Creature Concept: Erebusian Nightstalker

The following article was written by Michael Pulleine as an entry to the Alien August competition.

erebusianThe Erebusian Nightstalker (Noctus Venator) is an apex predator that dwells on the surface of the planet Erebus; the Nightstalker has an average height of two to three metres and a life span of approximately two hundred years.

Interactions between Nightstalkers

On occasion, Nightstalkers will hunt in packs, full co-operation is ensured through a network of telepathic connections between Nightstalkers, connections can be deactivated at any time, close analysis of the information contained within the telepathic messages has revealed certain patterns, these patterns suggest the utilisation of advanced language, this, in turn, suggests the existence of sentience amongst the species.

Nightstalker anatomy

The anatomy of the Nightstalker is of Particular interest, the creature has a thick exoskeleton made of chitin plates; each chitin plate is coated with several thousand layers of Graphene coating, making the Nightstalker armour almost impenetrable. As well as having a particularly unusual exterior, the Erebusian Nightstalker also possesses an exceedingly intriguing and, in some cases, baffling, reproductive system. The Erebusian Nightstalker reproduces through a telepathic exchange of Genetic information, how messages containing genetic information are differentiated from standard social interactions is unknown.

Physical Appearance

The Erebusian Nightstalker has a smooth black panelled head, Its mouth, like that of a shark, has multiple rows of teeth, it has four thin, stiff, armoured legs that all connect to a rigid pelvic bone, on its thorax are two, long arms and two long arm-like appendages that taper to a point, the pointed appendages are for impaling prey and the arms, although long and thin, are incredible powerful, these arms are used for lifting and ripping apart the carcasses of prey, the thorax is broad at the top and thin at the bottom, the head is short with four green eyes located on a smooth, curved panel on the top of the head.

Interaction with humans

Brief.


Article written by Michael Pulleine as an entry to the Alien August competition 2015.

  • Leonardo Faria

    Fine with all, but in regard to one detail:
    What’s the evolutionary advantage of advanced language for a predator that uses the same predatory behavior of wolves? Sophisticated hunting patterns are hardwired in its nerve system, and inscribed in its genes. Advanced language is manipulation of symbols and, accordingly, it’s slow and awkward when compared to nimble instinct driven behavior sculpted by millions of years of adaptation to a certain environment.

    • Hmm good point. Maybe they send eachother funny messages and memes to maintain group cohesion.

      • Leonardo Faria

        The seeds of a lore of the hunters… a step before an out and out mythology, or clan identity.

      • Gotta be careful with a species reproducing mentally, one thing you send a funny meme, the next thing it calls you daddy

    • michael pulleine

      they communicate telepathically, meaning that messages do not follow language as we know it, due to the telepathic nature of communication messages are, in a way, pure, it’s not so much a language as an exchange of, for lack of a better word, thoughts, have you ever had a thought without words? if so, you’ll understand what I’m talking about

  • I love the idea of telepathic reproduction. I don’t think I’ve come across that idea before!

    • “Hon I am thinking about you ”
      “darn pregnant again

      • Haha! “Sorry kids, but it’s medical experiments for the lot of you.”

        • Every thought is sacred..

          • michael pulleine

            every thought is good!

            • Every thought is needed in your neighbourhood! 🙂
              In the SciFi Ideas neighbourhood especially!

            • michael pulleine

              ah 1970s Britain! will your comedy ever lose its potency?

            • michael pulleine

              PS, I’ve had another idea for an article but I won’t be able to write it until at least Monday

            • No rush! I’ve got lots be going on with.

        • MCCOY: And from my observations, it seems they’re bisexual, reproducing at will. And, brother, have they got a lot of will.

    • Would not every telepathic member receiving the message reproduce?
      Also where would the genetic diversity needed for a species come from, if the message is a copy of the donor code?
      Have they always reproduced that way?
      Meaning other non sentient life forms of the same biosphere do it also?

      • I guess they can directly target another individual.
        There must be some internal mechanism that mixes the received DNA signal with the parent DNA (maybe the parent actually makes some sperm with the signal code and then impregnates itself).
        Of course, there’s still potential for mutation, both within the reproductive cells and through the occasional miscommunication of genetic code.

        • michael pulleine

          correct! basically the receiver will have information sent to an “inactive” sperm-like organism, the information is a combination of both parents DNA, the sperm is then transferred to an egg. I imagine them to not have genders as well.

      • michael pulleine

        I was thinking that they send a message containing the senders DNA, this genetic information is then combined with the genetic information of the receiver.

        • Leonardo Faria

          Did they develop telepathy before genome? Or just plain sex became recessive when their ecological niche took severely to Puritanism?

          • michael pulleine

            I’ve already said this but I’ll say it again, seeded by an alien race, manufactured for efficiency and survival all at once.

      • michael pulleine

        actually I made them with the idea of a species seeded by an advanced alien race,.

      • michael pulleine

        maybe they do it telepathically for efficiency reasons? not only is it instantaneous, it also requires no physical interactions! long range reproduction would be quite an advantage when you explore possibilities

        • It would be particularly useful for solitary creatures with large territories, or for creatures that move very slowly or are immobile like plants.
          It seems odd for pack hunters, but if they’re intelligently designed then I guess their creators must have had a reason. One advantage is that the designers could remotely alter their genetic code, transmitting specs for a new generation that fits some new purpose (or new enemy).

  • Kirov

    Their interaction with humans gave me a laugh. It’s a cool concept, though personally I’m not a fan of telepathic communication. And I’m highly curious about the graphene in their bodies, and how exactly that works.

    • michael pulleine

      because of the flexibility, strength, size and weight of graphene, several thousand layers would be both incredibly strong and light, making it ideal for armour!

    • I’m also not a fan of telepathy, but whether we like it or not it is has become a staple of the genre. And I think Michael’s idea of telepathic reproduction is a really interesting use of the concept.
      As for the graphene armour: Michael went through a process of development with this creature in which he consulted me, and I in turn consulted James Pailly (because his knowledge of material science is far superior to mine). It actually seemed like a graphene coating was the best fit for Michael’s vision.
      I’d be interested to know if somebody can come up with another substance that would be “almost impenetrable” and yet possibly naturally occurring. Any suggestions Kirov (Vincente)?

      • Kirov

        While there’s certainly plenty of options for hard substances, such as bone, I’m not sure of anything that would be both impenetrable and natural. But perhaps it doesn’t have to be natural? If they’re intelligent creatures, then maybe they’ve learned to interact with their environment in some way that the material fuses with their body?

      • Impenetrable by what?
        Radiation, Blades, Claws, Bullets, lasers?
        A hammer is quite destructive to a Diamond (hardest substance) but virtually harmless to a rubber ball.
        A mirror surface might be opaque to lasers . A carbon nano fiber material might have immense tensile strength but has little shear strength.
        A “bullet proof” vest (Kevlar) will not stop the arrow of a bow, …
        There is no material that is indestructible.

        • michael pulleine

          impenetrable by blunt blows and sharp objects, several thousand layers of Graphene covering chitin plating would make a particularly tough armour

      • There is no such thing as “natural Graphene” but why research when cool complicated words exist. Yep the sciency words we all are helped to understand…Do you guys actually know what Graphene is and how it is produced?
        Now there are certain materials that can be made by nature, but Graphene isn’t one of them. (Neither is Steel, aluminum, plastics etc)
        Why not an armor made of asbestos? It occurs naturally and despite its reputation ( 90% of it is lawyer made) is quite heat absorbent and light.
        Mix asbestos or boron fibers with “spider silk molecules” and you could “wave” an armor naturally.
        Look at the process below and tell me how this could be accomplished in nature…Its a many step process not an organic one.

        • michael pulleine

          I’ve said this multiple times, seeded by an alien race, it was manufactured as a soldier species that went rogue.

