Alraune

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This lore is from the VOREstation wiki.

This lore is taken from the VOREstation wiki, and should not be fully relied on for CHOMPstation. You can contact Nadyr if you want to work on it].


Overview

  • Alraune speak Al, which consists of both verbal and visual signal cues.
  • Most Alraune prefer not to wear clothes, but most are perfectly capable.
  • Alraune are omnivorous.
  • Alraune often have a strange and pragmatic form of morality.

Biology

The Basics

Alraune vary somewhat in their body type, able to change their forms with enough time and focus; this manifests most apparently in motility and outward appearance, though their underlying anatomy tends to be fairly uniform. All alraune possess many hypha-like tendrils running the length of their entire body. These tendrils also double as a neural network, giving the alraune a high awareness of their surroundings. Lower body parts may lack these tendrils or have only strings running down the lower body to protect their neural network. This aspect makes most alraune somewhat slower and less balanced on their feet. The lower body of an alraune tends to be either a collection of thick, vine-like tentacles; a set of human-like legs; or most commonly a bulb covered in large petals. Vines sprout out of the base of their bulb, which they use to absorb nutrients out of the soil. These vines are strong enough to allow for movement, although slow. Following contact with colonists, most alraune have begun to adopt human-like forms from the waist up, mostly feminine in nature, and taking on very bright colors or appetizing fruits. Alraune possess relatively few organs and are rather simple organisms. Their digestive system is a series of chambers lined with modified leaves through which ingested material is broken down to its base components by means similar to a pitcher plant and stored as glucose and starch in other regions of the body, sublimated with large quantities of water. Sometimes this expresses in storage of berries, cereals and other edible plant parts peripheral to the alraune's body. Due to the diffuse nervous system alraune have, removing these parts is nearly painless and alraune are known to self-cannibalize to regain nutrients saved in such a way. Some alraune choose to grow edible sections with hallucinogenic properties to lure potential prey. The skin of the alraune consists of three layers. The first layer is a thin, slightly waxy layer which prevents water loss. The second is a mottled, porous layer that enables respiration. The third layer is the mesophyll, which is responsible for most photosynthesis, and which gives their skin its green color. Deeper flesh is increasingly pale due to lack of light to stimulate chlorophyll production. alraune possess two or more sensory organs capable of seeing light in the usual, humanoid visual spectrum with a slightly higher sensitivity to blue light, due to needing it for photosynthesis. The appearances of these can vary from complex, almost runic patterns, to irises, to simple spots. However, they are typically a bright red color. They also possess a vomeronasal organ, which allows them to both sample the air with a forked tongue, and pick up a wide array of frequencies. Hearing is accomplished through patches of their body that bear short, stiff trichome coverings, picking up vibrations in the air much the same the hair in a cochlea do. However, some have formed ears that appear similar to a human’s filled with hearing-trichomes. Alraune also possess two balancing organs along the back of their neck. Their ‘mouths’ have faux-teeth and a tongue which provides a sense of taste. Alraune have no anatomical difficulties speaking Galactic Common.

Diet

Alraune are capable of photosynthesis, especially under blue light, but this is usually not enough to keep their systems working on full efficiency. An alraune solely relying on photosynthesis soon enough will feel torpor, dizziness and loss of higher brain functions. Thus, they supplement their diet with more predatory means. Alraune are omnivores and are capable of breaking down conventional organic tissue meant for consumption. While they favor a certain amount of carbohydrates, they also crave essential proteins usually not found in plant life. Furthermore, alraune need a large amount of electrolytes, deriving them usually from a high sodium intake in form of salt or salt lick stones. Alraune need a very large intake of water to function properly and absorb it best through their roots. Frequent dips and long periodic soaks are highly pleasurable for alraune. Alraune show predatory behavior and prefer to swallow their prey whole, as their faux-teeth lack the strength to maim and kill prey on their own. Their usual diet includes long sun baths, followed by attracting their large, native insects with their stored food and snatching them out of the air before devouring them. However, they are perfectly capable of eating most processed foods as well. Spacefaring alraune will sometimes ingest liquid nutrients if suitable prey is not available. Alraune live in a much denser atmosphere than the standard human. While this does not hinder respiration, their diet must be artificially supplemented to ensure optimum function. This includes alternative sources of carbon dioxide - the fizz in most soft drinks, for example. Nevertheless, overwhelming amounts of carbon dioxide can result in carbonic acid buildup with dangerous consequences.

Body Variations

Many alraune show significant differences in their appearance, especially in their lower extremities. Some alraune have a large bud with prehensile vines for movements, while others possess limber, quicker legs, and yet still others have winding tails or tentacles for movements. Beyond that, the storage of excess nutrients and additional chloroplast foliage can differ widely. Some alraune have been shown to have flowers on their body which produce nectar; others have fruits, fruit-like structures, or cereals. These growths tend to be fairly uniform on one alraune, although differing widely between individuals. This variance is attributed to the diverse biomes alraune have found themselves in, which have differing color spectrums and terrain. Mountainous and rugged biomes observe a higher percentage of legged alraune, level and flat biomes possess more of the bud-like forms, while heavily forested and aquatic areas tend to have tentacled variants. Fruits and flowers are based on genetics as well as some degree of choice, typically choosing a color which would stand out the most in their biome, primarily to attract prey. Sweetly-scented nectar and vivid foliage color are also observed to draw insects and other prey nearer to the alraune and lull them into a sense of safety. The alraune is a very patient ambush predator.

