Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"The Failure" by Roger Bourke White Jr.


Mankind is on the verge of creating new species of many kinds. It will ultimately create a successor species, and most likely, many successor species. Some will be created by large and deliberate efforts. But some... may be created a different way.

Chapter One

"Well, we screwed up."

"What?" Associate Professor Waterford Carrol Jones, called Jones by one and all, carefully looked over his Wall Street Journal, noting his place with his finger.

"We screwed up." It was Sam Robinson, dressed in slacks and a sweatshirt, hands in his pockets and leaning against the doorjamb of Jones' office.

Carefully Jones folded up the paper, straightened his tie, and motioned Sam into one of the chairs in front of his desk. "But how? Mother has already passed her basic performance tests. She's in good order and has been working on the problem for weeks. We've been getting satisfactory progress reports. How could we have screwed up now?

"This run was the final test before we publish. Sure, you've told me about problems, but nothing you couldn't handle. Was there something you didn't tell me about?" Jones stared at Sam. Sam showed no signs of hiding anything. He just slumped a little more in the chair and stared blankly at the ceiling.
Jones and Sam had been working together on this project for two years now. Sam would be getting his PhD next year; Jones had his. Jones was counting on their grant-supported work to launch him back into a high-paying industry position. Later in the day he'd be heading for his second interview with a Fortune 100 company, which is why he had on the tie and was perusing the paper. At forty-three, he wasn't taking any chances.

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