          • Then there must be a “factory” that provides the Stalkers with their armor shell. The description does not mention that. Also such a shell does not grow, meaning the Stalkers would need a new shell every so often during their growth state. Furthermore Graphene is highly conductive, better than gold or copper. Anyone with a Stun gun could kill your soldiers quite easily.

            There are more “organic” alternatives to a tough armor.

            I have a species of Gene clones that receives an artificial skin, but they need to change the skin several times in a “Factory clinic” during their growth period.

            http://galnet.wikia.com/wiki/Homo_Stellaris

            • michael pulleine

              not clones, genetic information is combined.

            • The shell, the armor the outer encasement..If it is made of Graphene it does NOT grow…your Night stalkers are bio forms, life grows….that’s one of the definitions of life. So you say your stalkers are engineered then you say they are not. So the armor must be “provided” by someone or something. such as a factory or a Stalker armor tailor shop

            • michael pulleine

              fine then, perhaps the Graphene is created by the nightstalkers (bear with me), they are sentient aren’t they? perhaps they make it like a human makes silk sheets? they are sentient so it may be probable that they have societies hidden underground, or maybe these “factories” are underground automated buildings that have, as of yet, been undiscovered by humans.

        • michael pulleine

          hey! Telepathic communication could be possible! what if the Night stalkers have an organ that can send messages on different “channels” kind of like radio? see? one can rationalise pretty much anything!

          • michael pulleine

            also, I do know how graphene is made, it’s just that I happened to want a flexible, light and strong material, and the armour is not graphene alone, if you read the article properly you would have noticed the bit that mentions that underneath the graphene layering is chitin armour plating, anyway, I only wanted to make use of an unorthodox material, I went through several materials, compared them, then provided what I thought would be the best to Mark, but thanks again for your input, I think you’ll like my next two projects, the “Namirikan Neural Parasite” will be the first of my entries, I have two entries to go!

          • I did not object to “Telepathic” communication. Psionics are an accepted science in “my universe”
            Quantum physics especially the idea of “Quantum foam” and its related mechanics make teleportation, psionics etc “explainable”.
            There are exotics with super symmetry, making instantaneous communication possible across any distance (circumventing spatial conditions) There are super exotics (particles) thought to have some of their mass in a different state of time/space.
            I am not sure if you ever heard about “Dark Matter” Dark Matter is a theory a postulated state of matter explaining the “missing mass”
            You see the expanding Universe theory (with a Big Bang) only works with the Dark Matter theory. So in essence those who firmly believe the Big Bang happened, had to come up with another Theory to make it work.
            Now if you tell an audience that all Apples are actually blue, but you can’t see that because there is a undetectable, invisible element of the air that changes the wavelength of the reflected visible light of apples only, they call you all sorts of things, just not a genius.
            Now that’s exactly what the Big Bang theory does, and since enough “smart” people say it is so…the rest says “oh” and “ah” and because they really have no idea what they are talking about accept it as the gospel truth.
            Now there are processes inn your body that are happening at the speed of light…and there are some that can only be explained if some thought process is faster than the speed of light. Whoa!! Did I just say FTL??
            Yep I did and suddenly the age old wisdom “Nothing is faster than light”
            is not such an absolute anymore.
            Now if a) your mind / our mind is indeed capable of quantum computing or at least a tiny bit, would it not be feasible that there is an organism, brain that has the capability of processing “more” quantum state info?
            And thus be “psionic”?

            That we can’t explain it or proof it, has not stopped the Big Bang crowd, or the Evolution theory crowd. So to say Psionics have no place in hard fiction is a tad arrogant.

            (evolution theory) That evolution happens is not so much the question, but why, how and to what extend is

          • If it works like a “radio” anyone with a receiver would be able to tune in…making telepathic conception a very problematic concept.
            I am all for new ideas and concepts, but no matter how exotic a concept is, some effort should be made in the cause and effect department.
            a) If a species has a Graphene armor…how does it get it and why
            b) if they procreate via psionic why and how?

