The Percival Hormone

Second Ending

An original fiction written by Hector Gilbert

It was an unauthorized experiment.

Professor Bruce Percival Lennon sat down on his chair with what felt like a large weight placed on his shoulders. He hoped that nobody was watching him. He had tried not to shiver with anxiety, but indeed he couldn't help it; he was not doing this for his work, but for a friend in pig farming.

His chair was facing a pyrex glass window. Beyond the glass, there was a large containment chamber that Dr. Lennon could observe from his chair. Inside the chamber, there were two pigs: one male and one female, each confirmed heterosexual and about 1 year old. Judging by the aim of the experiment, that was exactly what Dr. Lennon wanted.

Dr. Lennon looked at the pigs and the containment room surrounding them, neatly drawing a diagram of what he seen at that moment onto a flat sheet of paper. The other specific details of his experiment were laid flat out on separate sheets (in contrast to a pile) on a wooden table beside his swivel chair.

Dr. Lennon knew perfectly well what to do now (he had planned it out and edited it mentally day after day) but he still had to do a final check-up of security in his floor. Dr. Lennon put away all of his notes, handling them with the tips of his fingers so the sweat on his palms would not stain the ink.

A deep breath later, he drew his mobile out and turned it on. He rang up another person at work: Stanley Peterson, who was the only other person that he had told (besides, of course, a certain pig-farmer). Stanley had taken up a job as the security watchdog of his area, paid by Dr. Lennon to preserve his ass.

"All clear?" Dr. Lennon asked Stanley, watching the pigs with anticipation with the feeling that he must make haste on facing what could turn into the loss of his job weighing him down.

"Yeah, as far as I can tell; you can go on with your... Experiment. Remember, I didn't tell you anything. If we're caught, I'll say that the camera froze."

Suddenly - with the thought of being caught - another shiver ran up Dr. Lennon's spine. Carrying it out was obviously a risky thing to do, even [if] it was an exciting experiment that was ahead of its time. But Dr. Lennon gathered his strength to shake it off anyway, and with that he shut off his mobile and slipped it back into his breast pocket.

Dr. Lennon got up from his chair and walked to a shelf beside him which had on it a box of disposable white gloves, an empty hypodermic needle lying on the wooden shelf's surface, and a bottle containing 1000 CCs of a certain liquid. The bottle contained a beige bubbly substance of not just any liquid but a secret hormone, which nobody had ever heard of until just a few days ago, deep within the Meggs center. Dr. Lennon got up from his chair and slid on his gloves with that sudden jumpiness that he had tried so desperately to hide.

Dr. Lennon twisted on the head of the hypodermic needle with two of his fingers after gradually filling it up with the hormone. The needle, hormone and all, felt oddly heavy as Dr. Lennon carried it cautiously along with him placing the bottle back on the shelf. He held it like he would a gun.

Quietly but not quickly, Dr. Lennon opened the door out of the room. Quietly but not quickly, Dr. Lennon closed it behind him.

Dr. Lennon was sweating with not only the stress but what was by now the sheer excitement of the situation, for he no longer stood in the safety of the "observation area" in his laboratory but now in a dimly-lit hallway facing a large and metal safe-like door which led to the confined room he had been looking in through the glass. Dr. Lennon used one hand to precisely key in a nine-digit code on the black buttons which controlled the safes lock, as the other shakily held the needle.

Dr. Lennon knew the combination well; he had forced himself to remember it the previous night, but even then the heat of the moment almost wiped the number from his head. After a moment of panic as Dr. Lennon realised that a disturbingly loud alarm would sound if just one digit was off on the combination, the tension abruptly ended when the door "clicked" to signal that it had been unlocked.

Swinging the large door open, Dr. Lennon spotted a security camera from the corner of his eye. He sure hoped that by this time Mr. Petersen had taken security. Following that, Dr. Lennon closed the door sharply behind him to prevent the pigs from escaping in those crucial few seconds.

The male pig looked at Dr. Lennon strangely from the very moment that he came in. Honestly, Dr. Lennon couldn't blame him, but on all accounts a new kind of fear billowed up. He realised something that he never thought of even as he loaded the needle up.

Pigs are tough creatures, Dr. Lennon thought as he tried not to make himself not look intimidating while approaching the female. I had better make this quick.

There was no turning back. Dr. Lennon suddenly leapt to the female and, after a single rather unprofessional stab, squeezed the hormone into her rump. When it was all in the appropriate place, she squealed.

The male reacted decisively; his new philosophy now was to charge. Dr. Lennon dodged to the side and ran to the door with his emptied hypodermic needle, still squeezed by the fist that clenched on impulse. He opened it quickly (he felt better when he remembered that the key didn't need to be typed from the inside) and with a loud "bang" of a slamming door Dr. Lennon left the pigs alone.

When Dr. Lennon realized that he was leaning faint on the closed safe door (it took a good few seconds for this), he finally got up and walked back to the lab to observe the pigs in action.

***

Stanley watched it all happen on the security cameras, everything caused by everything that Dr. Lennon had done. It all seemed rather comical, with the pig getting angry and making the poor wussy Mr. Professor look afraid for his life. The situation nearly made Stanley laugh and yet, for some reason that he could not comprehend at the time, feel somewhat shocked. Stanley kept observing the two pigs after Dr. Lennon left (in a bit of a hurry, Stanley noticed), of course out of complete "[intellectual] curiosity".

Stanley expected to see something very unnatural, apparent and/or fatal (which matched ultra-violent fantasies that he had in his early teens, before the age of girls) despite the excitement that came from the thought that anything was possible in such a situation. The male seemed to growl at the door protectively for a few seconds, the female simply staring into space.

Then the male stopped growling, apparently distracted by something. Stanley's eyes fixed attentively on the screen. The male turned to the female and trotted towards her as if some outside force was controlling him. Then, to Stanley's horror, it happened.

It. Stanley flinched at the sight, and immediately he flipped his mobile out and dialed up Dr. Lennon.

***

Dr. Lennon heard his phone ringing as he seen what the pigs were doing through his laboratory. He was not quite in tears with joy, but certainly content with the results. Dr. Lennon answered the phone, saying, "yes, who is this?" in an unusually cheerful tone of voice. Stupidly, at first he had expected his Boss to answer.

Expected the Boss, of course, until Stanley's voice came on the phone: "you happy? Man. Of all the sick things-"

Dr. Lennon got back to reality again and re-remembered what to explain, "this is the control of nature we have before us, Stanley. We can send females like these to farms for good development."

Stanley could be heard sighing. "Ah... Have I mentioned that you're not the run-of-the-mill mad scientist? Making piggy love with your odd idea of science..."

Dr. Lennon chuckled a little. "I suppose that bit may be true. Pigs are going to be the only subjects here for this, don't worry. You see that I have injected a hormone, which mysteriously causes the distribution of pheromones at a high rate into a female pig. Pheromones stimulate sexual desire from another specimen of the same species, you see, and so therefore this is a foolproof "perfume" - the ultimate perfume - easily convertible to become compatible for a female Human. But... we shall keep control of fun, won't we?"

Stanley cut off the transmission without as much as a "goodbye" and thought a little about what Dr. Lennon had said. The ultimate perfume, Stanley thought. Dr. Lennon didn't know about a very important thing in Stanley's life, one that gave him a new ambition as he walked over to the laboratory with the hormone in mind.

***

Dr. Lennon stacked up his experiment papers to put in his suitcase, happy and pleased that his effort had paid off. The pigs were hid along with the bottle. Dr. Lennon's gloves, and the dreaded needle, had both been chucked into a biohazard bin. Then there came a knock on the door.

"Come in," Dr. Lennon replied, content with himself.

The person who came in the door (surprisingly enough) was Stanley.

"Hello. What brings you here-" What could be recognized as the slight 'ping' of a silenced gunshot rang in Dr. Lennon's ears.

At first, an injured Dr. Lennon tried to stand up with the bullet in his gut, but his feeble effort strained his body so much that in only precious seconds he was overwhelmed. Dr. Lennon passed out of consciousness at a rate so rapid that he could not feel the ground as he inevitably collapsed.

***

Graduate student Jake Richard Mitchell glanced at the clock as he left the elevator with pig-farmer Lawrence Stevenson walking beside him. They were both happening to look for Dr. Lennon, and with this in mind the talkative student had "entertained" the pig-farmer on the way up.

"The time is 8:02," Jake noted as they left the elevator.

Jake brushed his hand through his hair, voluntarily deciding to change from lecture to conversation mode. "So... Lawrence. Does the Prof. know you well?" Jake asked Lawrence as they both marched on towards Dr. Lennon's laboratory.

Lawrence shrugged. "Yeah. I'm just a friend though, not a colleague. Just here to pick something up from him."

Jake grinned. "I'm sure we'll all learn something new here. After all, that's what I was originally here for, to learn, as you may understand..." Jake was now at the entrance to the door. He swung the door open to see Dr. Lennon.

Indeed, at that moment they both learnt something from the spectacle they saw right there in front of them.

"...Ironic," Jake commented as he stared into the room.

Lawrence looked over Jake's shoulder in shock to see Dr. Lennon, but not sitting down in his sitting chair like he usually was. Instead, he was leaning against it, blood decorating his lab coat, bullet hole not too apparent - silent.

"Hey... He's still alive," Jake pointed out. Indeed, Dr. Lennon was very much so.

He was unconscious, though. And it still didn't look like he could come to on his own, for all of his breaths were quite light ones. Lawrence stared at the live but almost completely still form of Dr. Lennon, not noticing the blood from his bitten lip dribbling down to his shoes.

"I'll call the ambulance," Jake nearly sighed, "you stay here with the Prof... Uh, talk to him?"

And so Jake Mitchell left the room running, leaving some of the bystanders rather disconcerted as they found themselves pushed against the wall.

***

Jake Mitchell waited with Lawrence Stevenson outside the emergency room where Dr. Lennon was being held. Dr. Lennon was not being operated on anymore, but the nurse still insisted that Dr. Lennon was going to need some time alone.

Lawrence was still biting his lip and staying silent even though the tensest moment in the recovery room had already passed. Jake was in contrast simply sitting down, his face unchanged, trying to talk to Lawrence with his usual nasal tone.

"This will take a little while, so... I'd like to know about just what led to your... uh... occupation." Jake could not think of another long conversation without it most likely going nowhere. His body language and tone of voice hadn't changed, but his chatty personality did.

"Family line. Not that I like it; I suppose that I'd be a lot happier in your occupation or Dr. Lennon's."

That's it, Jake thought. End of topic, I don't want to look like a show-off.

Jake was always called a show-off from time to time (from friends, strangers, or family), he didn't know how or why, but such an excuse prompted him to change the subject. Jake thought of what another good topic would (not forgetting could or should) be.

"... Do you know what Dr. Lennon was doing that would involve you?" Jake almost hit himself afterwards because he suddenly thought that it would provoke hostility. Accidentally insulting people was an even more serious problem for Jake, even worse was that he did know why but only seconds after saying what he said.

But Lawrence was cool as he replied, "well... It was meant to be top-secret, but if he's in this condition I guess it doesn't matter, because it will then eventually become public when it is discovered in the investigation.

"I was a kind of childhood friend of Dr. Lennon in school. We did equally well in our subjects, but our backgrounds were different. Due to this, he made something out of himself, and I didn't. We didn't speak to eachother for a while after we left secondary school.

