The Wonder – Chapter 6
Written by castor :: [Saturday, 23 February 2019 04:01] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 27 July 2019 08:07]
Editor's note: As for Castor's request the chapters of this story will be published in the order they're written, rather than the correct reading order.
"So This is your new office" said the nice lady who was leading Diana around. which was helpful as she felt still somewhat in a daze.
"Yes" said Diana with the kinda smile that said, i get an office?' with hopefully more subtly
It wasn't a corner office-but it was a serious office-20' x 20'. With a large black desk in the middle, that felt modern and sleek in the white room
"You have a decoration budget of $2000.00. You are of course eligible to put extra money in if you want. The Desk was the previous occupants, and you can keep or replace as you want"
"There is no chairs?" said Diana.
"We can supply office chairs or out of the 2000-plus any art, pictures"
"Computers?" asked Diana.
"That's an IT question" said the lady
"Right" said Diana smiling
"Did someone say IT?" said a booming if not particularly deep voice.
Diana looked over towards the voice-it was the kinda voice that was loud cheery, and came from a figure kinda of red blond hair that really looked orange, and a bright Hawaiian shirt to match that looked cheerful, who was a Female to male Transexual, or somewhere in the spectrum.
Diana smiled at him.
"I'm Bill Elliot, I'm in charge of IT for this facility. i was just wandering about seeing if any of you fine folks have any computer problems"
"I don't have a computer"
"That's the exact kind of problem I'm talking bout. We can fix that" said Bill "just give me two jifs. i can have something on your desk in under 2 hours."
Diana smiled. "Thank you"
"What kinda of access do you need" said Bill "What are you doing"
"I'm..."Diana paused to remember "Development head for the Androtone project "
"Ahh" said Bill "That one. Cool. Tricky. Its so secret even i don't have access"
Diana smiled "Well its...."
"Its a muscular development drug" said the nice old man.
"Like a steroid?" Asked Diana
They where standing in one of the large labs that littered the office
"No No...well conceptually yes...but no. Its quite different then a steroid, in how it works. Though once its on the market its not going to go well with the Olympic crowd-or well maybe it will"
"So its illegal?"
"Well until the government outlaws it" Said... Zool? Was that his name? Diana was having trouble remember the names. "Nothing is illegal"
"Then why develop it?" asked Diana
Zool Shrugged and smiled "I'm making close to 70k a year on it. I don't care why. Your new to pharmaceuticals?"
"Yeah" said Diana
"I have been working this industry close to 35 years at this point. God. Has it been that long? But in that time-3 Products have i worked on have come to market. And one one of them was a kidney disease drug that stayed on the shelf for 2 years till it was proven to not actually work. And that's not unusual-actually it maybe unusual how successful my career has been. Androktone? I know Cale is interested in it. Very interested I don't think its going anywhere. Apparently...i don't know the story, but it did something in some other lab-but we have never been able to duplicate in any but the most minor ways-rats, guinea pigs, monkeys-there maybe something here or maybe some kinda of over hyped chance result- i am not sure"
Diana paused. And considered "Your reporting..."
"All of it. I'm also going to golf three days a week"
Diana nodded "You seem very dedicated to the project"
"You get into this job cause you want to make a difference. This industry... "
Diana smiled at Bill "Its quite fascinating. I feel very appropriate to handle it"
"Your a biologist, MD?" asked Bret
"I'm a chemist, i specialize in ecology" Said Diana
"Well scientific management?"
"I got out of college 3 years ago, one of those years i spent nine months unemployed"
"Go to Europe or something?"
"That was an idea that was floated but no"
"Nice. Stay local" said Bill "Well in any case what ever your here for-i handle the computers. I'll get right on it"
The Lady... Wait a second Diana Remembered now. It was Mayer. Spoke up "I'll leave you to prepare"
Diana nodded and went to the desk...and not finding a chair sat on it
"you can get a chair just out of the office at the time being" said Mayer leaving
"Thanks" said Diana There was a phone on the desk Diana noted. that was there.
