First published in 1978, Arthur Herzog's prophetic and nightmarish thriller IQ 83 raises the hard social, moral, and political questions that are only now coming to the forefront of society’s concern. While working on a cure for mental retardation a research team makes a mistake in gene splicing and unleashes an epidemic of "stupid sickness." The scientists and their families are affected first, but the virus soon spreads to the general population, causing a reduction in the national average IQ to 83. As his own IQ steadily drops, lead scientist Jim Healey races to find an antidote to the menace before his own mental deterioration is complete. The picture of a stratified society where IQ is the only important measure of a human's worth is unsettling, and the book's premise of a genetic experiment that runs amok is more relevant now than ever.

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Excerpts from IQ 83

All excerpts copyright©1978 by Arthur Herzog

Healey rose in a white elevator to the eighth floor, emerging in an immaculate hallway with no-smoking signs, smoke sensors in the ceiling and protruding shower heads to wash off acid in case of a spill. Air conditioning hummed softly in the background. He passed a maze of labs bristling with equipment and reached a door marked JAMES E. HEALEY—CHIEF OF PEDIATRIC RESEARCH. The long, narrow office had an enclosed place for his secretary, not yet in. Beyond lay a sort of reception room with a blackboard, chairs, leather couch and coffee table on which were journals like Cell, Nature and Gene, along with a brochure for Scandinavia which the Healeys hoped to visit next summer. A case housed medical books and pieces of Mayan statuary. There was a photo of Healey and his family, all smiles, taken at the country house in Connecticut. Plants crowded the windowsills. Healey’s secretary insisted that she be the only one to water them.

Behind a glass door at the rear was Healey’s private office—steel desk, chairs, filing cabinets with drawers for cards which recorded information on patients seen at the hospital during the seventy-odd years of its existence. The cards bore inscriptions like "Down’s syndrome—mongolism", "galactosemia", "Tay-Sachs disease", "Friedreich’s ataxia". Some cards were yellow with age, others freshly white, like that for isovaleric acidemia, a strange condition that caused the skin to smell as though it were rotten, or for the bizarre Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, whose youthful victims would, if unrestrained, literally eat their own flesh, nibbling and swallowing fingers, arms, shoulders, lips, with no indication of pain. New inborn errors of metabolism were being identified all the time; the writer of a textbook on the subject had complained that at the present rate of discovery, future editions of his already expensive tome would be so large as to price it out of the market.

Healey hung up his raincoat, scanned the weekend hospital report and saw nothing new. The routine blood tests for himself and his team of four showed nothing unusual either—had they, he would have heard immediately. He turned his daily calendar to Monday, March 3, and, in an old sports jacket with patches on the elbows, went back into the hall. It was just past 8 A.M.

Healey’s destination was a metabolic ward and a little girl who suffered from a rare disease.

Occurring in one out of ten thousand births, phenylketonuria (PKU) had formerly accounted for 1 percent of mental defectives, but no longer. The condition arose from a superabundance of the amino acid phenylalanine in body tissues, leading to brain starvation. The disease could be identified at birth with a blood test, required in most states, and a special diet free of phenylalanine, which existed in most foods, kept the content of the substance normal and prevented damage, so that PKU retardation was increasingly rare. But the diet—a gray liquid served from bottles—was troublesome. Nobody was sure at what age, if ever, it could be safely discontinued, and it was hard to enforce, since it meant little or no ordinary food. If parents were lax and let a PKU child eat normally, the child might begin a dreadful descent down the IQ percentiles. Cathy, who was six, had been such a case.

As Healey had learned the story, Cathy’s mother, twice divorced, had two normal children from her first marriage. (Cathy’s father must have carried the PKU strain, since the disease was inherited.) A new man entered her life and the mother began to neglect the child, failing to enforce the diet and omitting clinical visits for metabolic maintenance. In kindergarten in upstate New York where they lived, Cathy started to change from a willful, spirited child into a withdrawn one. Several times in the previous months she’d run a high temperature and refused to eat, so that her body fed off its own phenylalanine-filled tissues, literally poisoning itself. Cathy had been identified as slow in the first grade. Fortunately, the damage hadn’t been permanent. The school authorities had been responsible for bringing Cathy to the hospital, where dietary treatment and mental stimulation had worked wonders. Mel Orenstein, the psychiatrist, calculated that the girl’s IQ had risen fifteen to twenty points since admission, and it was still going up. Even with the diet, PKU children were seldom smart, but Cathy showed exceptional promise, and though the girl was a charity case and expensive for the hospital, Healey wanted her in a controlled environment as long as possible.

