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Biotoon

Chapter 8

The Ancients



“Beyond Time”art installation by Chiharu Shiota

“Beyond Time”art installation by Chiharu Shiota

Lord Baci had expected some dark and old-fashioned biofilm construct inhabited by sombre, hairy bacteria. But the hallway they had entered was made up of fine, beautifully knit exopolysaccharide (EPS). It glowed softly. As they floated down the hallway, still dragged along by the two rings, small delicate chandeliers would descend from the ceiling to illuminate the path ahead and withdraw again after they had passed. The passage opened into the largest biofilm hall he had ever seen. It resembled an Alpine Valley. The slopes at the bottom of the EPS “mountains” were covered with colorful colonies. Each one displayed a different pattern and together, seen from afar, they merged into yet another complex ornament.
Lord Baci had heard stories about the fantastic Millefiori Colonies of The Ancients, but what he saw now was beyond his imagination. The rings carried them on, rising to the higher areas of the slopes. They landed on a terrace overlooking the valley.

When he glanced at Donna Mona he saw that she had transformed herself again. Her coat had returned to its original glittering and gilded look. The flagella were golden and arranged in a way he had not seen before. They formed a high collar around her head and were curled like lace around her face and body. He was starting to wonder whether she was a Pseudomonad at all. She led him through a door and down yet another hallway made of thin red EPS threads.

Artwork: Chiharu Shiota, Uncertain Journey, Linz,Höhenrausch

Artwork: Chiharu Shiota, Uncertain Journey, Linz,Höhenrausch

It opened into a space that was reminiscent of the human made cathedral above them. Under the main dome he saw a group of exquisite straight rods standing in a circle. Their coats were a translucent and silvery at the same time. Each one seemed to float in a little cloud of fragile flagella.

The circle opened to let him into the center, while Donna Mona stayed outside. The Ancients did not speak and still he felt understood. The circle hummed and the sweetest music he had ever heard filled the room, his body, his mind. He felt a strange energy when The Ancients encased him in a bubble made of their own ultra thin flagella. His membrane seemed to dissolve. He felt stripped of his coat, his fears, his memories. He floated in the here and now.

Then suddenly he was alone under the Dome, only Donna Mona by his side. Before he could say anything Donna Mona grabbed him with her strong flagella and they were expelled from the hall with a gust of air. A dove picked them up and headed towards Saint Mark’s square.

Donna Mona
Donna Mona

The code is back where it belongs.

 

 

Where did it come from?

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

Donna Mona
Donna Mona

It was stolen from The Ancients.

 

 

And how Ancient are you?

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

Donna Mona
Donna Mona

How rude of you to ask a lady. It is time to part.

 

 

It was an honor meeting you. I wish we could share more adventures.

Lord Baci
Lord Baci

Donna Mona
Donna Mona

Who knows. We live in interesting times.

 
Donna Mona formed a paraglider wing with her flagella and was gone with the next gust of wind.

Lord Baci hopped off the dove and let himself float down to Saint Mark’s Square. With a small band-aid on his tummy, he relaxed on a Café table while watching the crowds at macro- and microscopic level. There was whispering and suppressed laughter behind him. In a salad bowl on the table close by a couple of Salmonellae, famous for causing diarrhea, were getting ready to have fun. The giggling from the mayonnaise subsided as the human couple slowly grazed on their greens. Juvenile amateurs, thought Lord Baci. Silly pranksters.

     
    




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