2-hour piece done as part of a new collaborative blog. For Monday's prompt I read of metal oxides as potential alternatives to carbon as a basis for life. I went with aluminum oxide (A form of which is corundum, one of the hardest materials, which is what rubies and sapphires are) and made a critter that chips away minerals to eat with its beak (and possibly to fight with others of its kind). The crystals on its back act as both armor and as a counterbalance. It senses the world around it by detecting chemical signals through rows of orifices on its limbs.