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The Coomassie Blue Kid and the Plasmid of Doom

Episode Two of Blinded By Science

Harrison Bae Wein 19 April 2006

www.lablit.com/article/101

Harrison Bae Wein

Editor’s note: This is the second instalment in a series of nine original stories, each written in a different style, following the career of a scientist called Fluke from graduate school to Nobel Prize. These stories should be largely understandable to a general audience, but if you are a non-scientist and are curious about what some of the technical words (including ‘plasmid’) mean, you can browse Harrison's glossary.

Adoy was like a father to many of the scientists who passed through the labs where he worked. He gave guidance to his pupils not only in the ways of Science, but in the ways of Life. When Adoy left this earth, he left an empty space behind in many young hearts. For years, people have wondered what exactly happened to Adoy, why he so suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. Now, we can finally put to rest all the speculation. Here is the true story of what happened to the beloved laboratory technician named Adoy.

**********

It was a precise operation. If too much of the orange powder fell from the spatula, he would have to start all over again. Fluke took a slow breath. He moved his finger just a little. Suddenly, a clump of powder gave way, and a bit fell from the spatula onto the weigh paper. He caught his breath and held it as the number dial slowly stabilized. Exactly three milligrams! Perfect! Fluke exhaled and smiled, then put down the spatula and carefully lifted the weigh paper to slide the glowing orange powder into a microfuge tube.

This was it. Adoy, who used to be a technician in Fluke's lab but had since gone on to semi-retirement in a biotech lab on the east coast, had been Fluke's mentor for over two years. Fluke was now independent in the lab, a true Scientist, and was hoping to graduate within a year. He hadn't heard much from Adoy since the old man had left, but yesterday he'd received a small package from him in dry ice. It had contained both a plasmid and this mysterious powder he'd just weighed.

"Once you transform the cells with the plasmid," read the accompanying letter from Adoy, "add three milligrams of this powder. I can't tell you yet what it is, but I can tell you that it is very important. If anything should happen to me, Fluke, it is your responsibility. You must show the world what it can do."

The letter continued: "If something should happen to me, you are to trust no one. And for goodness sake, weigh that three milligrams carefully or you could have a disaster on your hands. Zinc chloride is the only way to stop it."

Fluke thought about the letter as he inverted the microfuge tube, mixing the powder into the suspension of plant cells. Come to think of it, three milligrams was a pretty tiny amount. Fluke had very carefully measured it out, but had he tared the weigh paper? As he'd begun the weighing, one of the post-docs down the hall had brought his daughter into the lab for the yearly fund-raising ritual of selling Girl Scout cookies. Fluke told her that they were unhealthy, and that she was going to give all these people her daddy worked with heart attacks. She started crying, the post-doc got mad at him, and Fluke got all flustered. Yes, the analytical balance had been tared to a weigh paper of this size – of that Fluke was sure – but because he'd been distracted, he wasn't sure if it had been tared to this particular weigh paper.

Suddenly Fluke noticed activity in the tube. The suspension was getting cloudy, becoming more viscous. Then before his eyes, it started to grow. Almost instantaneously, it filled the tube. Fluke's heart jumped. He was glad he had this stuff in a sealed tube. But almost before Fluke could even finish that thought, the top blew. Fluke jumped back, dropping the tube, and the stuff exploded from the opening like an airbag.

Fluke watched in horror as the milky, yellowish mass of tissue blossomed before his eyes. It was firing out shoots; writhing pale tendrils flailed aimlessly in the air. Each was swallowed soon after it was formed into the quickly expanding mass of undifferentiated tissue. The thing was growing so fast that Fluke could hear low creaking and rumbling sounds emanated from its center.

The new roton (a first-year graduate student doing a 10-week rotation in the lab) came down the hall, hearing the strange noises. "Holy mother of God!" she shouted when she saw it. The thing was already about four feet in diameter and growing quickly.

"Quick!" Fluke came to his senses. "Let's get this thing outside!"

"What is it?"

"There's no time for that! Come on!"

Fluke propped the door open, ran to the tissue mass, and started to push. The roton joined him. It was soft and wet, but still solid enough to push. The tendrils struck at them harder and harder, faster and faster as they got it rolling out the door and into the hallway. They pushed with all their might, moving it gradually toward the stairway.

"I told you they work on weird stuff in that lab," Fluke overheard someone say from a doorway as they passed.

