||[Feb. 8th, 2016|04:03 pm]
Юрій Підопригора / Yurii Pidopryhora
I figured it out! Almost everything! OK, so first of all this exotic organism should depend on atmospheric nitrogen in its life cycle. It can be something symbiotic with bacteria (not necessarily a fungus) similar to azotobacters, which take nitrogen from air and process it into ammonium, that can be further used in various biological processes. Anyway, it is not unheard of to have an organism that can be starved if put into a medium with no atmospheric nitrogen. That's where the heliox comes in! It is a double protection against these things: hermetic seal protects against airborne spores and nitrogen-free breathing mixture starves those that get into the house anyway. Don't ask me how the dependence on atmospheric nitrogen combines with the need of an animal host (which would already have a lot of aminoacids in consumable form). I don't know. This could be just two distinct development phases, some parasites have much more complicated cycles.
So, what's the connection to ancient Indians and what that team of whatever researchers was doing there? Well, we know that many fungi and molds have antibiotic properties. Perhaps limited exposure to that organism indeed led to better tolerance to many diseases, giving the tribe that discovered it better longevity and health, which in turn was the origin of the myth of the Fountain of Youth. Then something happened. Possibly the organism suddenly mutated and became more aggressive. Many tribesmen died and the survivors blocked the entrance to the cave and moved away, declaring this whole area taboo. And later some anthropologists discovered the roots of this legend and that in turn caught attention of an R&D department of some pharmaceutical giant. Which organized an expedition to study the cave. And the cloak and dagger routine is due to the fact, that this organism may potentially be used to create a superdrug, quite plausible. Of course they were hoping to get the earlier benign form of the organism, but had to deal with the later aggressive one, so at some point something went very wrong... And when they were evacuating in haste, some information was accidentally leaked, which in turn led to the escalation of events in the town.
OK, and the Russian labels? If you need to do something secret and maybe somewhat ethically questionable, but need a very qualified team, hiring scientists from the former USSR makes sense. They do this in software development all the time.
Finally, if this organism is so aggressive, how come it did not destroy all life on Earth or at least in the general area of that cave? Well, perhaps it DID some very long time ago (a really scary thought). We know of several extinction events of great many species and not all of them are well explained. Perhaps one of them was due to a very successful parasitic organism. Which later itself went almost extinct because it destroyed most of the suitable hosts. Or perhaps at one point of its reproduction cycle this thing need the dark and humid area around the cenote. It can survive for a short while in the surrounding desert, e. g. because of lack of humidity or too much UV-radiation.
So, what happens to all the characters of this tale? It remains to be seen....