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CURSED WITH A THIRST (Part 3)
by Brick Walters, 10/29/99

A special DCR investigation:

(sfx: outdoor summer morning)

Bob: (calling off) Riceann! Come on! Time to go!

Brick: An early morning in July, several hours before dawn. Riceann is one year old and is finally ready to begin the battery of treatments Dr. Kyle has planned for her.

Bob: Riceann? Where are you?

Brick: At 12 months, Riceann has developed talents and abilities far beyond those of ordinary infants. She walks. In fact, she climbs.

Bob: I think she's up in that tree over there. She must've seen a squirrel. (calling off) Riceann! Come on down! It's time to go! Dr. Kyle is waiting!

Brick: When Carmen arrives, the child instantly appears. She obviously feels great affection for her mother.

Carmen: Where WERE you? Up in a tree again? Riceann! I don't want to find more dead animals in the yard. Please!

Bob: Into the car! We're late! Let's go!

(sfx: car doors close, engine, drive)

Brick: At the Genway food lab, Dr. Larry Kyle is readying his instruments.

(music bed: bali hai)

Dr. Kyle: We're going to begin very simply. I've taken samples of Riceann's DNA and analyzed it. I'll project it here on the screen.
You can see how it differs from normal human DNA.

Brick: The normal DNA is a simple, straightforward double helix shape ... and the sample from Riceann ... is this it?

(sfx: bolt)

Dr. Kyle: YES!

Brick: It looks like gothic architecture. Is that a flying buttress?

Dr. Kyle: Yes ... and look at the span on this pointed arch. It's very large. Very involved. Hard to know which parts are key, and which parts are just ornamental. I wouldn't want to remove the wrong thing.

Brick: How do you even begin to deal with something as exotic as this?

Dr. Kyle: It's educated guesswork. What we do is break down the DNA to a simpler form ... still much more elaborate than yours or ... well, than yours. And we inject Riceann with this less sophisticated version of her own DNA. Then we watch her for a week to see what sort of reaction we get. If nothing important is lost ... we break it down another step ... trying to get from this incredibly complex structure here ... to the simple double helix.

Brick: Like trying to go from something like ... the Notre Dame Cathedral ... to a set of scaffolding?

(sfx: bolt)

Dr. Kyle: Yes, yes! Exactly! Heh heh heh heh heh.

Brick: And the DNA sections that you remove? What happens?

Dr. Kyle: We're saving them, of course. For future reference.

Brick: (annc) A few minutes later, Riceann and her mother are waiting in Dr. Kyle's office, ready for her first treatment. Bob, too sensitive about needles, has asked to stay in the car.
Carmen and the child sit silently.

Carmen: It was a long night.
Every night's a long night. She's up, of course. I feel like I spend the whole night walking around the house snuffing out candles and making sure windows are locked so she won't ... get out.

Brick: And both you and Bob stay up?

Carmen: We sleep in shifts. Somebody has to keep the watch.
Then the sun comes up and she climbs into her crib, pulls the cover over it and sleeps all day. That's why we had to come here for this at dawn. She's still awake, but weakening as the sun comes up.

Brick: Suddenly, Dr. Kyle appears in a doorway.

(sfx: bolt)

Dr. Kyle: Everything is ready! Let's do it NOW!

(sfx: bolt)

Riceann: (teary) Batty! Batty!

Carmen: No, Riceann! Don't!

Dr. Kyle: Does she want her daddy?

Carmen: No, she's saying "Batty." She wants to turn into a bat and fly away, but as long as I'm hanging on to her ... she can't!

Riceann: Batty! Batty!

Dr. Kyle: Yes. Turn yourself into a bat if you want to, little girl! But that will only make the needle feel BIGGER!

(sfx: bolt)

Riceann: (subdued) Oh. OK.

Brick: After considerable soothing and a steady brightening of the eastern sky ... Riceann is given the injection and sent on her way.

(sfx: car doors slam, car start, peel out quick)

Brick: And Dr. Kyle has a moment's reflection.

Dr. Kyle: I was hoping to see that brat turn into a bat!

Brick: Hey! Brat and Bat!

Dr. Kyle: Just like genetic engineering. Remove one little piece and the whole thing changes. Let's hope we pulled out the right part.

(music: bridge)

Brick: When we come back, Riceann returns for another treatment, and a progress report.

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