|Lifespan||~300 years (natural, former)|
~50 years (average, current)
~1,000 years (martyrs, current)
~5 minutes—1 week (unharnessed)
|Locomotion||Bipedal sashaying (natural, former)|
Bipedal mechanics (current)
|Feeding Behavior||Omnivore (natural)|
Currently fed liquid diet
|Alignment||Neutral Good (former)|
True Neutral (current)
|Personality||Formerly brilliant and humble, seeking only to aid others. Now, severely depressed and anguished, self-absorbed into one's own work.|
|Affiliation(s)||Vacotor Knowledge Symposium (former)|
|Capital City||Ground Zero|
|“Long ago, the Ahhc suffered from a serious disease that prevented them from carrying young to full-term. It eventually got so bad that fetuses had to be fastened to machines to survive, and this is all that remains of the race; adulthood no longer occurs.”|
|—Vacotor Database, Terran translation|
The Ahhc (pronounced \ɑːk\) are one of the most tragic stories of the Kyklos Galaxy. Once a great and proud people, they prided themselves on their life support systems; not ones for combat, they remained neutral between the many warring factions, selling their life support systems to any faction that requested them as they believed every race deserved to live. While they did not aid the Chaos Legions (which would have simply absorbed them anyway), they actively sought to find a cure for the ailment that infected its many races, seeing the diimonic mutations as a form of mutagenic disease which they dubbed the "Transmogrific Virus".
While they stated that they were on to something with their viral experiments, tragedy struck — the immune systems of their race was suddenly and drastically compromised. At first it was not noticed, and the sickness that spread seemed like a horrible but natural occurrence. As the mortality rates climbed and reached pandemic levels, however, the Ahhc began to panic. They frantically sought a cure for themselves and when a cure did not come, they instead moved on to finding a way to merely survive, hoping that if they could at least survive they could eventually find a cure to end their sickness — this survival method took the form of life support harnesses, small life support systems that aided them in movement as their limbs grew weaker and weaker and held them aloft when they ceased to reach adulthood, all the while prolonging what would otherwise be a short and gruesome existence.
Now the Ahhc survive only by their life support harnesses, which keep them alive by "purifying" their blood stream using nanotechnology, alkaloidic silver, heat and various other properties including but not limited to liquid mercury. It is a painful process and only just works, but they continue to thwart extinction. Most of them have paled skin and cloudy eyes due to the most prolific disease that has come to affect their kind; however, this is far from the only look for them. Some known diseases to affect them are highly similar to the Earth's harlequin-type ichthyosis and elephantiasis. Another disease that affects them as a whole prevents them from sexually maturing, leaving them in their fetal state forever; to combat this they have developed a sort of artificial neoteny, with their life support harnesses taking their DNA when necessary and mixing it with that of another of the opposing gender, combining them in a processing vat to give birth to a new member. There is no longer any celebration at the creation of new Ahhc life, as they see it as almost a curse, due to the suffering the young ones will have to endure over their lifetimes; more often than not they "celebrate" instead through a more funeral-like mourning period.
It is widely assumed that the Ciitarkians had a hand in the sudden loss of the Ahhc immune system, due to their having performed several other horrible and similar experiments on other races (such as destroying the Snapdragon's homeworld and only colony to see how the peaceful giants would react to such a tragedy). However, no direct correlation between the Ahhc tragedy and the Ciitarkians has ever come to light.
Outside of the typical primary disease affecting all Ahhc, a number of them are affected by other diseases as well due to their compromised immune systems. Those currently named are listed below, with short descriptions of each.
Harlequin Ahhcs are the worst-off of the species. Infected with a congenital ichthyosis, they are badly infected with bacteria-equivalents. Their machinery keeps them alive, albeit suffering horribly.
Some Ahhc suffer from a condition similar to trisomy 21, possessing an even further state of neoteny then their brethren. A drop in cognitive ability prevents them from being able to enroll as scientists.
A handful of Ahhc suffer from a condition analogous with sirenomelia. These beings have had their legs fused into one, causing problems with their kidney-equivalents. Were it not for life support, they would die within a day.
Even a disease analogous to elephantiasis is a relatively common occurrence in the Ahhc. Surprisingly, it causes very little problems in comparison to other subtypes. They flex their legs constantly due to suffering from chafing.
- Lifestyle: Social scientists
- Affiliations: Formerly, Vacotor Knowledge Symposium; they have since regretfully pulled themselves back to focus on finding the cure for their people, though they will desperately accept aid whenever they can.
- Locomotive capabilities: Naturally evolved to walk upright bipedally with a graceful stride sometimes mistaken by others for an air of superiority. Since their "genophage" they are forced to move about using their life support harness' bipedal legs, which move in a much less fluid style than their previous one.
- Average size: Adults were roughly 9ft tall, although they were thin as well. Since their "genophage" they are now significantly smaller in size — roughly 2ft from crown to tip-toe — due to their fetal forms; however, their life support harnesses make them look significantly larger than they actually are, although they are still shorter than their former size.
- Average lifespan: Formerly, an Ahhc would live naturally to a ripe old age of ~300. Nowadays, they can live 50 years, although this is mainly due to granting mercy to the suffering — those who are far too important to die "martyr" themselves, allowing their life support harnesses to keep them barely alive and functional for perhaps thousands of years. These martyrs are few and far between, however. If one was to disconnect from their harness, their average lifespan would fall within the range of 5 minutes to a week. Some Ahhc commit suicide by doing just this, purposefully aiding one another by unhooking each other's life support systems; there is no punishment whatsoever for attempting this and surviving, and aiding someone with an assisted suicide is not illegal. If an Ahhc cannot take the suffering any longer, they are allowed to choose to die. Roughly all wish they could do the same thing, but don't due to their responsibility weighing on them of saving their people.
- Defenses: Formerly, Ahhc had very powerful immune systems, which led them to create life support in the first place when they realized other races beyond their world did not necessarily have similar properties. All weapon technology created was also built for defense rather than offense. Since the "genophage", however, they possess absolutely no defenses whatsoever — not even an immune system. They are now barely kept alive and conscious by their life support harnesses; were they not such technological geniuses in the field, they would have gone extinct many years ago.
- Weapons: An Ahhc's only natural weapons are its razor-sharp teeth, used in consuming food. This mouth is no longer used, however, outside of rasping and gasping for air.
- Manipulatory devices: An Adult Ahhc had use of a pair of hands to manipulate its surroundings. Modern Ahhc are generally incapable of moving their arms much, and even when they can their life support harnesses are equipped with large but delicate arms to grasp and manipulate for them.
- Method of eating: They are fed a liquid diet through their life support harnesses and are equipped with nodules hooked into their brains to allow auditory speech processed through the harness simply by thought. The machine however knows the difference between what the body wants to say and what it wants to think, thereby keeping their people from needing to constantly talk about their excruciating suffering. The liquid sustenance passes into their blood stream directly — there is no waste.
- Reproductive rate: 0%. The Ahhc can no longer breed by conventional means.
- Gestation: An Ahhc created in vitro will take roughly a month to be ready for birth. The machines can do little to stabilize the process to attempt to properly achieve adulthood once more.
- Number of offspring: 1 Ahhc is created per tube at any given time.
- Offspring survival rate (before age of maturity): Technically, 0% as Ahhc no longer can reach maturity. However, in terms of survival rate until birthing and subsequent sapience, roughly 80% survive the in vitro process to be fitted with a harness. Not that it will be much of a life for them, however.
- The Ahhc were created and officially given a name on May 8th, 2011.