³Turn to page 54 in your textbooks.
´ The quiet room rang with silent desperation from the students as they flipped through the pages on the first day of school. The teacher looked up and smiled with sympathy toward her pupils. She then looked to the left wall of her classroom and there proudly hung a cytonaut¶s helmet. She looks back at her students who are staring at her inquisitively. ³Oh! Sorry. I¶m not in school mode yet.´ She lightly laughed, a few students agreeing with her. ³So page 54. Do I have anyone who wants to read it?´ No hands rose unsurprisingly. ³Ok« Then let¶s try this. Everyone look at that helmet.´ The class all shifted their heads to the ancient looking helmet. ³Why do you have that?´ ³Todd, who cares why?! Mrs. Montgomery, how did you get that?´ ³Well this helmet is part of the chapter, no. This helmet is the reason for most of your history books, but this helmet will tell you so much more than anything on those pages. The story begins with a Dr. Charlie Chondia ironically named since he was a ribosome. It was the year 5001 the whole city in a frenzy of the New Year.´ Mrs. Montgomery¶s words began unweaving the fabric of time enough to allow the classroom to transform into the past. Dr. Chondia and his lifetime revealing themselves to the young organelles and the tale began to spin. ³Dr. Chondia was the most renowned scientist in the whole cell. He was a ribosome of all knowledgeable trades, but favored health care the most above all. He even tended to the mayor¶s health. He was well respected as were his friends who included civilians just as much as professionals making him the most sociable organelle of the cell also. His world was very different to ours. Back then the Nucleus wasn¶t even a school. It was a command center for outer space travel that we have now converted into this learning facility. From here cytonaut¶s would train to be able to travel outside the cell to visit other cells, or gather supplies, or for other reasons. The cytonaut¶s were the ever energized mitochondria. They were the only ones in those primitive years that could survive the trip. As for the other changes throughout the times there was a cell membrane, or a postal service, or our taxi system yet, hence the reason for cytonauts.´ Mrs. Montgomery looked one last time before diving fully into the story once again to see the children for once actually engaged to something at school. She smiled and continued speaking until her voice faded away from the students¶ ears and the sounds of the ancient cell replaced it.
³Hey Doc, wait up!´
Dr. Chondia turned to see his old time friend Kyle Lyse running towards him. The ribosome stopped and let his friend catch up to him and they began to talk. ³Nice to see you out and about Kyle. I see you are feeling better.´ ³Yeah! Thanks so much for that medicine! Worked like a charm.´ ³Anytime I can help.´ ³So the wife was wondering if you¶d like to come over for dinner this Friday night.´ ³Hmm« I may just take that up.´ ³I¶m also thinking about inviting a lady friend and well maybe« You know.´ The lysosome chuckled toward his friend¶s dead love life. ³You¶re not going to hook me up with anyone Kyle! That¶s final.´ ³Okay, okay she¶s not invited. Calm down.´ ³Thank you. So how-´ A voice rang Dr. Chondia¶s name through the cytoplasmic air and took hold of both their ears. They spun around and saw well-dressed gentlemen rushing towards them with a crazed look on his membrane face. When he reached them he spoke while also catching his breath begging, ³Dr« Dr. Chondia« you have to« to come with me´! ³What is it Professor? What¶s going on?´ ³I don¶t know, but« you do.´ Charlie¶s eyes went large. He looked at Kyle and Kyle simply nodded understanding the problem. ³Come on!´ The Professor urged and grabbed the doctor¶s arm and yanked him away and lead them to the Nucleus. ³So what exactly is going on Brendan?´ ³One of the cytonauts is down and they think it¶s fatigue or an overdose, but we need to make sure.´ They ran through the cellular fluid until they finally reached the Nucleus. They scanned their badges at the front door and the giant door lifted and they ran to the Outer Space Travel site. Once there they saw a crowd surrounding the dying mitochondria. The doctors working on him looked up behind them to investigate the gasps they heard and moved out of the way for Dr. Chondia. Charlie came closer to the cytonaut and knelt down beside him. He studied the instruments going in and out of him. He pulled out his mini flashlight and did his own evaluation. ³We already did the tests sir.´ One of the doctors stated and made Dr. Chondia look at him with a stern face. He can¶t be more than twenty-five nano years and he¶s trying to really diagnose this?
