Director Follbaum and Leena intercepted Dusty as he entered the Health Force lab. As usual, he was oblivious to their presence, already focused on his work and what needed to be done next in his bio-mechanics research. Leena had to touch him to get him to listen. Dusty, a patient man, would listen to anyone if you got his attention.
Director Follbaum, in his typical hurry to get to the next task, was unaware that people only got small snippets of his time, which was frustrating to them. Leena was always the leave behind person or the LBP to fill in the missing pieces that Follbaum failed to articulate. Just as Follbaum had gotten Dusty to stand still and talk, his cell chip went off, alerting him to another emergency event requiring his immediate attention.
Follbaum sulked a moment then stated, “Leena, do the LBP thing for me with Dusty while I deal with this anomaly. I need to get to a full-sized cell phone with decent speakers because the embedded cell chip won’t cut it for this call.”
As the Director strode away, Leena focused her attention on Dusty who was hell bent for his original intended destination. She caught him by a coat sleeve before he could make good his escape. While she was an attractive, intelligent woman, she simply didn’t register in anything concerning his work passion.
Leena admonished, “Dr. Rhodes, I need you to focus here for a minute. The Director just got word that some of our research has been leaked out to certain regulatory agencies, and he is anxious not to get sideways with some of their Victorian prejudices. Specifically, we are not to go to our usual sources for test subjects or even look like we are contemplating experimenting on humans, got it? If anyone asks you directly, on-line, or in email, you are to laugh it off and firmly state we are only working with one-cell organisms, not bipeds or quadrupeds, understand? Yes, I know that they are shooting Near Field Communications chipsets into their population next door in Sweden, but the Finns don’t have the same lax approach to human bio-mechanics!”
Dusty puzzled a moment and then questioned, “Why is there a difference between homeless animals and homeless, derelict people? We are trying to help advance the quality of life on this planet by bridging broken neural pathways using special purpose computer chips. If I can understand how this can be done reliably, then I can fix broken people. Why do you want to intercept this?”
Leena studied him hard for a moment then stated, “I can sell a lot of things to a consuming public, but I cannot sell shoddy research ethics that look and smell like the work of immoral last-century egomaniacs. Am I being clear? Give the Director some time to work this situation. Once we have an all clear sign, we can re-launch, but until then you are to keep it theoretical. This is our ordered direction.”
Dusty understood she spoke for the Director so disobeying her words meant disobeying the Director’s edict. Dusty wasn’t very astute politically, but he understood that a false step in this arena would have the Director and all his reports throw him under the bus then back over him a couple of times for good measure. The prudent approach was to have them believe he was playing along with the Director’s policy, at least for the time being.
Dusty calmly replied, “Yes, Miss Leena, I understand. Now can you tell me which one-celled organism I can use for my testing purposes that is not covered by some ethical consideration or animal rights group, but big enough to hold a computerized neural link chip the size of a grain of rice?”
Leena folded her arms over her chest and tersely remarked, “Understand, the Director needs people of your wit and gender to do his research, but he has me on his staff to deal with you and your tedious mannerisms. Just follow your instructions so you don’t lose your playground privileges.”
Dusty was frightened by the last comment which was obviously a veiled threat. His heart rate and breathing accelerated at the possibility of losing his research facility and the potential method to cure his sister Inari. Unable to speak for fear of aggravating her, he only nodded.
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