A few moments later, the faintly pulsing mass of strands began moving again. â€œMoving your awkward frame was a challenge for us at first,â€ it buzzed, â€œbut it proved compliant enough in short order. We moved our host around to gain familiarity with its limits. It was then that we noticed the pulsing in the upper half of the bodyâ€™s center had stopped. In fact most of the fluid movement and air intake had stopped as well. The creatureâ€™s body fell to the ground. We extended more of ourself into the areas that were stopping.
â€œFirst we wrapped a tendril around the tissue mass that had been thumping beforehand. Once a barb was lodged into the flesh and we gained control of its motion it began to pulsate again. Then we extruded more of us into the surrounding mass. Gently we pulled and pushed on the large sacks to draw in air. Three more of our barbs stuck into the support column at the back. The body recovered much of its strength and we pushed it back onto its lower appendages. Effort needed to maintain the husk was surprisingly simple.
â€œWe left the area by the wooden cave, only to find a large number of such things clustered together only a short distance away. Dozens of your kind were in sight. We moved our host toward the herd. They paid us little attention as we passed them. Many waved random appendages at us, either one of the two middle limbs shaken side to side or the top appendage brought down and then back up. We took these to be primitive acknowledgements. How can you stand your own language in such quantities? The noise was unpleasant but somewhat tolerable except for one instance.
â€œNear the edge of your communal grouping was a single creature making horrible din. It was laying the same densely woven portions of animal and plant fibers that your kind covers itself with over a length of the same material corded together. We found the cord most intriguing, as it reminded us of our own form. The material the thing was laying on the cord was drenched with melted ice. Liquid dripped from the bottoms of the pieces onto the ground. As it did this, the beast was speaking your language but it was not directed at another. It simply howled the sounds in one torrent. We have since learned that your kind finds this somehow pleasing and consider it a form of linguistic performance. We found it thoroughly disagreeable.
â€œWe moved our host over toward the creature, which was of slighter shape than the one we occupied. It turned toward us when we approached. Then it performed one of your acknowledgement motions. Thankfully its linguistic disturbance stopped, and it began trying to communicate. We turned our host to examine the surroundings. None of the rest of the herd was in view. To experiment, we evacuated the husk we were manipulating. It fell to the ground behind us after we emerged through the opening we had entered. The creature in front of us stood motionless and silent. We tasted something more than normal fear. It was colored like panic, but even brighter than normal.
â€œWe wrapped ourself around the creature and raked our barbs across it. To prevent any call for aid, we wrapped a tendril around its vocalizing orifice. The beast struggled, but not with as much force as our first host. Apparently its narrower form indicated a lesser strength. Once the poison was in effect we entered our new host same as the first. This time we were careful not to harm the tissue masses we assumed to be important to its physiology. While we did hear pain coursing through the creature, its functions continued without our aid. We linked ourselves to its mind and informed it that if it revealed our presence we would kill it.
â€œSome time later, its paralyzed body was discovered by others of the herd. They took our host into one of the wooden caves and tended to it. Once our poison faded our host moved again. It did not reveal our presence. We found that we began to understand your language as we remained linked to the beastâ€™s mind. More importantly, we were successful in infiltrating our new host without killing it. It was in this way that we began to learn more about your species.â€ The tendrils stopped again, and shifted to a looser bundling.