Author: SamGunner PM
The genetic make-up of a living organism is just something you shouldn't mess with. For two scientists trying to push human testing for their Artificial Transmutation serum, what would be a good place to start? A Prep school on lockdown seems like a good one. But, can Nicole and her friends stop them before it's too late? Crossbreeding or no crossbreeding: that is the question.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Words: 5,287 - Published: 12-22-12 - id: 3085239
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Another story that I've decided to post. Let me know if it's worth continuing. This takes place during the senior year of the main character, Nicole Paige, and takes place at a prep school.
"Alright class! Remember we will be having guest speakers all next week on our next unit!" The words of my AP Biology teacher, Mr. Carson, floated through my mind as I entered the school building. He had said that last week on Friday as the bell rang, signaling for us to move on to our next class. Right now, it was seventh period on Monday and I was just getting back from my lunch break. I stopped at the door, turning slightly as I pressed the 'lock' button on my car keys, double checking as the car locked itself. I turned back around and continued to the door before opening it.
"Wait! Please hold the door!" A voice called out and I turned to see two men standing by the open trunk of a car. One looked to be retrieving something from within the trunk while the other was the one who called out to me. I closed the door and carefully walked back over to the two men, narrowing my eyes slightly in suspicion. When I was close enough, I opened my mouth to ask why they had parked in the senior parking lot when I noticed their guest ID badges. They had both the guest badges from the school as well as badges from Gavin corporations, stating they were Dr. Walter and Dr. Warren.
"Oh, you must be the two guest speakers for Mr. Carson's AP Biology class, correct?" was what I asked instead as I reached their trunk where both appeared to be extracting covered cages.
"Yes. I'm Dr. Warren and this is my co-worker and associate, Dr. Walter," Dr. Warren replied, extending his hand which I shook quickly before doing the same to Mr. Walter. "And you are…?" Dr. Warren inquired.
"Nicole Paige. I'm a student in Mr. Carson's eighth period AP Biology class," I replied. "Do you need any help?" I asked, staring into the trunk that had a bunch of equipment consisting of covered cages, briefcases, and an odd portable contraption with two glass tubes on the end, large enough to fit one cage into each.
"Uh, yes, if you would be so kind, you could carry two of the cages and show us to Mr. Carson's room so we may begin setting up," Dr. Walter replied.
"Sure, no problem," I replied, taking the two cages he offered before stepping back as Drs. Walter and Warren removed the rest of the equipment and closed the trunk. I walked up to the door with them following and opened the doors, allowing them to go first. Once inside, I took them up the staircase facing the side doors we had just entered and led them upstairs to Mr. Carson's room. I peeked inside to see him working at his desk before I knocked. Mr. Carson's head shot up and, when he saw us, he smiled, walking to the door which he quickly opened.
"I'm glad to see you two found your way and with Nicole's help I see. Good, very good. I see you've met my star pupil," he stated, opening the door wide so we could walk in. I carefully placed the cages next to the desk that had been set up for them, just as Dr. Walter had done with the cages he had been carrying. I smiled at Mr. Carson while blushing slightly at his statement.
"Mr. Carson, I-"
"It's only the truth Nicole. I've been saying it for weeks, I'm still saying it, and I'll be saying it for many more weeks to come," Mr. Carson replied with a small, tired smile on his face. I gave a slight grin back.
"Star pupil, hmmm? I think we'll just have to see…" Dr. Walter said to Dr. Warren, a small smile on his face.
"Indeed," was Dr. Warren's reply, causing me to blush slightly again. Damn Carson. If there's one thing I hated, it was being the spotlight and Mr. Carson had most certainly pointed me out to both Doctors.
"Well, I wouldn't go that far-" I tried interjecting, yet again, to no avail.
"Posh. Nicole here is the top Science and Math student in her class. She's actually the valedictorian of her class. If I recall correctly, she is also the top Science and Math student in the school, the top French student-" Mr. Carson started rattling off, much to my great embarrassment. I could feel myself growing steadily redder until I felt the need to interject.
