Alien Profile: Appa’Corr

The following article was written by Christian Liberman as an entry to the Alien August competition.

number_55_by_onehundred_monstersSpecies: Appa’Corr (translated as the ‘beings from/of Corr’)

Homeworld: Corr (oceanic)

Size: 1.5m – 1.8m (average 1.65m) (when on land)

Mass: ≈50kg

Technology

For the most part, technology on Corr is organic in nature, formed from coral laced with neural pathways. This gives the material a vaguely sentient disposition, able to move and grow seemingly at will, though every action it takes is predetermined. The Appa’Corr are able to link in with this network, enabling communication over long distances by simply putting some portion of their body in contact with an opening in the coral.

The cities of Corr are built into what are referred to as Coral Mounds, vast cone-shaped structures which cruise through the ocean along predetermined paths. The majority of the coral berg is hidden beneath the surface, the tip often coming very close to grazing the seabed. Atop the circular plane of coral which remains above the water – usually several kilometres in diameter – is the main cityscape, with towering spires of coral encrusted with gems and colourful minerals. These are contained in the centre of the plane. The outer edge is often filled with such things as spa-like pools and temples to the Creators.

Though they are a space-faring race, they do not have a vast armada of vessels. Those ships they do have are not heavily equipped with weaponry, what with the Appa’Corr being a generally peaceful race. They are however acutely supportive of other races fighting in The War, many Appa’Corr even volunteering to serve aboard ships of other races, as well as aboard The Mace – the hub of local government – working as technicians or envoys.

Biology/lifecycle

Appa’Corr bear resemblance to cephalopods in water and gastropods when out of water. Their rubbery, blue-grey skin is porous, capable of completely saturating with moisture, leaving their body practically amorphous when in water: a head with a cluster of contorting limbs with little to no structure below. When out of water, they are able to expel the water from their body and close their pores to avoid any moisture in the often humid air to be absorbed. Their body then takes on a more rigid, humanoid/creatoroid shape. Two arms and two legs in the form of flippers. Vaguely translucent abdomens and scalps. Bulbous heads with large black eyes. A trio of moist, fleshy valleys with ridges separating them, leading from halfway up the face, down and inwards along their neck, ending a short way down their chest. It is through these exposed valleys that they breathe, speak, and take in nutrition.

At a particular time of year, couples wishing to reproduce are given leave to venture down to the nearest spawning ground. There their bodies will coil up into a double-helix shape, and once the eggs are fertilised, they are deposited in and around the reefs on the seabed, up to around 50 per female.

Once hatched, the infants spend a year in the spawning ground, naively bobbing about, absorbing the nutrients they require from the water. The grounds are protected from predators by fully grown Appa’Corr guards. At this point they are little more than a head and two appendages. After a year, the deepest section of a Coral Mound will pass through the area. The infants latch on. If they do not, chances are they will die, either through starvation or from attack by predators (since the guards are relieved of duty once the Mound has passed).

They spend the next few years gradually ascending the interior of the mound. They burrow inside and occupy the caverns inside, with their vibrant lagoons and slimy shores. Their diet evolves from the microscopic to the macroscopic, to various crustaceans, molluscs, insect larvae which are cultivated by adults for the sole purpose of feeding the younglings. The extra nutrition spurs their growth. In the meantime, they are educated in the ways of their people and in the ways of other races. Particular attention is paid to the history and nature of the Creators.

By the time they arrive at the pinnacle of the mound, they are fully grown. Although it is rare, it can be at this point in their lives that they encounter their parents (Pat’Lassa or Mat’Lassa, ‘father/mother from/of the sea’). Most see procreation as a necessity, and care little for their resulting offspring. Some feel they have an attachment, and consequently a duty, to seek out their children and do right by them.

Religion

Many Appa’Corr worship the Creators. While it is not strictly a religion since belief is not required (the Creators are known to be real), they do have faith that the Creators are omnipotent and omniscient.

Spread across the world are sites of religious significance, marked by a ring of 6 statues, depicting the 6 allied Creators (they do not count the 7th enemy Creator). These can be found below the sea, or atop immobile mounds of coral. Many of these have become popular tourist spots; the magnificent idols of the Creators tended to by the Appa’Corr having become rather famous in the local sector of space.

There is however a lone site whose location is known only to a few. Varycel is the most holy of places on Corr. The statues deep below the waves are hewn from Kaos, one of the rarest naturally-occurring ores in the galaxy, and reflect back to the eyes of an observer all manner of colours from every minute sliver of the visual spectrum.

There are some Appa’Corr (referred to as Ret’Morgos, ‘servant of the Creators’) who devote themselves entirely to the Creators, joining the esoteric Varycel Order. They forsake the indulgences of life, taking an oath of celibacy for example. They must keep the location of the site secret. They dive down to Varycel via hidden chutes in the temples on their Coral Mounds when it floats across the ocean surface above. They are enclosed in a coral bathysphere which plummets down to the depths, splitting open from the pressure when the correct depth is reached.


Article by Christian Liberman. Check out Christian’s new blog at scifileftywriter.wordpress.com, where he discusses science fiction and its left-wing, liberal connotations.

Artwork by Alex Thümler.

  • Leonardo Faria

    “where he discusses science fiction and its left-wing, liberal connotations.”

    The starship troopers are coming,and they’re after you [RAH]

    • Haha! I really hope he doesn’t mind my describing it that way, it’s my ad-libbing.
      Wait, wasn’t Starship Troopers more right wing?

      • Leonardo Faria

        It’s one of the novels where Heinlein discloses more openly his conservative views (Hugo Award 1960). But at the same time he also warns against the delusion of militarist shortcuts.

