posted on Mar, 4 2004 @ 04:16 PM
“AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGG.” Mike Riley bolted upright in bed. He didn’t need to look around to know where he was and what happened. The dream had come again
this night. He put his face in his cupped hands and sobbed, not for the first time. After a time he made his way into the kitchen and slumped in a
chair. There was no respite from the uncertainty, the anguish, the dream.
He let his gaze fall across the kitchen and his eyes became fixed on the cupboard above the sink. There was peace there. In bottles with various
colored tablets. Being a biochemist he knew just which combinations would bring a lasting sleep. He gathered himself up under his feet and moved to
the cupboard. Reaching inside he chose three medications that would stop the heart without any pain. The dream had come again that night, Mike swore
it would never come again. He stumbled back to the table, sat down and gathered himself as his head lolled back on his shoulders.
The New York Times, March 4, 2002.
Nexgen, a leading bioresearch and pharmaceutical company in this city is proud to announce the addition of Micheal Riley, a promising graduate
student whose thesis on degenerate disease captured the eye of Nexgen's president Dietrich Schmit. Speaking on behalf of Nexgen, Khalid Pishori says,
"We expect not only big things from Micheal but with the funding we are getting from the National Science Academy, we are seriously looking at an end
to degenerative disease, particularly Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is Mike's special focus at this time." Nexgen is looking forward to moving into
this exiting area of research after years of working for various government contractors, and.......
Mike scanned the old news clipping with a wry smile on his face. The last 18 months had produced far greater results than he had anticipated. They
had progressed past the lab stage and were performing clinical tests on Resus monkeys. Every thing was looking positive.
"Hey Mike, how's the project going?" It was Carol Atkins.She worked in the next lab over, working on protein recombients. He had a vague idea what
that was, but not being his specialty, he would not consider debating with her on the subject.
"It's going well. We are three days into the C.T.'s and the subject is showing marked improvement. It's almost standing completely erect and
moving about easily."
"Well, congratulations. Listen, I'm going downtown tonight for the WTC memorial, would you like to come."
Mike thought about it, it wouldn't be the first time that they had spent time together away from the lab, although it was purely a friendly
relationship. His work was progressing nicely and it would be good to show support for the city and the country on this second anniversary of the
"Sure, let's just cab it over after work."
"Great",Carol said,"Be back in 45 minutes."
"That was a moving display" Mike said.
"Yes it was" Carol replied in a quiet voice.
"What's wrong, Carol?"
After a moment she replied, "It's just that before 9/11 a plane was just a plane. It's amazing that something that is right in front of you could
be used to change your perceptions on everything."
Mike had no reply to that, there was none, he felt the same, so they continued on their way.
Mike entered the lab and turned on the fluorescents. He put down his briefcase, took of his coat and was on his way to make coffee when it dawned on
him that the lab was unusually quiet. Looking around he saw nothing out of the ordinary. Dismissing this he went about his task. After the coffee was
on he walked around, thinking about how to proceed today. He walked past the monkey cage, and stopped. He thought the subject to be sleeping. However,
the monkey was awake, and in considerable pain. It could barely lift it's head.
Mike rushed to the phone and called Hassim Aziz, his department head, and a fellow biochemist. Mike detailed what he had expected and what he had
found and Aizi said that he would be right down. Five minutes later Aziz entered Mike's lab. After examining the monkey he looked soberly at Mike.
"What do you think is happening here?", Said Aziz.
"It's hard to say without tests, but I think that the elasticity that we gained in the joints with the drug has shown to be short lived and has
snapped back on itself."
"And this drug was given orally?"
Just then the monkey gave out a scream, as it seemed to shrink. It had contorted so much that it looked as if it's grimace was a smile that went
around to the back of it's head. Dead.
"Mike, do you work at home at all?"
"What", Mike managed.
"Do you work at home, on a computer, do you have notes, anything?"
"Yes", Mike said, "I do."
"Go home, Mike and gather all your materials and bring them back right away."
"Please, Mike just do it."
Mike left Nexgen after dropping off the notes to Aziz, still not sure what to make of this. He thought about the monkey. He thought about Aziz's
reaction. He thought about Carol. Why Carol he wondered. As he continued her words of the night before filtered though his mind. "It's amazing that
something that is right in front of you could be used to change your perceptions on everything." Carol had said that, but wasn't she talking about
planes? Mike stopped in his tracks. A medication, given orally, causing convulsions and death. No virus, no bacteria here, just a viable weapon if
poured in a water supply. Whose hands was it in? What would be done with it? That night Mike had his first dream, he didn't see a monkey, he saw
children, parents, cousins, grandparents.
Aziz walked into Khalid Pishori's office.
"Did you see the obits today?", he asked.
"Yes I did", answer Pishori.
"I wish that we could have helped him, Mike was a nice person."
Khalid replied, "You know that we couldn't. We can't jeopardize our position here. It took too long for us to get this close to Schmit. Can you
imagine where that drug might have ended up he'd got wind of it? Anywhere. You know, to the highest bidder."
"I know." said Aziz, as he cursed the day he signed up with the NSA.
First thing I wrote in a long time, I hope you enjoyed it.