By James Haughton
A report from the ICE CAVE, Project DANCER
In a jungle of the senses
Tinkerbell and Jack the ripper
Love has no meaning, not where they come from
But we know pleasure is not that simple
Very little fruit is forbidden
Sometimes we wobble, sometimes we're strong
But you know evil is an exact science
Being carefully correctly wrong
Executive Summary, Subject 312
The subject is a female. On arrival at this facility she appeared to be a human aged ~25 years, of Eurasian appearance. According to accompanying documentation, she was captured during a random population medical sampling sweep searching for unauthorised and/or non-terrestrial deployment of COOKBOOK technologies in the wider populace (cf. Groversville Incident Report Vol.3). According to the report of the apprehending officer (Appendix A), subject has English language skills commensurate with a non-native resident of the United States but has refused to communicate since capture. During questioning the subject displayed a remarkable resistance to pain, sedatives, and pharmaceutical adjuncts to interrogation, leading the apprehending team to hypothesise extensive modification to the nervous system and sequester her for further study.
Initial medical investigation (Appendix B) revealed no signs of surgical or other invasive medical procedures having been carried out upon the subject, nor was "protomatter" contamination present (Groversville, op.cit). Indeed, the subject was described by the examining physician as "supernaturally" healthy, being without any apparent scars, blemishes, etc. X-ray examination revealed an absence of the normally expected microfractures, tissue damage, etc caused by everyday living. Further examination of X-rays revealed a number of subtle but startling inconsistencies with human anatomy – e.g. the spine appeared to slightly differ from the human norm, having better load-bearing efficiency at the point of interaction with the pelvis. To put it colloquially, the subject would never suffer from lower back pain.
At this point, investigators hypothesised that the subject was the result of a foreign or non-terrestrial "super-soldier" research and development program equivalent to Sub-Project CATALYST. However, several circumstances mitigated against the "foreign power" hypothesis:
The absence of any signs of surgical procedures (though Dr Creswell maintains that this may be a result of the accelerated healing presumably responsible for the absence of "wear and tear") suggested that any alteration must have taken place at the genetic level. Such procedures are far more likely to succeed if performed in pre-fertilisation or embryonic stages of the life cycle.
The apparent age of the subject. To be 25 years old and have been modified in vitro suggests possession by the altering power of COOKBOOK level technologies before 1980. Although I am not privy to intelligence files on the biosciences of our rivals, this strikes me as unlikely. Dr Creswell suggests that the subject may be the product of cloned, artificially forced growth a la CATALYST. However, none of the "telltales" of cloning techniques could be found (Appendix C).
All known examples of non-terrestrial enhancement have made use of "protomatter" as a basic material/tool of alteration, but no trace of protomatter could be found.
Genetic samples were taken from the subject for analysis. These samples showed a variety of unusual characteristics (see Appendix D-1 for full details).
What was initially assumed to be the "active" part of the genome was identical in most respects to the human genome. Several sections were similar in nature to the improved genomics pioneered by CATALYST and RECOIL, granting greater-than-human speed, healing ability and night vision. However, there were no traces of the retroviral implantation methods usually used by CATALYST or the broader scientific community. It appears that the subject was born with these capabilities as a natural attribute.
The introns or "junk DNA" of the subject showed an extremely large difference from the human norm, both in content and C-value (size). When the genetic coding data was compared with libraries, positive correlations were obtained with the genomes of a wide variety of terrestrial but non-human life forms. Dr Jenkins made the startling observation that all of these forms are found in two habitats: upland South-East Asia and Antarctica.
Other parts of the introns showed no resemblance to any catalogued terrestrial organism. When cultured and implanted in cells via somatic transfer, the resultant proteins showed extremely unusual self-altering characteristics, including the ability to create RNA with the capacity to alter the cell's own DNA, in defiance of the "Central Dogma" of molecular biology. While retrotransposons, as these are technically called, are not unknown in biology, this is the first known example of a functioning retrotransposon being assembled from a (possibly) human genome. Attending technician Johnson made the observation that easily manipulable retrotransposons are one of the requirements of a (hypothetical) "biocomputer".
As the reader will appreciate, the analysis of DNA with such unusual characteristics took a considerable amount of time. It was during this time that the incident occurred resulting in the subject's posthumous transfer to deep storage at the YY-II facility. According to attending security (Appendix E), the subject refused to eat or drink and made repeated attempts to escape. Sedation was only effective at extremely high doses and only for a short time. Indeed as captivity continued the subject seemed to develop immunity to the sedative. Therefore, the subject was placed under constant physical restraint and guard. While thus confined during the extensive testing process, the subject began to show signs of dehydration and malnourishment (some time after such signs would have been expected in a normal human). I therefore authorised forced feeding of the subject as the subject's repeated resistance made the administration of a drip feed impossible. The subject was tested for allergies (negative) and then a normal diet (pre-processed to allow for the lack of chewing involved in force feeding), approved by the attending physician, of chicken, vegetables and rice was given (see list of meals, Appendix F).
After approximately 72 hours, during which the subject had been forcefed six times without apparent ill effects, the subject lapsed into a coma. After approximately an hour, during which repeated attempts were made to rouse the subject, pronounced discoloration of the skin and signs of internal bleeding were observed. 20 minutes later the subject showed an extreme anaphylactic reaction causing a sudden heart-lung failure. Further attempts to revive the subject failed and she was declared dead after another 15 minutes.
The autopsy report (Appendix G) showed no signs of poisoning or toxicity in the food recovered from the subject's digestive tract. However, previously unobserved pre-cancerous growths were found throughout the subject's digestive and lymph system. The ultimate cause of death remained a puzzle until DNA samples that had been taken after death were analysed (Appendix D-2). These were found to be significantly different from those taken before death. Found in both the "active" and "junk" DNA were telltale signs of reverse transcripterase activity and the "genetic codes" of chicken, vegetables and rice. It appears that the subject's genome attempted to "assimilate" its diet into its own genome but was unable to complete the process without giving rise to lethal mutagenic side-effects. Further analysis of the subject's faeces and urine samples taken during captivity found traces of human proteins.
Some unpleasant implications suggest themselves. Logically speaking, if the subject (which appeared human) takes on the DNA of the things it eats, but is prevented by mutagenic disaster from assimilating things too different from itself, then its native diet must consist largely of humans (although there is the puzzle of the non-human DNA present in the introns – perhaps a relic from an earlier evolutionary phase when the "assimilation" was not so specialised?). Dr Jenkins has made some rather wild speculations about the subject having some form of predator-prey relationship with humanity and taking on human appearance merely as camouflage, referring to such folkloric concepts as "Vampires", "Werewolves" and the like. However, the apprehending officer's report (Appendix A) suggests that the subject not only spoke and understood English but possessed valid ID materials, suggesting that the subject was successfully living and acting as a human. Nor did tissue samples, tested at Dr Jenkin's request, show any adverse reactions to garlic, wolfsbane, silver or sunlight. I have requested a BLUE FLY team be dispatched to capture any family members of the subject from her recorded address, but am informed that there is currently a considerable backlog of BLUE FLY cases demanding attention. Until more subjects are procured, we are working on reproducing some of the capacities of the subject in vitro for subsequent use in CATALYST enhancements.