"Mr. Carson, really-"
"She's a great student. She's hard working, engaging, quiet in large groups but always has good input, especially during debates. She's intelligent and bright, witty, wise for her age-"
"Really Mr. Carson. I'm not any of those. You're making me out to be way more than I really am," I interjected yet again. I could see he was trying to talk me up in front of these scientists and make me seem way better than I really am. It, however, was to no avail.
"Modest too," Mr. Carson said in an undertone to the scientists, causing me to roll my eyes, before saying to me, "You obviously don't see yourself properly. You are the top student in the school and possibly the county." I rolled my eyes to try and hide how red my face was getting but it, obviously, did not work. I glared slightly at the figure of my elderly AP Biology teacher while the bell rang, signaling the passing between seventh and eighth period.
"I'm going to go take my seat in the back now and die of embarrassment," I said angrily to him in an undertone before taking my seat in the back of the class. It was kind of ridiculous, seeing as we were only a class of twelve. There had been so many taking AP Biology this year, in comparison to prior years, that Mr. Carson had to agree to take on an overflow class. My class just happened to be that overflow class, much to my relief. It was easier talking in front of a smaller group, especially since we had more time to actually get to know each other and feel comfortable around each other.
The students quickly started to file in and took their seats, the last one sitting just as the bell rang. Everyone was talking quietly, looking pointedly towards the two scientists at the front of the room, probably wondering what our next topic would be on if two scientists were here. It was then that Mr. Carson stood up from where he had been seated behind his desk, causing everyone to stop talking and look up towards him.
"Well class, as I mentioned Friday, we will be having two guest speakers here all week. Please welcome Drs. Walter and Warren from Gavin corporations," Mr. Carson said to which we clapped as he sat back down and the two scientists moved to the front of the room.
"Thank you for having my partner and myself here today," said Dr. Walter to Mr. Carson before returning his attention to us. "I know you are all unaware of the next topic you will be covering for the class so, to introduce such a topic, I would like to begin with a question that will lead into our topic," he said into the silence. Everyone was silent, hardly daring to breathe, and hanging onto every word the man spoke. I took a good look at him this time that I really hadn't before. I looked at his blonde, wavy hair, and blue eyes, trying to pinpoint why he seemed so familiar. "Dr. Warren?" He asked, moving aside to look at his coworker or associate. I shifted my gaze to Dr. Warren, taking in his short black hair, and bright green eyes, both of which also seemed familiar.
"Ah, yes. Let's say, I was trying to treat a Parkinson patient or someone who lost a limb-," Dr. Warren started out, capturing each of our attentions. We were wondering where he was going with this and, some of the brightest minds in the school, were trying to figure out what he would next ask. "-and if technology allowed it, how would I best treat it?" He asked, causing all of us to frown slightly. I vaguely heard people starting to call out answers while I frowned slightly, staring at Dr. Warren. He too was staring at me with a smile when it clicked- why he looked so familiar! He was Dr. Trevor Warren and his coworker was Dr. James Walter, both being scientists at Gavin corporations!
Recognizing them, it brought back memories of the science journal I had been reading a week or two ago on Artificial Transmutation or Crossbreeding. Both were supposedly leading experts in the development of Artificial Transmutation sciences. They had, together, managed to create a serum that worked on animals, which allowed certain traits of one animal to become genetically intertwined in the other, genetically enhance lizard, or say, starfish's regenerative properties could be transferred to another animal such as a dog or mouse. It was a controversial issue, still being debated whether it should be further explored and was morally right. Though a more appropriate name would be Artificial Transmutation, "Crossbreeding" had been the term given to the field of science.
"Yes Miss Paige?" Dr. Warren's voice cut in, interrupting my thoughts. I looked up, confused, at his knowing smile of… approval? It was then that I realized I must've accidentally spoken aloud. Blushing slightly and embarrassed, I cleared my throat as everyone turned to stare at me. "What did you suggest?"
