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Overseer Gamien Zous was tired. He had been working overtime for far too long.

“This is ridiculous,” he muttered, staring again at the reports on his data terminal. “None of this is right.”

A reminder popped up with a ping. There was no more time for analysis.

He sighed, scooped up his notes and made his way to the Director’s office.

“Take a seat,” the Director said, glancing up at him. There was a brief pause. “Is it that bad?”

Zous nodded. “All of our forecasts, the predicted curves – it will take a lot of technical analysis to figure out why, but all we can say for sure at this point is that we got it all wrong. The project is an unabashed failure, at least within the terms of the original contract.”

The Director frowned and leaned forward. “What issues are we having?”

“Easier to say what issues we aren’t having, sir. The violence, I suppose, is the most obvious one. And they’re spreading far faster than predicted.”

“Hm. Is the experiment salvageable?”

Zous shook his head. “I would say not, sir. At least, we won’t achieve any of our original aims. However, I would like to see it continued, with a minimal observation team and no further input. That would give us some valuable data for future experiments.”

The Director looked thoughtful. “Enough to recoup our losses for this quarter?”

Zous nodded. “I think so, sir. At the very least, leaving it to run would currently be a better use of the Division’s resources than instituting a full planetary sunset.”

The Director stood up. “Make it so, then. And then have a holiday, Zous. You look like you just came back from the dead.”

© Kari Fay