Gaia and the Frozen World
This is one page of the Metaphoriuminomicon
You are walking across a vast blue-white frozen landscape. Strange stars form unfamiliar constellations in the sky above you. You are warm because you are clad in a space suit. A wind blows and fine particles of ice strike your visor but they sound like sand. A gauge projected onto the inside of your visor tells you that the atmosphere outside is too thin to breath and so cold it would burn your lungs.
Ahead you see Gaia climbing out of a crevice in the ice. You know it is Gaia because of her colouring, the Blue-Green of Life Thriving. If she were a normal human she would die instantly. Even she, looks cold and uncomfortable in this barren landscape. She gasps at the cold thin air trying to get enough. Her lips are cracked. You can see that she is thirsty.
You open the purge valve on your suit's water tank and a jet of water emerges. You catch the water in a sample bag but it freezes instantly. You pass the water to Gaia and she tries to bite it but one of her teeth breaks, it is frozen too hard even for her.
You walk with her a while and come to a place where there is ice that appears to have gone from liquid water to solid ice so quickly that ripples on the surface of the water were frozen into place. It looks so much like the water is still liquid that it confounds the eye.
One of the fish tattoos on Gaia's leg, separates itself from her becoming a complete fish. Like Gaia, it is marked with the blue-green of Life thriving. It dives into the pond but bounces off the ice incapable of submerging. Its fish-shaped body is only capable of surviving outside water for a short time.
Gaia, reaches down and picks the fish back up and places it against her leg. It reverts to a tattoo on her skin and swims back and forth on the surface of her leg before settling down in a comfortable spot.
You continue walking with Gaia a while and come to a place where the impure ice has frozen into a forest of green crystals. They look almost like trees. In the wind they are making a haunting music, a combination of whistles and chimes. The music is punctuated by branches breaking and falling to the hard frozen ground with sounds like breaking glass.
A tattoo of a tree on Gaia's arm, floats off of her arm and down to the hard ground to join the forest. Its roots grow and spread across the ice but it is unable to penetrate the ice. It is slowly drying up.
Gaia turns to you and looks at you with a deep penetrating stare, "Are you alive as I am alive?" she asks.
"I am alive as you are alive." you reply.
Gaia looks deeper into your eyes, "Are you in kinship with this being who once called Terra home?"
You reply, "I am Gaia, I am the body of all Life." You see your own face reflected in your visor and you see that it is marked with the blue-green of Life thriving.
Gaia reaches down and opens the side of the tree and you see inside the opening its DNA magnified so that you can see the individual codons and can easily read them. Your suit's AI projects a translation of the codons onto your visor so that you can see the implications of each codon as changes in the form and function of the tree. You glance down at the projector in your helmet's cheek and see that this external manifestation of your suit's AI is marked with the blue-green of Life thriving.
You see the form of the tree that could survive in this barren landscape and you reach down and put your glove in the tree's DNA and make a few changes. You close the side of the tree and glance at Gaia. She is smiling and nodding.
You look back down at the tree and see that the tree has grown a transparent shell around itself. Its roots have penetrated the ice. It grows rapidly upward, taller than you, taller than Gaia, blocking out most of the stars. Seeds rain down and the landscape is transformed. To the music of the ice crystals is added the rustle of leaves. You are now standing in a massive forest of trees each enclosed in its own transparent shell.
You approach the first one and see that its shell has a pair of huge lips in the side. You squeeze through these lips and find yourself on the inside of the shell. Gaia has followed you through. She laughs and you know that the air is thicker, for you can hear her laugh clearly. You glance at the gauges on your heads up display and see that the temperature is very comfortable inside the shell. The tree has made plenty of oxygen for you.
You remove your helmet and exit your suit and feel warm humid air in your lungs and on your bare skin. It gives you a shiver of pleasure.
Gaia walks between the massive buttress roots of the tree and finds a small pond. She kneels in the water and splashes some on her face and then drinks some from her cupped hands. She smiles gratefully at you.
The fish tattoo that tried to venture into the frozen pond leaps into this one and then swims about happily exploring. Seeing this, a million different organisms, tattooed on Gaia's skin or climbing in her hair, leap off of her and spread and multiply inside the giant tree's shell. The air is filled with the loamy smell of matter being recycled through the web of Life thriving. It is filled with the song of frogs and birds and the buzz of insects. Your vision is filled with the riotous colour of mosses, and mushrooms, and flowers and butterflies.
Gaia looks at you like a mother looking proudly at her daughter.