GET TO KNOW THE LOMThe Lom developed very differently from us.
Right from the start, Planet Lom was blessed with the best evolutionary luck. Large temperate zones and gentle seasonal patterns allowed for life to spring up everywhere. What really made life take a different route on Lom is that the animal species also developed photosynthesis. No Lom has ever gone hungry. No Lom has ever had to worry about going hungry. Life on Lom has never been a zero sum game. Without predation there was no inherent fear in the Lom. They have disagreements, they have ego clashes and neuroses, but all Lom operate on the fundamental assumption that life is good, and that they will have what they need to survive. In an environment free of the need to hunt or gather, even the earliest mating displays centered around intellectual prowess as expressed through art, music, and science. All of which they see as parts of the same spectrum. This formed the bedrock of Lom society. The Lom developed complex musical instruments before they ever saw the need for wheels.
In an environment free of the need to hunt or gather, even the earliest mating displays centered around intellectual prowess as expressed through art, music, and science. All of which they see as parts of the same spectrum. This formed the bedrock of Lom society. The Lom developed complex musical instruments before they ever saw the need for wheels.
As they continued to evolve, their skin changed from green to near black. Photosynthesis still provides their main source of nutrition, but they can absorb and metabolize almost all radiation. They think gamma radiation is delicious. X‑rays? A bit pungent for the children, perhaps, but definitely nothing to pass up. (Maybe equivalent to a nice Stilton.)
The societal and political structures of the Lom, such as they are, exist as a resource allocation hub. If a Lom gets sick, the central LomSphere will find other Lom with the skills to help. If a Lom wants to start what we would call a business, the LomSphere will match that Lom with other Lom who are willing and able to help.
But it would be wrong to call these concerns “businesses.” There is no profit motive. The Lom power their machinery with a combination of photosynthesis, thermal and radiant energy. The planet is rich in minerals and other resources. The Lom want for nothing but novelty. When the Lom start a “business” it’s purely to explore ideas and to build things they find interesting.
The Lom celebrate their individualism, but also recognize their part in their world and all worlds. Their names are constructed to identify each individual from the larger unit to the smaller. A typical Lom name would be Lomgarlen Morsulton Porfoline Sperf — a Lom from theGarl continent, from the city of Morsulto, a member of the Porfolin family, named Sperf. This makes for long names, of course, but except for ceremonial occasions, they are shortened to city and individual name, with the family name shortened to a single phonem. If you wanted to look up our example Lom, you’d query the LomSphere for Morsulton Por Sperf.
The Lom are expert space travelers. Sunlight and cosmic radiation are everywhere. To them, the medium of travel is full of fuel and provides endless sensory delight. It’s as if you could travel through space by pulling chocolate out of the ether.
On Earth, space travel sprang from military and industrial roots. The Lom are simply curious what’s out there. Their space program was started by artists and radiation foodies. They wish simply to explore — because you never know what inspiration a new star system might bring. As it turns out, the magnetic field of Jupiter is an absolute delicacy to the Lom.
Of course, having never known predation, the Lom have run into some trouble in their travels. When they first met species that are built on scarcity and the will to power, they simply didn’t comprehend. In those first encounters they tried to explain that they were really just passing through, sampling the local cuisine, taking some pictures for the folks back home… but you can imagine how that went. If you’re part of a fear-based species, non-fear simply doesn’t compute.
In response, the Lom did develop defensive technologies. They’re sweet, but they’re not stupid. They have force fields and cloaking devices. They taught themselves to shape-shift so they could camouflage themselves or, if necessary, escape from confinement. Tellingly, they also chose to make themselves as small as possible. Size as a means of projecting power is simply unnecessary when your life is built around intellectual expansion and sensory delight. Consequently, the crew of a Lom scout ship would find a human thumb to be a spacious perch indeed.
So why were these advanced beings stranded on a foreign planet? If they’re so artful about space travel, why were they not equipped to fix their own ship? Well, on Lom space travel has developed to the consumer level. Think of your car. It’s a hugely advanced machine that’s substantially reliable. You know how to do basic maintenance on it, you can change your own tires, you might even be able to do some minor repairs, but if there’s a major failure you’ll need a tow. That’s what happened to the crew of the Quar’Lomac.