Canto Thirty-Six – The Bio-Dome
Alden stood a safe distance from the man-eating plant that Brekka had said was called Lester. He studied it. It was a meat-eating plant and didn’t rely totally on photo-synthesis, but it was much greener than a Venus flytrap from Earth. And the important thing that struck Alden’s farmer mind with nearly thirty years of farm-working experience was that it seemed totally untouched by the blight that was killing nearly every growing thing on Galtorr Prime.
“What’s the matter, Alden?” asked Gracie. “Does something about that plant bother you?” Gracie’s concern colored her beautiful little-girl face. Alden had never seen that face except in old black-and-white pictures in the family album. This new body she inhabited took some getting used to, but as far as Alden was concerned, she had never been more stunningly beautiful. It made being naked shamefully hard. “Did you hear my question, my love?”
“Yeah… didn’t Sizzahl say this man-eater was an alien plant? Not from here?”
“Yes, I think she did.” Gracie turned around and looked where Sizzahl seemed about to leave the flower garden following the others. “Sizzahl? Can you come over here and talk to us about Lester?”
The naked lizard girl walked back across the garden path to where Alden and Gracie stood. “What now?”
“This plant has no blight,” said Alden, pointing at the green leaves.
“Is that important? It is from a different world. It comes from a planet called Telos Three.”
“It is a green plant, and it is resistant to the disease killing the ecosphere of this planet. Couldn’t we cross-breed it or something with cuttings from the dying plants, and maybe save them?”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” Sizzahl made some serious-thinking lizard faces. “I can go one better. I have a gene splicer that I also want to use to make a Galtorrian/Human fusion. We could use that to transplant resistance genes into the dying plants. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before.”
“Alden thinks like a farmer. He’s battled corn borers and burdock weed and corn smut for years in Iowa.” Grace looked at Alden with obvious pride embedded in her smile.
“I have learned a few things about saving crops.”
“If I could isolate the gene for cross-species use, I might be able to defeat the bio-weapon diseases once and for all.” Sizzahl seemed to be getting excited by the idea.
“What exactly is the Galtorrian/Human fusion idea all about?” asked Gracie.
“Oh, that wasn’t about disease resistance. I wanted to make better people for our planet. I figure if we can combine aggressive Galtorrian methods with Earther peacefulness we could make a race of people that would be better than either side at present.”
“Don’t you like your own people, Sizzahl?” Gracie asked.
“I hate their evil, vengeful, selfish ways. A few corporate emperors own everything on this planet. They treat the people as things that can be used up and then disposed of. A few nasty old gators decided that they were the only big lizards who mattered, and now you can see what their fighting amongst themselves has done to this whole planet.”
“I hate to say it, but Earth humans aren’t that different,” said Alden. “We make wars and kill our own people too. We put a lot of artificial chemicals and poisons into our own environment, and we don’t even do it to try to wipe out the other side of every argument. At least… I don’t think we do it on purpose.”
“I need to try the plan anyway,” said Sizzahl. “I don’t know if your people deserve to live without being fundamentally changed, but I do know that mine are a bunch of sorry, verminiferous beasts that deserve to die a horrible death. I want to replace them rather than re-grow and save them.”
“I am so sorry your world is like this,” said Gracie. “I’m sure if more of your people were like you, they’d be a very worthy race.”
“You are wrong, but it is a happier thought than most I have had in life.”