Landing Page: Science!

Why haven’t mad scientists taken over the world? Either they already have, and we just don’t notice, or they’re too dysfunctional to take over much of anything.

This setting posits a little bit of both.

Best place to start
Engineered (LJ)
The stories run in more or less chronological order.

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The Trouble With Assignments….

After The Trouble With Chickens… and The Trouble With Theories…, without which this story won’t make much sense. 


The Lost Buildings encompassed what had once been the pride of the University.  They were tall and glorious, stately, and done in the Pecerin style of architecture that nobody seemed to be able to imitate anymore.

(Personally, Trenner thought it had something to do with the amount of opium Pecerin and her disciples had partaken of, but that had gotten her a few too many Hate Points in her architecture elective.) Continue reading


Written to kelkyag‘s prompt.


The pay at the Lab was really good, and the benefits were literally unbelievable.

Jess reminded herself of that whenever she started feeling like she needed a Henchman t-shirt or an old lion-tamer’s ship and chair.   She had two kids of her own and a niece at home; the Lab gave them a place to live that was probably the most secure three-bedroom house on the planet, had a top-notch school, and paid Jess enough that she could take them all on a really good vacation every year.

Which she needed, because right now she was supervising a slap-fight between two interns who just happened to be handling vials of what she thought was probably a neurotoxin.  Continue reading


Written to clare_dragonfly‘s prompt.

Caroline’s adviser liked to leave her notes.

She almost never saw Dr. Comey. There was the big lecture on Mondays and the team meeting on Wednesdays, of course, and then sometimes there was the all-department meetings, which Dr. Comey sometimes deigned to attend, but the Dr. – who was so old the legend said that when they’d rebuilt the faculty wing of Ivy Hall, they’d just picked up Dr. Comey’s office and built the new building around it – preferred to work in late nights and early mornings, and Caroline’s schedule was such that she worked in the lab generally late mornings and late afternoons.

But Dr. Comey would leave her notes: combine experiment A with experiment B. Note results. Ask Sally to enter request for life test subjects again.

All Dr. Comey’s administrative help were “Sally.” The current one – Crystal – confided that they took it like a title, “Current Sally for Dr. Comey,” and took no offense from it.
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The Trouble With Theories…

After The Trouble With Chickens, to poll-selected continuation.

Trenner Oujiduie was not her professors’ favorite student.

That was not entirely true: she was the favorite, or one of three favorites, of Professor Sojide, but since nobody else in the entire Sciences and Studies wing wanted to even acknowledge that Professor Sojide existed, that did Trenner not a bit of good, and, in the grand scheme of things, probably hurt her more than anything.

She had been keeping informal score with Sojide’s other favorites – what crap assignments the other professors gave them, when the professors ignored them to call on someone who clearly didn’t know what they were talking about, and so on. She had not been in the lead until that paper she’d done for Professor Lokeg-Fridelabout about the Feltenner Chickens and their uses in a broader academic-sustainability plan.

It hadn’t been a brilliant idea, but Resklin Tarajirra was beating her in points and she really was quite fascinated with the chickens. They were a triumph of science – over the scientist, even! – but, more importantly, the meat they could provide – and eggs! – could totally deal with the food shortage down in the Lower East Quarter

That explained why she was walking out into the Lost Buildings – what had been the former Science Wing, before, well, everything – carrying a small harpoon gun, a set of spears, and every religious icon anyone on her dormitory floor could provide her.

(For a school of science, they were immensely religious. She liked that. And if only one of the gods noticed her tonight, Trenner thought it was well worth the extra weight of necklaces and bracelets.)

“If you are so fascinated with the Feltenner Chickens, Trenner.” Professor Lokeg-Fridelabout’s voice had gotten that deep sound of threat and danger in it, then why don’t you bring one back? We can see if the meat is edible and see exactly what Feltenner did to these things.”

Trenner moved very slowly through the overgrown dogwoods. She was fairly certain she was being stalked by a rooster taller than she was.

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Next: The Trouble With Assignments. 

The Trouble With Chickens…

“The trouble with chickens,” Professor Feltenner had written in her journal, “is that they don’t scale very well. And when they scale up, their instincts do not. They have been domesticated for far too long. What I need is a wild chicken, a chicken who has never been bred for tameness and domesticity. That, then, should be clever enough for what I need.”

Professor Feltenner’s travels into the jungles were the stuff of academic legend. It had become the very morbid joke around the university that if you did not like a student, it was a clever idea to get them to take Feltenner’s classes, because there was a very good chance she would then take them with her on one of her summertime or winter-break expeditions – and then there was a very, very good chance that they would not return.

Professor Feltenner, on the other hand, always returned – even that last time, that fateful trip when she came back with one bedraggled grad student, two smallish cages, and a man named Gorvald she claimed to have found in the middle of the jungle. Since Gorvald’s accent spoke of the Rus and the far-Eastern mountain ranges, everyone at the university raised eyes at that – but Gorvald was good with the things in the cages, and someone needed to be. Gods above knew the poor grad student whimpered every time she saw so much as a feather.

“The trouble with chickens ought to be solved by working with a more pure specimen,” Professor Feltenner wrote in her journal. “Today, Gorvald and I begin the experiment on the junglefowl we have acquired. With luck, working from an enlarged junglefowl pair, we can begin breeding better and juicier meat with a much more sensible bird.”

The junglefowls’ thoughts on that were never properly recorded; once they had dealt with Professor Feltenner, they (with brains that scaled up, it seemed, much better than their domestic counterparts’) opened the doors to the lab and fled, taking several carriage-sized domestic fowl with them. You could hear their cries late at night in the forests near the University, and the professors had a new way to rid themselves of difficult students.


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Well, You See, It seemed Reasonable… a story of Science!

