The Pulse: B.C.

Virus

Berry understood that the plan for Earth was total domination. Soft-hearted innocents might call it something harsh like total annihilation. OK, Berry admitted to himself, that's probably what it seemed like to a species as short-sighted as homo sapiens. But in time their descendants would wonder why they didn’t welcome their superiors with open arms. In time, they would evolve past their present state of blindness, like the brutes who scrabbled out a living in the Aegean before the Minoans, or like the mud-covered cretins who lived along the Euphrates before the Sumerians. If they had the least notion of what was good for them — of what would save their world — they would have begged their overlords to eliminate the weak strands and infract every citizen on the spot. Unfortunately, they were so traumatized by words like democracy and master race that they couldn’t see what was good for them.

For the ten years of his Baulomorph existence Berry had accepted this as a given. How could he do otherwise? The chemicals were so strong and the orange tincture was so tricky that he was immediately convinced that it wasn't the chemicals but his own will that desired the end of human dominance over Earth. Although the Baulians never withheld any information about the infraction process, he nevertheless believed that he was the one who wanted these changes — to his body, to his mind, and to their species. It would be the best of all possible worlds.

Left to themselves, humans would remain idiots. It wasn’t even their fault. Their circuits contained thoughts about things that lay beyond them, but the circuits had no deep or tangible connection to these things. Humans talked and wrote, but the circuits were still circling within their nervous systems, made real to them as they sat planted in the terra firma of their flesh, replenished by the rivers of their blood. Their bodies were fractals of the nature around them, yet by dint of the separateness of their bodies, they were left guessing at the link between microcosm and macrocosm.

Their bodies had no tentacles that connected them to anything but themselves. Their dendrites only make contact with their own dendrites. How could they possibly go beyond their needs to the needs of the mother planet that had created them, that had raised them, and that would take their decomposing elements back into its soil?

Mothers guessed at this deeper connection, but once lactation was over, and then once individuation set in, the mother was left with an empty nest. She tried to fill the emptiness with things her internal dendrites wanted, yet these things only took her further from what she needed.

Berry agreed with the conclusion of the Baulians: it was impossible for humans to really care about the world around them because fundamentally — structurally and systemically — they weren’t connected to it. Their dendrites told them that something was happening around them, yet the reach of their dendrites stopped at their finger tips and toes. Only by analogy did their brains give pulses meaning. At birth, their one true connection was severed. Ever after that, they were left guessing at what that connection, if only it had been maintained, might mean.

On earth, the concept of the individual was inevitable, and inevitably a disaster. Only the wild animals seemed to fit into the world in which they lived. They still maintained an instinctual connection: whales swam from one end of the ocean to the next, and birds flew from one end of the sky to the other. Yet the wild animals also had the same dendrite deficiencies as humans — without the ability to compensate for their isolation with advanced forms of communication. In any case, the animals had no power whatsoever. Most of the time, the humans just cut them up and ate them.

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