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Encyclopedia > Pak Protector
Protector eating Tree-of-Life root
Protector eating Tree-of-Life root

Pak Breeders and Pak Protectors are two generic forms of fictional life in Larry Niven's Known Space universe. The protector form of the species is the result of a transformation brought about in a breeder by the plant known as Tree-of-Life. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... FicTioNaL is a Gaming Legend. ... Laurence van Cott Niven (born April 30, 1938 Los Angeles, California) is a US science fiction author. ... Known Space is the fictional setting of several science fiction novels and short stories written by author Larry Niven. ... The tree of life as represented in Kabbalah, containing the Sephiroth. ...

Contents

The Pak species

The Pak species evolved on a planet near the core of the galaxy. Increased radiation levels at the core cause severe mutations that can destabilize the evolutionary process. As a result, the Pak evolved a mechanism to eliminate dangerous mutations from the population. That mechanism is the protector stage.


Pak go through three stages of development: Child, Breeder and Protector.


Pak Children are sexually immature and are primarily cared for by their Breeder parents.


Pak Breeders are sexually mature, unintelligent and sub-sentient primates essentially identical to Homo habilis. Towards the end of their reproductive life, Pak Breeders acquire a taste for a root containing a symbiotic virus that triggers the transformation to the Protector stage. Binomial name †Homo habilis Leakey et al, 1964 Homo habilis (IPA ) (handy man, skillful person) is a species of the genus Homo, which lived from approximately 2. ...


Pak Protectors are highly sensitive to the smell of their close relatives and 'weed out' those that smell wrong, which may indicate a potentially dangerous mutation. This weeding also suppressed positive mutations, essentially halting Pak evolution. Protectors are fully sentient, and are far more intelligent than humans, possessing "diamond like" clarity of thought. However, this superior intelligence only serves a Pak Protector's hard-wired instincts to protect its bloodline at any costs, including resorting to war, mass murder, or genocide.


Tree-of-Life

Tree-of-Life is a bush whose smell is unnoticeable or unpleasant to breeders until they reach about 35 Pak years (or 42 human years); after that, the smell suddenly becomes irresistible. The breeder gorges on the root, infecting himself with a symbiotic virus in the root and triggering the transition. The tree of life as represented in Kabbalah, containing the Sephiroth. ... Meat Ants harvest Leaf Hoppers for their honey dew. ...


After consuming Tree-of-Life root, Pak breeder forms (and their offshoots, such as humans) turn into the Pak Protector form, which involves reconfiguration of the anatomy, including the acquisition of a leathery armor or exoskeleton, strong enough to turn a copper knife. Joints swell until the creature becomes "a parody of the human form done in cantaloupes and coconuts". This expands the leverage available to muscles by increasing the moment arm: the protector can lift 10 times its own weight. Genitalia vanish, and a second two-chambered heart forms in the groin. Fingernails turn into retractile claws. Teeth fall out, and lips fuse; the resulting structure is a sort of bony beak. The brain grows to an enormous size; the resulting mind, even starting from something as "unintelligent" as a chimp, becomes far more intelligent than a human mind. The intelligence of the Protector stage of a Pak or Pak offshoot is dependent on the intelligence of the breeder stage - as such, the Protector form of a sentient breeder will generally be more intelligent than a Protector of a sub-sentient breeder species. Humans who convert into protectors have intellects that are beyond human comprehension (Louis Wu described the mind of a Protector as having "diamond" precision, insight, and clarity - breeder level thinking is "fuzzy" in comparison). All the breeder's hair falls out and the head acquires a bony ridge to protect the newly-expanded cranium. Pak Protectors also acquire an extended lifespan, and can live tens of thousands of earth years. However, most protectors die as the direct or indirect result of conflict with other protectors, so death from old age is almost unknown in the Pak culture. An exoskeleton is an external anatomical feature that supports and protects an animals body. ... Trinomial name Cucumis melo cantalupensis Cucumis melo reticulatus Naudin. ... Binomial name L. For other uses, see Coconut (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with torque. ... Louis Gridley Wu is the main protagonist in the Ringworld series of books, written by Larry Niven. ... It has been suggested that temporal fenestra be merged into this article or section. ...


Once the transformation is complete, a Pak Protector must periodically consume more Tree-of-Life root to maintain the virus in its body. Without the virus, the protector will weaken and die. A protector can survive indefinitely on Tree-of-Life root, although it can eat other types of food provided Tree-of-Life root is a regular part of its diet.


Protector behavior

Pak Protectors have an in-built need to look after (or protect, hence the name) close relatives of their family. Protectors recognize their own breeder family line by scent, and are instinctively compelled to act in the best interests of breeder relatives. Pak Protectors will fight among themselves to procure land and resources for their respective breeder populations, often leading to the violent deaths of entire Pak family lines. A Pak Protector with no breeders to protect will generally stop eating and quickly starve, although some breederless protectors have avoided this fate by adopting the entire Pak race, and devoting themselves to activities that benefit the species as a whole.


