Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World ( Part 5)

Steve released TAMaxwell from the cage. The perfectly round Smibble rolled onto the bench. Choc peered closely and then gave the Smibble a gentle prod. The Smibble yelped as it began to roll back towards the cage.

“Oh dear,” said Choc. “It seems to have turned into a literal fur ball. I’ll have to extract the radish DNA before I can start work.”

“Are you sure that’s the right explanation?” asked Steve. “It seems to be in some pain.” The Smibble continued to roll around, whimpering.

“I only gave it a gentle poke. I don’t see how that could cause it pain, ” said Choc. “What else could it be?”

TAMaxwell’s whimpering became more high pitched. Then there was a yelp and a loud noise of escaping gas. Taking off over Choc’s head, the Smibble shot across the room. Too astonished to move, Choc and Steve were unable to help the poor Smibble as it flew full-tilt into the lab’s rubber plant and bounced back toward them. Ducking, Choc felt fur brush her cheek as TAMaxwell shot past her ear and landed on the bench with a ‘Boing!’

Choc peered at the Smibble now lying, deflated, on the bench. “I think it’s dead,” she said.

“It would appear that the radish gave it a severe case of gas,” said Steve.

“What a horrible way to go,” said Choc. Just then TAMaxwell got up and looked around slowly. After a moment or two it began to twitter happily to itself. Choc shook her head in wonder. “Amazing,” she said. “Right, let’s get going then. Scalpel please, Steve.”

A few hours later, Choc took a break, as Steve placed a badly shaved and highly irritated TAMaxwell back into its cage.

“It looks like the Pentanite might give us the best results,” said Choc, looking at the data displayed on the lab screen. “The data seem to indicate that it should make the Smibble carbon-negative within the next 48 hours. If we can stimulate the breeding cycle we can give it a test by the end of the week.”

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World ( Part 5)

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 4)

Choc shuffled into the lab. “Steve, would you stop that thumping noise.”

“I’m not making any noise, Miss Harvey.” He glided silently down the bench to meet her.

“Well, whatever it is, can you please turn it off?”

“I cannot hear any thumping, Miss Harvey.” Steve rotated, scanning the entire lab.

“What! You can’t hear that boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom? It’s as clear as day.”

“From your description I think you will find that is your heartbeat, Miss Harvey. It is to your advantage if I were to leave it running.”

“Well, it’s definitely too loud.” Choc sat down heavily on the lab stool, almost toppling off in the process.

“Perhaps this would help Miss Harvey.” Steve produced some painkillers and a steaming mug of peppermint tea, setting them down gently on the bench. Choc winced as she took a sip.

“What am I supposed to be doing today?” asked Choc, following the tea with the painkillers.

“You were going to, and I quote, ‘show those idiots’ on Celebrity Big Brother that they were wrong by resuming project Four Seven Alpha Tango also known as the Smibble, Miss Harvey.”

Choc nodded, “OK, although bio-engineering a hangover cure sounds like a good idea right now. Clear the bench and get the Smibble out of stasis please Steve. I’ve got a Nobel Prize to win.”

“I anticipated your request, Miss Harvey,” Steve announced, “I have had the stasis pod reanimating overnight. It should be ready momentarily.” There was a beep and the lid slid open on a small clear box further down the bench. After a few moments later there was a twitter and a small ball of sky-blue fur topped with a pair of bunny-like ears hopped onto the bench.

Choc moaned into her tea. “How can I procrastinate, when you’re being efficient?” She picked up the Smibble which squeaked as it was turned over. On a ring through its ear was engraved TAMaxwell.

“I see it has a name already,” said Steve, amending the file where he had already entered ‘Alpha’ in the column headed ‘Test Subject’.

“Is the equipment ready?” asked Choc, picking up a pair of surgical gloves. The Smibble gave a small squeak of alarm and squirmed its way back onto the bench.

“I have just run a double-check, and you appear to have everything you requested including the pair of shears and the Rank Corporation gong.”

“Right then, please keep the tea filled up and make sure there are plenty of digestive biscuits on hand.”

“Of course, Miss Harvey. What are you planning to feed to the Smibble?”

“Damn! The super-radish,” said Choc, spotting TAMaxwell munching on the last few bits of root. “I guess experimenting is over already then. I’ll have to wait 24 hours to see the effect of the radish DNA.”

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 4)

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 3)

Choc put down the whiskey bottle and addressed the three versions of Steve that seemed to be hovering nearby.

“I don’t need to develop a super-radishhh,” she slurred. “And I can do better than that Big Brother rubbishhh too, I know I can. You just wait and see.” She pointed a shaky finger.  “I’ll show them. I’ve been thinking about this for years. Steve, how many projects do I have relating to this?” Steve hummed as he calculated. Choc continued, addressing the lab at large.

“A Nobel Prize! Imagine it – recognition for all my ideas. All those fools that have been saying that I’m just an idealist, full of hot air, never finishing anything. I’ll show those idiots. They’ll eat their words when I’m holding that prize and laughing in their faces. Well?” asked Choc, turning back to Steve. “How many?”

“I have records of 139 possible projects related to climate change, global warming and sea-level rise. Of those you have started 37, four have working prototypes, one was put forward for the Celebrity Big Brother Competition and 97 are abandoned.”

“I think you mean incomplete,” said Choc, “I don’t abandon things.”

“As you say, Miss Harvey, although I would have to ask if you are likely to return to a project that is over ten years old?”

“Never say never, Mr Bond,” answered Choc, wobbling dangerously on the stool.

“That is not my name,” said Steve.

