So I’ve had some time to reflect on my last post, and some responses to it.
One of my commentors mentioned that they liked the idea of parasites, and suggested that a compound naturally fatal to biocrystal might also be a good weakness.
Another commentor brought up the idea that, if biocrystal is supporting itself on local sand/stone and expelling a waste product back into the environment, some of that waste might end up in the biocrystal itself, building up and making the biocrystal less efficient, until the waste eventually just kills off the biocrystal.
Personally, I find I really like the latter idea, as it gives a definitive lifetime to biocrystal. It also allows for some interesting interactions.
That’s not to say there wouldn’t be parasites and other creatures that feed off of biocrystal — that’s definitely something that would be present, whether it be bacteria or viruses or integrated biocrystal beings that feed on biocrystal as an herbivore would on a plant. But these wouldn’t be the primary means of culling biocrystal.
So a slow atrophy is probably the best way for biocrystal to die. The speed at which this happens will probably depend on the size of the sample, with larger subjects dying off more slowly than smaller subjects (all else being equal).
Furthermore, this atrophy would begin in the core of a sample and spread outward. That way, new pieces budding off of a structure are unaffected and the surface from which the buds form would also be unaffected — at least until the end.
Dead biocrystal would then quickly fall to the elements, no longer able to sustain or repair itself. Any buds it had produced by the time of its death would break off then and start the cycle all over again. Either that or they would consume their dead progenitor in lieu of standard material.
But I also think that the matieral biocrystal consumes would affect the speed at which it atrophies and decays. Material rich in carbon (such as diamond) or silicon would be the most efficient, while materials with naturally radioactive elements would be the least efficient. That being said, it feels like a totally decayed piece of biocrystal should be bad for living biocrystal, or at least not optimally efficient, but it also feels like this would be an excellent way for the biocrystal ecosystem to recycle itself. But maybe it would be better for scavengers to consume dead pieces and turn them into something else?
To those who responded last time, thanks! Having someone to bounce ideas off of has been helpful. If you have further thoughts or want more clarification or such, please comment.