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"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)

2.11.2011

The Cure

Dr. Jonathon Randall was merely twenty-nine years old when he watched his wife pass through agonizing torment and from his life forever.  She left him with a chubby two-year old daughter who had her mother's eyes and her mother's smile.  Seeing the child sent waves of pain shooting through him, and so he hired a nanny and threw himself into his work.

He initially determined that he would find a cure for cancer, but he soon found that that was not sufficient.  He had to find a way to eradicate all disease, anything that could threaten to take his daughter, his second great love, away from him.

Dr. Randall was a brilliant geneticist, and his work progressed quickly.  First he learned how to catalog individual genes in the human genome.  Then he focused on perfecting splicing techniques.  His breakthrough led to a patent on designer genes, and he marketed the technology to a chain of fertility clinics.  He made a fortune off of parents who carried home from the hospital babies with beautiful blond hair and blue eyes, who were more likely to win spelling bees and make captain of the football team.

He used the money to further finance his research.  He expanded his laboratory and hired an army of the most brilliant young minds to assist him.  He learned how to identify defective genes, and he developed the technique for replacing them.  He focused his attention on the code for immunity, and through many experiments learned how to create a super-immune individual.

But that would only help the rising generation, the new babies of parents who could afford the enormous expense of genetic manipulation.  His own beloved daughter still caught colds and flus and once, walking pneumonia.

He stumbled upon the answer while he was recruiting at the International Conference for Young Scientists in Alexandria, Egypt.  One impressive young man, fresh out of grad school and still working on his doctorate, had given a fascinating presentation on the potential of retroviruses.  With their ability to invade and insert their own DNA into host cells, they were the perfect vehicle for transferring engineered genetic material into anyone, anyone at all.  Dr. Randall offered the lad a six-figure salary on the spot, and arranged to have him begin working at the lab the following Monday.

It worked.  After several more years, Dr. Randall had created a super-bug, a retrovirus that contained the ability to alter a person's DNA so that they would be resistant disease.  He had done it.  But as Dr. Randall held the triumph in his shaking his hands, he finally looked up from his work and discovered that his daughter was now a stranger to him, and humanity was no longer worth saving.

*****

Today's prompt: 

“My Million Dollar Idea
Identify a problem or issue – either in your everyday life or community. What product or service could ease this?
Let your imagination go crazy. If you had access to all the resources you needed, what would your million dollar idea be? Just remember, alot of the advances in science came about from writers ‘crazy’ ideas and asking “what if?”

This was very fun for me, getting back in the swing of things after our horrific move!  And, just as a teaser, this is part of my story that started with "Iced."  You can read my previous excerpts here, and here, and here.

And don't forget, this is the last day to enter Cathryn's giveaway for a free copy of her debut novel, The Demise of the Soccer Moms, and a free Kindle!  Visit her blog for details at Suburban Noir.

8 comments:

Carrie Dair said...

Whoa. Did not see that coming. Awesome Shelli. As always. Looks like your move didn't take away any of your creativity. Love the message in there as well. Great job!

Jayne said...

Ooooo... I see hints of the Boys From Brazil, though not quite as menacing! Great story. ;)
(And good prompts afterward.)

Shelli said...

Thank you, Carrie -- I do think I'm a bit rusty, still.

Jayne -- Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Adam B said...

Such a strong idea, and one that has a poignant ending.
Well done.
Adam B @revhappiness

earwaxtasteslikecrayons said...

Loved it, Shelli.

Occasionally, I find myself thinking about Iced. You really need to finish that book so I can read it and get all my questions answered. ;)

Wendy

Shelli said...

Adam, thanks so much! I've been so out of touch with the move, it's nice to hear from you again.

Wendy -- Thank you! I'm working on it. I started it as a short story, but it's demanding to be developed into a full novel. I'll be looking for your input once I get the rough finished!

Annie said...

welcome back Shelli! I too am getting back into the swing of it all.. having been pretty busy with other projects.

well written and great ending... makesyou really think about the things that are worth it and those that aren't

My million dollar ideas is at your fingertips.

http://annieevett.blogspot.com/2011/02/found-at-your-fingertips.html

Shelli said...

Thank you Annie! I enjoyed yours, too. :)