Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
- Archen [#566]
- Archeops [#567]
The members of the Archen Line are naturally extinct clawed and winged digigrade bipeds whose oldest fossilized specimens are believed to be almost 150 million years old. Archen and its elder counterpart Archeops are creatures with characteristics of both avian and reptillian creatures and are currently theorized to be an intermediary organism between Pokémon of these two categories.
The initial form, Archen, is a scaled, flightless, creature with some regions of its body further covered by plumage that typically stands 60 centimeters in height and weighs just under 10 kilograms, with average male individuals trending smaller than their female counterparts. Some of the most striking features of Archen's anatomy include a red, scaly hide, with exposed regions along the lower portion of its legs, which bear three clawed digits each, along its snout with exposed teeth and noticeable overbite, and a region of its tail excluding its base and a region beginning shortly before its tip with a banded appearance. The remainder of an Archen's body is covered in by vibrant plumage, with blue feathers covering a region encompassing the back of its head and neck, a vaguely rhombal frond-like arrangement of feathers along the tip of its tail, and feathers analogous to flight feathers among avian creatures capable of flight on its wings, red feathers covering a "collar" separating an Archen's lower neck from the rest of its body and a similar region ringing the base of its tail, with remaining regions of plumage composed of vibrant yellow feathers. Another notable facet of Archen's anatomy is the presence of two defined, clawed digits at the tips of its wings, a structure that is only present in vestigial form among its modern counterparts, and two prominent eyes with white sclera on the sides of its head lacking visibly distinguishable pupils.
The second, and presumed final form, Archeops, is a creature that typically stands 140 centimeters tall upright and weighs just over 30 kilograms, which unlike its younger counterpart, possesses a wing structure conducive to true (albeit awkward) flight. Archeops' appearance undergoes a number of significant alterations upon evolution, one of the most immediately apparent of these is the alterations to its plumage. Unlike its prior form, Archeops possess heads and necks that are entirely bereft of feathers (barring the occasional stray quill) and lack feathers on any region of its tail beyond its base barring a vaguely star-shaped clump of blue feathers at the tip of its tail. Other changes to Archeops' plumage include the emergence of prominent blue flight feathers along its wings, and the extension of growths of plumage down an Archeops' lower legs, terminating shortly above its feet, including a region of short green feathers coupled with longer blue feathers. The remainder of Archeops' plumage, which encompasses the entirety of its body between its lower neck and upper tail, consists of bright yellow feathers. Archeops' hide also undergoes a number of significant alterations upon evolution, these alterations include a region of green scales with a banded appearance running along the top of its head and back of its neck, with the remainder of its hide covered in red scales similar to those possessed by its younger counterpart. Other alterations to Archeops' anatomy include the presence of claws on its wings with three digits and the presence of fewer exposed teeth on its jaws.
Archen's genome is known to possess coding for individuals with mutant phenotypes, which was verified by the hatching of an abnormally-colored Archen during the course of a series of breeding experiments. The mutant Archen possessed an orange hide, with pale yellow, orange, and green regions of plumage corresponding to the darker yellow, red, and blue regions of plumage present on its normal counterparts. Upon its eventual evolution, this individual was documented to have red regions of hide like its normal counterparts, though possessed blue regions of hide in place of the conventional green among typical Archeops, and possessed orange, green, and blue regions of plumage in the locations of the yellow, blue, and green regions of its non-mutant counterparts.
One of the defining features of Archen and Archeops' biology is the presence of a respiratory system consisting of a pair of lungs and a set of anterior and posterior air sacs. Unlike their more modern counterparts, Archen and Archeops have a scant 3 and 5 air sacs respectively, and are not capable of maintaining a fixed volume of their lungs like their more modern analogues, but rather maintain their lungs' volume within a certain range of volumes. Another notable difference is the comparatively scant number of parabronchi as well as the presence of true alveoli within their lungs, which makes their respiratory systems less efficient than those possessed by modern avian Pokémon at gas exchanges between oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Another prominent facet of Archen and Archeops' biology is their possession of a rudimentary bladder that stores incendiary fluids generated from the digestion of food, coupled with a region located at the back of their throats capable of releasing a chemical that weakly ignites when exposed to air. With sufficient training, it is possible to train a member of this line to utilize these structures to perform incendiary breath attacks. Unlike the majority of Pokémon with structures of this nature, Archen and Archeops are only known to be able to perform a very narrow range of breath attacks, with only two techniques presently documented as being successfully utilized by members of this line.
