“We need to catch one of these viruses and …” but before Daena could form a plan, the big hungry monkey head with the twisted sharp teeth started approaching them.
“DannyBot, this Ugga Ugga seems to take an interest in us. We should head back and reevaluate. I’m not in the mood for drama.”
They turned around but another Ugga Ugga virus blocked the exit.
“Dannybot, without being too dramatic I think we are …”
The virus zoomed at them, mouth wide open.
But the next instant the virus was caught by a lasso made of DNA coming out of … DannyBot’s body. The lasso wrapped the virus around the mouth and body tight as a squeezing tentacle. Once Daena realized they were safe she headed to the exit, DannyBot and their new prisoner behind her.
“If I were not under the shock of a near-death experience, I would be impressed. Dannybot, I didn’t know you could do that.”
“It’s quite a basic function I’ve been designed for. My lasso makes bonds at the molecular level with the object so the object is unlikely to escape,” said DannyBot as if he had lassoed a harmless-looking water molecule.
They dragged the Ugga Ugga prisoner to the closest White Cell headquarters, at the tonsils.
DannyBot constructed a message from DNA, asking for permission to see the Warden and gave it to the nearest guard. It felt like a lifetime until the gate opened. When they found the Warden he was floating around his office, eating random proteins. He looked quite well-fed in fact.
“What can I do you for, Miss Daena?” asked the Warden.
“First of all, it’s DNA Detective Daena. Second, you ‘ve been infected by a genetically engineered virus. As proof, I brought a sample right here into your office.”
“He don’t look so dangerous to me. Just a monkey face. We ‘ll take the prisoner from here. Off you go now.”
The guards escorted them out of the headquarters.
“I assume the mission has been completed. Shall I set course for the extraction point?” asked DannyBot.
“Nothing would cheer me up more, but I have a depressing feeling about this. Let’s just wait out here. How much time left?”
“There are three hours left to total infection.”
It felt like forever until finally the gates opened. At first, it looked like the Warden coming out of the gates. But as he moved out of the gate and into the light, he didn’t look as white as before. He looked dark and ugly and had twisted sharp teeth. Like an Ugga Ugga virus!
The two guards at the gates tried to swim away, but before they could escape, a hoard of hungry monkey faces stormed out of the gates and brought an end to them.
“Eat my children. Eat and multiply!” said the Warden as the monkey heads swarmed the area. Then his eyes fell on Daena. He started eating his way towards her in a steady pace.
“This doesn’t look good. DannyBot, let’s hide before more of these monsters realize we are here!”
“Don’t go Missy. Come and feed me,” said the Warden, and then gulped down a couple of his children.
They zoomed away from the tonsils and went into hiding behind the nose. “The Warden might be slow, but his children are multiplying. How much time left, DannyBot?”
“We have entered the last hour.”
Daena sighed. This was all very stressful. She wished she was back inside her vial even if it was not near a window, even if had to look at the same sticker all day:
-The recipe of life and death lies in the DNA-
The recipe lies in the DNA, she thought. Her mind drifted off to her first class at the detective academy and the principle-of-life rule they all had to memorize:
The DNA recipe is written with 4 letters.
What are they?
T, G, C and A.
And when DNA splits in two
Each half is called RNA
And every letter T is replaced by a U.
“That’s it!” Daena jumped with excitement. “I figured out how to kill the Ugga Ugga virus! The recipe of life and death lies in the DNA. Get it, DannyBot?”
Daena sighed. “Ugga Ugga’s DNA contains the recipe for making an Ugga Ugga virus. It’s like when you read a message written in DNA language using the T, G, C and A 4-letter alphabet. Only the message is also the recipe. Do you see?”
“I don’t see how this helps us defeat the Ugga Ugga virus,” said DannyBot.
“Well, here is the missing puzzle piece. DNA doesn’t make the Ugga Ugga directly. It has to first split into two RNA strands, and in the RNA alphabet T is replaced by a U.”
“I don’t see how this helps us defeat the Ugga Ugga virus,” repeated DannyBot.
“Don’t you get it? What’s the code name of the Ugga Ugga virus in RNA alphabet?” said Daena as if explaining the concept to a hydrogen atom.
“U-G-G-A-U-G-G-A,” said DannyBot.
“Can you search your data for the U-G-G-A-U-G-G-A sequence in the Ugga Ugga virus’s RNA?”
A few moments later DannyBot said “I searched. I found the pattern.”
“Great. I want you to synthesize the same RNA strand but replace the U-G-G-A-U-G-G-A pattern with the G-A-G-A-G-A-G-A pattern.”
DannyBot synthesized the mutated Ugga Ugga virus strand. One by one he glued together A’s and C’s and G’s and U’s until he had a full RNA strand.
“The sequence is ready. But I don’t see how this helps us defeat the Ugga Ugga virus,” said DannyBot.
Daena closed her eyes. She wished she had a hydrogen atom for a partner.
“Because if we get the Warden to eat this mutated Ugga Ugga strand, then he will use the wrong recipe to make children. His children will be Gaga Gaga viruses instead. Then the Gaga Gaga viruses can fight the Ugga Ugga viruses. I think it’s time to pay a visit to these depressing monkey faces.”
They zoomed back to the tonsils with the Gaga Gaga strand in hand. The Warden eyed them with a hungry look.
“Bring them to me, my children!”
Before Daena and DannyBot realized what was going on, they found themselves wrapped by DNA lassos from a bunch of Ugga Ugga viruses.
“My calculations tell me he means to eat us,” said DannyBot.
“You depress me.”
“Miss Daena. Why so gloomy? You should be happy, because you’ll make a tasty snack,” said the Warden and opened his mouth.
“Wait, wait! You don’t want to eat me like that. I’m more tasty if you eat this first as an appetizer,” Daena waved the Gaga Gaga virus strand in his face.
“You ‘re a real lady,” said the Warden and he gulped down the Gaga Gaga strand. He burped and said “Missy, that was really yummy. Remind me to get the recipe after I eat you.”
He came closer to Daena, opened his mouth and was about to close it over her head, but instead he grew and grew and grew until he… burst and a bunch of Gaga Gaga viruses came out of his body.
Soon a war begun between the Ugga Ugga and the Gaga Gaga as they started eating each other. Whenever an Ugga Ugga ate a Gaga Gaga, it gave birth to Gaga Gagas.
But, whenever a Gaga Gaga ate an Ugga Ugga, it gave birth to Gaga Gagas. Soon the Ugga Ugga’s were wiped out.
“He should not have eaten the Gaga Gaga strand before checking it, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to tell him,” said DannyBot.
“DannyBot, you are learning. Yet you still have ways to go to before you understand the genius of my scheme that killed the Ugga Ugga virus.”
“There was nothing to understand. It was based on a pair of positive and negative feedback loops. It is quite a very elementary and primitive principle of life,” said DannyBot.
“You really depress me.”