Celeritas Lucium is a common species of bacteria in the Triangulum Galaxy. They seem to be completely unrelated to any other species and may have evolved in space. These bacteria are unique and are the only species of bacteria to behave as a multicellular organism. This has led many biologists to classify them as their own life form.
Another unique property of this species is that some members are capable of generating warp bubbles and traveling at slightly more than the speed of light.
This bacteria was discovered in 5402 CE by a group of human colonists. The colonists noticed billions of minute gravitational anomalies traveling at the speed of light. The anomalies turned out to be colonies that contained trillions of the bacteria.
The Bacteria are coated in an incredibly thick layer of a modified form of cellulose called Aerolose. This layer forms an airtight seal that prevents water from escaping, allowing for the bacteria to survive in space.
The Bacteria can sometimes be photosynthetic, depending on their roll in the colony. When they are photosynthetic, the colonies appear to be a beautiful blue color.
When not in a colony, the C. Lucium harvest resources on the planet that they are on. They typically absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and other carbon-rich molecules. While absorbing materials they reproduce very rapidly, out crowding any other species if present.
About ten percent of the bacteria present will develop into a much large size they create quills filled with hydrogen peroxide, and they stop reproducing. These bacteria act as sentries, they kill all foreign objects in the area. These cells will fiercely guard the harvesting cells and will even more fiercely guard the memory cells. Twenty people have been killed by this type of C. Lucium, as no immune system could realistically defend against them.
They continue to gather resources and grow inside until the population of bacteria is exactly ten times that of what it was before.
The bacteria gather into groups of almost exactly 2 trillion bacteria each. The groups coalesce into spheres which are about half a meter across. These spheres are warm to the touch and are one of the hardest biological objects in the universe.
The ten colonies begin to coat themselves in a one-centimeter thick layer of Aerolose. While they are doing this, the bacteria near the surface start producing photosynthetic pigments, and the bacteria in the center begin forming the organic warp drive.
It is unclear how the warp drive works, as dissecting the colony or scanning it with electromagnetic waves strong enough to see inside the shell destroy the incredibly complex drive. Scientists assume that the bacteria somehow create exotic matter. This matter is used to warp space.
Close to a tenth of a percent of the C. Lucium will start repairing the various mechanisms in the colony. These repair bacteria are usually much larger than the rest and are the only type to have a flagellum.
Less than an hundreth of a percent of the bacteria develop a sensitivity to gravitational waves. These sensory bacteria congregate directly under the Aerolose shell of the colony. They secrete chemicals signal the warp drive bacteria.
Exactly one hundred bacteria "document" the success of the reproduction. They store how strong the gravity of the object was, the number of new colonies created, the sensitivity of the bacteria, and many other metrics. These memory cells are theoretically immortal and the original memory cell is most likely still somewhere in the Triangulum galaxy.
About a percent of the C. Lucium coat themselves in a highly reflective protein. This protein is meant to reflect harmful rays away from the fragile warp drive back out into space.
The last specialized group carries out a modified form of photosynthesis which specializes in cosmic rays.
The bacteria that are not specializing dissolve themselves to form a cytosol like liquid that the rest of the bacteria float in. This fluid is especially rich in glucose and iron and allows for easy mobility for other bacteria.
Spreading to other planets
After the preparation described above, which takes three days, the colony begins warping the space around it and gently rising into the air. Depending on the body they are on, it will take anywhere from five minutes to three weeks to leave the gravity well of the body.
The colonies typically move in a random direction from the planet. However, they never move towards large sources of gravity such as stars or black holes. Once they leave the system they are in, they eventually begin moving towards large gravity sources to find a new system.
When the colonies find another system, they accelerate towards it. The maximum speed reached by a colony was 1.15 lightyears per year. The colony will move towards the star and begin decelerating halfway to the star.
When the reach the gravity well of the star, the highly sensitive gravity detecting bacteria look for planets to land on. When they find a planet or comet, they will crash into it at about 20 m/s. If an atmosphere is present, then the colony will barely survive the decent.
If no atmosphere is present, the colony will amorphize itself, with the Aerolose shell on the surface protecting the bacteria underneath it. The bacteria then harvest any available material. On an S-Class world the bacteria will barely gather enough to repair their own colony and leave again. On a terra with life, the bacteria may produce up to twenty copies of itself.
The bacteria can be very toxic and have been known to actively land in areas filled with large life forms to harvest all of their nutrients.
When the bacteria first detected warp drives, they would begin moving towards it, but when they reached the object there would be no resources, so the memory cells recorded this failure, and the C. Lucium colonies that exist in more populated areas of Triangulum will no longer move towards them.
A colony of C. Lucium just beginning to form.
A photosynthetic colony of C. Lucium.