³I know you did, but I must also do them to make my own diagnosis.´ The outspoken doctor hung his head in shame for his attitude against his elder peer. Charlie continued and tested the organelles pupils and found them unresponsive, his pulse was slow and unsteady. ³Send this organelle to the isolation ward at Peron Hospital.´ The doctor rose up to let the ambulance doctors load the mitochondria onto a gurney. ³He¶s suffering from necrosis. Everyone with contact and all other cytonauts need to be tested for it.´ The crowd groaned and protested. ³We need to launch! This ship is to retrieve parts for a new fuel supplier! If you make us get tested now and it becomes too late the whole cell will die´! The flight coordinator shouted. ³I¶m sorry sir, but it¶s for the safety of the lives of everyone here.´ The doctor challenged back. ³We need to launch by Friday and we can¶t train another cytonaut quick enough. Let¶s be men and compromise. I know that you are trained in Cellular travel. You send the peroxisomes here to tend to us while we work and you go out.´ ³Are you seriously suggesting that I go out and help retrieve these parts for this«? What is it that you need to retrieve anyway´?! ³We need to evolve. We¶re getting parts to build new function centers. Please follow me and let me explain my plan.´ The doctor stood fixed in doubts and questions. He looked around at all the faces that could be either sick or dead. He felt that was his decision. He¶d rather have them sick. He faced back toward the flights man. ³Fine,´ he agreed then looked back at the surrounding organelles and continued, ³But no one is to leave or they will be found guilty for being an endangerment to themselves and others around them and will be arrested.´ The citizens faced were struck with terror and they all tacitly agreed. The doctor was satisfied and followed the flights men. ³What¶s your name?´ ³Brendan Some. Twenty years here and finally I get to command it all. I schedule flights, who will go on µem, where they¶ll go, and what they¶ll get.´ ³Very impressive, I¶m surprised I never heard about a new flight coordinator.´ ³Don¶t like media attention. Makes the job stressful and tenser.´ They were quiet for the rest of the way, hall after hall, until finally they reached the launch control site. Rows and rows of computers lining the floor. Brendan led them to a computer in the front of the rows. He sat down and his fingers went flying, typing in codes to relinquish the plans for the next flight. Dr. Chondia looked in awe at the screens popping up showing what all Brendan expected him to do. Big bold words saying Rough and Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum Part Retrieval Plans flashed last and Brendan turned around and looked up at the doctor. ³We need to evolve.´ He pleaded. ³You want me to go and help get these.´
³They¶d supply us with almost unlimited energy. The Smooth ER would breakdown our waste and make renewable energy; renewable fuel. The Rough ER would be a new travel system with the help of your kind. They would synthesize proteins, and send them where we need them to go, but we could make it send other things like us. Cheap travel for everyone.´ ³Wow.´ ³Do you understand why I either need him healed or you to go out now?´ ³Yes, but« but I mean I¶ve studied Cellular travel, but to actually do it«´ ³You¶re a genius Dr. Chondia! You¶re the smartest ribosome and probably the smartest organelle in the whole organism! If anyone could do this on the fly it¶s you´! The attempted ego boost did little for the doctor¶s confidence in the mission, but the Rippocratic oath forced him to have to accept it. He was convinced enough that if the cell didn¶t get these new life altering machines they would perish, but then again a mitochondria is dying from Necrotic cancer. It could spread, and even with the new organelles to stimulate the cell, they all could still die. After Charlie accepted Brendan set up a date for him to come and take a training session the next day. They left and went back to the front of the building and found the peroxisome nurses finishing up their check overs of the faculty. They all turned out to be cleared and Dr. Chondia went home. He