These are the letters of Dr. Mortabio. He is a researcher of The Biomass. He knows everything there is to know about the contagion, and he knows many other things besides.

Concerning our past predictions of the present

Until a species learns interstellar travel and discovers life on other planets, they know nothing of what other life might be like. We discovered, by finding species after species, that every creature has been divided into organs, tissues, and cells. Even the amorphous Aba of Babababa develop temporary networks of cells that resemble neural networks, muscles, digestive tracts, blood, etcetera. In fact, the so-called central dogma of biology even holds true for every species on every planet. DNA codes for RNA which codes for protein.

Before we discovered this, it certainly didn't seem like it had to be true. Why wasn't genetic material coded with different bases? Why do all planets employ the same 20 amino acids? Synthetically, we can produce single-celled life with sugars other than deoxyribose and non-traditional amino acids. At first, this discovery was attributed to polyspermia, the idea that one planet seeded life to all other planets. But if that were the case, then the codons would be the same. On Sarteck, GGG codes for leucine. On Krog, it codes for methionine. It is likely a coincidence that AAA codes for Lysine for five of the solar systems of the GCS.

We now know that DNA, RNA, and the 20 amino acids have chemical properties inherent to them that make them good candidates for developing life. But our ancestors had no way of knowing this. They predicted that life could be based on molecules other than carbon or take some non-cellular form. But until we discovered that all life is DNA based, we didn't start looking for what was so special about DNA. Are we to think that our ancestors were foolish for not realizing the unique chemical simplicity of life's basic molecules? By no means.

Primitive species come up with all sorts of strange ideas regarding what life on other planets looks like. They could be made of solids or gasses instead of mostly liquid, or based on silicon instead of carbon. Evolution is remarkably convergent. But are we to claim that early fiction writers who predicted the universal nature of DNA as genius? By no means. Certainly the imagination doesn't need to stretch as far when we assume invisible strangers are similar to us. The did not predict that because of some hidden knowledge, but because the oversimplified the universe and got lucky.

Author's note: There might be spoilers of the main story, but nothing major, only hints to how far and wide the plague spreads. You could read the letters like a story, or you could use them as a reference. So if you want to know how phase technology works, go to that chapter. If you want to know what a Phrug looks like, go to that chapter.