Location seed: The Lake Niangua Extrusion.

The Lake Niangua Extrusion – Google Docs

The Lake Niangua Extrusion


Lake Niangua is an extremely shallow lake in Camden county, Missouri. Ostensibly. Well, yes, it really is a shallow lake.  You can fish there, and everything.  Just don’t do a chromosomal analysis of the fish, because their DNA is left-handed.


And it’s not just the fish; the entire ecosystem of that lake is left-handed — or, to (mis)use the technical terms: the ecosystem there displays mostly Z-DNA helical structures instead of Earth’s more usual B-DNA structures.  Which seems to make the fish look weird and taste a little funny, but that’s about it.  But what makes the situation very strange is that the effect is absolutely limited to that one lake; flora and fauna taken from it (or introduced to it) prove remarkably difficult to transplant.

Of course, the government — and various scientific organizations — have been analyzing the lake for the last forty years. Quietly. Very quietly, mostly because this place flat-out contradicts a lot of what biologists think that they know about their field of study, and does so in a way that practically guarantees getting one’s career killed.  There’s also maybe some evidence that the ecosystem is being restocked from somewhere else, which alarms people when they think about it too long.  But, everything’s been quiet, and has been so for decades, so why look for trouble?


Well, everything was quiet.  This morning a couple of researchers masquerading as fishermen came across a scene where something apparently came out of the lake and ate a deer, then went into the woods. One look at the sucker marks on the remains of that deer was enough to make the government decide to call in a team more suited for beating the bushes for… whatever this creature is.


So good luck, and good hunting.  But try to keep it alive, OK?  Or at least not turned into pate.  There may be things to learn about it.

1 Comment

  • 1_rick says:

    I read a cyberpunkish story a few years ago–probably by Greg Egan, but maybe not–where a minor part of the plot was a guy who was busy replacing all his DNA with a custom version.

    Not altering the code, just replacing the base pairs with different chemical groups–instead of CGTA, let’s say, he was changing his DNA to use EFLM (I just made up letters there, because I’m too lazy to look up what the alternate groups our DNA doesn’t use actually are, other than the U used in RNA instead of T). He was also altering the rest of his body to work with these alternate base pairs.

    IIRC his plan was to alter some other people and kill off everyone else with some kind of metabolic process specific to regular DNA that wouldn’t affect his.

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