hunt one while in the Grubber system.
The catch is that the creatures need to be cracked open fatally in order to get the fuel. Q: How was this first discovered?
An 80 hour window exists for the fuel to be harvested before the creature explodes. It is quite easy to take the scavengers with it.
Story: Have an 80 hour window with a "whale" in transit.
When a creature is spotted, several 6 man fast boats are launched. When close enough, 4 of the crew EVA and close in on the beasts. They harpoon them and most important, attach easily detectable transmitters on them. There is a pilot and gunner on the boat. The gunner fires the first shot with a long "harpoon" and starts the 80 hour time then. The fleas swarm the beast.
A chase ensues and finally when "tamed", the boat has to get the mothership close. Only one creature can be handled at a time, so when one boat starts the countdown, all others cease chasing their targets and come back to help.
If the long harpoon is fatal, does it take time to kill? Does taming it faster give more time to process? How do they synchronize when to take a shot and start the timer?
A creature may have dragged a boat quite some distance, taking a short jump. Boats are lost.
When the ship gets there, the flurry of activity starts,
Make the brain casing a wonder drug.
Have the crews utilize the "skin" and infrastructure to make repairs. Drydock is several years away.
The hypersleep process does not freeze a person to absolute zero. Instead the body temperature is vastly lowered. One side effect of this is that the lifespan increases for people who travel this way. It is hard to measure and is just "now" coming out, because the travelers are all either experiencing time dilation or are slow seeders, which are gone for hundreds of years.
Must be a drug. Creatures make it naturally.
Hmm, perhaps the brain casing is the drug which enables the cold sleep. A creature was seen to appear, which gave away the first congruency hole. When apprehended, it was fatally wounded. When exhumed, they discovered the brain casing and the fuel. And lost the medical examiners shortly after. The fuel was used to power the sub-FTL drive and the brain casing allows suspended animation when slingshot. Perhaps the slingshot drive allows faster travel, but humans age unnaturally fast while in hyperspace? Or they burn up. The drug keeps them safe. Conjecture is it does the same for the creatures. Who really need a name any day now. Leviathans!
The hidden slingshot is to a second Grubber society, one which is much
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