Chapter 8

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1. For a long time, things progress very slowly; then quite suddenly, almost without warning, a number of significant events occur in rapid succession, and the UCC  finds the universe awash with sentient organisms; creatures that have cognitive abilities far superior to those of insects. 

2. Aquatic life is such a group. The aquatic environment has been a wonderful proponent of evolutionary advancement and has enabled a number of species to develop impressive cognitive capabilities, along with complex nervous systems, accurate sensory receptors, wonderful dexterity, and excellent locomotive skills. 

3. The UCC immediately goes to work on advancing sentience and self-determination. In some of the aquatic creatures the result is quite unexpected. The introduction of subjective thinking causes them to consider the potential of leaving the water and turning amphibious; venturing out and adapting to life on dry land, though often retaining the ability to flit between the two. The process results in reptiles, a wonderfully adaptive creature that will prove to be a particularly enduring family of species. 

4. The vertebrate structure of reptiles allows them to become amazingly diverse and adaptive. They are highly mobile, both in and out of the water. They are herders, predators, carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores. They can be big, small, passive, aggressive, agile, strong, and durable; and they can possess levels of intelligence that vary from extremely dumb to highly intelligent. They are stable too, meaning, like the termites, once their format has been settled by the Nature of Phi, they will remain unchanged for very long periods. 

5. As always, the intervention of the Nature of Phi is a continuous source of frustration for the UCC. It regularly decides a species has reached its full potential, and halts the evolutionary process, much sooner than the UCC would like. But the UCC begrudgingly accepted long ago: the Nature of Phi cannot be overruled. Consequently, as with the termites, most reptiles have fallen short of the UCC’s hopes and expectations. Nevertheless, it seems certain that eventually an intelligent creature with the potential for collective sentience will emerge. 



1. During the period of reptilian domination, a new group has been quietly emerging, and has caught the UCC’s attention. The creatures are basically reptilian but have been diversifying in an unusual direction, evolving into a new family of species. They are developing feathers, and learning to fly. Their format is quite interesting, and possibly something the UCC can work with.

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