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- "I heard a fluttering sound and a screech, and a pack of shredder bats attacked us. We had to be quiet…a blaster shot would have given us away to the Imps. Almost in unison, we turned on those excluders. Shredder bats literally fell out of the sky as their senses got scrambled. We disposed of them before anyone else woke up. They were really impressed with breakfast—said it was the best meal they ever had."
- ―Homack, on being attacked by shredder bats
Shredder bat was the common name for a number of related bat species of various worlds. They were originally native to the Core Worlds planet Atrisia. The species, which grew up to one meter in length and wingspan, had highly sensitive hearing produced by a series of hearing organs along its neck and forehead. Such acute hearing enabled the shredder bat to pinpoint prey up to fifteen kilometers away. The bats traveled in packs and attacked by dive-bombing prey with great speed and accuracy, sometimes killing their targets instantly.
Shredder bats spread to over a thousand worlds, including Hethar and Pallaxides. The various species were occasionally hunted for sport, but more often were considered dangerous and unwanted predators. Scientists speculated over the mode of transmission between planets, with some xenobiologists proposing the shredder bats utilized infant hibernation such that otherwise ignorant target creatures carried their eggs.
Biology and appearanceEdit
The shredder bats were a family of winged, non-sentient species. The varieties had in common a long, thin body that reached up to one meter in length. The body consisted of a furred portion, from which branched the wings, and a bald portion that included the head. The furred portion came in dark and light varieties, and had two, short legs with three sharp toes each. When in flight, the legs were held close to the body. A long, split tail also grew from one end of that furred portion of the body.
The bald portion of the body was light in coloration, flexible, and had two angular, backward slanting ears halfway down the head. A series of hearing organs also grew between the ears, along their necks and on the forehead. The aural organs were subtly attuned to different pitches, providing the varieties of shredder bat with incredibly sensitive hearing with which they were able to discern and pinpoint life forms from up to fifteen kilometers' distance. Such sensitivity, however, left the creatures vulnerable to high-frequency sounds. Concentrated bursts scrambled their sense of hearing, causing the predators to plummet out of the air.
Despite having no eyes, shredder bats possessed brains which formed a composite and precise image of their surroundings. At the end of the shredder bat head was a row of four sharp, extended fangs. An additional fang grew on each side of the mouth. Inside the maw was an extensible, tube-like tongue that was used to drink blood from the predator's prey. Common among shredder bat species were two wings, with webbing between each of the three, clawed fingers. The wings could attain a span of up to one meter. In some species, those wings were dark in coloration and the webbing appeared mottled, while in others the wings and webbing were lighter in hue.
Female shredder bats produced soft, jellied eggs that were less than a millimeter in diameter. Eggs were laid in clutches of up to 300 at a time, with a gestation period of twenty-two days—short by comparison with many other species. A single female could reproduce up to five times per annum. Some xenobiologists advanced the theory that some shredder bats could enter their young into a form of infant hibernation. In that manner, the shredder bat could insert the eggs into unaware target creatures.
The several distinct species of shredder bat were adapted according to habitats. The snow shredder bat was rare, and the only species in the shredder bat family that could survive in frigid climates. Some sentient species considered the shredder bats to be edible.
The shredder bat was an efficient predator, active during both night and day. With its sensitive hearing, the creature could pinpoint prey from up to fifteen kilometers away. Once within range, a shredder bat folded its wings back against its body and extended its fangs, plummeting swiftly to its prey and inflicting lethal diving assaults. Those dives targeted the coronary artery of the prey; given the velocity of the diving shredder bat, such strikes often resulted in immediate death for the quarry. Diving attacks were sometimes accompanied by shrieks.
If initial attacks were unsuccessful, shredder bats were known to track wounded prey for several kilometers to finish the hunt. Once a shredder bat had secured its prey, it extended its tongue and drew nourishment from its target's blood; however, kills did not go uncontested. Shredder bats often competed over slain creatures, sometimes to the death. It was not uncommon for several shredder bats to fall victim to such squabbling.
