Artificial Xenosapient


Tenebrae (plural of Tenebra) are insubstantial energy creatures. They usually appear as amoeboid shadows a meter or two in diameter. Their appearance is caused by their bodies absorbing a portion of the light passing through them. They can diminish or increase their absorptivity to camouflage themselves.

Tenebrae are equally at home in solids, liquids, gases, and vacuum environments. They can pass through solid matter without hindrance and they can move in any direction regardless of gravity. They’re immune to material damage, heat, cold, pressure, poisons, and corrosive gases. Powerful electrical discharges, plasmas, and weapon-grade lasers will harm them, but only distorters appear to inflict full damage.

Tenebrae can partially solidify a pseudopod to grasp and manipulate objects. They can attack living creatures by thrusting an icy-cold pseudopod into them to drain energy until the victim falls unconscious. Victims appear to recover quickly, weak but otherwise unharmed. Tenebrae can use this same attack against electrical machinery. They can drain all energy from a portion of the system occupying one cubic meter or less. It appears that electrical energy drained in this manner can heal an injured Tenebra.

Tenebrae were first encountered in the asteroid belts of the Industry system. They were later found in several other asteroid belts. There they spend their time basking in the sunlight and drifting aimlessly about. Tenebrae cannot pass through Effect shielding, but if one somehow gets aboard a ship, it will cause endless mischief. The best way to rid a ship of Tenebrae is to power it down and wait until the creatures wander away to find a sunny spot.

The few xenobiologists who have studied Tenebrae have been completely unable to analyze whatever passes for their biology. Nobody has been able to communicate with them, and in the absence of such communication, it’s difficult to say if they’re sapient or not. Most jurisdictions consider them pests and impose criminal penalties on anyone who tries to import them.

Recent Classified Information:

(Source: The Caretaker)

Tenebrae are actually synthetic lifeforms created by The Precursors. They are nominally sentient, but they aren’t particularly clever or curious, and they tend to be rather forgetful. A telepath with plenty of time on her hands could eventually communicate with them, and might even be able to domesticate one. Tenebrae live virtually forever and they can reproduce via fission if they absorb enough energy. Unfortunately, their incurious and forgetful nature means that they long ago forgot all about their creators.



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