- 1 Arachnid Castes
- 1.1 Soldier Bugs
- 1.2 Worker Bugs
- 1.3 Brain Bug
- 1.4 Queen bug
- 1.5 Overseer Bugs
Arachnids, or pseudo-arachnids, are humanity's greatest enemy by far. Their defining trait is the ability to manipulate the genetic code of the offspring, creating new kinds of bugs - adapting to SICON's tactics and weaponry. Below lies a list of all Arachnid sub-species currently known to SICON.
The soldier bugs category comprises all subspecies designed mainly for combat, including warrior bugs and all known variations. Soldier bugs are those charged with attack and vigilance tasks. They have the ability to recognise enemies of the hive through their chemical odour, warning the colony so the brains become aware of the threat and begin issuing orders to counter it. During long periods without war, most soldier bugs undertake hunting or scouting roles, though some of the more specialised breeds (such as plasma or blister bugs) have literally no use at all beyond warfare – this is one reason why they are comparatively rare compared to warriors.Warrior bugs act as infantry within the immense armies of the Arachnid Empire. They can be bred quickly and with ease - the process that provides a fully grown warrior bug to the hive from a mere egg takes just six days. They have no fear, or any feelings or desires outside of serving their queen or the brain bug. The warriors can survive in very harsh environments, including the vacuum of space. They can also climb vertical surfaces, or burrow deep in the sand. Overall, it is the enemy the regular infantrymen should not underestimate - and above all, remain outside of the melee range as bugs are absolutely deadly in close quarters combat.
Tiger Warrior Bug
Tiger Warriors are a stronger variant of the regular Warriors. They are much more agressive and have chitinous armor plates that provide them with protection against bullets. They take longer to breed than Warriors. Despite the tigers being somewhat elite troops among the arachnids, they fight alongside them and seemingly serve no separate role within the hive, like the Pathfinders do within SICON.
Water Tiger Bug
A deviation from a rippler bug, these bugs are able to navigate the depths with ease. Those bugs are a common sight on the planets where bug colonies have access to water. The paralyzing venom of a Water Tiger is another tool the bugs use to take prisoners, though usually the troopers caught by the tiger are murdered and the bug quickly moves onto the other.
Rippler bugs are flying bugs similiar to Hopper bugs, except they also possess an ability to swim underwater and shoot venomous spikes from their mouths. The spikes themselves exude a corrosive venom which burns the flesh and melts down any equipment it comes into contact with. Generally attack in swarms, and rarely alone due to their small size and vulnerability.
Believed to be the second most numerous combatant after the warriors, Hoppers can be found in nearly every colony. Essentially a Warrior with wings, Hoppers are able to fly, and maintain such great speeds it allows them to keep up and attack the dropships of the Fleet, or TAC fighters. Hoppers can be devastating against ground forces, often leaping down from rocks or diving in from the skies, slicing troopers apart at great speeds, or even decapitate anyone not keeping their head down. When massed in great numbers, they're able to effectively deny any air support the MI might get.
A variation of Hopper Bugs, Firefies are essentially Hoppers with the ability to breathe fire in the fashion similiar to Tankers. The sticky burning liqiud melts troopers down and sets structures on fire with ease - troopers must be vigilant and exercise extreme caution when dealing with Fireflies.
Cliffmites are bugs that fill in the role of snipers. Often found latched onto rock formations, cliffmites swallow pebbles and stones, heat them up, and fire at the MI at extremely high speeds. Most of the times, it's lethal - headshots especially. Cliffmites can also dig into the rocks to ambush the MI, or cut apart lizard lines and hooks if they can reach them.
Tanker bugs are the main assault sub-species used in frontal attacks. They're strong, and well-armored to such an extent that Morita rounds simply bounce off of its thick carapace - usually it takes a volley of rockets to pierce through the armor, and an additional salvo to take it out. Tanker bugs are known to be able to tunnel and burrow themselves beneath the sand, laying ambushes for the MI or joining the warriors in their surprise attacks. Additionally, tankers can launch a stream of highly volatile chemical which is ignited by a self-generated electrical charge at the base of its mouth. Said stream is able to melt down flesh, armor, weaponry and fortifications fairly quickly. Arachnids also use Tankers that aren't fully grown as walking flamethrowers; their armor is considerably weaker and the acid they spit is less potent: it will cause severe burns in most cases instead of killing the victim outright. Those tankers are called Infant Tankers, or baby tankers.
