[Spoiler alert: Protector] A hominid species apparently originating on Pakhome, a planet near the Core of the galaxy. The species is said to be Homo habilis, known from Earthís fossil record as one of the ancestral species of Humans (Homo sapiens). Tree-of-life is common and widespread on Pakhome. The Pak life-cycle has three stages: child, breeder, protector. All breeders which reach 34-35 Pakhome years old become protectors, whose numbers have caused the planet to be locked in an endless state of factional warfare for uncounted millennia. According to the tale of the Pak protector Phssthpok, as related by Brennan-monster, Humans are descended from a Pak colony planted on Earth circa 2.5 million years ago. (It has also been suggested that some or many other Terrestrial species had the same origin, having been brought along from Pakhome by the colonists.) Despite some supporting evidence, it seems the general public of Earth and Human Space never accepted this as true, although apparently the KzintiPatriarchy did During the Second Ringworld Expedition, Louis Wu and Chmeee had this conversation: "What would a kzin know of Pak protectors?" [paragraph] "I know everything in the records of the Smithsonian Institute, what little there is. I have studied the testimony of the asteroid belt miner, Jack Brennan, and holos of the mummified remains of the alien Phssthpok and of the cargo pod from his ship." [paragraph] "Chmeee, how did you get hold of that stuff?" [paragraph] "Does it matter? I was a diplomat. The existence of the Pak has been a Patriarchís Secret for generations, but any kzin who must deal with humans is required to study the records. We learn to know our enemy. I may know more of your ancestry than you do" (The Ringworld Engineers ch. 13, pp. 123-4).. [Spoiler alert: The Ringworld Engineers] The Second Ringworld Expedition found evidence that the true Ringworld Engineers, who built the Ringworld, were Pak protectors.
Reference:Protector, Destroyer of Worlds, The Ringworld Engineers, Ringworldís Children
The homeworld of the Pak, located on the outskirts of the galactic core. Note the term "Pakhome" does not appear in the account of Roy Truesdale (published as Protector), but appears in an account published much later (Destroyer of Worlds).
Reference:Protector, Destroyer of Worlds
A brothel with a reputation for being very good and very expensive, frequented by Douglas Hooker on Earth in 2367.
By the period leading up to and during the First Man-Kzin War, the mid- to late-2300s, many Human interstellar ships were using fusion-powered photon drives, propelling a ship by light-pressure. Presumably the photon drive was an improvement over the fusion drive, although it is unclear if the latter became obsolete. A safe ramscoop was perfected in 2322, replacing photon drive on small vessels, but large colony ships continued to use photon drives. The Angelís Pencil, one such colony ship launched circa 2355, used an experimental combination of photon drive powered by a safe ramscoop. In Sol System, when fighting off invasions by the Kzinti Empire, smaller mobile laser cannon propelled themselves by the light pressure of their own beams. Hyperdrive made the photon drive mostly obsolete circa 2411.
An intelligent species of Known Space. At one time the Pierin were a slave race of the Kzinti Empire, but were freed during the Man-Kzin Wars. Official accounts contain no other information. An unofficial source claims the Pierin are nosy, over-friendly, multi-limbed flying creatures from a light-gravity world who resemble great horned birds at a distance, at closer view seem like occult idols brought to life, whose speech of raspy screeches and atonal clicks makes them difficult to understand Ringworld Roleplaying Gameó Ringworld Companion pp. 18-9..
