Category Archives: Flora & Fauna


…there was nothing to see in the docking bay except the porters with their shaggy cow-ocs, loading bags and boxes onto the barge behind them.


Classification: Strider
Specialisation(s): Hauler
Breeding Status: Retired from the program. Licenses for external breeding available.

Weight: 520–640kg
Height (at shoulder): 1.2–1.8m
Length (nose to tip): 2.2–4m
Genetic combination: Cow (Terran), ocupline (Jørn)

More info

A large shaggy beast renowned for its uncanny ability to escape almost any effort to confine it. The cow-oc closely resembles a Terran cow except for the two prehensile tendrils that attach to top of its skull, just behind its ears.

The tendrils are often the same colour as the cow-oc’s coat, which ranges from a dull cream through to dark brown.

Cow-orcs are reliable animals with a calm, steady nature. Little seems to worry them, which made them very popular as beasts of burden and for over a century they formed the backbone of the freight/transport industry. However, with the increased availability hovers and shuttle, their popularity has waned, and now there are only a handful of studs that continue to breed this under appreciated animal.



Classification: Land predator (large)
Gene Bank Status:
Limited genetic samples available.

Weight: 740–900kg
Height (at shoulder): 1.8–2.6m
Length (nose to tip): 3.6–6m

More info

The largest land-based predator on the planet the rucnart is also one of the most successful, with several subspecies across a variety of environments.

Typically rucnarts are large, lean individuals with four eyes and six legs. They are similar in appearance to Old Earth felines with elongated, wedge-shaped heads and pointed ears that range in size and length depending on the subspecies.

Their two sets of eyes, one set positioned above and to the outside of the other, forward-facing set, function independently and differ in colour. The role each set of eyes is the subject of much speculation, but current research suggests the upper set is attuned to a different colour spectrum.

While all rucnarts have a prehensile tail, it varies in length and dexterity across the species. The New Saharan and Gobi rucnarts have the shortest tails, averaging just under a meter in length, while the Sidrat and other forest-dwelling species have the longest, averaging 1.8m in length.

In general, rucnarts live in packs of 5 to over 40 individuals, often accompanied by large flocks of qwans, with whom they appear to have a mutually beneficial relationship.

Their aggressive and territorial natures make rucnarts highly dangerous, which is why, despite their size and numbers, little is known about them.

Rucnarts are a favorite subject for mainstream fiction.

Earth-Jørn hybrid specialisations

Originally designed for a particular purpose, every species of Earth-Jørn hybrid can still be classified not just as a strider or flyer (and their attendant sub-categories) but also by their job/specialisation.


Note that a species specialisation is independent of its classification as either a strider or flyer, and that while a species can be suited to many purposes, it is usually ideally suited to just one.


Fast and agile, scouts were designed to be intelligent animals capable of independent thought and action while remaining loyal to their handler. These same traits can make them difficult to work with for handlers who are inexperienced or unconfident.

The first scouts were created to accompany Riders on the surface to scout ahead, relay important information and map the terrain.

Most scout species are flyers. They include the linch-adder and oad-hawk.


Versatile and hardy, an explorer’s primary attribute is their ability to adapt to  any situation or environment, and survive. Most explorer species are inquisitive, athletic striders, capable of going long distances and defending themselves against large predators.

Explorer species include ruc-pards, toa-mares and sterdanes.


Guardians are fierce, predatory and loyal. Large and small, they are defined by their ability to defend a person, object and/or location. 

Dober-shepherds, used mostly by police, are the most common guardian species.


Large, strong and hardy, haulers are beasts of burden, designed to move cargo from one location to another. Although still common in ground side installations, they have been replaced by motorized transport in the cities.

Hauler species include cow-ocs.

Search and rescue

The search and rescue species are the most specialised. As a type, they are calm and highly intelligent with exceptional sight, hearing and sense of smell. Many of them hear and see in ranges far beyond that of humans and even other hybrids.

Sternards are the most successful of this type.


Like scouts, racers are built for speed and agility, but without the same demand for independence and intelligence. The racer specialisation is the most recent, spurred on by sports such as barrier racing.

Doe-ocs are a popular species of racer.


A companion is an Earth-Jørn hybrid animal that is similar to a pet, but forms a closer bond with their human than the typical Old Earth cat or dog.

The term was coined by the first-gen Rider Beatrice Shrew to describe her relationship to the two animals (a ruc-pard and a flurry-thyt) that helped her explore the Jørn wilderness. Beatrice found the terms ‘pet’ and ‘mount’ grossly inadequate to encompass the mutual respect and cooperation that existed between her and her companions, and which was so necessary to their survival.

Instead, Beatrice described the relationship as a partnership in which they all had a role and relied on each other to do their part, and through which they became more to each other than just a friend, but an integral part of their being.


A category of Earth-Jørn hybrid. All species of flyer are capable of flight and typically feature a large percentage of avian or insectoid genes in their makeup.

Most species of flyer are bred as pets or found in sports such as barrier racing.


Flyers are classified according to their:

  1. wingspan
  2. typical flight distance
  3. speed and agility


  • Midget
  • Small
  • Midi
  • Large

Typical flight distance

  • Short-distance
  • Long-distance

Speed and agility

  • Rocketeer
  • Cruiser


A land-based Earth-Jørn hybrid animal, typically over 120cm high at the shoulder and capable of carrying a full-grown human. The roomal was the largest amongst the strider species, while the turt-sheep remains the shortest.

Developed by the human colonists as beasts of burden and as a food source when their Earth-born spieces succumbed to the Pollen, striders are the most common companion animal.


Strider spieces are divided in several different classifications, based on weight, height, strength and hardiness. These classifications are:

  • Mini strider
  • Light strider
  • Mid strider
  • Heavy strider

Beasts of burden

These striders, such as the ruc-pard and toa-mare, were initially developed to carry people and goods across long and often hostile terrain. Species that fall into this category are generally over 130cm high at the shoulder, intelligent and hardy animals.

Food source

Although species in this category can, and have, been used as beasts of burden in the past, they were developed primarily as a food source. Species in this category include the wombacow, turt-sheep and por-ig.


Fink flipped his thick, hairless tail, letting it land with a solid thwack on the deck not two feet from the tips of the woman’s shoes.

The Lamb stopped, her gaze locked on Fink.

It was hard to tell which characteristic people found most intimidating about him. It could have been the teeth, the claws, his sheer six-legged bulk or it could have been the reputation, the stigma of a species mixed in a lab by not just a crackpot but The Crackpot, by Woolsey.

…No one else would have thought to mix a little bit of rat with a little bit of leopard and a whole lot of rucnart to create something big and strong and scary enough to walk the surface with impunity.


Classification: Heavy strider.
Specialisation(s): Exploration.
Breeding Status: Retired from the program. Breeding successfully in the wild.

Weight: 600-800kg
Height (at shoulder): 1.4-1.9m
Length (nose to tip): 2.8-3.9m
Genetic combination: Rat (Terran), leopard (Terran), rucnart (Jørn)

More info

Arguably the most famous of Dr Augusta Woolsey’s creations, ruc-pards (‘pards) are among the more distinctive Earth–Jørn hybrids, with six legs, a leopard-like body and rat-like forequarters, head and tail. Although huge in comparison to other companions (with the exceptions of the roomal and slale-bear) fully-grown ‘pards still cannot match the size of their native Jøran cousins, the rucnarts.

Known for the ferocity and hardiness, ‘pards are capable of taking on all but the largest of Jørn’s indigenous species.
Today, the ferocity and intelligence that made them so valuable to early explorers has become a liability in the closer environments of the cities. Coupled with a fearsome reputation and the stigma attached to all of Dr Woolsey’s creations, their popularity as companions has declined and they are rarely seen outside of the Farm.

Ruc-pards are one of the few Earth–Jørn hybrids that thrive in the wild, and the Farm keeps track of over thirty-eight packs scattered across the globe.



Classification: Avian (large-size).
Gene Bank Status: Limited genetic samples available.

Weight: 4-6kg
Height (at shoulder): 23-42cm
Length (nose to tip): 66-102cm
Wingspan: 1.8-2.3m

More info

A large avian, native to Jørn.

Commonly found in areas inhabited by a group of rucnarts, with whom they appear to have established a mutually beneficial relationship. Much of the habits and lifecycle of qwans remains a mystery, as they continue to elude the efforts of scientists and enthusiasts alike, to study them.


Lazy images, carried on the distinct pink and mawberry flavour of Fink’s thoughts, swam through her mind.

Genetic combination: Strawberry (Terran), maultrin (Jørn)

A bright pink berry, approximately the same size as a small Old Earth apple. The mawberry is known for its sweet flavour, crunchy flesh and the sparkling (sometimes described as popping) sensation it makes when eaten.

Counted among the most successful of the first-gen plant hybrids, it’s a favourite at festive occasions and is popular both raw and in cooking, notably in cakes and tarts.


…to a girl with a linch-adder wrapped around her neck.

The ‘adder was easily the length of Hero’s arm, its breast covered in purple feathers that tapered into the yellow scales of its belly and a long, sinuous tail; it mantled its green wings and hissed at the sight of Fink.


Classification: Midi-flyer (short-distance Rocketeer).
Specialisation(s): Scout.
Breeding Status: On the program. Licenses for external breeding available.

Weight: 3-5kg
Height (at shoulder): 35-50cm
Length (nose to tip): 90-110cm
Wingspan: 100-130cm
Genetic combination: Adder (Terran), finch (Terran), linkal (Jørn)

More info

The linch-adder, or ‘adder, is a mid-sized flyer first engineered as a scouting companion for Riders.

Its loyalty and fearless disposition made it a popular companion animal for Riders and other personnel going ground side, where is was known to harry and drive off much larger animals. However, the ‘adder’s slow maturation, from hatchling to adult (eight years), and its difficultly to train, soon saw it replaced by faster growing and more biddable species, such as the oad-hawk.

The ‘adder remains popular among those looking for a more unusual companion animal as well a select few trainers and ground side personnel.