Healey had another reason for keeping Cathy on hand. PKU had been selected as the first inherited disease on which to try genetic surgery, because the abnormality was so well understood. The problem was a failure to convert phenylalanine into substances vital to brain operations because the genetic instructions to do so were lacking. If human DNA containing those instructions could be introduced into the chromosomes of a PKU victim, the condition would be cured. Many other inherited diseases could be treated in the same fashion, hence the importance of what Healey hoped to accomplish in the sub-basement lab.

Quite by accident, Cathy had been at K-B when the work got under way, and among the cultures employed was one from her white blood cells. If the experiment succeeded, PKU victims like her would be safe from the terrible symptoms even without a special diet; if for some reason, the team failed today, Healey would need more of Cathy’s leukocytes and fibroplasts to try once more.

 

People made a pet of Cathy Gobrin. The little girl could have paid for her stay at the hospital by selling kisses. Nobody could resist her, not even Herman Herrmann, the austere director of the Institute.

Healey, proud of her progress, looked in on her whenever he could. Arriving on the fifth floor, he stopped dutifully for a red light that meant a procession of tots was about to charge down the hall to the playroom. The light changed and Healey stepped into the convergence of various halls. The morning shift had just come on duty and the floor seethed with activity—orderlies bearing medicines, nursing assistants moving young patients, nurses in different-colored uniforms scurrying everywhere, doctors and interns in loose white coats conversing in animated clusters. Healey smiled around and stepped behind a semicircular enclosure.

Olga, the head nurse, stood there, white uniform beaded with gold insignia. To Healey she always looked like a general, and he jokingly referred to her as such. Almost as tall as he, with a square jaw and gray hair under a cap pointed like a weapon, Olga ran the floor with furious efficiency. A nurse or orderly who got instructions wrong, mixed up people’s x-rays or forgot to take a temperature soon learned of the head nurse’s intolerance of error. If the hospital had an esprit de corps, a powerful desire to avoid sloppy standards, as could all too easily be found in medical institutions, those with a strong sense of discipline, like Olga, were responsible.

"Good morning, general," Healey said as he reached for Cathy’s folder. "How’s my patient?"

"Couldn’t be better, doctor. The little cold she had on Friday is completely gone." She listened intently as a cylinder plopped from a pneumatic tube and opened it while she talked. "Dr. Wallon’s already been to see her. He just left."

"So early?" Healey said in surprise. Wallon usually came in later. He scanned Cathy’s file as Olga watched, seemingly casual but really reading the doctor’s face for possible complaints, of which he had none. Weekend care seemed perfect, with Cathy’s behavior faithfully recorded. There was no sign of the symptom Healey watched for most carefully, a return of the shy, withdrawn behavior the girl had displayed a month before, when she entered Kellogg-Bryant. "Okay," he said.

"Doctor . . . " Olga hesitated. "Don’t you think Cathy could have a little real food? She’s driving us crazy."

"Has she had any?" he asked quickly.

"What kind of floor do you think I run? No. But since she’s coming along so well . . . the synthetic diet doesn’t have everything. Sooner or later . . . "

"Not quite yet. Let’s see what happens."

A motorized cart bore down on him as he started across the hall. It stopped, tiny antenna waving. A recent innovation at the hospital, the carts were equipped with a simple device that took them unerringly to any in-house destination ordered; they halted abruptly if an obstacle appeared. Healey was skeptical as to how much time and money the vehicles saved, but the kids adored them.

The room Cathy shared with three other children was painted in bold colors. Puzzles, books, art supplies, games and music boxes covered the tables. A wall poster showed a cat on a chinning bar with the legend "Hang in there, baby!" Tropical fish swam in a bubbly tank. Recorded sounds played discreetly in the background—dogs barking, pans rattling, grown-ups talking indistinctly. Hospital life was meant to seem as normal as possible, to ease the transition home; and with classes, the playroom and the sunroof, most children spent little daytime in bed.

In a pinafore, Cathy, azure-eyed, rosy-cheeked, sat on the edge of the bed, legs dangling. "Hi, doctor! Kiss!"

He kissed her. "How’s my little friend today?"

"Fine." She frowned suddenly. "Can I go home soon? I miss my brother and sifter."

"Sister," he corrected lightly. "Not your mother?"

