Picture Prompt #13: Other Realms

TBP



Doctor Randall Holtorff and his team had been researching for years; searching for a cure, financed with grants from the bureaucracy. Sometimes it would seem as though they were close and they would chase a thread for weeks, or months even, only to discover that it went nowhere and then it was back to square one. Effectively they were no closer to a cure today, than they had been when they started.

When they had received their last round of financing it had been made clear to Holtorff that if no quantifiable progress was made; there would be no additional funding.

“Perhaps,” the bureaucrats said, “there was no cure. Perhaps, we are financing the wrong team.”

Doctor Holtorff had not given that grim revelation to his team. Morale was low enough without the thought of losing their jobs hanging over their heads.

They continued to work, a team of dedicated scientists, doctors, and lab techs with the conviction that their task was worthwhile and a frustration that they seemed to be missing something, missing a key piece of the puzzle that would make everything clear.

With the end of the fiscal year looming Randall called a meeting with his top scientists.

“I have been advised that we’re going to lose our funding if we don’t start getting results,” he told them. “We need something to show the bureaucrats before June or they’re going to close the lab.”

Jenkins spoke up, “I’ve been revisiting that enzyme theory we had a couple of years back and I’ve confirmed that it was a dead end, but I might be able to induce some inconsistencies into the spreadsheets that would modify the perception of the bureaucrats.”

“They’d see right through that,” Holtorff said shaking his head, “they’ll remember the enzyme theory. Anybody else have an idea?”

“We have that new accelerator,” Marie Curree said. “She pointed her pencil at Dr Holtorff. “When the calibration is just a bit off it can yield unpredictable results, let me work with my intern, Josh, and see if we can get it to log some data that will support a conclusion more in line with a favorable outcome for us. Josh needn’t  know what’s going on.”

Jenkins was nodding his head, “She might be on to something there, Randall. Let me pull Norton in on this too. His ‘Rambunctious Virus Algorithm’ coupled with carefully chosen data from the re-calibrated accelerator might paint a picture that will secure continued funding.”

“Make it good,” Dr. Holtorff admonished, “If it’s really good I can write the grant for seven years. Hell, by then we’ll all be able to retire and, who cares? It’s agreed so, let’s get to work and hash out the details. We’ll need data that will withstand the scrutiny of peer review. In two weeks we’ll meet again to discuss the feasibility of this thing. We can pretend to uncover the calibration problem in six years and write a retraction. No one will blame us.”

The meeting broke up and the three co-conspirators headed back to their laboratories and offices. When Marie went into her lab she saw her young intern, Josh Davis, hunched over a keyboard, studying the monitor. Damn, she thought to herself, he has a great ass. If we do this it will ruin his career. She stared at him for a while longer before walking across the lab and unlocking the door to her office. Screw him. She thought and she opened the accelerator control program.

Photo Courtesy of The Blog Propellant
Photo Courtesy of The Blog Propellant

 

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4 thoughts on “Picture Prompt #13: Other Realms

  1. Last time I came in contact with a “rambunctious” virus… Well. Let’s just leave it at that. ;-p Great insight into the insidious nature of desperation; how smart, thoughtful people can be so easily turned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. um…Yikes! Poor Josh 😦 The next story is about how Josh independantly finds the solution, hides it from his “mentor” and then gets sole credit and lives happily ever after, while Holteroff and his team languish in the “land-of-unknown-scientists-who-never-accomplished-anything” forever. Right ???

    Liked by 1 person

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