All of a sudden, they couldn't push anymore. Fluke tried to walk around to see what was in the way, but he couldn't get through; the thing was almost filling up the whole hallway.

"What the heck is this?" the roton asked Fluke. "I didn't know you worked with evil amorphous blobs in this lab."

Fluke ignored the comment as he tried to peer around the thing. It was a tendril that was hindering them – a particularly large one. "Look," he said to the roton, "it's just a big tendril in the way. If we give it one good push, we'll get over it, and the momentum will keep it rolling."

"Whatever," she said. "I don't think I'm going to come and work in this lab, though."

"Just push."

They shoved with all their might, and the mass moved up the tendril on the other side as if it were a ramp – except they couldn't push it over the top. It came rolling back toward them.

"Aaaaah!" the roton screamed, jumping through the open doorway beside her into the autoclave room. Fluke had no such recourse – the door beside him was locked.

He ran. He ran harder than he'd ever run before.

The blob rolled after him, rumbling in the hallway as Fluke shouted, "Get out of the way! Get out of the way!"

People jumped through doorways to avoid the raging mass, but Fluke was only one step ahead of it, and no matter how hard he ran, it always seemed to be right on his heels.

Then Fluke saw the window fast approaching. They were on the fifth floor; he'd die if he jumped.

The last doorway approached. Fluke watched it come, watched it go. He couldn't make it. This is it, he thought to himself. This is how I die: at the tendrils of a mass of mutant plant cells.

But then Fluke thought of something. He stopped just short of the window and turned around. As the blob bore down on him, he jumped right into it.

One bystander described it to the local news that night: "It was like a big rice pudding ball breaking through the window and plopping down on the grass – it sounded like a big fart. Then this guy comes out of it like it hatched him or something. He was all covered with this yolky stuff, except it was clumpy."

Fluke jumped up on the grass, stunned into action. "Zinc," he shouted, remembering Adoy's advice. "Get the zinc chloride!"

The roton's head was poking out the broken window, fighting against the positive pressure in the building just to keep her head steady. "What?" she shouted.

"Zinc chloride! It's the only way to stop it! Get as much as you can!"

Fluke, already sprouting huge patches of the stuff all over his body like pale yellow mushrooms, shouted to anyone going into the building, "Zinc chloride! Zinc chloride!"

Within an hour, the field of yellowish slime was under control, but the place was teeming with reporters – even the national network news shows were there. Fluke got many requests for interviews.

"No comment," he'd tell them.

But Fluke had already let the cat out of the bag.

**********

Adoy wasn't in his lab and no one was answering the phone at his house. Fluke didn't know what to do. Everyone had left Fluke's lab after the bizarre incident that afternoon, so Fluke sat alone that evening at his lab bench, turning the tube over in his hands, wondering what the heck this stuff was and what he was supposed to do with it.

The phone rang. Fluke got up to answer it.

"Fluke, this is Adoy. I saw what happened on the news. Now, did you tare your weigh paper?" he admonished.

Fluke blushed. "I forgot."

"I thought so. I expect this will teach you a lesson."

"I'm sorry, Adoy."

"There is no time for apologies, Fluke. You are in grave danger. These people do not fool around – they'll kill you for what you have. We must meet immediately. Linda's lab is halfway across the country for both of us; we should meet there as soon as possible." Linda had once worked as a postdoc in their lab. "And Fluke,", Adoy stressed, "you must be very careful; they know you have the ingredients now."

"What is it, Adoy?" Fluke demanded. "What the heck is in this stuff?"

"It's an expression system I designed that causes faster growth than anything previously known to science. The orange formula is crucial, Fluke, but it can't work unless the cells are expressing the proteins on that plasmid I sent you."

"But what's the system based on, scientifically?"

There was a silence on the other end of the line.

"Adoy?"

"There's someone here," Adoy whispered. "Hang on."

Fluke heard the receiver being laid down. There were some moments of silence, then the sounds of a scuffle, a thump, and a brief moan – it sounded like Adoy's voice. Silence followed once more, then the phone was placed back on the hook and the line went dead.

They'd gotten Adoy – Fluke was sure of it. But who? Adoy had never gotten around to telling him exactly what this expression system was. Fluke was befuddled.

