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hlurcht

The Hlurcht are a central alien race in the main story-line of The End. This portion of the wiki will cover their appearance, beliefs, culture and History (some of which will be added at a later date).

When I was designing the Hlurcht, I was given the task of designing a race that has previously been the known galaxy's boogeymen, so I decided to give them a neat twist in where they aren't the large, carnivorous monsters that you see in a lot of sci-fi. As a result, we have a war driven society of giant slug/snail/lobster creatures that subside on delicious bacteria and vegetation.

  • If you would like to read about specific major Hlurcht characters who appear in the story, they currently include Gorth.

Physiology


General Appearance

Hlurcht are bipedal, herbivorous, sapient beings that evolved on the world of Lruchhuch. Their physiology is unusual among sentients, even from a galactic perspective, and does not possess a close analogue in any of Earth’s ecosystems, though they can be superficially compared to any number of organisms.

The Hlurcht circulatory system is extremely sophisticated on a microbial level, but on the macrobiological scale, it is robust and “simple” enough to retain function even under significant duress. It is an elegantly balanced internal ecosystem made up of specialized microbes and tiny metabolic organs. To provide a broadly simplified explanation, the microbes are effectively an army of microscopic biological batteries and transporters, and the micro-organs that manage them are little charging stations, purification facilities, and waste treatment plants. The system boasts an extraordinary degree of redundancy; in a Human, organ failure is potentially lethal, while in a Hlurcht, it is a commonplace, unremarkable, self-correcting event that goes totally unnoticed.

Breathing, eating, and drinking are all governed by the same elaborate metabolic network - the Hlurcht body contains relatively few large, discrete organs as might be found in a Human, instead relying upon a cascading organic biosphere in which countless tiny systems compete to efficiently dominate their respective physiological niches, with the weaker systems dying to make way for a more robust generation of internal microbes and micro-organs. In effect, a Hlurcht’s metabolism actually evolves as he ages, bolstering its digestive and respiratory abilities and adapting admirably to its host’s living conditions.

Though the Hlurcht metabolism is self-correcting and incredibly robust, it is also somewhat less energy-efficient than that of many other species. Interestingly, the Hlurcht body’s physical growth is a continuous, opportunistic process - unlike Humans, who experience rapid childhood development, explosive growth during puberty, and finally a significant developmental plateau, Hlurcht will slowly but continuously grow as long as they consume more nourishment than they require. Due to their increased metabolic needs, most Hlurcht grow quite slowly, if at all. However, individuals with consistent access to a high quantity and quality of sustenance can reach a truly considerable size. In addition, thanks to their unique physiology, Hlurcht are significantly less prone to the ravages of age than many other species - with sufficiently advanced medical care, a patient and fastidious Hlurcht can survive for several Earth centuries.

Reproduction

Baby Hlurcht are semi-parasitic organisms with little physical definition. An infant Hlurcht latches onto its parent’s body somewhere, and absorbs nutrition and microbial organisms while the parent carries on with business as usual; the infant can be removed and placed in another location on the body without incident. Indeed, the baby can even be placed on another Hlurcht - it is common for many different individuals to “babysit” any given infant to enhance microbial diversity (and give the parent a bit of a break).

As Hlurcht children grow, they become more defined in shape as they develop the beginnings of their exoskeletons. A child initially has a pair of small vestigial limbs located on the abdominal region below the arms, but these are nonfunctional and soon fuse into the developing exoskeleton.

Fun Fact

Hlurcht are necrophagous cannibals - they eat their dead. This act serves an important biological purpose: by consuming part of a dead Hlurcht, a living one introduces a host of new internal microbes to his body, which immediately begin competing with his native microbes in their respective metabolic niches. This ensures that any weaker native microbes are either replaced by the superior competitors or forced to adapt in order to successfully compete with them, and it adds diversity to the consumer’s internal ecosystem, potentially leading to valuable microbial evolutions that would otherwise not have occurred.

In the majority of Hlurcht cultures, the act of consuming the dead is extremely significant. It is often a community event, the better to strengthen each member of the community with the new microbes, and is almost always treated with an air of extreme gravitas, occupying the same cultural role as a funeral. Participating in such an event is usually regarded as a mark of respect for the deceased, particularly amongst Loyalists, who carry out the act with a reverence bordering on the spiritual; it is common for Loyalists to maintain a document of their most respected friends and colleagues, with the intent of ensuring that those individuals are first in line to inherit their strength if they die.

hlurcht.txt · Last modified: 2013/07/02 17:26 by ran