Alien Profile: The Inbis

The following article was written by Johnson Borrero as an entry to the Alien August competition.

Hello, Hola, and Tkutharrash, truth-seekers! Yours truly, Chelsea Edward here, with one hell of a revelation for you. What is the crew of the Auzulith Radiant hiding? Well, the short answer is: “Parasitic alien fungus”, which is 10 metric kshaarak-tons of Aw Hell Naw in a five pound bag.

The long answer? Well, I’ve got an anonymous crewmember of the Radiant to thank for shining some sunlight, the great disinfectant, all over this festering fungal infection. The full dump is attached to this summary, and I’ve got copies uploaded all over the place, so not even God Himself (or Herself and Her kids, if you’re an uwan) can take it down. But for those of us too busy to read several hundred pages (And that’s most of us, so please keep the coins coming in, I can’t do this work without the occasional ramen and noo-stim-pill, you know! Send funds to: 1FGjk1Ma6Qnj5Ca6HZzYkFArNWYYHcEe6) I’ve posted some excerpts here for your edification. All terms have been translated into English where possible, emphasis is mine. Thanks to my friends and partners in thoughtcrime, human and alien alike, for making all this possible.

EXCERPTS FROM THE IMPERIAL MINISTRY OF WAR FILE ON THE INBIS

Taxonomic Tree: Metapolypoid

Origin: Inbis Planet I (Strain I:Gibborim and diyari), Inbis Planet II (Strain II:Diyari), Inbis Planet III (Strain III: Chikruthuk [“Mantizard-id”])”

“Given the biology of the Inbis, especially their anomalous ability to parasitize carbon-species from widely varying taxonomic trees and their distribution on Gibborim worlds, it is clear that their ancestors had been designed as biological weapons. Given that the Inbis are three similar but interfertile strains originating on three different worlds, it appears likely that the Inbis strains evolved sapience independently of each other, primarily adapted to the three host species found there: Diyari, Gibborim, and a hitherto unknown Tswaanic sapient race, the chikruthuk, so called due to its relation to the mantizard. It is this last that makes the Inbis of great concern for two reasons. First: Given that they have parasitized a species from the Throneworld. Second: The ancestors of the chikrithuk either possessed space travel or were transferred from Tswaa to Inbis Planet III by another species. These two facts mean that the Inbis are capable of parasitizing uwan and may already know how to reach the Throneworld.”

“Known Inbis hosts: Gibborim, diyari, Chikruthuk, Star-Sailer ships, kwo, uwan, qolohg, immunocompromised goesi, hraunk, myssh, toruig, chchai, iarwa, bdyriao, kyrtaah, ekshano, chaldresk…”

“When a host is successfully parasitized by the Inbis, the organism may take on one of two phases, active and sporulation. The active phase is fully sapient and bears the memories of the host and may even claim to maintain continuity of consciousness with the host. It looks similar in appearance to the original host except for silvery, motile filaments of fungal tissue sprouting from the head, sometimes from other parts as well. These filaments often take the place of head-fur in uwan. Branching filaments of tissue can also be seen in the eyes and coming out of orifices. Some active-phase hosts change into sportulation-phase hosts. The sporulation phase is sub-sapient and slow-moving. The host body bloats, swelling with silvery gas-filled growths until it explodes, dispersing the spores. Despite the two different phases, active-phase hosts are still to be considered infectious, as they can give off small amounts of viable spores, as well as infect hosts directly with their own hyphal filaments.”

“During the Righteous Wisdom of Jaoran-Hwe Incident, the Inbis were able to successfully parasitize the kwo crew of a ship despite the kwo not having been a known host. Of interest is the immunity of the goesi crewmembers who were able to commandeer the vessel and destroy it, taking the infection with them.”

“Tests have shown that goesi immunity to the Inbis spores appear to be due to metamorphic tissue around the brain case slowing Inbis hyphal-thread growth, giving sufficient time for the immune system to destroy the infection. However, three of the test subjects succumbed to the infection and had to be euthanized and incinerated.”

