Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Garden by Paul T Harry



It’s got to be here somewhere, mused Adam as he studied the computer screen in front of him. Where was the breakdown occurring? Was it within the supplemental DNA coding? He raised his head and looked across the lab to see if his assistant, Jera, was having better luck. No . . . he was still busy at his own terminal.

Adam looked back at his console, his light blue eyes darting back and forth across the monitor screen. It should be here, he thought. Everything was working until now. He reread the DNA sequence that ran in block-like configurations across the entire screen. At the end of the array, he scrolled down to the next section, searching again through the chemical formulas that made up section 1044. It had to be here. Somewhere in this genetic mess was the minor disruption that had stopped their experiment cold. It was exasperating.

One by one, Adam reread each phrase, studying each link with no luck. He touched the screen and waited for the next supplement variation to appear, the light from the monitor reflecting upon his lightly hued violet skin.

“Why was the photosynthesis breaking down?” he pondered aloud. What was he missing?

With a frustrated shake of the head he looked over toward Nata, his lab assistant.

“Nata, I’m ready to look at the next section series. Would you correlate the molecular formula for Chromosome 17, sections 1045, 1046, and 1047, including the supplemental variations?”

“Certainly, Sir,” Nata replied, her voice cool and succinct. “Accessing the data now.”

Adam watched hypnotically as Nata’s twelve fingers fluttered over her keyboard like a musical instrument. She was fast—a virtuoso when it came to processing his needs and interfacing with the main computer. This was not unexpected. She was, after all, a Q-l hybrid Trifeme—the very latest in Gios bio-tech engineering—and specifically geared for their type of research. And not bad looking either—considering. Her pale green face was long and slender and off set with small, delicate features, while her lips were a soft yellow, and her hair dark and black. It reached passed her shoulders.

“Sir . . . ?” Nata queried softly. Her voice interrupted his musing. “The information you requested is on your screen.”

“Thank you,” he replied, shifting in his chair—it was back to work.

Once again Adam’s screen was filled with an endless chain of molecular formulas—DNA sequencing that stretched from top to bottom, illuminating a broken, one-celled protozoa that couldn’t process its own oxygen. He bent forward and began to review the new series when suddenly from across the lab he heard an excited yelp.

“I think I found the problem!” the voice cried.

Adam’s head shot up. From the other side of the lab, Jera was rising from the second series terminal and heading toward them. Almost running, he passed the main terminal sections linking the entire lab’s facilities. As he got closer, Adam could discern the grin etched upon Jera’s face.

“Thank Jhira,” he thought. “If he’s found the answer, maybe we’ll get out of here early tonight—fifteen hours is enough.”

Rounding the colax memory boosters, Jera bounded to a stop behind Adam and Nata. His lightly colored mauve face was flush with excitement and his long, black hair flew from his rapid approach. Adam smiled. Jera was always animated.

“What sections are you reviewing?” asked the younger scientist, breathlessly.

“Chrome’ 17, Section 1045,” answered Adam.

“Well you’re practically on top of it then. Move over to section 1046 and look at supplement “B-2110. That’s where we’re experiencing the disruption.”

Adam pushed several keys on the computer and highlighted the area that Jera had indicated.

“See, right there . . .” noted Jera, pointing to the screen. “. . . see where the breakdown of photosynthesis begins. I don’t think we’ve given the cell enough chlorophyll to keep it actively functioning in Krella’s environment.”

Adam traced the formula on the screen, analyzing Jera’s observation. “You may be right,” he finally responded. “The structure does tend to weaken within this phrasing. “Any suggestions on how to correct it?”

Jera rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “It seems to me that we haven’t compensated enough for energy output. I’d like to try increasing chlorophyll production by a factor of .00045. It should boost the energy levels sufficiently for cell reproduction without affecting heat dissipation.”

Adam studied the formula again analyzing the DNA supplement while considering Jera’s suggestion. “All right,” he said finally, sitting back in his chair. “Let’s give it a try. Nata, throw everything up on H.O.L.D.”

“Yes, Sir . . . coding now . . . Sir, its ready,” she replied a second later.

“Nata, please—call me Adam. You’ve been working here three months already. I think we can dispense with the formalities.”

Nata’s face flushed. “Yes Sir, I mean—Adam. Sir . . . H.O.L.D. is online.”

Adam turned and winked at Jera, who responded with a small chuckle. Poor Nata, she was an unbelievably good secretary and computer analyst, but her nature was almost seemingly inbred for unerring professionalism. Oh well, things could be worse.

Back to the business at hand, Adam rose from his console and walked with Jera to the Holographic Opticom Laser Display, or H.O.L.D. as it was referred to. The holographic screen loomed before them, its large, rectangular shape illuminating nearly thirty metrons of the lab’s west wall. Stopping in front of it, the two scientists gazed upon the project that they had been working on together for the last year and a half. There was a lot of sweat and hard work here.