Because of his vastly increased intelligence, a protector will always see the best answer to any question for a given set of conditions. If that answer results in an advantage for his breeder descendants, he will instinctively act upon it. In effect, protectors have little free will as humans would think of the term. Consequently, Pak Protectors are by nature xenophobic and warlike, inherently incapable of holding abstract moral principles and ruthless beyond measure towards all Paks who are not their own descendants or - in the case of the most "broadminded" Protectors, i.e. those who adopted the entire Pak species - to members of all other species. Pak Protectors from different families will only cooperate in a shared goal until one family sees some advantage in betraying the rest, and thus the Pak homeworld is in a constant state of war.


A human turned protector will find himself compelled to perform actions that he would consider morally reprehensible as a breeder. For example, Jack Brennan, a human turned Protector, commits cold-blooded genocide and exterminates all Martians as a completely disproportionate retaliation to a minor, long-forgotten incident in which Martians killed a handful of humans. To Brennan as a Protector, it is self-evident that the Martians' continued existence is a threat to be eliminated. Brennan is equally ruthless to the Human settlers on Home, a planet which he destroys using a genetically modified version of Tree-of-Life virus in order to create an army of childless human protectors to battle an invading Pak fleet. To Brennan, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people are a logical trade-off in order to preserve the bulk of humanity and all of his descendants on Earth. (In later stories Niven shows that Home has been resettled without explaining how the virus was eliminated from Home's ecosystem.) Protector is a 1973 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, set in his Known Space universe. ... Protector is a 1973 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, set in his Known Space universe. ...


Niven explains much of ARM behavior in his Future History, by revealing in Ringworld's Children that the ARM may be run by at least one Protector and that Boosterspice (which dramatically prolongs human lifespan) is derived from Tree-of-Life. Ringworlds Children is a 2004 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, the fourth in the Ringworld series set in the Known Space universe. ...


The Pak and Humanity

Humans are descended from a colony of Pak breeders that were stranded on Earth 2.5 million years ago. The protectors that built the colony ship died when their Tree-of-Life crops failed. The Tree-of-Life virus in the root requires thallium in the soil to survive and Earth is not adequately thallious; consequently all of Earth's Pak Protectors died out millennia ago, allowing the original Pak breeder form (Homo habilis) to evolve into modern humanity (Homo sapiens). Other Earth primates (such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans) are also descended from the original colony of Pak breeders, and could also transform to protector form if Tree-of-Life root were available to them. (Niven does not address the contradiction that primates actually evolved on Earth much earlier than 2.5 million years ago.) General Name, Symbol, Number thallium, Tl, 81 Chemical series poor metals Group, Period, Block 13, 6, p Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 204. ... Binomial name †Homo habilis Leakey et al, 1964 Homo habilis (IPA ) (handy man, skillful person) is a species of the genus Homo, which lived from approximately 2. ... Homo sapiens (Latin: wise man) is the scientific name for the human species. ...


The Ringworld was built by Pak Protectors and populated by Pak breeders. The Pak Protectors dwindled in numbers until they were no longer able to maintain the genetic purity of the breeder forms and the breeders eventually evolved into all the other hominids of the Ringworld that one sees in Larry Niven's novels. Ringworld is a Hugo and Nebula award-winning 1970 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, set in his Known Space universe. ... In the Ringworld series of novels by Larry Niven, the Ringworld is populated by a vast variety of hominid species, ranging in intelligence from merely animals, to full sapience. ...


= Narrative purpose

Niven has stated in other writings that he invented the Protectors as a thought experiment to explain the common effects of aging on humans, and to create a fictional evolutionary explanation for human's long lives after females have passed reproductive age. Accordingly, most of the positive attributes of Protectors are based on negative human aging effects: sore joints, poor circulation, wrinkled skin, lack of sex drive, and rotting teeth are all turned to advantage during the shift from Breeder to Protector.


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Pak Protector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1129 words)
Pak Protectors are by nature racist, xenophobic and warlike, inherently incapable of holding abstract moral principles and are ruthless beyond measure towards all Paks who are not their own descendants or - in the case of the most "broadminded" Protectors, i.e.
The Ringworld was built by Pak Protectors and populated by Pak breeders.
The Pak Protectors dwindled in numbers until they were no longer able to maintain the genetic purity of the breeder forms and the breeders eventually evolved into all the other hominids of the Ringworld that one sees in Larry Niven's novels.
Protector (novel) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1007 words)
The incident serves to underline the Pak Protectors' inherent racism and xenophobia, and utter incapability of acting by objective moral principles.
A Pak is born, and matures into a Breeder, at which point he and she may bear children.
A Protector has no motivation other than the preservation of his bloodline, and to that end the Pak homeworld is never free from war, since all Protectors are constantly trying to ensure their progeny's survival at the expense of everyone else.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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