‘Now the rest of it,’ he says.
‘What’s going on?’ I’m used to being searched and decontaminated but not at gun point.
‘I’m sealing the lab. Your job’s done.’ The guard sounds bored.
Sally, the director, leans against the doors, her sad eyes speak before she does.
‘Ninurta are shutting us down, Lily.’
‘Ninurta, the agritech company? They don’t own us,’ I say.
The guard snorts and shakes his head.
‘Yes they do. We’ve been privatised, part of a trade deal,’ Sally says. ‘They want the super broccoli seeds.’
Of course they do. If the super-broc helps prevent cancer, global pharmaceutical companies would be harmed. If Ninurta hold the only seeds they can name any price.
‘Get decontaminated Lily.’ She sounds beaten. ‘Go home, have some soup with your mum.’ So she knows. ‘I’ll call you next week.’
I run to my car. Grab the phone from the glove box, speed dial home. No answer. Damn she’ll be in the garden tidying up.
I can’t risk speeding and the rush hour traffic is building. I may be too late.
I smell the rich broccoli soup as I step through the door. Another batch for the already bulging freezer.
In the garden Mum’s bent over the patch, the weak sun reflecting off her scalp where her hair hasn’t fully grown back after last year’s chemo. A pile of pulled broccoli plants lie on the grass
She turns. Holding up a plant. ‘Why? These last few plants are going to seed. They’re no good. I’m clearing them out.’
‘Leave them,’ I say. ‘I know what to do with them.