Fluke knew he had to get out of here and get to Linda as soon as he could. He gathered the plasmid and the orange powder, along with his pipetman and some tips (just in case), a squirt bottle of ethanol, some Dust-offTM, and a long length of tubing. Fluke anxiously put on his lab coat and clear plastic face shield, loaded everything into the deep pockets of his lab coat, and began his long journey.

**********

Adoy trusted Linda implicitly, as much as he trusted Fluke. She had received the plasmid and powder from Adoy earlier in the week, and that same evening had heard about the disaster in Fluke's lab on the news. Still, when Fluke arrived, Linda was engaged in her usual Friday night activity with one of the post-docs in her lab.

The bottle of tequila sat between the two lab benches. Linda and the post-doc faced each other, each with a micromanipulator in front of them. Linda slammed her shot glass down. She stretched out her arms and immediately went to work. Within a minute, she'd done a microinjection on the frog egg.

"Pretty darned good," the post-doc slurred. He poured some tequila, downed it, and slammed the glass down. He stared at Linda with a goofy smile, wavered, and reached for his micromanipulator. But before he could touch it, he lost his balance and fell off the stool into a limp pile on the floor.

"Beat you again," Linda said, getting up. She was barely affected by all the alcohol she'd drunk. She got up and came around to check that he was OK. "Just the usual inebriation," she said, leaning over him. "Men can't seem to hold their liquor anymore, can they, Brian?" Brian was sound asleep.

A noise from another part of the lab. The janitor had already been through tonight, so Linda knew immediately that something was wrong. She'd phoned Fluke's lab earlier in the week and been told about his sudden disappearance, so she'd been expecting trouble. Now her time had come.

Linda had never been one to take things lying down. She picked up the squirt bottle she'd prepared for this very moment and tiptoed toward the sound. Someone was rifling through the desk in her office. She carefully approached the entrance, braced herself, and swung into the room with the bottle in front of her like a gun.

"All right! Put it down, buddy!" she shouted.

Fluke looked up and smiled. "Linda!" He was wearing his lab coat and clear plastic face shield, and was a sorry sight after all his travel, with his face unshaven and his eyes bloodshot.

Linda didn't drop the squirt bottle. "What are you doing going through my desk, Fluke? Looking for the secret procedures?"

"Linda, no," he explained. "I was looking for a pad so I could write you a message. I didn't know you were still in lab."

"A likely story," she said, keeping the nozzle trained on him.

"I'm serious, Linda. Look," he said reaching into his pocket.

"Hands up, Fluke!"

"OK. OK," he conceded, raising his hands. "Look, Linda, Adoy sent me the plasmid and the powder. They're in my pocket. You can check it out yourself."

"I don't want to get too close. You use one hand and reach into your pocket, Fluke. Remember, I've got this thing trained on you. Don't do anything funny or I'll burn your fingers off."

Fluke carefully reached into his pocket and took out the two tubes. "See?" he said, holding them out to her. "Linda, I was talking to Adoy and something happened to him. He was just explaining to me what the expression system was when he thought he heard someone. He went away to investigate, and that was the last I ever heard from him. He had told me to meet him here, though, as soon as possible."

"Oh yeah? Why didn't you call me, then?" Linda challenged.

"I was afraid your line might be tapped. I didn't want to put you in any danger."

Linda finally lowered the squirt bottle, satisfied. "Fluke," she went to him, "what do you think we should do?"

Fluke lifted up his face mask to kiss her, but she lowered it again. "Linda," he pleaded, "Why did you leave me?"

"I got a job, Fluke. You go where the jobs are."

"Oh yeah," he remembered.

Linda broke his trance. "So what are we going to do, Fluke?"

"I wanted to go to Adoy's old lab to get to the bottom of what's going on. Why don't you give me the plasmid and powder? It'll be safer with me, on the move. Whoever found Adoy will eventually find you. I don't want you to be in any danger."

"If you take the plasmid, you take me too, Fluke."

"It's still too dangerous," he shook his head.

"I'm not giving you the stuff, Fluke," she said defiantly, "and that's final. Why don't you get some sleep, and maybe you'll come to your senses by morning?"

"That's your final word? You won't give it to me?"

"Nope."

"OK," he conceded, going to the door. "I'll be back in the morning." He winked at her before opening the door and leaving.

Linda walked out to the main lab and took the materials Adoy had sent her out of the refrigerator. She'd put them in a small metal canister, and now meditated on them as she sat on a stool and rotated the small cylinder in her hand. Brian, the post-doc, was gone now; apparently, he'd woken up to find himself alone and stumbled home.

Linda heard a noise. Again, it sounded like it was coming from her office. Fluke again. She put the canister down on the bench, got up, and stormed toward her office to chew Fluke out.

But it wasn't Fluke in her office. A perspiring, doughy man looked up from beneath a black bowler and smiled when he saw her. His gold teeth glistened in his shiny, pubescent face. "Ah. The doctor is in," he droned.

Linda wanted to run back and get the hydrochloric acid, but she could suddenly feel someone's breath on her neck and stopped herself. There was more than one intruder. But how many were there, she wondered?

Linda spun around, but the man was able to grab her and wrestle her arms behind her. He was considerably bigger than she, so it wasn't much of a struggle.

"So," said the man with the hat, "she has some spunk. Just what I like: a challenge. Did you think," he asked, approaching her, his black coat opened wide so that Linda could see the huge sweat rings under his arms, "that I would be so stupid as to come here alone when your friend Puke is around?"

"Fluke," she corrected him.

"Whatever. We followed your friend, and he led us right to you. Now, tell me directly and this will be painless for you: where is the plasmid?"

"I'll never tell you," Linda declared with defiance.

"Well, then, we can make this quite painful," he grinned.

They dragged her, kicking and shouting, out to the main lab, and the man with the hat lit a Bunsen burner. He drew a metal collapsible pointer used for presentations out of his pocket and drew it out to dip the end in the flame.

"Now," he said after some seconds, turning around and lifting the pointer. The red hot tip glowed near his face, "Now you talk."

He moved the tip toward Linda's nose, but she stared him down without fear, even as the hot tip began to singe her skin.

Suddenly, something whistled through the air and the man's wrist was wrapped in rubber tubing. "Game's up, slimeball," someone said from behind Linda, and the man was jerked sharply by the wrist, causing him to fall onto the lab bench and knock over the Bunsen burner.

The goon holding Linda let go to tackle the intruder. Once freed, Linda assessed the situation. It was Fluke, complete with lab coat and face shield, come to save the day. As the goon approached him, he whipped out his Dust-offTM from a deep pocket and blasted the man in the face.

Linda jumped for the metal canister on her bench. The man in black, deducing what the canister must hold, reached for it too, and in their struggle, they rolled the canister into the overturned Bunsen burner's sideways flame. The man knocked Linda to the floor after a furious struggle and reached to grab the canister with his bare hand. His skin sizzled on the hot metal and he cried out in pain, clutching his hand.

Linda took the opportunity to slip on a glove and grab the canister. "I got it," she shouted to Fluke. Fluke had just finished taking care of the goon. They ran out of the lab, escaping safely with the their precious goods.

**********

In his struggle with Linda, the man in black had dropped a business card, and Linda had also had the presence of mind to grab that before running out. It revealed where he'd come from: GGC – the Giant Genetics Core. A government facility. Curious.

"I've got to continue on," Fluke said once they were outside. "I've got to get to the bottom of this."

"I'm going with you," Linda insisted. "You need some help, and I'll be in danger if I stay here."

She wouldn't take no for an answer, and so they set off in Fluke's VW van for the GGC.

**********

The potential of the plasmid, Linda explained to Fluke in the van, was enormous. Not only could the cellular mass feed every person in the world within a week; the uncontrolled growth could destroy an entire state or country, making it a powerful weapon as well. The only problem, of course, was controlling its growth so that it didn't cover the entire planet. It was crucial that they rescue Adoy before this discovery got into the wrong hands – the hands of someone who would use it for their own selfish, power-hungry gains.

The GGC was tucked into an isolated portion of a wooded forest. One minor road led to the Center, and as they turned onto it late at night their van was stopped by uniformed soldiers at a makeshift booth. One soldier came up to the van and asked what their business was there. Fluke said they were visiting the GGC.

"What does your visit concern?"

Linda had pulled out the card of the man in black and muttered the name to Fluke. Fluke repeated it to the soldier. The soldier's face went pale, he told them to wait a second and then went back to the booth. Fluke couldn't see what was going on inside the booth, but when the man in the black bowler stepped out of it, apparently untouched by fire, Fluke floored the gas pedal and crashed his rickety van through the makeshift wooden barrier.

"Damn!" Linda said. We'd better ditch the van. They'll be after us in a minute."

