The Mitochondrian Manipulation
Posted on March 5, 2016
The Mitochondrian Manipulation.
“I’m very sorry, Sir”, mumbled Jeremy Thumblewick.
He was a small man in stature, barely four foot three inches tall, and he looked forlorn and beaten. He was now gazing sadly at the floor, and fidgeting in a mighty embarrassment. He couldn’t even bear to look up into the apoplectic face seated above him, glaring down upon him. The cross examination, fierce and incessant, had been going on for half an hour already, and the questions from the three men seated on the Board of Enquiry had been raining down, fast and furious, upon his balding head. The assembled crowd packed the court room tightly, with many more huddled in the corridors outside, alternately sighing in horror, or recoiling in stunned amazement. The beans were being well and truly spilled now, and what an astonishing variety of beans they were proving to be.
“You mean to say, Mister Thumblewick, that you never thought your artificial nuclear mitochondria would lead to such rampant evolutionary changes in the unwitting ecosystem that you so foolishly decided to experiment upon?”
Poor Jeremy tried hard to draw himself up in a picture of irritated intellectual indignation. It didn’t really work, but he tried anyway.
“Sir, my invention was not designed to waste away in a laboratory, after thirty years of incessant labor. The never ending regulatory hoops, checks and trials were threatening to wholly negate the potential benefits and bounty to mankind.”
There was an instant chorus of dissent and outrage. One of the three interrogators, a hawkish looking man with extravagant eyebrows, raised his voice and bellowed:
“So you took it upon yourself without reference to this august college of learning, without even a nod at the Hippocratic oath, without a momentary pause or reflection, you took it upon yourself to expose a select number of diminutive Hottentot gentlemen to your unproven biological modification agent…! How, mister Thumblewick, could you possibly justify such a reckless and unheard of course of action?”
Jeremy, feebly, mumbled:
“Well, I felt a deep empathy for them, Your Honor…”
The hawkish man with the extravagant eyebrows feigned breathlessness, and utter astonishment, and snarled:
“You felt EMPATHY for them… EMPATHY…?”
“Well, yes, Sir”, spoke Thumblewick, trying to strike a note of defiance. He raised his four foot, three inch body as erect as it could go. “I did. After all, they were horribly malnourished, and the lack of calories in their diet was leading to stunted development in their children. It grieved me to see it. I knew my modified mitochondria, because they tapped into nuclear processes rather than chemical, would allow these people to healthily subsist off even very small amounts of nourishment. The energy density of the nuclear processes referred to as L.E.N.R. being many millions of times more dense than any chemical storage, I knew would give these poor people an unlimited amount of much-needed energy. And…”
Another member of the panel, a small rotund gentleman, mopping his forehead with a large white handkerchief, quivering in indignation, interrupted at this point, shouting, wild eyed:
“You had no right! No right, I say. What possible justification can you offer this court for the titanic catastrophe that you have foisted upon the human race?”
Fumblewick, beaten but yet defiant, repeated almost petulantly:
“Well, I felt sorry for them…! I know what it feels like to be bullied all your life, just because you’re a lot smaller than all your peers…!”
Wiping his forehead effusively, the small rotund man now yelled:
“Sorry? Sorry? What has sorry got to do with anything?”
Fumblewick, feeling outraged at this callous statement, protested furiously.
“That all well and easy for you to say, but these people, on account of their small stature, were being terribly bullied by the Zulus. They were being humiliated and teased in public, and I just felt I could fix that…”
The man with the extravagant eyebrows, well aware of all the reporters and high ranking dignitaries in the spell bound audience, chose sarcasm as his next weapon.
“Well, you certainly FIXED it, Mister Fumblewick. Indeed, you most certainly FIXED it.”
“Well, how was I to know that the body relied upon the limited energy supplies available as a system of checks and balances upon development? The body of evidence within the literature seemed to imply that there was a limit to growth, if the body was supplied with adequate nutrition during development. It hadn’t occurred to anybody within the Scientific Community that there was a fundamental limit imposed by the oxygen glucose energy cycle.”
Extravagant eyebrows, still thinking of his dramatic impact on the hushed audience, now snarled triumphantly:
“And that is the reason for those regulatory hoops, checks and trials, which you so vehemently disparaged not two minutes ago. Explain to his court how we are supposed to deal with rampant, eighteen foot super pygmies, currently conquering the entire southern hemisphere, running riot through traditional Zulu heartlands, not to mention even one opposing, hapless modern army…?”
