Monday, June 14, 2021

Microstory 1646: Symbiosis

Nearly all evolved life is human, or at least based on human DNA, if only a little. There are variants of humans, some of which are created through genetic engineering, but they can also be brought about by minute changes in a given environment across the bulkverse. They actually evolve to be slightly different. They’re still human, but they’re probably genetically incompatible with other humans, and they sometimes have noticeable differences. There’s one noteworthy example I won’t spell out for you, but basically the males of the species keep something inside their bodies, which are usually kept on the outside. They’re able to do this because a component of their blood allows them to regulate temperature more efficiently, and keep different parts of their bodies at different temperatures. It’s a survival trait that appeared as a response to wild external temperature fluctuations, which forced the evolutionary line to prioritize vital organs over extremities. Anyway, that’s not what this story is about. It’s about an entirely different population in an entirely separate universe. First, let me give you a quick overview of symbiosis. A symbiotic relationship happens when two specimens of two unrelated species will live together in some way. This can be as simple as a bird making its nest in a tree without harming the tree, or as horrifying as a parasite that burrows into an insect’s brain, and turns into a zombie. Some forms of symbiosis are good, some are bad, some are necessary, and some are just not a problem. Every human carries with it trillions of bacteria in their microbiome, a lot of which are critical to survival. Without these particular bacteria, the human would die. They process food, and protect the skin. But Nevilereverse takes that a step further, and evolved a version of humans that are host to a much more complex species, which are called the nevileres.

A nevilere is a medium-sized rodent that will live in a hump on the back of the human, just under the neck. The evolutionary road that brought the two species to this point was a long and windy one, but the gist of it is that the nevilere started living in the hump for obvious reasons; as protection against predators, but it also does the same for the human. It can send an electrical signal through the human’s nervous system, which alerts it to nearby danger. Some say this warning is more than just the result of hypervigilance, and is actually prescience, but the science doesn’t fully support that. It doesn’t rule it out either, though. In the modern day, such danger is less of a problem. There are generally no predators lurking in the city streets, waiting to pounce. It does happen, of course, and the would-be victim still benefits from the warning, but for the most part, the relationship has become commensalistic, in that it’s beneficial to one, and not harmful to the other. The relationship remains tight, however. When two people come together to procreate, their respective nevileres will procreate as well, and not long after the human baby is born, the nevilere offspring will be placed inside the baby’s hump. This is interesting, because the baby nevilere will always be the same sex as the human baby, and this will remain true forever, even if the human turns out to be transgender. It will actually spontaneously switch sexes as a response to the change in hormones that the human is producing. This was how the Nevilereversals evolved, and it makes perfect sense to them. A healthy human will love their nevilere. It’s like a pet to them, but the bond can be even stronger, because it will not die until the host dies.

No comments :

Post a Comment