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by brom21
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2241123
Two scientists work on an intelligence serum but it will have a catastrophic side effect.

997 words

Dr. Mein sat at his desktop computer looking at a microscopic graphic of a blue liquid in a small vile. Displayed on the screen was a micrograph of a metallic cylinder with sharp protrusions and a red light on each smooth sides of the cylinder.

“Come on. Work!” he said as he feverishly typed on his keyboard.

Another man in a white coat and a name badge entered through sliding door into the room. “How are things progressing Dr. Mein?”

“I am frustrated Dr. Bruce. The nanotechnology nodes are supposed to enhance human intelligence by reactivating dead brain cells and create more grey matter. But look what it does,” Dr. Mein said as he brought up a knew screen picturing the protrusions of the nodes piercing a brain cell.

Dr. Mein threw up his ands and ran a palm down his face. “The solution that is injected from the node, kills the cell.”

Dr. Bruce leaned over Mein’s shoulder and put a hand to his chin. “Hmm…what if we add an electronic charge along with the solution?”

D. Mein nodded his head. “That may work. The charge may stimulate a cell that would in turn sear the damaging property of the node injections.” The scientist got up and rushed to a circlet-like device on another desk. He took it and returned to his computer.

“Please, allow me,” said Dr. Bruce.

“Of course,” answered Mein.

Mein took the vile and placed it in the center of the device and pushed a switch and a green light lit up. “It will take some time to for the nodes to absorb the charge.” He rubbed his hands together and grinned. “If we pull this off, it will be the news header in all the papers!”

Dr. Bruce frowned. “Speaking of newspapers, we are under high pressure to deliver to the public. The university l has promised results by fall and that is four-and-a-half months away.”

“Don’t remind me.” Dr. Mein yawned and stretched. “It will be a little over a day so we might as well…”Bruce’s eyes locked onto the screen. “Good heavens! Look doctor!”

“It is working already!” said Bruce.

On the screen was an animation of dead dots that were lighting up. Dots of dark pink mixed in a lighter shade of liquid multiplied.

“Grey matter is increasing,” said Bruce.

Behind the two scientists another colleague entered. “Good evening gentlemen.”

A knot gathered in Mein’s stomach and he rolled his eyes before facing the head scientist. “Hello Dr. Nix.”

Dr. Nix gave a broad toothy smile. “How is the project going?”

Dr. Mien and Dr. Bruce glanced at each other.

Dr. Bruce cleared his throat. “We have made a breakthrough.”

“Ah, and what might this new development be?”

Dr. Mein abhorred Dr. Nix’s fake pleasantness. He was nosy and had a habit of bossing his scientists. Once, a former colleague named John Roth confronted Nix’s manner and he just smiled and said he appreciated Dr. Roth forwardness and honesty. But Nix fired Roth and it seemed like nothing to Nix.

“We have reached our goal,” said Bruce.

“Well done!”

Dr. Mein motioned with his hand to the computer screen. Nix approached it and his mouth dropped. “An electronic charge-genius! Both of you can go home for the night. You deserve it.”

Bruce shook his head. “I would actually prefer to stay and…”

“I insist, doctor.”

Silence followed. “Please, leave,” said Dr. Nix.

Bruce and Mein looked down and shuffled out the sliding door. “Of all the nerve,” said Bruce.

“What reason would there with sending us home? What does he intend to do?” said Mien.

“Let’s just, go home,” said Bruce.

“You’re right. Goodnight.” Mein got into his Camry and drove home and wished to bury his aggravation caused by Dr. Nix. So, he went straight to bed.

The next morning, Dr. Mein awoke with the orange-red sun shining through his square window. He got up and dressed then dashed out the door and to his car then sped off to the lab.

Upon arrival, he walked into the university lab and found the vile of liquid gone. “What on Earth! Where is it?”

Dr. Bruce acme around a file cabinet and his face was flush and his eyes wide and he had a gaping mouth. “Dr. Mein! Something terrible has happened!”

“What is it! Calm down.”

“It’s Dr. Nix, he has taken the solution!”

“What! Why? Where did he take it?”

“The new security camera, taped him taking it to his car.”

Mein reeled back. “What could he intend to do?”

“I know what. The full effects of the solution will apex in thirty minutes from now,” Bruce responded.

“He must intend to ingest it,” said Mein.

Bruce looked at his colleague straight in the eyes. “An auto simulation of the liquid’s properties revealed another affect; it contains high concentrations of explosive elements, mainly metallic oxide.”

“Nix is a walking time bomb!” said Mein.

“There is something else. If Nix ingests the solution before the effects reach max, it will negate the explosive reaction. But Nix will die,” said Bruce.

“Either he dies, or twenty city blocks will be leveled.”

“Then we wait,” said Bruce.

Time went by excruciatingly slow. When the time had expired what no sounds of explosion both scientists sighed.

“He was a good doctor, despite his demeanor,” said Dr. Bruce.

Mein nodded. “He is probably at his house. We should alert the police.”

Dr. Bruce dialed the authorities and an hour later it was confirmed Dr. Nix died in his house.”

Dr. Mien became lead scientist and the following weeks he worked tirelessly on the project. Three years later little to no progress was made. It was decided to abandon the mission to artificially make a genius out of any person.

“Perhaps it was not meant to be,” said Dr. Bruce.

“You are right. It would seem like cheating actually.”

Dr. Bruce chuckled and patted Mein on the back. “Let’s get some coffee.”

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