The race that human explorers has nicknamed the Squidleighs is the first intelligent race known to humanity that did not originate in the Sol system. As of 2022, there have been no reported contacts between humanity and the Squidleighs; their existence is known by their automated beacon discovered by the USS Miranda in 2012.
How alien are they?
Judging by the media files discovered and played by the crew of the Miranda, they're at least mentally similar enough to humanity to be comprehensible once the language barrier is overcome. They use speech and/or song to communicate.
Physically, they are cephalopodian/arthropodian, a "squid" with a hard "helmet," two-to-four exoskeletal legs plus two more arms, ending in cartilage-skeleton "tentacle" fingers. They have an elephantish snout that is its food/drink orifice and a separate mouth for breathing and speaking.
A sample of what is believed to be their atmosphere mix, left on their marker beacon, is roughly compatible with Earth's atmosphere but has about 3x the oxygen and near 100% humidity, and the Squidleighs' scale that the Miranda's scientists believe is calibrated to the freezing and boiling point of water indicates the Squidleighs thrive at temperatures that would induce heat-stroke in humans.
Where are they?
Their homeworld is **WHITENOISE**, a low-gravity planet orbiting **WHITENOISE**, a bluer star than Sol.
Will we be fighting over planets?
Probably not. Human scientists believe the Squidleighs would consider Earth a frozen, twilight, desert hell where they'd need an oxygen mask and humidifier just to survive, while humans can't take the temperatures in the areas Squidleighs consider habitable planetary zones and sunburn in minutes under their preferred lighting. We're close enough to visit, similar enough to get each other's dirty jokes, but not really interested in setting up shop on each other's real estate.
What can we trade?
We don't know yet.
The Venus Terraforming Project would love to get their hands on some Squidleigh plants - they survive in relatively-high-temperature environments, produce a high oxygen output, and like the extra solar energy found at Venus' closer orbit.
So far, only the Squidleighs can imagine what they might want from humanity. Their beacon was completely hardtech, so they might want handwavium technology... or they might be horrified by it.
The Squidleighs' automated beacon was discovered in 12-12-2012.
- Although the timeline allows for contacts that have not yet been reported to the Fenspace Convention and United Nations.
- The files were unclear on this point.
- Technically an appendage is only a tentacle if it's around the creature's mouth. You know what we mean, though.
- Some paleontologists have suggested their homeworld may be similar to Earth's Cretaceous Period, when plant life ran wild on Earth and there were dragonflies with six-foot wingspans.
- In Galactic terms. In Human terms, even if their drives are faster than Fennish ones, their home system is a long way away from our centers of power, and vice versa.
- That's not to say that militant factions can't find a reason to fight, but "I claim this land for Spain!" is not an issue, or at least not an immediate one.