Recap: Lin felt sympathy and did not cause the luminescent microbes to go extinct. It also had some of its cells eat luminescent microbes and so Lin now has flashing exploding balls in its arsenal.
Chapter Eighteen The Path of Multicellularity
In truth, when Lin entered the crack, it had started to consider how to endure the water current.
This was like blocking off the hydrothermal vent at the entrance to the crack. If Lin gathered the cells to form a gigantic shield, it would be able to stop the attack form the water current.
But in order to stop the strong flows outside, Lin needed even stronger and bigger shields. Lin thought that regardless of how many cells were gathered together, they would be blown apart.
The cells had to be connected in a certain way so that they would form something that would not be easily washed away.
For example, using the diggers’ denticles to hook onto their fellows? But it would be easy to have damage occur.
But Lin thought there would be other ways to connect cells together. Cells were soft and could change shape. Two cells originally had been one, except they divided. Therefore, they should be able to be put back together … …
Also, how did cells split? Why would it divide? Rather than grow big at the start?
It seemed very complex. Lin did not like to consider complex matters so it decided to directly experiment. It first had two cells squeeze together and use their cell membranes to cover each other, and continued to give them the thought of “combining.”
But this did not seem very successful. Lin’s cells were not like the shapeshifting cells. At most, they could only form small protrusions on their cell membranes and were unable to grab onto each other.
Then maybe it would have they evolving onto shapeshifters? Lin thought that the shapeshifters had taken form because they liked to burrow into narrow places.
When it thought of this, Lin had some basic cells search for narrow cracks in the cavern to burrow through to see if they could evolve into shapeshifters after a while.
However, Lin did not want to just wait so it immediately did another experiment.
It tried to see if it could stop the division of cells.
When cells divided, it would first divide the nucleus into two, and then slowly tear apart the cell membrane until it became two cells.
What Lin needed to do was to stop the division when their cell membranes had almost finished splitting up. This way, the two cells might be connected together.
Lin’s cell group had been constantly eating all this time so Lin quickly found a cell that was about to divide. Fortunately, this was also a basic cell.
Lin immediately acted according to its idea. When there were two cell nuclei, the cell membrane would start to tear from the middle, and the two nuclei would move towards the two sides.
When the membrane in the middle was about to completely split apart, Lin suddenly gave it a thought of “stop.”
The cell that had been splitting apart stopped. It had almost split into two cells. There was only a little bit of cell membrane at the end connecting the two cells.
While it was a success, the membrane would probably break with a pull.
Lin had them strengthen the connection and then maintain this state.
After a while, Lin felt that the connection should be stronger because the cell membrane at the point of connection became visibly thicker.
Then Lin had one of the cells move outwards while pulling the other cell or for the two cells to move in opposing directions. Even at their greatest force, the connection did not break.
It seemed to be a success. So, Lin had a new cell type, but what to call it?
It felt very average … … but never mind. Following this, Lin could use the connectors to resist the enormous wall of water in the current!
Lin had the connectors eat more and then had them divide. Of course, it was not to divide completely like they did before. This way, the cells that were connected would grow in a mass.
Lin’s present connector cell group easily surpassed the large cells such as the cachers and the exploding balls. Also, they had a special trait. Not all of them needed to feed. When one of them fed, the energy passed onto all the cells that was connected to the cell. This was very convenient.
However, there were also problems. After this cell ball started to grow, their movement would become difficult since all of them were stuck together.
Therefore, Lin had them move below the crack, and then to grow upwards in a spiral fashion. They formed an enormous circular pillar of cells. The center of this pillar was empty for Lin’s other cells to enter. There was an opening at the end for Lin’s to enter from the top.
This round pillar continued to grow through the cells at the top dividing and growing upwards. In the end, it reached the exit to the crack, and arrived at the outside.
Lin found something interesting. Because the pillar was made from basic cells, Lin could still have them evolve.
Lin could have these cells turn into diggers, and move the part with the hard shell and the denticle to face outside. With their weak parts facing inwards, they did not need to worry about the attacks from the outside. Even viruses would not be able to burrow in.
Watching as the cell pillar continued to grow, Lin gave them a new name, “giant tentacle.”
Lin still hoped to connect the scattered cells but not through this troublesome method.
Then Lin found two more basic cells and had them stick together, then giving them a thought to combine.
The cell membranes of the two cells were pushed together without any cracks as though they were two spheres pushed together.
En? It succeeded this time?
Lin was curious. Why was it able to act out a “combine” now?
Was it because after stopping them from dividing before, the cells understood what “combine” meant?
This felt good. This way, Lin could form “walls of cells” everywhere rather than deliberately interrupting cell division, and then have them slowly grow. That was so troublesome … …
However, it was enough to have one giant tentacle. Lin decided to wait until it was outside to create other walls.
What Lin had to do now was to slowly feed and crow. It was not so fast for a tentacle to grow from the cavern deep within the rock to reach the outside.
Now, the darkness outside had come. However, Lin’s large numbers of flashing exploding balls caused this cavern to still be light … …
Lin saw that group of luminescent microbes still huddled in the corner. However, some daring ones had come out in search of food.
Daring? What was daring?
Lin once again felt puzzled at the new word but just like usual, it did not think more about it.
There was more white gel inside the cavern than on the outside. They also appeared to never stop growing. Even if Lin’s cell group was doubled, it would not be able to finish eating them all so Lin did not care whether the luminescent microbes at or not.
However, Lin would not let them grow too much.
In the next period of time, Lin watched the giant tentacle grow. Those basic cells that had gone to squeeze themselves in to the narrow crevices finally started to show the effects of evolution. Their bodies became very flexible, and they could be pressed to a great degree as well as change form.
But that was not enough. Lin wanted them to change shape freely just like the shapeshifting cell.
Time slowly passed. Lin’s giant tentacle had grown near the opening of the crack but the hot water there stopped it from growing further.
At this time, Lin’ had the cachers which had the ability to resist heat to circle around the top of the tentacle and then continue to grow. In the end, the enormous tentacle took almost all the space of the opening. The small vents on the walls of the crack that sprouted hot water were blocked.
The moment the tentacle reached the outside, Lin switched back to using basic cells.
Lin used tens of thousands of cells on this giant tentacle. This was all possible due to the abundant food in the cavern below.
At the same time, the situation outside was not the same as before. The water current seemed to have stopped. Because of Lin’s departure, a large number of other cell types had gathered here again.
It really was a pity. Lin had wanted to see if the tentacle could resist the water current.
However, both this tentacle and the method of combining cells would be of great use in Lin’s future growth.
Lin’s cells swam out of the cavern through the hollow interior of the tentacle. Lin planned to take back its territory again … …
Translator Ramblings: There are a lot of theories on how multicelluarity developed. In this case, Lin acts out two ways to get a multicellular structure. The first product, which is when cell nuclei are created but the cells do not split apart, is called a coenocyte. The second way which is pushing individual cells into combining creates a syncytium. The cells membranes fuse together.
Also, balls that flash makes me think of traffic lights … … Lin the traffic light.