Authors: Gordon Bickerstaff
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers, #Medical, #Conspiracies
Everyone in the Sports Energetics Research lab froze when Professor Kevin Buzzwall suddenly launched a loud and aggressive rant. Jonathon, one of Kevin's postdoctoral research assistants, was on the receiving end. Kevin started to list all the weak points in a research grant application Jonathon had written. The rant was cut short when the Department secretary Kate rang through to the internal phone in the research lab.
up. What do you want?" Kevin demanded.
Buzzwall there's a call for you in the office, Dr Kremova," Kate said.
Tell him to hold. I'll be along in one minute."
threw the grant application in Jonathon's face, turned and walked to the door while demanding a corrected application on his desk first thing in the morning. Jonathon mouthed
as he stooped to pick the scattered papers up from the floor.
Kevin walked along the corridors toward the Department office, he reflected on his association with Dr Georgi Kremova. Almost three years ago, after he gave a conference seminar, Kevin was approached by Dr Georgi K Kremova and Dr Petko F Dimitrov of BRTKPharma, Bulgaria.
congratulated him on his excellent research work and proposed a joint academic-industry project to apply for a European Union research grant. They had partners in the Czech Republic and needed a UK partner to complete the minimum three-nation requirement for European Union exploratory research funding. The EU was keen to develop new industry in Bulgaria and enable them to access UK academia so the project was funded for two years.
project had two stages and the first aimed to enhance understanding of energy demands in sport as a foundation for a new sports energy drink. The second stage moved to a product development using natural ingredients in a formula that would improve energy availability for muscles to increase muscle output.
work had gone well. BRTKPharma had a wealth of good data that provided strong direction and ultimately proved successful. The Bulgarians decided to take a back seat and allow Professor Kevin Buzzwall to take credit for the launch of the new product 80PGen. There was one drawback.
of the essential components in 80PGen was volatile and so the product was produced as a drink in fifty ml sealed vials rather than standard retail bottles. Using a safe-break seal to access the 80PGen drink gave 80PGen an air of pharmaceutical kudos that added credibility.
and Kremova argued constantly about publication of the BRTKPharma research results. Georgi Kremova was strongly against publication and worried about theft of the formula. Buzzwall convinced him that publications would add great credibility to the product. More important the publications added to the research esteem of Professor Kevin Buzzwall.
Kevin arrived in the office he found Gavin Shawlens speaking to Kate. A postgraduate research student was sitting at Kate's desk to write out an expenses reclaim form. Kevin took the handset from Kate and gave her a disapproving look.
the old days he would have had his own direct access phone capable of making and receiving international calls. One of the disadvantages of having many international students is that they like to phone home. He was annoyed Kremova had phoned the office but Kremova refused to pay international mobile phone charges.
get back to the lab right now you incompetent imbecile," he shouted at the student.
turned to Kate and Gavin Shawlens and said.
the room. This call is highly confidential."
gathered some paperwork and headed along the corridor to the photocopier. Gavin Shawlens followed while Kevin closed the door behind them.
man. Is he always like that?" Gavin asked.
That's nothing. You should hear him on a bad day."
the photocopier room Kate told Gavin about the monster known as Kevin Buzzwall. She said he was a renowned bully, mostly to his own research staff but occasionally to secretarial and technical staff. She recalled her own dressing-down experience when Buzzwall had returned an expenses cash advance to her. It was short £5 so she informed him over the telephone.
came straight to the office in a rage and balled her out in front of staff and students making out she had lost the money. She was too distraught to argue with him. She made up the shortfall from her own purse for a man on five times more salary than her.
said Kevin's research staff call their weekly research meetings, 'research beatings'. He likes to single out one or two for sharp humiliation. He will ask them about some obscure procedure just as an excuse to put someone down. Woe betides anyone who dares ask him an awkward question.
told Gavin, in confidence, there was a complaint sitting on the Head's desk from one of Buzzwall's postdocs. He's been applying like mad for a new job and getting no interviews. He couldn't understand why he was getting nowhere. His PhD research was well received and generated six good publications in excellent journals.
at a conference he met a professor from one of the universities he had applied to for a job. Over a drink the professor told him he didn't get an interview because Buzzwall had written a damning reference. Kevin is refusing to let the postdoc leave Kate said.
you found him?" Georgi Kremova asked accusingly.
voice Eastern European with slightly clipped English.
don't know. He's not at work. No-one has seen him. I've told your people all that I know."
they find missing product?"
recovered ten blister packs in his house. Six packs are still missing."
he sells our product to other company we are finished," Georgi raised his voice.
Georgi. I'd sue any company for patent infringement."
Buzzwall there is no patent."
Buzzwall struggled to speak as if Shrek's big green hand had grabbed him by the throat. The University Research and Commercial Development Office insisted on a patent when they met with BRTKPharma to sign contracts.
URCD Office obtained Government enterprise funding to finance the patent application. Georgi Kremova told Kevin the patent had been filed and approved. Money had transferred from the URCD Office to BRTKPharma.
about the patent money?"
is unique. Patent is formality for later. Focus on Mansole. Help my men find him," Georgi demanded.
I've done that. I gave Ivan the name and address of the student he was with before he disappeared. He questioned her but he got nothing."
BUTS. You must find Mansole."
DONE ALL I CAN," Kevin shouted back.
Georgi. I need to speak to Jemard. Is he there in Prague with you?" Kevin changed tack.
do you want?"
University is asking questions about his fees. When will he resume his project? He has a progress report to submit."
is very busy. He's touring country with elite cyclists. Participating in new trials. Gathering vital research data. You pay his fees. You submit his progress report."
Right. How are trials progressing?"
good news. Free samples we distribute across Europe are well received. Endorsements of 80PGen are wonderful. Soon money from sales will flood into accounts. Are you pleased?"
excellent," Kevin said.
it will time for your Department to play next part in our success."
am ready at this end. All endorsements, performance improvement data and personal statements have been written-up in a glossy product brochure. It is ready to go when you confirm the launch date."
you ready to become world famous millionaire?" Georgi asked.
yes Georgi. I was born ready."
you make sure Mansole does not spoil party."
I'll speak to the student. She'll tell me where he is."
Buzzwall slowly put the receiver back on its cradle. Under his breath he cursed the Bulgarians for stalling the patent application. He decided not to tell Suzie Griffan or Lee Kwan about the patent delay. He made a mental note to avoid any contact with the URCD Office staff in case they asked for copies of patent approval documents.
truth he didn't understand the fuss about Oliver K Mansole. So what if Oliver took some product and sold it. The product would be on the market in a few weeks and everyone would be able to buy it. Getting the patent secured was much more important.
only words from Georgi Kremova that mattered were still resounding in his ears. New endorsements were wonderful. Sales income would soon be flowing into his account. He grinned like a Cheshire cat when he stopped at the photocopier room to flick his hand at Kate, meaning he had finished his call get back to the office.
Rolley Morgan's family have been involved in cycling since his grandfather owned a cycle shop in Newcastle and took part in the August 1945 Victory Cycling Marathon from Brighton to Glasgow. His father and uncle were regular participants in Tour of Britain races in the 1960's and developed their cycling business into eight cycling centres across Scotland and the north of England.
the two brothers Rolland and Raymond only Ray kept up the family tradition by competing in cycling races. Rolley had chosen an academic career and had less time for regular training. A personal choice that was a major disappointment for his family. They said Rolley was a more gifted cyclist.
could keep up with his brother during a race but he didn't have a strong finish. Rolley had never beaten his brother in an official race. It was a source of family ridicule and a running sore that Rolley hated.
was an easy task for Rolley to join the road cycling club based at the University Sports Centre and grounds at Rowlands Castle in Hampshire. He had all the correct gear and an expensive professional bike. He had an extensive knowledge and understanding of the British road cycling community. A strong community that proudly helped Great Britain to become a strong cycling nation with world class cyclists. Rolley's family were regarded as royalty in the cycle racing community.
far cry from the dark times at the end of the 19th century when cycle road racing was banned from main roads in Britain. A ban enforced harshly by police until the outbreak of World War II when attitudes to road cycle races changed for the better.
rode a top class Pinarello Dogma 60.1 road bike and for two weeks after he joined the club many of the members admired his bike and discussed the features he liked most about his ride.
