Michael Kingston had never been invited out to Quince's house before. It wasn't a large house, but being well out of the city, it had a fair-sized field which contained several expensive horses. Apart from his company, they were the only thing Quince showed any real interest in.
It had taken Michael over an hour and a half to get there. He hoped he wouldn't be delayed here long by whatever Quince wanted. He had hit a brick wall in his research of the DNA-altering virus. He had been working on it for nearly two weeks now, and he still couldn't see any way to reverse the process without a great deal of danger to the subject. Nearly every day, Paul would journey to his lab to see if any progress had been made. Paul could never quite hide his disappointment when Michael told him he hadn't made the breakthrough that day.
As Michael expected, Quince was watching his horses. He turned as Michael approached. "There you are, Doctor. I need you to do a little job for me."
"Of course, Mr Quince." Michael wondered what it was this time. Quince said he was as interested as Michael in unlocking all the secrets of the virus. However, Quince had made Michael produce 'samples' of the virus based on over twenty different people, most of whom Michael hadn't even met. Quince, or his lackey, Simonds, would bring a sample of blood and tell him to produce a virus based on it.
He knew better than to question Quince, but he had a feeling that however bad the situation was, before Paul arrived, it had gotten worse.
"These are top breeding stock. It's taken me years to get horses this good. Now, this virus of yours will work on any animal?"
"Yes. As long as the as the subject and the design that the virus is carrying is of the same mass I see no problem. You want me to produce a virus based on these horses, don't you?"
Quince smiled. "Yes. I know you don't like me or what I do for a living, but in a few weeks I plan to move on. If you want to leave then, that's fine by me."
Michael didn't believe Quince for a second. It had taken a few weeks to discover what really went on at Quince Biochemicals, after Michael had started working there. Under the cover of the company, Quince had been distributing stolen drugs and chemicals around the country. Quince avoided illegal drugs like cocaine, and concentrated on controlled, but legal, substances. When Michael had made the mistake of confronting Quince, he had been threatened. Quince had said that if he tried to involve the police he would be in very great danger.
Since then, Quince had been reasonably civil, but Michael knew not to cross him. The chance to finally get away from him seemed too good to be true, and it probably was. "I'm working flat out, but the chances of me being able to find a cure in that time are fairly low."
Quince nodded, still watching the horses. "Just do your best, Doctor." He climbed through the fence, "I'll help you get the samples you need."
Michael followed Quince. He still couldn't see any way out of the predicament he had been stuck in for the last few years. He had been a fool to tell Quince about the virus, but he had been too excited to think straight at the time.
Quince calmed the horses while Michael struggled to extract some blood samples from them. They had the greatest difficulty in calming the young horse, which couldn't have been more than a few months old. After he had got enough blood from them, Quince sent him back to the lab to produce the samples.
When he finally got back to the lab, it was fairly easy to produce the three horse-based viruses. After delivering them to Simonds, Michael decided to call it a day and headed home. In his pocket he had four vials.
He didn't really know why he had taken them from the lab. But he would spend most of the night thinking about the vials and their contents.