Slylandro Quotes

Hello visitor!

We are the Slylandro. I am Content To Hover

a Slylandro Speaker.

Your presence here fills us with excitement!

We have gotten so few visitors over these many Drahn.

We hope you can stay to talk with us for a time.

I am {Name}, Captain of the Earth starship {Ship name}. What the heck are you?

Oh, this is terribly exciting!

We will be happy to tell you about ourselves

if you will please, please do the same.

You see, we Slylandro have been extremely interested in learning about the galaxy

but our physique makes us incapable of leaving our gas giant home.

Therefore, we are totally reliant on our infrequent visitors

to keep us informed about events outside this planetary system.

And visitors usually only show up every few Drahn.

We hope that our newly deployed exploration probe fleet

will not only gather information for us

but inform other races of our presence here as well!

Exactly how long is a `Drahn'?

The Drahn is our primary unit of time.

It lasts for an interval equivalent to

four million rotations of our planet.

A Drahn is subdivided into two-thousand Drahnasa.

Now please... our turn! Will you tell us about yourselves?!

Most of us come from a rocky world called Earth.

Yes! That seems to be the pattern.

Just about everyone who comes by here

says they developed on a world a lot like that.

As far as we know, we're the only sentient species

who's ever evolved in the atmosphere of a gas giant.

Of course, from what we know, most Travellers like yourselves

don't have much interest in gas giants

so maybe there are others like us Slylandro out there somewhere.

We travel the galaxy, seeking intercourse with other sentients.

That must be great! To leave your planet, and roam the stars!

You don't know how monotonous living on a gas giant for three or four Drahn can be.

Clouds, clouds, clouds. Wind. Lightning. Clouds, clouds, clouds. That's it!

We know A LOT about clouds. If you've got any cloud questions, ask us.

We have over eight hundred different symbolic references just to describe them!

Most of the time, when we aren't eating

we hover around and talk about what the clouds look like.

Of course, the only things we know about are clouds, food and other Slylandro

so generally, that's what we think the clouds look like.

We are particularly interested in studying unusual planets and life forms.

Oh! Then you should go check out a planet orbiting a blue star not too far from here.

I think there is another blue star right next to it.

We can't desribe exactly where it is, but the people who told us about it

the Ur-Quan, I think, said that it was one of the rarest worlds in space

and that as far as they knew

there were only ten of the planets in this part of the galaxy.

Our primary objective right now is to free ourselves from the Evil Ur-Quan.

The Ur-Quan?! The long brownish guys from the Milieu with all the eyes and arms?

They used to come visit us regularly about three Drahns ago.

They told us about all the interesting things they found from their scouting missions.

They were really nice! Why do you fight with them?

I think you are confused. Those aren't the Ur-Quan we're talking about. Ours are green.

But the Ur-Quan were such good guys!

They had lots of interesting things to tell us about

and they never got impatient with our questions.

Hmmm. Well, I guess a lot can happen to a species in three Drahn

like turning green and evil.

That's enough about us, for now.

Okay, but please, can we talk about you some more later?

Pardon me, but who exactly are you again?

We are the Slylandro, a race of kind, curious gas bag people.

Tell us more about your interesting species.

Certainly, provided you share with us similar information.

What would you like to know?

Tell us about your home... this gas giant planet.

Our planet, which we call Source, has no solid surface as yours likely does.

Our `world' is the five hundred kilometer band of atmosphere in which we can survive.

Below this are the Depths... a dark and hostile region

which grows increasingly darker and more hostile the farther one goes.

A typical feat of courage for Slylandro juveniles is to sink far enough into the Depths

so that the juvenile's gas bag is almost ruptured by the pressure.

The tissue scars left by the trip last many rotations

and are thought to attract comely mates.

Above our world is Void. When we travel up too far into Void

we grow giddy and behave inappropriately.

What can you tell us about your culture?

We have an egalitarian society here. All are equal.

Of course, that doesn't stop some people from being stupid fools or jerks.

But on a world as huge as Source, where there are no barriers to restrict your travel

if someone is bothering you, you simply go somewhere else.

As you might have guessed, we have no physical technology.

In our long history, several of our people have tried to work with objects

constructing weapons and other tools from the carcasses of dead beasts

but eventually, whatever it was they were building got too heavy

and dragged them down to the Depths.

Tell us of your history.

Since we possess no technology, we have no permanent way to record the passage of events.

