On the way to the building Dr. Deacon thanked me profusely while also shaking his head and saying small anecdotes about Dr. Rook and then shaking his head again. The science building was all sterile white or bluish grey hallways and doors with names and numbers, some labeled offices, others private labs and community labs. We made our way through the halls towards a stairwell. As we headed down, Dr. Deacon began to explain “ Dr. Rook has some unorthodox methods, he… tends to try lots of new things and needed a place with direct access to the outside as well as a place that he could stay, on occasion. His lab is actually half of the basement of this building with the other half being used for storage.”
The basement was walled by several gated and padlock storage areas. Shelves of chemicals and scientific apparatus lined the walls forming a kind of hallway right up to a cinder block wall with a wooden door. On it was a plaque that read Dr. Eldon Rook. Dr. Deacon turned to me “ well this is the end of your journey shall we go in and introduce you?” I nodded.
He opened the door. The room was filled with shelves and tables each with their own experiments. Many chemicals in vials and labelled jars lined the walls and shelves. All of it seemed very crude, with only a few standard scientific tools in the room. Everything else seemed to be cobbled together to fit some kind of special edge case. Condensers that were pointing the wrong directions mason jars with surgical tubing running into large beakers. Then there were some that had stones arranged around them in a symmetrical pattern. A couple of rooms were partitioned off from the larger space for what I could only guess was an office and maybe a personal storage room.
Dr.Rook was in the corner mulling over a piece of, what looked like common iron ore. He was wearing a lab coat tailored for his tall figure. The safety goggles he wore seemed to be fit with welding lenses and the heavy leather gloves were unwarranted for handling iron ore.
Professor Deacon cleared his throat “I have brought you fresh blood.” Dr. Rook pulled one hand back from the rock and peered at it as if he had been bitten, then rubbed his five oclock shadow. When his eyes fell on me he exclaimed “ A native american! You have brought me a native american. Oh he will do nicely!”
Surprised by his boldness and not really knowing how to react to such blatant racial acknowledgement I threw out my hand “ Hello sir I am Ahanu Pirch…” Dr. Rook cut me off “but I can call you Pirch right?”
Dr. Deacon sighed as if he had seen this a thousand times “ right well I will leave you to it.” Dr. Rook looked up and said, “thank you Dr. Deacon another year of the endowment!” He turned back to me “ Ahanu tell me what do you know of the scientific method?”
“Well sir you ask a question, form a hypothesis, test it, draw conclusions rinse and repeat.”
Dr. Rook raised his hands, “ Good! That is all you will need to know in my service because aside from that the things that we are studying do not always play by the rules.”