Health Force’s newly designed lab, located in the recently refurbished single underground level of the Helsinki headquarters, was the leader in bio-neural processors/mechanics development. The best and brightest technologists kept this firm at the top of their professional destinations. Not only was it located in beautiful Northern Europe, bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia, but it had a rich history. The capital, Helsinki, was on a peninsula with surrounding islands in the Baltic Sea. Suomenlinna, the 18th-century sea fortress, was here along with leading technology companies, the fashionable Design District and diverse museums. This region could also boast of national parks, ski resorts, and even a view of the Northern Lights was available from Finland’s Arctic Lapland province.
Health Force R&D Director Harry Follbaum, fit at 1.85 meters with groomed salt and pepper hair and intelligent grey eyes, was normally a calm and respected leader by his team. He stormed into the lab area, the wall behind the door saved only by the reinforced door stop. The team was alerted by the noise and the anger radiating off the director’s aura as he closed the 20-meter distance in record time to stop at the table occupied by Dr. Rhodes. Dr. Rhodes, or Dusty, as he preferred to be addressed by everyone on the team, was focused on the experiment being conducted in his work arena, oblivious to Follbaum and his small staff’s approach. Follbaum’s noticeably angered breathing and flared nostrils alerted the other tech scientists of his agitated state.
Annoyed at being ignored, Follbaum barked, “Does someone have a cattle prod I can use to get his attention?”
One of Follbaum’s staffers, Leena, tentatively reached over and touched Dusty’s shoulder, which finally broke through his focused state. With a slight start at the small group gathered around him, he rocked back on his lab stool, a bit confused as he queried, “Did I miss the meeting again? Apologies, but research breakthroughs hate to be interrupted with SCRUM meetings. Now that you are here, I am anxious to show you what we’ve enabled.”
Leena, with her willowy stance, piercing blue eyes, and long blond hair tied in a clip at her neck, was about to voice her indignity at the situation, but Follbaum motioned to her to keep still.
Follbaum, anger nearly forgotten as he was gripped by the intrigue of the possibilities he found in the lead tech’s tone, offered, “Yes, Dusty, please show us a monumental breakthrough. I would welcome the opportunity to share with our funding sources that their monies are not being wasted.”
Dusty looked up with a quizzical expression then, as realization hit, and commented, “Oh, that’s right. This meeting was about our next round of funding. Unfortunate that you didn’t bring them here. No matter. Let me show you what I have constructed.”
Moving over to the mock work area, Dusty, slightly built at 1.65 meters, ran his hands through his untrimmed brown hair. He widened his brown eyes in delight and grinned slightly as he turned up the light of what was designed to look like an ordinary backyard behind thick plexiglass. His practiced hands used the controls to electronically raise two small doors at each end of the yard simultaneously. This caused the release of a moderate-sized rodent and a standard-sized house cat.
At first the two creatures behaved as expected; combat stances and interactions were almost immediate. Then Dusty rapidly entered commands into his keyboard, and the scene dramatically changed. The behavior shifted as they witnessed the rodent launch a full-frontal run at the feline and jumped aggressively onto the cat’s head. The rodent acted like a miniaturized ninja assassin, quickly nipping here then there before deftly planting its frontal teeth into the neck of the cat. As quickly as the onslaught began, it ceased with the rodent disengaging and scampering back to its original door.
Before Follbaum, Leena or anyone could comment, a third door opened. In bounded a powerfully built Doberman pincher that was ready for an obviously one-sided fight with the cat. As before, Dusty made some key stroke entries and returned his gaze to the unfolding scene. No one could contain their astonished stares.
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