Chapter 63

The replicase enzyme

Haziel appears to Lilith one final time after she has returned to America, while the country is busy tearing itself apart in the wake of the limited nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. Sha knows har own adopted nation of Israel is a radioactive shambles. It is December of 1973. Haziel brings a coat to bundle up Lilith. The yin seems to be sad and listless, and says nothing, letting Haziel whisk the two of them to wherever sha wishes to go. Certainly the novelty of traveling in this way has worn off.

In a flash the two yen are looking across the steep gully of Indian River at Greendome, covered in snow. Even as they watch, the water of the very upper reaches of the river slows to a mere trickle. Haziel leads the way down an icy footpath to the edge of the river, and Lilith follows, still not speaking any words.

Ever since sha was pricked in the finger by the white walking avatar of Chokhmah just before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Lilith has been radically changed. A bump at the back of har head grew and opened up like a flower, revealing a hard little cup. It was difficult for Lilith to see it, but sha could feel the growth with her fingers, and sha wore her hair in a way to cover it. But other changes happened.

Over the course of the short war, Lilith developed a second set of female genitalia just above her original organ.

Most radical of all, Lilith found that sha had the power to change the shape of any part of her body at will. Sha could become very large, like a piece of furniture, or very small, like a purse, but sha could not alter her total body weight.

Using this strange new ability, Lilith causes both of har genitals to close under a layer of skin, leaving only a small hole in her original organ for urine to escape. In this way sha enforces physically the celibacy she has chosen for herself since the camps. When from time to time she feels the need for sexual relief she can still touch both of her clitorises through the skin. Lilith soon finds, as every yin eventually does, that having two orgasms at the same time is almost as amazing as alternating between the two for continuous bliss.

Haziel has somehow turned the Indian River off like a spigot. This exposes a wet but walkable ledge of rock that acts as a trail leading into the cave that was the very source of the stream. Inside, Lilith can see a pool of water. Haziel says, “Were you to go for a swim, Lilith, and dive to the bottom of that pool, you would find you had swum right out of this world into another one. But I wanted to show you another thing.”

They crouch at the far end of the cave and enter another chamber that would have been blocked by the water had the river been flowing as it usually did. There Haziel flicks a switch and lights come on, for the room has been prepared with electric power, yet the floor and walls and ceiling remain stone.

On a long blue table that nearly fills the space from end to end, a white scroll lays completely unrolled. Haziel turns to Lilith and says, “I call this the Scroll of Lael, after the name of the author who has penned a portion of it. Please give me your first impression of the scroll, Dr. Gervasi, as an academic, of course.”

Lilith emerges from her silent sulk and says, “It looks fake. It doesn’t look like any scroll I’ve ever seen. It’s as white as a wedding dress for one thing, and the thing’s shiny, like a sheet of plastic.”

Haziel says, “Yet it is not plastic, it is biological in origin. Under the microscope you would see plant cells, but no one on Earth would be able to identify them for you. If you were to cut off a corner of it, say about the size of a postage stamp, and submit that fragment for carbon-14 dating the labs would report that it is 2,600 years old, plus or minus fifty years. Please take a closer look here.”

Haziel steers Lilith to a section of the unrolled scroll in the middle of the long table.

Lilith examines the characters written there and says, “This is Paleo-Hebrew, from before the Babylonian Captivity, when it was just a variant of the Phoenician alphabet without contamination from Aramaic. And yet I see a smooth evolution of the characters consistent with a natural progression across many centuries. I cannot even detect Samaritan influences.”

Haziel says, “Then if it is a forgery, would you not say it is one of exquisite subtlety?”

Lilith nods her head in the affirmative, but says, “Okay, but who ever heard of a scroll that was more white than modern paper? What kind of plant looks like that?”

“If you were a shrub on a dog-eat-dog planet that was all ice and snow,” Haziel said, “and you didn’t want to be dinner, what color would you be?”

Lilith examines a part of the scroll a little more than a quarter of the way from the left end and after reading it for a time, gestures for Haziel to look. It is that cowboy story with Chief Wanica and Mark Lange, written in English in a neat hand. Lilith says, “Unfortunately, Haziel, someone has vandalized your scroll with some western pulp fiction. Actually it reads more like science-fiction than a Zane Gray yarn.”

“For your entire life your story has unfolded separate from the one on this scroll,” Haziel says, unwrapping the Purple Cable from around har waist. “I think it is time you were grafted in.”

