Norwest

"Space-Life," by Sir David Rattenborough

Recommended Posts

"Space BBC: Still (Under)Funded by Space Britannia"

 

Hello, viewers. I'm your host, Sir David Rattenborough, and I've been necromantically resurrected to provide my soothing voice to your nature documentaries. Today, we're venturing into the Epsilon Eridani sector to see the exotic life-forms which live in such a hostile environment:

 

The NSS Cyberiad is home to many unique specimens, including the hostile Tribunus Shitcuritus, the well-meaning Medicus Inscitus, and the dangerous Quaesitorus Validatus. Today, however, we are in search of the elusive Puer Greytidus, which haunts the dimly-lit corridus and Maintenance passageways of the local stations.

Although numerous, the so-called "greytide" is a difficult creature to find, owing to its the poorly-kept state of its natural habitat. Hull breaches limit the creature's hunting grounds, causing fierce competition among its members. Many a "'tider" has been cut down in its prime by fierce competition over key resources, such as crowbars and insulated gloves.

The "'tider" is so named for the grey, unkempt state of its issued jumpsuit. Although technically employed by NanoTrasen to "assist" other personnel aboard its stations, an ongoing expose by Faux News has revealed that NT pays these individuals in carbohydrate packs and water. They are, in effect, paid quite literally peanuts. Similarly, the humble "'tider" must acquire its tools and equipment by scrounging left-behind construction equipment, or by assaulting other station personnel for their own garb. For this reason, among others, the creature is greatly despised among NT space.

While NT stations are as well-lit as one might expect, we rapidly depart these central corridors and enter a blank, unmarked airlock near the Arrivals shuttle. These dull, flat doors conceal the path to the Maintenance areas of the station, piping air, water, and electricity across its environs. Though dimly-lit, dangerous, and frequently unpleasant to inhabit, they are nevertheless vital to the station's upkeep. The 'tider patrols these long, winding corridors in search of food: whether contaminated by space-ants or not, he will seek a free lunch.

 

The 'tider seeks a meal more enticing than his issued ration packs. Although he may have subsisted for some time upon food left over from previous reconstruction and remodeling, those reserves are now empty. The only other options left, aside from waiting for the minimal carbohydrate packages issued through the station's personnel office, is to acquire a decent meal at the Kitchen. Doing so, however, requires venturing from the 'safe' Maintenance tunnels into the light of a central corridor. Donning a face-concealing gas mask and removing his NT-issued ID card, the 'tider prepares to conceal his identity among the masses...

Automatically ordered and charged through electronic delivery systems, food is often left unattended on the Kitchen's self-serve countertop for later pickup. Cracking open the nearby Maintenance door with a swipe of his ID card, the 'tider scans the corridor before quickly dashing across. A swipe of the hand, and the deed is done; a meal originally destined for Science is now in his hands. Sauntering away, the 'tider hides himself in both Maintenance corridors and the comfort of anonymity. Though someone might eventually investigate, who would they prosecute?

Seeing the first's success, another greytider attempts the same feat. Dashing through the Bar, he races for the countertop and a meal left unattended. Yet his timing is poor, and the Chef spots his move. Seizing the creature's arm in a vice grip, the Chef subjects the 'tider to the power of CQC. Close-Quarters Cooking is a dangerous martial art, reserved only for masters of the culinary specialty. Practitioners of this epicurean craft are rightly feared, especially when operating in their own habitat. Pinned and left dazed, the 'tider is easy prey for one of its many predators, the Tribunus Shitcuritus. Dragged off to the far-away Brigston, the 'tider will be left with ration packs and donk-pockets for the forseeable future.

 

Subsisting upon leftovers from the rest of the station, the 'tider nevertheless provides a vital role in the local ecosystem. It consumes waste and scraps from the larger departments, such as reishi from the Servitium regions or old welders from the well-known Cargonia. Greytiders are a tremendous mass of manpower, providing ready material for other departments and occasionally actually "assisting" them with various projects. And when the habitat is threatened by dangerous invasive species, such as the lethal Agentus Nuclei, this mob of bullet sponges forms a nigh-impenetrable barrier to protect the station from external attack.

Yet this same defensive mechanism makes the 'tider a dangerous foe if crossed. While a single grey jumpsuit might be little threat for a well-armed Quaestor Validus, the 'tider is so named for its ability to rapidly congregate in one place. A group of greytiders is termed a "murder," and much like the crows of Earth they were originally named after, a murder of 'tiders will rapidly strip nearby regions of shiny things unless discouraged by locked doors and laser fire.

Although nameless and faceless as a rule, 'tiders may flock to a single well-known personality, with the group even becoming named after this one exceptional fellow. The "Ssethtide" swarmed local stations a scant few months prior to this documentary, and although that particular "tide" is now receding, its marks are still evident on the local habitat.

 

The 'tider has many predators, chief among them the Tribunus Shitcuritas. The "redshirt" patrols the station's central corridors, often ducking into Maintenance passageways to pursue if it sees the flash of a grey jumpsuit. The hard-headed Machinator Osiatum may attack a 'tider on sight, fearing a sudden attack for its own treasured yellow gloves. 'Tiders may often attack each other as well, whether in pursuit of food and scarce resources, territorial disputes, or the local custom known as "iunno man i was bored lol." Yet the deadliest predator of the humble 'tider is the different species of the dangerous Adversarius genus, such as the blood-sucking Aversarius Lamia.

The 'tider is an odd creature, simultaneously revered and reviled by its contemporaries. Although individual 'tiders are collectively given short shrift, all of the station's inhabitants, from Engistan to mighty Commandotozhka, must nevertheless acknowledge the power of the Grey Jumpsuits. Though on the bottom of the local pecking order, through soap, cable ties, and sheer robustness, the 'tider may threaten even the most lethal of predators. Few will acknowledge them, but all must respect them.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites