The Unsung War.

HBNayrHBNayr Join Date: 2002-07-13 Member: 930Members
edited January 2005 in Fan-Fiction Forum
Working full time and going to school full time leaves me very little free time to work my "For the Mind" into a satisfyingly presentable form, but I didn't want the unsung war in every meeting between the humans and Kharaa to remain untold forever. I realize it's not a very imaginative interpretation of an alien biology, but I hope you enjoy it, and let me know what you think.


In Russia is freedom of speech. In America is also freedom after speech.
-- Yakov Smirnoff

I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.
-- Garrison Keillor

* * *

The Swarm tasted, tested, and analyzed, moving quickly throughout the facility. Each macromolecule swam through the air, using the meager light hitting its photovoltaic surface to power the vigorously whipping carbon microfibers, pushing against the very viscosity of the air molecules surrounding it to remain aloft and propel itself about the facility. Individually, each of the Swarm was dwarfed by even the smallest of cells. They swam, their molecular feelers tasted everything they touched, processed it through their molecular brains, and transmitted the composition of the world around them to the full awareness of the Swarm. Each of the Swarm was able to perceive only an extremely small portion of the world around it, but as a whole the Swarm knew the length and breadth of the facility, and all was known. All was familiar.

* * *

The Swarm noted the arrival of the unique arrangement of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen it immediately recognized, along with several new molecules in slight variation to these. Those first molecules it recognized were to be left alone, avoided. Each of them already contained a tiny swarm within their massive bodies, moving in and out amongst the cells, powered by molecular heat engines; this miniature swarm protected them, they were the Creators. The Swarm avoided the Creators, but those slight variants it tasted, surrounded, and puzzled over for several moments before acting. Usually, that action involved the consummate destruction of the alien organism, be it virus, prokaryote, or eukaryote. The Swarm moved quickly, rushing into the ship now sharing its atmosphere with the facility, moving past the Creators and through, literally, those as-yet unidentified biological intruders that arrived with the Creators. Whenever a bacterial cell was encountered, the Swarm surrounded the cell, eased through the semi-permeable membrane, and wreaked havoc on the cells from within, each member of the Swarm doing everything it could to tear the complex and delicate organelles into their constituent components. It was rarely necessary to attack the nucleic acid directly once the cells’ chemical factories were torn apart. And focusing an attack solely on the genetic material was often wasted effort. Ruining the cells’ chemical industries was overkill in itself, and all cells encountered already had sophisticated chromosome repair mechanisms in place. Those that did not were rendered impotent long before by a stray oxygen molecule, or sterilized by a random beam of sunlight. The Swarm moved, quickly and efficiently reducing each of the single-celled invaders to molecular debris.

* * *

The attack came swiftly, each cell destroyed from within one by one. The Mind did not notice for some time, each cell merely dividing and moving away from its neighbors, expanding and stretching the consciousness of the Mind as far as possible. Those cells on the front of the expansion, however, were invaded by nearly insubstantial particle technology that reduced their elaborate chemical apparatus to molecular rubble. Most of those cells destroyed didn’t even realize they were being attacked until long after chemical signals sent out from the nucleus to the various defunct organelles within the cell wall went unanswered. There were a few cells fortunate enough to become aware of the attack as the machines tore through their cellular structures, and those cells immediately set into motion a dramatic breakdown and reconstruction of their nucleic acids. It was ultimately suicide, as there was no way to perfectly reconstruct the exceedingly complex chromosome exactly as it was before, but not acting would just as assuredly bring death. And so molecules designed to read and reconfigure the nucleic acid went to work, arranging the nucleic acid base molecules in a particular order, proofreading it, altering it when (rarely) necessary, and packing it all into a protein-encrusted vesicle. Protected from the dangerous world around it, the spherule was carried through the cytoplasm, to the edge of the cell wall, that great divider marking the boundary separating the inner cell from the world around it. The cell falling to pieces all around it, the organic container was hurried along through the cell’s center to its edge, and flung through the cell’s outer wall. Some of those destructive macro-molecular machines found the capsules and latched on, that was inevitable. But while their carbon microfibers whipped uselessly against the ingeniously designed protein jacket, the globule and the nucleic acid chains it carried drifted through the enormous gaps between the bacteria. The vesicle floated, carried and jostled by the bouncing of air molecules all around it, just like billions of other protein-encrusted vesicles, carried along air currents beside it, each carrying an identical chemical message in their nucleic acid chains. The pilgrimage continued non-stop, microscopic warnings sent out from a sinking ship.

The vesicles had no direction, and floated aimlessly through the world like billions of flowing balloons, all carrying a complex chemical message folded over on itself again and again, until they were small enough to be driven about randomly by the collision of gas molecules surrounding them. Most drifted for too long; they were torn apart by the vicious molecular automatons, their chemical messages ripped into a random jumble of complex organic molecules. Some were lost, inside a bacterium that found the globule, before the message could reach the inner cell wall marking the cell’s nucleus. But a few vesicles found their way to the outer cell wall of a neighboring bacterium, were drawn in, brushed off, brought to the nucleus, cracked open, and the message was unfolded and read. Chemical synapses fired, and the bacterium pondered over these new developments. Trillions of new vesicles were thrown out into the surrounding world, each containing a communiqué elaborately written out with nucleic acid. And the Mind worked to find a solution to this new problem.


  • BulletHeadBulletHead Join Date: 2004-07-22 Member: 30049Members
    An interesting new twist!
  • BadMouthBadMouth It ceases to be exclusive when you can have a custom member titl Join Date: 2004-05-21 Member: 28815Members
    The point of view is a very unique one. You take the war right down to the micropscopic level, which i think no one has been anle to do before. i salute you for that.

    Not only that, have managed to make it interesting. You have depicted the micropscopic battle to be like a rea life one, in my opinion. A job well done.
  • That_Annoying_KidThat_Annoying_Kid Sire of Titles Join Date: 2003-03-01 Member: 14175Members, Constellation
    nice start, however have you heard of the term "nano gridlock" it's the reason why kharaa lifeforms even come out, why buildings need to be built, and why we need a commander. I didn't notice our friends the nanites putting up the even struggle that they are said to do with the bacterium, because they effectively cancel each other out.
  • HBNayrHBNayr Join Date: 2002-07-13 Member: 930Members
    <!--QuoteBegin-That Annoying Kid+Feb 11 2005, 03:04 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td><b>QUOTE</b> (That Annoying Kid @ Feb 11 2005, 03:04 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin--> nice start, however have you heard of the term "nano gridlock" it's the reason why kharaa lifeforms even come out, why buildings need to be built, and why we need a commander. I didn't notice our friends the nanites putting up the even struggle that they are said to do with the bacterium, because they effectively cancel each other out. <!--QuoteEnd--> </td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'> <!--QuoteEEnd-->
    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Nano-gridlock was introduced in <a href='' target='_blank'>Six Days in Sanji</a>:

    <!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td><b>QUOTE</b> </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->“Gridlock,” Shellack said from behind me, “Nano-gridlock. If it’s like this core-ward, we’ll need the commander to hook in, or we’ll be blind.”

    “Nano-whatlock? What the hell is that?”

    “I made it up.”

    “He made it up. Shellack made it up.”

    “Hey, I can’t tell you what it is, just what it does. There’s … something here, and it’s gumming up anything smaller than dirt. Our personal screens keep it off us. But there’s no network left to speak of. If we can get to a command station, we should be back in business.” <!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    I tried to express that as best as I can. I expressed it better in "For the Mind," but that story isn't ready for another unveiling. It may never be. But the nanites expressed here were brilliant in wiping out the bacterium. The bacterium has only begun to realize that the fight is beginning, but I certainly can see how the nanites and bacterium here can end up in a dead heat, canceling each other out with every move, one side slowly gaining a small advantage, which is quickly overthrown by a new move from the opposing side. The nanites and the bacterium in my story are as evenly matched as I could express in the small bit I gave here. I hope.

    Any other opinions out there?


    When I can look life in the eyes, grown calm and very coldly wise, life will have given me the truth, and taken in exchange - my youth.
    -- Sara Teasdale

    The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively but says nothing.
    -- Henry S. Haskins
  • SvenpaSvenpa Wait, what? Join Date: 2004-01-03 Member: 25012Members, Constellation
    I cant avoid to say that it's interesting, but my english isn't good enough to understand all the biology terms.
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