Reproduction

Naturally, alraune engage in sexual reproduction, using flower-like structures that are typically internal and shaded by modified leaves to prevent contamination or their untimely physical removal. However, an alraune is just as capable of molding their reproductive parts as they are any other part of their anatomy. In typical anatomy, the "female" bulb-like seeds grow at the end of a long, motile tendril. The seeds vary considerably but largely are around the size of a softball, possessing a firm rind with a narrow central opening. Colors vary from a very pale, green-tinted white to a nearly black aubergine color, and come with wildly varying surface coloration. The "male" parts are compartment-like structures, taking the form of a small motile slit or pore. It is bound by a similar rind, and produce pollen that, when a seed is inserted by the tendril, sprays out to fertilize it. By this same mechanism, alraune can 'self-fertilize, being fully hermaphroditic. After the seed is fertilized, it requires a period of two to four days in moist conditions for the central opening to close fully and to harden and retain water. Typically, this is by leaving it inside the recipient until it dislodges naturally around the time this process is complete. At this point the seed is viable and can be planted, cryogenically preserved for later use, etc. Once either planted or otherwise left in a hospitable environment after the rind hardens up, root-like projections of a dendritic structure emerge, drawing moisture and nutrients from the substrate it is placed on. However, successful early development is obligately reliant on external energy, either relying on parasitizing nearby plants via root-like structures, intense hydroponic support, decomposing organic matter, or the body of a host creature to thrive. Over a period of a few months, the rind will steadily grow until it reaches the size of a large watermelon. Eventually the rind will spontaneously rupture and a newly born alraune emerges. It will whittle away the single umbilical-like root tendril joining it to the rind; in communal settings this umbilicus is ritualistically severed.

Behaviour

Alraune were found during the nascent stages of their civilization, comparatively similar to the early Neolithic period. Many alraune had large family groups of fifty to one hundred alraune; most lived off the land and its animals while performing some pastoral activities with tamed insect herds. A sizeable portion had adapted agriculture and animal breeding, making more succulent, docile and larger insects to farm and prey upon. Their native language is a very simple verbal communication, based on different language structures in different regions. Some alraune may even recall these times, although many older alraune are either still on Roanoke or perished in the conflicts with the colonists. Alraune are quick to adapt more complex languages, especially when they go spacefaring, and some even abandon their native language completely as it is generally impossible for other races to mimic it successfully. The typical alraune is of human intelligence, if a bit slower to formulate thoughts and reacting to stimuli, owing to their largely decentralized neuro-stroma which have little specialization within. This, however, enables them to lose parts of it without significant losses to their memory, knowledge or reasoning. The typical alraune is even-tempered, patient and slow to anger. Alraune prefer precise work and time consuming tasks and can be known to forget their surroundings when focused. Alraune are sociable and can empathize in some way with most other lifeforms, although they often possess an unusual, pragmatic sense of morality. Although comparison can be drawn to dionae, Alraune are more easily integrated into the intergalactic society as they recognize themselves as individuals. Alraune enjoy working with and tending to nature and plants, especially edible ones. Alraune are capable of living up to 800 years, although towards the end of their lives they slowly become semi-dormant and stationary. Stationary alraune tend to be large and ornamental, often mimicking other local flora. This is believed to have an evolutionary purpose to lure prey, including insects or larger animals. Less-dormant stationary alraune are also known to create false bodies to lure or interact with nearby prey. They are capable of communicating with others of their nature via long branches or crawling vines, and were used historically by alraune communities as a sort of telephone. Occasionally, a community of alraune centered around a stationary will remove one of her branches, burying it in rich soil and coating it with fresh meat or other sources of nutrients until it develops into a clone. These clones typically do not retain any memories of their original self, but tend to take on the same disposition and personality traits.

