[Edge1.1.12] Double Crossed – Dave Bailey

[Edge1.1.12] Double Crossed

Now, Art was confused. That put a whole new slant on things. Johnny didn’t seem as devastated as a husband should when he discovered his wife was dead.

“As for who was after him last night, it may have been a ploy to kidnap you. And things got out of hand.”

“Huh?” Art asked with a confused look on his face.

“C’mon, Art. Don’t play coy with me. You know we already know about your project. Why are you surprised that we know you’re leading the team. Everyone wants to discover what you know and how it works.”

“But what would Johnny get from kidnapping me?” he asked.

Tony laughed out loud. It was an ironic laugh that made Art feel miffed. It was as if Tony was expressing disbelief at Art’s naivety.

“To blame it on us, Art. They were gonna torture it out of you. If that didn’t work, Johnny would have swept in to ‘save’ you to earn your trust and turn you against us.”

“Are you kidding me?” Art asked in disbelief.

“I don’t have any proof,” Tony said. “But that’s just what my gut tells me. And my instincts are usually pretty accurate.”

“That’s messed up,” Art said and whistled in shock. “It’s almost harder to believe your version than Johnny’s version.”

“What do you think it is everyone wants Art?” Tony asked. “Why do you think it is that everyone wants what you are creating?”

“Oh, sneaky!” Art said. “You’re trying to play good cop bad cop on me and get me to think you’re on my side so I’ll spill the beans. I see what you’re trying to do. I can read right through you.”

Tony slapped his palm in his face and shook his head. “C’mon, Art. Do you think you would be here if we didn’t already know what you were doing? You’re splicing DNA into living organisms. I want you to understand why this is so important. I’m asking you a rhetorical question because I want you to think for yourself. I want you to see the bigger picture. I’m trying to help you stop thinking so small.”

“So small?” Art asked. “We’ve developed a way to splice DNA from one species to another via nanobots. Specifically between crops like corn and mango trees. That way we can grow crops on a perennial basis. That way farmers don’t have to go out planting crops every year. They just go out when it’s time to harvest the corn. And if they irrigate, they could harvest three times a year from the same tree for a long, long time. We want to end world hunger.”

“And why do you think we want this technology?” Tony prompted.

“Because you want to get the upper hand on the companies that produce the current GMO seed market and make a killing off it.” Art said smugly.

Tony shook his head. Art looked confused.

“Well, then I suppose you want to put the greedy GMO companies out of business like we do. We want to put the power back in the hands of the people. But that doesn’t make sense, because you’re a greedy, money-guzzling organization that’s only out to make a profit for your investors.”

Tony laughed out loud. “Oh, my goodness, Art. You are so cold. You’re right, we do want to make a profit, but we’re not out to put anyone else out of business.”

“So, then you want to patent the technology so no one else can use it and the GMO seed companies continue to make a profit doing things the old way. You know that never works. The market will adapt once they know what we have.” Art was speaking loudly over Tony’s laugh.

Tony kept shaking his head and wiping away tears from his eye. “Oh, that was good Art. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an honest, refreshing talk like this. Most people just tell me what I want to hear.”

Art shrugged. “So, why don’t you fire them all and hire better people.”

“Seriously, Art. You gotta stop smoking the socialist agenda. Not everything is about money. You talk like I’m a greedy, heartless jerk who fires people for the slightest thing. I genuinely care for the people that work for me. They’re like family to me. That’s what’s important to me. It’s one of our core values here. We empower people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps as high as they wanna go.”

“So, why are they afraid to tell you the truth.” Art asked.

“It’s human nature. And seriously, after hearing about your breakthrough, I thought you would be a lot smarter about other things too. I guess being a genius isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or else you just got lucky.”

“Hey, that sounded like you were trying to butter me while insulting me in the same sentence. Calling me a genius, but stupid.”

“Relax, Art. Not trying to offend.” Tony said. “I just want to break you out of this little box that you frame your reference around. I want you to see the bigger picture here. So, I’m gonna come right out and tell you point blank that we don’t want your technology to grow crops. We can already splice DNA across species and reproduce them through cloning processes. Think a little bit deeper. What makes your project different from everything else out there?”

Art’s eyes lit up. “Oh! Because we can splice the DNA into a living organism. We can release the nanobots and splice the DNA into a full-grown mango tree so that it produces corn the next time around.”

“Bravo! Tapé, tapé!” Tony cheered in his best fake accent as he clapped slowly.

“Wow!” Art gasped. “I didn’t even realize it. Pedro never acted like it was a very big deal.”

“Well, just so you know, Pedro is already shopping your project around in the European market. He’s got a bidding war going on right now. That’s why we brought you here to negotiate directly with you.”

Dave Bailey

Dave Bailey started writing short stories when he lived in Brazil to help his students learn English. Now, he lives in Florida again where he continues to write fun and inspiring sci-fi and fantasy fiction stories. You can read his weekly short stories here on his blog. Make sure to join his advanced reading crew so you know when new stories become available >>> https://davebailey.me/go/crew