Members of this line appear to exhibit a series of behaviors when wounded which at a glance appear to diverge radically from the more conventional "fight-or-flight" response exhibited by other creatures. When an Archen or Archeops is sufficiently wounded in confrontation with a foe, it appears to instinctively conserve its strength and focus on retreating from the opponent. While on the surface, this mechanism appears to be self-defeating for these creatures, observations of groups of Archen and Archeops in captivity have suggested that this behavior enable members of this line that remain in battle to manipulate or otherwise wear down opponents by dragging battles out, with observed tactics including injured individuals luring opponents to be ambushed by healthy counterparts and wearing opponents out with fruitless attempts to pursue injured members of this line. It should be noted that in a small number of circumstances, Archen and Archeops appear to be capable of suppressing these behaviors, one of the most reliably observed techniques for triggering such a suppression is to allow a member of this line to strike a member of the Yamask line.
Archen and Archeops both appear to exhibit highly developed problem solving and logical skills. Archen and Archeops appear capable of using implements as improvised tools, which when coupled with their formidable strength, has led to a number of escapes from enclosures by utilizing objects such as metal bowls in order to force grates on air ducts open and keep doors from fully shutting. In one experiment, in which an Archeops was left in a maze with a series of doors to be unlocked by a single key, it was observed that after discovering how to open the first door, the Archeops opened each successive door at an almost exponentially faster rate until it reached the end of the maze and the confines of its testing area. Although of great interest to researchers, this phenomena has lead to labs hosting Archen and Archeops for study to utilize enclosures with numerous redundant security features.
Archen possesses what are perhaps the most developed captive breeding program of any fossil Pokémon, which was founded primarily in an attempt to outbreed this creature's combat-related behavioral patterns. Although no program has yet succeeded in yielding an individual without these behaviors, they have demonstrated that Archen and Archeops are both theoretically viable of reproducing with other creatures, and that cross-bred young of Archen and Archeops appear to be noticeably more adapted to life in a contemporary setting than their parents. One of the most curious of these findings is the discovery that Archen and Archeops gametes are compatible with gametes from a number of wildly divergent creatures, including Skorupi and Tentacool gametes, which has led some researchers to theorize that Archen and Archeops may have been at least partially aquatic in their native environments.
Although the breeding programs for Archen have demonstrated that fossil Pokémon can be raised to be dramatically more adjusted to contemporary life than normally revived counterparts, contrary to popular depiction,
Archen and its evolution are by no means ideally suited to life in the modern age. Although revived individuals are known to already be fairly hardy by fossil Pokémon standards, even simple modern illnesses often prove to be serious ailments, a phenomena that while generally less severe, also affects individuals that have been removed by several generations of captive breeding. In addition, members of this line appear to be adjusted to life in a dramatically more oxygen-rich atmosphere, which leads to even captive-bred individuals periodically wheezing for air (it should be noted that revived individuals fare significantly worse, as it is not uncommon for such individuals to enter on and off wheezing fits for hours at a time, and often exhibit similar phenomena after prolonged periods of physical exertion).
As of present, fossilized Archen and Archeops specimens have only been unearthed within the Unova region, though unconfirmed reports of discoveries of Archen fossils outside of the region have recently surfaced. Due to behaviors observed by captive Archen and Archeops and a handful of experiments involving observations of Archen behavior in different environmental settings, it is currently presumed that individuals dwelt in forested settings in their native era, with some evidence suggesting a bias towards locations near wetlands. Presently, there is no known natural range for Archen or Archeops, with the sole known living members of this line consisting of roughly 800 individuals circulating in research settings and a much smaller number of Archen and Archeops known to be under the care of private trainers, though claims of sightings of alleged escapees from a research facility within Nacrene City in the surrounding forests have been reported in some circles.
