Life 1, 2, 4, and 5 | Teen Ink

Life 1, 2, 4, and 5

December 2, 2009
By Ben Taylor BRONZE, Naples, Idaho
Ben Taylor BRONZE, Naples, Idaho
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Life 1
Empty, everything is so far apart in this region of space, stars are light years apart, and in that distance, only an infinitesimal amount of it is occupied by matter. But you cannot say it is barren. It is filled with life, one way or another. On small chunks of rock, or floating in the vast vacuum of space, you might find creatures similar to us. Most of them are only single celled bacteria, but you occasionally encounter a creature that is composed of at least a couple of cells. There are forms of life that go beyond or below our extremely narrow view of life. There could be organisms that survive on the frozen wastes of comets orbiting in the kuiper belt of our own solar system. Liquid helium blood that needs to be heated and cooled to stay stable. Living fast. Half in shade, breeding and dying. Death brings new life, the frozen husk of the parent hatches a quick growing child, and the cycle repeats into infinity.
Life 2
Everything was hot, far more than billions of degrees. Everything was so hot, atoms could not form. There was not light, but there was life. They lived as gravitational wave forms. They were intelligent creatures, capable of coherent thought. It was just that their biology did not work at all like us. They reproduced by stripping their own micro gravitational patterns that made up their "D.N.A." and putting it back together. The only drawback to this was that in order for a "child" to form, the parent had to sacrifice their own life for their child to exist. Communication had to be done differently. Since there were not atoms, they had to launch super condensed gravitational pellets at each other in a specific pattern. They slowly spread across the universe, and because of that, they had little contact with each other. Travel was limited to light speed. Whole civilizations were separated from a lack of an effective communication system. As a result of that loss of contact, each civilization had no idea of the others existence. Completely different and contradicting cultures and religions developed, so that when explorers started to encounter each other, disputes started to arise. Those disputes eventually escalated into all out war. Over time, the gravitational creatures found out that if they kept up this fighting, their species as a whole would eventually go extinct.
The universe was only two centimeters across and 3 millionths of a second old.
Life 4

A metallic silver tendril slowly and effortlessly slides across the surface of the red-violet stone. The creature has all thirty-six limbs spread across the stone, looking for minerals to consume. It does not know why it needs to consume the mineral, but it has a sense that if it does not, it would die. The bottom of a tendril starts to glow softly. When the glow begins, tiny wisps of evaporated stone rises into the air, just to condense and float back down as a fine dust. Tiny micro-filaments start to rapidly grab the useful minerals from the stone and pull it into the tendril. As this happens, all of the other tendrils start to do the same thing. The object that the limbs are attached to is about three feet across, with segments leading from the limbs to a center that is about one half foot in diameter. The center has a conical beak protruding from the center with thirty-six small, dull, beady eyes circling it. The tendrils abruptly cease the mining and push against the stone to lift the central object into the air. As the small object is held into the air, the eyes flash the same color as the stone and return to being metallic silver. The end of each tendril folds into its self and grow tiny electrodes that start to flash tiny bolts of lightning onto the stone. As the bolts increase in frequency, the creature lifts off the ground and begins to hover along the ground. The tendrils spread forward and backward to conform to the uneven surface. At the ends of the tendrils, the sharp points open and snap closed alternately. The small eyes stare into the sky watching for predators flying in the green, stormy sky while the tendrils feel where it is going. It works its way astonishingly fast along a familiar path, being sure to hold its spherical head above the ground. The head had also grown the electrodes in order to keep aloft.

This creature evolved on the planet. It has no organic parts inside its body. It is a robotic animal that came to be in the same way as you or I, though; it took much longer to evolve. This whole planet has no organic life-forms of any sort, except for one. It is a single-celled bacterium that feeds off the chemicals that spurt from the alcohol ocean floor volcanic vents.
It may be difficult to imagine, but the organisms are just as complex as us, if not more. They have cells and a form of D.N.A. Reproduction is different in that there is only a single gender. There still needs to be at least two to reproduce, there can be more than that. This is a vastly complex and competitive planet.
Life 5
"Mortal Child" slowly stretches its quantum wave form "muscles." It looks around and "sees" a vast desert surrounded by an ever-diminishing ocean. Ever since it was forced to become more for the sake of all baryonic life forms, it has felt a sharp feeling of despair. Having to experience everything all baryonic life experiences, it has never been easy. Day in, day out, pain, endless, burning, horrible pain. The feelings from lesser, non-sentient creatures are easier to deal with, they are much simpler. The intelligent creatures on the other hand are horrible. A constant, never-ending stream of complex emotions and experience would overload a normal life form in an instant, Not the Mortal Child. It was created to handle these things, if not easily.
Intrigued by a small planet, Mortal Child went to investigate the planet. That planet would be number five million, six hundred thousand, and three hundred forty-six on a list of planets that intrigued it. As Mortal Child brushes along the surface, it feels a race eight hundred million years old. To make it easier to understand, we will call them humans, which only covers a sliver of their ancient history. It feels from their genetic memory that this planet was always a single desert surrounded by ocean. It was once a thriving planet with a vast number of different creatures. Now, after millions of years, the continents slowly drifted together. The tectonic plates slowed to a crawling pace compared to how it was before. Mountains eventually wore down to nubs no larger than large hills. Biologic organisms became extremely specialized to the changing environment. To adapt to the lack of cover and spots to hide from the many predators, animals shrank. Now the barren landscape is dominated by astonishingly drought tolerant plants. As the ocean continues to evaporate into space, there is less water to go around. Water life had a very difficult time adapting to the extremely saline conditions of the ocean, and most sea-life fell to extinction long ago.
Mortal Child stares at the horizon and can see dark, looming clouds. It is going to rain. Mortal Child looks around at the increasing activity around it. Plants splaying out huge funnel shaped growths to catch rain. It looks into the sand and see huge, flat roots that can increase the absorption of rain growing. The rain begins rather abruptly, sending other smaller plants into frenzy. Small cacti-like plants pull up their roots and rapidly grow inefficient muscles. The plants use the muscles to move to spot on the ground that water pools. Other, larger plants send out little vines in all directions to absorb as much water as possible and detach the vines, to not waste energy. Other plants absorb water through leaves; the water does not even roll off the leaves. Mortal Child can tell from the plants that the rain only comes once every century, give or take a few years.
Mortal Child slowly looks around in despair, feeling an odd swell of happiness emanating from the plants of this planet; they seem to have developed a small amount sentience. It is logical, plants are among the oldest organisms on this planet, and you think after all of that time, there would be some sort of intelligence.
Mortal Child sighs in futility. This earth will be dead in a few million years, engulfed by an expanding sun. Mortal Child slowly drifts away from the ancient and beautiful planet, the doomed planet, with a little more weight added to the all to heavy weight on it's shoulder. Mortal Child wishes it can remember what race of creature it originated from, and why it was chosen to take on this horrible curse those billions of years ago.

The author's comments:
I was inspired at the beginning of this year to write about possible forms of life by the author, Stephen Baxter.

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