We have met our first intelligent life on Terra Nueva. Aquila (the eagle who carried Jupiter’s thunderbolts) are large raptors with a ten-foot wingspan. They can use some tools, although their talons are not built for fine manipulation. They have language and at least arithmetic (base 4). AUD1 was able to replicate their sounds. Given their likely vocal structures, it may be easier for us to develop mechanical translators to speak their language rather than trying to teach them our language. Only basic bioscan was made, but they appear to be iron-blood based.
[Attached files: Bioscan, Link to AUD1’s recordings, initial readings of DNA sample taken by AUD1 from droppings/lost feather]
Recommend study by linguists and diplomats as soon as possible. If we can establish communications, the Aquila can likely provide critical information about local flora and fauna, including hazards and possible food sources. This may be vital to determining an appropriate colony site.
We left the first site (Prime) shortly after the Alpha Pod arrived. Enroute to Second, we spotted a curious regularity to a grove of murder maples. (4 large in the center, regular “spokes”, then natural growth, no undergrowth in the grove) Distant observation showed the birds fishing and depositing some of their catch at the base of the maples. We landed to determine which species was dominant and assess any hazards. Vicinius recommended catching some fish as a guest-offering.
When the ATV approached, the juveniles on the ground took to the trees, going into nesting holes larger than the ones we’ve seen so far. We left the fish and backed the ATV off. A large bird came down, sniffed at the pile, and tossed some fish to a tree. Insects came for it. First using the drone, AUD1 tried communicating with mimicked cries, eventually AUD1 exited to try to communicate. As noted above, the Aquila have sounds for 1-4 and can reason about missing numbers. I joined AUD1 to get a bioscan and to see how they reacted to something alive – so tempting to try to actually touch a new life form. Not prudent, at this time. They are potentially dangerous, but were not aggressive towards us.
As much as Aude and I wanted to stay and study the Aquilla, the rest of the team wanted to push on to Second, believing that the coast (tropical deciduous forest) was not an ideal colony site. Pegasus to survey coast for more maple gardens – let’s see how widespread their villages are.
Do the Aquila have gods? Not true gods, for there is no mana here, but gods perhaps of science?
As to Prime, we have observed higher than expected levels of silica in the air. So far, beneath levels that might cause health hazards. Soil core samples at Prime and Second suggest this is a periodic phenomena, every 1,000 years or so, and does not reach hazardous levels. Cause as yet unknown.
More study of the Buggalo. The meat is safe, nutritious, and quite tasty. All of us have tried the meat – no sign of digestive difficulties or other ill-effects. The larger ones also produce sacs of liquid sugar which the smaller ones eat with proboscis. The smaller ones are defenders – quick and agile fliers (only slightly slower than the Eagle) with stronger armor and a poisonous stinger. The smaller ones do not have the photovoltaic layer in their chitin – they feed from the large ones. Poison samples set aside for antivenom analysis.
The dinoboar is a copper-blooded lizard with odd nodules in its muscles. These seem to store energy for quick bursts of speed. Seems to be a female, likely with a local clutch, scent hunter, not poisonous, likely not edible. Tagged and released for Alpha Pod study.
The tree shrew is possibly the most normal thing we’ve seen so far – a small mammal, insectivore, nocturnal, with strong aversion to light. Possum-level of intelligence at a guess.
Vicinius and Adams are looking for the cause of the phosphorous eating bacteria. Thusfar, we’ve found it both Prime sites, and at the first Second site. Levels are lower near plants that are phosphorous based.
REMINDER to Alpha Pod – we have still not determined what killed the large and guard Buggalo at the edge of the field. There may be predators we have not yet discovered. Murder Maple signed NW of meadow – tagged for Alpha pod on GPS.
The grasslands seem almost home-like. Large, flat stretches of yellow-grass (non-mobile) broken by the occasional tree. It gets cold here – down to 25F at night. Also windy – fortunately the shelters were staked down. Skies are darker than I ever saw on Aute and open nearly from horizon to horizon.
The tree near our first camp seems normal. Samples taken for subsequent analysis.
Pollinators include a purple prairie lizard (fairy dragons). Sample captured, analysis pending.
Sighted a wolf-like insectoid pack hunter. Will try to capture a sample. (The entomologists are going to be busy!) Also sighted ostrich-sized raptors – will try to capture a sample.
Trying to intercept a pack of wolf-sects as we move upriver, sighted a bipedal lizard raptor (copper/selenium) about half the ATV’s size lurking in the grass. It (Mongo) charged the ATV and dented it. [Link to Marak video] It is possible that it could briefly run faster than the ATV. While clearing some ground before taking samples, uncovered a burrow of stench-roaches. Swarmed the ATV – they stink when stressed. Toxic saliva. Likely disease bearing (unlikely to affect us, no sign of mammals on this continent). Teeth/mandibles have a selenium based acid. No central nervous system – will function even if critically injured. About the only good thing about it is that it has no sign of wings.
Tree near second Second site sweet-smelling. Of course, it has to have a catch. Scent appears to be soporific, even to mammals. The sink roaches seem to be partially immune. Nut samples collected.
Onto the mountains to check on the mineral possibilities.