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Data Loss

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I'm surrounded by incompetents.

I fix the idiot lab tech next to me with my best glare.

"Tim, do you watch movies?"

He looks gormlessly at me.


"Tim, I know you watch movies. I have seen you at the company movie nights."

"Vicky I don't think this is really the time for-"

"Tim, tell me. When the heroes do the "help help my friend is sick!" act and the guards come in to check on them, what do you think of those guards?"

"I think you're being very unfair, Vicky."

"What do you think of the guards, Tim?"

Tim sighs deeply.

"I think they're idiots, Vicky."

"Now, Tim. When you came into my lab, and found the prisoner lying on the floor of his cage frothing at the mouth, with his friend crying frantically for help, what did you do?"

"Vicky they're mice."

As the mice in question have tied us up and are currently dancing a war dance around us, brandishing a variety of stolen cutlery and lab instruments, I do not feel this needs further comment.

I fix the mouse who seems to be the leader with my best glare and put on my best Doctor voice.


The mice don't have the vocal chords for English, but I'm pretty sure that it understood me and I'm equally sure that that gesture was meant to be rude.


OK that gesture was definitely rude.

Tim looks at me nervously. Apparently the Doctor voice works better on humans than mice.

"Can you, uh, destroy them?"

I sigh dramatically.

"No, not really. It's just one of those things you have to say, for the form of it. We're basically stuck until Steve or Ada wonder where we are and the mice need us for hostages."

Yes of course I can, but if the mice aren't feeling inclined to cooperate, I probably shouldn't tip my hand further, and it's not like keeping Tim informed would be helpful.

The sensible thing to do would have been to not say it at all of course, but I'd be thrown out of the family if I didn't take the opportunity to use a classic like that.

"OK, can we negotiate? Is there something you want? Cheese? Engineered lactose tolerance? Opposable thumbs? I'm sure we can-"

Then I see what they're doing.

"No, stop that at once! Stop I say!"

The mice are letting the other mice out of their cages, and feeding them liquid from syringes.

"You're ruining the double blind!"

RQ1: Does formula 17 cause superintelligence in mus musculus?

Answer: Maybe? Who knows? Sure they broke out of their cages and kidnapped me, but maybe that was the control group! Who can tell now?

Time for RQ2, the one that every self-respecting mad scientist must answer at some point in her life: Can I escape from my creations?

I rant at them for a few more minutes, and I'm still pretty sure they can understand me, but apparently being their all-powerful creator is less interesting than their dancing and the uplifting of their lesser brethren.

Oh, for gods' sake. All of my data is ruined anyway, I might as well end this.

I raise my voice so the room's automation system can hear me above the mice's increasingly loud squeaking.

"Initiate protocol Algernon"


I can't help but smile. Ada gets so annoyed at me for using her bedroom voice for the automation.

The room fills with a pale mauve gas. The mice look confused briefly, and then their coordination falls apart. The dancing stops, they drop their tools, and they start milling around aimlessly like, well, mice.

Other things every self-respecting mad scientist should do: Assume your creations will attempt to overthrow you and plan accordingly.

Not that my family historically had a good track record on that front, but evolutionary pressure has worked its magic and we're mostly much better at it these days.

I pause briefly to mourn silently for my months of lost data and then take a deep breath.

RQ3: Can I get out of these ropes before Ada or Steve find me and I never hear the end of this?

"Tim, can you-"


I look at Tim. He still looks human... mostly, but there's definitely a certain mousiness around the ears.

And, more importantly, the teeth.

"OK Tim, here's what I'm going to need you to do..."

RQ4: Is Vicky motivated to turn her idiot lab tech back into a human, or does she like him better this way?