H.O.L.D. was impressive. It was a computer interface, divided into three sections, each section measuring five metrons in height and ten metrons in width. Its primary function allowed DNA scientists, like Adam and Jera, to create and build new trial life forms, as sanctioned by the Genetic Research Academy. It was on this interface that DNA formulas could be projected and tested to see if they worked, before physical implantation. Contamination in a real world environment had to be avoided at all costs—no one wanted an errant microbe on the loose.

Adam studied the first section of H.O.L.D., the one closest to him and Jera. This was the primary code board for their DNA formula—it looked like a black chalk board filled with equations that were moving in sequence across the screen. It was here that the scientists could play with their formula, essentially “chalking in” their experimentation by hand with a laser pen. Once the data was entered, the Opticom would assimilate the input and the results would be projected over onto the next two screens. Already, this first section was crammed with data—a theoretical hypothesis for a new life form that the two scientists had been working on for months on end.

“Nata, enlarge and freeze Chromosome 17, section 1046, supplement “B-2110, on all screens,” instructed Adam.

“Immediately, Sir,” replied the secretary, her fingers flying.

Adam waited as Nata instructed the computer to correlate the three points of reference on H.O.L.D.. The first screen took less than a minute, the second and third a little longer. The two scientists watched as the colored DNA ladder on the second screen slowed, its three-dimensional graphics becoming deliberate.

The third screen was the last to fall to Nata’s instruction. And without a doubt it was the most impressive of the three screens. Displayed on its surface was the computer’s pictorial combination of the first two optic-screens. In this case, the image was a delicate singled-celled life form floating in a water-based life field. Eventually, it too slowed and stopped.

Adam nodded to Jera, “Go ahead and note the areas of change,” he instructed, “I’ll correlate from the main terminal.”

Jera crossed to the first screen and removed a zithron laser pen from his pocket. Making several quick parenthetical notations on the primary board, he noted for the computer where his changes were to be inserted, then waited as the formula separated, providing him with the blank space in which to write. As he made his notations, Adam correlated the information from his terminal, feeding the new data into the computer’s memory. After several minutes of writing, Jera finally stopped and checked his work.

“I think that’s it unless you have any suggestions.”

Adam looked up, “No, we’ll give it a try just as you’ve noted. Give me a second to initiate the parameter fields.”

Jera turned back to the screen and waited while Adam reactivated the computer’s main memory. Slowly, the first screen began to shift, coming back to life as the DNA equations on the primary board realigned themselves. Immediately after, the second screen followed suit and the DNA ladder reassembled itself, rebuilding on the new molecular patterns that Jera had written for its latticed framework. Finally, the third screen wavered and the single-celled protozoa pictured on its surface glided back into motion.

Both men watched the tiny entity pulsate and twirl, spinning in a circular fashion as the computer quickly rearranged its molecular makeup. Adam glanced down at the readout on the console. The changes Jera initiated seemed to be working. There was even an additional hint of chlorophyll in the cell’s translucent membrane wall.

“What’s the readout say?” asked Jera from the optic screen. “Any improvement?”

“Yes,” answered Adam, double checking the readout. “It says the photosynthesis has been raised to level +.00022. That should put the life form into an improved energy vector, considering Krella’s limited sunlight. Well, well, well, look at this. Not only is the photosynthesis up, but the oxygen output level has also been boosted—a factor of +.00013. Very nice. I think you’ve solved our problem. Perhaps with a little more work this little creature might survive on Krella after all.”

“Yes, but will it reproduce?”

Adam glanced up at his coworker and chuckled. “I’m sure we’ll find a way. And when we do we’ll submit a rough draft to the Genetic Examiners. If they find in our favor we might even get preliminary approval for a planetary implantation.”

“Wow,” replied Jera—he moved toward Adam. “What do you think our chances are? How does this life form compare to others you’ve worked on?” 

“That’s a difficult question to answer,” said Adam, suppressing a yawn. “After all, up till this point most of my experience has been on a theoretical level or as an under-sci working on simple, basic bacteria and viruses with other scientific teams. This is my first project beginning with conception and design, all the way to implantation. It’s been exhilarating to say the least, but we still have a lot to accomplish. And we’ve been lucky—our experiments have gone well. For this, I must give you a measure of the credit. Your assistance has been invaluable.”

“Thank you,” Jera replied.

“You’re welcome—and you too, Nata. Your skills here have benefitted us greatly.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“I just hope that we succeed in rising to the expectations of the genetics council,” continued Adam. He rubbed his eyes. “Krikla! It’s been a long day. I’m tired. What do you say that we wrap it up for the day and get a bite to eat?”

