Space Squirts

The sea squirt is truly a significant little beast. When very, very young, it swims around, looking for a good surface on which to adhere itself. When it finds one, it permantly adheres itself. It then eats its own brain.

This is well-known. It also has a larger relative--well, not really a relative, even in the taxonomic sense. All it really shares is a niche. It has been colloquially referred to as a "space squirt", but I prefer to use the Zebla term, "caesac urceg", which in my considered opinion is a much more euphonius term.

The caesac urceg, like its aquatic equivalent(whose ubiquity is unmatched among the lower forms)wanders in its youth through its habitat, deep space, looking for a place to adhere for its lifetime.

The caesac urceg is most commonly found in or near a planetary system. The most desirable location for it to spend its sessile phase is near a stellar body, preferably on a body with a tidally-locked orbit so that it may absorb the stellar output on a more or less constant basis. Bodies with atmospheres are less desirable, but some species of the caesac urceg prefer such bodies for the higher-density forms of sustenance available.

Occasionally, though, a caesac urceg's "spore"(for want of a better term)is flung outside a planetary system. Then the creature may spend its motile phase in deep space, which is obviously less rich in nourishment. It spends much time in a semi-dormant phase, which is nonetheless distinguishable from its sessile phase. It will usually attempt to propel itself in the direction of the nearest source of food, and in such a manner some caesac urcegs have ended up in the hydrogen clouds wherein stellar formation occurs. These rarely have a sessile phase, instead swimming around the cloud ingesting happily until they stray too close to a nascent fusion reaction and incinerate themselves.

It is not known under what circumstances the caesac urceg will end its sessile phase. It has been speculated that it is aware of instabilities in the stellar object providing its sustenance, and will anticipate this danger by travelling to a safer distance, or sometimes even to another system. If so, these creatures could be a boon to the nascent science of stellar flare prediction.

The Zebla system, where these creatures were first observed, is particularly rich in caesac urcegs, and even the habitable planets have their share, to the extent that several local species have evolved as parasites of the caesac urceg. The Zebla culture has also developed a strange dependence on them. This is why I am urging attention to recent reports that the star Zebla is potentially unstable. The existence of an entire culture could be at stake.

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey /