Lifecycle of the Spug

Lifecycle of the Spug

Incedomycota

Incedomycota translated means marching fungi, it is a parasitic genus of the fungus family Basidiomycota, the fruiting body of which is often nicknamed Spug or Spugy’s, it is a common misconception that these fruiting body’s called incediocarp-externus-tractus that emerge from inside asteroids are the actual fungus itself, contrary to the point, the main body of the fungus lays hidden deep inside the rock that it attaches its self to, the only visible sign of the fungus is a symbiotic lichen that appears as an orange or reddish growth resembling rust on the external facing asteroid,or the later fruiting body, Incedomycota lichen and its resulting Incediocarp only need iron and sunlight so survive able to with stand the harsh radiation and cold vacuum of space for indefinite periods.

The lichen will only bear fruit if the original spore settle on rock with a high iron content and enough sunlight, the lichen then permeates the rock with strands called hyphae or fungal mycelium, it then uses enzymes to brake down and absorb the iron minerals which are passed through the lichen on the surface, combining the iron primordia with sunlight, and converting it into energy and more growth, rather like photosynthesis in plants, very unlike fungi on earth that requires no sunlight, a waist by-products from this reaction is oxygen that is excreted from the lichen and carbon, which is deposited back inside the rock and reforms as crystals.

The process of iron absorption can over hundreds of years, eventually absorb many tons of iron minerals from inside the iron meteorite turning the inside of the rock into something resembling a Geod often referred to as a Georoid, its inside walls covered by crystals formed from the waist carbon.

Image To the left is half of a small 94 Ton Georite on display at the Rinehart museum in Megatropolis.

(Inside view of a large sterile Georoid)

Once the Incedomycota has absorbed most of the iron minerals from inside the asteroid it then develops spore pods called Incediocarp both inside and outside the now hollow Georoid, the spore pods inside the Georoid will remain dormant for thousands or it is believed millions of years until the correct conditions occur to continue development, however, the pods that develop on the surface of the Georoid will immediately start to grow into the fruiting bodies we know as Spugys, these mushroom shaped fruit or Incediocarp vary in size depending on conditions, and will produce millions of microscopic spores from gill like ridges underneath the cap called lamellae, much like a common earth mushroom, these spore drift into space to settle on other asteroids, and if condition right, develop into more Incedomycota.

What makes Incedomycota-Incediocarp unique, is that if asteroids are close enough together, the Incediocarp can detach itself from the surface of the Georoid and using stem like legs it can leap towards neighbouring asteroids, thus ensuring a thorough deployment of its spores on a suitable asteroid, and because it can traverse the surface of the asteroid it can find the optimum solar face to deploy its spores, the Incediocarp once depleted of spores will then shrivel and die leaving in its place the Incedomycota lichen to develop.

The next stage of Incedomycota development occurs if an infected Georoid enters a planet with a thick enough atmosphere to heat the internal cavity, reactivating the spore pods from hibernation, the pods take about seven minuets to fully develop into Incedomycota-Incediocarp or Spugys as they are often referred as, but only if the atmosphere density is correct for the internal temperature of the Georoid to reach around 80 degrees °F ( 26.6 degree °C) this temperature is important and any higher the spore pods will be incinerated rendering the Georoid sterile, the crystal formations inside the Georoid help to regulate the internal temperature and shield the spore as they finish growing after impact, were they are released by rapid cooling of the rock coursing internal pressures to crack or sometimes explode the outer shell.

On a planets surface

When Incedomycota Incediocarp are exposed to an atmosphere it under goes rapid biological change altering there metabolism to more easily assimilate nourishment, the growth of adapted stems which it uses to move become stronger and thicker, fungal mycelium tendrils develop for defence and feeding, it then moves out in search of a suitable source of iron to continue reproduction on the planet.

Once a Incediocarp finds a suitable source of iron it plants itself to the surface in effect taking root, inserting its fungal mycelium it then begins braking down iron and converts it into energy it then produce spores and if on a suitable surface will develop into more Incedomycota lichen this will later develop Incediocarp and continue its cycle.

Incedomycota and any of its many subspecies adaptability is displayed when its foraging Incediocarp discovers any iron traces in the form of dead animals, faeces or rotting vegetation, it will waist no time in breaking down the carcass or waist using its hyphae enzymes, how ever, it will not take root until it finds a high enough source of natural iron.

Incedomycota lichen and resulting Incediocarp are not poisonous when undeveloped or there mature tendrils are removed; Incedomycota has become a good source of nutrition for many species both plant and animal that survived the wars. It has also become a delicacy in many high class restaurants as well as a welcome find for the hungry traveller.

Defence

Although non aggressive the Incediocarp will defend itself if threatened it can use its sharp fungal mycelium tendrils to stab or if necessary inject a paralyzing poison into a victim, the poison does not stop the victims hart it mealy renders the victim incapable of movement and it has been observed the Incediocarp will continue to absorb all iron from the paralysed victim in the normal way tacking days or weeks to do so, braking the carcass down leaving only carbon compounds as waist, this is an important function and helps return the carbon back into the cycle to be used by other plants which intern feed other animals.

Brief History

The first discovery of Incedomycota was by the unmanned space probe Prospector IV  in 2022, when it recovered samples of lichen from the surface of an asteroid B142, but it wasn’t until 2027 that the unique Incediocarp and the hollow Georoid’s were discovered, after orbital drop mining had been developed and mining production had begun.

The first contact with Spugy’s and humans resulted in a number of fatalities as unsuspecting miners cracked a large Georoid in two releasing hundreds of Incediocarp into the environment. Most of the Incediocarp were incinerated by an environmental control team but some escaped and reproduced in there new environment.

Mankind speculated on the deadly ramifications of releasing an alien organism into earths delicate ecosystem but what followed was of great benefit to earth, as you know after the apocalyptic wars in 2012 earths already threatened ecosystem had taken a devastating blow coursed by the nuclear fallout and chemical warfare, over 60% of earths native plants animals and insects were now extinct and earths ecosystem was in spiralling collapse, scientists struggled to genetically modify what remaining plants and insects were left in order to counter the collapse,, but were loosing the battle, the earth was dying and this is were Incedomycota stepped in and filled the ecological niche, the remaining Incediocarp from that first Georoid reproduced quickly and adapted taking over many of the duties undertaken by the now extinct organisms of earth, its remarkable adaptability and resilience to toxic and radioactive waist enabled it to flourish in the most inhospitable places, Incedomycota joined the food chain and helped the remaining species to survive and intern flourish, over the following years Incedomycota spread across the wastelands eventually to the whole planet, the earth began its slow restoration helped by the ecological benefits of this extra terrestrial life jacket.

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