Alien Profile: The Elikar

The following article was written by Nathan Nichols as an entry to the Alien August competition 2015.

Biological Profile

In appearance, the Elikar are humanoid, though a little taller, more slender, and oddly-proportioned than humans. They have eight-fingered hands and their legs curve more like a goat’s than a human’s, despite the actual feet being similar. They generally have a light gray or white skin, and black eyes and hair.

elikarThe Elikar are a curious race of synthetic organisms. According to their historical records, there was a purely organic race bearing their name thousands of years ago. However, when their homeworld passed through a dust cloud, its atmosphere quickly became unhealthy, and finally, completely toxic. In order to continue living, the original Elikar created a cellular-level cyborg; artificial beings that carry out most of the essential life processes, but in unorthodox manner.

The new Elikar, known as the Elikar-Nava, but now having dropped the suffix in the extinction of their precursors, operate on a combination of organic and mechanical principals. Their cells are similar to nanobots; silicon-based single cells with photosynthetic generation organelles, energy-siphoning outer scales, and a microprocessor connected to those of the other cells via conductive bristles between the outer scales. What this means is that the Elikar can metabolize almost all energy they come in contact with–Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) would still damage them structurally, but they would also be incapacitated by the sudden surge of energy. Nonlethal weapons such as tasers would still stun them, but odds are they would come to feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.

Their unique ability to metabolize energy does not by any means make up their entire digestive system. They consume bulk material, usually conventional food, but they have been known to eat anything if they were unsure of their next meal. While appearing ordinary, their digestive tract is one-sided, because their new stomachs, which make use of a fluid-like colony of specialized nanocells that enclose the sustenance and break it down into microscopic bits, which are further broken down into pure energy once the colony once again merges with the stomach lining.

The Elikar reproduce in roughly the same way as most humanoid life-forms, with comparable reproductive systems to humans and other humanoid life-forms. The main difference is that the parents have more control over how the fetus develops while being ‘manufactured’ in the mother’s womb, which develops from an internal polyp to a full-sized womb in a matter of days, and remains the same size for the duration of the pregnancy. The construction of the newborn is similar to their digestion, in that the nanocells take bulk material generated from the main cellular production centers and construct it, using electric impulses to lock the multipurpose cells into the proper formation (the cellular difference between their bones and their blood is less than that of a human’s, because the cells must be able to substitute for another function at a moment’s notice.)

For this reason, the infant will appear to be dead for most of the pregnancy, barely sustaning an electric circuit as it is being formed, and in the final days of pregnancy, the infant is connected to the mother via a strand of superconductive nanocells through which she transfers any knowledge she needs to into the infant’s brain, and then releases an electric surge to start its heart beating.

Because of the multipurpose nature of the Elikar’s cellular structure, their healing factor is far, far above the norm–the average Elikar is able to heal from a moderate wound in a matter of minutes. Due to the fact that the cells can link up to share information, the Elikar can even lose its brain and recover, creating the potential to clone an Elikar brain at any given stage of life–however, most of the Elikar cell groups are designed to recognize when a portion of the body remains, and to weigh the severed parts, self-destructing the smaller or less vital portion.

The Elikar are mortal, but only because their cells gradually lose their capacity to hold an electric charge. This will lead to a limb ‘deadening’, and the rest of the body weakening too far to regenerate it. Many Elikar, by the time they have reached this stage, are already so well-versed in cybernetics that they often design, if not build, their own cybernetic prosthetics. In this way, some Elikar live to be upwards of two or three thousand terrestrial years old, though the standard age range is eight to nine hundred.

The Elikar have navels, but no umbilical cords. It is theorized that this is a holdover from their predecessor’s design. They are particularly embarrassed when it shows apart from an intimate encounter, because it is considered to be the one part of the Elikar body that serves no purpose.

Social Profile

The Elikar are a social race, but their radical alteration has led them to be less emotional. They still exhibit all the typical emotional and creative instincts and urges all intelligent races do, but they consider themselves more an intellectual society. As such, they measure their IQ rigidly and pride themselves on academic achievements. It is not unusual for the top students in the graduating class of any given academy to continue to congregate for years afterward.

The Elikar are generally kind and generous, but their conversational tone is often so frank and plain that they are mistakenly purported to be blunt and rude. In truth, they are slow to give offense, and if they find they have offended someone, they are quick to apologize. This is due to their incredibly long lives, in part; they have learned on a deep level the importance of building alliances and forging friendships to aid them later.

They are always in search of new knowledge and philosophies, and for this reason they are almost more likely to associate with other races than their own. In fact, there are so many Elikar exchange students in alien institutes that all but a handful of the original Elikar-Nava academies–the very best–have shut down, and those that remain are attended by equal numbers Elikar and aliens.

