Having watched Marin depart has not had any effect on Colin Jameson who remains stood in the exact same position as he had been during the final moments of their interaction.

Where previously his mind had been on the shocking demand by his employer it now is fixated on how he is going to break the news to Mady.

Without a doubt he is already in her bad books, Marin most know that the bastard, and he wants Colin to add to the issue by telling her she cannot accompany him to the next meeting in three weeks?

If it were possible his shoulders would sink lower but alas it is not and so the greying scientist is left gazing into the middle distance wondering what he did wrong in a previous life to deserve all of this. It must’ve been something bad for everything he does seems to result in him limping from one problem to another until things falls apart around him. Like his marriage to Antonio, or that condo he bought shortly before he was ejected from the scientific community and branded a hack.

Sighing, Colin wonders when he’ll get a break from the tragedies. In his eyes he is long overdue and yet still waiting.

If he believed in a higher power, he does not as a born and bred atheist, he would question his faith, demand an answer, something. Instead, he can force the questions onto no invisible deity and that leaves him questioning the idea of reincarnation without being convinced that such a notion actually exists. After all, he has seen nothing to convince him otherwise, bar mountains of pseudo-science that can, with a few internet searches, be entirely debunked.

Can the same be done with my work? For the first time in… maybe ever, Colin is beginning to question his life’s work. Not that he’s spent his life pursuing it. In truth he came to his field of expertise later than most.

Internet searches do proclaim age regression is impossible but that isn’t exactly true. It’s implausible, and they are not the same thing. They might be when conveying a scientific principle to the general public, seeing as in such articles the words appear to be used interchangeably for reasons entirely unknown.

But what about the problem of… I don’t know. That is his honest answer. His only answer truthfully when it comes to having to tell Mady of their employers newest demand. Cunning bastard, Colin thinks with a slow shake of his bowed head as he questions why he ever took this job. The money! You needed it! It’s true but not in the way you might think. You see the money Marin promised was for the project, something Colin Jameson had tried to setup on his own only to quickly learn just how little he knew about budgets, expenditure, etc. And because of money, chiefly the troubles it brings when you lack it, he was forced to go in search of investment or risk winding up with nothing, not even dust.

It had struck him as funny that his own colleagues in the scientific community dubbed him a crackpot while corporations were willing to dole out cash for his research to continue. Yet, for all their monetary contributions none wanted to carry the load on their own. That forced Colin to keep seeking funding, which he secured time and time again.

These successes invigorated and then emboldened him. That was until Marin Alexander Wren came walking through his door. This was long before the wheelchair, which happened only five or six months ago, when he’d still been a remarkably agile and nimble hundred and nine years old.

How he’d come to hear of the age regression project, no it doesn’t have a more saleable name that than, Colin has never been able to discern. Though, Marin had made it immediately apparent that he had interest and scepticism in equal measures. That had dented Colin’s bravado, put him on the back foot and made him blind to the offer that was laid at his feet. That offer was four hundred million dollars to be provided over fifteen years. Colin had almost toppled over when he’d heard the figure. It was far more than any of the previous investors had put in totalled together and it was guaranteed.

As you might expect there were a litany of terms, provisos, caveats, rules and stipulations. It took months to shift through them until they hit a sticking point; the current project would need to be terminated in favour of Marin Alexander Wren’s. The companies currently backing could continue to do so, if they wished, but the premises and additional staff would be picked by the major funding partner, Marin. For the other backers this was no issue. For Colin Jameson it was the only issue. He refused point-blank, categorically, to accept such a draconian demand. That was until the other investors made it clear that if Marin pulled out they would to. If that happened Colin could run the project for a couple weeks, at most. Then he’d have been bankrupt with creditors to pay and no funds to offer. So, backed into a corner, and seeing no other choice, he agreed.

Days later contracts were signed, sealed and the project relocated to an airfield Marin had bought the same day Colin had started shopping for investors. The scientist had believed, when he’d learned that, it was a coincidence. It hadn’t been. Marin had heard of Colin Jameson’s research and planned to invest. But, like everything with Marin, he waited until the time and conditions best suited him. In this case, the point at which Colin had got just enough investors the project could continue, and knowing that if he offered a substantial injection in addition to the already, comparatively, meagre sums would trigger a desire in the original backers to keep him sweet no matter the terms he offered.

That was the day Colin Jameson learned exactly how cunning and manipulative his current employer is, and now he’s threatening to boot him from his own project. If Colin were a violent man with the skills he’d go after the multi-trillionaire, but he is not and that is the sort of thing that only happens in fiction anyway.

So what am I going to do? Work. It’s all I, we, can do. Push toward a breakthrough, a development; one that will satiate the bloodlust of Marin Alexander Wren. But what size breakthrough is that? I don’t’ know. Then how can I… Stop! I need to think. Isn’t that what you’ve been doing this whole time? That isn’t what I meant. You know it, so stop making matters… You’re going to fail!

Anger having suddenly boiled up inside him sees Colin clench his fists, turns and… I have an idea!

Impossible! Is the reply that he ignores and forgets about as he explodes into a sprint toward the labs filled with elation, hope.

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