Uranian Micro-organisms

 

The cycle of day and night on Ooranye depends not on the light of the Sun, which is faint and constant; faint, due to the planet's distance from that body, and constant, since Ooranye keeps the same face constantly towards the Sun.  Instead, the thirty-hour diurnal period is governed by a cycle of atmospheric brightening and dimming, a fluctuation caused by the pulsation of light in micro-organisms suspended in the air. 

This means that all Uranian clocks are synchronized; it is the same hour o'clock everywhere on the globe, and there can never be any need for "time zones" on this fortunate planet.

The micro-organisms responsible for this state of affairs do not predate the current Great Cycle, though other similar ones may have existed before.  The current ones have two names, the throom and the bneen.  Why two names?  Because, in the early days, in era 1, primitive man believed there must be two forms of life, one to bring the light of day (the throom), and the other to cause the blackness of night (the bneen).  Nowadays, when the process is understood, there is no scientific need for the word bneen, but in ordinary non-scientific language the term persists, laden with associations as in descriptive phrases such as bneen covered the land and proverbs such as bask in the throom but remember the bneen

The throom is at its brightest during the five hours of ayshine, and at its darkest - opaquely dark - during yyne, the darkest hour of night, when it obscures the Sun and stars, rendering the sky utterly black.  Midway between ayshine and yyne there are a few hours (the hours of pmetn during late pallyne and early morningshine, and the hours of refelc during late evenshine and early anyne) when the throom is transparent, allowing some stars to be seen, even in the sunward hemisphere sky, except those that are right up close to the Sun's position.  (Of course it is only from Farside - in the starward hemisphere sky - that the heavens are revealed in all their true glory.  That is a great part of the romance of the wilds of deep Fyaym.  Many voyagers have sought a proper sight of the stars.)

Having evolved at the same time as the first humans - having emerged from the same prebiotic lake as mankind - the throom retain an odd resonance with the human racial unconscious.  Widespread, exceptional human emotional surges, such as accompany rare and decisive historical events, are apt to cause irregular fluctuations in the throoms' cycle of pulsation, and so can cause interruptions to the regular thirty-hour rhythm of day and night.  These interruptions, these irregularities, are called eomasps, and they mark the transition between one era of history and the next.

 

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