“When a diyari is infected by the Inbis, other non-infected diyari sense it and will attack the infected diyari, covering the infected individual with silk and then destroying the body. Sometimes the infected diyari itself will go into a suicidal rage in an effort to defend its colony from the parasite. Star-Sailer ships are also capable of protecting against infection, whether by the help of mutualistic diyari colonies, by destruction of the infected region, or by suicide. However, sub-strains of Inbis have been discovered that have managed to circumvent diyari and Star-Sailer protection protocols. Such sub-strains could spread undetected via intertstellar routes and gate systems.”

EXCERPTS FROM RECORDS OF THE AUZULITH RADIANT

“Deposit of Inbis threads found in Fore Sensor Cluster 3 neural plexus. Status: Neutralized.”

“Deposit of Inbis threads found in Lateral Access Corridor 2-Kha. Status: Neutralized”

“Deposit of Inbis threads found in Jump Engine Ventricle 6. Status: Contained.”

Did the crew mention any of this? Of course not. Not even the passengers knew about the Seventh Empire’s experimentation on innocent goesi, or worse, the fact that the ship, currently sitting on U.S. coastal waters, is harboring a virulent plague. Sure, it’s contained! But for how long? And how well, if they declined to tell us to begin with? And of course, the trillion-dollar question: How much does the Extraterrestrial Authority know about this? How much does the federal government know about this?

If you take this news as an excuse for anti-alien hatred (Ron Victory, I’m looking right at you, rich bankrupt xenophobic blowhard!) I will mess you UP, because that’s not the kshaarak point! We’re all getting screwed, human and alien alike! Want to stop the screwing? Work together, hand in hand and hand in tentacle! Don’t let the higher-ups fool us, or clowns like Victory separate us! Solidarity!

Remember: Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back! Stay curious, dear subscribers!


This article was written by Johnson Borrero as an entry to the Alien August competition 2015. Johnson is a regular participant in the competition, and you can read his previous entries here.

Check out Johnson Borrero’s alien illustrations at ji-borrero.deviantart.com.

  • Kirov

    Awesome! Really enjoyed the story/news report style of this article. I’m also reminded of 343 Guilty Spark, which was down-right terrifying the first time I played it.

    • J.I. Borrero

      Thanks! The news format came to me when I realized the Inbis would make a good reason why the Auzulith Radiant (the ship populated by uwan, kwo, diyari, etc.) is stuck on Earth. And then I realized that the crew might not want to tell the humans everything, especially if they actually had an Inbis infection on their ship.

      • So I’ve been wondering, was the Radiant headed for Earth from the start or was it en route to somewhere else. Also did they know about humans before crashing?

        • J.I. Borrero

          I’m going to be honest and admit a deep, dark secret,well, I said it elsewhere here, but still:

          …That when I started this whole frame story last year, I had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER why the Radiant came to Earth, until Mark led me to create the Inbis.

          I just wanted aliens on Earth, but not have them invade, and I wanted humans that were relatively close to today, and not zipping around the Galaxy themselves. So I had to have the aliens stranded and unable to leave or to contact others.

          I’m going to say it was en route to somewhere else, with damage forcing them to stop, and that they didn’t know about humans before arriving in the system. But if they had to fly through part of the solar system, I’m sure they’d pick up radio ahead of time, so they’d know then. With the Inbis plague scenario, I think the Radiant would basically be a metric eff-ton of refugees, probably fleeing from a Seventh Empire planet or space habitat taken by the Inbis.

          One of the few things I knew for sure from the beginning was that I didn’t want the Radiant to be a military ship or an exploratory vessel, but to have a bunch of ordinary people on it. (as well as crewmembers and military,etc.)

          It also lets me have each population speak mostly one, or a few languages without having too much of a “one alien one culture problem”–or rather, the situation lets me justify it a bit. Because the different language/cultural groups are not evenly represented, and neither are the species, with Dzurrutk’ being a majority language because the ship came from the Seventh Empire, and therefore the cultural groups and species reflecting that origin. Hence the small number of kwo, since wherever they came from had relatively fewer kwo than there would be if the ship came from a planet of the Ilgra Hegemony.

