Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tour of the Universe - Ptorix Origins by Greta van der Rol

If you're anything like me you might well be heartily sick of all the humanoid aliens running around in the fictional universes. Especially true aliens (ie not originating on Earth) which look like humans, except they're taller, better looking and are (ahem) exceptionally well endowed. When I wrote my first science fiction romance space opera, I knew my aliens were not going to be anything like that.

It's important here to make the point that we're talking about technological aliens. I'm sure we'll find intelligent species elsewhere, much like we have species on Earth with very alien capabilities, such as dolphins and ravens. But I don't see either of them heading for the stars any time soon. So the aliens in my Ptorix Empire series are technologically advanced beings who have been capable of space travel for a long time, and who originated from similar environments to that found on Earth. (ie gravity, atmosphere, temperature and the like)

But first, let me tell you what they look like.

The Ptorix are essentially conical in shape, something they exaggerate with their clothing. They have no neck and the head ends in a dome. The body is covered in short blue fur. Their four arms end in a number of tentacles which can be deployed in a variety of ways. Think of a sea anemone and you've about got it right. They have four short legs but these are usually hidden beneath their robes. Three eyes which change color according to mood are located almost equidistant around the top of the head, enabling a Ptorix to see almost the whole way around its body without moving. They have two 'mouths', one – resembling a proboscis – for eating, the other for breathing and speaking. So from a human viewpoint, they're pretty weird.

Now let's go talk to Professor Xanthor, a noted expert on Human-Ptorix relations. I found him in his study, resting on a platform at his desk (the Ptorix don't sit down). Eyes swirling orange, tentacles moving gently, he welcomed me in and directed me to a human chair. Note: the eye color depends on the frequency of the radiation they emit – so red, being a longer frequency, is total calm, whereas violet is anger.

Good morning, Professor. Thanks so much for your time. I appreciate that the Ptorix have spread from their Galactic arm throughout much of the Galaxy. But do you know which world they originally came from?

Well now. The original home of the Ptorix is lost in time. It has taken the Khophirate, what you call an Empire, many thousands of years to expand to its greatest extent – and, as you know, to contract to its current size.  But there is speculation, of course. For your audience, suffice to say it was a planet like this one – suitable for you humans as well as Ptorix, with water, similar air and gravity and so on.

What can you tell me about your very early ancestors?
Oh, I think just looking at us will give some answers. The Ptorix were originally prey animals. This is why we have such wonderful eyesight. We can see anything around us unless it is directly behind us and we see much more of the light spectrum than you do. We lived in caves during the day and ventured forth at night to forage, while the large predators slept, so seeing infrared and ultra violet light helped us to survive.

So what changed?
How did we become dominant? (His tentacles lashed a little and his eyes swirled through yellow and green – thoughtful) We had the advantage of a large brain, which we needed to process the image from our eyes. And we had our tentacles. We could make weapons at first to defend ourselves from the predators and later to kill other animals for food. We found, too, that living in cooperative family groups made us more powerful, even against the largest predator.

We had always been scavengers, living on the remains of flesh killed by others. (He rubbed at his proboscis) We Ptorix find it strange that humans eat solid flesh. Please forgive me. We find it disgusting and so inefficient. We wait until the flesh has softened enough for us to suck up the nutrients. Of course, this is done with chemical additives, now. Only the best restaurants let the flesh putrefy of its own accord.

However, we were nothing if not adaptable. We learned to find other foods, modify our diet for different environments and eventually, different worlds.

But back to our ancestors on their first world. Soon enough, they ran out of natural caves to live in and were forced to build new dwellings. Even now, after all these centuries, we build homes that look like caves. (He waved an arm, taking in the curved walls of his office, the eye-watering decorations and the stalactite-like embellishments in the ceiling which emitted soft light).

I'm often asked about your family arrangements, Professor? (I wanted to ask about sex – but that's not something the Ptorix discuss)

That has changed over the years. I suppose with many species, including your own, the young have a long learning period and therefore they stay with the family for a long time. In the past, the males would protect the females, who raised the young. Many more males were killed than females so each male became responsible for groups of dependent females. In these more settled times only the very rich and powerful males like the Khophir support large groups of females. (His eyes glowed green) I am content with one. But we still live communally, with underground tunnels connecting dwellings of blood-related relatives.

As for children – this is something else we Ptorix find strange about humans. I understand the infant grows inside the female and then is expelled from the body at a certain stage of growth. I have seen this process on vids. It looks extremely painful. Our young develop in the mother's pouch; no pain, you see. My wife told me that if having children was so painful, the Ptorix would have died out long ago.

So there you have it. The Ptorix in a nutshell. I can't see a Human-Ptorix romance anytime soon. (I suppose tentacle sex might be possible – but not written by me)

You'll find my Ptorix Empire books on my website. Please note the first book (The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy) is free.

Autho Bio:
Greta van der Rol loves writing action-packed adventures with a side salad of romance. Most of her work is space opera, but she has written paranormal and historical fiction.
She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn't bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavours.

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