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Mobile Frame Hangar • View topic - Aliens Other Than The Ijad....The Gor.

Aliens Other Than The Ijad....The Gor.

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Aliens Other Than The Ijad....The Gor.

Postby zeekhotep » Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:12 pm

Very rough draft…..not done.
Tell me what you think.


In the Solar calendar year ----, the Ijad/Human colony world --------, sent a colonizing mission to the ----- system. Long range observation had indicated a very large, dense asteroid belt, as well as five gas giants of various sizes and compositions. The plan was to first build the transit gate, and then a habitat, both in orbit of the gas giant closest to the asteroid belt. This placement would give optimum return with least energy expenditure for the mining of both the asteroids and the gas giant.
Before the habitat was even half way completed, an amateur astronomer on the construction crew had discovered that there were two planetary bodies between the asteroid belt and the system primary. The real shocker was that the second was clearly an M class, right down to the blue oceans and white clouds. As was quickly discovered, the system from which the original observation had been conducted is on the plane of the elliptic, and thus the smaller planetary bodies had been hidden from view behind the dense asteroid belt.

Of course a scientific expedition was quickly launched, followed closely by a small preliminary colonizing effort. On the third day in orbit one observer found in the middle of the largest land mass what looked like the remains of a city on the banks of a long ago dried up river. This locked in the location of the expedition’s first ground site. The city on close examination, proved to have been abandoned over a million years in the past. This meant the civilization in question predated both human and Ljad civilizations by a very large margin. It also predated the evolution of Homo-sapiens-sapiens by over 900,000 years, and the evolution of the Neanderthals by over 700,000 years.

Eventually other sites were found that were less visible from orbit. All of the stone work that remained exposed was heavily eroded from a million years of wind and rain, but many portions of several sites had been buried by soil almost from the point of abandonment. These digs provided a wealth of information on the builders, including many artistic representations.

The picture of the builders that slowly came together was a result of scaling the sculpture and art of the builders to the buildings, furniture, and tools they left behind. The builders were humanoid, slight of build, and averaged 1.5 meters in height. Their legs were shorter in comparison to their overall height than humans, and their arms longer. They were clearly not made for running in the way humans are. One scientist stated they were vaguely reminiscent of Bonobo Chimpanzees.

One other thing the artwork made clear was an absence of more than just the builders from the current eco system. The artwork contained vivid representations of many plant and animal species, quite a few of which had already been cataloged by the survey team. Many amphibian, reptile, and bird analogs were found looking only slightly changed a million years later, but none of the mammal analogs found in the artwork were being encountered by the survey team.

At almost the same time the leader of the dig realized he was looking at evidence of an extinction level event, the survey team found the only mammal analogs left on the planet. They had been overlooked up to that point because they inhabited remote mountainous terrain that is heavily forested. As much as the builders resembled Bonobo Chimpanzees, these creatures looked vaguely like Gorillas, only much larger. The adults (both male and female) stand as tall as a human in power armor, and are broader in the shoulders. The bone structure of their arms suggests that an evolutionary ancestor walked on all fours with the three toes and one opposable thumb facing forward, but unlike humans, when their arms are “at rest” the three “fingers” are held down and the “thumb” is upright. This positioning of the hands gives them a body posture that to humans resembles a perpetual shrug.

The “Gor” as they were later dubbed by the survey team, showed an interest in the scientists, and watched them constantly. This interest however was not strong enough to take them away from eating. After several days of observation, it was decided that the Gor might be Mono-vores, like the Pandas of China, or the koala of Australia, they had evolved a lifestyle that centered on just one source of nutrition.

The team conjectured that the trees the Gor spent every waking moment felling and eating must, like the Pandas Bamboo, be low in nutritional value for so much of it to be required. It was decided that a sample of the wood should be taken, and sent back to the primary landing site for analysis. The first attempt at taking a sample of the wood was a failure. The small field saw used for the job was quickly destroyed by the wood, but worse yet, the attempt was the first action taken by the team that had visibly irritated the Gor.

The decision was made that if a sample was to be taken it must be done out of site of the Gor, and would require a much better saw. The second saw was also dulled very quickly. A successful sample was finally taken only when a blade designed to cut steel plate was brought up from the colonies fabrication shop. It turns out the trees have the tensile strength of a softer metal, and thus were named “Iron-wood” trees by the humans in the survey team.

This discovery made two things very clear to the team. The first was that the task of felling and eating the trees must take at the least three times the energy originally expected, and the second was that even though they are large and powerful looking the Gor had to be far stronger than their appearance would indicate.

