Prompt: The mad genius woke from his cryo-sleep, groggy, his mind fading from consciousness every few seconds, and emerged from his lair. He loos out and sees a utopia ripe for the picking.
It wasn’t a very dignified rebirth. Dr. Larry Gooperson spilled out of the cryogenic pod and collapsed onto a flowing floor of living wood. He sputtered and spat, expectorating globs of the blue nutrient fluid that had remained undigested. He held one hand up, before even lifting his face, expecting his robotic assistant to hand him a towel or a steaming beverage.
He snapped his fingers fives times, yet there was still no beverage. When he looked up he found that his lab was gone. Most of it anyway. There were still pieces here and there, microscopes, a centrifuge, the plastic bag from his last lunch, but they were all caught up in the growth of the wood that included the floor.
“Barb!” he shouted, the last of the fluid shooting out from between his teeth and staining the wall. She was nowhere to be seen. He had programmed the damn robot to never be more than thirty feet away, even when he showered. People had thought him strange for giving his creation a human name, but he’d simply shouted down any objections. He cared not for names, only accomplishments.
In fact, Gooperson was not his given name. Those back in his doctorate program had mocked him for his obsession with the idea of adaptive biological fluids. They thought him obsessed with goo, almost to a sexual degree, so they called him ‘goo person’ behind his back. To demonstrate how little he cared he legally changed his name to it.
He was the one with the power, as evidenced by the final state of his greatest creation. There was only one place he could be, and that was at the center of his last invention before his frigid sleep. He had called it ‘gootree 0001’. Again, names were never his strong suit. It was an attempt to see how much he could program into the aqueous DNA solution of his experiments.
His theories revolved around oxygen triggers. His experimental slime wasn’t alive in the strictest sense, but it did have orders to fulfill. As the fluid settled, stretching and increasing its surface area, different parts would be exposed to oxygen, allowing them to be triggered at later times by injecting them closer to the center of the goo ball.
Everything had been going so well in his cozy lab. The latest goo ball had tons of instructions embedded in it, but he had never dreamed it could produce the wooden trap he was now in. Larry was forced to remember the instructions in order to figure out where it had gone so impressively wrong. He’d used the DNA from numerous plants and algae as its base. Eventually, he wanted the technology to be able to create whole forests, whole societies, from the little goo blueprints.
Step one was the goo blooming into miniature trees upon exposure to oxygen. That part had gone according to plan. He’d hugged Barb and traced the smile displayed on her screen. Then he had looked back at the goo… That was when it all went blank, white as snow. What were the next steps supposed to be?
The forest would spread outward from the goo. The trees would climb much higher than they were meant to. Eventually, they would bear fruit of enormous size, to be hollowed and used both as food and lodging. That was how he was going to change the world: all natural housing that you could simply abandon to rot whenever you felt like it.
He wasn’t funded; he’d been forced to do it all on his own, even stealing various cultures from others’ work. Maybe there was a variable in there somewhere that had caused this aberration. He’d given other orders, but they were for a distant future he did not anticipate ever happening. He had chemically ordered the goo to produce mind-altering pollen from its eventual plants, in order to bring all minds in line with his own.
He’d even included instructions for his own fate. The goo was to recognize his genetic signature and generate a freezing effect, to preserve him until his dream future was accomplished. He looked over his shoulder. The cryo pod he’d fallen from was an actual pod, not unlike that of snow peas. The goo had fulfilled his every request beyond his wildest dreams. That meant…
He scrambled up the wood, looking for a fissure wide enough to squeeze through. As luck would have it, there was one. The sight that greeted him outside the wooden cell would’ve taken his breath away, if the wind hadn’t done it first. It nearly pulled him off the side of the largest tree to ever exist. Its leaves were wide as vans, its branches the size of freight bridges.
“Ha! Hahahahahaha!” he laughed up into the wind. He’d done it. Gooperson was the name of god now. How much of society had been completely overtaken by the growth of the goo? It was trees and blue moss as far as the eye could see in any direction. Much of the sun was blocked out by their foliage.
He started to climb when he spotted an excellent goal in the higher branches: a fruit. If it was that big from this distance, there was likely a whole city inside! That was further evidenced by the windows drilled in its orange rind, emitting man-made light. How many years had he been frozen? Decades? Centuries?
There was a utopia up there, ripe for the picking, so Dr. Larry climbed, cackling to himself all the way. He would burst through the rind, shouting all the passwords embedded in the goo’s code. He would bring forth a feast, a bounty, for them to celebrate alongside his name. Chants of ‘Gooperson’ would ring in all the fruits of this new world, their raucous festivals rocking them until they snapped from the stem.
He climbed so quickly, and enjoyed such a feverish mad dream of his arrival, that he forgot about the mind-altering pollen he’d programmed. It was in the air all about him as thin orange trails. Up his nose it went, sending tiny suggestions for changes through his brain and body.
It had indeed been centuries since his freezing. Mankind had adjusted, even learned to use the pollen to their advantage. They artificially selected it for some new traits: compassion, decency, and respect. Gooperson didn’t even realize that, as he climbed, his wretched personality sloughed off in layers. He lost his bitterness, his vindictiveness, his tendency to throw his cigarette butts in the street…
When he arrived and threw himself through a window in the rind, he was greeted as a brother rather than a god. He didn’t even realize that wasn’t what he’d wanted. A crowd embraced him. They did chant his name. Everybody loved hearing about Gooperson, but it was just for one day. His story fell like the first leaf of Autumn and he was forgotten in the new beautiful world that was his greatest failure.
Author’s Note: This flash fiction story was written based on a prompt provided by PyurJenius during a livestream. I hereby transfer all story rights to them, with the caveat that it remain posted on this blog. If you would like your own story, stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade during one of my streams and I’ll write it for you live!