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Crack fic ahoy! Be forewarmed this jumps way, way, way ahead in the Pandë!verse. It's far from complete, full of nits, subject to revision, and it will a) open up a can of worms and b) leave folks guessing. I'm so bad.

By way of background, and I have sort of hinted at it in Trinity, the Valar don’t want to allow certain penitents to wander around their “paradise” in freedom, so they find a loophole of sorts that will allow them to live free lives, but the price of that freedom is mortality.

If you've read Trinity, you'll know who Professor Rosen is. As for "Caleb Dotawin"? I'm still undecided on whether that will be the last word for that surname but it's sort of phonetic from dóiteáin, Gaelic for "of fire". Caleb doesn't translate to anything like "Silver Fist" though.

I owe a debt of gratitude to [livejournal.com profile] jael_beruthiel and her Not Fade Away 'verse which reinforced my crazy ambition that I had at the very beginning of writing my fan fic to take the story arc all the way to contemporary times.

Thanks to the intrepid mollusk-hunters of the Bad Clam for comments and for indulging me.

The rumbling conversation in the auditorium attenuated to rustling silence when Professor Augustus Franklin stepped to the podium and began his introduction of the next speaker for the plenary session. Sam, flanked by Rajeev and Xiao, shifted nervously in the creaking plastic seat, while Franklin spoke:

“It is my pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker: Saunders Rosen. Dr. Rosen holds the M. Bauglir Chair of Nanotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today he returns to his former stomping grounds here in the Bay Area. Saunders matriculated with his bachelors degree in bioengineering with a minor in modern languages from Union College before he headed west where he received his doctorate from Cal-Berkeley in biophysics and mechanical engineering under the combined guidance of Professors Thomas Yajima and Oleg Volkov. Knowing Tom and Oleg as I do, I can assure you that surviving graduate school was no mean feat on Saunders’ part.”

The audience collectively chuckled at Frankin’s dry remark. Sam saw his graduate advisor, sitting in the front row, shake his head, apparently bemused. Franklin continued through the litany of Professor Rosen’s accomplishments before he at last rattled off the glib title of the seminar: “Crossing the Blood-Brain Barrier: Lessons from Hannibal”.

The round of polite applause disguised the intense rivalry that churned among the prominent researchers in the audience, but Professor Rosen stepped to the podium with his characteristic confidence. Franklin clipped the tiny microphone to the lapel of Rosen’s tweed sports jacket. Sam watched his advisor’s eyes sweep across the audience, no doubt looking to see just where his competitors sat. Rosen then ran his hand over his black hair, tied back in a neat ponytail which highlighted the patches of silver at his temples.

Sam recognized this as a nervous gesture, and rightly so. The work that Rosen would present had been guarded fiercely from both rival academics and commercial interests, and today, this ground-breaking research would be revealed. Dr. Rosen, over a few beers at the Miracle of Science the previous week, had confessed to Sam and the other students and post-docs that how their work would be received caused him a little concern, so Sam knew he had at least some trepidation. However, once Rosen flicked on the laser pointer and ran the glowing red dot of light over the first Powerpoint slide, any trace of uncertainty disappeared.

Although the seminar comprised the collection of Rosen’s grad students’ and post-docs’ research, Sam swelled with pride to see so much of his own work distilled on the slides. Even the little video clip he had made of the nanobot models prying open pores in the brain’s wall made him proud, and the addition of the over-the-top soundtrack – Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” – made the audience laugh and caused Rosen to make a quip about his grad student’s grandiose sense of humor, not to mention his sense of self.

Rosen arrived at the pivotal results, and there was no laughter then, but instead stunned silence for the remaining twenty minutes of the seminar. After speaking to the conclusion, the straightforward bullet points belying the profound impact this technology would have on medicine, Rosen wrapped up by acknowledging the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health for funding, his longtime collaborator and Sam’s undergraduate mentor, Caleb Dotawin at Cal Tech, and his own lab group at MIT, including him, Sam Alfson on the very top line of the list.

Then audience erupted with questions. Franklin’s post-docs practically ran up and down the aisles to hand off microphones to Rosen’s peers, who by turns were enthused or blatantly envious. Rosen and Jerrod Michals, who headed the arch rival lab group at Stanford, sparred heatedly, but by virtue of solid data coupled with incisive words, Rosen maintained the upper hand.

