by Audrey T. Carroll
The following records, detailed by Dr. Minerva Lindberg (2083-2117), have been released to be kept on file with the Southern Institute of Sciences and Mathematics, as per the request of Vector Laboratory Services [ADDRESS REDACTED], Brighton, England. Vector Laboratory Services wishes to note that the following is declassified only because the privacy of the involved parties has recently become non-factor. (Please refer to National Crime Agency records 177.69-201.42 for further details.) Vector Laboratory Services hopes for this to serve the purposes of instruction in proper equipment use and decorum in the professional environment (in particular in reaction to the vote to renovate policies in the genetic industry sciences), as well as context for the regulative codes and policies enacted in 2118.
22 June 2117
To trace any abnormalities, my supervisors have requested clear and meticulous documentation of the new employee at Vector Laboratory Services. Gregor Strom (Employee #R0008136C) has been hired in the wake of Employee #R0008136B's departure, though for a different position. Unlike Employee #R0008136B, Strom's specialization is in data compilation and analysis. Adminstrators Tan and Reid showed me the markers on Strom's preliminary psychological exams, which are all in normal ranges though his scores on objectivity and autonomy push the boundaries of that range. He is a mere twenty-four years old, the age I was upon entering my third degree program. I advised Administrators Tan and Reid against his hire, as Strom only holds two degrees and no field experience, but they have not heeded my caution.
When I met Strom, he nodded and asked to be shown his workspace. Strom is tall, fair haired, and possibly Scandinavian in background though he bears no foreign accent. He is, in general, taciturn, though he seemed eager to understand our procedures and daily activities. Strom watches all of my work with great concentration. When I debriefed Administrator Tan, he claimed that Strom shook hands with both administrators.
It is unclear at this time if Strom is uncomfortable with my authority or if there is some other reasoning behind his difference in behavior.
29 June 2117
Strom has accomplished a day's worth of tasks within a mere five hours on each day of his employment thus far. Administrator Reid cross-checked the data inputted on the systematic spreadsheets. Each naturally occurring in-utero genetic marker was accounted for in each of the incubated subjects contained in Hall C. I personally administered the removal of diseases Strom identified. The fetuses are currently clear of all naturally born diseases. On 1 July we will apply the equalizers to the incubated subjects. Pending successful democratization, they will be returned to the care of their owners.
Strom mentioned that his sister has already had her two children. I asked which diseases these children were assigned. It only occurred to me, in Strom's hesitation, that this question might have made him uncomfortable. However, as his observer and as a scientist, questions are valuable to me. I must admit, too, that Strom intrigues me. He is highly unusual: A strong work ethic, but many questions of his own, about every area of Vector Laboratory Services.
Finally, Strom did answer me regarding his sister's children: His sister and her husband were concerned until the children were seventeen months and two weeks old, respectively, and only manifested anaphylaxis in the one and nevus flammeus in the other. It was, in my seven years as an employee, my first consideration of our services after our genetic work is done.
1 July 2117
We applied the equalizer pathogens to the zygote nuclei with full success.
Strom asked how I liked my job. I told him that I enjoyed helping, but sometimes I wish I had the job of the tour guides, who are able to work with students and show them our facilities every day. Sometimes I regret how little social interaction my position entails, especially with young people. Strom did not react to my answer one way or another, other than to make a noise in the back of his throat and nod, rapt attention on his face. I don't know that I understand the objective of his question.
13 July 2117
Strom asked if I would like to spend time with him socially. We've agreed to attend Montag aus Licht next Monday. Strom seems companionable and willing to build Vector Laboratory Services through teamwork and collaboration. I wonder if our daily interactions have made Strom less socially anxious.
Strom shook Administrators Tan and Reid's hands the first day, but he has not asked them to social activities. I am uncertain about the disparity, and may advise Administrators Tan and Reid to replace Employee #R0008136B, as such conclusions are outside of my field of study (and I have not researched the cognitive in near a decade).
20 July 2117
21 July 2117
Today Gregor helped me administer Chiari malformations, psoriasis, and hydrocephalus. He recorded the random assignment to ensure even distribution as I took care of injecting the specimen.
28 July 2117
Gregor asked me, at the end of the day, if I felt as though we were playing God. I told him that this was the very reason that the Genetic Equalization Law had an ethical sub-code re: blind assignment. With numbers attached to the specimen rather than names, we ensure that no discrimination of any kind comes into play. We are not deciding; statistics and probability are deciding. I further explained that conditions were better this way—those who wish to pursue offspring risk a single malady that has a possibility of significant impact. I relayed my university readings into the history of children, some born with several conditions that were all severe and that interacted in a way that was much more difficult to treat. Clearly, that is the less fair existence.
Gregor asked, then, why we assign maladies at all. I paused, only because I have never been asked such a thing by a colleague before. It is a question that children ask on the tours. And so I gave Gregor the same answers that Mr. Chau gives to those children: Population control. Survival of the fittest. We do not wish for our bodies to fall susceptible to worse diseases because of unwillingness to deal with the devils we know (Note: Mr. Chau's allusion, not mine).
