Alfred looked over the whiteboard in his study with amazement. It was all there, everything he would need to begin a successful experiment with his formula, after all these years. He jumped when Sanji snored from beside him, but his surprise turned into a smile. His two boys didn’t look like geniuses, spread out on the floor with dry erase markers in their hands, but they had accomplished something in one night that had eluded him for over ten years. He’d kept the two of them up far too late; now it was time to get them into bed.
Alfred picked Alexander up gently and headed for the door of the study. Alexander stirred and moaned, “Move over, Sanji. I want to help with the formula too.”
Alfred smiled at his son. He said soothingly, “Shhh, there’s plenty of room for both of you, and plenty of time for you to amaze the world, my little scientist.” Alexander smiled and adjusted himself to a more comfortable position on his father’s chest. Alfred couldn’t be prouder of his two boys. What was the future that his children helped to shape going to be like? Would it be a world devoid of sickness? Or would it be a world filled with mechanical advances? Only time would tell, but he was sure that whatever they decided to do, it was going to make this world a better place. He carried Alexander up the stairs and into his room. He laid Alexander gently on the bed, pulled the blanket up under his son’s chin, and kissed his forehead.
Amanda stood in the doorway smiling at her husband. “You let them work themselves to sleep again, didn’t you?”
Alfred turned around and held his finger up to his lips and moved over to his wife. He whispered, “I did. I got so wrapped up in working through the formula with them, that I lost track of the time. I didn’t even notice that they had fallen asleep until I heard Sanji start snoring. Which reminds me, he’s still sleeping in the study.”
Amanda kissed her husband and smiled at him. “Are you coming to bed after you put Sanji down?”
Alfred nodded his head. “Yes, I should be there in just a couple of minutes.” Amanda walked out of the room and headed down the hall toward their bedroom. Alfred made his way down the stairs back to the study.
Alfred scooped Sanji up into his arms and started for the boy’s bedroom once more. He whispered, “Thank you for helping to realize my dream, Sanji. I can’t wait to see what it will be like when you achieve your own dreams.” Alfred paused in the doorway and looked back at the whiteboard. He bit his bottom lip and shook his head. There would be time to copy down the formula in the morning; now it was time to go to bed with Amanda. He flipped the lightswitch off and headed for the boys’ bedroom.
Mark knocked on the door of Alfred’s office, and Alfred looked up in startlement from the notes scattered across his desk. Mark strolled in and said, “Did you want to go and grab some lunch with me? They just opened a new dwarven restaurant just down the block, and I’ve heard good things about it.”
Alfred nodded his head and shifted his attention back onto the notes. “Yeah, that sounds great, Dad. I’ll meet you there at lunch time.”
Mark chuckled. “Meet me there at lunch time? When were you planning on having lunch today? Three o’clock? Maybe four?”
Alfred looked up at the clock on the wall and blinked in surprise. It was twelve thirty. When had that happened? It seemed like he just got to the office a little while ago. “I guess I lost track of time.”
Mark smiled and sat down on the corner of Alfred’s desk. “It’s okay, I figured that was the case when I saw that look on your face. I believe it’s the Godard family look when for when we’re on the verge of a discovery. Care to tell me what it is, or do I have to wait to read about it in the papers?”
Alfred shook his head and took his reading glasses off. “It’s the most remarkable thing; I got home last night and discovered that my two boys had almost completed a formula for a hair growth treatment based around my theory. All these years I’ve been looking for someone to help me to apply my discovery, and when I find someone that can do it, it’s my own children.”
Mark scooped the notes up from Alfred’s desk and started looking them over. “That’s incredible! If this formula of theirs works, it could be the key to making your other applications work! I always knew those boys were something special, even for Godards. Maybe we should let them come and work with us.”
Alfred chuckled and shook his head. “They’re too young to be spending all their time in a lab. Besides, they need to be in school.”
Mark’s face turned serious. “No, they don’t; at least not in the school that they’re in now. That school will only hold their brilliant minds back. I know; I’ve been there and so have you. Those boys of yours should be in college, where they have a higher chance of finding something that will challenge them and help them to grow.”