    • michael pulleine

      but wait! the Buggers have arrived! and they’re removing the intestines of the star ship troopers! we’re saved!

      • Leonardo Faria

        Buggers’ speciality is the brain sucking

        • michael pulleine

          I meant the buggers from enders game, creatures that eviscerate their prey, I didn’t know that the creatures in starship troopers were called buggers! which, by the way, is a hilarious name if you happen to be from england or Australia!

          • Leonardo Faria

            If you meet a bug like that you are royally buggered.

            • michael pulleine

              in Australia we have a mountain called mount Buggery!

  • Well looking at the recent discussions here on Sci Fi Ideas , he should feel right …uh I mean left at home…
    And no Star Ship Troopers and Heinlein was libertarian not “right wing”….;-)

    Uh oh politics again better stop while I can….Brrrrr….stop…halt phew just made it.

    • michael pulleine

      libertarian can be both actually (I’m a left wing libertarian but I won’t go on)

      • Isn’t a left wing libertarian just a liberalist?

        • michael pulleine

          I’ve no idea what a liberalist is, I just know that that’s what every political spectrum test has said about me (I used to be a massive socialist/communist!) and every time it referred to the bottom left as libertarian.

          • Both Liberalism and Libertarianism are concerned with the rights and freedom of the individual. But where Liberals believe the state should intervene to protect and preserve the rights of the individual, Libertarians prefer to be left alone with as little government interference as possible.
            Therefore Liberalism is more akin to socialism, whereas Libertarianism is closer to Anarchism.

  • michael pulleine

    @vanessa_ravencroft:disqus any idea what I could do with this picture? I’m planning on using this picture for my next article and I want some extra consultation.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9d940171ded1b482527d1e3ca0dbe758f0665b9c727e3048c86f18ef0e9bf28c.jpg

  • Well it is of course your decision as to decide what creature concept you attach to the image.

    But I feel honored and privileged indeed that you consider any input of mine as useful.

    Now I assume you like to use this image as illustration for a sentient species?

    The first step would be the environment this creature lives in. At first glance there are the colors –

    so maybe it lives among rocks – perhaps a pebble beach or in or near a desert with lots of rocks.

    Planets can have many different climate zones and regions, such as there would not be any Polar bears in the Sahara and no camels in the Himalayas.

    In my mind I see this creature as a crab analog. It has insectoid legs – which means these legs might not be actuated by muscles but by pneumatic or hydraulic means. (which could be a limiting factor in terms of temperature range the creature exists)[1]

    In this case let’s make something exotic. For example this creature lives on a planet with entire oceans of hydrogen-sulfide (source being volcanos)

    So our planet could be a very real “Hell” with fire and brimstone and not a drop of water.

    Which perhaps could explain the “orange” organs. Maybe the creatures eyes are not 90 % water like ours but 80% hydrogen sulfide. , in which case it could be mixed in with a bit of hydrogen fluoride, which could help dissolve minerals. Hydrogen sulfide life might use a mixture of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide as their carbon source. They might produce and live off of sulfur monoxide, which is analogous to oxygen (O2).

    So these “HydrogCrabs” could live in a special region of that planet

    Because Hydrogen sulfide, like hydrogen cyanide and ammonia, suffers from the small temperature range where it is liquid,

    So our crabs may exist at the shores of these oceans near active volcanos and lava flows.

    They seem to have an exoskeleton, and thus can’t be too big.

    But it seems they have manipulators (pincers at their mouth orifice) that allow for limited matter manipulation. They could have shells made of asbestos (natural mineral)

    Now why could they be intelligent?

    Because their environment is “fluid” (not liquid) meaning it changes a lot, so they need to constantly adapt and migrate. This is the reason there is a relative fast succession of evolution based changes and one caused the “spark” of self consciousness. (the reason why we became sentient is still not perfectly understood) They also may have much larger enemies but by ganging up and acting in concert, they can overcome their adversaries.

    All this might of course be the source of the society and culture:

    Like worshiping the Fire mountains that provide the correct temperature range.

    Maybe a moon that influences the magma and lava cycle, Or two moons making it very complicated and a class of scholars (Astrologers) developed complicated charts to predict the temperature changes (and need to migrate/move) becomes the leading cast.

    Or one group predicted it wrong and many died and now they are hunted and shunned..

    Gender seems not to be a big issue and procreation simply happens via eggs or “nodules”

    Well there is lots to “color in” to change adjust and reject…but here is a base template of my thoughts on this image

    • michael pulleine

      I assumed that the creature had six legs (you can see three legs on one side)

    • michael pulleine

      thanks for that vanessa, I was thinking that the orange things were vocal organs due to the angle but then again, aerial predators could be possible,what about the tendrils? perhaps they’re used to feed food into its mouth, it’s probably not very mobile, suggesting that most creatures on the planet are slow, maybe the rock is some sort of protective shell/armour? the creature is probably not an Apex predator as it has no real natural weaponry at its disposal, a lot of detail, maybe even a little bit too much but thanks, I have a lot to think about, modify, add to and remove! maybe the creatures worship an entire pantheon of gods? the god of the sea, the god of the sky the god of fire the god of death that sort of thing? or perhaps a monotheistic religion like you suggested, or, heres something that I’ve never come across! a duo-theistic belief system?

      • As I said, this was nothing more than an answer to your question. You may take as much or as little (or none at all ) Whatever you come up with will be fine I am sure.
        And all the details you are pointing out are certainly directions to consider. Well perhaps “God of the Sea” and “God of the Sky ” are not very alien concepts and part of pretty much every ancient religion. Dualism is also a very old one …most prominent in Taoism . Many other religions worship two gods (usually male and female) Isis and Osiris of example…