"I'm sure where going to see excellent work out of you Ms. Prince"
"of course!" said Diana nodding sagely trying to do her best to look competent and in charge. actually sitting on the desk was a bad idea, so she stooped doing that.
She walked out the door
"Oh i almost forgot. Your entitled to administrative assistant. A secretary. We have a pool you can look at or if you would prefer".
"Thanks for bringing me in" said Etta walking down the hall with Diana.
"Not in charge of salary" said Diana "Hope that's fair"
"More then fair. And i don't have to deal with that ashore Rick"
Diana nodded "And its good to see you"
"Well its been less then a month. i saw you more recently then my mother or my dietitian!"
"That would be 10 years in march right?"
"Haha" said Etta. "So why did you..."
"Well to be honest" said Diana "I have no idea what i am doing here. And i wanted you to be my go between-you obviously don't know what your doing here either. So when you ask questions i don't look dumb"
"Thank you" said Etta
"And really" said Diana "No one here seems to have a perfect grasp of whats going on. Where developing a drug-but only vague ideas of what it does or if it will ever work. And no one seems to care that much"
"Well no one cared about our Ecology work either" said Etta
Diana laughed the laugh of someone crying inside.
"So i have my Master degree in Viral Immunology" Said Edgar Cizko "my Thesis was very well recited at the university of Washington, and i want to continuw my work on counter viruses",
He smiled at the man. And it was a man this time. The Human Resources manager At Cale pharmaceuticals sitting across the desk looking at the file was very very bored, and distinctively chewing on gum, but he was male. They had that together.
"That was five years ago" said the man letting his head rest "What have you been doing since?"
It was technically a crime for him to not to mention prison. Edgar wondered if this-lie to a man clearly beaten down by a woman's organization would be his first crime. He tested it out in his head for a second, and shook his head
"Sometimes this happens with school-you do something you want to go into writing, have money and"
"Yeah, yeah Rich kid need to get into the real world" said the guy "You have done bio sequencing"
"yes" said Edgar telling the truth.
"its pissant busy work that we could get a robot to do but your cheaper-and its not an expensive robot" said the guy. It turns out other then being bored he was also unpleasantly mean. Edgar still smiled. this he could understand.
"I've done it before" Said Edgar "like any thing it needs to be done right"
"Its not beneath your mastered degree excellence"
Actually Edgar was about 3 months away from completing his PHD, but his program knew very well what he did and what happened afterwards and he didn't want them to call them as a reference. So that was 2 years of boot licking down the drain.
"I'm happy to do it"
"Then your hired" said the guy. "Start Monday, Pays 18 bucks an hour. Remember to bring your social security card"
Edgar nodded. and moved his hand to shake the mans hand. He was bored enough not to refuse. It was always nice to talk to men.
Diana sat in Ms. Cales outer office relaxing. It was nice. The Company liked a kind of corporate minimalism look with lots of window and natural light, and whites to show it off-this was here. Outer offices with a waiting room was nice. She wondered if with her luck she would....
"Would you like anything to drink?" said ms Cales Secretary with a voice that sounded contemptuous.
"Um...." said Diana thinking.
"Coffee, Tea, the basic drinks of the workplace environment i am sure your familiar with"
"No thank you"
The woman rolled her eyes "Well your welcome anyway"
"Cales on a business call with investors and it will take a minute to get the money to...
and there was a red light on her phone
"And that's over"
the woman picked up a phone.
"Yes Ms. Prince is here for her 2:30 i was wondering if you would like to talk to her now...."
there was a pause.
"Ms. Cale it turns out has to go to a meeting on Central Avenue in a few minutes-its really not enough time left to talk. can reschedule your discussion:
"I'm sorry ms...
"Call Me Lyra" said the secretary. She was pretty, in a kinda of way of knowing about fashion and stylish makeup that made Diana uncomoefterable, her streaked tip hair framed her frowning face.
