An ancient Warbird originally designed to besiege armies and level cities, the Quailgun is a monster that fires destructive projectiles at supersonic speeds over long distances from an extensively modified beak, its anatomy so dedicated to this function that it has difficulty locomoting, feeding or even remaining upright on its own.
Like a social insect queen, the Quailgun's survival is dependent upon its highly specialized clonal offspring, colloquially referred to as Croosters, possessing little more than four pick-like limbs and a dorsal feeding cavity. These simplified but creatures collectively ferry the Quailgun between stations, diligently groom it of parasites and collect whatever organic sustenance they can carry in their crops, deposited into an esophageal funnel under the Quailgun's cranial shield.
The Quailgun's digestive system processes harder materials such as bone and mineral content into pellets coated in a highly volatile slime, loaded into a specialized chamber organ and ignited by the bio-electric generator in the base of its beak. Though its sensory systems can identify distant targets, it must direct its Croosters to angle and steady its cumbersome beak according to precise coordinates.
The Quailgun takes great pride in its beak, and if one meets another they will engage in a territorial comparison of beak length. It excels at taking orders and sees the world as a great battle that it an integral part of, but struggles to grasp concepts outside its singular purpose of aiming and firing its weaponry, often relying on its Croosters to further clarify difficult new ideas to the best of their marginally less limited comprehension.
Croosters themselves are happy go lucky creatures similarly eager to fulfill their intended purpose in life. They are thrilled by every "blasting" they can participate in, and will have lengthy discussions amongst themselves about their favorite explosions as well as ways to increase their efficiency and destructiveness. Croosters that have lost their Quailgun will do everything in their power to find something to 'carry into battle', and can be seen in the wild lugging around rotting logs, rusty pipes or even other monsters - particularly lengthy serpentines or vermimorphs.
While the Quailgun itself has only a single major function, but it is capable of firing any custom made ammunition that a Crooster with a long enough implement can shove down its beak. In active battle a Quailgun and its Crooster crew are simple monsters, stumbling around until they've got something lined up and then blowing it into a fine red mist. That said, they are almost defenseless in close combat, their Crooster poorly suited to anything but simple distraction tactics, and generally require the protection of other monsters.
Despite their pedigree, not all Quailgun see the battlefield; they're a common fixture in post offices where they shoot mail to far off locales, a few are employed in pyrotechnic entertainment and at least one agricultural operation has modified the creatures for seed dispersal.
The largest and most ancient Quailgun, living artifacts of forgotten conflicts, may slumber for centuries awaiting new orders - or offering invaluable data to historians with the patience for meticulously detailed but often meandering stories.
RAILGUN BEAK: the Quailgun's bio-organic railgun fires projectiles at speeds almost impossible to see, let alone dodge, and can fire anything that will fit through its barrel.
CROOSTERS: though they are poor combatants, the Quailgun is assisted by multiple clone offspring.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik