"And you swear to love truth more than the Father or anything
"And you swear to never keep a bit of knowledge to yourself?"
The man posing questions wore sneakers and sweat
pants under his oversized white coat, but from the look from the other
people in the room, he has their absolute reverence. The man being
questioned, on the other hand, was in a nice suit. He answered the
questions without one second of hesitation, as if he has been preparing
for them his entire life.
The room they were standing in held 5 long benches in the middle of the room, all has shelfs that goes almost up to the roof and whoever stands in one end of the room would think that they have taken the same potion Alice took and had become so tiny that the other end of the room is not at their walking distance. On the side benches were a few centrifuges with different sizes and other equipment. The only reason why we tends to call it a "room" instead of a "lab" is because it lacks the most important character of a lab: monotony. Living signs are sprinkled here and there in the lab, a book on the top of a fridge, a sweet drawing on the trash can or a teddy bear on the top of the shelf.
The man with a serious look thanked the other and put on the badge: bronze, equilateral triangular shape badge with black gothic letters "Gel" on the lower side and "Bob Savage" engraved with a smaller letter. He picked his name from "the Brave New World" when he decided to join this biology research group. They didn't even ask for his real name because everything they care about is talent. If one has never had any scientific education in his entire life but has unbounded creativity, he would still be taken as a part of the mission.
And Bob, who has absolutely no knowledge about the modern biology science, had an unbelievable gift of keeping everything around him clean. His workplace is dustless, and has an intuition about sanitization methods. He seems to follow a precise protocol adjusted to different contamination and conditions, but his system is too complicated for anyone to follow. Anyway whatever goes through his hands is never at risk of contamination. His only drawback comes from his retreat from direct touch, as if he was afraid of a deadly germ all around him, but this has improved over time. When he arrived at lab, he honestly told the others that he has no degree in biology or what-so-ever, but he knew that he could do his work well. They let him stay and try and now, after one months, everyone regard him as a genius and would do anything to make him stay forever.
That evening, the other members of Gel took Bob to a nightclub to celebrate his joining the group. After spending some time taking Bob around the neighborhood, they arrived there at ten o'clock, and Bob sat there to drink quietly. He asked their excuses to let him leave at eleven. "But Bob, tomorrow you don't have any work to do? We will only introduce you to our project on monday" Anica, a girl who had dyed her short hair red gently asked him. "Stay with us a little longer!"
Bob opened his eyes wide: "But what are you talking about? Of course I cannot work tomorrow! It is Sunday! But even then I can't stay any longer. I have to go to the church early in the morning! Now if you excuse me..." He left the small crowd astonished and walked straight to the exit. Anica sighed but a roar of laughter came from the others, mostly men. "I didn't know religious zealot still exists in our world. Anica, you think going out with this guy would make yourself special, don't you?" Jakeson, the one who gave Bob his badge of lab, is the technical, maybe even a spiritual leader of the lab, but can become a total jerk if he wants to make fun of someBoby. Anica, who is very used to this kind of teasing, lifted her left eyebrow and said: "Stop gossiping like a 16 year teenage girl, will you? At least the rest of us can have some fun!"
The next morning Bob woke up at 6.00, chose one suit from his closet very quickly: it would not make any difference since they are all of the same color, same style. Then he left home without having breakfast. He drove on and on, until he reached a small countryside church two hours later. Though out the messe he listened with much attention, and the priest certainly had spotted him. After the messe, Bob stayed to speak to the priest. The priest "I have not seen you for ages! But after all you always come when I do not expect you, don't you?" Bob smiled warmly and answered: "You can expect to see me every week for a long time this time. Now, would you mind to take me to the basement?" "Of course not, of course not."
Bob sat down on a table facing the wall in the basement and started writing on a piece of paper: "I have entered the group. It is easier than I thought. Does not know what kind of mission they are on yet. But will know soon. Savage 2nd Oct 2012" He put the pen down on the table, and carefully arranged the note into a drawer, on the top of many other ones.
He left the room and met the priest waiting outside. "The message is sent. Be sure that no one beside me enters the room for the message to be delivered safely" Then they walked back to the church hall and sat down to talk.
Bob started eagerly: "I think I finally found the place I had been looking for. If I can stop them from carrying out their plan, I can change the future forever." The priest, quickly drawing a cross on his chest, asked: "So can you tell me their plan? Maybe I would be able to help." Bob answered with sincerity: "I would have loved to tell you but I can't. I do not know anything yet, and most of what they say are beyond my comprehension. But there is no need to worry. They readily share what they know with the others. They call this the free flow of knowledge, but as we all know, this is the free flow of devil's will. Knowledge can be used for everything, even the destruction of human race. Well at least this time their bad habit will serve a good purpose" "I entirely agree with you. But do not let anger possess your heart. Do try to get to know their plan before you take on any actions." "Thank you my father, I will be careful." The priest wished him luck, accompanied him to his car, and before he left, looked at Bob with his bright blue eyes and said: "It has always been my only consolation that men, when facing their doom day, would return to god's grace. I am sure those people who desecrated the name of god never thought of this. Remain thankful for the chances god has given you. I will pray for you everyday."
