Finding Ade Oya under lock-and-key surveillance, Vina stares at Dede wide-eyed, with renewed, bemused respect, unsure of how he might have managed such a coup (he is not telling), although dubious of the sullen squirrel's submissiveness (taciturn, too), yet pleased as punch to have regained the upper hand.

Such a mess confronts her (once resuming the experiment she had delegated, rashly, to the 'bungler' overnight), that Vina vows to cease, henceforth, collaboration. Test tubes, flasks, and Bunsen burners litter every quarter of a workbench that extends, from end to end, for fifty meters, midst computer keyboards, monitors, several sequence sorters, microscopes, liquid oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen canisters, freeze tanks, centrifuge, slides, a host of petri dishes strewn about like king-size contact lenses, diverse instruments sharing space with slapdash spills of who-knows-what, and worst of all the scribbled scrawl that defiles her notes!

Squirrels have HORRID penmanship, is her vexed evaluation, as she tries to separate symbols from extraneous spots and smears.

"The slordig morsen," Vina mutters to herself, in sheer frustration at the seeming shambles; 'vandalized' best describes The Lab's sad state - except for one minute (and all-redeeming) detail.

Overlooked initially (lost in the paw-print-stamped graffiti), an equation puts a halt to Vina's temperamental huff, at which she gapes with a growing sense of exhilaration.

"See that he does NOT get out," she instructs the stalwart bodyguard.

Dede, having reinforced the rodent's first enclosure, has him locked inside a second one.

(Ade Oya fails to flinch, indeed persists in his unnerving impassivity.)

Eager to confirm, then to apply this long-sought breakthrough, Vina reconstructs the steps by which its elegance was derived... detecting not the slightest hint of an imperfection.

*

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