Deep Space Leviathan
In the massive deep space above and below the planetary disc, gentle giants drift through the void. Leviathans, also known as astracetaceans and space whales, are gargantuan filter feeders. They are believed to travel alone through the system, or occasionally in small packs. Leviathans are an incredibly rare sight. They spend most of their lives and death in deep space. For the majority of Sol history leviathans were believed to be extinct. Early sightings were deemed inconclusive. Then the first Great Migration of the spacefaring age revealed that not only are they not extinct, they aren't alone.
Leviathans are miles long, and can get as big as a small moon. Natural scientists theorize that the space whales are ecosystems of their own, supporting life on their backs and in their wake. They have been able to study the leviathans during their migrations. The backs of the leviathans are covered in a thick layer of mottled regolith, debris from comets and other impacts. Some simple lifeforms analogous to the flora and fauna of asteroids can be found buried underneath the regolith. Life is richest inside of the gaping jaw of the leviathans. Specialized creatures hide in the baleen, the keratin plates that line the entire roof of the leviathans mouth. Perhaps these creatures feed off the leftovers of the leviathans, or maybe even serve some purpose for the leviathans themselves. The underbelly is an entirely different biome, with sulphurous pools and strange lumiescent algae. The stark difference leads experts to theorize that leviathans swim through space with their underside towards the sun.
Leviathan bones are a staple of the natural history museums of Sol. The Jovian Museum in particular is famous for having the full skeleton of a leviathan suspended in the opening aula. The Jovian Leviathan was found buried deep under the crust of Jupiter and was the earliest conclusive proof of the lifeform. For millenia the Jovian Leviathan was the only full skeleton of a leviathan, but with the discovery of the Great Migration and the practice of whaling, more museums have sought to acquire their own set. Exhibiting a creature the size of a leviathan poses its own challenges.
The Great Migration
Every century countless whales gather near the orbital plane for a feeding frenzy. Here they feast on the debris caught in the orbital disc, keeping a safe distance from the planets and their gravity wells. Whalers come from all corners of Sol to gather the byproducts of the leviathans. Some even seek to hunt the giant beasts, seeing them as some of the greatest game of Sol. There are two primary forms of whaling. Asteroid miners are contracted to travel out to the whales and harvest off of their back, a method of extraction that does not seem to harm the leviathans. However some products can only be gathered from the corpse of a space whale. To gather these, hunters attempt to harpoon the leviathans to kill and haul them home.
ProductsThe vast stretches of space roamed by Leviathans make them an ideal source those seeking oort-tainted meteoric metal and crystals. These minerals have been imbued by the dark life in the Oort Cloud, and promise great power at a great cost. The primary draw of hunters is the baleen and the muktuk. Baleen, the filter teeth of the whales, are plates of keratine. It is flexible and strong, a natural alternative to plastic. Muktuk is a marbled substance somewhere between meat and rock. The blubber marbled through the muktuk can be refined into a fine oil. This oil burns cleans and stays liquid even in extremely low temperatures. The muktuk and the oil is said to have a uniquely acrid and smoky scent and flavour, sometimes compared to ozone.