Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta scientists. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta scientists. Mostrar todas las entradas

lunes, 27 de noviembre de 2017

Deadland

   The mask Arnold was wearing was very tight around his head. It was a very uncomfortable thing to wear but it was the safest way to cross such a horrible place. The Deadland, as some had named it, was a huge marsh land that had always been there but, all of a sudden, had begun to grow and occupy more and more territory. Of course, this happened after the war, a time in which a faction had used the marshland as a hiding place for themselves and all their weapons, including experimental ones.

 It was rumored that an explosion had occurred a few months before hostilities had ended. The problem was, no one could really tell if such an explosion had happened. Some of the elders from nearby towns, people who used to get in their boats and fish on the canals crossing the marshland, were the ones that told the rest of the world about the explosion. As many satellites had been rendered useless in the fight, there was no way to confirm what they had seen or any detail related to it.

 According to the general story, a roaring sound preceded the actual explosion. Some said it was like a gigantic lion roaring in pain or a panther, about to attack its prey. They all agreed that the earth shook violently afterwards and that the water in the canals rose in the most dangerous manner. Some even said they had fallen of their boats. A mushroom cloud then rose from the marshland and it had a very specific feature to it: it was very elongated and the color of a ripe plum.

 The elders said the cloud rose to the sky for several days, until it apparently dropped back again to the ground. It was very strange that, if that was the case, no one had the idea of taking a picture. A woman on the other side of the marshland tried to show Arnold and his team a picture she had allegedly taken but it was as blurry as those UFO pictures people used to believe were real. The woman was obviously in need of much needed attention, so they left telling her she was right about everything.

 Penetrating into the marshland had not been the first idea of the government but, after testing the air and water, it seemed the place was really changing fast in a chemical way, at the very least. The toxicity had grown so fast, that some people had died when passing by the marshland and not even entering. That was what made the government decide to send the team inside and not only collect proof of how that ecosystem was growing and, at the same time, seemed to be poisoning itself by the minute. It was very important to know what was going on.

 Arnold’s team was made up of only five people. The military had sent their representative, as well as one from the department of National Security and another from the Ministry of the Environment. The other two people were him and his assistant Linda, who had asked repeatedly if she could join the team. She had always had a certain obsession with fungus and mold and every toxic thing in the world and she wanted to be a part of the team that went inside that awful place.

 They did so one morning, after eating a very light breakfast. They all put on their masks and carried a backpack, which was half a tank of oxygen and half scientific equipment. Even the military guy had to carry computers and other things to test plants and, if they found any, animals. He carried a large assault rifle and a gun on his thigh, which was clearly excessive. If he misfired or anything bad happened, guns would not be a match for toxins. But he didn’t seem to mind that detail.

 The place was flooded with water and it was right there when they found the first traces of heavy toxicity: the bodies of several small mammals floated all around them. There were rats and raccoons and also squirrels. Many tiny corpses of little colorful birds floated there too and it was clear the possibility of anything surviving such a catastrophe was not very high. They moved on, trying to find dryer land but they couldn’t. So they took out the inflatable boat and paddles and moved on.

 They had decided against bringing a boat with an engine because of the noise it made and because its movement could cause some unwanted reaction in the water. The best idea was not to disturb the environment, even if it was doomed for a prompt death. The woman from the Department of National Security was one of the two people paddling, slowly through the maze of trees and many other plants. It was her who gasped and made everyone look to the side. The boat stopped.

 There was a tree there, which was not very unusual. But what made them open their mouths in disbelief was that it was twice or maybe three times the size a normal tree was. This wasn’t a red oak forest or anything like it. Most trees in these parts would only grow to three or four meters, at most. But that one was huge and, not only that, it featured some of the brightest colors any of them had ever seen. It was almost as if the tree was glowing right there, during the day, with the sun very high in the sky. But it wasn’t. It was a strange mutation, result of some kind of event.

 Arnold began to realize that all reports about an explosion had to be true. Only a cataclysmic event of that magnitude could explain the strange changes that were now obvious all around them. Because there were not only dead animals and colorful trees, also huge bushes that had once been as tall as a medium sized dog and water that seemed to be colored blue. The scariest part of it all was when, out of nowhere, a bird flew from a tree and flew above their head, making them spent more oxygen that they should have.