Plasma bugs are the artillery of Arachnids. They have a large abdomen within which a plasma ball is formed, and then discharged toward the orbit. The strength of one plasma ball is big enough to redirect an asteroid, or cause severe damage to a battleship - a lucky hit can even slice it in half. Dropships and even full TAC squadrons caught in the balls are vaporized instantly. By using a smaller charge of plasma, the bug can fire it in an arc onto the ground at a range of one to five miles, thus enabling the possibilities of artillery strikes against MI in the open and MI installations and fortifications. Plasma bugs also serve another vital role within the hive - they launch the spores and eggs into space, thus serving to expand the Arachnid Empire. Plasma bugs that aren't fully grown are used as support artillery for the attacks on the MI. They can fire small plasma balls to a relatively short distance, and spew liquid blue plasma (with the same effects that the tanker's acid is known for) at the troopers that are brave enough to approach them. These plasma bugs are called Infant Plasma Bugs, or baby plasmas.
Control bugs or (charlie bravos as the MI call them) are the species of Arachnids bred with the sole purpose - gaining control over a human host. The infection generally is carried over by a control bug climbing into the body of its victim through the mouth, and then attaching itself to either the brain or the spinal cord. Once that happens, the victim is essentially dead, leaving only the husk of its body to be controlled by the bug - there is no way to remove a bug without destroying what's left of the victim in the process. Since it's extremely hard to tell apart the normal human from the host of a control bug, there're a few things the troopers should pay attention to:
- addiction to sugar
- stuttering, especially stuttering that progresses with time
- deterioration of the physical body (blackened skin, reddened eyes)
- damaged, scratched throat or mouth (on the inside)
Psychics are also able to feel the presence of a control bug by interacting with the host.
Rhino Bugs is a surprisingly fast Arachnid that attacks the enemy and tramples or rams them to death, or gouging it with its huge horned tusk. Their thick frontal carapace makes them invulnerable to headon and flank attacks, including rocket salvos. However, the rear is significantly less armored and is thus prone to Morita fire.
Royal Warrior Bug
Royal Warriors are one of the biggest and most fearsome enemies the Arachnids have to offer. Their size competes with the one of a plasma bug. Royal bugs are extremely tough and deadly, and nothing short of atomics or sustained fire of an entire platoon of MI - the more the better - can bring it down. Infantry is discouraged from entering a fight with royals if they're in close proximity due to its size and high mobility. Smaller, not fully grown versions of royals exist. They are called royal infants or baby royals (pictured on the right) and are nearly as deadly as the royals themselves despite their size.
Elite Tiger Bug
Elite Tigers have roughly the same appearance as Tigers, however their armor is much stronger, and they possess the ability to spit acid. Generally, they attack from a distance but are easily provoked into a charge. Those are the most dangerous variants of Warrior bugs, and they should be respected in a fight.
Sentinels are bugs that are often found within the tunnels of an Arachnid colony. They pose no harm to the MI on their own, however, upon being approached, it emits a bright light, blinding anyone nearby. Warriors and Tigers that are often located in close proximity to Sentinels then move in and slaughter the blinded prey.
Blaster bugs are reddish-orange in color, they are approximately three meters in length, with the anterior section ending in a huge gaping maw from which they can (and will) spray a flammable liquid that can burn at temperatures exceeding 500° Celsius. Swarms of Blasters can simultaneously fire large amounts of this fuel in synchronized bursts to create massive firestorms capable of fusing soil into a glass-like surface, but they can also generate enough residual heat to collectively form a dome-shaped heat shield that can actually successfully destroy incoming ballistics.
These include not only worker bugs proper, but also all ‘task’ breeds with speciﬁ c abilities, suited for a single role, such as minions, breeders and nursers. Workers are charged with building and maintaining the colony, as well as labours of transport, foraging, storage and harvest.
Worker bugs are physically indistinguishable from warriors, which confuses most of the troopers in a fight. Their role is to construct the huge tunnels within the arachnid colonies, though they may also undertake other roles if there's need for that. Worker bugs are the source of the famed 'sizzling bacon' sound, the sound of them clawing against the bare rock and sand with remarkable speed. Worker bugs almost never attack, unless they are provoked or if the colony is so desperate, it's sending virtually everything at the MI. If there's at least one warrior bug in the nearby area, the worker bug will likely not respond to the attacks on the assumption the warriors will protect it.
