“Humans and humanoids make up only a small percentage of the lifeforms we know of.”
Module BI-46T: All God’s Creatures
How do I explain something that shouldn’t exist, and, yet, does? Aliens whose forms are utterly unfamiliar. Whose sentience is as foreign to your intelligence as humans’ are to the rampaging, Pergium-slurping rock creatures of Janus VI. This module centers on two seemingly disparate questions. The first: What exactly constitutes the definition of intelligent life? Second: Should a new lifeform be destroyed if it threatens humanoid life? In the broadest sense, these are philosophical questions whose answers are too deep to explore in generalities. So, instead, consider these entities that strikingly defy logic.
Life based on silicone was considered impossible. But when the Horta were discovered on Janus VI slicing through rock as easily as walking through air, humans adjusted their view of what constitutes life in the universe. (Or, at least, became better miners.) All things considered, that adjustment was almost instantaneous. There are lifeforms with which humans will never empathize. Never in a billion years.
Find this hard to believe since Terrans are generally alien-friendly and even enjoy meeting new alien species? Perhaps, you should reserve judgment, at least, until after you’ve heard the reports of these terrifying beings.
In this report, Captain James T. Kirk recognized a sickly, honey sweet odor upon landing on Argus V. It was strangely reminiscent of a vampiric gaseous cloud he swore was as intelligent as he was when it attacked the USS Farragut eleven years earlier. Spock found the captain’s perceptions illogical because it attributed intellect to a vapor. However, two crewmen drained of every drop of hemoglobin in their bodies advanced the cloud up the ladder of sentient suspects.
Kirk tried to convince his science officer that the cloud was more than just a collection of lonely random chemicals. But was an intelligent thing with malevolent intentions, undeniably an examination of the first question. A hard sell, to say the least. Kirk stated, “Let’s assume that it’s something so completely different, that our sensors would not identify it as a lifeform. Suppose it camouflaged itself. Let’s assume that it’s intelligent. That it knows that we’re looking for it.” To which Spock replied. “To hide from a sensor scan it would have to be able to change its molecular structure. Like gold changing itself to lead. Or wood changing itself to ivory.” Or Spock developing a sense of humor.
The cloud entered the ship through the number two portal vent and killed another crewmember. Then attempted to suffocate the rest of its tormentors. No efforts on its part to communicate, just kill any solid that got in its way. Even more disturbing was the discovery that it was on its way home to reproduce after gorging on a human smorgasbord. With nary a concern that Terrans were the main course of its alien feast and not for the first time either.
Kirk insisted the “creature” was dangerous. This justified his own threat to human life when he delayed delivering badly-needed medical supplies to a distant planet. Which explored the second question, albeit modified. Should they destroy the creature because it had the audacity to threaten human life without being human? Apparently, yes. Kirk and crew caught up with it on its homeworld and nuked misty with an anti-matter bomb before it could spawn thousands of its kind. Enough to suck the life out of every tasty hemoplasm container in the universe.
Perhaps, you’ve learned not to dispute rationality, so consider another encounter with an alien preying upon humankind. This entity, Redjac, fed on fear. And since impending death engendered the most fear, it killed for centuries on Earth. Then followed humans into space to continue its diabolical sport on other worlds.
Unlike the cloud creature, it was invisible, leaving no impression on the olfactory senses. Only a kind of sixth sense cringe factor that was difficult to describe. “A hunger that never dies” that gobbled up the terror of the crew like a gluttonous Ferengi at Quark’s. Eventually, they beamed the creepy thing out into space at “maximum dispersion.” Before it could come up with a new way to scare the life out of them.
You’re stunned, I know. Didn’t think spirits existed, let alone space spirits. But ghostly encounters of the third kind are infinitely preferable to the slime Captain Jean-Luc Picard ran into. No, it was really slime. A gooey black residue left over by the planet’s previous residents. What kind of beings were they that even their muck could become sentient? Who knows.
Anyway, a shuttlecraft carrying Counselor Deanna Troi and company crash landed on Argus II. Picard rushed to the rescue but the landing party was thwarted by Armus, the slime pit. The creature took on a gooey sasquatch form and, being the bully that it was, blocked Commander William Riker’s rescue attempt. Lieutenant Natasha Yar also refused to take no for an answer and tried to verbally strong-arm the dark slime into submission. Sadly, the slimey scoundrel rewarded her efforts by killing her.
Data also answered the second existential question of this module when he said, “It is cruel and sadistic and needs to be destroyed.” Regrettably, this creature, too, fed upon the pain and anguish of humans to amuse itself and also absorbed every ounce of energy from their weapons like a hybrid of the vampire cloud and Casper. Thus, they had no way of destroying it. Instead, after a gruesome and arduous conversation with it about the nature of evil, Picard distracted it enough to beam Troi and the remaining crew from the shuttlecraft. Leaving it “alone and immortal forever” on Argus II.
Interestingly enough, these lifeforms seemed to possess some immortal qualities. An amorphous existence, arrogant malevolence, and in, at least, two of the cases, a morbid fondness for humans. Which begs the question, were these entities somehow related to the immortals we know? Hmmm.
In any case, it’s difficult to advise you in the unlikely event you’re unlucky enough to encounter creatures like these. But because of their particularly fiendish consciousness, they’re a threat worth bearing in mind. Spock once said, “When suddenly faced by the unknown or imminent danger a human will invariably experience a split second of indecision. He hesitates.” If you are unfortunate enough to meet one of the surviving members of these lifeforms, overcome this Terran tendency and run because your life, most definitely, depends on it.
Coon, Gene L. “The Devil in the Dark.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 9 March1967. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Devil_in_the_Dark_(episode)
Wallace, Art. “Obsession.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 15 December 1967. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Obsession_(episode)
Bloch, Robert. “Wolf in the Fold.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 22 December 1967. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Wolf_in_the_Fold_(episode)
Shearer, Hannah Louise. Stefano, Joseph. “Skin of Evil.” Star Trek: The Next Generation. Paramount Television. 25 April 1988. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Skin_of_Evil_(episode)