|Diet||Carnivorous and photosynthetic|
|Behind the Scenes|
|Universe||Star Carrier Universe|
|Created by||Ian Douglas|
The Turusch, known to themselves as the Gweh, are a slug-like alien race native to Venus-like atmospheres. They are part of the Sh'daar empire, and serve as their primary military force. They are the primary antagonists of Earth Strike, the first book of the Star Carrier series.
Turusch have slug-like bodies, about three meters long. The forward third of a Turusch is covered in armor plating, including its "head," which splits open into three pieces to reveal its mouthparts. It has around two dozen eyes on its front, and several tentacles distributed around its body seemingly at random. Turusch are colored a mottled red-brown.
Turusch do not breathe oxygen and probably do not use water. They live in an atmosphere consisting mostly of carbon dioxide, with the remainder consisting of sulfur dioxide, carbonyl sulfide, water vapor, and aerosols of sulfuric acid and elemental sulfur. It is not known which of these substances they use for respiration, although they probably reduce either carbon dioxide or one of the sulfur compounds. They use substantial amounts of sulfur, and their digestive juices consist primarily of sulfuric acid.
Turusch are carnivorous liquivores. They feed by injecting sulfuric acid into a prey animal with a rigid, meter-long proboscis and sucking up the resulting slurry with a soft feedtube joined to the proboscis. However, they also have a chlorophyll-like chemical in their skin, allowing them to photosynthesize the ultraviolet radiation of their home sun. This allows them to go without food for extremely long periods.
Every Turusch is, quite literally, of three minds. The Mind Above is primitive and animalistic, and does little but react to threats. The Mind Here is the rational mind that carries out most of the Turusch's sapient thought processes. The Mind Below is a merger of the Minds Here of each life-pair's member, and also contains a Sh'daar Seed, an artificial construct that acts as a representation of the Sh'daar's will. The Mind Below's decisions take precedence over those of the other two, although the Turusch still has great leeway in how it chooses to execute those decisions.
In addition, Turusch are "paired." Turusch form pair-bonds of such intensity that they are effectively one individual, and are addressed and treated as such by their peers. These life-pairs perform all tasks as a single unit, even speaking in unison. Turusch language consists of three statements made at once; one by each member of a life-pair, and one formed from the modulation of the other two. The death of one member of a pair is emotionally devastating to its counterpart, and greatly hinders its ability to speak and otherwise function.
While limited by Sh'daar decree, Turusch technology is highly advanced, at or above the level of 2400's humanity.
Turusch spacecraft and weaponry are powered by quantum tap power plants. These consist of a pair of black holes rotating each other and extracting energy from vacuum, allowing essentially limitless energy.
Turusch spacecraft are generally metallic and fixed in shape. The larger crafts are sometimes made out of asteroids or even dwarf planets hollowed out to accommodate power and weapons systems. These larger vehicles are also FTL capable, using a type of Alcubierre drive. STL travel is achieved by forming an artificial singularity in front of the ship to simulate freefall and produce high accelerations, enough to propel the ship to relativistic speeds. The singularity is turned on and off at extremely rapid speeds to keep it from tearing the ship apart, which limits acceleration; smaller ships are less vulnerable to spaghettification and thus can achieve vastly higher accelerations.
Turusch spacecraft are usually equipped with kinetic-kill mass drivers, accelerated using the same singularities they use to move their ships. They also use particle beams powered by their quantum taps, as well as conventional nuclear missiles.
The Turusch, then called the Gweh, evolved in mountaintop biomes on Xchee'ga'gwah, where food and vital metals were dangerously rare. Early in the Gweh's history, they began a trade with the Ma'agh, the inhabitants of the hostile lowlands, giving them a narcotic from mountaintop creatures in exchange for the food and metals they needed. Individual Gweh tended to die on these trade journeys, but pairs returned. The trade between the Ma'agh and the Gweh was so essential that forming close pairs became absolutely necessary, to the point where it became vital to their biology.
Eventually, the Gweh developed the technology to leave their homeworld. They traded with other species and hired themselves out as mercenaries, and in this capacity they eventually met the Sh'daar through the Agletsch. They eventually received Sh'daar Seeds and became one of the Sh'daar's main military forces.
The Turusch were the Sh'daar's main soldiers in their war against humanity. They were generally victorious in their engagements against human fleets until they attacked Earth directly in 2404. In this battle, the attacking Turusch fleets were driven off, although Turusch kinetic missiles killed 50 to 80 million people on Earth and many thousands elsewhere in the Solar System, including Mars. Several thousand Turusch POWs were then detained in a specially-made facility on the Moon.
Several months later, human warships attacked a major Turusch staging point at Alpha Coronae Borealis, 75 light-years from Earth. Despite the presence of other Sh'daar species, including the ferocious Soru, the Turusch staging point was destroyed, effectively knocking them out of the war. Humans would encounter them only one other time, when a Turusch fleet arrived at Invictus to aid the Glothr.