Okay, another population of deep-space humans. These guys have taken their genetic modification even further, into the stereotypically "fetal posthuman" form with multiple spindly limbs for ideal movement and manipulation of artifacts in a zero-G environment. The legs have either been adapated into something more like "arms" terminating in "hands," or at the very least have been modified into grasping tarsier-like feet. ~M0AI's comments on the issue of cultural perceptions of body modification ([link]
) convinced me that certain ethnic or religious groups might be more predisposed towards certain body forms--the reception of Lakshmi Tatma ([link]
) is an excellent contemporary real-world example, so drastically at odds with "our" (Western) perception of physical "deformity" (the value bias being inherent in the word itself). I started thinking as I was working on this that these guys' choice of extreme modification might be something that puts them at odds with a more conservative faction of deep-space "uberhumans" who, while having drastically modified their own forms, ironically disdain this kind of divergence from cosmetic terrestrial human norms. (I'm thinking of this third faction as something Zentraedi-like, possibly adapted to higher-gravity environments within the atmospheres of Jovian worlds; "gas harvesters," perhaps.) The high-G humans would find the "Crab Men" particularly offensive because their body designs seem to be converging on the hated Overculture Guardians patrolling the fluid giant worlds ([link]
). Such a cultural and racial bias might be the perfect pretext for an incursion into Crab Man space, with the practical goal of seizing rich mineral resources and territory safe from Dreadnought attacks. The Crab Men are themselves no pushovers, and may have allies in the Caterpillar Men. Come on, people, can't we all just get ALONG to fight the giant alien bugs?!
I pictured these guys using really rugged-looking crustacean- and insect-like powered armor...There's just something that really charges me up about the idea of little crab people using giant, hulking crab mechs! : D This idea of little wizened humanoids operating heavy machinery, using the machines as proxy "bodies" to compensate for their own physical frailty, is something that goes way back both in science fiction and for me personally in terms of my interest in mechs--War of the Worlds, Dr. Who's Daleks, Palladium's Mechanoids, even the TMNT Utroms...I even remember when I first saw the Invid in Robotech when I was like, God, 10 years old, and I heard the word "Invid" as "Invalid"--my interpretation of it was that like the Daleks, these were actually powered armor for physically fragile beings who had perhaps been crippled by some plague or biotechnological disaster in their own distant past. So in a sense the Crab Men are my own take on that old idea.