We have long talks because he has to live at the studio during filming. Even in a city like Vancouver the sight of a beetleloid would cause distracted driving. So he stays in.
He has the rare capacity to physically move through the transit system. That’s because he’s just one organism, with no internal biota. Humans, and a lot of others, don’t respond well to internal sterilization. All that Hatakia requires, coming and going, is the external kind.
Hatakias have 9 legs/limbs. They are born with ten but one is removed at birth. No clear reason. Kind of like circumcision for human males. The underpart of Hatakia’s body has side to side scales like the scutes on a snake’s belly. His back is similar but the divisions are oriented from front to back, reminiscent of a beetle’s wing covers but divided into lots more segments. Another similarity to a beetle is that his entire body is an elongated oval with nothing like a waist. His politics is slightly more conservative than mine.
Working with a mixed group of actors is difficult. It’s the human ones who are most likely to cause problems.
But not always.
In creating “Against the Sea of Stars” the arc of the plot had to be modified in mid trajectory. Multiple times. During filming.
The writer/producer showed an inhuman amount of patience.
There’s a lot more to the story…..
I was hiking with Bronko in the Grand Forest, a local park. The wet winter was coming to an end. New green was beginning to show.
He’s from a more compulsively social species than we are. Like bees in some ways. Visually though, very unlike bees. He has a strange walk. Visualize the split hoof of a goat, then take it all the way up to Bronko’s (two) knees, so he actually has four feet.
A banana slug on the trail caught his eye. They’re big. This
one was even yellow.
“They’re amazingly cute,” he said, leaning so close he was practically breathing on it, “Do you people keep them as pets?”
“Um, no….” I had just
realized that I might be veering into intercultural quicksand. Normally I’d plow straight ahead. Maybe I’m getting smart.
Sprinkled into the conversation that followed I managed a
few oblique questions. I intended him
not to understand what I was getting at.
Eventually I did extract what it was:
Our slugs look like
their babies. Or vice versa.
John is another guy whose planet specialized in arthropod evolution. He looks like a wide snake with armor plating. Hasn’t got a face like we do so I had to learn to read his body language. A lot of that shows up in his antenna movements. Pay attention to those like you’d watch a dog’s ears.
Still, I’m never quite sure when he’s pulling my leg. I have
two of those, he has something over about two hundred, which he alleges makes
him a superior organism. Pretty sure
he’s kidding about that.
Fiona was out at her knitting circle. John and I were having one of those random conversations. He was arguing that evolution on Earth went off the rails somewhere. It “should have” led to intelligent organisms looking something like him. The antenna expression (he has six) told me he was not quite serious. But the internet was within reach so we looked it up. Needless to say Earth internet only knows about Earth evolution. But there is lot of information about that.
Turns out it could have happened! There was an era, Carboniferous, when we had huge
arthropods. Including giant millipedes. Like John.
They died out.
If I read his antennas right he was
trying to not say “I told you so.”
I like him as a person but, sometimes he’s really annoying.
Especially when he could be right.
A lot of the intelligent species we’ve come into contact with have exoskeletons. Like insects. There’s Callitriche whose armored carapace argues that her ancestors had a lot of predators on the sea floor where she comes from. There’s Hatakia, except for size, he looks more beetle-like than any of the others. Not to mention Rex, who roughly resembles a praying mantis with a bigger head and rump… and a lot of body piercings.
Somebody compared Callitriche’s appearance to an old style VW bug. She wasn’t offended. So much not offended that she passed on some of the automobile’s design ideas to her people, for body decoration. Not for her, I think, because she’s a scientist with little time for body art or personal embellishment. But now her planet’s version of trendy youth are starting to look weirdly familiar. To this human anyway.
I have reassured her that we are not vampires. Our technology just required the (blue) blood of these animals. More important: We’re moving past that stage. Our horseshoe crab populations should recover. If we’re careful.
As an example of tribalism and its deep instinctive roots — Callitriche has discovered how we’ve been treating horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus). She was appalled. Her reaction is deep reflex. Even though she has no more in common with horseshoe crabs than she does with humans. That is to say, very little, being a product of a different planet’s evolution. But the crabs look something like her species: She’s an invertebrate but with a non-oxygen-based metabolism. The similarity to humans, such as it is, is that she is intelligent. She is also showing a parallel version of our instinctive compassion. This is one of the things that makes us human. So it makes her similar us. Or, as she says, makes us similar to her.
I’m not sure whether this is good news… JSM et al now have another culture (ours) as a new artistic medium to work in. Their most ambitious plan is for an alien invasion film with working title, “Against the Sea of Stars.” It is science fiction, except that it uses real aliens as some of the actors. This saves money on makeup though there are numerous other complications. Production is planned in Vancouver where filming is less expensive than Hollywood.
Updates and progress reports will be posted here, when, as, and if, it starts happening. Please keep in mind that some very good ideas do not get made into films. And some very bad ideas do.
We’re not transferring any non-Earth technology here. Humans already know about making very data dense records in glass substrates. Diamonds are better. If the dinosaurs took notes that way we’d still have their literature. A pure silica glass is an inexpensive substitute for carbon crystal, but if glass is buried for too many millennia the outer layers take up water and opalize. As witness, the rainbow sheen that appears on pieces of ancient Roman glass.