Instead we use the History Chants... long songs whose rhythms and patterns

help prevent the introduction of error into the record.

When the Shaggy Ones first arrived over 41 Drahns ago

we had no words for aliens or ships, for stars or planets.

Our skies are an opaque swirl of colors. We knew nothing of the universe outside Source.

The Shaggy Ones taught us most of the New Words

and after they departed we remembered them for the many long Drahn

until ships from the Sentient Milieu arrived.

Tell us about your biology.

Our world, which we call Source has been home to our species for many thousands of Drahn.

We evolved from simpler, unimodular beings who thrive in atmospheric convection cells.

At first, we were little more than mindless consumers

who glided at the edge of windwalls sifting the air for small animacules.

But even then we were social creatures, who invented language

so that we could better cooperate when herding food into dense concentrations.

There are many hundreds of species here in Source

producers, consumers, hunters and parasites, but so far

we are the only species here to achieve intelligence.

Thank you. That's sufficient for now.

My pleasure. Now let's talk about you and your peoples.

What are those glowy bits inside of you?

OH MY! From your question I infer

that you creatures perceive in a different spectral range

and can see our... well

our, er... well, WE can't see them

Ehhh... Ahem... What I mean to say is... they are... well we use them for

when the male and the female... ahem

Look, I'd prefer you didn't ask about them, okay?

(especially not if front of Sullen Plummet... she's shy.)


Great. Now you've done it! Just look at Sullen Plummet.

You've embarrassed her so badly that she can't even regulate her ballast.

Look, I'm sorry I asked about your... glowy bits.

That's okay. Actually, your explicit questions

have put Sullen Plummet in an unusual and intriguing mood.

I will explore this change more fully when this conversation is over.

Please tell us more about your Probe.

You know, it's funny. We hadn't heard from the outside galaxy in a whole Drahnasa

and then the Melnorme come by and sell us a probe

and just a few hundred rotations later, YOU show up!

Oh! The probes? Right.

Well like we said, just a short time ago, a race called the Melnorme stopped by.

They said they had acquired some information revealing our existence

and they wanted to study us, if we didn't mind.

In fact, the Melnorme said they would PAY us for the right to do so.

I guess they are biology nuts, or something

anyway, in exchange for our information, they gave us a probe vessel.

Can you give me details about your probes?

Sure, if you are interested. In exchange for information about the life on Source

the Melnorme offered to give us a remote exploration probe.

It would roam the galaxy gathering information and contacting alien races

and when it had filled its data storage units, it would return here

and reveal to us everything it had learned!

Where exactly did you say you got your probe from?

From the Melnorme Traveller-Traders.

It was catalog item 2418-B... Remote Self-Replicating Robot Explorer Probe

the economy model.

Why did the Melnorme sell it to you?

The Melnorme traded it to us for data on the life in Source.

They said the information was unique, and was worth

oh, I don't really understand their units of exchange

somthing like 10,000 Gree-dots... or something like that.

Fortunately, that was EXACTLY the price of their

catalog item 2418-B... Remote Self-Replicating Robot Explorer Probe.

How long ago did you get the probe?

Two or three hundred rotations, I guess.

What was the probe's program?

It was sent on a 500 rotation mission!... seek out new life and new boldly go where no

catalog item 2418-B... Remote Self-Replicating Robot Explorer Probe

had gone before!

Can you explain the probe's replication ability?

Well, we're not hardware people, so we only know the theory.

What happens is that while the probe is exploring space

whenever it's not doing something more important

it hunts for asteroids and similar space junk

zaps it into its component parts, absorbs the debris

and when it has enough raw materials stored inside

it manufactures a perfect replica of itself.

So even though we only bought one probe

by now there should be hundreds of probes, maybe even thousands!

I've heard enough, thanks.

Okay, what else can we talk about?

Tell me about the other races who have visited you over the years.

Years? Oh.. you mean Drahn.

Well, let's see... there was the Melnorme just a few rotations back

then we go all the way back over three Drahn ago to the Ur-Quan

and the other Milieu guys... the Yuli and the Drahn, I think.

Milieu? What is the Milieu and who are the Yuli and the Drall?

Hmmm... let me remember... that was a long, long time ago... I was only a nymph then

ah, yes... that's it!

The Sentient Milieu was a cooperative association of sentient alien species

The Yuli, the Drall, the Taalo, the Mael-Num, the Faz and the Ur-Quan

who lived across a wide section of the galaxy.

