Chapter 2 – One in Ten Thousand (2)

Jungwu’s eyes widened as he realized that suddenly, he had knowledge on subjects he never learned.

Jungwu looked dumbfoundedly at Dr. Moon, whose expression seemed to say – Now do you get it? He then looked down on his arm where he received the injection and suddenly, felt shivers go throughout his entire body.

“What is this…”

Jungwu never listened in on any lectures related to chemistry before, but it was as if his brain was linked to a science database.

Technical knowledge was constantly riding on his nerves and being transferred automatically.

“What have you done to me?”

“It’s exactly as you see.”

Dr. Moon had a thin smile on her face after she confirmed the results from Jungwu.

“Are you telling me it’s possible to transfer knowledge to another person with a simple injection?”

“That’s not exactly it, but the concept is similar.”

What is this crazy talk? Jungwu snorted in disbelief, but he couldn’t refute the fact of what he’d just experienced..

“The knowledge you have just drawn on is just an insignificant portion. This is stuff that anyone can gain from reading a book in a bookstore.”

Dr. Moon pointed outside.

“Shall we take this conversation to the reception room over some tea?”

AN Hospital’s VIP-Only lounge.

Dr. Moon placed a briefcase on the table and took out a bottle from within. She opened the lid then placed a pill on the table.

Jungwu looked at the blue jelly lump, coated in a transparent capsule, curiously.

“What is this?”

“You could say that this is the original version of the AF-12 that you’ve been injected with. This can supply knowledge much more safely than the diluted solution. Of course, it is nutritionally excellent too.”

Jungwu’s face changed as he thought about the purpose of this blue pill.

The recruitment ad was looking for a particular kind of person. This was no ordinary clinical trial.

“So? What are you trying to do by feeding me this dangerous pill? H-Human experiments? Maybe… dissection?”

“What do you mean it’s dangerous? AF-12 is 100% safe. If you are concerned about a possible side effect, we will include compensation via our lawyers for any damages incurred as a result of side effects.”

“Compensation or not, I’m not the kind of person who can take this kind of bone-chilling experiment lightly…”

“We want to hire Mr. Jungwu.”

“… Excuse me?”

Did I hear that right?

“Please join KG Chemical, Mr. Jungwu Han.”

Jungwu was desperate to leap out of the lounge at any moment, until he heard this magical proposal that melted him on the spot.

“This clinical trial was conducted with the purpose of finding a researcher that could help with this research project for KG Chemical. Your wage is noted in the contract, so do check it out. However, you are going to start out as an intern. There are no openings to fill up, and this is considering how Mr. Jungwu Han’s past experiences don’t match with this line of work.”

Hire. Join company. Wage.

For someone who had just graduated from college last year, it was impossible for these words to not make Jungwu’s heart flutter.

Although he had spent the year applying for job interviews, Jungwu still hadn’t overcome the big wall called employment.

To be honest, wasn’t this also one of many part-time jobs that he had sought out in the daily war for employment; to alleviate a little of his mother’s burdens?

Jungwu started thinking faster than he had ever thought before.

Typically, in negotiations, the one with the knife in hand has the initiative. It was an employment offer from a big corporation like KG Chemical, but a contracted hire had no meaning outside of getting some experience. Jungwu spoke without looking at the contract documents that Dr. Moon had placed before him.

“Contract work? Then what about my future? Do you think I have all the time in the world to do everything you tell me to?”

To be honest, if he didn’t get employed in the next employment season, he would have plenty of time on his hands.

As he maintained his poker face with the ‘I’m busy’ attitude, he saw Dr. Moon bite her lips as she pondered over her answer. Jungwu awaited her response, wondering whether he came out too aggressively.

“Of course, this was an offer made without considering Mr. Jungwu Han’s circumstances. It seems like there’s no choice.”

‘Did I go too far?’

“We’ll add 20% in addition to the wage listed. This is the absolute best we can offer. What we need is a unique individual who can absorb AF-12. And you just proved that you could. Therefore you need to keep this in mind. If you decide to get out of this early because you couldn’t adjust to the particulars of the job, our lawyers will hold you liable for the damages, including the costs for restarting the clinical trials, after halting midway.”

Jungwu’s mind was more occupied with the 20% increase to his wage than the part where things could be hard for him. His gaze went over to the contract.

“We haven’t come to an agreement yet but…”

Jungwu had to swallow the saliva in his mouth when he saw the listed wage.

100 million won.

‘Didn’t you say to come in as an intern!’

The offered wage was a hundred million won.

If you include the additional 20%, he was getting a staggering pay of 10 million won per month.

This was not the kind of money a new hire at a company would receive. No matter what chemical knowledge he was able to receive through that pill, just why? If it’s a major corporation like KG Chemical, wouldn’t there be plenty of professors interested in employment?

“About this blue pill – what do you mean when you say that this is a safe knowledge supplier?”

“Will you understand it if I put it into words?”

Dr. Moon held the blue pill in her hands then brought it before him.

Jungwu was in a dilemma as she offered the pill to him.

‘Do I take this or not?’

His eyes went over the wage clause on the contract.

Neither danger nor goosebumps held power in the face of money. Just like that, Jungwu took the blue pill.

He swallowed it without water.

10 seconds passed when a sudden heat spread down to his stomach.

“Hut.”

He tried to endure, but the heat coursing through his stomach made Jungwu’s heart sink.

“What’s happening? I feel like I swallowed boiling water.”

“It’s a simple heat reaction from the absorption process of the drug, so don’t be alarmed.”

He could feel each molecule from the capsule finding its way and scattering throughout his body using his nervous system. It was not only new, but also a strange experience.

At some point, he could no longer feel the continuous heat in his belly.

“How do you feel?”

Dr. Moon asked him unfazed.

‘Does this look like I got energized from some kind of Invigorant?’

DNA molecules, containing specialized knowledge, were spread throughout his body. A chemical network web had also been formed at the cellular level throughout his body.

He couldn’t understand himself as he was objectively analyzing this phenomenon, but at the same time, he found it fascinating.

“I’m not sure. I feel like I can grasp some knowledge I haven’t had before, but most importantly…”

Jungwu saw a strange scene before him as he replied. It was as if a microscope with a high resolution was placed before his eyes; he felt Dr. Moon’s cheek grow closer at an alarming rate. He felt like he would get sucked in if he were to stare into her deep, clear eyes.

Jungwu thought he was hallucinating, so he rubbed his eyes and tried to refocus, but he had to stop himself from yelling. Instead of getting better, he could see her skin with even greater detail.

This was not a phenomenon that could be explained by having a good eyesight. Jungwu tried to rationalize this as an optical illusion.

‘What?’

But this was only the beginning.

He was zooming in as if he was getting sucked into her skin, but now it felt like he was staring at a huge TV screen that took up all of his vision. When it reached about the size of a movie screen, he was captivated by the marvel of it all.

He was looking at the sky of the vast land called the skin.

Something there was shining like a star.

Lost in thought, he was wondering if this shiny thing was the nucleus of some atom, he even started to forget that this was a strange phenomenon caused by AF-12.

‘Did the first astronaut to reach the space beyond the skies feel this way?’

Meanwhile, Dr. Moon placed a different document before him.

“These are the terms on security matters. Read this slowly and carefully. When you’ve finished, I will go over what you must absolutely adhere to.”

He approached Dr. Moon.

In doing so, he felt as if her skin had become a much more vast space.

“Jungwu Han?”

On the star that was shining above her skin, an overlay hovered over it with the word [FE]. Next to it the element of oxygen, [O], flew closer and closer until it formed a stable orbit with the Iron.

Elemental star. He should probably call it that.

“… Jungwu Han. What’s wrong? Is there something on my cheek?”

Dr. Moon tilted her head as she noticed Jungwu staring straight at her.

Waking up from his trance, he saw the scene of that molecular world overlap reality in a half-transparent layer.

“Um.”

Jungwu came to his sense then replied hurriedly.

“I see something weird on Dr. Moon’s skin.”

“What do you see?”

“Fe, O …”

“What did you say?”

Dr. Moon gave him a cold stare as if he had told her about a pimple.

“That is.”

The wondrous union of the two stars was only the beginning.

On her skin were a countless number of stars. These elemental stars had their own orbits and were adhering to a schedule.

“Fe and O’s orbits seem to make ferric oxide. Si and O seem to be together, so that’s silica? There are two C’s, 4 H’s and 3 O’s … glycolic acid?”

Jungwu started reading out the first combinations he could see. Dr. Moon made a strange expression as she heard his response.

“Aren’t these components of cosmetic products?”

“Cosmetics?”

While he was still in a daze from this space-like experience, the one thing he was sure about was that because of the shine on these elemental stars, Dr. Moon’s skin had the same light white tone as a result.

“I see. That’s the case.”

Chemical information laid over the contours of Dr. Moon’s face. He was able to read this information like he was reading traffic signs on the street.

“The ferric oxide and the silica are stuck right on the wrinkles next to your eyes and they’re shining. Wow, it really hides the curves so well.”

Dr. Moon’s face was dyed red with embarrassment, as Jungwu spoke about the chemical effect of the wrinkle prevention cream as if it weren’t a cosmetic.

“I did not put on any!”

“I can see it all plainly.”

“What do you mean you can see it? Don’t say weird things just because you can draw on knowledge you didn’t have before. Also, does Mr. Jungwu not understand the conditions of the skin of a woman who has been working overtime, during the weekend, for two days straight?”

One couldn’t tell from the outside whether she had put on some cosmetics or not. Dr. Moon was confident in her skills, but as she had been unexpectedly hit in her weak point, her brows started to quiver.

At this moment, Jungwu was preoccupied with the other world’s reaction instead of Dr. Moon’s.

“Again and again, this is really intriguing.”

Dr. Moon’s head tilted as she watched Jungwu mutter to himself.

“What are you seeing now?”

“I wonder. I think Dr. Moon would understand this better than me.”

“Not everyone can have AF-12 take effect as it has for Jungwu Han-ssi.”

Jungwu was watching the glycolic acid softly wrap around the skin’s earth and spin in place as he asked a question to Dr. Moon.

“What exactly is the genetic knowledge contained in this drug?”

“You could say that it’s the personal knowledge of a molecular biologist.”

“Someone like Dr. Moon?”

“No. I’m not a chemist. Just a doctor doing some related work. However, the owner of that knowledge is quite an irregular chemist. He is very different from the average person.”

As she put it this way, he became even more curious.

“I’d like to meet whoever made this drug, someday. ”

“That won’t happen. Focus on the stipulated task and produce results, that is all. Make sure to verify your contract.”

“He’s not in the company?”

“I have no obligation to tell you about his circumstances. We don’t need Jungwu Han ssi to understand it either.”

Jungwu felt as if there was an invisible wall that prevented him from further inquiry, as she flatly rejected him in a business-like tone.

He turned his gaze away from her cheek that he’d been staring at and saw the spectacle of elemental stars disappear like snow melting in spring.

‘What should I call this? A Chemist’s Insight?’

Being able to see from the perspective of a molecular biologist was a new experience. His heart was palpitating loudly just because of this.

He couldn’t explain it, but he felt that he would be able to achieve something significant and surprising with little effort.

“Dr. Moon.”

“Yes?”

“Where should I sign?”

Jungwu held up the pen and signed on the first line he could see for signatures.

“Don’t you want to read it carefully?”

“I can take my time to look at it. Well, it’s not like this will be a slavery contract. No wait, Am I a slave already?”

“You acted like you had the heart of a little bird earlier.”

“That was then. Maybe I grew a backbone because of the drug?”

Jungwu decided to say a little more with the knowledge coming to his head since he had already held such an interest in Dr. Moon’s hidden wrinkles earlier.

“You can’t cover the problem of your skin getting rough with just a little bit of light. Wouldn’t there be a better solution that addresses the root cause? The ruined skin earth, ah, no. If you could add some catalyst to remove aging dead skin cells…”

Crunch.

Jungwu stopped at the sound of the crushing of the plastic pen’s lid.

“That’s enough.”

Smooth skin is a woman’s pride. Jungwu dryly coughed and turned his head as he felt an overwhelmingly intimidating gaze that he hadn’t felt before, directed at him from Dr. Moon.

The job offer letter, NDA, and the contract related, had several hundred clauses.

After checking over the documents that seemed to have no end, with the final signature left, Jungwu asked a question.

“When do I start?”

“We would prefer if you started as soon as possible.”

Jungwu’s gaze landed on a condition listed towards the end of the contract.

[This contract is effective the moment it is signed.]

There were many clauses that required you to go over them again to understand them fully, but the fact remained that if he signed it earlier, he would get his wage that much earlier.

“Can I start today??”

“That’s fine but… will you be okay?”

Dr. Moon gave a look asking if he wouldn’t be too tired. He thought that he couldn’t show a weak side to the woman before him, who had been working the night shifts as well as the last two days in a row.

“Well, it’s Monday now, so it seems like a nice clean start.”

Jungwu coolly signed the last part of the contract then pushed it towards Dr. Moon.

“Should I show up by 9 o’clock?”

Dr. Moon looked at the signature carefully then placed it in the briefcase. She then spoke quietly.

“8 o’clock.”

“Sorry?”

Jungwu asked because he thought he heard wrongly.

“It’s already 5 o’clock, to return home then come back, it seems like there’s too little…”

“Have you seen an intern that works regular hours at a company? I was at a different company but when I was an intern, the concept of going home was weirder.”

Her reply was merciless.

Jungwu tried to assure himself that the change in her attitude was not just because this was now a signed and done deal.

“Before you’re late, let me give you a ride home.”

Dr. Moon got up after taking care of her matters like knifework.

Jungwu grabbed the heap of contractual documents and hurriedly followed after Dr. Moon.


Code: AF-12
Case: Chemist’s Insight
Research: When administered, the brain’s neurons are reconfigured via the DNA of an esteemed professional in molecular biology. Knowledge and sensories are largely affected.



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12 thoughts on “Chapter 2 – One in Ten Thousand (2)”

  1. no offence this pill sort of remind me of the pill from the matrix that crossbred with the pill from the movie limitless

    thanks for the chapter

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