Shadows of the Ascendancy
Sentient jellyfish like organisms native to Iou-7
Subject:Official Report- First Contact with the Cnidoliths- Keet’Kaa
Recipients: Dr. Lucian “the scientist”, Jace “The face”, Xan’Koth “Brother in armor”, Whirlir “the Wookie”, Tyr “The Jedi”, Sa’Keth “the dark one”, T’sa “I can fix it”, Frendo-maw “the Calm one.”
Xan’koth, myself, and the Jedi were hired by Dr. Lucian to attempt First Contact with mysterious creatures found in the atmosphere of Ioum-1. Our other companions were off station or unable to be reached. Dr Lucian informed us that the atmosphere was highly corrosive and that we would be working with limited resources for protection. He only had enough to time apply a protective coating to a single item each, but he was unable to apply the protective coating the the Jedi’s lightsaber, as it was too fragile. We all wore modified biohazard suits inside our shuttle.
We were told a few things ahead of time:
1. The Cnidoliths create monofilament structures that we thought to be for defense. All previous expeditions into the field had met with failure, and many of the probes were ripped apart upon encountering the monofilament.
2. Since the atmosphere in the gas giant is so tumultuous, we were advised to drop a tight beam sensor beacon every 100 meters or so. These did not help us find the Cnidoliths, but were more of a lifeline so we could find our way back to the station.
3. It is thought that the Cnidoliths communicate on a subsonic frequency, which means that we will not hear them with our ears. The shuttle was equipped with a subsonic emitter and lots of cameras and other recording devices. The computer had recorded three different sounds that we thought to be words in the cnidolith language. Two greetings (one formal and one informal) and one greeting that Dr. Lucian thought was a hostile signal.
With these things in mind we headed out into the maelstrom. Tyr was piloting, quite well I might add, while I was operating the subsonic sensors looking for signs of the creatures communication. Xan was operating other sensors to make sure that we did not run into any monofilaments.
We flew around for a while until we finally got some sensor hits. Proceeding in the direction of the readings we were forced to stop due to high monofilament readings in the area and a loss of subsonic signal. After a time of sitting still, it seemed as if our beacons had finally attracted the attention of the creatures. A monstrously huge creature appeared out of the mists. It was mostly transparent and very difficult to see with the naked eye. It also appeared to have two smaller creatures along with it. We were not sure if these were young, or protection for the large creature, or another species entirely. It also projected subsonic waves that were slightly uncomfortable when they went through our bodies.
We tried the formal greeting and the creature seemed to create a monofilament web between us. With the help of the computer we were able to discern a pattern in the webbing. We did it again and it made the same pattern of webbing. So we tried some numbers. We dropped a single beacon and it made a certain pattern. We dropped two beacons and it made another pattern. We dropped three and it made another. I also tried banging on the hull to create vibrations, hoping it would hear it subsonically. We surmise that we may have gotten “words” for the numbers 1 through 10. It seemed to eat or reuse the webbing when it was finished with a particular pattern. At one point it started to rapidly create the monofilament patterns and start aligning it near its body. We figured this meant it was time go, so we carefully backed up in a non-threatening way and departed.
A very short time later our ship was jarred to the side by something huge. It was also transparent and glass-like and difficult to see, but it looked like a long snake with a huge mouth full of translucent teeth. Clearly a different species than the Cnidolith. We tried to use the engines to burn it as it grabbed us and started crushing our shuttle in its jaws. It released us and was coming around for another pass so we tried using the Hostile Cnidolith sound. We issued the signal over and over again. It paused for a few seconds then resumed the attack. Warning bells were going off all over the place as our shuttle crashed into a huge mineral deposit floating in the clouds (presumably what the station sifts out of the maelstrom). We were able to make a backup of all the data we had received from the ship’s computer and took it with us, as we exited the shuttle. We also managed to eject the beacon container and take them with us assuming we survived and when we needed to be found.
We made it out of the ship and all ran for cover trying to be as stealthy as we could as the creature slammed into our ship tearing to pieces. When it was finished with the ship, the creature saw me and grabbed me. This marks the third huge creature that has almost eaten me since I joined with my current companions. It’s jaws may have looked delicate and transparent but they cut just like any other set of predator jaws.
We were in bad shape and already lacking in ranged weaponry when the Cnidoliths suddenly appeared above the creature and started weaving monofilaments. If there was ever a doubt about the intelligence of these creatures, it should be put to rest. They shaped the monofilaments and used them as tools. They put a protective covering over the craters that Tyr and I were taking cover in, and tried to do the same for Xan’Koth but he rolled out of it. The large one used the monofilaments to create a sort of spear and attacked the predator with it, seriously damaging it. It also used them to create a sort of barrier / shield around itself. Meanwhile the smaller ones went darting in to physically attack the predator. Each time the predator was damaged his body lit up with waves of bioluminescent red lights. Some of the predator’s teeth were shattered and flying around the area and we managed to get a few samples to bring back to the labs. Tyr managed to use his Jedi talents to hurl a large piece of jagged jawbone at the predator. Between the Cnidoliths and our group, the predator finally had enough and fled the scene.
At this point the cnidoliths calmed down and started digesting all the excess monofilament. Waste not, want not, I guess. They wove us several pads of monofilament to stand on, which we did hesitantly, before carrying us through the clouds. Shortly thereafter the search party found us and the Cnidoliths and we were taken back to the station, the Cnidoliths fading back into the clouds from whence they came. We were also able to keep some of the monofilament samples for the lab. Overall, it was an amazing First Contact event.
Back on station I spoke with Dr. Lucian and he suggested that perhaps I was suited to making further contact with these Cnidoliths in a more direct fashion. Apparently the Herglic species has a vestigal organ that has not been used for many, many generations. This organ is able to create and feel subsonic waves much like the way that we think the Cnidoliths communicate. A subsonic ear, if you will. He said that he could perform a somewhat risky genetic modification to enhance this organ if I was interested. Being ever curious I agreed, and the operation seems to have been a success. I don’t feel any immediate side effects but I am able to feel the Cnidolith communications a bit more clearly. After retrofitting the shuttles with more defensive equipment, per our suggestion, I have since gone out once more on my own, accompanied by a droid. Now that we understand more about the patterns of the Cnidoliths and the huge predator, we were able to better ensure our safety and know when to leave before danger found us. Dr. Lucian is very excited to learn more about the Cnidoliths and I am eager to aid him whenever we have some downtime on the station. It is my hope that someday I may be able to communicate more directly with them, possibly even learning their language.