Polysmorph

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POLYSMORPH
Polysmorph.png
Polysmorph
Genus: Homo Mimus Praestabilis Verto Sapiens
Homeworld: N/A
Central Authority: Sano-Waltfield Industries
Paycheck Modifier: 0.6x
Allowed Command Roles: Chief Engineer, Research Director
Guides: No external guides

Polysmorphs, often referred to singularly as polys, are human-xenomorph hybrids that were spawned as part of a series of failed experiments conducted by Sano-Waltfield Industries, a notable subsidiary of Nanotrasen that specializes in colonization. While they have since been released from their colonies into Nanotrasen care, theirs is a dying species that is unlikely to see the next century. Regardless of this eventual doom, polysmorphs tend to function as relatively stable workers, ignorant of the quick decline of their kind. While most have some level of unstableness due to trauma inherently sustained from their biology, they’re still lightly trusted on SIC stations, so long as their employment with Nanotrasen continues.

Gameplay

Polysmorph is an optional species that can be chosen for play in the character creation menu. Customization options include teeth, dorsal tubes, and domes. They also tend to hiss when talking, and their lisp is far more noticeable than a lizard's. They are exclusively female, in part due to their xenomorph genes.

Polysmorphs are the rarest species present in SIC space and effectively have minimal rights, not only as discontinued experiments but also creatures expected to go extinct in the next century. Nanotrasen abuses this to pay them nearly half of what a human would receive. They are also not considered under a standard Asimov silicon lawset, meaning you will not receive the protection or benefits that silicon crew can provide. In fact, a malign human may be capable of exploiting your inferior position to inconvenience or threaten you. It is advised to be cautious in your interactions with humans if the AI is under an Asimov lawset as a result, especially if you are a member of security.

Racial Benefits

  • Takes one-fifth the normal damage from acid, as their blood is sulfuric acid
  • Possesses limited night vision
  • Can breathe both oxygen and plasma
  • Suffers three-fourths the normal damage from being cold
  • Less likely to suffer wounds when exposed to physical trauma
  • Possesses a very robust liver that can purge harmful reagents quickly

Racial Drawbacks

  • Suffers 50% more damage from heat
  • Suffers 25% more burn damage than normal
  • Cannot wear normal shoes, as their legs are digitigrade

Diet

  • Likes all forms of meat
  • Dislikes grain, dairy, vegetables, and fruit.

Unique Mechanics

  • Their unarmed is a slash with their claws, though this deals no additional damage
  • Surgery can be hazardous on them due to their acidic blood

Lore

History

The xenomorph threat was first encountered in 2436 by colonists who found derelict eggs in a strange, gem-encrusted, humming ruin. As the colonists had gone out on their own, illegally claiming a world, it was not until the second batch of colonists, under a charter from Sano-Waltfield Industries, arrived from Ceres in 2439. Armed with the assumption that there would be squatters to evict, the second group had a sole survivor that managed to launch off the planet. Submitting a hostile xenobiology report to the Sol Interplanetary Coalition, Sano-Waltfield secured military intervention to assess and eliminate the threat. What quickly became clear to recon teams was that the creatures that had massacred both groups of settlers bore a resounding similarity to the creatures imagined in a series of films produced in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, also dubbed xenomorphs. While it is theorized that one of the first human wizards was responsible for their spontaneous creation, some notable differences can be discerned between the fictional and the real, though it’s easy to wave this as imperfections or biases in the wizard’s spell or imagination. There is yet no confirmed explanation as to how they exist. The colony was cleared mostly by bullets and fire, though some eggs and facehuggers were held in a state of relative security by Sano-Waltfield.

