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Mountains of Flesh

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A short GIF animation, frames made with MS Paint.

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Perhaps the most alien organism encountered by humanity yet, Mother Nature of Planet Mellonia is both a single creature of unimaginable proportions and an entire biosphere in itself. Directly covering approximately 30% of Mellonia's surface, Mother Nature is capable of infesting almost all carbon-based organisms with its spores, slowly turning them into semi-autonomous extensions of itself. No part of Mellonia remains unaffected by Mother Nature; it is so deeply entrenched in its host world that many xenobiologists think they are the one and same - Mellonia is essentially a living planet, a superorganism controlled by a vast, distributed mind dreaming alien dreams. The fleshy mountains that stretch from horizon to horizon are home to some of the most bizarre and strange landscapes encountered anywhere in the human space. There seems to be little consistency among the mounds and growths budding from the living ground. As Mother Nature slowly dreams, strange and unique forms emerge from its biomass like clay sculptures, flourish for a time and are then reabsorbed or molded into something completely new and unrecognizable.

Despite its utterly alien biosphere, Mellonia is home to a small colony of approximately 100,000 humans - although their exact level of humanity is open to question, seeing that like everything else on the planet, they too have been infested and mutated by Mother Nature's spores. They view the creature with religious awe and worship it as the goddess of Life and Renewal. Their bodies have swollen into grotesque caricatures of the human shape - supposedly to "contain the the Mother's Love" - and they seem to be part of a budding hive mind. Their highest goal in life is to be wholly absorbed into Mother Nature and let their consciousness become one with its Dream.
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Great-5's avatar

Yeesh, I go and write up the ultimate fate of the Universe according to the three paradigms of my 'verse and right after getting to Thanatos's one, I find this. Cursed timing, I just about lost my lunch :DDD


That...whatever the hell it is opening and closing is gonna haunt my dreams for a long time. Better call in the heavy flamers and purge this foul place. Mellonia itself seems like a planet best nuked from orbit to prevent the horrors on its surface from spreading to other inhabited worlds.


That said I wonder how "Mother Nature" would compare to some of the comparable eldritch forces in 40K. Oh god, if anyone writes "Papa Nurgle x Mother Nature" shipfics, that would be the most heretical thing known to man. Or Safhira. Or even Ork. Or any sapient life form in the Universe except probably Slaanesh.

Vumpalouska's avatar

The scary thing about Mellonia is that most xenobiologists believe that Mother Nature is not native to the world; it likely arrived from space in a much smaller form millions of years ago... That means there are probably more of these things out there in the Galaxy.


Mother Nature certainly has enough holes and appendages to be the centerpiece of any number of X-rated shipfics with just about any being capable of bringing and experiencing sexual pleasure. It also has endless "love" to fill its partners with... Whether Slaanesh seeking the ultimate perverse lust, some naive colonists who expected a paradise, or even a group of unsuspecting Safhirim who made the fatal decision to land on Mellonia to investigate further, they all would swell with the Mother's Love.

Great-5's avatar

Damn...I guess R'tas Vadum was right when he said "Even a single Flood spore can destroy an entire species." Only Mother Nature manages to somehow be even more disturbing than the Flood, in terms of lore and overall design/biology.


At least the Flood just turns people, be them humans, Elites, Brutes, etc. into zombies and bizarre mutated beasts with a hive mind, and isn't twisted enough to mind-rape entire populations into worshiping her in cults and possibly changing their fundamental biology in unseen ways while leaving them, on the surface, at least looking relatively human. Even if some are grotesquely bloated with her festering "love."


The only cases I've seen of the Flood leaving their hosts fully self-aware was what happened to Keyes on Installation 04, and that one very unfortunate Marine who begged for death but was instead kept alive since the UNSC needed to analyze the Flood's biology or something.


Mother Nature's almost like the sick, twisted mashup of the Flood, Necromorphs and some disgusting Slaaneshi/Nurglite dual Chaos cult.


There was actually a pre-Zechite religion (well, as much as you can call materialistic worship of the human form and little to no belief in supernatural phenomena) that existed shortly after Thanatos created humanity in its current form two-million years ago, called the Natural Order, that has some disturbing parallels to Mother Nature and her mutated followers.


