Author : Daniel Nugent

“And I expect you to show all your work on the problem sets. Points will be deducted!” shouted Professor Smith as his class began to shuffle out of the lecture hall. He began collecting his papers and tri-parencies from the holo-video podium.

A man in an immaculate gray suit politely held the door open for the exiting class before briskly descending the stairs to the floor of the amphitheater. “Doctor Smith, I presume?” he asked, extending his french-cuffed hand. The Doctor took the man’s hand. “I’m Claude Robinson, from Zeus BioTechnology. We spoke earlier.”

Smith’s hand lingered for a moment as he looked at the contracting agent. “You’re early Mr Robinson. No matter, I’m on my way to my office.”

As they exited the dimly lit corridor that led to the classroom and approached the enervator, Mr Robinson spoke, “Do you enjoy teaching, Doctor Smith? It doesn’t seem to fit a man of your nature, from what I know of you.”

“Enjoy it? Not at all. How would you like to deal with whining, snot nosed children, day in and day out. Barely a one is intelligent enough to put their pants on properly, let alone even begin to understand genetic molecular manipulation,” he said as they stepped on, ripples flowing across the transparent gravitational field where their feet fell. “Though… there are some certain benefits,” Smith’s mind lingering on a certain co-ed.

“I have to say, I didn’t expect they’d send a Cyborg out to meet me, considering the nature of my work.”

Claude idly watched waves flow from where his fingers touched the wall of the enervator, the setting sun casting royal purple on the cityscape below. “Hardly any intent, Doctor Smith. I simply happened to have a congenital and rather deadly disease as a child. Zeus BioTechnology only cares about their employees to the extent that they perform their jobs in a superior fashion.”

“Hmmph,” Smith replied, shifting his weight against the wall.

“Might I enquire as to how you were able to tell?”

“Usually all I need is to shake a man’s hand… but yours was perfect. I noticed an odd reflection in your eye. It appears they still haven’t gotten the biosilicon retinas right.”

The enervator stopped and Smith led the other man to his office door. They entered and the halogen lamps flickered on. Smith walked through the cramped office, placed his bag on a stack of books, and turned back to face Robinson who had started tapping a thin card. The lights flickered again and he placed the card in his pocket.

“No doubt Zeus BioTechnology has to have the latest in dampening technology,” said Smith.

“The very latest, Doctor Smith. Any listening devices will think that we are discussing licensing your RNA retrovirus engineering toolset.”

“Hah, one of my lesser discoveries, at best. Even that nitwit McCoy could have created it,” he said, turning to face his office window. “When Zeus brings my new work to the public, we’ll all be rich beyond our wildest dreams. Immortality won’t come che-ACK!”

Smith was cut off as Robinson jabbed a syringe into his neck.

“What are you doing you metal domed ninny?! You’ve killed me!”

“Hardly, Doctor Smith. I’ve simply given you a hybrid viral-nanite Alzheimer’s injection. You’ll be mostly fine, though I believe that the University will begin paying your pension a bit sooner than anticipated,” Robinson said, setting the Doctor down in his chair whereupon he slumped forward on the desk. He rifled through a few drawers, taking several files and a bottle of Whiskey.

Placing the amber liquor on the desk with the cap off, Robinson turned towards the door. “Why are they so naive? Don’t they understand that we’d only be interested if Immortality was consumable?” he remarked to no one. He tapped his breast pocket once and exited the room.

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