Copyright© 2007 by Lazlo Zalezac
Science Fiction Sex Story: Prologue - The Quatyl are small and cute. With their short stubby legs, very soft fur, and small mouths they are basically defenseless. Did I mention that they are cute? They are very cute. They are also the most feared space faring race in the galaxy because they can telepathically control every species they've ever encountered. Oh, by the way, they just discovered the Earth.
Space is big — very big. It is so big that it boggles the imagination. Regardless of how grand someone's imagination might be, it will be boggled when trying to comprehend the size of space. No matter how big a person might imagine space to be, it is bigger than that.
Despite the fact that space is predominately empty, it holds an awful lot of stars. A small percentage of those stars have planets that orbit around them. A small percentage of those planets have life forms that crawl over their surfaces. A small percentage of those life forms possess intelligence. A small percentage of the intelligent life forms actually make it into space.
Now, one would think that a small percentage of a small percentage of a small percentage of a small percentage would lead to an incredibly small number of space faring races. That is not the case. As mentioned previously, there are an awful lot of stars and this means that there are a lot of space faring races.
Every space faring race has a theory about what is required to become a space faring race. For the most part, such theories describe the race itself and include caveats that explain why no other species on their home planet could achieve such an accomplishment. Those theories are modified as necessary once a new space faring race is encountered. Among all those theories, there are a few common rules that are universally held.
It is accepted as a fact that all space-faring races have a significant level of intelligence. Of course, this characteristic is almost too trite to deserve much mention and the need for intelligence in reaching space is just too obvious to even bear justification. It is important though when two species meet that they don't underestimate each other. One can't just assume that the other species is less intelligent even if they have a cursory similarity in appearance to a local species that is not intelligent enough to reach space.
It is also accepted beyond all doubt that every space-faring race is curious. The kinds of discoveries that are required to get into space require one to work at achieving them. The effort necessary to make those discoveries requires curiosity as a motivator. Even if a discovery of star shattering significance is presented in front of an intelligent individual, it would go unnoticed if the individual isn't curious enough to take the time to observe it.
The most widely held rule and one that is almost as obvious as curiosity and intelligence is that individuals within the species must have appendages that allow for the manipulation of tools. Without the ability to use tools, common sense dictates that it isn't possible to build spaceships. The specifics of what kind of appendage is required differ from race to race. For example, the Andicors believe that it requires pinchers while the Engels believe that it requires talons arranged in a triangular configuration.
Another universally accepted rule is that the individuals within the species must have the ability to carry things while moving. Without being able to move something from one place to another, it isn't possible to build something. The parts have to be brought together to make the whole. This is particularly true when discussing the construction of spaceships since they tend to have lots of parts.
While not immediately obvious, an environmental rule is that the species has to live on land or, at least, be able to live outside of water. An aquatic environment doesn't allow for the development of metallurgy or chemistry, both of which are essential in the construction of a spaceship. Spaceships have to be made of materials capable of resisting the vacuum of space. Most organic materials just won't deal with a hard vacuum. Only a species that is capable of living on land can discover fire and all of discoveries that follow from that.
A rather surprising rule, universally held, is that the species has to be omnivorous from the perspective of their planet of origin. Achieving a space faring status requires a delicate balance in temperament for the species. It is universally held that herbivores are too meek to pursue technology to a level that would take them to the stars. Not too surprisingly, it is widely believed that carnivores are too aggressive to survive the development of technology and would wipe out the species as a result of war. Omnivores are deemed to be sufficiently aggressive to develop technology and restrained enough not to use it in a self-destructive war.
A final rule, and one that isn't immediately obvious, is that the species has to be capable of communicating using sound. The reasons for this rule are actually quite logical. Audible communications allows individuals to work together without dropping everything to exchange information. Gestures are deemed insufficient because it requires individuals to face each other. Aromas are universally eliminated as a mechanism for communicating the concepts necessary to build a spaceship. Aromas carry across distances too slowly and can't be modulated with any kind of speed to be very useful as a medium of exchanging complicated technical information.
