02/19/16 Underground 26

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  1. Think it’ll ask them if any of the three peed in its well?

  2. Directions to the beach?

  3. “Oops… Um… May I have your heads?”

  4. Yuk!

    3 half-persons (only 2/4 eyes, 2/4 tentacle appendages, 2/4 hoofed appendages to each) have crawled out of the well, with two halves still twitching and cackling? Plus there is a metal 2/4 baby? One of them thankfully appears dead.

    Should I call pest control, the tabloid press, or both?

  5. Wow, look at the surface area on that thing. The body heat loss must be enormous. Cold blooded maybe?

  6. Not necessarily. Just because it’s not sporting something WE would recognize as hair doesn’t mean its skin doesn’t have some special heat-retaining surface property.

  7. Ah, point. Time for some questions, then.

  8. Also, look at the density and diversity of the vegetation. I’d guess this area has at least what we’d call a mediterranean climate.

  9. I’d say that just about everything about this planet is unknown to humans beyond its classification as within the Goldilocks Zone and it is breathable to humans. Beyond that, good luck in stumbling over them on your travels.

  10. I just gotta say this: given the diversity of vegetation and number of sapient species, is this planet a freakin’ zoo?

  11. Dunno. Looks like an artificial biosphere to me. Theme park? Recreational center?

  12. Yeah, the number of sapient species is insane.

  13. @Derrick, UNLESS…
    They are all the same basic genome, with some small modifications. You know, like mounting a JATO on a Chevrolet Impala — what could go wrong?

    So the humans aren’t being kept as prisoners or zoo specimens so much as being kept for new sources of genetic material for further “ge’ Nome Improvements“. So to speak.

  14. Well, if you were to land on Earth even a couple of thousand years ago you wouldn’t recognize the place… human culture has been streamlining the ecology to a frightening degree. Zoos are actually tidily managed, near empty spaces, compared to what used to be typical not so long ago. So good on the aliens if they weren’t quite so thorough…

    As Muzhik has mused, the alien sapients we’ve seen so far seem to share a basic building plan. In comparison, on Earth even now you’ll find all kinds of smart critters from parrots and ravens, cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and primates (including us), to far off cousins like octopus and sepia… endless forms, most beautiful. But even in comparison, the four-limbed fourfold symmetry design is really pleasing, both on aesthetic and biomechanical grounds, at least to my eyes…

    Likewise, while the vegetation sure is colorful, this variation may well be superficial. Maybe the colors are picked mostly to look alien but hospitable… Depending on how detailed Christopher’s biology backstory is, perhaps the plants are using different compounds to get at particular wavelengths present in the sunlight? (Of course, if their sun/atmosphere were so different from ours, even skin color would look unrecognizable, and painting that would just be distracting and really hard).

  15. Ever notice how nobody in comic strips (or TV and movies for that matter) has any peripheral vision at all? If the reader or viewer can’t see it, neither can the characters.

  16. Well, this guy could maybe be a different ethnicity of the same species as the other NEBS, rather than a different species. Looks different, but shares the same body plan, so they would seem to share a common ancestor at least.

    I mean, on the one hand, most breeds of domestic dog are technically only ethnicities of the same species, despite their wildly different looks. And on the other, we know humans and cro-magnons co-existed for awhile back in the day, and there’s genetic evidence that they interbreeded a fair bit, which raises some interesting taxonomy/speciation debates.

    Hishla though appears to definitely be a proper different species. So that’s 2 species, at minimum. Not entirely implausible though, if (big if) their respective niches and/or home geography doesn’t put them in competition. I mean, in Earth terms, a sapient dog species probably would’ve conflicted with early humans resulting in one “winning” and the other going extinct (as is believed to have happened with cro-magnon), but a sapient dolphin would have little to worry about from us and vice versa up until relatively recently.

    I was about to say “octopus” instead of “dolphin”, as TBH a sapient cephalopod has way more interesting potential than a sapient cetation (’cause they have appendages that can manipulate and build stuff), but on thinking about it, there’d actually be a lot of potential for conflict with sapient octopus once humans started fishing.

  17. You know, one would expect a nannybot to show just a tiny bit more concern if his charge was passed out due to an encounter with an alien being…..

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