4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution

 
 

4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Chapter 15


Recap: Lin encountered a kind of virus that infected some of its cells but did not seem to do any evident damage … …

Chapter Fifteen Infector

Lin was constantly observing the strange cell that had been infected. The membrane of this cell had become opaque but if it looked closely, it seemed to see some round things floating inside the cell.

Were those viruses? But why didn’t it kill the cell? And only stay inside its body?

Lin was very curious. Should it allow this cell to keep living or kill it to prevent any dangers from occurring?

Lin did not want to kill it. Lin wanted to study how this virus worked. Maybe it would have value?

And the next invasion was about to begin. Lin planned on attacking nearby cell groups to take over this entire rock.

If this virus had a useful trait, for example, harming other cells and not Lin’s cells, then Lin could use this virus to attack other cells.

So Lin decided to keep it and try. However, the acid ejectors would be constantly guarding it. Lin also had to see if this cell was any different in action and activity compared to normal cells.

In Lin’s preliminary observations, this infected cell was still able to feed like normal cells. Lin did not feel anything wrong with its control of the cell.

But some problems seemed to occur when it was time for division. The cells that divided from this cell were also in an infected state, that was to say, it was completely red. Also, it would produce some viruses when it divided, not many, just a few.

These viruses appeared to be spherical and a red like the infected cells. However, it was one hundredth the size of a cell.

Lin killed the viruses that came out due to cell division by the acid ejectors. It did not want its entire cell group to turn red.

However, at this point, it seemed that these viruses were not a great threat to Lin’s cell group.

So it was time to prepare for the next battle.

Lin’s cell group was greater in number than any of the cells here. Lin possessed over 50% of the rock and the enormous cell group would allow Lin to easily kill off any of the other cells residing here.

But what Lin faced this time wasn’t any normal cell group.

Lin looked into the distance. On the rock, there was a cell group that Lin called the hairy sea cells. This cell group was extremely strange. They seemed to be threads that grew on the ground and covered large areas as though it was creating a layer of fur over the rock.

These threads would catch the food that spilled out of the cracks or hunt down other cells nearby and coil around them before tightening and use pure force to crush the other into pieces.

Lin was not quite satisfied with the hairy sea cell’s name but it could not think of a better term … … hm? Maybe it would be more appropriate to call it the “Sea of Death?”

Why do I care about this? Lin was puzzled by its own thoughts. As the cell group grew bigger, Lin’s thought grew more varied and some strange thoughts would always appear.

In conclusion, the hairy sea cells were something unique. Their thread-like body and strong constricting power meant that the diggers and cone-shaped cells were unable to attack. However, the biggest weakness of the hairy sea cells was that they could not move. Therefore, Lin decided to use the acid ejectors to clean them away.

The hairy sea cells were packed on the surface of the rock. Lin had a difficult time estimating their number but in terms of area, they probably covered about 10% of the rock.

The dissolving fluid of the acid ejectors was enough to cover such a large area.

Lin had the acid ejectors move and spray dissolving fluid from above the hair sea cells where they could not reach. Hairy sea cells were killed in large patches.

Because the hairy sea cells were unable to move, Lin was not afraid the wounded cells would run, divide, and evolve into new cells with immunity against the dissolving fluid.

This seemed to be a one-sided slaughter. Regardless of how the dissolving fluid sprayed them, these hairy sea cells were unable to tear themselves from the rock to attack the acid ejectors higher up.

Even though Lin was curious how the hairy sea cells usually split and reproduced, Lin did not plan on showing mercy. In a short period of time, Lin had almost cleaned them out. The hair sea cells rotted and broke apart in the dissolving fluid. In the end, there was only a small patch that was not affected by the dissolving fluid.

Usually, Lin would eliminate them. However, Lin suddenly felt that would be boring so it decided to try something new.

Lin had that bright red basic cell that had been infected with the virus purposefully get caught by the remaining hairy sea cells. Lin watched to see what would happen.

Just as though it had caught prey, the hairy sea cells coiled around the infected cell. The enormous pressure caused Lin to feel a new kind of pain.

In the end, the infected cell exploded by the constrictive pressure of the hairy sea cells. Large numbers of small red viruses and cell fragments sprayed into the water.

If the viruses came into contact, they were able to burrow into the hairy sea cells. Just like the infected cell, the hairy sea cells turned red and soon after, all of the hairy sea cells in the surroundings also were dyed red.

However, the red hairy sea cells did not remain unharmed like Lin’s cell. They seemed to twist in pain and then lifelessly fell down. The corpses of these hairy sea cells then split apart and large amounts of viruses flowed out.

This was a clear display of the virulence of the virus.

But why were the viruses able to kill the hairy sea cells, but not affect Lin’s cells?

Lin did not know the secret but this was clearly a good thing.

Right now, these remaining hairy sea cells died from being infected by viruses. The large amount of viruses that were released from the corpses floated in the water and dyed the water bright red.

Lin had some basic cells swim over and into the virus swarm to take these viruses into the body.

As expected, Lin’s cells turned red but there were no problems. It would not affect their movement nor be fatal.

Lin named these cells infectors. A new kind of cell was created like this, and it had a powerful destructive ability.

If Lin could use it well, the viruses could easily destroy enormous cell groups but there was a problem.

The biggest problem was that the cells that had been killed by the viruses could not be eaten.

For example, the hairy sea cells. After being killed by the viruses, what was left was only some fragments of the outer membrane. There almost wasn’t anything left that was useful.

Even if they had been corroded by the acid ejectors, the majority could be eaten.

And while those infectors seemed to appear to not be a problem now, Lin didn’t know if there would be problems in the future.

Following this, Lin did some tests on the infectors. The infectors could feed normally but their movement was slower. Most of what they ate was actually used by the viruses. Therefore, when the infectors were feeding, their growth and division was much slower than the uninfected cells.

Also, the infectors could not evolve like the original basic cells to become other cell types.

The infectors could be said to be the tools of the viruses. The infectors had to carry the virus and then the viruses would be spread as the cell broke apart.

Lin knew that it was not a good thing that the viruses was not harming its cells but that was just because it wanted to find a host to be a tool for its reproduction.

Therefore, Lin would not allow there to be a large number of infectors. Only a small number of the infectors that had just absorbed the viruses would be kept. The majority would be taken to the enormous crack that sprouted hot water to be taken care off.

Lin left behind ten infectors. If Lin encountered some danger in the future, it could use these viruses as the last move.

However, what Lin was to face next wasn’t a living opponent.

Lin noticed a long time ago the little groups of cells that frequently appeared at this rock to search for food had not appeared.

But this was not because Lin had taken over most of the area, but due to another cause.

Lin’s entire cell group could feel with its increased perception that … … the water was trembling.

Translator Ramblings: Lin has re-invented bio-warfare … …

Viruses can be many different shapes. The “spherical virus” is actually in an icosahedral-shaped shell made of proteins. The actual genetic material responsible for taking over the cell and forcing it to produce new viruses is inside the shell.

The hairy cells are most likely ciliates, aquatic microscopic organisms with small protrusions to move the organism through water.

Picture of Paramecium caudatum.

Paramecium caudatum, Image from MicrobeWiki ()