Fumblewick, wishing fervently he was somewhere else, was forced to reply:
“Well, yes, I did. I thought it was only fair. I did what I thought was the moral thing to do at the time, and nobody can blame me for how it turned out. Perhaps it wasn’t the most cautious thing, but it was the moral thing, and therefore the only choice I could have made and still abide by my sense of fair play. “
A chorus of voices were now shouting all at the same time. Above the hubbub, one voice stood out. It belonged to a smartly dressed man with an air of bafflement about him, who shouted:
“So now we know how the eighteen foot, rampant super pygmies came about, sweeping all before them, dishing out payback on an unprecedented scale, especially to the unfortunate Zulus, but where on earth did they get their fifty foot long, thirty foot tall, raging canine war mounts…?!”
Fumblewick shuffled uneasily.
“Speak, Sir, speak..!”
Fumblewick, sheepish once again, mumbled:
“Well, I thought the pygmies would be upset if they flourished, while their pet dogs kept starving…”
It was the turn of the rotund man, perspiring furiously, and now blinking one eye neurotically, to exclaim:
“And so you decided, while you were at it, to expose their starving dingo dogs to the same mitochondrian biological modification agent… am I correct?”
“Yes,” said Fumblewick, feeling ridiculous.
The baffled man now waved some photographs in the air.
“And the fact that a cruise liner was recently casually bowled over, and half the passengers got devoured by a vast armada of hundred and fifty foot ravenous crocodiles, can you explain that, Mister Fumblewick?”
“Yes”, said Fumblewick. “After I injected some of the dogs, two ran down to the river, and tried to escape. I guessed they didn’t like my syringe needles very much. Well, they got ambushed and eaten by a pair of alligators. These alligators then seem to have become river super studs, with unlimited sexual urges, impregnating every female crocodile up and down the river. And even a couple of very perplexed hippopotamuses. This orgasm of…”
The noise in the court room now reached a crescendo. Everybody was talking at once.
“Mister Fumblewick! Mister Fumblewick!”
Breaking all protocol, a member in the audience was now speaking rapidly, with an imploring expression.
“Mister Fumblewick, can you explain the three hundred thousand strong crowd protesting outside the White House, insisting we hand over power to the Pygmies?”
“Well”, mumbled Fumblewick, “It seems that my mitochondrial modification agent didn’t just provide unlimited energy, it also seems to have boosted their intellect and academic brilliance to far beyond genius level. I would estimate triple genius level, actually. Having virtually taken over Facebook and all social media, their all conquering, military brilliance and dynamic rhetoric is such that many people seem to really like the idea of being governed by such strong beings, even if they do tend to run around on super dingoes, wearing only a loin cloth, and a bone stuck through their nostrils. It is my understanding that women especially are drawn to the raw masculinity and…”
There was chaos in the room. Everybody was talking at the same time. All of a sudden, the roar of jet engines could be heard in the distance. The wail of air raid sirens now started winding up. Everybody looked horrified. A side door burst open, and a white faced usher rushed in.
“We’re under attack! We’re under attack! They’re saying on the radio that a new type of fighter is overwhelming our defenses, and they are being flown by super intelligent shrimps!”
Everybody panicked. People started to flee outside.
Fumblewick, thoughtfully, raised his finger.
“I think I can maybe explain that”, he said thoughtfully.
“The super crocodiles would have been defecating in truly massive quantities, especially after all those well fed passengers, which would have slowly been dissolving into minute particles. The shrimps, in turn, would…”
But nobody was listening anymore. Bodies were being trampled in the rush to the exit, and screams and wails of anguish mixed it with the ever increasing volume of noise from the attacking jet fighters.
Fumblewick sighed, and leaned back in his chair. Then he pulled a small brown pouch from his jacket pocket. He looked at it thoughtfully for a whole minute, sighed, and withdrew a shiny syringe.
Holding it up to the light, he mumbled to himself:
“Well, I messed it all up, maybe I can fix it. But I’ll need all the brain power I can muster…”
With that thought he plunged the syringe into his leg, wincing momentarily.
Then he sighed, philosophically, knowing that the mitochondrial biological modification agent would even now be reaching his brain.
With luck, he would figure out the answer to their conundrum.
He shut his eyes, and methodically imagined giant fan-driven mountains of Tartar Sauce rearing up and overwhelming speedy prawns travelling at over the speed of sound.
Yes, it really was quite interesting what you could achieve with nuclear powered mitochondria…
Last edited by Francis Meyrick on March 5, 2016, 10:47 am