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  • Patrick Rizio

Chapter 7


As was once brilliantly said - "A motion to adjourn is always in order."

As Mark Twain once said - "Travel is suicidal to prejudice".

Both good thoughts, (in my humble opinion).

Now, on to chapter 7. Hope you're enjoying the read.

*******

6:14A.M. The light was a beautiful orange and gold color this time of morning. It seemed to flow through the open French doors of the cafeteria, as though it were liquid. Jason closed his eyes and breathed in slow controlled breaths. It took him a few moments to clear his mind of everyday thoughts, and enter a state of pure relaxation...

He wandered casually along a Lilly pond in summer, his viewpoint, that of a dragonfly, skimming inches above the water in the afternoon sunlight. Darting here, darting there. Changing direction effortlessly, at will, for no purpose, no purpose whatsoever...

Twenty-five minutes, and two orange juices later, he entered the lab.

“Computer on,” he called out on his way to the coffee maker. The machine in his office obeyed his voice command, just as it had been programmed to do.

“Hello,” the voice chip greeted, in a female voice.

“Access schema on cell reaction to stimulus, classes, A through D,” he commanded.

“Animal cell or plant cell?”

“Animal.”

“Done,” the machine answered faithfully.

“Good girl. Now, access the amount of compressions possible in each class separately, and the total amount of compressions possible, classes A through D.”

“Criteria?”

“Those occurring naturally.”

“Define naturally.”

“Without man made stimuli, uh let’s say pre-industrial revolution.”

“Done.”

“Print those out.”

“Printing.”

The computer’s printer finished the twelve pages of graphs before the coffee machine had brewed two cups. After it had done so, the voice chip dutifully answered its master.

“All finished darling.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome sweetheart.”

“That will be all for now.”

“Good by my love,” the machine said, and shut itself down. The voice recognition software Jason had recently installed on his computer saved a lot of time. He loved it. He also loved the early morning stillness of the lab. No distractions, just him and his “girl”.

Jason poured himself a coffee and began comparing the results between the newly printed pages, and the ones he had left on his desk the evening before. He knew the key he was looking for was somehow encoded in the regularities of cell reaction to stimuli. It was just a matter of finding the right pathway, of asking the right questions in the proper sequence. Once he had broken this particular genetic puzzle, he could begin to cross-reference this information with the sub molecular data that had been collected from his plant research. Then he could begin the work he had envisioned from the beginning-to do for animals what could now be done for plants.

Thinking about that reminded him of the meeting scheduled later that day to review the field test results. A waste of time. I already know what the results will be.

“Computer on.”

“I’m here lover.”

“Remind me about the stupid meeting at 1:00 P.M. please.”

“When would you like your reminder darling?”

“12:30”

“Consider it done”

“That’s all. Thank you.”

“Later big fella.”

By the time 9:00 A.M. rolled around, and the lab staff began filing in, Jason had already completed what most would consider a day’s work. He never quite thought in those terms though. Research, for him, wasn’t something done on an hourly or daily schedule. He saw it as a process by which questions were answered, and of course, new ones asked. The fact that every question answered meant several more were created was, for him, one of life’s sweetest miracles. For, as his favorite detective often pointed out, the thrill was in the hunt.

His phone chimed the theme from the Flintstones.

“Hello.”

“Jason, it’s Alison.” Her voice sounded completely stressed out.

“What is it, what’s wrong?”

“It’s Sarah. They’ve just taken her away in an ambulance.”

“Excuse me?”

“She just collapsed. I don’t know what happened. She had started on the pattern recognition part of her testing, and she was fine. The next thing I knew, she was laying on the floor, unconscious.” There was no answer on the other end of the phone. “Jason, Jason are you there!”

“Yes, I’m here, sorry. What did the paramedics say when they took her vital signs?”

“What!”

“The paramedics, what did they say?”

“I don’t know what they said. I don’t remember.”

“Did they try to revive her?”

“Of course they tried. But they couldn’t,” Alison hollered into the phone, her voice breaking into tears. “She looked horrible, Jason. They tried over and over, but she just laid there not responding. They finally took her away.”

“What hospital is she going to?”

“Saint Luke’s.”

“Alison, listen, if you’re all right to drive, I’ll meet you there. If not, I’ll pick you up.”

“No, no that’s all right,” Alison said, trying to compose herself. “I can drive.”

“OK, I’m leaving right away. I’ll see you there.”

“Jason?”

“Yes.”

“I’m really scared.”

“I know. Me too.”

Jason walked in quick measured steps to his car. He said nothing to anyone on his way out. His mind was racing, assessing, considering. His heart had gone in the other direction. It felt as though it had stopped.

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