"Did i do anything wrong?" asked Diana
"Not yet" said Lyra. "Yes we can reschedule you"
Ben Bradley relaxed. He let himself do that for a second as he got out of the pool. He rarely got the time to do that. God he should. He put on his sunglasses. that helped. How long.
long enough. He walked through his two story house overlooking downtown Seattle with its California style modernist design, and it subtle tones. he tried off as he walked and doped the towel, before going to the treadmill,. He put on a jogging pants but not a shirt. he wanted to do 20 minutes more of cardio before going to upper body. His long blond hair was wet from the pool. Chlorine hymn he wondered if his shampoo regimen was enough.
when he heard a knock at the door. huh.
Who could it be his hair was it
"Get it Arilane"
But then he remembered Ariliane wasn't in.
Again she was was out. Great just
we walked to the door and opened it
As he did Edgar Cizko stabbed a letter opener through his heart.
"What?" he managed to get out before he died.
Edgar dragged his body into the house and closed the door. He paused and stretched his head, as he did. He had thought about an elaborate revenge scheme here, torturing him, telling him all his evil plans, but you know efficiency. he couldn't let him escape. he looked at the 6'3 Ben. Yes even with a gun, there was a chance a strong guy like that could do something.
he twisted the Letter opener for a second. Nope.
he looked at the ground a touch of blood. he hid Edgar body in a closet and cleaned it up. the next part was where the fun began. He got himself a glass of water.
"So this is a company perk?" Said Etta
"Yep"said Diana walking into the gym
"I wish we got like snacks" said Etta
"exercise is good for you" said Diana. The gym wasn't huge, but it was good size, with two floor sized ceiling with large pits of bikes and treadmills as well as a good selection of nautilus machines in free weights, somewhere deep inside was an aerobics room with a few people in it.
"Snacks are good for you" said Etta "They keep up your carbohydrate energy levels up. keep you at an even keel through out the day"
Diana nodded "Good Solid Exercise does amazing stuff for the soul-its what my mother always told me"
Etta paused as they walked into the changing room "I thought you grew up in like a weird cult"
"I never said Cult" replied Diana.
"Well isn't that what it was?"
"Well" said Diana " I don't like talking about it" as she got to her locker
"I bet they had you get up every morning feed you gruel and then go outside doing loyalty exercises like something out of north Korea"
"No nothing like that" said Diana unbuttoning her blouse "But i did do a lot of chores, lots of training "
Etta looked at Diana as she open the shirt "Jesus"
"Look at you-you look like some kind of fitness model"
Diana took off her top leaving her in her bra "No No"
Another woman piped in "Fitness models wish they where you"
Diana saw a mirror. her body was a tapestry of muscles and fibers colliding together. smooth tapered arms with cord like biceps and triceps, pecs pushing up her large chest, deeps cuts of abs on her tummy. Yeah well....
"Its just you know diet and exerciser"
"What do you eat chicken breast 4 times a week and do two cardio sessions a day"
"Come on" said Diana
"I could never look like you" said Etta
Diana sighed pulling on a tank top "Well...maybe-but the point is you can try. We can all try to be better "
"Something you got from the cult"
Marva sighed walking home she opened the door. Ben was here probably finishing up his work out. in the three years of there marriage he was nice to look at but he could be....eh
she didn't hear anything not the clank of his machines. walking in and closing the door she was glad for the moment of peace
She paused and shook her head before entering the kitchen.
"Got some of the Chicken you like"
When she saw a figure smiling at her.
"High Marva" said Edgar holding a gun. his twisted visage almost as scary as the gun itself "its been awhile"
"please don't scream. i don't actually want to kill you-but well my plans change little either way"
Marva felt a bullet graze her hair
And hit a glass
"Don't run. i don't half to miss. "
"Ben's not in a position to help you" said Edgar "No one is. The phone is dead. Even your cellphone, which is simpler to do then you can imagine your house is nearly a quarter mile from anyone else so-really if you wish scream your fool head off-but that makes talking tricky."