    • Leonardo Faria

      RE: “I’m not a fan of telepathic communication”

      In “The Robots of Dawn” Asimov makes the positronic brains of Giskard and Daneel Olivaw talk in what is clearly a telepathic dialogue. But since he isn’t honest and straightforward enough to call it that way he turns it to technobabble.

  • There are Jews in the world,
    There are Buddhists,
    There are Hindus and Mormons and then,
    There are those that follow Mohammed,
    But I’ve never been one of them…

    I’m a Erebusian Nightstalker

    • michael pulleine

      and you know what they say! We’ll take em as soon as they’re warm!

      • Nate Welch

        Instead of telepathy you could just use gestures instead

        • yeah but that wouldn’t be as long range, unless they used the kind of gestures melodramatic actors used in the 1800s!

        • Science nerd

          what they could do, because graphene works as a good capacitor, it could store electrical charges in the graphene exoskeleton and release small bursts of electric signals into the air instead of telepathy.

  • Paulo R. Mendes

    No offense to Michael Pulleine, but… I find rubbish the idea of creatures telepathically exchanging genetic information.

    • Why?
      I rubbish the idea of telepathy. It’s not based in science, but it’s a staple of science fiction nonetheless. And I think this is a clever and interesting use of it.
      Give me more criticism Paulo! I want to be able to call the idea silly, but right now it’s looking like a really interesting ‘science fiction’ idea!

      • Paulo R. Mendes

        I prefer science fiction with a little footing on real science – for more that I love TV shows like Star Trek or Star Wars, I am tired of seeing the sci-fi genre being used as synonymous of fantasy (and that is coming from a guy that is willing to use demons, ghosts and similar creatures in his setting! and no, magic don’t counts in this case because in my setting, “magic” is nothing more than a extremely advanced technology of unknown origin used to hack the Universal Code). Personally, I think that the idea of telepathically exchanging genetic information would be far more interesting if these creatures were native from another universe, with different laws of physics than ours… what if this creatures were indeed from the same dark place of the Great Cthulhu, Azathoth and Nyarlathotep?

        • michael pulleine

          Telepaths!?

          • Paulo R. Mendes

            The only telepathy in my setting is of technological origin: you can send and receive messages through a transceiver implanted in your brain – and you can only to do so if the person to whom you are sending the message also has an transceiver in his/her brain.

            And no, it’s not possible to people using this technology to read the minds of other sophonts.

            • michael pulleine

              who’s to say telepathy isn’t just a biological way of transmitting messages via radio waves?

            • Didn’t we have a debate about that last year under John’s winning competition entry? I seem to remember Vanessa taking issue with it.

            • Indeed, a carbon based life form would be unable to create the necessary “parts” needed.
              1) There are two important parts : Sending and receiving
              2) Energy needed to send
              3) Antenna to receive. The antenna of a biological grown entity would need the exact specifications of the wavelength and type of the transmitted carrier wave.
              4) If all are on the same frequency …etc

            • Ah, I remember now. The energy needed to transmit over significant distances would be an issue. But you did say these guys would get struck by lightning a lot… 😀

            • Yeah, but without the necessary grounding, they would not be around long enough to transmit anything but “Ahhhhhh!”

            • Paulo R. Mendes

              Yes, it was in the article about the Kutalii (http://www.scifiideas.com/sfi/alien-ideas/alien-profile-kutalii/).

        • michael pulleine

          I do love Lovecraft!

          • Paulo R. Mendes

            Only really insane people don’t like of the writings of H.P.Lovecraft. 😉

            • michael pulleine

              Yes, they all happen to worship Azathoth!

      • I rubbish the idea of telepathy.
        Why?
        http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/scientists-prove-that-telepathic-communication-is-within-reach-180952868/?no-ist

        http://phys.org/news/2007-11-brain-significantly-faster-real.html

        So why exactly do you find psionics ot telepathy rubbish? Or not within the realm of SF ( even hard SF)?

