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Thread: My creatures need a vet!

  1. #1
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    My creatures need a vet!

    Coming up with a new group of fictional aliens, I would appreciate you picking them apart and commenting please, so I can fix any problems I'm too close to see.

    These are our Neighbors, who drop in for a cup of sugar

    Their physical bodies I picture as being mostly or fully sessile in mature form, like a dense forest of trees with entangled roots. Eightfold symmetry, eyes that use a slightly bluer light spectrum including near UV. They can sprout off "worker" caste, mobile but stunted miniatures similar to their small juvenile form but shorter lived. In their artificial habitat environment, they normally suppress this sprouting process as well as natural reproduction, and just use robot workers. Their sprouted workers are mostly aquatic but can breathe air for several hours. Communication is via chemical exchanges in their roots. They have neural links to their technology that gives them remote control and data access.

    They normally live in shallow water, a swampy environment; this complicates their needs, so they always have to be under spin/thrust of some kind, with as little sloshing as possible (this is mitigated by an artificial permeable membrane they place on the surface of their water, but it's not sturdy). The hab spheroids have internal radial compartments anchored to the central hub that can gimbal outward along the equator of the spheroid under spin, or "drop" into a longitudinal alignment under thrust. These compartments are shaped like half-orange segments.

    Juveniles have 8 upper and 8 lower limbs, with small nubs at their bases. Mature Neighbors grow rings of 8 additional smaller uppers and 8 more full length lowers, with rootlets, from these nubs. Thus they use base 16 AND base 32 math. Matures can move limbs very slowly, and give a burst of speed to “whack” a nearby threat; this fast swipe hurts the limb, so it’s rarely done except in emergencies. Breathing is through rootlets which must stay damp. Rootlets retract into the root limb in case of danger, like a predator in the water.

    Juveniles are mobile because their limbs have a series of pressure bladders, making them quicker and more flexible. They lose these as they become sessile. Their lower limbs then anchor them to a substrate; inert materials or underwater frameworks will do, but the Neighbors prefer the feel/taste of putting their “toes” in organic-rich silt. The lower limbs then grow rootlets that are sensing, communicating, and breathing organs. They feed via clusters of symbiotic worms anchored in a cavity on their underside. The toothed worms dig into any prey or produce that the workers bring them, then inject blood full of nutrients into the Neighbors’ absorption tissues. The waste is carried off by workers as well.

    The skin of trunks and upper limbs have a ropy, twisted appearance. There are right-twist, left-twist, and smooth variations. In their ancient history, this caused prejudice among them much as skin colors do for humans.

    “Groves” of Neighbors originated at large river deltas. You almost never see a single Neighbor alone, they can’t really function well that way, and those who can stand it are a rare breed.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  2. #2
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    will think on this

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    Detail how they evolved and how they interact with other life on their homeworld

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Detail how they evolved and how they interact with other life on their homeworld
    I can throw together a few lines. Or at least cover a bit more detail about their habitat's ecology.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    The juveniles are mostly carnivores, the adults and workers are more omnivorous. Various kinds of swimming life large and small, and autotrophs with "fruit" are farmed by sprout workers or robots and delivered to the adults. The Neighbors have to watch out for algae-oid blooms and keep the whole complex ecosystem in a balance suitable for themselves. Adults consume far less food per body mass than the juveniles.

    Juveniles are semi-aquatic and semi-arboreal, with a water bladder to keep their breathing rootlets and symbiotes wet; as they mature, this bladder develops into an air sac for vocalizations, which are used to signal sprouts and juveniles or cry for danger when their chemical exchange network is too slow to call the whole grove at once. Juvies were guided by adults to make tools and weapons for hunting, using the same chemical communication.

    Their air is thicker and more humid than ours, their habitat spin a bit higher than Earth gravity. They like it hot, most of our environments would be very uncomfortable for them and vice versa.

    The Neighbors think they probably evolved from a semi-mobile lifeform, that "walked" on the swamp bed. But that would have been many millions of years prior to the modern Neighbors came into their world.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Various questions: what are tides like on their homeworld? How do they cope with tides?

