The Slaver Mantoids are an intelligent, space-faring race of insectoid origin that are the primary antagonists in Ostragoth’s ongoing fic-in-progress, Estrangsters. The Slaver Mantoids (also known as just 'Mantoids') are known to exist in at least three universes within the Daria Multiverse
- in the AU-universe identified as 'D-289' in Estrangsters (the first universe they were seen to inhabit)
- in a divergent AU-universe of D-289 identified as 'D-15' (the universe viewed in the Brother Grimace fic Behind Enemy Lines)
- In the Legion of Lawndale Heroes universe (identified as 'D-247')
(NOTE: The following information is confirmed to apply fully only to the Mantoid race as seen in 'D-15' and 'D-247'. The Mantoids in 'D-289' are strikingly similar (particularly in their base appetite for consuming humans, and their base psi-ability), but may not possess differing technology/capabilities, background, and motivations.)
Nothing of the Slaver Mantoid’s history is known at this point, except that they are a race that lives by enslaving and and using other intelligent and semi-intelligent races to do their bidding. From what has been seen of their vessels (see Spacecraft entry), it is safe to assume that they are a race that has acted to forcibly appropriate advanced technology for their own use, rather than create their own. It is also safe to assume that the Mantoids have been aware of Earth and humans for at least sixty years (as the first reports of 'flying saucers' were in the post World War II period), and have been abducting humans for at least that long, if not longer.
The term 'Slaver Mantoids' was coined by human slaves aboard their vessels. The true name of their race is currently unknown.
Slaver Mantoids resemble the Earth insects known as the praying mantis. Their bodies have a greenish hue and average six to seven feet in height, with each Mantoid possessing distinct physical markings that distinguish it from others of its race. Their have large, protruding eyes that afford them a far greater field of vision than human beings. Slaver Mantoids are physically superior to baseline-normal humans, as they have been observed to move in a normal fashion with the speed of a jogging human (estimated top speeds of a Mantoid range to between 40-60 mph), and have perhaps proportional strength, as they have been seen to tear apart human bodies with ease. Their mandibles also possess great strength, as a Mantoid was observed biting the top of a human skull off with ease before consuming the human body.
The Mantoids are not indestructible, and have been shown to be vulnerable to even moderate physical attacks, with attacks of high levels of physical or concussive force delivering instant death. (This may be one reason as to why the Slaver Mantoids have not attempted a direct invasion of Earth, as even the weapons humans have at present would allow them to mount an effective defense.)
The Mantoids also seem to prefer a gravitational force roughly three-fourths that of normal Earth gravity, and their bodies are very vulnerable to even slight shifts in gravity. Mantoid deaths due to being subjected to sudden gravitation shifts are not unknown, and working in area that may be subject to these possible shifts (landing bays, zero- and low-gravity passageways, transfer points between some vessels, etc.) are considered punishment details for serious infractions not meriting summary execution.
Slaver Mantoids are possessed of psionic abilities, possibly as an evolutionary adaptation in response to their lack of a vocal apparatus that could correspond with their evolving intellect. It is these psi-abilities which have allowed the Mantoids to enslave and terrorize other races. At present, they have demonstrated several distinct abilities.
- All Mantoids are telepathic.
- All Mantoids possess the ability to form a telepathic link with humans (and possibly other creatures) in order to communicate. This ability can be used through physical contact
- All Mantoids possess the ability to psionically control other creatures. While they can control humans (and other alien races) from an (as-yet unspecified) distance, the control is nearly irresistible when a Mantoid is in physical contact with a victim. This mental control has varying levels of success upon humans, some of whom are resistant or even immune to this control.
- All Mantoids possess the ability to experience the sensory input experienced by other species (especially humans) by means of a sensory link. The Mantoids do not need to be in physical contact, but must be at least within 5-20 feet (roughly the size of a room) of their target to establish the sensory link. It does not seem that the link can be reversed, or that other beings can receive information from the Mantoids through the link.
- All Mantoics seem to have no innate detection abilities to detect human (humanoid?) telepaths, and are incredibly sensitive to the effects of psi-capable humans (this may be one reason why the effort to breed psi-power potentials out if their slave population has come about.
- All Mantoids show evidence of also being capable of a low-level form of broadcast empathy, as they can seem to project their current emotional state while using their mental control.
The Mantoids are currently engaged in a breeding program in order to breed the mental resistance trait out of humans. (See Mantoid Breeding Program.)
The Slaver Mantoids seem to consider all other races they encounter as property or lesser animals with which they can do as they see fit, and seem to harbor no consideration for the self-determination or rights of other races. They have a pronounced interest in humans, as they see the human race as valuable animals; useful for work of various forms, as conscripted combat troops, and as a food source. It is not known if humans are a primary source, but humans are a preferred choice when possible, with newborn infants especially valued as a priced delicacy. Mantoids seem to prefer live prey, and also seem to relish the psychic sensations of fear and terror from their victims as much as consuming their bodies. If a Mantoid has a choice between live prey, deceased beings or flora, they will always choose the live prey, and then fauna. Only Mantoids on the verge of starvation will consume deceased bodies. This seems to be part of their value system, and to do do is a social taboo to the extent that many Mantoids would allow themselves to expire rather than consume the dead (no matter how recent the time of death). Mantoids also consider cannibalism to be a severe taboo, which is partly why the use of some insect-based materials (honey and royal jelly) is also considered an illicit activity.
While the majority of Mantoids see humans (and other races) as cattle at best, some have a predilection to forcibly use human slaves as an extension of themselves to experience the pleasurable sensations of human sexual activity. This may add to the theory that the Mantoids (like many creatures) are sexually active only for the purposes of reproduction, as most Mantoids and the slave races consider this behavior perverse, and such individuals are considered deviants to normal Mantoid society.
Mantoids prize newborn human infants for their flavor, and engage in ritual fights of dominance for the right to consume them. These fights can take place at any time once a human female begins to go into labor, and are usually fought only to the point of capitulation, as Mantoids do not believe in harming one another. However, since many Mantoids refuse to surrender (it is a point of personal pride to refuse to capitulate), many are wounded or even killed in these fights. The only instances where Mantoids will deliberately execute one of their own is to remove a ‘behavioral deviant’ from the community or to punish a Mantoid for the death of a female human (the Mantoids place supreme value upon the lives of breeder age females – women between the ages of 15 to 35) or of a human infant. (However, exceptions are made with females designated as workers in order to establish dominance and terror over other humans. This is accepted - albeit grudgingly so - and the Mantoid that does so must share his/her kill with others.) Occasionally, in order to deny a victor the spoils of his honorable victory, a defeated Mantoid will react by killing (or attempting to kill) either the newborn or the woman before she gives birth. This is considered (at present) one of the greatest crimes a Mantoid can commit (for it is considered a waste of food and a strike against the victor's honor), and is punished in the slowest, most grotesque and dishonorable manner possible. While some Mantoids hace been executed by being ejected into space, the worst of all possible executions is for the Mantoid to be bound, placed in an open area and then set upon by human slaves, who are free to do whatever they see fit without fear of retaliation.
Luck and other superstitions
A curious aberration to Mantoid society is that the Mantoids are very superstitious, to the point that it overrides almost everything else about their attitudes. Superstitious beliefs hold a very strong place in Mantoid society; for example, the concept of 'good luck' and 'bad luck' is so strong that a Mantoid who is believed to be possessed of 'bad luck' could possibly be killed by other Mantoids, in order to prevent that bad luck from somehow being transmitted to other Mantoids. Conversely, Mantoids who have managed to demonstrate that they are somehow possessed of 'good luck' are revered and move up in all facets of Mantoid society, including the opportunity to select better breeding partners (in the belief that the offspring will be born with the potential for greater luck).
The Mantoids realize that some humans are possessed of 'good and bad luck' to the point of being considered 'cursed' or 'blessed' beings; in these cases, the Mantoids will either try to keep that human near at all times (in the case of humans with good luck) or simply pretend that the human doesn't exist (in the case of bad luck). However, they will blanch at even the mention of killing that human, for fear of catastrophe; in the case that they capture such a human, he or she is treated as kindly as possible, allowed a measure of free movement and is not allowed to come to any harm, but is not allowed to go free (as the escape of a 'cursed' human is seen as a omen of catastrophe for the Mantoids).
The primary diet of the Mantoids (aside from human beings) is unknown, but could not possibly consist of only human beings, as then their raids would have been of such a magnitude that their existence would have become public knowledge. It is now known that they can and do consume the bodies of other alien races, including the Gnomes, but prefer humans because of their superior flavor and projections of feat and horror (as apex predators, the realized concept of being eaten becomes a primal human fear). They do maintain massive agricultural areas aboard The Habitat, and are known to enjoy the taste of many Terran-stock fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Several versions of pollen, as well as honey, are used by the Mantoids as forms of narcotic substances. Freshly extracted honey has been shown to have the same narcotic effects on Mantoids as highly-potent forms of marijuana do on humans, and ‘royal jelly’ - when its creation is manipulated from bee colonies through a series of aerosol-based hormonal therapies – possesses the same physical and psychological effects as cocaine.
There are several areas within the agricultural fields where illicit substances such as marijuana are grown for select humans and Mantoids (who are susceptible to the drug’s effects in liquid form or when mixed with honey), and where several small bee colonies are kept. These illegal stashes are tended to by only the most loyal and trusted human workers (outside of The Watched), and are rewarded with better food, the opportunity to read confiscated materials, and are protected from unwanted sexual advances.
As mentioned before, the Slaver Mantoids do not seem to possess the ability to conceive and/or construct advanced technology, preferring to capture and commandeer the technologies of other races. However, the technology that they have is quite advanced, far beyond the level of modern-day Earth technologies known to the general public.
The Mantoids have mastered the art and science of human medicine, having the ability to genetically alter human physiological makeup and the psionic potentials inherent within the species, as well as effectively cure the majority of most human ailments and conditions. The Mantoids have the ability to synthesize a solution very similar to Delmitrium-157, which not only purges the human body of all impurities but also (if used to excess) acts as a narcotic with an extremely high potential for addiction. The Mantoids make this drug freely available for all humans, as doing so has several advantages.
- Humans who become addicted to the drug ‘purge’ themselves of even decades of contamination, and become as flavorful as newborns to Mantoids. After continued heavy use, their body puts off a strong scent that, to Mantoids, is very intoxicating and indicative of that human’s flavor. Human males reaching this point will be eaten after they are bred one last time to several female workers (once those females are known to have conceived).
- Mantoids have a ‘scale of taste’ concerning humans (much like the USDA scale for grading meat and eggs). In addition, most humans have an unpleasant scent (due to decades of 'chemical contamination' from consuming artificially enhanced foods and drink, as well as being around such things as chlorinated water and second-hand smoke), and so the solution is also a very effective cleaning solution which is used everywhere humans and Mantoids have any contact.
- Non-breeder females who drink the solution when pregnant purify their child’s form of 'contaminants' from the mother's body, making it as flavorful and desirable as a child born to breeders. (They do not develop an addiction because the solution is absorbed directly through the placenta and into the womb, where it concentrates and ‘seasons’ the fetus while also bonding with contaminants that pass through and are removed through the mother.)
- Non-breeder females can also drink the solution to cleanse themselves of any possible STD or any other disease, which would interfere with childbirth. Unlike men, women can consume the solution for a far longer period without running the risk of addiction, and can tell when they are approaching the point of addiction because they will experience a very heavy menstrual flow outside of their normal cycle.
The Mantoids also possess a nanotech-level gene therapy that can cure humans of injuries, diseases and innate physical conditions such as heart damage, diabetes, asthma, burns, major cuts, and so forth. Dubbed ‘Bio-Spackle’ by the humans, it is used as either a thickened fluid with the consistency of a milkshake, or as a thick white organic paste. Bio-Spackle contains self-sustaining nanites that activate upon contact with the patient’s wounds and repair the wounds, as well as any secondary damage caused by the wounds. (When consumed, the nanites are absorbed into the blood system, act upon the compromised systems in the body, analyze the correct physical status and then replicate the appropriate amount of nanites to either repair the body or act as a secondary ‘booster’ system that takes over the functions of the affected areas, and in either case, restores the person to a nominal stage of health.) In either form, Bio-Spackle must be applied carefully (infectious diseases protocols are best for its use), as the substance will begin to react with the first person it comes into physical contact with and be useless for anyone else.
Mantoid Breeding Program
For at least sixty years, humans from all over Earth have been captured and enslaved by the Mantoids for various uses, including breeding human beings that are considered more flavorful to Mantoid tastes, as well as for diminished susceptibility to Mantoid mental control. (This may also be due to some confirmation of the theory that all humans possess, in some measure, the potential for psionic ability, and that potential may act (in and of itself) as an innate resistance to mental control.)
Captured humans are given both physical and mental examinations (which are administered by the Gnomes) to rate them on a scale of psionic resistance and taste, and are then marked by the Gnomes with identifying markers that the Mantoids can recognize which signify their ratings. During those examinations, contaminants within the human body can be quickly extracted without harm to the person. (This process must not be able to remove long-term contaminants of all forms, as the Mantoids still use the purifying drug for the humans.)
