Post-Apocalyptic Mega-Cell | Teen Ink

Post-Apocalyptic Mega-Cell

December 31, 2011
By MeriElena GOLD, Kernersville, North Carolina
MeriElena GOLD, Kernersville, North Carolina
16 articles 9 photos 2 comments

To Whom It May Concern—

Earth has been struck by a meteor. The impact was devastating enough and cost millions of lives, but the dust cloud that rose into the air was ultimately worse. Not much sunlight is getting through the dust, so many plants are dying, which means that many of the animals, including the people, are starving. It has been about a week since I have seen any other human beings. I am not sure I want to see any, for that matter. When things started getting bad, everybody went mad in their own special way. I tried to keep it together, but I quickly found that the same could not be said of most of the others. It is safer to be alone in unpopulated areas than to try and live among my own kind. I have been living off of what I can scavenge from empty houses for a while. I settled down in my high school because for some reason there do not seem to be any people in this area anymore. Now, I know that I cannot live off of what I can find forever. I will need to try a different approach if I am going to survive long-term. So I have decided to build a huge replica of a cell on the football field. I know that sounds ridiculous, but hear me out.

The field is ringed by a chain-link fence with a couple different gates, which are normally locked. I found a key and unlocked the main gate long enough to bring all my stuff inside, and then locked it back behind me. I think of this fence as both my cell wall (structural support) and semi-permeable plasma membrane (regulates what enters and leaves). Unfortunately it is not the sturdiest fence in the entire world, so I am working on plans to strengthen it, but for now it will do.

There are two sets of metal stands in the football field. They are kind of like a cytoskeleton, which gives the cell structure from the inside. Right now I am using them to hang laundry on, but I may find other uses for them as time goes on.

I managed to find a large canvas tent to be the nuclear membrane of my cell’s nucleus. I put it in the center of the field, close to my most important organelles. I live in the tent. I am thus like the DNA, giving the cell instructions, and also like RNA and transport proteins, because I can leave the nucleus and ferry things between other organelles.

They are still a work in progress, but I am building two plant gardens for vegetables and anything else that might be useful to grow. One field will lie fallow while I am using the other one. I have managed to find some living usable plants and some seeds to get started. To make the most of the little sunlight I have, I took some rectangular mirrors from the high school bathrooms and propped them up in such a way that they reflect additional sunlight into the garden I am starting to plant. I will move them to the other field when I switch after this growing season. These gardens are my cell’s chloroplasts, because they use chlorophyll to produce energy (and possibly other useful commodities).

There is a house across the street where I remembered seeing chickens pre-apocalypse. By a miraculous stroke of luck, three hens, a rooster, and a couple chicks had survived this long on their own. Taking them and some fencing from their apparently deceased owners, I made two animal pens to put them in. I put two of the hens in one as egg-layers, and the rooster, third hen, and chicks in the other one, for a continuous protein supply. You know I had gone vegetarian about eight years before the meteor struck, but then that was because I was against antibiotics and hormones in the meat industry, which pretty much is not a problem anymore. Not really sure how one gets from live chicken to cooked chicken though. I need to figure that one out. But I digress. The chicken pens are mitochondria, providing energy without chlorophyll.

Of course my plants, my chickens, and I will need water, and I will need a way to store food and other things as well. So my cell has some assorted vacuoles. I have some rain barrels and similar enough receptacles to catch rain water and store it for me. Coolers and various types of boxes will store everything else. I have also buried some coolers up to the lid in the ground in the hopes that I can achieve a measure of refrigeration this way.

That is my habitat now. I know the cell analogy is a little strange, but it works for me. It might be worth mentioning that I am a molecular biology major—cells are kind of my thing. It is easier for me to deal with my situation if I can objectify it and turn it into something familiar. I said that everybody went their own brand of crazy after the apocalypse, did I not? Crazy or no, I have been living in my “cell” for two weeks now, and it seems to be working pretty well. Hopefully it will continue to do so. Whether it works or not, I want to write down how I constructed it. Mostly I just want to believe that in a few decades there will still be someone around to read this.

The author's comments:
This was one of the weirder school assignments that I ever did. My biotech teacher was trying to make learning the parts of a cell more interesting, so he gave us this challenge: design a simulated cell that you could use to survive the end of life on Earth. This was my solution. I had my mom proofread it for me, and she insisted that I submit it to Teen Ink, just the way I originally wrote it. It's not my best work by any means, but it is an interesting little piece of bizarreness. Enjoy!

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jan. 20 2014 at 3:42 pm
flutterbye1888 GOLD, Ridgley, Maryland
13 articles 3 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Always bring a banana to a party.

This is  so cool!!! I love it!!