Illustration from Irma Beumer’s field notes of the dishworm’s life cycle.


Text transcribed from the notes of xenobiologist Irma Beumer:

The dishworm, so named for its dish-like carapace, is a small organism native to planet Khepri-1b. It lives in the dirt of temperate forests in the twilight zone. In addition to energy obtained from the photosynthetic cells on its “dish,” the mobile forms burrow and forage in detritus for food.

Its lifecycle is a complex one: the dishworm appears to be gynodioecious, consisting of female and hermaphrodites. Current research suggests that all members of the species start as females and later become hermaphroditic. Adult females are mobile and their eggs develop parthenogenetically into female offspring, while adult hermaphrodites are sessile and self-fertilize eggs, not unlike the life stages of Earth organisms of ferns or cnidarians. Early xenobiology research mistook the two adult stages as entirely unrelated organisms.


#1 spore/egg — small, scattered by winds — can be fertilized (egg) or self-fertilized pseudo-spore

#2 young dishworm stage (sessile) — undergoes embryonic development, suggested main nutrient sources are from the soil and photosynthesis

#3 juvenile dishworm stage — similar to stage 4a, but with a much shorter tail that grows additional segments with age

#4a adult stage — wormlike, the first recorded observations of this organism. Its anterior has four appendages for shoveling and combing dirt, while the heavy tail and the tail’s claws serve to anchor the organism in high wind conditions

#4b adult stage (sessile) — hermaphroditic, self-fertilizes eggs that are dispersed via wind forces. The soft “body” of 4a is not visible.


Points of Interest

The Pharos

An excerpt from The Pharos Stands Tall: A Testament to Survival, by Johann Brahe:

The tallest and one of the oldest structures of Station 1, the Pharos’ light can be seen from hundreds of miles away, guiding the way for colonists. The name itself came from the eponymous Pharos, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (of Earth’s Ancient Greek fame), which was the first such beacon and a symbol of a city at the crossroads of the ancient Greco-Roman world. 

The Pharos was constructed out of recycled parts of the first colony ship, the ISS Qilin, intended as a navigation tool in the early days of settlement. Nowadays, the light of the Pharos is mostly symbolic, an enduring testament to the perseverance of early settlers and an icon of the early colonial era. Even as beacons have become obsolete, many travelers still bring toy replicas as good luck charms on their journey.