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Author Topic: A Natural History of the Air Kraken  (Read 33370 times)
villaintagonist
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« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2007, 08:06:34 pm »

A fascinating discovery Mr. Flambuginous!

Aerial Kraken undergo a liquification process post-mortem?
As you suggested, this could very well be the source of the "black rain" incidences about which we have heard so much of late. Perhaps an expedition to the inland seas for further investigation is in order.
What was it, do you suppose, that caused your Kraken to deliquesce? If you hunt these creatures with some regularity, and have only encountered such a process once, it leads me to wonder whether this was in truth merely an anomaly; or, if in your customary preparations of the kraken, you somehow prevent this post-mortem liquification?
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kiskolou
Snr. Officer
****

Subpelin Underlord


« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2007, 08:50:51 pm »

You must not forget the air-krakens choice prey; the Whaloon!

Wondrous historical documents, fellows! To me, every day is Air-kraken day!
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villaintagonist
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« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2007, 09:10:52 pm »

Captain Kiskolou, are you suggesting that the air kraken do in fact feed after reaching maturity?
Would you care to provide us with more information on their feeding habits, and on the Whaloon? I myself have not studied them in any detail.

I do find it hard to believe that the Air Kraken does not eat during it's adult life, but the other members of this forum have provided substantial evidence in support of the theory.
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elShoggotho
Guest
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2007, 11:05:29 pm »

Not to mention the cloud plankton these majestic sky-whales graze upon before being snatched by a pack of sky-kraken. The Air Kraken is in fact a pack hunter and rather shy. The attacks on our Zeppelin fleet are in fact carried out by "lone wolves" banished by their packs who were driven mad by the loneliness.

There's no way to spy upon an Air Kraken pack with a motorized airship. Their vibration sense is very keen, better at "hearing" the engine noise than the hearing sense of any other sky-dwelling creature.
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Sgt Alistair King
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2007, 11:20:26 pm »

It maybe that the Air Kraken has powerful stomach acids..if so it may explain the lack of food in the stomach, as it is digested quickly. This sam acid my also be the reason they decompose so quickly, the "popping" sound heard may have been the stomach cavity rupturing and would explain the corrosion noted to exposed surfaces. Also such captured Kraken would most likely be lone wolves, and have less opportunity to hunt. This acid may also be a possible source for the gasses used to maintain its altitude.
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« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2007, 11:53:09 pm »

Perhaps we have missed a vital link in the disposal of Air Kraken remains. Whilst alive the beast favours the protection of clouds, I would theorise that this is due to the creatures physiology lacking homeostatic regulation of their body temperature. Upon death a large hydrogen filled balloon floats into full view of the sun where the curvature and transparent nature of it's epidermis serves as a lens to focus the suns rays. The inevitable, naturally, occurs.
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« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2007, 01:52:26 am »

I think the crucial factor in the accelerated post-mortem auto-liquefaction observed in Air-Kraken is the nebulous nature of its tissue.  The beast must continually generate hydrogen, and without sustenance begins to consume itself.  This process is already advanced when the kraken takes flight, increasing its buoyancy. 

It's also possible that the hydrogen is the product of microorganisms that colonize spawning-age kraken in the deeps.  These are confined to the gas-bladders during the spawning flight, but eventually attack their host as it weakens.  If killed prematurely, the microbes grow unchecked and rapidly destroy the corpse. 

Given that Kraken are rare and must spawn above open ocean, probability is against recovery of remains in any form.
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CapnHarlock
Zeppelin Overlord
*******
United States United States



WWW
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2007, 05:42:09 am »

As it has been published in the Royal Society's "Proceedings" (April, 1887), the Red, or Common, Air Kraken can be successfully brought-down by the use of HM's Fleet-issue Teslaic Lightning-Projector. 

