…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.
Breeding Status: Retired from the program. Licenses for external breeding available.
Height (at shoulder): 1.2–1.8m
Length (nose to tip): 2.2–4m
Genetic combination: Cow (Terran), ocupline (Jørn)
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.
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.
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.
Breeding Status: Retired from the program. Breeding successfully in the wild.
Height (at shoulder): 1.4-1.9m
Length (nose to tip): 2.8-3.9m
Genetic combination: Rat (Terran), leopard (Terran), rucnart (Jørn)
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.
“The first barrier is coming up.”
On the inside of her helmet, the view changed, a diagram of a semi-transparent wall, a round hole in its centre, overlaying the skybridge. “What is it?”
“A modified shock skin. You have to jump through the hole.”
“I thought this was meant to be hard?”
“It is.” The feed from Harish’s harness grew large on her holo-screen, and she saw a flurry-thyt hunched over a switch. “Unless the switch is down, there is no hole.” An oad-hawk knocked the ‘thyt from its perch, and a doe-oc slammed into the space where the hole had been. “But don’t worry, Harish knows what he’s doing.”
Classification: Light strider.
Breeding Status: Currently being bred outside of the Farm’s program.
Height (at shoulder): 140–170cm
Genetic combination: Deer (Terran), ocupline (Jørn)
A variant on the disastrous doe-rahm, the doe-oc has become popular among barrier racers. Renowned for it’s speed and agility, it is ideally suited to the sport but, with the same vulnerability to the Pollen as it’s predecessor, is not viable for ground side work details.
The first companion species to be engineered outside of the Farm, the doe-oc represents a new era in companion breeding. While the P’Tember stud, who produced the very first doe-oc, continues to be the leader in non-Farm breeding, several other studs have sprung up in its wake.