• Patrick Rizio

Chapter 3

When Janet Riker walked into the R and D wing, it was about midday. She found the staff heading out for lunch break. It was such a beautiful spring day that she was thinking of going outside to eat as well.

“Excuse me, where might I find Mr. LaCost?”

A pretty young girl of about twenty-five, on her way out, hung her lab coat on a wall clip and grabbed her purse. She hooked her thumb over her shoulder indicating the far corner of the lab.

“Where else?” she answered, a hint of disappointment in her voice.

Looking through the windows of his office Riker saw LaCost holding a half-eaten banana in one hand, going over the research papers which he held in the other.

At thirty-years old and six-foot-two, with thick brown hair and engaging blue eyes, Jason LaCost was a very attractive young man. The thing was, after almost two years, the young ladies who worked at Universal Biotech were at a loss to figure out what you had to do to look better to him than his computer.

As she approached his office Riker felt the whole scene was a bit sad. She couldn’t help but think to herself,

This young man needs to spend more time outside the lab. He is in desperate need of the company of one of these young women around here.

“No, I’m not. And don’t start feeling sorry for me either. I’m having the time of my life,” LaCost said without looking up.

It still stunned her whenever he did this. A person could just not get used to it. He smiled conscious of her surprise even though she tried to hide it.

“Um, department head meeting today at two o’clock sharp,” she said. “And Jason, try to make this one. It looks bad to miss three in a row.”

The normal reminder for a meeting would have been an inter-office memo. Having Janet remind him meant Schimmel was sending a personal message.

“I guess I can’t skip them all,” he said, eyes never leaving the research papers.

“How about stopping for lunch?” she asked. “It’s a beautiful day with lots of pretty girls in the courtyard.”

“I will, I will. Just a little more to finish up here first. And thanks for the reminder.”

Riker shook her head the way people often do when feeling a bit frustrated, but not really mad. As she walked toward the door she stopped for a moment before leaving and considered trying again to get him to take a break but decided against it. It would be like trying to convince a small child to put down his toys and come eat his broccoli. Oh well, his loss.


Recombinant-DNA formation, or gene splicing, is a process by which segments of genetic material from one organism are transferred to another. If done successfully the genetic material, once inside the cell, will be replicated along with the hosts’ DNA each time the host divides. The possibilities are enormous. This is why people have been doing this kind of research for years. LaCost felt he could take things a bit further. He envisioned doing this kind of work not at the molecular or even sub-molecular level, but at the sub-atomic level. Working at such a level, the quantum level, allows unlimited DNA tailoring while also avoiding the problems associated with current GMO techniques.

Jason often wondered what might have happened if Leonardo Da Vinci, one of his heros', had been given access to things like computers and modern research facilities.


Alison Russo really couldn’t believe her eyes. This just wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be right. But then there it was, right in front of her. At first, she assumed it to be simple coincidence, so she just waited for more results. The results were the same every time. There was no coincidence, no mistake.

Bringing it to the school’s principal turned out to be an exercise in futility.

“I’m sure this is all quite interesting from an art teacher’s point of view Miss Russo, and I really do appreciate your interest. Most of the teachers who spend summers here are trying to help at first, but then they lose interest. With you I can see it’s more than that. You show genuine interest and the kids respond to you.”

Alison thought about the children in the school. All orphans, all wards of the state. Her mind reflected on her own history. Her mother dying during her birth. Her father drinking himself to death because of it. She never knew either one of them. She had spent her childhood alone, going from one friend of the family or distant relative to another. All of them well intentioned. All with their own problems...

She snapped back to the present.

“Maybe that’s because I can relate to them on a personal level. I’ve been an orphan myself since I was three.”

“Well, uh, yes of course. But with all due respect, Miss Russo, I think you may be over estimating what I'm able to do here. You see, this facility tries to find enough funding every year, to feed, clothe, and educate these kids until someone becomes a foster parent, and then hopefully adopts. If these kids make it through here without drugs, pregnancy, or severe anti-social neurosis kicking in, we call it success. You come to me with this and expect me do what exactly?

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon