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Bushwhacker - With Background


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Thought I would do an alternative version of the Bushwhacker but with a little more going on.

The tropical forest in the background is very different from those of Earth: Here, almost all the forest floor is covered with a grayish, mold-like organism. The large coral shapes on top of it are formed by the fungus and move slowly like waves across the ground, engulfing dead animals and vegetation for digestion. Large red capped fruiting bodies dot the forest, and are serviced by jungle creatures who then travel to others, and so fertilize far distant fungal colonies.

The Bushwhacker, seen here in strike position, is a predator of the mid levels of this forest. Only about a foot or so long, it moves slowly through the vines, snapping at unsuspecting creatures which pass nearby. Its pointed teeth grip prey while venom injected by the proboscis paralyzes it, making it easier to handle. If the creature loses its footing, it is slow on the ground and likely to be eaten by animals living under the fan fungus ledges.

The first xenobiologist to study this alien was stung, but the toxins never evolved to attack earthlife and so apart from significant pain they were unharmed. It was named the Bushwhacker because of its propensity for ambush, like the rural guerrillas of the American civil war.

The original is here: [link]
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shannonlove's avatar
Stung huh? I'll bet "bushwacker" wasn't the first thing the xenobiologist called it. 

BTW: Venoms don't have to evolve to kill a specific species. Australia is full critters whose venom is fantastically fatal to placental mammals, of which Australia never had any. A tiny jellyfish the size of the end of your pinkie never had a need to evolve a venom fatal to mammals. The venoms of Australia are almost all fatal because they are complex proteins which provoke a fatal allergic overreaction from the victims own immune system. 

It's quite possible that alien proteins could produce the same effect.