    • no offense taken! I was expecting rubbishing! I want criticism! It’s a beautiful, wonderful, magniflorious thing!

  • TELEPATHY

    the idea of non-verbal, mental direct communication exchange is a very old one.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/scientists-prove-that-telepathic-communication-is-within-reach-180952868/?no-ist

    In a recent experiment, a person in India said “hola” and “ciao” to three other people in France. Today, the Web, smartphones and international calling might make that not seem like an impressive feat, but it was. The greetings were not spoken, typed or texted. The communication in question happened between the brains of a set of study subjects, marking one of the first instances of brain-to-brain communication on record.

    The team, whose members come from Barcelona-based research institute Starlab, French firm Axilum Robotics and Harvard Medical School, published its findings earlier this month in the journal PLOS One. Study co-author Alvaro Pascual-Leone, director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School, hopes this and forthcoming research in the field will one day provide a new communication pathway for patients who might not be able to speak.

    Model cars directed by brain waves

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7bu26pp2Zs

    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/scientists-prove-that-telepathic-communication-is-within-reach-180952868/#9lhOj7OhgaxPW7r8.99

    • michael pulleine

      I can’t wait for psionic sciences! I would definitely sign up for that science!

    • michael pulleine

      surely that would be telepathokenisis?

      • No, as “kenesis” derives from “kinetic” and means physical influence. E.G a Jedi influencing objects and make them float, return to their hand etc.

      • Here is what the GalNet Wiki says:

        Psionics aka commonly shortened to Psi

        After the Ascent Terran Humans were surprised to find that extra sensory perception and parapsychological powers existed and that there were entire civilizations basing their society and culture on what is calles Psionics.

        Even before the Ascent, some Terran scientists and researchers found that some brain functions could not be possible without bioelectrical messaging working at light speed and that some functions had to be faster than light.Research shows the brain’s processing speed is significantly faster than real time

        November 15, 2007

        Even though standard physic laws prohibit anything to go faster than light, the answer came with advanced physics and the discovery of super exotic particles that existed partially in hyper space and were thus not limited to physical limitations of the standard Universe. The brain Neuro synaptic tissue had micro organs that were able to control and direct these exotic particles to enable the normal human mind to have computing power that reaches quantum computing levels.

        In some beings this ability is enhanced and enables it to send or receive thoughts of other beings (Telepaths,) feel the emotional state (Empaths) or sense the environment with a sense other than sight, hearing , tasting or feeling (this was known on Earth as the Sixth Sense)

        In certain beings this ability becomes conscious and directible and these beings are able to tap into hyperspace energies and manipulate these in order to affect their environment, this is called telekinesis and can take various forms such as :Aerokinesis, Pyrokinesis etc.

        Psionics allow gifted Psionics to travel through Hyperspace and instantly change their spatial position , these are called Teleporters .

        The field of Psionics is a branch of medicine and transpatial physics, and studied under the general term Psionology .

        All sentient beings have some level of Psionic talent but actual, usable Psionic powers are not establish under a Heidelberg PSI Index of 100.

        The Saresii , the Kermac , the Blue and the Phantasians ( Terran colonists of the Planet Phantas) have extensive experience and knowledge about Psionics and almost all of their members are Psionically gifted.

        Even though everyone would agree that the Narth are the unchallenged masters of Psionics, the Narth themselves say that whatever they do is something on a higher level than Psionics. (The Narth Supreme once called it Omniuniversal Awarness, but did not explain it any further)

        http://galnet.wikia.com/wiki/Psionics

  • Darius

    Bruhhhhhhhhhhh… (ಥ﹏ಥ)

  • MakutaMiner

    Can I use this in my book? I’m making many species, and the Erebusian Nightstalker would fit right in!

    • Yes, according to the terms of the website all the ideas we share here can be used by anybody. Good luck with the book!