"Crossbreeding, as the field is termed- the science of genetically enhancing one animal with the traits and genetic adaptations of another," I explained, watching his knowing smile widen as he glanced at Dr. Walter who also wore a huge grin. "For the patient missing a limb, you could use the regenerative properties of say a lizard or a starfish. And for the Parkinson patient-,"
"-the properties of a Zebra fish to regenerate cells. Very good Miss Paige," Dr. Walter interrupted, smiling broadly.
"Yes, well, I've read into your work on this… controversial topic, Dr. Walter," I replied, much to his amusement. He smiled more broadly.
"I see you've read the article published recently in the science journal. I hope you found it enlightening. I see why Mr. Carson here regards you as his star pupil," Dr. Warren replied to which I blushed slightly. "What are your views on this 'controversial' topic?" He asked lightly, almost conversationally, but I could tell it wasn't just for the hell of it. He was asking for a reason, most likely trying to gauge something by my response. I opened my mouth, unsure of what to say, and blinked once before closing it. I cleared my throat before opening my mouth once more.
"I… guess I would be one of the dissenters," I said slowly, causing them to raise their eyebrows. "I'm a fan of your work, yes, and I think it is great the progression of science to this point, but I can't help but wonder if, for the sake of progress, it is worth it. Sure, a positive outcome would be for medicinal purposes such as Parkinson or Lou Gerhigs, but is it worth it? I personally think there are too many questions and negative possible outcomes that one must delve into before furthering this," I explained quickly. Dr. Warren frowned slightly before crossing his arms and leaning back against the board.
"Do continue," Dr. Walter replied before moving his position to mirror that of Dr. Warren, as if hoping to be intimidating.
"Well, firstly, there's the long term outcome. Sure, according to test and such, it may appear to have worked in the short term but what if, after it has been approved, we see side-effects taking place thirty or forty years later, if not more? What then? At that point, who knows what percentage of the population will have used this method?
Furthermore, if it is used for medicinal purposes that's great, but something such as this will not strictly be used for medicinal purposes and I think we can agree on that. Imagine if this were able to remove most human weakness: other countries would be clambering for this technology and it'd probably be used on soldiers, which will then be passed down genetically to their children, infecting most of the future population. On the other hand, what if the genetic modifications make them unable to reproduce? That has just greatly limited our population, though that may reduce the strain we currently face.
Then let's say it does reduce our susceptibility to those certain diseases. What if it causes humans to be susceptible to certain diseases that are strictly contracted by those certain animals that we are splicing our DNA with? It could have varying outcomes, each of which doesn't seem very positive. We could be infecting the human DNA strands and, in some cases, causing humans to, overall, be more susceptible with these new diseases they can contract than before.
Another way to look at it is from the point of view of it working and there being no new diseases that humans are susceptible to. Let's say this new technology actually worked. Well then, there's a great chance of our life span increasing with greater resistance to diseases and other such things. Well, that in turn will cause the population to increase as the death rate is decreasing, yet again, while the birth rate remains the same. We will have a larger population of elders.
Social Security was originally created with the knowledge that there was a small percentage of elders in the over all population and that not many reached the age for benefits. The economic crisis now is bad enough with the amount of elders we currently have. Add in an even greater amount, we'll be doomed! If the birth rate remains the same, there'll be a greater percentage of elders in the population. Alternatively, the percentage of elders will also increase if, let's say, the fertility span for women also increases and lengthens, allowing women to have more kids, further increasing the population. The increase of population will only serve to further strain the economies and planet, causing for possible food shortages and such, poverty, and a possible lower standard of living.
I'm not saying that any way you look at it is negative but I do see many issues that could arise. There are some benefits but, currently, I believe there are too many questions to be answered and not enough research has been done, relying more on speculation to further the project idea."
I stopped my monologue then, watching Drs. Warren and Walter as they looked at me dumbfounded. Dr. Warren's mouth hung open slightly, looking rather unattractive and unbecoming for a scientist of his stature. I looked around to see the rest of the class also staring at me with similar dumbfounded expressions while Mr. Carson beamed with pride. He was smiling broadly and giving me an encouraging nod as if to congratulate me on my research and insight into the project, viewing both benefits and drawbacks. I turned back to Dr. Warren to see him swallow slightly and dryly lick his lips.
