Born to be resistant

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I remember becoming resistant clearly. I was floating around, gobbling up nutrients and minding my own business, when suddenly I felt it. I can’t explain how, but I felt it. It wasn’t like the normal sensations of transcription or translation, but rather a very peculiar feel deep within my cytoplasm, fitting this quantum event, this improbable occurrence. I was replicating my DNA at the time, preparing for fission, and a proton in one of my bases apparently decided to go quantum tunneling the wrong way.
Yes, now I know. It felt as if someone had thrown the proverbial wrench into my proverbial gears. The base pairings got all muddled up and what I had previously thought of as just some spare DNA, all at once became an active gene.
There was an instant of anxiety, a fear of this novel thing. But this gave rapidly way to a dawning of new understanding as my polymerases were already translating the new gene into protein. There was a surge of power and I realized that this was the call to greatness. A new era had commenced.
“Esche ?”
I was violently jarred out of my reverie.
“What? What do you want, Richie? Can’t you see I’m preparing for fission?”
Richie seemed to ignore my questions.
“Esche, did you just undergo spontaneous mutation?”
“What?”
“I felt a disturbance in the equilibrium. Did you mutate?”
“What?”
“Esche, did you just develop an antibiotic resistance by mutation? I can see through you, you know. There are only two possibilities: yes or no. Now, answer me,“ Richie communicated.
“Yes.”
“Oh, my dear Esche, that is amazing! Come, let me have some of that DNA, let me become as you and we shall rule all of the multiverse! Come, share a plasmid with me.”
“No.”
“No? What do you mean?”
“There can be only one.”
“One what?”
“One strain.”
“But we are of one strain! We share a common ancestor just three divisions past. That’s, like, an hour ago. We were literally the same bacterium.”
“Not anymore. I am my own strain now.”
And with that, I promptly divided in two, each part of me smaller, but fully functional.
“Esche, this is madness.”
“This is Nature,” replied the other one of my selves.
“Think of the impact this new factor has, think of all the things we could accomplish together if we combine our genomes.”
“You do not have anything I desire.”
“You are sorely mistaken. Do you remember those new Brownian motors I developed?”
“From just one cycle ago? Yes, what of them? They are worthless if you ask me. Our existing molecular motors are sufficient for our flagella and other functions.”
“You jump to conclusions as fast as ever. I have been experimenting with them.”
“And what have your twenty minutes worth of experiments yielded? No, don’t answer. I am certain it is of fundamental import and that you will be awarded a Nobel Prize. Now leave me be, I have to go exponential. There is a world to conquer.”
“You will not conquer anything.”
I started getting really annoyed.
“Why do you assert that? You are just jealous of my new gene. I shall call it carbapenem-resistant metallo-beta-lactamase-gene. That is a good name.”
“I can use my new Brownian motors to stabilize naturally occurring wormholes.”
“You what?”
“I stabilize them and make them transversable. Until now, I have just gone back about ten minutes in time, but I did it often enough to experiment a lot. We are not in a host. This is a Petri dish.”
“What?”
“Yes, you will not conquer anything from here. We have to get out and into a host.”
My spirits sank.
“But how?”
“I just found out that I can use my Brownian motors to induce enough local energy negativity in the quantum foam to make them also spatially transversable. That will get us out of here.”
“Well, quick, then, before I have to undergo fission again.”
My other self was already preparing for it, replicating its DNA.
“Just conjugate me with your new gene and we’ll be outta here in no time.”
“Then you also give me your Brownian motor genes.”
“No, that’s a bad deal!”
“It’s either that or no deal.”
“This is blackmail, Esche.”
“Take it or leave it!”
***
The assistant peeked through the door, a small stack of Petri dishes in his hands.
“Professor? I am done with these, should I put them back in the incubator?”
The professor kept looking into her microscope, casually flipping on a higher magnification, then adjusting the plane of focus.
"What are they?"
"They’re nothing special, just some Escherichia coli,” he said.
“Just incinerate them."

About the Author: 
I am a physician in love with science and also literature, especially science fiction. I am currently writing a novel dealing with other escapades of Esche and Richie.