"[What is it?]" The scientist asked, looking at the phial suspended before him. Within there was a small mass of a lightly frothing, clear liquid. It moved, and within, one could almost see solids forming, then dissolving again. It would not stay still, almost like supercooled, liquid helium-it had to move.
"[An acidic compound,]" the female near him replied. She looked up for a moment, at the liquid within the phial, before looking down. She opened her left-oriented appendage, and with a single gesture with the other, brough up a holographic display. Within there was a detail of the compound, a molecule arranged in a double-helix shape, with the various smaller molecules comprising it shown in smaller detail, as side windows.
"[It is composed of the sugar deoxyribose,]" she said curtly, grasping the window with a third appendage, long and vaguely resembling a tentacle. "[Of similar note are the various phosphorous compounds within, and, lastly, the polymers, and what they are made of.]" She set the one window to the side, opening four more windows from her miniaturized display, and placing them up to where they can be seen.
"[C5H5N5O,]" she said, gesturing to the first molecule. "[C5H5N5],"she said a moment later, gesturing to the second. "[Both very similar, and somewhat prevalent within the compound. Next, we have C5H6N2O2, and C4H5N3O, which are, again, somewhat similar in shape and prevalence.]" She turned to the scientist, one large, vaguely purple-coloured, multifaceted eye focusing on him.
"[We believe it may revolutionize life as a whole,]" she said, dispassionately. "[Assuming we mix it with the earlier two compounds we discovered.]" She quieted down as the scientist looked at his creation with interest, the vibrations of her vocal flaps ceasing.
"[That would require that we seed it on various other worlds,]" he said, his voice rumbling the entire room, one that the old scientist barely fit in as it was. "[For we cannot make life in such close proximity to us. We do not know how it will progress. It would be too dangerous.]" The young female beside him nodded, the flower-like end of her left-most-oriented appendage closing, the holographic display closing as well.
"[We have determined a suitable planet,]" she said to him. "[Located approximately 30,000 light years from the galactic centre, within the Orion-Cygnus arm.]" The larger scientist near her nodded, opening up a holographic display of his own. What he saw was a small, greyish-brown, rocky planet. Currently unsuitable for life.
"[We will have to transport water,]" he rumbled. The other nodded. "[And even then, this project may not take hold without a greater sacrifice than just that of our water and our science.]" Again, the female nodded. She gestured to the population records: exactly one hundred and one members of the species remained.
That was due, in part, to how long-lived they were, and the fact that they had nothing to be afraid of. They had long since grown from being prey, to being the universal predator. And after that, they had evolved into protectors, guardians. They no longer waged war on inhabitants of the universe in which they lived, they merely roamed the interstellar expanse, alone. There were no others with technology like them-nay, there were no others at all! It was a lonely existence. And for one of them, it was going to get lonelier.
"[Call the Habitat,]" the elder rumbled, and in the female's purple eyes, a slightly look of apprehension and fear came into view. "[Tell them that we haven't much time.]"
"[My brothers, are we not guardians, protectors, of life?]" the scientist rumbled, his massive form dwarfing all but a few of those who he was speaking to-the entire population of his species. "[Is it not our duty, given to us by our ancestors, to make sure that life can take a hold?]" His multiple eyes narrowed as he turned to another who had begun to speak.
This elder, the oldest by far of any of them, held a different form than they did. He had only four appendages, two eyes with singular lenses. His skin was ashen, grey, with natural armour grown over multiple areas, like chitin. As well, due to his naturally imbalanced chemical nature, he was considered, by many, to be a hot head. A fighter.
"[I remember the old days,]" he growled in an archaic dialect, and it was true. "[I remember when we fought. Against what? Nothing, but ourselves. We were the only life that existed, having already wiped out all the creatures from our home, and still, we are the only life. I remember our home, long since destroyed. I remember the wars. I remember when you all evolved,]" he spat out the words with disdain. "[Thinking yourselves rulers, calling yourselves protectors. And now you have the gall to suggest you create life.]" The others within the room all fell silent, looking to the scientist upon the dais.