The other two were voicing their agreement when a tone unexpectedly sounded from across the lab. “I wonder who that’s for?” asked Jera.

“Allow me,” said Nata, rising. She crossed the lab and stopped in front of a small opt-screen near the lab’s entrance. Pushing several buttons, she activated the communication device which lit up to display the face of a silver-metallic opt-tech.

Nata addressed the device. “This is GRL-4171-15 responding to a communication signal.”

“Acknowledged,” responded the opt-tech. “Please hold for incoming communication.” It then responded with a message: “Mirra Directory to GRL-4171-15, a request is placed for Adam Korton #14-311 of the Genetic Research Academy. Private communications sphere is forthcoming. Do you wish delivery? A privacy code will be required in order to forward this communication.”

“Adam, it’s for you,” Nata called back to the scientists. “It’s a commsphere.”

“Have them sent it,” responded Adam, “use the lab’s sub-code to authenticate.”

Nata shook her head and encoded the lab’s numbers. Within several seconds another tone sounded signaling the arrival of the sphere. She turned off the screen and opened the small opaque door that sat under the unit. Inside was a small, iridescent pink orb about the size of a marble. Nata picked it up, feeling its warmth upon her fingers. She walked back to Adam and Jera and handed it to Adam.

“I wonder what this is about.” he reflected, setting the glass orb onto the memory port of his computer. The commsphere rolled to the center of the port’s saucer-like dish and came to a rest.

Pressing a button at port’s base, Adam waited as its clear shielding rotated out and around, encasing the orb. A small light went on and the device began to hum. Immediately, the orb rose into the air slightly where it bobbed and danced, balancing itself on the currents of magnetic waves that bathed its surface. It then began to whirl faster and faster, twirling like a miniature planet floating in space. A tone sounded.

Adam glanced at the monitor. It was requesting a personal access code. He began to type. Seconds later a message was streaming across his computer screen.

“Is everything all right?” inquired Jera, noting Adam’s raised eyebrow and inquisitive expression.

“Yeah,” replied Adam, glanced up, “Take a listen . . .” He put the message on audio.

The computer began to speak.

“. . . Adam Korton, citizen #14-311 of the Genetic Life Academy of the Planet Mirra is hereby requested to appear before the Metra Examiners at the Center for Governmental Direction, tomorrow morning at ten. This meeting will finalize the commencement proceedings regarding the disposition of the Terran Council.”

Jera whistled softly. “I don’t believe it—they’ve chosen you?”

“This is incredible,” interjected Nata.

Adam shook his head, looking at both of them. “Now don’t get your hopes up. This may not be what we think it is.”

“Ah come on, Adam!” exclaimed Jera. “Who are you kidding? We know the decision was due sometime soon.”

“True . . . but that doesn’t mean that Eve and I were actually chosen.”

“Speaking of Eve,” queried Jera. “Do you think they’ve contacted her?”

Adam shrugged. “She told me this morning that she was going to be wrapped up most of the day lecturing to a group of medical students on the Oconia system. It seems there’s been an outbreak of disease on several of the planets in the system, so they’re preparing a group of med-techs to inoculate the inhabitants.”

“Well, why don’t you give her a call?” suggested Nata. “Maybe she’s returned.”

Suddenly, as if on cue, the door at the end of the lab abruptly swung open revealing a tall, violet colored woman with shoulder length, light brown hair. She stood there for a second looking about the lab, finally catching sight of Adam’s waving arm.

“We’re over here,” he called out.

Eve moved across the lab, her white smock rustling crisply against her long, slim legs.

“Adam,” she called out breathlessly. “I just received a communiqué from the Metra.” She held up a small spherical orb for him to see. “Hi, Jera . . . Nata . . .”

“Yes, I got one too.” he responded.

“Do you think they selected us?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered, rising to his full height of seven metrons. “It’s possible.”

“Oh I do hope so,” she replied, hugging him tightly. “We’ve waited so long.”

Adam smiled and looked into his wife’s turquoise colored eyes. He could feel the excitement of the Metra’s news coursing through her body. He squeezed her and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, the thought of being selected by the Metra running through his mind. Perhaps ... he thought ... perhaps. It was the feel of Jera’s hand on his shoulder that brought him back to the moment.

“I can’t think of a more qualified couple than you two,” Jera commented. “Jhira’s blessings are with you. And I am definitely honored to have shared in your friendship and your research.”

“We’re being premature,” coughed Adam, slightly embarrassed. “Besides, even if we have been chosen there’s still a great deal of work ahead of us, and plenty of time before we’re ready to leave Mirra. At any rate, we don’t know for sure that we’ve been chosen.”

“Well even so, this calls for a toast,” said Nata. “Let me get the vin from the freonic and some glasses.”


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Genre – Sci-Fi / Historical / Contemporary

Rating – NC17 for explicit sex

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