room 302

In Which Two Superheroes Respond to a Dire Threat


“Where are we going in such a rush, Cap?  What’s the crisis du jour?”

“I’m not sure, Iron Man, but I got an anonymous tip that there was a nest of Hydra operatives in the neighborhood.”

“Dammit!  I hate Hydra.  Let’s go take those bastards down!”


“Well, it SAYS Hydra, but I’m not seeing anything but little pond creatures.  What have you got?”


“Same here.  They’re actually kinda cute.”


“You said the tip was anonymous?  You don’t suppose…”



A Mini-Safari, Part IV: Jars of Tiny Terrors

We’re still exploring Room 302. We have bid farewell to the arthropodial denizens of the main shelving unit, traversed the Fern Jungle in the center of the room, and fetched up in the corner where the human female and her staff keep all of the tinier invertebrates.  If you’re looking for flatworms or vinegar eels, this is the right neighborhood.

Today, however, what’s here is a collection of those voracious miniature Cnidarians known as Hydra.  Small they are, but mighty, with their waving tentacles and terrifying habit of ripping themselves a new mouth each time they consume something.

I know I’ve been talking about stuffing creatures into the human female’s shoes and salads and whatnots, but this really does give me an idea…


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A Mini-safari, Part III: A Surfeit of Legs

We are continuing to explore the invertebrate fauna of Room 302.

Shh. Be very quiet. Under this pot is a vessel holding a venomous centipede!


They come from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things in small plastic containers full of dirt, leaf litter, and wet paper toweling.  They’re happy in there, but impossible to observe. Right before the classes are set to view them, she “decants” them into containers packed with pale plastic “Eater Bunny” grass so that the students have a chance to actually see one.  This process is performed inside a dry, empty aquarium so that any escapees have literally nowhere to go.  The human female has added “centipede wrangler” to her resume.  Padding.  Definitely padding.

In this tank we have a group of millipedes.


They don’t actually have a million legs.  Humans are just prone to exaggeration.

Sigyn really likes the millipedes because they are docile and “curly.”  I’d open the enclosure and let her in, since they’re slow and harmless, but they are also currently engaged in eating a rottenish cucumber.


Munch, munch, munch.  Sigyn is begging for one as a pet, saying they’re easy to keep and cheap to house and feed.


That latter, at least, is certainly true.  These particular myriapods are so un-picky about their food that they’ve been known to eat the cellulose sponges put into the terrarium for added moisture.

Hmm.  That gives me an idea.  The human female is always saying she needs more fiber in her diet–and she does love sponge cake…

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A Mini-safari, Part II: Scuttley Things


Sigyn, let us suspend our perusal of the crayfish and see what else is living here in 302. I wonder what’s in this aquarium? Whatever it is, I hope it breathes air, because there isn’t any water.


In fact, it looks like the beach at low tide, or some long-abandoned sea floor. Can you spy anything?


Odin’s Eyepatch!  That seashell just moved! What’s inside it, Sigyn, can you tell?

I see… claws.

Oh, now I remember!  I’ve heard of these crustaceous beasts-–they are hermit crabs.  They live in cast-off shells that mollusks of various ilks (and whelks) are finished with.  Sort of how the human female does all of her clothes shopping at Bonhomie and other second-hand stores.  Unlike the human female, however, these crabs know when they’ve outgrown their vestiture and move on to a larger size.

What shall we name this fellow, my love? I’m thinking something exotic, such as “Rangoon.”

Moving on.

Careful, Sigyn. You remember what’s in these little cages–big, hairy spiders, large enough to carry you off.  It’s a good thing they’re securely housed.


Hmm.  Either this arachnid already has a name, or the humans are even more color-blind than I thought.


Oh.  The name on your cage says, “Betty.”  The human female says she’s supposed to be small and calm, but she looks pretty sprightly to me!

Tarantulas are such fascinating creatures.  I like their multi-leggedness and their furriness.  I approve of the excess of eyes and the fangy bits.  I also like how they can scrunch down into little spaces.  Little, dark places–like the human female’s shoe…

One, two, three, four, five…  Can the humans count that high, or would they not miss one if it happened to follow me home?

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A Mini-safari, Part I: Pinchy Pinchy

The portion of of the semester in which the human female’s biology students study various invertebrates has arrived.  Sigyn has expressed interest in the spineless and a desire to meet the local Ecdysozoans.  I could do with an expedition myself, so here we are, down the hall, in the famous Room 302, which is famous for its squiggly, molting inhabitants.  It’s been a while since we’ve visited.

