Much later, after the floodwaters had subsided, he returned to the research compound. Travers was still there, apparently the only staff member who had not abandoned the group of low buildings, their corridors now grimy with silt. He found him in a large, cluttered laboratory. A wrecked vivarium in the corner gave the humid air a smell of algae and decay.
Travers was gazing at a column of figures on a whiteboard, framed by cromatography slides and X-rays of invertebrates.
“10,234… 10,102… 9,003… what are these, Travers? Some kind of cosmic countdown? Galactic coordinates? Chromosome counts? Or how long we’ve got till the next Ice Age?”
The scientist sighed. The contours and planes of his face seemed to be geometric symbols of a terminal exhaustion.
“This Global Corporate Challenge thing is harder than it looks.”