While there were a couple of incidents where xenomorphs broke containment in certain research facilities, attempts to make xenomorph hybrids that could be domesticated and exploited began in 2440. Once there was evidence of a hivemind in xenomorph biology in 2442, the desire to create a “mole” vastly grew. It was hypothesized that such a hybrid could not only reveal and report xenomorph communication but then be exploited for intel regarding potential outbreaks or hives on unexplored worlds. The first experiments involved rats and dogs, though DNA degradation of the subjects was rapid and control of the massively mentally distressed creatures was nigh impossible. DNA stability could only be found in human hybrids, which Sano-Waltfield permitted regardless of the countless ethical violations. However, they were still immeasurably hostile, so research was difficult to continue. It took a generation of trial-and-error experiments before sentience was confirmed in the second generation of hybrids, now dubbed “polysmorphs”. In 2460, experimentation transitioned into the creation and maintenance of several different colonies, in an attempt to socialize the polysmorphs, as humans and xenomorphs are both social creatures by nature. Colonies were established in specialized space labs, then on a wide array of various planetary conditions, ranging from lush and vibrant to acidic and lethal.

The colonies were then only scarcely managed. They were given enough resources for them to survive, but no outside intervention was imposed. There were three notable trends observed across each and every colony, despite their various conditions of quality. The first was the development of a vocal dialect similar to but separate from the xenomorph’s tongue. While researchers had been unable to decipher the original at this time (the universal recorder was invented in 2503), it was hypothesized (later confirmed) that the polys’ tongue incorporated more gestures of the self. Simply put, the xenomorph language does not permit for an acknowledgment of oneself outside of the hivemind, nor are emotions represented in such a way outside of direct context to a present circumstance, such as “this mech is threatening” rather than “I feel threatened by the mech”. Polysmorph dialect, on the other hand, not only introduces the latter statement’s form but also allows for far more nuance in self-expression. As such, vocal disagreements could be observed between colony members. However, dissent never escalated to physical levels, sans body language that mirrored general human movements.

The second trend was that of general social equality. While various took on differing jobs of various hazards, each colony member was treated aptly by the others, and there was no development of a social hierarchy typical in human settlement and development. While disagreements and discussions occurred, there was never conflict that would have placed a single individual higher or lower than the others. Each earned their food, and priority was given to those sick or injured to better enable them to recover. The third and final trend was that of a seeming lack of need to communicate necessary tasks between the groups. While it would later be revealed that polysmorphs lack a hivemind connection, this still revealed some level of intuitive social order that exists in their communities. The dome-shapes that denoted various roles in xenomorphs mostly mirrored what became apparent in the polysmorph colonies; drones were laborious workers, sentinels acted as guards and hunters, and praetorians acted as logisticians and quartermasters. The curious divergence came in the form of the polysmorph queens; they generally took on roles of scientific or innovative roles. Despite this stacking of hierarchy, social equality still mostly stuck, though more value was given to related specialists when appropriate.

These colonies never grew beyond a few hundred polysmorphs at a time. As polysmorphs are naturally incapable of reproduction, the only chance for this to be reversed was scientific intervention. This never came to be. Galactic Common began to be taught to polysmorphs in 2497, as colony life had worked in suppressing and stabilizing much of the dysfunctionality otherwise observed in isolation. Interviews then conducted revealed no connection with such a hivemind, and exposure to actual xenomorphs tended to produce an uncanny and anxiety-inducing effect in polysmorphs. Realizing their investment a complete failure, Sano-Waltfield moved to cut off support to the colonies entirely. It was at this point that Nanotrasen stepped in and scooped up whichever polysmorphs remained. Those that quickly grew distressed and ballistic outside of colonial society were quietly moved to various positions of undocumented, menial labor, most commonly plasma mines. Those stable (enough) were released into normal employment on Nanotrasen stations, albeit with significantly reduced benefits and pay. While SIC officials were greatly distressed at the thought of introducing xenomorph-human hybrids into the quickly diversifying society, an agreement was made that Nanotrasen would hold responsibility for the behavior and actions of all polysmorphs, in return that they would be functionally forced to work for Nanotrasen under the presumptions of “overseen civilizing” and “social education”.

