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Old 04-24-2017, 12:23 PM
Revenant Revenant is offline

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I think the hive-flukes should show up.

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Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
The hive-flukes are creatures resembling a cross between a beehive made of paper and a mass of tentacles.

The hive-fluke spends its time swinging from tree to tree through the oddly complex cooperation of its many tentacles. It feeds by shoving food through the mouth located at the "bottom" of its hive. It is referred to as a "bottom" because the hive can operate at any orientation. Rarely, a hive will abandon its arboreal swinging and adopt a terrestrial lifestyle, using its tentacles to walk along the forest floor, though these are more exposed to predators. If every tentacle flaps in unison in the same direction, the hive-fluke can fly, partly aided by a gas produced from the fluke's elation at the prospect of flying.

A hive-fluke spends a great deal of its time slapping any tentacles not in use together, making a sound like wet noodles, accompanied by a buzzing noise. They travel through the canopies in groups, but do not interact with each other much.

A hive-fluke not a single creature, but rather is a hive containing a population of eusocial primitive vertebrates. An individual hive-fluke somewhat resembles an earthworm, but with leathery skin and more complex features. On one end is the "head" with an even number of eyes greater than four, a number of other sensory organs, and the possibility of one or more horns of various shapes. On the other end is the "foot" which features a mouth rimmed by a ring of teeth, and the bulk of the hive-fluke's muscle mass. The fluke's organs include many standard organ systems, including a primitive spine, but they are not any class of animal, or really classifiable. Calling them worms is an approximation. "Hive-fluke" can refer to the community or an individual member, but "hive" and "fluke" are technically specific components. The hive-flukes come in three castes/types:

The queen hive-fluke (white) is a bloated tentacle resting in the center of the hive. Nearly mindless, the queen's only purpose is to birth young (in the form of eggs laid near her mouth) and receive food. It is the hive's only female.

The worker hive-flukes (light orange) are tiny worms that build the hive itself from their various bodily secretions and any materials (frequently components of trees) passed to them through the hive's opening. They feed the queen, deliver her eggs to the various honeycomb chambers within the hive, and distribute food to each other and the arms. They manipulate things by moving like a cross between an inchworm and an octopus tentacle. They secrete things involuntarily based on pheromones and perceived need.

The warrior hive-flukes (pale purple), also known as the "arms", are the primary denizens of the hive. When a warrior egg/larva matures, it orients itself so that the head breaks through the outer wall of the hive, giving the structure another limb. Any nearby eggs that would be crushed by the warrior's expansion are moved by the workers to another section of the hive. When the warrior is on the outside of the hive, it works together with all of its brothers to move, defend, and feed the hive. Warriors fight by bludgeoning and whipping things with their heads, which are slightly armored. They grab things and collect food/materials by wrapping their long bodies around things. Warriors are entirely dependent upon the workers to feed them and their immobile mouths, which the workers do from inside the hive.

A warrior is mostly stuck in its position. Workers can move throughout the interior of the hive. Queens do not choose to move, but could if they were not bloated with young and tried to (which they don't).

The warriors communicate with each other and build a consensus through a combination of touch, buzzing, pheromones, and sign language. The eldest brothers act as community leaders and elders, while the largest act as champions and primary limbs. A warrior is only dimly aware of the other side of the hive, as the hive and the warriors' sizes are proportional to each other, never letting them see over the edge, forcing messages to be passed on in chains. Individual flukes are smart enough. They can't talk or comprehend speech, but the larger ones can think at about the level of a small mammal, and have the ability to learn.

At some point in its growth, an individual fluke may develop one or more prehensile horns (black) on its head. These horns are somewhat random in shape, and add functionality similar to hands to a fluke. Warrior flukes gain finger-like claws (typically one to three), while worker flukes gain pincer-like claws (typically two). These horns help determine the effectiveness of the fluke. Queens do not grow horns.

Flukes that are more effective at their jobs (determined by pheromones and observation) are given more food by the workers. As workers can not feed themselves, food can not be easily stolen or horded. A warrior or worker that is fed more grows larger, allowing it to outperform its siblings even more. No fluke that is not dead will be denied food. The extra food is strictly a bonus.

If a warrior's horns do not fit its current position (the horns may or may not cause it to specialize as a gripping or fighting appendage), or if the fluke's growth causes the hive to be too off-balance, then it can move with great difficulty to a new space on the hive for efficiency. A hive expands by adding material in between warriors, and also by adding bands in strips around the circumference of the hive, lining up with the orientation of the mouth.

When flukes die, they are either recycled by the workers into food or just fall off of the hive. The queen is the only way for a hive to regenerate its numbers. The queen unifies the hive through her own pheromones, and her death signals not only the death of the hive through attrition, but the likely literal break up of the hive's structure, as the flukes go their separate ways, occasionally banding together if they personally remember each other.

During mating season, the queen gives birth to several females. These females leave the hive and grow three smaller (blind) heads, making them look cross-shaped, with the mouth now on one "side" of them, instead of the mouth being on the end of their foot. These three new head-feet aid in locomotion.

Any worker or warrior that has grown large enough will break away from the hive, become armored and more arm-like, and try to find a young queen that is not its sister. Both males and females at this time are very exposed, but can learn new tactics quickly. A male from a dissolved hive may also at this time find a female and make a new hive, if it is lucky enough.

When a mate is found, genetic material is deposited in the queen, and the male defends its mate while the first batch of workers builds the foundations of the hive. The male will starve to death, being incapable of feeding itself, and the female's brain will atrophy. However, an amount of genetic memory is passed from both parents, aiding in the survival skills of the child flukes. The dead male is often used to armor and feed the new hive.

Rarely, a wandering male may be able to feed itself, causing it to grow larger, become more armored, and turn jet black. These males may find a mate, kill random things, or seek out and cannibalize other hive-flukes. Why this happens is unknown.

Very rarely, a pregnant queen will burrow into a the anus of a creature captured by the male, or merely happened upon while the creature is in a non-hostile state. If the host is not eaten and turned into a standard hive, the workers will take over the host's existing organ systems (through a mutagen they secrete, adapting individual workers as replacement parts, and ferrying material around for the host), cause warriors to emerge out of the host's pores, and will enslave the host's mind, turning the host into an avatar of the hive. This creates the rare great-fluke. The host that became the great-fluke will gain further fluke-like features and lead packs of hive-flukes, who normally only minimally associate with each other.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant View Post


Top row, from left to right: Basic hive, warrior head (horn and eye patterns vary on all flukes), and embedded warrior foot (interior).

Middle row: Standard hive locomotion, worker head, and worker foot.

Bottom row: Transporting a vital message from the elders of hive quadrant command to a cluster of gripping arms accompanied by the formal greeting "YEAH WE'RE BROZ!", and a potential mating pair.
__________________
^Ignored again.

Okay. It is cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonneillon View Post
It'd be nice if they actually finally gave us things they cut or under utilized 10 years ago.
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Originally Posted by Darkphoenix View Post
Ten.

Years.
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