The Jovii are decidedly inhuman, gossamer beings of malleable gelatinous flesh and the equivalent of photophores and chromatophores. They can spread wide, taking in gas, to envelop and trap the particulate matter ans small hydowisps they subsist upon, or contract when threatened by an ammoniavore from the lower cloud layers.

Since evolutionary change has produced this effect in the long tentacles hanging beneath the Jovii’s jellyfish-like center of mass, it was through their instinctive mimicty that their intelligence and the sophistication of their neural nets was first detected. When an organism reshapes and recolors itself to resemble your probe, chances are it’s intelligent.

Once we figured out a little bit about how their neural net worked, we tried to communicate in earnest. For our part, we humans designed an artificial Jovii out of nanoscale materials and tried to reproduce the colors and subtle undulations and shape changes.

The Jovii responsed by reshaping their tentacles into human forms.

It’s astonishing, really, how well they can mimic us. They can’t disguise their jellyfish bells, but they can alter them to blend in with the gasses in which they live–the reason they evolved them. This creates the perverse illusion of female figures–and it’s usually females for some reason–appearing to move and act normally despite being in an environment hostile not only to human life but all carbon-based life.

As one might expect, communication proceeded rapidly from this point, and it wasn’t long before gas cylinders were designed that allowed the Jovii to interact with us on a slightly more personal level. But all these efforts at communication had an unintended side effect.


  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!