One fine day, Cyto, the white blood cell, was on his merry way through the blood stream. His job was to look for anything unusual that could become a menace for Biloongra, the kitten in whose blood Cyto lived. While he was going about his work, distracted by thoughts of some relaxation at Pool Plasma, Cyto noticed something rather peculiar. There was a large lump forming off the side of Arty, the artery he had been born in. He immediately called his best friends, the twins Leuko and Lympho. LL, as they were fondly called since few could tell them apart, were better than Cyto in communicating with unusual cells that the three would encounter while guarding Biloongra’s blood stream.
The three cell buddies looked very closely at the mysterious creature. None of them had ever seen something like that before but they all knew that it definitely should not have been there.
Cyto called out to the unusual being. “Who are you and what business do you have in Arty? Are you friend or foe?”
At first no response came from the ugly blob. It then started to project and retract tentacles while it spun in circles, and then came a humming sound from it.
“That sounds like many cells chanting together”, stated Lympho, all businesslike. He then projected his own tentacle towards the creature and squirted out chemicals at it in an attempt to decipher the chanting coming from it. In what seemed like milliseconds, Lympho realized what they were dealing with.
“Bacterial alert!” he hollered.
Cyto and Leuko were a bit taken aback at the realization that it was not a single creature but a bacterial colony. While the cells were still in a bit of shock at their discovery of unwanted bacteria in Arty, the leader of the bacteria swam to the front of the colony. He was one mean looking bugger.
“My name is Streptocock!” Said he, “…and you have reason to be scared!”
Although Cyto and his friends snickered and thought little of the threat, they did not wait. They acted with all their strength. They collected everyone they could send a message to for the battle that was about to take place. They thought it would be over within an hour. “Look how tiny they are! Attack!” Cyto screamed with joy. He then signaled his army of white blood cells to get the seemingly weak intruders out of their system. Lympho and Leuko followed suit with their own battalions.
As they were about to attack Streptocock’s rogue army, something strange happened. The bacteria grew in numbers very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that Cyto and his buddies were quite nervous. There was a much greater sense of urgency as more help rushed to the scene. Cyto and company kept attacking by biting Streptocock’s soldiers, and then quickly gulping them down. But Cyto and his gang were still no match for the intruders.
By that time Cyto had figured that Biloongra, his owner, was getting sick from all the action in his blood stream. And then a surge of help came. It was some chemical, an ally, that was killing the intruders.
“White cells go marching one by one…Hurrah! Hurrah!” Cyto and his gang started cheering in glee for their luck had changed. The friendly chemical, an antibiotic that Biloongra’s doctor had given him, had started viciously destroying the enemy.
“I think we can go relax at Pool Plasma now”, said Leuko, as the intruders were starting to shrink in numbers.
But Leuko had spoken too soon. Streptocock and his meanies had mutated and were dividing rapidly again. The antibiotic was not of much use in killing the bacterial super monsters. “Ha! Now it’s my turn to cheer!” and saying so Streptocock and his colony prepared to launch an all out offensive by using the blood stream to attack targets far and wide: Biloongra’s heart, lungs and brain were all at risk.
But the battle was not over. What was unknown to Streptocock and his mutant army: Biloongra had been vaccinated against those rogue bacteria.
Cyto knew. “LL”, he called out to the twins, “Identify those soldiers that will exactly recognize Streptocock’s mutant army as being the real enemy!”
The brave cadets from the LL side quickly came forth and went straight towards the enemy. Chemical weapons and physical force of the elite squad ensured that this stage of the battle would not last long. Streptocock’s meanies were reduced effortlessly this time around.
“Noooo….!” was the last sentiment that Cyto heard from Streptocock, while the superbug was being swallowed by a soldier from the LL special corps.
Above ground, within the hour, Biloongra started feeling better. His fever went away and he was back to his mischief.
“Ahhh!” Cyto sighed peacefully, while sipping a cold drink at Pool Plasma. “Cyto rules the day!” screamed the LL twins as they dove into the pool of red blood cells. The fun times ahead were well deserved after that day’s hard battle.
[Biloongra Phase III Prototype]
About the Authors: Arnav Kak is a 14 year old 10thgrader at the Carnegie School in Houston, TX. His interests, other than medicine, include tennis, reading, listening to rock music, and playing video games. Asad I. Mian, MD, PhD, is a pediatrician-researcher currently based in Karachi, Pakistan, interested in creative ways of exploring & expressing.
About the Illustrator: Anum Tayyab is a 10 year old 5th grader at Shadowbriar Elementary in Houston, TX. Reading, writing and drawing are her passion and she hopes to become an author and illustrator some day. She loves contributing to Biloongra and is keen to add value to children’s literature with her writing and illustration.
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