The Quud

The Contactor, We’ll Get It Right This Time has made contact with a non-hominin species we are calling “Quud”, named after our own Rn-Amajhan’s description in his home language of Ough. The last several years has provided both We’ll Get It Right This Time and the Quud herd-fleet, [Poet’s name]’s First Migration with ample time to begin translating each other’s databases and folkways.

Here follows a summary for the layreader.


Evolutionary History

The ancestors of the Quud evolved in the “marsh-oceans” of their crêche-planet — which we’re callig “Quud-Home” until we find a way to accurately translate their symbol for it — and much of their society reflects their respect for those biomes.

Their legs initially evolved to spread their weight across the spongy, wet ground on which they lived. This variable weight distribution allowed them an upright posture that let them see farther than the low-lying predators common in the marsh regions. Since then, the ends of their feet, originally for paddling and walking, have evolved into large, five-fingered, double-thumbed hands, giving them the ability to first wield weapons against predators, and then tools.

Eventually, Quud migrated to firmer ground and have since developed “hooves” on their elbows, freeing their hands for gross manipulation. This allowed them to spread throughout the steep-sided river valleys of their home continent, which they eventually built into their meandering city-roads.

Many members of their society remain in marshes as a matter of ancestral pride, a living history that they share with pilgrims.

Life Cycle

Quud reproduce with an egg-laying r-strategy, hatching and taking root in the spongy mat of marsh life from which they draw nutrients. They grow rapidly from their 4mm hatchling size, and when they reach 20 centimeters a year later (.7 Academy-standard years), they uproot themselves to go in search of nearby food. Once found by their returning herd, they again experience a growth spurt, growing to three meters in height over just a few deciyears, after which they migrate again with their herd. The subsequent year, they will join the mating with their fellows.


Their Quud’s body follows a vertical fourfold-symmetrical pattern very similar to their contemporary, nonsapient species. Below their columnar bodies dangle their many, flexible tentacle mouthparts that double as hermaphroditic sexual organs. They use these mouthparts to forage through the marsh, using their sensitive tips to find food by both touch and smell.

Each vertical pair of eyes includes a far-focused, wide-angle upper eye and a macro-focused lower eye. Below the lower eye stretch the tentacles that clean and protect the eyes, several of which have evolved into fine manipulators capable of holding small and delicate objects. Two longer, stronger tentacles have grown long enough to pass objects back and forth from the large hands. Like their mouthparts, these tentacle organs can regrow if harmed, and sometimes fall off spontaneously, to regrow again over the course of a few days.

The Quud communicate by both gesture of hand and tentacle, and through chemical signals released from the mouthparts and fingertips. These chemical signals seem to directly convey memories, thoughts, and ideas, and make their ego boundaries unusually permeable.


Annually, herds gather in large, festive conclaves to share stories, bring laboriously prepared food brought from across their migratory path, and puff out “pollen” into the air. The pollen sticks to their sticky, egg-carrying mouthpart tentacles, where it combines with their eggs. When in a marsh, the fertilized eggs fall off and either take root, fail to germinate, or are consumed by wildlife.

The following year, herds return and adopt newly hatched young. Each Quud finds their own offspring by smell. However, newly-hatched young will often mimic the smell of others, increasing their likelihood of adoption. Modern Quud recognize that many of their offspring are not their own descendants, but recognize no distinction between adopted and genetic children.

Having traveled space for almost three Earth millennia now, they have turned to artificial marshes in which to grow their young. However, they retain their annual festival, at which they prepare and eat all but a few of the fertilized eggs as a delicacy.

There are three main groups of Quud language, though all combine gesture and chemical signals. Most speak both their home language and a pan-species “common” language that they call “Stones”. Our linguists infer that it conveys more concrete information than their main languages, which they call “Correct” or “Moist” language. When our contactor member Gozjuketshr inquired after written examples of Stones, the herd-fleet [Poet’s Name’s] First Migration gave her copies of what she infers are economic formulae, leading her to believe that they use the language for objective description only.

Philosophically, linguistically, and culturally, they tend toward holistic, system-based solutions. As a result of a drastic philosophical revolution that occurred three millennia ago, they have gained the techniques required to reduce problems to linear sets of solutions. Such thought requires extensive study and training. Such training, called “migration”, is the source of much of their technological development, including most aspects of their space travel systems.

Their philosophical outlook has given them a deep understanding of complex, dynamical systems, such as weather systems and their own vast, democracy-like political system. They have used this outlook to avoid the industrial-age maladies that cause many civilizations to malthuse into their own collapse, and has given them a dynamically stable population of societies that has lasted over 100,000 years.

Quud communication technology relies heavily on broadcast radio. They seem to have a suspicion of forms of communication that not all can receive, and so make only carefully considered decisions to allow for point-to-point communication, based on the energy requirements of the transmission.

They make heavy use of digital and quantum computers, with an emphasis on an address packet-like communication system for communicating between components of their networks.

For reasons we do not yet understand, they make little use of genetic modification of their own forms. They expressed confusion when Gefutshr inquired on the matter.

Their space vehicles approach zero waste heat through a system we do not yet understand. This allows their large herd-fleets to travel in groups of ten to twenty ships, each carrying five to twenty individuals, at speeds approaching .3c. They make use of the knot network, but their travel does not cause the disruption that our gate technology does, allowing them far greater freedom of movement than we have.


We eagerly anticipate further contact with the Quud, and they, we believe, with the Academy. We hope that we have found a society with compatible desires to our own and look forward to learning from their far-greater experience in exploration and contact

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