Dr. James Veldin tapped the manila folder on the desk in front of him.

"Dr. William Young. This is the man we're going to hire for the...ahh…'special project'. Well, boy really."

The director's expression was bland as he swirled his bourbon on the rocks, making the ice clink against the lowball glass. He was a large man, and he leaned back against his desk chair, making it creak.

"Are you certain? He's only 23. Isn't he a little green for a project of this magnitude?" the director asked skeptically.

"Precisely," Veldin replied, "He's young, malleable. And bright too. The top of his class. And to receive a doctorate at age 23 from John Hopkins, nonetheless. He's the perfect candidate for this project."

The director took a sip from his drink, staring down at the ice as if he found something distasteful lodged within one of the cubes.

"And what about his discretion with research of such sensitive nature? Are you sure you can control him?"

Veldin smiled. He was a handsome man, but there was something missing from his seemingly friendly smile that made him seem cold. Or maybe it was just the calculating intelligence in his eyes.

"Of course, I've had him thoroughly vetted. He has no close relations with family. His mother died when he was still a boy, and his father was too preoccupied with his work as a neurosurgeon to be very present for much of the boy's childhood. The background check revealed no girlfriends, or even close friends. Young is shy, keeps to himself. He's a complete loner."

"Is he gay?" The director suggested.

Veldin gave a quick shake of his head. "No evidence to suggest one way or the other. The boy is brilliant. Booksmart, but he appears to be somewhat socially inept and of a nervous disposition. Science is his only passion, and of that Zenrad can offer him only the very best. After all, we are at the forefront of theoretical molecular biology. Only here can he become a pioneer in his field."

The director offered a curt nod. "But what about the, shall we say, ethical concerns of the project? How do you suppose he will react to those?"

Again, Veldin smiled, his cunning blue eyes alight with his excitement, "Mr. Fitzgerald, are you familiar with the Milgram experiments?"

The director furrowed his bushy brown brows, his mouth set into a frown which accentuated his jowls, "You mean the one where they had volunteers administer electric stocks to innocent people at the urging of scientists, just to see if they would ever challenge authority even as the electric shocks became increasingly painful?"

"Yes, that's the one. It's human nature to obey an authority figure, especially if that authority figure is one well-respected in your chosen profession. Dr. Young is less than assertive. He will be no exception."

The director considered this a moment. "Well, alright then, if you're sure you can control him. But make sure he stays. Find him a woman. Or man, whichever he prefers."

Veldin smiled and took another sip of his whiskey.