Reporting On The Front
rating: +14+x

by Ethagon

Ms. Aaron moved past the empty lobby of Science-Centered Progress and past the Bio-Printer that was on display. She only briefly stopped to confirm the sector she needed to go to. When she arrived five minutes too early, as she had planned to, the office was still occupied, but the door wasn't closed.

"-s fine. It'll send a good impression."

"I'm just saying we should take more precaut-"

One of the two people in the room, the person with a purple tie, turned in her direction a moment before she could open the door. "You're a bit early Ms. Aaron, which means the lobby is still empty, Weld."

"That's still Director to you. Apologies, Ms. Aaron, we haven't fully settled in yet." Thomas Weld stood up to shake her hand. "This is my PR manager, who was just about to leave."

Despite the fact that she had many other questions, her mind was firmly focused on the hue of the tie. It was mesmerizing and wouldn’t let her notice the person attached to the tie. She watched Purple Tie leave the room and stared at the door he had gone through. What was with that tie?

Weld cleared his throat.

Aaron turned back to Weld. Right, the interview. "So before we begin, are you sure you don't want to look over the final version of the interview before I'll publish it?"

Weld pushed his chair in front of his table and gave her a second one. When he sat down again he took on a more relaxed pose, although a frown remained in place on his face. "As I said before, there’s really no need. Everything I can say, I can say freely. And I trust your newsletter to not take anything out of context." She doubted the last part, with everything her research had told her about the man.

"So to start, can you tell me a little bit about Science-Centered Progress?"

Weld smiled with his eyebrows. "Of course. At its heart, Science-Centered Progress seeks to advance Society, but in actuality, we're just a Consulting Firm that helps others in making new scientific discoveries. You were in the lobby before. I take it you already took a look at our poster child, the Bio-Printer?"

"I did."

Weld gave her a sharp nod before continuing. "The Printer was sort of a test run for all of this. Hewlett did a good job at guiding several companies in their endeavour with this technology." She found it a bit weird that they would display the human organ printer as their own achievement, given how the people behind Science-Centered Progress came out of the blue only after another company had already invented one. But there were stranger things to focus on.

"I've heard there are some unusual limitations for your employees. Is it true that a lot of sectors forbid the usage of eyeglasses among other things?"

Weld's eyes narrowed by a margin."I'm sure it seems that way from the outside, but glasses are often a hindrance when working with chemicals for example and we do after all do our own research as well. And when we aren't directly involved, we sponsor the researchers that are. Our most influential sponsorship was to the science programs that were responsible for the confirmation of the Higgs Field."

Aaron was satisfied that he brought up the Higgs Field. Around the time the Field had been confirmed, Weld and other people associated with Science-Centered Progress had made many phone calls to different TV networks.

"The Higgs Field was discovered before Science-Centered Progress was officially established."

"That's true. But what would later become Science-Centered Progress was practically already there, just not with a name." That much, she had found out herself. One of a few other companies that had now been superseded by Science-Centered Progress did sponsor the construction of the Large Hadron Collider which we would later confirm the existence of the Higgs Field. Another weird angle to take credit for something.

"Could you tell me more about that time? You had a good career at Standard Computer Products, but there is a hole in your timeline from your resignation until the founding of Science-Centered Progress."

Weld shrugged. "I wouldn't call it a hole. I needed to rethink what I want to achieve in life and friends needed my help. I helped with research here and there and ultimately, it led up to this. The company that will make a difference."

"I've heard some of the research you are doing in-house concerns the visible colour spectrum." A contact of here had even claimed that this research was not focused on discerning new properties of the spectrum, as one would expect, but instead about creating new colours altogether, which was way too ridiculous to take at face value.

Weld studied her for a moment with his arms crossed. "That lies a bit outside my expertise. There was an interest by some of the researchers to do something in that direction, but that in itself is not a remarkable field of physics."

No luck there. "This is quite the impressive facility you have here. How did a Consulting Firm receive the funding that you can even effort this kind of in-house research?"

She could see Weld pretending to think about an answer he had already prepared. "I think it comes down to networking. And by that, I don't mean you need to know the right people. No, if you're truly passionate about something, the people you need will come to you. Of course, I contributed with my fair share as well."

"If we go back to you for a moment, Science-Centered Progress is still in its infancy, but in the business, you're moving it is unlikely that it will pay better than the job you had at Standard Computer Products. Why take one over the other?"

Weld smirked. "You can have the best-paying job in the world and be unhappy. What you really need is a job you want… and still pays moderately."

"So you are satisfied with what you are doing now?"

"Absolutely. This is where I need to be." That, she could sympathize with.

"In the years leading up to the founding of Science-Centered Progress, I heard you were involved in the Forgotten Epidemic?"

"That was a hoax. You should know that." Weld stood up from his seat. "A lot of reports greatly exaggerated the memory-erasing effects of conventional drugs. I was just one of the people interested in recovering the truth behind the matter." So he was sticking to the official version. No surprise there. There had been a lot of rumours involved with the Forgotten Epidemic, about who had an interest in keeping what information forgotten. It had been pointed out to her, that the interest in the Forgotten Epidemic had immediately ceased after it was revealed as a hoax.

And just like with the confirmation of the Higgs Field, Weld and his friends had made calls to various TV networks. Asking Weld about his TV influences would serve as a good capstone for the interview.

"Ms. Aaron, it seems like you don’t trust me." She was a bit surprised by that approach. "There doesn't have to be a hidden story."

She answered with a not so honest smile. "Of course. I'm merely probing for interesting things since you said you'd speak freely."

Weld sighed and reached for a drawer in front of the desk. Aaron only caught a glimpse of a spray bottle of some kind. "Carry on then."

There was only one question she had left to ask. What would Thomas Weld say when she asked him about– Weld sat behind his desk and was closing a drawer. There was a sad glint in his eyes now. "Do you have any further questions?"

Aaron thought for a moment. "I think that covers about everything. Thank you for having me."

Weld answered a "And thank you for the Interview", but he looked past her while he spoke.

While leaving, Aaron already thought about how the article would look like. She hadn't found anything interesting, but she would make it work.

Purple Tie entered the office to a Director Weld having his arms on the backrest of his chair. "You heard it?"

Weld received a nod as an answer. He continued: "Here investigations came too close to the memetic obfuscation we have around Fronts and her findings were too specific. She had an anomalous source."

Purple Tie grinned. "I'll set the Trenchcoats on it. I told you, we needed more precautions."

"I had it handled. Dismissed."

With Purple Tie send on a mission Weld still stood there for a while. After a while, he mumbled to himself: "One day, I won't have to lie to them."

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