Based upon observations of captive Archen and Archeops, it appears that members of this line have an omnivorous diet with a heavy slant towards the consumption of meat. Archen and Archeops appear to be somewhat more open to the consumption of meat from creatures not present in its native era than other fossil Pokémon, though most individuals, especially revived individuals, have a marked preference for the flesh of said creatures over meats sourced from more modern organism. Archen and Archeops do not possess a similar versatility with regard to plant matter, as attempts to feed these creatures items outside a narrow range of plant matter including some plants native present in their era and modern-day berries will make an individual severely ill, with the most commonly documented symptoms akin to those exhibited by Aerodactyl fed inappropriate plant matter. Members from this line have also been documented as being willing to consume eggs of different creatures, though due to a lack of immunological resistance to most modern pathogens, this is generally considered to be an non-viable form of sustenance for these creatures in the modern era without suitable precautions. Due to the relative scarcity of plant matter that is edible by members of this line, a it is not uncommon for some research programs to incorporate synthetic nutritional supplements into the diets of the creatures that they care for.
Although their depiction within popular culture is undoubtedly rife with hyperbole, it should be noted that due to their often aggressive behavior, their possession of a formidable strength belied by a small build in both of its forms,
the comparative ease with which individuals from this line can be startled, saying that Archen and Archeops are Pokémon that are not easy to train safely would be a colossal understatement. As with other creatures of its kind, the majority of the hazards presently associated with Archen and its elder counterpart are known primarily though after-the-fact incidents within research settings. Archen and Archeops both utilize a range of high-speed tackling attacks, with the latter form capable of running in bursts at speeds in excess of 40 kilometers per hour. Attacks from the former will easily leave deep bruises and break minor bones while attacks from the latter have been known to be capable of breaking multiple major bones and causing massive internal bleeding. Both members of this line also utilize slashing and raking techniques with the claws on their wings, which are capable of necessitating medical sutures while still in the Archen stage, and are known to be able to inflict wounds capable of causing massive blood loss with relative ease in the Archeops stage. Members of this line also utilize biting attacks, which is most commonly exhibited by individuals that are either nearing or that have already attained their form as Archeops. Although bites by Archen, while painful and potentially necessitating prompt medical attention, are not likely to be life threatening, bites from the former's latter stage are quite another story. With a combination of immense strength and a borderline-instinctive targeting of vulnerable regions of opponents' bodies, Archeops bites are almost always guaranteed to be a serious, if not lethal affair.
Other attacks that are occasionally utilized by members of this line include breath attacks, which are capable of inflicting second and third degree burns depending on the technique utilized and individual strength, and the use of techniques that involve hurling hurling foreign objects such as large stones at opponents. It should be noted that while wounded Archen and Archeops will readily retreat from a perceived aggressor, that contrary to popular depiction, such an individual will not reliably cower in a corner if it cannot flee,
but is just as likely as any other Pokémon to physically lash out at a perceived foe (albeit with noticeably subdued strength) if placed in such a scenario.
Contrary to popular insinuations that healthy members of this line "know no fear," Archen and Archeops appear to be fairly easy to startle with loud noises and bright lights, especially when wounded, and have been at times been recorded attacking handlers and nearby Pokémon in such cases. In addition, many individuals from this line appear to have difficulty adjusting to the settings necessary to conduct controlled battles, which results in healthy members of this line often needing to be forcibly separated from defeated opponents for the latter party's safety, and wounded members of this line often inadvertently causing their trainer to forfeit a match by fleeing beyond the confines of an arena. This parallel lack of restraint in battle, coupled with their general reluctance to continue fighting in circumstances that most Pokémon would be comfortable with, has made the use of Archen and Archeops within the settings of a competitive battle immensely controversial, and has led a number of leagues and tournaments to ban the creatures entirely from participating in events. Other entities, including the Unova League, presently condone the use of both Archen and Archeops within their matches. The current champion of the Unova League, Iris, owns and uses an Archeops on her team.
As with other fossil Pokémon, a small, but unknown number of Archen and Archeops are known to be circulating illicitly amongst the general public due to the activities of the black market. Many of these unregistered creatures are believed to have come from an internal egg smuggling network that plagued a research facility within Opelucid City for years prior to its detection, while others are believed to have entered circulation following thefts of live creatures from other laboratories. Due to the immense hazard that creatures from this line pose in knowingly or unwittingly abusive or negligent hands, local law enforcement officials within Unova currently extensively monitor the teams of entrants to competitive events, in the hope of being able to ferret out illicitly owned Pokémon from this line.
Both Archen and Archeops are known to be capable of reproduction, though due to the dangers implicit in allowing individuals that have attained this latter form to live in a semi-natural setting,
courtship among members of this line is understood only by observations made from the results of a series of experiments regarding courtship behaviors involving Archen and inferences regarding the courtship of Archeops based off of these behaviors. In observations of Archen courtship, males appear to court females by a combination of displays of plumage and calls. When numerous male suitors vie for the attention of a common female, unions are typically devolved on the basis of the strength of individual suitors, which often leads to brief scuffles amongst males when the relative strength of suitors is not immediately clear. After selecting a suitor, male and female Archen typically mate in a nest built by the female in a secluded area, and will generally remain together after the female lays her eggs (Archen clutches appear to typically consist of a single egg, with some clutches having 2 eggs, while Archeops clutches have been recorded to have clutches as large as 4 eggs) until their young are capable of independently caring for themselves. Although a majority of unions last for less than 3 mating cycles, a notable portion of observed unions between Archen in these experiments appear to last for the duration of their members’ lifespans. It is widely presumed that Archeops courtship closely resembles that exhibited by Archen and would have been more commonly observed in a natural setting, though due to safety concerns, these hypotheses have yet to be formally verified.
Archen and Archeops’ social structure is currently understood through a series of experiments involving group socialization of Archen and observations of eggs left under the care of females within this group. Archen gender ratios appear to be heavily influenced by the temperature at which Archen eggs are incubated, with the average observed gender ratio consisting of 7 male Archen for every female Archen. Clutches incubated by Archeops in separate childcare experiments appear to have a more balanced, though still male-skewed gender ratio than those incubated by Archen. It is currently theorized that additional environmental conditions may have influenced Archen gender ratios within these creatures’ native era, though experiments testing the effect of additional environmental changes have as of present yielded inconclusive results.
Based off of the results of the Archen group socialization experiments, it appears that Archen and Archeops organized themselves into generational pack structures. Although these structures were observed to be theoretically capable of supporting indefinitely large structures, noticeable internal tensions were observed in packs of over 20 individuals excluding offspring. Upon the formation of a pack in these experiments, usually via a strength-based hierarchy, Archen were observed to coalesce as a collective unit exhibiting behaviors associated with familial pack structures among some modern Pokémon. When females in the pack hatched offspring, the pack appeared to leave groups of offspring under the care of a rotating series of guardians until their parents returned from gathering food (and presumably, in their native environment, hunting), a behavior not wholly unlike that exhibited by Pokémon such as Charizard. Offspring appear to be cared for in this fashion for approximately 8-12 months, during which they were gradually weaned off of food provided by their parents in favor of food obtained by themselves, before assuming roles as independent members of their pack. Due to the evolution of an Archen in one of these experiments into an Archeops (which resulted in the early conclusion of the experiment due to safety concerns), it appears that in their native era, these pack structures would have accommodated individuals from both stages of Archen’s life cycle.
In Human Society
Although Archen and Archeops have never enjoyed a favorable depiction within human media, there exists a clear dichotomy between their portrayals prior to the first successful revival of an Archen and their portrayals following this event. Prior to the first successful revival of an Archen, Archen and its evolution were depicted in what little media they appeared in as being vain and manipulative creatures. Following the first successful revivals of Archen and the first evolutions of captive Archen into Archeops, the number of depictions of Archen and Archeops in media ballooned, with a progressive shift towards a depiction of these creatures as being vicious brutes whose mindless persistent aggression when healthy was only matched by their sheer cowardice when wounded. Archen and Archeops have found themselves depicted in a wide range of visual media, including a series of blockbuster films in which Archeops are depicted pursuing and hunting down human beings at facilities for a theme park built around the exhibition of fossil Pokémon
, as intelligent and vicious rivals to prehistoric humans that are driven to extinction by the arrival of a meteor bearing an extra-terrestrial parasite within an immensely popular role-playing game
, as a recurring gag within a geek humor webcomic
, and as part of a series of memetic image macros depicting crudely manipulated pictures of religious figures to have Archeops heads. A handful of sympathetic depictions of Archen and Archeops exist, including a book following a year in the life of a female Archeops.
Written by Tracer Bullet.