"Oh, her too. But she comes to see me sometimes and they can’t. Why can’t they?"

Her mother visited damn seldom, he thought, and wished there were some other place for Cathy when she quit the hospital. He said, "Too young. Kids under twelve can’t visit. It’s a crazy rule, if you ask me. Anyway, you’ll be leaving here soon. What are you reading, dear?"

Cathy glanced at the picture book in her lap. "It’s about King Arthur. He had a table with knights. One was called Lanfalot."

"Lancelot."

"Lansselot. He was in love with King Arthur’s wife, whose name I can’t speak."

"Guinevere," said Healey.

"Do you think Lancelot slept over?"

"Slept over?" he asked.

"With King Arthur’s wife," she said slyly.

"Sure he did," another kid said.

You could certainly pick up things at hospitals, Healey thought. "Well, I don’t know," he said. He hoisted Cathy and patted her behind. "Gaining weight, aren’t you?"

The girl pouted. "I wish I could have i-scream."

"Ice cream?"

"Ice cream. I want some. I want some now."

"Will you settle for anything else but ice cream?" Milk products were loaded with phenylalanine.

"Meat," said she.

"Okay. Be patient, dear. You can have a little meat soon."

"Promise?"

"Yes."

Mel Orenstein hurried into the room. In his early sixties, gray-haired, flat-faced, intense, the psychiatrist was always in a rush.

"Hello, Mel. What’s on the agenda today?" Healey put Cathy down.

"WISC. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Let’s see how smart our girl is this morning," Orenstein said rapidly. He had a stentorian voice that sounded almost mechanical.

"Real smart," Healey said.

"I don’t like tefts. They’re too hard," Cathy protested.

"Tests. Come on, Cathy, cooperate. You gave me a tough time last week." To Healey, Orenstein muttered, "She’s hell on wheels, this one. Willful as all get out. Got the makings of a first-class bitch. Sexy one at that."

"I don’t want to be dumb, do I, doctor?" Cathy asked, a little anxiously.

"No. And you’re not, either," Healey said. He watched with surprise as Orenstein opened his attaché case. "You’re testing her here?"

"Why not? It won’t take ten minutes. Kids don’t need absolute privacy for accurate testing, the newest literature shows." He took out a form and a pencil, glanced around the room and ordered, "You children be quiet, okay?" He pressed a button on his stopwatch and began, "Tell me, Cathy . . . "

"Kiss first," Cathy bribed him. Orenstein pecked her on the forehead, seeming embarrassed. "Evening is to dinner as morning is to . . . what?"

"Breakfast!" Cathy shouted. "I want some!"

"Of all the questions," Healey said, laughing.

Out in the hall he saw the director advancing with a small retinue, among them Tish Wyler, a tiny excitable young woman with a face upturned like a buttercup, who ran the Institute’s publicity staff. Herman Herrmann towered over her. A bacteriologist turned administrator, the director was a powerhouse in the medical world and famous because of his (to Healey) rather farfetched book, Genes and the Year 2000, which argued that human evolution would soon be controlled by man himself, marking his final mastery over nature and the beginning of his freedom from natural forces. Herrmann, tall, bald, gaunt, beak-nosed and wrinkled beyond his forty-eight years, was intensely busy but took the time to make personal inspection tours. No detail of the Institute’s life escaped him.

Healey watched the cortège—two assistants with notebooks and pencils who recorded the director’s every utterance as he strode along, bending, peering, poking, examining everything, while little Tish Wyler scampered to keep up. In a bass voice Herrmann was saying to her as he came within earshot, "Hospital food shouldn’t be bad, but it shouldn’t be good, either. Eating is an ego issue, maybe a superego issue. Ego must be discouraged in patients. It interferes with care. Eating is sui generis, but the menu is not . . . "

Herrmann’s eyes, protruding like searchlights had found Healey and stayed on him. "Ah, Dr. James Healey,"

"Good morning, Dr. Herman Herrmann," said Healey, who was amused by the director’s name.

"This is der Tag downstairs, isn’t it?"

"Yes, I guess we’ll know something today, Herman," Healey said casually.

"We’re all terribly excited," exclaimed Tish Wyler. "The press release is written, and it’ll make headlines!"

"I believe Dr. Healey’s work will make headlines, not the press release," Herrmann rebuked Tish Wyler, who glanced at her note pad uncertainly.

"Better keep the release in the drawer for a while, Tish. You never know about these things until the returns are in," Healey said.

