Chapter Two

Henry was sitting on the couch in the living room, and staring at the stolen pill and the contents of the test kit. Synaptic Interface had sounded awesome when it was just a theory, but is was slowly becoming a nightmare to implement. Every new product had its share of problems, but nothing as intense or as messy as SIP. His team believed they had solved every problem, and has built a product that consumers would want to use.

Henry wondered now if that was really true. If he wanted to demonstrate the new interface technology, then he was the logical choice for the third round of testing. Yet, as he thought seriously about the process he would undergo in order to make it work, along with some of the precautions that had been taken by legal and the guys from the lab, his faith in his own product was dissolving quickly.

The plan had been to take the pill, activate the nanoprobes, and then interface with the transmitter. With any luck, he would be able to walk into the room with the ability to control any digital device he chose. Anything less than lucky, and he would end up unconscious on the floor of his living room.

As a precaution, he had asked his girlfriend, Amber, to come over. She only knew bits and pieces about what he was working on at Nova Beans--but he had told her way more than he should have. She knew that this project was extremely important to him.

He reread the instructions that had been included inside the kit. He had no idea the amount of preparation the testers were being asked to take before taking the pill. Inside the kit there was a specimen jar, a suppository, an adult diaper. Most of it was for preparing to take the pill, but the diaper was for “during” and, according to the instructions, “just a precaution.” He knew that Amber would never agree to help him if she knew how big of a risk it was, so he needed to be ready before she arrived.

He didn’t have to like it, but one way or another he was going to eat his own dog food. 
As he walked to the bathroom, he just hoped that he lived long enough to make it to that 3 p.m. meeting.

Search Results:  Amber Givens, pill

iChat Transcript

 

Henry: Did u get my voicemail message?

Amber: Yes, I listened to it before I left work. What’s wrong? Did something happen at work?

Henry: I need to give a demo for my project. It could mean my job if it isn’t ready. I need your help.

Amber: Isn’t that the pill that you said was turning people to vegetables?

Henry: Yes. And No.

Amber: ???

Henry: Easier if you came over. Just let yourself in.

Amber: ??? Okay

End Search Results

 

“Hello? Henry?” Amber peeked through the door to Henry’s apartment, then waited a few minutes. When Henry didn’t answer, she opened it all of the way and set her red leather purse on the coffee table at the end of the couch. As she closed the door, she wondered again about her hair. Henry’s voicemail asking her to come to his apartment had surprised her, so she didn’t have any time to redo her hair. She had stayed after school to correct some papers.

Amber ran her hands through her long blond hair, gathered it together, and then tied it into a ponytail with a stretchy band.

“Henry?” She called again.

Almost in reply, she heard the toilet flush, and after a few minutes the bathroom door opened up. Henry emerged, then paused at the doorway. He was clutching his abdomen and looked really tired.

“Henry? Are you okay?” She said, stepping towards him.

“Water, I just need some water.” They walked together to the kitchen. Amber sat down while Henry filled a glass with water.

“What’s going on?” Amber asked.

“I just spent the last hour and a half in the bathroom,” Henry said between gulps.

“Something you ate?”

“No.” Henry paused. He had hoped to avoid discussing the intricacies of the procedure he was undergoing, but that was in his mind and before Amber was actually in the apartment, watching him and looking so concerned. Suddenly, it seemed mean to be less than honest with her. “I took a laxative. It, um..made me nauseous.” At this point, he wasn’t sure if that was just one of the side effects, or if it had been planned that way. He made a note to talk to Simon about it when he saw him next.

“I don’t understand, why would you do that?”

Henry sighted. “My manager messaged me today. He and Rogers want to see the Synaptic Interface in action, and we’re fresh out of people to help with the demonstration.”

“You mean the test subjects,” Amber said. Although it helped that she was up to speed, Henry was beginning to regret telling her so much about the project’s failures. “You said that the pill didn’t work, that there were too many bugs.”

“That was before today. If I don’t deliver, then my whole team looks bad. I don’t want to be responsible if people start losing jobs.”

“Did you tell your manager that it’s not working?”

“Yeah, he’s known for weeks. I reminded him today.”

“And he’s still telling Rogers to move forward with it?” Amber asked.

“Yes, well, Rogers doesn’t give anybody much of a chance to explain. And Frank doesn’t know how to say ‘no.’ He doesn’t have much of a spine.”

Henry grabbed the pill from the kitchen counter, fished the testing kit and its contents out of the trash, then set them on the table. “I needed to move ahead with round 3 of the trials. That means following the procedures and activating the nanoprobes. Nobody else gets hurt, and hopefully we keep our jobs.”

“Okay. I have to say that this is the craziest, most stupidest thing I have ever heard. But, I can see you made up your mind, so what did you call me over for?”

Henry slid a laptop over to where she was sitting, and flipped up the lid. On the screen there was what looked like a control panel. “After I take the pill, I want you to wait fifteen minutes and then click this button,” he said, pointing towards a button labeled “engage nanoprobes.”

He walked back over to the sink to refill his cup with water. When he turned around, Amber was standing in front of him. “I don’t want you to do this,” she said. Tears were starting to well in her eyes. “If something goes wrong...”

“Nothing’s going to go wrong. These nanoprobes are different than the ones before.” Henry tried hard to keep his voice steady as he said it.

“But they haven’t been tested on a human?”

Henry didn’t answer. “Look,” Amber said. “I totally understand the position you’re in. It sucks. But a job is just a job. Your life is more important than any project. Even your bosses would agree with that.”

“Yes, but they won’t understand why the technology doesn’t work. They want it, like, yesterday. And, I’m not prepared to tell them that it’s not ready, unless I know for sure.” Amber’s hand clutched the cup Henry was carrying and lifted it out of his hand. She set it down on the countertop.

She leaned in close to him, and gave him a long kiss on the lips. For a moment, time stopped, then Amber sniffed and pulled away. “I don’t want to lose you,” she admitted. “I guess I’m afraid that even if it does work, you’ll change. Maybe I’m just selfish.”

“No, you’re not...I don’t want to lose you either. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did something that I knew would make you mad at me or worse. But, my job is also a big part of my life, too. I can’t imagine working anywhere else, or doing anything else.”

Amber let out a long sigh. “Just click the button?” Henry smiled as he realized that she was going to help him.

“Yes, and then monitor my vitals. That’s it. I wish there was another way.” Henry carried the glass of water to the kitchen and sat down. They both stared at the nanoprobe pill which was sitting on the table. He was about to scoop up the pill and take it, when there was a knock at the door.

“Who could that be?” Henry said, feeling a little irritated. He looked at Amber. “Give me a second. I’ll check, and make them go away.”

“Okay,” she said.

As soon as Henry had left the kitchen, she picked up the pill and the glass. She put the pill in her mouth, then gulped water and swallowed. Before she knew it, the room began to spin. Then, it went dark.

The End

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