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From the Guidebook to the Ingressa
By Mike McArtor
Illustration by Jessica Eggerth
Jennifer Green, Sean McNeil
Rachelle Abellar, Tammy Vince Cruz
Additional Layout and Graphic Design:
Royal Archivist Publishing Inc.
Creative Director: Mike McArtor
Managing Editor: Sean McNeil
Technical Lead: Rommel Degracia
Story Lead: Ann K. McArtor
Art Director: Dora Wang
Of the species so far encountered by humanity, the mmellotlo remain among the least understood—and, not coincidentally, the most dangerous. Almost universally, mmellotlo act with immediate hostility toward members of the Allied Races. Thus far, all attempts to communicate with the starfish-like creatures have failed, leading every encounter to end in violence or flight.
Perhaps most alarmingly, the mmellotlo are a technologically superior species, with interstellar spacecraft that seem capable of exceeding the speed of light or otherwise traversing huge distances. How they achieve this physics-bending feat remains a mystery, thereby increasing their perceived menace. As far as exobiologists can deduce, the mmellotlo originated on the world of Dedahaltia. They have colonized at least three other worlds, including two on the far side of the galaxy from Dedahaltia, which has led to the current hypothesis that they possess faster-than-light capabilities.
In battle, mmellotlo strategy combines powerful ranged attacks and costly frontal assaults. They tend to charge en masse into hand-to-hand combat, covered by slow-charging teleforce weapons targeted against vehicles, defensive positions, and large groupings of soft targets. Once they reach their opponents they use heavy electrostatic bludgeons strapped to the ends of their limbs. Although costly and frequently repulsed, these tactics tend to demoralize opponents and occasionally even cause victorious defenders to withdraw rather than face additional attacks.
The mmellotlo make these attacks in utter silence, making no war cries nor communicating verbally—or at least not at frequencies the Allied Races have been able to detect. These mad, silent assaults are intensely unnerving, and many veterans of encounters with mmellotlo suffer later from post traumatic stress and other psychological ills. Whether this is from the unsettling nature of their silent but wasteful attacks or a result of undetected psionic attack is currently a subject of debate.
To date, no mmellotlo has exhibited any use of ki, magic, miracles, or psionics, although many psionics experts suspect the species is naturally telepathic. No telepaths from the Allied Races have traveled to Dedahaltia in an attempt communicate with the mmellotlo, and considering the mental side effects suffered by non-telepaths, few are interested in trying. Studies of the brains of the few recovered mmellotlo corpses reveal nothing to chiurgeons. Indeed, the species’ utterly alien physiology has confounded even top exobiologists at every turn.
Mmellotlo are multi-limbed radially symmetrical creatures that nominally resemble Earth’s starfish, albeit 2-2.5 meters in diameter and weighing roughly 150 kilograms. Each limb (usually eight to twelve) ends in an opposable thumb-like appendage and two suckered “fingers.” A single central eye bulges out of the center of the top of their bodies, with a circular mouth underneath containing a number of razor-sharp teeth plates that iris together. Mmellotlo are cold-blooded, though they have heat-storing calcium “rocks” near their internal organs. They have been tentatively defined as asteroideans of unknown reproduction (assumed to be via egg-laying).
Although mmellotlo can apparently communicate with one another, as evidenced by coordinated attacks and the construction of interstellar spacecraft, humans have yet to detect how they do so. Exobiologists speculate that they communicate in at least one of several ways humans cannot naturally detect: chemically, vocally at supersonic or subsonic frequencies, or telepathically. Attempts to detect how they communicate have all failed, usually because the necessary equipment is destroyed in an attack before it can be put to use.
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