Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 9)

TAMaxwell bounced up and down, twittering in excitement. Further down the bench Choc looked up from welding the final Smibble.

“Can you shut that thing up, I’m trying to concentrate here.” Steve threw a towel over TAMaxwell.

“What’s the excitement?” she asked, onscreen a crowd cheered.

“They are announcing the winner of Celebrity Big Brother this evening,” replied Steve.

“Evening already,” said Choc. “How long have I been doing this?”

“How would you prefer your answer? In units of time or tea?” asked Steve. Choc thought for a moment. “Tea,” she said.

“Sixty-seven,” said Steve.

“That long!” said Choc. “These little critters are harder to weld than I thought.” She pointed towards the screen, “I guess Tex got through.”

“Professor Sky is, indeed, in the final round,” said Steve, “despite your reprogramming my internal telephone to call the voting line every 45 seconds.”

“You can’t blame a girl for trying,” said Choc. “Who’s he up against?”

TAMaxwell struggled out from under the towel and began to twitter and bounce around once again.

“Let me guess,” Choc sighed. “Tom Cruise is in the final as well.”

TAMaxwell continued bouncing around, twittering and waving its ears. “You are correct Miss Harvey,” said Steve. “Mr Cruise has also been voted through.”

“I see,” said Choc. “So it’s deliberate population die-off and world-wide family planning versus pumping sulphur into the upper atmosphere which will lead to the same thing.”

“That’s correct Miss Harvey,” Steve agreed.

Choc shook her head. “It’s ridiculous. I have to get these Smibbles operational or there’ll be a world war inside six months. At least I only have to do the intelligence enhancement now.”

“Intelligence enhancement, Miss Harvey? That does not appear to be on your work schedule,” said Steve.

“I was thinking it through during the welding,” said Choc. “I thought I’d use your base program,” said Choc. Steve buzzed.

“No need to get annoyed,” said Choc. “None of the higher cognitive functions. Just cooperation and cloning in localised areas.”

“Miss Harvey, are you sure that this is wise? Please recall what happened to Doctor Frankenstein. You could be inventing a monster.”

Choc put her hands on her hips.“I believe the sub-title of that book is ‘A Modern Prometheus’. I would point out that Prometheus was ultimately successful, even though he did suffer for his success.”

“As you say Miss Harvey,” Steve replied.

She pressed a couple of computer keys and placed one of the newly welded Smibbles in an isolation tank on the end of the bench where a car exhaust was running. After a few moments the other Smibbles grouped together and joined the first one. Immediately the excess pollution load of the car exhaust began to drop, and after a few minutes registered as almost nil on the monitor. The Smibbles separated and went back to their cage.

“I did it,” Choc clapped her hands. “Oh, Nobel Prize, you are mine.” Behind her the Celebrity Big Brother crowd cheered and whistled. TAMaxwell chittered and its ears dropped.

“What’s wrong?” asked Choc.

“It seems that Mr Cruise has not won the contest,” said Steve, “Professor Sky has won 53% of the final vote and the Nobel Prize.”

“Not exactly a crushing victory for extermination of half of the human population in the next five years, is it? I’m sorry TAMaxwell.” Choc patted the Smibbles’ head and it went back to its cage in a sulk. Choc packed the rest of the Smibbles away.

“Tomorrow, I’ll contact the Nobel Prize committee,” she said. “I’ll show those idiots how to save mankind.”

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Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 9)

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 8)

Choc picked up the whiskey bottle. “It was just so humiliating Steve.” She put the bottle down again.

“Yes, Miss Harvey.” Steve took the bottle away.

“I know it works. He just, just …,” Choc waved her hands in the air.

“I saw Miss Harvey,” said Steve. “Are you sure you want more whiskey? Perhaps just a lemonade this time?”

“Yes. Yes.” Choc thumped the bench. “Whiskey now.” She thumped the bench hard, causing TAMaxwell to bounce several inches further away. It twittered in annoyance as it moved back towards the screen, where Tom Cruise was demonstrating how to make a Baked Alaska.

“I hate those people,” Choc continued as Steve placed another glass of whiskey in front of her. “All they are interested in are stupid one-off solutions. They never try to join them up. They think that there’s one solution to climate change and that’s it. What the world needs is mutual cooperation.”

TAMaxwell squeaked, bouncing up and down on the bench, as Tom Cruise placed his finished dessert in the oven.

“What do you think, Steve?”

“He’s got hard peaks, Miss Harvey,” said Steve.

“What?” Choc looked confused. “What are you talking about?”

“Mr Cruise’s peaks are too stiff, Miss Harvey, on his meringue mix,” explained Steve.

Choc shook her head. “Were you even listening to me?”

“I’m sorry Miss Harvey. TAMaxwell’s excitement at Mr Cruise’s desserts is very distracting. Could you repeat the question please?”

“I was talking about cooperation, Steve. What if I could get the Smibbles to cooperate?”

“TAMaxwell has been more than generous so far…” began Steve.

