Thoron, the Crystal Ones
The Thoron. The great crystal ones. The Speakers of Lightning. The unstoppable wall. The unmovable force. Many are their names, few are their numbers, even less is the understanding Man has of them.
An average Thoron, when exposed to human eyes, possesses a strangely regular form, fractally geometric. His translucent body may range in color from ruby to sapphire, but is most often emerald or sapphire in hue. His myriad of facets catch the light most gloriously, and occasionally, he may cause sparks to jump between the edges. His crystalline body may range between 250 mm and 1.250 m in any particular direction, depending on a wide number of factors.
Thoron are capable of movement at only a few speeds: A diffusional crawl, a slow, ponderous float, and -natural- warp travel. Because of the ability to create carefully defined currents of both charge and mass within their own body, Thoron have a natural ability to directly manipulate space-time to their own ends. However, this ability is largely coarse, and is limited to pushing and pulling themselves and other objects. Tools and technology are beyond the ‘natural’ Thoron. His warp trips are constrained by the energy he can store within his structure, and even the largest can jump only a few hundred light years at a piece.
However, the Thoron are a kind of hive mind. All Thoron’s thoughts are heard and understood by all Thoron, and this ‘overmind’ is directed by the still living First One. With seven billion years and tens of millions of bodies of memories, the Thoron have developed a complex and alien philosophy, one which humanoids often have a vast difficulty trying to interpret. Accordingly, their priorities are very different from a man’s.
Thoron may communicate directly a few forms of life, by literally reading their thought’s magnetic patterns in their mind. To return the speech, however, they must use writing, a stylus dragged over a substance, or an assistance mechanism.
The Thoron began their evolutionary path over seven billion years ago, deep with in the silicate mantle that surrounded a world. There, bathed in the heat, the First One came to life, but hardly awareness. Over time, he grew, adding bits and pieces to the order of his body, and from time to time, he budded, sacrificing bits of himself so that they too, could grow, their order different from his.
Over two billion years, he grew so fantastically complex that he awoke, and for the first time, he thought. And so, he was in a way that he had never been before. And the buds that broke away from him now, these too were complex enough to know, and to be in this new way.
As the mind grew, it learned to shape its body to new effect, to new purposes, so that it could direct the spark of its own thought through itself, to cause changes in the world outside itself. First electricity, then mass, it mastered, and again, four billion years after it first grew, it budded true.
Two billion years more, and a single bud would reach the surface, and it would look out into the cold, airless void, which touched its hot world. And as it felt its mind cooling, becoming faster, quicker, easier, he thought back to the First One, and the First One, too, came. With these great, speedy thoughts, they concurred, and the bud was sent forth, using his mass to twist space, and he was gone, faster than even light could dance. It had been so… very… simple!
For many years, but the blink of an eye, the First One waited, and listened to the thoughts of his buds as they traveled through the void, and when the thoughts ceased, he knew pain, and sadness. The thoughts of quick moving things, things that grasped and flashed and flowed and struck and took, all these came to him. And he knew despair, for he knew that in time, this speed must overcome his people, no matter how many years it took. And the millennia rolled past, turning into aeons turning into ages. And the First One knew that the star above was roiling and growing. Soon, it would die, and with it, him, and so many of his buds.
Yet the thought came to him, the thought of a star far away, one like his star had been in its youth. A race of the quick ones was near by, but they had, as of yet, no way to cross the void, their fluid-filled bodies too fragile to travel it alone. Perhaps they could be made to… Yes. He would risk it.
With all their thoughts together, they picked up their very world, and they moved it, placing it in orbit around this new star. And a bud would be sent to the home of the quick ones, and perhaps…
The quick ones! The bud could see the patterns that their mind took, foreign and strange though they were. They could be spoken with! They thought of themselves as… 'Kel’Regar'. Yes. This could be helpful.
The Kel’Regar Alliance
Over many hundreds of years, the Thoron budding shared many an idea, many a thought with the Kel’Regar. And he came to understand how they had mastered the manipulation of life about them, and he told them of how many other quick ones his race had encountered. Ever curious, the male philosophers of the Kel’Regar worked at length with the Thoron bud, and in time, a hybrid technology was born. The Kel’Regar would provide the means for the Thoron to manipulate the world in real time, to speak, to have surrogate hands, and in return, the Thoron would create special buds, to allow the Kel’Regar access to travel across the void.
