Space holds innumerable dangers to overcome in traversing its vast expanse, but none are as insidiously dedicated to destruction as the silent hunter known as the charybdis devourer. Floating through space, these creatures, which appear to be mere asteroids, are in truth predators of the void seeking any solid matter they can find for sustenance. They hunt through the appearance of harmlessness and calculated manipulation of the force of gravity to bring both starships and minor astral bodies to their doom.
Typical Charybdis Devourer
Agility 1D: flying/0-G 3D
Mechanical 1D: navigation: space 8D
Strength 6D: stamina 14D
Knowledge 2D: astrography 5D, intimidation 7D, survival: space 4D
Perception 3D: search 5D+2
Strength Damage: 3D
Move: 4 (space units; space only)
Fate Points: 0
Character Points: 0
Body Points: 28
Wound levels: 3
Natural Abilities: armor (Armor Value +1D); ram (damage +6D); gravity manipulation (see description); energy detection (search may be used like sensors); can survive in space; large size (scale value 40)
The charybdis devourer has a unique and brutally effective hunting technique: It has the ability to manipulate its own gravitational field, increasing it co such proportions that it warps space and draws other objects toward it at great speed. Once smashed upon the rocky exterior, all matter is slowly absorbed into the organism with no chance of escape. Despite this fact, legends of people living on the surface of a devourer still persist. In addition, the creature can apparently use its abilities with gravity to find space lanes or inhabited systems and travel there at great speeds. How it does this is yet to be discovered, but it’s theorized that the devourer can actually create wormholes and travel to any location within the galaxy.
Most encounters with a devourer are typically short and simple: If a vessel is at the outside of the devourer’s gravity field and detects the creature with a Heroic sensors roll, the ship’s captain would do well to retreat and live to tell the tale. Otherwise, if the ship is 30,000 kilometers away or closer, the devourer senses the vessel and increases its personal gravity field suddenly. The ship is pulled toward it at a rate of 1,000 kilometers per round. This assumes the ship is trying to reverse thrust against the gravity field.
Ships have survived the encounter one of two ways. The first is to blast the devourer to pieces with its weapons (not usually an option for small craft). However, without careful piloting through the debris, the strange, amoeba-like bio-matter can lodge itself in the hulls of ships and become a great problem to systems. Disabled starships that have been infested with charybdis rock eventually become devourers themselves as the mass grows and absorbs the matter of the ship.
Light ships and fighters must attempt to steer into the devourer, increasing thrust to maximum, and divert course at the last moment, using the gravity well as a slingshot to allow it to escape the well. (This requires a Heroic piloting roll.) Capital ships have no chance of attempting this maneuver, but fast escape pods and shuttles might.
Apparently, the charybdis devourer is not only the enemy of space travelers, but of the inhabitants of the space itself. Pods of starwhals have been sighted attacking devourers ferociously. They ram large devourers, breaking pieces off and eating them. In this way, their furnace-like bellies surely destroy the bio-matter.
The true power of the devourer lies not entirely in its manipulation of gravity bur in anonymity; Several species have little or no knowledge of these creatures, thus allowing the devourer to hunt in some areas unchallenged. Moreover, only a few dozen of them have been discovered in the charted galaxy; thus hunting them is very difficult among the billions of normal asteroids that are out there. This leads to a false sense of security; after all, an encounter with a charybdis devourer is a once in a lifetime event … typically the last event in a lifetime.