    Why the predisposition to UV vision?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Various questions: what are tides like on their homeworld? How do they cope with tides?

    Why the predisposition to UV vision?
    Their tides were less than ours, but they are tall enough that it wasn't a problem. Storm surges, on the other hand, were. They probably built dams, dykes and drainage ditches long before any other activities of civilization.

    No special reason. Terrestrial bees have UV vision. It's just the pigments they got. Maybe their sun was a little bluer too.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Their tides were less than ours, but they are tall enough that it wasn't a problem. Storm surges, on the other hand, were. They probably built dams, dykes and drainage ditches long before any other activities of civilization.
    Maybe developed in parallel with a plant or immobile animal (like coral) that provided initial protection from high tides & storms. No moon, just solar tides then?

    No special reason. Terrestrial bees have UV vision. It's just the pigments they got. Maybe their sun was a little bluer too.
    Need a practical reason for UV sight to develop. No objection to it, just need a reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Maybe developed in parallel with a plant or immobile animal (like coral) that provided initial protection from high tides & storms. No moon, just solar tides then?
    A small moon, maybe?

    Need a practical reason for UV sight to develop. No objection to it, just need a reason.
    The juveniles use it to hunt a camouflaged prey animaloid.

    (They have eight eyes, between the bases of their upper limbs where they join the torso..) These eyes are on top of a juvenile's limb ring, facing forward as they swim and up as the climb. In adults they migrate down a bit to look outward/around.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Maybe developed in parallel with a plant or immobile animal (like coral) that provided initial protection from high tides & storms.
    Planting something with a large root system to anchor breakwaters is also done on Earth.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Planting something with a large root system to anchor breakwaters is also done on Earth.
    This might help.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrachromacy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    They normally live in shallow water, a swampy environment; this complicates their needs, so they always have to be under spin/thrust of some kind, with as little sloshing as possible (this is mitigated by an artificial permeable membrane they place on the surface of their water, but it's not sturdy). The hab spheroids have internal radial compartments anchored to the central hub that can gimbal outward along the equator of the spheroid under spin, or "drop" into a longitudinal alignment under thrust. These compartments are shaped like half-orange segments.
    Having trouble visualizing this. Sketch? Sketch of adult and juvenile, too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Having trouble visualizing this. Sketch? Sketch of adult and juvenile, too?
    I'll do my best but I have carpal tunnel syndrome
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    For some reason I'm unable to load the image.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    OK, so my try at posting a pic did not work.

    I'll try to improve the description, then.

    The starship is huge, with a ring of a dozen habitats around its center of mass. Each Hab is a hollow sphere, with a central shaft running down the middle. This shaft is kept parallel with the direction of thrust.

    There's a wheel around the middle of the shaft. Hanging from the rim of the wheel like so many handbags, are the wedge shaped habitation compartments, narrow end attached to the wheel. They have massive hinges connecting them to the wheel. Each wide end of the compartment has a flat "floor" flooded with water, holding the groves of sessile Neighbor aliens.

    If the ship stops thrust, they go into another mode. The central shaft becomes an axis and starts to turn the wheel. The compartments, rather than hanging down, swing 90 degrees to radiate outward like flower petals. As the spin increases, their wide floors change from flat to curved... carefully, so as not to flood out the inhabitants. Thus, their weight (and water levels) get maintained almost perfectly during the transition from acceleration to spin.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Adult Neighbors look like grey-brown trees with vine-like branches and roots tangled and twined around those of their nearest... neighbors. Under the water, the lower limbs have stringy white rootlets growing out of them. The limbs are arranged radially in concentric rings at either end of their tall cylindrical trunk/body; with eight outer-upper limbs, eight inner-upper, eight outer-lower (for anchoring themselves to the silt bed) and eight inner-lower with most of their rootlets.

    Inside the innermost ring of lower limbs, there is a nest of aquatic worms that serve as their "teeth". The inside of the hollow that holds the worm nest consists of soft spongy tissue that the worms are attached to. On the opposite end, inside the inner "crown" of upper limbs, there's an air sac that lets them make sounds.