However, great care must be taken in calibration of the weapon's galvanic output. NOTHING annoys Chef more than being forced to serve over-cooked Krakemari to the airship crew........
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elShoggotho
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« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2007, 10:53:00 am »

That's the main reason why less savvy individuals use sharpened darts for the hunt. My An Associate's airship has a specially mounted revolving accelerator that fires sharpened pieces of scrap metal to puncture the Kraken's gas bladder multiple times, faster than their own regeneration can cope with. It still has to be cooked on board or on a remote island, but it certainly works - also without Tesla burns, which ruin the fine taste of good krakenmari.
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Fortigurn
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Taiwan Taiwan



« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2007, 11:16:28 am »

Behold, the Air Kraken!
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Obsidian Daw
Philetus T. Flambuginous
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« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2007, 03:56:49 pm »

My good people,
  My curiosity has been piqued since my last post and I shall endeavor to elucidate.

Quote
If you hunt these creatures with some regularity, and have only encountered such a process once, it leads me to wonder whether this was in truth merely an anomaly; or, if in your customary preparations of the kraken, you somehow prevent this post-mortem liquification?

   Let me say that hunting an air kraken and actually bagging one are two completely different things!  They are devilishly difficult to bring to bay and catch as you can well imagine, which is why it is considered such a delicacy here in Fromagia. 
  My apologies if in my previous post I have made it sound as if we catch them as easily as one would catch fish at your local pond.  Such is definitely not the case.  During my eighteen year tenure as Master of the Hermione, we have only managed to acquire only four kraken for the table including the creature in which the liquification was observed.  Indeed, we only began hunting them when I acquired the services of Master Chef Montagne seven years ago.  It was he who suggested they ways and means for the successful  acquisition; and he has always stressed that we must bring the beasts back alive (albeit stunned) and that once aboard they must be dispatched and cleaned as quickly as possible.
  I had never thought to question why this should be the case as he is a curmudgeonly old bastard (but a genius in the Galley) and is a veritable  Captain Bligh where the culinary arts are concerned, even with me, his employer (one must make allowances for genius, I suppose).     
  After reading your query, I lubricated his cogs with copious amounts of fine brandy from my personal stock. After some interrogation; he confessed that he was indeed aware that the creature would dissolve within a short period after its demise. Why he should feel that this was a "trade secret", as it were, is beyond me.
   I shall repost his recipe (which includes preparation) for you to peruse.  Perhaps it will shed light on how deliquescence is avoided:
     
Spoiler (click to show/hide)


  I shall post again later today, but right now I have several pressing items to attend!

   Until then I shall be, as ever
     At your service

    ~Philetus~
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Von Gast
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United Kingdom United Kingdom


Gentleman Racer and Explorer


« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2007, 06:24:17 pm »

Surely the major problem will be recovering the lift sac from the ceiling of the galley? I envisage a similar problem to that encountered when filling model airships with helium (hydrogen being considered far too dangerous for indoor use, and the models not being large enough to handle outdoor conditions). I was forced to resort to a large ladder on the last occasion, however the lift sac of an air kraken will surely have rather more lift as it is intended to support a greater weight.
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elShoggotho
Guest
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2007, 06:54:55 pm »

So THAT's why I had good Krakenmari only once in my life! Now that this problem is solved, I shall advise my good friend to resort to poison darts in large enough quantity.

That's why the whole preparation of the Air Kraken is aided with a bolted-down fishing net.
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Mercury Wells
Rogue Ætherlord
*
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« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2007, 08:26:04 pm »

A possible theory on why the A-K* are not observed very often.
It is due to the extremly large amounts of Chromatophore in the skin.


(*A-K=Air-Kraken).
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qubehead
Gunner
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United States United States


« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2007, 09:32:04 pm »

M. Wells raises an excellent point. A kraken's chromatophores would enable the creature to adjust its absorptive/reflective properties in response to ambient light intensity. That would not only provide an effective camoflage but temperature control as well, at least while the kraken is alive. -And now that I come to think of it, there are several species of squid that are bioluminescent as well.  This would explain those odd formations of lights which so many have mistakenly attributed to 'space aliens'.  Another more sinister possibility (admittedly far-fetched) is that some air krakens can manipulate their bio-lights so as to imitate the running lights of night-flying zeppelins.
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Smaggers
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You cannot mesmerize me...I'm British!


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« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2007, 09:40:29 pm »

Some remarkable footage of chromatophores  in action in the air krakens distant cousin the cuttlefish.