"[I have heard your words,]" the scientist rumbled, humbly. "[Though I do not agree with them. It is true, we are the only life. We wish to create more life, to inhabit the universe, and hopefully coexist. Such that we will not be needed, and we may finally move on. We also need somebody to watch over them...and as our watcher from the days of old, I would be honoured if you would do so.]" He looked almost disappointed as the elder being near him shook his head.
"[You do not understand,]" the older one growled, baring his teeth like one of the old animals from the species' true home. "[Any life will be just the way we were, when we were created. Or when we evolved, however you wish to look at it. Warlike. Death-bringing. Life is its own antithesis.]" He sighed, leaning back. Ah, what it was like, to have air. Not that these younger creatures would understand it.
"[I can tell already that you are implacable,]" the elder said, speaking again, interrupting the scientist. "[I can already tell that all of you but me wish to partake in this experiment. Fine. But you do not understand what will be required of you.]" As the others looked about, chattering quietly, the scientist on the dais spoke again, his voice, Earth-shattering, shaking the very room.
"[What do you mean, elder?]" he asked. "[What do you mean, we do not understand what will be required?]" The elder looked at him, glaring, and a shiver ran through his large body, a slight amount of mucus expending from his pores. That would have to be cleaned.
"[I mean that for life to be created,]" the elder said, quietly, almost as though he was unsure of what his words would be, "[There must also be death, in turn. A sacrifice. Have you ever wondered why we have no Gods, though we still have the word in our vocabulary?]" As the others sat, looking at him, ignorant of their own ignorance, he continued.
"[That is because they sacrificed themselves, in full, to create us. Hoping that we would be like them. And there were fewer even of them than there are of us now-that was why they could only seed life on one planet.]" He stopped, looking about.
"[Alter your plan. Spread life to multiple worlds, one each in the Milky Way, the Andromeda, the NGC-4414, and UDFj-39546284. Split our population in four, and I, unfit to create life, will remain at the centre of our universe, and monitor the development of these others.]" A quick message quickly passed through those others within the council room, and they simultaneously nodded.
"[Then it shall be done,]" the elder said, a single tear running down his cheek. Here was the end of one species. And the beginning of another.
"[It's been made beautiful,]" she said, looking over the planet, the one that she had first selected to be used as the beginning for the life. The others were already at their respective planets, in their respective galaxies. But she felt that she had received the most beautiful planet of them all.
Nearly one thousand years ago, she had been small. Frail. Now she was large, a mother of many, and soon to be progenitor of many more. She looked at the view of the planet. Now there were sparkling waves of blue interspersed amidst the rust-coloured rock of the planet. They had earlier tried to place water upon the planet next farthest out, but it was too far. It would not last. This planet, though, it was perfect.
"[We are one minute exactly until seeding,]" her assistant said, progeny of the elder scientist whom she had worked with long ago. "[Are you ready?]" Without a moment's hesitation, she nodded. She, and all the others of her race, had been waiting for this day. "[Very good. Automated dissolving shall commence...now.]" She smiled, feeling the odd tingle of the acid, now largely produced into a pool large enough to hold the entire population of this ship, about twenty-five individuals, within. Exactly ten seconds later it had swallowed her completely, her consciousness having long since mingled with those of the others around her, and then that collective consciousness itself burned out. Here was pure life, in its newest form.
The ship fell gently into the waters, continuing down, down, slamming into the still solid mass that was the sea floor. A crack started, which then promulgated itself. Soon, the various completely solid portions of the planet had been rendered into multiple plates, all of which would, at some point, begin to move. And the seed was expelled from a hatch in the ship like it is from a simple fish, spreading out amongst the waters. Already, the new life had begun.
Alone, in the corridors of the massive, solar system-sized habitat that had once been inhabited by a species, walked a single man. His footsteps echoed amongst the corridors, as well as something else. Sobs.
Alone, the elder weeped, as he walked to the centre of the ship, where he was to wait out the long years. He would not get sleep, he would not get rest. He had to watch.
Alone, he weeped.