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Wanna see how I did it? It’s like this!
The Channeler comes from a conversation I had with my friend Bowman well over 20 years ago now. The question was, what might an alien intelligence be like if it didn’t evolve from predators, even opportunistic ones like us? Why would they need that intelligence enough to devote the calories to it?
In the case of channelers, carnivory is downright toxic for them — but it happens to be the kind of toxicity that creatures with central nervous systems find really exciting. In this case, their toad licking is what moves their intelligence from practical (weather prediction, in particular) to self-aware and creative. This individual is a member of an artists’ clique who get together physically (rather than solely communicating with their natural radios the way all channelers do) and paint each other’s shells. They have a vibrant and ongoing conversation about the techniques of dye extraction and refinement, as well as the application of patterns and their symbolic value. The white border around the blue spots is actually the binder in the pigment aging. It’s invisible still on the leeward side of the individual because channelers always face the worst weather to minimize their exposure.
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