“Never mind,” Choc sighed, “the point is, I could easily do better than those idiots and their ideas about pumping sulphur into the atmosphere. This shouldn’t be about geo-engineering. This should be about bio-engineering. Which project is closest to completion?”

“That would be Project Four Seven Alpha Tango, otherwise known as The Smibble,” said Steve. “Records state that you have a working prototype in the basement stasis field.”

“Great,” said Choc, picking up the bottle again. “I’ll make a start on it tomorrow. Hey! You gave me another empty bottle.”

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 3)

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (part 2)

“But Mr Brain-” Choc protested. Norman Brain’s face distorted slightly on the huge video screen at the end of the lab.

“Don’t you ‘but’ me Miss Harvey.” Norman pointed for emphasis, “the brief explicitly said, and I quote from page four: ‘development of genotype for radish that can tolerate the climatic and growing conditions as given in Table 3’.” He thumped the brief onto his desk. “It says absolutely nothing about being able to cope with drought tolerance that would make the Sahara seem like an ocean, high salt levels in the soil or being able to harvest them in four feet of sea-water.” He leant forward across his desk. “Did you, or did you not, read and agree to this at the beginning of our contract?”

“Well, yes, of course I did. I just thought I’d develop it a little,” said Choc.

“You thought, huh? That’s your problem right there.” He pointed an accusing finger.“You’re not being paid to think Miss Harvey. You’re being paid to produce. That radish, that you have spent the last six months wasting your time and my money on, is to be grown in greenhouses across China – very sophisticated, highly accurate, temperature and climate-controlled greenhouses. Those radishes will never see sand, drought, salt, soil or anything else that nature can throw at them. They won’t need to.”

“I didn’t know,” Choc protested, throwing her hands up into the air.

“Of course not. You’re not being paid to know,” said Norman Brain, “and having broken our contract by failing to fulfill the brief, we won’t be paying you at all.”

“But that’s six months of my life lying there,” Choc pointed to the super-radish lying on the bench.

“At least you won’t go hungry,” said Norman, “I am displeased with you Miss Harvey. You have failed to meet two previous deadlines and now you have returned work that does not meet the agreed specification. I will instruct my personnel department to take your name off our list of preferred scientists.”

“Fine,” Choc folded her arms, “I’ll go elsewhere.”

“Given that we own 96% of the bio-research market Miss Harvey, I think you’ll find that a long walk. Don’t call us….” He cut the connection. Choc sat down at the bench with her head in her hands.

“Whiskey Miss Harvey?” Steve set down the glass on the bench beside her. Choc downed it in one gulp.

“You know, that ‘stiff drink after hearing bad news’ modification I gave you was one of the best things I ever did,” said Choc.

“Although given recent events it does make you look like an alcoholic,” said Steve retrieving the glass.

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (part 2)

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 1)

Chocolate Harvey looked at the scene of devastation around her. Turning over several pieces of fur and carbon-fibre, a twinkle of silver in the sunlight caught her eye. Sweeping aside grit with her fingers, she made out the name ‘Steve A’Dore’.

“Oh Steve,” she said, “how did it come to this?”


A few weeks earlier:

“Honestly Steve, can you believe this tripe?” Choc pointed towards the screen with a microscope slide.

“Do they really think that Bono and Oprah can save the world by eating their breakfast live on TV every day for six weeks?” She put the slide down and Steve slotted another into the microscope.

“It would appear Miss Harvey that this is indeed what the television company believe.”

“But it’s rubbish,” said Choc. “It’s unwatchable.”

“From the empirical data I have collected so far, I believe you are incorrect Miss Harvey.”

Choc looked up from the microscope. “What empirical data?”

Steve whirred as he appeared to calculate. Choc frowned,

“I know you’re solid state,” she said. “That affectation really doesn’t suit you, you know.”

“I’m sorry Miss Harvey, but it is my experience that humans don’t react well to the instantly available correct answer. I am merely trying to put you at ease.” He glided down the bench.

Choc sighed, “If I were any more at ease Steve, I would be horizontal. Please – just tell me – what empirical data?”

“I have observed,” said Steve, “that since the beginning of this series of Celebrity Big Brother you have watched 35 out of a possible 40 hours of viewing time. It would appear to be far from unwatchable”

Choc shook her head.

“This is purely professional interest on my part. They sidelined me in favour of Vince ‘I’m more photogenic than you’ Sky, and I want to see just exactly how much of an ass Tex makes of himself trying to persuade people to vote for their own death sentence.”

“Query: Tex?” asked Steve, gliding back up the bench bearing a cup of tea.

“As in Texas,” said Choc, taking the tea. “He’s got a lone star state of mind.”

“You do not believe that Professor Sky deserves to win the contest?” asked Steve. “He seems to be very popular at the moment, despite his recent debate of the problems of over-population with Kitty Kelley and Bob Dylan. In fact, the press are referring to him as an overnight sensation.”

Choc rolled her eyes. “He’s been cultivating that impression for the past 20 years. Have you noticed that every time he drags out that Malthusian over-population theory, every time he talks about it, he starts going on about taxing the 1%, limiting their net worth and forcing them to limit themselves to a maximum of two children? No one cares about humans dying off if they think they can get more money out of people like Al Pacino and Venus Williams in the process. I bet he never takes that Leo Thornton tribute t-shirt off.”

Steve chimed. “You asked me to remind you about the genetic radish project Miss Harvey. Your deadline is at 2pm today.”

“Damn, I forgot. Thanks Steve. I think they’re going to love what I’ve done with their idea. Clear the bench will you. I’ll start getting the things together for the presentation.”

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 1)