This is creepy. At National Post I see a story about some folks who revived a bunch of moss and microbes from hundreds of years ago that lay frozen under a glacier. Yeah… it’s growing. And they found wormy things, nematodes.
Yeah, they’re alive too.
My mind has immediately gone to that dark place shaped by reading lots of St. Augustine and dystopian fiction.
What could possibly go wrong?
Tatiana Vishnivetskaya has studied ancient microbes long enough to make the extreme feel routine. A microbiologist at the University of Tennessee, Vishnivetskaya drills deep into the Siberian permafrost to map the web of single-celled organisms that flourished ice ages ago. She has coaxed million-year-old bacteria back to life on a petri dish. They look “very similar to bacteria you can find in cold environments (today),” she said.
But last year, Vishnivetskaya’s team announced an “accidental finding” – one with a brain and nervous system – that shattered scientists’ understanding of extreme endurance.
Even her name is from a dystopian novel.
I really liked the part about…. “Oooops! Hey, look what we found! You know, it’s nearly impossible to kill this stuff.”
Tracer slipped the creased photo out of the taco-sauce stained manila envelope, feeling the weight inside of a thick, banded packs of Benjamins.
“Help us, Tracer Bullet. You’re our only hope.”
He signaled with three fingers to the guy in the wife-beater on the other side of what passed for the bar on the seedier edge of one of the seedier towns he ever seen. In front of him were three chipped shot glasses. Empty. Not empty for long.
Not full for long either.
The barkeep heaved himself in Tracer’s direction, uncorking the bottle and leaving it on the stained wood, etched with generations of knife-pointed initials and impossible suggestions.
“He’s gotta be here somewhere.”
At a university lab one of the grad-students bumped the wrong thing and probably got infected with a strain of an ancient super-bug revived in some worms found in permafrost somewhere. It was now a race. A few pencil-necks thought up the great idea of reviving stuff that had disappeared thousands of years ago and that, if it got out of the lab, it could kill, maybe 95% of human life.
“Maybe less,” she said over the phone. “We’ll know in a week or so when the symptoms manifest. You’ve gotta find him, Tracer. It’s gotta be you. Really, we can’t… tell anyone about this. There are … complications.”
He muttered to himself, filling the glasses with a continual crossing pour.
“Who thinks this **** up? Hey, look! Ancient worms that thousands of years under rock crushing ice can’t kill! Let’s wake ’em up and see what happens!”
“He’s gotta be here somewhere. Question is…. why did he run?”
For a moment he stared at the ribbons of liquid spreading out from the glassware, disappearing down into the cuts and cracks as it ran away.