Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wings in the Vacuum

by David Lewis Johnson
The voidgliders are a clade once found in several systems in the Vokun Empire, but now confined to one. They are a people adapted to living much of their life in the vacuum of space.

Appearance & Biology: Voidgliders are sleek, elongated humanoids, like the melding of an ocean-adapted person with one raised in zero-g. Their black, solar radiation absorbing skin resembles the hide of a cetacean, and it has markings that glow and reflect ultraviolet light. From their backs they can unfurl giant, black dragonfly wings veined with silver--actually symbiotic "living" solar panels. From these wings, they are able to generate plasma sails, allowing them the locomotion through space that gives them their name.

Sunlight, food, and water are all that voidgliders need for extended stays in space. Radiation exposure is the only hazard that drives them to periodically take haven in cave homes they build in asteroids or dwarf planets. Their nostrils and  throat have membranes which can seal them off. Their eyes likewise have a nictitating membrane for protection.

Their chemical, acoustic, and tactile senses are human-equivalent. They have slightly better visual acuity and can see a wide area of the spectrum from microwaves to ultraviolet. They have specialized apparatus for communication with radio and UV lasers. Radio is used for general communication, particularly with non-voidgliders. They also sing via radio, songs like ancient spirituals, in sounds like a mixture of overtone singing and paleo-electronic music. 

Place in the Empire: The voidgliders were initially primitives of little use to the Empire. While they thrived in zero-g, they were indifferent workers for the most part; they flew off as soon as they got the chance and did not deal well with confinement. When it was determined they had an ability to find hyperspace nodes they became much more useful.

The vokun continue to let the voidgliders live in their clan groups, but they have confined all they could find to a reservation within the asteroid belt of one system. They take volunteers to serve as scouts for their star navy.

Stats: Voidgliders have a minimum Constitution of 9, but otherwise have abilities in the human range. They also naturally have the equivalent of vacc skin and are able to fly in zero-g and outside a strong magnetic field at 120' per round.


Gothridge Manor said...

These guys sound like a sombre group. They seem almost like animals whose home is slowly disappearing. And I never knew throat singing was so serious. Coll write up as usual. You need to write screenplays to create a cable Sci-fi show. You'll need to pitch it to cable because of all the clothing adverse females I'm sure you'll add.

Trey said...

You know me. ;)

Yeah, I wanted to go for a "Native peoples with dwindling land" vibe.

Jack Guignol said...

These continue to be bad-ass.

Trey said...

Thanks, Jack. Glad you're enjoying them.

garrisonjames said...

Excellent post in a great series. As they are being suppressed by the Empire, they might be looking at ways to slip outside of anyone/everyone's reach once and for all, possibly by taking part in a very covert, long-duration mass migration well beyond the reach of the known powers...a sort of inter-galactic exodus that might lead them into who knows what...