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Fsherl'ganni by chalicothere Fsherl'ganni by chalicothere
This is an illustration of a member of an alien race known as the Fsherl'ganni from Howard Taylor's web comic "Schlock Mercenary". The comic itself is very funny and well written.
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:icontouch-not-this-cat:
Touch-Not-This-Cat Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2016
The origin of the Paan'uri is shrouded in legend, even among themselves. All they know for sure is that four billion years ago, a handful of progenitors crossed the barren waste of a "bubble void", a truly desperate act. This section of the void was 11 million light years between the M81 Group of galaxies and the Local group, with Triangulum Galaxy being the closest. The average Paan'uri can survive up to half million years between meals, but only the largest, fittest elders can go 11 million years fasting. The progenitors began their journey with the combined mass of a star. When they ate again their combined mass was no more then a small moon. They never spoke to their offspring of what it was that drove them across the Virgo Supercluster, Although the Extermination Faction has speculated that an early Nutronium Swarm may have overwhelmed them.
Trianglulum had recently been torn apart from a galactic collision, which left it particularly safe for Paan'uri to thrive in, if stretched a bit thin. As time passed some were eventually strong enough to make the million years journey to Andromeda, but where Triangulum had been devoid of the Accursed Nutronium Swarm, it soon began to arise in this new home. The swarm was a mystery that arose periodically. The elders warned them to exterminate them without hesitation wherever they came about. The swarm leaked poisonous waste as it came and went, growing worse as their relentless traffic grew busier and busier. Traffic above 30% Galaxy wide made everyone sick, and 60% was deadly to all but the largest. Extermination was the only solution, which was fairly simple, if tedious. Touching individual bugs killed them, but they could be hard to catch. Hives were easier to destroy, as they could not move from their orbits. Then the one who would one eon become the leader of The Extermination Faction got an idea by experimenting gravitationally on the baryonic lumps that the hives orbited, and swarms were drawn to. The Great Exterminater realized it was a precariously balanced ball of gas, and the Great one canceled out the gravity enough to cause a rapid dissipation of the star. In an instant, the swarm and its hives were either wiped out or driven away. This method was difficult, however; individuals without sufficient mass and strength could become trapped at the center of the barioic gas. In time, they learned that subtler manipulation of nearby twin masses with many working together could result in dissipations that took longer to reach the targets, but still got the job done. It gave swarms more time to get away, but Great Exterminator noticed that as fewer and fewer hives were available to them, the swarm began to dwindle as they were packed together, even showing signs of killing one another.
The Paan'uri pushed on, giving no quarter, until the last noxious spark was put out. Andromeda was a healthy place for the Paan'uri for then next 8 million years before the first sighs of new Nutronium Swarms began to rise again.
And so it was for the next billion years, and again in Milky Way. They even began to show up in Triangulum as it began to stabilize and recoalesce.
Meanwhile, a youngster came of age who was endlessly puzzled over the mystery of the Swarms. This was Curious One who would one day lead the controversial Compassionate Faction.
Curious One could not understand how the Swarms could exist. Normal nutronium lumps were as massive as the greatest elders, were lifeless, and seemed to be made of barioic gas that had undergone a profound transformation. Curious One followed the process carefully, as the gas balls that underwent this were very short lived, but had to be careful to not get too close, lest Curious One become irretrievably trapped at their centers. After several million years, curious one became certain that tiny bug sized bits of nutronium simply should not be able to remain so without dissipating, yet here they were.
Curious One finally insisted on being permitted to observe a relatively small swarm without it being outright destroyed. After all, it was still too small to be particularly dangerous, although Curious One did feel nauseous from time to time during close proximity.
Curious One noted that the swarms seemed oblivious to the Paan'uri unless the exterminations began. Finally, an odd conflict between swarms was observed, during which something new and bizarre happened: A grav pulse was emanated from one bug at another, destroying it. Grav pulses had been used to some success in the many exterminations, but this was the first time it had ever been observed coming from a bug. Grav pulse was also one of the many methods Paan'uri had to communicate with one another. On a mad whim, Curious One did something that would change the course of the Universe: it sent a very mild pulse, not at the bug, but just along side it. It immediately sent one in Curious One's General direction, but was clearly confused and missed. Curious One carefully sent more, in a binary pattern. To Curious One's disappointment, it vanished, apparently afraid, which was understandable.
A short time later, to Curious One's delight, several showed up at once around it and began to send pulses in binary patterns. Over time, a pattern was established that was based on Mathmatics. The Swarm was intelligent!
Eventually, a common language of sorts was developed, and they learned much from one another. The nutronium was not itself alive, as Paan'uri had always assumed, but was fule for a "machine", a strange concept; the closest thing to a tool that the Paan'uri had was when they used stars as weapons against swarms. They learned much from one another very quickly, Curious One was amazed at how short lived the tiny creatures were, but so complex, so full of ideas and radical new concepts completely alien to the Dark Ones as these creatures called them.
Exited, Curious One went to the others and told them all the amazing truth about the Barionic Ones.
Bah! The Great Exterminator called them the "Annoying Ones", and even if they had never meant any harm, it doesn't mean they should be trusted. After all, by their own account, they had survived for a long period without these "annieplants", why can't they go back to that if they still mean no harm to US.
Curious One discussed this issue at length with the Baryonic Ones. They explained how energy efficiency had vastly improved their lives, and an important means to that increasing efficiency was the ability to traverse huge expanses of space as quickly as possible. It was then that they came to realize that it was not the Annihilation Plants themselves that were poisoning the Dark Ones, but the Tearaport.
Over time, Curious One attempted to negotiate with the Baryonic Ones, to find possible alternatives to the Tearaport. Great Exterminator and the newly forming faction were growing impatient with the new increasingly sickening amount of Tearaport pollution.
The Baryonic political leaders were in a difficult position. There were, technically, alternatives, but none came anywhere close to what free range Tearaport traffic could manage. One compromise that was attempted was to tightly restrict where travelers could go, to divide up the Galaxy into areas that were pollution free and Tearaport able. It failed miserably, enforcement was almost impossible, criminals and freedom loving rebels defied and overcame the denial systems anyway they could.
The usual rate of pollution increase after a new swarm was detected had been greatly slowed, but far from stopped. Finally, Great Exterminator determined that these arrogant little parasites needed an object lesson, and slammed two stars together In a system run by a smuggling haven that had been making excessive use of the Tearaport near a cluster of Dark Matter that was particularly nutritious for Young Ones. Few escaped.
Panic spread throughout the Baryonic Galaxy. Rather then bring them to heal, governments responded with calls to defensive war, and several attempts to use Tearaports and Gravy guns as weapons directly against the Paan'uri were attempted at Curious One, when it attempted to apologize. Curious one was immediately rendered deathly ill from the attempt. That was all Great Exterminator needed to unleash the Dogs of War, and in short order laid waste to over half the Baryonic civilizations.
So to Great Exterminator's chagrin, a very sick Curious One arose from convalescence, along with friends to get in The Etermination Faction's way as the few remaining Baryonic leaders called for desperate parlay. After intense negotiations, Curious One drove home an absolute ultimatum that it hoped would sate Great Exterminators rage, an offer the Baryonic Ones could not refuse: find a way to live without Teraports, or embrace extinction.
That was when the first of the ZooJacks was built.
Over the next Billion years, whenever a new species discovered the Tearaport, they were inevitably given the same ultimatum: WE, the Dark Ones, cannot tolerate your use of the Tearaport. We know the temptation to continue using will overwhelme all efforts to suppress it, so it is futile to try. Build a (ZooJack) Fold Station habitat using the plans we provide you, and tweak it as your biosphere requires, and move everyone you can into one. The rest can sterilize themselves, sparing their worlds, live long, and die out comfortable, or be wiped out. Those in stations will live forever as a taxonomic family in an evolutionary paradise. The primitive conditions will put selective pressures on individual species, along with artificial tweaking to make survival occasionally challenging. The ZooJack systems will be maintained by Curious One and other members of The Compassionate Faction acting as shepherds using special graviticly operated systems. Over time, individual species will go extinct, and on very rare occasions, genuses as well, but extinction above that level is prevented. Reading and writing will be permitted, but no resources for making tools more advanced then wood and stone will be available. Metals will be restricted to the absolute minimum for a given ecology's biochemistry. Here you will live in peace from all outside threats from the universe, forever.

