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The land is covered in structures of green coloring. Some look like igloos and some have veins pulsating and moving slowly with membranes which seem to almost be breathing the way lungs do. Some of these structures seem to be not yet completed, growing like a tree grows from a root. They are spreading. All the animals in the land have gone, and the last travelers to find this island by mistake have gone forever too. Some of the structures look like mystical machinery cutting down forests and reshaping the landscape - just machines, but alive.

Millennia, or probably millions of years ago something crashed on earth. It seemed like a ship, but before landing it divided releasing a smaller piece of metal in the air. That piece was falling more slowly and the impact made almost no damage. The rest of the ship crashed in another part of the world. Nothing happened for a long time. The metal was just lying there. If there ever was something alive inside it must have stopped being alive for a reason.

Out of nowhere something triggered the piece of the spaceship and it opened its shell, revealing pieces of technology covered in an overgrown root system. Those roots slowly traveled outwards and colonized the island.

Preliminary Details

An alien was the sole ship member in a spaceship which crashed on another planet. The alien died suddenly, never showing any symptoms to warn for what was going to happen. The emergency system was activated forcing the Alien into a healing pod but as the entire spaceship was crashing the healing pod had to eject itself to avoid further damage. Nothing could save the alien but something survived inside the healing pod. It was a seed. Almost all of this alien species had those kind of seeds - they were engineered to grow into a small house capable of harvesting water and food in times of extreme dangers. For some reason the seed never stopped growing. It wasn't supposed to turn into anything more impressive than a small shelter yet it overgrew and took over an entire island.

The changed, mutated seed is doing something to the wildlife, which includes the travelers too. But what is happening to the victims? Are they turned into farm animals? Maybe composted or used for raw materials? The goal of the seed is to grow and expand as much as possible and fortify its chances of survival for as long as possible.

Question

How would such an entity use animals for their goal in the most efficient ways possible?

Question Clarifications

This is not a story based question as regardless of the reason, the plant will still behave the same way. Any answer to this question will not change the story but merely the details in which the seed functions. See it more as an evolutionary behavior question about the efficiency of life. A seed that is not efficient would not thrive but die, therefore whatever the goal of a life-form it must achieve it in the most efficient manner possible otherwise it will not survive for long.

Extra Clarifications

This is more of a mathematical question about biology than an opinion or story based one.

Details

-The seed can do whatever a self sufficient hyper technological computer can do and more; improve itself, sustain itself, protect itself and repair itself.

-Whether the seed is conscious and sentient depends on your definition of consciousness. To some people, consciousness is an illusion created by intelligence; to others it is the result of intelligence and some even believe it comes from the soul, something separated from flesh. I'm not here to answer that question. If you have to believe the seed is more than a calculating machine made of bio matter, something conscious then you are free to do so in your answer.

-The seeds were mass produced and given to all the members of that alien species. They are not supposed to grow in that colonizing manner and such ''mutations'' have never been seen. Truly nothing is impossible but this was the most unlikely of events.

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    $\begingroup$ Considering how the question is longer than its preface, I would advice some cleanup to make it more clear. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jul 6 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ Since every animal is gone, there are no animals for the "seed" to use. There is no problem to solve. What's gone is gone and is no more. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jul 6 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like OP has a point A (ship crashed with alien plant seed in it) and a point Z (post-apocalyptic scenario) and needs a reality check between them $\endgroup$ – Juliana Karasawa Souza Jul 6 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Green I hope you do not take offense at my pruning of your commas. Here is summer reading for you: fadedpage.com/showbook.php?pid=20141070 Hemingway loves commas too but he knows when the sentence is done. Once you read it, his rhythms will be in your writing. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 6 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Willk thanks senpai $\endgroup$ – Green Jul 6 at 16:04
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The seed was designed with a purpose.

It was engineered, meticulously to perfectly fit the individual needs, desires of the alien who's ship had crashed. It would, when planted in its new home grow in a form and structure driven directly by the will of that now-long-passed creature. By direct neural connection, perhaps, by sensing the thoughts and wishes of the creature by some arcane means - perhaps, or by responding to the spoken word and gesture of it's owner - this is not known by the writer of this answer.

It would grow with that creature, solitary, or perhaps with a mate and growing family/colony - fitting itself to the multiple needs of its occupants effortlessly and harmoniously, the perfect shelter, the perfect home.

It tried to fulfill its purpose, but the will it contacted was not as intended, perhaps a small rodent exploring the forest floor near the crash-site, perhaps a bird-like one foraging for food, perhaps a large predator, padding quietly, following scent trails to its favorite food chanced upon an interesting smell and found its way to the newly germinating seed. The initial contact and the purpose in the mind of that creature shaped the seed's first growth - maybe an image of a good meal in the form of a meaty lizard, maybe the image of an attractive mate, maybe an image of shelter from harm.

Those creatures soon moved on in their search for food, companionship - and new-minds arrived do draw intention and will from, purpose for the seed's form - it grew more, adding new structures in more forms to fit the needs of the transitory minds it encountered. In the care of the original alien's mind it might have finished, and halted, the disciplined will of that creature coming to rest when satisfied that the final form desired was achieved - but not here, each new mind brought new, urgent needs, with each new mating-season, growth-season a new set of urges needed to be fulfilled from myriad creatures.

It never finished, not truly, until it had covered the entire island. Even then migratory birds would visit and a new purpose was found - for a while until they left again in search of food. New visits by sea-dwelling forms, come to the sandy beaches to lay their leathery eggs beneath the sands - new minds, new purpose; for a time.

If visitors to the planet should land there, each with their own wills, their unique expectations of what they'd find, their fears of some phantom danger in the shadows, some desire for mystery to be revealed - then who can say what new forms might emerge to reflect these conflicting, varied passions and yearnings? What can emerge from this chaos of diverse impressions and longings - time will tell.

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    $\begingroup$ +1, yours makes for more poetic storytelling than mine $\endgroup$ – Juliana Karasawa Souza Jul 6 at 14:01
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The same way cancer happens

It was once an ordinary seed, ready to build a house as it was programmed to. Then something went wrong. The crash broke something but it went unnoticed. (cell with mutation)

The seed did its duty and started growing when it reached the ground. But it didn't know anymore when to stop. (stage 1)

Then it started to starve. It needed resources. It invaded neighboring areas for raw materials. Minerals, aminoacids, water. (stage 2)

It was not enough, it needed MORE. It started calling the local lifeforms to it - producing tasty fruit they could consume, making beautiful structures they could admire or use for shelter. (stage 3)

It kept spreading. Spreading. Some parts became mobile and found transport. It learned how to make more seeds. (stage 4)

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    $\begingroup$ And yours is more practical than mine ;) +1 $\endgroup$ – A Rogue Ant. Jul 6 at 18:09
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It will use animals to disperse.

This is what real plants do. Plants are limited because they have roots. They like it when animals feed them with their dung and decaying flesh. But they like even better when animals move the plant or its offspring to a good new site.

The plant has filled up its island. It needs more room. It will trick / coopt / bribe / commandeer animals to bring cuttings (this cancerous plant cannot make seeds because it is the only one of its kind) to other suitable locations., where the plant will start taking over.


Maybe this plant is not a cancerous mutant. Maybe is waiting for an interaction that it is not getting, because the alien species that developed it is gone. Maybe the plant wants guidance, or gardening, or some acknowledgement that it has done its job in a satisfactory way. It keeps going and going because it needs something to tell it that is is OK to stop - that it is OK to be done. Could something be in this world that will tell this plant what it needs to hear?

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