By Bongo Bear



Sunday, October 17, 1999


By Alex Poindexter- Uber Media Writer

HOUSTON, TX (UM) - In the spirit of Jurassic Park, a Rice University archeo-geneticist hopes to clone a saber-toothed tiger from its long dead DNA.

While Dr. Andie Travers concedes that the likelihood of successfully cloning any extinct animal is exceedingly small, she insists that the technology is feasible and brings hope to animals that are today near extinction. Since scientists at Texas A&M recently cloned a steer from the hide of a longhorn that died the previous year, Travers believes she can clone any animal as long as its tissues are adequately preserved. "Pandas are losing their habitat and food supply to human encroachment. Cheetahs are becoming genetically indistinguishable. We must conserve what gene pools we have today. Cloning may be the new Ark that preserves these creatures for their sakes and ours," she said.

Travers is part of a team who will study a specimen recovered from an iceberg found in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. In late 1998, oil field workers found the complete remains of a saber-toothed tiger suspended in the huge block of ice. The iceberg was floating several hundred yards from a major oil company's main offshore processing facility and threatened to collide with the platform. The workers were about to demolish the iceberg with dynamite when they spotted the animal. Atmospheric scientists believe that years of global warming calved away a piece of a glacier containing the body. The iceberg was towed to an ice cave where it has been stored until a team could be assembled to examine it.

The tiger's features can clearly be seen through the nearly transparent ice. "That is one beautiful animal. It's been my dream to actually stroke its fur and feel the full measure of those infamous teeth," Travers said.

The team will chip out the frozen tiger and store it in a deep freeze unit specially built to house the beast indefinitely while various specialists examine it. Biolo-

gists will examine the stomach contents for its last meal. Veterinarians will compare the tiger's anatomy to modern big cats. Geneticists will extract DNA from numerous tissue samples of the frozen body.

Once the DNA is successfully extracted, it will be injected into an egg that has been stripped of it genetic material. Travers believes that a large modern cat such as a Siberian or Asian tiger would make an excellent surrogate mother for a newborn saber-toothed tiger. The saber-toothed tiger could be raised among modern tigers and acquire some socialization from them. "How much instinctual behavior is inborn in a saber-toothed tiger is something we can study as well as the tiger's physiology."

In contrast to Dr. Travers' optimism, skeptics within the scientific community claim the cloning cannot be done. Medical ethicists insist it should not be done.

Dr. Nathaniel Hudson, a microbiologist from Loyola University in Chicago, said, "Completely intact DNA can only be extracted from a carefully preserved specimen. This saber-toothed tiger was most likely half rotted before it was preserved in ice."

Dr. Ambrose Smith, a medical ethicist at the University of Arkansas medical school and ordained minister, said, "We should not bring to life creatures that God has seen fit to wipe from the face of the Earth. A saber-toothed tiger does not belong in today's world. What would it eat? Who would it eat? If we succeed in bringing back a dangerous animal like this, what is to stop us from bringing back any creature or worse yet, a human being?"

One of the Texas A&M scientists who cloned the longhorn steer, Dr. Helen Carter, enthusiastically supports Travers' efforts. "I may be in the minority opinion, but I want to see the saber-toothed tiger cloned. How many more heads of cattle does the world need? Dr. Travers has the vision her critics lack," she said.


Thursday, October 18, 2001


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

ATHENS, GREECE (UM) - Greek archeologists discover a rare untouched gravesite in the outskirts of Athens.

"Unlike most burial chambers, this one is pristine. Nothing was taken. The funeral murals are still as bright and fresh as the day they were painted 2500 years ago," said lead archeologist Dr. Andre Andropolis.

So far the excavation team has recovered 1000 separate items. The vast majority is prime examples of Greek pottery depicting daily life. Their contents have long evaporated away. However, scientists are collecting minute samples to identify the dry remnants. Priceless gold jewelry adorns the marble sculptures. Precious gems decorate the hilt of a bronze sword. Dozens of beaten copper tubes contain the crumbling remains of vellum rolls.

Most controversial is the circular design resembling a Yin-Yang symbol. The circlet is made of a yet unidentified alloy and set in base of the sarcophagus. Historians believe this elaborate design is a family crest and not a proof of an ancient Asian tie to the Mediterranean cultures, as some radical scholars believe.

