|Stampede! Wake up Earl! Wake up! Get outta the way! Stampede!
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In Universe Perspective
From the Survival Journal of Burt Gummer:
Little did we suspect that the latest spawn of Mixmaster — that diabolical government concoction that mingles any non-human DNA it can find — had already claimed two more victims.
We did, however, notice suspicious seismic activity on Tyler's monitor. We ditched Larry and checked it out. That's how we met federal employee Dr. Casey Matthews and two of her assistants, Pete and Roger, who were drilling for soil samples. Dr. Matthews (if that's even her real name) admitted that she was studying Mixmaster's effects on the valley's ecosystem.
Tyler stayed to chat (or, more accurately, flirt) with Dr. Matthews. Consequently, he was present when she discovered the aforementioned fatalities: They stumbled upon the gory skeletons of two more of her assistants, who had been in the field since morning but had failed to check in.
Naturally, I called in Cletus Poffenberger. Yes, he's a former federal scientist, but he's the only one I remotely trust. Working with Dr. Matthews, he discovered that the substance that had killed the two men was an organic acid.
It took the death of Pete, not to mention hours of painstaking investigation, before we understood what we were facing. The field where the scientists had died was home to a new plant-animal hybrid, like a reptilian fungus — obviously a product of Mixmaster's DNA-blending ability. This hybrid had spread over nearly four acres, poking up to just below the ground with sacs that, when jarred, sprayed deadly acid.
We had to kill this thing quickly.
The tap root — the hybrid's command-and-control center, so to speak — wasn't hard to locate. Injecting it with poison would kill the whole structure. The challenge lay in reaching the tap root, because it was surrounded by a minefield of acid sacs strong enough to slag the tires off a car.
Worse, we soon learned that we were running out of time. When the outdoor temperature reached 81 degrees, the heat would trigger the hybrid to release millions of spores. Once those got loose, the wind would spread seeds for baby acid-plant hybrids far and wide.
As usual, it fell to me to devise a plan. As the temperature rose, we sent Larry the rubbernecker to Jodi Chang's to buy supplies for the poison. Then we mobilized at the field, where I jury-rigged a one-man hot air balloon to fly Tyler over the minefield to the tap root.
The operation was nearly a disaster, but Tyler's a good soldier — he kept a cool head. He finally reached the tap root and shot it full of poison. Even Larry proved useful for a split second, when he leaped to cover an erupting spore pod with his jacket. We'd killed Mixmaster's latest spawn.
Nonetheless, in the interests of preparedness, I'm now war-gaming scenarios, though I'm hard-pressed to say which would be worse: Another such hybrid taking over all of Perfection Valley, or that irritating monsterazzi Larry deciding to move in.
A sci-fi fanatic named Larry has paid for Tyler to give him a private El Blanco tour. Although El Blanco does not appear during the tour, Burt and Tyler find him near a research site with a pair of scientists studying Mixmaster. When the other members of their team do not report back, Tyler takes the lead scientist (Casey Matthews) in search of them. They find their skeletons instead. When Casey studies the tissue samples of the remains, she finds they were killed with a powerful organic acid loaded with Mixmaster.
Tyler immediately brings Cletus in to assist and they discover the scientists were killed by a plant which contains the characteristics of Amazonian pitcher plants, Venus flytraps and an unknown reptilian species. It sprays acid from pouches in the ground to dissolve and consume organic tissue, leaving only skeletons behind. After they locate the actual plant in question, they find that it is four square acres in size, which makes killing it problematic, as it is surrounded by the acid "mines". When Larry visits the lab, he discovers that the pouch they took for study grew a seed pod. Roger (Casey's assistant) works out that the plant expels seeds similar to dandelions when it reaches a specific temperature. When they go back out to inspect the plant, they see that it has created a hundred seed pods, all ready to burst when the temperature is right. Casey creates a poison to kill the plant and Tyler uses a helium balloon to get close to the "tap root" so he can kill the plant before it releases it's seeds.
|Michael Gross||Burt Gummer|
|Victor Browne||Tyler Reed|
|Sarah Rafferty||Dr. Casey Matthews|
|Christopher Lloyd||Dr. Cletus Poffenberger|
|J.D. Walsh||Larry Norvel|
|Richard Biggs||Roger Garrett|
|Gladys Jimenez||Rosalita Sanchez|
|Marcia Strassman||Nancy Sterngood|
|Lela Lee||Jodi Chang|