We are commencing our study with the creatures nearest the door.

Look, Sigyn!  Do you see it?


The refractive and distorting optical properties of water make this mini-Leviathan difficult to discern, but I assure you that a fearsome crayfish, possessed of wicked claws and the ability to scuttle swiftly backwards dwells here!


You can look, Sigyn, but don’t touch!


The human female says they don’t have names.  That’s unconscionable!  Such noble creatures need names!  I shall call this one… Etouffee.

Fandral’s mustache!  Wait just a moment! Not only have the humans not bestowed fittinng monikers upon these beasts, they have not even bothered to associate the correct enclosures with the proper labels!  See?  The colorless enclosure is next to the “gray tank” label.  The tank with the gray lid lies behind the “purple tank” label–and the orange-lidded tank has been paired with the “blue tank” label!


Half-witted morons!  They do not deserve to have such mighty creatures, and I am seriously rethinking my estimates of human intelligence.  How did they ever come to be the dominant species on the planet?  I mean–

Oh.  I take part of that back.  Looks like they have named this one…


Nope.  Still stupid.

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What’s Behind Door Number 302? Part IV: ‘Cause This is Chiller

There is more than gloves, Squiggly/Leggedy Things, and Planty Things in this room.  This is also where the human female and her staff keep the ultra cold freezer and the special refrigerator that can hold flammable things.  That last appliance doesn’t make any sense.  If something is on fire, it’s not exactly cold.

Let’s see what we have.

This is the inside of the ultra cold.  It runs at about negative 50 centipede.


I know what you’re thinking, that I used the wrong word.  I, Loki, the Silvertongued, do not make errors of vocabulary or elocution.  This is where the human female’s staff puts the naughty, vicious centipedes after they are done observing them.  You thought I was joking about Centipede Valhalla, didn’t you?  By now they have probably run more than fifty centipedes through this thing.

The colorful blocky things are for holding test tubes of DNA and whatnot.  Congratulations, human female!  Now all your equipment has been contaminated with Jotun DNA.  Your next PCR experiment should be very interesting.

Oh, Sigyn!  You are shivering!  Let us move to the flammable fridge.  It’s bound to be warmer in there, one way or the other.

Some of these containers look very old.  Look at the dates!  They haven’t been used in years.  (I don’t think they clean out this fridge very often…)


Hmm.  Two jars of lanolin.  Greasy sheep paste!  You could have yourself some very soft skin, Sigyn.  But if I’m reading the labels correctly, the humans use this stuff as a carrier for plant growth regulators.  What do you think, my sunflower?  Shall we open the tiny container of indole-3- acetic acid, an auxin which promotes shoot growth, mix up a little batch, and see if we can make you taller?


Just kidding!  You are perfect the way you are.

Sigyn is interested in these jars of green liquid.  “Chlorophyll extract.”  <sniff, sniff>  Whew!  Essence of spinach, with hints if diethyl ether, petroleum ether, and acetone.  Whiffy stuff!


Yes, my love, chlorophyll is supposed to be healthy for you.  No, I do not think you should drink this.  I do not think the acetone would do you any good.

If you are still craving something green when this adventure is over, we can go and have a nice salad somewhere.

In the far corner of the room is the ice maker.  Sometimes, when the human female has been particularly vexing, I come in here to think and cool off.

There’s a big sign saying that the ice isn’t for human consumption,


but I’ve been known to nibble…

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What’s Behind Door Number 302? Part II: These Were Meant To Be Ours

Room 302, aside from being the Squiggly Things room, is also an overflow space for various consumable supplies.  It’s mostly boring things like paper towels and cotton swabs and little plastic cups and bigger plastic cups.

This is also one of the many stash places for gloves.  Soooo many gloves.  (Either the humans are really clean or really dirty.  I’m not sure which.)

This is my size.


Behold!  I come bearing tidings of safe reagent handling and great mischief which shall be to all people!

Sigyn, have you found the right box for you yet?


Yes, she has!  Sigyn definitely needs the small ones.  Extra small might be even better, but the human female is too cheap to buy any.


Sigyn is very excited about these gloves,  much more than I think they warrant, but I’m not sure why.

Oh, wait.  Now I understand.  It’s not the gloves themselves that have tickled her fancy, it’s the notion that …


…once again, we’ve managed to find things with our initials.  Clever Sigyn!  I hadn’t noticed.

That must mean that all those other boxes are for Mortals.

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