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A New Species
Dr. Glover had never been this confused before.
He sat in silence, blankly staring at a two-metre-long transparent case on the desk right in front of him. The case contained some sort of a living thing, but what exactly was it? He had stayed in his swivel chair for half a day, searching for clues to identify whatever that was inside the case, but he still had no idea as to what on Earth he was seeing.
It was definitely not a plant; it gave a loud groan every once in awhile. Dr. Glover was also convinced that this animal had not previously existed, especially after he buried his face in an encyclopedia for two hours. The colour of the creature’s skin was something between white and orange, a disgusting colour that he had never seen before in his life. Its eyes were initially shut tight, but when the doctor pried them open, he found a set of dark emerald circles surrounded by blue liquid. Its lips were covered in countless scratches and were irregularly shaped. Looking through his thick encyclopedia for a matching image was like trying to find a needle in a vast desert. It might have been easier to find a needle in a desert, he thought, as he closed the book with no beneficial information in his hands.
Dr. Glover’s assistant, who sat two desks away from him, looked over at the doctor’s desk with a concerned look on her face. The atmosphere around his desk was so intense that she found him unapproachable, but she knew something went wrong with the experiment. Every time she walked past his desk to go get something, she noticed how the doctor’s eyes stayed fixed on the transparent case. She was thinking of going home when she heard groaning from two desks away. She jolted from her desk, immediately ran to the doctor, and asked, “Is everything okay? Are you alright, Dr. Glover?”
“Out of any shape it can take, why does this one have to look so crooked…?” mumbled Dr. Glover, as if he did not notice that his assistant was right behind him. “It could have been a bit more appealing to my eyes, I swear….”
He swivelled in his chair, left and right, and sighed like he was deeply depressed with the result. He rubbed his eyes and scrutinized the case again. Nothing changed about the appearance of the creature inside the case. Its hands were still chubby with thick layers of fat. Its arms were still drooped beside its torso like two pieces of dangling sausages. Its legs were as thick as old tree trunks, and its toenails looked like misshapen seashells. The creature was in no way attractive or alluring; it was rather ugly.
The doctor shook his head as he finally gave up on observing the creature. He spun around on his swivel chair to find his assistant standing behind him, with her mouth wide open. She was pointing at the case and looking right back at her both with a terrifying look on her face.
“Is that the result of our experiment, doctor? Weren’t we supposed to find more properties of genes?” she asked with a frail voice, almost impossible to be heard.
Dr. Glover nodded his head but said nothing in return. The two scientists stayed motionless as the creature continued groaning and crying. No one would have expected that mixing two different types of DNA would create a whole new species, instead of revealing new properties about genes. They both knew that they were in serious trouble. Even after the grotesque creature stopped making unpleasant sounds, the doctor and his assistant were silent, trying to reflect back on the experiment and finding where their mistakes were made.
“What would happen if the government found out about the new creature?” the assistant was the first to break the silence.
“I don’t know, dear. But it will be alright,” replied Dr. Glover. “I’ll do anything to save you from trouble.”
“But it was my fault, wasn’t it? It’s all because I fell asleep yesterday….”
“It’s alright. Everything will be alright. It’s not your fault. It would’ve happened anyways. Don’t worry about it, okay? I’ll take care of the rest.”
Whatever the doctor said, his smart assistant still knew that she was the one to blame for the deformed creature that they had just created.
“I’m sorry, doctor….” she fell on the ground with her faced covered with streaks of tears.
The doctor carried his poor assistant to the room next door where there was a comfortable couch to sleep on. He put a thick blanket on her slender body. As much as he had no intention of blaming her for what happened, he considered this a serious problem. He had just created a brand new species. “It’s best if I deal with it myself,” he thought, and he made sure that the young lady was sound asleep before he closed the door and retreated to his workplace.
Alone at his desk, Dr. Glover sat in silence with a cup of coffee in his hand, trying to think back to twenty-four hours ago when he received a call from his assistant. After watching the DNA mixture in the test tube for thirteen days straight, day and night, she called him to report that she accidentally fell asleep for two hours and something formed at the bottom of the tube. Whatever it was that floated inside the tube, he tossed it into a culture solution to create the deformed living thing inside the transparent case.
The creature occasionally groaned in a deep voice, but sometimes it cried in a higher pitch. Was it trying to tell him something? Dr. Glover had no clue, but if the creature were telling him something, would it mean he created a beast with intelligence? Even if it had intelligence, it would be so primeval that it would not be useful for anything. Maybe, he thought, the creature would roam on the ground and wipe out all the other species on the planet. As much as he considered the consequences of the creature having a basic level of intelligence, he actually did not care about it. All he cared about was how report this incident to the government without putting himself in danger. Even that, he did not know if he actually cared. He would not be able to do anything anyways; if the government wanted to fire him for the mistake, there would be no changes to that decision. The one thing he detested was the thought of his assistant being fired. He had promised her everything would be alright. By the time the clock hit midnight, the chain of thought became too long for the doctor to process, and he caught himself unconsciously banging his head on the desk. He had the power to dial his friend in the government, only because the image of his assistant sobbing was still in his mind.
The government’s decision was to make a replica of whatever was inside the case and send both creatures to a planet with sufficient living conditions. He was relieved to see that the government did not put an end to his career as a scientist, or his assistant’s. For the first time in the past two days, he felt like he could breathe from the bottom of his lungs.
Using all the technologies at hand, Dr. Glover searched for the closest planet with a decent conditions for the ugly creature to live. He made the mixture of the DNA once more, creating the exact same terrible-looking creature. The couple was then put onto a spaceship and sent to a planet galaxies away.
Dr. Glover and his assistant never spoke of the grotesque creatures again.
A few weeks later, Dr. Glover was sitting at his desk with a cup of coffee as usual.
He caught his assistant mumble, “I wonder what happened to the ugly creatures….”
He had no clue as to what happened to the creatures. They were too far away from him to observe and too distant for him to care. If the conditions on the far-away planet were favourable, they would have reproduced. He imagined a planet full of that grotesque creature in the transparent case, invading the forests and killing each other in order to obtain more living space. The only thing he could not remember, was where he sent the creatures.
“Was it called... the Earth?” he asked, but his assistant was already gone home for the day. He could do nothing but hold his four heads with his eight arms.