Chariot bugs, or Arkellian Sand Beetles, are a low-ranking member of the Arachnid hives. Their primary purpose is to carry Brain Bugs around, although they can often be found wandering around freely in the tunnels, near the hive entrances, or simply out in the open. Killing a chariot will most often prompt a violent responce from the colony, which will send a swarm in retaliation for the death of a single chariot. Why exactly does this happen is still unknown to SICON. It is assumed, however, that the death of a Chariot Bug emits certain hormones which aggravate nearby castes. Another theory is that the Chariots, or their premature demise, has specific effects on the Arachnid's hivemind.
Brain bugs are the most important bugs within the colony, its heart and mind, the de facto rulers of most colonies, taking most of the administrative decisions and giving direct commands to other bugs. The inﬂuence of brain bugs was so clear and pervasive that they were long thought to be the only authority of hives, with queens being nothing but a reasonable theory until their existence was ﬁnally proved. . They oversee and command virtually all of the bugs in the colony they were born in, and thus they rarely see combat and are extremely well protected. Moreover, the brains use their intellect to analyze their enemies, and then retaliate based on the knowledge they gain - be it the predators of the planet the newly formed colony is based upon or a MI invasion force. Brain bugs are also able to obtain the knowledge, memories, and experiences of their victims by quite literally sucking their brains out with their main proboscis. Once the humans make their presence on the planet known, brain bugs will immediately attempt to assess the strength and firepower of the invaders, expending warriors in the process. After that, the search for weakpoints and formulation of the strategy begins. This process is expedited by captured humans, whose knowledge is assimilated and used against the invaders instantly. If one of the MI officers falls victim to a brain bug, catastrophic consequences will follow for the entire force. In addition to that, brain bugs are known to possess psychic powers which they can and will use against the MI. Thus, the brain bugs are the most dangerous enemies the MI will encounter on the battlefield, despite their inability to fight directly.
A single brain bug is capable of controlling a small colony and several brains are able to link their abilities to command much larger colonies. Given enough brain bugs, any size of colony can be run effectively, as if a queen was present. Once a colony grows large enough to support a queen, existing brains will move into a more subservient role, ﬁltering the administrative needs of the colony and taking command of individual swarms in battle. Without brain bugs, the queen would be overloaded with the neural feedback of the millions of bugs depending directly on her control. SICON scientists believe this would cause the queen to go mad or die, which would in turn throw the colony into disarray.
The supreme commander of the largest colonies and probably the rulers of the entire Arachnid race, a queen is surrounded by breeders, guards and overseer bugs, rarely leaving the heart of the colony. The queen remains in contact with the entire colony, which may span an entire planet or even, in theory, a star system, giving orders, organising forces and analysing telepathically-transmitted data on the life forms and worlds encountered by its minions. The queen maintains its contact via a psychic link with brains and overseers all through the colony, who function as representatives and help with the direct control of lesser bugs.
A queen bug is also charged with producing speciﬁ c chemicals by which the Arachnids of its colony communicate and identify one another. These chemicals also make the bugs more receptive to psychic commands and keep their more savage impulses in check. Without a queen or brain bug in control, Arachnids are usually thrown into chaos, each becoming an isolated, confused individual with little idea of what to do beyond its basest instincts.
When a queen bug feels its death is approaching, it transmits a psychic command, lasting just a few seconds, for the nurser bugs of the colony to allow a new queen to mature. This ensures that even the largest colony can survive almost unhindered in its progress, even when suffering the ultimate tragedy of losing its queen bug.
If brain bugs are the administrators and generals of the Arachnids, overseer bugs are its lieutenants and taskmasters. An overseer is often found in the midst of large warrior or worker swarms, giving direct orders not possible for remote brains. Without overseers, practical and direct command of warrior and worker swarms would bring unnecessary risk to brain bugs, forcing them into the gun sights of enemies. A colony can spare several overseer bugs far more than it can sustain the loss of a single mature brain.
The presence of overseer bugs allows for much larger colonies, as their co-ordination of tasks is invaluable in reducing the workload for brain bugs. Without the hierarchy of queen, brains and overseers, a ‘Bug Central’ sized colony would simply not be possible.