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Wolaxian arachnids are one of the most unusual creatures known, even in Tormented Space. Shapeshifters capable of taking on two forms--one a Sebaceanoid, one a large, brown-and-gold arachnid--Wolaxian arachnids actually feed on neural energy, which they steal from other beings in their arachnid form and place into glowing greenish orbs made of a weblike substance. They hide these orbs and feed on them gradually over a long period of time, and require little to no nourishment otherwise.
The strongest neural energy is that which is most central to a person's personality. To harvest it, the Wolaxian first assesses the target's personality and then copies it, playing off the victim to draw their strongest traits to the forefront. After being attacked by a Wolaxian arachnid, a being will lose their most prominent personality traits and begin to act entirely opposite from their normal self. This makes the Wolaxian victim easily identifiable.
These spiders extract energy from their prey with their extendable mouths, with which they latch onto the side of their victim's head. They drain the neural impulses into their body, process them in the "stomach," and spin them out into the orb which they then hide. This process takes time, meaning that the target must be somehow immobilized for it to be completed. Once so much neural energy is drained from the brain, there is no way for the body to replenish itself, and the drained beings slowly die. The time such a victim has left can be easily gauged by the state of the bite on the side of their head: the bite begins as a small circle of reddish punctures which quickly inflame, turning dark and spreading in patterns beneath the skin. Boils pop up around the area next as the skin inflames; by the time the victim finally dies, the entire side of the face will be blistered and bubbly, implying that the bite also imparts a high fever, which would make the Wolaxian particularly dangerous to Peacekeepers.
Wolaxians are rather picky about precisely who they will drain; neural energy apparently has a fine taste to these connoisseurs of the substance. The only Wolaxian seen refused to harvest the energy of Utu-Noranti Pralatong, claiming that she was "old and bitter."
A Wolaxian arachnid is possessed of six powerful legs, a head and an abdomen with no recognizable thorax in between, and two non-faceted golden eyes with very tunneled vision. The arachnid usually senses its prey by virtue of their brain function; as a result, a person who is asleep or unconscious is untrackable by a Wolaxian arachnid, because their brain activity is too weak to be sensed. They are very hardy creatures, capable of withstanding multiple pulse blasts without undue injury, and their blood is a bright, lime green. Wolaxians can speak while in their human form, but not in their arachnid form; as either, however, they can unleash a powerful sonic scream that renders other beings, even Scarrans, unconscious. Oddly, Kalish (and/ or Bioloids) are, for some unknown reason, immune to Wolaxians' screech and bite.
Somewhat amusingly, this creature that feeds on intelligent beings can be fed on by them as well; Wolaxian arachnid makes a wonderful center for roasted spider soup.
- (4.14 "Twice Shy")