06 January 2021

Invasive Species Study

The queue for Flight of Passage has a lot of wonderful moments that pull you further into the story of Pandora. The art and craftsmanship of the Na’vi, a life-sized Avatar, and even the bioluminescent lifeforms that have breached the former RDA complex are each enough to tickle the imagination on their own, but put together they form an intricate narrative that guests are drawn into unconsciously. One area where the dense layers of storytelling comes through is in the labs of the Pandora Conservation Initiative, where various studies are being conducted. One research station that particularly draws me in is the desk that houses the Velocivirus.

This invasive sea urchin-like species, also known as a Velocifungus, is known for attaching to spaceships on their way to Pandora. It was introduced to the planet after ships ignored rules of burning their engines before breaking the atmosphere of Pandora in order to destroy the parasite. The Veolicvirus can absorb organic material it comes into contact with, which it locates through echolocation with micro-vibrations that also move the organism.
The desk where the Velocifungus is located includes notes from an individual researcher. The notes are succinct and give some deeper understanding of the organism. When extreme heat or a variety of gasses are applied, its vitals did not change and it appeared to embrace the flames, while with the gasses it absorbs them and blows up like a puffer fish. However, when compression is applied, the spines of the organism flatten and sharpen, taking on a saw-blade like appearance that cracks the glass on its original quarantine enclosure. It’s last noted test, is directly questioning the Velocifungus about its destructive existence, which in turn leads to the research questioning their own destructive existence.
Informative and witty, this notebook provides a lot of insight. However, it is the piece of paper next to the notebook that really draws me in every time I pass by. Perhaps the magnifying glass made me curious, or just my belief that everything helps with furthering the story. Whatever it was, what looks like scribbles or ink blots is, in all actuality, a tried and true research tool, a track trap.

They are utilized to create evidence of animals in a given environment. You find areas animals are likely to be, such as a food trail, water source, or areas that provide safety (such as along the edge of bush clumps, walls, etc.), any spot where they are easily funneled through naturally will work great, and leave a piece of white paper on the trail. You then place an ink pad or a cloth soaked in ink or paint on either side of the paper, since animals can travel in any direction. They will pick up the ink and leave impressions behind on the paper that can be compared to known samples. This is a particularly useful tool when you’re not sure if an animal is or isn’t in the area, or if your trying to capture a sample of the diversity found in the area.
This desk includes two pieces of the narrative puzzle, but there are so many stories to find in the lab and larger queue of Flight of Passage. Whether you’re interested in the habits of a carnivorous fungus or what types of creatures are present throughout the Valley of Mo’ara, whether you’re intrigued by the writings of Dr. Ogden or Team Banshee’s baseball season, there is something here for everyone to discover that will drawn them just a bit further into the story, and conservation efforts, of Pandora.

No comments: