This chapter has been brought to you by me and WanderingGummiOfDoom.
Last chapter recap: Lin makes its way out of the ice. I guess another ice age passed?
Chapter Ten – The Organisms of the Sand
Lin was staring at the endless sand and water that stretched before it, and the numerous strange multicellular organisms on the sand, there was nothing else behind Lin except the thick ice, and the dissolving ice microbes.
What should Lin do? Advance? Retreat?
Lin did not know the ability of these multicellular organisms. It had suffered great losses against the oval worm but Lin did not want to retreat. Maybe this was the chance to evolve, and Lin needed food.
These organisms seemed as though they could not move and were secured to the sand. Lin might be able to find one that appeared weak and easy to fight and kill it.
However, Lin didn’t know which ones were weaker. Size was not always the best measure. The best example were the viruses. They were so small, but so terrifying.
These multicellular organisms were large and Lin could obtain a large amount of food by just killing one.
As Lin thought, Lin’s mothership started to move. It floated above the organisms, and the eyeball tentacles searched for the next target.
In the end, Lin’s target was an organism standing up from the stand. This organism was of similar size to Lin’s mothership, oblong shaped, but was only as thick as the mothership’s ectoderm. It had a round peduncle that was inserted into the sand which supported its long and thin body to wave in the water. Lin saw clearly after it got close that it was capturing the cells that were being carried by the flows of water.
Lin decided to call it a “leaf worm.” While it did not know what “leaf” was, it seemed to be appropriate.
The leaf worm had a striped structure on the surface. The cracks between the stripes were filled with large amounts of flagella. The single cells that swam past would be caught by the flagella.
Lin felt that these organisms were similar to its past self, fixed to the rock, capturing organisms that passed by and living a reactive and boring life.
As expected, it was correct to give up on that kind of life of staying motionless and being hunted.
The mothership slowly neared the leaf worm. Lin made sure that the other would not have any offensive abilities, raised its hammered tentacle, and swung it hard towards the leaf worm.
Yet this worm that looked very thin and would shatter from a single blow withstood the attack. Its body did not even bend. It stood motionlessly in the sand. The stripes on its surface did not seem damaged, but the flagella had shrunk back.
It was so hard. Was this the reason they could not move? The leaf worm seemed similar to the oval worm. Their surfaces were covered in an extremely hard shell. But unlike the oval worm that could move, the leaf worm did not have any joints or mouths. After the flagella it used to capture food shrunk back into the shell, it became an organism without a weakness.
However, Lin’s hammer didn’t just strike once. Supplied by the blood vessels, it could quickly wave the hammered tentacle repeatedly. The hammer smashed on the leaf worm again and again. Under numerous attacks, the leaf worm finally could not stay steady and started to sway.
As Lin expected, the leaf worm did not have any offensive abilities. It could only use its hard shell to withstand outside attacks. Many organisms might have given up after not being able to chew it to start with, but Lin thought that swinging the hammer repeatedly like this was of benefit to its evolution. So it continued to hit even harder.
In the end, the outer shell of the leaf worm could not withstand Lin’s attacks. A crack appeared on the surface, and some cells flowed out of the crack.
Lin’s devourers immediately moved and consumed all of the cells that spilled out.
Lin continued to attack the crack to widen it and have more cells come out.
Lin felt slightly puzzled. These cells did not have any attacking abilities. Why did they come out? If something damaged the ectoderm of Lin’s mothership, the cells inside the mothership would not come out. Lin could even stop the beating of the heart so that the things inside the blood vessels would not spill out.
However, the other multicellular organisms … … didn’t seem to be able to stop their cells from spilling out?
Lin did not care so much. It continued to attack the leaf worm’s outer shell. While Lin’s hammer was also damaged, Lin did not care and continued to attack. Repair was a simple matter.
The leaf worm’s outer shell was not as hard as the oval worm and it was a sandbag that would not move. Under Lin’s attack, more cracks appeared on the outer shell. Slowly, the shell started to fragment and fall. The soft multicellular structures inside were exposed to Lin’s eyes.
Hm? Sandbag? It seemed like a fun term.
Lin thought about it as it had the devourers move. They bit at the structures of the leaf worm and turned everything into nutrients for Lin.
Lin found that the leaf worm also had a structure similar to blood vessels. But it did not have the heart “pump.” It had a kind of tentacle cell inside the blood vessels to move the water in the vessels. Other than that, there were some single cells, or simple compositions. There was nothing worthwhile for Lin to learn … …
The leaf worm’s only worth to Lin was that it could be eaten.
Lin’s devourers quickly consumed the leaf worm and only left behind the shattered shell. The leaf worm was long but thin. Consuming just one wasn’t enough. If Lin ate another one, it could resurrect the oval worm.
After calling back the devourers that were now full, and and repairing the wounds on the hammers, Lin observed and searched for the next target.
Lin suddenly notice something similar to a round disk on the sand ahead.
Was that an organism?
Lin swam over and carefully observed this thing. This round disk had spirallying patterns on the surface. It was only half the size of Lin’s mothership but half of it was in the sand. Lin didn’t know its actual size. While it appeared to be living, Lin had not seen this thing move, and didn’t know how it hunted for food.
Touch it and see?
Lin swung the enormous hammer against the round disk. The round disk did not move at all. Lin felt the pain of the hammered tentacles’s backlash.
The hardened hammer shaped end of the tentacle did not have any senses but Lin was still able to feel pain. This meant that the backlash had damaged the muscle cells inside the tentacle.
How hard was this thing to have such an effect? This round disk was even harder than the head of the oval worm.
A strong emotion appeared immediately in Lin’s mind.
What kind of emotion was this? Lin didn’t know how to describe it. But it knew that before it hit the leaf worm’s shell, Lin would have thoughts such as “this can be smashed” and “there’s hope.”
But when it hit this round disk, Lin suddenly had the emotions of “hopeless” and “impossible.” Even if Lin ruined the hammers, it could not create a crack on the surface.
But Lin did not continue to experiment. So how did it know that that would be the result?
Right, was this term called “computing power?”
Just once, and Lin could use the information it obtained to infer what the end result would be.
It felt very good. Lin might had this ability a long time ago, but it only truly realized it now.
Lin gave up on attacking that round disk. While it could dig up the other organism, there were many leaf worms in the surrounding. This organism was not worth Lin’s time.
Lin swam towards a relatively small leaf worm nearby. It continued its attack. Soon, this sandbag would also become Lin’s nutrients.
There were leaf worms everywhere on the surroundings. This was a wondrous land for Lin. Lin eating them was more efficient than eating those unicellular organisms. These sandbags would not fight back, and they wouldn’t move. There didn’t seem to be any hunters like the oval worm here. There was no place better than this!
Lin used the resources here to grow and evolve. Once it became stronger to a certain degree, it would not have to fear other hunters.
As Lin thought this, Lin did not see that something was moving in the sand underneath the mothership.
Editor’s note: The leaf worm sounds like a tube worm. Lin is correct that the hard protective tube of a tube worm is made of chitin. These worms largely rely on their microbiome to process and digest anything they capture. They do not have a digestive system or many organs at all. Tube worms have NO natural predator, so they sort of have no real weakness.
But what is that round disk? What is it going to do now that Lin isn’t paying attention? I know, because I read ahead. But can you guess?
Translator Ramblings: I think the leaf thing is a tube worm as well. But maybe also this creature down below.