Last chapter recap: Lin went exploring and found organisms spraying cells into the water. First indication of sexual reproduction!
Chapter Thirteen Prelude to the Storm
Lin stayed on the sand and observed this strange scene.
First, the leaf worms sprayed out large volumes of their cells and then these cells combined together in a wondrous fashion. Then a group of round disk worms with long tentacles were lured over by the cells.
Lin was puzzled. Why did the leaf worms spray so many cells into the water? Wouldn’t they expend a great amount of energy doing this? And it had attracted so many strange organisms.
Lin did not want to provoke these strange disk-like beings and decided to first observe. Lin calculated roughly that these disk organisms should be easy to deal with. Their round bodies should be soft. Lin could see that their bodies would quickly expand and contract to swim. The organisms had many thin tentacles so their strength would not be great.
However, these organisms were here in great numbers. They swam through the clouds of cells that the leaf worms had sprayed out. Their tentacles stretched and curled as though they were going to pull their prey into their body.
These round disks with tentacles seemed to be called by this new term that appeared in Lin’s mind. Lin didn’t feel satisfied with this name, but it couldn’t think of a new name.
Lin wondered if it should attempt an attack on the jellyfish. If they were easy to defeat, Lin would have a new food supply.
At this time, Lin found the surrounding light slowly dimming.
This was … … night? Was it about to arrive? Lin had almost forgotten the matter of night because after the oxygen danger, night had never occurred. However, this time, night seemed to come much slower than in the past. Why?
Entering darkness was not good. The small flashing exploding balls could not illuminate the entire mothership. Because Lin had not experienced night after creating the mothership, it hadn’t produced many flashing exploding balls.
Lin first had the nurturers that were rearing the green cells return into the mothership. Then Lin had the protector and the mothership lean together on the sand to prepare to face the night.
As the light dimmed, the jellyfish gave off a blue glow as they floated. As the surroundings became darker, they illuminated this region of water.
Beautiful … … were they related to the luminescent microbes?
The term “beautiful” hadn’t appeared in Lin’s thoughts for a long time. It looked at the flashing jellyfish floating through the water. Suddenly, Lin saw a jellyfish float over and near where the mothership and the protector.
Should Lin attack?
The flashing jellyfish swam over the sand. Lin could easily attack it. Lin only worried that if it attacked, would the jellyfish swarm above attack together?
Just as Lin hesitated, the jellyfish suddenly changed direction. The jellyfish didn’t appear as though it was attacking. It slowly floated past Lin’s mothership, but then its tentacle lightly brushed past a small piece of the mothership’s skin.
Lin felt a strong pain spread among the cells where the jellyfish had touched. The pain even started to spread into the blood vessels connecting the ectoderm!
Was this a virus? No, it didn’t seem the same? This should be a venom? Lin must immediately stop this!
Lin spread a strong thought for the cells surrounding the pain to die. The heart stopped beating. At the same time, the blood vessels in the area that had been invaded split apart and stopped the venom from going deeper.
Lin no longer felt pain. Its emergency actions had been good. Lin temporarily stoppered where the blood vessels had broken off. Its heart started beating again. Then Lin sent out the devourers to look at the wounded ectoderm.
These were … … stingers?
The devourers found that a great number of cells were stuck to the dead ectoderm. The cells each had a hole and a thread coming out of the hole. On the other end of the thread was a stinger. These stingers were stuck on Lin’s ectoderm as though they were the ones to inject the venom.
The venom spread through the cells along the cell passages that distributed nutrients. However, when Lin had all the cells surrounding the venom stop all activity, the venom could not be transported.
Fortunately, only a small piece of ectoderm was damaged. This kind of minor wound was easy to heal. But even if the venom continued to spread, it would become diffuse as it spread, and in the end, reach a concentration where it could not damage cells. The venom was not a virus, it was unable to constantly grow.
However, Lin now decided to kill the jellyfish.
The jellyfish had not swam far away. Lin would let the protector try first. Lin wanted to see if this resurrected oval worm was useful. If it was attacked by the swarm, the protector’s hard shell would protect it.
As Lin thought about this, it had the protector climb over. When it climbed under the jellyfish, Lin realized a problem.
The protector was unable to hold onto the jellyfish floating in the water with its pincers for a simple reason. Its segmented limb could not bend.
Oh, never mind. It would just act.
Lin had the mothership charge towards the target, and then swung the hammer onto the jellyfish’s disk body.
The jellyfish was thrown out leaving a stream of bubbles. At the same time, it flew out and landed on the nearby sand.
Lin immediately had the protector charge and grab the jellyfish’s tentacle before it started swimming again. Then Lin pressed the jellyfish down and tore it apart.
This was very simple. Just like Lin thought, the surrounding jellyfish did not move. They didn’t seem to know that one of their own had been killed. This meant that they didn’t communicate between themselves.
Lin released large number of devourers. Lin decided to see what the structure of the jellyfish was before eating it.
The devourers neared the jellyfish and observed carefully. Lin found that the tentacles were covered with holes. Each hole had a stinger cell. Lin felt some fear at the density of the holes. If a large number of tentacles touched Lin, Lin might have had to kill off the entire ectoderm.
Didn’t Lin also have its own stinger cells? However, Lin’s stinger cells did not have such penetrative power. Lin had not used them for a long time.
For the first time, Lin encountered single cells that could penetrate the mothership’s ectoderm, even though they grew on a multicellular organism. Lin thought that it had to harden the ectoderm more. If it was as hard the protector’s shell, there would be no problems.
The jellyfish had a simple structure with a few sacs without any blood vessels. These sacs swelled with tentacles that had stinger cells. Lin found these tentacles would also secrete dissolving fluid. These sacs most likely were used to dissolve food. Other than these structure, not much else existed. The jellyfish’s structure was a great deal less complex than the sea star.
However, this simple jellyfish, and the leaf worms were much bigger than the sea star. Why was this?
Could only simple organisms grow big? But the oval worm had been large, and could be considered complex.
Lin ate all of the jellyfish except the parts with the stinger cells. By the end, the surroundings had completely darkened. In this region of water, everything was black except for the light from the jellyfish.
Lin paid close attention to the surroundings. Fortunately, no jellyfish drifted over. Lin had finished repairing the wound on the ectoderm and had some cells consume the remnants of the venom. It attempted to have the cells evolve resistance.
The jellyfish appeared to finish eating the cells the leaf worms had sprayed out. Lin found as they gradually decreased in number many jellyfish were swimming into the distance.
With the departure of each jellyfish, the surroundings would dim slightly. When they all left, Lin could not see any light.
It felt as though it hadn’t experienced complete darkness for a long time …. … Lin felt that it should make a large light structure.
“Gulp … …”
Suddenly, unusual vibrations came from the water.
What was that?
Lin’s sense tentacle detected clear changes in the vibrations of water. It felt as though … … something enormous moved.
As the water shifted, countless smaller vibrations occurred. Lin knew that was the feeling of sand being upturned. Was something climbing out of the sand?
No, the surroundings sand granules shook as well!
Lin hesitated. Then it had the mothership slowly swim upwards. However the protector that couldn’t swim was left on the sand.
The protector didn’t have eyes, but it had sensory tentacles. It could also feel the vibrations in the water.
The vibrations on the entire sand patch became even more evident. Something seemed to be occurring.
Translator Ramblings: Almost a month since an update … … here is a pretty video of a jellyfish to make up for it.
- Disk organisms in the Ediacaran Era include Cyclomedusa, Ediacaria, and Rugoconites. The disk fossils seemed to be circular with tentacle like ridges so scientists initially thought they were similar to jellyfish. The present hypothesis is that these fossils were made by cell colonies, or organisms on the ocean floor rather than free-swimming jellyfish. ↩