chapter 1 - field workThis was why Anna wanted to be a scientist. She had no interest in peer review or lab work, for that matter she wasn't even that much of a book worm. What she wanted to do was field work, the more remote and exotic the locale the better. The idea of doing field work in a place like Amazonian Rainforest was the whole reason she wanted to be a biologist.
When the opportunity to spend 3 weeks doing research in a still largely unexplored area in the Amazon presented itself, she could not pass it up. She signed the wavers for the risk of diseases like malaria without a second thought. They would be living in very primitive conditions, being flown in and having to carry all their food, clothing, and gear in packs as they traveled through the rainforest. She was told it would be the hardest thing most of them had ever done. Anna knew she was up for the challenge though. She been on plenty of backpacking trips, many off trail, was an avid climber and trail runner. At 5'5 and 126 pounds, she was in peak physical condition. She knew she could do it. She just wanted to experience an environment few humans experience. Walk on land that quite possibly no one had ever walked on. See things that no one had ever seen. She couldn't wait.
The rainforest was harder than she ever imagined. As soon as they jumped off the helicopter the sweltering heat enveloped them like a blanket. For 3 weeks she walked through driving rain, sweltering heat, and was constantly swarmed by mosquitos. The canopy could be maddening as she would go hours without seeing the sun, just an endless jungle of green. Everything there seemed to either bite you, sting you, or cut you. She heard animals, but hardly ever saw them. There were endless insect specimens to collect. We have only cataloged about 10% of the earth's species, the vast majority that are uncatalogued are insects, and most of those live in rainforests. That sense of discovery is what kept her going as many of her fellow students succumbed to various tropical infections and had to be airlifted out.
Their last day there they came upon a deep clear pool of water that was fed by a punchbowl waterfall running down the foothills of the Andes. To celebrate making it through the entire expedition, Anna and a few of her fellow students stripped down to their underwear and dove in. As Anna swam and played in the cool refreshing pool, unknown to her a tiny microscopic flagellated parasite found a cut on her leg from a thorn. It swam into the cut and then into her bloodstream. Once in her bloodstream it made its way up to her brain and then into her Hypothalamus. When it reached her Hypothalamus, it made its way through her neurons until it reached the portion of her Hypothalamus that controls appetite. Once there it attached itself and began its nefarious work.
11 chapters, created 4 years , updated 2 years
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