Basically it was this bizarre, quasi social Darwinist cult that was believed to be responsible for the extinction of all other species of humanity except homo sapiens, since neanderthals, homo erectus, etc. were allied with the Kyrdan and Adepts at the time (LONG before the Safhirim were created.) It originated the concept that all life exists only to seek pleasure, avoid pain, live as long as possible and have as many offspring as possible, and had elements of "survival of the fittest" and stuff.


Now where it gets similar is they revered the act and mechanics of reproduction in such a fanatical and squicky way, revering a goddess whom they called the Primordial Cyst, basically this giant mass of tumors, flesh and pus that regularly buds off and spawns life forms. They believed all males should reduce themselves to reproductive tools for the sole purpose of fertilizing the Primordial Cyst. Needless to say the ancient Adepts and Kyrdan found this incredibly degenerate, and it eventually led to the dichotomy of the sleek, clean cut and attractive but bigoted Ascendancy warmongers versus the disgusting, fleshy and unsanitary but well-intentioned followers of Thanatos. By the 41st millennium BC the first Safhirim were forged and rolled out on the front lines, for the sole purpose of burning and cauterizing Thanatos's bioweapons with their superheated plasma and flames.


Also I wonder if the fact that Safhirim are artificial and partially silicon-based (since much of their artificial skin and internal parts are basically made from silicone rubber) would render them immune to Mother Nature, or if she'd manage to infect the carbon-based portion of their bodies and they'd basically just end up like the unfortunate UNSC Marine who got only partially infected by the Flood, fully conscious but in horrific agony.


Some USG historians also believe Valanbe arose as a constructed deity, or was created artificially as basically just a super-powerful Safhira with god-tier psychic powers, specifically as a reactionary measure against the sheer horribleness of the Primordial Cyst. The image of the tall, graceful and angelic six-winged Safhira woman with blonde hair and blue eyes became the de facto symbol of the Ascendancy's values for tens of millennia to come...but in the process the humans who bore witness to her (constructed and fabricated) majesty were compelled to consider her the epitome of beauty and divinity as well. Which the human progressives have always speculated was the origin of much of humanity's ills committed against other humans, mostly on the basis of racism and sexism.

Vumpalouska's avatar

Whether or not the Safhirim could resist Mother Nature depends on how well isolated their organic "core" is. Mother Nature's spores have a nasty tendency of finding their way through the smallest of cracks and crevices. Once they're in, only advanced medical nanotechnology can destroy them. And once the physical signs of the infestation start to manifest, it's probably too late for even that.


Hm, I wonder what a hybrid between Mother Nature and the Primordial Cyst would be like :D

Great-5's avatar

Hmm well, despite wanting to for years, I have never actually decided on Safhira anatomy. Apart from a few constants such as them not being born, but rather "forged" already combat-ready, and their lack of cells or self-replicating tissue on crucial organs (meaning they need "repairs" more like machines in addition to normal medical attention if wounded, but can easily repair themselves.) And of course their stupidly powerful magic that is seldom used for anything other than war and killing, or repairing/treating wounded soldiers. Not all of them even have wings.


Either way though, I would imagine the carbon-based/organic parts of them still wouldn't be "flesh" or "tissue" in the traditional sense, but still yet another synthetic plastic or compound. I do know that certain parts of them do feature "intelligent" polymers in the form of gel that is normally soft, but can suddenly harden into an extremely dense ballistic armor if a bullet impacts them. And they do to a degree have artificial analogs to blood which can clot and seal wounds. So likely the carbon-based bits would be some form of hyper-realistic synthetic skin, possibly engineered tissue that's then permeated with chemicals a bit like leather. But has a smooth and soft consistency indistinguishable from a somewhat horrifyingly perfect and sterile imitation of human skin.


Dear god, the horror. Either way Thanatos would likely consider such a warped and perverse abomination beautiful, and spread the belief that it should be venerated as a divine personification of New Science, being his typical hypocritical self and violating his own paradigm's core doctrines. But considering he first created the Natural Order ideology and likely the concept of social Darwinism with it, he certainly isn't the most trustworthy of beings.


When it comes down to it the two sides have plenty of mud to sling at each other on who is the sicker fuck. Between the followers of Thanatos who venerate obscene acts and create perverse and fleshy creatures as bioweapons who are often in a state of perpetual agony, and treat human suffering, mortality and disease as beautiful in their culture and art, and the Safhirim who have a disturbing fixation on creating synthetic warriors in the form of attractive women with plasma-based weaponry built right into their bodies, and the associated misogynistic/objectifying implications. Hell they even gave their own goddess Valanbe basically a fusion furnace in her artificial body that can either seed a planet with vital atmospheric elements or destroy it with a huge nuclear blast of fused hydrogen and helium.


Even though most in the Ascendancy consider Gassassins abhorrent and merely tolerate them for their effectiveness at killing and burning said fleshy, disease-laden abominations on the enemy's side. Whereas their enemies were mandatorily required to love and praise the twisted and diseased flesh of the Primordial Cyst and partake in unclean acts to feel its love for them.


Both sides I'd imagine would give ol' Slaanesh a confused boner.

zoppadoppa's avatar

At least they seem to keep to themselves.

Vumpalouska's avatar
prometheushunter2's avatar

I wonder what the consciousness of a being of such a size and with a comparatively slow signal transmission method(assuming it only uses neural signals) would be like. I imagine it would be slow, but to make up for it many of its individual components would have a high degree of autonomy to react to threats without Mother Nature having to assume direct control

Vumpalouska's avatar
Most likely Mother Nature is not even fully conscious in the traditional sense. It thinks too slowly and is too complex for the emergence of a human-like self-awareness, so it exists permanently in a sort-of dream-state utterly incomprehensible to humans. Many of the symbiotic organisms tending to it have more traditional awareness, and it probably has some kind of macroscale "immune system" as well that can react to threats too fast for Mother Nature itself to handle.
prometheushunter2's avatar

So it’s more like a writhing ball of incoherent thoughts and sensations than a coherent mind

Vumpalouska's avatar

Pretty much. A state of mind made flesh.

Puhumaton's avatar
Tulee vähän Doomin maisemat mieleen
Vumpalouska's avatar
Minkä niistä? En oo vielä pelannut niitä uusimpia koska liian paska kone ;___;
Puhumaton's avatar
2016, sen helvetin maisemat
admiralnatsilane's avatar

There is actually a wormhole-connected sentient Hive-Corporation in Ancerious called Palm Rashidya who happens to be the absolute largest food business there and even drove most livestock producers there out of business! The descriptions of Palm Rashidya brings to mind Mother Nature. By the way, I am now an Ancerious Hopeful and have the nation sheet for my highly-advanced dolphin/chimpanzee civilization in my DA gallery.

Vumpalouska's avatar
Almost all star systems (and planets and even habitats) in my scifi universe are, largely by necessity, able to produce their own food. There's practically zero interstellar food trade because the only available FTL method is relatively slow and each interstellar ship a huge investment in technology, time and resources. And since I don't allow instantaneous FTL communication, interstellar hive minds are also an impossibility. There may be more than one Mother Nature in the Milky Way galaxy, but they are all independent and not directly connected with each other... In fact, there's a good chance that two instances of a Mother Nature in the same star system would be competitors if they were aware of each other.

Interesting. Are you going to take part in Ancerious RPs?
purbosky's avatar
Hmmm... could be a perfect target for necromorph infestation from Dead Space series, large amount of organic matters enough to assemble some Brethren Moons. Yum!
Vumpalouska's avatar
Mother Nature would probably attempt to infest the Necromorph back with its spores. The end result of a mutual infestation could be... interesting.
prometheushunter2's avatar

It would probably become a similar scenario to when the tyrannids and orks were turned against eachother in warhammer 50k. They would combat eachother, each going to bigger and bigger lengths to destroy/assimilate the other, until eventually something new emerges from the chaos, Something hungry...

Vumpalouska's avatar
Whoever wins, the rest of the galaxy will lose...
prometheushunter2's avatar

The New Devourer must feed

purbosky's avatar
Who knows, they might even achieve singularity then ...
HansApplegate's avatar

Oh wow!! I may need to send my clones to this planet in a story one day!

Vumpalouska's avatar
Mellonia would be an unforgettable destination for a vacation, no doubt. You might even get to bring a nasty spore infection back home with you!
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