The air kraken chromatophores contain two main colours of pigment, black and more unusually white. They also have a deeper layer of iridophores, that reflect blue and green light especially well. The combination of white and iridescent reflected blue is particularly good camouflage in a cloudy sky. Presumably the black chromatophores come into their own in more stormy grey conditions or at night.
 
Their blood is an unusual green / blue colour, containing the copper based protein hemocyanin.  This protein is less efficient than hemoglobin for oxygen transportation and has led to conjecture in regards to an "upper ceiling" height, above which the Air Kraken would fall into a deep torpor. 

A number of expeditions have been sponsored by the Royal Institute of Aetheric Sciences to prove this conjecture.
So far none of the expeditions have returned.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 12:08:45 am by Smaggers » Logged

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CapnHarlock
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« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2007, 04:16:10 am »

For Consideration By The Victoriana Ministry of Improbable Science:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I propose that research be conducted in the possibility of preservation and galvanic stimulation of the Chromatophore-Bearing Outer Mantles of various Air-Kraken species. If this can be economically-accomplished, it could provide a distinct strategic and tactical advantage by providing "Invisibility Cloaks" for troops and vehicles.
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villaintagonist
Guest
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2007, 07:57:04 am »

Captain Harlock, I absolutely agree!
If it could be properly preserved, the uses of the air kraken's chromatopohoric external tissue would be nearly limitless! Should The ministry approve the proposition, I would like to volunteer my own services, in whatever capacity I may benefit your research.


I'd also like to take a moment to thank Mister Fortigurn for his contribution to our discussion. Photographic evidence of an Air Kraken attack on a Sea vessel is certainly disturbing. This new evidence disrupts much of what was previously believed about the nature of the air Kraken.
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Anaesthesius
Officer
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United States United States


« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2007, 08:29:11 am »

Is it possible for a cunning Nipponese gentleman to carve a "sushi" dish out of sky kraken so that it floats above the dish?

Indeed!  I here relate a tale told me by a grizzled aeronaut in his cups, whom I met by chance in a public-house.  This gentleman claimed to have been one of the first of his profession to visit Nippon, and consequently was honoured with a banquet by a powerful warlord, or shogun.  Here was served the aforementioned delicacy.  The aeronaut's guide spoke a sort of pidgin and roughly translated the name of the dish as "floatie" sashimi

As we have discussed, preserving the Air-Kraken's gas-bladders is no mean feat, and the technique was a secret passed down from sushi master to apprentice.  In fact, the bladder-balloon itself was not eaten, but cleverly sutured into the shapes of animals and affixed by a silk ribbon to a morsel of raw Krakenmari and a rice-ball.  The largest of these masterpieces floated gracefully over the heads of the guests.

But this was not the most remarkable aspect of the old aeronaut's tale.  As you may know, Air-Kraken are considered a sacred form of celestial dragon by the Chinese, and it is forbidden to hunt them.  However, their drifting eggs are not protected, and have been considered a panacea for millennia.  As a result the Chinese balloonists are finest Air-Kraken trackers in the world.  The Nipponese learned this skill from the Chinese, but do not forbid the killing of Air-Kraken.  Instead, the infamous Nipponese assassin-clans prove their prowess by mortal combat with the monsters, and this is the origin of the delicacy. 

As the old fellow had it, the beasts were snared from balloons with barbed grappling-lines and swarmed by dozens of these ninja.  The Kraken were ultimately brought down with spears, the ninja cutting the lines and swinging to safety, leaving the carcasses to be recovered by waiting boats.  The dish is served to those warlords who intend to employ the services of such clans, and the aeronaut had much to say of bloody Nipponese intrigue.

And now, dear friends, I must collect my hat and cloak and take my leave for the evening, as I have pressing business.  Oh, one final thought - I believe that the Kraken's natural camouflage is a fruitless course of study.  It is unlikely to yield any viable technology, and such a thing would only be employed by dark-lanternists of the worst sort.
It might have been a trick of the light cast by the galvannic hearth, but the gentleman's figure appeared to flicker for a split second in the doorway...
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Andy_W
Guest
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2007, 02:59:30 pm »

The Air Kraken Needs its own homepage.
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Jessica Butcher
Gunner
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United States United States

Wannabe Time Traveller


« Reply #45 on: December 18, 2007, 05:45:35 pm »

