Also known as the Screaming Bubbles
These diminutive lifeforms are the sole reason why technology will not function at altitude.
In their normal state, Bullarum appear as mere motes of dust or pollen floating in the air. When exposed to electromagnetic energy, however, their bodies expand into irridescent spherical bubbles. Bullarum are simple creatures. They have the most rudimentary of intelligence, capable of demonstrating only the most basic emotions and having no reasoning capabilities whatsoever nor the ability to even act upon or control their own environment.
Genetics and Reproduction
When exposed to EM energy, a single Bulla will expand and expand inflating like a balloon to thousands of times its original size. As it expands it rises in the atmosphere, naturally, until it reaches the ozone layer. The electrical discharges associated with ozone production and destruction also cause the bullarum to burst. This is how they reproduce. Burst membrane from different bullarum come together and begin the descent back to the planet's surface through the atmosphere to start the process over. Lightning and other electrical discharges like plasma can cause bullarum in the vicinity to spontaneously reproduce.
Ecology and Habitats
Bullarum are actually repelled by biological life energy in the same way that two magnets can be repelled by each other. As a result, they are sparse within a hundred feet of fertile ground. The intelligent technologically advanced species of Rifts Earth have managed to take advantage of this by covering their tall buildings and towers with lush gardens planted in rich fertile soil. Doing this allows the use of technology within the buildings without being sapped by the Bullarum. Ventilation air in these cases must be pumped up from ground level or otherwise scrubbed to prevent Bullarum from entering the building.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Bullarum survive by absorbing electromagnetic energy. They can subsist on the energy created by the sun's reactions in the atmosphere, but thrive and grow exponentially and rapidly in the presence of radio transmissions, artificial light and powered technology.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Bullarum prevent most non-line-of-sight communication. Massive transmitters can temporarily override the interference; but within an hour or two, the Bullarum blooms catch up to and match the energy provided. Power and Control systems of flying vehicles are also sapped of energy. Any sensors relying electromagnetic energy suffer the same fate as RF communication, becoming nearly useless at altitude. Furthermore, man-made machines tend to become more unreliable when operated at altitude as their component parts are slowly eaten away by the invasive bullarum.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Bullarum can be found scattered throughout the troposphere around the entire world. They are concentrated most heavily between 25 to 1000 meters but are prevalent in significant numbers as high as the ozone layer (about 10-20 km)
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Someone with psychic sensitivity will hear gleeful celebration when Bullarum engorge on energy and float away. Someone without psychic sensitivity will hear a high pitched screaming sound much like the sound of air caught in a pipe or a tea kettle whistling.
Civilization and Culture
Bullarum originated on a world with minimal magnetic field. The subsequent electromagnetic energy that barraged the atmosphere of the planet gave rise to an organism that thrived on it. An interstellar group whose technology was based upon genetic modification and reliance on using life-based products (mostly organic, but also various silicone and other element-based life) adapted Bullarum to terraform a machine-world and revert it into a virgin planet. They adapted the bullarum to deconstruct materials associated with non-biological technological advancement while at the same time avoiding materials associated with biological life. Isolated on the machine planet, the Bullarum were thought to be effectively quarantined. No one planned or expected a rift to open on the planet from Rifts Earth. Millions wafted accross to Rifts Earth before the rift closed. The abundance of electromagnetic energy suffusing Earth was enough to allow them to permeate across the planet where they continue their purpose: deconstruct technological materials and absorb electromagnetic energy.
The Bullarum came from another world in the early days of the Great Cataclysm, They feasted on the prolific electromagnetic energy permeating the planet in the form of communications and flying aircraft.