The vertebrae of the spine are visible on their backs, and their elbows are covered in lengthy spurs. Their skin is somewhat translucent, enough to expose the veins, and can be an array of different colours.
Their most notable trait is their adaptable physiology. They have clusters of non-differentiated cells, similar to those found on the planarian worm of Earth. These cells allow the vorcha limited regenerative abilities, as well as the ability to adapt quickly to its environment, such as developing thicker skin after being burned or increased musculature to survive in high gravity. When a vorcha is injured or in distress, these cells move to the affected area and rapidly (within a week) mature to specialized forms that will alleviate the issue.
A vorcha that is cut or burned will adapt to have thicker skin. The lungs of a vorcha placed in a barely-breathable atmosphere will adapt to better use the gases there. Vorcha subjected to high gravity will quickly develop stronger heart and leg muscles.
Non-differentiated cell clusters do replenish themselves, but the process is slow. Generally, vorcha can only adapt to a single environment within their brief lives. However, what cells are replaced allow them to heal rapidly, and even regrow lost limbs over a period of months. As a consequence of this, the vorcha as a species no longer evolve as other races do. The vorcha equivalent of DNA has remained unchanged for millions of years. There’s no need for them to evolve as a species when they can adapt as individuals.
Vorcha initially began as a carnivorous species, but biology has allowed them to adapt to nearly every kind of levo food except for anything with lactose, which they have an intolerance for. A similar trait, strangely enough, is consistently present in asari who have vorcha “fathers”, in the form of a dairy allergy. The reasons for this are unknown, as the belief of asari inheriting traits from alien fathers is usually considered cultural myth with little to no scientific backing.
Vorcha, like many other species, have two sexes: Male and female. However, the latter sex is relatively rare compared to the former. Female Vorcha are distinctively smaller than males, with a thinner physique.
Vorcha prefer living among themselves in shared spaces to being alone or mingling with aliens. They have a strong “nesting” instinct, preferring tight, cluttered areas. Their clannishness and preference for squatting in the uninhabited service levels of space stations reinforces many species’ opinions of the vorcha as vermin - dangerous vermin who’ll bite your face off if you get too close.
Vorcha assault each other frequently, causing their young to gain strength, intelligence, and resilience. As a result, vorcha see inflicting and receiving pain as normal communication. Indeed, vorcha society is built around combat; verbal skills are of secondary importance.
Alliances between vorcha bloodlines are tenuous at best, and the vorchas’ short, violent lives ensure there are few lasting institutions. Constant upheaval, violent competition, and regular bloodshed means that there aren’t a lot of traditions that become ingrained over time or have the opportunity to be shared.
"The thing that you need to understand, first and foremost, is that vorcha exist in a chaotic, self-reinforcing cycle. Large populations grow, develop, fragment, and reform rapidly. A colony can produce dozens of offshoots over the course of a single year, and each member is basically fed and strengthened on the inherent violence. Oh there’s no doubt that it works quite well for them but ultimately it means two things: one, to get them to a place where they’re actually useful they need to be broken out of that cycle and substituted into an environment that you define. And two: where there’s one “feral” vorcha - aka the kind that will literally claw your face off and gnaw out your innards - there will be more".
According to Skhash, the vorcha ate their gods.
Joset Phraag asked: "Was it some sort of statement about no longer needing them or being, you know, tired of their meddling? Or was it just that you were hungry and you ate your own deities because you had no idea what you were doing?!"
Skhash answered, "all of the above."
Shortly after the discovery of Heshtok, several asari mining corporations adopted vorcha orphans from the planet, raising them to live nonviolent lives and employing them in the mining industry on Parasc. While these efforts were at first labeled colonialist, the orphans became minor celebrities when it was proven that the vorcha habit of using violence to communicate wasn’t completely innate. Several spoke throughout Citadel space on behalf of their species, but their short life spans kept their careers very brief. Even today, companies that want vorcha labour have the poor choice between adopting and educating them as youngsters just to watch them age and die or dealing with autonomous but violent adults.
On the whole, initial efforts to incorporate vorcha into the galactic community failed. Within a generation of first contact, robo-mining interests attempted to exploit Naskral - only to find their trading partners violently overthrown on a regular basis. The vorchas’ own culture disenfranchised them in Naskral’s case, as their legal claims to the planet were inevitably backed up by violence as a show of dominance. This nuance was lost on the mining corporations, who hired mercenaries to guard their operations with lethal force and never surrendered it to vorcha claimants.