tried to soak in everything that happened, but it was very difficult for him. Once home it took all his will power to not fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon, but it wasn¶t enough. He ventured out of his home office to his bed and sleep overcame him as his head hit his pillow. He woke up refreshed a few hours later and called Kyle to sadly turn down his dinner invitation, but then Kyle asked why and the doctor wasn¶t sure if he should really tell him the reason. He gave in and asked if he¶d like to come over or if he could go over for dinner that night. Kyle agreed for him to come over and there talk. Afterwards Charlie had Kyle and his wife promise not to tell anyone about his tellings and he left to grab what sleep he could to prepare for the next day. The next morning he woke up at three in the morning and couldn¶t fall back asleep. He slugged out of bed and prepared for the day. About two hours later his doorbell rang. He opened his door to a Golgi postal delivery man, just another man to be affected by the arrival of the Rough ER. He gave him a package of considerable size. The doctor thanked him and closed the door and went to his desk to open the package. In it held the mission and the identities of the crew, pictures and bios of who he¶d be traveling with. He studied the contents until he almost memorized them and then he looked at his watch and saw he only had five minutes to get to the Nucleus. He rushed outside to catch a cab and just barely made it on time. Brendan greeted him and set him up for his training. A machine to prepare him for the weightlessness, prepare him for the sickness, endurance, everything. Once the doctor was officially worn out and it was night time Brendan brought him to the crew in the locker room. He interrupted their chatter and introduced them to Charlie.
³This is Janey Mildon.´ He pointed to the only woman of the crew who was to Dr. Chondia¶s liking, but he hid his romantic admiration and greeted her like a gentlemen. ³She¶ll be your partner in grabbing the parts and bringing them back to the ship.´ ³Nice to have you on board.´ She mused; he too to her liking, but like him hid it. ³Here is Gabriel Cytes, the captain and flyer.´ His face was nice enough with an edge of determination lining it. His shake was firm and meaningful as he greeted the doctor. ³Welcome, it is an honor to have such an esteemed scientist with us.´ ³Thank you young man, it¶s an honor to be here.´ ³Over here are the twins Bradley and Jacob Chrome.´ Brendan introduced the last of the crew and they shook the doctor¶s hand at the same time being twins and the doctor lightly laughed with amusement. Then Brendan introduced the doctor saying, ³And here with us is Charlie if you guys didn¶t know his first name. Don¶t know why you scientists don¶t ever say your first names. Always gotta say the title I guess.´ Charlie laughed it off and then noticed Janey looking at him and when he looked at her she looked away shy. Their cheeks both went a light red, but cooled immediately when Brendan wanted them to all go to their quarters and rest for tomorrow. ³Our lives all depend on your success tomorrow. No pressure now. Goodnight men and lady.´ They all said goodnight to him and then Gabriel had Charlie follow him to his room which was the ill cytonauts cabin. ³Do know anything about Joseph? How¶s he doing?´ ³I¶m so sorry, but with necrosis« I¶m sorry.´ ³He¶s not going to get better.´ ³Sorry.´ ³Death happens, but so does life and we¶ve got the whole cell to save. I¶ll miss that guy though. Goodnight.´ ³Goodnight.´ The heavy hearted doctor went to sit down on the bed weary from the day, but not sleepy at the least. It wasn¶t long though when someone knocked on his door. He got up and opened it to his surprise. ³Janey, uhh«´ ³I just wanted to say goodnight.´ She managed to say with minimal blushing. ³And also ask about Jo. Is he really not coming back?´ ³No, I¶m sorry.´
³Well«´ They stood there in awkward silence until they simultaneously said goodnight and then they laughed and she couldn¶t help but kiss his cheek goodnight and then walk off leaving the ribosome speechless as he¶s never been loved. He smiled and went to his bed again and laid down, sleep creeping up on him. It pounced and he slept through the whole night dreaming of Janey. ³BEEP BEEP BEEP´! The doctor flung out of slumber like a stone from a slingshot. He found the source of the annoying high pitched A and pressed the alarm off button sending the room into silence at five O¶clock in the morning. Then his door flew open and the twins eagerly cheered the doctor out of bed and then they left. Charlie laughed at the much unexpected visit and got up. He brushed his teeth and off he went to the locker room from yesterday. Everyone greeted the doctor good morning and began changing into their travel suits. Charlie opened the ill mitochondria¶s locker and pulled out the suit. He sized it against himself and put it on and it fit. He looked at himself in the mirror on the left wall and saw not Joseph¶s name but his own on the name tag. He never asked about it, but just went on. Janey came up behind him and said, ³You look good Charlie.´ He smiled at her kind flirt and then Gabriel called them all together and the group went to board the ship helmets in their right hands. They travel into the cabin and put on their helmets and buckled themselves into their seats. Brendan¶s voice came over the intercom and gave commands to Gabriel and the crew. Gabriel flipped switches and pushed buttons and pulled throttles, and the whole ship began to light with electric life. Charlie sank into his chair and closed his eyes, anxiety flooding over him. Then a countdown came over the intercom and Charlie saw his life flashing on the inside of his eyelids; terror gripping him as the numbers grew few in count. Then his breath was knocked out as the words, ³Lift off.´ faded into the roar of the engines fire. His eyes flew open and he tried to will breath back into his lungs. The sight of the cell membrane coming closer and closer at their unfathomable speed not helping his terror. The pores growing in size and number Gabriel focused on only one and set a target on it. He eyes widening, adrenaline pounding in his veins, he steadied the yoke and pulled up only slightly and there it was. They made through the cell membrane and were floating in cellular space. Charlie finally opened his eyes and saw that they made it. ³Alright let¶s hope this goes smoothly. Charlie and Janey go get ready to by the exit so we can get out then in and leave as soon as possible. Brad and Jake I just want you guys to keep an eye out for them.´ Janey unbuckled herself and went toward the exit and grabbed a travel rope connected to the wall and held it firmly to stay still since they were still flying. Charlie still remained bewildered at how quick these kind of trips actually were. ³That¶s it? This only takes a matter of minutes?´ He asked aloud. ³Yep, and with this new stuff we won¶t have to go and risk our lives like this. These may be short trips but it¶s so easy to die out here.´ Gabriel responded.
³Well«´ Charlie huffed and then finally unbuckled himself and went to go and grab his rope and then saw the destination cell through the window on the door. ³Wow.´ ³Yeah I know. Beautiful huh?´ Janey asked. ³You guys get to see this all the time? Just«wow. How is easy to die out here?´ ³Umm« Let¶s not think about that. It¶s not healthy.´ She laughed making an allusion to his line of favorite work. ³We¶re coming up and going in.´ Gabriel warned as the cell¶s membrane pores began becoming visible. They passed through with ease and flew to their Nucleus and landed. Gabriel pushed a red button reading open and with a puff of steam the back door opened and Janey led the way out and Charlie followed. The twins took off their helmets and went to another door that led to the storage compartment which was to hold the new parts. The couple arriving to the site of the parts took off their helmets and delighted in organic cytoplasmic air, but then to their dismay the organelle responsible for the parts gave some unhappy news. ³I¶m sorry for the inconvenience, but there just wasn¶t enough room to build the parts inside the cell so we had to build them outside. You¶re going to have to go back out to and travel to the back of us and gather the parts there. We sent you guys a letter conveying the problem, but I guess your Golgi¶s really need this new equipment. It¶s hard to imagine life without a Rough and Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum, but there¶s still folks without µem.