          Imagine how unrepresentative of human cultures it would be if a spaceship populated mostly by one nation or language group or another. Say, being one of the few English-speakers on a ship crewed mostly by say, Japanese, and then the natives of the alien planet call the Japanese language “Human”. Or rather, since those humans speak Japanese, the natives might call us some variant of “ningen” (which is Japanese for “human”).

          • Ah I see, I know that feel bro. If I could make a suggestion, maybe you could have the Radiant come out of hyperspace right above Earth so the crew don’t realize it’s inhabited until they see the city. I have this scene in my head where they ship hits the water at the right angle so it’s skips 1 or 2 times and barely misses a tourist ferry or something. That would be an awesome scene. 😀

            • J.I. Borrero

              Ohhhh, I hadn’t mentioned it previously, but the ship is going to be wayyyy to big to do that. If a tourist ferry got nearly missed by the Radiant, it would probably still really, reaally ruin that ferry crew’s day.

              I’m thinking it to be about the size of Manhattan, with a more or less commensurate population. (So somewhere just north of a million and a half people). I’d have to figure out just where it could touch down, even if it were to move a little closer to the coast afterwards.

              Actually “crash” would not be the right word. A very scary, somewhat-controlled splashdown might be better. It would still be dangerous. I’m not a math person, but it’d probably still at least cause a tidal wave on the coastal area nearest to it.

  • Paulo R. Mendes

    There are many terms and names in this text with which I am not familiar – and that makes the reading of this profile too much uncomfortable and difficult to me. I don’t liked. 🙁

    • J.I. Borrero

      This one is a bit of an experiment, a hybrid between fiction (not exactly a “story”–though this could be an excerpt from a story) and a profile, and as a story, involves some diving into unfamiliar terms, which is a common issue in SF–especially when trying to keep to the word limit, which restricts how much explanation I could add.

      How much of that is comfortable depends on the reader, as well as how well (or possibly in my case,how poorly) the author writes it. If this were part of a whole story in which explanations were later given, this piece might be more comfortable. After the winner of the contest is announced, I might add clarification and/or a de-story-ed version.

    • J.I. Borrero

      OK, now that the winner has been announced, I can offer clarification, basically in order of what’s mentioned in the piece.

      The Auzulith Radiant, which the aliens of this year and last year are connected to, is a stranded alien living ship, a Star-Sailer. It’s big and parked in the Atlantic Ocean, near New Jersey and New York.

      “Noo-stim” is a contraction of “nootropic” and “stimulant”. So Chelsea is saying she lives on ramen noodles and nootropic stimulant pills, and asks for donations so she can continue her journalism and buy her ramen and pills. (I used a random bitcoin address generator to come up with her address thing)

      “Taxonomic Tree”. Perhaps I should have used “phylogenetic tree”, but I wound up using “taxonomic” last year. So, all life on Earth known to us all fits on one Tree of Life, descended from one common ancestor. So the “Taxonomic Tree” category means “what Tree of Life does this alien belong to?” Most such trees are named after the planet they come from, such as “Shuathic” for the goesi (from Shuath), “Hwauroenic” for the kwo (from Hwauroen), or “Tswaanic” for the uwan and qolohg who both originated from the planet Tswaa. (as well as the chikruthuk/mantizardids) Humans would probably be classed as “Terragen” or “Gaian” or “Terran” or something like that.

      The taxonomic tree/phylogenetic tree the Inbis, the gibborim, and the diyari belong to is called “Metapolypoid” (at least, I’d say it’s what it got translated into). It’s not named after a planet because the planet of origin is unknown, So it is named after the ancestral body-plan of the diyari and gibborim, which is a sort of polyp shape (think sea anemone or coral polyp). So, the Inbis, gibborim, and diyari all originated from the same common ancestor.

      The chikruthuk (an uwan name, what the chikruthuk call themselves is unknown) are a previously-unknown sapient species that came from Tswaa (the homeworld of the uwan and qolohg) a long time ago. They may have been transplanted from Tswaa by an alien civilization or super-intelligence (like your Dishathi were transplanted from Earth), or they may have evolved their own technological civilization and left Tswaa long ago. “Mantizard” is an animal from Tswaa (uwan call it “chikru”). The name is a cross between “mantis” and “lizard”, which should more or less evoke what the animal looks like. I was going to make an entry this year about them, as another feral alien animal to go with the squid-rats, only the mantizards would be more like feral cats.

