Created for PodGunner Command at Digital Iris LLC
Sampled from Development Documents
The planet of Arduinna is similar to Earth in many aspects. Its equatorial climate is moist and marshy, full of swamps and shallow streams. Its temperate climate is characterized by mild winters and a steady supply of rainfall. Further up north are the planet’s winter forest, green and white all year long. Its landscape is dominated by giant mountains made of Crystal, now free from the Fon’s mining that kept them constrained. Its forests are millenniums old, growing out of the remains and ruins of a long dead civilization, and its wildlife is very dangerous.
When the humans arrive, not much information remains about the beings that settled on this planet. Their cities have been reduced to scattered crumbling structures that haven’t yet been completely shattered by time, weather, and animal life. The only intact structure is the Temple Ruin, which has been swallowed up by in tree encasing, and resembles a tree more than anything.
Those beings were called the Fons, their countries lost to time, were an unusual race. Brought to the planet by happenstance, their spaceship crashed, leaving them stranded on Arduinna with no way of contacting those still in space. The Fons’ actual body is a plant-based ameba the size of a human head. Their interior is made of a plant-based neural tissue and a flexible, layered bark exterior. They are covered on root-like sillia that are about a foot long. Their sillia have small nodes on the ends that allow them to interface, through a plant’s root system, with the biological systems of any plant life. Once connected, the plant acts as an extension of the Fons’ body and will bend and twist itself into whatever shape the Fons’ desires.
The Fons built exosuit-like bodies by layering and manipulating the interfaced plants into limbs and other features. Like the shapeshifters of comic books, who customize their bodies to their needs, the Fons can manipulate their plants to imitate animals or other aliens.
Centuries past, time moved on, and the Fons lived and survived. They forgot their true past, it’s remnants living on in myths and legends that were told around the fires at night. The survivors of the crash grew into tribes, then cities, and onwards. They strove to survive and thrive in their new home, putting up walls to protect themselves from predators and herbivores alike, building homes, and cultivating the land they had settled in. They built machines and got into conflicts.
Seven centuries later, the settlers had grown to cover the planet, becoming countries. And they were at war. The giant Crystal mountains had been over-mined, traded to other countries or used to power their cities, machines. They were refined into the Forest Dweller’s first computers and their weapons.
One such weapon was created using the new Synthesized Crystals that the Forest Dwellers had created. Designed and manufactured by the brightest minds in that country, based off of artifacts from the abandoned and decayed spaceship that brought them to Arduinna, and built in the most advanced military research facility on the planet. It was supposed to end the war. To save them.
It killed them.
The gas weapon detonated.
Image taken fromphys.org
The weapon was detonated, shooting out a cloud of gas miles tall that rolled out across the planet. The gas ate away at the plant-based brain tissue of the Forest Dwellers, and in seven minutes every Forest Dweller on the planet was dead.
At midnight, five hours after the Weapon loosed its cargo, the automatic system kicked in, closing the building off from the outside world. The air vents and entrances sealed, energy shields activated and the weapon deactivated.
Time passed. Animals moved into the empty buildings. The walls around the cities crumbled and the forests started growing in the streets. The buildings of the Forest Dwellers had built to be encased in living wood but, with no one to shape them, the encasing wood broke through walls and over grew its bounds. The towers fell, were broken, or died. The machines rusted away. The glass shattered and their art was worn away.
Then, centuries later, the trees had grown to prehistoric height, the humans arrived.
Not much evidence of the Fons’ culture remains when the humans arrive on Arduinna.
Through the ages, the Fons broke into many different cultures. The Fons who had lived where the Humans settled, was a powerful country, named Vess, who grew out of a civilization that had started as groups of city-states who fought each other. This slowly changed as connections and trading grew between the cities. An attack from outsiders pulled the cities together permanently, forging them into a fierce nation. Albeit one whose citizens settled their internal conflicts with small, highly structured, wars. (These rules, of course, were not in effect against an enemy of the nation.) Warfare was considered a sacred duty, allowing you to protect your family, and the rules of the conflict were very strict.
The Vess’ worshiped their ancestors, building shrines and memorials to their accomplishments, and were very family focused. Extended families lived together in the same building, which was added to as the family grew. The lower floors of the building were where the businesses of the family were run, while upper floors were for family and interconnected with each other for easy access. Since children were created by a sort of binary fission, the children of the family are raised by everyone as they learn and grow. Powerful families lived in skyscrapers, usually because there was a lot of them, with a number of businesses. Being exiled from your family was considered a punishment for medium level crimes, with exile from the country or imprisonment for murder and large crimes.
Able to change their plant exo-body at a whim, the Fons enjoy making themselves and their surroundings beautiful and weren’t restrained to a humanoid shape. They don’t wear clothes but would decorate their bodies with flowers or fronds that mimicked skirts and robes. Fur is considered exotic, but messy and more trouble than it is worth to acquire.
