Worldbuilding: Project Tatterdemalion AU backstory

Mind the tags. Nightmare Fuel is on here for a reason.

I’ve read the first two books in this series by Roger MacBride Allen, and there was one line that stood out to me from the setting. Someone’s wondering why humanity’s never found another alien species before this mess, and then realizes exactly why: “The Charonians had eaten them.”

The Arrancar species is very much based on that line.

They’re also a bit based on “The Andromeda Strain” – the idea that a race announcing itself to the universe might say “here we are!” by way of a genetically engineered organism. (Which, of course, Went Horribly Wrong. Ouch. )

So. I haven’t got all the details yet, but… at some point the species that became the Arrancar decided, why fight other intelligent species when you can absorb them?

No, they’re not the Borg. The Borg are a bit more cohesive. The Arrancar… well, they’re a lot more organic. And quite willing to fight each other. (And eat each other.)

But they do agree on some things as a species. Arrancar are “real beings”; other sapient life forms, not so much.

What the Arrancar do, is wait until they detect signs of mass transport/psychokinetic energy manipulation. Then they teleport in probes, gather what info they think they need including the DNA (or equivalent) of the intelligent species and its relatives. Polish up an Arrancar virus that will fit the new species, and send it in. After all, if a species is playing around with teleportation, the new infected victims have a very easy way to get around. And if half or more of the Hollows/Akuma die before they reach full Arrancar status? Ah well, they served their purpose. Planet’s taken, so who cares?

This has worked on every other alien race so far.

Humans, though, are paranoid bastards.

Seriously. In this AU, humanity may be the most paranoid intelligent race out there. (The kami got lucky this far because their “frequencies” were a bit off from what the Arrancar were set up to detect.)  We tend to put dangerous experiments on deserted islands. Behind locked doors. Buried in mountains. We tend, in short, to take precautions when we don’t know what we’re doing.

…And then there’s Nii. Oy.

This is actually why the Arrancar have now gone after humanity twice, in two different areas of human space. (The Akuma hit on Nova Roma, that then spreads to Shangri-La, takes place at least decades after the original mess at Project Tatterdemalion.) As a species, the Arrancar are still in shock that the first hit didn’t spread off Satoyama like a wildfire. “It didn’t work. Why did it not work?”

If you’re wondering if Arrancar are the virus or the carriers of the virus, the answer is yes. They can reproduce in a “normal”, biological offspring fashion. (Why waste a perfectly good means of spreading your species?) They also reproduce by infecting other intelligent species. And sometimes not-so-intelligent ones. Depends on the ethnicity of the Arrancar.

So far the bunnies have given me two: the r-selected Hollows (create a lot of offspring so a few will get lucky) and the k-selected Akuma (invest a lot of energy into relatively few offspring, so a higher proportion survive). This is why the Hollow/shinigami viruses affect all mammals, while the Akuma/feral youkai/ sane youkai viruses only infect humans. The Hollow Arrancar are willing to let their sub-intelligent offspring eat a lot of each other to build up to an intelligent Arrancar, while the Akuma group want theirs to eat a relative few of each other to turn out their own kind.

…Yeah. Like Bleach canon, every evolved Arrancar (though not necessarily the born ones) is the product of cannibalism. And the born ones aren’t considered proper Arrancar until they’ve eaten at least a few other of their own, as well. Because Arrancar are mass minds. Single-souled organisms are so primitive!

Did I mention not human? Brr.

Which leads to an interesting and amusing conclusion: Youkai and Shinigami pack instincts? They’re not alien. At all. They are, instead, instinctual human (or at least higher mammalian), turned Up To Eleven.

(Yeah. This is likely why Kanzeon is giggling.)

That said, there is a definite element of alien in those infected, designed in by the Arrancar, that’s going to be a bit tricky to handle. Because while Arrancar may not at all get human pair-bonding, they do know it happens; and given that’s relatively common in the DNA-based species they’ve dealt with (2 DNA strands, after all!) they have a standard workaround to break up that bit of society.

So. Shinigami and youkai? Actually have three sexes.

At this point, the vast majority of them have no clue about that. Some details of physiological maturity take time. Depending on stresses, possibly considerable time.

(I will spare the innocent eyes of anyone who doesn’t want the R-rated details. Suffice to say I worked it out, there are tentacles and psychokinesis involved, and twin offspring would actually be common).

Unfortunately for the Arrancar, humans are not only paranoid but experimental, adaptable, and sometimes kinky critters. *G* They’ll figure it out eventually.



53 thoughts on “Worldbuilding: Project Tatterdemalion AU backstory

  1. Interesting . . .

    Distrubing but when would talking about the Arrancar ever not be? There is a reason one must warn for all the things.

    I think our heroes – both Shinigami, Demi-Shinigami (the vaccinated but not fully Shinigami probably need a name), Youkai, Hanyou – are going really confuse and really annoy said aliens.

    Because humans, in addition to the qualities mentioned in the post, can be very persistent little buggers. Especially when they want to apply their foot to someone else’s behind. Very badly. And repeatedly.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, Yamamoto’s “normal responses” really doesn’t ring right….

        Especially since doing potentially dangerous experiments in the middle of nowhere and/or quarantining people with lethal diseases is apparently not standard operating procedure for most species in this universe.

        The Sanzo-ikkou, the shinigami, and Kougaiji’s pack have opinions on what to do with these nasty aliens.

        And happily those opinions all agree with each other. Well, they all agree that the answer is violence. And setting them on fire. And as long as everyone gets their pound of flesh, they’re cool with letting the others use their preferred form of violence on them.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. How do they decide which ethnicity has priority for infecting a given interstellar society?

    That Arrancar are defined by both birth/infection and consumption suggests mechanisms for how the ethnicity might vary. It may be biased by the source of infection, and sources of victims.

    Mixed breeds might be possible.

    H and A type Arrancar seem to have picked a simple easy strategy, and it would make sense that they are more common. It would also make sense that there are rarer ones that like to do slow elaborate rituals. Say, covertly kidnap and modify a bunch of prospects, let them grow older in the wild, then infect them with a specific virus while their native biome is infected with a generic virus.

    Three sexes. Does this mean that a RuroKen fic in this setting could have Kenshin, Tomoe and Kaoru? Can Shinigami and Youkai breed?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Galactic coin toss?

      Could be as simple as “you guys got the last one, our turn this time”.

      That rare and elaborate one sounds interesting…. Mixed breeds of Arrancar are definitely possible, they work out the genetics as they go.

      And yes to both. In the PT part of this ‘verse, Juushirou, Kyoraku, and Nanao end up together – and Kaien’s not just Ichigo’s uncle.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. My ‘overly complicated’ bunny was also suggesting growing unintelligent animals offworld, shipping them to the infection site, then infecting them with something tailored. Or Midwitch Cuckoo type stuff, probably through tampering with gamete banks.

        Does this mean Miyako is not in this setting?

        Liked by 2 people

  3. At this point, the vast majority of them have no clue about that. Some details of physiological maturity take time. Depending on stresses, possibly considerable time.

    And that’s another good reason to kick alien behind.

    They made them go through a second puberty. No one wants to do that nonsense again in any way, shape, or form.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh boy . . . so that little surprise is going to come completely out of left field for our unsuspecting heroes.

        Still, kinda of happy that the Squeakers are going to live longer than normal mice. They’re cute. Through it is probably going to make the scientists curious when they live past normal mice lifespan and/or when time seems to have become a suggestion to them.

        Toushirou will probably groan when he realizes what that might mean for him getting to be an adult. Because it already seems to take forever to kids.

        Through given how much they have been studying the virus and their own modified DNA, some of them might see that second puberty coming. Or at least it’s one of their theories.

        Or they did but still went “Oh, so that’s what that cluster of genes does. Good to know.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Key word being almost? 😉

        “You knew?”
        “We suspected. We theorized. But no, we didn’t know.
        “Give us a break. We might be geniuses but we’re still working half-blind – hard to know what all of these genes do when we don’t know anything about where they came from.”

