The Worms are new to the humans, but Dasaelos’ species is publicly well-known—conspiracies to ‘keep it all secret’ had been attempted—and failed from the very start. To paraphrase Stephen Hawking from several centuries back on the subject, governments had been no better at hiding aliens from the public than they were at doing anything else.
Most alien species had proven uncooperative in efforts to keep them secret. Doing business free of the hassles of attempts at secrecy is more advantageous to the economies of all involved, who do limited trade with humans in biologicals and those few technologies humanity had managed to surpass them with—like the digital music industry.
Indian classical recordings, song and dance, are a hot item among the Kai’Siri youth culture, while the Rj’lt’ar Intelligentsia tend to favor the mellow, melodic strains of heavy metal and punk from the ancient 1980s.
I’d been raised by Kai’Siri, working for them most of my adult life, and they’re generally good people. I must admit I like them, though as a trained soldier, there’s probably a bit of cognitive bias in my thinking. It’s why I’ve never attempted to get revenge on them for turning me into a doomsday weapon. It’s the fault of the leaders, not the people.
By far the biggest distinctions are cultural. It’s a culture that glorifies warfare, courage, discipline, and an honor of a sort many Eastern Terran cultures would favor. There’s also a sense of social unity that constructively channels aggression, tribalism, and the undue self-interest felt as individuals.
I’ve been looking quite a while for others of my species, and much of my time on Terra has been spent on that, with only disappointment as my catch, only to move on with the search elsewhere. That populations or enclaves of my kind may exist out there, somewhere, is a hypothesis that just won’t go away. It annoys the fuck out of me. I do know first hand of the Fractus, and of that psychopath the Magna, and I’ve heard rumors of another, the Tempest, but not any others.
The ‘shards of humans I’ve come across, those posing as my kind, are cheap three-space imitations of the real thing. They’re obviously reverse-engineered from badly damaged copies with major components missing, like the cognitive buffers that work with the unusual architecture of my brain to keep me sane while having my mind in contact with sensory input from outside of mere three-space. The knockoff ‘shards are cobbled together using indigo-market technology not even out of the testing facility.
The subjects of these experiments all have one thing in common, though they came from all walks of life: Their psychological profiles identified them as compulsive attention-seekers, poor, desperate fools looking for time in the limelight, who gambled for a chance at fame...or cheap godhood.
I wonder who, or what, is running the operations that are doing this to people. Its financial resources must be enormous...and its reach far. I reject as implausible the idea of a vast conspiracy—too many people to keep it a secret for long, and it looks like this has been going on for decades or more, at least since I first visited Terra. Maybe not conspiratorial people, but mindless, self-organizing, bottom-up conspiratorial social forces.