 The creature was not only bigger than a normal bird from a swamp; it had also developed new features in its body. As a scientist, both Arnold and Linda knew that any other scientist would be thrilled to visit such a place, once they knew about the change that has been done. Mankind had been the one to blame here, that much was true. No creature evolves from one day to the next. So Arnold proposed a slight change of course, in order to look for the source of the explosion and any remains that could exist.

 After several hours of paddling, in which each person did a shift, they didn’t seem to find anything knew. According to their devices, they were about to hit the northern border of the growing marshland, which wasn’t where they wanted to go at all. They needed to go deeper, to the center of the whole ecosystem in order to see for themselves if there was some kind of remnant of the bomb or whatever it was that caused the explosion. It was essential to find the key to explain the existence of such a place.

 The boat moved around several canals and, finally, they seemed to be where they wanted. However, the sun was beginning to descend and that meant they had little time to go around and look for any evidence. Besides, their oxygen tanks weren’t eternal and there was no way to survive that place without them. Arnold descended from the boat and asked for the military guy to accompany him. His weapons could be of use after all. It was not a place to be taking things lightly.

They had barely started their walk when a roaring sound came from beneath the canal, not the trees. Something resembling a tree branch, but much thicker and mobile, appeared from beneath the boat, knocking it out of the way and sending its passengers flying.


 Linda fell close to the men and the other woman swam fast to the edge of trees where she could be rescued. However, the fifth member of the team was impaled by the branch, after he had landed on a nearby mangrove. They couldn’t scream, just run, hoping that thing wasn’t able to follow them.

viernes, 14 de abril de 2017

The bird

   The bird was simply majestic. It had entered the canyon unexpectedly but the people that were there couldn’t take their eyes off of it. It’s wings were very large, so large in fact that the shadow that the creature casted over the terrain was huge. Some of the tourists near the river were a bit afraid of this because of the disproportionate size of the creature. Maybe it was precisely that feature that made it seem like it was flying very slow and close to the water. It was just like a dream.

 As it passed near the group of people, the bird let out a sound. It made all hairs stand on every human that heard it, as it was the most metallic sound a bird could ever do. It was as if the creature was not a biological being but that was impossible because of the eyes of the bird. No mechanical bird would look around like that. The bird continued to fly through the canyon until it reached a tight turn. Then it elevated it’s body toward the sky and soon it had disappeared completely from their sight.

 Every person there starting talking when the creature went away. It was as if the volume had been turned off for a moment and now it had made a comeback. The kids that had been playing in the water went back to it, but with much less enthusiasm than before and all the adults started mumbling and then openly talking about what they had just seen. It was obvious that gigantic birds were not really the norm in the region or out of it. They had just been in the presence of a unique event.

 The group was made of family members from all branches: grandparents, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and so on. Every single one of them had decided to do a little picnic down in the canyon, which was located only an hour away from the town where they were all staying overnight. That town was the one where their family had begun so they were essentially coming back to their roots, teaching their children all about the region that they had known so well when younger.

 As they had been cooking meat just before the bird had made its appearance, they soon realized it had been burned by fire. So much so, that they had to throw it away and put some new pieces of meat and start all over again. As they ate, some time later that day, the obvious topic was the gigantic bird and everything about it. One of the women said that she new a biologist from the university she worked in. She would talk to him about it as soon as they went back to the city, in order to know if that creature was known to science or if it was a new discovery.

  Weeks later, when she got to talk to the biologist, she realized something that made her look and feel very dumb: no one in her family had thought of taking a picture of the creature with a cellphone or a camera and they had lots of those that day, laying around as every silly thing they did was awarded with the taking of a picture. Her friend told her that it would have been easier that way but that she could describe the creature in detail and that way they could recognized it from archival footage.

 It wasn’t a surprise when the biologist almost fainted as the woman told him everything about the bird: its size, the silvery color of its feathers, its very particular cry and all other features she could remember. At first he was scared but then he decided his friend was not telling him the truth. He tried to convince himself of that. But the woman was so adamant he knew that there was something big there. After consultation of the archive, they didn’t find any bird even remotely similar.

 The woman was about to leave when she asked the man that, if they creature was a new discovery, her family would love to see their last name being celebrated on the bird’s scientific name. For them, it would be an honor to serve as the people that discovered a brand new creature, not known to mankind before it had appeared on that canyon, the day they had decided to go for a picnic. She said goodbye and the biologist stood there in silence, thinking what to do next.

 He decided to form a group and leave for the canyon as soon as possible. Contrary to what one may think, not many people knew about that access the family had use to the inner side of the canyon. Most people stayed on the higher level, in order to look into the rock formation from above. It was a spectacular creation of nature, with the red rock perfectly worked by the river and the wind, as well as the passage of time. It was a wonderful place to find something great.

 The scientific group was made of five people. They decided to probe different areas of the canyon in order to look for new form of life. At the beginning, they thought it was going to be very easy, as the size of the bird wouldn’t make it very easy for it to hide, but they soon realized that it was going to be much more complicated than that. The first day, they didn’t see a thing. However, they did discover two new species of butterflies, as well as a new type of fungus that grew near the river. It was very exciting but not exactly what they had come for.

 The second day was the same, although they did discover a new bat and several other bugs that science didn’t know nothing about. By the third day, they decided to move along the river and see where they could end up. Supposedly, it wasn’t possible to that for the whole extension of the canyon, as the river was bigger in some parts than in others. They walked for two day in one direction but didn’t find more than some other bugs and other minor creatures.

 They turned around when a huge boulder fell down on them, almost killing one of the scientists. They decided to go up the river this time, which was apparently easier. But after three days, the new animals became scarce and it was obvious they were not going to see any huge birds soon. It started to rain soon enough and the fact that they were in a canyon became a very dangerous thing. They didn’t even stay one whole day more. The group had to exit the canyon in order not to be taken away by the engorged river.

 They camped in the upper area of the rock formation and analyzed several of the specimens that they had discovered. They could do that in an actual laboratory but the truth was they all wanted to see the gigantic bird. But how to attract it, how to make it come to them? They wanted to know, at least, more details about where they could find it. But there was nothing to tell them anything new about it. They had to be patient and realize it even may not happen for them.

 They stayed for two more days but the bird never appeared. The scientist went back to the city, as they had tons of information to process. It hadn’t been a wasted journey because of the many discoveries they had made but the crown jewel of the whole thing had not been found. Some had even decided to doubt the story and they openly said the bird was probably an illusion or something of the sort. The rest agreed, even if with all their heart they wanted the creature to be real.

 Many years later, the same family went back to the canyon. The elders had passed away and their ashes were going to be spread on the river, near the place where they had grown up. It was a very sentimental moment, everyone was in silence, mourning.


Suddenly, the bird appeared again. It looked exactly as it had look years ago. However, this time it landed near the family, bowed and then left again. Everyone had been taken aback by the bird except one of the youngest children, who did turn on her cellphone just in the right moment.

miércoles, 5 de abril de 2017

Experiment

   Suddenly, it was as if all the oxygen in the room had been extracted. David started coughing and then his knees made his body collapsed to the floor, unable to hold him any longer. He felt as if his weight was three times as much. The room around him, well lit only seconds before, suddenly became a dark place, more like a cave than a normal hotel bedroom. He tried to inhale through the nose but it didn’t work. He opened his mouth wide but that didn’t do anything either.

 If that was possible, his brain was hurting. It was as if someone was burning it inside of his skull. The coughing continued, with his hands against the floor, trying to breather once again. But nothing happened. That was what people in space must feel like when they have a bad space suit or when the ship is not working properly. His head started spinning and, in a matter of a few more seconds, David fell completely to one side, closing his eyes, stopping his attempts to breath.

 Hours later, he woke up. He wasn’t dead, which was good. He had a mask over his face, apparently supplying him all the oxygen he needed. His head was still spinning, but David tried to make sense of where he was. He looked to the right and saw nothing more than a table full of operating tools. The wall was made of metal and there didn’t seem to be any windows in the room. To the left, there was a door, also made of metal, in the middle of the wall. There was some sort of sound coming from the other side.