"Edgar please, i am sorry"
"I sent you quite a few letters before i was advised not to lest it make me seemed unhinged. We haven't seen each other since the trial....i am glad you remember me at all you bitch-but i do suppose i would have some lasting impact on your miserable life-have you done something like go to a psychologist to attempt to purge you of memory
" no Edgar..just leave and..i am not going to "
"Are you going to tell me lies? oh i want you Edgar, i need you"
"Whats going on?"
"I am going to bring you to your proper place"
Diana sat in the weight room. This felt good. this felt really good just the act of lifting weight. Simple obviously-the motions of a bench press where designed to be the simplest possible things-but infinity rewarding to watch it go up and down hypnotic as she tried to get her mind off her problems-that may in fact not actually be problems. 5...6..7...oh that was a nice stretch...8
"Hey" said a voice
Diana looked up to see Bill wearing a loose kinda of green workout clothes
"Hey how you doing"
Diana wracked it.
"Did i bother you?" asked Bill "Sorry"
"Its okay" said Diana "its not a good idea to lift and talk at the same time"
"Sorry" said Bill. "I should work more on my stealth skills"
"I am a hacker" said Bill "and a hacker is a ninja"
Diana paused "Wouldn't wear lime green then"
"You must not be familiar with ninja movies of the 80s on TV"
"I didn't watch a lot of TV growing up" said Diana getting up and streaking backwards
Bill walked over and looked at the weight "Wow your strong"
"Your stronger then a man" replied Bill
"I'm as strong as i am" Diana looked at the weight absently. She hadn't given it a lot of thought except for half formed plans made years ago that went no where-join the army, something...
She used to workout at home mostly.
She stood up
"and taller to" said Bill "Your a real amazon"
"I have heard that before" said Diana.
"Hey we have a small class going for kung fu" said Bill "Want to come?"
Diana shook her head "Sure"
She walked with Bill "So your a hacker"
"Well you work in data systems-its kinda of the same thing. don't worry i would never do anything like to your personal records anything-you don't shit where you sleep"
She walked in with Bill into the aerobics room which now made more sense "Have you ever done anything like this" said Bill
"The Arts of Martiality"
Diana paused "I trained quite a bit when i was high school age-but since then...well some kinda whats the word, katas like that at home"
Bill made a punch at Diana-not to actually hit her 2 feet to the side but the kinda of straight punch Diana was familiar with in martial arts. powerful direct.
to her eyes way to choreographed, rehearsed, and delayed. she could sense he was going to punch about a second before he actually punched and knew where it was going to go. she even had an idea of how powerful it -was it did a good job of theoretically challenging energy forward, but he had bent his arms a little much to do it. her primary instructor artemsis had done a lot to drill this into her.
"Now you try"
Diana didn't actually want to do this. It would just embarrass everyone including herself. but she leaned in and gave a punch she thought was about its equal. not wanting to show off.
"come on you can do better then that "Said Bill "just try hitting me with that"
She didn't know Bill that well but thought he was a friend. A friend who was obviously knew to the whole male thing, but maybe had the great male pride she had started to figure out, which she had no particular desire to hurt.
Still-he deserved her honesty-that was what friendship was about.
"okay" said Diana "Are you ready"
When Bill through a punch at her. She saw it a mile a mile away, instantly ducked it, and grabbed him lifting him off the ground with the force of his momentum with one hand and pushed him to the ground.
This wouldn't hurt him to much but...
"What was that about? " breathed Bill
"You where punching me" said Diana
"I was trying to a bit about you never being ready in a combat scenario"
"oh" said Diana helping him up.
"I need to work on my ninja skills"
When she punched him in the face. he reeled back
"What was that about"
"I never actually punched you like you asked" said Diana "and in a combat scenario"
"Ninja skills" said Bill
Diana giggled "Work on it"
Bill paused and smiled at Diana. She turned and saw that across the room on a treadmill. was Lyra. She was frowning.
"I want the sequence completed in 2 hours Edgar" said Anna Bishen his superior
He had to work for a balls buster like her. what had the world . And she was ugly with a misshapen jaw to boot
"You don't got time for yes maam"
Edgar smiled and went to work. as discussed the work was childishly simple if you knew the basics of what your delicate obviously but part of the simplicity meant that the actual labor had safeguards to prevent a misplaced motion. No the real tedious work was getting the chemicals right-there where four of them in a very specific order.
He smiled. When he worked at least she didn't bitch at him.
He turned his head and saw. a figure. oh dear. he knew she would be here
"Hows its going ms Bishen" said Diana
"Where getting the tests done" she said spitting. Edgar was imagining the spit but he could almost sense it.
"Good" said Diana "When do you think the results will be in"
"Once we get this on the sequencer-3 4 am is when it will be done..but i don't expect you to be in at that hour"
Polite laughter. Bishen she was a chuckle head wasn't she. screw her.
"anything to report so far"
"Until we get the final sequencing, i have literally nothing to comment on-there have the general scope of the tests-rises in Beta blocking, Hemoglobin production, lowering levels of Dephoxhile-but that's been discussed"
Edgar kept working. If she saw him.
"So no idea what it could do"
"It would be kinda of the equivalent of like one of those sports drinks they sell for recovery after a game-which you know is something-but like half a drink."
Drink? He got up and walked to the bathroom.
"I guess will have to test it more"
Edgar kept his head down. kept his head down.
He turned up to see Stacy, A woman-actually he thought not a terrible one. she was christian and had 3 children who she showed him pictures of-devoted to her husband and the Lutheran faith. He didn't like her in the sense that he really didn't much like anyone-but he tolerated her to a point was a way of describing it.
"Got to go the bathroom" he said
"Do you think going on to testing is a wise idea" asked Diana
"oh can you be a big big peach?" Stacy asked
"I don't see the harm in it persay" replied Brestin
"What?" said Edgar
"Can you get me a diet coke if your near the rest room"
"I guess do no harm is the optimal rule " said Diana
Edgar rushed away
"Drugs always do a million things" said Brestin "So its hard to say harm. Its by itself not likely to be fatal"
"wait a second let me get you a dollar"
"Well- i guess but" said Diana
"Here's my wallet-and a dollar. Don't loose it" said Stacy
"yeah" said Edgar
"Its part of acceptable risk" said Brestin "we can clear this with a board"
"cokes a 1.25 let me get a quarter"
"You know i really have to"
"oh" said Stacy
"I hear you have some new technicians"
"pay me latter" he raced out the room
"Yeah" said brestin walking over with Diana "This is Stacy Kerner...and where is
"Edgar had to leave for the bathroom:
Diana Giggled "always at the wrong time. Well I'll guess I'll meet him later"
outside by the bathroom. Edgar spent 25 minutes in there, and got a coke. For some arcane reason he threw away the dollar so he had to use his own money. Shit. he had to keep control he had.
He thought about Marva in there. he wondered if she soiled herself in the basement. That at least made him smile.
Diana sat in the company's cafeteria-which was legitimately nice a huge empty space with a big glass ceiling, eating a a legitimately nice french fry. Etta sat across from her. "What you thinking?"
"Why I am here?"
"You got lucky" said Etta.
"Luck" said Diana
"I've known you for like three years-just be happy. Your brooding at your best moments, depressed say. Look at you. Your gorgeous! now that doesn't well mean what ever"
"Your smart, your healthy as a mule, your fit, you have a very high paying job now. you have everything. Well except a man but that's your own damn fault. any man in this room would want you" said Etta
"I try not to think about that"
"I know you've been hurt" said Etta "Move on"
"I have a hard time giving my heart.....There's this world" said Diana
"oh god" said Etta
"This world" said Diana "I used to be able to see it every moment. Then everyday hour, everyday-now it just seems so obscure..so far away-its a good world, its a just world...its not this world of man"
"oh god" said Etta "World of man?"
