The Audeeq are an extremely exotic race that live in the accretion disk of a black hole, within the vicinity of a red hypergiant, under the jurisdiction of the Lanoir Confederacy.
The species is unlike anything the crew of the CHS Hawking have ever come across in their mission of exploration. They are energy based, and live in the accretion disk of a small black hole. The system is charted by the Lanoir Confederacy as "the Lnorke system"; the Audeeq themselves have no name for their system. You could say that the black hole is their home world, and the hyper-giant is their sun. They thrive on the intense radiation given off by both the black hole and hyper-giant. It was unknown if they feed off of the interaction between the two, although study has indicated that this is the case. The system also has planets, but nothing of note.
They are intelligent beings, but classifying them was something even beyond the Lanoir confederacy heads, since they cannot leave except for short periods due to their longevity, and only if they have a specialized tank available. This was something the CHS Hawking did not possess, nor something even the Lanoir Confederacy possesses. Communication was established through the means of ancient radio waves - beamed to the black hole, the aliens could manipulate the beam, and the minute disruptions in the electromagnetic flux could be translated. Using this method, they were able to get a glimpse of this extremely interesting species. It appeared that they collected the energy from the interaction between the hyper-giant and black hole, likely making them a Type 2.1 civilization.
An inquiry on what they were called was sent through a translation matrix, and "Ƒ͆Ɖɏɠ" was returned. Both scientists aboard the Hawking and the exotic aliens worked on translating their species name into something a Human could pronounce, and "Audeeq" is what was settled on; it was promptly catalogued.
The Audeeq is an energy-based species that seem to be based on exotic forms of helium. They resemble localized lightning helixes about 20 meters tall and 5 meters wide, and seemed to feed off of the radiation given off by the interaction between their hyper-giant sun and black hole. Birth and death in this species seem to be spontaneous, with new Audeeqi bursting forth into being from other members of the race. Likewise, the Audeeq just disappear when one dies, and is absorbed into the black hole itself, to be recycled ad infinitum. They are not a long-lived race; an individual lives for just 5 hours at most, but given their incredibly fast metabolism, and ability to move at light speed, 5 hours is considered a full lifetime for an Audeeq. For example, mating and childbirth take place almost instantaneously from a Human standpoint, but from an Audeeq, both likely take decades.
Technology of the Audeeq
Due to their very nature, the Audeeq have no technology of their own as any permanent habitation for construction would be immediately wiped out. However, they have learned to communicate using the electromagnetic spectrum and stay in contact with the Lanoir Confederacy chairman on Lanoo by hijacking Small Fast Radio Bursts given off by the black hole. They use these to communicate the overall health of the species, as any more info would exceed the data capacity of the SFRB. Likewise, the Audeeq have no ships. They can, however, ride in plasma bubbles given off by the hypergiant, and they can steer these as if they were a ship; they do not last long, on the order of one or two hours, they seem to use the bubbles for localized exploration, and they hijack these as they swing by the black hole. The Audeeq can get them up to pretty high subwarp speeds; one of these was clocked at 60% of the speed of light, enough for one-way exploration of their small collection of 4 planets. Still, they have not used these for long-distance travel, as doing so would mean certain death for the pilot before they got to where they were going.
Due to a design oversight, the software suite aboard the Hawking cannot detect extremely exotic forms of life such as this, and therefore did not alert the crew to the possibility of it existing here. Scientists aboard were not even sure how to separate normal electromagnetic noise from energy-based beings, because according to the extremely sensitive instruments, they resemble the same thing. The only reason why they knew the Audeeq were here at all was the Lanoir Confederacy. The heads of government, including Lanoo LVII himself have warmed up to the CHS Hawking during her stay, and wanted to help in any way possible - including letting the captain of the Hawking know about the Audeeq.
It appears that life like the Audeeq was pretty rare indeed, since Lanoo LVII's top aides have stated that this is the only life of its type in the entire Crown Jewel.
Before the Hawking left the Crown Jewel to return to Earth and complete her assignment, it was decided to return to the Audeeq homeworld for some further study. Scientists aboard wanted to categorize the solvent, if any, the Audeeq use, as well as tie up any loose ends. The search for a solvent lastes 3 Earth weeks and yielded a suprising result - the Audeeq harness gravitational waves via a process scientists completely missed on the first visit. Originally it was not believed that long-lasting structures could not be built by the Audeeq, however a small dome about 0.5KM in diameter, made out of energetic helium was discovered, and it seems this dome somehow prevents grav-waves from straying too far from the black hole. Thus, the Audeeq use these waves as a solvent. The dome only would last 10 minutes at most if it were not tended to, but it is constantly built up so that it would never dissipate. Scientists aboard the Hawking wanted to know how it works, and ended up getting an intriguing answer.
Apparently, the Audeeq figured out how to fashion components out of the very helium they are made of. An ancient Earth comparison would be etching silicon wafers with circuitry. The scientists ended up calling these "Helium Wafers" although they were not solid, and appeared to be made out of electricity. Sending one of these to the scientists aboard the hawking for study was thought impossible, even with the Hawking's extremely advanced energy transfer systems. It was nonetheless tried anyway, and when this "Wafer" was beamed aboard, as expected it dissipated almost immediately. The miniscule amount of time it was on board though gave scientists just a glimpse of the technology at work here.
The "Wafer" was onboard for merely 0.00056 microseconds, so as soon as it was detected, the Captain had the science suite bathe the transporter with massive amounts of energy normally used for scan operations. As expected, this knocked the transporter offline for months, and it was repaired during the return journey to Earth. The science return from this revealed a science windfall however. It was revealed that this "Wafer" had some of the same properties expected from one of ancient Earth's silicon wafers, and closer inspection revealed a 3D lattice of microscopic structures - an improvement from the old 2D silicon etchings commonplace in Earth's 21st century CE. While it was onboard for just a fraction of a millisecond, gigabytes of data were collected and stored, and will likely take years for Earth scientists to completely go through.