4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Volume Two Chapter Nine “Leaving The Ice”

This chapter has been brought to you by me, and WanderingGummiOfDoom.

Last chapter recap: Lin defeats the oval worm and learns to make a nutrient system.

Chapter Nine – Leaving The Ice

The blood vessels functioned well after Lin  constructed them, but there were some minor problems. Cells inside the blood vessels had difficulty obtaining oxygen, and their movements were slow.

Lin could not create openings in the blood vessels as the cells inside would spill out. However, the cells inside the blood vessels did not move by themselves but were moved by the quick flow of water, so Lin did not care so much.

Lin’s devourers were renewed by the addition of blood vessels. They did not have a heart to pump the water but had a storage pouch made from muscle cells deep inside the mouth which was connected to the blood vessels. The devourer could store the chewed food inside the pouch. The pouch would contract and force the food and water into the blood vessel system. Then the cells inside the blood vessel would transfer the nutrients through the body.

The extra water would circulate in the blood vessels and return to the pouch to be expelled the next time the devourer opened its mouth. [1]

The plan to resurrect the oval worm was temporarily put on hold because Lin could not create enough cells to fill the oval worm’s shell. It also had used up many cells to make the heart and the blood vessels. It needed to find more food.

But this period of cold continued for a long time. While it was not of great effect on Lin, this meant that other cells would not appear, and there was no food. Lin’s fat cells could support Lin for a long time, it would take more than 70% of Lin’s stores to make something as large as the mothership. Lin did not want to use up that much of its stores with no food available. What would happen if Lin encountered some danger?

Maybe it could digest the mothership, and then create a new base inside the oval worm?

No, Lin did not want to rely on other organisms like this. It wanted to grow a hard shell by itself. If it went into the shell, it would be difficult to evolve a hard outer skin.

Then what should Lin do?

Go out to search for food?

Use a giant digger to dig a path out of the ice?

That seemed to be a solution too slow. Lin hoped to get some structures better at digging ice, and dig as fast as the oval worm … …

Right … … the oval worm did not use its segmented limbs to dig through the ice. It seemed to have used its round head to smash through the ice layer. However, that required a large body and great strength.

Since that was the case, then Lin could only modify the mothership.

Lin’s mothership was a simple sphere body suited to smashing. But Lin did not want to smash using the body of the mothership. It created two enormous tentacles one on each of the two sides of the mothership. Lin formed hard round shapes at the end of these tentacles as well as structures with serrations. They were named “hammerheads.” The tentacles were made from large numbers of muscle cells that could release great force to smash apart the ice.

Lin had dreamed up this structure a long time ago but the muscle cell’s energy would be consumed greatly after repeated swinging. It would also take a great amount of time to recover and the efficiency was not high. But after developing the blood vessel system, energy for the muscle cells replenished quickly and Lin could swing the tentacles quickly. The efficiency would be much higher than in the past.

After it finished building these tentacles, Lin started moving the mothership. The mothership already had two tentacles it used to swim, and there was an enormous spout behind it. It could move rapidly. If the mothership wasn’t surrounded by ice, the oval worm would not have been able to harm it.

Lin left a portion of the cells inside the oval worm and then started on its journey of breaking through the ice.

The mothership swam to the ice layer, and then smashed onto the ice with the hammered tentacles. Under the great force, an enormous hole appeared on the wall of ice, and countless cracks appeared in the surroundings.

It really was effective. The feeling was similar to when the oval worm was digging.

Lin had the mothership continue to swing the hammers and smash the ice in front of it. It created a passage that the mothership could move through.

Then Lin had the head of the mothership harden. This way, it didn’t just have to hammer the tentacles to smash the ice, and the mothership itself could smash through the ice as well.

Previously, Lin was not willing to do this because it was worried that the blood vessel system might be damaged. Now, it appeared as though there wasn’t a problem because the hammered tentacles also had blood vessels inside them, and they were not damaged when they were swung.

Lin retired the large eyeball at the head of the mothership. It formed several small eyeball antenna at the sides of the mothership’s head to observe.

This way, it was much easier to advance into the ice.

Should it continue to move downward? Lin felt that the wild cells should be hiding in the sand below. It might be warmer down there, and the ice would not freeze there.

As it thought, Lin changed to moving downwards and continued to easily smash apart the ice layer. While the hardness of the ice was variable, the hammered tentacles did not have any problems. It would not take long until they reached the sand below.

Strange?

After smashing a layer of ice, new scenery appeared in front of Lin. Lin had not reached the sand, but an area that had no ice.

This was an ice cavern that could hold three of Lin’s motherships. There were no signs of digging on the ice walls. Lin did not know how this had formed. Lin slowly swam into the empty space in this layer of ice.

So strange. Why would a place like this occur? The ice could not melt like this. Had some organism dug this cavern? But Lin didn’t see any organisms.

Just as Lin was bewildered by the cause of this structure, it found that were small moving dots on the surrounding ice walls.

What were those?

Lin could not see clearly using the eyeball antennas on the side of the mothership’s head. Lin sent out small devourers from inside the mothership. When they swam near the ice wall, they found that small moving dots were cells. They seemed to be the color of the ice, and were difficult to see.

These cells covered the ice wall. Lin didn’t know what they were doing, but they were definitely food.

Lin did not think too much and just had the devourers start to kill them. At the same time, Lin sent out more devourers and prepared to clean up all of the cells.

The devourers quickly consumed the cells on the ice walls. These cells did not have any defenses and were an ordinary round shape. They were very small, but they could do a strange thing to dodge the devourers.

They could burrow into the ice without any digging, just burrow in.

The devourers could not enter the small holes the cells made and could only give up on their hunt.

So strange. How were they able to do it? Lin observed carefully. From the eye of the smallest devourer, it could see that this kind of cell would secrete a kind of fluid that could instantly melt the ice surrounding it. Due to this, it could enter the ice.

So this was how it was. They made the holes like this? Then this kind of cell should be called … …”Ice Dissolving Microbe.”

The dissolving ice microbes hid in the ice, and they seemed to happily sway in there.

The next moment, The enormous hammered tentacle of Lin’s mothership smashed onto the ice. This time, the tentacle didn’t just smash the ice, it also forced dissolving ice microbes out into the open. Then the devourers quickly consumed the small cells mixed with the ice fragments.

The dissolving ice microbes knew that it was not safe to hide in the ice so they fled deeper. Lin immediately smashed the ice and chased after them.

While the dissolving ice microbes could burrow into ice, they were actually slow. They were not as fast as Lin’s mothership crushing the ice. With almost every one of Lin’s blow, large numbers of dissolving ice microbes would be forced out of the ice. Then Lin would have the large devourer consumed them and the ice fragments together and crush them.

Lin moved forward as it smashed the cells out of the ice. Yet Lin did not advance for long when it suddenly found it entered a region of water again. There was no ice in front of Lin.

It entered a cave again? No, that wasn’t right.

This was a vast region of water. Lin had left the frozen region.

What … … was that?

A strange scene appeared in front of Lin.

The vast waters were still empty but there were many things that Lin had never seen before on the sand below.

These things were mostly elongated or round shaped. Their surface was covered in stripes. Some of them laid on the sand, others stood. Lin watched for a while to confirm that they were alive because they were almost motionless. However, when water flowed by, their bodies would sway, and tentacles would reach out of their surface to wave in the flowing water.

These organisms should be made from multiple cells. They were abundant, and almost covered the entire beach. It seemed that there were reasons that the oval worm did not eat unicellualar organisms. It probably was better at eating these multicellular organisms.

Where did these multi-cellular organisms come from? Lin had only ever encountered single cells before. When did other organisms become multicellular?

 

Editor’s notes:

[1] Ya, this system definitely wouldn’t work. The “blood” cells would diffuse into the water and the organism would bleed out. But like I said midichlorians.

 

Translator Ramblings: I think it is a bit early to call this thing a “blood vessel” system considering no “blood.” It’s more of a nutrient transport system. More like the plant vascular system than the mammalian one.

0008 | Table of Contents | 0010

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