Gregor seemed, by his creased brow, troubled by this answer, but he did not push the issue further. I asked if he was angry with me, and he said that of course he wasn't. Then, he pulled me into an embrace.
We have refrained from first name basis in the office, unless everyone else has left for the day. We do not wish to make anyone else uncomfortable.
7 August 2117
Gregor is attending his niece Imogen's fourth birthday party today. I inquired if Imogen is his sister's child with the anaphylaxis or the nevus flammeus. Gregor seemed caught off-guard by the question, then said anaphylaxis. I asked if he would like me to attend this party with him, since we have been seeing each other outside of work for almost three weeks now. He said that I would not enjoy it, that the screaming children would irritate me.
So I have decided to cross-check our paperwork for the quarter thus far in his absence, as I have no other social engagements. I think I have made an error in the distribution calculations, or else I am unable to properly decipher Gregor's notes. My mind has also been wandering to imagine Gregor at the party, playing some children's game with his little niece (which I add only as a means to demonstrate my own possible misstep in this matter), and I think of what he would be like, as a father to one of his own. I think genetic equalization frightens him, if I'm honest.
I will re-calculate the distribution issue on Monday. Perhaps Administrator Reid will have some further insight on the matter.
14 August 2117
To make up for the previous weekend, Greg has asked me to a full day of whatever my heart so desires. I requested brunch and then La maîtresse du Surveillant at the cinema. I received a call from Administrator Reid halfway through the movie, and he requested my presence at the laboratory at once. He added that I was to come in alone. I apologized to Greg for needing to cut our special day short.
When I arrived, Administrator Tan showed me the data spreadsheets that Greg had been laying out. The data was clear: Greg had ordered no disease worse than allergies for any of the specimen he and I had worked with. His charts were unevenly distributed. No child had been assigned any kind of cancer or developmental disorder or anything of the sort in the near two months that Greg had been working with us. All such maladies we had stored at the facility from second quarter were absent as well (unaccounted for as of the writing of this record entry).
16 August 2117
When Administrators Tan and Reid called Greg to their office, he did not deny his hand in the matter. They demanded he clean out his workspace and leave the premises in the next hour. I came into his office, laid a hand on his shoulder as a small comfort and asked if there was anything I could do. Greg had a box of his possessions all packed. Three picture frames sat on top. Two of the frames were face down; the third, face-up, showed a little girl in a wheelchair.
I wanted to ask if she was Imogen, but Greg claimed he wanted to be alone. I could understand the shame of losing his position with Vector Laboratory Services, even if I could not comprehend the reasoning behind the shameful act, so I did as he asked.
17 August 2117
The National Crime Agency was called in so that the Administrators could surrender all appropriate evidence against Greg. The pair of men who came into Hall C were unnerving. As I was retrieving syringes from one of our storage closets (Note: Check inventory in Hall C for mislaid syringes), I overheard them speaking about an investigation into biochemical terrorism. I wonder if Greg knew that this sort of investigation is underway. I imagine these records may be taken in as evidence.
Administrators Tan and Reid have told me they admire my professionalism in reporting the discrepancy, but that new rules must be put into place to prevent this from happening with a less satisfactory outcome, including more explicit forbidding of social engagements of any kind between employees.
18 August 2117
Administrator Reid is home ill today. Administrator Tan is also not feeling optimal. If a virus is affecting the staff, we may need to shut down the lab tomorrow to recover and isolate the cause. One of the risks of the pathogens we handle on a daily basis is exposure, and we need to make sure that no samples contaminated us or our workspace. Administrator Tan says he trusts me to find the root cause of this issue.
Greg emailed me and asked if I would spend the night with him. He said that he was not coping with the loss of his job.
It is the first time he has asked me to his place.
20 September 2117
From Dr. Minerva Lindberg's Deposition to the National Crime Agency
Taken one week following her awakening from a medically-induced coma, in anticipation of herimminent rapid loss of cognitive and motor function.
They say I almost didn't survive to the hospital.
I told Administrator Tan I'd be with Gregor (Sorry, Strom. Should I say Strom?) that night. Administrator Tan seemed, uh, concerned about the situation, but since Gregor no longer worked for Vector Labs they couldn't keep me from doing as I pleased. When I arrived, Greg—Strom—he had music playing, from the opera we saw together. It was so romantic. He handed me a glass of wine the moment my bag left my hand. Then...
[PATIENT NO. 31478 REQUIRED A MOMENT TO COMPOSE HERSELF]
The last thing I remember is taking a sip. When I woke, Strom was holding a syringe. I didn't see what'd been in it, and only noticed the needle mark on my arm. [NCA note: Patient No. 31478 was injected with at least six strains of pathogens, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, hydrocephalus, and a rapid mutation resulting in hexosaminidase A deficiency.] Strom said... Strom said this was only fair, that me and Tan and Reid... We should only be given the same gift that we ourselves had given. He, um... He said something, about what he called a moment of clarity, of knowing what he had to do at a party, what his path must be, something about... I remember something about Imogen. Is that... Does that sound useful to you? [NCA note: Cross-check data, 07/08/2117] And I... I woke up in the hospital after that.
Perhaps if you look over my notes? Tan and Reid had me keep notes on Gregor Strom. They may bring the variable to light.