Originally posted on MSPA
I'm gonna put two profiles in here, so you can choose whichever of the two you like better, if either.
Technically genderless, but since most assume he’s male, he adopts it for simplicity’s sake.
Diplomatic construct/artificial human
Color: #888888 on #FFFFFF
Blank’s defining ability is to passively absorb knowledge from any viable source around him, including living beings. This means that, after a few minutes, Blank will learn extensively about the backstories, abilities, etc. of nearby characters, data-storage devices, etc. This extends to simple objects and machinery, where Blank can learn its properties or inner workings. Blank cannot stop using this power, and if he spends too long with a certain character, then that character’s personality may begin to influence him.
The knowledge-absorbing power extends weakly to abilities, such that after a while, Blank would gain some of the abilities of the people around him. However, this only extends to non-character-specific abilities (strength, marksmanship, ritual magic, etc.); abilities that Blank would not be capable of after potentially intense training (innate magic, godlike abilities, item-specific abilities, etc.) Robots and other artificial beings are treated as objects, and Blank can’t learn anything other than knowledge from them.
On the outside, Blank looks like a lanky, pale, and bald human, of ambiguous age, gender, and descent. He wears a simple white shirt and pants, which effectively makes him practically entirely monochrome. On his personality, Blank is very much pacifistic, overwhelmingly preferring to discuss and solve a conflict rather than end it with physical force—not that he has much of it, except in rather specific circumstances. He is designed to get along with any single character he meets, which is usually made possible because of his knowledge-absorbing power. In order to do this effectively, Blank alters his personality to match that of the character he wants to be friendly with.
Blank refuses to use or share most of the knowledge he absorbs, mostly to respect the characters’ privacy and to avoid generating conflicts. He will make exceptions when his or other people’s lives are in danger, or if the situation demands it. He often shares his own backstory as compensation for absorbing someone else’s.
In a human’s imagination, advanced aliens exist as warlike imperialists, entities we cannot comprehend, or otherwise beings that are rightfully entitled to their superiority, a fact that they must know and that we must fear.
The reality is quite far from such fantasies. The alien society that has visited Earth is, indeed, quite advanced and has surpassed the societal and technological limitations that humans struggle with. However, rather than the clearly superior mindset we imagine they have, it is they who fear us.
They have been watching for much of modern history, and have been eager to make peaceful arrangements for the betterment of both civilizations. However, the warlike and self-destructive tendencies of the human being have seeded paranoia.
If they do not hesitate to destroy themselves, what will make them hesitate to destroy us? We must be prudent! We must show them that we are not the imperialists depicted in their legends. Cooperation is vital!
Thus, they waited. They waited for a time when human civilization had made peace with itself. However, such a time never came. It began to seem clear that active intervention was necessary, yet the fear that the humans would declare war on such a strange and unfamiliar civilization held steadfast.
So they created an ambassador. It was designed to dissolve any violent tendencies of humans it met, and to sow the beginnings of a true interspecies friendship. But most of all, it was designed to be human, to be familiar and true to human culture, accomplishing what the aliens fear they cannot.
The first phase was, of course, developing a familiarity with human culture. The ambassador lived and traveled anonymously, until it deemed it knew enough to begin diplomacy. Getting the attention of every sovereign leader was rather simple, and the lack of any cultural or linguistic limitation made communication smooth.
But there was one flaw. In attempting to be as human as possible, the ambassador had developed something of an uncanny omniscience. It was a subtle aspect that wasn’t quite right, a basic instinct of humans that saw unnatural a certain aspect that all humans are supposed to lack: perfection.
And then he disappeared.
Name: Malus mancinella
Nature spirit, Malus mancinella
The main forms of defense the M. mancinella
uses are its apples, teeth, and claws. The juices of its apples are highly acidic, though it is rather protective of its fruits. The only highly-supernatural ability the nature spirit is capable of is moving its apples (and only its apples) by telekinesis, which is slightly weaker than the panther body in speed and strength, but greater in precision.
The plant’s panther body is heavily-adapted for hunting to mimic the body morphology of an actual panther, and is thus rather agile and strong. It has no eyesight and a very weak sense of touch, but its sense of smell, sound, and thermal radiation is very acute.
can shapeshift, but greatly prefers to keep its panther body, and any moving structure other than the adapted panther body tends to be too slow for combat. It has had little use of fine motor control, but tendrils are suitable for such a purpose. M. mancinella
can recognize plant structures easily and mimic even the most bizarre ones to a limited extent: a natural reflex to being threatened is to raise spines all over its body.
is carnivorous and photosynthesizes. When eating, it prefers to plop on the fresh carcass and extend some roots, getting as much out of the meal as possible. It can “eat” with the panther mouth, but does so only to carry some meat along to be more time-efficient.
On the outside, M. mancinella
looks like an apple tree the size and in the shape of a panther. The part of the tree in the shape of a panther is woody, but the bark is rather smooth and has no knots, while the part that can be identified as the head has no eyes.
The branches, leaves, and fruit of the tree are perched in a dense bush on the panther’s back. These branches are rather thick, having adapted to withstand regular motion.
The mind of M. mancinella
is that of a young nature spirit. Its intelligence rivals that of a human, but its thought processes are very different. Although it is a very quick learner, it values pragmatic knowledge, tending to utterly disregard anything that is of no benefit or harm; its sense of curiosity is weak; and it tends to concern itself only with things that exist, such as food, rather than human concepts such as morality. It does not know any language and has no particular method or use of making complex sounds. After many unsuccessful attempts at hunting humans, it has learned to stay away from them.
is very protective over its apples, and even more protective of its flowers. It blooms relatively often, but such blooms are always futile: although the flowers have the look and smell, and nectar taste of apple blossoms, pollinators are almost invariably killed by the acidic fumes. Whatever pollen that does manage to be deposited on a different flower (or vice-versa) end up becoming useless, due to the breeding and self-incompatibility of the M. mancinella
. Instead, the flowers develop into apples without pollination, and thus are seedless.
It wears a plant pot label over its left ear, showing only a picture of a blossom and “Malus mancinella
.” It is unaware of this fact.
Machina Labs was known for—as the neighboring towns quipped—doing some of the most random research in modern science. Despite this, many knew of the benefits produced by those modest facilities: fully organic napalm, virtual guinea pigs, and placebo-free massage pills, for example. The Labs were respected, and any fear of something going out of hand was repeatedly made ludicrous by a particularly bizarre and ambitious project that was carried to huge success.
In a random trip dubbed the Curiosity Endeavor®, a scientist found an apple tree in midst of a rather lush forest, save for a circular patch about twenty feet across around the tree that harbored not even grass. Stunned by this allelopathic wonder, the scientist immediately took tests of the soil and a scion. Back at the Labs, the scientist’s team found that the soil had a far lower pH than even the most acidic of forest environments, and began to grow the graft in a controlled pot.
The tree soon lowered the pH of the soil dramatically, killed its host rootstock, extending out its own roots instead. Its tissues were discovered to contain a potent organic acid that, inexplicably, prevented pollinators from doing their job. Instead, the scientists found use of the organic acid, which was the most acidic organic acid thus discovered, and its molecular structure conveniently filled most modern applications of a wide variety of organic acids.
So they bred it. For acid. And science. Within a few generations, the Machina Labs team had developed a plant that, on the surface, looks like a humble apple tree, yet produces the most commercially valuable organic acid thus known to humankind.
The tree would not grow too big, but large production was rather unnecessary: the lack of supply and the Labs’ refusal to distribute clones of the plant meant that they could set the price of the Omniganic Acid® wherever they wished. Business flourished.
They say that nature spirits manifest themselves at the most naturally harmonious and are naturally attracted to the most naturally atrocious. Then again, men of science don’t concern themselves with the supernatural. Fittingly, such a nature spirit—a young one, rather confused—found itself in midst of the Labs, its purpose obvious yet oblivious. For the first while, it floated around invisibly between walls and above ceilings, looking for something familiar to latch on to. With enough wandering, the spirit found the new species known as Malus mancinella
When a nature spirit binds to its first plant, it experiences the sudden lapse into lucidity, which initiates its desire and purpose to shoo out pesky humans and other natural disruptors. Some often informally declare themselves protectors of the species of plant it bound to, thus putting a special emotional emphasis and connection to that species. In this case, however, the inexperience of the new spirit, coupled with the artificialness of Malus mancinella
, simply turned it feral. In the perspective of the scientist that was juicing an apple at the time, the plant suddenly uprooted itself and started throwing apples everywhere, thereby dissolving most of the room before floundering into the hallway.
Alarms blared and scientists were rushed to safety. Luckily, the only injury sustained was the lone scientist in the apple room, of which a few sprays from some hydroxides and some plastic surgery fixed swiftly.
Cameras followed the nature spirit as it shambled into a random room. It was the panther room, where a live brain from an unfortunate yet oblivious panther participated in a constant virtual hunt. The nature spirit crashed into the brain in the center of the room, instantly killing the panther.
As the plant’s acids began to dissolve the brain, the nature spirit suddenly found an unfamiliar and unusual sense of hunger. It wrapped around the brain, simultaneously eating and learning, finally stopping when only a volatile puddle remained.
The nature spirit learned much. The hunt, the strategy involved, it was all quite interesting and immensely practical. Manifesting a woody body was simple enough. All that was left was to hunt.
And then it disappeared.