Before Cell Wars, p.1Amanda Miles
BEFORE CELL WARS
By A. MILES
Before Cell Wars
Copyright © 2014 A. Miles All rights reserved
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Table of contents
Prologue and first chapter of Cell wars
Have you ever been ill? Not nice is it? But hopefully you’re okay now.
Have you ever thought about what happens inside your body when you are ill? And how you got better?
Your body is an amazing thing. It has its own army, waiting to attack enemies. (No! Not an army of humans but an army of special blood cells.) These are called white blood cells. They swim around in the veins and arteries inside your body. You can’t see them (they are too small) or feel them (again too small) but they are there, protecting you, fighting to keep you healthy.
Look! Here they are below.
Let me introduce you to them. First, we have Bands. A very young white blood cell who is desperate to be a blood soldier, but never listens. Next, there is Captain Neutro. He’s an excellent soldier who has been doing his job for a long time. And finally, Master Baso. He teaches all the young cells what it is to be a white blood cell and how to fight bacteria and viruses in the body.
Imagine you were so small (like ‘under a microscope’ small) you could go inside your body and meet them. Come with me and let’s go deep inside our bodies, into the artery and vein tunnels and see what’s happening today?
Bands swam into the Bone Marrow school, where all new blood cells are made. Master Baso was already at the front of the classroom, waiting for him.
“So glad you could join us!” boomed Master Baso. The new cells all jumped out of their padded pink seats in the bone marrow tissue.
Without saying anything, Bands sat down at the back. He didn’t want to be here. He wanted to be out fighting the bacteria and viruses. Not listening to his teacher telling him things he already knew.
“Who are our enemies?” Master Baso asked the class.
“Bacteria and viruses!” shouted out all the eager young cells. Well, all of them, except for one. Bands wasn’t listening. He was too busy playing with his spindly legs, getting them in a knot.
“And what dangers can you expect?”
“We can get stuck,” said one cell.
“We can die in battle,” shouted out another.
Master Baso was just about to congratulate the new cells on their knowledge, when a warning signal sounded in the tunnels. Three loud blasts.
The young cells all stared at Master Baso, waiting for his command.
“Well, this was a bit earlier than I expected, but it will be a good learning opportunity for you all. We have a situation.” Master Baso opened up his nucleus, which was in the middle of his body, and his on board computer gave out information. “Look at the screen, please?”
On the floor of the tunnel was a projector screen, showing the vein and artery pathways of the body.
“An unknown virus has been spotted on its way to the Aorta. We are still analysing what type it is and will have that information shortly. In the meantime, you may attach yourselves to a qualified white blood cell soldier and watch what they do.”
He looked at them all gravely. “Do not leave your buddy. That is an order! Good luck.” And with that he floated out of the room.
The new cells looked at each other, unsure what to do. Bands knew this was his opportunity. He went to the front of the classroom.
“Okay, cells. You heard what Master Baso said. Follow me and let’s go.” Bands flew out of the tunnel with fifteen frightened young followers right behind him.
Bands led the young cells down the tunnel. Lightning bolts flashed overhead, lighting up the path in front of them. It was always like this in the tunnels. Lights on, lights off, lights on again.
“Don’t worry about those,” laughed Bands. “It’s just the electricity in the body.”
The cells bunched closer to Bands, not convinced by his explanation. As they turned the next corner, they saw a group of older, more mature white blood cells gathered together.
“There they are!” shouted Bands. “Great! Captain Neutro is with them too.”
Captain Neutro was a legend, a national ‘cellebrity’. They had all heard about his epic war stories and everyone wanted to see him up close.
“Good afternoon, young ones!” Captain Neutro smiled at the new recruits.
“Sir! Reporting for duty!” shouted Bands. “We have been told we can observe.”
Captain Neutro looked at the young cells. “Listen up! This is a code green situation. It has been downgraded from a red. We have a virus making its way through the blood pathways. At the moment it’s not multiplying or making copies of itself, so it’s not a serious threat yet, but we have to monitor it in case this changes. Attach yourselves to an older white blood soldier.”
Bands grabbed his opportunity and attached himself to Captain Neutro. He would be near the front and Bands didn’t want to miss out on anything.
Captain Neutro gave the command and fifteen white blood cells, locked into their young companions like Lego pieces, rushed down the artery tunnel on the way to their first mission.
They raced so fast, Bands had to make sure he stayed attached. Twisting down one tunnel, then the next. A sharp turn to the right, then to the left. Past the slower red blood cells, who were taking the oxygen around the body.
Suddenly, Captain Neutro applied the brakes. Bands saw why. Up ahead was a solitary virus cruising up the artery tunnel. Its round body was covered in blue spikes, like knobbly twiglets.
“It seems we have found our intruder and he’s alone,” said Captain Neutro. “I will radio this in on the cell phone.”
