So, in the far off year of 2569, there are two main empires contending for control in the Alpha Quadrant. They are the United Terran Federation and the Qualian Star Empire.

The former empire is made up of the terrans (humans) and the latter is made up of a reptilian species called the Qualians, who hail form a lush tropical planet, Qualis.

Like most reptiles, the Qualians are oviparous, can see in ultraviolet, and are cold-blooded. That last thing is important. You see, in my story my main human character and a Qualian, who were stationed on the icy planet of Chronos 3 to complete an important mission.

The problem is, the Qualian can’t survive on cold planets like that without freezing to death. So, how could you help this poor creature survive?

  • $\begingroup$ You do know that deserts can be icy cold by night, yet gillas and snakes make it just fine, right? $\endgroup$ May 17, 2018 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ That's not quite how cold-bloodedness works. Ultimately, the colder it is (within limits), the more sluggish your reptile will become. The ambient heat regulates their metabolism meaning that they are more active (and commensurately more hungry) during the heat than they are in the cold. The bigger question is how your reptile stays active enough in the cold to function on the mission, and a heat regulation suit of some form (and extra rations) would cover that. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B II
    May 17, 2018 at 0:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Tim B IO: He needs to function at 100% metabolism. It’s a military mission $\endgroup$
    – Talos 6
    May 17, 2018 at 0:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 100% metabolism for hours? Days? Just like humans, reptiles will overheat after a while and get fatigued because their metabolism is up too high for an extended period. One of the advantages of a cold blooded system in this case is that you can literally dial up and down your activity level via a thermostat control on the side of a suit. If it's quiet and he needs some sleep, just dial the suit down and it'll happen. Need to kick in fast? Punch it to max, but you can't be there for days at a time, just like a human can't because of fatigue. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B II
    May 17, 2018 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Tim B II: No, only when they are doing important tasks. When their not, they can just dial down the metabolism and relax. The army cares about its soldiers $\endgroup$
    – Talos 6
    May 17, 2018 at 1:16

2 Answers 2


Same way humans survive in space. Spacesuits. Heated clothing would do the trick, anything that creates a microclimate next to the skin/scales. There are many heavily inhabited places on Earth humans couldn't survive without clothing.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Heated clothing would probably be a common feature in Qualian culture, since they would be dealing with sub-optimal temperatures throughout their history. The drama of the story would be keeping his suit functioning and powered. If the suit fails, Qualian soldiers would probably carry emergency space-heaters as standard equipment. Carving out shelter might be a priority as well. $\endgroup$ May 17, 2018 at 2:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Like @PinionMinion said they'd probably carry emergency heaters in case their regular-duty suit fails, but I suggest those would probably be chemical-reaction-based (like the hand-warmer packs you can stuff in your glove while skiing) because those are energy-dense and reliable. You'll find plenty of examples by searching for emergency bivouac heaters or hypothermia kits. $\endgroup$
    – Jared K
    May 17, 2018 at 21:27


Gigantothermy (sometimes called ectothermic homeothermy or inertial homeothermy) is a phenomenon with significance in biology and paleontology, whereby large, bulky ectothermic animals are more easily able to maintain a constant, relatively high body temperature than smaller animals by virtue of their smaller surface area to volume ratio.[1] A bigger animal has proportionately less of its body close to the outside environment than a smaller animal of otherwise similar shape, and so it gains heat from, or loses heat to, the environment much more slowly.

Great white sharks are an example of gigantotherms. The sharks can warm up their core by shunting blood past the working muscles (which generate heat) and from there into the core, where their large mass limits heat loss to the environment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_white_shark#Adaptations

Other "cold blooded" animals have similar workaround that let them stay warm - bluefin tuna are another example.

Your reptile should be massive. It will need to stay moving, generating heat from its muscles. Reptiles generally do not need to eat as much as mammals but under these circumstances your reptile sentient will need to eat a lot to provide energy which it will use to move and generate heat.

It might also shiver a lot; that works for us and would work for it too, but make it a terrible shot. If is is called upon to do any detail work it might need to let itself cool down. If it cools down too much it will be stuck and have to wait to be warmed by external heat.

Why would a reptile sentient from a hot planet need this trick? Maybe, like the shark and tuna, it is semiaquatic and the water can be cold. Maintaining body heat in the water let its ancestors hunt.


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