Franklin called a halt to the question and answer session when it extended well past its fifteen minute allotment. Sam watched his advisor swagger down the steps of the dais while the audience clapped thunderously and then rose almost as one to leave the auditorium for the afternoon coffee break.

Several academics surrounded Rosen, some shaking his hand in congratulations and others jabbing and slicing the air with pointed questions. He extracted himself and had only taken a few steps down the aisle when two men, both clad in impeccably tailored dark suits and subdued blue ties, stopped him. Only one spoke to him, and it was a quiet conversation, for Sam’s advisor leaned close to listen to what the other said. The man in the then handed Dr. Rosen a white business card which he pocketed.

Sam was ready to turn and leave the auditorium with Rajeev and Xiao when his advisor caught his eye and gestured for them to wait.

“Forget the coffee, lads. I need a drink!" Professor Rosen glanced over his shoulder to where the men in the tailored suits had stood, but they were gone. "The VC sharks are circling.”

"VC?" asked Rajeev while Xiao rolled his eyes. Sam suppressed a grin at the irony. Leave it to his friend from the People's Republic of China to know what "VC" stood for.

"Venture capital," replied Professor Rosen, leading them through the throngs around the cloth-covered tables laden with pastries, fruit and coffee urns. "They smell blood. They are not getting mine."

But Sam recognized the calculated lift of his advisor's brow and the glint in his eye.

Date: 2010-05-02 07:50 pm (UTC)
ext_403546: (Cartoon Moringotto)
From: [identity profile] nelyo-russandol.livejournal.com
Now for the key question... what dark power sponsored the "M. Bauglir Chair of Nanotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology"?

Look forward to more...

Date: 2010-05-02 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Heh. That naughty instigator, [livejournal.com profile] lilith_lessfair, made the suggestion for the name of the mysterious fellow who provided the endowment for the chair. It's buried somewhere in comments to one of the fics here on OiE.

Thanks so much for reading! I have a persistent idea for a fic within the same part of the story arc: Sam takes a date to a big Christmas party hosted by Saunders which will include a few of Saunders' in-laws as well as his parents. :^D Sam and the date, while wandering around the big old Victorian mansard house, discover something mysterious in Professor Rosen's office in the turret of the house.
Edited Date: 2010-05-03 12:00 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-03 07:57 am (UTC)
ext_403546: (Default)
From: [identity profile] nelyo-russandol.livejournal.com
Ohhh, you are a tease. Hope to see it soon!

Date: 2010-05-03 09:20 am (UTC)
ext_403546: (Default)
From: [identity profile] nelyo-russandol.livejournal.com
Forgot to mention, Victorian house turret made me smile - Smells of the Shadow Over Innsmouth, Miscatonic and the rest of that lot...

Date: 2010-05-03 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ithilwen.livejournal.com
What a demented mix of Tolkienalia and academia! :D

Date: 2010-05-04 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
This might just turn into an unholy Michael Crichton-Tolkien crossover! I also might be drawing from the tales of all the fabled battles in those rarified academic circles in Cambridge MA.

Date: 2010-05-04 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ithilwen.livejournal.com
Now you're really scaring me! :D

Date: 2010-05-03 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surgicalsteel.livejournal.com
Oooo! *claps like a seal* I want to see more of this!

Date: 2010-05-04 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ost-in-edhil.livejournal.com
Oh, you will, you will!

Damn. At this rate, I'm going to be writing this stuff when I'm 70.
Edited Date: 2010-05-04 01:44 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-11 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
Saunders Rosen indeed! I'm very intrigued that you placed him in the modern world. Great to see Caleb and Sam as well. Now where is the uber-cool Dr. Mel?

Date: 2010-05-14 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pandemonium-213.livejournal.com
Heh. Be assured she's around. :^)

Thanks for dropping by and reading, whitewave! You're missed!

Date: 2010-05-17 01:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whitewave16.livejournal.com
Oh gosh...her appearance is something to look forward to. I miss you guys as well...I'll be back in circulation by July. ;-)


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