After selecting the species I would evolve into, the expanded manual evolution menu appeared. I was thankful just to have the distraction, my core was full to bursting with energy and I couldn't wait to drain the stupid thing dry, improve my body and cease this horrific suffering!
Alright, now that the menu is in front of me, what did I have to do again? I feel like I had to eat something… Oh right! My stomach!
Eagerly, I fiddle about with the menu and begin to check my options for changing my stomach from a non-mutable organ and into a mutable one. Since it turns out that not every organ within a monsters body is able to be upgraded at the time they are born, getting the new members of the colony to enable their stomachs for mutation during their first evolution was critical. Once they could upgrade it, selecting the option to make food consumption more efficient by negating the evolution penalty.
Now I would get the opportunity to do the same thing!
After I messed about navigating the menu, ignoring the twinges of flaming agony that flared inside my body, I was able to find the option to enable my stomach for mutations. Thankfully it was quite cheap, roughly half the cost of a basic organ to do so.
I wasn't done here either, I also wanted to take a leaf out of Tiny's book and enable my muscles to be mutable as well. He'd been able to upgrade his musculature to be incredibly powerful, and if I wanted my bite to pierce the heavens one day, I'd need to do the same thing.
Two for the price of one!
How much energy do I have left?
Holy smoking mackerels! I have freakin' tons! Is this the benefit of pushing my core beyond its limits? And then pushing the extra 10% bonus for a completed mutation set on top? I'll be able to go much further than I already have with my stats! Not to mention glands! What should I buy? More organs? An aura?! Ah, the snowball effect of my repeated special evolutions has finally come into play! I feel like a kid in a store! Except that I have money to spend!
It's intoxicating! I feel like I might pass out!
No wait, I really might pass out. Hold on, me! Nearly there!
The first thing I do is go for the Cunning. I'll play with my stats until I'm happy and then I'll worry about organs and other such things afterwards. Alright then. With the +15 I got from my evolution, I decide to spend most of it shaping a third sub-brain which I place between the other two and connect to the coordination cortex. I have the cortex after all, it'd be a massive waste to not take advantage of it, which means more sub-brains!
My new third brain I make larger and more potent than the other two, I want it to act as a kind of 'boss' brain that will lead the way in combined spell casting, acting as the guide and brunt force. While I'm at it, I beef up the other two sub-brains slightly, giving them a little extra punch. Having done that, I have a shade of my free +15 Cunning and Will left over, so I spend it upgrading my main mind, and I give a little extra boost from my spare energy as well.
When that job is done, I sit back and admire my new brain power. Fearsome! With this evolution I've taken my mental game to a whole new level! Now onto the physical stats. I want to spend my Might on roughly sixty percent size and forty percent density. It'll make a bit larger a bit faster, but I really need the quick stats. In my next evolution I may be able to correct the imbalance and give more energy back to density, but for now I need to emphasise raw stats.
A straight up forty might does a long way in making me a larger boi. I try to ensure that the density of muscle is concentrated in my head, since those are the muscles responsible for powering my bite. I'll need all the juice I can get in that department if I'm going to match it with a giant crocodile. I supplement the free stats with some extra from my evolutionary energy pool, making my overall might gain fifty points. If I'm going to address my terrible physical stats in this evolution then I need to commit.
Toughness is mainly spent thickening and powering up my carapace but I spare some thought to buffing up the walls of my internal organs. It's unlikely to help much but some types of energy, such as electricity, are able to go straight through my outer defences, so toughening up the insides should help reduce that damage, at least a little. As with my Might, I spend some energy to bring my overall toughness gain up to fifty, rounding out the bonus stats nicely.
Since I'm already in the menu I decide to poke around at my new Collective Will Gland. Each of the three rare evolutions gave massive stat gain as well, as powerful as what was described as a 'rare' organ. In the case of this evolution, it was the Collective Will Vestibule. Rather than an organ it almost appeared to be formed from crystalised flesh. Which is creepy enough, but more staggering than that was the sheer cost of the thing.
This was one expensive organ! It cost more than most of the high end aura glands! Significantly more! And I get it for free?! Viva la rare core! Viva la rare evolution!
I'm not even perfectly aware of what this thing does, but I'm positive it's going to be amazing! How could it not?
OK. Cool it off. We have a fair whack of energy still to spend. More stats? Hmm. Not sure. Wings? Again… not sure. Will I really need the wings underground? Flying sounds nice and all, but I like getting my face hands and claws into the dirt. Perhaps I'll revisit the wings idea another time.
I could put a stinger onto my back zone? Lots of different ants have stingers, and I can definitely see how they'd be useful, injecting painful venom into my enemies. But no. I'm firmly in camp acid. The products released from my business district have widespread renown and fame after my aggressive marketing. I wouldn't want to turn around and start to advertise a whole new line of wares. Perhaps there's something I can use to give my acid a boost?
I flick through the exhaustive menu, my mind happy for something to focus on other than my screaming innards until I find a few items I like the look of.
[Acid Nozzle. An attachment organ that allows for more flexible and precise aiming from acid glands.]
This gland is quite cheap and essentially acts as a small, flexible 'barrel' on the end of my acid gland that can help me aim without having to change my body position as much. For example, I'll be able to lift my abdomen up high and the use the nozzle to fire directly forward without having to turn around. Nice!
Whilst I'm at it.
[Acid concentration gland. Attached to acid producing organ, this gland will secrete a concentration that will cause the acid produced to condense and purify, improving it's qualities.]
Nice one! Essentially improving the power of the mutations that I already have, meaning my acid will do more damage, be more sticky and eat through mana faster. Not bad for one cheap gland! Heck, I'm on a roll, why not keep it going!
[Acid stimulation gland. Improves the speed of acid production in the attached gland.]
Since my acid is going to much more flexible and potent, I may as well ensure that I have more of it! Phew. It's a good thing my back zone is so much larger than it was before, I never would have fit this gear in here otherwise.
What else can I do? I've bought three little cheap glands, I think it's time to spend the rest of the energy on something big! Something expensive and powerful that'll help tie my mental and physical attributes together.
Maybe I can do something with my nervous system?
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After all, that's the part of the body that connects the mind to the muscle!
I poked through the menu for a few minutes and managed to find a heap of options regarding nerves and the nervous system in general, and much as I suspected, they were quite pricey to buy. Some of the tastiest options I couldn't afford, even before I'd bought any glands, but there still quite a few that caught my eye.
After some consideration, I spend the remainder of my energy making my nervous system mutable and then buying this one to go with it:
[Sub-neural network. An extension to the main nervous system that reduces response times by allowing automatic reaction processing in the extremities.]
Gweheheh. With my nervous system ready to be upgraded, and with this item alongside, my reaction speeds will be extraordinarily fast! When I consider what I might be capable of with my future sense antennae …. Hopefully it comes together.