Today would be a good day for specimen-hunting.
Thick green foliage blocked the first rays of sunlight brightening the deep blue sky. Outside the curtain-less window, the thermometer registered a temperature of 78 degrees at eight a.m.-perfect conditions.
I swallowed the last mouthful of hot, bitter brew and then disentangled my limbs from their criss-crossed and tucked-in resting places.
After a quick bite of breakfast I donned my all-white bodysuit, gloves, and calf-high boots. I completed the costume with a white hat and attached mosquito net drape which velcroed to the neck of the bodysuit.
I grabbed two protein bars and some trail mix out of the pantry, stuffed them in the side pocket of my supply pack and, finally, refilled the water bladder insert before securing the straps over each shoulder and around my waist.
Eager to get started, I left the dirty dishes in the sink, activated the detector strapped to my wrist outside my left glove, and headed for the stretch of forest along the riverbank.
Less than ten minutes into the expedition, the detector began to beep. When I looked down, a red light flashed on the top right corner of the rectangular-shaped monitor.
I stopped and pressed the locator button.
Immediately, the screen changed to an image of a generic bodysuit with a pulsing bullseye on the back of the left shoulder.
I pulled a pair of tweezers out of my chest pocket and a small vial out of its holder on my belt.
With the thumb and forefinger of my left hand, I slowly pulled the shoulder of my bodysuit forward until I could see the tiny passenger clinging to the white fabric. After securing the vial in the bottom three fingers of my left hand, I used the tweezers to pluck the creature off my shoulder.
Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be the right size for the nymph stage. Good news for me.
Holding the specimen tight enough that it couldn’t escape, but not so tight that I crushed it, I held the wriggling body over my vial and tapped until it fell to the bottom of the glass. Quickly and with the efficiency of long practice, I stowed my tweezers and then capped the vial.
One down, seven hundred billion to go, I mused.
I slipped the capped vial into a ring on the opposite side of my belt and then proceeded forward.
Not very glamorous work to be sure, but I could feel the answer, so close, and when I found it the whole world would rejoice.
Hi! It’s been a while. If there are still any readers out there, what question do you think this researcher is trying to answer? What do you think she’ll discover?