Since curiosity is one characteristic that leads a species to reach for the stars, it follows that each space faring race will spend a significant amount of time exploring its own little corner of space. One might think that such explorations would mean that galactic wars would be common, but this is not the case. Fortunately, as stated previously -- space is very big. Each space faring race has lots of empty space to explore. This means that space faring races seldom encounter each other, although it does happen on occasion.
In one small region of space, a number of space faring races have met. These races include the Gnord, the Omagrons, the Dactites, the Margots, the Dromats, the Andicors, the Engels, and the Quatyl. For reasons that will become apparent, these space faring races have become unified under the command of the Quatyl.
The Gnord have been in space the longest of all members of the Quatyl Space Exploration Agency. It is not that they were particularly quick in reaching space; it is that they are the oldest of the races.
The Gnord are the largest and physically strongest of the space faring races. With a head atop a trunk with two very long arms and a main body the size and shape of a Shetland pony, the Gnord could have been the origin of the centaur myth. They could have been, that is, if they had ever visited the planet Earth. Unlike the centaurs of myth, the Gnord are a uniform gray color.
The head has a nominal similarity to that of a human in the sense that it has a pair of eyes, a nose, and a mouth. The nose is actually a flap of skin that hangs over its breathing hole. The mouth most closely resembles a beak. The eyes are large and round with a muscular flap that can lower over them. The ears are actually a set of holes that run along the neck of the Gnord.
The Gnord have two very long arms which end in hands that have two fingers and an opposable thumb. In the early history of their race, they started with a ternary number system. In the midst of their scientific revolution, they switched to a binary number system. Incidentally, their scientific revolution lasted almost twenty thousand years. By the standards of most species, it wasn't much of a revolution. By the standards of the Gnord, it seemed as if it was an overnight change.
Among space faring races, the Gnord is considered to be of average intelligence and low curiosity. The Gnord are famous for their slow methodical manner of approaching problems as evidenced by their scientific revolution. While other individuals from other races can identify four different solutions to a problem in the same time that it takes a Gnord to arrive at one solution, all will agree that the Gnord's solution is the best.
It was a Gnord that came up with the suite of tests that are used by the Quatyl to assess the intelligence, emotional stability, and physical strength of other space faring species. The Gnord who came up with the scales was shunned by all other Gnord since they came out very low in all measures except for concentration and emotional stability. While having a high emotional stability might be considered good, it also makes the individual very dull. The space faring races that have met the Gnord often consider them the dullest species in the universe.
The Gnord are the least aggressive of all space faring races. With their detailed planning, they tend to avoid conflicts as much as possible. Trouble usually comes to them rather than them going to it. When threatened they tend to stand in place trying to figure out an appropriate response. Usually by the time they come up with a response, the threat has ended.
The first race that the Gnord encountered in space was the Omagron. An Omagron is a small delicate lizard-like creature that walks on its hind feet. The average height of an Omagron is about three and a half feet tall. Their backs are bright red in color and their bellies are bright yellow. They have a large head that attaches to their body by a thick neck. They have a ridge of plate-like scales that begins at the base of their neck, goes down their back, and ends at the base of their short stubby tail.
The hand of an Omagron has eight claw-like fingers arranged in two opposing rows of four digits each. The two rows of fingers curl in towards each other in a perpetual grasp. The fingers have razor sharp nails at the ends. The Omagron consider sharp nails to be rude and will dull them by rubbing their nails against an abrasive surface. Their feet have a similar arrangement of toes, but instead of four digits in each opposing row they have three digits. The toes splay outwards providing a large base on which to support their body.
An Omagron will use its tail as a support while standing. Their physiology is such that sitting is not possible. Since the tripod arrangement of two legs and a tail is very stable, an Omagron will remain standing while resting. Since the eyelids of an Omagron are the same color as the eyes, it is difficult to tell if an Omagron is asleep or awake from a distance.
The Omagrons, as a race, are considered to be among the smartest of the space faring races. They boast that they can easily visualize a six dimensional space and find the visible three dimensional view of the world provided by their eyes rather flat. Having developed an unusual counting system based on the number of fingers on their hands, they adopted a number system based on the number nine. This odd selection allowed them to count to eighty-eight in their number system by using one hand for the one's digit and the second hand for the nine's digit.
The Omagrons are territorial and will fight to protect their territory, but that is the limit of their aggression. If they see that an area is already occupied, they will not intrude. This goes for personal space as well. Approaching too closely will result in first a warning and then with aggression. The Omagrons verbally communicate using what sounds like bird calls. The sound is nearly too high of a frequency to be heard by human ears.
Before the Omagrons and the Gnords met, the Omagrons had already encountered the Dactites. The Dactites are a small monkey-like race. While they may be shaped like a monkey, they have a very different internal structure. They have orange colored fur. The fur on the female of the species changes to bright red during their mating season. It quickly turns back to orange after they lay their eggs.
The Dactites have small agile hands with tremendous eye to hand coordination. Consistent with their origin on a planet with a bright sun, their eyes are narrow slits across their face. They have no nose. Their sense of smell is integrated into their mouth as receptors in the lining of their cheeks. The mouth is a slit covered with rubbery lips. Their ears look like little radar dishes complete with a little stub in the center of the dish. The ears are located above their eyes.
They are a species of average intelligence, but have difficulties concentrating on abstract concepts for long periods of time. They are most comfortable dealing with concrete concepts and enjoy engineering types of activities.
The Dactites communicate by emitting a low frequency rumble and moderating the volume. Most space faring races consider listening to a Dactite to be extremely taxing. Unfortunately, the Dactites are very talkative. A group of Dactites will often talk at the same time using different frequencies. The resulting noise produced is irritating to most listeners.
Individually, Dactites are not aggressive at all and will flee in the face of danger. As a group, the Dactites will occasionally fight if the threat is direct and the chance of winning is high. When fleeing, Dactites tend to separate making it more difficult to catch the entire group.
The Omagrons are not the only lizard-like race in the Quatyl Space Exploration Agency. The Margot are another lizard-like race that is easily distinguished from the Omagrons. They have rugged looking bodies, stand a foot taller, have a longer tail, and are uniformly blue. Their scales are rich in Silicon which serves as a rather effective armor. There is a thick layer of a fat-like substance under their skin so they can take significant physical impact without much affect. They are not risk adverse and love to climb.
Their voices are in a more normal range and their mode of communication is much like singing. They take as much pride in how a message is delivered as in the contents of the message. A group will sing together as they work weaving into their song information about their work as they go.
They are of moderate intelligence as far as space faring races go. They do not have the attention to detail that characterizes the Gnord. As a result, their engineering tends to be a sloppy. Even low concentrations of hydrocarbons are toxic to them and this made their technical development a little slower than most space faring races.
In terms of aggression, the Margots are considered to be very aggression and will encroach upon another's territory without hesitation. They will fight to establish superiority, but back off quickly if the other side is strong. They won't fight to the death, fleeing if the other side is too intent on causing mortal harm.
It is never wise to mix Margots and Omagrons in a single crew. The Margots tend to repeatedly invade the personal space of the Omagrons and quick little squabbles ensue. While there aren't casualties, it does make controlling the crew rather difficult.
The youngest space faring race is the Dromats. The one word that can be used to describe a Dromat is hairy. The only place on their body that isn't covered with long strands of brown hair is their face. Their face has a pair of eyes set on the sides of their head, three odd slits that functioned as a nose, and a huge mouth filled with very small teeth. Although they communicate by sound, their ears are hidden somewhere under their hair. It is necessary for them to trim the hair around their hands for them to be able to use them. Their hands have six fingers and an opposable thumb. Two of their fingers are set at right angles to the rest of their fingers.
The Dromats are an intelligent species testing well above average particularly in the area of logical thought. Only a fool would try to use logic to sway a Dromat from a decision that they had made. The Dromat would turn the logic around in a second and have the fool agreeing with him in no time at all.
The discovery of the lever appears to have had a profound impact on the species. Almost everything they make incorporates a lever whether it is needed or not. When questioned about their apparent obsession with the lever, a Dromat will invariably answer, "A lever is a lever." The questioner will leave as informed as when they started the discussion.
Dromats give birth to live young and, were at one time, very prolific in producing children. At one time in their past, the population had grown too large for their environment to support. There was a large scale famine, social upheaval, and a plague that devastated the population. Since then, the Dromats have imposed a very strict regime of birth control on themselves. A Dromat couple will only get permission to have a child when another Dromat has died.
The Dromat are not particularly aggressive. It has been speculated that all of their hair tends to get in the way of aggression. They will always back away from a fight. If pressed, they will react but it is usually pretty ineffective. Of course, most animals that attack a Dromat end up with a mouth full of hair rather than Dromat. They are not particularly strong despite having a height of over five feet.
The Andicors nearly drove the Dactites and the Margots crazy upon their first few encounters. The Andicors are passive aggressive. They will encroach on another's territory, but withdraw into their shell when attacked and outwait the other side. It isn't that they are trying to push the other out of their territory. They are willing to share territories and will completely ignore other occupants.
The Andicors look a lot like a cross between a fat praying mantis and a crab. They have the body of a praying mantis with the shell of a crab. The head is encased within the shell and the eyes are on stalks. They have pinchers that they are very adept in using for fine detailed movements. Unlike crabs, they can not replace their pinchers if they lose one.
Despite their insect-like appearance, the Andicors are very intelligent. They trust their mental abilities to solve problems much more than computers. They tend to pursue mechanical solutions to their needs than software solutions. As a result, their space ships tend to be very big.
Andicors communicate using clicks made by striking their shell with small appendages that stick out from the shell around the head area. When a group of them are together it sounds a lot like an old typing pool. They have one volume — loud. When they sing, it sounds a lot like a drum corp.
The Andicor breed by laying eggs and will carry the eggs on the undersides of their body in little pockets of their shell that are ideal for that purpose. They are not prolific breeders having one or two eggs with a very long gestation period. The young are born with a soft shell that grows until adulthood at which point in time the shell hardens.
The Engels look a lot like raptor dinosaurs except for their flat heads. Their mouths do not have teeth. Instead, they have a rigid gum that allows them to chew their food. They use their very sharp talons to cut meat into very small chunks that can be chewed. Despite the fact that sharp talons make it difficult to manipulate tools, the Engel pride themselves on the sharpness of their talons. They look down on the Omagrons for their practice of blunting their claws.
The Engels never made the transition from scavenger to hunter. This is surprising considering their sharp talons and exceptional eyesight. They are not very aggressive, but they will defend themselves viciously when attacked. Although they adopted farming very early in their history, it took them a long time to make the discovery that they could raise food animals for consumption.
The average Engel is usually of below average intelligence for a space faring race although each generation there are a few rare individuals who display genius level intelligence. It was the rare geniuses that raised the Engel to the status of a space faring race.
Although they have a very poorly developed sense of curiosity, the Engel have dedication to purpose. They will commit themselves to executing the vision of an exceptionally smart individual even if it results in their death. More than any other space faring species, an individual Engel defines itself according to the purpose which they serve.
The Engel have live young that take about thirty years to grow into adulthood. That extended childhood is necessary because they are relatively slow learners. It is only their dedication to purpose of individuals that enables their school system to prepare the next generation for its responsibilities.
As with any set of rules, there is an exception. There is one space faring race, the Quatyl, which violates almost all of the rules that characterize space faring races. The Quatyl lack the kinds of appendages that would allow them to manipulate tools. Instead, they are quadrupeds with short stubby legs that end in soft pads. Their legs are so short that the pad of one leg can't be brought into contact with the pad of another leg. In fact, their bodies are much like that of an otter, only flatter and wider.