Alfred sighed and sat back in his chair. Mark wasn’t wrong, but Amanda would never agree to it. It seemed to Alfred that his father and he should understand what is best for a genius’s development better than his wife did, since both of them were geniuses. He had to admit that his wife knew more about what was best for normal children though. “I agree with you completely, Dad, but Amanda thinks that the boys need to be around children their own age, for the good of their development.”
Mark shrugged. “Maybe she’s right, I grew up with friends my own age around me, and I turned out okay. They do need someone to help challenge and grow their intellect though. Maybe you could bring them into the lab on the weekends and we could work with them a little.”
Alfred smiled and got up from his desk. “I think that’s a wonderful idea. Let’s go and get some lunch, I just realized how hungry I am, and I want to get back to mix up my first batch of the boys’ substance.”
Mark looked at Alfred suspiciously. “You aren’t going to test it out on yourself, are you?”
Alfred shook his head. “You taught me better than that, Dad. I’m going to try it out on a potato.”
Alfred swirled a purple liquid around in a flask and watched it bubble. There didn’t seem to be anything left that needed to be dissolved yet, so that left only the last ingredient to be added. Growing hair on a potato was more difficult that one would think because of one simple reason; potatoes had neither hair nor information in their DNA to grow hair. That’s why he was going to have to mix some of his hair in with the formula.
If this ever moved on to human trials, they would use hair from the subjects of course. If they were going to have real hair again it only made sense for it to be their own. Alfred plucked a couple of hairs off of his head and dropped them into the flask. The hairs dissolved into the mixture, and Alfred placed the flask over a bunsen burner. If the boys’ calculations were correct, and he’d been over them ten times to make sure that they were, the heat should turn the compound into a paste that could be applied to the potato.
The mixture in the beaker began to bubble, and the bubbles started to slow, as if they were working their way through a thick sauce. Alfred grabbed a wooden stick and stirred the substance inside of the flask. He decided that it had reached the right consistency, and it was ready for the next step. He pulled the flask away from the flame, and moved it over to the station he had set up where the potato waited for him.
He gathered up a glob of the paste onto his stick, and smeared it onto the potato. He smoothed the paste out, trying to cover as much of the top of the potato as possible. He grabbed three other potatoes that were sitting out and put the paste onto the potato in different ways. One he globbed the paste on and left it that way, one he applied it to the potato in a star pattern. The last one he did nothing to, but made sure to label that one as the control. He made small labels for each of the potatoes and then looked at his watch. It was time to go home and be with his family.
Alfred hurried up to the front door of the lab, his ID card in hand. Alfred paused when he heard Mark’s voice call out from behind him. “Alfred!” Alfred turned and looked at Mark who was walking toward the front door. “You’re here awfully early this morning.”
Alfred smiled, “Of course I am; I did leave an experiment here over night. I can’t wait to see what the results of it are!”
Mark returned Alfred’s smile. “What are we waiting for then? Let’s go and see how it turned out!” Mark walked past Alfred and swiped his card over the sensor. He pulled the door open and motioned for Alfred to step through. Alfred led the way into the lab.
Alfred hurried through to the room where he had left his experiment and when he stepped into his lab, he flicked on the lights. The room lit up, exposing four potatoes sitting on the counter. Alfred gasped when he saw that there wasn’t any paste sitting on the potatoes and ran over to them in confusion. He smiled once he drew closer though; stubble was growing on three of the four potatoes.
Mark chuckled and said, “Well, it took ten years and an idea from a child, but you have finally done it, son. You found a way to grow hair on a potato.”
Alfred smiled nodded his head. “Yeah, I’ll have to make sure to get Sanji and Alex something extra special for their birthday for this. Do you think that Uncle Ryan would be willing to share his secret with the boys?”
Mark shrugged. “You can always ask him, but I don’t see why he wouldn’t be.”
A look of determination crossed Alfred’s face. “This is just the beginning; once I have run tests on these potatoes to make sure that there aren’t any unforeseen side effects, we might be ready to move onto human testing!”