 In the right moment, David closed his eyes and tried to breath normally. The sounds he had heard were voices and they were apparently discussing him. As they entered the room, they commented on the health of the subject, that probably meaning him. For their tones, he could infer one of them was a woman and the other a man. They walked around him, probably staring at his body, sometimes saying something interesting and some other times just walking.

 One of them touched David in the head and it had required a lot from him in order not to scream. He didn’t really know why, but the touch of that person had triggered a horrible headache. It was as if he or she had fire on the tip of the chosen finger. They left after doing that, probably expecting to have an instant reaction and instead not getting anything. But as soon as they left, David opened his eyes, touched his head and realized it was still burning. Or at least that’s how it felt, as if he had been marked like cattle by however those people were.

 The point was, he didn’t want to know what else they had prepared for him. He stood up, got down the table he had been laid on and walked to the door. No sounds were coming from the other side so he opened it and ran out. There was a very long corridor but he just chose a direction in the moment and started running. Soon, he had to stop. All of a sudden, he felt very tired and the headache threatened to make a comeback, which wouldn’t help him at all right then.

 He was then more careful, walking along the hallway until he saw another door, which he opened. It was a closet. He was a about to close it when he realized there were several robes there, the kind doctors use. He hadn’t seen the people that had entered the room he was in, but they possibly had those robes on. So he entered the closet and put one over his body. He then realized that he wasn’t wearing his shirt, only his pants and shoes. It was very strange but he didn’t have an answer for that.

 David came out of the closet and started walking again, this time with a faster pace but without really running. He finally found a crossroads and it was there, from the distance, where he saw other people in robes, checking on some papers. The hallway they were standing on was much shorter, as on the other side there was a massive room, very white and bright. He would have wanted to know what that was all about but the real goal was to get out of there fast, before they noticed he had escaped.

 He checked at least five more doors along the way, finding only rooms just like the one he had been in and more closets. Finally, he ended up in a tiny open space, that had a very different door, this one made of glass, with one of those machines on the side were you put a card for the door to open. Obviously he had no card and he had no idea how to make the door open. His breathing started accelerating and, even as he tried to calm down, it didn’t work at all. It was as if something was inside of him.


 Suddenly, several men and women with robes surrounded David, as he collapsed on the floor completely. The headache was getting stronger. But instead of helping him to a bed or something, the people were just watching and using instruments to measure something over his body. They waved those things over him but then someone else appeared. Someone who’s voiced he recognized. But he couldn’t raise his head to look at the person, as the pain had grown too strong. David finally collapsed and the last thing he heard were the words “It was a success”.

jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2016

Dolly

   Everyone looked through the window. They almost seemed unable to breath. The specialists on the other side were carefully helping the female elephant to get on the floor and lay down on her side. The animal was strangely restless and wouldn’t listen to any human. She gave a couple steps backwards and some forward. Her eyes went from the people around her, to the window, to the door. For a moment, some thought she was trying to figure out how the get out of there, by force if necessary. But the truth was that she was really restless.

 One of the people around her injected her with a serum to make her a bit more manageable, as they needed her on the floor and not pacing around in desperation. Of course, in the wild, the animal had her young whenever she felt was a safe and good place to have hit. It wasn’t a thing of being comfortable but more to do with the fact of being safe. In that room, however, she didn’t feel safe at all and that’s why she kept moving and refused to do what was natural. She felt danger all around and she was all that wrong.

 After all, every woman and man around her were there to take way her young as soon as she had it. Or at least that was the initial idea, until they discusses it and arrived to the conclusion that taken the cub away from the mother could have really important consequences for his survival. The baby probably needed his mother’s milk but also her protection and love. If they showed her they only wanted to help, maybe she wouldn’t feel so hostile towards them and may even be able to let them do their research on him, if that was their goal.

 After a second injection, the elephant finally lay down on the floor on her side. She begin to make a really weird sound that one expert called a “sign of melancholia”. It was very strange to attribute human traits to animals but it wasn’t uncommon to see creatures behaving exactly like actual people, especially when they have been living or have been very close to a large amount of people or even just one person in particular. It happens with dogs and even with cats and birds. It’s a strange form of attachment, still pretty uncommon though.

