Short Story: Fruitflies

  • A brightly lit room.
  • No shadows.
  • One wall open to the air.
  • Large wall screens on other walls magnifying the activity in a small container.
  • Young students with teacher.
  • “Fascinating to watch what you’ve done with this species.”
  • “Thank you, Sir. We’ve worked on them to shorten their lifespans even more to suit our class schedule.”
  • “Won’t that influence the impact of the tests?”
  • “We don’t believe so, Sir. They’ve managed to develop quite nicely on their own even at this speed. You can see our graphs from yesterday to today – they”re at generation 47 now, Sir. About 20 generations per day.”
  • “And what are you testing for?”
  • “Sir, that’s what we needed to discuss with you.”
  • “Yes?”
  • “Sir, we’ve run all the normal tests on the curriculum for diseases and seeing if there is intelligence. We believe we’ve increased their intelligence from generation to generation in the mazes and tests we’ve designed. You can see the results here on this graph. But, there are some other things we’re seeing that are puzzling.”
  • “Such as?”
  • “Their lifespan is increasing again. And Sir, you can see they’ve split into several different groups. As the population increased in the test, they formed into hives in different geographical sectors. And yes, Sir, we expected that. It’s consistent with previous tests. But Sir, yesterday, the descendants of the second hive invaded and killed off the population in the next hive sector over. You can see the increased activity in that sector if you examine the expanded view. That’s never happened before.”
  • The screen morphed and expanded the view to show more details.
  • “How did they get over there?”
  • “It’s hard to see what’s happened and we haven’t dissected any in the last day-cycle but it does appear they’ve developed flight in the last part-cycle. We can’t evaluate that until we end the experiment and do the dissections.”
  • “But they killed the others. How?”
  • “Well, Sir, there seems to be increased communication signals of some unidentified kind coming from the container. We need your permission to break the container seal and take some air and population samples for dissection.”
  • “Interesting, indeed. But no, don’t break the seal. The last thing we want is to allow those creatures to get loose again. You remember how we had to disinfect last year? I’m going to pass you on this section for your current results. Now, let the population run, and see what happens overnight. Write that up. You can disinfect the tank in the morning and then do your autopsies and evaluations.”
  • “Yes, Sir. Thank you.”
  • “Confirm the name of the project for me so I can give you credit.”
  • “Yes, Sir. It was Earth-Version-21 with the approved population Humanensis domesticus.”

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Image by Erik Karits from Pixabay

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