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- Doctor Jennifer Wade looked through the microscope. She could see tiny little circles, surrounded by a pinkish substance, which was being absorb into the little dots. The dots shook and expanded, to the delight of the scientist.
- “Wow, the cells are responding very well to the new formula!” she thought to herself, before picking up a voice recorder from the table. She pressed the “Rec” button, and began to speak.
- “The sample, marked 1110, shows a positive response to the serum. The cells do not seem to put up any resistance to the susbstance and absorb it easily, and the changes seem to be occurring at the DNA level, the effect the serum was hoped to have. I think we are nearing phase two: human experimentation.”
- She clicked the button again, and turned to her assistant, who was smiling after hearing what Jen, as she called her, had just recorded.
- “I think we did it, Claire!” said Jennifer. “Now all we have to do is wait for 12 hours to see a longer-term response from the cells, and if all goes well we can move towards live experimentation. If we’re lucky, we could see the first human testing within two months!”
- Claire beamed. “Oh, Dr. Wade! I’m so happy! Finally, after so many years and attempts, it’s good to see some results. You know how much of a revolution this would be for the medical world!”
- Jen smiled and laughed a little at her assistant’s reaction, before giving her a wink.
- “I know, Claire, I’ve only been working on it for the past ten years! Now, though, all we can do is hope for the best.”
- Jen turned to the clock, and gasped when she saw the time. She and her assistant had overworked, again.
- “God, Claire, it’s already 9 PM! You’d better get home or your boyfriend is going to think you have some secret lover at the lab!”
- Claire laughed and rolled her eyes at Jen’s joke, before scribbling down some last notes on serum 1110 on the computer. Standing up from her chair, she said, “Yeah, I didn’t realize how late it was. We’d better go home, Doc. Tomorrow can be the most important day of your life. If you data is correct, we really may move to phase two soon!”
- Jennifer smiled again at the thought. She had almost finished her dream, her life’s work of doing something good for the human race was coming closer to reality.
- “Alright, well, you go, Claire. I have to finish some things up in here and complete today’s report. Get out of here.”
- Claire shrugged, and hung her lab coat up near the door. “Okay Doc,” she said. “But you have to get some rest tonight. You know you’ve worked yourself to the bone.”
- Jen nodded, and they said goodnight. She watched her assistant exit the lab doors, then turned back to her paper. She had to make sure all her calculations were correct before she went on with the experiment tomorrow. She couldn’t mess up her life’s work by being sloppy.
- Jennifer had been working on the serum as a cure to Parr’s disease, a debilitating ailment that attacked the body’s bones and muscles, leaving the victim weak and unable to move, before the body completely shut down. After years of research, she determined that the only way to stop the disease was to stop it at the DNA level with gene therapy.
- She looked back over at the vial with the pinkish substance, marked 1110.
- “Maybe I did it this time.” she thought to herself. “Maybe this time I really did it.”
- After finishing up her report, Jen began to pack up the lab. Walking to put away a few beakers, she saw a door across the hallway through the window in hers, leading to another lighted laboratory. “Wow,” she thought. “I thought Claire and I were working late, but Dr. Thompson is really burning the midnight oil.”
- In the other lit room, Dr. Thompson was getting fed up. Working on a top secret experiment of his own, he wasn’t having as much success as Jen. Every time he tried something, he came to a non-conclusion or failed. So tonight he was throwing caution to the wind, and risking a lot more than he knew he should. But he knew he had to get results. His employer was getting impatient. He knew from his calculations that the experiment he was about to conduct had at least a slight chance of success. He also knew that combining the elements he was going to combine was extremely dangerous, and any failure would likely be catastrophic.
- “Well, if this is correct,” he said to himself, holding two beakers like a mad scientist, “if I mix the correct amount of these two compounds, I will have just the right amount of viscosity to make the mixture more workable.” He had never tried the experiment like this, and he gulped as he readied himself to pour the smoking liquids into a large basin.
- “Here we go.” he whispered, and upturned the beakers over the basin, the liquids combining and bubbling. That was strange, he thought to himself. They had never bubbled. His confusion turned to alarm, as the mixture began to expand and boil at an alarming rate. The basin began to melt and burn everything it touched, scorching the countertop and flowing onto the floor, fire erupting in it’s wake and spreading at a terrifying rate. Thompson cried in panic, and ran for the fire extinguisher. By the time he reached it, however, over half of his lab was a raging hellfire.
- All he managed to do as he ran for the exit door was to flip the fire alarm on.
- Jen was just about to put away the serum and leave, when the sound of the fire alarm, followed shortly by the screams of Dr. Thompson. Through the door, she could see him burst through the lab door across the hall, screaming and running towards the emergency exit. The door to his lab ajar, she could see the inferno erupting from the room. The flames were spreading towards her quickly.
- “Oh god, I have to get out of here!” she thought. She looked at her hand, and saw serum 1110. Without the stable temperatures of the lab, it would never survive and stay active. She was going to lose all the work she had done with the loss of the lab. Unless…
- “I…I have to inject the serum into my body…” she thought. “It’s the only way to stop this fire from destroying it. It shouldn’t theoretically harm any healthy person, and I can re-synthesize it from a sample of my blood. It’s the only way.”
- She hurried to a cabinet, and pulled a syringe out of it. Attaching the vial, she took a deep breath, and jabbed it into her arm. Dropping the empty vial on the floor, she rushed to the emergency exit. She ran out the door and kept running until she felt she was a safe distance, and turned to see the building completely aflame, the walls and ceilings falling in on themselves. She heard the sirens of the fire department approach as she looked with tears in her eyes on the flaming remains of ten years of work.
- It took the firemen nearly two hours to extinguish the flames. The fire had spread to the parking lot, destroying every car in the lot, and all Jen could do was sit and watch, her life’s dream smoldering before her eyes. As the firemen began taking note of damages and packing up their hoses, she approached one.
- “Excuse me, is there any chance I or one of you can go to the second floor to see what’s left?” The second floor housed her office, and even the fire escape had melted from the chemical flame. The fireman simply raised an eyebrow, almost chuckling at the request.
- “Doctor, the whole building is absolutely unsafe. The second floor is gone. That’s where we think the fire broke out. I’m sorry, we can’t allow anybody to approach the remains.”
- Jen clutched at her lab coat, tears in her eyes, as she walked to the bus stop. It was 1:00 AM by the time she got home, and she was completely exhausted. She felt extremely odd, too. A little woozy, her body feeling heavy and sluggish. She slipped off her clothes for a quick shower, and by the time she finished and got into her nightgown, she was ready to collapse. She fell onto her bed, asleep before her head hit the pillow. She slept peacefully, unaware of the strange tingling sensation that was slowly spreading through her body, little by little, bit by bit.
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