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    Thread: Carl's Conundrum

    1. #1
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Cool Carl's Conundrum

      Carl’s Conundrum


      Chapter 1: Earth 121, circa 3200

      The old Earth was long gone now, but not the planet itself, just everything on it had changed.

      It all started a few hundred years ago with experiments in gene splicing and artificial sicknesses made to add more resistance to our bodies and through that, let us live longer. It did work up to a point, in the years after they started adding things to our food and water people did live longer and healthier too. So much so that it became common practice to keep the experiments going without a second thought.

      But after a few major breakthroughs and a few not too well deserved grants and awards, the next generation of help was here, an artificial gene made just to add to us to make us stronger, younger, and less out of shape without a single bit of exercise needed. It was like a God sent to lazy people that wanted to look good, eat all they wanted, and stay healthy and attractive.

      But even God didn’t give us that, and when they got their awards for it many started to question how far we should go in changing ourselves, and religious groups started lobbying the worlds leaders saying that this just wasn’t right, and that these new artifical genes were a threat. But no one listened, and one day one man got fed up and decided to show them all, and his own research got started and when he got the gene himself in his lab, he started making a few changes on his own, and then released it into the atmosphere.

      His version took many of the same traits, like faster cell generation for longevity, and sped them up even more. Within a couple years animals that drank from lakes and streams started to change first just getting bigger and stronger, then after a while changing completely. He went on the news and Internet saying that their foolishness was getting away from them and pointed to oddities that suddenly appeared, blaming them instead for letting their research get away,and it didn’t take long for his labs to get searched and his own research found. And as he got dragged away on world wide news he was screaming that he would be vindicated and that God was in charge now, not him, and the world saw a sick man trying to make the news, and he had.

      But now things went from bad to worse. Animals and insects got bigger by a factor of 10, then more violent. Dogs and cats, long human pets now weighed hundreds of pounds, and had veracious appetites eating everything smaller than them.Insects swarmed and raided everywhere they could go... and winged insects can go everywhere. Millions died in weeks and special areas were set up to save as many as possible.

      And everything had to eat something, and soon rats as big as German Shepard were seen everywhere, and cats as big as lions. Then birds too getting to enormous sizes because they ate the rats and other small animals. But still the countries of the world thought they could control it all, and it became normal to see police shooting dogs and cats running down the street, or even attacking humans when they weren’t careful.

      Within 50 years the planet was no longer safe for Humans and cities were constructed underground where everything could be watched and filtered carefully.But on the surface it was a mad world and the man who started it was still in prison the day the walls fell and animals never seen by Man ran in to feast.

      And this is the world our alien friends are watching now, as they look sad that it had come to this.

      “Is there anyone there that can even make a difference on a world this bad?” Got asked and they weren’t even sure. But slowly they agreed that any help was better than none, and a young scientist working late one night in the corporate labs got a visitor from a major corporate sponsor... and after that talk got a research lab of his own....and a gift to wear for good luck.

      Carl Hemming was his name and his specialty was bio science and genetic engineering. He had always thought that since gene splicing and gene therapy got them into this mess it might someday get them out, and so he got the chance to research that for himself,and within a month he had a small lab running with the best equipment and a small hand picked team to help him, and even his friends were impressed that someone was willing to fund some of his odd ideas.And he just laughed saying that science knows no boundaries, and it got mentioned to him that thinking like that is what got them here in the first place.


      Chapter 2: Researching a Cure

      But Carl was thinking that if one rabid gene caused all this then another could fix it. Even if they had to kill the majority of harmful animals and insects on the surface, the world would adjust and Humans could survive.

      He was very lucky even before getting the ‘charm’ he wore now around his neck, because he came from a working class family, and if he hadn’t been able to prove his worth he would have been still out there, like many others the government couldn’t save.

      The underground city only held 5 million, mostly scientist and politicians that they seemed to think needed saving. But everyone who knew anything knew they were wrong. Once they returned to the surface they would need workers, farmers and mechanics, and there few to any here now.

      They saved the wealthy and the politically powerful, and a few like Carl they thought they might need later on. Their research was still going on into Immortality...overlooking the fact that that was what got them here. But to the few that survived... it was like God had spoken and they were ‘Chosen’ by him...but no one thought that was the case as their egos went into high gear and they overlooked the fact that even now supplies were running low.