Symbiotes for the Thoron were created, then, things which they could control to walk, to talk, to take things and manipulate them. This symbiote effectively grates him four legs and two, tentacle-like arms, tipped with two fingers and an opposable thumb.
While each Thoron is capable of independent thought, the thoughts of all Thoron are woven into a single web, much as a many-processored computer may work to a single end, each contributing its own to the whole. All of these thoughts are heard and directed by the First One, that same ancient entity of long ago. As such, there are no strange customs, no rituals or religions, only the alien wisdom of the First One.
While many, many Thoron have burrowed deep into suitable planets, to preserve and continue their race, many more float in deep space, where they can think and function at full speed, though they require the radiant energy of a sun to ‘store up’ for leaner times and interstellar travel.
While the ‘quick ones’ will often destroy the first Thoron buds they meet, the Thoron can often prove themselves to be neither threat, nor competition with carbon based life forms. As such, few races feel threatened by them on the animal level, and peace can often be reached.
Credit where credit is due:
The Chenjesu ( http://uqm.stack.nl/wiki/Chenjesu ) provided the basic inspiration.
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? Responses (10)
Awesomeness! A very unique lifeform indeed. Silicate life is far too often overlooked in sci-fi.
The hive mind and symbiotic aspects remind me of sci-fi insectoid life (Starcraft's Zerg, Halo's the Flood, etc.), but they're so far removed from those similiarites that they're truly unique. Also, they're not evil like other hive minds, but in fact peaceful and curious. I love 'em!
The 'Evilness' of many hive minds comes from a single, simple reason: Biological competition and alienness. The Hive Mind is unlikely to recognize any other non-Hive Mind as a sentient creature. We are simply too alien to comprehend. If we are animals, then we are free to be swept aside and exploited. The Thoron exist in such a way that a world like Earth could hold a billion Thoron and ten billion Men, and they'd never even encounter each other. Why should they fight?
For those of you that have not read it, I highly recommend reading the full Ender's Game series quadrilogy: Ender's Game, Speaker of the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind. Several kinds of Hive Minds and life cycles are well explored there, and can form a potent basis for 'other' psychologies.
Hmmm. This one reeks of awsomeness!
Really liked the conceptual primer in chat, and love the finished product. The 'Big Picture' crowd, taken to the nth degree. The symbiotic relationship, err sorry, alliance with the Kel'Regar is sublime! You're definitely 'on the ball' lately with your creations Siren...kudos.
Can I throw out one super-minor thingy? Kel'Regar doesnt sound like a good name for the other race. Sounds a bit too, dunno, old school fantasy-ish. They need a cooler name.
Added the Star Control freetext, and loved the Ender stories from Orson Scott Card. The others were indeed good, but never quite reached the same punch as Ender's Game did.
The Thoron are quite interesting, I never imagined the silicate race spawning inside the planet then migrating to the surface. A weird side though could be that silicate life in the lowest strate of planetary crusts could be the most common sort of life in the galaxy, outnumbering carbon based life by magnitudes, the difference being that the silicates are slow and contact between the two kingdoms of life is rare to non-existant.
Me, I like especially the paradox of a race that achieved interstellar travel before it found the means to actually manipulate their environment, now that is an interesting twist.
Not to search for problems where they aren't, but there should be some potential for conflicts with humanoid races beyond the first meeting. Even if there is no competition for resources (is that really true?), there is at least some potential for philosophical, if not religious conflict. There's bound to be some race that is their sworn enemy.
This is one of the best species on the site. It is alien, but still nearly comprehendable. I like this much better than the explorer's write up.
Actually, if they could deal with it, a mechanical interface... via a computer.. would be ideal. They could then communicate loosely with us Ugly Bags of Water. Of course, they would only take that route if they encountered others as their quick ones early on.
PS, added some linkage for you
To be frank, a proper electro-mechanical interface would be vastly more effective than the bio-mechanical materials currently supplied to them by this write up. It is, indeed, likely that they would rapidly switch over as they began to encounter more 'Quick Ones'.
This particular incarnation of the write up, however, is intended to solve two problems:
First, the initial idea seed of this race was, in fact, a method by which Kel'Regar bio-engineering could obtain field-generation technologies. This, the interdependance.
Second, I wanted to make them unique in relation to the mentioned Chenjesu. As a major plot point in their series, they become hybridized with the fully mechanical Mrnmhrrm. An avoidance of that strategy, therefore, needed to be engineered.
This is such an orginal race-5/5