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Old Sep 5 2008, 10:30 AM   #1
edith
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Default Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

I was having a think on the way to work this morning and anyway, I got to thinking about how symbiotic the symbiote actually is!
Consider those that have a full transition (the singers). Their bodies are "improved" but their memory suffers. Now this loss of memory changes their behaviour and, as far as I can remember from the books, some of the singers get to the stage when their behaviour isn't really human anymore.
In addition the host can no longer reproduce.

To me this makes the "symbiote" seem more of a parasite as what it gains is far more than the host's net gain/loss.

What do people think?
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Old Sep 5 2008, 12:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

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some of the singers get to the stage when their behavior isn't really human anymore.
That happens even without the symbiont -- prime examples: sociopathic murderers; pedophiles; rapists in general; religious zealots.


And as for the sterility thing, the Singers are getting a vastly increased lifespan in return -- and that's without even factoring in the definite benefits to sterility per se.
For one thing, sterility leaves Singers free to "play the field" if they want. Sterility also eliminates the possibility of pesky pregnancies -- which is especially nice for those who prefer making out over the hangups and complications children create.

Sterility doesn't exactly sound like my cup of tea -- but I can certainly understand its potential allure.
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Old Sep 5 2008, 05:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

Actually, I never thought the memory loss was really because of the symbiote. I thought that had to do with the electric nature of the storms. And possibly with the amount of thrall the singer went into when cutting.

But there is still the inability to reproduce. That one depends on whether you ever want children or not.
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Old Sep 6 2008, 03:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

Indeed, the spore has nothing to do with memory loss. Except that singers with a Milekey transition (i.e. exceptionally good adaptation to the spore) often enjoy a longer span of unimpaired memory.

The point here is that the host adapts to the spore (a more neutral term than either symbiont/symbiote or parasite) rather than the other way round. Adaptation to the spore is a condition for living on Ballybran without a hazmat suit and air processed off-planet. In that sense it's a vital bridge between the Ballybran ecology and carbon-based life forms and can't be called a parasite no matter how difficult the consequences of adaptation are.
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Old Sep 6 2008, 09:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

well, as far as it goes, the symboint does kick the applicant up at least one notch. better senses, except touch ( pain reception is reduced) life span is increased. the human being unable to reproduce doesn't mean the symboint can't. no real information about the symboint's life cycle. The only question I have is that from what I recall, a true symbiosis is more of two independent forms living as one for improved life, but they can separate and return to their original life capabilities. I could be wrong, after all I had one biology class in high school 20 years ago.
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Old Sep 7 2008, 03:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

Usually that is the case, but not always. Say the mycorrhiza that bonds with some tree roots, improving the uptake of nutrients by the tree in exchange for sugars from the tree. I suppose either could survive without the other, but I doubt they'd thrive.

Pain reception isn't directly linked to touch, different neural paths for both. There are anesthetics that take away the pain while leaving the touch, and some people do have a sense of touch but they can feel no pain. They can literally stick their hand in the fire and say it feels a bit warm when they're blistering up with 2nd degree burns.

So the inhabitants of Ballybran can have an enhanced sense of touch (indeed, didn't some make use of that for artistic purposes?) while their pain threshold is raised.
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Old Sep 7 2008, 11:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

On the plus side:

Vastly enhanced lifespan
Increased senses - vision, hearing (I believe is mentioned?) and touch at the least
Vastly enhanced regenerative capabilities

On the negative side (possibly - depending on your life choices and personality):
Being tied to one planet your entire life
RNA changes resulting in sterility

Of course, those are the best of the best if you have a complete and succesful transition. There is the risk of having other senses impaired and the inability to even leave the planet, let alone the system.

I, too, would like to know what the spore is a spore of exactly. What does it do? What is it for?
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Old Sep 8 2008, 01:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

The spore builds a bridge between the silicate ecology of Ballybran and our carbon-based biology. Don't ask me how that works, though. It may be that the spore is just a byproduct of the crystal-producing ecology of the planet with no true purpose of its own. Except that it helps sentient beings live on the planet, but that's probably just a lucky accident.

A good adaptation can improve all senses, including smell and taste. Killa had to get used to a better sense of smell when the hospital maskers no longer worked properly for her.
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Old Sep 8 2008, 04:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

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Originally Posted by granath View Post
So the inhabitants of Ballybran can have an enhanced sense of touch (indeed, didn't some make use of that for artistic purposes?) while their pain threshold is raised.

Couldn't Killa feel a flaw in the black crystal she found in her first solo cut? It didn't sound right and she touched it, felt the flaw (perhaps physically, perhaps instinctively), and then had to cut different shapes.
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Old Sep 8 2008, 04:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

Yes, but I'm not sure if that was through an improved sense of touch. She may have gained some way to sense electro-magnetic stress fields in crystal... It's never quite specified how she was able to tell there was a flaw, except that it "didn't feel right". Later on Trundimoux she knew when the brackets were set just right by the magnetic resonance or some such... Although she was able to teach Lars Dahl to set crystal on Optheria, so maybe her sense was just fine tuned by the spore.
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Old Sep 8 2008, 04:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

I remember when she was learning to set crystal she described the sensation, like the surface becoming slick.
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Old Sep 8 2008, 10:45 PM   #12
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

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A good adaptation can improve all senses, including smell and taste. Killa had to get used to a better sense of smell when the hospital maskers no longer worked properly for her.
And on Ophtheria, she was able to hear what Lars and others were saying when she was out of what would normally be considered hearing distance during the hurricaine. So her hearing was improved also.
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Old Sep 10 2008, 01:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: Just How Symbiotic is the Symbiote?

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And on Ophtheria, she was able to hear what Lars and others were saying when she was out of what would normally be considered hearing distance during the hurricaine. So her hearing was improved also.
improved hearing and effects were noted in crystal singer. she heard talking in the common area that she hadn't been able to hear before when her door opened for tukolom to take her down to the medical when she "transitioned".

same with change of visual acumen(noted colors in striped that had only had a change of texture before), a change of touch feeling(the clothing felt different than it had the night before), and intensified sense of smell(gee the entire issue with scent maskers in the infirmary).
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