I could hear the inner workings of the DVD player as the laser was reading the mirrored surface of the disc looking for the initial starting point. Once again Michael and Michele were checking connections on their equipment, paying particular attention to the "headphones."
"While you are watching 'us' getting all the electronics calibrated and the cameras synchronized, I'll try to explain further what we had accomplished to that point in time," Michael interjected. "Two weeks prior to this recording we were ready to submit our findings to the New England Journal of Medicine. When we approached the head of our department, Professor Jordan, he told us that before we could publish he'd have to first check with "Mr. X" for approval.
With one eye watching the screen I said, "Mr. X? I assume he is your mysterious benefactor?"
He sighed deeply before his reply, "Yes. By that time we'd realized our benefactor was more hands on than your typical garden variety entrepreneur." He must have realized what my response might have been, "I know, I know that he had a vested interest in our research. After all he was signing the checks, the last we'd heard, to the tune of thirty-five million dollars."
I whistled and said, "Thirty-five million?" I traced a finger across my throat and waited for him to pause the machine. "Tell me, Michael, in your estimation just what exactly would the long range results of your research be? I mean, by that point in time," I pointed at the still images on the television screen, "what practical use could it have, say, in the field of medicine, or in any other field for that matter?"
He sat up and with an aura of confidence and replied, "Picture if you will, a patient visiting a doctor and complaining of some pain or discomfort. The patient doesn't know what is wrong and he is not even sure where the discomfort is centered. He only knows he is in pain."
"Wait a minute," I interrupted. "If I hit my thumb with a hammer while trying to hang a picture, I would damn well know where the pain is."
"Well in your scenario it would be obvious wouldn't it? Suppose his discomfort was the result of sciatica? He could be feeling pain in the entire length of his leg, or in his back, his arms or his neck, but in fact the source would be from a sciatic nerve somewhere else in the body." He noted that I was following his logic and continued, "The patient might not know what the source of pain is, but his brain does! We have been able to "read," for a lack of better word, the electric synaptic charges being fired from the point of pain and the signal sent back to his brain - within our own brains."
"Whew!" I exclaimed. "Instant diagnoses before any unnecessary exploratory and invasive surgeries! Impressive." I turned my attention back to the large screen and as if on cue he restarted the film.
There had to be more. What potential could this research have that would warrant so much cash being fed into it? As yet, I failed to see its potential for military use, or even for covert operations.
Suddenly the image on the screen caught my undivided attention. Michelle had removed her lab coat to reveal her incredible body, incredibly nude. Behind her my host was removing his clothing. I sat up straight and tried to make myself comfortable as the "steamy stuff" was about to begin.
I noticed that the couple seemed to be somewhat uncomfortable. Perhaps it was because they were being taped, or that they were being modest in the presence of the other.
Unprompted Michael offered an explanation, "Prior to that evening, Ben, we had not been intimately involved. Our relationship had been strictly professional. We were seeing the other naked for the first time."
I felt admiration for their resolve. Having never before that moment seen the other naked, they were about to engage in sexual intercourse in front of a camera for the sole purpose of their research. I had to admit to myself that I was not comfortable watching the tape in the presence of another male. If he felt the same way, it was not apparent.
In unison the man and the woman picked up the "headphones" and placed them upon the head of the other. This action brought into contact their bodies as well as certain parts of their bodies. She, having to tiptoe to place the device on his head, backed away for a moment after her breasts grazed his chest. He smiled and bent slightly to make her task easier.
They turned their attention to an array of electronic equipment on a bench behind where they were standing. After flipping several switches and adjusting the settings on a prominent pair of dials, they faced each other. In turn they confirmed that there were three blinking lights on their head pieces, one at the front center and one each situated above their temples.
I was watching the screen intently as he bent his head in a slight downward angle, an obvious attempt to view and to admire her naked breasts. It was a demure act when she started to raise an arm to cover her breasts. Her reaction however, was less than demure when her open palm met resistance when it came in contact with the underside of his hardening flesh.
Her hand stayed put and she looked up into his eyes. He bent his head until their lips met. Her lips parted and she hungrily accepted his tongue. She could feel the heat of his firmness in her hand, both pressed hard against her stomach. Then abruptly they pushed themselves away.
"Did you sense ... feel that?" he asked his eyes wide.
"Oh God, yes!" She exclaimed. "Did we ... were we...?" Her words trailed off.
I turned my attention from the screen and saw that Michael was looking at me also. He was smiling and his eyebrows were raised in anticipation of my question.
"They ... you and her felt more than ... uh ... emotion in the other? I don't quite know how to put it into words ..."
He replied, "Yes. As you will see, neither did we at the time."
On the screen the excited pair had moved to a nearby cot. He lie down on his back, his aroused state apparent. She climbed onto the cot and crawled on her knees until she was straddling him.
He placed his hands behind his head and looked up at her poised above him. "If what we thought was happening a few minutes is going to happen again ... this is going to be ... incredible!"
She giggled and said, "You know, it's strange but I don't know if I'm more excited about the results of our experiments ... or the sex."
He laughed and exclaimed, "If that's true ... What are you waiting for?"
There was a sudden look of alarm on her face. She whispered, "I heard something. Didn't you hear it?"
He listened for a moment and cursed under his breath, "Damn! It's the door. Someone's at the god damned door!"
She managed to make light of the moment and said, "You think that's bad? Look!" She pointed down at him. The interruption had, so to speak, left him deflated. He covered himself with his hands and motioned for her to climb off him.
They hurriedly began to throw on some clothing in order to appear decent when they buzzed in their visitor who unknowingly had such bad timing. He glanced at her and joked, "You ordered a pizza, didn't you?"
When the door opened, an upset Professor Jordan strolled inside carrying a piece of paper. They did not like the look etched upon his face as he approached them. They looked at each other, they feared it was the moment they'd been dreading.
"Sorry to interrupt, kids. Our unknown benefactor has issued this directive," he stated waving the paper before them. "He wants a complete report by Monday morning at 8 am. Your report should detail where your research has taken you, including any tests and procedures that take place before that day and time."
Michael sighed, "That's all? It's a wonder we get to run our tests at all with all the progress reports he continues to request." He grew silent as he looked into the Professor's eyes. "That is not all, is it?"
The elder man shook his head, "No, I'm afraid not. At such time he has your report in hand, your work will be done. He is shutting the project down. It will then be relocated to an undisclosed research facility under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. Neither the two of you nor I will be a part of the selected team, or be invited to act as consultants on the further continuation and development of the work."
"Development?" Michelle said, an incredulous look in her eyes. "We don't have a product that can developed."
The professor held up a hand and said, "There's a post script to the memo. Anything and everything associated with your research including tapes, photographs and files will remain in this lab. It is all now property of the U.S. government. Lastly, we are not to discuss the work that took place here with anyone. Failure to heed this directive can and will result in prosecution to the fullest extent of the law of the land."
The remote in Michael's hand shut down the DVD player. I looked at him and said, "Law of the land? ... Hmmm ... Not just 'to the fullest extent of the law,' but 'to the fullest extent of the law of the land!' Mr. Black, we are in deep shit!"
(To be continued in part 6, Monday 12/15, While the Cat's Away.)