Sha plugs one end into har own head, and offers the other to Lilith. After much silent deliberation, including moments when sha stares at the empty walls of the cave anteroom, Lilith accepts the other end of the cable and plugs in.

Haziel speaks to har directly, mind to mind: This planet alone has the combination of a stable sun, a self-moderating climate, a magnetic field to shield it from cosmic rays, a large moon to dampen wobble due to precession, a large gas-giant planet to vacuum up most stray comets and asteroids, the optimum rate of spin to moderate both temperature extremes and stormy weather, an active geology to rebuild eroded lands, and a fully functioning water cycle.

Each one of these things are shown to Lilith in turn. After that sha sees harself plunge into the sea.

Haziel says: In the beginning the ocean of Earth was saturated with the ingredients of life. These are the amino acids and nucleic acids which form naturally on many planets or even in deep space following to the exquisitely tuned laws of chemistry selected by the Old One for this universe.

And Lilith watches some of the amino acids slam into each other and stuck together for a short time, forming random shapes, but these rickety structures are soon torn apart again. Floating underwater in the sunlight of a new star, buffeted by chains of wiggling crystal maggots that were amino and nucleic acids, Lilith watches the Old One assemble an enzyme Haziel calls ‘replicase’ from raw amino acids.

The Old One grabs a handful of hydrogen end caps from one amino acid and tears them away, preparing it for assembly into a larger structure. As the Old One adds amino acids together one at a time, the object folds up like a long phone cord tying itself into a knot.

Lilith watches the Old One busy itself for a time making a few dozen identical replicase enzymes, and soon it has all the hardware it needs.

Haziel says, The Old One turned to making the software. The shortest strand of RNA that can reproduce itself is a mere 4119 nucleic acids long. Omit a single one, and the strand is worthless.

Haziel goes on to tell Lilith the only thing the strand codes is replicase and also smaller molecules that deliver stored solar energy for breaking and forming chemical bonds. But there is something rather like a ‘Catch-22’ because even with the little energy-providers on hand it takes replicase to read the old strand and build the new one. So Lilith watches the Old One turn one of its hand-crafted replicate molecules loose on the strand and away it goes, zipping along in fits and starts, powered by second-hand solar energy.

If the replicase machine finds the nucleic acid it is looking for in the ambient soup floating all around, it adds it to the growing child RNA strand. If it find the amino acid it needs, it adds it to the growing child replicase structure. Two structures emerge from this process, a second, identical RNA strand, and a second, identical replicase enzyme. And along the way, dozens of energy providers are also spit out to gather sunlight.

Two becomes four, four becomes eight, eight becomes sixteen. Life on Earth had begun. Random thermal collisions still destroyed the fragile structures, but now they could replace themselves with identical children faster than they could age.

Haziel says, In just a few years the entire ocean was filled with copies of these RNA strands floating in a soup of replicase.

Lilith watches competition begin. Replicase is hoarded and these hoards are raided by eating. The single-strand RNA creatures gradually give way to more sturdy double-stranded DNA creatures with a kind of error-correction that can resist mutation and aging. And after the sea has filled with life even the land is colonized by them.

Haziel says, Here on this planet, alone in all the universe, did a species evolve whose natural gait was to walk on two legs, leaving two hands free to manipulate its environment. It is a tragic misfortune that the first meeting of elohim and humans took place under the cloud of sequestration, but Milcom and Thaumiel set up a community of elohim isolated from the greater community as a kind of harem.

Haziel goes on to say, I am committed to reversing that and restoring humans, nephilim, and the other elohim in this bubble to full union with El, and even one day with the Old One who is father of all. I am a living star, but I must become one with a planet-dweller again. As Chokhmah I did this once before with a brave and intelligent yin of Barbelo named Haziel, but now the time has come for myself, as Haziel, to lay down my life to discredit Thaumiel once and for all, and also to save the people on Haziel’s home world from extinction. And yet, to bring Thaumiel to utter defeat I must unite with the flesh and mind of a planet-dweller once again, this time with a human being of Earth who is fully willing to make such an eternal decision. Will you be that human being, Lilith Gervasi?

And Lilith, thinking of the dark wreckage of her life and of her whole world, replies, “Let it be as you have said, Haziel. You not only have my freely-given assent, you have my eager willingness to do this thing.”

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About Linuxgal

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