´ ³Okay. Will you send us a guide to help?´ Janey asked. ³Yeah sure. Go and tell your captain and I¶ll send someone up.´ ³Thank you.´ ³You¶re welcome, and again I¶m really sorry.´ ³Things happen.´ With that Janey and Charlie turned around to share the bad news. When Gabriel saw them empty handed and was curious and asked, ³What¶s up?´ ³They had to build the stuff outside the cell so we have to out to the back of the cell and get it.´ Charlie answered. Gabriel lightly slammed his head into the back of his head rest and sighed. ³So much for hoping things would go smooth.´ The twins came back into the cabin to see why they weren¶t doing anything. Then an older looking mitochondria carrying a helmet climbed aboard. ³Hello my fellow organelles. Well almost fellow.´ The retired cytonaut laughed hearty as he noticed a Ribosome and twin chromosomes among the crew. ³Nice to see strangers taking up travel, but not for long I see. I¶m Bill and that¶s all you need to know. So then, let¶s get all ready to get out again.´ He put on his helmet and sat down in the abandoned pilot seat next to Gabriel the crew staring at him with curiosity. ³Well are you guys gonna ask me on a date or get a thingy for home´?! He laughed another hearty laugh, and they all returned to their seats with their helmets on. Gabriel pushed the open button
again and it closed the door and again started the process for leaving the cell and once out past the membrane again Bill spoke up again. ³Now you can¶t land on a cell, trust me son I¶ve tried. So you¶re going to have to keep her floatin¶. Don¶t worry I¶ ma goin¶ to help ya.´ ³Okay then. Janey. Charlie. Go get ready again. Brad and Jake you two stand ready. We don¶t need anything bad happening to them.´ The doctor felt his amino acids drain from his face. Doubts clogging his mind and clouding his judgment. What¶s bad that could happen! He attached the rope to his suit this time like Janey. ³Now!´ Bill said to Gabriel placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. ³Son you need to breathe! Bad things only happen when you let them« Sometimes.´ He then removed his hand and pressed a button above him and the engines quieted down a little. Gabriel didn¶t object knowing full well that the mitochondria beside him know what he was doing. ³I see it´! Charlie exclaimed meaning the parts. The ship was driven a little closer until Bill knew that Janey and Charlie could reach the parts with ease. ³Here we go.´ Bill put the brakes on the ship and with great skill turned the ship sharply so that the back door was facing the parts, and made it float there. ³Keep your helmets on´! He then pressed the open button and this time Charlie lead first out, Janey following. The twins kept hold of their ropes. Charlie¶s eyes went large at the sight of everything. It was all so new and wonderfully strange to him. ³Wow.´ ³You love that word don¶t you?´ Janey played. ³It¶s a great word.´ He played back, and she giggled lightly. ³Okay lovebirds.´ Gabriel¶s voice came through the headsets in their helmets. ³You can flirt later. Now remember, you need to approach the parts and very carefully attach the hook of your rope into the part and pull yourselves back in. Roger?´ ³Roger.´ They both said again simultaneously and they couldn¶t help but laugh, but they remained serious. They grabbed on to the part of the Rough ER and then took off their ropes and dug their hooks into it and pulled themselves back. Once back to the door the twins left to open the storage compartment. They came back out through those door with hooked ropes attached to them and Janey and Charlie unhooked their hooks to let the twins pull the part toward them and the couple went back inside to wait for them. ³You don¶t need to wait on µem! You two go out and get the smooth¶n.´ Bill said to the couple. ³But Bill«´ Gabriel tried to protest, but Bill wouldn¶t have it.´ ³They¶ll be fine! Go on ahead.´ With that Gabriel slumped into his chair with submission.
Janey wasn¶t so sure, but she went ahead and hopped back out, but right as she did another ship came bursting past and tore her off the rope and she began floating in space. ³JANEY´! Charlie bellowed after her and without thinking he went after her. ³Charlie´! Gabriel shouted after him. He raced to the door still careful not to trip or stumble out into the darkness. He looked back at the old organelle that had a horrified look plastered on his ancient face. ³Look what you¶ve done´! ³I¶m sor-´ Gabriel drove his fist powerfully into the old man¶s chest and winded him. ³You¶re not sorry´! The twins came running back to the cabin as Gabriel attached a rope to his suit. He saw them and commanded that they stay there. ³If you go anywhere«´ Then he jumped out and went to find Charlie and hopefully Janey. He kept going farther and farther and the lights from the site of the parts faded away from sight. He was finally in the dark. ³Janey. Janey do you read me.´ He asked over the headsets. ³Janey! Answer me please! Charlie are you there?´ There was only silence. He stopped moving because he knew he was lost. He couldn¶t even tell which way was up or down. Time ran over him for a few moments and silence suffocated him until their voices delighted his ears. ³Gabriel! Gabriel!´ They shouted joyously. ³Guys! Are you guys okay? Where are you?´ ³We don¶t know´! They laughed through the darkness and decided to pull themselves back up their ropes until they saw light and Gabriel saw Charlie holding Janey close to keep space from sucking her up again. They kept going until they reached the ship and they let Janey on first and the twins embraced her tight. She then went back and pulled up her rope that she got disconnected from and hooked it back on. ³What do you think you¶re doing?´ Gabriel questioned her. ³I¶m not going to let death scare me Gabriel. I¶m going to get that Smooth ER and bring it back. We¶re going to load it. Take Bill ba-.´ She saw Bill knocked out in his chair and looked back at Gabriel. ³What did you do to him?´ ³I got caught up in the moment. He¶ll be fine. We¶ll take him back, go home, and be heroes for the last time. Now go.´ He rushed out and was ready to let Janey go just to not talk about his doings. Janey looked at Charlie and grabbed his protected hand and he looked at her. He understood that she was still afraid, but they had a mission to do, and together they jumped out and brought back the Smooth ER, took the old mitochondria home, then went home themselves. They were the last celebrated voyagers and become immortalized in the material of their own ship. The ship was melted down and remolded in their image.
The classroom began to ripple through time and disrupt the scrolling story. Mrs. Montgomery¶s voice breaking through time and began to be heard again as she finished the story. ³The cell celebrated for days and days! And letters flooded the Golgi which was renamed the Golgi apparatus because the postal office became as efficient as a machine. People rushed to the Rough ER to witness the new method of travel between our cell and others. The Smooth ER produced the fuel necessary for the rides and helped keep the cell clean by eating our waste and breaking it down.´ ³That¶s great and all, ³interrupted a girl named Janey also, ³but what ever happened to Charlie and Janey?´ Mrs. Montgomery smiled at the girl and answered with, ³Well how do things get passed down the family if there is no family?´ ³So they did get married´! The girl exclaimed delightedly. ³Yes, they did get married. Dr. Chondia was my great great great grandfather. The class all lightly gasped and smiled at the news. RIIIIIINNNNNG. Class was over and the class groaned and they got out of their seats and they all left solemnly saying goodbye to Mrs. Montgomery. The teacher traveled back to her desk and pulled out an ancient looking book with the words, µDr. Charles Chondia¶s Scientific Journal,¶ almost faded away. She opened it to the section named still brightly with cytoink The Extraordinary Case of Death and How It Didn¶t Happen. She read the first few lines and then looked up at the helmet, smiled, closed the book, put it back in its drawer, got up, approached the helmet, and just looked at her reflection in it waiting for the next audience to come and hear her family¶s legend.
Analogy Parts: Nucleus: School, then a time shift to the past and it is the Control Launch sit for Outer Cellular Space travel. Mitochondria: The Cytonauts Lysosomes: Regular unimportant civilians Ribosomes: The Scientists Peroxisomes: Doctors, nurses, ambulance workers. Peron Hospital Golgi apparatus: Postal Office Smooth ER: Fuel suppliers
Rough ER: Taxi Service Cell Membrane: Protective barrier and entry way for ships Cytoplasm: Multi-purpose material, mainly their version of air. Chromosomes: Twins that in this case are Cytonauts that are inseparable and controlling. Vacuoles: The cytonauts sleeping quarters.