Cathy appeared in her doorway, saying to Herrmann, "Hi, doctor. Kiss!"

Herrmann muttered, as he bent to her, "The little tart."

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While Healey was above, Dr. Adelein Wallon entered the sub-basement holding a plastic coffee cup he was forbidden to bring into the containment facility. Upstairs, Wallon had tried to be his ordinarily ebullient self, but he did not feel well and stared morosely at the flaming-orange symbol by the door. Words beneath it said:

BIOHAZARD
ADMITTANCE TO AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY
IDENTITY: RECOMBINANT DNA RESEARCH
RESPONSIBLE INVESTIGATOR: JAMES E. HEALEY, M.D.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CALL:
DAYTIME PHONE 555-1042 HOME PHONE 555-7966
AUTHORIZATION FOR ENTRANCE MUST BE OBTAINED
FROM THE RESPONSIBLE INVESTIGATOR NAMED ABOVE.

They overdid the biohazard stuff, Wallon thought, lighting a cigarette. They, to him, meant the Americans, even though the virologist had been in the United States twenty-five years, was a naturalized citizen and spoke perfect English, so that he was more American than Belgian now. The DNA experiments seemed to arouse an unconscious, almost tribal fear of biological intermixing. Was that in some fashion related to how they still felt about the race question, to their deep fright that assimilation of the black gene pool by the white would destroy Caucasian capability? What nonsense! So was their constant concern about health. Never had there been a people so health conscious as they, a nation of hypochondriacs. Look at the safety features required for the sub-basement, like mechanical pipettes and glove boxes. The micro-organisms used in the experiment were not even remotely pathogenic—even if they could escape their double-walled laboratory prison, which they could not. The precautions were far too elaborate; with less stringent ones the work could have been completed last week, as he had urged. That damned Healey!

Wallon fumbled for his lab key. Where was it? Had he left it home? He couldn’t remember. He had to stop drinking, he warned himself stormily, scouring his pockets. Look what booze had cost him already: three wives, then a succession of girlfriends, not that any could carry on a decent conversation.

Wallon’s problem, he knew, was a tendency to become morose, despite his outward bonhomie, and so he drank, which didn’t help his sinuses any more than did cigarettes. Recently, because of headaches, Wallon had prescribed cortisone for himself to reduce inflammation. A fool of a patient had himself for a physician, Wallon thought; he wasn’t at all sure how well steroids and whiskey mixed. Badly, to judge by last night’s performance. He had been in a poker game with fellow doctors and was so far ahead—You cheat a little with your quick fingers, don’t you, Ad? he asked himself, ashamed, and nodded—that he’d permitted himself a drink and then another and another. Toward the end he played stupidly, and in the last hand, knowing (oh God!) that he should have folded, he tried to bluff and lost everything. At home, as solace, he drank more, slept, woke before dawn and took a pill against nausea which kept him awake for the rest of the night. And now the missing key, minor in itself but worrisome, like a signal.

He found it at last, cuddled in his watch pocket, opened the door and entered the facility through the air lock. The quarters were cramped even though the lab had been built to accommodate only a small team—how the Americans loved to save money! As he’d hoped, five clean uniforms lay folded on the bench in the changing room, for Wallon—childishly, he knew—felt that being first to work might somehow restore his fallen virtue.

Undressing, Wallon wondered how he would comport himself if Linda Summer burst in. The girl . . . woman—he could never decide what to call her; she was a first-rate woman bacteriologist, but she was also young, mid-twenties, he supposed, so "girl" seemed right—was extremely pretty, and perhaps displaying his lust would affect her. But he doubted it. None of his other blandishments had received the slightest encouragement. In any case, shy Summer always knocked. How ironic, Wallon’s mind went on, that for all its expensive safeguards, the facility had only one changing room. Nobody seemed to have considered that female scientists might work there too. When Linda put on or took off her uniform, she hid behind the shower curtain.

Wallon pulled white trousers over thick legs and thrust heavy arms into a jacket that buttoned in back. They even worried about the contamination of buttons! Covers went over his sizable shoes and a white cap on his large head. He was about to leave when he remembered that he still wore his contact lenses, forbidden in the containment area because micro-organisms might lodge behind them. Crap! Wallon retrieved eyeglasses from his locker and left the contacts there.

