Part 1 The Mists
Ilrod navigated their small spacecraft. He was busy monitoring their passage through another set of planets. The fellow Mists behind him were at a low activity level saving their energy. The trip had been hard on all of them. Before leaving their last planet, many of his friends died and they were forced to leave without them. It was horrible to experience the deaths of so many of their kind. They were lucky, they were able to resurrect their ship and even more fortunate that it still functioned.
The planet they left had been good to them. They had found hosts to occupy and their lives were pleasant. The hosts were limited in their capabilities, they had small minds and the environment was difficult. Nevertheless, the creatures traveled in packs and when the time came for a mist to move from one host to another, the transition was easy.
The 'Mists' traveled to that planet many rotations ago and were fortunate to find hosts who were compatible. After landing, the Mists waited in their ship for a long time hoping to find suitable hosts and they were fortunate. The hosts were large animals and they didn't know anything happened when the Mists entered through their nasal passages and took up residence in their small minds.
Mists are a small race of living organisms, which exist as a collection of molecules that work together to continue their existence. As a collection they think, they enjoy each other's companionship, they dream, they fear the unknown. To a solid life form, they are a cloud, a mere wisp of coloring floating in the air. To them, life is important and they cherish their existence. Mists live long lives and death occurs when their molecules become too dispersed for them to draw them back together.
The various worlds they have lived upon throughout their history were diverse yet they had living creatures with brains developed sufficiently for the Mists to occupy. If the host brains were too small, there wasn't enough synaptic activity for the Mists to function along with the normal processes of the host. If the brains were large enough then the Mists would occupy a portion of the host's brain and enjoy life along with the host. If the hosts were too intelligent, there was a risk of discovery.
They feel the positive feelings of the host. They feel the fear and they know if the host is at risk. The Mists don't want to control the host or take over their lives, they want to live and retain their little community. When the Mists occupy a group of hosts, they preferred to occupy a heard or community of hosts. That allows them to remain in contact with each other and to move from one host to another when a host dies. In a crisis, many of the Mists can occupy one host for a short time, but they have to disperse into other hosts to remain viable and continue living. Mists live long, and rarely do they find others like them. The Universe being full of intelligent molecules, but they are too dispersed to form a Mist. Mists can absorb random intelligent molecules from time to time and they may lose some. If a sufficient number of intelligent molecules come together, then another Mist can be born. If they combine their thoughts, they can draw intelligent molecules together to form another. It took a significant effort and isn't always successful, it is rarely done.
The last planet the Mists had occupied was a turbulent place. The hosts were the dominant predator on the planet, but their lives were short lived. By the time their brains were old enough for the Mist to share, they would live only a few years before the harsh nature of their world took them. If death occurred because of natural causes, the Mists sensed the pending loss and moved to another host before it occurred. If the death occurred suddenly, violently and away from the group the Mist was lost.
The planet they just left met a violent end. It was immature in its development and a violent series of volcanic explosions made the host's life expediency too short. The violent end came quickly and many of the Mists were too far away for any transfers to be made. It was sad to lose friends who had traveled together for such a long time. The surviving Mists tried in vain to draw their friends back to them, but the turbulence on the planet prevented them.
The Mists were fortunate their ship had remained viable. Unlike ships made and flown by corporeal creatures. The Mist's ship was small and weighed almost nothing. It was made up of a single layer of molecules the Mists had collected over many thousands of years. The propulsion was through wind currents in the atmosphere. When the ship reached space, it would flow with the bands of light that passed through one star system to another.
Now they had been drawn together once again seeking a new home and set of hosts. They were hopeful yet guarded in their enthusiasm. In the past, when they were lucky, they would travel a short time while they slept. In other migrations, they were forced to travel for long periods. Time to them was irrelevant, they lived very long lives and their lives were marked by the periods they were in good hosts.
This last journey wasn't long by their standards nor was it short. The planet they were approaching met their criteria and they were hopeful to find adequate hosts. Their ship entered the atmosphere and was picked up by the air currents. Depending on the weather patterns and other factors, the remaining journey to the ground could be short or it might take many passages of the sun. Again, the time was irrelevant so success was the only criteria.
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