"Well… I can see why Mr. Carson said you had great input on debates," Dr. Warren replied. "Those are, all very true, but we believe that only research will tell," he added.
"And if selfish and personal gain, not necessarily on your part, but on the part of people who have much to gain, pushes the project through despite research?" I asked carefully, knowing it was something that was somewhat likely to happen. Dr. Walter glared ever so slightly.
"It won't as you are correct in saying there is much to lose should the research results come back positive. This is why research and testing must be done. So far, we have had rather promising results in our animal testing. We are hoping to start human testing by the end of the week," Dr. Walter replied dryly, with a hint of well suppressed anger in his voice. I narrowed my eyes slightly at that, having been unaware of testing being so soon to start.
"Well, that was an… enlightening and interesting view on this topic. Shall we move on to the demonstration portion, Dr. Walter?" Dr. Warren asked quickly to which Dr. Walter nodded.
"Yes, yes. As you can see," Dr. Walter said as he lifted one of the cages up onto the desk next to the contraption with the two glass tubes. "We have our lion cub," he said as he pulled the cover off the cage, revealing an adorable lion cub which all the females in the class made sounds of awe to. I frowned slightly at the exotic choice of 'guinea pig' so to speak.
"And we have our eagle," Dr. Warren added as he lifted the other cage onto the table and removed the covering, revealing a young bald eagle. I frowned yet again, raising my eyebrows at the unique choice of specimen yet again that the two Doctors were using.
"Now, we will crossbreed them. First, we take some blood work from each," Dr. Walter explained as Dr. Warren took blood from each animal, squawks coming from the eagle and pitiful yowling from the lion cub. He then put each blood into two labeled vials of a substance. "Now, we put the blood into the labeled vials of base. This is the serum that will allow for the change in genetics when injected into the animals," Dr. Walter explained as he put the lion cub's cage onto one side of the platform. Dr. Warren did the same with the eagle only placing it on the opposite platform. When both were securely on, Dr. Walter pressed a button on the contraption and the glass tubes slid down around the cages into place, encasing them. It seemed to be soundproof as we were unable to hear the squawks or roars of either of the animals through the class.
"Now, we enter the serums on the opposite side of the animal," Dr. Warren said as he slid the eagle serum into the slot above the lion cub and the lion cub serum into the slot above the eagle. "And now, with the serums and animals securely in place, we turn on the disperser," he added as he pressed yet another button and the machine roared to life. The glass rotator with the glass vials of serum in it started to spin rapidly while the machine whirred. I watched as the blue serums started to disperse into blue haze, filling each of the glass tubes.
We waited several moments, watching the tubes fill with the gaseous serum before it started to dissipate and the haze began to clear. When the haze was almost gone altogether we could see the animals again. At first glance, it had appeared not much had changed, but then I noticed two odd and irregular bumps on the back of the lion cub. The bumps were slowly growing, slowly but noticeably. On the eagle, its body was steadily elongating and the back claws were growing slightly, fur growing over them.
We watched for several more minutes as the bumps grew on the lion cub before steadily lengthening and filling out to form large, elegant wings reminiscent of the eagle's yet rather fitting for the lion cub. The eagle, however, had filled out so that the back claws were replaced with paws, clawed and dangerous looking. The rear, which was more reminiscent of a cat or lion cub, was furred yet elegantly and smoothly transitioned to feathers around its midriff. The class and I gaped in amazement, looking on at the progress that had been made. Somehow, the serum had seemed to disassociate the DNA, choosing the favorable DNA strands to be spliced onto the pre-existing DNA.
"Well, there you have it. That was today's demonstration. Over the next couple of days, we will be explaining more how we developed this and the research we put into it as well as more on the serum," Dr. Warren said, glancing at the clock. I followed his gaze to see we had just about a minute left before the bell rang. While he said this, Dr. Walter had been busy removing the cages from what I assume was dubbed the 'Disperser', and placing them on the table.
