“I’m surprised you’re not more sensitive about whom you’re calling Imperialists.” Baltha walked in with Piwi and Bast beside her. The threesome had been out communing with Forest.
Piwi stepped up to Yanaha and went belly up on her as the big woman crouched down to give him noogies. He’d just had some great boogies with Baltha, might as well make the day complete before settling in for the night in front of the wood stove.
“Oh Piwi and I have shared the joke for a long time. He refers to me and Arnold as Homo sapie sapie from El Norte Staties. He’s an immigrant himself. A couple from south of the border left him here with us several years ago.”
The canine member of the household was from Peru, a Spotted Inca Orchid who could trace his lineage back to the times since the first people were there. He and Baltha had run into each other out in the woods and hooked up. He totally dug her as the Hellhound, she loved the texture of his hairless skin and was really turned on by the boldness of his stark nakedness. His cultural background and ways were also very new to her, something that was always exciting.
“Can you communicate with him?” Tante could get a vibe off the dog, but nothing clear. She knew that when Baltha shape-shifted and conjugated, she also mind melded the way they had with the bad haired one. Apparently that was one of the things one could do with conjugation.
“With the herbs. When you’re ready, I will teach you of the herbs that allow you to communicate with all, with Forest and Sea and Piwi and Bast and sky and fire. But you’re not ready yet.”
“I want to be ready nooooooow!” Tante worked up a good whine tone, the first she’d used in a while. Apparently even whining was losing its appeal for her.
The earth barely took notice; a slight breeze waved the kitchen curtain.
Bast jumped up into her lap and started purring. Tante smiled down at her and stroked her behind the ears and under the chin. She knew that on some level, she was indeed communicating with the feline, but she couldn’t get into its head very easily. Not the way she seemed to be able to do with most people. Getting into the bad haired one’s mind had been child’s play.
“Well, I’m afraid Yanaha and Arnold are in for some new experiences as well.” Baltha was smiling. “Forest is all atwitter.”
Haile #lookedup as Baltha continued.
“It seems that the microbial community, which has heretofore remained mostly silent, has seen fit to add its infinitely large karmic voice to this whole discussion of alien contamination and genetics and relationship.”
“You communicate with the mycelia? With the prokaryotic ones as well? Have the fungal ones finally shown us the secrets of their communications network? Only the mushrooms have spoken to us in the past!” Yanaha was getting excited.
Haile was #gettingreallyinterested, too.
“Perhaps they didn’t recognize me as humanoid romping around with Piwi playing Hellhound.” Baltha smiled again at the memory. “But I could hear them plain as day, all sorts of stuff about horizontal gene transfer and transposons and phages and recombination and mutualism and symbiosis and the star stuff of an infinite cosmos. You know, all that heady kind of stuff. The fungal network seemed to be dominating the conversation. It was really big. The viruses seemed rather haughty, too, perhaps have some of the little guy syndrome. The bacteria were pretty moderate, really diverse and open to both of the other groups, kind of a nice unifying link between them.”
Haile’s fingers had been involved in some heavy mutualism with search engine as Baltha spoke.
“Fascinating.” S-he had become so proficient with the tools of e-tech, they virtually were one. “It seems that ET seeding of DNA on the planet has long been one of the hypotheses entertained for explaining the origins of life here. Francis Crick liked the idea a lot.”
“We tripped with him once.” Arnold liked name-dropping; it was a Brooklyn thing.
“That would mean there’s no such thing as a pure Terran.” Tante was somewhat relieved. She’d begun to worry that her father’s people and their ED genes might be the something inherently evil and her mother’s might be the something inherently good from the book. She hated the idea of the battle at the end of times being between her parents’ people; they loved each other and she loved them both.
“But there really are first people, right?” Yanaha really didn’t sound quite so sure of her statement. She was also aware of that here now thing.
“Yes and no, it’s a matter of semantics.” Ja had joined in the conversation. “With the very limited genetic record we’ve got, the legends of first people, of Manu and Pha Trelgen Changchup Sempa and Ma Drag Sinmo and Adam and Eve and the incredibly diverse myths of the aboriginal people everywhere all seem to indicate a time of change when a new way of being came to be. Those were the last end times for some, the end times of most of my father’s people.”
“Steiner was into the idea of Atlantis, Seven Tribes. It fits well with the seven mitochondrial lines we’re aware of.” Zeus.
“Apparently there are still distant cousins from his line deep in the forests of the northland not too far from here. The fungi know the Sasquatch well.” The kind of interaction Baltha’s shape shifting allowed wasn’t so much conversational, although it could be. It was a melding of self with others, and when Forest and Sea joined in, the experience was intense. That’s why she tended to focus on the sex. When bacterial conjugation and virally mediated recombination and phages and sharing of metabolism entered the picture, the experience was soul boggling. She now knew things she’d not known before, things she hadn’t been told at all.
“So let me get this straight.” Tante’s mind was certainly getting boggled. She wondered if the sex would help with soul boggling. For now, she’d stick with thinking for a while. “Even though there are so-called first people, even they represent a few billion years worth of biochemical mix and match and quite possibly lots of continued contributions from outside sources?”
“Actually, no real continued contribution would be needed.” Haile’s mental circuitry was whizzing along at the limits of human capacity, the thinking more limited by data upload than processing speed. “The genetic code really does have nearly infinite potential, given enough time.”
“Yes no, if then, on off, and don’t forget the fucking semi-colon.” Ja smiled. “The genetic code is so much more, it’s the epitome of non-BASIC. The complexity of the system and unpredictability of its interactive effects is so chaotic in its order and so rife with anarchy in its completely self reliant lack of control, it appeals to me.”
“And really, the whole time issue is irrelevant; evolution is an ongoing process and time a human construct. Some species evolve quickly, some slowly. Every living thing that’s not a bacterium in and of itself is made from bacteria working together. And viruses are genes of a sort, and certainly they work with bacteria. It’s all a matter of scale, both in space and time.” Zeus loved knowledge, he was a true philosopher. Before he got into world changing, he’d been a life long student, son of a Greek shipping magnate and shameless playboy. He’d lost all his father’s money but remained a very rich man.
“Let’s not forget the memes.” Juno spoke up as she cuddled up next to Zeus. “The memes of higher culture really have added a lot. Technology is not the evil one.”
“I’m beginning to think perhaps there is no evil one”. Tante continued stroking Bast, who stared into her eyes intently.
Iron Lion Zion.
Bast had just spoken clearly and non-verbally to Tante. Perhaps it was time for her to join the twins and retire for the evening. The next day promised to be a full one. She and her fellow young oldsters were headed into the big city.
It was time for a coming of age.
The End is Near