cryptobiotic mummy-nest is providing warmth and shelter to the little flyer.

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This is what the mummy-nest might have looked like when it was ambulatory. The "head" has not yet detached and become the separate flyer which (according the Barlowe's theory) burrows in and feeds on the desiccated shell of what was once its lower torso.

There is big debate on the relationship between the nest-creature and the flyer. Difficult as this may seem, one small clue has been presented when the flyer enters the husk. As it backs into the "head" cavity its configuration seems to line up with the rim of the opening as if the two had once been joined. This leads to the speculation that the flyer and the husk were one and the same animal, separated at some point in the flyer's development. It is concluded that the husk remains alive through the flyer's tending and serves to protect it from the harsh climate. There is no proof to support this theory of the two once being one, as there was only one individual mummy-nest the First Darwinian Expedition ever encountered

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