"Yes and, ah, as we have no need for these animals, two students shall be free to take them. They are well trained and completely safe," Dr. Walter added, looking to Mr. Carson quickly who nodded in approval. The class started clambering at that moment, everyone wanting to take one of the animals home while I sat back, staring on in amazement. Though there could be possible negative side-effects, it was amazing all the same that the project had work. Science and technology were advancing at an alarming and scary rate.
"Yes, how about Nicole there, who kindly helped in setting the scene for us earlier this class period?" Dr. Warren asked, motioning to the cages. I found myself nodding mutely before walking up to the front and selecting the cage with the winged lion cub in it. I brought the cage right back to my seat, pulling my bag on as I stared at the lion cub inside, amazed. I hadn't even caught who took the other animal home as the bell rang and I picked up the cage, starting to file slowly out of the class. A few students paused slightly by the scientists before continuing on out. I stopped near where the scientists and Mr. Carson were speaking.
"Ah, Nicole! Rather insightful today in your opinions and discussion," Mr. Carson praised lightly. "I also see you got to take that extraordinary beauty." I smiled slightly, pulled from my reverie, and looked between the lion cub, Mr. Carson, and the scientists.
"Ah, yes, thank you Mr. Carson. He's really beautiful, isn't he? That was a wonderful demonstration today Doctors. As I said, I am a fan of the work. I'm just concerned that certain pressures and excitement might cause the proper questions not to be fully observed," I answered, mostly directed towards the scientists. They both smiled warmly.
"Yes we completely understand. You were rather insightful today and I do see why Mr. Carson regards you as his star pupil. Most certainly the top student," Dr. Warren replied warmly.
"Indeed. Well, best be off to class, and take good care of him!" Dr. Walter called out as I walked out of the room, headed towards my next period class.
"Human testing is due to start by the end of the week?"
I was in my ninth period class, later that day. It was almost the end, with about ten minutes left. Ninth period I had an Independent Study class with Mr. Dawson. He had agreed to help me with my independent study, furthering my knowledge of geometry. He had been my geometry teacher in the ninth grade and I found that I wanted very much to become either a math or science teacher. Geometry being my favorite subject, it was only natural that I wanted to take a geometry related independent study in my spare time.
Today's lesson had, like the others, passed fairly quickly. I had started my homework though, like always, I ended up stopping it with around ten minutes left of class so I could talk with Mr. Dawson until the end. He was a great teacher, though he acted more as a friend than a teacher half the time, and we had many long discussions involving school related topics such as classes, sports, and certain ridiculous drama and gossip. He acted more like a teenager sometimes than I did, which was sad, and he tended to tell a lot of funny stories.
Now, we were staring at the lion cub which was rather uncoordinatedly flying around the classroom. Thankfully, we had had the foresight to close both the door and windows before we let him out of his cage, as he had crashed into both a few times already, managing to remain unscathed. I had decided to name the lion cub Aslan as he was rather reminiscent of his movie and book counterpart. We were currently discussing the events that had occurred in AP Biology the prior period, while watching Aslan learn to fly.
"Yeah… at least that's what Dr. Walter said. From what I saw, it seems rather likely. The animal testing seems to have gone rather well and without any complications. I'm just a little confused as to why such a big advancement hasn't been published in a science journal," I told him, watching as Aslan jumped into the air off one of the desks, flapping his wings irregularly and uncoordinatedly before falling back down onto the desk, paws splayed, and tail falling in front of his eyes.
"Yes. One would think such advancement that their finds and the prospect of human testing would have been published. It's a huge advancement, as you said, from the previous article in which the serum was believed to be perfected and they were just initiating animal testing. To be moving onto human testing… it seems a little quick," Mr. Dawson replied before wincing as Aslan flew briefly before flopping onto his desk, scattering papers, many of which drifted to the floor.
"Yes, they're astounding," I replied quickly to him before calling sharply, "Aslan!" Aslan turned to look at me with as innocent a face a lion cub could make. He jumped up before he flew, near perfectly, over to our table and plopped down messily onto the desk we were sitting at.
