Astromorphs - A Preliminary Note

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by Radu Popescu, PhD, Magellanic Institute for Higher Studies

As sentient beings who have evolved naturally on various planets through a process still disputed in the best scientific circles1 before venturing out into space for greater exploration and contact, it is natural for us to wonder at the origin of the unusual species of creatures we sometimes encounter, who appear to have arisen - not on terra firma as have we - but in space itself. It is natural for us to have questions about their origin - questions which, alas, remain largely unanswered - and their role in the scheme of things as regards ourselves. These interesting animals we now term astromorphs - formed in space - to distinguish them from creatures who evolved by a process regarded by ourselves, the geomorphs, as more natural.

First, a word about the term 'animals' as it is used here. In common lay understanding, the word 'animal' is taken to mean 'lower creature not accorded the dignity of man'. A more broadminded interpretation includes man in the definition of animal, as a 'multicellular organism of the kingdom Animalia, differing from plants in certain typical characteristics such as capacity for locomotion, nonphotosynthetic metabolism, pronounced response to stimuli, restricted growth, and fixed bodily structure.'2

The sense in which I use the word 'animal' here refers to the Greek root of the word, and should be taken to mean 'being embodying spirit'.

Astromorphs evolved - by a process even less well understood than our own evolution - in space. Part of the problem lies in the fact that the higher forms of energy being in what is no doubt a complex and rich taxonomy are inaccessible to us for study3. For study we have only the Gaels - Homo hibernicus in its three forms - and a few rare 'lower' animals, such as the Gheorgheni cat, Felis Astralis, and the Gallifreyan temple dog, Canis familiaris gheorgheniensis . This is not much to go on.

A few further words about astromorphs, and our knowledge is unfortunately at an end. However the astromorph came to be, it is a creature of energy, which lives in the nexus of energy, much of which is invisible and even useless to geomorphs. He is living on the interface, taking the form he does simply because it is the proper interface between the world of the geomorph and his own world, which is the world of energy in all its forms.

Why this happens is another unknown - why the interconnectedness of the universe dictates that a being should live at the interface between spirit and matter, if you will - but that is simply another mystery science has yet to fathom.

The Gael

The Gael - the most interesting of the astromorphs from our point of view, because he is sentient, bipedal, and capable of speech - presents himself to us as a humanoid with a completely psychosomatic reaction to his environment. What to humans are social phenomena - decisions, individual encounters of various kinds from the mundane to the serious,4 relationships, even aesthetic choices - are experienced by the Gael as somatic events. It is therefore not uncommon for humans to find themselves in the situation of discovering that, while their evening appeared to be a perfectly uneventful one - a social gathering, say, in which the usual banalities were uttered - the Gael in their midst is now becoming quite perturbed, even ill.

Under pressure of such events, the Gael himself will abreact in - to us - sometimes unpredictable ways. He will behave in a manner characterized by his keepers as 'naughty' - breaking rules set for him, venturing into forbidden places5, acting outrageously or even belligerently in public.

An unusual phenomenon which accompanies this 'acting out' is the fact that - as is not often the case with humans - in many cases the stimulus for this abreaction appears to come, not from the Gael himself, but from outside forces. For instance, at a particularly dull (and therefore, from a Gael point of view, stressful) cocktail party, the Gael may find himself being 'accidentally' given alcohol, which of course interferes drastically with his emotional metabolism.

This phenomenon has led to a great deal of nonsense talk about 'outside forces' interfering with the 'destiny' of the universe, and such like. I will not dignify this with further comment6, but only say that we are here dealing with science, not superstition.

Gael Disorders

The Gael, valued as a possession by Starfleet for his ability to generate the fields necessary for warp space travel, requires careful handling. It is not sufficient to attend to his obvious physical needs - food, clothing, shelter - for his emotional needs are to him paramount, and failing what he thinks of as the proper 'energy flow' - generated by the social interactions around him, and with him - he will go into severe decline.

One of the most commonly observed Gael medical problems is that of 'Gael fever', or recurrent autoamnesia, in which the Gael7 loses his sense of identity, and is unable to speak coherently or form sufficient intent to carry out simple actions. In the case of feral Gaels, this may lead to their 'reverting' to a learned form of behaviour from the time in which they lived among humans as humans - with sometimes unfortunate results.

A less than theoretical aside here - as it is not possible immediately to identify and deal with the social situation that brought about the attack, autoamnesia in Gaels should be treated symptomatically. That is, it is necessary to relieve the stress in the animal as soon as possible. This can be done in one of two ways. The simplest and most direct is to apply a strap to the animal's buttocks, fairly vigorously, until sanity is restored8. Unfortunately, many humans find this method distasteful and undignified, and thus prefer to resort to the second method, which takes longer and is less certain. This method involves incubation - relocating the Gael to a safe, low-stimulus environment, and massaging him, speaking to him in a gentle monotone, often for hours, until he is able to reconnect with his environment9.

As this note is a mere preliminary, I will end here. I hope in future chapters to discuss in more detail Gael behaviour - the word 'psychology' is not applicable here - as well as what is known of the difficult matter of breeding, which is less a physical problem (as it would be understood by humans) than a behavioural, mental, and emotional one.

A ringlet butterfly on a flower.
1See Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, Dr Aloysius Zarquon III, Life and How It Got That Way, Moses et al., Torah, and Douglas N. Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.2The Free Online Dictionary.3It is possible that they are aware of our existence, and simply keeping their distance for reasons best known to themselves.4Anything from a simple greeting to a violent argument.5This is known as 'going stray'.6Although the reader is referred to Celtic mythology for a discussion of the term 'geis'.7Usually a tom, as tabbies tend to be more self-sufficient and therefore more resilient.8This is logical considering the peculiar organization of Gael anatomy - the ganglia centred in the base of the spine and radiating throughout the region of the lower back and abdomen forms a 'second brain'.9There are two other possible methods, somewhat less reliable - one involves severe shock, and is not to be recommended as an experiment, and the other, involving sexual activity, which may not be suggested by medical practitioners to civilians, under penalty of law.

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