Back in the lab, she tried to forget about the incident by throwing herself into the work. One by one, she conducted the treadmill experiments, giving the animals different dosages and formulations of three different concoctions.
Now he was giving three different drugs to the poor things. Powder and pill forms, in addition to the green liquid. No wonder they were faltering.
While waiting for her experiments to be complete, Meha opened Kirk's main desk drawer and retrieved the thin black master logbook detailing the experiments and lab animals utilized in the project. She needed to record all her procedures. The logbook was a softbound, one-hundred sheet version with a big white label on the front.
Hmmm. She thumbed through it. Yep, this is the one AJ and I have used in the past, but I could've sworn I saw Dr. Swartz making notes in a different one the other day.
She searched the drawer again, afraid Swartz had changed logbooks and that she might be using an older version. Nothing. Then she dug through the bottom of Swartz' desk. At the very back of the bottom right drawer was a hardback maroon record book that contained three hundred pages. This was it. She smiled to herself. This was the one she had seen him using. Maybe he kept duplicate records of the experiments, or maybe these were his personal notes.
Meha suddenly felt guilty for finding the second log and worried that Swartz might show up and find her with it in hand. She thought about returning it to its hiding place, but curiosity overcame her sense of loyalty. She looked inside. At least twenty pages were diagrams of complex chemical reactions and symbols. The latter portion was filled with descriptions of experiments.
Meha became engrossed trying to figure out the chemical equations and sat down in his chair. Maybe these were formulas for the green compound she and AJ had been giving the guinea pigs. Meha had taken several chemistry classes during her undergraduate school work and knew enough to realize the scribbling she was looking at was not complete. It was just a skeleton of the real reactions. He obviously didn't want anyone to know the entire formula.
She took the maroon logbook back inside the animal room so she could examine a few of the guinea pigs and compare the animals' condition with the history noted in the log. She gently lifted them from their plastic cages one-by-one and slowly rotated their purring, wiggling bodies in her gloved hand. By comparing log entries with individual guinea pig numbers on their eartags, Meha noticed that every one of them that had been used in experiments more than six times displayed signs of illness. Some were emaciated; some had greenish-yellow crud caked in their eyes, and some twitched uncontrollably, as if they had neurological damage. Just then she noticed that the last cage at the end of the shelf seemed unusually quiet. She bent over and looked at guinea pig number 18.
It was dead, its small face giving away nothing but a cold stare framed by corncob grit. The animal's little white plastic cage suddenly reminded Meha of a tiny coffin. She felt the beginnings of a nervous sweat roll down her back and immediately started thumbing through the logbook.
Oddly, all the entries made by Dr. Swartz were coded, or at the very least, written in a way that only Swartz himself would understand. The guinea pig numbers and drug doses for each experiment were legible, but any interpretive comments were coded. In contrast, Meha's and AJ's entries in the other book were clear and direct. All those in Kirk's book appeared to have been written by an extremely secretive person.
Something very strange was going on here.