The study of “junk DNA” was a fascinating subject to evolutionary biologist Serena Blake. It was, simply put, the exploration of what makes human beings tick. Spearheading the study of this misunderstood genetic material had been a lifelong obsession. From the earliest coining of the term, way back in the 1970s, through the creation of ENCODE (the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) at the turn of the century, she knew it was her destiny to make her mark in this field of study.
Now, her destiny was about to be realized. Digging deeply into the genetic codes considered useless by most researchers, she had begun to discern patterns previously unrecognized. It was purely a stroke a luck – and honestly had to be attributed to a University intern with a minor in linguistics and etymology – that those patterns revealed themselves to be some kind of message: a designer code, literally written into the genetic coding of every human sample she had studied. Much like those embedded onto the surface of microchips decades earlier.
Oh, she’d had a lot of push-back from the scientific community, but that was to be expected. No discovery of this magnitude was ever without controversy. A designer code? What cheek! They’d called her crazy and said she was grasping at invisible straws, but she had persisted. It was only in the final hours, when her grants were dwindling and the uptight university suits were threatening her standing as a tenured professor, that the code had been cracked. Or so she believed. Her calculations had to be correct. Her reputation, and that of her entire staff, were riding on it.
To say Serena Blake was anxious would be an understatement. She sat with her staff, waiting impatiently for the most advanced computer in the world to correlate all of the information fed into it. Everything was there. Literally decades worth of study had condensed itself into this precise moment. When the computer had concluded its computations, she would finally have the answer. There was a Nobel Prize in that answer, she and everybody else in the room knew it. Still, the waiting was the hardest part.
When the report finally arrived, Serena pulled it from the tube with shaking hands. It had been decided that she would be the first to read it. All eyes in the room were on her, as her own brown orbs scanned the report, line by line. They watched as her expression changed from one of flushed expectation to that of pale granite. Looking up, her mouth opened and closed, like a fish gasping for air.
“What does it say?” one of her scientists asked, leaning forward expectantly.
“Read it!” another exhorted.
Serena gulped. “I… don’t…”
“For Galileo’s sake, Blake, don’t keep us in suspense!” Her chief geneticist barked. “Read it!”
Shaking visibly, Serena turned her stunned gaze back to the report. She cleared her throat, croaking out a barely-whispered response. “It reads… ‘I am Kaloopah, from Zoldac Prime in the star system Nebulon IV. I have sent this evolutionary program into the cosmic reaches as my octad level science project. I yen that it finds a suitable environment in which to germinate and earns me a notable classification, that I may please my progenitors.’”