Everything Sucks Sap

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Everything sucks sap from the network, even the canopy sap makers; certainly on sunny days their thick layer of branching vines with its tendrils tightly gripping the top struts of the structure builders produces most of the sap in the network, but in the dark nights they suckle the network like everyone else.

The structure builders suck sap and give none back growing ever taller and stronger at the expense of everyone else. But far below non-network plants struggled in a shadow that never brightens starved of light. Does the network know this and so support the structure builders in order to starve out its competition?

The mineral seekers suck lovingly on the lowest niples of the network and use the energy they gain to dig deeply into the soil. In return they feed the network with minerals and water which the network mixes with the sap making it all the more nutritious.

The sex specialists throb with pleasure as they sip sap from among the highest nipples in the network. Their tendrils wander through the network sampling DNA from the occupants of each terminal. They halve the DNA of each sample and form gametes from them. Then they envelope the gametes in vectors of multitudinous forms and launch them on their way to mate. Some vector-forms travel by air, some by water, some are carried by animal like vectors along branch, strut, vine and root in order to find their mates.

Some creatures suck sap who are not part of the network. They hide and skulk among the struts and tear nipples free from structure builders or sex specialists, sucking hard on the wet nipples and then run and hide again. They are right to run, for the network employs predators whose job is to hunt these thieves. The predators are paid partly in information ; the network tells them when and where it detects the thieves. But they too are allowed sap. When thieves are sparse, a few of their number are kept alive and allowed to suck hungrily on a lean allowance of sap. The rest are not so lucky. Their dens are actually specialized organisms who also suck gently on the network. This slow trickle of sap allowed the dens to keep their interiors at the ideal temperature for the predators. But, if they receive a signal from the network that there are more predators than needed, then the dens secrete a sticky mucous rich in digestive enzymes and sedatives and the excess predators are absorbed and converted into sap which is injected back into the network through the very nipple that normally feeds the den.

So many other creatures contribute to the network, sense organ creatures who feed the network with information in exchange for the chance to suck on a nipple, pipeline creatures who move immense amounts of water from wet regions of the world to drier zones. There are brains in sacks who dangle from nipples giving the network advice in exchange for sap. There are desalination beasts who pump ocean salt water through membranes and thus supply, with fresh water, portions of the network which float on hidden oceans. There are huge carrying beasts who, loaded with seeds, or mineral ores or machine parts, march along shaded raised wooden highways which are grown using network sap.

The machine parts are secreted by specialized plants and animals and assembled by primates under the direction of the network. Specialized roots dug a long and perfectly straight tunnel which emerges from the curved surface of the Earth as a light but strong tube and is held aloft and still straight by huge bladders of hydrogen gas.

Assembled machines which run on sap, work to evacuate the tunnel of nearly all of its air. More brains in sacs and sensory organs, some of them secreted machines, coordinate magnetic field generators. Capsules, partly grown, partly secreted machine parts, even partly constructed by machines, are filled with seeds and eggs, and then enter the tunnel through an adit. They are accelerated by magnetic fields through the vacuum tunnel. For hours they race ever faster through the tunnel cutting a chord below the planet's curving surface and then in a flash they climb through the lofted tube to the edge of space where they emerge with such furious velocity that their nosecone become red hot even in the thin high-altitude air.

But their speed is more than adequate and the capsuls keep climbing, out of the atmosphere and away from the planet. The cyborg capsules are living beasts, cyborgs with machine, plant, animal and even fungus components. Some of the components are themselves independent organisms, roaming and repairing the capsules or tending to their cargo.

Each capsule is directed precisely at a distant world, in many cases so far away that the casules wouldn't see them for thousands of years. But, behind the capsules, the network stares up into space through huge eyes multiple kilometers in diameter. Brains in sacs work together to understand what the eyes see and calculate perfect launch times in order to send capsules to worlds dim and distant yet, perhaps, not occupied.

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