Prologue



Prologue


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Yssantis didn’t want to waste time and proceeded with his history lesson without responding to his friend’s expression of gratitude.
“There’s more, Konstantin. The cultivation on other planets began by preparing the mostly undeveloped living organisms indigenous to the planet for harvest. This involved treating a selected species with a mutagen that spread through the planet’s atmosphere and transformed sections of the creatures’ DNA. Before they were ready to harvest, however, these creatures were of course at the mercy of natural enemies and climatic fluctuations as they grew to maturity. The Lhon’Dar also reported that there were planets whose yields were apparently negligible. As demand for the raw materials rose, the workload of the fleets of Angels increased exponentially, too, as they had to take care of the existing stocks and simultaneously establish new populations.
“Because of that, the gods continued to optimize their methods. Instead of leaving the development of the chosen species on these foreign planets to chance, the mutagen was altered to additionally boost the growth process.
“This was all undertaken with the aim of creating an organism on the planet that could feed and care for itself without the fear that it would be killed off by other native species.”
“A blueprint for world domination … Do all of the species that are treated with the mutagen look the same?” asked Konstantin.
“The mutagen only needed to alter the composition of the DNA enough to make it usable for the gods. The appearance of a species does not necessarily have anything to do with it. Every species has to go through a convergent evolution before it can form an intelligent society.
“In turn, the ‘New Seed’ resulted in much larger populations that were able to look after themselves without much intervention. The automated fleets of Angels and ‘Harvesting Spheres’ then only had to process them into the desired medicine.
“Just a small percentage of the population remained on the planet afterwards as ‘unusable material.’”
“What does ‘unusable’ mean? Can’t every organism be used somehow?” objected Konstantin.
“The gods can only use specific raw materials from the population for producing the medicine,” Yssantis answered. “Over time, mutations appear in the DNA of every organism. That’s of course the basic principle of evolution, but it also creates organisms that can no longer be recognized by the automated harvesting systems and are thus left behind. This remnant of the population is once again treated with a mutagen, the population recovers, and the cycle repeats.
“The gods were eventually able to build up adequate supplies of the medicine and simplified the logistics involved considerably, thus guaranteeing that everyone would get the medicine they needed.”
“So we’re these leftovers of the population on Earth – the unusable material,” concluded Konstantin. “But why are we being attacked by the Angels then? Wouldn’t it suffice to just wait until the mutagen transforms us back into harvestable material, and let the sphere do its job again?”
“Before the reform, that’s exactly what would have happened,” explained Yssantis. “But with the Lhon’Dar, the gods created something that made the harvesting process far more complex. That began 60,000 years ago.”
Konstantin had clearly not expected the story to stretch so far back into the past.
“60,000 years ago?” he asked incredulously. “How old is this civilization of the gods, then?”
“We don’t know,” Yssantis replied gravely. “We actually don’t even know whether it still exists. Normally, the Harvesting Sphere disappears as soon as the harvest is finished. Although the fact that it has remained in Earth’s orbit unchanged for two years is the work of the Lhon’Dar, the gods have made no attempts to reclaim the sphere so far. And the Angels have only just turned up here, two years after the Harvesting Sphere first appeared. For these reasons, we can at least assume that the automated processes are no longer working as well as they were supposed to.”
“What have the Lhon’Dar got to do with it? It felt like the entire world was firing at that sphere back then when it first took up position in the Earth’s orbit,” said an indignant Konstantin.
“That wasn’t exactly a success though, was it?” commented Yssantis with a somewhat sardonic undertone. “Because of that, vast areas of the Siberian tundra and Australia are wastelands today, and you still couldn’t prevent the harvest. What an accomplishment! The Lhon’Dar have already tried to stop the harvest on other planets. And with more success than they’ve had on Earth so far.”

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