Chapter Twenty-One: For the Greater Good
For a rather reclusive establishment, Diligence has made quite a few impressive biological advancements.
The company has invested decades of meticulous research into the study of genomics and the complex structure of human DNA.
For leading scientists and experts of the day, understanding how cells work - both their strengths and weaknesses - could be the key to solving some of humanity’s most debilitating diseases. Thus, allowing people to live in a world where cancer can be cured, AIDS understood and malaria contained.
Before the start of the 21st Century, Diligence had effectively found cures for all of the above. And at present, it was in the final stages of formulating preventative drugs, for all three of these diseases.
Running through a hypothetical checklist of medical breakthroughs, Diligence would have most certainly scored an A+ in all categories. But when it comes to perfectionism, like the sort Diligence had over the years grown accustomed to, landing an A+ is just the starting point.
Through meticulous studies and the stringent isolation of genes, experts at Diligence were able to decipher the profound workings of human DNA.
With further ground-breaking research, in time the company was able to zero in on some of the many strengths and weaknesses prevalent in all human genes, both gender and ethnic specific. Naturally, the bright minds at Diligence did not stop there. Further probing showed that these strands of strength and weakness, could not only be extracted, but they could also be distilled. And when an element can be distilled it can also be stored and introduced into another component.
It was only a matter of time for those working at Diligence to see that a genetic wonder could easily be turned into an exquisite weapon…
Of course, for Diligence, this was nowhere near the end of the research project. For reasons still unknown to the company, it was only able to successfully locate and isolate the weakness gene. Which in turn, was what the experts at Diligence poured all their energies into. They worked around the clock studying this miniscule matter - aka - the weak gene. Strands of this inexplicable material were carefully drawn out and skillfully synthesised into a component which, at the end of undergoing a specialized process, took on a soluble, salt-like, consistency. And just like sodium, this component could be easily mixed into, and added to other elements. And when this happened - well who knows how far things could go?
Imagine, for example, baking a loaf of bread, contaminated with this salt-like component. A salt, specifically manufactured to bring on early dementia in women - and only women.
And likewise, imagine a mouthwash, which, when used over time, could reduce the sterility of - let’s say - Indian men, perhaps, or trigger cancerous tumours within certain groups of society. Or even make a nation of people gradually lose their wits, as readily as munching on a bag of salted crisps, or accepting frosting over flakes.
Imagine such a weapon, specifically engineered to attack its enemies based solely on their genetic code. Imagine. No more accidental causalities, once targeted, everything in the spectrum becomes a casualty...
Now imagine if this compound should happen to fall into the wrong hands - the results could be catastrophic. However, the interesting thing about Diligence is that they are more than happy to place it into anyone’s hands - if the price is right. Nonetheless it is of some consolation to know that it is usually only governments that can afford Diligence’s extortionate asking price. Consolation, perhaps, depending on the mind-set of one’s government, I would presume.
All the same, Diligence is a shrewd operator, operating in an even shrewder world. This company have made their choice, it seems, and that is to be the best! But not necessarily the most worthy. But sometimes in this world the best is judged the most worthy, and the worthy - not the best. When this happens, what happens next I ask? I ask you, for I already know the answer to this. But I cannot say as it’s not my place to, and more pressingly, it’s none of my business.
However, I will say, in the world of jungle politics, Diligence is as insidious as the crocodile. For when a crocodile sinks its teeth into its prey, it’s virtually impossible to extract the doomed creature from its locked jaws. It is the same type of possessiveness Diligence extends over all its ongoing research projects. They are unrelenting. For their revolutionary results, speak for themselves, and the financial rewards they receive, allows them to attain better results.
But if, say, Diligence happens to encounter a problem along the way, and is presented with the option to discard the project? Or discard the problem? Ah well, the answer is simple. The only thing one needs to remember is that when dealing with Diligence, under no circumstances do you want to be...the problem.
Christine was on the phone to Lydia. To Lydia it seemed like she was talking to somebody on speed as she listened to Christine hastily run through - and then go back over - the story of a homicidal baby doctor running amok in St. Margaret’s Hospital Trust.
“So let me get this straight.” Lydia interrupted. “According to baby Tobey this doctor - Dr. Lawson - is somehow covertly snuffing the life out of these babies a few seconds after they’re born…? Right under the mothers’ noses”
A doctor doing this? How twisted is that? “Christine,” Lydia voiced through gritted teeth and a fog of confusion, “It’s a good thing I’m sitting down. Ergh! I feel a little queasy, like I’ve been violated, somewhat…this is…this is… this is too sick to be real!” She immediately piled on the questions. “What do you plan to do? How are you going to find this man? Even if you did, you just can’t go up to him - can you? Can you confront him? What would you say?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know!” Christine sighed. “I’m not sure. Maybe I should see if I can talk to the hospital’s administrators. I could ask them if there have been any suspicions surrounding the deaths of these newborns...Oh Lydia!” Christine cried, “I don’t know what to do! What would you do in this instance?”
