The Oghaldzon, sometimes called Donkeys by humans as a jab at their appearance, are an alien species native to the Wolf 359 system, which they call Shuneshu. They have two genders but do not have sexual or parental bonds of any sort, leading to a memetics-based culture considerably different from human society. The Oghaldzon considered humanity's behavior a serious potential threat to themselves, and for this reason invaded Earth in 2100 in order to "rectify" human society.
Anatomy & Physiology Edit
Oghaldzon very vaguely resemble deer, being roughly similar in size and profile. They have three legs arranged in a tripod formation, with two in the front and one in the back. Four tentacle-like arms are positioned in front of the front legs and two more behind. Their head consists of a sonar "melon" in place of a head and a neck, with a mouth underneath the melon. Small eyes, like those of hamsters, ring the body. Oghaldzon are colored in shades varying from dark gray to black. Females have a hadrosaur-like crest for taking in sperm cells.
Oghaldzon are not mammalian or particularly mammal-like, but are warm-blooded nevertheless. They do not have scales, fur, feathers, or any other sort of covering, only bare skin. They do not sweat, and instead cool themselves by panting.
Oghaldzon are omnivores. In Thunder & Lightning, they are mostly shown eating algae-derived food products. They use a series of eleven stomachs to digest food.
Reproduction & Life Cycle Edit
Oghaldzon reproduce sexually, but without direct contact. Instead, during mating seasons, males release sperm cells into the air, which fertilize females through their crests. Larvae grow on the bodies of females until detaching and going their own way. Larvae resemble ten-limbed starfish, with the limbs eventually developing into the legs, arms, and head. Larvae are non-sapient and are not cared for by their parents, although Oghaldzon consider their deaths wasteful. Oghaldzon remain in this larval state for around 15 years before cocooning and metamorphosing into adults. Adults can live for up to 74 years.
Because of this reproductive cycle, Oghaldzon do not form bonds with their mates or children, and in fact do not usually know who they are. New Oghaldzon adults are raised by teachers rather than their biological parents. It is possible for Oghaldzon to determine the identities of their blood relatives, but doing so is considered strange.
Oghaldzon primarily navigate using their sense of sonar, as their homeworld of Dhoz is dark and misty. This sonar sense allows them a limited ability to "look" inside the bodies of other creatures. Their eyes, while not quite vestigial, are secondary to their sonar, and were not particularly important until the Oghaldzon developed space travel and needed to sense their surroundings in vacuum.
There are no national or ethnic divisions to speak of in Oghaldzon society. Instead, their civilization consists of varying memeplexes, ideological groupings that largely correspond to the human concepts of nations. By the time they discovered humanity, they are dominated by a single memeplex resembling a meritocratic social democracy, although numerous subgroups exist within that framework and some radical groups keep themselves largely separate. Oghaldzon society is very open and argumentative, and fosters ideological innovation. They sometimes run localized tests of certain ideas, implementing them across society if they work and discarding them if they do not.
Oghaldzon view crime, and violent behavior in general, as memetic pathologies rather than character defects. Individual crime, such as murder or robbery, is called "ThrillKill," and the destruction of ideas (e.g. by dictatorships) is called "MemeKill." Based on radio broadcasts picked up from Earth, the Oghaldzon believe human society to be severely infected with both diseases, and invaded Earth to keep humanity from becoming a threat.
Oghaldzon technology is about fifty years more advanced than that of humanity in 2100.
Oghaldzon use fusion power for their spacecraft, and presumably most other elements of their society. Their fusion engines are more compact and efficient than those used by humans.
Oghaldzon spacecraft are extremely large, with some up to a hundred kilometers in diameter. They consist of a central hub surrounded by a ring which spins to simulate gravity. They use smaller, conical vessels about the size of skyscrapers as landing craft. None of their spacecraft are capable of faster-than-light travel.
While capable of designing chemical-propellant weapons, the Oghaldzon have never used them, as the loud noises they create disrupt their sonar. They instead use handheld lasers as anti-personnel weapons. Their spacecraft are equipped with nuclear weapons, kinetic missiles, and powerful lasers.
As they are able to "see" into each others' bodies, Oghaldzon medical technology is exceptionally advanced.
- The Oghaldzon first appeared on Tony Jones' website Clockwork Sky, in response to a request by author Chris Nuttall to design an alien race for one of his novels. The Oghaldzon later appeared as the antagonists of Nuttall's novel Thunder & Lightning.
- There are a number of differences between Jones' and Nuttall's versions of the Oghaldzon. Nuttall added the concepts of "ThrillKill" and "MemeKill" to their society, and also at one point described them as having long necks (possibly a continuity error). Nuttall also specified that Shuneshu was Wolf 359, while Jones had described it as a generic red dwarf system.
- Thunder & Lightning contains a compressed and modified version of Jones' Oghaldzon draft as its second appendix.
- Jones has created several other species and posted them to his website. However, the Oghaldzon are the only one of these species to have featured in a published novel so far.