A City Builder ramship, a trading ship which had been home to Halrloprillalar Hotrufan (Prill) for two centuries, traveled in a trade route covering five City Builder colony worlds in four stellar systems, plus the Ringworld. According to Prillís story, the ship carried a crew of 36, and a trade circuit was 300 light-years long, taking 24 years subjective time (indicating an estimated average speed of 99.66% light-speed). Trade goods included spices and luxury foods which would not grow on the Ringworld due to its lack of a seasonal cycle. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] During Prillís eighth run, the Ringworld failed to respond to hails. The crew panicked and mutinied; the ramship was landed at a Ringworld spaceport, stranding the spacecraft and crew. [Spoiler alert: The Ringworld Engineers] During the Second Ringworld Expedition it was revealed that many of Prillís claims were "tall tales". The City Builder ramscoop ships were enormous, built using toroids from the Ringworld attitude jets, and carrying crews of thousands. It appears unlikely that the ships traveled as far or as fast (as close to light-speed) as Prill claimed; likely the trade worlds were much closer to the Ringworld.
[Spoiler alert: "There Is a Tide"]Louis Wu made first contact with the Trinocs in 2830 at an unnamed planet orbiting a G3 star, nearly 40 light-years from Earth, then beyond the edge of Known Space. It is a bit smaller and a bit colder than Earth, and somewhat the same color. Orbiting the planet is a neutronium "moon".
Reference: "There Is a Tide"
In 2353 a complex autodoc could produce this material.
A Human colony world, Tau Ceti's innermost planet, a Venus-like world with a massive atmosphere. Its only habitable area, half the size of California, is a plateau atop the 40-mile-high Mount Lookitthat. Rivers run down from snow-covered peaks at the center of Plateau, running off the edge into the endless mist below. Colonized prior to 2100, Plateau is one of three or four Human colonies mistakenly settled following erroneous ramrobot signals; see slowboat. See also Long Fall River.
Reference: "The Ethics of Madness"
[Spoiler alert: A Gift from Earth] A Human psychic power, apparently a limited form of telepathic control, first documented in Matthew Keeler on Plateau, during the revolution circa 2341. A person with this power, the psychic, can cause himself to be unnoticeable to others, to the point that they forget he is there. A subject must be able to see the psychic for this power to affect him; in the dark, this power is ineffective. The effect can also be reversed, so the subject is compelled to focus his attention on the psychic. A side effect of this power is that the pupils of the subject contract when he is ignoring the psychic, or dilate when focusing attention on him. The first manifestations of this power in Keeler were subconscious and unrecognized. But when he came to understood his power, he learned to control it. By 2850, this power was well known in Human Space.
A floating building shaped like a double cone, the bottom half inverted. It was a short, wide, ornate building, with lights on the top half, in the Civic Center of Hotrufan City, a City Builder city on the Ringworld. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] The home of Halrlroprillalar Hotrufan (aka Prill), it was encountered by the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851. A speed trap drew vehicles violating local air traffic speed limits into a prison in the lower half of the building. The prison consisted of a conical pit with concentric rings of cells around the walls, and an airborne "Sargasso Sea" of rusting vehicles occupying the center. The expedition's flycycles were captured and pulled into the prison. Eventually Prill was persuaded to let the expedition turn the building into an ungainly vehicle, the Improbable, q.v.
A force field projector which holds its victims helplessly immobile, using the same technology as a crash field. It can be controlled to free just part of a victim's body, such as his head or one limb. It may be a portable unit (a flexible wire grid) or built into a spaceship. The Kzinti of the starship Traitor's Claw used police webs in 2657 to hold prisoners.
Reference: "The Soft Weapon"
A plastic once in widespread use on Earth. Sometime prior to 2850 a yeast evolved which ate the plastic. As a result, Humans had to give up use of polyethyline.
On the Ringworld, the direction of left when facing spinward. By analogy with directions on a ball world, where the day/night terminator moves from east to west, port is south.
Reference:Ringworld ch. 10
The Thrintun's powerful telepathic mind-control ability. Their Power could control sentient minds so completely that mental slaves would commit suicide on command and follow orders leading to their death without protest. A Thrint could even use the Power to directly affect a slave's body, stopping its heart if so desired. Thrintun were able to control all minds within range of their Power, and that range extended for miles. Grogs appear to have a similar Power. That species can also implant information in a subject's mind, which the subject will then "know" with "crystalline certainty". Although it is possible for a subject to doubt such implanted information, he must keep remembering to do so, otherwise the doubt disappears and the "knowledge" remains.
(c) A Hairy One priest in Zrillir City, also encountered by the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851. This one wore a gray robe and had shaved his head and face, presumably in imitation of a City Builder.
During the First Ringworld Expedition, Louis Wu briefly speculated that Humans on Earth originated as a City Builder colony. Nessus pointed out that Humans are related to other Earth primates. But he added that those who founded the colony could have brought primates, perhaps apes and monkeys and Neanderthals, as servants and pets. See also hominid.
[Spoiler alert: Protector] A hominid mutated by tree-of-life virus, resulting in a superhuman in both intelligence and physical abilities. On Pakhome, the Pak homeworld, this is considered one of the three normal stages of life: child, breeder, protector.
Metamorphosis: When it reaches the right age, about 34-35 Pak years, the smell of tree-of-life roots suddenly becomes irresistible to a breeder. After gorging itself, the breeder becomes comatose for a time, during which physical and mental changes occur. The skin becomes thick, tough and leathery; joints enlarge, giving greater leverage for muscles; the braincase enlarges, as do the brain's frontal lobes; sexual and reproductive organs completely disappear, replaced by a second small heart in the lower abdomen; all hair is lost; lips and teeth disappear, replaced by a hard beak.
Physiology: After the change, Protectors have strength, stamina, reaction time, and resistance to shock improved to superhuman levels. They do not age; lifespan is indefinite. They must periodically eat tree-of-life roots, or die.
Psychology: A protector is strongly driven by a powerful instinct to protect its offspring, and to increase their numbers. A protector needs to smell its offspring at least occasionally to maintain its sense of purpose. One who has lost all its offspring will even lose the desire to eat, and thus dies. Rarely, a childless protector can find a way to sublimate its protective instincts to include everyone's offspring; these few work for the good of the species as a whole. Protectors are said to be so intelligent that they can see the single best action to take, the single best solution to any problem, and that as a result they have little free will. However, the intelligence of a protector is dependent upon the intelligence of the breeder it developed from; a more intelligent species of hominid will produce more intelligent protectors. Although it has powerful and even overriding instincts, a protector has no sex drive, and its thought processes are little affected by "base" emotions such as fear or anger.
Behavior: A protector's drive to protect its offspring, and increase their numbers, is so strong that it is rarely willing to cooperate with others; any competitor or potential competitor is viewed as an enemy, and is dealt with quickly and ruthlessly. This has led to continual, endless warfare on Pakhome, as protectors fight for space for their offspring to live and breed. Protectors are capable of working tirelessly for extended periods, and of monomaniacal concentration on a single task for very long periods of time; years or decades, or even centuries if the goal is sufficiently important.
This Puppeteer-made variant on the Slaver disintegrator uses two parallel beams. As with a typical disintegrator, one beam suppresses the charge on the electron. But in the Puppeteer disintegrator, a second beam suppresses the charge on the proton. When both are used together, the resultant massive electric current flow creates a solid bar of lightning, plasma which as a secondary effect causes a powerful, continuous explosion. The device, used by the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851, resembles a double-barreled shotgun except for the handle, which has the typical half-melted look of Puppeteer design. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] During the expedition, Louis Wu used the disintegrator to dig a pit in a field of Slaver Sunflowers. Later, Speaker-To-Animals used it to cut loose the lower floor of the police building in Hotrufan City. In Zrillir City, Speaker tried to use it to cut the shadow square wire, unsuccessfully. See also Wunderland Treatymaker
Reference: "Neutron Star", "A Relic of the Empire", "The Color of Sunfire", "Flatlander", "The Soft Weapon", Ringworld ch. 2, 4
[Spoiler alert: "At the Core", "The Color of Sunfire"] In 2645 the discovery of the core explosion prompted the Puppeteers to begin a migration out of the galaxy. They closed their businesses, including General Products, which precipitated a huge stock market crash in Human space. They paid off penalty clauses for broken contracts, and left only a small number of their species behind in Known Space to act as agents for remaining Puppeteer concerns. They were highly secretive about the location of the Puppeteer homeworld, as well as the form this migration took. In 2657, Nessus claimed that the Puppeteers were headed for the Andromeda Galaxy at high sublight speed in a vast fleet of ships. But in 2850, he gave the destination as the Clouds of Magellan. For the truth about the Puppeteer migration, see Fleet of Worlds. ["At the Core", "The Soft Weapon", Ringworld chs. 1-2]
Nessus' spacesuit in 2657 was a three-legged balloon with padded mittens for the mouth, small clawed boots, and a hard, padded shield covering the cranial hump. It acted as impact armor "The Soft Weapon", Neutron Star p. 124. Its insulation was so efficient he could not be located with infrared sensors. The suit could keep him alive for several years.
(Also called Piersonís puppeteers) A highly intelligent, cowardly and manipulative interstellar species possessing advanced technology, perhaps the most influential species of Known Space.
Physiology: "Imagine a headless, three-legged centaur wearing two Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent heads [see Time for Beany] on its arms...""Neutron Star", Neutron Star p. 10. Puppeteers are warm-blooded, mammalian vertebrates. One adult female, of apparently average size, weighed 240 pounds "Two hundred and forty pounds of charging puppeteer... thigh and hip and spine..." ("The Soft Weapon", Neutron Star p. 124).. A Puppeteer has two flexible, slender necks; the two heads are flat and brainless, with one eye; its brain is in a hump on the body between its necks. A coarse-haired mane covers the hump and runs back along its spine. Elsewhere its skin is white with random tan markings, and glove-soft. The mouths with their wide, flexible, knobby lips are used as hands of outstanding dexterity; its tongues are forked and pointed. It is capable of simultaneously inhaling with one throat and exhaling with the other Nessus sucked at a drinking bulb with one mouth while talking with the other (Ringworld ch. 2, p. 19).. Its legs are slim, the forelegs are set wide apart so the puppeteerís small, clawed hooves form an almost equilateral triangle; its larger rear leg has a complex hip joint. Puppeteers are strictly vegetarian. They have an odor of spices mixed with a chemistry set. The voice of a Puppeteer trained to interact with Humans, when speaking Interworld, is described as a beautiful contralto, which men find sexy and very attractive; its scream as an "exploding steam calliope."
Sex and Reproduction: Although it is not common knowledge among other species, Puppeteers reproduce by a male depositing sperm, and a female depositing eggs with an ovipositor, in the body of a host animal, inside which the Puppeteer young grows in a parasitic fashion. The host animal is a species related to the Puppeteers which they call Companions. Apparently the young eventually eats its way out and kills the Companion, like a digger wasp larva It is not clear from the account of the Second Ringworld Expedition whether Louis Wu merely inferred this from Hindmostís description of Puppeteer reproduction, or whether he was summarizing a more complete explanation given by Hindmost than is reported in the account. (The Ringworld Engineers ch. 5, p. 39) In any case, a later account confirms that the host does not survive "birth" of the baby Puppeteer: "And in giving birth to a Citizen [Puppeteer], the Companion [host animal] invariably died" (Fleet of Worlds ch. 31, p. 240).. Nessus claimed population control was very difficult for Puppeteers; that every act of sexual congress produced a pregnancy, and that the only methods of birth control were major surgery or total abstinence. Confusingly, Puppeteers say they have two male genders and refer to the host animal as the "female". However this is a cultural bias, and does not reflect their actual biology Hindmost specified his sex deposited the sperm and Nessusí sex deposited the egg when they mated. Therefore it is clear that Puppeteers, like Humans, actually have one male gender and one female gender (The Ringworld Engineers ch. 5, p. 39)..
Behavior/Psychology: Although never stated directly, it seems Puppeteers are on average more intelligent than Humans. They are herd animals and are most comfortable when surrounded by members of their own species. Failing that, they may use images and smells of other puppeteers help relieve their loneliness. Puppeteers willing to associate with other species are gregarious even among aliens. Their race views cowardice as a virtue; Nessus said "The intelligent caution of my race is proverbial", and their term for leaders translates as "those-who-lead-from-behind". They hate pain, and take great care to avoid danger; for instance, no sane Puppeteer would risk crossing a vehicular roadway or use any but the safest method of travel. Nor would they resist even an unarmed thief. However, Puppeteers do not ignore danger or unpleasant truths, nor flinch from facing them; wishful thinking is not a Puppeteer trait. They exhibit no curiosity, nor value knowledge for its own sake. A Puppeteerís flight reflex, turning away from danger, is also a fighting reflex. It turns to put itself into position to attack if threatened; its heads spread out for wide binocular vision to accurately target a very powerful kick with the large hind leg. Nessus claimed Puppeteers do not express humor, as that is associated with an interrupted defense mechanism and "no sane being interrupts a defense mechanism." However, a Puppeteer will occasionally turn its heads inward to stare into its own eyes in what may be an amused or bemused reaction. Every Puppeteer is trained in childhood for a conditioned reflex, the explosion reflex; when a Puppeteer senses an explosion, it curls itself into a ball, folding its legs underneath and tucking its head tightly between its forelegs. It also typically adopts this posture if it feels threatened but can take no immediate useful action.
Culture: Puppeteers prefer not to wear clothing, only doing so when required for protection. Typically, their manes are combed, hair-styled and/or decorated with ribbons and jewelry to indicate individual status. Their environment is shaped to provide maximum safety and a feeling of security. Objects are padded and corners are rounded. The herd-scent of many Puppeteers permeates their living spaces and apparently is even bred into their flowers. Their homeworld is densely populated and technologically highly developed; see Fleet of Worlds. They perform complex dances for cultural and mating rituals, and for exercise. As noted, they consider both their sexes "male", referring to both males and females as "he" or "him". Puppeteer technological civilization is ancient. Half a million years ago, they moved two of their planetary systemís worlds closer to their sun, and terraformed them to become farm worlds. Their interstellar business empire is at least tens of thousands of years old "The Soft Weapon", Neutron Star p. 75. They use blackmail as an accepted business practice.
Interspecies Relations: First contact between Humans and Puppeteers occurred in 2500. In the 2600s their business empire included Human Space, and contracts with a dozen sentient races "The Soft Weapon", Neutron Star p. 77. The most important part of their trade was General Products hulls. Sane, cowardly puppeteers would never risk their lives by traveling in hyperspace or by direct contact with an alien species; all puppeteers dealing directly with aliens are insane, including the representatives of General Products in Human space. All Puppeteers dealing with aliens have a secret method of painlessly committing suicide, which they will use rather than face torture. A Kzin (or other alien) committing violence on a Puppeteer will find himself financially ruined. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] It is not commonly known, but during the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851, Nessus revealed that Puppeteers intervened in the First Man-Kzin War, indirectly guiding Outsiders to make contact with We Made It. This ensured Humans would gain hyperdrive technology, giving Humans the ability to win the war, thus reversing the expansion of the Kzinti Empire and killing off the most warlike Kzinti, producing a less aggressive species and/or culture. Nessus also claimed Puppeteers manipulated Earth politics to create the Birthright Lottery; the motive seems to have been to breed certain humans for luck. [End of Spoiler alert] ó [Spoiler alert: "At the Core"] The sudden withdrawal in 2646 of most Puppeteers from Known Space and the closure of General Products, following discovery of the Core explosion, caused a major stock market crash in Human Space. [End of Spoiler alert]