Science Is Hate / 19 April 1996
I had that tired-out awake feeling that coffee gives me. My body felt flushed with angry, draining energy. I had trouble focusing on the charts, the numbers blurring together, and that was the most disturbing part. I could always count on the numbers (ha ha). They were simple, defined, unchanging, reliable. After a while they were my only friends. They weren’t angry about me sleeping on a cot here in the lab, in fact they appreciated it. But now they were steadily becoming one sketchy highway line, meaningless and, more dangerously, indefinable.
Then Marie, who I had not had an affair with, dropped the envelope on my table. This was Envelope No. 355. Nothing made it stand out from its predecessors except the number. Of course. I considered leaving it for morning, but every time of day looked the same in here, sealed off, lit by fluorons, this sterility killing me just as surely as anything else.
And why was it again that I was letting my life slip away from me?
Numbers had to be kept in order, that was the rule. This was a battle of nanometers, and miscalculations meant death. So I lingered in precision, making the numbers as crisp and sharp as possible. Therein lied the solution, I thought. It was all just a matter of putting the numbers together correctly, it was a long, horrific, complex jungle of equations that would funnel neatly into Q.E.D. That’s what science is all about. My assistants duly agreed.
Nothing worked, years dragged by, more people were dead, the ice around me grew thicker. Then I lost my temper and that was the beginning of the end. That was when I let it all get thrown together in the most jumbled way possible.
To solve this problem, we needed a series of hastily stitched-together tricks. We had to fool the human body, which was sometimes easy, sometimes not. We had to introduce just the tiniest, but perfect, combination of narcotics, minerals, organisms, translucents, bioxydols, macrophages, dysplasms, protokytes, dialytics, air, water, fire, earth. It had to be an ideal sphere of purity, but inside, I knew, had to be chaos. It had to be fueled by chance. It had to make the virus keep its eyes on the hands while the cards did something else, or vice versa.
It would tear itself apart trying to figure out the trick even before the body knew what trick it was playing. You see the kinds of iffy situations I had to deal with?
So it wasn’t until I put a little of that hate inside that it worked. It scrambled all of the careful formulas and number sets and scatter diagrams, and only then did it resemble the final solution, the ordered, controllable madness that it had to be.
It was called TTLS-43, it came in Envelope No. 355, and it killed HIV. It made the virus eat itself, that’s how slippery it was. That was the answer. We had to make the virus’ hunger outweigh its self-preservation and that took molecular and chemical sleight of hand.
The results spelled it out clearly, the clearest thing I’d ever seen, this smudged, xeroxed, faxed piece of nothing. X=X. Test tube no. 642-A contained the virus at 14:33 on 12/1 and didn’t as of 7:59 on 12/2. It was a single case, only that one time, only 642-A, but I immediately knew that was the one. It went against every single credo I’d been taught, but so did the virus, and so did the piece of hate I put in the tube.
I’m going to be in every history book ever written from now on. I’m a genius.