“For an advanced artificial intelligence Steve A’Dore, sometimes you are a complete imbecile,” said Choc.

“Thank you, Miss Harvey,” he replied.

“I was thinking about cooperation with regard to global warming. What if I could get the Smibbles to share the CO2, even it out, maybe breed in place to allow for more CO2 absorption.”

“An intriguing idea Miss Harvey. Should I make some peppermint tea?”

“Absolutely. Get rid of this whiskey and gather the experimental equipment together while you’re at it. I’ll show those idiots, laugh at me will they.”

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 8)

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 7)

Jody Hammer adjusted her earpiece, and smiled her most ingratiating smile. “Here on Celebrity Big Brother today we have Bono and Professor Vince Sky, to discuss another environmentally-friendly invention. This one comes from bio-geneticist Chocolate Harvey. She calls it ‘The Smibble’.” Jody petted a Smibble on the table in front of her. “It looks very sweet Miss Harvey, but seriously, can this small, cute furry creature really save the planet?”

Choc swallowed hard and stuffed her shaking hands in her pockets. “It may look cute Jody, but this little creature is a serious contribution to science and the fight to save the planet.”

“Oh please!” Vince Sky rolled his eyes. Bono picked up a Smibble which twittered at him and hopped back onto the table. Bono smiled.

“The Smibble is the first carbon-negative organism on the planet,” continued Choc.

Jody adopted a serious expression. “Could you tell us what you mean by carbon-negative?” she asked.

“The Smibbles are programmed with the level of pre-industrial revolution CO2. If the level in the local environment exceeds this, the Smibble will simply absorb anything over that level through its fur and thus reduce CO2 levels within that environment.” Choc wriggled as sweat began to run down her back.

“Sounds very useful,” said Jody. “Professor Sky, what do you think of this idea?”

“It’s preposterous!” said Vince, throwing up his hands. “There’s absolutely no way you are going to persuade me that this tiny thing can cope with, say, the emissions from a car exhaust.”

“All of my data is publicly available,” said Choc. On the table in front of her a couple of Smibbles had begun headbutting each other, Bono pulled them apart, they ignored him and carried on.

“How do you expect them to cope in a factory setting?” asked Vince.

“That’s not the situation they were designed for,” said Choc, growing flustered.

“So, you expect the ordinary person in the street to cut their carbon emissions, while big polluters and the 1% carry on pouring toxins and dangerous gases into the atmosphere? How will that help save the world?”

“In tandem with other ideas, the Smibble will be a great addition to the modern lifestyle,” explained Choc, gritting her teeth.

On the table, the Smibbles were in an all-out fight now. As Bono tried to separate them once more, pieces of fur came away in his hands. A look of horror spread across his face as the Smibbles disintegrated in front of him.

“You see!” Vince cried triumphantly. “They can’t even cope with an ordinary situation like this.”

“This is not an ordinary situation,” retorted Choc. “Normal people do not live in TV studios.”

“Why?” Vince demanded. “Why would anyone invest in cheap rubbish that literally falls apart in your hands?”

Behind him, a grim and embarrassed Bono carefully wiped pieces of fur onto his trousers.

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 7)

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 6)

A week later five smaller versions of TAMaxwell had become highly annoyed by the barrage of tests Choc and Steve had put them through. TAMaxwell was also becoming irritated by the extra bodies taking up room in the cage and jumped out onto the bench at every opportunity.

“Are you sure we should let TAMaxwell watch this much television? It can’t be healthy surely?” said Steve as he passed Choc another DNA sample.

“I’m not exactly in a position to give it a university education here, Steve. What could be more important than saving the world anyway? At least it gets to learn why we’re doing this?” TAMaxwell began to twitter happily and bounced up close to the video screen.

“What’s so exciting?” asked Choc, adjusting the centrifuge.

“Tom Cruise is doing his sea-level rise awareness presentation today. TAMaxwell seems to have become rather taken with him.”

“I thought it liked Tiger Woods,” said Choc, switching on the centrifuge. “It watched him for ages when he was cleaning carpets and asking people to vote for his idea yesterday.”

“Ah, yes, but then when you went for lunch, they showed some clips of him doing his day job,” said Steve. “When he began practising his putting TAMaxwell got rather agitated at the sight of the golf balls. It probably feels safer with Tom Cruise.” He began gliding up and down the bench.

“Let’s just hope they don’t show any clips from The Color of Money,” said Choc, examining the centrifuge readout. “These new Smibbles seem to work. It looks like the whole lab has gone carbon negative.”

“That’s excellent Miss Harvey. You’ll be able to exhibit them on your Celebrity Big Brother guest appearance next week.”

Choc smiled, “I’d like to see the look on Tex’s face when I unveil them. He wants to do all this expensive population control and we may have saved the world.”

Steve paused from cleaning the bench. “Do you think we did the right thing?”

Celebrity Big Brother: Saves The World (Part 6)

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)