They talked with us fairly frequently for almost half a Drahn

then suddenly the visits stopped and we haven't heard from them since.

Were there any other visitors here besides the Melnorme and Milieu races?

Yes, there was another race... a highly sophisticated species of shaggy giants

who made repeated trips to our world over a period of several Drahn.

They even installed a broadcasting satellite in orbit around our world

which let us talk with them whenever we wanted. They were called the


I'm sorry, I can't remember their names. It was a long, long time ago.

Yow! That sounds like the Precursors! What else can you tell us about this race?!

I wish I knew more of the information you seek, Traveller

but we last saw the Shaggy Ones just over 39 Drahn ago

and very little from that era has remained intact in our history chants.

Hold on a moment, let me consult with associates Joyous Lifting and Sullen Plummet.

Joyous Lifting, who has a better memory than I

recalls that the Shaggy Ones were described as being... worried.

They were always hurrying from place to place, seeking knowledge

as though they were in a desperate search for some important secret

some answer to a question that they never shared with us.

Sullen Plummet remembers that the last time the Shaggy Ones visited our world

they came aboard a great circular starship, one even larger than your own.

They had discovered their Answer and were leaving to go somewhere

and they didn't tell us exactly where `somewhere' was.

This is EXTREMELY important to us! Don't you know any more?

No, I have told you... one moment, Joyous Lifting transmits.

Joyous Lifting has remembered something else

though it does not relate to the Shaggy Ones' Question, Answer, Departure Destination.

What my associate communicates is the description of a set of ten worlds, unlike all others.

The Shaggy Ones either discovered these planets or... this is garbled.. assembled them?

We were told the planets were... again this is confusing... organized (?) in some pattern

which in some way alluded to the Shaggy Ones' ultimate fate.

One of the worlds was described as orbiting one of a pair of blue stars not far from here.

Another of these worlds circled a large white sun.

That is all we can remember.

Goodbye, Slylandro gas bags.

Goodbye, human fluid sack!

You return with great speed.

In the last five Drahn, we have had only one visitor.

and now you have come twice in but a single Drahnasa.

How wonderful!

Welcome back human Traveller!

We hope your journeys have brought you new insights

that you will share with us.

Tell me about the probes again.

Oh yeah! How could I forget... this is the REALLY neat part!

The probe was self-replicating!

When it wasn't recording data, it would pulverize rocks and stuff

then suck in the debris. When it had enough raw materials

it would fabricate a duplicate of itself which could self-replicate too!

We expect the first probe to return in a few hundred rotations

and then we should see an increasing number thereafter.

We would be happy to tell you more about us.

Yes! Yes! Please do!

Who ARE you?! Where are you from? Why have you come here?

Do you know of any other intelligent races?

Please! Tell us everything, EVERYTHING!

Can we talk a little bit more about the probe's program?

Sure. What would you like to know?

Would you outline the probe's program?

Sure. It was a difficult task for us, since we'd never done anything like that before

but for the most part we just adjusted its standard program which went something like

SCAN (for targets, as defined in Target List).

IF (no current target).

THEN (select New target from Current Targets list, using specified priorities).

IF (Current Position is AT Current Target).

THEN (Set Current Behavior to New Behavior, based on Behavior Priority Settings).

PERFORM (Current Behavior).

Okay, that's the basic program... I said it was simple

and here are the tables used by the program.

TARGET LIST (with associated Target Priority).

Space Vessel (5).

Transmission Source (4).

Astronomical Anomaly (3).

Planet Bearing Life Signature (2).

Raw Replication Materials (1).

PROBE BEHAVIORS (With assigned priorities).

Communicate (5).

Record Data (4).

Analyze Data (3).

Seek Replication Materials (999).

Move to Current Target (1).

That's it.

Well, why then do your probes attack our ships?

Our probes DO NOT attack!

They have only defensive capabilities.

Offensive behavior is NOT part of the instructions we programmed into the probe.

To have done so would have been reprehensible!

What is the effect of the Priority Settings on Behavior?

I'm pretty sure the way it works is that every time a behavior is completed or interrupted

the program selects a new behavior based on the defined Behavior Target Priorities

and what kind of Target is currently selected... I think.

A really high priority would cause a probe to focus its attention on that behavior.

You mentioned the probe's defensive capabilities. Elaborate.

That behavior was hard-coded by the Melnorme.

We couldn't mess with it.

Essentially, the probe will only fire its weapons if it has been attacked

and cannot communicate with the attacker.