While the experiments that create polysmorphs have since ended, most of the thousands that remain still work under Nanotrasen. There are some who have fled into space or away from their assigned positions, but the vast majority grapple with their new conditions as time grows ever-shorter on their species’ existence. Despite the response to being taken out of the colonies widely ranging among individuals, they fulfill their assigned roles regardless. There are very few polysmorphs who attempt to advocate for the continuation of polysmorph creation, criticizing Sano-Waltfield for their violation of the most fundamental ethical guidelines in scientific research, then permitting a sapient species to slowly die out. Despite the fervor they can possess, public opinion mostly remains indifferent; polysmorphs remain the rarest species in SIC space, and the eccentricities of most enforce a general idea of “wrongness” around the hybrids.

Naming Conventions

Polysmorphs tend towards single-word names, usually with two or three syllables, and almost always end in a vowel. Examples include “Thrinia,” “Alei,” and “Saavi.” They do not have surnames as they do not have any true families, but it is not unheard of for them to adopt one based on their home colony, which could be the planet's name or some name bestowed by the scientists that oversaw their colony.

Culture

While polysmorph culture is mostly elaborated in the observations scientists took during their experiments, there still are some notable trends that continue outside of containment.

Their hobbies and off-work activities are very rarely creative or artistic in nature. Those that do still shun music as a practice and as an interest. This is theorized to be part of their inherent trauma; their biology signals that they should be able to hear and tap into a hivemind. However, the theory supposes that music in sapients tends to hold far more meaning outside of words in its very presentation. However, this raises the question of why preterni do not suffer and spite music quite like polysmorphs do, as preterni were linked to a hivemind in the times of the Vxtvul Empire. Supporters of the theory generally claim that for preterni, it was intentionally cut off, thus their system recognizes to no longer reach for it.

Polysmorphs most often find acceptance in vuulek-majority communities, simply because of a vague kinship as well as a potential empathy from vuulek who have not forgotten the cruel treatment of their species at first. While they are often isolated and refuse to engage in celebration (as they do not understand it), a polysmorph community member will often spend most of their free time ensuring the health and security of those who extend them that same graciousness. Depending on their skillset, they may spontaneously and quietly take on jobs to improve or rectify certain outstanding issues.

The concept of religion inherently confuses some polysmorphs, while others are able to understand it if properly explained to them. Some can even go on to become fervorous members of whatever pantheon they've been introduced to.

Lifespan and Health

It is entirely unknown how long polysmorphs can live, as there are none recorded that have yet to die of old age. Their lungs are especially adapted to hazardous particles such as plasma and their liver is especially adept at filtering out chemicals that would otherwise prove harmful to their unique physiology. Most afflictions in polysmorphs stem from their hybrid nature, which makes such complications unpredictable. In addition, there is an inherent level of instability in all those that remain after being removed from their colonies. While this trauma can manifest in psychosis or other extremely anti-social or dysfunctional behavior, the large majority of those who reside aboard SIC stations are stable enough.

Polysmorph diet exclusively consists of meat, and thus their physiology is often bulky and taut relative to other species, especially considering their xenomorph genetics. While this similarity also yields a nigh-immunity to acid and exceptional vision in low-light environments, so too is their carapace vulnerable to fire and heat.

Their heights range impressively, but they tower over most other organics with a minimum recorded height of 5'5" and a maximum of 8'2". Generally, the higher their position in the mirrored-xenomorph hierarchy, the taller they tend to be.

Roleplay Traits

  • Most are significantly odd or eccentric in some wild capacity. Very few functional polysmorphs exist, though they tend to take higher positions within the Company
  • The first generation of polysmorphs still live; it is unknown how long they can last before perishing of old age
  • Otherwise ignorant or too consumed with their probable, eventual extinction
  • Can massively become enveloped in work, moving about tasks without word or comment
  • Generally uncurious or disinterested in more abstract ideas or irrelevant topics or information: not fans of small talk
  • Tend to care little for vices such as drugs or leisure
  • Fails to understand most social relationships beyond a baseline friendship, nor are they interested in anything beyond that
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