Out of curiosity, though, what do you suppose happens to the body of a air-kraken dead of natural causes? The natural buoyancy of the creature would persist, if not increase over time, as the body decomposed and filled with additional gases. Limp tentacles trailing underneath it like a jellyfish's tentacles, floating endlessly through the sky like a lonely and lost hot-air balloon.. It would eventually lose the air from within it and slowly descend out into the open ocean, or worse, onto dry land. Imagine the spectacle of a beached whale, but in the middle of a busy city.
So that's why blobs of jelly fall from the sky! Naturally the animal becomes bloated with so much gas it explodes, making carcasses incredibly hard to find.
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Ben Hudson, Esq.
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New avatar, same person.


« Reply #46 on: December 18, 2007, 08:07:36 pm »


Out of curiosity, though, what do you suppose happens to the body of a air-kraken dead of natural causes? The natural buoyancy of the creature would persist, if not increase over time, as the body decomposed and filled with additional gases. Limp tentacles trailing underneath it like a jellyfish's tentacles, floating endlessly through the sky like a lonely and lost hot-air balloon.. It would eventually lose the air from within it and slowly descend out into the open ocean, or worse, onto dry land. Imagine the spectacle of a beached whale, but in the middle of a busy city.

Perhaps they expunge all their gas in a death throll, upsetting any nearby airships and causing explosions. Darned inconvenient beasts anyway.
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Adml. Etherington
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« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2007, 10:08:35 pm »

The Air Kraken Needs its own homepage.


Quite. Perhaps we should work together to establish an effort to educate the masses about the dangers of the Air-Kraken, in a manner similar to the site for a possible cousin thereof, the Pacific Northwest tree-octopus
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qubehead
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« Reply #48 on: December 19, 2007, 11:06:29 pm »

For Consideration By The Victoriana Ministry of Improbable Science:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I propose that research be conducted in the possibility of preservation and galvanic stimulation of the Chromatophore-Bearing Outer Mantles of various Air-Kraken species. If this can be economically-accomplished, it could provide a distinct strategic and tactical advantage by providing "Invisibility Cloaks" for troops and vehicles.

Count me in as well!  Research of this kind always yields something useful even though- begging your pardon, Cap'n Harlock- I doubt it will be the particular something you are hoping for.
Villaintagonist, you hit the nail on the head; that photo is indeed disturbing and raises innumerable questions.  On the other hand, it would be uncandid of me to conceal my eagerness to delve into this mystery.  Shattered paradigms are the greatest delight of the true scientist, throwing open as they do such vast new worlds of wonders to explore. An expedition is definitely in order here.  So far we have the Cap'n, the V-person, and my humble self on board. Who else is with us?
But let us not overlook this sobering consideration: if the death of an air kraken results in its liquefaction, we will have no choice but to capture one or more the creatures alive.
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villaintagonist
Guest
« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2007, 01:44:46 am »

The Air Kraken Needs its own homepage.


Quite. Perhaps we should work together to establish an effort to educate the masses about the dangers of the Air-Kraken, in a manner similar to the site for a possible cousin thereof, the Pacific Northwest tree-octopus


I absolutely agree; a homepage dedicated to the air kraken on the aetherweb is a grand idea. I believe that if we pooled our knowledge of this curious beast, we could create an impressive resource for aeronauts, travelers and scholars alike.

I've registered airkraken.com, and will be compiling information for the site over my winter holiday (which started today, conveniently.) I've had a decent amount of experience designing and constructing websites, but have never attempted to organize a site with multiple authors, and would be very happy to receive advice or assistance.

We currently have a great deal of information already on this forum, however, for the purposes of a this  it will need to be organized and written more coherently, I am also quite sure that with a bit of research we will be able to find more information.

Any old journal entries about your experiences with air kraken, or research papers, news paper articles, photographs or artists renderings, any information you can find would be invaluable in this cause.

I would also like to keep the site well updated with the very latest Air Kraken related discoveries, and therefore, as you conduct research, or if you should happen to encounter one of these mysterious creatures during your travels, I implore you to write even a brief article for the air kraken homepage.

If anyone has suggestions or submissions for the site, please post here or direct them to my aetherial letterbox at lou@villaintagonist.com


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