"I did in fact want to be just like Dr. Lennon. But my parents are both still alive and want me to take care of the pigs so we could sell them to private enterprise. They're so closed-minded that they won't let me go no matter what...

"Dr. Lennon then told me this idea of his on how he could make there be more pigs on my farm as long as I kept it a secret. I wanted more pigs, you see, to gain enough money to convince my parents to let me leave..." His tone sounded neutral, but there were breaks in his speech.

Jake's expression changed. "Cloning?" he interrupted before cocking an eyebrow, "was he going to clone them?"

Cloning was very controversial. Despite all of the hype, Jake honestly didn't think that anyone would allow a Human to be cloned. The sheep was bad enough for the luddites.

Lawrence shook his head. "Cloning was plan B. Dr. Lennon didn't want to because there was something called... Methuselah syndrome, which made cloned animals age quickly. Of course I didn't want to have old pigs for dinner; I wanted to play God - for real.

"First we waited impatiently for a cure for Methuselah syndrome via the genome project or whatever it would be, and then he discovered something else. A hormone which developed these pheromones rapidly from inside a female Pig. It could be easily converted to suit a female Human but... we don't want that."

Jake nodded his head slowly. Now Lawrence was on lecture mode, and Jake was glad when he finished his last sentence.

Jake paused for a couple of seconds, before stating, "I call that hormone The Percival hormone. We found that one out a couple days ago but... We've never heard of this happening before." Suddenly the thought occured to Jake that the experiment was probably unauthorised.

The recovery room door opened to reveal the nurse which had blocked their entry before. Nurse Martin Smith (as the nametag read) was apparently quite a strong man, so Jake didn't want to try to force his way past him. "Hello there. Dr. Lennon wants to see you both."

***

Jake and Lawrence stood beside Dr. Lennon, sitting up with bloodshot eyes and a pale face. It certainly didn't look like it was his day today; but then again he just went through a potentially life-threatening operation (to of course, fix up a far more life-threatening injury).

"The nurse said that you were the only ones here so I told him to let you in," Dr. Lennon began in a weak, raspy voice.

"Who did this to you?" Lawrence asked, budging in front of Jake fairly inappropriately.

"Why, that's easy." Seeing Lawrence's face, Dr. Lennon couldn't help but chuckle mildly at what he just said. "It was Stanley. Do you watch too much T.V, Lawrence?"

"Apparently," Lawrence gasped, "I do."

Someone suddenly burst through the doors right at that moment, so fast that it caused Jake's heart to leap a little. She stopped, before making it clear to everyone that she had made herself exhausted for the sake of it. She raised a picture from her pocket (where a police badge shined) with a look on her face that seemed to tell Dr. Lennon to take it.

That he did, reaching for it and finally grabbing it off of her hand. Dr. Lennon, still jittery from the transition back to complete consciousness, had to squint at the picture in order to recognise what it shown as his eyes tried to register everything else at the same time.

With the picture in his head it took Dr. Lennon several seconds to respond to it with his observations: "That's my laboratory, and... It has my own blood on it after the shooting. What about it?"

"Please look more closely at the picture, Professor," the policewoman answered simply.

Dr. Lennon swayed the picture closer to his reddened eyes, at first with impatience. After a few seconds, he shivered and dropped himself back on the bed. He dropped the picture saying, "oh, shit! Everything's gone!"

Jake picked up the picture and it, indeed, showed Dr. Lennon's laboratory, stripped completely. Everything was robbed.

Everything.

I mustn't have noticed it when I found Dr. Lennon dying, Jake mused, I guess that the sight of him was too distracting.

"Stanley must have been after my experiment, I don't know why..." Dr. Lennon then started to incomprehensibly mumble, possibly deliberately as he eyed the policewoman. As if on a cue, she left. When the door closed shut, Dr. Lennon carefully slowed his mumbling down to a stop. Then he looked at Lawrence.

"Jake, can you leave us be for just a moment-"

"He knows," Lawrence interrupted. "I told Jake."

Dr. Lennon's face froze for a moment. He didn't like what Lawrence did, but he knew that his friend could not keep secrets if his life depended on it. Hopefully, Jake could.

Dr. Lennon, reflecting on what had happened to him, said: "I think that Stanley shot me and stripped my lab so that he could take my experiment and get away with the pheromone-producing hormone that I had been working on.

"You see, this can also easily be engineered to suit Human chemistry. Perfume, even if it isn't 'guaranteed', can sometimes be worth a lot of money. We all know of that totally useless but expensive shit over at that corner of the sex shop. 300 dollars? 700? Pheromones are always guaranteed on the other hand, so the hormone can be worth a lot more than any perfume, and that's a lot of dough.

"Think: absolutely guaranteed pheromone power for 750 dollars. More, even.... Some people out there could and would pay thousands for treatment because it could get them what they want.

"It could devstate society as we know it; such a hormone may create a matriarchy, or perhaps create a patriarchy with females as super-prostitutes. Because of course pheromones, as you probably already know, stimulate sexual attraction. It's an insult to free sexuality, it's an insult to the less fortunate, it's an insult to democracy and if anyone got their hands on it they sure as Hell won't give me any credit!

"I remember telling Stanley at one point that it was 'the ultimate perfume'. If he has any connections with these perfume distributors, they can and will give him millions to take The Percival Hormone with proof clarified. All Stanley has to do is play show-and-tell."

Jake scratched his chin. "If that's so, tell the police about Stanley. I'm sure they'll file in an arrest warrant-"

"Rubbish!" Dr. Lennon interrupted. "We've got to keep this a secret unless in an absolute emergency because if the police catch Stanley they may find out the motive and the background. Let me just remind everyone here that I did this under my own funds. That experiment with the hormone was out-of-work. If I am caught with the idea that I wasn't doing my own assigned work at that time, the Meggs center will get a bad name in the scientific community and I may as well kiss my job goodbye." Lawrence and Jake stared down at Dr. Lennon, whose rant caused him to lose his breath.

For a tense second in the room there was silence. In this silence, an idea came to Dr. Lennon.

Dr. Lennon explained his idea: "We could always find out more about Stanley's... Background. Jake, there's something you can do for me..."

***

Jake walked right into a long hallway, with the doors to various personal study areas making their pattern on the somewhat bland indoor scenery. "Hey!"

Cyril hadn't noticed him; he had initially thought that Jake was talking to someone else. On the contrary, Jake in fact was looking for him; this Asian security guard was the man that he had been looking for. Why that was was certainly a question that could only be answered either by Dr. Lennon, Lawrence, or Jake himself.

Jake, then standing right next to the closed and locked door to his own study area, slung himself away to the wall to where he had found Cyril leaning against it. Cyril looked almost as if he could fall asleep standing, but no, because Cyril was drinking a beer, which Jake found disgusting before 13:00 but tried to shrug off anyway. Jake thought of what to ask the guard, who had the place as a day job, for what was several seconds.

"Seen Stanley recently?" Jake finally asked Cyril.

"Nope," was all Cyril told Jake, "haven't seen him 'round for a good while."

Find perfume connections, Jake thought (for indeed, those were his exact orders from Dr. Lennon).

Jake realised something: nobody could work simply on the wage of a security guard, Stanley was probably doing a second job. "Eh, what'd he work for again?"

"Well, of course he's meant to be doing the job that I'm doing at night... In the day he works part-time at that perfume factory: eh, Kelly's... Yeah, definitely Kelly's."

Jake was taken aback. He thought that this would go nowhere but no, it all seemed too easy. Jake thought about how to make a proper exit without blurting out a secret or two about the experiment.

He came up with a simple yet effective, "okay. See you 'round." To Cyril, it was all rather abrupt, but he shrugged that off.

***

Jake entered the room where Dr. Lennon was, quite excited. Dr. Lennon was, as usual, lying down in his bed not so relaxed. Beside him was Lawrence, sitting on a chair with even more serious jitters.

"Anything new, Jake?" Dr. Lennon asked.

"Professor, I just heard from Cyril, the guy taking Stanley's place. Apparently it... Seems that... Stanley works part-time in the Kelly perfume factory!"

Lawrence's eyes widened as he stood up from his chair and opened up his mouth to respond, but he couldn't manage to say anything. Dr. Lennon didn't seem to look shocked but he was the first to reply.

"Jake. To be honest with you, I may as well quit my job now. Stanley will be the leak to this unauthorized experiment and it will make perfume that will control both genders. The ultimate perfume, this is. Ultimate. Perfume." Dr. Lennon crossed his arms, content with what he had said and, in a mild way, frustrated that his experiment turned out like it did.

Lawrence looked down to his legs, sat back down again, and mumbled, "if that is so, Bruce, then why don't you tell the police if your occupation's future is already doomed?"

Dr. Lennon laughed out loud for the first time in days, or perhaps weeks; he couldn't remember, as that stretched to a time before the incident.

That is a good point, Dr. Lennon thought while clearing his throat.

"Good job, Lawrence. You just solved our problem. Okay now, please be a good person and call the police. I'm sure that they'll be very... interested."

First Lawrence rolled his eyes before realising that Dr. Lennon was not being sarcastic. "Okay then, I'll call the police... Sound the alarm..." Lawrence slowly backed away from the room as Jake and Dr. Lennon carefully eyed him.

And if they don't find Stanley, Dr. Lennon thought, the police would cover it up with no emphasis on detail and background. But what else is good about that?

***

Officer Preston burst into the entrance to the apartment building, running at a noticeable pace. The sheer presence made people stare at the man in uniform because they knew that something was happening. What Preston was doing was tracking down someone with an arrest warrant: a someone with the name of Stanley Peterson. He had been missing for a little while, but not the 12-hour limit that would make him qualify as a missing person, or so his commanding officer had told him.

Preston slowed down to a stop when he reached the reception desk, where someone was leaning on the front desk. Preston presumed that he was the receptionist. Here we go, Preston thought, now it's time to ask for this Stanley chap. Preston reached in his pocket and took out a small piece of paper as all eyes were on him. The piece of paper had Stanley's address scribbled on it with a pencil, given to him when he was ordered to look.

Preston looked at the paper and asked, "is the room at the floor... ground floor... room number... eighteen occupied?"

"J-just a second," the receptionist stammered, crouching under the desk. A few seconds later, the receptionist emerged.

"Yes; ground floor-18 is occupied."

Great, Preston thought, he's in there, we've nailed him, unless someone else is in there with him...

Preston dismissed the thought; he had done this sort of thing before. Preston started to run again, this time away from the reception desk. All that time the people looking at him did apparently not affect him.

***

There it is, Preston thought, number 18. I don't think I need to knock.

And Preston didn't knock.

"1... 2... 3... Now!" Preston lunged toward the door sideways, putting all of his weight into his center of gravity.

The door (strangely enough) was already open so in consequence Preston dived onto the floor through the swinging door. He landed with his face flat on the carpet.

Hey there, Preston thought, why did he leave it open?

Preston got up discombobulated from where he lay and raised up his handcuffs, looking around the apartment.

"Come out come out, wherever you are...!" But there was nobody there to respond.

The place was abandoned.

***

Police Lieutenant Hoffman looked down to where Dr. Lennon lay, looking quite quizzical, as Lt. Hoffman was about to tell him about what the result of the warrant was. Dr. Lennon was getting nervous, tense and impatient. "What happened to Stanley?" Dr. Lennon asked for what was the second, but seemed to be the millionth, time.

"... He's gone. We reached the apartment but it was abandoned, nobody was there. We can't find him, and he will be on the missing persons list within an hour." Dr. Lennon leaned back on his bed, breathing deep and groaning for a second.

Better than waiting for the response, Dr. Lennon figured, I hate tension.

Better than getting hit in the face and told that I didn't do my job right, Lt. Hoffman figured, I hate humiliation.

"As long as you're seeing that it was the best we could do-"

"Yeah, I'm sure it is, so fahgeddaboudit; I've lost my job, leave me alone." Although Dr. Lennon hadn't lost his job yet, he figured that he would somehow, even without the police going into the background details.

Lt. Hoffman left with a nod, quietly closing the door behind him.

***

To Dr. Bruce Percival Lennon,

The Meggs facility has been committed to the advancements in today's technology to move forward to tomorrow. It is also a place of safety. We have no objection to the use of our resources, as long as they are used with the consideration of others.

It is the decision of the management that you, Dr. Bruce Percival Lennon, have violated these principles. For the sake of security, we shall regrettably have to let you go as we have the right and the means to do so.

This is to go into effect immediately. Your office is being cleared at this moment, and all suspected personal belongings shall be sent to you at your home adress.

Signed,

Trey Fogarty
C.E.O., Meggs Tech.

***

Stanley Peterson quivered with excitement as he carried the bottle of the thick, priceless hormone in his arms, which were crossed and firm despite the jumpy feeling that was mentally overtaking him. This was the power of expecting a large sum of money, which Stanley felt, and although he had never felt it before, he recognized the feeling specifically.

"I made it," Stanley boasted, "I have the new ingredient. You know about a renowned chemical that all the perfume companies are fighting for?"

"What would that be? Eye of newt?" There was sarcasm in the tone of voice as it spoke. It was Stanley's boss, looking quite interested despite the fact that what the boss would expect would be a silly miracle potion, for it had never seen Stanley this excited before.

"Think harder," Stanley sighed, putting down the bottle.

The Boss lifted a finger, and subtly it scratched the Boss' own chin. "Pheromones would be an ingredient that we are all looking for, but this is a liquid."

Stanley nodded his head and smiled eagerly before replying, "this is a hormone that produces pheromones in pigs when injected into the female's abdomen. It can easily be converted into Human pheromones."

His boss stood up and walked out of the shadows to look at the bottle. "I say, at first one will not believe you, then one would think: would someone lie about such a thing? We need just a bit more proof, though; could you give me a little more evidence to this find? I won't conclude something, oh never me, or my name's not Min Fuller."

Stanley hastily brought out several sheets of paper from behind his back that he also stole from Dr. Lennon. "This is the experiment log, feel free to perform the experiment by the notes and get the materials required for conclusive evidence." Stanley gave the papers to Min as her hand reached out.

"Okay then Stanley, we'll see what we can do, and we'll call you if the experiment is conclusive." Stanley wiped some sweat from his forehead and Min walked away with both the papers and the hormone in her arms.

***

Min looked through the papers at her desk. She had already read the papers and knew what to do in the experiment, but she still read it a second time to make sure she hadn't missed anything. The first thing she noticed was a signature at the upper-right corner that she didn't notice before.

Hello, she thought, what's this? It read:

Property of Dr. Bruce Percival Lennon.
Work telephone: (555) 04-268-3589

So, Min presumed, Stanley didn't do everything. What posessed me to think so?

Min reached for the phone on her desk, putting down the papers and dialling the number with a sort of curiosity. She was sure that this person was only going to be one small step for her to get to the bottom of this.

***

Suddenly, to everyone's surprise, the phone rang.

While the police lines were being removed, and the room which was Dr. Lennon's lab cleaned while being filled with new instruments, the phone rang. The person inside, who was at that moment putting down a new set of daily disposable gloves, jumped up a little when the phone rang. At first he just stayed in place startled half to death.

Seconds later, he cautiously turned around to see the phone still ringing quite contentedly. With his sense of security lost, he answered it. "Hello?"

"This is Min Fuller speaking, is Dr. Lennon there?"

"So, you're that Min person from that perfume company. No, Dr. Lennon is no longer with the Meggs facility."

"...I see." Min knew that if she couldn't contact Dr. Lennon, it would be far too harsh to just use what could be stolen data without permission.

"I'm sure that your interests are very legitimate and genuine, but now that he is gone his other phone numbers can no longer be given by members of staff for reasons of privacy." Min was completely silent. "...Goodbye."

Min hung up her phone without saying anything. She came out of the experience all the more inquisitive, yet none the wiser. Because her new stance stood with reconsidering Stanley's position in the company.

***

Stanley was petrified. He hoped that he didn't hear the name that he thought he just heard. "What?"

"Do you want me to tell you again?" Min asked from the seat at her end of her office's desk.

Stanley got up from his chair at the opposite end and didn't sit back down. "Yes!"

Min looked outside for a moment, for the blinds were open. It was night-time; she closed them and turned on her lamp-light to make her look clearer. "I want you to answer me this question honestly. I don't want you lying to me, you know that I can tell. Your position was unharmed in that incident, but I guarantee you that you'll see it slip away quite quickly if you seem untrustworthy to us in Kelly Perfumes."

At that time Stanley was drawing in a very deep breath through clenched teeth. "Continue." He sounded mildly distracted, but only because he was checking for a "Dr. Lennon" in her words.

Min asked her question. "Stanley, tell me how you know a Dr. Bruce Percival Lennon."

Stanley let out the deep breath that he had been breathing in with an abrupt cough "Bruce, Percival Lennon?"

Min knew that Stanley was probably going to try to say something stupid like "who's he?", and Stanley would have if he didn't see the expression on her face. "Yes. He is an associate of mine."

Stanley's left hand reached into his pocket carefully for a certain silenced pistol. Min did not appear to notice.

"An associate? Of what kind?"

"A... Friendly associate." And, right there, Stanley drew out his pistol and fired. The bullet went straight through Min's head; she twitched once before dying.

Min's blood only splattered the blinds that were protecting the glass window behind her, but the bullet kept going to break through both the blinds and the window. Despite this, nobody really noticed anything from the outside.

Stanley left hastily, having snatched the bottle containing the hormone away from Min's desk. Nobody noticed anything the least bit out of the ordinary until a good hour later, when a man scheduled to have an appointment with her walked into her office. By then, Stanley was once again gone from the clutches of the police.

***

Dr. Lennon found the letter from Mr. Fogarty at his bedside table, but didn't bother to try to open it. He knew what was inside anyway, and he didn't care anymore.

Dr. Lennon put his hands under his head to lie calmly back down on his bed, watching BattleBots on a channel specifically made to show robotic combat sports. He had been doing so for a while, just to get his mind off of the possible arsenic content in the water that he had to drink with his liquid lunch in the hospital.

"The lights are on, the box is loaded, it's robot fighting time!" the presenter announced as Dr. Lennon sucked indifferently on his straw.

Dr. Lennon's eyes focused on the set as the little people on it kept chatting away. "Now we're in for Toe Crusher versus Shaft."

"Your diagnosis?"

"A prescription of pain is going to be given to Shaft. It has a way of putting up a fight, but not enough of one. Toe Crusher shall make a full recovery by the end of the match."

"I agree with your hypothesis, Dr. Dwyer! Let's see these patients in action!"

Dr. Lennon briefly changed the channel to the news before the match to see Stanley's face. He didn't know what Stanley was doing there, but it was such an unexpected sight that his brain wrote it off on a whim. Breathing hard, he changed it back.

Shaft in the meantime had surprised the crowd as it shoved Toe Crusher to the other side of the arena and caught its wedge on the arena spikes. The fight was over in less than ten seconds.

"There are some things," Dr. Lennon observed dismissively, "that Humanity just can't handle properly."