aka Dominators ala InvadersPartial Transcript From Professor G. E. Challenger’s Address at the Royal Academy
These Martians are familiar to every living person on Earth. They are the aliens who sought to conquer our planet less than a decade ago.
It has been said that the Invaders from Mars are little more than disembodied brains. Biologically speaking, such comments are utter nonsense. They, though alien to our planet and thus unnatural or even ungodly to certain small minds, are nothing of the sort. These creatures, which I propose naming Cephalids, have all the functions and needs of ordinary beings. Cephalids, despite their outward resemblance to the octopi of Earth are not Cephalopods, nor even Mollusks of any kind. This resemblance arises, no doubt, from their peculiar combination of tentacles and the over-developed mass that serves them both as body and head. However, it is true that, like Mollusks, these creatures exude a slimy secretion that keeps their skins moist, preserving them from the desiccating environment of their native world.
The fore part of the body contains what we can readily recognize as sensory organs while the hinder part contains the various organs associated with the circulatory systems, digestion and so on. It is supported on a framework of cartilage that is at once strong and elastic. It is the flexure of this skeletal structure during respiration that accounts for the oft-noted “heaving” or “pulsating” observed in living specimens.
There are six powerful tentacles, three to each side, that a Cephalid may use to move itself about or to grasp things. One tentacle on each side is long and, apparently, more flexible. These extended tentacles seem to be used preferentially by the creatures for manipulating things. A tiny pair of extensible feeder tentacles are present at the corners of their lipless mouths.
The eyes of a Cephalid, those celebrated luminous orbs, are disturbingly like those of humans in form and structure, though not in size, and seem capable of perceiving in darkness that would stymie a man.
They are capable of producing sound, though we have no idea of their language. Indeed, certain well-developed centers in the Cephalid brain suggests that the creatures may have progressed beyond language and communicate with each other telepathically.
(Here Challenger was interrupted by much scoffing.)
Be that as it may. It is plain that much more study needs to be undertaken. Much more can be said about Cephalid biology, far less can be said about their psychology or even about their culture. Certainly we have evidence of their scientific achievements. The fact that Man has yet to duplicate some of those achievements makes it plain that the Cephalids are more advanced in some ways than Man Himself.
(Here Challenger was interrupted by boos and catcalls.)
Nevertheless. Nevertheless, I say, it goes beyond the bounds of reason to claim that these creatures have minds immeasurably superior to ours. Cephalids have a science that we are only beginning to grasp, but the Spirit of Man is such that we will, will I say, make that arcane knowledge out own.
Other Notes on the Cephalids
A well-known, though disgusting, fact is that Invaders subsist by drinking the body fluids of other living creatures. They brought beings, now known to be City Dweller Martians, with them to Earth and it was only when their “supplies” ran out and they took to making Mankind their food, that they were exposed to the bacterium that was their downfall. On Mars, it seems that they kept some populations of City Dweller Martians much as Man keeps domesticated animals. Other City Dwellers were allowed more freedom, and it has been suggested that the Invaders considered them the equivalent of “wild game” to be hunted when desired.
Invaders are rarely seen outside of one of their machines.
The Cephalids are masters of a science far in advance of that of Earth. They have an awesome, almost diabolical, facility in manipulating germ plasm, and they build machines with stunning capabilities and weild weapons of terrifying power.
Several variants of these awesome walking machines are known, though all are of a piece. A armored compartment, often called a “hood” or carapace, in which the controlling Invader presides, sits atop three legs. On most, armored tentacles can carry a heat ray projector or a smoke launcher. Some rare forms have either the heat ray projector or the smoke launcher or both incorporated into the carapace.
It has been suggested that the differences in designs reflect “tribal” variants or even personal preference rather than an inherent differences in the machine itself.
Several variants of these are known. Many, like fighting machines, stride on three legs, and all have manipulative tentacles. Some are large and capable of heavy labor. Some are small, little more than personal walking machines for the Martian inside. Many have specialized limbs for specific tasks such as digging or clamping.
Man had only dreamed of heavier-than-air flying machines before the invasion of Earth. Those dreams became nightmares when the Invaders arrived with practical flying machines from which they could rain down death upon helpless thousands.
The Invader machines do not rely solely on their lifting engines to keep them in the sky. Yet they do not have true wings such as a heavier-than-air craft might have. Rather their disk or petal-like shapes seem to provide whatever lift wings, mobile or fixed, might be called upon to give. Unlike the surface-bound machines, the Invader flying machines do not seem to have designs solely dedicated to fighting. Safe in the sky that they rule, why would they need to? Still, all seem capable of mounting a heat ray projector or smoke launchers.
Interplanetary Conveyor Shells
The so-called cylinders in which the Invaders came to earth operate on Voleric principles. The interactivity of Voleric substances places a restraint on vessel size. In addition, in quantities needed to escape a planet, the substances are unstable and may react explosively when subjected to any directional impulses such as those used in a standard Voleric engine. To control the conveyor shell’s flight, the Invaders used a propulsor cannon which added initial impetus as well.
Its beam no more visible than heat shimmer on a blistering summer day, this terrifying weapon can burn the skin and flesh from a man in the merest of moments. It can cause ammunition to explode, buildings to combust, and, given sufficient time playing across the surface, melt the thickest armor plating
In the accompanying picture, two Cephalids emerge from a rocky den on on Mars. The one on the right operates a heat ray projector mounted on a walking carriage. Cephalid “soldiers” carry a reduced-power version of this weapon.
The Black Smoke
Heavier than air, the black smoke is a noxious poison that seems to affect all higher life forms that breath air. Cephalid projectors launch a shell that disperses the awful smoke on impact. It can linger in deadly concentrates for long periods of time. The Cephalid dispersal sprays were origianally described as being “steam” but are clearly more than simple, heated water vapor.