“Well you know me!” Lydia quickly replied. “I think you should confront the bastard. Get him to tell the truth! Tell him that you can hear what babies are saying and that baby Tobey has told you everything,” she paused. “And if he doesn’t stop what he’s doing - right away! You’ll have him arrested quicker than he can say ‘ob-stee-ri-tion’ or however you pronounce that blasted word they go by!”
Christine smiled. “But what about the ones he’s already killed?”
“I don’t know,” Lydia tapped her finger on her phone. “I don’t know how you’ll be able to explain this to anyone, let alone try to seek out justice in a courtroom. I’m afraid there might be nothing you can do for those who have gone before. But going forward, you can only try and stop him from killing anymore.”
As if reading Christine’s thoughts Lydia added, “Look. I’m going to come with you. You don’t have to face this drama on your own.”
“Lydia. This isn’t Sherlock Holmes,” Christine warned. “This might prove to be a little...problematic. There aren’t many people who would take too kindly to being accused of murder. Especially by a baby who can’t speak - or should I say - who’s clinically dead in the eyes of the masses.”
“Yes I do understand,” Lydia said pointedly, “It seems when it comes to you everything is beyond surreal,” she shook her head. Her eyes trailed over to her grey Chambery bedroom dresser, which showed off its rustic brilliance in the natural light that came spilling through the patio windows. She hadn’t drawn the curtains yet. Chelsea harbour was within view, and the London Eye glittered in all its splendour like a Swarovski bracelet suspended in the sky. “Look. I’m not going to pretend,” Lydia said with a sigh of resignation, “I still can’t get my head around how you are able to do, what you do, but somehow - you’re doing it! I know we live different lives, and I don’t have to get involved with what you’re facing. But now that I know you, I can’t pretend you don’t exist, and even if I had a choice I wouldn’t want to,” she took a moments pause. “I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m the privileged sort, you know, more concerned with handbags and hangouts but that’s not what I’m about, really - I’m not! I think I can help here. And besides, I can already see your mind’s made up. You want to help this baby don’t you?”
“Yes I do.”
“So there we have it! There’s nothing more to discuss. I’m coming with you and we’re going to move forward as planned.”
“Yes sergeant!” Christine replied with a deep laugh. “Are you sure you weren’t a governess in your former life or something to that effect?”
“A governess?” Lydia said a little befuddled, “Oh! That! My being forthright and whatnot. That’s just how the women in my family are.” She chuckled. “Yes. We are a bit gutsy and it appears I’ve inherited it by the tractor-load.”
“Well that’s a good thing,” Christine sighed, she relaxed a little, “because I hate confrontation. I’m just going to quietly go in and ask a few questions.”
“Ask a few questions? You’re going to have to say a whole lot more if you want to help baby Tobey,” Lydia remarked. “A whole lot more.”
“Yes I know…” Christine thought of the hurdles she was likely to face. “But the truth of the matter is, there really is no point in running away. I can hear baby Tobey therefore I have to help him. I guess, we have to do, what we were born to do.”
“Do we really?” Lydia replied her voice dripping in mock contempt. “Do we really have to do what we were born to do, I wonder? Because really darling, sometimes I’m not so sure. I’m constantly being told I look amazing,” she said jokingly,” So I guess I was born to make everyone else feel bad.”
Christine smiled, “Oh don’t mind me Lydia, I guess I’m just being dramatic.”
“Speaking of drama. Have you received any more annoying calls from the press? Looking to run more stories on you?”
“No.” Christine replied cutting her eyes. “That’s died down – thankfully! But honestly, it’s so awful to be shoved in the spotlight like that. I can’t think why anybody would want that for themselves. If I had known you had a famous sister beforehand I would have certainly asked for tips on how to deal with this sort of thing.”
“Tips?” Lydia roared with laughter. “Don’t you know anything about celebrity? All of them are fighting for attention - not trying to shy away from it my dear. Listen. The only advice my sister is likely to give, is to say; you should avoid wearing unflattering colours at all times and cut out carbs, where possible.”
“Give up carbs? Christine said in a flash, “in a pig’s eye!”
“Well that’s protein-rich, so I believe that one’s allowed,” Lydia swiftly returned as the pair of them chuckled into their phones.
Later in the evening Lydia and Christine would briefly reflect on this conversation with bemusement. Wondering why they chose to make each other laugh, when it would just be easier to give up and cry.
How were they going to make sense of this?
It was the question they asked themselves, as they prepared for bed, in their respective homes, under the bright night stars. Whereas baby Tobey - along with many other sleeping babies - was eagerly awaiting permission…to venture beyond them…