Dessa lack any sort of bone structure, instead resembling large rubbery globs of light gray color. The only distinct feature on their outside are their two black eye-spots, which define a Dessa’s “front”. Their brain is at their center of mass, and they have no ears, noses, or mouths.
Dessa are capable of limited shape-shifting, in that their shape is controlled entirely by their muscles. They can – and do – grow a number of pseudo-limbs as they desire; as they are immobile in their “natural form”, they habitually assume a bipedal, roughly humanoid shape, which has caused a great deal of head scratching among xenobiologists and xenopsychologists. This includes a rough approximation of a head-shape centered around the eye spots and goes so far that Dessa will form a “mouth-pocket” underneath their eyes when talking or eating. They eat by inserting food into this mouth-pocket, and then closing it while they slowly absorb nutrients from the food.
After the nutrients are absorbed, the Dessa will “spit out” the remaining matter – though this is usually done in private. Observing a feeding Dessa can be unnerving to humans.
Dessa do not see very well, and only in monochrome. Their auditory organs are internal; they hear very well in lower frequencies, and are deaf at higher frequencies – similar to how a human cannot hear a dog whistle’s sound. Dessa, though, can’t hear nearly as high in the spectrum as humans. The reliance on base frequencies also makes them very sensitive to vibrations in their environment.
Lacking mouths, Dessa have a very hard time imitating human speech and often use small speech synthesizers to aid them when dealing with other races. Among each other, they communicate by touch and by producing base sounds inside their bodies – essentially living subwoofers. These sounds carry quite far and through walls and bulkheads – Dessa spaceships need no intercoms.
Dessa are asexual and reproduce by fission; a young Dessa is called a “spawn”. Dessa will form social groups of up to a dozen members; these “teams” will share resources and support each other, especially in raising spawns. Membership, except for spawns, is not based on genetic relationship but instead on shared ideology and philosophy.
Dessa polities tend to be small and are almost always based on a censensual democratic principle, though details sometimes vary. All of them are voluntary and based on common interests of the individuals, and not on geography; since any such group needs territory to support itself, larger accumulations of Dessa often come into conflict with each other. In the past, this had led to vicious cycles of wars, as newly-created groups attempted to establish themselves against pre-existing ones. Modern Dessa society follows a complex set of protocols, customs and rituals to avoid violence in such matters, and some groups of Dessa opt to settle on other worlds instead. The reliance on protocol and long negotiations cause other species to see the Dessa as “a little slow”.
Most Dessa are atheists, though some have picked up Enderran religious beliefs. All Dessa follow a form of ancestor worship in that they “believe” in the “First Spawn”, the first and original Dessa they are all descended from. According to their mythology, the First Spawn was once all alone in the universe, and created more Dessa out of himself so he would not be alone anymore.
The Dessa are a race native to Colonial Space; their homeworld is Lomas (1809 Core Sector). They first developed a technological civilization about ten thousand years ago. Unfortunately, details of their early history are lost in time. From what is understood, it took the Dessa a mere thousand years from the Bronze Age to building their first grav drive. It had very low thrust – about 0.01G – but this still allowed the Dessa to explore and colonize nearby star systems: They are known to have had permanent settlements on Kitami, Purpure, Velaprun and Zanzan.
Unfortunately for the Dessa, their war-like tendencies brought about a devastating interstellar war. The cause, the goals, even the names of the belligerents are no longer known; but the war ended with the annihilation of the Dessa colonies and of the destruction of the homeworld’s society; the Dessa reverted to stone age barbarism.
They had recently re-discovered reaction drive spaceflight when they were discovered by the Enderrans in circa 1200 YBE. The majority of Dessa viewed space travel with distrust – presumed to have been caused by the ancient war – but some cultures embraced the idea and joined the Enderran colonists in exploring the galaxy.