A/N: It's been a long time since I worked on anything! But I reread this the other day an inspiration on where to take it hit me. So I thought I'd give it another try. It may take me some time, since I'm now the mother of two twin newborns, but I'll do my best. I like the idea I came up with, so the story may appear to go in a slightly different direction than I originally intended. I should be able to make everything I already wrote work nicely thought. Enjoy!
General Cutter sat behind his large brown desk, flipping through the pages of yet another report that had landed on his desk. His scientists were thorough, detailed, and too smart for their own good. He stifled a yawn as he set down one report detailing the progress of an experiment on a new performance-enhancing drug and picked up one on the numerous effects of a new biological weapon on rats.
Cutter was one of the leading officials of Cherious Medical, the top pharmaceutical and research company on Mars. He was dressed in a crisp, clean-cut military uniform; his numerous medals of honor and status adorning the left side of his jacket. His dark, nearly black hair was buzz-cut and his square jaw was clean-shaven. The aura surrounding him was no-nonsense, and Cutter expected that every mission, every project, every assignment proceed exactly as planned. He did not tolerate mistakes. He did not accept failure. His drive for success had propelled him up the ladder at Cherious, and despite his young age of forty-two, he was at the top of the company.
His office was picture perfect. The bookshelf on the left was so organized that the volumes were in alphabetical order. His files were put away in their places, pictures on the wall were straight, and his desk was devoid of anything except the two files he was reading, a computer, a telephone, and a paperweight award he'd received a few years back. Cutter was a man of perfect organization.
Across the way a visitor's chair sat on the other side of his desk. A leather couch adorned the right wall, and a small conference table and some chairs sat in the left corner of his rather spacious office. A small window overlooking Cherious property allowed sunlight to light his office as the sun rose in the mornings.
He looked up at the sound of his phone buzzing. The sound indicated the call was from his secretary. He tapped the speaker button and spoke, "Yes?"
"Dr. Myers is here for your one o'clock appointment," she stated. She had a high pitched voice that some might find annoying. Cutter had gotten used to it over the years she had been his secretary, but for a few words that seemed to hit a nerve.
"Send him in," Cutter replied, before pressing the off button.
The door to his office cracked open and Dr. Myers slipped in. He was a short man with disheveled hair and thick glasses. He wore a white lab coat over his clothing and the collar of his striped shirt could be seen poking out the top of the lab coat. Despite the formal dress code, Myers was wearing a pair of worn tennis shoes. Cutter held back a smirk. Myers had no sense of fashion and because he was one of the smartest men Cherious employed, he could get away with wearing very nearly anything he wanted.
As Myers approached, Cutter set down the report he was reading and stood to shake the man's hand. "I hope you're bringing me good news this time," he said.
Myers took the outstretched hand, shook it, and then took a seat in the chair across from Cutter. "Oh yes. The project is progressing very well. We have begun memory trigger in the subject and it appears to be successful."
"Appears to be?" Cutter questioned. "Appears to be is not acceptable, Dr. Myers."
"Yes, Yes, I know. The data is still being analyzed, but we have confirmation that she visited her old home only a few days ago. We do not yet know the extent of the return and if it matches what we have programmed, but we will know soon. I will prepare a full report at that time."
"And the next steps in the program?"
Myers cleared his throat. "The mind is fragile, General. My team does not wish to rush the subject. Any small miscalculation could cause the experiment to fail. After four years of work, it would be shame to compromise the integrity of the subject now in order to push the results faster. I hope you understand that my team is looking to perform successfully not quickly." Myers reached up and pushed his glasses up his nose. Cutter could tell that the man was uncomfortable at the confrontation. No doubt he had been receiving criticism from the board at the lack of results for such a long project. Cutter too had been slapped on the hand a few times, but the board was not willing to cut either loose, and neither had received little more than a few harsh words. Even so, Cutter did not want to be the subject of the board's scrutiny.
"I understand that Dr. Myers, but some progress must be made. If the board begins to feel this project is a waste of their money and resources, they will cut the funding," Cutter maintained.
"If they were going to cut the funding, General, they would have. It's been four years since the first subject was awakened. The board knows this project could revolutionize what Cherious can do. The board knows with successful results we will be able to go where no other company has gone before. They are not willing to shutdown the project just because it is taking some time. You know that as well as I do." Myers's face was turning Red. Cutter knew the man was passionate about his project. Myers spent hours of overtime in the lab working. He'd never seen the man so fired up before.
"You may very well be right, Doctor, but as your superior, I expect to see some progress." His position was weak, and he suspected Myers knew that. The General didn't like feeling weak. He clenched his fists and took a deep breath. "Perhaps you need more resources to speed up the implementation?"
"I need more subjects," Myers replied, "I am not willing to risk the main project, but tests can be performed on side subjects with little to lose. Test subjects are only good for a few weeks before we've burnt them out. That last one your men brought in was too weak. She cracked within a few days. I've told them before we need stronger subjects, ones who have survived catastrophe and lived."
"Provide me with detailed criteria and I will set my men on a search for possible matches. I don't care how many you go through and how often they crack. We will provide what you need." Cutter retorted, feeling as though Myers was insulting his ability to properly direct his men.
Myers stood, "I'd like to get back to the lab and develop the next protocol. I believe we are ready to release the final subject from the crash. I will fax you the details before we go."
"Very well," Cutter nodded. "When you are ready, I will send a team to take her to her starting location."
Cutter watched as Myers headed for the door, slipping out as silently as he slipped in.