"World of something"
A staff member walked by
"Hey i just wanted to bring you girls up to speed on something. next week where doing a blood drive"
"There you go" said Etta"Give the gift of life. make the world a better place. and you know i am going to role up my sleeve and do the same"
Diana smiled. and for a second she saw something
Marva cried sitting in her dank space. There wasn't any light any of that, nothing other then rough hands to determine any sense of how big or small it was, only the sense of wet and the floor or rough earth . Edgar had told her it was a house somewhere were no one would ever find her or care about her, or.
She cried. she hated how much she was crying these days but...
The door open and she groaned inside every time.
it was Edgar but as there was no light she could only hear him
"How was your day?" he said in a voice
"What do you want?" said Marva" What do you"
Edgar chuckled. He put a plate of food. Low Protein high carb food. And he listened . there was nothing that quite gave him pleasure like listening to the fear in her voice.
"Some people" said Edgar "Women mostly-but some people, can read War and Peace and think its a simple an adventure story. Some bright minds like myself-they can read a Facebook status update and see the secrets of the universe"
He closed the iron door not bothering to listen to her response. Women talk. and walked down the hallway into the light of the basement. He pulled out his phone to check it again chuckling.
It was from about a month ago now. While Diana prince posted infrequently she was not the type to have her Facebook updates to private so her update "Started working for Cale Pharmaceuticals" was front and center for all to see.
"ms Cale will see you now" said Lyra
She looked at Diana. "Really this time"
Diana shook her head to walk in but stopped before looking back.
"Some of us had to work" said Lyra who went back to a computer.
"Sorry" Diana said as she walked in.
Cales office was-surprisingly small. Diana office could be considered bigger-but it was built around a very large window that showed all of the city in a circle. it almost looked like a skybox as the window around the corner and the top of the building. it was a neat space. in the center was a minimalist desk-but as Cale stood up to greet her Diana noted that most offices the persons office faced towards the door. Cale actually had to to turn around, because hers faced the window. as Diana went around to sit down after exchanging pleasantries she was facing Cale. the window was for veronica.
"How you liking your new area"
"Are you getting alone with the scientists"
"Yes" said Diana "when i first got here i thought i would be more joining them"
Veronica nodded "No No you got more important stuff to dear dearest. Hows progress doing with the formula?"
Diana nodded. It was either going great, terrible or about as expected "Where studying the effects"
"I want to be in a place to move with human trials by the end of the year" said Cale
"If its safe of course" Said Diana
"Of course" said Cale "I realize your new, but that goes without saying"
"Is there anything that would indicate not?"
Diana paused. She didn't know a lot about drugs specifically but she knew about chemicals. So far the serum elevated lots of chemicals in the blood-not dangerously but seemingly in ways that did nothing good or bad. "I would like to be through before studying that"
Cale chuckled " I remember something about that with your soil report thing. Reading that i got quite the attention to detail"
"Hows the factory going?" said Diana. She had in the end cleared the project.
"I just canceled it" said Cale shaking her head "to much head aches. I sold the land to a warehousing company. Made a small profit, to small really for the aggravation. Where going to manufacture overseas."
Diana nodded. Huh. That somehow...made her sad. Even crap work you want to...
"Acektone is something i feel very strongly" about Said Cale authoritatively getting up and going to the window "Its perhaps the drug i feel will push the future of the company forward"
"may i ask why?"
Cale nodded "I Acquired the basic formula from a small company which did test before stopping years ago. It sat on the preferable shelf-they didn't know what kinda of gold mine they had"
Cale turned to look at Diana.
"But i have seen the results-and there amazing. If we can get the same thing. Any where close to the same thing again. Will have something that can change the world"
Diana paused. something inside of her remembered.
She got up and looked out the window.
"Change the world" said Diana "That sounds....
Cale nodded taking her hand.
"for the better?" asked Diana
"That also goes without saying. Will make a wonder."