The next morning, Bob went back to the lab and started his first day as a member of Gel. Anica taught him to do ligation and transformation, something he had never done before. He had been taught since a very young age that many invisible things has huge power, even greater than those that are visible. But he has never thought about being able to manipulate these invisible things with such precision. He thought about his childhood lived under a utter fear and reverence towards the invisible, and wondered what life would be like if those things could be manipulated like this. The result of the experiment can only be seen tomorrow, and after the experiment, Bob did some clean-up in the lab. Anica, who had been staring at her computer to analyze some data, lifted her head and saw him mopping the floor by her side, said in a low voice: "Thank you."
Bob went home unsatisfied with himself. For the first day he had learnt nothing more about their project, just some silly ways to make DNA go into a bacteria. He should have tried harder. He doesn't have much time to waste.
At midnight, He couldn't go to sleep and decided to go back to the lab. He knew that there is a surveillance camera, but he didn't care. If he just look around, no one would suspect him. After all, there are all kinds of weirdo in this lab. He just didn't want others to ask him what he was looking for. He wasn't a very good lier since he had been raised in a rather isolated environment. When he entered the lab, no one was there, so he turned on the lights and started reading the common lab-note. In this place, they all work together on a major project while everyone is free to pursue their own interest if they can convince the other group members what he wants to do is valuable. He saw something that he learnt during the day, others that he didn't know. But it all seemed quite complexe and he cannot find the key variable in each array of numbers and names. Fortunately it was not difficult to find the meaning of words, and he figured that out very quickly.
He was relieved when he saw a picture in the lab note. It is obviously some blueprint of their plan. He looked at the date: 7, July, 2012, only three months before and then checked the later part of the notebook. Now he has evidence to believe that they are currently carrying this project. He couldn't believe his luck: He had uncovered their evil plan! He has full evidence that the accident he expected would occur in only a month and probably that would be when the finish the plan.
He looked more carefully, frustrated to realize that
those people seem to have created a new language of their own. The Gel,
as he has learnt, is a rather unconventional science group. Groups like
Gel call themselves bio-punks, always trying out plans that freak out
the rest of the world by their talent of by their defiance of the rules.
At Bob's time most of the written records of this group has been lost.
After all, all its information had been stored on-line as a symbol of
revenge against the system of publication that groups like Gel hate. He
regretted not having spent more time on research before coming, although
he still has full confidence that he can stop the disaster from
happening. What Bob didn't know was that most biologist uses
abbreviation as their first language and full form as a way to translate
their thinking to the rest of the public. He then looked more carefully
at the picture. The Gel members love drawing, it seems like a tradition
of the group. Suddenly, his eye rested on one of the drawings and didn't
move for a moment. On one branch of the complicated drawing, it was
written: Death. Death with a small sketch of smiling skull. Fire coming
out of his eyes and his tongue like snake sticking out of his
non-existing lips. Bob felt as if a bomb just exploded in his brain.
Under the sketch was the beautifully done signature of the author:
Anica. Bob put the notebook back down on the table. "No it cannot be
her! She is such a nice person." He try to recall his what his trainer
told him before he was off to carry out the mission.
"When human was still the predominant race on this
planet, they have so many resources that they couldn't handle, so they
learnt to lie and pretend, so that they can have even more than the
other members of the race. But all at the same time, since very few
people are truly in need of this wealth, they pretend to have seen
nothing. This is why at that time, many very evil people have a nice
Could Anica be a case in the lesson? In his world real evil people never has her appearance. By trying to get more than their own they always have scars on their faces, horrible horrible scars. They had killers' eyes. Anica was so gentle. She had eyes like a child. Yes it must be this, she is fooled by the rest of the group, they must have lied to her, they probably told her that the death was a joke, or it was only killing some unimportant animals. He, is the only one knows the truth, and he must safe Anica.
He had become the best student researcher the Gel has ever had. They promised to soon promote him to a warrior researcher, and then after that a magician researcher. Bob couldn't help laughing at their naiveness when no one is around to see him. The more he learns the better he starts to undersand their project, although he never let them know that he had found their final plan.
Then Sunday comes again, and he went alone to the church. What surprised him was that as soon as he opened his mouth and tried to talk to the priest, the first thing that came up to his mind is Anica. He shook his head to get rid of this idea because he had more important things to do. He and the priest walked in silence to the basement. He sat down and wrote:"I have found out their whole plan. Anica in Gel has it. She taught me how to do their work. I can soon un-do what they have done. Savage 9th Oct 2012"
Almost like a routine, he went to the hall to talk to
the priest. "Why do you think that they would do what they have done in
the name of god? Just because they think it resembles what god does to
wash the human race?" The priest's looked elsewhere for a while, and
then said: "I do not know, my child. But if I remember well, you did say
that you think in your world, the people live a more moral and simple
life?" Bob remembered his little shabby place, the tedious everyday
sanitization to keep the house germ free-or at least to lower the germ
concentration so that they wouldn't be so infectious. But with his
family and his tribe, they always try to help each other. Selfishness
always exists, but everyone knows that they cannot survive on their own.
None does anything to harm the society. Living with the others is the
new norm of life and they had to accept it. To some extent this is a
miracle because before this disaster, everyone would expect a ruthless
autocracy in this kind of situation. But maybe the resources are so
scarce that no such autocracy was possible. Then in a way the humanity
has indeed improved. "He nodded. "Then it is easy to explain, whoever
did this saw what happened and to him, despite the great pain, the
improvement of humanity was worth the cost." A wave of anger took Bob's
mind away from him. Who is this guy sitting here talking about? He knows
nothing about the pain they endured and now he is talking about the
cost! But he has no habit of quarreling, so he violently pushed away the
chair and left.
He became a work maniac when he returned to the Gel for two weeks before he suddenly realized that he is accelerating their progress at work. Now the plan, as far as he can see, can be finished if they only add one final working part. All the other parts have been sequenced and validated. He almost want to hit himself on the nose. At lunch, he casually asked Anica what one could do if he wanted to delete one part of DNA from the vector they are working on. The boys who were eating at the same table teased him of getting close to Anica by asking academic questions, but Anica answered his questions with detail and even gave him a part of her work in which this technique is involved so that he can have some first hand experience. He readily accepted this work. Then, saying he had worked too late the other night, he went back home to go to sleep.
At midnight, he sneaked back to the lab. On his way he looked up at the sky. At first it surprised him to see a sky with no stars, but then it became obvious to him that the light of stars had been covered by the light on the ground. No matter how poets sing for the stars, he still prefers the world like it is now. If I can stay here and your plan never works out, We can stay together forever. This will be a wonderful ending. From that night on, everyday he creeps back to the lab to try to delete the "death gene" from the bacteria they are working on, even giving up his weekly visit to the church. And then, just before the others finished assembling the last part, replaced every previous tubes of bacteria with his new one.
Then one day, Jeffery, the elected chief of the lab announced that they are going on a picnic together beside the water reservoir. Everyone was exited, especially Anica. She told Bob that there will be a even bigger surprise when they arrive at the reservoir. It is early winter, but it was sunny and windless, so not very cold. The water reservoir is huge , with the sun shining on the small waves, looks almost sacred. One or two small fishes splashes here and there. When everything had been set, Anica clicked her knife and fork together and announced her surprise news: "As we all know, today's water in most part of the world has been seriously polluted. Last year, when we all came here, when we look at this clear water, we keep on hoping for a water like in every place. We know that we can recover the worst polluted places, but we didn't expect it to happen so quickly. Now Bob, I have to say sorry to you because you are only a new comer and our plan should be kept secret from the government in order to prevent all the complicated procedures, so we never introduced it to you. In fact, the project we were all working on aims at building a super bacteria to recover water quality. When it absorbes all the harmful substances in the water, it secretes SiO2 that crystalize on its Boby and ultimately makes it a tiny water-tight permanent reservoir of harmful substance. You have contributed a lot to this project. Now after testing, we have released this bacteria in the waste water system in our city. Let's see what will happen."
Bob didn't know what to say. Then, with a trembling voice, he asked: "Then what about the death gene I saw on your design?" Anica now is as shocked as he is: "you have seen it? Then it should be obvious! You know, as bacteria, no matter how hard we try to prevent mutation from happening, still has a mutation rate, and this death gene kills all the bacteria that has a mutation that prevent it from doing its task! Plus if it does not have this death gene, it would multiply without limit because we have made it adapted even to the most harsh environment, it can cause a huge problem! Luckily now we have it under our control..."
Before she could finish her phrase, Bob started running frantically to the parking lot. They had spent four hours hiking in the mountain, but he ran back in only one hour and a half. He could feel his legs and his head burning, his lungs filled with cold and dry wind and his mouth tasted blood. He knew it would be no use, but at least this makes him feel better. He drove and drove till he was back at the church. He caught the priest by his shoulder: "Let me in!" He cried. "You shouldn't have sent me! They were doing a good job on their own. I am the one who caused the disaster!" His hands trembled hard that it was difficult to write. He signed and left. Outside the church was Anica and the rest of the lab. He stumbled. " I am so sorry! I am I am! I come from a future where everything is taken over by germs. I was told that it was caused by your group and I came here to stop you from doing so. My world has spent all that they have to send me back and now I am their only hope. How can they know that I am the one who caused the disaster!" He knelled down and wept. Everyone stood there in a desperate atmosphere. Then Anica patted him on the back: "Now get back into your back seat, I will take you home. Tomorrow we are going to warn every lab we know and work for a remediation for this."
As the car disappeared from sight. The priest went back to the basement, opened the drawer and took out what Bob just put in. He tucked it carefully into his pocked, took a blank sheet and wrote: "The Gel is responsible for this crime. The initiator of it is a girl called Anica, put together Angelica, they think they are acting on the name of god to wash the human race. Savage, 14th Augst, 2012." He put it under the pile that Bob has written, locked the door, and walked out into the garden.
Then he dropped the key in the well.
Bob, for the rest of his life, wished that he would disappear as if he has never existed, but it never happened.