Space-borne fungal siphonophore

Space-Borne Fungal Siphonophore (SFS)

SFS are a species that has operated in our solar system for well longer than we’ve been around. We haven’t noticed them because it’s next to impossible to notice anything going on in space – “needle in a haystack” doesn’t even begin to paint the picture. They aren’t naturally inimical to humans, but their agenda seems to go against us.

Despite this, they’ve also been a useful source of information, in part because they’re one of the more talkative extraterrestrial creatures. They aren’t by nature adverse to us, but their nature as functional excessions leads to the question of how much their very existence contributes to excessionist plans, and they are far more concerned by us than respectful of us.

Origin

It isn’t clear where SFS come from. According to a few records of SFS intervention on Earth, when asked where they came from one of them simply pointed. Sometimes they pointed at the ground, and at other times at the sky. It isn’t clear if it was pointing at Pluto, a different planet, another star, or some other feature.

They seem to have developed an interstellar society, though there’s limited interaction between the individual worlds. Unlike most any other creature, SFS can survive in space, and have the natural ability to distort space. This gives them the appearance of “flying through space” on their wings. This allows them to fly at potentially superluminal speeds. However, even at the speed of light it would take them years to get anywhere, and they do need occasional sustenance. Thus, it takes infrastructure for them to get from one star to another, some form of simple spacecraft.

Features

As the name implies, SFS have body systems reminiscent of fungi. Although they have no terrestrial fungal genetics, the functionality of their body systems are quite similar. They function as siphonophores. Although they appear to be a singular organism, they’re actually a collection of interdependent organisms.

This allows them to have great body sophistication and complexity without great difficulty in evolution or maintenance. It would appear that they never suffer atrophy from senescence, and are immune to the “ravages of time.”

SFS are also functional excessions. Their body tissues aren’t made of the same material as ours. Their movements are entirely bizarre, as their body tissues can move in ways that would be unnatural and physically impossible to humans. This gives then an uncanny effect. It also makes them difficult to pick up under normal chemical photography. Digital photography is unaffected, but in their attacks, they often use electromagnetic methods to disrupt technology. See the article on functional excession for more information.

SFS, in terms of overall body formation, are shelled invertebrates. They do not have a complete exoskeleton, and they do actually have endoskeletal structures running through much of their body. They have a large bulb at the center about a meter in length and a half meter wide. They have eight limbs that each end in claw appendages that function both as arms and as legs. They enjoy a large pair of wings.

At the front of their bodies, have a bulb covered in chromatophoric cilia. These cilia function for communication when they are in an airless environment, and are their principle means of communication with each other. They lack any proper vocal apparatus, but they do have gas bladders for certain biological purposes, and can shape them to release air in the form of a whispered vocalization. They use this unnatural behavior only to communicate with other species.

SFS are resistant to harmful radiation. They can modulate their body heat to their environment to bleed off only as much heat as the environment allows them to radiate or conduct, preventing them from overheating in anything but the hottest environment. They can survive in deep subfreezing temperatures, though nowhere near so low as absolute zero. They do not breathe, though they appear to need some form of nourishment. Their body surface has high resistance to breakage, and the independence of their organ systems allows them to survive relatively profound trauma.

One feature that eludes modern science is their ability to “fly through space.” Indeed, they shouldn’t be able to fly on Earth, as their wingspan is too small. They fly by means of space distortion. Essentially, they’re living “warp drives.” Some SFS are “clocked” at superluminal speeds, though through atmosphere they are considerably slower. They can fly through dense media like water, but this is grueling for their bodies.

This diverse set of biological advantages may explain how it is that their advanced, technological species has so little interface with tools. Humans are able to make tools an extension of their own persons. A human given a prosthetic device that doesn’t map to their normal biological capabilities (a third arm, for instance) will, over time, assimilate that new capability. It becomes a part of them. Tools work the same way for humans.

SFS do not do this, and so tools are, to them, simply objects that they only use under clear need. They don’t tend to carry diverse equipment, don’t use mechanical enhancements to their natural abilities (unless absolutely required), and don’t feel any connection to inanimate objects. This, in part, explains how a people with (admittedly unused) industrial infrastructure would remain without tools or machines of war for so long. They fight the same way that they do anything else – with minimum use of tools.

Their technology is quite advanced, however. They utilize directed energy weapons of various types, though many of them seem to be repurposed industrial tools. They also enjoy some advanced telemetric technology, and in the past they’ve modified or manufactured living organisms to use as operational platforms.

Perhaps the most frightening manifestation of this is that they have, on a few occasions, isolated human brains and kept them in isolation for their own purposes. While it’s true that they have used these brains as “living computers,” the process isn’t an effective way of operating a machine. Indeed, as “living computers,” the human brain primarily serves to “bounce ideas” and gain creative input. It would seem that SFS take human brains more as pets than as tools, though they do use them for intelligent tool wielding on occasion.

Present Operations

In the early part of the conflict, SFS used their natural capabilities to fly themselves close enough to craft to deploy fast-act single-use weapons. This was a deadly and highly effective ploy, and although they didn’t make many vehicle kills they frequently crippled. SFS would also fly to habitats and perform terrorist actions.

After the spindler, terrorist acts were the primary and nearly the sole source of military action from SFS. They lost the ability to “sneak up,” and indeed became rather visible. Recently, this has changed. They now deploy weapons platforms and actual military vehicles. It isn’t certain where this came from, but from appearances SFS may have contacted the rest of their society and received aid.

This begs the question of why they’re doing this. Up until now, they’ve been very contentedly remaining where they are, acting as an industrial hub. Although the unique resources on Pluto and/or Charon were depleted long ago, the industrial infrastructure keeps this system useful to SFS. The presence of humanity is not innately hostile to SFS, as humans had an ongoing space program that didn’t interest SFS in the slightest.

The answer lies in piecing together disassociated knowledge to learn of their operations some 32,000 years ago. At that time, SFS came to Earth (lacking intervention from the forces that had previously prevented them) and systematically wiped out a very small percentage of the human population. The reason for this isn’t clear, but the best proposed reason was to eradicate every person of arcane biology.

It requires a particular form of biology to perform arcane procedures, and most people have it. However, for some time few if any hominids had that capability. How the ability returned to humanity is unknown. However, we know from SFS that when they discovered this in 500 CE they attempted to resume the operation, only to be eluded through advanced means and periodically intercepted by unknown forces.

SFS decided to leave it as it was, because humanity had adapted to life without arcane and were gaining advanced engineering of a type never before seen by SFS. They figured it was a harmless way to gain scientific understanding they may have otherwise missed. This changed in 2034 with the start of arcane science. As the arcane sciences blossomed, the sudden tech surge and rapid expansion terrified SFS. Now, they’re fighting a reactionary war.

There may be an underlying reason. Although they are functional excessions and may worship excessive intelligences, most SFS do not wish for the entry of excessive intelligence into our world. Humans, whom they don’t trust to rational action, threaten to release further Excession onto the world through arcane process. Thus, they fight to prevent this eventuality.

Space-borne fungal siphonophore

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