A Handbook of Incubus Aerobiology
by Flynn Cubus
book review by Microship
The classic textbook on aerodynamics for incubi came across our desk recently, and it is fascinating. I have long wondered about their wing morphology, with the lift and thrust of those small structures seemingly inadequate for their substantial body mass. Even with active flapping kinematics, it would seem impossible to generate the requisite force vectors… not to mention the biological regeneration of energy resources.
In this text, the prolific researcher Flynn Cubus measures in vivo aerodynamic forces using implanted load cells and myoelectric data collection, but I remained skeptical and still expected a Deus ex machina of game mechanics until Chapter 3. Here it is revealed that incubi bodies have adapted to generate prodigious quantities of lighter-than-air gas, comprised not only of hydrogen sulfide and odoriferous mercaptans, but also 97% pure hydrogen. The apparent chonky heft of the species is an illusion; they are almost balloon-like in body structure with a thin-walled yet tough cellular matrix to prevent deflation from arrows to the body. A simple digestive tract is devoted to rapid enzymatic breakdown of their macronutrient diet consisting of legumes native to the IDUniverse. This provides their metabolism with basic proteins, and is a rapidly assimilated source of lift and fuel.
The explosive intestinal gas is utilized via long arm ducts and acetylcholine triggered piezoelectric bio-igniters to generate slow-moving fireballs, while at the same time reducing the lift requirements on simple articulated wing musculature and tiny airfoils.
The book covers the essential neurobiology and biomechanics of these gas-filled beasts, but we humans are not its target audience. Published for fellow incubi, this is a fascinating study in balancing conflicting forces, optimizing the diet, adapting flight strategies to prevent loss of lift when a battle consumes precious hydrogen, avoiding explosive punctures, and timing spark ignition to minimize fuel waste during fireball launch. He spends a whole chapter on the basic hover, an efficient homeostatic process that induces a trance-like state of restful digestion during recharge, and subsequent chapters cover flight maneuvers, teleportation, and battle strategy.
He even discusses the trick of hiding behind pit structures to avoid deadly headshots while still being able to launch fireballs. “When you start recoiling from arrow impacts, you won’t be able to maintain cover. If you possibly can, teleport out of there immediately and approach the fight from a different angle. Don’t get pinned into a corner!”
Flynn is no stranger to publishing, and you may remember him from a stunning portrait that was featured in the IDU Museum of Art last year. “Night Terror” captures him performing the tricky double-fireball maneuver known as ambidextrous conflagration, projecting a mix of naked aggression and incandescent splendor. It is a pleasure to see his formidable skills so well documented in print, and I am not surprised that the book has become a must-read in the Abyss. This copy was captured during a recent excursion to the Pit of Immolation, and scrambling to get out with it tucked under my arm interfered with bow-handling and almost cost me my life.
The book’s simple title is obviously an understatement, and we are working on securing translation rights to make this amazing work more widely available.
This is part of the In Death: Unchained literature collection by Steven K. Roberts.