General Description Edit
Churnworms are an ancient sentient race from an unknown world, with the ability to survive in space. They are unknown to many sentient races, but those few who have come into contact with them have rightly learned to fear them. They are nearly unstoppable once they set their minds (a Churnworm has three minds) to a task, they never waver from it until its completion.
Physical Characteristics Edit
Churnworms are enormous worm-like creatures capable of growing to hundreds of meters long. They also excel in shaping and controlling their own bodies; in a matter of days a half-kilometer long Churnworm can become their space-capable form, a massive armored bran which uses a force known as Ability to propel itself through space. Once landing on a planet, they change to worm shape again and move beneath the earth, digging through dirt and rock with ease. A Churnworm has three brains, hence they refer to themselves as a Threemind; Firstbrain is the mind of the worm, controlling its movements and digging. Seconbrain controls secondary and external organs, such as Feedarms, Massnodes and Linepillars, as well as defensive structures. Thirdbrain has a sort of psychic connection to the Minions exhumed by the Seconbrain production organs, and controls them. move very quickly, but this used a lot of energy, so they commonly surface to eat anything nearby. If they lack any sources of food, they will use internal organs to produce "Minions", which will farm a fast-growing fungus called Masscaps to give them energy and allow them to exhume more Minions for hunting or combat. Minions are very expendable and any Minion too crippled to be easily regenerated is absorbed back into the worm.
Minions are smaller creations of the Churnworm commonly used to combat enemies and harvest mass for the worm. They can take many shapes, though most share the common traits of a large, bulbous "head" and three powerful "tentacles" which are used for motion. Minions are specialized to certain tasks and driven to complete these by the Thirdbrain; they lack minds of their own and are little more than limbs for the Thirdbrain. Without the Churnworm controlling them, Minions are lifeless and collapse. Minions are economical in terms of energy expenditure than the Churnworm itself because of their small mass and agility. This makes them efficient for gathering mass and energy to get the Churnworm moving again.
A force generated through an organ resembling a brain, Ability allows Churnworms and some specialized Minions to manipulate objects from a distance or telepathically contact other organisms and control Minions. When used to handle objects, it leaves a telltale blue glow resembling a heat haze around both the "brain" organ and the targeted object. Not all Minions possess these organs, though all have a "receiver" organ, more of a node of nerves and sensors, which allows them to be controlled by the Thirdbrain. If this organ is damaged, Minions will collapse and cease to function.
Common Organisms Edit
Churnworms can take many forms and their Minions even more, though only a few have been encountered by sentients. Theoretically, there is a nearly infinite number of possible shapes for the worm or its minions. The attached image shows many of these organisms, described below.
Elder Churnworm: A huge behemoth that burrows quickly through the earth, an Elder is more of a building in combat. They surface to replenish their energy, and so can move only a small amount while this is happening. If enough Masscaps or organisms are harvested, the Elder could have enough energy to fight, but this does not usually happen over the course of a battle. They defend themselves with Feedarms on their head, their Secondmaw, which also extends from the end, and any impromptu claws or mouth they from along their body.
Seeder: A minor Minion controlled by the Thirdbrain, Seeders spew a thick broth of microorganisms called Growth that absorbs energy, water and biomass from the surrounding area to fertilize growth of Masscaps, which provide mass and energy for the Churnworm. They cannot defend themselves well, with only weak tentacles and the ability to blind someone with Growth, which will dissolve skin and flesh at a slow rate.
Harvester: Harvesters eat Masscaps and process them into Nutrient, which the expel into the Elder or a Massnode to provide material and energy for more minions. Harvesters could easily swallow a human whole, but their jaws take time to stretch and are easily dodged. They mostly eat corpses of enemies killed by real combat Minions.
Obelisk: These are huge Minions consisting mostly of a "brain" designed to channel massive amounts of Ability. They act as siege units, able to tear walls from fortresses or throw huge boulders and vehicles with ease.
Slasher: Some Minions can incorporate other materials into their bodies, such as metal. Slashers use tempered metal blades on their upper limbs to cut apart enemies at close range. They move extremely fast and can leap extraordinary distances with apparent ease.
