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Ballont Sophont


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"Thus far this species remains our only candidate for the atmospheric discharge which drew our attention to Stephara d-α: the organisms have collectively been designated as Castaway until whatever point we may hear their name for themselves.

Our first attempts to explore the surface in hopes of finding the source of the phenomenon ended in spectacular failure – the initial probe’s onboard lander did not make it to 5 kilometers above the surface before imploding, but it managed to take shots of ghostly creatures floating in the clouds, life on a world that by all accounts should be utterly uninhabitable. Intrigued, our engineers cobbled a short series of more enduring probes, each launched towards different sites on Stephara d-α: for the most part these lasted only a few hours, but these were enough to divert our attention from the rest of the system.

Certainly the discovery of ever more diverse endemic fauna in various levels of the atmosphere was enough to capture our attention, but all these paled next to what we would discover about one of the islands. The probe in question had been caught in a trade wind that sent it drifting above the location of interest when speakers first picked up the noise, a low frequency cacophony that seemed to emerge from a crater not too far below. Examination through telescopic lenses spoke an entirely different story: arrayed about the basin were a whole host of organisms, each enraptured by one in the center, who continuously turned as if to address them, and steps about the sides of the ‘crater’ completed the story. This was an alien auditorium, likely shaped to funnel the sound of the speaker upwards (by virtue of which we could hear it at so far a distance), and we had just identified sapient life.

To this end we decided not to risk pre-contact, and set the probe to land itself in the water, where the currents would tear it apart more quickly to keep it from being discovered. Images it took were correlated with those taken by the others, and though we cannot affirm that these all constitute a single species (as opposed to several similar species), they appear to be present on both sides of the body, with the largest observed congregations on a few islands facing the brown dwarf. Further study will require more advanced probe designs, both to cope with the abyssal surface conditions on Stephara d-α, and, depending on whether we intend to make ourselves known to them at all, to either observe them from hiding or initiate first contact and cooperate with them afterwards.

That being said, it might be too late to make that choice…"

Senior Urnast Raelae
From System Report #002

Sent from Stephara Way Station:
23:01:56 RTime 17/1/9997
Received by XRA Chaan Division:
01:30:19 RTime 21/1/9997
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nineslugsart's avatar
Dude... this design is so original! I LOVE this! I have the biggest soft spot for buggy, tentacled aliens. You hit me right in the aesthetics. I'm interested in seeing more about these creatures =)