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Lethal Discoveries. By Erica Pensini
Science thriller

Genre/Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
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Lethal Discoveries. By Erica Pensini
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After walking out of a disturbing past, Iris plays with science at in a state-of-the-art lab. Iris is innocent but her games are not, and when she comes up with a discovery worth millions of dollars the chessboard turns into a dangerous ground where no one is worth trusting.

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It was 7 p.m. and the only people around were Brad and I.

I was ready to leave too, half frozen as I was. It was steaming hot outside but I couldn’t tell. Winter or summer, the thermostat kept the temperature at a constant of 23 °C in the perfect cosmos of FoodTech labs, the ultimate generation facilities for engineered food.

My goal there was to find a way to foam pudding. Use half the amount of ingredients, find a way to boost the volume and you’ve got it all: pudding cheap for the consumer and profitable for the industry. For the last three months I had been trying to synthesize a polymer that could do the trick when added to the pudding. Inexpensive pudding for happy people, this is what I was after.

Ok, not exactly. I didn’t care about the pudding, the people or the food industry. I just wanted to find the polymer for the sake of it, because it was a challenge, a game if you will. There was no ethics and no real life involved as far as I was concerned: it was just about me, my polymer and my air-conditioned, mint white, neon lit world. You find this squalid? I was hired to make cheap pudding because money is what makes the world go round. I never set these rules, so I chose to forget them. Someone wanted cheap pudding, I wanted the fun of making it for them. You’d call this a win-win deal. Wouldn’t you?

Today I had finished producing a new batch of polymer. The jars with the different puddings were nice and ready in the rack waiting for a small dose of my polymer.

“Still not ready to go?”, I heard at my back.

That was Brad. Our homes were 5 minutes away one from the other and we carpooled almost every day.

“I want to try this new stuff on the pudding”, I said without turning, “Just stay here, will you?”

He came around me, lifted the bottle containing my polymer and looked at it against the light. “Ehm, nervous?”, he asked with a smile, “I failed again today. No luck at all lately”.

Brad and I were running for the same elusive goal. “Well, what about we give this a try”, I said, starting to inject the polymer in the pudding.

“Why not”, Brad laughed, “What else should we do on a Friday night?”

Nothing else but try our luck once more, I suppose. And fail, of course.

“Ah, here we go again”, I sighted.

Brad and I looked at each other.

He shrugged, “Come on, it’s Friday night. Who cares about this crap anyways?”

We both did, and a lot too. But Brad was right, it was time to let go. When the automated doors opened to the outside world a wall of thick moist air wrapped around us, starting to warp the disappointments of the day.

“Brad?”, I said, stopping in front of his car

“Yes?”, he replied, eyebrows slightly arched and hand on the door handle.

“Can we have dinner somewhere? It would be too depressing to go straight home”.

We ate and drank to our failure, and by the time I got home the polymer seemed a bit less important.