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Plastivore and more

April 18th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

News: Scientists Accidentally Create Mutant Enzyme That Eats Plastic Bottles

INT. LABORATORY, UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM

PROFESSOR JOHN MCGEEHAN: Okay, now to add the last thing, the sulfuric acid. One little drop should d-

LAB ASSISTANT MOLLY ARDLIER: (rushing in) Professor!

MCGEEHAN: (dropping beaker of acid) Blast! I warned you not to surprise me like that! Look, now it’s eating through my shoe.

ARDLIER: I’m sorry, Professor McGeehan, but there’s a man and a woman here to see you who say it’s very important.

MCGEEHAN: Fine, send them in. And find my other pair of shoes.

(ARDLIER leaves)

(PAMELA YOST and DWIGHT SAXBY enter)

YOST: Hello, Professor McGeehan. I’m Pamela Yost, and this is my collegue, Dwight Saxby. We represent the Monsanto Corporation.

MCGEEHAN: (shaking their hands) Pleasure to meet you both. What can I help you with today?

SAXBY: Professor, we’ve been reading up on the enzyme you’ve been studying that can break down polyethylene terephthalate. We’re very interested in it.

MCGEEHAN: It is interesting, isn’t it? You see, what happens is the cellular walls of the plastic become weakened at an increased pace, which in turn caus-

YOST: What Dwight means, Mr. McGeehan, is that we’d like to buy it from you and your team.

MCGEEHAN: What? I don’t think we could do that. There’s still so much research to do to further improve on the enzyme, and my team can’t simply walk away at this point. We’re far too invested in the project.

SAXBY: We would of course pay handsomely for it. Again, we’re from Monsanto.

YOST: It is our belief that it would be of great use to our company’s future endeavors.

MCGEEHAN: You’re going into the environmental business?

(YOST and SAXBY break into laughter)

YOST: I’m afraid not, John, but it’s sweet you would think that.

MCGEEHAN: So what do you even want it for? Unless you have a corporate directive to try to suppress this research for some reason?

SAXBY: That had crossed our minds, yes, but in fact we believe it could be helpful with our internal operations. There is a lot of plastic out there that can interfere with our ongoing projects like genetically modifying crops, engineering new biofuels, enslaving humanit-

YOST: Anyway, we’d also like to study it more closely to see if the enzyme can be further modified to eat away at other types of materials.

MCGEEHAN: Oh, it absolutely can. My team and I have been looking into that as well.

YOST: Really? What have you found?

MCGEEHAN: Well, the research is still in its early stages, but so far we’ve altered it to be able to consume styrofoam, some types of motor oil, latex paint, and vinyl. It has enormous potential to help reverse some of the damage humans have done to the environment.

SAXBY: That seems boring. Anything else it’ll eat?

MCGEEHAN: Yes, but I really shouldn’t be discussing them before we’ve had a chance to do further analysis.

YOST: Oh, you can tell us, Professor. It’s not like we’ll go back to corporate and say anything. Say, are you aware that the front half of your left shoe is missing?

MCGEEHAN: Never mind that. Okay, I guess I can sketch it out a bit. One test we ran found that the enzyme could locate and consume cancer in rats.

SAXBY: Meh.

MCGEEHAN: Another we did revealed a different mutation could reduce humidity by consuming it. We changed the heat index in a container by four degrees in just two hours.

YOST (whispering to SAXBY): Just think what that could do for our attempts to control the weather! (to MCGEEHAN) Okay, that’s impressive. Anything else it can do?

MCGEEHAN: Well…

SAXBY: Come on, Professor. We’re all friends here. (coughs)

MCGEEHAN: Oh, alright. We made a version that can eat time.

YOST: Time?

SAXBY: Anybody can eat that! Personally, I like it best on roasted chicken with some lemon juice.

MCGEEHAN: No, I mean the entity of time. The day we analyzed it ended up being only 23.5 hours long for those of us near the experiment.

YOST: What use could that have?

MCGEEHAN: It’s not clear yet, but our initial results showed that the loss-of-time phenomenon was entirely localized within two square meters of the enzyme. (chuckles) Honestly, my first thought was that it would be perfect for committing crimes, because you could release the enzyme near any witnesses and do whatever deed within the time they lose. Crazy, right?

(SAXBY faints)

YOST: I’m not sure you realize the astronomical amount I’m prepared to offer you for that enzyme.

MCGEEHAN: Thank you for your interest, but I still have to pass. We just love the project too much around here. Oh, and the last strain we developed actually devours capitalism. That one is so fascinating, it’s honestly my favorite. Really looking forward to delving further int-

YOST: (smashing a beaker on the counter and approaching MCGEEHAN) I’ll kill you!

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