• Patrick Rizio


The results puzzled everyone. They were just not able to quantify what she could do. They didn’t know how far ahead she was. They didn’t know how quickly that gap was increasing. They could not see that mentally, as well as physically, she was still only a child.

The PhD’s were actually starting to be put on a waiting list to examine her. This kind of news tends to spread fast in the academic community.

A few were beginning to suspect her ability to understand things in four dimensions, but as they knew this was humanly impossible, they continued to look elsewhere for answers.

They were talking about brain scans, and 3D imaging.

Her time was being booked.

She was on a road to becoming a subject of study first, and a little girl second.

Her mother began to have reservations about it all.

The concern in Alison’s voice was pronounced.

“I just don’t like it. They’re treating her more like an object than a person. I mean, she’s only a little girl. She’s not some test subject.”

Jason replied softly. “Well actually…”

“Oh, you know what I mean. I really don’t like what it’s turning into.”

“Are they becoming rude, or mean, or anything like that?”

Alison sat down with her hands in her lap, looking down at them.

“No, that’s not it. It’s just that, their fascination with her abilities seems to, to override their consideration of her being a little girl. It’s getting so impersonal!”

Seeing Alison concerned like this about Sarah didn’t sit well with Jason. He could understand the curiosity with Sarah’s abilities, but if the testing was headed in the direction of her being treated like some kind of intelligent lab rat...

He took Alison’s hand. “How does Sarah feel about the whole thing?”

Alison looked up at him, calmer for his touch.

“Well, I think she enjoyed all the attention at first. She seemed to be having fun. But now, I think she’s liking it less and less.”

Jason experienced a small wave of guilt at hearing this. He should have sensed it. He should have known. He’d been so busy with his research lately that his mind had been elsewhere. He committed a small mental note to memory. This would not happen again.

Even geniuses don’t know everything. Today Jason learned, that kids don’t come with owner’s manuals.

“Why don’t we do this,” he suggested. “I’ll have a talk with them. They’re probably just a little overzealous. Also, I think for now, that we should cut the testing at the University down to twice a month, every other Friday, and see how that works.”

Alison smiled. She already cared deeply for Jason and seeing him taking care of Sarah like this just warmed her heart.

“I think that is a wonderful idea.”


Bob Schimmel stood at the floor to ceiling windows in his office and looked at the retention pond. He had given out the bad news concerning Huboral, now he could give out the good.

Whenever he had two kinds of news to convey, he always used the same order. It just seemed better to get the hard stuff out of the way first. He took one more sip of coffee and then continued.

“Jason, up until now we’ve marketed this project of yours as being able to increase crop yields and have been very successful. The yield per-acre ratio is higher than anything ever seen. All on a small scale of course. We are now going to begin the next phase. No more small scale. From this point on, we will be hitting all available markets, offering the same kinds of yields per acre, along with drastically reduced need for fertilizers and pesticides. This, and across the board availability of crops, will put Universal Biotech in the position to, well let’s just say that almost everyone, including the government, will want to do business with us.

And let’s not forget, at this point no one knows about the adaptability aspect of our product. Mixing characteristics, planting in previously unplant-able places. We’re going to start phasing that in. I’ve talked with our lawyers, and they have assured me that we are on solid ground with our patent requirements.”

Schimmel walked back to his desk and sat down. He lowered his voice just a bit.

“When I first came to Universal Biotech it was already a big, profitable company. During my time here it has become bigger and more profitable. I’ve seen a lot of advancements, a lot of breakthroughs. While they were all good, and profitable, most of them failed to live up to their full potential. Something unexpected usually happens along the way to knock the percentages down. What you’ve done here, Jason, is different. I know it looked good, right from the beginning, but this is not only the most ambitious thing ever attempted in the biotech business, it’s damned near 100 percent!”

Schimmel paused for a minute and then looked Jason directly in the eyes. He continued with quiet intensity.

“Nothing like this has ever been done.”

Stillness filled the room. The big man continued.

“What I’ve decided to do with this project, is make the whole operation a subsidiary of Universal. Officially it will be a Biotech consulting company. It’s going to be called J-Tech.”

Jason’s eyebrows went up.

“Well, I had to call it something! Anyway, it will be a completely separate division. Because of that, there will be a Direct Public Offering, a D.P.O. It’s similar to an Initial Public Offering, an I.P.O. but it has less restrictions. It’s a good idea for a lot of reasons.”

Jason really didn’t know what to say. “Um, OK.”

Schimmel was smiling now. He was really going to enjoy the next few minutes.

“With a D.P.O. shares can be offered on a more restricted basis. Traditionally they go to customers, employees, friends, etc. A D.P.O. traditionally raises less money than I.P.O. but that isn’t a consideration in this case.”

“Boss, I’m sure you know what’s best for the company, and all, but why exactly do I need to know the business end of this stuff?” Schimmel’s smile got bigger.

“Like I said, this is going to be big, very big. Anyone who gets in on the ground floor of this thing stands to become  wealthy. Son, if it weren’t for you, this never would have happened in the first place. So, I’ve decided you deserve a bonus.”

“A bonus?”

“A bonus. It will take a few days for the paperwork, and it will have to be approved by the board, but when the D.P.O. comes out, you, my fine young friend, will be the proud owner of 20 per cent of our new subsidiary.”

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