The planet Namakli was briefly colonized by the Pyrena Corporation, a consortium of asari colonists and socialized vorcha laborers. After an economic downturn, however, many asari left the planet, and the vorcha population kept growing to the point where they bred faster than they could be educated. Soon they turned violent and uncontrollable, and the colonies essentially self-destructed.
Vorcha stowaways caused similar situations elsewhere, including on This Vorcha World!
During the Reaper invasion in 2186, the Reapers encountered difficulties in harvesting Heshtok. Because the vorcha weren’t cowed by the Reapers’ impersonal intimidation tactics, and the effects of the destruction of resources like water were negligible given vorcha adaptability, the Reapers devoted their efforts to immobilizing Heshtok’s population and preventing the vorcha from contributing offworld in the wider conflict.
The Void Devils, a fighter group with vorcha pilots trained by humans and turians, fought hard during the battle for Heshtok and maintained the discipline to retreat, a notable accomplishment. The battle for Lihrat, however, was a disaster, with an alien-led vorcha fleet being completely wiped out due to insufficient firepower. The Reapers were rumored to have lost not a single ship. The clash was impoliticly characterized on the news vids as “millennia-old death machines versus a gang of teenagers”, a reference to the vorchas’ brief life spans and inexperience.
In other news, a team of socialized vorcha serving as a maintenance and calibration crew on a small scientific outpost orbiting Tyrix contributed to construction of the Crucible. This crew could heal cellular damage caused by radiation exposure, which was useful since the Crucible was being built without a planetary magnetosphere to protect it, and extravehicular activity on its hull was often required.
Long restricted from travelling through Citadel space, during the later stages of the war the Citadel Council grudgingly provided transport and armament for many vorcha due to their reputation as savage ground troops. The vorcha didn’t disappoint, and while the Reaper advance continued unabated the vorcha earned a reputation among their better-trained and better-equipped peers for enthusiasm and relentlessness.
In the rush to rebuild after the Reaper invasion, it was to be expected that some surviving worlds would be left behind. As the Council’s logistics experts tried to coordinate cleanup and reconstruction across Citadel space, the last thing on their minds was the fate of the countless minor Terminus powers and worlds not within their purview. As it turned out, the Terminus had its own source of unexpected help: the vorcha.
Two studies - one conducted by the Courts of Dekuuna as part of their ongoing effort to determine areas of highest need, and another by the Vol Protectorate to assist in resource reallocation - led to some unexpected revelations. While homeworlds and other major centres receiving direct geth support had achieved the most since the Reaper withdrawal, a number of Terminus worlds were among the recovery leaders in each field. Independent reviews confirmed the results, and while initially baffled, each analyst eventually came to the same conclusion: accelerated recovery was often closely tied to the size of the local vorcha population.
A cautionary note was appended to each study, indicating that vorcha gathering in large numbers will tend to revert to a pack hierarchy, and that this may not be the best way to harness their potential. The Vol Protectorate study, in particular, emphasized that the most successful worlds were those which had scattered populations of vorcha rather than large concentrations, as the damage caused by large numbers of vorcha can be overwhelming. Leading the unexpected Terminus recovery were The High Republic of Orozvhad and the Vonskar Coalition, damaged in a war with one another prior to the arrival of the Reapers. Their positions in the Terminus as trade hubs and their recent militarization led to an influx of vorcha as both refugees and soldiers of fortune, who in the aftermath of the Reaper war proved willing to learn more useful trades.
See also: Shru'ii.
Notable vorcha of CDN
Threads and Posts
Operation Uplift, part one: The grand experiment. Weyrloc Garush has a plan: "We intend to acculturate and socialize one of these vorcha, to teach it to exist in galactic society, and to behave in a manner appropriate to a civilized being - though still a mercenary".
How do you talk to vorcha?: A C-Sec officer could use some advice.
Vorcha Surfing: One of the most bizarre (and yet inspiring?) stories, as a hoard of vorcha emerge to try their hand at surfing.
They Are Making Me Teach Vorcha: The Void Devils will live on!