Ivan studied the boy’s grainy photo on the screen. It was a typical unflattering employee photo in front of a green-gray backdrop. The kid was squinting and unsmiling, not looking directly at the camera.
“It’s weird to think about,” said Ivan. “He’s going to be part of some great scientific achievement, and he doesn’t even know it.”
“Remind me again,” said Mr. Wesley. “Who’s this kid?”
Ivan suppressed a sigh.
“The anomalies are present in his DNA, much more than any other employee we tested. They were there for Mona and some others, but not like this.”
Ivan fought the urge to roll his eyes. As much as he hadn’t liked Mona, she’d at least been a real scientist. Now, he had to deal with some clueless executive asking too many questions and pretending he knew what was going on.
It almost made Ivan miss Mona. Almost.
“It means we’ve found our blueprint. We’ve found the missing piece to make the serum work.”
Mr. Wesley frowned, rubbing his moustache.
Why are you frowning, you idiot? This is good news!
“Are we sure he’s viable? We should be running tests before we jump to conclusions.”
“I’ve already run the tests,” said Ivan. “And his viability was never in question. If he has the anomalies, we can use him.”
“It’s important to cover all our bases,” said Mr. Wesley.
“They’re covered,” said Ivan. “See?”
Ivan pointed to the part of the kid’s profile showing the positive result. Mr. Wesley looked at the screen, his expression blank.
“Ah, I see it now. The green ‘positive’. That means he’s viable?”
What is this ‘viable’ thing he keeps talking about? Did he hear that word on a medical show and just run with it or something?
“No, it–” Ivan paused. “Sure. It means he’s viable.”
Mr. Wesley nodded, seemingly satisfied for a moment. Then he frowned again.
Oh, my God. What now?
“This number right here, 15.”
“What about it?”
“This means he’s only 15% viable.” Mr. Wesley phrased it as a statement, not a question.
“No,” said Ivan. “That number isn’t a percent. It’s generated by an algorithm that–“
“We need to be more than 15% sure. We can do much better than 15%.”
“Like I said before, that number isn’t a percentage of viability. It’s a measure of how strongly the anomalies are present in his DNA. The previous record for that number was 2.”
Mr. Wesley frowned again, pretending to look thoughtful.
“I’m telling you. This is it,” said Ivan. “We’re not going to find someone better. Samuel Alexander is our missing link.”