      Speaking of Tswaa, Tswaa is here referred to by name, or as “the Throneworld”, because it is the capital of the Seventh Empire.

      The Inbis are able to parasitize many different unrelated species. Biologically speaking, this is very very weird, if not impossible. Parasites tend to have to be adapted to a specific host. As a result, it’s concluded that the Inbis fungus, or its ancestor, was deliberately designed to be capable of infecting multiple species, likely created by the gibborim. (The idea I have for that, that I stole from the excellent short story “Spider Rose” by Bruce Sterling, is that they basically have bunches of different kinds of genetic material coiled up tightly to use when needed depending on the host.) Also, the worlds it tends to be found on are worlds where the gibborim lived–with one of the Inbis planets having a still-living population of gibborim.

      The list of species known to hosts includes some species mentioned in previous entries, and a bunch that aren’t, and may even be unknown on Earth. One of the species is the Star-Sailer ship, the species of ship that the Auzulith Radiant belongs to.

      Active-phase inbis hosts are more or less sapient. In uwan (who are relatively humanoid and have somethin like hair on their heads), the inbis fungus makes their hair fall out and replaces it with fungus threads. They may or may not be the same beings as their uninfected selves. The Ministry of War, rightly or wrongly, does not think so. “hyphal” is just the adjective of the term hypha (plural “hyphae”) which is a filamentous structure of a fungus.

      Sporulation-phase hosts basically swell up with spores and explode.

      “Righteous Wisdom of Jaoran-Hwe Incident”: The Inbis infected the kwo crew of the ship named here. This confirms the Inbis ability to spread across species. As far as the Ministry of War knew, the Inbis had never infected the kwo before, yet it managed to infect them. At the same time, the goesi crewmembers were immune to the parasite, and were able to destroy the ship, and themselves, to keep the ship from landing on a planet or habitat and spreading the parasite.

      The government of the Seventh Empire performed experiments involving deliberately infecting goesi with Inbis spores to figure out what makes the goesi immune. Three of them got sick anyway and had to be killed and incinerated. It’s left open as to what happened to the others, but it is very unlikely the goesi involved chose to participate in those experiments.

      Diyari are adapted to the Inbis parasite in that they respond to it by killing themselves or by destroying other diyari infected with the parasite. Star-Sailer ships deal with Inbis infections by: Having the diyari colonies that live inside them take care of it; destroying the infected organ/component; or destroying themselves to keep the infection from spreading.However, there are varieties of Inbis that are able to insinuate themselves into diyari colonies and into Star-Sailers without being noticed. Those varieties could spread to other worlds by ships traveling from place to place.

      The records of the Auzulith Radiant:

      There is an infection of Inbis fungus threads in part of the Radiant’s faster-than-light drive. (The terms neural plexus and ventricle are meant to suggest biology), and is currently contained. However, the people in charge of the Radiant have not informed any of the human governments about the fact that they have this highly virulent alien parasite on board, contained or not.

      Ron Victory is a celebrity businessman/politician who’s not a fan of ETs.

      • Paulo R. Mendes

        Wow… that is a lot of info! 0.o’ thanks.

  • Corey Nave

    Am I the only one here who knows where the main image comes from?

    • J.I. Borrero

      Probably. Where’s it from? It looks kind of familiar, and I don’t know why.

      • Corey Nave

        It’s a screenshot from an x-files episode titled El Mundo Gira. It’s about someone who harbors a deadly fungus and spreads it to anyone he touches. The image is of one of his victems. The funny thing is, I watched that episode just a few days after I saw this post, which is a weird coincidence since I haven’t touched the show in about a month.

        • J.I. Borrero

          Thanks for the explanation! I think I might have just seen the picture floating around somewhere on the Internet, making it look familiar to me.

        • I think I saw part of that as a kid, it freaked the shit out of me 0_o

  • ooo creepy, I love it. It reminds me of scp-610 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGxYrt6UoiQ