Armed with this theory, the team went looking for proof of concept, and the first indication came from footprints in soft soil. The Gor left foot prints that were far deeper than their size would indicate. A scale was left on the ground in a heavily trafficked area, and the story it told was startling. The adult Gor average weight was a cool metric ton. The density of the Gor’s body mass was more than twice that of any other animal on the planet.

One of the team members remarked that the density of the “Iron wood” trees was also way off the chart when compared to the rest of the plant life. The consensus was quickly reached that these two species had been waging an evolutionary arms race for a very long time. The problem was, (as became clear the following week) both sides were going to lose.

When the volume of “Iron Wood” needed to sustain an individual Gor was calculated, a quick planet wide aerial census of both the Gor, and Iron Wood populations was conducted. The resulting estimate was that the Gor would eat the Iron Wood to extinction in just over a generation.

This knowledge gave the whole situation a very real sense of urgency, and made a few of the scientists feel that if they could not solve the problem right away, they would lose these gentle giants. This panicked feeling is what led to the first and only real mistake the survey team made.

Consensus was reached that in order to get a better perspective, one Ljad scientist would be allowed to try to “mount” one of the Gor. Three of the junior Ijad in the group had been begging for permission to do just that for weeks. The plan was that two of the team members (in labor frames)would “casually” walk past a group of eating adults (as they had hundreds of times in the preceding weeks) and surreptitiously place the Ijad symbiont on one of them. All of this went according to plan up to the point the Ijad attempted to “meld” with the Gor.

The Gor with the sybiont stood up, as did the Gor seated next to it. The second Gor then struck the fist in the back of the head with a blow that would have killed three humans. Parts of the symbiont went flying in at least four directions. The two Gor then advanced on the labor frames and displayed their displeasure. The incident ended with one very dead Ijad scientist, and two totaled frames. Strangely, the other Gor in the group showed no agitation. They did not even stop eating while the incident occurred.

After the failed attempt, things seemed to go back to normal, although several members of the team did state that they felt as though the whole tribe kept a slightly more watchful eye on them.

In the following months, many attempts were made to engage the interest, and participation of the Gor. Very few served to catch their interest for more than a passing few seconds, most of the time the Gor would simply keep eating. The truth was that the caloric demands of the Gor’s bodies and lifestyles was so high, they simply could not afford to stop.

The one discovery that came from all of these attempts was that the Gor are gifted artists. When shown a picture of a flower they could copy the picture very accurately. They also showed an ability to extrapolate and add to the composition. One Gor when presented with a team member holding a picture, drew a very accurate picture of that same team member holding up a picture for the group of Gor, but it was done from a third person perspective. This one action both amazed and puzzled the team.
The team decided that in order to allow time for the team to engage the members of the tribe without the constant distraction of the Gor’s nutritional demands, that the colony would fell trees in a remote location that was currently free of Gor.

Periodically throughout the day, groups of adults would leave the tribe’s central living space to fell trees. They would then bring them back to the tribe and place them in the center. Later, a different group would do the same. The interval did not matter, just that there was always a pile of wood in the center to draw from.

In the morning when the tribe woke up they began to eat from what was left of the pile from the previous day. Before any adults left to forage, a pair of team members in labor frames came into the space with several trees and placed them in the center. This lone action gained the team more attentive eyes than anything else they had done up to that point. The team made a point of keeping the pile large enough that no pairs of adults left the central area for the entire day.

In the week that followed, the Gor were noticeably warmer to the team, and much more open to giving the attention the team was asking for. The problem was that the tribe of Gor still spent four fifths of its day chewing the Iron Wood into pulp.

The change in the tribe’s attitude was so promising that the team leader ordered a shredder be built that could handle grinding large volumes of Iron Wood into a pulp that could be fed to the tribe without the need for hours of chewing.

A week after the shredder was ordered, one of the other survey teams reported a deafening sound, and was ordered to investigate the source. What they found were two tribes of Gor that were vying for control of a stand of Iron Wood. This was puzzling, because up to this point the Gor had made no vocalizations at all, and here they were making roaring battle cries that were easily heard twenty kilometers away. The team was ordered not to interfere, but to find a safe vantage point and record everything.
A group of adults broke off from each tribe and advanced on the other. A small number of adults left behind in each tribal group watched the proceedings, but most continued to eat and keep the young fed. Many of the young visibly turned away from the coming battle, so as not to see. When the two groups met in the middle, the carnage began immediately. Fingers and claws that spent years tearing up Iron Wood, made short work of flesh, even flesh as dense as that of the Gor. When more than half of the total adult Gor involved in the fight lay dead, the battle suddenly stopped. Those involved simply stopped fighting and went back to their tribal areas. All but one, who simply sat down on the battle field and never moved again. The team named that one the “Thinker.” The thinker died three days after the battle.

