Lab Report

UNFCr Ainalhai, Lab Log #17
Field: Xenobiology
Speaking Science Officer: Eli Zakharov

Began the day by purging the past 16 science logs which were Mercurial fooling around with that stupid machine of his or recording what happened when he microwaved things. Also removed the microwave oven from the lab and set a pair of Phalanx Troopers to work scrubbing the mysterious blue stains off the wall. They had to use the hydrofluoric acid in the end.

Now, Paladin had this… thing for me. Initial physical description is as follows: The body is split into two distinct sections, a faintly pinkish undersection reminiscent of a slug's foot and a highly colourful upper "mantle" with decorations that look entirely natural, the mantle overlaps the foot by a few inches. No sign that any of them are intentional. The mantle also has two protrusions not unlike solid rabbits' ears, these may have some sensory importance. This particular specimen also has large holes in it from its "capture."

[Fast-forward approximately 15 minutes]

[Heavy sigh of exhaustion] Whew! This thing might look soft but its tissues are hard to cut. The "foot" appears to be entirely muscle, extremely pliable and capable of something approaching shapeshifting. I'm willing to bet it could even change shape enough to manipulate switches and human tools. The upper mantle appears to have no muscle structure at all, but all of it, and to an extent the foot, are covered in highly toxic nematocysts. I'm no toxicologist, but by working with the biology databases I'd estimate that just a few stings could drop a normal human into a coma, and you'd be lucky to only touch a few. Anyone without augmentations should deal with these things only while wearing a full hazmat suit. Even advanced cyborgs could find themselves paralyzed for a while.

After a bit of digging I've found that their blood seems to be a copper-based thing, hemocyanin, rather than our iron-based stuff. Shouldn't have any major importance. [Grunt of effort, squishy tissue sounds] Hrmph, no obvious organs, [squish, squish] wait, here's a stomach, I think… Looks like the mouth is hidden inside the "foot," normally completely separate from the outside. The only hard body part, a bunch of calcinous plates analogous to teeth, seem to be here. Probably for grinding down anything they can't tear apart.

Let's see what we can get out of some tissue samples…

[30-minute fast-forward]

The odd thing is that I can't find any reproductive organs in the mantle OR the foot. Mind you, the mantle is pretty weird as it is, looks like the stuff isn't just relatively well-armoured and leathery, it's also the thing's brain. Multiply redundant and just similar enough to human neural structures that it's recognizeable. I think this thing could function even if you got away four fifths of the mantle, assuming it still had enough blood left.

[squishy tissue sounds]

Seems like decomposition might be starting to make it rot, I think it just let out some gasses. Phew! Hmmm… [squish] ahhh! Obvious in hindsight. Can't believe I forgot to check the area between the mantle and foot…

[Moans of pain, biohazard alarm sounds, fast-forward 45 minutes]

Doctor Zakharov? Doctor? Aw man, he's DEAD, and something's been taking bites out of that thing. I better call security…

[Recording ends]

Footnote by Xenobiologist Wilkinson: Far as we can tell from security footage, several miniature versions of the creature were concealed between mantle and foot, they swarm Zakharov the moment he lifts the mantle's edge and sting him to death. After briefly investigating his corpse they then proceed to pry pieces off of the mantle of their "parent" and eat them before escaping the lab. Their colouration all seems to be permutations of the parent's, unless they've got some weird, chameleon-like abilities we'll track down those brightly-coloured little fucks in no-time. A dozen of them can't be too hard to deal with.

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