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Nanominers Freed From Collapsed Artery
April 18, 2042
DETROIT--In what researchers at a local hospital are terming a "miraculous rescue," a crew of 13 nanominers, missing since Friday and feared lost, were discovered trapped inside the collapsed artery of a Lansing, Michigan man who was undergoing an experimental heart disease treatment. "Thank God," sobbed one member of the medical team responsible for the small devices. "It's a miracle, that's all I can say. I never thought I would see them again. It's truly a miracle."
The miners, nano-scale devices designed to travel through the bloodstream removing life-threatening plaques from the walls of arteries, were injected into Ernst Lobe, an elderly Michigan man, early last week in a bid to relieve some of the symptoms of advanced arteriosclerosis. Part of a complex team of thousands of nanodevices, the miners, working in conjunction with microscopic conveyors and plaque carts, began clearing Lobe's system of the clogging deposits.
"This was among the first full-scale tests of the plaque-removal bots," explains Dr. Kim Kim, director of the clinical team responsible for the devices. "Though they were deployed in a fairly late-stage situation, [the miners] made notable progress before Mr. Lobe expired."
Shortly after Lobe died of "causes unrelated to the treatment and properly anticipated by the protocol," the medical team learned that they had lost contact with a special crew of advance-guard miners known as "Deep-Bore Reds." The crew, responsible for scouting ahead of the main group of miners in order to tag promising formations and mark "cleavages" and "resonant seams," was apparently swept away and cut-off from the main group during an unexpectedly violent vascular collapse linked directly to Lobe's death.
"They are totally fearless," notes Dr. Kim. "Willing to put themselves on the line even in vessels dangerously close to failure. The circulatory system is a dangerous place. The relative pressures are astronomic. For those little guys it's like working inside an erupting volcano."
The grueling effort to locate and recover the miners over the subsequent 48 hours pushed Dr. Kim's team to the limits of human endurance. "Imagine the problem," exclaims Dr. Kim. "We've completely lost contact with them. All of the nanotethers are broken. We've got no way to contact them. They could have been swept almost anywhere in the system. There are nearly 100,000 miles of vessels in the human body!"
The miners were eventually discovered trapped in a collapsed section of artery in Mr. Lobe's leg, and, after overcoming a number of time-consuming mechanical failures, including the accidental breaking of a specialized extraction needle, the team was able to retrieve all 13 miners.
Queried about their 72 hour ordeal, the quantum-computational databases maintained by each of the miners tells a story of despair, will-power, and hope: "Unable to connect with network," recalls one miner. "Reset turbulence. Unable to connect with network. Unable to connect with network."
Asked about rumors of a film based on the retreival, Dr. Kim confirms that Disney's Touchstone studio has secured rights to the miners' dramatic story and anticipates a Fall release featuring the voice talents of Ben Affleck and Satarine Wembly.
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