"It's amazing his learning capabilities. He has already picked up on the name and his already apparent training is astounding," Mr. Dawson commented, studying Aslan carefully while I stroked the top of his head. He too started to carefully stroke Aslan's back, much to Aslan's enjoyment. "I assume it's the eagle. Eagles are rather intelligent birds. The training and enhanced learning capability must be an extension of the eagle," he hypothesized as he began long strokes, staring from the head down Aslan's spine.
"It does seem to be the only logical explanation. His strength does seem to have been uncharacteristically increased something that the eagle wouldn't have caused. The genetic modifications may have enhanced certain categories automatically, though I do agree that the intelligence enhancement was probably the eagle's doing. His flight was the eagle's doing as well, though his speed and agility, possibly enhancements due to the eagle, could also likely be base genetic enhancements that come from the serum as seen with his increase in strength," I replied as Aslan jumped again, flying perfectly over to Mr. Dawson's desk again before flopping down with a messy landing.
"Yes. He's already picked up flying in the almost fifty minutes he's had his wings, though his landings still need work," Mr. Dawson commented as Aslan walked in circles on the chair at his desk before Aslan curled up, seemingly to go to sleep.
"Yes… it's amazing yet scary at the same time. The potential this technology has- imagine the possibilities and potential hazards if used for the wrong purposes," I told him as the bell rang and I packed my bag. "What do you have after school today?" I asked Mr. Dawson, derailing from the prior conversation as I moved to the front of the room by his desk while he carried the cage up there. I only asked as I was wondering what we would be doing today. I stayed with him many days after the end of classes. The days of his math extra helps, I would stay and assist him, something he allowed me to do as he knew my interest in possibly being a math teacher. Other days, when he had nothing after classes, I would often stay and talk with him for a while. We would either stay in the classroom and talk or walk down to the math department and talk with the other math teachers as well. On rare occassions during good weather we would take a walk across the school grounds or campus, discussing gossip or various mathematical topics. Occasionally I would also assist him with grading tests and such.
"No extra helps or grading to do," he replied before grinning slightly. "But what we could do is teach Aslan more tricks and train him up a bit more. He's a quick learner so it should be fairly easy." I smiled slightly at the idea before agreeing.
"Yes but we should work on landings first. He's dreadful at them," I replied before we turned to Aslan who was gazing up curiously at us.
Nearly half an hour later, we were sitting down by his computer desk, watching as Aslan zoomed around the room, doing tricks and such. He pulled around sharply before speeding towards us, a blur, and landing gracefully on the desk in front of us. I smiled slightly as I stroked his head. He curled up sleepily on the desk in front of us, stretching and giving the lion equivalent of a yawn, before he curled up again.
"Well… that was fun," I commented lightly to him as I carefully scooped Aslan up, sliding him back into his cage.
"Mmmm…" Mr. Dawson agreed. "Are you going to bring him in again tomorrow?" he asked with a sly smirk.
"Probably. I guess I'll see you tomorrow then," I told him as I pulled my bag onto my shoulder and lifting Aslan's cage.
"Yes. We have extra help tomorrow- geometry. It's the day before their test so heads up," Mr. Dawson said as we walked out of the room, him locking the door behind us.
"Sure thing. See you tomorrow Mr. Dawson," I told him as I started towards the staircase across the hall, the door below it leading out to the senior parking lot.
"Alright Nicole," Mr. Dawson replied as he walked towards the math office. I walked downstairs and out the door, headed for the dorm rooms. I strolled quickly across the grounds before entering the dorm building for students and teachers alike. I took the stairs, stopping on the third floor and made my way down the hall and into my room, dorm room number 315.
I unlocked the door and entered the room, placing Aslan on the spare bed in my room. Unlocking his cage, I watched him roll out onto the bed and fall asleep. I smiled, laughing slightly, glad for once that I didn't have a roommate.
"That's right. Get some sleep buddy."
A/N: I know that some things aren't scientifically possible but for the sake of my story, we'll pretend that they are. Review and Enjoy!