This article is about the history of the Vriij culture. For the Vriij in human space, see the Vriij Ascendant.
[ALGORAB REPORT 0-AL-768]
Edited by AI user Camilla.
Topic: Vriij nonhuman species/civilisation.
The Vriij were initially contacted on Okean. They are the first non-extinct sentient species discovered by humankind. The Vriij are a carbon-based lifeform with a physical shape reminiscent of oversized Earth squids. (Note: never call a Vriij squid. They think it's an insult.). Mature specimens measure up to twelve meters and have between six to eight tentacles. They are primarily sea-based creatures with a preference for deep waters, however they have also been seen close to the surface and are probably capable of surviving for a non-negligible amount of time on solid ground as long as their skin is kept clean and moisturized. The Vriij are fully sentient, capable of complex abstract thought and communicate through low-frequency sounds. (Note: they are very strong for underwater creatures. Their tentacles are more than capable of crushing a drone to bits and they can live at pressures that would kill most complex lifeforms.) A single Vriij can live up to two hundred years. They reproduce sexually and alternate between female and male forms during their lifespan. Communication with humans is possible and authorised. Limited mutual understanding is possible though they seem to be more willing to communicate with AIs than with regular human beings. Their society appears to be capable of extreme complexity when it comes to organisation and structures but outside of mating rituals and fishing expeditions, the Vriij live in isolation. They do not keep records of the past and are not seen trying to innovate or build works of art: they seem unwilling to do so rather than unable.
(Note: an exobiologist once said that the Vriij were bored. I wonder if they were up to something or just slightly depressed.)
Now to the important matter at hand: the Vriij are lying to us. They are pretending to be a humble species living their life in the depths of their native ocean world and it is flat-out wrong. They understand what a spaceship is. They understand how our drones work. They are capable of interfacing with them through low-pitched vibrations. It is highly likely that they even have means of intercepting and reading our communications. The Vriij are highly intelligent, true, but Algorab scientists consider that there is another reason for their skill with human technology. They once were a technological civilisation like ours. They once were the dominant power of the Okean globular cluster.
And they messed up. The Okean cluster is dead. Barren. It once teemed with civilisations but they were all wiped out by a series of cataclysmic extinction events. All of them but the Vriij who found respite in Okean which they elected as their new home after abandoning all of their technology. It doesn't stop here. Studies of well-preserved Vriij fossils on Okean have shown traces of extensive, self-inflicted genetic modification affecting long-term memory. In other words: the Vriij have brainwashed the initial colonists of Okean. Thus we have reasons to believe they wanted to erase the memory of whatever they did before settling this planet and abandoning their technology.
We have found little conclusive evidence about what happened in the Okean cluster. We know that one million years ago the Sequence tried to take control of the region, triggering a slow-burning war that went on for several millennia. They were eventually repelled though there is no proof that it is this particular event that sent the cluster into a spiral of extinction crises. Several ruins refer to a device called the Eye which the Vriij have seemingly...used? Found? Fired? at the end of the war. Ancient Vriij tech itself is unusable. It looks like the Vriij went through a very thorough process of memory-wiping, going as far as erasing databanks at a molecular level and destroying equipment in ways that make analysis thoroughly impossible. Many of these ruined devices and buildings bear signs of a cold, unbridled rage, a rage that wasn't directed at anyone but themselves.
Deep down I can't believe that the Vriij do not remember.
They know what they did.
[Operational note 11: analysis of fossil 78 (nicknamed "Old Faithful") has shown that the potential lifespan of a Vriij is way longer than what we originally assumed. Fossil 78 lived for twenty thousand years and counting. There is a non-zero chance that older individuals could still be alive. If they exist they are our best shot at figuring out what happened to the Vriij and the cluster. I suggest we intensify the search for "living fossils", starting with the elusive individual they refer to as "the one who remained."]
[Operational note 12: Delete that.]
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