Biological Cognition and Cellular Vitality

In 2295 the research of a young biologist named Frontino Bouvier would challenge many assumptions of cellular biology and spark numerous metaphysical debates. Despite being surrounded by controversy, Bouvier’s findings ultimately eliminated many health issues associated with planetary colonization.

After the exodus from Earth in 2179 a new civilization was established on Solum in the Draco Tao galaxy. During the first decade, illness, both physical and mental, took a heavy toll on the transplanted population. This was generally accepted as “Colonization Loss”, a consequence of adapting to an alien environment. Dr. Frontino Bouvier, however, felt there was more to it than that.

Looking at records from the early Milky Way colonies established during the 2160’s expansion, Bouvier compared data from colonies that relied on preserved food stores vs those using cultured foods. He found that colonies that persisted on lab grown and synthetic food sources presented 80% higher instances of debilitating physical and mental illness among colonists. However, during the Gaian war the outer Milky Way colony supply lines had been cut off, so it was difficult to determine if the culprit was engineered foods or general malnutrition.

Bouvier’s concern was that, having brought very few resources with them from Earth, there was a heavy reliance on bioengineered animal proteins and vegetable matter on Solum. He spent several years studying data from all over Solum and performing lab experiments. Eventually Bouvier was able to show a link between artificially produced foods and rates of Colonization Loss. He was however unable to clearly define a scientific cause.

In his report titled, Biological Cognition and Cellular Vitality, Bouvier asserted that there was a, currently immeasurable, factor present in living cells that was absent in cultured cells. While lab grown food contained all of the chemical elements required to supply the nutritional needs of a person, something was lacking. Over time, despite optimal nutritional intake, chemical imbalances would develop in the brain leading to the weakening of the immune system and increasingly severe mental instability.

An excerpt from Bouvier’s report.

“I have exhausted scientific process and am left with a singular conclusion, reproducible in experiment but indefinable by conventional thought. There is something bestowed to a living cell via life itself. A factor of vitality that supersedes mere viability. We can instruct cells in form and function but we cannot imbue them with purpose. The cognition of the organism is as important as its chemistry. In short, life must consume life.”

Despite the controversy of his implications, Bouvier’s experimental results were irrefutable. Over the next few years synthetic food sources were phased out and focus was placed on processing and extracting usable nutrients from native plants. Astonishingly, illness rates dropped and the population of Solum flourished.

During the Second Renaissance a resurgence of culinary arts embraced this new frontier of ingredients. As more planets were colonized and more food sources discovered, synthetic foods were replaced completely. Thousands of new nutrient rich plant species are now cultivated, and protein is generally processed from various simple, fast reproducing, insect like life forms found on nearly every fertile planet. LEAP combined with food preservation technologies has allowed for the mass storage, and distribution of food to even the most remote outpost in the furthest reaches of the new human empire.

To this day research into Bouvier’s findings continues, as scientists strive to quantify and reproduce this unknown factor that traps the human animal in the circle of life.