Swarmer: These are very weak Minions produced in large groups. Their three small legs end in sharp claws, and they can leap extremely high for their size. Easily killed alone, but deadly in large groups, they can swarm over enemies and pry them apart.
Strider: Striders are a tall, powerful Minion that fights by using Ability; the power to manipulate matter with no physical contact. With this, they can crush or throw enemies, create powerful defensive shielding, and levitate allies. However, they are physically weak, with a vulnerable braincase protected only by bone plating. Their large eye is another obvious target, as well as their overly-skinny legs designed to give them a view over Minions they support.
Scuttles: Scuttles are very common in Minion swarms. They are much stronger than Swarmers, and possess the same affinity for leaping. They spew a modified form of Growth called Burn, which has a much more powerful metabolism. It consumes biomass and produces energy, but the energy is released as heat, meaning it will dissolve and set fire to anything biological it touches. Scuttles also have very minor Ability, so can throw small projectiles, give themselves a weak boost in midair, or create a shield that could block some attacks.
Shriekers: These flying Minions are designed to combat other flyers and slow-moving ground organisms. They move using two powerful bio-ramjets, which need enormous amounts of energy to function, hence the Nutrient sack on their back. They fly at very high speeds and attack with Burn, like a Scuttle, or with their razor-tipped tendrils which also function as steering mechanisms.
Spewer: When large groups of tough Food are discovered, Spewers are produced. They are essentially much more powerful Scuttles that move on six legs. They also use Burn, but vomit it in much larger quantities and their bulk makes them much more difficult to kill. Unfortunately, they lose their Ability to make room for more Burn capacity and internal armor and cushioning.
Not Pictured Edit
Stonecrusher: These huge Minions are created to crush and destroy fortified enemy positions. They have six smallish, well protected eyes on a large body resembling a centaur. Four huge, elephantine legs support their heavily-armored bulk and allow them to charge at great speeds. Four mace arms, made of metal, are connected to the body by powerfully muscled tentacles capable of extending to reach targets further away or give their swings more momentum.
Shipbreaker: Shipbreakers are flying Minions using a system very similar to a Shrieker but with more jets to propel their heavier bulk. The front of the bulbous body can open to reveal a viciously barbed ramming harpoon, which they use to ram into aircraft and puncture their hides or armor. A Shipbreaker can also unleash all of its Ability potential at once, destroying itself but expelling a powerful wave of force that can smash aircraft out of control to their demise.
Bonecrusher: Bonecrushers are man-sized minions with heavy, thick hides and powerful limbs. Their three "leg" tentacles are thicker and heavier, ending in flat clawed feet for gripping or crushing foes. Two "arm" tendrils emerge from their head/body, ending in large muscular hands with long bone finger-claws. They use these to rip and tear enemies, grabbing them and pulling them apart.
Though few have ever really encountered a Churnworm and lived, there are existing records and recordings of these contacts, as well as views from orbit and other remote viewings. Once of these, from a human colony on a remote world, is transcribed below:
- DATA FILE CORRUPTED*
*PLAYBACK: AEGER COLONY COMMAND CENTER SURVEILLANCE TAPE*
-Image shows a man cowering the corner of a large room. Long dark red tendrils are emerging from a shattered hole in the floor-
"Hello, mortal. You've earned yourself a very... special opportunity"
-Voice is very low, rumbling and deep-
"G-get out! Please! What did we do?"
-The human's voice is obviously weak and shaken-
"You've done nothing. But We must consume. I am not sorry for what I did."
-A large head, consisting of a golden eye on a stalk with a long beard of strands, rears through the hole-
"You are lucky. I'm going to tell you a story."
"A story? W-what do you mean?"
"A story of Our past, little Food. It all began so many eons ago, in a star far from here. A race existed. We call them the Old Masters, I'm sure your people were crawling in muck when they were at their height. They were at war, or under siege more like. We were created in our thousands; the , guardians crafted with the Old Masters knowledge of flesh and genes to combat the... Technicians, it would translate to. We are a shield of flesh, but a weapon as well. We were crafted to destroy the servants of the Technicians. Guess who triumphed, mortal."
-No answer, the human is pulling further back into the corner-
-The eyestalk leans forward suddenly, its tendrils flailing-
"ANSWER WHEN SPOKEN TO!"
"WE DID! WE CRUSHED THEIR PUPPETS OF STEEL AND CRUSHED THE TECHNICIANS THEMSELVES!"
-The human scrambles all the way back against the wall, the eye following him-
"We were kept by the Old Masters as a shield and threat against any other usurpers; fight them, and face Us. This continued for so many years I have lost count. Easy times. We slumbered, mostly. Fed by the Old Masters, kept happy. No terrors in the stars would bother us. But good things don't last, DO THEY MORTAL!"
-The human has collapsed into the fetal position in the corner, followed by the ever-present eye-
"The Old Masters had one thing to fear; THEMSELVES! Who would have thought that such mighty folk would fall to squabbling like they did! We, the , stayed out, drew our lines 'on the fence' as you would say. We watched their mighty civilization tear itself apart. They are probably all gone now. We left. We no longer had a home, and so spread amongst the stars, driven by our desire for food. That's why I'm here, mortal. I came for food. Your people were excellent nourishment."
-The human jolts to his feet at this, hysterically screaming and clawing at the eye. The tendrils calmly shove him back and slam his arms to the wall. The eye presses right against his face-
"DO NOT STRUGGLE! ALL YOUR KIND SHALL DIE! YOU ARE TOO INDIVIDUAL! YOU WILL DIE LIKE THE OLD MASTERS, TORN APART BY EACH OTHERS HANDS! Why do you think We scattered? We realized that together We would fall to squabbles, but apart We are timeless! What can stop the Immortals?
-The head rears back, looking straight up, tentacles madly flailing-
"NOTHING! HEAR ME, UNIVERSE, NOTHING!"
-The head retracts down the hole so fast the camera registers it as a blur. Moments later, the camera flips onto its back. The only sound is a huge crash (presumably the complex collapsing) and dust covers the lens. When it clears, the camera is facing at an angle, showing the sky and the ruins of the complex. In the center is a huge tubular red object (presumably the worm) rising over the ruins. Smoke is spewing from its mouth and smaller creatures rush over the ruins. The human is near the camera, half pinned under rubble and struggling to rise. An organism with metal scythe claws strides over to him on three skinny red legs, and lifts his head with one claw. The huge voice speaks again-
"WE WILL NEVER STOP. WE CANNOT STOP. WE WILL END ALL BEFORE US."
-The smaller creature decapitates the human in a swift swipe. The huge worm surges upwards to a height of 200 meters (approximately)-
"WE ARE ETERNITY!"-Dust fills the view and the camera feed ends-
As this recording suggests, the Churnworms were created by another race greater than them and used as weapons. When this race collapsed into anarchy, the Churnworms spread throughout the galaxy. The fate of the "Old Masters" is as of now unknown, but they may make a return to the galactic stage at some point, as their technology was obviously very great. Of equal interest are the "Technicians" mentioned here, a race of beings excelling in machinery and artificial life. They appear to have been wiped out by the Churnworms, but a complete genocide is unlikely. This race is probably still present in isolated areas.
The Fourthbrain Incident Edit
Though Churnworms possess only three "minds" normally, at least one recorded instance of a "Fourthbrain" has existed. One Churnworm, Colossus of the Deep Earth, reportedly absorbed and assimilated a human mind, one Garrick Dodson, a soldier of the Avonii Empire. Garrick was mistakenly shot by a robotic sniper built by the Avonii, and this made him think his own people had betrayed him. He willingly accepted the aid of Colossus and was assimilated to become the Fourthbrain. Though the exact purpose of this new mind is not entirely known, it can be assumed it is mostly used for talking to and understanding humans, who have a vastly different mindset from Churnworms. For a detailed description, see this match: