Space Spiders
Space Spiders
Image from Keith Wigdor and Midjourney AI
Spider-shaped morphs are particularly well-adapted to working in space
From the earliest days of space colonisation and construction, spider-like bodymorphs have been utilised for a variety of purposes. Remote-controlled and autonomous spider-like devices were found to be very useful in microgravity conditions, utilising electro-magnetic attraction or van der Waals forces to grip onto various surfaces. In many cases these spider-like devices were equipped with the capability to extrude strong cables or webs, for support in zero-gee and to secure cargo. At first these cables were made from steel or carbon fibre but later carbon nanotube or rolled-up graphene were preferred.

By the Federation Era many space-based spidermorphs were sentient or fully sophont. As well as artificial robot or vec spidermorphs, an increasing number of spidermorphs were biologically-based, using bodies based on Terran species such as the Hobo spider. Vacuum-adapted spidermorphs have thick impermeable exoskeletons, and need to carry all their metabolic requirements such as oxygen, food and water with them while operating in deep space. If a biont space spider becomes separated from their resource cache, they will shut down and go into suspended animation until rescued, while transmitting a distress signal by various means.

The small, subsentient splice morph known as bucky spiders were developed in the Integration Era as sources of carbon nanofibre cloth; larger morphs (often fully sophont) are employed in megascale construction.

In the Current Era many sophonts choose to adopt a space-spider bodymorph on a temporary or permanent basis; space spidermorphs are often but not always eight-legged, and modern space-spiders utilise Syntechnology which has blurred the boundaries between biotech and hylotech almost completely. Space spiders can be found in many sizes, from micro-scale to giant. Vacuum-adapted Spidermorph cultures are found in many locations throughout the Terragen Sphere, spinning webs between habitats and among the ring particles orbiting gas giants; one particularly widespread example is the Hellspider culture, spidermorphs adapted to extreme conditions. In contrast the Imtonasi are arachnid/humanoid hybrid morphs, who display many features of both bauplans.

Spidermorphed remotes and avatars are quite often directly controlled by transapient postspiders in their various projects, and sometimes become independent sophonts in their own right. The Silk God in the Red Star M'Pire is an example of a very large project that includes many spidermorphed participants.

Because the arachnomorph bodyplan is quite common among independently-evolved xenobiota, a significant number of alien spider-like creatures have been discovered on various natural garden worlds throughout the Terragen Sphere. In several cases these organisms have been provolved by Terragen agents and some have joined the ranks of the space-spider community; among these are space-adapted Pspyders which originated on the planet Trees.
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 02 March 2003.