Ghosts are not swift, and the cyclone was quite long. Several hours later, Gimuse returned. “Dull glow it is.”
Quel Quen (long before) and Sjojarn (right then) had explained that, in many worlds, solid things cannot exist. Perhaps — in the case of one common form of physics, with which I am assured you should be familiar — electrons are massless, moving at the speed of light, too swift to be caught to make atoms. Perhaps there are simply none of the fundamental constituents of matter, or too few. Perhaps the fundamental strength of electricity is too weak to allow molecules, or so strong that atoms collapse into balls of neutrons. Whatever the case, many worlds are matterless, or devoid of interesting matter. They are full of light, or whatever form energy takes in such a place.
“The matter wasn’t interesting,” said Gimuse. “The energy sure was!” She had observed patterns of distortion in the pervading dull glow: four sorts of patterns that were repeated dozens of times, and a few unique kinds. The patterns moved slowly but purposefully. “If they were not alive, I will eat my diploma in biology,” she concluded. “I would love to study them further. I don’t know how I could write papers without a body. Nor where I could publish them. There’s no Journal of Impossible Worlds.”
“It is often the case that creatures live in many forms of Dull Glow. Any sort of world allowing enough order and enough disorder is likely to have life,” said Sjojarn, and, in different words, Itharieth and Borybran and Mirinxan. Certain of the scholars disagreed about fine points of phrasing and terminology, and manufactured a quarrel to conceal their basic agreement. Osoth eventually thwacked them on the muzzle with his tail.
“So, ultimately, we conclude that this world is not the sort we can explore and colonize, or even erect our Base Camp upon,” said Osoth. “Given that we should be instantly destroyed upon entering. Sjojarn, have you the reach-scale?” Sjojarn did not, but Wo Awo did. “Let us keep this scale, in case someone wishes to explore that Dull Glow further. Perhaps Itharieth will retire as a wealthy and renowned explorer, and sponsor Gimuse’s posthumous adventures in glowing biology. But for now, let this cyclone be closed, let the hhejŝṧhyant be inspected for signs of degradation or subtle damage, let us prepare for a further world. May it be more material and more profitable!”