“Well, you see…”

Hank Honore, Dr. Hank Honore, was nervous.

That was not all that abnormal in the lab, but Dr. Honore moved like something was going to eat him, quick darting motions that settled down only when nobody was looking at him.

Cara thought it was cute, in the sort of way that made her want to eat him. Alex was not as impressed.

Of course, Alex was never impressed.

“Do continue,” Alex urged.

“Ah! Well, you see. It turns out they’ve got almost all the right skills already. And since we were working with the Moreau model anyway, it was easy enough to tweak it.”

“What project were you working on again?” Cara was supposed to know that, but she couldn’t remember the Moreau model being in play recently.

“Oh, Dr. Westfield asked me to help her, and since I’m new, well, I help wherever I can. Want to be useful, you know. So anyway, Califord Island, that project we were trying to get off the ground as a resort? It was having some traffic snags, and we didn’t want real police because, well… issues.”

“Time to get to the point,” Alex offered lazily.

“Yes, yes, ah. Well. It turns out that if you go with mostly heron and just a little bit of human DNA, you end up with a very nice traffic cop… as long as you don’t mind peck marks in the cars sometimes.”

Want More?

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More people might want to… a continuation

This is a continuation to Some People Just Want To… commissioned by [personal profile] thnidu

The news channels tried to cover it up, but the people were clamouring for news, and what the media would not cover, gossip would take care of. Yolanda was surrounded by it: the mad scientist. The murderer, hoist by his own petard.

The mystery formula that could make war impossible, if only…

The potential scientific benefits of Dr. Fidelli’s formula, if only…

The ways it could be modified to make a better execution drug, if only the formula hadn’t vanished.

He had to have written it down. He had to have kept it somewhere.

Yolanda tried not to flinch, tried not to smile, tried not to shout. She spent a lot of time hiding in her favorite bar, thinking about anything but biological systems and acidic toxins.

“Yolanda Giana.” A well-dressed man — far too well-dressed for this bar — sat down next to her, his body shielding her from the rest of the barflies. “I have a proposition for you.”

all funds now going to repair or replace the tablet I use to write on the bus: just broke the glass today

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Some People Just Want to… a story for my Summer Giraffe Call

Written to book_worm5‘s prompts here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

“Sometimes a controlled burn is good, and sometimes a forest fire is what you need.” Ted Fidelli was not what you’d think of when you were picturing evil scientists — unless you’d read his papers and happened to be his assistant. Sometimes you need to clear the world of the deadwood and let everything burn.”

Yolanda Giana, who happened to have ended up taking exactly the wrong internship, frowned at her boss. “You’re not talking about trees. You’re talking about people. About ninety-nine percent of the world’s population.”

“But not you. You’re a much better assistant than Mea Goldberg there was.” He gestured negligently at the test chamber, in which Dr. Goldberg — or what was left of her — had been the last test subject in Dr. Fidelli’s plan for world domination by survival of the meanest. “You understand, don’t you? This population surge, it’s a blight on the earth. Mother earth can’t handle what we’re doing to her, and we’re going to have to strip the population back to more reasonable numbers.”

Yolanda counted to twenty silently. She needed this job. She needed not to be the next person in Dr. Fidelli’s testing room there with Dr. Goldberg.

She took a shallow breath. “I’m sure you’re right, doctor. It makes perfect sense.” She’d gotten good at lying through her teeth since finding herself working for a madman. “I’ll just get your coffee then.”

Yolanda took three steps backwards, then, when it became clear that the doctor wasn’t going to call her back, turned and left the lab for the kitchen. She slapped the contamination-lockdown button casually on her way by and slid out as the seals ground closed.

The smoke-bomb of Dr. Fidelli’s formula she had left carefully connected to a timer went off three seconds after the door sealed shut. By the time the doctor realized what was going, he was already as good as dead.

Yolanda called the police while she carefully destroyed all record of her existence. It was just a good thing the doctor had wanted to pay her under the table. She was pretty sure it was still murder even if you did it while saving the world.


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What are we Sciencing For, then?

Written to book_worm5‘s prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

The Landing Page for my Science! setting is here

“Well.” Cara frowned out the window. “This is interesting.” The city closest to their fortress-slash-research lab was over a third rubble. The shock waves from the bombs could be felt all the way to the tower, which had been built on a remote island to minimize interruptions from the curious or outraged. “I’d say it’s unexpected, but according to our charter…”

“Mmm.” Alex frowned. “I always thought our charter was a bunch of carefully-worded bullshit.” He was holding a hip flask; he took a long drink from it before offering it to Cara.

She looked at the flask, looked at her partner in crime, and frowned. “Well, and what it it was? What have we been doing here all these years?”

“…Laughing at the new guy?”

“In between laughing at the new guy. The part we were actually paid for.”

“I’m pretty sure Liam paid us for the laughing…” Alex muttered, but Cara was already walking away. “Cara? Cara… oh, no. Not…”

“Look, it’s an alien invasion. The saucer type suggests it’s the same type of thing that our droids caught ten years ago. So we can make some very basic guesses about them.” The machine she was hauling onto a cart was twice as long as she was tall, half tubes and half rivets. It made Alex’s blood run cold which, considering what it could do, might be a wee bit ironic. “Are you going to help me get this up to the roof turret, or are we going to roll over and welcome our new alien overlords?”

“Cara… the last time you fired it, it melted an intern’s shoes to the floor.”

“So we’ll clear the interns off the top two floors. Get… what’s his name, the new guy?”


“Him. Get Jorgensen to do that. Me? I’m going to fire some aliens.”

“Fire on. Fire on some aliens.”

“Fire on, set fire to, fire, terminate, downsize… It’s all dust and ashes in the end.”

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