In the depths of New Manila Bay, there is a war. Two intelligent species are engaged in a deadly battle for survival. Huge, swift moving mosasauroids - some almost 18 M long - are locked in a deadly battle with intelligent, tool-using nautiloids - most of the latter between .5 and 1 M in length.
The Mosasauroids have the size advantage, but while they have great intelligence, their limbs are not useful for tool use. In contrast, the nautiloids are able to use their tentacles to manipulate the Enigma Boxes on the floor of New Manila Bay to great advantage:
The nautiloids know how to induce the Enigma Boxes to secrete Tool Discharges from their storage vacuoles, including:
- Biodegradable beam weapons ; the beam weapons are optimized for nautiloid use;*
- Jabbari fish** - small biological fish-robots filled with radioactive toxins;
- Quick hardening coral foam, which the nautiloids can shape into fixed coral-like shelter labyrinths
Only one or two members of a nautiloid pod will approach the Enigma Boxes to evoke these discharges. The Enigma Boxes emit radiation and it is deadly to be in prolonged contact with them. Nautiloids who are skilled in manipulating the Enigma Boxes often have radiation burns, scars, or missing/withered limbs from their encounters. Some also develop psychic abilities and have access to the knowledge stored within Enigma Box libraries.
*The Bay floor is littered with the biodegrading remains of discharged beam weapons
**A tip of the hat to Frank Herbert's Dune (and of course the nautiloids are inspired by Olaf Stapledon)