(This is the tenth part of the short story The Blue Pill. You can find the entire story here .)
The next morning, when Dr. Roy checked his email, he noticed an email that had the subject, “Important and Urgent”. The sender’s name had “Anonymous”. Dr. Roy was about to delete it thinking it was some spam but then his eyes fell on the word “device” and realized it wasn’t spam.
He read through the email.
“Dear Dr. Roy,
I am sorry the trial for your device did not go through. You must be wondering what went wrong despite everything being in place and tested earlier.
Your work is really great and deserves to reach patients. Unfortunately, Karl Torrance and Babylon don’t want this. They will go to any extent to wrap this project up. Take my advice, go back to India and work on your device independently. That is the only way you will be able to make this device reach patients.
-A well wisher”
Dr. Roy was stunned. He read the email again and again. What could this mean? Who could this person be? Why would Babylon and Karl not want this device to be successful? They would potentially earn a lot of money if it succeeded.
He did not know what to do. Could this be a prank by someone he knew? Who would joke at a time like this? Maybe I should confront Karl with this email? This cannot be true. There is no reason for Babylon to not want this device. Yes, they are commercial. But this device will bring them millions. Why would they spend so much money to buy the rights of the device if they did not want to see it through? I think I should show the email to Karl. He will be able to make sense of it.
Dr. Roy printed out the email and went to work. He straightaway called Karl and asked to see him. “Something urgent has come up. I need to talk to to you.”
“In fifteen minutes?”
“Sure, I’ll be there.”
Dr. Roy took the print of the email and gave it to Karl, “I got this email this morning.”
Torrance took the paper and went through it. He went through it a couple of times before keeping it on the table and then looking at Dr. Roy.
“What do you think?”
“I don’t know what to think.”
“Oh Dr. Roy, I am disappointed! How can you even, for a second, believe this? You know how much we have spent on this? You know how much is riding on this project for Babylon and me personally? Dr. Roy, you know me so well. Do you think I would ever....”
“I did not believe this Karl. I just wanted to show you what I got in this email. I did not say I believed it, did I?”
“I would have expected you to delete the email immediately, Dr. Roy! Any of our competitors could be doing this. They are all following this very closely. None of them want us to succeed.”
“Oh yes! That is it! I have been so foolish! They could be doing this. I am so sorry Karl!”
“No, no, don’t be! I understand the stress you’re going through. I really don’t blame you.”
“Yes, I am stressed out Karl. I was really hoping this would go through.”
“Do one thing, Dr. Roy, take a few days off. Go somewhere. It will really do you a world of good!”
“No, I couldn’t! We need to get started on this again. We need to do a lot of work. We need to investigate on why this happened.”
“Yes of course, we will do that but after one week. One week won’t make any difference. It will actually do the project a lot of good because you will come back fully refreshed. You can do much better work once you’re back.”
“I insist, Dr. Roy. In fact, let me do this. Why don’t you drive down to Yosemite? We have an arrangement with a beautiful hotel there. I could set you up for a week there.”
“Listen to me, Dr. Roy. This will be great for you - and the device!”