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–   C H A P T E R    I  –

Ben stood on his carpeted office floor, dripping in his dive suit, his chest heaving and leg muscles cramping badly. But his mind was working fluidly.

It was a relief to find his workspace unoccupied. As dangerous as it had been to return, Ben simply couldn’t leave things where they lay.

He had worked alone through the holiday weekend, feverishly setting flasks of nutrient broth inoculated with strains of genetically altered bacteria on an orbital mixer and watching three timers. He’d had no choice but to keep the manufacturing process moving at a frantic pace. Time was of the essence.

After growing the genetically altered bacteria, he had used the sonicator to break them up and then put the solution in the centrifuge to separate out the constituent protein of interest. He’d planned on completing the project by the wee hours of Monday morning, then leaving Sanker forever. The entire time he’d worked as if someone’s life depended on it – in this case, it was his own.


On the wood bench in front of him lay priceless tubes of organic molecules; all of which had never previously been manufactured except by Ben. In fact the last part of the process was using a new gene that promised to be even more effective. Nothing on earth existed like these particular organics, and in the future men would study them with the devotion of acolytes.

An hour earlier Ben had been working on the last phase when the Sunday morning quiet had been pierced by the sound of a horn that sounded similar to the dive signal on a World War II submarine. It meant the lab’s saltwater system was in some jeopardy. In minutes Ben had concluded the problem was in the octopus pen, and he’d left his work to don scuba gear and fix the malfunctioning pump. Just as Frick had planned.

Fortunately, as far as Ben could tell, Frick’s people hadn’t tampered with his lab. Perhaps they were waiting for confirmation of his “accident” and the death certificate before exercising the Foundation’s legal right to take possession of all Ben Anderson’s research, materials, and lab work.

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