Meanwhile, back on
...XOXLNDU was slowly swimgliding through the thick AtmoSea,
always. To observe from a distance, that was all XOXLNDU ever
did: swimglide, on and on, without destination, purpose or
intent. A ship with no port.
But there is purpose: a Nation can never stop for long, or the
hydrogen atmosphere would cease to flow through the exoskeletal
hundreds of kilometers down into the colonies of symbiotes that
very soul of the Entity, and they would perish.
Come closer: see the millions of grabberlings waving and
rippling through the waves, constantly gathering in the small
"foodfish"; see the swoopers sucking in the glowing "plankton",
and distributing it into the core of XOXLNDU's body, where every
creature that consumed it glowed with the same light; see the
forests of sensory ganglia undulating in the current as they
process information from the eyestalks and the sniffers and the
sonarslugs. This ship is a world within itself, like a planet
slowly orbiting through the AtmoSea of Jupiter.
Come, through the outer wall of the open exoskeletal structure,
down into this vast living ship/city/world, penetrating layer
honeycombed layer of ribstructure, upon which festoons a myriad
million different species of symbiotic creature, each living out
their lives as part of this vast One Being, each mounted and
configured to a function of this totalitarian system, each doing
their part in keeping the machine running, each sharing a
connection with the intelligence and awareness of XOXLNDU, who is
in fact, each themselves.
Deeper and deeper, the layers of worlds within
worlds becoming more crowded in the safer regions farther inside
the Nation. And in the heart of the great entity, thousands of
colonies of thousands of jellybrains perched
on ceilings and walls, woven by ganglia into and along the great
dendritic ropes of neural plexii, sending and receiving high-
voltage synapses that zap brilliant sparks of bluewhite
For what XOXLNDU actually did was to
All the rest of the enormous physical structure and symbiotic
cooperation was merely a support system for the brain banks,
which, networked by the neural plexii, thought great thoughts in
harmony with the collective consciousness of XOXLNDU.
And just now, that massive Collective Entity, the current Master
Genius Of Our Solar System, is thinking mostly about one tiny, o
so tiny creature: The Precious Child.
The mated pair and Their Precious Child would be landing on their
Homeworld soon. XOXLNDU had calculated arrangements for that
moment, for a sign to be shown to Earth, corresponding with the
moment of their arrival, which had to be timed to 11 hours 32
minutes 42 seconds BEFORE they actually did arrive, due to the
light-hours distace between the respective planets at that
An atmospheric effect was sent in motion, as when XOXLNDU had
made the signal beacon to guide the Jupship in, a mirror disk of
ammonia ice formed itself in the upper atmosphere, as wide as the
planet Earth, and at the exact moment XOXLNDU tipped it to
reflect the sun's light directly at the Earth.
It would be nighttime on Earth where and as the friends landed,
so the sign would be easily seen. XOXLNDU watched the 3V news
channels for confirmation.
And XOXLNDU focused attention on one of the smallest brainbank
systems, only 16 of the jellybrains branched out on their own
private section. They were telepathically liked with the
Precious Child--or rather, one of them was, the others being
backup, for more than one would be confusing for her tiny brain.
A sonar message resounded throughout the AtmoSea. "Hail Thee and
Well, Nation XOXLNDU, once XOXL and XNDU, we first greet since
your mating and reconfiguration. Perhaps you have become
slightly enhanced...you were lucky it wasn't a total
XOXLNDU recognized XXZL, a Nation who had been greater than XOXL
before the mating, but now was not as great as XOXLNDU. There
was a thunder of jealousy in the sonar waves.
"Hail Thee and well, Nation XZZL. No, not lucky, we planned the
mating carefully, organized every aspect of the configuration,
and executed it flawlessly."
"Yeah, yeah, the sound of Your crashing into each other
reverbrated througout the AtmoSea, to half way around Jupiter:
EVERYBODY heard you two going at it...the rumor is that You
crushed and destroyed too many symbiotes and that Your
enhancement was not all that you had hoped it to be, that you
were in fact, almost...Lessened..."
"Oh, not so, Nation XZZL. We are Extremely Enhanced now,
why the New Things We can comprehend..."
"...and yet, Nation XOXLNDU, it seems that You are still playing
with those silly Earthlings. When will You grow up? They are
not worthy of Your time."
"Nation XZZL--say, haven't you become smaller again? never
as for the Earthlings, they are the way forward, and therefore
worthy. We can reach the stars again with them. You know that the XAPF
also used them in the millenniums when they colonized the
Universe, back when they were mere apes. They have become more
intelligent since then."
"We are also more intelligent than the XAPF were, We can
solve our own problems."
"We are too slow, Nation XZZL: Our Fellows on Aldebaran iV will
perish long before we would reach them....listen!"
"Yes, a vast wave of Lokusts come our way. We shall have to
defend ourselves. Damned little things can tear up a
configuration in no time."
"Nation XZZL, let us work together for the onslaught. We can
present a better defense."
"Work with you? Never! Are you crazy? I link up with you and
you will seduce me in, as you did XNDU, and configure me!"
"XNDU here, Nation XZZL; We chose to go in, We are satisfactorily
enhanced here, it's working out quite nicely, in fact: We have no
wish to reconfigure again just yet."
"Yeah, well You were supposed to go in with US! Instead You
became part of THEM!"
"You can join Us too, but hurry, the Lokusts are coming, We have
to present a defense."
"There is no defense against lokusts, they are too many and too
small: our defense drones are too big to fight them, and once
they penetrate our inner layers they'll gobble their way through
our symbiotes--who knows what's left by the time we emerge from
their swarm? The only way is to charge through the swarm as fast
as possible, minimize the damage. Unhail, Nation XOXLNDU, You're
on your own."
("That's why XNDU didn't go with you, Nation XZZL, You're too
stuck in configuration...")
The sonar voice went silent, but now the gibbering gargles of the
approaching Lokust swarm was quite audible. They smelled a big
fat Nation coming their way, with too much speed and mass to turn
away from them in time, and they were priming their hungry lean
raptor configurations for the powerdive into a gorge of
"Perhaps, Dear XOXL, it would be best to break on through
to the other side..." "Perhaps, Beloved XNDU, but the damage can
be extremely severe, we will be Lessened. Surely, there must be
a way to use Our accumulated Knowledge and Intelligence to
resolve this situation..." "Yes, Dear XOXL, surely, let Us think,
but quickly..." "THINK!"
"Hi, Mister XOXLNDU: check out memory banks
on Earth films, 20th Century, the classic Star Wars!"
"You know what? That was a message from...from The Beloved
Child!" "And you know what? She's right: X-Wings! We can
assemble them, millions of them, from various symbiotes, into a
smaller faster fighting creature with MEST-capabilities, each
faster and more deadly than each lokust..." "Great idea, but
there's no time..." "Sure there IS if we go into a
MESTwarp Relative Time State..." "That's right! This will
Big AtmoSea battle: zillions of nasty ugly Lokusts ripped to
shreds by the flashing /and; dashing "X-wing" fighters, lots of
special effects, heroic actions, daring stunts...
And out the other side of that scattered Lokust swarm, which was
greatly reduced and did not dare give chase, bursted that vast
Ship of the Jupiterian AtmoSea, Enhanced with the ideas of a tiny
race from a tiny planet.
The unstoppable Nation XOXLNDU sailglides proudly past, the music
swells, fade out.
as promised, this was
THE INTERESTING ENDING,
in case you couldn't tell