In Earth's mid 21st century, pollution had reached an all-time high. After 1970, no 'green' movements took hold. No city beautification acts were passed. Water pollutants, improperly dumped garbage, hazardous chemicals and other waste had caused widespread sicknesses and diseases in most previously virgin environments such as forests, deserts, and even the first few miles of most shorelines. It was generally believed that some sewers were more hospitable to native life than more obvious locales due to the water runoff through the trash did not connect to the sewer systems.
This by no means meant that the world resembled a gargantuan trash barge; it did however have potent biohazard and chemical pollutants that easily affected approximately five times the space that the hazards physically took up. No place was pristine, but no place was completely destroyed, either.
The job to clean it and save more species from extinction was left to the geneticists. In order to cut cost, so the governments of the world would complain at least slightly less about funding, a single creature- made of genetically engineered enzymes- was created with a heavily instilled instinct. The instinct, of course, was to consume plants and animals from the environment it was placed in order to adapt to that area, and rise up the food chain. It would gain the evolutionary benefits of the organisms it consumed; such as it could gain wings from a bat, scales from a fish or reptile, horns from a goat, etc.
Whether the plants or animals were alive or not meant nothing. As long as the amount of mass was within 40%-120% of its own current size, the entirety of the new DNA would be available for its own use. To begin with however, the engineered enzyme was a single cluster of stomach-acid bearing cells, closely resembling ravenous clear slime. If the slime consumed less mass than the aforementioned percent, it would only 'unlock' some of the organism's traits; if it consumed over the percent, its body would concentrate on growing in size, and not on 'learning' what it absorbed. The slime's great weaknesses, however, was that it was highly likely that diseases and toxins would affect its entire body, its unstable DNA replicating and transmitting its newly discovered chemicals through each cell, before it could generate a venom or bacteria sac. It's other weakness was that whenever it grew, it would get hungry from using up mass. As it regenerated, which it did quickly, it would become hungry as it used up mass to heal. It would also get hungry as it used up mass to change its form, even slightly. All its additional hunger was in addition to becoming hungry anyway, as a matter of course.
The scientists were fearful that a single slime dropped into an environment on its own may die easily, and so it was given four additional skills that no plant or animal has.
One- each slime, while still kept in its ID coded canister, was given a small piece of DNA from a difficult to obtain, endangered, or simply out-of-place species. An example might be that venus flytrap leaves could be fed to a slime meant for the ocean; as it is a species guaranteed to not be encountered there. A handful of fireflies could be given to a desert slime, abalone given to a forest slime, or even whale given to a slime meant to be released in the sea- ensuring the slime would not have to bother hunting such a large thing later on.
Two- the slime may evolve into anything, but the scientists would need to know which creature was theirs if they needed to retrieve it or study it further. In order to ensure they always knew if a creature was theirs, no matter where it was released or how it evolved, they hard-coded the slime to eventually evolve into a creature that represents the unquestioned ruler of any food chain but does not exist in nature, which causes it to stand out easily- a dragon. The scientists knew that dragons could be many shapes, from Chinese, to wyvern, drake, dragon, linnorm, land, ampithere, sea, or wyrm. A slime could become any of these, and decide for itself its colors, patterns, skin types, etc, but it would clearly be a dragon to any who look upon it; though it would only use traits of plants and animals it had consumed in order to tailor its looks.
Three- to fill out a dragon's ability list, guarantee benefits over all other life, and help with diseases and cures, the slime could gain elemental powers from chemical agents, and could replicate any medicines, poisons, or diseases it encountered.
Four- if the slime found a deceased animal that was sufficiently complex, then the slime could consume the animal's brain to learn at least most of what they knew. This was meant as to inform the slime what caused the animal's death so the slime could either avoid it or prepare properly.
With all that planned in scrutiny, the slimes were ready to be released in order to do their four jobs- 'rise to the top of the food chain they are introduced to', 'quell the numbers of overpopulated species', 'deal with' infected or diseased organisms, and 'become a dragon'.
A safeguard was put in place to make sure that the slimes would only be in the area demanded of them, making sure they stayed out of each other's territory, and within the area of most dire need of their services.
But one test had to be run first at the main facility in Southern California. Three ants were placed in a seperate container with a slime that had not yet had its first meal. The slime was uninterested. Considering the slimes to be a wasted effort and failure, they were disposed of in a completely irresponsible manner, out of spite. The scientists acted like angry poorly-behaved teenagers and they stole the canisters of various slimes, smashing the canisters open as they threw them out the window of their vehicles while joyriding. The synthetic territory marker chemicals were left at the lab, unused. The slimes were free.
Name: (remember, your character will not recognize itself as having a name yet, but you should still come up with one for us to recognize you as)
Bonus DNA: (the name or link of a real life, non-extinct species of plant or animal you want abilities from. I will unlock 100% of this species' DNA and powers for you)
Starting location: Choices are suggested to be desert, forest, beach, swamp, or sewer.
Description: a small, fist-sized clear slime (everyone starts this way)
Equipment: (just a placeholder until you start finding DNA and special abilities, which is likely the second post)