The team was ordered to wait until nightfall, and then to take several of the fallen Gor off the field of battle. The two tribes of Gor never tried to perform any burial or funerary rite of any kind, nor did they seem to notice a few missing bodies amongst those left behind. When one young member of the team asked if the others thought the Gor just didn’t care, a more senior team member explained that they just couldn’t afford the time or the calories to do such a thing.

One item of interest was noted several days after the battle, the two tribes had merged, and now foraged and ate as one tribe.

Almost four weeks to the day after it was ordered, the shredder arrived at the newly renamed “contact” team’s main encampment. The team leader had prepared by sending an Iron Wood tree to the fabrication shop in the main encampment. Several machinists had spent a week carving it into large bowls on a lathe.

The next morning the team went into the tribe’s main living area, with a cart loaded with bowls that had been filled with a wet pulp of Iron Wood. This pulp was the same consistency that the adults fed to the very young, and the infirm, after first having chewed it themselves. Each bowl contained an amount of pulp that would take an adult Gor about four hours to chew from logs. The team began passing the bowls out by hand (such was the change in the Gor’s attitude since the team began providing the Iron Wood logs, that the team had become very comfortable around the Gor ,and had dispensed with the wearing of labor frames.) At first the adult Gor just held the bowls and looked at them, and at each other, and at the contact team. The young Gor began eating as soon as each was given a bowl. After about five minutes of profound inactivity the adult Gor began to eat.

As noticeable as the change in character had been when the team began providing logs, this one was more so. The Gor, young and old alike, seemed willing to cooperate with anything the team wanted to do. The adult Gor gave the team members their complete attention, and the young did something the team had not seen them do before, they played

The first meal had contained what would have been about a quarter of the tribe’s daily consumption of Iron Wood. The team leader was so happy with the change in mood that it was decided the adults would not be given time to worry about the next meal. A mere three hours after the first meal, the second meal was delivered.

The meals continued four times a day, and the Gor continued to give the team their complete attention. The Gor all seemed able to take meaning and intent from pictures they were shown, and most were at least passable artists when it came to responding. A few even took the time to put together what to a linguist would look like sentences made of pictures.

One Ijad team member noticed that the Gor were now very open to the Humans who were feeding them, but still remained a little wary of the Ijad. A few tables were constructed that would be the right height to serve adult Gor at if they were seated on the ground. The Adult Gor were fed at these tables for a few days with a routine set up that included the Gor being seated at the table with the food already present, and a human team member pushing the bowls over to each individual Gor.
On the fourth day the Ijad who had come up with the idea was placed on the table, and with titanic effort, pushed the bowls one by one to the Gor. This process took several minutes, but the Gor waited patiently for the Ijad to finish. After several days of this, the Ijad began working with the Gor he fed in the same way the Human team members were. The Gor in his group were very patient, and helpful, one of them seemed even more attentive and cooperative than the others if that was possible.
On the fifth day of “Ijad feedings” a roar was heard from the far side of the valley. Another tribe was seen moving down the hillside towards the contact team and the “central living area” of the Gor tribe being studied. The team leader called to the encampment, requesting as many team members “suit up” with the team’s labor frames as possible, and to make their way to the “central living area” before the aggressor tribe could cross the valley.

Four members in labor frames managed to make it there fairly quickly and set up in a line between the two tribes. This gave the advancing tribe pause, but did not stop their advance. By this time some of the adults in the tribe had stood up and begun to move toward the other tribe. The adults from the other tribe looked thinner, and less healthy than those in the study group, they had obviously been walking for some time.

Just as the new tribe came within thirty feet of the labor frames, the first roar erupted from the study group. The team members had heard about how the roaring of the Gor could carry twenty klicks, but none of them had yet been subjected to it firsthand. All unprotected team members found themselves flat on the ground. When they looked up they saw that the roaring was not coming from the advancing Gor from either side, but from a single Gor standing in the middle of the living space, a single Gor that just happened to be sporting a pair of Ijad antenna.

Immediately all roaring stopped. The Gor in the study group began to circle around the Ijad/Gor, and in moments the Gor of the other tribe joined them. This “silent” circle remained for more than an hour, and then dispersed to the central living area.

This first “melding” began the real contact with the Gor. The Gor do have a language, it is just not auditory. The Gor communicate through some form of “mental broadcasting.” This is not what the humans refer to as telepathy. The “signal” radiates from the “speaker” in all directions, and loses strength over distance. The “signal” can be “heard” by any Gor in range. Although the signal shares those traits in common with sound waves, it is completely non-auditory. The signal conveys only graphic images. The Gor’s language is a system of picture-words, were each picture conveys at least one meaning. A more skilled “speaker” can convey more meaning and intent with one image than say a very young Gor, who might only be able to construct simple two dimensional thought images.

All of the Ijad who have managed to “meld” with a Gor, have remarked on the depth and complexity of the Gor language. The thought forms can be whispered so that they just barely tickle the edge of your perception. They can also be screamed so loud that it is all you can think. Just as with any audible language the thought forms can be spoken or sung and the few Ijad who have melded rave about both the Gor songs, and poetry. This news has the entire Ijad community a buzz with conjecture about what it would be like to experience the songs and poetry of the Gor. Unfortunately there seems to be no way of experiencing ether one without melding with a Gor, and due to the nature of that link, the line is not a long one.

The other big discovery made right after the first Ijad/Gor melding had to do with the nature of the Gor brain . The Gor mate for life, but that description is woefully lacking the depth required to truly describe the situation. When two adult Gor find each other, they become more truly “mated” to each other than any other species yet encountered save possibly the deep sea angler fish. The two gain each other’s interests and skills. Both are measurably more intelligent, and both “broadcast” with a stronger signal, and thus can be “heard” for a longer distance. The Gor call this phenomenon “Singing with one voice.”

The mated Gor never move more than several meters from each other for the rest of their lives, and when one dies the other will stop eating and pass within days of the other. One scientist who studied the Gor for several years, stated that the mated pair acted more like two halves of one brain than they did two individuals.

The changes go beyond those already stated, as unmated Gor have no sex drive, no leadership imperative, or any aggressive will to dominate or fight. All of the fighting is done by the mated couples, who leave their offspring in the care of the unmated adults during the battle. In fact, as has been recounted by the Gor, war is only several generations old as a concept within Gor society. The only reason Gor fight is to insure an adequate food supply for the Gor on hand. If two tribes perceive the local food supply to be inadequate to the needs of the local population, the mated adults that have produced children, will do battle until enough have been killed that the food supply will sustain those who are left. The Gor word for battle or war can be translated as “giving life to the future,” and the word for warrior can be ether “those who give life to the future,” or “parents of the future.”

The nature of the Gor Brain is to “merge” with the brain of another Gor in order to become a more advanced version of its adolescent or unmated self. The nature of the Ijad brain and in fact the entire Ijad nervous system is to merge with the nervous systems and brains of other species, so good are they, that they can do this with creatures from outside of their own ecosystem. The problem comes when these two sets of “wet ware” come together. The first Ijad/Gor tested very high on a number of aptitude tests. The Ijad himself tested much higher than he had before the “meld.” The scary part came when a dual brain-scan was conducted. The two brains had “reorganized and consolidated” the running of bodily functions in order to “optimize” performance in all other areas, this included all circulatory functions being centered in the Gor brain, and all glandular and immunological functions being housed in the Ijad brain.

Once the full import of a Gor “merging” was understood the scientists warned that any Ijad attempting to leave the Gor it had “melded” with, would be killing the Gor, but after the results of the brain-scan was studied it was decided that undoing a Gor/Ijad “meld” would more than likely kill both individuals.

To date, less than seventy Ijad/Gor “meldings” have occurred. All of the Gor involved have been female. The draw for the Ijad is the possibility of becoming one of the most intelligent individuals in the colony, and one of the very few with access to Gor song and poetry, the drawback is that it will be the last “melding” they ever complete. For the Gor it is a chance to save their race from extinction, and to gain a window into another culture. Gor are not deaf, but the Gor brain’s language center is not set up to process sound. The drawback for the Gor is that she will never produce offspring.

Once the language barrier had been broken, the problem of the Gor food supply was confronted full force. When asked why the Iron Wood was all the Gor ate, it was explained that the Iron Wood was the only thing in the ecosystem that “tasted right.” When this “taste” was isolated it turned out to be an enzyme that was essential to several processes in the Gor nervous system. The lab dubbed the enzyme “Gortholase.” Gortholase was present in the wood in a much higher concentration than the Gor needed, but because of the density of the wood’s cellular structure much of the nutritional value went undigested. When it was finally discovered how little the Gor digested of the Iron Wood cellulose, a more efficient grinder was designed that would “break open” every cell in the cellulose. This new finer ground pulp was then drained, and the liquid was used to “flavor” other plants that had been chosen from the ecosystem as being more nutritious for the Gor. Later it was found that drained pulp could be washed two and three times, and the water from these washings could be condensed and then used in the same manner as the first draining.

