A shocking image appeared on the screen. Two semi-translucent domed eyes bulged out over coppery ovoid discs. There was something very fishy about the ship itself, especially the aft banner streaming rippling symbols that trailed off into space. Chiron’s holo zoomed in on weirdly octopus-like humanoid forms. They had three ‘tentacles’ on each side of the body, with lines of digits that looked capable of fine manipulations. Each arm had many short lines of four long, squiggly fingers opposed by four fat, short digits running the length. The ‘hands’ on the narrow, wiggly limbs were in the midst of columns of small flat suckers. Two more, much thicker limbs reached straight down, serving as legs.
“Do they have feet?” Karen asked. “It looks like thick tentacles go into those mechanical boots.”
Jack turned around. “I saw that, too. Looks like they could depend on weighted boots with ball bearing ankles for walking. I notice that kind of thing,” he added wryly.
Walsh stepped up beside her. “I get the feeling these things are intended to swim most of the time,” he said. “Looks like they have gills in the neck.”
The eyes were perhaps the most human things about them, but they were unsettling. It was like looking into the eyes of your pet goldfish and suddenly seeing a soul. Right now, they looked angry.
“I’ve got a file for these – Octopoids I want to call them, from the Fabaris,” Blake said. “Including some language info, but these poids are sending some too.” The skin on the odd-looking creatures did resemble the leather on an octopus, with the rows of suckers all over the eight limbs. “By the way, octopi have arm, you might as well call these side tentacle things arms, and the bottom ones legs.”
Karen nodded. “We’ll do that.”
What the Octopoids said was surprising. “I see the Fbar are hostile to you, too. Did they send you a DNA bomb as well? They infected half our population.”
Karen was shocked. The Fabar seemed so peaceful. She had to get all the intel she could, before the poid stopped talking. “Can you describe this DNA bomb, and the symptoms you have?”
The Octopoid described the silvery opalescence of a multi-faceted object. As the specs rolled out, they sounded very much like the alien artifact that had been found on Earth – the one the ECG had finally decided to open, inadvertently causing the release of the alien infectious DNA that gave the Pandora’s box of symptoms all over the world. The same thing had happened to the Octopoids, and they were not pleased about it. Karen decided to keep trusting her instincts that the Fabaris hadn’t infected planets on purpose. Or had they? Why they had sent those appropriately casket-sized items was still inexplicable. She reminded herself that the Fbari hadn’t admitted to sending the artifacts. Perhaps they hadn’t. It was a confusing a mystery.
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