      While Carl toiled away trying to find something they could use things got worse, and the government of the City made a decision that they needed more...of everything...and so people were chosen to go out and get it, at their own peril. But while many refused some did go, and as they came back with food they became more important, and their words were heard more often...up to a point.

      But they were left know that they were labor, nothing more, and there was a rift between the higher ups and this new group from the very beginning. But there were very few people with this kind of experience, and while they got every weapon they asked for, they were given only enough ammo to get the job done, to keep them from getting any silly ideas of their own.

      After months Carl had a plan, or part of one anyways. he went to one of the people that hinted for the city and ask him for a favor, and the man agreed. Carl gave him a small vile of liquid as the man looked worried just holding it, but Carl guaranteed it was safe.

      “And what do you want me to do with this?” he asked as Carl said to drop it into the ‘worst, most smelly bit of water he could find’, and the man laughed saying that wasn’t hard, and the deal got done.

      Carl had access to a satellite and with it he saw groups of animals the size of dinosaurs moving about. If they kept going like this they would overrun the entire planet, and nothing could stop them then. But if they stopped growing, and stayed the same for ever, then that gave scientists like Carl time to work, and his first experiment was to add new restrictions to the genes of animals, using the most well known set of millions of needles Nature had to offer.

      Once mosquitos were infected with the new gene then everyone they bit had a chance of passing the gene on to it. Then their wild race for size would stall, and Carl would have more time to figure out how to reverse it.As it is every generation got a bit bigger but that had to stop, and he hoped this was one step towards that.

      And as weeks and months went by hunters admitted to seeing some animals that were not only smaller but they were less violent, a side effect of the new gene. And because they were a bit smaller and less violent they became easy prey for the bigger meat eaters, and they too got the new gene as time went on.

      Carl knew by now it was working, and during one meeting of the Science Council he told them about his experiment, and while many thought it wonderful many did not.

      “You had no right to try such a far reaching experiment without our full cooperation!” he got told but he repeated that it was just a first step,and if it failed he didn’t want anyone to get in trouble for it but himself.

      But as the word of his research spread it got to ears that he had no idea about. These researchers were working for the main faction in office, and they were using the animals outside as part of their experiments. They sent out new genes to infect them with and in exchange got back blood samples faster and many times more pure than ever before. Their research into Immortality was more than just research to many it was their life’s work and they got everything they asked for no matter what it was, because people in office today wanted to be there forever.

      But his research slowed down their metabolisms, then their research ran slower,and so they too sent out new samples to be dropped, and without knowing it they started a cascade effect on the animals within a few hundred miles.
      Some accepted the restrictions easily, some never did, but then the new drops from the Science Council hit and then the bigger more violent animals got worse faster than before. Soon hunters going out were chased back instantly and food became scarce again.

      “I don’t care what it takes I need fresh samples!” they got told, and one by one they went out...and never returned. Now things were getting even worse again, and there were only so many people with these skills and so new ideas were tried, like calling animals in close then darting them from inside using drones, then running out to gather them and their precious blood.

      It seemed to work for a little while but soon when the call went out the area was swarmed with animals as their numbers grew out of control, but when you see only what you want, then no threat is there its only a new chance for research, and again the Council ordered more animals infected and slowly they got the desired effects they hoped for as every generation tested as healthier and living longer, if they weren’t culled for food by the greedy Politicians and their wealthy patrons that is.

      “Bigger is better! More food for us!” they screamed their pet scientists did as they were told, and Carl found out all too late that his little research lab was dwarfed by the amount of science the Council was doing around him, in exactly the opposite direction.


    2. #2
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      Chapter 3: End Times


      There were only a few places like this one. Cities where a few million hid and worked, waiting for some major breakthrough to save them and their world. But the breakthrough many were looking for was what caused all this to begin with, and their greed to become immortal worked against the Natural order of things, and even their pet animals went out of control and more started dieing again.

      When building bigger and stronger creatures is your goal then even the doors that protect your city might not hold, and one city went ‘off the grid’ and wasn’t heard from again, and the rest of the Leaders decided they were doing secret research themselves and weren’t to be disturbed.

      So serious was their intentions nothing seemed impossible, and seeing meat eating insects as well as animals was just another research project, even if insects ruled the world before they certainly werent a threat to Gods...and slowly city after city went dark again and went out of contact.

      Even Humans with the ability to live forever have to eat and drink to stay alive. And what do you do when the animals that you need to feed on, stay alive by feeding on YOU? And then ignoring this you make them bigger, stronger and faster than ever before...what madness is it that causes you to ignore the truth until its too late?

      When a few thought they would become Gods they put everything, and everyone on the line, and millions died because of it. They swore that with Eternity to work with they could save Humanity...later... but they needed saved first. By speeding up the life spans of some animals they got faster results and the entire world became their lab, and when all the nations of the world fell then they had nothing left to lose, and their research went into humans as well as outside creatures, and that was when people like Carl started turning away from them.

      Research to improve peoples lives was fine, but there had to be limits to what was acceptable, and that got mentioned more than once, and some that were too vocal disappeared and were never seen again, and others backed off and got silent again.

      When their secret plan got revealed it wasn’t even a shock. They had already decided that only those special people would become Gods, because Gods aren’t needed in large numbers, only with huge intellects and great wisdom. But then that didn’t jive with what some of them wanted, so when they got the chance to decide what those limits were, the ‘huge intelligence’ part slipped back a bit to allow them access. And their own standards got weaker and weaker.

      But when they finally put their list forward many laughed saying that knowing how to run a Mega corporation doesn’t mean you can fix a broken world. They would need scientists and biology majors to do that and none were on this list. And the leaders said that as the Ultimate Leaders they would let many ‘lesser’ people survive it, and they could serve forever and thats where the scientists and biologists would come from, and many who were in those specialties saw that these fools thought that they were smarter than they were, and they wanted only to rule them forever.

      And when they both saw the others resolve, the lines were drawn for the last conflict, one inside the every last cities and between those in control and those with the knowledge to actually fix things again. But when your Godhood id threatened and you’ve already killed millions, whats a few hundred more? And one by one scientists that were doing other projects, not related to the Immortal Project itself, started disappearing and even their friends in the main research center saw their days would be numbered if they finished this project. And so silent agreements were made and certain new obstacles appeared no one had planned for and the project came to a slow stall, to the horror of those who were even now getting slowly older.

      Who would want to be Immortal at 60 or 70 years old? That certainly wasn’t the plan they started out with, and when the researchers said they hit a brick wall in their research then new research got started, to reverse aging not stop it. They were told that was basically the same research but they insisted,and since many of their detractors had disappeared along the way now their was a brain drain on the project and they gathered every person with any expertise in this field from all other projects and went to work on the new one, knowing full well that the people in charge would not wait long, and would take any measures to survive in their best possible form.

      Carl saw it coming too and when they called for him he was too busy to answer..several times..but soon security was standing by his door and he knew that no was not an acceptable answer for them, and when there was no other...he ran...and took his research with him.

      Out of the city into the countryside, stealing a heavy armored vehicle he drove away and disappeared back towards the old city and its high rise structures and miles and miles of steel and glass. He had a plan, and told his people to listen for his call, and they agreed and went to hide until it came. Carl ran back into the old city now 5 miles out there and found a building once used by a pharmaceutical firm, and went inside. Some of the windows on the ground floor were broken as animals got in looking for food, but upstairs was pristine, up 4 floors, and he smiled at the labs still sitting there, and rooms for living in that were just as they were when the people ran out all those years ago.

      This would do for sure, and he checked all around and found the emergency generator and some fuel for it and after a while it ran again and he felt that things were going his way after all.

      A week later and he sent his message and when the time came they snuck out carrying things important to them and got into the big vehicle and were silently gone. The Leaders knew something was happening but they didn’t know what, and when 6 of their best researchers went missing they got very angry but try as they might they couldn’t find them, even in a search of the entire city and some others started to see light at the end of the tunnel, and wondered if they too would get that call someday.


      Chapter 4: Project Renewal

      Meanwhile 4 floors up in the Fuller Building Carl and his people set up shop.