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Too violent for Hakkai? Such a thing exists? (Grabs popcorn, and Brain Superglue, because I think the ‘three genders’ thing broke my brain)

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Ditto. That would probably make the top five on the ‘Torches and Pitchforks: Why We’re Here for Blood’ list, for when I finally found the virus progenitors. (And yes, I know indulging in a Motive Rant pre-smiling is hazardous to one’s health and success, but COME ON, this is a case where it would just be so tempting!)

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Heh. Human instincts Turned Up To Eleven? Yup. “Imma kill that threat dead, then burn its corpse,” is a very very human reaction.

    But so is, “I’m going to save those people, because I can.” And that latter one often wrecks plans much more than the former.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh hey, a viable reason for Triad ‘verses! And, just, huh. Huh. As to the tinkering done by humans, do they figure something’s up when the Squeakers start triading up? Also, does that mean the, erm, Demi-Shinigami works for me, are tri-gendered as well? (And you just made my crackship possible, wicked thing! There May be Some Collateral Damage influences my headcanon to this day, and I am still sad that so few people have taken to the good ship Ichi/Ruk/Renj.)

    And the Sanzo-ikku is very, very grateful that Sanzo is part of a celibate Order. But Kanzeon pouts sometimes I bet. Can you imagine the chaos she’d manage if she had mini-Sanzo? Dang it, I’ve spent so long thinking of Sanzo as Sanzo, it’s utterly replaced his given name in my head.

    And yay for world building!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Huh. I suspect should have clarified this just in case… while this is a ‘verse with triads, this is definitely not an A/B/O setting. All 3 sexes are necessary for there to be viable results. Let me know if anyone wants the genetic details the bunnies have on how it works!

      And it’s likely the “regular responses” are tri-sexed, yes.

      Ichi/Ruk/Renj is an awesome ship! I’d love to see more of it.

      As for Sanzo… good night, yes. Kanzeon is very pouty about it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nice to have confirmation on A/B/O verse. Those things definitely need the warning label. Most of them are excuses to have implausible attractions/pairings, and a lot of PWP. Never mind the interesting social dynamics, oh no! One of the best ones I’ve seen is a HP/KHR with a fem!O!Harry who objects strenuously and with violence anyone who thinks they can walk all over her. Ok, getting off my soapbox now.

        I have a bit of a soft spot for certain verses where three-person marriages are the norm. I’ve seen those referred to as Triad verses, so, that’s how I think of them.

        …. I just terrified myself with who Urahara and Shihoun would tri up with to breed and how they’d be. And what the kids would be like.

        “I’m a kami and I say you can and should have kids!”
        *rapid gunfire*
        “Merciful Goddess my left foot,” Gojyo ducked. “If she had any concept of mercy, she wouldn’t have done that!”
        and Hakka is smiling his special “the mayhem is good, and I get to kill something” smile.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. You might want to check out the Zerg of Starcraft. They are a psionic hive mind who want to consume everyone and pick the best parts of their genome for incorporation.

    The general response is burn everything where they were and the rest of the planet to be safe.

    Starcraft could have some inspiration for you especially some humans trying to make deals under that table and a psionic race of aliens who have dedicated themselves to trying to stop them, possibly because psionic DNA is the tastiest.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. (Reads over comments) Urahara/Yourichi/Soifon is probably going to become a) cannon and b) a relationship that produces children with genetic material from all parties involved…
    …I need a bigger bunker. Then again, so do the Arrancar progenitors! 😈

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I would stay that I’m relieved but since that would still leave Soifon or Yoruichi, I’m not. Because both of them are terrifying in different ways.

        Through hopefully the Project Universe can avoid those two breaking Soifon’s heart by having to run away and leave her behind.


      1. Maybe because while all of them have a nasty temper, Hiyori can do them one better?

        Plus anything involving Hiyori will at least have Shinji standing around making sarcastic remarks that earns him a shoe thrown at his head.


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