Tech Mod/Tech Archiver
- Jul 4, 2012
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Quar Rats are an offshoot of the common rat, native to the planet Barancar. Like most near-rat species, the Quar Rat's ancestors are believed to have been brought to the planet by ancient starfarers, back in the days when biosecurity was not nearly as much of a concern as it is in the present day. Over the millennia, however, the Quar Rats were mutated by the heavily polluted environment of Barancar, creating a variety which is unusual for a particular reason.
Quar Rats, anatomically speaking, closely resemble main-line rats on the outside, with sleek-furred quadrupedal rodent bodies, ever-growing buck teeth and beady red eyes. They can grow larger than most other rats, topping out at just over half a meter. Quar Rats are known to be physically durable; doses of toxins, physical trauma and even hard radiation that would kill a mundane rat will only slow a Quar Rat down; blaster fire will do the job, but you have to hit one, which is not as easy as it sounds given how quick and nimble they are.
Quar Rats typically form large colonies, centered around a specific individual who acts as the leader. It is these "leader" Quar Rats which manifests the most unusual characteristic of this verminous species; the capacity for true sentience.
Quar Rats ascend to leadership of their colony through a consensus, the mechanisms of which are still not well understood. Upon being selected by the rest of the colony, a single Quar Rat is elevated to the position of "Monarch," at which time a strange transformation begins to take hold. Outwardly, there is little indication; a Monarch may show a greater preference for standing upright on their hind legs, and their front paws may demonstrate increased dexterity, but they appear otherwise normal. Internally, however, a remarkable change is occurring; the neuron density in the Monarch's brain doubles, triples, even quadruples at an exponential rate. Already a cunning species, this jump in brain complexity grants the Monarch true sentience.
In their Monarch form, Quar Rats can coordinate large numbers of their non-sentient fellows, directing them in cooperative activities such as gathering foodstuffs, expanding warrens and swarming to the defense of the colony. Quar Rat Monarchs are natural leaders; in the few occasions where they have been documented to leave their colonies, they have a tendency to form groups of other sentients around themselves.
Both sentient and non-sentient Quar Rats can vary widely in personality. In general, they are peaceable among themselves, with most disputes that might otherwise turn violent being diffused by the colony's Monarch. When roused, however, Quar Rats can be vicious, tenacious fighters; with teeth sharp enough to chew through duracrete and the ability to climb all but the smoothest surfaces, they can be truly terrifying as a swarm. Efforts to exterminate colonies are usually forced to employ repeating blasters and flamethrowers, as well as protective gear.
Although widely assumed to have originated on Barancar, Quar Rats have followed in the footsteps of their ancestors in expanding out into the Galaxy, stowing away on freighters and liners. Quar Rat colonies exist on many worlds; having sentient direction, the species is considered an especially troublesome pest, and is almost universally reviled. Efforts to exterminate the species are common, but are almost never successful.
My intention with this creature is to flesh out the Quar Rat, a creature from Legends canon which is native to Barancar, but on which there is not much information other than that they exist in the sewers there. I wished to put a twist on them, keeping the majority of the species non-sentient, but giving them the ability to ascend to sentience in the right circumstances; this is inspired by a common trope in old sci-fi and fantasy stories, wherein a particularly intelligent rat might lead a horde of its fellows in mayhem.