The Elikar are not, on the whole, religious; but they are strongly philosophical, often bringing to the surface a deep philosophical truth or idea out of a seemingly trivial matter–often garnering more respect than they realize in doing so. They have a reputation as deep thinkers and rational creatures. They have no superstitions, but recognize and respect others’, and have one religion, which some follow and some don’t as a matter of course–a monotheistic faith that worships what they call ‘The Nucleus,’ which they believe to be a force of order, thought, and in their minds, good, which the universe revolves around.

Elikar courtship is short and sweet, lasting only a year or so if an Elikar has found the ‘right’ mate, ‘rightness’ being measured only partly by physical attraction and mental/emotional compatibility–their biochemical compatibility must also synch up. There is a one in ten chance of synching up with any given Elikar of the opposite sex. There is no homosexuality practiced among the Elikar; they are not against the practice, but find it confusing, inefficient, and ‘sterile’; in their mind, any meeting of homogeneous life-forms will be less productive than heterogeneous.

Politcial Profile

The Elikar, being intellectual, have a Chancellory, with nine Chancellors, one representing each world and satellite under Elikar control. These Chancellors are elected from existing office among their planetary republics, usually having been president or vice president before their appointment to the Chancellory. The heirarchy, then, is consisted of one High Chancellor and eight Chancellors who, between themselves, rule the Elikar system; nine Presidents, who rule their individual planets with guidance of the Chancellory; nine Forums composed of twenty Councillors each; and local government often depending on the region and population. In galactic government, the Elikar are always the voice of science, reason, and alliance. While a little less rational than some, and much less emotional than others, they are often level-headed and tend to see things objectively, though looking at the problem from any given angle presented to them.

This article was written by Nathan Nichols as an entry to the Alien August competition 2015.

  • inefficient, and ‘sterile’; in their mind, any meeting of homogeneous life-forms will be less productive than heterogeneous.

    I am still lying on the floor, this one cracks me up…”Less productive” hehehe there are soo many jokes (the bad kind) in this sentence I keep on laughing…sorry

    • J.I. Borrero

      “inefficient, and ‘sterile’; in their mind, any meeting of homogeneous life-forms will be less productive than heterogeneous.”

      I like to think of that as a holdover from the culture of their creators.

  • Uhm hun are we going to be less or more productive tonight? Your are a cyborg…you are built there is no need of the productive kind you know what…
    So in other words you have a headache…

  • Oh an only intellectual people have have a Chancellory …the dumber kind have ministers and all sorts of other stuff. It’s a hallmark of intellect to have a have a Chancellory. So if you come across people with a Queen watch out…

  • Leonardo Faria

    Well crafted race.
    But, as to the political government, isn’t it more likely that highly developed civilizations won’t have any government at all, leaving ordinary decision making and management to neural networks and AI based expert systems? Just look at the today concept of “smart city”, where all the urban services are integrated into a computing grid. I think that’s the cell of what the government of tomorrow will be. Direct policy making by people will be restrained to basic choices of ethical nature (with direct partecipation of all citizens), declared in formats intelligible to computers, and translated into transactions affecting business, education, healthcare, transportation etcetera…
    I can see the point that Elikars may prefer their own Constitution, though.

    • Kirov

      Bank’s Culture is a pretty cool example of a highly advanced society with no government because everything is managed by machines.

      • Leonardo Faria

        High Frequency Trading (HFT) is an example of banking business where the trading on stock, bond, currency, commodity, futures markets happens at a speed exceeding the computing capability of the human brain. Too much info and to quick to process! I think the all-connected society of the future will face a challenge like that. People will make decisions about priorities of budget and will settle controversies on fundamental conflicts of principles, but the actual management will be by machines.

  • Kirov

    Wow, I really like this one. The techno/biological details could be worked out and explained a bit better, but overall, I think it’s one of the better ones so far.

  • Paulo R. Mendes

    So, the ancestors of the Elikar were extinct just because their planet pass through a dust cloud?! no offense, but you know how stupid that sounds?

    • Must have been a really dense cloud! But formaldehyde and methanol have been found in interstellar clouds, so…
      Or maybe the Elikar are lying about the whole thing 😮

      • Paulo R. Mendes

        This is a interesting point of view.The Elikar probably know that they will not get unpunished if or when the truth about the death of their predecessors is know by all the galaxy.

        Or maybe – just maybe – they are lying to protect us from the terrible truth…whatever it is.

    • Kirov

      Actually, I’m on quite the other side of the spectrum. It sounds devestating to me, and I would think even the Elikar-Nava would have trouble surviving. We can’t feel how fast the solar system is moving through space, but it certainly is. If it were to collide with a nebula, atmospheres would be bombarded with particles containing loads of kinetic energy. I would think temperatures would rise to high to support life.