"You're right," Fluke agreed. "The sooner the better."

They turned off the road as soon as they found a clearing and pulled to the far edge along the trees. They camouflaged the van with some branches they found on the ground, then took off into the forest toward the GGC. It was quite a distance, taking them over half an hour to get there, but when they finally saw the complex, they were completely taken aback. It was the night of the company picnic.

There was a huge barbecue in the parking lot, with grills and picnic tables scattered across the entire expanse. Hundreds of people were milling about, eating hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad. It was a sea of olive green soldier's uniforms and white lab coats. Fluke and Linda hid behind a tree and marveled at the sight.

Two people passed close to their tree – a soldier and, once more, the man in black. Linda stepped from behind the tree and said, "Hey, boys, want to keep me company?" When they ran toward her, Fluke bopped them on the back of their heads.

Five minutes later, Fluke and Linda were milling about the barbecue as a soldier and the man in black, respectively. Closer to the action, they realized something very disturbing: there were many men in black, and they all looked the same. "Clones," Linda commented, keeping the brim of her hat low.

Then they saw Adoy sitting alone at a picnic bench eating a hot dog with mustard and a heaping pile of sauerkraut. They casually sat near him.

"Adoy," Fluke said in a low voice.

"Thank goodness you've found me," Adoy muttered, looking away as if he didn't see them. "I hoped I'd see you one last time."

"You don't seem very surprised we're here," Fluke observed.

"I knew you'd find me."

"Adoy," Linda gushed, "I'm so glad you're alive. We were so worried about you."

"Don't be so friendly," Adoy reproached her. "They know you're here; they'll be looking for suspicious behavior."

"What's going on?" Fluke asked. "And why aren't you tied up?"

"Where am I going to go?" Adoy shrugged. "I'm an old man. They know that. I can't run from here."

"But what's going on?"

"Contact."

"Contact?"

Just then, a low rumbling sound could be heard in the distance. Slowly, it grew louder and before they knew it, a huge craft of some kind was blocking their view of the horizon. It was oval shaped and covered with lights, and Fluke guessed it was as big as a football stadium. Everyone put down their hot dogs and hamburgers to stare.

The craft moved directly above the parking lot and suddenly belched out a deep, booming note. Then another, and another. A huge bank of speakers at the other end of the parking lot answered with the same notes. What then followed was a seemingly endless exchange of soft tones between the craft and the speakers on the ground.

"My god," Fluke said. "It's awful. It sounds like that terrible new age music."

"They're only using four notes," Linda observed, staring in awe.

"Yeah," Fluke quipped, "you'd think they could add a little more variety."

"No, Fluke, listen carefully. If you were to assign each DNA nucleotide a note, this sequence would be G-A-A-T-T-C. Fluke!" she exclaimed. "Don't you get it? That's the EcoR1 restriction site! They're communicating in genetic code!"

"Yes," Adoy then confirmed, turning around. "It is the truly universal language."

Fluke listened and, once he got the hang of it, was able to make out several restriction sites, including a BamH1 site.

Suddenly, the music stopped and a hatch started to open in the belly of the craft.

"Look away," Adoy ordered.

"What? Is it going to be an alien?"

"Yes, Fluke. Look away. Don't look at it."

"Why not? Our chance to actually see an extraterrestrial being?"

"Fluke, trust me. Close your eyes. Don't look until I tell you to."

The three of them closed their eyes as the hatch opened wider, revealing a blinding light within. During the next few minutes, the temptation to look was almost irresistible, but Adoy kept muttering, "Don't look, Fluke. Don't look, Linda."

They heard noises. At first oohs and ahs, but then gasps and, shortly, cries of pain. They could see flashes of light through their closed eyelids. But Adoy persisted: "Don't look. Whatever you do, don't look!"

And then it was over. Suddenly they heard no noise at all.

"I think we can open our eyes now," Adoy said.

What they saw standing before them was a sight they would never forget. It was about eight feet long and thick like a slug. Its skin slick and shiny, marbled gray and brown, it had front limbs and a face but little other shape to it. Its lower half slithered toward them while its upper half bent skyward, allowing its short, non-jointed arms and strange, anemone-like hands to be free.

It stopped about five feet from them, and they all heard a voice in their heads: "You are the only pure ones here."

Fluke hadn't even thought to look around before, so captivated was he by the creature before him. Everyone – hundreds of people – lay slumped on the asphalt of the parking lot.