The remnants of their origins lingered in stories, but these had become wildly exaggerated, only retaining the core kernel of the truth. Most of their stories involve the greats of the past, turning them into legends of mythical proportion.
Some plants might have been hung from baskets, but others would be planted in troughs along the tree branches.
Image from gardenmagz.com
The building of the Fons were towering structures that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a fairy tale.
The interior structures, ranging from individual rooms to entire building floors were assembled separately from the rest of the building. The rooms would be built with wooden boards and structural support beams, each piece slotted together like a three-dimensional puzzle. Specific woods were used for this process, depending on how much money the commissioner paid for it. The best and most expensive rooms would be made out of ironwood and soaked in a hydrophobic solution to keep the wood dry in any weather. Once the floor rooms were assembled, they would be covered in a flexible foam to blunt the pressure of the building’s exterior cover.
The interiors of these rooms were usually decorated with large petrified wood tiles that came pre-embedded with silicon carbide wiring and a pre-installed Crystal based electrical system. Others opted for murals or wood mosaics instead of the tiles.
When finished the new rooms or level were then shipped to their building, where a specialist would carefully cut through the exterior growth to the level underneath. The old and new levels would be cemented together with a wood-based cement, and the new level/floor/or room would then be covered by a layer of living wood that would be grafted into the old level’s wood covering.
The building’s exteriors were created by planting trees around the exterior base of the building and, by speeding up their growth, causing them to grow together into a coating of living wood that enclosed the interior. Since each building was owned by a family tribe, the building’s owners were expected to care for their building’s exterior. Over the centuries, this duty grew into a point of pride and competition.
Some families kept their exteriors plain, if well pruned, to showcase the natural beauty of the tree. Some families would carve and overlay designs into their exteriors, shaping the tree bark into relief carvings or petroglyphs that varied in complexity. Others painted or stained their exteriors with bright colors and designs. Some would tie ornaments, lanterns, and other items to their exterior branches, while others plant flowers or other plants in soil-filled trays in the exterior branches or under their windowsills. By the time the humans arrive the paint has been worn away and the lanterns and ornaments have rotted to skeletons of their former self and fallen into piles on the floor. This country favored the decorative plant designs, and so these designs were what the humans found upon their landing.
The Temple, the facility that housed the Weapon that killed the Fons, was the most advanced and fortified structure the Fons’ ever built, utilizing the best and latest of their technology. Designed to be completely independent, with its own backup power system, and environment sealing, it’s interior remained completely preserved in spite of the centuries that passed and was discovered by the humans after the start of their Arduinna colonization. The Temple’s architecture has been described as similar to the human style of Art Nouveau, with curved ornate and flowing lines that are reminiscent of a stylized idealization of plant life. The buildings murals, in contrast, use angular simplified shapes and bright colors. The floor is covered in blocks of wooden mosaics, using different colors of wood to make their design, that share the same angular style of the paintings. Large statues are placed in the center of hallway intersections and in the building’s entrance way. Humans have said that the buildings decorations and air remind them more of a church, rather than a military or science building.
When the Humans discovered the Temple, its exterior had grown over the building’s entrances. The Humans cut out entrances, smashing through the walls, which disrupted the circuits and deactivated the building’s energy shielding. This energy shielding had acted like a faraday cage, covering and grounding the Weapon’s crystal emissions, keeping it from being detected by the Temple’s enemies.
Built on the foundation of Crystal energy, the Fons’ technology looks mystical and incomprehensible to most races. Despite those first impressions, closer study of the Fons’ tech would reveal it to be almost archaic by the human’s standards, with heavy, cumbersome machines and thick branching root-like cords of silicon carbide that act like electrical wires, instead of the human’s sleek wireless appliances. Large levers, (Which, in the Temple, are kept behind locked cases that need a specially coded plant to open) are used to open doors or turn on machines, instead of motion detection systems.
The Fons’ computers looked both elegant and lumbering, like the prototype computers of the humans. They are also based on a completely different system. Since the computers were built using Crystals, rather than electricity, their computer code isn’t built around the 1-0, on and off, of human computers. Instead, the code is built around colors, with White, Black, Red, Blue, and Yellow as their starting points, and degrees of light intensity. This, combined with the Fons’ dead language, makes the Fons’ computers impervious to human hackers. Luckily, the computers seem to be used mainly for verification and can be bypassed with the right access card, lever, a jolt of electricity, or old-fashioned blunt force in the case of a password computer.
The Fons’ energy shields look simple, just a ring-shaped doorway that is lined with glowing Crystals that generate a field created from the natural energy of the Crystals. These energy shields, are much more advanced, able to bar passage to anyone without a specified genetic sequence, which is coded into a special plant that was provided to those who had the clearance. The plant can still be found throughout the Temple, as a dead plant in Fons remains or alive in the planters behind barred doors.
A possible view of the Vass temple building.
Image painted by Mladen Perisa
Research for this project:
Building decay patterns & plant reclaiming:
China’s ghost cities:
Prehistoric tree height:
Gases that kill the brain: