In my short time in this miserable foetid place I have been putting thought into what defines true intelligence. Thought sparked by several encounters of extremely varied nature that has produced somewhat unexpected conclusions in my mind.
Before I begin with my analysis of these encounters it is first necessary to gain a grasp of how intelligence is defined. On a very basic level I would define intelligence as the ability to acquire knowledge and to implement this knowledge in an appropriate manner; however this does not take into account much more nuanced facets of such a complex concept. Therefore I feel it more satisfactory and comprehensive to break intelligence down into three measurable elements: Analytical Intelligence - the ability to solve problems, Creative Intelligence - the ability to learn from past experience to deal with new situations, and Practical Intelligence - the ability to adapt to changing environments.
I hope with these simple definitions you will be able to understand the progression of my logic in the following scenarios.
We begin then with Subject A - plantlife, native flora of Daxu that we have been assigned to clear with crude flamethrowers. I was highly curious about this particular species as it came to my attention how swiftly it regerated once culled. Several samples were obtained although on the attempt to do so it became evidence that the plantlife was aware of my presence, tracking my movements and attempting to lure me in with quite sophisticated hypnotic/halluginogenic mechanisms. It became apparent quite quickly that this species also had the ability to feel pain, provoking the question of just how emotionally aware it may be? Resolved to not cause these fascinating find any further suffering I deduced that it was in fact repelled by the intense light output of the flamethrower and not simply from being burned.
To use the definitions above this 'plant' for want of a better word has demonstrated remarkable levels of intelligence. Analytically it resolved my companions and I to be a threat and attempted to "solve" us. Creatively it has learned the weakness of seemingly more "intelligent" life to develop new defence mechanisms. Finally practically it changed the manner in which it "fell back" when exposed to a deterrent that did not cause immediate harm; seemingly with the intent to offer a pathway through deeper into the forest.
Subject B (for Bureaucracy) is our "overseer" of sorts; a dwarf by the name of Fierymane. Surely an adopted Nom de Guerre intended to boost an ego shattered by a life of pure incessant mediocrity. Lets get straight to the point shall we, it is rare for a mammal to demonstrate lower levels of intelligence than a plant without lobotomisation, yet here we are! I come before him for assignment, with my much vaunted skillset, and get assigned to menial labour. I come before him with a new solution to repel the local flora which would be cheaper both economically and in lives lost, and get denied. On all three measures this excuse for a dwarf fails. Failure caused by the blinkers assigned to him by his Corporate "betters". We may be indentured workers but such mindless obedience is the clear domain of a slave!
my final subject, subject C, is easily identifiable as Morbitz. Where do I begin with this? I am comfortable in admitting that I initially wrote off this companion of ours as a psychologically broken, physically frail creature with little to no measurable intellect. It is not often that I am so profoundly wrong in my judgement and he has given my own intelligence the challenge of adapting to the new and unexpected. I feel that Morbitz has been the quickest of us all to adapt to this wholly new environment. He has evidenced all three measures of intelligence and beyond this into an emotional intelligence that saw him intervene when harm was being caused to the plantlife. It is clear he identified what I saw in the local flora just as swiftly as I did.
Further his adaptation has started to take the form of overcoming his crippling levels of anxiety for which previously he was entirely reliant on his security blanket/troll. He has already oroven a resourceful and valuable ally; I believe with more time and teaching I may well have found a good friend in the strangest of places.
To conclude then, although intelligence may be relatively straight forward to define it is clear that when these definitions are practically defined the results can be quite startling.
More than anything now I am drawn to research further if there is a greater intelligence at play acting as a guiding hand within the forest. The others say they saw humanoid creatures deeper amongst the trees, I am glad they seem as curious to investigate this as I. Hopefully the coming days will hold further answers.