6
 


TWO DOZEN YEARS EARLIER
AKA
THE PAST

"Do you have any idea what you’ve jeopardized—beyond your graduating ever from this hallowed institution? Our primary source of funding, thanks to you, is now seriously at risk. This university has multiple contracts with the Federal Government. This department is heavily dependent on US grants. With stem cell research limited as it is by the current administration, any lapse in protocol could spell doom for several of our undertakings... Wipe that smirk from your face, young man, or in addition to your suspension, I’ll have you jailed! Larceny is a crime, punishable by imprisonment. Those blastocysts you stole—have been stealing for months—belong to MIT. And don’t tell me we were throwing them away so you merely were recycling. Potentially, those were viable human beings, destruction and disposal of whom were to follow strict guidelines—which you, evidently, ignored and, by said ignorance profited. How much were you paid per innocent life? I see here, in your record, you have a full scholarship. In fact, you’re drawing an intern’s salary at Brigham And Women’s Hospital. Greed, then, was your motive? I wish that were the case, because, frankly, I suspect something far more nefarious—given what I’ve been told about your atheistic attitude, given what I have read in your proposed dissertation. Let me quote:

Although a recently published breakthrough in South Korea has given fresh impetus to the trend toward tailoring gene therapies, the manufacture of cells and tissues on a case-by-case basis will never be a commercially viable enterprise. The future of bioengineering is in universal donors.

How mercenary of you. Or should I say, how patriotic? Cashing in on science is the American way. Of more concern than your avid capitalism, however, is this little gem of Third-Reich reasoning. Again I quote:

If Mankind has to wait for Evolution to make improvements, ours will be a species more endangered than those we deem expendable. Man, to save himself, must become his own Creator.

Presumptuousness, thy name is Stuyvesant Fink..."

... who sits in the Dean’s office without comment, advised by a fellow student to ride out the squall quietly, to resist, no matter the provocation, excuses in self-defense; better to declare contest; better to beg for mercy with taciturn humility than to instigate expulsion, or prosecution—advice that Stuyvesant Fink, at least on the surface, sees fit to follow.

"Since when is Playing God on our PhD curriculum? Reproductive Cloning—your underlying purpose—strays beyond the bounds of what our Board considers ethical, as opposed to moral; ours is not a policy founded on State-sponsored piety; my own invocation of Deity was meant to be metaphorical."

Faltering slightly, sensing some subliminal disadvantage, the Dean detects defiance, no doubt recalcitrance in Mr. Fink's demeanour, the student's subtext, in lieu of humiliation, smacking of misplaced pride.

"Most distressing of all are rumours about your off-campus laboratory—equipped, it is conjectured, through ill-gotten gains, and bent on lines of inquiry patently disreputable. If hearsay is confirmed, your ouster is guaranteed."

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