Undergrowth Records: Cereuform Sapioamora
>>>ACCESSING BASE DATA
--Designation: Cereuform sapioamora
--Clearance: Level 1
--Status: Partially secured.
--Response: NON-LETHAL [Before pending review; personal discretion is advised.]
--Classes: Xenofauna, Latexphera, Homoanalogia.
--Biohazards: Mild solvent production.
--Eco Threat: Invasive.
--Hominid Threat: Competition.
[The following document is pending review for ideological biases and may not be taken as absolute fact. Personal discretion is advised.]
Mature Cereuforma may appear deceptively human, highly sociable, playful, intelligent, and often affectionate with a grasp on human interaction that may appear uncanny. Their rubbery cold blooded bodies appear decorated in pale shells with striking black flesh between the plates. Their body shape plays no role in identification however, as their phenotypic mimicry may cause their body plans to vary wildly. As larvae however, their bodies are dominated by rubbery black flesh. Their 16 hexagonal body segments give them an almost caterpillar-like appearance that can reach up to half a meter before pupating into their adult form.
OVERVIEW & ENGAGEMENT:
While their reputation of mischief and unruly behavior precedes them, the actual risk they pose is ultimately minimal to the overall security of Undergrowth sites. The difficulty in containing cereuforma lies primarily in their intelligence. Their 8 lobed brains outwardly exhibit strikingly human-like intelligence, with keen problem solving skills and seemingly endless curiosity.
[Before pending review; the Board of Directors would also like to remind handlers that their compact muscle poses a notable risk to facility equipment and staff, with specimen ███-██-████-██ dismembering her handler in the 2010-06 breach event.]
As Dr.Gardner's team has documented in their reports, some of the more restless specimens have been found gleefully dismantling their enclosures, cracking door codes, and bypassing █████ security measures to explore the site. Escapees are often found sneaking into neighboring enclosures and following staff members back to their quarters- but violent incidents are ultimately rare with most incidents owed to under-stimulating environments rather than aggression or malice. On rarer occurrences, cereuforma have been found breaking into laboratory wings to take part in active experiments. For this reason, studies pertaining to ████████ █████ █████████ should take note to run regular security sweeps to avoid future containment breach events.
As of 2100-01: Standard procedure is to contain escapees with rubber foam at a distance, and return them to their enclosures sealed in Nostra suits with isolation gear and ample entertainment until all security risks can be corrected. (Guards should not use chemical showers like Limonene to release captured subjects from rubber encasement, as Limonene may cause acid burns on their latex based biochemistry.) Escape attempts can be mitigated with enrichment puzzles, language games, adult toys, pornography, companion dolls, and ███ which may offer some distractions for their ceaselessly curious minds. Under no circumstances, should a staff member ██████ █████████ with the species. ███████████ ████ ███████████ ██ ████. ██████████████ █ ███████████ ████. ███████ ████ █████████████.
[Before pending review; LETHAL FORCE is authorized at the personal discretion of specimen handlers and containment teams. Details of these protocol changes should be withheld from Cereuform specimens. Staff members are reminded that any attempt to communicate classified facility protocol to contained specimens is strictly forbidden, and disciplinary action may involve the termination of facility staff regardless of their rank or status pertaining to the board of directors.]
PHYSIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR:
Cereuforma are carbon based pseudo-invertebrate life forms, with unique mutli-nucleuated cellular anatomy that hasn’t been observed in any known phyla. Like other species classed under “Latexphera,” their tissues are comprised primarily of naturally occurring rubber elastomers, atop of which rests a partial exoskeleton comprised of soft flexible chitin. These tissues are often coated with a thin layer of oil that affords them a minor degree of protection from acidic solvents, but certain chemical showers (chiefly limonene, which they use as a digestive enzyme) may still cause severe acid burns to parched tissues.
The DNA that's stored within their nuclei appears to be entirely foreign. In fact, the collected samples have been matched to organisms that bare no relationship to the Cereuform genus. Often, the DNA samples have come from researchers, food items, and hominids that have interacted with Cereuform specimens in the past. Despite this, no native DNA, RNA, or equivalent genetic information mechanism has been identified within their own cells. Whether they can even be considered a species or not is hotly debated, but when they are ready to “mate” they ██████ their cloacal ███ ███████ to add the donor's genetic information to the internal libraries.
