There’s Always a Secret in The Nucleus, Part I

Ferris looked at the dataDNA tube, the 21st one he’d received. These messages from his parents were more frequent earlier in his life. But seven years passed since the last one. He still couldn’t even figure out where they were sending the tubes from.

This story is based off an article on the potential of using DNA to store information. Read more from ResearchGate. Thanks go out to Reddit user, u/RealTrain for inspiring this piece.

By: Winston Myers and Phillip Smith

Walking through his apartment’s entryway, Ferris noticed a package waiting for him. After a long day at the lab, bringing the small package up the stairs felt like a struggle. Trudging into the anteroom, he opened the package to see that he’d received a test tube of dataDNA, yet the return address was from, ‘Mr. & Mrs. Perditori’.

Seven years have passed since Ferris last saw them. His parents, caught up in their research, had failed to attend his graduation for his bachelors, as well as Ferris’s first post-grad presentation, but here was another tube of dataDNA. He handed his jacket off to his personal robotic assistant as he continued to inspect the little test tube.

“M1K,” Ferris said to the robot, as the machine was struggling to hang the jacket up.

Amazing, he thought to himself, how such a complex machine can listen and follow my orders, and yet screw up some of the most simple actions.

“Just lay the jacket on the chair.”

M1K almost looked disappointed as it laid the jacket on the recliner nearest to it.

Ferris looked at the tube, the 21st one he’d received. These messages from his parents were more frequent earlier in his life. But seven years passed since the last one. He still couldn’t even figure out where they were sending the tubes from.

“It’s been seven years, you silly little tubes,” he whispered, “and now I may have finally found something.”

As he walked to the TV, he couldn’t help but feel giddy. Like an eleven year old who just saw their first Playboy, his excitement was overwhelming. He pushed the test tube into the receptacle, starting the video. As the dataDNA was read and translated by the dataDNA player, Ferris’s parents appeared on the screen, with the usual slight glitch at the beginning.

“Hello son, it’s been a long time and we’ve been most busy. We heard about your biological articles and research into junk DNA. We’re glad to see you carrying the torch.

“You’ve been searching for an answer to all the writing, between the lines of proteins. The answer, or at least the beginning, is in your heart. Search there first. Look within. Before us is the key.”

Ferris wasn’t surprised, since his parents always ended their dataDNA videos with this message.

The next day he was scheduled for his annual cardio-epigentesis, a procedure for all 25 year olds to verify their continued utility for military service. It measured the levels of each protein expressed within the heart. With this information, doctors could identify the right medications to balance each patient’s heart.

Walking in for his procedure, he was immediately welcomed. “Thank you for arriving on time, Mr. Ferris Perditori,” the medical robotic assistant chimed. “We are ready for you in room A7, right this way.”

Ferris walked into a little brightly lit room with a large chair in the center. He sat in the chair as he waited. The personal medical robotic assistant from before came up from behind him to reassure him.

“Don’t worry you’ll be OK. We will sedate you and the procedure will begin.”.

The robot inserted an IV. Almost immediately he felt woozy as the anesthesia took hold. Before he knew it, Ferris woke up to the sight of the robot hovering above. Suddenly a doctor, a human, barged into the room.

“Mr. Perditori, you seem to have a very intriguing genetic composition. Our initial tests showed that you had more than x11 the normal amount of DNA and your heart cells have a repeating sequence that we were unable to decode,” he said, flustered .

“We need to bring you into another room, Mr. Perditori. Just this way,” said the doctor, pointing to the door. Ferris obliged, yet as he walked through the door, he saw a large, black masked man with an assault rifle.

I’m sure these guys are with the Army, Ferris thought. They walked down the hall to a room without windows.  As he went in, Ferris noticed the Man in the Gray Suit standing in the middle of the room.

“Mr. Perditori, I hope you recognize how bizarre your heart’s genetic composition appears to us in this age of dataDNA” said The Man in the Gray Suit, his no-nonsense attitude almost like fingernails to a chalkboard.

“If I may excuse myself, my Friend in Grey, I am a bio-researcher and am familiar with the function of junk DNA. However I agree with you, the amount of extraneous DNA found in my heart is astonishing. Admittedly, I do not understand what you are trying to look for within my DNA or why have I been brought here.”

The Man in the Gray Suit glared across the room. “Mr. Perditori,” he started, “I am terribly sorry for any inconvenience and hope that our encounter hasn’t startled you… but the reason I am here is that the only known piece of code that at all relates to what we’ve found repeating within your heart, was used to encode messages sent by a recently defeated, paramilitary group. They were known as the Perdētes.”

Ferris recognized the name, his father played in a band called the Perdētes. There’d been several other band members who were scientists as well. They’d all worked on the same project, so far as Ferris remembered.

As the Man in the Gray Suit continued, Ferris wondered about that slight glitch, the prelude to each of his parents messages. Or were these just messages from the Perdētes all along?

Ferris was surprised when he was allowed to leave after a few more questions. Befuddled, he thought back to his parents last message and the countless they’d sent as well as how each began and ended the same way.

The glitch at the beginning of the videos. “The answer… is in your heart. Search there first… Before us is the key.”

Moving on to his lab, Ferris wondered whether he could perform a cardio-epigentesis on himself. There was only one way to find out.

Keep your eye out for future developments as Ferris tries to understand the extraneous DNA in his heart. Part II Coming Soon!

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