The Orks are a force of nature rampaging across the galaxy destroying all in a hurricane frenzy. Each Ork is a phenomenally tough and inhumanly brutal warrior, a vandal who seems intent to tear down all they encounter. Each strike brings whoops of laughter, each death a perplexed expression of disappointment at human frailty. Orks love to fight, it’s what they are, and violence is literally their core body language. The irony is that these Orks, the savage beasts of our worst nightmares, are ‘friendly’. They enjoy fighting and assume all like it just as much as they do. To and Ork mass battle is play time, a chance to make friends, and in a bizarre twist of fate; to die and re-spore, putting down the roots of the next wave. A new tsunami of green to break upon civilization, for Orks always come back stronger. Each wave is more powerful than the first: bigger, stronger, faster, smarter. As their number grow so new Orks emerge, Mekboyz, Weirdboyz, and mighty Warbosses. Their technology ramps up at a staggering rate, as their minds call out to their gods: Gork and Mork who feed them arcane technical knowledge focused into the Mekboyz, and cunning plans of ‘partying’ to Warbosses. This adds a new layer to the Warhammer 40,000 version of the Ork.
Design Notes: This is basically a working up of the concepts of the ‘Orc’ I put forward in the Warhammer Fantasy section of this site. The fantasy Orc gives an insight into their motivations, mind set, the culture born of their drives, and the self-ordering society that emerges. My musings on the Orc of Warhammer Fantasy are more worked up than this current page, and my give a hints to the direction this page will take.
Da Orkoid Biology [Rough – from forum post]
It is often said on forums that Orks are fungus. I disagree. Orks do not seem to be ‘fungus’, at least as we know them, as fungi do not photosynthesise and so are never green (which I assume is important, as the Ork’s skin is green and I figure it has something to do with, or put down to, the ‘fungus’). The Terra terminology seems far to restrictive for an alien life-form. Taking a leaf out of natures design book I thought I would propose a symbiotic organism, an animal with a twist, and introduce new elements to their bodies cells.
Only far more sophisticated, and able to join together to produce far more complex forms than a ‘slug’.
I would not image that such a slime mould on it’s own is able to spontaneously aggregate into an Ork, but they could form ‘earth wombs’ (i.e.. fruiting body) on a type slime net. Within these earth womb environments some cells would then transform into a form of stem cell (not such a huge leap) and then form a fertilised egg – all we need is a second DNA strand within an organelle , such as the mitochondria in our own cells (yep in has it’s own DNA!).
Well that’s my take anyway, and not so biologically weird! Perhaps impossible to evolve, but engineered?
It also introduces lots of slime to the Orcoid environment, and makes the earth wombs mobile!]
On a fundamental level the basic Orkoid cell is roughly analogous to a Protist, hosting an organelle containing a secondary DNA stand, and others containing chloroplasts. These unusual cells are categorised as Orkus (plural: Orki) and are unlike any Terran organism, yet share similar traits to many.
Notes: What is unusual about the Orki is the ability to morph it’s bioform to match the environment and produce many variants throughout it’s life cycle. The Orki are literally an ecosystem is a single organism, capable of terraforming whole worlds (Adam = Ork?!).
@Philip: Instead of two DNA “strands” I could imagine an eukaryot with two nuclei (cell core – that part of a cell that contains the chromosomes) – one for the dauer stage (slime mould, whatsoever) and one for the humanoid stage. The latter one would be significantly larger. At any given time only one nucleus would be active. The regulation could be done by signaling substances that are expressed due to environmental factors.
Could such a dual nuclei eukaryot be powered by many shared organelle, like mitochondria and Chloroplasts (and Golgi apparatus)? Basically everything all in one? Here various part become active as needed, perhaps the cells near the skin power up Chloroplasts yet deep in the body they are dormant, but if wounded and exposed to light and air that changes? That they always have the option to go ‘slime mould’. This would be based on inter-cell communication to affect which parts of the cell are active and inactive, much like the ‘do not commit suicide’ interaction (what’s that called?) but instead of dying, a cell cut off from the body reverts to slime mould (not a spore fruiting body when freshly cut, but rapidly changes over, and then can produce fruiting bodies?). Any other thoughts on this that just popped into your mind?
Spores germinate into amoeba which feed on bacteria and/ or photosynthesise (like algae) depending on environment to rapidly increase their numbers. If the food source is depleted the Orki aggregate together to form a complex multicellular assembly, called a pseudoplasmodium, similar in shape to a slug or starfish which then stretch out or migrates to locate new food sources. Once mature they fruit to produce spores which float of to find other food sites.
If a dense resource environment is located they put out hyphae similar to dry rot to locate food and water, but if they find other Orki colonies they link together. It is via this mechanism that a massive net is produced.
Once enough mass is acquired via many colonies supplying food it puts down roots and a tuber is produced underground. This tuber is a ‘plant’ and produces leaves much like a strangler vine to further increase energy from photosynthesis, and to draw energy from surrounding flora.
As the tuber matures, the interior changes and becomes soft and ‘fleshy’. This mature state is known as a ‘earth womb’. Orki cells within the earth womb transform into a type of stem cell (in part), where the secondary DNA stand becomes active. These activated cells combine in pairs and their mix ‘secondary’ DNA (recombination) to produce a large cell containing two sets of secondary DNA (complete) which becomes the dominant DNA, yet retains all the other organelle. It is these combined cells that divide and produce a foetus.
This foetus grows into one of the various Orkoid types depending on composition of the cell DNA.
Skin cells in light divide (activated cell (must name) splits back into halves) and turn into ‘spores’ where the primary DNA become dominant.
Their language is mostly psionic combined with basic guttural vocalisations. The language is ‘universal’ among any species with any psionic attunement, everyone can understand what they are ‘saying’. Usually the Ork will sound like the most threatening voice you can think of. The more powerful your psionic abilities the worse it is. If you have latent psionics it is scary but bearable: an example today would be a middle class Londoner would hear a voice similar working class cockney gangster asking your what you are looking at (think of the Lord of the Rings films), or perhaps an irate Scotsman being kicked out of the pub on a Friday night for being a tad too violent, who then spits out someone’s nose onto the pavement before trying to start a bit of banter with you. Ironically the working class may hear the upper class voice of a judge donning the black cap (which is really funny if you picture it). In 40K the upper class spire humans will hear the voice of the underhive scum. Whereas, to the Eldar they sound like booming choir of mind bending vibrations with deep mocking insight, intelligence and aura of foreboding. To the Eldar the Ork voice is almost a debilitating weapon by itself. Lastly, those devoid of latent psionics hear nothing other than the grunts, growls and animistic guttural sounds. To the Tau the Orks sound like animals without a language. A common theory among the Tau is that the Orks work entirely on instinct, and are incapable of thought.
The civilization of the Orks is driven by their collective psionic ability and connection with Gork and Mork. All levels of their community take part in their industry, their ‘Waaaagh! machine’ (war machine). The size of the Orkoid defines their role within that industry and their status, from the smallest Snotling to the largest Mek. The Snotlings and such a bit dense and generally help this fetching small items and running cables through ducts. The goblins are the core of manufacturing small components, and excelling is putting together small components for devices. Hobgoblins are larger and take on assembly and fitting of devices all under the watchful eye of the Mek who is always an Ork. The Mek is the designers and ‘project managers’ of a sorts, and while it is weird to think of them in this light, it should be noted that they are not human and do not operate in the same way as humans. The Mek is more a focus of their gods and the whole work forces syncs up to the Mek through the Waaaaagh! field. The regular Orks often handle fitting, building, and heavy machinery. All this is only possible in the presence of a War Lord, the core connection to their gods, and the primary divinity channel all the other specialist Orks connect to.