Fold-M 7 (Crimson Meadow Horticulture Center)/text

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Benedict Osbourne

A Crimson Meadow, article for the Lemurian Intelligencer

The world whence we came used to be green. Not because of toxic chemicals or olivalt stone architecture, but because of plants. [MISSING] freely and wildly and they covered the surface of the old world. The plants got everything they needed from a luminous celestial [MISSING] called the Sun. Some of them stayed close to the ground, some twined up taller plants, clinging to them for dear life, whereas those tall and firm ones rose [MISSING] sometimes live for centuries; these ones, trees, we don't see anymore. [MISSING] their size or shape, all of them needed the Sun. The Sun still exists, but its light no longer reaches us. Because of that no plants grow underground, but [MISSING] species of fungi [MISSING] not need the Sun to grow. We will not be talking about fungi in this article but only plants.

[MISSING] cannot make our own Sun per se, we can, however, substitute it. One needs only light. There are differences in what kind of light it is, of course. For instance, strong UV light causes the plants to create anti-oxidants in order to protect themselves from photodamage, and these anti-oxidants increase their nutritional value; colored light, say red, performs far worse than blue light at maximizing photosynthesis because the waves we perceive as being red lie on the lower frequency spectrum of visible light, and therefore carry less energy. Let us start with simple white light, which contains [MISSING] is simple to produce anyway [MISSING] UV light. We have the hydrothermal vents to drive our generators and create power, and we can use that power to create light. We have the Sun now, but what about the plants?

There are many kinds of plants. Some plants are called Streptophyta, and these are the land plants, the most common [MISSING] also things like Chlorophyta, and these are green algae [MISSING] there are others. Some have seeds which carry the plants embryos and food, but some don't and instead have mobile gametes that can fuse together far away from the parental plants, whereas others have spores which do not fuse at all to create new plants. To grow plants in Lemuria, we brought plenty of seeds, gametes and spores, of many different species, all sealed to last for centuries.

We have our Sun and our plants. What else do we need? Some need ground for minerals. We have that. Oxygen as well. Plants need water, and those that did not live near water needed Rain, water falling from above; [MISSING] large masses of condensed water vapor floating high above.

We will make our Rain if that is what we [MISSING] have everything now, and plants are growing.

Do you see a problem? No? In the Old Era, living creatures, or at least the majority of them, did not need our care to survive. In fact, plants are older than humans, as are many other living [MISSING] existed before us. We, as Lemurians, as New Frontier Technology, we mustn't forget that our mission [MISSING] life possible where it shouldn't be [MISSING] environment thrive alongside us. We can grow plants in our closed gardens and our hydroponic chambers, but that is not environment. Environment is outdoors, as the old saying [MISSING]

[MISSING] team and I were responsible for creating plants that could flourish in the dim caverns, that do not need *our* Sun and *our* Rain, or us at all. First, we looked at their color. Not all [MISSING] were green, but most of them were, at least when it came to the parts of a plant in which photosynthesis occurred. Why? [MISSING] because the Sun provided too much energy, so plants that absorbed it all [MISSING] get burned. That is why no plants are black, which would be their color if they had the ability to absorb all [MISSING] wavelengths. So the plants are green because they absorb blue and red light, reflecting what is left of the visible light spectrum - green. Chlorophyll is the actual pigment which allows photosynthesis in these kinds of plants, and it has proven to be the most successful solution in [MISSING] But not here. Here we need that [MISSING] piece of the light spectrum.

We've tried creating these black plants at first, but they had a problem even in limited light: [MISSING] fine normally, but shining even moderately bright light on them would cause them [MISSING] death. That was not a permanent solution. Purple plants absorb too-little light, because they had normally lived in areas that offered them too much of it. Then we took a look at some of the non-green plants and why [MISSING] The algae that lived deep in massive bodies of water [MISSING] Oceans [MISSING] were red because red light didn't penetrate far enough through the water. So the algae absorbed everything but red light, which essentially means it got reflected back.

[MISSING] genetically modified, through numerous iterations, many species of existing plants to have red pigment. This proved to be the thing we were looking for - the perfect balance of color for our world. Two species of water reeds and three of grasses were among our first successes. The water reeds first spread beyond the range of our light towers and took on a life of their own, then the grasses [MISSING] We are constantly adapting new species to dimness, giving them the green that they had been giving to us, but soon they will be able to adapt on their own. One day we might [MISSING] trees.

This is not the end of our work. New challenges await us, and there is so much to be done. But the most important thing is that we have managed to at least create a crimson meadow in this gloomy underworld. Not our meadow, no, for we want it to exist even if we cease to.

See also

Fold-M 7