For the Involved polity, see Changer (polity).

The Changers are a pan-human species known for their ability to masquerade as other pan-humans by biologically altering their appearance. The Changers became extinct during the Idiran-Culture War.

History[edit | edit source]

The Changer subspecies was the result of deliberate military engineering during the course of an ancient war. Details of the conflict were lost or hidden by Idiran-Culture War.[1] Their numbers decreased over time[2] to the extent that some believed they were extinct by the outbreak of the Idiran-Culture War.[3]

Changers were not tied to a single allegiance during the Idiran-Culture War. In 1331 CE, the Culture employed one female[4], but this was unknown to the Idirans.[5] That year the Culture agent was deployed half a year from Schar's World on a mission unrelated to the war.[4] At the same time the Changer Horza, an Idiran agent, was en route to Schar's World to capture a Culture Mind. Others served as neutral caretakers on Dra'Azon Planets of the Dead.[5]

The species became extinct in the final phase of space fighting during the Idiran-Culture War.[6]

Physiology[edit | edit source]

Changers were equipped with natural toxic weaponry.

Their venom-teeth poison affected the central nervous system and slowed the target.[7] The venom-teeth regrew if removed but took 20 days to be usable.[8] The poison could also be spat.[9]

The glands under the fingernails secreted a poison which paralysed muscles sequentially from the point of entry.[7] There were glands for lethal and non-lethal applications.[10]

They could also acid-sweat to break bonds, but excessive acid-sweating could injure the Changer body through chemical imbalances.[9]

A Changer could poison and kill themselves with their own teeth with some internal preparation.[9]

Changing[edit | edit source]

Changing required special training. Changers who had no desire to learn or practice Changing were called dormant Changers.[11] Conscious preparation, including sending deliberate signals from brain to body, was required. Preparations included readying glands and cell groups, and relaxing muscles.[9]

Changers formed a mental self-image of what they wanted to Change into which was constantly reviewed on the semi-subconscious level. Holding this image induced the body to Change. Once the image was released the body returned to its default state.[5] Changers could enter a self-induced trance state to facilitate the Change.[2]

An option was for a total genetic transcription which left only the Changer's brain and gonads unaltered.[11]

The end result of the Change could affect the Changer's strength and resilience. Changing back to the default state might require several days and heavy eating to regain mass.[8]

Other humanoid species found the Changers disturbing not so much for their ability to alter their physical appearance, but for the behavioural mimicking necessary to make any masquerade convincing. This mimicking was learned by observing the target. Changers were seen as a threat to individuality and identity. They were liable to be eliminated by those who ruled by force of will or arms.[7]

Known Changers[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Consider Phlebas, State of play: three
  2. 2.0 2.1 Consider Phlebas, chapter 1
  3. Consider Phlebas, chapter 8
  4. 4.0 4.1 Consider Phlebas, State of play: one
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Consider Phlebas, chapter 2
  6. Consider Phlebas, Dramatis personae
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Consider Phlebas, chapter 3
  8. 8.0 8.1 Consider Phlebas, chapter 4
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Consider Phlebas, chapter 6
  10. Consider Phlebas, chapter 7
  11. 11.0 11.1 Consider Phlebas, chapter 5
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.