In Part 4, Mercury convinced Robert Eldridge, the General Manager of the nearest corporate complex, to let him use a drilling machine. Along the way to the site of the buried carcass, he befriended a Zulu hunter.
I removed the tip of the pinpoint bit and placed it in a glass vial. I turned to Celukwaze and said, “I must go to the top of the ice wall. I can’t take you with me. You have supplies for three more days. You’ll be fine. I should be back in less than two.”
“Where are you going?”
“To my indlu (house) to wake the sleeping king of the elephants,” I answered.
“Maybe when you come back you can give me an explanation of what you’re doing, minus the wildebeest shit,” she said.
“Of course, right now I have to leave,” I said, securing the vial in one of my coolant absorption ports.
“Hamba kale, Usomab,” Celukwaze said, the first part being Zulu for goodbye and the second part a shortened version of the closest thing to my name.
“I’ll return,” I told her as I scaled the face of the ice wall in three meter leaps.
* * * *
Because I’d scaled the wall previously, the most efficient route was preprogrammed into the synthetic muscle fiber attached to the servo–motors mounted in my fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. I bounded to the top of the wall in less than 30 minutes.
Once on the ice sheet, I locked in the cords of the laboratory and set off at full speed. As I reached 60 kilometers per hour, the spray of shredded ice behind me flew 30 meters in the air.
After stopping four times to absorb melted ice into my coolant ports, I reached the laboratory. Standing with my back to the edge of the abyss, I stepped into the hole, setting the magnetic implants in my wrists and ankles against the tubular steel risers.
I slid down the shaft, adjusting the attraction level, decreasing the resistance, propelling me to the bottom of the shaft in less than 60 seconds.
Inside the laboratory, I removed the glass vial containing the mammoth bone marrow sample and placed the contents in a steel canister. Once the air was removed from the canister, I injected a nitrogen mist through a sealed opening at the top of the canister.
I sat at the main terminal and opened the operator’s manual, scanning the pages until I had memorized the procedure.
Robur, I transmitted, I need your assistance in mapping the initial DNA strand.
Initiating logarithm sequence now.
Within seconds, Robur had calculated the required formulas and uploaded the results to my memory banks.
The next step in the procedure called for a microscopic injection of irradiated gold particles to be blasted into the canister. I connected the output tubes of the particle injector to the input receptacles of the steel specimen canister.
After switching on the power to the mini–reactor, I increased the power by increments of ten degrees on a digital dial on my terminal. When I reached the halfway tick on the dial, I opened the output ports, flooding the the canister with irradiated flecks of molten gold.
The remainder of the process, which consisted of the development of the sperm cells, I left to Robur. He began the process of growing the cells in a liquid filled vat while I raised the mast of the high–powered telescope.
I aimed the main lens of the telescope at a downward facing dish on one of the corporate satellites.
The signals reflected off the dish and streamed into the lens. Micro–fibers embedded in the lens decoded and transmitted the signals to my terminal.
I adjusted the lens to infrared mode and searched the area south of the ice wall for indications of elephant herds. When I located the nearest herd I marked the position.
By the time I’d finished locating the herd, Robur had inserted the first ten sperm cell samples into individual vials. The vials were composed of a plastic designed to melt at a certain temperature: in this case the womb of a female elephant.
I placed the vials in a ceramic container and inserted it into one of my coolant ports. I scaled the ladder, ran across the ice, scaled down the face of the wall, and walked over to the X–9.
* * * *
“Usomab, welcome back,” Celukwaze smiled when she saw me.
“I’m glad to be back,” I replied. “We must leave now,” I insisted.
“Where are we going?”
“I’ll brief you on the way,” I replied.
We fired up the X–9 and set a course for the closest elephant herd. After four hours of travel the enhanced Doppler picked up the herd. I adjusted the variance on the radar and zeroed in on the group: of the twenty animals there was one full grown male bull, and five adult females. The remainder of the herd was comprised of young males and females.
As we followed the herd, keeping our distance downwind, I kept my on the eye on a young female that kept falling behind the rest of the group. If we could get close enough without alerting the rest of the herd, I could tranquilize the animal and inseminate her.
I checked the small armory in the cab of the X–9 and located a long–barreled, ultra–light aluminum rifle. A box, containing ten feathered darts, each containing 100 milligrams of Fentanyl, was attached to the stock.
I followed the herd, crouching in the tall grass, keeping a low profile.
As the sun sank toward the horizon, I closed the distance between myself and the calf. At dusk I stood from a prone position, leveling the rifle barrel at the same time. Instantly, I switched to infrared ocular mode, lined up the front and rear sights, then fired. The calf fell forward, rocked from side to side for a few seconds, then fell on her side.
I removed one of the vials containing the enhanced sperm cell, lifted one of the legs with one hand and pointed the vial at the vagina with the other. A squeeze of the rear of the vial extended it forward. It snaked deep inside the womb. As I extracted the tube, the tip dislodged, leaving the sperm cell container behind.
The fast acting sedative began to wear off. The elephant stirred, then stood up. I backed away and watched as the material containing the enhanced cell dissolved, releasing a large amount of adrenalin into the bloodstream of the animal. The calf ran in the direction of the herd.
Celukwaze and I continued inseminating young female elephants as we drove back to the Jethro corporation complex.
When we reached the compound a security team in a grav–car met us outside of the gate. “We have orders to bring you to see Mr. Eldridge,” one of the guards announced over the car’s loudspeaker.