“If this body should ever be destroyed, it will be by desire; by the lust for the flesh of this strange and nearly cannibalistic tainted feast.”
As the calendar flipped to 2025, a slow-burning horror began to unfold across the world. In a small, dim-lit lab, Dr. Samuel Jennings, a reputable physiologist and disease pathologist, chanced upon an insidious truth—one that would challenge traditions, topple industries, and reshape societal norms.
Samuel’s journey into this abyss began with personal pain as his father’s life was almost extinguished in 2023. His father, frail at 80, had been given a renewed lease of life on a cold operating table with a porcine tissue heart valve. A miracle, it seemed. But in a strange twist of fate, the surgeon, a close friend and esteemed colleague of Samuel, whispered a strange fact over a shared bottle of scotch one early October evening. “The pig tissue valves, like the one I placed in your father’s heart, not only survive well within the human host but thrives because the human body does not see it as foreign. It sees it as its own, not something other, but at home, as if it were there from birth. Without the assistance of immunosuppressants, it will remain nestled in seamlessly for many years to come.”
First human-pig chimeras created, sparking hopes for transplantable organs — and debate – Jan. 26, 2017
Haunted by this revelation, Samuel dived into research, attempting to unearth a deeper understanding of the human-porcine connection. His investigations led to a harrowing yet frightening discovery as a pathologist. Consuming pork by certain individuals who suffer from intestinal permeability or leaky gut caused by a diet high in processed foods could very well introduce complete porcine proteins into the human bloodstream. Could these particles then embed themselves in soft tissues as if at home, continuing to grow?
Suddenly, the room around him began to swirl as the wheels of his mind began to turn. Nourished by protein-rich plasma and stem cells, these rogue proteins, which would appear human by all measures, would continue to live on. Not only would they live and multiply quite well side by side with human cells, but they would eventually present as cancerous tumors begging to be excised, radiated, or poisoned by toxic chemotherapy.
Researchers in California have created human-pig chimeric embryos as part of a project to grow human organs for transplantation; while it may make many people uncomfortable, we have been trying to use pigs for parts for nearly 200 years.
This strange flesh, this accidental, unintended passenger, living a life of its own, happily within the confines of human soft tissues. A ticking time bomb with a clock of fifteen to twenty years growing at a rate six to eight times faster than their surrounding human neighbors. One that echoed with the lifespan of the pig itself. Just as the porcine heart valves begin to deteriorate, calcify, and decompose after fifteen to twenty years, so do these manifestations in the flesh turn malignant according to the dictates of their DNA.
To the world’s horror, Samuel’s findings suggested a link—ages-old religious wisdom from Islam and Judaism that had strictly warned against the consumption of swine now suddenly held a dark, once enigmatic, but now tangible universal truth. But science and faith, while sometimes overlapping, treading out different paths, suddenly find themselves walking in lockstep rhythm. The startling implications of Samuel’s research were no longer just spiritual; they were profoundly and devastatingly economic.
Pig embryos that had been injected with human stem cells when they were only a few days old began to grow organs containing human cells, scientists reported on Thursday, an advance that promises — or threatens — to bring closer the routine production of creatures that are part human and part something else.
The pork industry, a behemoth in the United States alone, began a ferocious pushback. Lobbyists swarmed Washington, research was questioned, and Samuel’s credibility was violently attacked at every turn and opportunity. The industry, employing over half a million Americans while contributing a whopping $57 billion to the GDP, wasn’t going down without a muddy fight.
Tensions escalated, with public debates sometimes turning violent. Samuel’s home was vandalized, and threats became a part of his daily existence. But the grim reality couldn’t remain buried for long. Independent studies began surfacing, slowly at first, but then one after the other in blinding succession over the following years, corroborating Samuel’s findings. The wave of truth, backed by undeniable scientific evidence, started swelling. Public pressures swayed and finally mounted, and the once mighty pork industry found itself on shaky grounds with its feet planted firmly in mid-air.
The Fijians used the term “long pig” to refer to human flesh. They would carry a cooked human on one shoulder and a pig on the other when bringing food. They called a human “long pig” when baked.
By 2033, under the weight of global consensus, the World Health Organization, with the backing of the United Nations, banned the consumption of all pork products. The behemoth was felled, not by a singular entity, but by the collective realization of a resounding truth so dark it overshadowed every other concern or perceived benefit.
Restaurants and butcheries, once proud purveyors of pork, shuttered. An entire industry collapsed, and its ripples were felt worldwide. Joblessness, protests, and economic upheavals marked the years following the ban. But as the dust settled, a brighter horizon emerged.
By 2053, the clouds of soft tissue cancers began to clear. Numbers dwindled, and those born after the ban experienced a world almost completely devoid of such malignancies. Hospitals witnessed dwindling cancer patients. Families rejoiced as loved ones lived longer, healthier lives.
And in a quiet corner of Maine, an aged Dr. Samuel Jennings looked at a world transformed by his discovery. There were no accolades, no grand recognitions, just the silent satisfaction of a truth revealed. However, in the stillness of the night, the weight of the revelation bore down on him, a grim reminder that sometimes the most pedestrian things, like a plate of bacon, can hold the darkest secrets.
The year was 2053. In the sprawling, state-of-the-art lab located in the heart of Boston, Dr. Samuel Jennings sat behind his microscope, analyzing samples not of the swine variety that once consumed his every waking thought for more than a decade but from another, more majestic creature.
The discovery regarding pork’s link to soft tissue tumors had rocked the world some decades prior. And while the aftermath of that revelation was still felt in many sectors, it had propelled the medical world into new, uncharted territories. For Jennings, it had sparked an idea, an obsession that burned as fiercely as his earlier research.
It wasn’t just about finding an appropriate replacement for the porcine tissue; it was about seeking out an ideal mammal whose lifespan and tissue compatibility were in perfect harmony with humans. Samuel’s eureka moment came on a day like any other while watching a documentary about the mighty elephants, revered, majestic creatures known to roam the Earth for up to seventy years.
Elephants. Could their heart tissues, imbued with the power of longevity, be the key to the next medical revolution?
Working alongside Dr. Eleanor Greene, an expert in elephant physiology, Jennings began the intricate process of studying elephant cardiac tissues. Initial findings were promising. These tissues, robust and enduring, seemed not only compatible with human physiology but also hinted at a longevity that dwarfed the porcine equivalents.
The research was not without its ethical dilemmas. Both Samuel and Eleanor were resolute that no harm should come to these magnificent beasts. The solution was found in the form of ethically sourced tissue samples, often from elephants that had died of natural causes, combined with advanced cellular regeneration techniques.
By 2063, just ten years later, just two months shy of Samuel’s 75th birthday, the first bioengineered elephant heart valve, a marvel of both nature and science, was ready for human trials. A young girl named Lucy, born with a congenital heart defect, was the first recipient. The procedure was a resounding success. Lucy’s heart, bolstered by the strength and longevity of the elephant tissue, beat with renewed vigor.
Word of this groundbreaking procedure spread like wildfire. People from around the world, previously reliant on the limited lifespan of porcine valves, began flocking to Boston. The “Elephant Miracle,” as it was soon dubbed, had not only provided a superior medical solution but also rekindled a sense of wonder and respect for the natural world.
In the heart of Boston, a monument was erected—a majestic elephant with a heart of gold, symbolizing the harmonious melding of nature and science. It stood as a testament to Dr. Samuel Jennings’ relentless pursuit of knowledge and the undying spirit of human innovation.
And as Lucy, now an energetic teenager, often remarked with a twinkle in her eye, “I’ve got the heart of an elephant, and I’m ready to take on the world!”
In the annals of medical history, Dr. Samuel Jennings’ name was now etched, not once, but twice. Once for revealing the harrowing connection between pork and tumors and again for pioneering a new heart valve that could seemingly outlive those receiving them. The duality of his contributions, one dark and one filled with hope, stood as a testament of hope to the human spirit’s ability to find light even in the most shadowed corners of life.
-Michael J. Loomis & ChatGPT