“Welcome to Xigen Labs, Todd. This compound is going to be your home for the next six months,” Kathy said, “As you know, the research we are conducting here is of the most sensitive nature. Only a select few students ever see the inside of this facility, where we conduct some of our most cutting edge research into the future of humanity. This is the sort of internship which can open all sorts of doors for you, as long as you perform well.”
The speech sounded a bit canned to Todd, who was more interested in trying to sort out what was happening in the labs he was passing by, but most of the windows were heavily tinted–most likely to avoid the exact thing he was trying to do. Xigen was one of the largest corporations in the world, and it seemed to have its fingers in everything. The founders advancements in geo-engineering were already looking to halt climate change within ten years, and perhaps even reverse it by the end of the century–but that hadn’t been enough for Doctor William Markos. Soon Xigen was on just about everything, and anyone who was anyone in scientific research, no matter the discipline, was sucked up into one of Markos’ labs or think tanks, like this one. “So when will I get to meet Dr. Markos?” Todd asked.
The administrator ignored his question, and continued with her introduction. “You will be staying with the other interns at this facility, and all of you will be shared by the various researchers in this compound. If a researcher feels like you are a good match to his study, you will likely be assigned to him permanently, and will then bunk with that research team. This is generally what happens over the course of your time here. As promised, Dr. Markos meets at least once with each intern over the course of the summer, but it isn’t clear on his schedule when he will be visiting this facility.”
They continued walking, and she continued talking about the various aspects of the facility, showing him to the cafeteria, recreational areas, and finally, to the bunk room for interns. It was…larger than Todd expected it to be, probably the size of half a football field, and filled with bunk beds–it looked more like a military barracks, than lodging at one of the most prestigious and cutting edge research centers in the world. There were a substantial number of other people there–all of them men, all around his same age. The administrator mentioned that the women’s internship quarters were nearby–and he realized that this must only be half of them, in all. How exclusive could this internship really be, if there were going to be hundreds of them here? The woman showed him to his bunk, his excitement at being such a select candidate dissipating a bit, and then she left–likely to introduce another candidate to the same speech.
Looking around, as he unpacked, everyone had the same dour look of slight disappointment on their face, but as they began talking, they soon realized that their pedigrees were all similarly impressive. Most of them had published research of their own by this point, in a variety of fields. Todd ever recognized several other men there from various conferences he’d attended, both as an undergraduate, and as a graduate student. The first day of work was set for tomorrow, so they spent their time in the cafeteria, getting dinner, and then in the recreational areas, before going to bed for the evening–every bunk full. Lying there, he felt more like a sardine, or a lab rat, than a member of an exclusive research internship. Hopefully that would change tomorrow, when he received his first assignment.
It was after breakfast, and the interns were all brought to a single, massive room, where they were to receive their first–and possibly only–assignments. There were a number of tables, sorted alphabetically, and Todd got in his line, and received his assignment–Lab #76, whatever that meant. He was given directions, told not to worry about bringing anything but himself–the lab had all of the necessary equipment already–and so he followed the swarm of other interns who had also gotten their assignment, and headed for the labs.
Lab #76 was buried pretty deep in the complex, and so by the time he got there, there were few people still walking with him. He used his keycard on the door, and it slid open for him–inside, he saw a couple of researchers in coats–most likely assistants, and three other interns dressed like him–all waiting for an explanation. The assistants told him there were five interns in all, and so they waited for the fifth, when they would be briefed on the research they would be conducting. At last, the fifth arrived–and the assistants started their explanation of the project.
Alright, so here’s how this interactive is going to work! The interns at this facility don’t realize that they are, essentially, cannon fodder for some of the strangest experiments that Xigen labs are conducting. As such, not all of them will stay as interns–more than a few will likely end up as test subjects! Only the best, brightest, and cleverest will make it through the six months, and have the opportunity to become researchers themselves. Below are a selection of key words–choose the ones that interest you, and I’ll combine the ones that people like into a “research study”, and we’ll see how Todd does. He may or may not come out of it unscathed–if not, we’ll follow another intern instead! I’d like to work through a few different studies, until it feels a bit stale. Below is the public poll, and the bonus Patreon poll can be found over here!