one of the break stops, out on a road in rural Hampshire, he gathered an audience of twelve road cyclists. They engaged in an intensive discussion about the merits of the asymmetric frame system for the chainstay on the Dogma bike, compared to most other bikes, with a single-sided drivetrain system.
were more interested in the new Japanese carbon fibre 60HM1K used in the frame which was reported to be more rigid, lighter and more resistant to impact damage. Rolley had allowed some of the club members to have a ride and they enthused about the balance, the quietness and the satisfying feeling that all of the rider's power was being transferred into forward motion.
quickly Rolley became a popular member of the club and one of his new friends confided that one of the prominent club members Phil W Pallston was the person to speak to if Rolley was interested in any under-the-counter supplies.
was not until the start of his second session that Rolley met final year PhD student Phil Pallston. Phil said in passing he knew Rolley's brother, not personally but he'd seen Ray at many race meetings up and down the country. The second time Phil spoke to Rolley was at a road stage stop and Rolley initiated a discussion about nutrition and sports drinks.
looked uncomfortable, hobbled around and complained about foot and toe cramping and upper back pain. Tensing his feet and clawing his toes for long periods at a time caused his cramping. The upper back pain that he felt developed from his hunched posture and pushing his head down over the front wheel. A combination that caused flexing of his lumbar spine and shortening of the back of his neck.
asked Rolley what he took for pain relief and before long they were talking about steroids. Rolley told him that from time to time he used a little test for aches and pains. When Phil asked if he wanted any test Rolley told him he had his own testosterone supplier.
told him that his supply was pharmaceutical grade and not far eastern or European crap. Rolley agreed to take a sample of Phil's test for a trial. A few days later Rolley and Phil met up again at the first stage stop. Phil waited until Rolley was alone in the toilet before he spoke.
are your aches and pains?" Phil asked.
better thanks. I've just got some finger tingling," Rolley replied.
you don't mind me saying you lean forward too much."
know, I know, too much weight on my hands. I feel more comfortable in that position. It's only when I stop I get the tingling."
did you think of the trial?"
Its better quality than I'm used to."
pharmaceutical grade. When you need more, just give me a nod."
next week. A month's supply."
problem," Phil said.
sat down alone and a few of the others read from Phil's face that he was doing business so they left them alone. No-one likes other cyclists to know they are buying drugs although they all know that is what is going on with Phil. They sipped on their energy drinks and watched the other cyclists fussing over their bikes.
was hoping to meet Jemard Edmond," Rolley asked.
Phil looked surprised.
says he's an Olympic medal contender."
he's definitely got the legs. He needs to build up his stamina."
a club member?"
yeah he is. He's doing a PhD in Sports Biology," Phil replied.
haven't seen him at any meets."
that's right. He's abroad at the moment doing the hard stuff, mountains and hills. I think it's something to do with his research. When he's back I'll introduce you."
large bunch of new cyclists drew into the stop so Phil and Rolley got up to fetch their bikes and move on. The stops can get very crowded when the weather is nice and all of the budding road racers surge like large waves down the road.
before they pushed off, as they sat on their saddles with one leg on the ground for support, pulling on their gloves, Rolley decided to push his luck.
you have Jemard's number? I'd like to give him a call."
Phil asked and frowned.
have sponsors looking for a good prospect for the next Olympics."
"Yes if they sign him I'll get a finder's fee," Rolley said.
I'll see what I can do."
of the other guys was saying Jemard is testing a new supplement to improve his finish. A natural one that wouldn't fail drug testing."
he?" Phil sounded defensive.
know I've never beaten Ray in a road race. I would give anything to get an edge. One chance to breeze past my brother at the finish."
true the guys in Sports Biology have a new product that's going to revolutionise sports supplements for all athletes. Jemard is racing up and down mountains in Europe testing it out. First looks are very good," Phil said.
for people on the test regime. Trials have to be monitored and quantified. Before and after so improvement can be measured."
really love to beat my brother and there's a regional road race coming up."
asking a lot Rolley. The stuff isn't cheap."
I beat the hell out of my brother just once it will be worth whatever it cost."
product is about to go on the market with a big launch event so at the moment it's a mega secret."
I'm not going to tell anybody how I beat my brother."
I suppose it won't do any harm for you to get a heads up. See me in the changing room when we get back," Phil said as he pushed off.