In a Ninja Turtle mood, of the Teenage Mutant kind.
Fascinating creatures, tardigrades. Commonly known as the waterbear, the creature can survive extreme temperatures, radiation, and go without water for years. We have much to learn about survival from the tardigrades. What advancements could be made in protective clothing? Space travel? Deep sea exploration? But they’re too small. Our progress has been limited. I’ve heard of an experimental enlarger being built nearby. That’ll do nicely.
I’ve appealed to the company to let me borrow their machine. Just one procedure! That’s all I asked for. They said never and kicked me out. My assistants say to leave it alone and work with what we have. I’ve contacted an old acquaintance – he used to beat me up in high school – to help me secure the machine. Once I’ve finished my research and won a Nobel prize, they’ll realize I was right.
Roger has worked out very well. Who knew a felon would be so useful? I paid him out of the assistants’ pay. They’ll get double once firefighters and armed forces realize how valuable the tardigrade-inspired armor can be. The machine arrived this morning. We put it in the basement, tucked behind the furnace. It’s smaller than I imagined, but entirely beautiful. My little waterbears will fit easily within the enlarging chamber. The first experiment will be tonight. I’ll stay behind after everyone goes home for the night. I want to see the look on the assistants’ faces when they see how much easier and comprehensive our research can be.
Not a single one of them noticed. The tardigrades in sample A-42 are a full quarter-millimeter bigger! Fine. If that’s the way it must be, I’ll enlarge them again tonight. Twice! This has to work.
Did I risk the assistants’ pay for nothing? Each tardigrade is now a full three millimeters in length. Mallory noticed, but thought it was some kind of anomaly. Even at that size, they’re still too small to study the way I want, the way they need to be. I’ll try again tonight. I’ll blast those little waterbears so much they’ll be the size of my hand!
The machine went back under cover of darkness. I’d never intended to steal it, only borrow. I sent an anonymous note along with it. The machine is a good idea, but the size increases are too minimal to be of any use. Keep trying. Hopefully they improve it and I can borrow the enlarger again. New tardigrades are seven millimeters. The assistants notice now, but it’s just not enough.
This is the most exciting news in the history of science! The enlarger worked, and better than I had hoped. The most recent set of tardigrade eggs from A-42 were larger than expected, even at the bigger adult size. The newly hatched tardigrades are eleven millimeters long! I can only hope that this continues.
With each generation, the waterbears are growing exponentially. I’ve successfully grown a two-inch tardigrade! The assistants and I have uncovered more of the tiny creature’s secrets in the past month than we had in the past four years! I’ve published a paper on our findings, excluding any details on the larger size that brought us this knowledge.
Several agencies have contacted us about our discoveries. They want to partner with us and create tardigrade polar exploration gear. The assistants have finally quieted down about my taking their money. It’s a big payday for all of us. The only trouble is they want to see our lab. The newest tardigrades barely fit in my hand. We’ll have to find a place to hide them away. One of them bit me yesterday, too. I blamed the bandages on a neighbor’s dog. Nobody has to know.
Mallory was bitten while transporting the newest and largest watebears. She dropped the crate they were in, scattering our livelihood! We only recaptured half of them. On a positive note, I haven’t noticed any rats in the alley outside. Cats either. Also, it will be easier to hide fewer waterbears. They’re coming in a few days.
Well, that was a disaster. Brian, now my least favorite assistant, let our secret slip. Our visitors didn’t see the benefits, only danger. The government swooped in and destroyed our specimens. I’m absolutely devastated. All the good that could come of it? All of the advancements that were already made possible? They crushed our potential like cockroaches in the cabinet. There’s still hope, though. I heard a report of a strange, hairless wolf eating neighborhood pets. It has to be our escaped tardigrades! Even one would put our lab back on its feet. I’m off to hunt them down.
I finally cornered one tonight. It was huge! The size of a boar, at least! I’d consider farming them, if this one didn’t seem intent to rip me to shreds. I have some competition in the hunt, as well. It’s officially tardigrade season. They’ve eaten everything around town. Hundreds roam the forests and fields. All I need is one. I’m not giving up on them or this project.
Halloween seems like a fitting date for my last entry. The waterbears have infested North America. They’ve continued to grow at an alarming rate. I finally caught one, only to have it tear off and eat my leg in its attempt to escape. A man with a shotgun ‘saved’ me from it and ruined my plans. The police are looking for me. Everyone wants to kill the one who unleashed the tardigrade menace upon the world. I’m leaving for someplace warm to spend my final days. All I can hope now is that the tardigrades enjoy their new dominance on this planet.
I have embarked on a new project. I have/had these great arm warmers that V gave me. They’re these cute little cyclops snakes. But, they’re getting a bit old and ratty, so I needed new ones. Batman ones. Once again I found myself searching the web for a superhero themed item that didn’t exist. So, …
I’m getting excited for Halloween. It’s the season to start thinking about what I’ll do for my costume this year. Currently have zero ideas, but that’s why I start now!
Bert and I got a dog! We named her Korra, in homage to the Legend of Korra cartoon. Looks like she thinks she’s the Avatar (we’re dealing with it! – sorry, just a little LoK humor, lol). Edit: Not long after getting Korra, it became clear that she was giving me some very bad allergies …