Planet of Cats

Whilst the Deepnight Revelation was at Anot, the space sciences division picked up some faint transmissions from a star system 7 parsecs away. They estimated that the source of the transmissions were a TL 8 culture, and had probably at least a billion in population. The world itself was a small Arean world, though it had a decent atmosphere and some signs of liquid water on the surface.

Getting there would be tricky, since none of the worlds between Anot and there had gas giants for refuelling, so if they wanted to investigate they’d need to find a route around.

I had a couple of final encounters planned for this region of space, but whilst prepping for the game I noticed that one of the nearby worlds had a TL 8 civilisation. It wasn’t something I’d been expecting, but they were at about the right distance to pick up transmissions from it, so I through it in as a side quest in case the players were interested in investigating. They were.

Local systems, from Anot/2722 to Tonasuxes/2025

I had a random description of the aliens on this world generated from my world generator, which I fed into MidJourney. I’ve found that the art generators aren’t great at coming up with things which are radically different from ‘normal’. What I got out was absolutely nothing like what I’d been wanting, but after several iterations I got something that was usable. Nothing like what I’d originally imagined, but it gave me something to build some ideas off which I probably wouldn’t have come up with myself.

So the Deepnight continued on its journey, coming to the system of Opecard which was a habitable garden world where they could resupply. It was also inhabited – to everyone’s surprise there seemed to be a population of a few thousand Aslan. They seemed to be living a low tech life style – a cluster of villages in close proximity, mostly using basic agriculture and hunting the herd beasts that lived here.

Initial scout seemed to show that the males and female Aslan were sharing roles – quite unlike typical Aslan culture where males are dominant and take a more militaristic role, compared to females who are subservient and take on home, finance and technological roles. Here, both males and females seemed to be even sharing the hunting of the herd beasts.

Following on from initial discussion about trying to catnap some Aslan, once their culture was better understood the crew decided that it might be safe to just drop down and say hello. Which they did.

The Aslan were friendly – they were surprised to see outsiders, but knew about them. They had heard about humans, but since they’d been here for 300 years without technology they hadn’t seen any. Stories of their past lives living in the Hierate had been passed on down through the generations.

300 years ago, their ancestors had fled the Hierate following an inter-clan war which had gone badly for them. There had been a falling out between two brothers, and the hatred between them had fuelled a chase across many sectors. Eventually the fight had come to a head, and the survivors had settled here. They had discovered one of the robot worlds, where they’d picked up the superconductor plague. That had eventually destroyed all their ships, which was one reason for reverting to low technology.

The crew found this out after the Aslan invited them to a feast to trade stories. The Aslan also knew some of the biology of the world – their scientists had worked it out before they’d lost the technology and science to do so. The plesiosaurs and herd beasts were both alien to the world, genetically engineered. The plesiosaurs actually birthed the herd beasts via the eggs they laid on land, providing a stable source of food on the land regardless of how heavily the herd beasts were hunted. The plesiosaurs themselves weren’t as tasty, and were a lot more aggressive, becoming the top predator on most worlds.

The Deepnight took the opportunity to stock up on supplies and allow some of the crew to get some relaxation on the planet. There were even some ball games between the Aslan and the human crew. One of the admin assistants, a small woman named Annalysse, almost got her head taken off when she kicked an Aslan in the shins during one such game. Fortunately the Aslan checked himself before a retaliating. These Aslans were very different to those back in the Hierate.

Video footage of aliens

Meanwhile, the space scientists were working on decoding the signals coming from the world of Toasuxes at 2025. There was little video, it seemed the inhabitants of this world didn’t favour it as much as humans did as a communications mechanism. It was also strangely encoded – video frames didn’t seem to be a simple array of pixels, but disjointed in the way they were put together, with an encoding form that emphasised edges, with a minimal colour set. Possibly they used scent or hearing in preference to sight.

They’d managed to piece some of the video signals together though, and put together what they thought one of the inhabitants of the world looked like. Whatever it was, it definitely wasn’t human. Large hands, an oversized body and some form of head ornamentation was what it looked like.

After some time spent at the Aslan world of Opecad, it was time for the Deepnight to move on.

Samuel Penn

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