Captain Neutro continued with his instructions, but Bands wasn’t listening. He carried on watching this blue enemy. As the virus moved around the corner, Bands unattached himself from Captain Neutro and began to follow this enemy.
‘There must be more like him somewhere,’ thought Bands. ‘Where is he going?’
As Bands followed the virus, he noticed his speed increasing. This virus was in a hurry. Down one tunnel, across the next junction and past more red blood cells. Bands didn’t know where he was. This wasn’t good.
Bands followed the enemy along a narrower tunnel before it branched out into a much larger area. Bands looked and stared. Oh no! This wasn’t good at all. In front of him were hundreds of small, knobbly blue balls. The virus had multiplied and it looked dangerous. Bands had to warn everyone and fast.
Bands moved away from the area before he was spotted. He tried to remember what Master Baso had said about his communication pack inside his nucleus. He knew there was a cell phone he could use to call for help. He just had to remember the right words. He began to shout out commands.
“Can I have the phone?”
“Please open up?”
“ERRR! I give up,” Bands shouted out.
“Bands! What are you doing?” said a voice Bands recognised straight away
Bands peered down at his middle. Wow! It had worked.
“Captain Neutro! I’ve found more viruses,” continued Bands, talking down to his middle.
“No, Bands. What are you doing talking to the floor? I’m behind you.”
Oops! It hadn’t worked after all. An embarrassed Bands turned around to face Captain Neutro and the rest of his team.
“Never leave your post, Bands! Have you not learnt anything? We will discuss this later. Right now, I need to know what you found out?”
Without saying a word, Bands led the team to the site of the viruses. As soon as he saw it, Captain Neutro phoned headquarters and alerted them to the problem. Then he turned to face the cells. “We have a code red. This is now a serious threat and needs the big guns. Troops have been given the coordinates of this area, so we need to get you guys back to base safely.”
“Oh, can’t we stay and join in, or at least watch?” asked Bands.
Captain Neutro went right up to Bands. “You can not follow orders. Therefore you are not ready for action. It’s back to school for you.”
Just then, there was a rush of white blood cells all armed and ready to fight, who flew around the corner and into battle.
As the young cells were led away, Bands could only look over his shoulder at the fight he so wanted to join. Would he ever get to be a qualified white blood soldier? He hoped so.
THE END (OR IS IT!)
Does Bands learn to be a white blood soldier or does he find trouble again? Find out in his first new adventure ‘Cell Wars: In The Beginning’ available as an ebook and in print.
Cell Wars was a finalist in the Rubery Book Award 2014 and The Wishing Shelf Awards 2014/15.
Read on for a sneak preview of the prologue and first chapter.
If you were to open your mouth, you’d see a shiny set of teeth (hopefully), a tongue and some funny looking dangly thing at the back of your throat. If you were to open your eyes really wide or even pull back your eyelids (my daughter does that and it’s disgusting), you’d see a small black circle (the pupil) surrounded by a beautiful ring of colour (the iris). Mine is blue. My friend’s is green with brown freckles on it. (Honestly it is!)
Now look carefully at your eyeball, the white bit. Can you see thin, reddish-pink wavy lines? These are blood vessels. They are tunnels, which carry blood around your body.
Do you know what blood looks like? Yes I know it’s a red liquid. I mean do you know what it looks like up close. Really close. If you have a look at blood under a microscope, you see hundreds and hundreds of tiny red blobs all rushing along. These are called red blood cells. There are millions of them in your body. You can’t see them with your eyes and you can’t feel them in your body but they are there, keeping you alive.
They have help. There are some really important blood cells inside your body. You can’t see or feel these either. They’re white and they are slightly bigger than red blood cells. They are called white blood cells. (You knew they were going to be called that, didn’t you?)
Now really use your imagination to go deeper into your body. Imagine you could peel back the skin off your wrist to see the blood vessels (revolting and very messy). Pretend you have shrunk so small you can fit into one of those blood vessels. (My son says that would be epic!) You find yourself in a tunnel, next to lots of other tunnels, all curving one way or another, up and down a vast area, next to the skeleton inside your body. Hundreds of red blood cells would be swimming next to you, carrying you along in the watery plasma liquid.
Now picture yourself swimming inside one of those long, creamy bones from your skeleton. The bone has a hard outer casing but soft, spongy texture middle. This is the bone marrow and this is where all blood cells are made. Most of your bones make blood cells. As you get older (like me), its only bones like your spine, breastbone, ribs and small parts of your legs and arms that produce blood cells.
So finally you are in the bone marrow, a jellylike substance, which contains blood, fat and some very special cells. Look around and you see hundreds of white, round balls with jellyfish type legs. These are the white blood cells and they are about to start their very important job. Let’s watch and see what happens.
In the Bone Marrow, a bell rings and some of the older, white blood cells swim away, off on their mission to protect the body. Some white blood cells are left behind. They are young white blood cells, which have just been made in the Bone Marrow. They must complete their training, before they are allowed to go on missions. They bunch together under a soft, pink, padded tissue wall, waiting for their teacher.
He glides in silently, his cloak barely making a rustle in the hushed, subdued room. All eyes are on the Master. He is legendary throughout the blood system. A slightly scary but revered teacher who knew when you were ready for active duty. Master Baso was the cell to please, to respect and most importantly to listen to.
“Good morning cells!” cried out Master Baso, his eyes scanning the room.
“Good morning Master Baso,” replied all the new, young cells. Well almost all of them. One was missing.
“Where is Bands?” shouted Master Baso.” He’s late… again!”
* * *
Bands was swimming with some red blood cells way down in the body, when he heard the Bone Marrow School bell.
“Late again?” laughed one of the red blood cells.
“As always,” said Bands smiling. “I’d better go. See you later!”
Bands moved away from the group of cells. He crossed over a junction of tunnels running left and right and up and down and made his way to the Bone Marrow school. As he looked through an archway ahead, he could see his teacher talking to the new group of cells that had been made that morning. Bands floated slowly towards the back of the classroom, hoping to slip in unnoticed, his round, pale body camouflaged amongst all the other cells. It didn’t work.
“Good morning Bands,” Master Baso boomed over the rows of young blood cells. “So glad you could join us.”
All the new cells, tightly packed together into the pocket of marrow tissue, turned to face the back. Band’s face flushed bright red. “I was just explaining about the red blood cells,” continued Master Baso, “and as you obviously feel you know all of this, by not arriving on time, maybe you would like to tell us instead?”
Bands sighed. He’d been at school for ages but still he wasn’t allowed to advance to the next stage of training. He had to stay in the classroom because Master Baso thought he wasn’t ready. Bands was convinced it was because he didn’t like him.
“They are the workers. They carry oxygen from the lungs around the body and take the carbon dioxide away,” said Bands in a monotonous voice.
“Is that all?” said Master Baso.
“Is that all what Sir?”
“Is that all they do or is that all you know?” continued Master Baso.
“I answered didn’t I?” said Bands rudely.
All the young blood cells stared at Bands with their mouths open.
“Come, come Bands,” said Master Baso. “That’s not the way to enthuse our new brothers and sisters. These new cells are at the start of their life. They are eager to learn how they will take part in our fight against infections.”
“But that’s the problem,” said Bands interrupting. “All we ever do is learn. We don’t actually get involved in the fighting.”
Master Baso shook his head. “Bands, you are too impatient. There is much you need to know before you become a truly great white blood cell.”
Master Baso turned away from Bands and glided over the top of the new cells. “Our red blood cell cousins are many in number. There are at least 600 red blood cells for every one of us. They help to keep the human body moving, by the delivery of oxygen to all the muscles and organs.” He paused and moved in closer to the eager new cells. “But we white blood cells, or as I like to call us, …the WBCs,” he chuckled, as if he’d
The new cells were all watching Master Baso intently, listening to every word he said. Except for Bands. He wasn’t listening. He was too busy bouncing up and down into the soft, spongy tissue beneath him.
“There are many dangers here,” continued Master Baso. “A blow to the human body can cause blood vessels to burst. It is our job to eat those blood cells before they seep into the surrounding tissue.” Master Baso scanned the crowd of wide-eyed white cells. “Can you think of any other dangers you might face?”
“Can we get stuck?” asked one eager cell.
“That’s right!” shouted out Master Baso enthusiastically, pleased that some of his new students were listening. “We white blood cells have a nucleus in our body.” All the cells peered down at their middles to have a better look.
“This nucleus has a computer system which contains lots of information, like a human’s brain. And like a human’s brain, we must look after it above all else. As it makes our body less flexible, it is sometimes difficult for us to move through narrow areas like the capillaries. These are the tiny tunnels at the end of veins and arteries.” Master Baso looked at them sternly. “If you get stuck, your life will be over.”
Band’s bouncing had become more exuberant and he almost toppled over into the cell sitting next to him. The cell giggled and then straightened up when she saw Master Baso looking straight at them.
“Did you say something?” asked Master Baso, sailing right up to Bands.
“No sir. Not a word,” Bands smiled.
“Hmm,” said Master Baso, eyeing him suspiciously, before turning round to face the other cells. “Now, I would like to do a practice drill outside the Bone Marrow.”
“Another boring drill,” said Bands, pulling a face and pretending to yawn. The cell next to him giggled again. Fortunately for Bands, Master Baso didn’t hear or at least pretended not to.
Before Cell Wars by Amanda Miles / History & Fiction have rating 4.1 out of 5 / Based on37 votes