Flora and Fauna
This page is excerpted from Flora and Fauna: a Worstiary of Alien Life, with their kind permission, proving that they are still living by the motto: "Dying foolishly to keep your piano keys off-white" after 500 years.
In this section, we seek to list, describe and generally condemn some of the various non-self-aware species of the galaxy. Entries are graded for dangerousness: those with several stars pose a substantial risk to mankind and make excellent conversation-pieces when properly stuffed.
The bowel is a large alien originating from the snowy steppes of Yoth. It looks like a bizarre mixture of bear and owl – hence the name – and lives off berries and kangarams. Bowels live in small family groups and often hunt together. Despite their large size and threatening appearance, bowels will rarely attack humans and tend not to be irritable. In the past, bowels have been held in captivity, in which they inevitably pine and die. The Free Bowels Movement has gained a surprisingly large amount of support of late, and at its last meeting, a substantial turn-out was observed.
Game rating: ***
Caustic pigeons are a species native to Andor. Like most Andorian wildlife, they are extremely dangerous, owing to their acidic secretions. Naturalists are recommended to approach the caustic pigeon with great care, and never from below.
Game rating: ***
The death otter is a large, if rare, predator found on very few planets. Its infrequent sightings, together with the distance between worlds, suggests that it may be a “natural” mutation or the result of parallel circumstances in different locations: whatever it is, the death otter is huge and angry. Death otters occasionally surface (literally) on backwards planets, and it is widely rumoured that one accounted for a fair number of soldiers during the Siege of New Luton. It has been suggested that the Loch Ness Monster is a mislaid death otter – or at least it was, before the M’Lak ambassadorial party dumped a group of live plesiosaurs in there to give the Scots “something interesting to do”.
Game rating: ****
The Tawny Kangaram is native to Yoth, but has been exported to other worlds, including Noth and Yiff. The kangaram is bipedal, and similar in shape to a kangaroo or small dinosaur, although covered in thick fur. Kangarams are not especially aggressive, and can be domesticated and ridden, although their ability to eat anything means that they are not adverse to chewing the collars off anoraks, and occasionally taking a few fingers with them. Kangarams have poor eyesight and mate for life, a combination of traits which some fur-wearing explorers have found very uncomfortable indeed.
Game rating: **
The metamorph, also known as the doodah, jobby or blob-monster, is an organism capable of absorbing and replicating a broad range of other life forms. As with most of the more dangerous creatures on this list, there is speculation as to whether metamorphs are a sort of escaped Ghast bio-weapon. Metamorphs are capable of digesting most organic matter, which they do by forming a range of mouths, tentacles and limbs, seemingly at random. They have a particular preference for human food, especially Swedes. Most nations now include vaccination against metamorph infection as part of the obligatory range of inoculations given to children: unsurprisingly, the Edenites regard this as ungodly.
While intrinsically skilled at impersonating other life forms, metamorphs are more naturally inclined towards some shapes than others. After Polar Research Station 942 was overrun in Antartica, metamorphs developed an uncanny ability to imitate men in anoraks with large beards. The danger this posed was demonstrated at the 2512 Galactic Folk Festival, where Spaceport Convention used an electric guitar and the enraged audience turned into a colossal tentacled blob until they went acoustic again.
Game rating: ****
Rippers originate, it is thought, from the worlds around Procturus, although in recent years they are more likely to be found in a vent shaft or under your bed. They have the dubious accolade of being 2543’s Most Violent Alien: which, given the current war with the Ghast Empire, takes some doing. Rippers are semi-bipedal, four-limbed insectoids, and are noted for their hunting skill and continual hatred of everything other than themselves. They come in a range of sub-species of increasing unfeasibility, and it is generally accepted that the original, basic sort is the classiest. The Procturan Black Ripper is seen as the Penny Black stamp of the collection, and might well be the perfect organism if Suruk the Slayer hadn’t claimed that accolade already (and had it printed on his business cards).
Game rating: *****
Void Sharks are interstellar animals, which spend their entire lives in vacuum. Despite the name, they resemble a cross between an eel, a torpedo and a rock drill. Further information on these creatures can be found in the informative publication Sharkpunk: Stories With Bite, released to the public in May 2015.
Game rating: ***