Mark clapped Alfred on the back. “I’ll leave you to get to it then. I’m sure you have plenty you want to get done before the party tonight.”
“Happy birthday, dear Sanji, happy birthday to you!” Applause filled the kitchen of Alfred and Amanda’s home once their family had finished singing to Sanji. It wasn’t Sanji’s birthday until the following Monday, but the entire family was able to come and celebrate on this Friday night. Jordan Godard, Sanji and Alex’s great grandfather made his way over to Sanji’s side followed by his wife Brittany.
Jordan smiled at Sanji and said, “Just how old are you today, young man?”
Sanji chuckled, “I’m nine, Grandpa Jordan. If you can’t keep track of how old I am, it might be time for you to retire from your position as the scientific advisor to the Emperor.”
Jordan leaned on his cane as he chuckled and shook his head. “I should have known better than to try and treat a Godard boy like a normal kid. Especially one that managed to finally figure out a way to use your father’s theoretical formula.”
Sanji blushed. “It wasn’t just me, Alex helped me figure it out. How did you hear about that?”
Jordan pulled a chair back from the table and sat down next to Sanji. “It’s all your Father and Grandfather have been talking about tonight. They’re both very proud of you two; we all are. It’s good to see that you will be carrying on the Godard family tradition of excelling in science.”
Amanda stepped up to Jordan’s side with a piece of cake on a small plate. “Did you want any ice cream with your cake, Grandpa Jordan?”
Jordan smiled at Amanda and shook his head. “No thank you, my dear. I’m afraid that ice cream doesn’t quite agree with me anymore, and the cold is too much for my teeth. I would like a glass of milk though, if it’s not too much trouble.”
Amanda set the piece of cake in front of Jordan. “It’s no trouble at all.”
Jordan turned his attention back to Sanji as Amanda moved to get him a glass. “Now tell me, Sanji; what are you learning in school these days?”
Sanji grunted before responding. “Not much, other than they put people who are unfit to be educators in charge of the classrooms. If I dropped out of school right now, I would still know more than any of the other students will when they graduate.”
Jordan frowned. “That’s not a very good attitude to have. Everyone around us can teach us something that we didn’t know before. Having an attitude like that will only serve to hamper you from learning. Not only that, but I thought your parents would have taught you to have more respect for those around you than that.”
Sanji shrugged. “They’ve tried, but it doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. Respect is for those who deserve it.”
Jordan shook his head. “That’s exactly what I’m talking about; that attitude of yours prevented you from learning a lesson from your parents. Promise me that you will think about what I told you tonight; I believe the future of the world rests in the hands of you and your brother.”
Sanji sighed, but nodded his head. “I will, Grandpa, if you promise to put a good word in for me with my parents and try to convince them to get me into some more difficult classes.”
Jordan looked at Alfred who was talking with Ryan and winked at him. Alfred nodded his head. Jordan turned his attention back to Sanji and said, “I’ll see what I can do, but in the meantime perhaps you would like to come and study with me occasionally? I’m sure that I could still teach you a thing or two.”
Sanji’s face lit up. “That would be awesome!”
Ryan walked up with a big smile on his face. “What’s so awesome? You didn’t tell him our secret without me, did you Jordan?”
Sanji looked at Ryan suspiciously, but Jordan looked at him and put his finger up to his lips. “Shh! I don’t know if he’s old enough to know about that yet, Ryan.”
Sanji looked back and forth from Ryan’s face back to Jordan’s. “What secret? I’m old enough to know! I’m nine now!”
Ryan nodded his head. “I have to agree with him, Jordan. Nine certainly seems old enough to know about it.”
Jordan looked at Sanji’s begging face and sighed. “Very well, but you have to promise not to tell anyone about our secret. Can you do that, Sanji?”
Sanji nodded his head. “I won’t tell anyone, I promise!”
Alex wandered over and looked at Sanji excitedly. “What won’t you tell anyone, Sanji?”
