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Nepenthe Starbound

Name: Nepenthe

Age: ?? (She doesn’t keep track since she took to the stars, somewhere around 20 years if you forced her to guess)

Race: Floran

Favorite Color: Purple

Favorite Flavor: Meat she hasn’t tasted yet

Favorite Planet: <points randomly to a star> “One in that ssysstem! Floran sshall go find it!”

Personal History:

After sprouting on some distant, unnamed backwater planet, Nepenthe had to fend for herself. Arid deserts where the temperature reached 150 degrees Fahrenheit, soupy jungles with 95% relative humidity and an ambient temperature of 110 degrees, wide salty oceans, boiling freshwater lakes full of acrid runoff… a paradise for a survivalist, an excitement-seeker, an explorer. Rarely did she encounter other intelligent life there; primitive tribes grown savage by the pressure of the vicious local wildlife and explorers on their last expedition were the most common. She taught herself to hunt with vine snares, poisoned thorns, and spears of sharpened greenwood. She ate anything she could catch at first, finding that each new flavor was a magical experience… and the second tasting devoid of pleasure. Her restlessness joined with her voracious appetite and drove her to travel farther and farther from the ruined laboratory which held her spawning-vine until after eighteen years, she discovered that there were no new places and no magical flavors left on her world. Her despair at this, the emptiness inside, found her staring up into the stars for hours or even days at a time, imagining what those motes of light might be, what strange creatures lived up there…

And then one day a ship came. A pair of Apex explorers found the planet. Perhaps they were seeking supplies, or perhaps something in that vine-covered, ruined building she spawned in had called them there. She didn’t know; didn’t even think to care about why and how and who. All she could think as she raced through the jungles to their landing-site was that her wishing had finally come true. She found the ship in a clearing, one of the explorers tending to a small fire and the other in the jungle, looking for something. Seeing a creature she had never before tasted or even imagined drove her into a frenzy and before his screams had even reached the ears of his compatriot, she had already speared him, rent him limb from limb, and half-devoured him. A new flavor after years of emptiness… she was in ecstasy. And there his companion found her, her leaves wet with his blood and her vine-whips still binding his severed appendages. Perhaps she would have escaped if she hadn’t been violently ill at the horrific scene, or perhaps one of the venomous plant-beasts that roamed the jungles would have gotten her instead. Hearing her retching, Nepenthe turned, bound her, and fed on her as well, frenzied and joyous.

She knew that this ship would take her to the places she had dreamed of. She climbed aboard and somehow, instinctively, she sealed the door and activated the launch procedure. As her tendrils danced across the control panels, she finally wondered:

How do I know how to do this? Why am I filled with such certainty that this is where I should be?

The launching jets burned away a chunk of foliage and revealed, for a short time, an old, scarred metal sign, lettering in an old Apex dialect barely readable, though the only creatures to see them before the jungle reclaimed them were vine-hounds and thorn-beasts.

Botanical Sapience Research Facility 3

Quarantine Level Black

Extreme Danger

It took her nearly a year to reach her first new planet, the ship’s warning klaxons screaming that it was low on fuel, air, and water. In that year she found the ship’s records system, an encyclopedic collection of botanical research data from a multispecies scientific research initiative. She taught herself to read in three sapient languages, and then using the interstellar radio, learned to speak. Arriving at a planet that was, from the records, life-bearing and harboring exciting new meats (and fuel, too, though she barely registered that at first) she prepared herself for her very first trip down to an alien surface. Stepping into the ship’s space-to-surface transporter, she could barely contain the shivers of excitement that rippled through her limbs as she imagined the ways she could finally sate that gnawing hunger…

For a time, at least.