Last chapter recap: Lin creates a mothership for its cells and then encounters an ice age.
Chapter Four The Ediacaran Worm
“Crack … …”
The ice continued to shake. The surrounding cracks increased. Lin had the diggers return into the mothership but it still kept that little eyeball on the outside to observe.
Under the continued shaking, the passage that the diggers had dug into the ice had collapse. at the same time, Lin saw through the transparent ice an enormous black shadow.
What was that?
Lin felt great curiosity about this thing but Lin could only see its blurry figure though the ice, and not any details.
Lin was only sure this thing’s body was about the same size as the mothership. Also, it was constantly moving inside the ice in Lin’s direction.
Every time the organism moved, more cracks would appear in the surrounding ice. This meant that it was moving powerfully through the ice.
What was this organism?
Lin had never seen such a large organism before. Even the largest shapeshifter had not been this large.
While Lin had seen large colonies of cells before, this clearly was not a large cell colony, it was one being!
There were other beings that could assemble multiple cells together?
Lin had never seen this kind of organism before. This was also why it had been invincible in the past.
“Crack … …” As the organism came closer, there was only a thin layer of ice between Lin and the organism left. In the next moment, this layer of ice finally cracked, and the entire ice wall split apart under the attack of this organism. The pieces of ice floated in the water and then melted.
At this time, this organism appeared in front of Lin’s eye.
It was very strange in appearance and did not look like a normal cell. Its head was a hemi-spherical structure and seemed extremely hard. Lin saw this organism use its head to shatter the ice.
Its cylinder-like body was very long. There were spiral-like ridges on the surface of the body that reached back into the ice tunnel it dug out.
There were ten long tentacles under the hemispherical head that seemed to be used for movement.
No, those might not be called tentacles because these “tentacles” were not as nimble as true tentacles. They seemed to only be able to curve in one direction and they were rigid and segmented.
“Segmented limb” was a better term.
At the end of the segmented limbs was a structure shaped like a pincer, and had sawtooth protrusions grown along the inside. Lin had a new term “chelae” to describe this structure.
This was a completely new organism. It didn’t just have an enormous body, it also had a body structure that Lin had never seen before. Its appearance also brought Lin many new terms.
Lin felt the name “oval worm” was pretty good.
While Lin liked the name, it did not like what this organism was doing right now.
The oval worm was digging apart the ice layer and swimming towards Lin’s mothership. Lin didn’t know what the oval worm would do, and didn’t know what it should do.
Attack it? Ignore it?
Lin would not rashly move when it encountered an opponent equal to it. Who knew if the enemy had the ability to destroy it? If Lin did not move, then the other might not attack.
Lin was hesitating.
But the other did not.
The enormous worm floated to the ectoderm of the mothership. It used the segmented limbs to touch the surface of the ectoderm as though it was searching for something. Suddenly, it opened the claw at the end of the limb and pinched at the ectoderm.
Then it pulled hard. A large piece of the mothership’s surface was pulled off. Then it did not hesitate in moving the piece of ectoderm to its mouth.
The oval worm’s mouth was like an orifice with a circle of sharp blades growing around it. When it moved the piece of Lin’s ectoderm to its mouth, the piece was cut into smaller pieces by the sharp blades before being swallowed.
So painful … …
The pain of the ectoderm being torn, cut apart and then swallowed caused Lin to stop hesitating. It immediately decided to destroy this enemy.
Lin twisted hard to move the tentacles on the sides of the mothership as well as to throw the oval worm off. At the same time, it opened all the openings on the mothership for all the devourers to come out. Their goal was to attack!
This was the first feeling Lin had after attacking the oval worm. The devourers could not take hold of the other’s hemispherical and smooth head. Due to this, Lin focused the attacks at the other’s segmented limbs.
But the cone-shaped cells and the acid ejectors inside the mouths of the devourers, which could destroy all things made from cells, could not affect the segmented limbs of the oval worm at all.
In reality, it was difficult for them even to bite the hard and smooth shell of the oval worm. The largest devourers weren’t even half the size of the oval worm’s smallest claw, and couldn’t compare to the tip of the biggest claw.
Also, most of Lin’s devourers were small-sized devourers. The large-sized devourers had been used to deal with the large-sized cell colonies. If they were too big, they couldn’t move through the cracks in the sand so there were not many of them.
The oval worm didn’t feel anything at Lin’s attacks. It twisted its body to swim and once again leapt for Lin’s mothership. It used its segmented limbs to tear pieces of Lin’s ectoderm.
Because the ectoderm was torn, many of the single cells in the mothership spilled out. However, the oval worm didn’t seem to be interested at all in the small single cells. It still tore at the ectoderm. It seemed to be only interested in multicellular structures.
If this continued, Lin might not be completely killed, but it would lose the mothership.
Absolutely not! What to do?
Lin started to think rapidly. Lin noticed that the joints on the oval worm’s segmented limbs showed dots of white that were not the same as the surrounding back shell. Those places should be weak.
Lin had the devourers gather to attack those crucial positions, but the segmented limbs constantly moved and were hard to lock on to. Lin continued to try. One large devourers bit onto one of the joints on the segmented limb.
The joint was made of a soft white material. Lin had this devourer twist its body. Under the effect of the dissolving fluid and the cone-shaped cells as well as the shearing force, the devourers finally pulled down a large white piece.
After it tore apart the joint, Lin found that a large group of blue cells spilled out of the wound. Lin immediately recognized that these cells was the things that made up the oval worm. Lin promptly had the devourers start to tear apart the cells that came out, and had some smaller devourers burrow into the crack in the joint.
It was very dark inside and there was no light. However, some of Lin’s devourers had some flashing exploding balls mixed in their ectoderms in order to move in the darkness under the sand. So, no matter how dark it was, the devourers that could make their own light to easily see the surrounding environment.
The interior of the segmented limb was like a pipe. There was a weak flow of water inside, and blue cells were packed everywhere. They continued to swim outwards through the wound that Lin had created and completely ignored the invasion of Lin’s devourers.
Some bigger blue cells appeared to be using their bodies to block the wound and stop more blue cells from spilling out.
Tear them apart.
Lin did not hesitate. The devourers immediately went forward to attack the blue cells that blocked the opening. At the same time, Lin also had more devourers charge in through the opening and start to attack the blue cells inside.
At this time, the oval worm finally seemed to react. It appeared to feel pain and was forcefully waving the wounded segmented limb. However, the remaining segmented limbs were still tearing at the mothership’s ectoderm.
Because of the waving motion, it became difficult once again for Lin to invade from the outside. However, dozens of devourers had already burrowed into the wound. Lin started to have them attack everything in the surroundings.
At the same time, Lin sent the remaining devourers to attack the other joints. It sent large numbers of exploding balls and cone-shaped cells swimming out of the mothership’s damaged ectoderm to charge at the mouth parts of the oval worm.
Since Lin could not bite the enemy from the outside, then it will directly attack the enemy’s inside!
Translator Ramblings: Now we are in the midst of the Ediacaran era. This geological era was “recently” recognized by geologists. The oval worm from the author’s description is most likely Spriggina, the one with the round head and long but small body in the middle of the image.