Stage Right: Product Loss Management
March 4, 2017
“Fascinating. And they believe they can replicate the subject?”
Sodhi let out an irritated huff. Dr. Threwe was a brilliant man, but his expertise ran more towards theoretical physics and energy control systems rather than biological systems. Still, it was wise the keep friendly contacts – allies – within the organization. More than once Sodhi had been prepared for a change in policy or administration because he had been warned by one of the discreet scientists he kept in communication with.
“Marcus and Ferrik are taking the project in a completely different direction than I intended. Cloning is an interesting idea, but the techniques are too new, the process not well tested enough. We want to reproduce the subject, not make a copy. Who would want an exact copy of something that had so many flaws? And add to that the inherit problems with cloned genetics. It is a waste of resources.”
“Are you going to terminate their contracts then?”
Sodhi considered it. “I will give them another week or two, and if they can’t see reason, I’ll move on to the next potential candidate on the list. Have you read any of Dr. M’benga’s work?”
“I saw a brief review – when he was nominated for the Nobel last year. Tell me…” Another ten minutes passed in discussion of Sodhi’s work and the minor challenges with the Sunday drug before Sodhi turned the conversation to Threwe’s own project.
“And how are things progressing on your end?”
“We’re holding at about a six month life span, but the deterioration has been compressed. They are at peak performance until the last twenty days, and then things go downhill quickly. Director Carson has been generous with supplying subjects, but we’ve lost a higher number than anticipated in the field. If we are going to be cost-effective,” Threwe made a sour face at the term. Sodhi understood the sentiment. Science was nearly always sacrificed in the name of the bottom line.
Threwe continued, “We are going to need to boost the longevity. I have just started a new trial with a proscribed treatment of stimulants and mild radiation therapy to prep subjects prior to exposure, and then a regimen of steroids and ecdysterone. We’ve only had one of the dozen in this group split out of their skin before the energy of the stone could repair the cellular damage – but the autopsy was most exciting.”
“What about the alien? Does your team have any leads on finding it?”
Threwe frowned. “No, unfortunately. I have a few samples that I managed to collect while we had it captive, but I would really prefer some larger tissues. A few of the internal organs would be ideal. In all honesty, I have exhausted my methodology with what I have to work with. Until we get the creature back, or we have your improved subjects, I am resigned to only working on the energy transference issues. Although they are incredible in their own right.”
“I could have my team take a look at the tissues, if you like. Perhaps I can offer a new perspective. And it may spark some ideas about Scion as well.”
“That is very generous of you, Dr. Sodhi.”
Sodhi smiled. “If I am going to terminate Marcus and Ferrik, I might as well make some use of them before hand.”
“Indeed. Waste not, want not.” Threwe laughed. “I know it is so long out, that it isn’t really productive to speculate, but…”
“At what age do you think the Scion subjects would be available for initial testing with the shard – just the very basics of absorption rates and organ degradation.”
“Oh,” Sodhi had thought it over many times. Of course, the Scion subjects would be most valuable after training and psychological calibration, but with the sheer number success would provide, Sodhi could afford to cull a few in the name of collegial goodwill. “I think we could send a one or two over as early as six months. And perhaps the same number every six months after that – for comparison.”
“All dependent on live birth rate and, of course, the Director’s approval.”
“Certainly, certainly. That goes without saying.” Threwe’s eyebrows drew together in thought. “How are you calibrating the Chair for immature subjects? Do you foresee any issues with electrical overloads?”
“Synaptic pathways in infants are quite resilient,” Sodhi assured him. “And even a failure is a learning experience, correct? The bigger problem is how to keep them still once they learn to walk. I imagine it will take multiple treatments until they learn to comply. What is it the Americans say? You have to break a few eggs.”