Jordan looked at Ryan questioningly. “Do you think we should tell Alex too?”
Ryan smiled. “I think we should. He won’t tell anyone about it, will you?” Alex looked at Ryan with confusion, but nodded his head. “Good man. Our secret is that I was the Super Morpher.”
The boys stared at Ryan with disbelief and then looked to Jordan for confirmation. Jordan chuckled and nodded his head. “It’s true; he was. Not only that, but I was the Ultra Mod.”
Sanji’s eyes opened wide in excitement, but they quickly turned from excitement to suspicion. “If Uncle Ryan is the Super Morpher, then prove it. Change into something.”
Ryan chuckled, “Aren’t you a young scientist, always looking for proof. I hope that this is enough proof for you.” Ryan took the fork from Jordan, and the fork disappeared. Ryan’s skin gained a metallic look and turned silvery. “Are you satisfied now?” Ryan’s skin turned back to normal and the fork reappeared in his hands.
Alex shook in excitement. “That is so cool! Why didn’t you tell more people about who you really were, like Grandpa Mark?”
Jordan’s face grew somber. “There aren’t many things that your grandfather and I disagree about, but that is one of them. I felt that if people knew who we were, those that we cared about might become targets to our enemies. We felt that keeping who we were a secret kept our loved ones safe.”
Amanda approached Jordan’s side with a glass of milk in her hands. Jordan accepted the glass gratefully. “Thank you, my dear. You did a wonderful job with this cake.”
Amanda smiled. “Thank you, but you should recognize it, it’s Grandma Brittany’s recipe.”
Brittany smiled, “I’m glad that it still sees use. Tell me Amanda, how are you adapting to raising young geniuses?”
Amanda sighed, “It’s a challenge almost every day. I’m always wondering what sort of experiment I’m going to walk around the corner and find them in the process of. Wait until you hear about what they did to their walls this week!”
Alfred took a bite of the piece of cake from his plate. He swallowed before continuing. “It’s so hard to believe, but it seems like there weren’t any harmful side effects from the formula at all! From what I could tell, it was a healthy as a hairy potato could be!”
Mark nodded his head. “That’s great news. I think you should start looking for some volunteers for the next step soon.”
Alfred smiled. “That was my plan. I’m hoping to have a test group put together by the end of next week and be ready to start testing the week after that. I can’t wait to get back to the lab on Monday and see how much new growth there is! After all these years, I’ll finally have a success to talk about at one of my lectures!”
Mark chuckled, “I’m sure that the crowds that you draw will be bigger than ever before. Are you ready for that?”
Alfred nodded his head. “I think so, but I could always use more help. Would you be interested in coming along and helping to deliver my next lecture?”
Mark shook his head. “I don’t think that would be a good idea, Alfred. You have something amazing to talk about, and the crowds should be focused on you. Having a superhero there would only distract them from what you’re saying.”
Alfred nodded his head. “Yes, that does make sense. Will you at least let me practice with you before I go next weekend?”
Mark patted Alfred on the back. “I would be happy to, son. Let’s go and get some more of that cake before my father eats it all.”
Alfred chuckled, “I don’t think we have much to worry about, Grandma Brittany will make sure that he doesn’t have too much.”
Mark rolled his eyes. “You obviously don’t know your grandparent’s as well as I do, Alfred. You can stay if you want, but I’m getting more of that cake!” Mark made his way over to the table. Alfred shook his head and followed him.
Alfred stood in the middle of a stage, with a microphone in his hands. Sanji and Alex stood next to a whiteboard covered in their handwriting. Alfred stalked toward the edge of the stage. “But I’m sure that you all have heard the details about my formula before. I am pleased to announce that very recently an application for my formula has been discovered by my young assistants. Between the two of them, Alexander and Sanji Godard have worked out a formula that can be used to grow hair. It is still early in the testing phase, but I do have three potatoes sitting in my lab that are in need of a haircut. It may not seem like much to get excited about, that it isn’t anything revolutionary, that it’s not going to change the world, but I would disagree with you.
“This is a huge breakthrough for me, a key that will help me to get past the barrier that has been preventing me from discovering further uses for my formula. I would argue that my formula will change the world, that it will improve the lives of everyone. Now we just need to go out there and make that change.” The room erupted in applause, and Sanji and Alex joined Alfred at the front of the stage. They smiled and waved out at the crowds. Alfred bowed and said, “Thank you all for taking the time to come and listen to me and my sons. I hope that you all will stick around after the dinner and speak with me about any progress you’ve made, or idea’s you have that would utilize my theory. Now, if you will excuse me, I think that my boys and I are going to enjoy some of this amazing food that the university has provided us with.” Alfred and the boys made their way over to the table where Amanda was waiting for them.
Amanda smiled at her husband as he sat down next to her. “You were wonderful, Alfred. And I can’t get over how cute you boys look in your little suits.”
Sanji rolled his eyes. “You say that every time Dad give one of these presentations, Mom.”
Amanda chuckled and replied, “And you boys look cute every time, like little penguins!”
Alex laughed and took a bit out of a dinner roll. “Sanji does look like a penguin, doesn’t he?”
Sanji glared at Alex, but soon he started to chuckle along with him. Alfred shook his head and said, “Sanji can’t be a penguin, he hates eating fish. Penguins love fish.”
The entire family started to laugh until a man who had approached Alfred’s side unnoticed cleared his throat. Alfred turned his attention onto the man, who said. “Forgive my intrusion, but I was just too excited to speak with you to wait any longer. I am Dr. Bran, a professor here at Leforn University.”
Alfred’s face lit up with recognition. “I remember you! I took a class with you; I believe it was molecular biology.”
Dr. Bran smiled and nodded his head. “Yes, you were one of the brightest students that I ever had. I must admit that after you gave your presentation before the college board all those years ago, it inspired me. Since then I have dedicated much of my life to working on an application of my own, but have encountered similar difficulties to those you yourself have. Is it true that your children are the ones that created your most recent formula?”
Alfred smiled and nodded his head. “Yes, I only assisted them with it a little.”
Sanji said around a mouthful of mashed potatoes, “We would have figured it all out before Dad got home from work if Mom hadn’t taken our writing utensils away from us.”
Alex nodded his head after stuffing the rest of his roll into his mouth. “That’s right!”
Amanda frowned at her sons. “Don’t speak with your mouths full, boys.”
Dr. Bran smiled and shook his head. “That is most remarkable. I have a request of you then; please allow your children to assist me with my theory as well. I have been working on a formula that will help with the regrowth of lost limbs. I have made substantial progress on my theory, but I haven’t any clue on how to proceed. I’m sure that you would agree if you children were to be apart of something so incredible that it would do great things for their reputation.”
Alfred smiled. “I don’t think that anything you or anyone else could do will help my boys to get any better reputation than what they will earn on their own. It does excite me to hear about all the different applications that other scientists have thought of for my theory, and yours is a theory that will truly help to make our world into a better place.”
Dr. Bran looked at Alfred with confusion. “Thank you for your praise, but I’m confused. Will your boys be assisting me or not?”
Alfred frowned. “This is something that I would have to discuss with my wife.”
Sanji looked at Alfred pleadingly. “Can we work with him please, Dad? His idea sounds really cool!”
Alex nodded his head, “Yeah, we really want to help him!”
Alfred shrugged and looked to Amanda. Amanda smiled and said, “I think it would be fine, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their schoolwork. We were looking for ways to challenge them more scholastically, and this seems like as good a way as any other we’ve come up with.”
Dr. Bran quickly replied, “I assure you that it wouldn’t interfere with their schoolwork at all. I would only require their assistance on saturdays. In fact, I’ll even pay your boys for their work.”
Alfred looked at each of his family in turn, and nodded his head. He looked at Dr. Bran and smiled. “I would be honored give my children the opportunity to work with you, doctor. I’d be happy to discuss the details with you after I’ve finished eating.”
Dr. Bran smiled and nodded his head. “Of course. I look forward to it.”