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Christopher Lee

Cnaatats potentially harmful effect on the ecology of


Bezerej and why humans must leave
Even with Aras and the wesshars control of Bezerej, humans getting infected by
cnaatat, a microscopic virus-like life form with almost unlimited potential for serious
unbalancing, (Sullivan, 1), is too big of a threat to the ecology, and perhaps even humanity
itself. Though the current colonists fear being infected by cnaatat who is to say what will happen
in the future? The colony may be a small community, but it is growing and there is the possibility
that a colonist may try and break the taboo. The colonist are devoutly Christian, but they are still
humans and human greed can be limitless. Even if they do not attempt to get cnaatat, if they stay
on Bezerej, Earth will send more and more expeditions to try to expand to and colonize the
planet. Even Aras and Shan, immortal eco-warriors, have moments of weakness and one such
moment may lead to another spreading of the unbalancing virus. Like Clark says in his book,
How to live forever: Even if our control, impossibly, were perfect, things utterly unpredictable
would happen (Clark, 105).
A society of humans with cnaatat would be a major problem. They would overpopulate
Bezerej and potentially other planets, over consume planetary resources and create a huge
diversity within their own species before slowly starving to death or being wiped out by the
wesshar. Cnaatat would turn humans into a sort of slow violence that eventually, in Rob
Lathams words, would rape a planet. This slow violence process, despite how it sounds, has
the potential to be exponential (Nixon, 3).
Overpopulation in itself is not the worst case scenario. However overpopulation in
addition to immortal life is a deadly combination. Isenj breed rapidly anyway, but with the

cnaatat reducing their death rate, they became a plague. There were a billion or more bezeri
before the isenj came, and now there are just a few hundred thousand (Traviss, 272). The isenj
overpopulated Bezerej in the past and killed millions of the aquatic sentient species through
their pollution alone. Even if humans do not create as much pollution as the isenj do, with
cnaatat they would still probably destroy thousands if not millions of native species just by their
very existence. They would no longer be bound by the wesshar biosphere and would slowly
displace other species and communities as they expanded. If these natives refused to leave they
would have their world undermined and effectively become a community of refuges in place,
(Nixon 19), they would become displaced without ever moving. If humans from earth ever
gained access to cnaatat they would apply their western worldview assertion that humans
exist apart from and superior to everything else, (Otto, 24) to the ecology of Bezerej.
Humankinds numbers have been on the upgrade in spite of wars, pestilences and famines. His
increase of population has become more and more rapid, (Stewart 8 quoted from Otto 31). This
will only get worse when immortality is added into the mix. Consequences of overpopulation can
be seen on the isenj home world, and this is without cnaatat. There was nothing but building in
Jejeno. He was looking at miles of matt gray and cream material speckled with apertures and
crossed by filaments. (Traviss, 334). There is no other living being on the planet except the isenj
and the fungi they cultivate.
With an ever growing population there is another worry to be had. A side effect of the
cnaatat is that Cnaatat uses a great deal more energy when its adapting an organism (Traviss,
337). A whole community with cnaatat would have their consumption increase multiplicatively,
if not exponentially, from this side effect alone. Also Humans would be limited to resources on
Bezerej until they found another planet to occupy. They would cover all of Bezerj given time

and would come into conflict with native species just to keep up daily life. Humans would
scavenge all resources while demoting other species for the betterment of their situation, much
like when Parekh murdered a bezeri baby out of curiosity. Humans would have to create a
society in which Technology provides, unstintingly and without visible difficulty, for mans
needs, (Latham, 111). However this type of technology is only available to the wesshar and
their eqbas partners and they would not share it to help cnaatat expand. If we decided they
could [make it with their own level of technology], we would refuse to tell them (Matriarch,
133 quoted in Sullivan, 21). If humans did not find a way to balance their consumption with their
production the planet would eventually run out of resources. The cnaatat would probably keep
their host alive even then, but it would not be a pleasant existence.
Since cnaatat takes in DNA from their surroundings, each host would be different
depending on where they are and what is around them, no two beings would be the same. People
would change every day and the boundaries between species would be broken and reformed
continuously. Because humans do not reproduce as fast as the isenj cnaatat would have more
time to work with their bodies. Humans from differing parts of the planet could be completely
different from one another. With enough time humans would be aliens in their own species. Also
there is a chance that humans could intake isenj DNA. One set of genes that had taken its fancy
was genetic memorya legacy from his isenj captors when he was a prisoner of war. And, as
cnaatat crossed membranes from host to host, in blood or in the act of copulation, memories
surfaced in other minds (Matriarch, 7 quoted from Sullivan,10). While Aras can cope with these
memories can the same be said for humans? Cnaatat may heal physical wounds, but can do
nothing for mental or emotional scars. These memories may drive people insane and can make a
person question who they really are.

Humans pose too much of a threat if they stay on Bezerej and must go. Even if they
somehow managed to stay they would have to deal with the wesshar. Though victims of slow
violence caused by cnaatat are casualties most likely not to be seen, (Nixon, 12), the wesshar
would notice and take action. The wesshar are the ultimate answer with a simplistic equalizer:
unlimited technology, (Sullivan, 1). They will not share their technology and will not allow for
the balance to be broken. They are the decisive judges and if humans even try to go against them
the wesshar will turn to their go to option mass genocide.