Friday Fictioneers – Curiosity

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PHOTO PROMPT © John Nixon

Young Jonathan loved his collection of bird eggs protected by the nest of cotton wool. Later he was allowed a scalpel, and laid bare the tracery of blood vessels, the continents of organs.

“He loves to explore how things work,” his Dad said,

As an adult, Jonathan won a research grant.

The breakthrough was accidental – the project intended to combat mice infestations. The introduced sterility gene revived the inert mouse-pox virus vector. Seventy per cent of the experimental mice died.

“If we tweak these base pairs,” Jonathan said, “we could create 100% lethality.”

The men from Defence were most interested.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here.

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52 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Curiosity

  1. Dear Neil,

    Jonathan’s a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps he’ll find a cure for cancer as well. I’m intrigued to know how you came to that story from this prompt. Good one.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. Thanks Rochelle. I’m not very pleased with it, but I was in a hurry. I just couldn’t cope with writing another story about childhood imagination. So I went with the theme of exploration (the kid is exploring the piano). My other thought was to write something about technology becoming conscious. Clearly my mind is running on sci-fi themes today

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    1. Like with splitting atoms — that is what gave us weapons that can destroy all life on the planet as well as provide us with electricity. At first it was probably a curiosity to be able to split atoms.

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  2. The Dept. of Defense would no doubt have an interest, all right. Of course, if you eliminate ALL the mice, the balance of nature gets upset. And what would the cats have to give to their owners?

    Pretty neat, cool story, Neil! Glad to see how you tackled this one. Back in 2013, I had a difficult time with this pic.

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    1. Thanks. It’s actually based on a real event. The Defence Dept weren’t interested in totally lethal mousepox. But they were interested in totally lethal smallpox, which is a very closely related virus

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  3. This is a good but scary story, Neil. I doubt the Defence Department is concerned with wiping out the mouse population. Biological warfare is supposed to be a no-no. Let’s hope it’s not put to use again in the west. I remember being told one WWI vet from my childhood could hardly breath because of damaged lungs and an old movie star who could play the part of older men because he’d lost all his teeth. That was the mustard gas that Germany used. It’s been rumored it’s being put to use in the mideast. Terrible thing. It made a good story for you, though. Well written. —- Suzanne

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  4. A very clever use of the prompt. Oddly enough, my first attempt today involved someone needing to know “the ins and outs of the cats arse” – so I’m glad I couldn’t make it fly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I very much liked the opening description setting out Jonathan’s protective care of the birds’ eggs and suggesting that he cherishes the potential for life. The move to his investigation of the contents and his later interest in creating 100% lethality is a striking development. It filled me with dismay! Unfortunately, we know that happens. Powerful writing – it really got me thinking.

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  6. I agree with the commentors above — quite ominous at the end. I picked up that the government wanted a biological weapon(which I’m sure is illegal under international law!) I hope he doesn’t, as Jesus said centuries ago, lose his soul to gain the world!

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  7. A unique and wonderful interpretation of the prompt. Love the phrase “continents of organs.” Magnificent and terrible things are learned by accident–too bad we don’t often differentiate between the two.

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