Friday, May 25, 2018

The Jezoflorids




Jezoflorids are a race of sapient plants. They are serpentine in form, with a ring of manipulator tentacles in the front and a crown of leaves and eyes on top of their "head". This is also where their flowers and fruits grow, once they reached sexual maturity. At the rear of their central trunk is a brush like formation of roots. They need to spend roughly a third of their time with their roots submerged in nutrient rich soil, and they need a similar amount of sunlight exposure. They can also "eat" by using these roots to penetrate a variety of foodstuffs. There are over a thousand different cultivars of Jezoflorid; each represents a distinct variety of leaves, flowers, and quality of fruit.

Jezoflorids reproduce through seeds that are roughly the size of tennis balls. They require rather exacting conditions to germinate. For example, they need so much nitrogen it's almost impossible to get them to grow without fertilizer or compost. Upon germination, they grow rapidly; maturing from a sessile sprout to a motile sproutling in about a week. Their minds grow at a similar pace; they are capable of language at about three weeks of age. At this point, they enter the "skill imprinting" stage.

They become obsessed with the first task or skill they're presented with, and will devote themselves to study and practice. In this way they become useful before they fully mentally mature. Sproutlings are savants; like children that have a single adult area of expertise. After about five years, they come into bloom, signifying their passage into adulthood. At this point, their mind broadens and they become less monomaniacal. After this, Jezoflorids never stop growing. Once they grow beyond 3 meters in length, they are considered elders, but that is more of a cultural distinction than a biological one.

As flowering plants, Jezoflorids have three genders: male, female and hermaphrodite. When fertilized, female flowers grow into fruits that resemble custardy avocados. The cultural expectation is that Jezoflorids should be producing fruits whenever they are in a stable living situation. To this end, MotherCorp settlements keep colonies of pollinating insects on the premises. Jezoflorids experience a mild erotic charge when their flowers are visited by insects carrying grains of pollen. Artificial pollination is a common practice, to refine cultivars or to attempt to create new one. (Generally, this is a practice tightly overseen by MotherCorp). It is possible to transplant a flower bud from one Jezoflorid to another, a process called grafting, after which the bud can survive indefinitely. Close companions are known exchange flower buds as a symbol of love. The gender or number of participants within these arrangements do not matter.

Organizations

Mothercorp


The Jezoflorid race, and all rights and practices related to it, are owned by
MotherCorp, a galaxy-spanning Mega-Corporation. Mothercorp officially owns all Jezoflorid seeds, and adult Jezoflorids are obligated to provide their fruit to the good of the company. Jezoflorids are mostly okay with this arrangement; they say this is because most executive positions are held by Jezoflorids. In reality, MotherCorp is engaged in wide-scale social engineering projects. Mothercorp is principally an agricultural firm; while they sell agricultural products, bio-ships, environmental and terraforming services and mercenary forces, their major products are Jezoflorid sproutlings and Jezoflorid seeds.
   
The Brambles is the Military branch of MotherCorp. It is composed of adult Jezoflorids that grew up immersed in violence; as well as hordes of cannon-fodder sproutlings. MotherCorp keeps this organization on a tight leash. Having seen the horrors of war, these of all Jezoflorids know the sheer callousness of MotherCorp. As such, in times of peace, they are kept docile and weak willed through various chemical and biological agents.

The Gardeners are the grey eminence inside MotherCorp. A secretive cabal of high ranking executives, their official remit is a long term eugenics program to develop new cultivars. Their actual purpose is more sinister. They administer and prescribe social control programs to keep MotherCorp viable as a polity. Trawling the infosphere for points of critical influence, they administer agents of biological control to manipulate and manage their subjects’ behavior. For example they might drug certain personalities to make them more lethargic and less opinionated, or they might resort to more extreme measures and infect them with mind controlling parasites. Through systems like these, MotherCorp maintains a high popularity and good regard in spite of corrupt and callous practices.

Others
The Glade is a resistance movement against MotherCorp. They believe that Jezoflorids should not be selling each other into slavery, and that the pursuit of wealth is unnecessary and often immoral. Unfortunately, MotherCorp is adept at using biological agents to control minds. As such, members of The Glade exist only on the extreme fringes of MotherCorp society, and only on a few hidden worlds do they have their own backwater civilization. They have been waging a hopeless crusade for centuries. At this stage, they’ve been reduced to waging petty terrorism against MotherCorp holdings – and have done so without much success.

Personalities

Elder Moral Rectitude is the commanding officer of Bramble Patch Gamma. He is an absolute monster of a Jezoflorid, at least a half millennium old and over 30 stories long. After a long life spent in battlefields across the galaxy, he is cunning, ruthless and he always knows what you're up to. That is, that's what he's like when he's off his leash. He is far too dangerous for MotherCorp to let him have full command of his mind. He is host to a fungal parasite* that alters his perceptions and makes the world seem like a game. From his liar in the Bramble Patch he sets the objectives for the war games and watches everything play out like a befuddled old war hero. In times of extreme crises the parasite deactivates, giving him free reign. During these periods of lucidity he is hatching a secret plan to free himself. In the ashes of an emergency he plants the seeds for the next one. He is slowly assembling a scheme over decades. He has to hide his movements from his masters and from his parasite, but he is patient. He will have vengeance on MotherCorp for making him a tool, even if takes a thousand years.

At first glance, Adult Grass Star is a wide eyed glade fanatic; ranting on spaceport street corners and handing out anti-MotherCorp pamphlets.  This is an accurate impression of him but he is also a savvy businessman and fixer. He is well connected in both the Glade and the underworld, and is the plant creature to talk to about deals bridging these two worlds.

Adult Due Diligence is a low level Gardner, but the highest ranked member of that faction an outsider is likely to meet. She oversees the production of some of the more exotic cultivars on Forward Garden. Part of her job duties is handling high profile clients. She sells the cultivars she grows to anyone who has the money, without the usual "good conduct" contracts, no questions asked. She also oversees "product demos", a duty she takes unseemly, sadistic joy in. She is not above hiring Alien mercenaries as catspaws in internal MotherCorp disputes.Locations

The Vault is the "homeworld" of the Jezoflorids. It lies on the far side of the Galaxy deep in MotherCorp territory, so details are sketchy. What is known is that it is a single world tree grown around a Floozy seed vault. Weather it is supposed to be a green wonder land or a capitalist dystopia ruled by cold vegetable minds depends on who's describing it.

Forward Garden is a Forest covered resort world. In its depths there are every kind of delight and diversion a galactic aristo could hope for. It is also a major depot for the sale of Jezoflorid Sproutlings. "Law and Order" are maintained by large hostile insects.

Bramble Patch Gamma is the "Bramble Patch" closest to human space. Here on a planetwide battlefield sproutlings are trained in the various arts of war. This is no mere wargame however. The sproutlings  are split into clans and given live ammo; the idea being real war is the best teacher. The adult officers make a point to take prisoners whenever possible, but over half of the sproutlings here die before they reach maturity. This is where to hire Bramble mercenaries, the catch being they only do business face to face, requiring prospective clients to navigate a live battlefield.

    *As previously mentioned MotherCorp uses a variety of biological techniques to pacify its subjects. This particular example is small-batch artisanal mind control.



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