Bifido Clo Coccinella DonnaMona Enterococcus Esch HQ LabColi LOPS Lord Baci Queen Salmonella Shigella TaxiFish Voice1 Voice2 Barkeeper
Biotoon

Chapter 5

Venice



He woke up when the alert lights came on again. The spore system had detected favorable environmental conditions and had automatically initiated the transition into the vegetative state. With it came the pains and urges to multiply. He could barely suppress them. The strong fantasies how he would merge with other bacteria and thrust his own DNA into them did not help either. Where did these psychedelic bugporn visions come from? It was the worst moment for the bactnet connection to come on. He could hear the angry voices from headquarters.

HQ
HQ

Baci! Do you hear us?! Baci? Where have you been? We thought we lost you.

 

 

Just a sec, starting up the system again, leaving spore capsule.

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

HQ
HQ

Spore? You went dormant on a mission? You must be kidding! We were trying to reach you. While you were having your beauty sleep we received a message that the material in question left the country on a private plane. Where are you?! Wait, we can see you now…Venice?! This is not the time for an Italian holiday.

 

 

Sir…

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

HQ
HQ

What were you thinking, this requires an explanation!

 

 

Sir, I am trying…

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

HQ
HQ

Baci, this will have consequences!

 

 

Sir…I was on that freakin’ plane!

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

HQ
HQ

You were?

 

Lord Baci finally managed to explain what had happened and received directions to meet the Red alert secret service team.

HQ
HQ

Can you spot a house supported by two hands?

 

 

What?

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

HQ
HQ

A house supported by two hands! A fish taxi will wait for you in the water at the base of the sculpture.

 

 

Oh, giant hands, that’s right here. How discreet. Sending a pair of helping hands, haha. I sure need a lot of support! The taxi should be down there then.

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

Lord Baci switched on the turbo flagella drive and rushed towards Quinn’s sculpture. He then dove into the dark green canal water following the giant arm right down to its elbow. In the dark he detected a soft luminescence signal: “Follow me”.

The fish taxi was waiting for him. It was surrounded by a bunch of underwater agents who ensured that no one followed the fish as it dashed off. It raced in a crazy zigzag between the wooden poles that hold up Venice. Venice rests upon forests and forests of wooden piles that were driven deep into the ground. Down into the soil, past the weak silt and dirt to a layer of the ground that is made of hard clay and can hold the weight of the buildings placed on the piles above. Over time the poles had petrified as the wood absorbed the sediment, which washed around the poles day in day out. In between the poles and on their surface were slimy megacities built by microbes. These biofilms harbored all kinds of bacteria. Some had been in the ground even before Venice was built. Many others came on ships and cargo from all over the world. The mixed cultures of the Venice underwater world traded, formed symbiotic alliances, merged and mingled to produce offspring with new unique features. Their underwater cities were as manifold as the species building them.

On their way to the HQ the fish passed agglomerations of magnificent translucent structures illuminated by their luciferin producing inhabitants. High-rise settlements gave way to forest like areas of buildings that swayed in the current. Some biofilms were suspended like colorful nets between several poles, their main beams also serving as highways for the traffic within the megacities. The fish raced on, changing from darkness to light as they crossed numerous canals. Gondolas passed above them and when he looked up Lord Baci noticed that every gondola carried a row of micro cities attached to its bottom. Long shimmering ribbons protruded from the cities so that microbes who needed a lift across town, could attach themselves to the ribbons and hitch a ride.

When they reached the Campo San Vio at the edge of the Grand Canal, the Taxi fish surfaced to show Lord Baci where they were heading.

 

Here we are. HQ is right under The Golden Tower.

Fish taxi
Fish taxi

Golden Tower by the artist James Lee Byars

Golden Tower by the artist James Lee Byars

Lord Baci glimpsed a huge golden pole. Its gilded surface mirrored the golden mosaic façade of the adjacent Palazzo Barbarigo.

Fish taxi
Fish taxi

It has been erected for the Biennale. The artist, James Lee Byars, had conceived the tower as a monument to humanity, a colossal beacon and oracle that would bridge heaven and earth and unify mankind. Guess it fits your mission. You are the bug who fell to earth to save them.

 
They dove under the Campo San Vio and stopped in a room created by six surrounding poles. Their surface was shimmering in a dark purple. There was a lighter dome above them. Lord Baci felt a sudden current and was sucked into an opening in the dome. He passed through a gleaming white tunnel and landed in a small sphere. It was an isolation bubble within the underwater biofilm of the Secret Service. Through the translucent wall he could see the outlines of the bacteria that had gathered to see him

Voice 1
Voice 1

Welcome, Lord Baci. Glad to see you well. Since we do not know what you carry we will have to keep you in quarantine.

 

 

We will run a few tests now. The probes will be inserted into your bubble. Let them do the work.

Voice 2
Voice 2


     
    




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