The atmospheric pressure in the changing room, and in the animal chamber next door, read—-0.1² W.G., -0.2² in the corridor past the second lock and -0.3² in the central lab area, so that all air flowed inward until it was exhausted through a series of extremely fine filters and an incineration system. When Wallon entered the third air lock the slightest breath of air went with him. The forty-four-foot square lab was a world of its own. Walls coated with layers of plastic presented a completely smooth white surface, as did the ceramic-tile floor covered with invisible plastic. Equipment crowded the oppressively low-ceilinged chamber—stainless-steel cabinets and worktables loaded with paraphernalia, glove boxes, sinks (liquids leaving the lab were boiled), centrifuges. Surrounding rooms could be seen through windows: one contained the Phillips electron microscope, others had racks where cultures were grown. A steel door opened to a conveyor belt on which glass and metal containers were sent to the outside "kitchen" to be cleaned, having passed through an autoclave, or sterilizer.

Over the weekend Wallon had propagated a quantity of Simian Virus 40, still another DNA combination. The lambda virus had provided shelter for the normal DNA, from the placenta, but to deliver it to human tissues a stronger, bolder virus was needed, meaning a cancer virus, as Simian Virus 40 was. Years before, through a gross error, the early Salk polio vaccine, which had been prepared in monkey cells, was found to contain SV 40, one of almost fifty monkey viruses. SV 40 could cause cancer in monkeys and there was fear of what it could do in people. The vaccine was recalled, but 30 percent of the population had already gotten polio shots and had SV 40 antibodies in their systems. Although they harbored the virus, none had contracted cancer as a result, according to extensive follow-ups. Alarmed scientists had also given SV 40 in massive doses to convict volunteers, who developed nothing more serious than benign tumors at the injection sites. Even so, Wallon’s SV 40 had been purposely attenuated as a further safeguard. In itself, the monkey virus could cause no harm.

Wallon had spliced the lambda-human DNA from the blue-plaque test tube to the SV40, producing a new virus, and wanted to see how well it had grown. Wearing elbow-length rubber gloves, he removed sealed petri dishes from the incubator. As he carried the dishes, Wallon experienced a shudder of nausea and stood still for a moment until the spasm passed. He placed the dishes inside a laminar-flow hood and pressed a switch. The hum meant that an air screen had been created; it would prevent organisms from escaping the cabinet through the long, narrow aperture intended for human hands.

The virologist’s next step was a clear infraction of the regulations for a top-level physical-containment facility, which decreed that manipulation of certain classes of micro-organism, within which the new virus clearly fell, had to be conducted in a glove box, a sealed container with rubber gloves attached inside. Instead, Wallon removed the lids from the petri dishes in the laminar-flow hood, where he added a dye, careful, however, not to touch the culture with his gloved hands. He replaced the lids and brought the dishes across the room to a Zeiss high-resolution light microscope.

Again, he was breaking the rules. Wallon should have sealed the dishes with clear plastic before using the microscope. But the plastic slips made microscopy less effective, because the objective, or lower end of the instrument, would be farther away from the culture. A meticulous scientist in his own fashion, Wallon put an uncovered petri dish beneath the objective.

He could not see the virus—the far more powerful Phillips EM would be required for that—but he could extrapolate its presence from the condition of the monkey cells it grew in. Most cells looked healthy, but some had died, meaning the virus lived. As he turned delicate dials of the scope for still better resolution, the image blurred; he had permitted the objective to touch the culture.

Even then he was in no danger of contamination; the lens could be wiped with a tissue, as Wallon did, the tissue disposed of in a bag for autoclaving. But nausea chose that moment to attack again. His stomach contracted and his clammy brow exuded sweat. Unthinkingly, he patted his forehead with the tissue, a corner of which passed before his nose.

Though Wallon was oblivious to the contact, his psyche must have pressed a button like the one on the wall for signaling an accident. This time, in a glove box, he carefully covered the next batch of dishes with clear plastic covers before bringing them to the microscope.

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Healey had just sat down at his desk, when he heard, inside his head, a hollow pop! A voice muttered, Fine, but, fine but, but, but, but . . .

She has pimples on her but I love her.
She has pimples on her butt/I love her.

The voice repeated faster and faster, becoming a chorus that sang tonelessly. She has pimples on her but I love her. Shehaspimplesonherbutt/I love her. Shehaspimplesonher-butIloveher. ShehaspimplesonherbuttIloveher. She has . . . He shrieked silently, Stop! Stop!

Healey was much shaken by the new outburst—or inburst, as he thought of it. That "but-butt" business had been a joke when he was in the third or fourth grade. Why had it returned? What was wrong with his noggin? Had he broken some vital vessel when he fell against the luggage rack? Perhaps blood was dripping into his brainpan. Fatalities resulted from such invisible injuries. That stupid son-of-a-bitch with the triangular face had caused all this . . . Cease, he commanded. He sounded like Coral.

Badly needing distraction, Healey glanced at The New York Times on the corner of his desk but instead plucked from his out box the hospital newsletter titled People in White, published on weekdays by Tish Wyler’s publicity people. The four-page bulletin reported on events at Kellogg-Bryant—marriages, divorces, transfers, leavings, retirements, awards, donations, social functions and so on—and had the usual editorial tidbits, including a self-quiz which always had a "Tillie Green" section for the young patients. "Tillie Green hates red, but she loves ." The right answer had to contain two repeated letters, as in Tillie Green. Yellow, Healey supplied. "Tillie Green hates horses, but she loves . "What? Why can’t I . . . Mmmmmm. Fillies."

Next came a harder question.

Helen’s daughter is my daughter’s mother. What is my relationship to Helen?

(a) Her grandmother
(b) Her mother
(c) Her daughter
(d) Her granddaughter
(e) I am Helen

That’s easy, Healey thought. Why, it’s . . . His mind began to rock. It’s . . . Now, let’s see, Helen’s daughter is . . . He knew the answer and yet failed to grasp it. Helen’s daughter is my daughter’s mother. Meaning . . . He took a yellow pad and wrote on it, needlessly, since the words were all in the question: "Helen’s daughter is my daughter’s mother." Obviously, that made Helen . . . Who, for Christ’s sake he asked himself urgently. Helen’s daughter is my daughter’s mother. Lord! He couldn’t spend all day on this. If only the voices in the back of his mind would shut up and let him think. He wrote: "If Helen’s daughter is my daughter’s mother, then . . . "

Helen . . .

Her daughter . . .

I am . . .

I am Helen! Sure! He turned hungrily to the answer on the last page.

(c) Her daughter

I see it, he thought. The daughter of Helen has got to be me because I am my daughter’s mother. How simple, and yet he’d failed, outfoxed by a ridiculous riddle. What’s the matter with you, Healey?

He was pondering a visit to Mel Orenstein, the psychiatrist, for an examination of his head, when he realized that Coral Blanchard stood over him. "Dr. Healey?"

"Yes?"

"I’ve been calling you. Didn’t you hear?"

"I was thinking about something."

"I admire your powers of concentration." Coral hesitated, looking contrite. "I forgot to tell you. Dr. Herrmann called."

Healey pulled himself together and asked, "When?"

"A couple of hours ago."

"Thanks," Healey said heavily. Coral put concern about a pimple ahead of the director. She has pimples on her . . . Stop!

His secretary answered the phone, and Herrmann came on the line at once. "Jim? Herrmann." How absurd, Healey thought. He knows it’s me and I know it’s him, yet he recites our names. "Jim? Are you there?"

"Yes, Herrmann.

"You sound distracted. Are you all right?"

"I’m fine." Fine but. She has . . .

"Seen the paper today?"

"I haven’t had time," he lied.

"The antirecombinant DNA bunch is still around, apparently. I told you about them, didn’t I? They’re called the Coalition for a New Public Health, whatever that means. I stylize myself as believing in the ‘new’, but public health is hardly new. Anyway, they think the work is dangerous. They plan to protest DNA experiments in this area. They know about yours."

"Why wouldn’t they?" The plans for the experiment had been routinely published by NIH in the Federal Register and even in the hospital newsletter. "Who’s in the group?"

"The usual Nervous Nellie scientists and impressionable kids. I doubt if there could be many of them, but even so we don’t want a demonstration. Our benefactors wouldn’t like that. Tish Wyler’s quite concerned. What state is your experiment in?"

"My bunch is in the lab now making cultures."

"When do you plan to finish?"

"I want to move a little slower this time to avoid another mistake. We’re scheduled to finish next week."

Herrmann moaned, "That’s not what I had in mind. I’ll have to make a statement before long—public anxiety about recombination still exists. I’d like to be able to say that the work is done. If you’ve got a success—how can you miss?—it’ll be too important to bitch about. Could you possibly wrap up this week?"

"We can try," Healey said reluctantly. M’m! M’m! BAD IDEA.

"Keep me posted. I’ll be flying in and out for the next few days." Herrmann was so busy that he used a helicopter that landed on the roof.