      • Paulo R. Mendes

        To me that still sounds rubbish. 🙁

        • Kirov

          Imagine a massive asteroid impact, except the asteroid is divided up into dust particles all over the atmosphere. It’s still got the same kinetic energy, only you get a giant rise in temperature over time instead of a massive explosion all at once.

          • Paulo R. Mendes

            I still would prefer the impact of an asteroid or any other kind of natural disaster over this dumb idea of “their planet entered in a dust cloud”. Personally, I think that science fiction writers should treating the genre like some sort of synonymous of fantasy. Also, I prefer my science fiction with little footing on real, serious science.

  • It is not the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs but the effects the impact caused. The impact distributed ash and dust into Earth’s atmosphere. Causing a rise of temperatures (global greenhouse effect) killing the or reducing the growth of plants. Less plants – less food for herbivores who are in turn the prey of carnivores.
    Less specialized and smaller creatures (mammals) had the chance to take over.
    At least that is what the majority of experts think.
    The impact crater itself was in dispute until only just recently.
    And there have been massive mass extinction events before.

    Now I don’t like the dust cloud thing either, but I am not putting the grumpy pants back on.

    There are indeed cosmic events or solar events that could have similar effects. Lets assume their sun had a dust matter halo (as many suns do) and experienced a super flare. Meaning the planets were doused with radiation, light and a storm of super accelerated particles, destroying ozone layers,
    melting the ice on planets as far as the tenth orbit. Vaporizing it on planets closer.

    Such an event could occur to us and we had about 6 minutes warning.

    To you Paolo, since you find this rubbish…can you tell me what happened or what caused the Ice ages of our world? I mean why did Earth suddenly decide to freeze over and then thaw again?
    In terms of Geological history and time frames, the word “suddenly” applies btw.

    So I am very intrigued to hear your answer.

    • J.I. Borrero

      Your point about the dust matter halo is a good one. I found this Discover article here:

      Quoting relevant excerpt. Emphasis is mine.:

      We probably would not discover such a dense cloud until we ran right into it, says Gary Zank, an astronomer at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Zank has developed one of the first models that incorporate discoveries about the interstellar medium to predict what will happen when the solar system runs into a big, bad cloud. At present, the edge of the heliosphere holds up a dense sheet of gas, what astronomers call the “hydrogen wall.” In essence, instead of flowing around stars like water past a stone, some of the gas and dust bunches up against stellar winds like vast snowdrifts. Zank’s models show that if we were to plow into a cloud a mere 100 times denser, the leading edge of the heliosphere would begin forming an incredibly large wall, one too heavy for the solar wind to hold back. “The effect is pretty rapid,” Zank says. “If you ran into a sharply defined interstellar cloud, the solar wind would shrink very quickly.” In a decade the hydrogen wall, now thought to be four to five times as distant as Pluto, would crowd in between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus.

      Although the solar wind should still keep most interstellar gas and dust from reaching Earth, according to Zank, at least some would get to us. The effect on Earth’s climate could be disastrous. If the cloud were dense enough, hydrogen atoms might flow into the atmosphere and react with oxygen, depleting our vital atmospheric gases.

      The cloud would also make us more vulnerable to cosmic rays by compressing the heliosphere until its boundary lay just beyond Jupiter’s orbit. Ripples in the heliosphere’s magnetic field protect us by slowing and redirecting incoming rays much the way a warehouse full of pillows would stop all but the most powerful bullets. “If you remove several rooms full of pillows,” Zank says, “many more bullets will get through.” There would also be more bullets in total: Cosmic rays would ricochet between the boundaries of the soupy cloud of gas and the heliosphere until they picked up enough energy to escape. At least some of them would head our way. The only line of defense left to us would be Earth’s meager magnetic field. Overall, Zank says, the number of cosmic rays hitting our atmosphere would skyrocket.

      A sharp rise in cosmic radiation would be troublesome, to say the least. Cosmic rays wreak havoc on the internal electronics of satellites and threaten the health of astronauts. When cosmic rays smack into atoms in our upper atmosphere, they release showers of gamma rays, X-rays, or subatomic particles. At present, radiation caused by cosmic rays is one of the largest sources of natural radiation exposure. It is unclear what biological effects doubling or tripling it would have.

      Would a doomsday cloud be survivable? It’s hard to say. Earth probably passed through such a cloud at some point in the distant past. If it happened in the last 100,000 years, it might be possible someday to extract traces of its effects from deep within the polar ice caps. Life may well have weathered this kind of challenge before.