And when defending itself, it uses its lightning weapon?

No. The probe is armed with a battery of missiles.

It doesn't use its electrical discharge device in combat.

Missiles? It only attacked us with lightning!

That's impossible! It's inconceivable!

The electrical discharge device is used only for breaking down raw replication materials

into their component compounds for easy gathering.

Would you tell me about the `Replication' behavior?

I'd be glad to! You see, the probe has the capability

to seek out raw materials, process the raw materials into component compounds

collect the compounds, and then when it has a sufficient supply

it can build a duplicate of itself.

We decided that since we had only one probe, we should change the Replication priority

and crank it up so that there would be more probes sooner.

Uh... what priority did you assign to replication?

Well, the factory setting was two, in between Movement at one

and Analyze Data at three. I told Joyous Lifting to set it a bit higher

let me ask him what he set it to...

Oh! My! That was a bit extreme, wasn't it?

Joyous Lifting told me he changed it to nine hundred ninety-nine

the highest setting on the dial.

Let's talk more about this later on.


Your probe DOES destroy ships and I can prove it!

No! It cannot! It is not programmed for hostile behavior!

What is your reasoning?!

Think about what a probe does when it meets a ship.

Space ships are the probe's highest priority

because we want more than anything to make friendly contact with alien races.

Think about a probe's Replication behavior.

The probe seeks raw materials, and processes them in preparation for Replication.

Think about the effect of changing the replication behavior's priority.

The answer is simple... it would spend more of its time seeking raw materials

for its replication process. So what?

Now, what will it do to a ship, given that its Replication priority is set to maximum?

I don't see what you are getting at, but I'll play along with you.

Like I said, alien ships are THE top priority target.

Once a probe scanned a ship, it would instantly move toward it.

Then, when it got to the ship, it would initiate communication automatically.

When communications were terminated, a new behavior would be selected, and...


A new behavior would be selected, and since the Replication setting was set to maximum

the probe wouldn't get time to pick a new target... it would use the current target

the ship

for raw Replication materials

it would process the ship

break it into component compounds

with electrical discharges.

Oh no

what have we done?

Traveller! You must tell us what we can do!

How can we stop the probes from destroying all life in the galaxy?!

Someone is going to have to hunt them all down and destroy them.

No, that would never work!

The probes will replicate too fast!

As soon as you destroyed one, two would take its place!

Well to begin with, if I were you, I'd sue the Melnorme.

Sorry. The Melnorme made us agree to a formal Waiver of Damages

in case something like this happened.

Couldn't you broadcast some kind of recall signal?

No, not catalog item 2418-B

(Remote Self-Replicating Robot Explorer Probe).

The model with the recall transmitter was catalog item 2419

and the Melnorme said it was out of stock.

I don't suppose you have some kind of Mega-Self-Destruct Code, or something?


You're a genius, Traveller! Why didn't we remember that!?

Oh... there's a problem though! How are we going to transmit the code?

Well, while we ponder that problem, at least we can give you the code sequence.

That way, if you run into a probe, you can destroy it without getting shot.

To use the destruct sequence, simply engage a probe's standard communication system

and then transmit the code. The probe will then automatically destruct.

Ah! human Traveller. We have news.

One of our probes finally returned home

and we have been able to reconfigure it

so that it will seek other probes and broadcast the destruct code sequence.

We expect the population of probes will decline swiftly.

Thank you so much for showing us our error.

We feel very badly about the inconvenience it has caused others.

What's the general outline of the probe's program again?

The program was...

SCAN (for targets, as defined in Target List).

IF (no current target).

THEN (select New target from Current Targets list, using specified priorities).

IF (Current Position is AT Current Target).

THEN (Set Current Behavior to New Behavior, based on Behavior Priority Settings).

PERFORM (Current Behavior).

Okay, that's the basic program... I said it was simple

and here are the tables used by the program.

TARGET LIST (with associated Target Priority).

Space Vessel (5).

Transmission Source (4).

Astronomical Anomaly (3).

Planet Bearing Life Signature (2).

Raw Replication Materials (1).

PROBE BEHAVIORS (With target requirements - Default priorities).

Communicate (Space Vessel OR Transmission Source) - (5).

Record Data (Any target) - (4).

Analyze Data (Unanalyzed data in queue) - (3).

Prepare Replication Materials (Any Target) - (2).

Move to Current Target (Any target) - (1).

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