"The most striking discovery is the lid of the sarcophagus. The structure is large, about the size of a double bed. Two life-like human figures are sculpted in deep bas-relief. The figures are so realistic. One foot is sticking from under the covers. The big toe is slightly out of alignment from the others. They are depicted as lying under a sheet that clings closely to their bodies and so reveals that their hidden limbs are entwined. They appear to be peacefully asleep and they are embracing. This couple was meant to be together for eternity," said Michael Grigorio, senior assistant to Dr. Andropolis.

Grigorio had no comment when asked why the human figures are both female.


Friday, October 19, 2001


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

Cambridge, MA (UM) - Flush from her recent nomination for the Nobel Prize in medicine, Dr. Andie Travers, announced her desire to clone the bodies found in a recently discovered Athenian gravesite. Travers made the announcement during her keynote address to the Harvard Medical School's annual conference. Greek authorities are pondering Travers' offer.

"We are considering Dr. Travers' offer very seriously. Given her recent success with the saber-toothed tiger, at the very least we can expect some living tissue to study. I doubt her team can actually bring a pre-Mycenaean warrior into the twenty-first century," said Dr. Andre Andropolis, lead archeologist at the Athens dig. "However, if she could, I would welcome the opportunity to meet such an individual."

In early 2000, Travers, in collaboration with Dr. Helen Carter, the co-nominee for the Nobel Prize, successfully cloned a saber-toothed tiger and raised it to adulthood. The tiger currently resides in an isolated compound in the San Antonio Zoo.



Saturday, October 20, 2001


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

HOUSTON, TX (UM) - "God Hates Clones" was Reverend Fred Phillips' rallying cry against a revolutionary human cloning experiment being conducted on the Rice University campus. Rev. Phillips and his followers staged a raucous demonstration in front of the Anderson Biological Laboratory while students looked on. Campus security maintained a safe distance between the protesters and researchers entering the building. No injuries have been reported.

"These experiments on human remains are an affront to God. Their graves should never have been desecrated, even though they were iheathens and their souls are burning in Hell as we speak," said Rev. Phillips.

"These doctors are creating soulless abominations," he concluded.

Most of the pickets and catcalls were directed at faculty members Dr. Andie Travers and Dr. Helen Carter, a visiting professor from Texas A&M. Travers and Carter obtained bone fragments from a pre-Mycenaean crypt near Athens, Greece. Archeologists believe the remains are of two distinct individuals. The cloning process is expected to confirm two separate and unique DNA sequences.

"The good Reverend Phillips does not understand what we're trying to do here," said Dr. Tom Block, Dean of the School of Medicine. "Regenerating tissue samples from humans living prior to the modern age can tell us so much about how much we have changed ourselves as well as our environment. These samples are natural controls for studying the effect of manmade radiation and EMF on living tissue. This is just one test from the top of my head. I have complete confidence Dr. Travers and Carter as well as our other distinguished scientists at Rice will suggest other novel experiments. What we are doing is akin to going to the moon."

"Reverend Phillips had best return to Kansas. I understand the science curriculum there is more to his liking," Block said, referring to the recent Kansas school board decision to eliminate the teaching of evolution from their public schools.


Monday, October 21, 2002


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

HOUSTON, TX (UM) - Dr. Helen Carter announced that she will clone complete humans from the bone fragments excavated from a Greek tomb.

"After lengthy discussions with the dean and the Board of Directors, we decided to go all the way, beyond mere tissue regeneration, and create complete embryos. I volunteered to be their surrogate mother. I cannot expect anyone else to take the responsibility of bringing these people into the world," said Dr. Carter in a surprise press conference.

When asked if she will raise the children herself, Carter responded, "Most likely no. If the embryos survive to full term, I will most likely give them up for adoption to carefully selected parents, but not before we have a chance to study them."

Dr. Andie Travers, who shares a Nobel Prize with Dr. Carter for successfully cloning a saber-toothed tiger, criticized her colleague, stating, "We should not treat human beings like overgrown throat cultures. If Helen doesn't want to raise the kids herself, I'll pitch in."

Clearly shocked by her colleague's proposal, Carter has not yet responded to Travers' offer of joint parenthood.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

SAN ANTONIO, TX (UM) - Toni, the saber-toothed tiger cloned from one frozen during the last Ice Age, escaped from the San Antonio early this morning. Area residents are advised to keep their pets and children indoors after dark. The City police, the sheriff's department, and zoo advisors are canvassing a ten square mile area for the tiger. Anyone witnessing any suspicious activities should contact the police immediately. Any civilians should not approach the animal.

According to zoo officials, the tiger had become increasingly restless over the past several weeks. "She stopped eating regularly, then she'd go after wild game with a vengeance," said Terrence Arnold, the large cat curator. "Periods of listlessness followed by manic activity had been her pattern for a while. I'm surprised she hadn't escaped before."

When Toni first arrived as a newborn cub, she seemed well adjusted to her life in confinement. She was raised among Siberian and Asian varieties. When Toni reached sexual maturity in only a few months, she was removed from the company of other tigers and given her own enclosure. Scientists attribute Toni's rapid growth rate to the cloning process. Tigers are solitary creatures and only seek each other out for mating once they reach adulthood. Since there are no other tigers of Toni's specific species, animal breeders were unsure if she would be fertile.

"Toni was a zoo favorite among children and adults alike. I pray we can bring her back alive," said Arnold.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

SAN ANTONIO, TX (UM) - Zoo officials returned Toni the saber-toothed tiger back to her enclosure only a few hours after she escaped. Hunting dogs treed the tiger in the backyard of a nearby resident. Police shot a tranquilizer dart into the animal's hindquarters. The unconscious animal fell about twenty feet into a net waiting below.

"This was no different from rescuing a kitten caught in tree," said firefighter Jim Reed, recalling the ease with which the tiger was captured.


Thursday, October 23, 2003


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

FORT SMITH, AR (UM) - Two young women who were cloned from the bone fragments of a pre-Mycenaean couple underwent psychiatric evaluations at an undisclosed mental health facility in Fort Smith.

Dr. Helen Carter and Dr. Andie Travers of Rice University cloned the embryos which grew at an incredible rate. Since they gestated and reached physical maturity in less one year, they could not properly socialize into human society in such a short time. During the last few weeks, the clones developed anti-social behavior requiring their incarceration within a facility on the Rice University campus.

To protect their privacy, the women are publicly referred to by the university staff as Clone Number One and Clone Number Two. "We caught Clone Number One climbing up in the rafters of the physical plant. We managed to coax her down, but then a custodian grabbed her as soon as she touched the floor. She attacked him with a pipe. By the time we pulled her off of him, he suffered multiple broken ribs. Number Two is not particularly violent unless we try to separate her from One. The two have bonded like... sisters."

The researchers responsible for raising the clones expressed concern over their unexpected growth rate and aberrant behavior. Carter bristled at the notion that the clones may have to spend the rest of their lives in confinement. "We had no idea this would happen. If we made a mistake, we have the means to fix it," Carter said. "I'm positive that proper medication and therapy is what they need to adjust. And Time. They need time. They're only a year old for God's sake!"

Reverend Fred Phillips offered unsolicited his opinions on his website He reiterated his belief that "these so-called clones are not fully human. They are not God's creations so how can they possibly have a soul between them? No wonder they don't know how to live in decent society."


Friday, October 24, 2003


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

VENICE BEACH, CA (UM) - Wiccans gathered around a large bonfire on the beach and rehearsed their annual celebratory dances in preparation for their big night of the year, Halloween.

"What you call Halloween is a sacred night for us. All Soul's Night is the only time of the year where souls can be freed from their physical shells and wander over the Earth. We celebrate our ancient traditions and pray that these wandering souls return to their rightful places by morning."


Monday, October 27, 2003


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

SAN ANTONIO, TX (UM) - Zoo officials made a tearful discovery when Toni the Tiger, as the cloned saber-toothed tiger was affectionately known, did not chase after her evening meal. Toni was found at the bottom of her wading pool.

Officials do not know the cause of the death and are currently investigating. However, curators who worked closely with the animal speculate that "she died of a broken heart. She was never the same after she was forced back into her cell. We should have done more to make her life worthwhile. How would anyone feel if they were the only one of their kind anywhere in the world?"



Saturday, November 1, 2003


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

HOUSTON, TX (UM) - Police found the bodies of Dr. Andie Travers and Dr. Helen Carter in the bedroom of their Montrose apartment early this morning. Neighbors reported strange sounds and screams during the previous night, but attributed them to Halloween pranksters. The coroner's office has not declared a cause of death thus far. However, preliminary autopsy results indicate that there was no trauma to the bodies or evidence of any toxins in their systems.

The academic and scientific communities are stunned by the news. Speculation is growing that their deaths are somehow related to the controversy surrounding the Greek clones.


Sunday, November 2, 2003


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

AMARILLO, TX (UM) - Two women, cloned from the remains found in ancient Greek tomb, escaped while being transported from a mental facility in Fort Smith. During a rest stop, they overpowered their psychiatric nurse and left her tied up in the women's restroom. The nurse was found by passing motorist unharmed but shaken. Witnesses say they saw the women mug a driver, pull him out of his car, leave the area in his red Mustang convertible. State troopers have the car's license plates and are confident they will recover the stolen vehicle soon. The police warn that the women are not armed, but have a history of unpredictable behavior and should not be approached.


Monday, November 3, 2003


Alex Poindexter - Uber Media Writer

LOUISVILLE, KY (UM) - Two Arabian stallions were reported stolen directly from their stalls at Liberty Stables. Investigators are puzzled as to why no horse trailers and trucks were also taken, even though they were in plain view.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say a couple of thieves came right in here, grabbed the horses and rode off into the sunset," a sheriff's deputy said.




This is definitely Bongo Bear's wryest story yet. Using the conceit of a newspaper scrapbook collection, Bongo Bear follows the media coverage of two scientists cloning Xena and Gabrielle and discovering their innate uberness in the process. I have to admit I was sucked into the story. I liked how it built upon itself and each article was a puzzle piece to a greater uber enigma. The twist ending with the clones taking charge and merging with the ubers, reminded me of how Bongo Bear enjoys in her fan fiction to refer back to the show in subtle ways.

Part of the conceit is that this is a collection of news reports filed by an Alex Poindexter who works for a news agency called "Uber Media". I suspected immediately that the collection was an uber and not just a story about Xena and Gabriele's clones when I saw the name Alex. Alex is the most common name for an uberXena in the Xenaverse. Bongo Bear was the first author to write an uberAlex into an uber (The Hitch Hiker). By using that name, she slyly makes fun of her own contributions to uber, while also playing upon the uber savvy audience's expectation that any character named Alex will be the uberXena. In the usual Bongo Bear way, Alex turns out not to be the uberXena at all.

Nonetheless, one of the minor issues of this story is which of the leads is the uberXena. The story has two female leads, Andie Travers and Helen Carter. Well-based arguments can be made that either one is the uberXena. For me, Andie is one weird puppy. She says at one point, "It's been my dream to actually stroke its fur [the cloned saber toothed tiger] and feel the full measure of those infamous teeth." Yikes! Just on that sentence alone, for me, Andie qualifies as an uberXena. When I first read that line, I knew that the Travers chick was not an ordinary run of the mill stock scientist in some B science fiction, newspaper clippings parody, but was one seriously wacky woman.

Within this story, one can see Bongo Bear's growing interest in rhetoric. In the story, Dr. Ambrose Smith, a medical ethicist at the University of Arkansas medical school and ordained minister, says, "We should not bring to life creatures that God has seen fit to wipe from the face of the Earth. A saber-toothed tiger does not belong in today's world. What would it eat? Who would it eat? If we succeed in bringing back a dangerous animal like this, what is to stop us from bringing back any creature or worse yet, a human being?" Not only does this guy need to be frozen in ice himself, but he does have a nice turn of phrase. Even the minutiae of "What would it eat? Who would it eat?", has a nice flow. Also, the Rev. Phillips line, "These experiments on human remains are an affront to God. Their graves should never have been desecrated, even though they were heathens and their souls are burning in Hell as we speak..." made me feel all warm and fuzzy and stuff like that.

Helen Carter, the clones' surrogate womb owner, luckily, is as wacky as her partner, Andie Travers. I fell in love with Carter with her line "How many more heads of cattle does the world need?" I suspect that these doctors are really just liberal arts

Ph.D's in disguise. Also, Travers' proposal to Carter for partnership status has got to be one of the weirdest proposal scenes in any uber.

In a classic Bongo Bear moment of dry wit, she reminds us that the question of the relationship of either Xena and Gabrielle or their ubers will always be put on some sort of spin control with the quote, "The two have bonded like...sisters." You can be cloned thousands of years later and still get that sentiment.