Rutas Olu

The measures which Jhoutaioan civilization has to take against the constant siege of its native life is boggling. Martial and civilian forces alike have divisions of exterminators armed with weapons we would consider fit only for military use.

— Sal Ritter
3rd Aempis Envoy, 2209 GS

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Genetic Descendants

Common Traits

The Rutas Olu display a startling variety of alarming traits, a single one of which could give them a catastrophic advantage if ever introduced into the Earthen ecosystem.

It is difficult to report these creatures through the detatched perspective of a professional lens. The pressures and bounties of the Jhoutaioan ecosystem has birthed lifeforms who seem designed with a malice towards soft flesh and diurnal wits. If even one manages to make it to Earth, it should be eradicated and investigated with extreme prejudice.

Adventine Zravis Punell
1st Nege-Tai Envoy, 2209 GS

Disease/Blight

Sula are the primary lifeform of Jhoutai. They fill the niches of vermin and predator alike, and bring with it all the commiserate diseases.

Toxins

Clouds of gas and spores, sprays of sizzling acid, webs of corrosive slime.

Bioplastics

Reisonous polymers spread over tensile webbing seems like the product of a sophont mind, but these chitinous machines have learned the process through evolution, not creativity. Do not let their etherial beauty invoke empathy, for they have none for you.

Pheromones

Rutas communicate through scent. It is rarely their sole sense, though in the dark of The Under, it is often the only one they can rely on. They may leave marks on the land, and on their prey, that go unnoticed until it's too late.

Flight

Burrowing

The Nymphs and Drones of many Rutas are capable of burrowing through Jhoutaioan Coral. Granite is a good defense against most, but is a scarcity on Jhoutai.

Mimicry

Flesh that shifts color or glows, mandibles and lungs capable of music or repitition. If there's a way to blend in, stick out, or look different, there's a Ruta which takes advantage of it.

Brawn

If nothing else, many Rutas have sheer physical power at their disposal. With sizes ranging from the tens of centimeters to the tens of meters, their ability to muster weight and muscle into devastating consequence is alarming even without considering their tendency to horde.

Mesmer

Stages of Life

1: Egg

A shelled hexigonal carapace filled with geltinous amniotic fluid. Kept in the right circumstances, a hive may treat the eggs as either a passive food source, or may introduce a pheromone which causes the eggs to incubate and hatch Larva.

Eggs in a hive pull a double duty. They do not develop into viable young until the parent dies. Instead, they are vats of rich amniotic fluids and yolk. In lean times, the hive may eat these eggs for nutrients. In times of growth and danger, they kill the parent and trigger a hatching.

2: Larval

In their larval form, rutas tend to be helpless, and dedicate all their time to either blindly eating, or resting.

Larva

3: Nymph

In this stage, the Rutas' body shape settles in and they go through series of moltings as they grow to their full size. Rutas are at their most dangerous and risk-raking in this state. What they cannot do with induvidual might, they accomplish by legion. They are aggressive, territorial, and ceaselessly hungry.

Due to their tendency to eat Larva, Nymphs are barred from the hive. This rule is enforced by aggressive drones.

4: Pupa

Once the Rutas has reached its full size, it will retreat into the hive to settle into a pupa stage. Its entire body becomes covered in a leathery membrane—their new flesh—and muscles and fats begin to grow on the outside of their exoskeleton.

Stage 5: Drone

Drones emerge from the Pupa fully metamorphosed from their nymph forms. What was previously exoskeleton has become a secondary endoskeleton between inner and outer muscles and organs. They are at their most lethal in this stage.

Depending on their interactions with the hive, and their species, they fall into several roles, and may even develop further adaptations to accentuate these roles.

Depending on their interactions with the hive, and their species, they fall into several roles, and may even develop further adaptations to accentuate these roles.

Nurse

The more time a Drone spends in proximity to an Incubator's pheromones, the more it comes under her thrall.

Scout

Wild

If a Drone spends too long away from its hive, it will

Stage 6: Incubator

6: Incubator

If a Drone consumes enough material, they self-impregnate and enter a lethargic, fertile stage. They are now tasked with the difficult prospect of finding somewhere to nest down and become an immobile incubator. Its coremata take on new life as umbilical tendrils which grow outwards—some sprawling like ivy, some growing like trees, and some taking stranger shapes than that—until they find suitable spots to sprout into a cluster of eggs.

As a Drone consumes more and more, their body enters a fertile stage. They retreat to the hive to breed. Once fertilized, the Drone enters their final stage. They find somewhere secure, warm, and damp to settle down and engorge, body growing cancerously in an amalgam of body and egg polyps. So long as the hive continues to feed the cluster, it will grow until it reaches a stasis with their food input.

If the feeding stops, the eggs will hatch.

Incubators can manipulate a drones response to other pheromones into seek, attack, or avoid.

To survive, an Incubator must produce a steady supply of Drones at tactical intervals.

Incubators must choose when to release eggs. Unrelated nymphs and drones may eat her own, so timing is everything

How many eggs an Incubator can sustain is based on a steady supply line of Drones, and an advantageous positioning for growth and defense.

If another Incubator is in a more advantageous spot than her, they may outproduce her. This encourages the hive to spread and grow, with younger Incubator sprawling into new spaces or invading qualing spaces.

Once the Drone has settled into the transition from warrior to womb, its coremata see a new life as umbilical feeders. They grow outwards, in patterns dependant on species—some sprawl like ivy, while others stiffen upward like trees—branching until they find suitable spots to sprout into a cluster of eggs.

The incubator will sustain as many egg clusters as it can. Nurse drones

Drones which live selfishly fill the hatcheries with their eggs, only to become the fodder for the rest of the hive in the lean times they've caused. Drones which live selflessly, and never gorge themselves in the hope of triggering their final stage, die without progeny.

The ecoystem consumes itself if it must. It is a violent and rugged equilibrium.

Adventine Zravis Punell
1st Nege-Tai Envoy, 2209 GS

Hive Tactics — The Rutas' Gambit

Nurse Drones default to feeding the Incubators they are most related to, as detected by sight and pheromones.

 

"How have they not yet totally overrun the cities and eaten everything else. The ecosystem sounds like it should be much more fragile than it is."

"Hives are not coordinated. The Queen is not some great thinker which ponders and plans the movements of the Hive. She is a raw nerve."



Cover image: by Ademal

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