At the present time populations of Iron Wood have been started on six Ijad/Human colony worlds, along with transplanted populations of Gor.

The Iron Wood was the center of all life for the Gor before the first contact. The providing of Iron Wood for the tribe was done by the mated adults as a whole. By bringing Iron Wood to the tribe the Ijad/Human colonists had made themselves a part of the tribe. The chewing of Iron Wood into pulp was done by parents for children and for the elderly and infirm it was done by siblings and adult offspring. By providing pulp in a ready to swallow form the colonists had made themselves immediate family members of the whole tribe, and later the whole race.

Now that the Gor exist on seven different worlds, worlds that have occasionally come under attack, the Gor understanding of War has expanded, but it is still primarily about defending the tribe’s resources. The local governments of these Ijad/Human/Gor communities have found that when they come under attack there is nothing they can do to stop the mated adult Gor from “defending the tribe” and attacking the attackers. The problem was there was no way to coordinate the defenses. The “mated” Gor/Ijad are childless adults, and without offspring the adult Gor have no “warrior instinct,” although they will defend themselves and the young if attacked directly. It turns out that this lack of fighting spirit could be circumvented if the Ijad half of the bond had combat experience. Later, artificial insemination was tried on a few of the Ijad/Gor pairings to some limited effect.

These Ijad/Gor warriors are used to interface the Gor mated pairs with the combat forces of the colonies they share. The Gor word for these Ijad/Gor warriors translates as both “Mother of Battle,” and “Mother of those who give life to the future.”

The mated pairs of Gor go into battle bare skinned or wearing ballistic armor similar to that covering the Ijad frames. The “Mothers of Battle” generally go into combat in custom frames.

Now that the Gor have been eating the “new” diet, they have been growing even larger and stronger than they had been before. It turns out these huge and powerful creatures were actually perpetually half starved and anemic. The next generation shows indications of being even larger than their parents.

The scientific community is still divided as to whether or not the Gor are the builders or not. The one side argues that only the most intelligent of the mammal analogs could have survived the extinction event, and therefore they must be the builders. The other side argues that a million years is not enough time to account for the differences between the builders and the Gor. That they share a common ancestor is obvious to both sides, but the Gor have no memory of that time, and the fossil record is so far shedding no light on the subject.

All of known space may be at war, but on these seven planets, there are three races that, although not at peace with the rest of the galaxy, now “Sing with one voice.”
Last edited by zeekhotep on Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Aliens Other Than The Ijad

Postby eduty » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:08 am

This is a refreshing change to the first contact gone wrong trope. While most extraterrestrial tales use a hostile relationship to hold the reader's attention, this story managed to maintain intrigue without grandiose physical violence.

It's reminiscent of 2001: a space odyssey. Very well done.

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Re: Aliens Other Than The Ijad

Postby Mantisking » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:08 am

Let's keep fan fiction to the Fan Fiction section. The Background forum is for official answers on the setting.


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Re: Aliens Other Than The Ijad....The Gor.

Postby zeekhotep » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:33 pm

Thanks eduty! I had not even considered this a story, just the background fluff that I have developed by way of explaining what the Gor are, and how they fit into my army. I am building the basic "mated pairs" on the space marine frame, and using the rules I came up with for them.

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Re: Aliens Other Than The Ijad....The Gor.

Postby gusindor » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:07 pm

First, very well written in general. Second, it was a nice change to see a first-contact story that didn't go terribly grimdark, without everything being all happy and perfect. That's a difficult balance to strike, and you struck it very well. Third, I hope you realize that everyone will want to see you build some Gor.
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Re: Aliens Other Than The Ijad....The Gor.

Postby zeekhotep » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:25 pm

Thanks gusindor. I wanted to create a race that could be added to the Human/Ijad armies, not just stand on its own as nothing but the standard alien aggressor race. I thought if the situation went too dark it would be difficult to explain the eventual reconciliation and later integration of the new race. Thank you for the compliment on my writing. I always find my writing feels dry and clinical when I read it back to myself. Yes to the building, it may be a while but they will eventually be seen in the brick.
Last edited by zeekhotep on Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Aliens Other Than The Ijad....The Gor.

Postby eduty » Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:59 pm

It's not dry and clinical. It's concise, which is hard to do.

Older, classic authors were more verbose because their readers would have seen less. A 19th or even 20th century author may need to go into great detail to describe a gorilla because the reader may not know what one looks like.

Modern readers have the internet. Describing something at length is boring and unnecessary.

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