      He had gathered enough fuel to run the electric for weeks, and there were enough rooms to rest in for more then just these 6, so they started doing here what they did back there, making their new virus that would either stop the mutations, or reverse them back toward more normal sizes and actions.

      It only took one man a few months to start all this, so they hoped silently that 6 good hard working scientists could make a big enough difference to end it, eventually.

      They were many miles from the sunken city now and without a doubt they had been missed. But with the dangers that existed out here they didn’t expect them to do much about it, because their security and hunter groups had been all but wiped out in their sick efforts to rush their research.

      So Carl told them all that they would make a difference before they got caught, and everyone agreed, and within a few weeks they were right back to the spot where they stopped, and their research went on further still.

      They were working on a virus especially made to target the artificial gene that had been spread decades ago. If it worked correctly then it would seek out that gene and destroy it, allowing animals to return to more normal sizes and attitudes, so that carnivores wouldn’t be the extreme creatures they had become.

      Their first test was a large anthill. They were over 2 feet long now and more violent than any time in the past. They rigged a luncher and sent a canister over to them filled with sugar water and their new virus, and when it landed they rushed it and drank and carried it back to the hive.

      If this worked they would get smaller, or die off entirely, so that was to be seen. And in weeks of watching carefully, they became more docile, and went about a more normal life after that, and Carl saw at least partial success, and he kept close tabs on everything and a year into the test a new generation came out of the hill, and they were half the size of the first, and he was happy with that.

      They had modified their first design a bit now and they saw a few things that were already happening around them. Some large birds that they had to watch out for got less violent, and stayed out away from the buildings more searching for natural food. They did eat the ants sometimes and he knew his virus was starting to spread like that man had done decades ago. He then set out baits for other animals, rats, mice and raccoons among others and as fast as they went out they got eaten, and Carl knew he was winning, at least close by.

      Next test was to set up far reaching drops, and instead of sending out scouts that might not return they used their brains instead, and every few weeks they went to the roof and sent out a small balloon holding something covered in or shot full of their virus. It was harmless to Humans but to those mutated animals they were going to change remarkably, in a short time.

      On some days with a nice brisk wind they knew their drops went out miles, usually to the East as thats the basic direction the wind carried them. But miles further out were thousands of animals they didn’t see yet, and no matter who found and ate the bait, it would spread and things would get better.

      Carl and his Team had been out here for a year and a half now, and they saw changes going on around them almost everyday. And Carl thanked them for their help saying that even now their virus was spreading and animals everywhere would get better and they cheered and drank a toast their success, no matter how small.

      But back at the sunken city things were getting a little odd. The loudest most radical of the Leaders started slowing down a bit, and their assistants used this time to say they were maturing and becoming better leaders. But the science teams found out why soon enough. The meat they brought in was tainted, or so they thought, the Immortality gene they called it was different somehow, not weaker really but...changed...it took them months to figure it out and when they did they weren’t sure they wanted to say anything.

      A few of the new Leadership loved the feeling of ultimate power, arrogance and envy surging through every pore, but now even they were more settled down, more mature in their dealings, and better things started getting done. Telling them their food held a secret new virus wouldn’t do any good because even now they found out it didn’t hurt the main parts of the artifical gene at all, only removed or modified the arrogance it caused as a side effect, and the extreme speed the cell regeneration ran at. With these two under better control then rages would be seen less, and animals would slowly return to near normal in size. Not bad for a small team hidden away somewhere,and they decided this didnt need mentioned after all.
      Leaders need to be honest and generous people. Not thinking only of themselves but all the people under them. This little change helped that a lot, and the extreme arrogance and anger that they first felt was all but gone, and with it more rational thinking and better communications between them. It was a good sign for them all, and they silently thanked that Team, hidden out there somewhere, and they hoped they did well in their own research too.


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      Chapter 5: Colonization...Again

      By now the extreme sightings of huge animals was dropping off constantly. Some like mice and rats scurried away instead of approaching humans now. Larger animals like dogs and cats were still a bother, but not as much, and many were down to the size of a large husky by now, and dropping slowly.

      It has been 2 years since the first drops occurred and things have made a change for the better.

      Carl decided to send a message to a friend and when Jameson Franks went in to work as the Head Researcher he found a personal note for him on his desktop computer. He thought Carl had died by now but it wasn’t true and he almost cheered for him as he asked if anyone else wanted to come out.

      “It gets lonely out here.” Carl hinted as the man got a chuckle at that. But he did understand, out of the 6 researchers out there two were female and one was married to another man, so yes things might be getting a bit lonely out there, and he dropped some hints that a special research division was getting built for outside work and many agreed to go, and one night just about dark and team walked out of the emergency exit and started down the old road carrying everything they could and a large vehicle met them and they were whisked away.

      This doubled Carl’s team and the next day new members were introduced and they were impressed with the set up Carl had out here. It was nearly as complete as theirs back home and they said so and one young man handed Carl a large vial and he asked what it was.

      “Generation 3 of the Advanced Gene. Using your improvements and ours its 10% more effective at keeping its persons health up and cell regeneration just a bit better than before. Mr. Jameson said it was the least he could do for your help.” The kid said as Carl thanked them and his Team got the new injection that day.

      But now they also got better genes to work with and with this Carl had a new formula for his virus just a few weeks later. Since the old gene had some serious side effects their use of it had to be minimal, but with Carl’s adjustments it got better and so the new gene was more powerful and still had less side effects than before. Now it was estimated that a normal Human would live a healthy life for 200 years, a nice step up from before.

      No one on Carl’s Team was over 50, so they had a nice long time to get their work done...if they decided to keep at it that long.

      But the new Team members were properly impressed to see large rats, now barely 2 feet long, scurrying away at the sight of them, and even some large dogs growling then running away.

      The newest team leader was Frank Thompson, and he got permission to send info and video back to the hidden city from time to time. Jameson then used this to show the changes going on outside, and he got big rep from the Leaders for getting so much done in such a short time, and because of that they never asked him how often he sent teams out to do research there.

      Now that they weren’t under the influence of the gene anymore they thought more seriously and were honest about their hopes for the Future. Many thought that sooner or later they could return to the surface, after the animals there killed each other off. But with the new evidence that showed they were getting both smaller and less violent, it got mentioned that having a farm nearby would help their food supply greatly, and many agreed.

      Once they got their ideas together then the new farm got built just a mile from the hidden city, so that in an emergency they could run home and be safe. The first few weeks they got a building up, then a water supply and finally one field tilled and smoothed out. They got seeds from some of the food they had stored and tried starting them, and a few did grow but not what they had hoped, as Jameson reminded them they weren’t really farmers, and they had a lot to learn.

      Carl mentioned that there were always a few people that loved plants and the legend of the ‘Green Thumb’ came from those and Jameson looked around the city and did find a few that had plants they took care of daily in their apartments and they got them to help teach others how to do it properly, and after a year the first field had several dozen plants growing and tomatoes and onions grew for the first time since the war.

      Carl and his team stepped up to help once more. They searched building after building looking for anything that would help, and one day they found a rack filled with paper envelopes full of seeds, and the instructions to raise them properly.

      In their rush to escape the carnage things like this were forgotten, but now Carl helped to bring it back, and his name got mentioned more and more as their possible savior. The Leaders had to admit that the random killings of ‘lesser’ individuals in the beginning was wrong and it hurt them all, and with that one man stepped down, and when they set up voting to replace him Carl got voted onto the House instantly as the best replacement.

      It was a huge step up for one man that started out as a common researcher, but it passed and became final. Even the other leaders had to admit he was special and went out to help the city when no one else would.

      The treatments he started were showing results and the area around the city out to 50 miles was safe to travel once more, if you were even the least bit careful. And with the virus spreading like wildfire across the globe they felt that he had stopped the original misdeed done to them all in the past. In a few years they had large farm going and working well. They had people back in the city, working at factories and living in real homes, and they made new laws that said that no single person could control new technology that had a chance to harm the entire planet.

      The age of greed and arrogance was over and the virus made even the most greedy person think more clearly, and great leaders would come out form that into the future and beyond. Carl had done what was intended and now his world would be free to advance once more.

      “Thats another one right there...” Got mentioned back at the Overseers, as many agreed and another world’s future looked much brighter than what the Time Line had said it would be just a few years before.

      Carl wins! Next story...


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