History

The modern alraune is thought to have originated from an extinct species of carnivorous plant native to their planet. The adaptations required to digest animal prey resulted from their native nutrient-poor biome; alraune are unable to synthesize certain amino acids or or extract them from soil, and so they need to obtain them from other organisms. These plants developed alongside other life on their planet, gaining advanced mimicry techniques in order to lure and capture larger prey, eventually developing into proto-alraune. These proto-alraune were much better at mimicry than modern alraune, but were also smaller and less intelligent. It is believed that the intelligence of the modern alraune was developed in order to hunt and migrate with prey in a nomadic fashion; they developed tool use similar to primates in order to lay more complex traps for prey. This resulted in the development of a hunter-gatherer communal society centered around protecting and feeding stationary Alraune, who would both serve as a communication medium between groups, and as a repository of ancestral information. Alraune were first encountered in 2343 CE when a small group of settlers arrived on their home world in order to semicolon it. These colonists were only present for a few months when reports of hostile wildlife were sent out; after this, however, the colony went dark and it was dismissed as an inhospitable planet unfit for colonization. Almost a quarter of a century later, around 2365 CE, a new wave of colonists arrived. These groups were much more organized and better equipped for the environment that awaited them there, and settled in the high mountains in order to avoid the high pressure, temperatures, and inhospitable atmosphere of the low-lying tropical forests. This substantially delayed their encounters with the alraune until they had already established themselves, converting what was a series of ambushes into a large-scale conflict. Using the weaponry and technology from the few successful surprise attacks they managed, as well as the knowledge and skills of those captured in these ambushes, the alraune began to bolster their scattered tribes into organized forces, marking the first example of alraune organization on a scale larger than communes, as well as demonstrating their remarkable ability for adaptation. Despite this, however, both sides sustained important and heavy losses; the alraune became known for taking prisoners, and the colonists managed to capture the land around several important stationary alraune. This conflict was eventually ended when it was brought to the attention of SolGov, and a ceasefire was negotiated in 2371 CE between the two parties following years of prolonged conventional and guerilla conflict: both would release their captives and cede their captured territory to the other party, and the colonists would be confined to the mountains until they could renegotiate the terms themselves. Despite their rocky beginnings, some colonies have formed mutualistic relationships with their local alraune communes, as well as integrating some alraune who wished to join them. However, there were quite a few colonists who willingly joined the alraune even before the ceasefire; these individuals were typically used for their knowledge and skills, as translators, as manual labor, or even as bait for ambushing colonists. However, these individuals were almost never integrated into the commune; they were regarded with suspicion unless they were specifically working under a specific alraune, who often provided them with benefits, though these alraune often considered these colonists to be their property.

Homeworld

Named by the native alraune simply as their tongue’s word for “loam,” Roanoke is a planet orbiting a main sequence B star with high UV and blue light output. Its atmosphere is mostly nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen, with a pressure of around 2.7 atmospheres. Roanoke is a fairly large planet, with 89% of its surface is covered in water or tropical marshlands, and is on the inner edge of its star’s Goldilocks Zone, giving it a higher median temperature than Earth. Fifty percent of the landmass is covered in tropical rainforest, while the other regions are a mixture of semi-arid and temperate regions. Roanoke has only a small southern polar cap. Most people require voidsuits and internals to survive the high pressure and steep carbon dioxide content. Animal life on Roanoke is widely varied to fill various ecological niches, including megafauna, large insect life, and some small, niche species of lizards and mammals.

Culture

Alraune names in Galactic Common tend to take after varieties of plants, including those native to Earth or other planets. Last names are an unfamiliar concept to many alraune, but given exposure to cultures that possess surnames, some choose to adopt one, often relating to a concept that is very important to them, or yet another plant name. Since their introduction to the galactic community at large, a number of spacefaring alraune have come to be disenchanted with the new cultural artefacts that have been thrust upon them, believing that their true way of life, self-interest, has been disrupted by so-called (will-o-the)wisps, such as morality, freedom, governance, and a united alraunekind. Though they seek to rebuke these wisps in their daily lives, a good alraune will use these wisps to her advantage. Some communes have formed into garlands: solely self-interested alraune coming together in a non-hierarchical way to achieve a common goal. Most of these alraune do not fully understand human views on property, believing that so long as they can exert the force, their property is theirs. Some even view others as property.

Post-Contact and Relations

Alraune were initially opposed to any sort of integration into galactic culture, with a rather strong anti-assimilation faction dominating the early years after their discovery and the initiation of diplomatic contact. Despite this, they used scavenged resources to bolster their own technology, as well as trading with the few remaining colonies that managed neutral-to-friendly relations with nearby alraune communities. This led to a gradual association, though not integration, with galactic society; Roanoke itself still maintains only limited contact outside of the colonies there. This also led to the rapid industrialization and technological expansion of some Alraune garlands; using both human knowledge and their own adaptability, they are quickly approaching the technological level of other members of galactic society, with both Alraune and non-Alraune working to use interesting aspects of their biology for scientific purposes. Due to this, alraune are welcome as workers in many stations throughout the galaxy, especially in the frontier. However, they have a reputation for being particularly cunning, especially when involving deceit or scams. SolGov only has tangential relations to spacefaring alraune, although after the initial resolution of the wars with settlers on Roanoke these relations are positive ones, as alraune usually consciously try to pose as sociable and amiable, even if it is only a front. Alraune who spent a considerable amount of time during and after contact on Roanoke, however, may be more closely affiliated with anti-SolGov factions. Likewise, those alraune who lived near allied colonies or integrated with them may be notably more genuine in their interactions with non-alraune.


Species on CHOMPstation
Station Crew
Akula - Demi-Humans - Dionae - Humans - Nevrean - Promethean - Rapala - Sergal - Skrell - Tajaran - Teshari - Unathi - Vasilissans - Vox - Vulpkanin - Xenochimera - Xenomorph-Hybrids - Zorren - Alraune