"Are they dead?" Fluke asked.

"They are temporarily non-functional."

"I thought you'd never come," Adoy greeted the creature.

"There was a meteor shower at Gamma Gloopulon, so we had to take a detour."

"You knew about them?" Fluke asked his old mentor in amazement.

"Yes," Adoy explained. "They contacted me about a month ago. They've been monitoring our scientific progress, and were very interested in my discovery."

"Overpopulation," added the creature. "This will help us feed all our citizens."

"Can you give me the tubes I sent you?" Adoy asked Fluke, and Fluke complied.

Adoy resumed, "These people at GGC were planning on using my discovery not only to feed the people of the world, but as a biological weapon. They were going to plant it in the middle east, let it grow and wipe out our political problems there, then feed the whole world with the growth. I couldn't let that happen. But now we've put a stop to it."

"Let us go, Adoy," the creature spoke in their minds.

Adoy went to the creature's side and they started toward the ramp coming from the spaceship. Fluke and Linda were too shocked to say anything at first, but then Linda called after him, "Adoy, you're going away?"

Adoy turned around. "I must help them administer this growth. They need me."

"But what about us, Adoy? What about earth?"

"You will both do just fine. I have trained you well. As for planet Earth, it is not yet ready for my discovery. When it is, believe me, someone else will have made the same construct. You won't need old Adoy."

Fluke burst out, "But Adoy, I need you."

"Fluke," Adoy admonished, "a true Scientist does not show such emotional vulnerability. Now, you had better leave this place before these people wake up and start asking you questions." He turned back to accompany the creature into the spaceship.

"Will we ever see you again?" Linda called to him when he'd reached the top of the ramp.

"I expect not," Adoy returned, waving good-bye as the hatch shut before him. A loud rumbling began, and the craft shot straight up into the sky.

"We'd better get out of here," Fluke said. The slumped bodies around them were beginning to stir.

**********

They worked their way back to the van and safely escaped the GGC complex. Fluke drove Linda back to her lab, and during the days it took to get there, they rehashed what had happened over and over. They found it hard to believe they had lost Adoy forever.

Finally, they reached her lab. "Linda," Fluke ventured before she got out of the car, "that was some adventure we had."

"It sure was," she nodded.

"You know, Linda, we work pretty well together."

"We sure do."

"I was thinking: maybe we can combine our talents, go through the adventure of Life together."

"What do you mean, Fluke, get married?"

"Yeah."

She laughed. "No way, Fluke. My one true love is Science." She got out of the van. "Thanks for the ride, though. It was a great trip."

And so, Fluke drove back West to finish up his graduate work alone. He had had an adventure. But like all adventures, this one had come to an end.

And so also ends the story of Adoy. Now, finally, the truth is known.

Teasers for subsequent episodes of Blinded by Science:

Needful Stains. A mysterious antibody arrives in the Kruger lab one day and gives everyone precisely the staining they most want to see. But the celebrations soon give way to deadly violence.

Beauty and The Yeast. Murder, love and intrigue during a yeast biology meeting at an idyllic Northern California conference center. Fluke meets the love of his life, Monique, and they dream of setting up a lab together, but there are one or two things getting in the way of their happiness.

Apoptosis Now. Fluke is applying for a faculty position at Braggadocio University, but they have a small job for him before he can get the position. Fluke must travel to the heart of Darness, an old biology building on campus, where the enigmatic Professor Hurtz has surrounded himself with a gang of fiercely loyal students who continue to carry out his experiments despite the department's scorn.

Selected Excerpts From The Notebook of Jane Baxman. Jane is a meticulous new technician in Fluke's lab who has a slightly distorted view of her own worth.

The A-Maize-ing Maize Man: A Tale From The Corny Side. Jack, a sloppy postdoc in Fluke's lab, spills some chemicals on himself that cause corn kernels to sprout all over his body. A nasty human tomato is willing to go to any lengths to discover the secret to Jack's transformation. It's a good thing that two FBI agents specializing in the paranormal are on the scene.

The Coli. A magazine reporter finds the story of a lifetime when he learns that a postdoc in Fluke's lab has invented a prototype teleportation device. But a horrible accident ensues when the postdoc forgets to sterilize the chamber.

Back to the Past. What's Fluke doing drunk and passed out in the back room of a pub? Finally, learn the real secret to Fluke's success.