Monday, September 10, 2012

Cancer-Cities of the Zoetic Moon Part Two: The Ravenous Planet

Although the protoplasmic sea that covered Diunma Nami continually spawned new life and ate the same, it burned with an insatiable hunger. Within months the entirety of the planetary mass had been broken down into its component nutrients and digested by the formless monstrosity whose mass grew to planetary proportions.

And still it hungered.

A decade later, the first tentative, probing appendages pushed upwards from the surface, seeking new life to feed upon. These miles-long tentacles were soon checked by a complex web of killer satellites designed to ensure that no living thing would find entrance or egress from Diunma Nami. As the trunks of these mighty pseudopods were severed by the tremendous onslaught in the upper atmosphere the planetoid responded in force, spawning a conflict that lit up the skies of Krül for a century.

After the last satellite was ripped in twain by a multitude of massive claws, feelers, and mouths, the planetoid was reduced in size and enraged with hunger. Spawning from its surface came pseudopods of unimaginable length which braved the rigor of the void to seek flesh on its mother planet, Krül. Yet, Diunma Nami's hunger was checked once again - Krül was a Forbidden Planet, and was similarly isolated by a network of attack satellite AIs.

Unable to muster sufficient force across the vast gulfs of space to shatter the barricade surrounding the Savage World of Krül, Diunma Nami adapted its original strategy. Over the last several decades, the ravenous moon has sent precision strikes to penetrate the planetary defenses so that a single tentacle can approach the planet before being incinerated. From the tip of this massive appendage erupts a deluge of protoplasmic goo which quickly begins spreading and devouring everything within its path.

Unfortunately for the Diunma Nami, converting the Savage World of Krül has proven more difficult than originally conceived. The inhabitants of the Forbidden Planet have faced far more than their fair share of vicious monsters, and the spreading cancers have been checked time and again by those who would defend their territory from invaders of any stripe.

A fighting man of Krül faces off against a Moonbeast with a Cancer-City looms in the distance.
Art by David L. Johnson

Stymied, Diunma Nami has adapted again, birthing intelligent agents through which it will achieve its goals. These malignant creatures, nicknamed Moonbeasts by the people of Krül, are employed primarily as infiltration specialists. It is their unique method in doing so that has shown them to be the most effective agents of Diunma Nami.

Upon arrival on the planet, the cancer-colony will rapidly expand and fortify its territory, deploying moonbeasts and other scouts to map the region surrounding the city-state of the moon. Once serious opposition has been encountered, the Moonbeasts will stalk the outskirts of the enemy camp, waiting for a chance to catch one of their number alone. Once they have dragged their victim off into the night, the real horror begins.

The victim is subdued and pinned to the ground while the facial tentacles of the Moonbeast force themselves in the nasal cavity and begin to expand until the weak cartilage is shattered and can be easily removed. Once the nasal cavity has been cleared of debris and the olfactory bulb extracted, the brain is sucked through the nasal cavity and devoured by the Moonbeast, which is capable of gleaning memories and personality traits from the neural slurry.

It is at this point that the Moonbeast is at its most dangerous. Possessing all of the rapid adaptation traits of their parents, a Moonbeast will shift its form to fit that of the victim and will resume the life that they once led, being completely familiar with the life and habits of the person that they have replaced. The only difference, however, is that they will subtly work towards subverting their friends and neighbors, as well as looking for opportunities to lure their leaders into a situation where they may be replaced by the Moonbeasts.

To what extent the Moonbeasts have infiltrated the city-states of Krül, none may say for certain. Most, indeed, are not even aware of their foul existence. Their numbers will certainly continue to grow, however, as the insatiable moon impatiently awaits the day that it may consume its parent planet once and for all.
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