Even though a great number of humans are not seen as suitable for the breeding program, the Mantoids still encourage a high level of sexual activity within the human slave population, as it provides a surplus of human infants for consumption. Several methods used to stimulate high levels of sexual activity include the simple, formless tunics of a thin fabric provided for human wear (they display the human form for general view, and the humans are given no undergarments), the aphrodisiac/anti-inhibition drugs that are in the 'blue food bars' (given out for excellent work, as well as occasionally being made available to all for the purposes of attempting a upswing in sexual activity and the chances of more newborns available for consumption), and the fact that the humans are given nothing else to do besides work and remain inside their sleeping areas. (This may be different aboard other vessels and breeding areas; for example, the control of large amounts of humans aboard constructs such as The Habitat may, in fact, require the use of some forms of mass media in order to maintain control of the humans. This has not been confirmed as of yet.)
The Mantoids have demonstrated a total and absolute level of intolerance for male homosexuality within the human slave population, as (in their eyes) such activity is a waste of valuable genetic material. Human males caught willingly engaging in homosexual acts are remanded to the breeding laboratories, where they are forcibly subjected to procedures that exposes them to drugs designed to dramatically increase their levels of sperm production, which are then harvested according to precisely-timed schedules. Unfortunately, the stimulation of sperm production causes rapid and painful damage to many of the vital system in the victim's body, including the male reproductive system and the cardiovascular system. Men subjected to these procedures typically live between four to twelve weeks after they begin, depending on their health and resistance to pain and stress. The Mantoids have no consideration towards lesbianism, as they will either inject the woman with the 'blue bar' drugs, or restrain her upon a breeding table and compel a male slave to breed with her.
The only weapon seen so far in Mantoid use is a device informally named the ‘Barbell device’. The Barbell is a heavy, hand-held weapon in the shape of a barbell, with a baseball-sized globe on one end (the globe contains elements inside that are reminiscent of a plasma globe) and a opening on the opposite end that contains a tri-bladed spike about nine inches long. The device can be used for hand-to-hand combat, as it is reinforced and can be used to strike others for blunt damage, or stab them with the spike (designed to make victims bleed out faster). The Barbell can also fire searing pulses of white-hot plasma from the globe end that can cause immediate death to humans up to fifty yards away; the globe of the weapon always emits strands of electricity within before it is about to fire. The Barbell’s energy-projection ability seems to be controlled mentally by the user to determine the direction and intensity of the pulse.
There have been only two kinds of Mantoid spacecraft seen to date:
- UFO's - these are small craft piloted by the Grays and used for abducting humans. These craft are two-seaters, with small areas where abducted humans are subdued and held for transport to a larger vessel. These ships also have energy weapons capable of stunning humans or of facilitating a state of deep sleep (for ease or removal, as well as ‘tractor beams’, which can manipulate matter to create holes in walls and draw human captives into the vessel.
- The Councilor Vessel - the vessel that Daria Morgendorffer and her friends are currently housed upon. It is docked with The Habitat, and serves as one of perhaps many vessels used by the Mantoids. It is believed to have been a vessel built by the 'Gnomes', but was captured by the Mantoids for their use. Nothing is known of the vessel except that it was once an elegant ship for travel, with many beautiful tapestries and other artworks in view throughout the vessel, but that those works were desecrated by the Mantoids.
The other space vehicle seen to date is The Habitat. (See full entry.)
Correctly known as the Remm o'Hi Polyu, these aliens were named 'Gnomes' by humans, and allowed the name to stick for ease of use. The Gnomes are small, stocky anthropoid creatures that are roughly three feet tall, with muscular development of their arms and legs significantly beyond normal expectation for beings of that height. Gnomes have a massive brow ridge which wraps around the front of their heads to terminate behind their ears, which gives the Gnomes the appearance of a natural 'helmet' that is part of their skulls. Gnomes possess a thick, fine covering of grayish-brown hair, which is usually worn to cover the top and sides of their heads down to their brow ridge. The Gnomes seem to be actually physically superior to the Mantoids, with the latter's psi-abilities able to overcome their physical advantage.
The Gnomes are a technologically advanced race (superior to either human or Mantoid development), and are responsible for maintaining the technology of the Mantoid spacecraft. They are also highly advanced in the field of biotechnology, and were the ones who have created many of the drugs and other bio-advancements that the Mantoids use, including the technology for the Mantoid breeding program.
The Gnomes have a deep-seated hatred of the Mantoids and will willingly join in on any revolt against the Mantoids that has a chance of success. With their knowledge and physical abilities, they could become valuable allies.
The beings that are considered responsible for the majority of 'UFO' sightings in human history, the Grays are actually known to secret agencies of the various world governments. Little is known of them at present, and it is also not known if they are being forced to help the Mantoids or are acting of their own will.
The Water People
Nothing is known of this race, except that they were also captured and enslaved by the Mantoids due to the Mantoids' psi-abilities.