And here, Dr.Gardner posits that the study of Cereuform sapioamora depends on studying their reproductive behavior. Because in these mating practices, they show a clear preference for hominid partners over their own kind with a particular preference for hominid partners. (Particularly homo sapiens, homo metrean, and homo singularis partners.) This preference goes so far as to actively shun the company of their own kind when they are ready to mate.
[Before pending review, all studies involving the use of live hominids are temporarily suspended. Specimens courting facility staff are to be supplied with genetic material from donor bank 302, and are given a surrogate companion drone of similar size, proportion, and gender to the staff member they approached. all staff members that are approached by Cereuform specimens in this way are to be relocated onto other projects.]
The leading theory among Dr.Gardner's team suggests that cereuforma specimens may have a preference for hominids because their complex languages and behaviors intrigue their "glistening" response, but non-communicative ███████ drones may still be targeted by their sexual advances. Their hyper-focus on the social behaviors of other organisms is likely tied in with their own reproductive strategy, with Cereuforma mimicking social behaviors from their handlers and learning language skills at a greatly accelerated rate. (Though unpracticed skills are forgotten at a much faster rate.) Some behaviors (like blinking their eyes) are only maintained while they're aware of researchers observing them, but others become a part of the specimen's natural mannerisms.
Regardless of their learned responses, one key behavior always remains, the "glistening." This response appears to be instinctual, some would say subconscious on the part of the specimen. The bodily oils that naturally lubricate their flesh thicken, and cause their exoskeletons to become shinier and sleeker. Olfactory signals released in this behavior appear to excite neighboring cereuforma, and call them to focus on a collective effort, like solving a new puzzle, hunting their prey, or courting mates.
Regardless of their mating success, Cereuforma always give birth to fertile eggs. Occasionally, unsuccessful specimens may substitute hominid ███ samples with pieces of DNA from their food to vary their offspring, but more often than not they will essentially clone themselves with a process comparable to ████████████. Clutch size can range between 10-20 eggs at a time, 4-6 times a year. The larval state in their lifecycle is thankfully relatively slow, lasting upwards of 30-34 years in some cases while the larvae quietly observe their environment. When they are ready to pupate the outer layer of their skin distends in a process of ███████████ to form a sedentary autotrophic cocoon-like organism that leaches nutrients from its environment through feeding tendrils until it has reached its full size in 1-2 years. Inside, the internal organs and 8-lobed nervous system are free-floating in oxygen rich polymer until their adult body forms around them. Their maximum lifespan is unknown.
Under no circumstances should personnel approach developing cocoons.
While their natural environment is yet undiscovered, captive cereuforma first began appearing in human populations in ███ through the xenophile market. Their enclosures often contained crude heat lamps, and their diets often consisted of human food scraps mixed with supplements of rubber trash. The healthiest specimens recovered were █████ in hot, humid, equatorial environments, with access to freshwater and sunlight. ███████ enclosures may experiment with tropical rain forests, marshlands, and hot springs; but must include at least 1 latex producing autotroph as a food source. Enclosure strata is unrestricted.
Precisely how Cereuform sapioamora entered into the xenophile market is unclear, as no wild specimens have ever been observed. Apprehended sellers have only rudimentary breeding programs, and active field teams are still searching for the original source.
[Before pending review; efforts into the ███████ investigation are to receive additional funding.]
[Before pending review; all entries into this section are to be scrubbed for matters of internal contention. It is the general consensus of the Board of Directors that without containment, Cereuforma may out compete and displace any human population they are introduced to in a matter of generations. Their increased birth rates, intelligence, and physical strength pose a considerable risk to the continued survival of the hominid genus, and the threat of overpopulation risks considerable damage to the biosphere as a whole. For this reason, Cereuform sapioamora is pending reclassification into level 2 containment and any efforts to release specimens are to be put on indefinite hold.]
[Former PNW-L1 Director Dr.Thalia Gardner has been stripped of duty following protracted debates with senior members of the board. Her previous stance held that the ease of integration into hominid society provided a potential case for their release into human population centers. Her previous stance held that Cereuform reproductive rates show signs of scaling adaptively to their environment, but after a decade of continued debates her arguments shifted to the development of ███████ contraceptive options in ████. █ ███ ██████ ██ █ ███████ █████████. ███ █████████ ██ ██████████████ ████ ███████]
[█████████████████ ███████████ ████ █████████████████ ███]
[████ █ ████ ██ █████████ with the development of "chastity devices" insufficient to ███ █████████ █████ ██ ██████████████ ███████████ ███████ █████████ █████████████████ █ ████████████]
The board has been exploring recruitment, mass production, and breeding options, but proposals for voluntary dronification have been met with some resistance from Dr.Gardner's team. Regardless, preliminary experiments on volunteers have found Cereuforma to be highly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion when exposed to glistening pheromones under partial sensory deprivation and sexual stimuli, and their potential utility as HC class Cy-Drones has caused considerable debate between research teams.
In the meantime, specimens with repeated escape attempts may be selected for participation in enclosure, restraint, and entertainment development; given their consent. Their propensity for breaking containment make them ideal at troubleshooting bondage measures for more dangerous species.
[For further reading, please submit credentials for level 3 clearance or higher.]
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>>>ACCESSING POST-UNDERGROWTH FIELD REPORTS:
--Colloquialisms: Cereu, Churro, Ladybugs, Whitestalkers.
--Response: NON-COMBATIVE / NON-LETHAL.
--Writer: DRA-17 ███████ Summerfield.
>New standard procedure- Don't attack the bug girls. Don't provoke the bug girls. Don't step on the bug girls.<
Friendly faces are hard to find Underground, but Delvers should feel lucky to see white chitin heads peering from the dark. Cereuform scouting parties are a common sight in the upper levels of Undergrowth facilities, and their "glistening" pheromones can draw crowds to gather shyly at the edge of the light. Delvers are advised not to assume hostility, as violent encounters are presumed rare. Instead, Delvers are advised to speak in calm even tones amongst their own teams until either the Cereuforma approach of their own accord- or retreat into the shadows.
Our diplomatic relationships with their hives have become strained, especially after incident ███ ███████. Their initial infatuation with our organization has been shaken (if not shattered) and the remaining Cereuforma have become increasingly cautious. Not openly hostile, but weary. Now, negotiation is still on the table, and Delvers may find it necessary to solicit them for aid. However, these negotiations may only happen of their own volition. Any attempt to force or coerce the bugs will reflect negatively on our organization, and may result in immediate disbarment because --and I cannot stress this enough-- we need their guides if we ever want to make it past L-4.
Additionally. Under no circumstances should personnel approach developing cocoons.
Despite stereotypes you might have heard, living in a hive structure doesn't render you mindless. Cereuforma might be borderline eusocial, but they still have individual personalities and cultures. From what we know, most current hives live hunter-gather live styles. Despite having unfettered access to Undergrowth's technology, they have yet to fully develop agriculture. Historically their hives were initially spread out almost ubiquitously across L1 - L2 when Undergrowth was new. Since then, populations of Cereuforms have been centralizing; causing the overall number of hives to drop as the larger ones subsume them. This migration has left entire habitat wings abandoned, as their remaining populations have become increasingly dense... and we believe that their cocoons are to blame.
When their hunter-gatherers return home, they deposit portions of their food into the feeding tendrils created by their cocoons. While their exact biology isn't well understood, it's believed that these developing cocoons are used to break down nutrients, and from them- they produce what our explorers have colloquially called, "blackmilk." Against everyone's better judgement, the substance has become something of a trade commodity for delver teams. DFR researchers have reported no harmful side effects from consuming the liquid, but are advised not to over indulge.
It can't be overstated. Under no circumstances should personnel approach developing cocoons.
While Cereuform society at large might distrust our organization, that isn't true of every individual. Sometimes, curiosity triumphs over fear, and we got ourselves a fresh Delver strait from the depths themselves. Not only can they adapt to live with us, but they can excel. Because like Homo sapiens, Cereuform sapioamora are natural born explorers.
- PNW-L1 Specimen(NL): "Charlotte"
- Delver Report: ███ ███████
- Delver Report: ███████ █████
- Delver Report: ████ ██████ ██
Credit & License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Original concept and writing by https://twitter.com/Jakuryusei