 They soon started making tests on her and helping her breathe properly. The people behind the glass were glued to it, as it was the first time that they would be in the presence of the miracle of life. The women there had never had children and no one had been in the room for the delivery of a human baby, much less and elephant baby. They were looking forward to it but the process also made them really nervous because they knew elephants could be very temperamental and even a real danger if you were in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

 But the one there was to drugged up to do anything against anyone. A couple of scientists started massaging the animal’s belly, trying to stimulate the birth. It was a very long process until some of the effect of the drugs wore off and it was the creature herself that pushed the baby out because she obviously felt obliged to do it. She was desperate to have her baby and once she had it, she turned around her head to see how he was and if he was alive. Elephants would even eat the placenta too, as nutritious as it is but that didn’t happen.

 The mother touched her cub with the trunk and then let out a very loud sound that seemed to be product of fear or something worse. Again, they gave her a shot and she was sleepy for a while and then fell asleep for real. The baby was then helped to her milk and while he was getting fed, they measured everything and started taking pictures. The people behind the glass couldn’t do that because their cellphones had been taken away form them but they understood why: the new creature they were looking at was something else.

 The process had been a success and the insemination of an elephant with DNA from an extinct species had been successful. The young mammoth seemed to be just perfect. He was drinking milk like crazy but he also seemed to be very curious, looking around the room and at the people. His fur was still a little bit wet but the thick brown fur could easily be appreciated. One scientist dared to take off his gloves and attempt t touch him but the supervisor caught him just in the right second. They couldn’t allow that.

 After eating, the creature seemed to be very interested in his surroundings. He even walked slowly towards the glass and lightly touched it with his trunk. The people on the other side were ecstatic, they couldn’t even begin to understand how amazing what they were watching was. No human had seen one of those for the last four thousand years and now, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, there was a mammoth walking around, touching almost everything with his trunk, being caressed softly by the scientist that were proud of their work.

The cub went back to his mother and he seemed to notice that she wasn’t really responding. The reason was simple: she was asleep after all the effort and didn’t have the opportunity to properly meet her child. However, most people had noticed that the mother had not been very eager to see him as much as the scientists were. It was pretty understandable: after all, she was an elephant and she had just delivered a baby into the world that didn’t look like her, at all.

 As the cub moved around and did small sounds with his trunk, the people behind the glass were simply over the moon. They had been told that they were going to see something very special and amazing but they would have never guessed an extinct creature was the secret of the facility. They thought a cure for some awful disease had been found or that something to do with communications had been discovered. The world did not receive news like this one every day so it wasn’t a surprise that every electronic device had been taken from them

 They were given five more minutes for observation and then a very kind young woman came and told them to exit the room and follow her. They did exactly that and joined her to a conference room, where she left them alone for a couple of minutes. In that time, every single one of them bursted into talk, saying how simply incredible what they had seen was. Their general opinion was that what they had just seen could be one of those world-changing things people love to talk about. It could be very big and important.

 The group was made of entrepreneurs, journalists and other scientists whose specialty was not biology. The woman came back and asked them to fill a survey and they she told them they could begin elaborate their plans but that they would need final approval by the laboratory in order to publish a paper, release a statement about any ideas or projects or anything related to the mammoth. They all nodded and the woman left again, with the promise to return their electronic devices to them when she returned. And so she did.

 As the men and women were being escorted to the entrance, they realized that the secret was really important for the people that had done this. And they also realized that the laboratories had challenged some ethical procedures. Besides that, they hadn’t been presented with an explanation of why they had done what they had done. And why a mammoth? Other animals had been dead for millions of years and DNA had also been found from them. Why not a dinosaur or an ancient wolf or an extinct tropical bird?


 The moment they stepped the parking lot, most of them started calling their boards or their most trusted advisors. Ideas had come up in the way to the front gate and they were already envisioning many things to do with the creature. It was a small and furry gold mine that could translate in many more extinct gold mines in the future. But their enthusiasm was broken when a scientist ran towards the lady that had attended to them and announced something sad: “The mammoth and his mother just died”.