Some races capitulated quickly, others resisted until there was just a handful left to surrender. Once in awhile, a race was so proud and stubborn that it vowed to live free or die. No trace of their existence remains, save for Curious One's grief.

So the new cycle continued, eon after eon, all while the ZooJack grew larger and larger.

And then, 6 million years before the human era, the progenitors of the Fsherl'ganni built their first annieplant...
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:iconhaggis53:
Haggis53 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Student Artist
WHOA, DUDE! That looks amazing!!!! :D
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:iconchalicothere:
chalicothere Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks!
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:iconhaggis53:
Haggis53 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Student Artist
I'm only saying the truth! :)
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:icongingatokkyu:
GingaTokkyu Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh wow! :wow: It looks cool!
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:iconchalicothere:
chalicothere Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks
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:icongingatokkyu:
GingaTokkyu Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
yw :)
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:iconda-starbird:
da-starbird Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011
That's *awesome*. Love the expression. The Fsherl'ganni have to be one of my favorite alien races from that comic.
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:iconchalicothere:
chalicothere Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks.
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:iconlincard1000:
LINCARD1000 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
This is some great work, Madam :-)
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:iconchalicothere:
chalicothere Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks
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:iconmarsuwai:
Marsuwai Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2010
Really cool picture! And I agree with you, they deserve fanart.
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:iconchalicothere:
chalicothere Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks. I'm glad to see someone else who's familiar with Howard Taylr's work.
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:iconmarsuwai:
Marsuwai Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2010
Schlock is one of my favorite web series. Only topped by Freefall. Like it about as much as Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and Darths & Droids.
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:iconmewkaylathevampire:
MewKaylathevampire Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2010
Hey!!!!!! My friends dad is the one who draws that!!!!
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:iconchalicothere:
chalicothere Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2010  Professional General Artist
That's so awesome! I met Howard Taylor once, and he was such a cool person.
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:icondrayza:
Drayza Featured By Owner May 5, 2009   General Artist
heheh.. awesome creature... so agile :aww:... I love its colours... great work
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:iconchalicothere:
chalicothere Featured By Owner May 8, 2009  Professional General Artist
Thanks.
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May 5, 2009
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