In violation of another of the universally accepted rules, the Quatyl are herbivores. They have a face that is very much like that of a baby seal except their mouths are smaller. Their mouths lack teeth and they can eat only the most delicate of vegetation. Their small mouths, combined with their short legs, are also the reason why they can't move and carry things at the same time.
If that wasn't enough to prevent the Quatyl from reaching space, they also lack voices that would give them the ability to communicate using sound. The Quatyl lack useful vocal chords capable of producing a wide variety of sounds. With a soft body and soft pads, a Quatyl can't even use a drumming mechanism for communication. The only sound a Quatyl can make is a rumbling sound from deep within its body. There is a soft and harsh version of the rumbling sound that can be interpreted as a purr and a growl respectively. It should be noted that emitting those sounds is totally involuntary on the part of the individual.
In light of the fact that the Quatyl violate almost every rule for a space faring race, it is somewhat ironic that they are the most feared space faring race in the galaxy. The Quatyl are conquering the entire known galaxy and no race that has encountered them has emerged victorious. This is impressive since the average Quatyl invasion force is composed of eight Quatyl command crew and two hundred servant crew. It is even more impressive when one considers that a Quatyl is about the size of a rather large house cat.
The secret to the Quatyl's success is the fact that they are extremely intelligent and, most importantly, can telepathically control individuals of other species. Their telepathy was initially a defense mechanism by which they could hide themselves from predators. In time, it evolved to the point where they could control predators. When they discovered that they could control other species to do their work for them, the slow, but steady, development of technology began.
The one weakness of the Quatyl telepathy is that they can't communicate directly with each other. Instead, they require an intermediary species that they can manipulate mentally to make sounds for them. The species of choice for that purpose is the Slathern, a slug-like animal that is one of the few species that the Quatyl trust enough to never hurt them. It has a two chambered lung that simultaneously brings in air through one opening and exhales through a second and much smaller opening. The second opening can be moderated to provide a surprising range of sounds.
Part of the reason the Quatyl trust the Slathern is that the Slathern are unable to move at a rate faster than one body length (approximately six inches) per chronon (approximately half an earth day). The other reason is that the Slathern has no means of attacking them. They live off an algae-like plant that they absorb through their tiny mouth. One reason that makes the Slathern particularly valuable as an instrument of communication is that a Quatyl can roll in a patch of that plant and carry a Slathern on its back in the event of an emergency.
It should be noted that the Quatyl are probably the most risk adverse space faring species in the entire galaxy. Their spaceships are designed with ten levels of backup systems. A member of a Quatyl crew never leaves their individual life support pod unless it is damaged beyond repair. The support pods are built into the very center of their ship so that the entire ship has to be almost totally destroyed before they are at risk.
Quatyl do not react well to danger. Unlike the flight or fight response which holds true for most space-faring species, the Quatyl have a hide or give up response to danger. Their lack of fangs and claws coupled with their short stubby legs gives them a physiology that does not enable them to flee, much less fight. In a survival strategy far more developed than that adopted by the Possum, giving up meant losing consciousness. In practice, this means that the individual does not feel the pain of their demise. As their ability to control other species developed, the hide or give up response became less obvious. The Quatyl are barely aware of it.
Quatyls are extremely shy and don't like to be seen. They spend most of their lives hidden away; even to the point where they hide from those who they control. Although they will allow an individual to bring them food, they never allow that individual to get close to them. When they land on a new planet, they remain in their ship and let their surrogates explore the world for them.
The strange thing is that the Quatyls are not aware that they are on a mission to conquer the known galaxy. The Quatyl aren't even exploring space out of curiosity. Their voyage into space was initiated out of fear. The real mission of every invading force is to find a hostile species and report such a find back to the home planet so that others can avoid the danger by hiding from it. So far, they hadn't found a species that was hostile to them. First contact has always ended with them controlling the other species. It isn't a malicious act on their part; it is just that controlling other species is as instinctual to them as breathing.