APAGear II Archives Volume 3, Number 5 June, 2001


Viiu Eel

Nuisance of the Depths

Janne Kemppi

Viiu Eel gets it name from eel like form and its characteristical noise it makes before striking. Habitat is underground McAllen tunnels of Terra Nova. This creature is rarely seen but it is believed to inhabit entire McAllen tunnel network where it hunts small crab-like insectoids.

Viiu Eel finds its prey with electric sensors and then localizes and targets its prey with acoustic means which side effect is the characteristic sound it makes upon attack. It has a finding mechanism that is similar sharks on Earth have. Every living creature creates faint electric field around itself. Bores on Viiu Eels skin conduct electric current to sensors under skin. This alerts it that a moving prey is nearby but it is not enough to trigger an attack. Viiu Eels starts to move towards target and its movement creates acoustic signal which is used to localize and recognize shape of the prey. Right moving electric field in target of right size and shape triggers the final attack. The actual attack is a straightforward attack from the behind made blindingly fast.

Viiu Eel swims in spiraling coil movement which causes the forward propagating acoustic signal necessary to locate prey. It resembles a big spring that upon attack slithers around prey and then squeezes. Its outside flank has fins for movement and inside flank has sharp spikes for attack. Spikes penetrate even the hardest exoskeleton of insectoids and cause death by shock. Dead prey is consumed in leisure fashion on the bottom of the cave.

Viiu Eel can also swim undulating itself in eel like movement and it can also worm through cracks in rock by using its movable fins and spikes. Viiu Eels grow in size through their lives similar fashion to Earth reptiles. However, sighted adult specimens are no more than 50 cm long and their diameter of body is two centimeters with spikes and fins one centimeter long beyond that.

Genders are indistinguishable. Viiu Eel reproduces almost standard like usual fish. It is suspected that they use their senses to find and select suitable mating partners. Courtship includes specialized movements and sounds. Unlike many other cave dwellers it is black colored. Thus it can prey near to cave mouths or springs and wells during night. Viiu Eel does not use sight in hunting or courtship because it does not have functional eyes.

Humans meet Viiu Eels seldom. McAllen tunnel network is poorly charted and human exploration has concentrated on surface areas of it. Furthermore, humans usually use big bright lights that repel Viiu Eel and its prey likewise. Viuu Eel was first noticed, when someone wandered away from lighted area into uncharted depths of McAllen tunnels. This accidental explorer found out how she heard a high pitched hissing noise and something slithered around her wrist and flashlight. The last thing she saw before the pitch black was a black coil around her wrist that contracted and killed her flashlight.

Adventure Hooks

Viiu Eel is one of those things people like to talk to each other but not to face in dark. It has distinctive sound that heralds its attack but characters will have no idea where it is coming from. Its black protective color hides it quite well to shadows even when light is available. Hissing sound is has high wavelength that is on uppermost regions of human hearing and beyond. Thus people with hearing problems, elderly people, may not hear it at all.

Attack itself is not lethal to humans. Viiu Eel concentrates its attack on electric devices of suitable shape and size such as flashlights and pocket sized communicators. If hand held, hand and wrist may suffer numerous small puncture wounds. However, surprise attack will certainly make man think it was something much much worse. Human may drop device held in hand, which can be lost in cave bottom, certainly device is dead. Particularly hair rising surprise can happen, when electronic device is worn and something is felt slithering about, probing person and searching for a prey, communicator held in pocket or even worn as headgear. However, attack will not happen as prey habitually is not met. Feeling is, though, quite unnerving.

Viiu Eels can also wreck havoc on small robotic devices or moving parts within larger static systems by attacking them. It can also worm itself into small openings and cause other problems. Most expensive sensor boom can be made totally ineffective when some small part of it is short circuited due attack. Since these robotic systems will then need repair, someone has to go out...

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APAGear II Archives Volume 3, Number 5 June, 2001