The Elode is a HAO organism sighted at the limits of the human explored space, since its discovery specimens has spread into fringe colonies. If most try to contain it, underground networks are spreading its seed mostly for recreational purposes. It is particularly liked by neo-humans movements.
If the Elode is most of the time referred to as a “plant” it is in fact a collection of organisms living in perfect symbiosis. The origins of this strange being is still unknown and data remains sparse.
When the Elode is introduced into a biome, it will quickly adapt itself to seamlessly integrate it. If it is mostly non destructive it can prevent other living organisms (mostly other vegetals) to fully develop.
The Elode is composed of several distinctive structures (note that these structure are themselves very complex):
The core structure, the more rigid and big part, having the purpose of linking and maintaining all the other parts. Resembling a melted web of vines growing in all directions and attaching itself on every surfaces reachable. The core can grow pretty fast and rearrange its own structure to adapt to the environment making it very resilient even to extreme situations. In case of danger, the core can retract valuable cells and materials in itself and generate a strong protective layer. Different cores of different plants can connect and fuse together to improve the global network. The Core also deals with nourishment.
Secondary structure, a complex array of plants – mushroom like extension growing on the core. These are very changing from one Elode to the other and depends on the biome in which the Elode is. Most of the time these parts are dealing with sensory input, analyzing the environment’s atmosphere but also the global chemical dynamics at play. For eg the presence of pheromones, other seeds, temperature, etc. These inputs seems to be helping the core to better prioritize its growth by seeking advantageous area may they be the presence of nutrients, or potential reproductive assets (aka other living organisms).
The reproductive organs, recognizable by their yellow / orange glowing tint can be separated into 2 subcategories :
- Seeds-bags : More static parts, translucent bags filled with a very nutritive juice and growing Elode seeds.
- Tendrils : Very moving parts that seek other living creature to mutate (and create a BioLink with). These tendrils can also serve as seed-injectors and are connected to the seed-bags.
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The Elode seed is a compound of nutrients and Core cells. Once dropped by the host it will develop by feeding on the environment. As long as it is small the Elode can move around by growing/shrinking (1 meter / min). At this stage it’s main priority is to find a source of nourishment.
Once reached the Elode will become more static and start to grow exponentially in all directions, as the secondary structures starts to develop it will engage more and more with its environment, merging with surrounding vegetals, learning their organism and mimicking them (for eg light signals, chemical emissions, etc) to its advantage.
After having reached a big enough size it will develop it’s reproductive system and start integrating animal organisms to it’s reproductive cycle.
The Elode BioLink is primarily reproductive and allows the Elode to integrate individuals of other species (The “partners”) to its reproductive system. The main changes are the implantation of organs called “seed vessels” and a global adaptation of the host to make it seek and recognize appropriate environments for releasing the seeds.
Phase 1 : Implantation
One of the most intriguing aspect of the Elode’s aptitudes is its ability to modify the partner without causing damage to its main structure even with no prior contact with this specie. At first the Elode will trigger a very quick growth of new organs called “seed vessels” by injecting a compound of cells and mutagen into the host. These cells will mix with the partner to mimic its structure, this is why seed vessels take the characteristics of the
partner. In the case of humans they look like puffy pink openings not unlike a very smooth mouth (or vagina). The internal structure’s growth will cause swelling that may be more or less noticeable depending on the place of implantation.
Every species has very specific seed vessels implantation area and a maximum number that can be supported, related to the species size, and capacities.
The seed vessel are fully implanted and developed after 5-10 minutes. They can be surgically removed with advanced tools as long as the phase 2 hasn’t been reached.
Phase 2 : Extended mutation
As the seed vessel develops, the mutagen will spread into the partner’s organism and start inducing more profound changes. 3 hours after the initial contact, the Elode’s reproductive system is now integral to the partner’s dna structure making it permanent, even if the seed vessels are surgically removed, they will grow back. This global mutation also create new behavioral cravings / desires / patterns related to bearing-nurturing-releasing the seeds. So far the extended mutation doesn’t seem to alter the identity of the individual in extreme ways, memory/intelligence and character remain untouched.
The more seeds vessels are implanted, the more the mutation will be important to accommodate the partner’s organism.