The 'Rainbow Bubbles' as they are known to most Terragens were discovered by NoCoZo prospectors in the 9400s. Upon arriving at the fairly nondescript system the A.I. was surprised to find a civilisation on the fourth planet. At first ey thought ey had discovered a xenosophont race. These thoughts were quickly proven wrong when the local archailect in the system made itself known and asked the prospectors if ey wouldn't mind leaving now, thank you very much. The request was followed by the second, fifth and sixth planets revealing themselves to be veritably full of transapientech weapons. The prospectors took the hint and left the system to tell of what ey had found. Evidently the Rainbow Bubbles were not an actual xenosophont race but a neogen created by the local Terragen archailect. Over the centuries several ships were sent to the system but most were sent back or disappeared entirely.
True communication with the bubbles emselves came several centuries later when hundreds of conversion drive ships containing bubbles arrived at the closest worlds to eir 'home' system, in the NoCoZo. From there ey have traveled widely over the Sephirotics.
Biology Bubbles consist of a number of small (around 10cm diameter) spheres held up by fluid pressure of the glucose-rich water inside them. At the core is a brain resembling an optical computer. The outer skin of a single sphere can absorb sugars and oxygen for respiration, emit coloured flashes of light and is covered in tiny hairs that can grip onto things. Some spheres have pseudopodia to help them manipulate their environment.
A sentient 'individual' consists of around ten spheres physically linked by hairs, communicating by optics (where the skins are touching) and sharing food and oxygen. The workings of the brains are synchronised allowing a Bubble to think as an individual (yet it still has good multitasking abilities). All the spheres of a Bubble share DNA by continually passing microscopic slivers of their own DNA to each other.
Individual spheres reproduce by division (like a simple cell does) dividing the brain into two. The Bubbles reproduce by combining with another bubble to form a larger organism that then splits into three 'children' each containing the basic knowledge from its parents. The children will grown as eir spheres divide. However, at the level of biochemistry the Bubbles have a lot in common with normal baseline terragen life. Bubbles, with eir multiple brains, have excellent multitasking abilities above normal baselines.
Since joining the rest of Terragen society many have passed singularity levels with the aid of enhanced bionano. Some Bubbles transcend by simply growing more spheres and not separating — in some cases individuals as large as a meteoroid have been found in zero-g habitats aided by nothing more than simple fibre optic cables to help more distant parts communicate with each other.
Text by Liam Jones
Initially published on 27 January 2004.