Such competition was exacerbated by the pack nature of shredder bats. The creatures frequently gathered in packs of twenty members, and swarms composed of hundreds of the creatures were reported on some planets. Shredder bat mothers were stridently protective of their young, a necessary characteristic as other females often attacked unprotected offspring. Observers believed that predatory behavior reflected a maternal instinct designed to increase the chance of one's own young to survive. Ultimately, the behavior meant that shredder bats were equally as dangerous to their own kind as to other species. Only strong shredder bat young survived to adulthood, and the typical lifespan of the creatures was two to four years. Such infighting also checked the otherwise rampant expansion of the species.
The various shredder bat species inhabited diverse climates and ecosystems. Shredder bat populations were found living among mountains, plains, forests, tropical jungles, and a variety of other terrain. Most shredder bat species hibernated during cold seasons, although the snow shredder bat was an exception.
The shredder bat evolved on the planet Atrisia, located in the southwestern portion of the Core Worlds. Following Atrisia's entrance into the galactic community, the shredder bat was soon found off-world. It somehow established populations on over a thousand planets, prompting speculation as to how such a dangerous predator could have been spread inadvertently. One theory held that the shredder bats found their way into starship cargo holds, and ineffective or negligent contamination procedures failed to prevent their spread. A small group of xenobiologists postulated that infant hibernation lay behind their virulent spread.
A population of shredder bats was present on the planet Hethar during the Galactic Civil War. The Outer Rim world held a small Imperial contingent, which was under investigation by several members of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, including the operative Homack. One evening, a pack of shredder bats attacked the Rebel camp. Forewarned by a screech and a flutter of wings, the Rebel sentries activated Merr-Sonn Excluders, a piece of technology that generated waves of high-frequency sound. The device incapacitated the attacking shredder bats, who fell uncontrollably to the ground. Homack and the sentries swiftly killed the hapless creatures without alerting the nearby Imperial contingent. The following morning, the agents ate the shredder bats for breakfast. Homack later shared the incident on Gundark's Gear Datalog.
The conglomerate Tagge Company introduced a population of shredder bats to its Outer Rim resort world Pallaxides. The bats, and other dangerous creatures such as the zuxu, were imported to provide hunting opportunities for visiting Tagge Company executives; the decision was made without regard to the possible ecological impacts the predators could have on local populations such as the docile, airborne rormaroo. Members of the Tapani sector aristocracy also hunted shredder bats. Two shredder bat carcasses were displayed in the Grand Hall of the House Melantha Orbital Hunting Lodge over the moon Vilhon.
Behind the scenesEdit
The shredder bats were created by Peter Venters and Bill Smith for Creatures of the Galaxy, published in 1994 by West End Games as a sourcebook for Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. Creatures of the Galaxy was unique in that, instead of soliciting artists to illustrate the manuscript of the book, West End Games asked artists to create creatures that would later have a manuscript written to support the artwork. Artists were instructed to "come up with some neat-looking creatures, [and] jot down a few notes." With that mandate, Venters illustrated the shredder bat, one of several creatures he created for the sourcebook, and Smith later fleshed out the creature's background and roleplaying statistics.
Shredder bats were later included in three publications in 1997: they were mentioned in "Gone To Ground," an adventure written by Kevin MacGregor as part of No Disintegrations, and in Gundark's Fantastic Technology: Personal Gear, a sourcebook by Jen Seiden, and were illustrated by Jacen Burrows in Lords of the Expanse, another adventure book.
- Creatures of the Galaxy (First mentioned)
- Gundark's Fantastic Technology: Personal Gear
- Lords of the Expanse (Picture only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 Creatures of the Galaxy, pp. 64–65
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Lords of the Expanse, pp. 49–50
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Gundark's Fantastic Technology: Personal Gear, p. 79
- ↑ The Essential Atlas, p. 234
- ↑ The Essential Atlas, p. 233
- ↑ , p. 11
- ↑ Creatures of the Galaxy, p. 2