    They have eight eyes all the way around their top end. They are about 8-12 meter tall.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    How were the Neighbors able to achieve air and space flight?

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    Juveniles have a similar but more stubby compact body plan, with "only" 16 functional, flexible limbs. These limbs look bumpy from the fluid bladders that allow them to flex. Juveniles have stripes of white and occasionally pink or red.

    They start life at about .6 meters long. Both ends have small cavities that can seal up to hold water: one to breathe, one to keep their symbiotes moist. They swim like an octopus and climb like spider monkeys (both real trees, and their parents). Directional orientation is fairly optional, so they frequently hang upside down or sideways when in air.

    Oh, forgot to mention their reproduction. ...I'll have to think on that one for a while. Neighbors are long lived, whether by nature or by biotechnology.

    Sprout workers look similar to a small juvenile, but lack colors and never grow. They live only 20-30 years.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    How were the Neighbors able to achieve air and space flight?
    God question! I'll have to consider that.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    How were the Neighbors able to achieve air and space flight?
    There were animal-like flyers on their world, so air travel was often fantasized about. They actually had invented working helicopters before winged craft though. Aircraft were flown by intensely trained older juveniles on the cusp of adulthood. A short career but a brilliant one. It took a while before they had aircraft that could carry adults.

    As for rocketry, they had a creature on their planet similar to a bombardier beetle, except it propelled itself. Study of its chemical reaction gave them their first crude rockets, and they went from there. As with piloting, their early astronauts were all juveniles. The higher gravity of their old world made it an even greater challenge, but it spun fairly fast and there was a high equatorial plateau that they used for launches.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2019-May-24 at 07:12 PM.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    After some thought, I've decided to make the upper "branches" the means of communication rather than the "roots". The lower limbs with their rootlets are for breathing and taste/smell, the entangled and entwined upper limbs have their own tendrils that grow into their Neighbors. These upper tendrils can grow back if cut, so the adults can be moved, but it's not something they like or do without extreme need. These are very communal creatures.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2019-May-25 at 01:39 AM.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Managed to put the habitat pic on my blog page, please forgive the crudeness of my sketch.
    https://iyftf.wordpress.com/2019/05/...abitat-module/

    I'll get the sketches of adult & juvenile later.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Managed to put the habitat pic on my blog page, please forgive the crudeness of my sketch.
    https://iyftf.wordpress.com/2019/05/...abitat-module/

    I'll get the sketches of adult & juvenile later.
    I didn't know you had a blog. I can't wait to read it.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Oh, forgot to mention their reproduction. ...I'll have to think on that one for a while.
    The Neighbors are basically hermaphroditic. They breed in season by having their worker sprouts pass an egg sac to a chosen few mates, who fertilize it. The egg sac then becomes the main responsibility of its original mother and to a lesser degree, of its fathers. In olden days travel was difficult, leading to inbreeding as a common problem, but as they industrialized the Neighbors became capable of sending their eggs all over.

    The egg sac is then kept under the mother's root-limbs underwater as it develops over 5 months (by which time the mother has reverted to male); it hatches into a swarm of hand sized pre-juvenile swimmers who compete and eat each other in the first few days. The survivors grow rapidly and develop a crude lung, making them amphibious.

    Because they are in a closed environment, the Neighbors rarely reproduce now, and when they do it's a big deal. The mating is watched like a Royal Wedding.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2019-May-26 at 10:34 PM.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    I should add, the newborn swimmers have teeth and a crude digestive stomach/pouch. When they start growing their lung at one end, they lose their teeth and the stomach at the other end shrinks to become the nest for the symbiote worms given to them by their parents: Traditionally, one worm from each father, and from the closest neighbors in the mother's grove.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2019-May-26 at 08:29 PM.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The Neighbors are basically hermaphroditic. They breed in season
    Making some last minute changes to this. They become "female" egg layers sometimes, but are "male" normally. On their lost homeworld, only one Neighbor at a time per grove became female, to avoid using up too many local resources.

    I have not yet worked out the timing of natural breeding, but it's not random.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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