By Max Young

sfgenreT’Snik1 stifled a Yawn2



1. T’Snik is as close as we can get in English to the name which he3 called himself. As his species communicated entirely using light patterns on their flesh4, this roughly translates as ‘Orange fading to Yellow with a Green horizontal stripe’ as encoded using Young’s Translator5.

2. Yawns were small, but lethal carnivores, so named because their call sounded like a yawn6.

3. While nominally a male, T’Snik was quite capable of fulfilling sexual roles of both male and female. His species procreated by budding7, choosing their sex at the time of mating.

4. The outer ‘skin’ is probably closer to the chitin of an insect on Earth than flesh, although unlike chitin, in T’Snik’s species case, this covering was living and almost intelligent8.

5. Simeon Young spent 30 years studying the ‘Blobs’9 and developed software allowing us to translate the rapidly moving colourful patterns on their flesh into English. While there is much still unknown, it is thanks to this software that we are able to give individuals an English name, as the software attempts to assign phonemes to the visual patterns.

6. To humans, the call of a Yawn sounded very much like a small child screaming in agony — but as that sound was very similar indeed to the sound10 made by a Blob when it was bored, this was the name that Blobs gave to the creature.

7. When two Blobs met and decided to procreate, they would physically merge until they became a single being. It seems their minds also merged, giving the single entity the memories and knowledge of both. Excess body matter then transformed, creating a new Blob, which forced its way through the outer flesh, eventually dropping to the ground as a new Blob, fully formed, and with most of the experience of its two parents.

8. Blobs communicated using light patterns on their skin. This communication was very fast —far faster than human speech — and Blobs were capable of communicating to several others simultaneously. It seems that their outer flesh layer not only contained the cells capable of emitting light at extraordinary accurate wavelengths at extraordinary speed, but also receptors capable of reading other’s patterns equally fast. In order to achieve this complexity, their flesh had evolved to contain several large bundles of nerve-fibre that controlled this communication. Each bundle could reach the size of a small domestic animal’s brain, and carry on independent conversation, referring back to the main Blob’s brain when necessary.

9. When the first images were transmitted back to Earth, they showed what looked like almost familiar landscapes; streets, buildings, even rivers parks and lakes, but everywhere over this landscape were dark masses. Mission Control Director John Johnson, broadcasting live to the world, when he first saw the pictures said, “What are this blobs?” He has since confirmed in interviews that he was convinced they were data errors or some transmission issues, and had no ideas they were in fact the residents of the planet. The name stuck!

10. None of the creatures on the planet seem to communicate with sound — in fact they are almost certainly completely deaf. This does not mean, however, that the world is silent! When Yawns call to each other, the puff up their bodies, display bright patterns over their entire surface, then shrink rapidly. This makes a bright flash of light, visible to potential mates, but the rush of escaping gas (used to inflate their bodies) does make a high-pitched scream-like sound. At the same time, the bright flash of light is very similar to that given off by a Blob when it is bored11.

11. We really don’t know if Blobs are bored — but they do seem to enter an inactive state when not surrounded by other Blobs with whom to communicate. After a while, their flesh will begin to give off random bright flashes; it is postulated that the Blobs need to give off light in order to maintain body temperature12 and that this is merely a safety mechanism.

12. The Blobs’ planet13 is extremely hot — completely lethal to Earth life. Blobs have evolved to use this lethal sunlight as energy14 but need to constantly lose heat to avoid a rather unpleasant death15.

13. It does actually seem the Blobs lived on upward of 100 planets, around some 90 stars, but what we think was their home planet was small, rapidly spinning and very close to its sun.

14. Blobs don’t eat16 for energy — while they don’t use photosynthesis in the same way that plant life does on Earth, they still seem to convert sunlight into energy extremely efficiently.

15. As with all life so far discovered in the universe, the Blobs’ chemistry is based on water. At the huge temperatures on their planet’s surface, water would boil almost instantly. Blob’s have a constantly moving reservoir of gel deep within themselves, which conserves water, and is moved around the body in vessels analogous to mammal’s veins (although with a much higher diameter). This movement supplies water to the organs as necessary, but also helps distribute heat around the body, where it can be converted into light and expelled. If the Blob overheats, this gel breaks down, the water boils, and the steam rapidly expands, killing the Blob in a violent explosion.

16. Blobs do, in fact, consume matter, although not to provide energy, but for necessary minerals and, it seems, pleasure. The underside of a Blob, protected from the direct glare of the sun, can exude strong acid, which dissolves small quantities of rock before being re-absorbed. They also occasionally eat other animals (such as Yawns) — seemingly for pure pleasure.

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About The Author

Max Young

Max was born and raised in Britain, emigrating to Australia in ’92, where he now lives with his wife, son, and three dogs on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

When not sitting in front of a computer writing code, Max is thinking about sitting in front of a computer, writing code, and has been working on an iPhone game called PooperPig for around 5 years.

This is his first published work — if you don’t count a number of technical articles in computer magazines and a handful of limericks that have won various competitions.He hopes it is not his last!



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