Mass (variable see below) up to at least 3.7 x 10 exp 23 grams (sufficient to boost Lunar gravity to Earth normal)* figure revised to allow for smaller Lunar radius, so that gravity at surface = earths (ie an accelleration of 9.8 m/s/s). [Mass of un-infested Moon, 7.22 x 10 exp 22 grams, mass of Earth 5.98 x 10 exp 23 grams].
Wingspan 10,000 km (roughly equivalent to Lunar circumference, assumes wings 'wrap' while in egg. May expand further post-birth). It is uncertain if wings function as solar sails, or exert 'pressure' on space-time manifolds.
Reproduction - stages 'seed', 'egg', 'bird'.
First identified in 1935 by the writer-prophet Jack Williamson(1) (exo-biologists will also remember his successful 'dream' identification of the flora and fauna of Barnard's Star, but it is most fitting that this bird envisaged in his writings be named after him.) A later biologist-writer P.Harness attempted to repopularise the species in 2014, in a TV special(2).
The exact mechanics of the creature's life-cycle remain unclear despite the destruction of Earth's Moon in 2049(2), and the planet Thallon in 2373(3). Much of what follows is speculation. (We are grateful to P.David's monograph on the latter event.) A three-eyed four-winged species has also been noted in respect of the destruction of Stars(4) but it is likely that the latter creature belongs to the genus Photino.Baxteri(5) and is unrelated. The aliens associated with the Beltempest system, may be of this class of entity(6) [cf living stars and living planets].
Williamson's Roc begins as a tiny dense mass, perhaps physically a quantum black-hole, a strangelet array, or a looped quantum string. This 'seed' stage can easily be captured by a small planetoid, at which point it will begin to orbit its centre of mass. Over time the interior of the planetoid will be carved out by the seed, forming a hollow shell. At this point the light shell ought to move into a different orbit and the heavier seed emerge(7). It is unclear why this does not happen, but the evidence is that the 'seed' exerts its gravity as if it were part of the moon/planetoid mass not as a point source. The 'ability' to do this is the first sign of the species' biological mastery of gravity. This 'gravity' mimicry - presumnably intended to deter predators - masks the 'ghost mass' of the seed, only permitting the original mass of the planetoid to appear, until the Roc is near to breaking its 'egg-shell'. This suggests that the bulk of the 'build' mass in the seed is stored in disassociated cosmic strings and only manifests itself as the 'seed' weaves the 'bird' into existance shortly before hatching.
Such birds are not inherently hostile and while if one is seeded into an inhabited planet, its fate is assured (only the long time scales involved prevents the species being weaponised by non-time travellers), their effects on Moon and binary 'twin planet' systems, has been shown to be mitigated by their 'gifting instinct'.
While the outer crust of the planetoid disintegrates completely, the Bird will leave a pseudosphere of compacted material behind in the same orbit. While once seperated from the bird's influence this would begin to follow a different orbital path unless stabilised with a graviton, or other re-massing technology, its presence has been know to save a nearby civilisation and perhaps explains the birds' association with good fortune.
It has been suggested that the birds are unique, but the sighting of at least two birthing incidents within 400 years of each other within the Milky Way galaxy, suggests a substantial breeding population existed as long ago as 100 million years. It may be that the 'seed' stage has been hunted to extinction by Outsiders, but Outsider biology remains a difficult and expensive area of research.(8)
Other possible sightings/collaboration.
The 'bacterial' life, infesting the egg-shell (the salmonelle of space and time!) were first detected by the ill-fated Apollo 18 mission(9).
An alternative universe earth, in which the Moon was blown out of orbit in 1999 appears to have killed the embryonic seed before gestation(10), but to have later encountered a variation of it(11). Oddly no bacterial life were detected in that plenum, perhaps they were killed by radiation leakage from Area 1.
(1) Jack Williamson 'Born of the Sun' 1935. The dream predicted biology of Barnard's Star life appears in the Legion of Space series, as does the artificial life of the Cometeers.
(2) Peter Harness 'Kill the Moon' 2014
(3) Peter David 'Star Trek New Frontier Endgame' - the Thallon bird emits unexplained energy, instead of unexplained gravity. This may be a subspecies, or a simple variation within a species. Alternatively the Thallon bird may be feverish.
(4) Star Trek comic
(5) The xeelee sequence novels S. Baxter.
(6) Beltempest, by J. Mortimore
(7) Colin Kapp, The Black Hole of Negrav.
(8) Starseeds and Outsiders. L. Niven
(9) Apollo 18
(9) Space 1999: Breakaway (TV).
(10) Space 1999: Alien Seed (Novel).
See also Giant Amoeba space-going, Giant Amoeba sessile.
Black Cloud, entity, Anti-matter Cloud entity, Crystalline entity.
Giant Mutant Star-Goat. Galacti, Celestials, Great Old Ones.
Living Planets, Living Stars.