Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
Nothing could live in a volcano. That was the assumption of the landing party.
The twenty-meter slab of articulated rocktopus that turned a diamond eye to these squishy walking icicles of meat was puzzled at first, then alarmed. The meat icicles were walking the perimeter around its crater-nest.
A long arm accordioned out and snagged one for a closer look. Clumsy, clumsy, superheated rocktopus. The meat icicle squeaked and vibrated in the tentacle’s grasp before igniting. Ashes joined the hot orange soup of molten rock that the rocktopus lazed in.
The ashes brought a school of lavanhas to the surface. The rocktopus suckered up the crater’s edge while they swarmed to eat the ashes. That was the advantage of being amtemperous. The rocktopus could withstand brief exposure to temperature that would freeze most other forms of lavalife.
It dipped into the magma and snagged a lavanha, quickly exposing it to the air. The lavanha twitched before turning grey with a crackling shriek, atrophying immediately in the extremely low temperature of open air.
The meat icicles on the crater’s edge were watching with great interest as the rocktopus grabbed its snack.
It offered the snack to the meat icicles. They made no motion to accept.
Just then, a rockfish shooter poked its head of the pool. It sucked in molten rock through its slatted gills and shot it out in an arcing stream of hardening glass towards the meat icicles.
It got one. With a yank, the shooter managed to pull the squealing meat icicle into the pool. The meat icicle practically evaporated in a flash before a few ashes hit the bubbling surface.
The shooter dipped under the water, disappointed.
The meat icicles pulled sticks from their backs and pointed them towards the rocktopus.
This was odd. They shot food towards it. Basic irradiated metals in solid form in a steady stream straight at the rocktopus’s head. The rocktopus was happy about that. He bathed in their generosity for a while.
Then they left.
The rocktopus slid back down into the lava. Quite the day.