Jay P. Hailey
150 lb insectoids with a weird biology and life cycle.
The Zuhurm are insectoids. They range in color from milky white to black, and range in shades of gray between. Sometimes diet and other factors can influence color. Browns and reds are not unknown.
They Have six limbs. Four legs and two arms. Their hands are a unique insectoid configuration. They can handle any human item or device, but the ergonomics are different and for careful tasks, they prefer their own tools.
Their heads look like large ant heads, with a double mandible, one large, one small and a mouth with grinding teeth. Zuhurm teeth continue to grow and they need to chew things of the proper consistency to wear them to comfortable lengths. They have 4 sections. Head, Thorax, Axle and Abdomen. The Axle is where their legs attach. just forward of the Abdomen. The Axle makes a sharp upward angle at the end. The Thorax sits upright atop the front of the Axle The arms attack to the upper Thorax. Zuhurm continue to grow throughout most of their lives. Young adults can be 80-100 lbs. Oldsters can get to 200. Growth slows down with age until in old age, it stops entirely. Very old Zuhurm can actually shrink a little.
The carapace of a Zuhurm resembles hard plastic. Zuhurm molt as they grow. A Zuhurm may suffer an injury that breaks his carapace. The cracks get filled in with lighter colored material. So a tough or unlucky Zuhurm may be detected by lines of cracks in his carapace. Zuhurm molt every 18 to 24 months. The new carapace loses the lines of previous damage.
The Zuhurm are made of living plastic. Most of the plastic is softer material including weird plastic muscles. All of the biological functions of the Zhurum are done with this bio-plastic. The Zuhurm Carapace resembles hard plastic. The fleshy parts of the Zuhurm viewed under a microscope show cells just like normal life forms. Organs exude hard plastic for the carapace, depositing it layer by layer.
Almost the entire bio-sphere of the Zuhurm homeworld is made from this bio-plastic.
Zuhurm mostly eat bio-plastic plants. They'll eat small bio-plastic bugs happily, too. The Zuhurm could eat modern plastics of all kinds and draw nutrition from it. Zuhurm excrete powder which usually is white. It smells odd and plasticky to humans, but is dry and contains nothing dangerous to humans.
The Zuhurm digestion uses weird enzymes that break down plastic to a sort of slurry. These enzymes can be dangerous unless contained. Zuhurm stomach and digestive systems are equipped for this. This enzyme is utterly harmless to humans. Zuhurm blood is a sort of milky white fluid that resembles some tree sap. Once out of the Zuhurm's body it begins to set. Then, over time it forms a sort of rubber cement.
Zuhurm females lay eggs. Zuhurm larvae look like large insect larvae. They eat ravenously and talk a lot. After about 3 years of Larvae-hood, they enter a cocoon and when they break out, they look like miniature adults.
The egg shells are plastic not unlike the carapace but much thinner. The young eat their own shells.
Zuhurm Speak in tones audible to humans. A Zuhurm could learn a human language easily. The Zuhurm language is difficult at best for humans.
The Zuhurm breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
Zuhurm float on water and can swim, sort of. Diving is not really an option for them. If they can add flippers to their legs before entering the water a Zuhurm could swim quite a ways. They are buoyant.
A Zuhurm who dies, naturally mummifies, unless insects and microscopic life consume his body.
Fire melts Zuhurm. Cells break down and become undifferentiated plastic. It is entirely possible to melt down a Zuhurm into raw plastic. This is murder, so don't.
Zuhurm who eat brightly colored plastic may take up the color of that plastic, especially in their carapace. Modern Zuhurm might do this deliberately for decoration or practical purposes.
Zurhum can exude hard plastic, the harder the greater the effort. It's is not uncommon for Zuhurm in a primitive culture to make or improvise added pieces to his carapace for extra armor against wild animals and opponents.
The Zuhurm Homeworld, not too far away from Earth. The Zuhurm homeworld is an Earthlike world with all sorts of life forms and environments. But 95% of the life forms are based on the bio-plastic life cycle.
Depending on conditions. Can be in the billions.
Zuhurm language all has one main root. Locational accents and slang have cropped up, but not enough to diverge into different languages.
The Zuhurm have an energetic view of politics and discuss and argue about it. There are multiple political philosophies and popular fads. The Zuhurm do not form hives and are not mindless components of a greater whole.
Zuhurm can organize themselves into effective units, using training and various psychological techniques. Large groupings are based on narrative, geography and vague set of ideas, that often can be interpreted different ways.
In Different Universes, you might find Zuhurm all over the map in terms of government and organization.
As with the above, for the Zuhurm economy is a social construct and so you'll find Zuhurm opinions about it all over the map, with multiple different philosophies, ideas, and fads.
In different universes, you'll find the Zuhurm all over in terms of economic development and organization.
The Zuhurm can and do form militaries with all sorts of units depending on needs and technology. In different universes, Zuhurm fight with each other often and in bloody wars.
The Zuhurm use all the same weapons humans do, for much the same reason. a Zuhurm with a hole poked through him is serious trouble and probably not interested in fighting. A Zuhurm with massive cuts from blades or body parts hacked off by axes, the same.
The Zuhurm develop firearms for much the same reason. Although they tend to go for heavier, thicker projectiles than humans use.
The Zuhurm history varies from universe to universe, usually in understandable ways. Leader B became king instead of Leader A and so on.
One element of history confuses the Zuhurm, but it might take them a long time to really understand it. Their fossil record, of course, doesn't record if ancient life forms were bio-plastic. Zuhurm with no experience of the outside universe are entirely liable to assume they all were.
But, about 300 thousand years ago, give or take, there is a break in the record. An interruption. And then modern Zuhurm life appears. As if out of nowhere. Mostly in current forms. Including proto-Zuhurm.
This mystery really bogs down Zuhurm paleontology and paleo-archaeology. Their biological sciences tend to grow from micro biology. The plastic life the Zuhurm is made from has an analog of DNA, and analysis of this reveals much to the Zuhurm, but leaves other mysteries.
As with Economy and politics, the Zuhurm culture is an outgrowth of millions of Zuhurm getting along. A social construct. In different universes, you'll find Zuhurm all over the map in terms of what they think is a good idea for culture at that time.
Psychologically, the Zuhurm have much in common with human beings. Some parts of the brains even parallel each other in structure.
The Zuhurm can exude plastic. This is a natural side effect of their digestive process. Naturally, a Zuhurm needs to be well fed before this will work properly, but with conscious effort, even a starving Zuhurm could exude some plastic. This plastic can be varied in terms hardness, density, and consistency.
They are artists in this medium and can create pretty much anything you can imagine where plastic will work.
Because of this, it takes the Zuhurm a long time to develop metals.
Zuhurm can be melted. Under the wrong conditions, they can be flammable.
Meta - the Zuhurm and their biology are an artifact. Their world and its previous ecosphere was killed by a huge disaster. So the world was seeded with the bio-plastic life cycle, as a sort of experiment/fix/upgrade to the universes where this occurred.
Why this was replicated so many times remains obscure.
Weird people who are wizards with plastic.
From here to there to everywhere. Are you Fringeworthy?
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