- Movement: 3
- Strength 10
A flying alien unit; like a Helicopter from Civilization V, it can traverse land or sea terrain.
A good target for Leash Alien, as not only is it one of the fastest alien units, but it's also able to fly over all terrain except mountains, making it very useful for finding exploration sites and for finding and taking resource pods.
Classified as eusocial wasps, although much larger than their Terrestrial counterparts, the drones did not become problematic for colonial settlers until the latter encroached upon their habitat. Akin to hornets, Magnum Vesparum is omnivorous, feeding on plant-sugars as well as preying on other insectoid species, primarily the Wolf Beetles and lesser denizens of this planet. Also similar to hornets, drones are highly social and territorial. Should one be attacked or a nest threatened, even inadvertently, an “attack pheromone” is released and the population of the hive, save for the queens, will swarm, aggressively assaulting any other lifeforms in the area. Armed with powerful mandibles and a retractable chitinous stinger, a single drone can kill a human; a large number can give even a Siege Worm pause.
Magnum Vesparum lives in extensive sprawling, usually underground nests composed of linked chambers, filled with resilin-based dividers. Only recently have colonial scientists been able to explore the tunnels and chambers of a cleared nest, in the process discovering that the drones have a five-stage larval form after being hatched from eggs deposited by one of the queens. Unlike most Old Earth social insects, Magnum Vesparum colonies can have several queens, although the social hierarchy in such is as yet not fully understood. The five larval stages seem to be a contributing factor the species’ highly adaptive behavior patterns. It is a matter of intense debate among colonial scholars as to whether this is the result of merely response to changing conditions… or an indicator of a true “swarm intelligence.”
Some colonial scientists have argued that the existence of Magnum Vesparum is support for the theory of “parallel evolution” – that similar species will evolve, despite divergent environments, with similar characteristics to fill the same ecological niche. While social, flying insects are common on Old Earth in a wide variety of species, here it seems that the drones eliminated or out-survived their competitors in the aerial niche. Given their size and the engineering marvel of their wings located on the mesothorax, drones are capable of crossing even expanses of open ocean and thus have spread across the skies of this planet.