'You soon will be, if he has his way. And he'll be out of them.' Lena's
clever, slanting green eyes scan his face anxiously. 'You've never agreed?'
'I've said I'll talk to him tomorrow.'
'Listen to me. I know about these things. Tomorrow you'll call in sick.
'I can't do that.'
'Do you think Russov would do anything for you if you were in his
'No. Probably not.'
'But, Lena, we're medics; we have to cooperate. It's perfectly legitimate
for Russov to call on a second opinion.'
'Is that what he calls it? He's going to be the first opinion, then?'
'Well - '
'Just as I thought. It'll be you in the firing line, and no one else.' She
lowers her voice again. 'You should keep out of it. Remember Court of
Of course he had seen the film. He and Anna had watched it in silence,
and left the cinema without comment. She had held his arm very tightly
on the walk home. The film was fiction, but its targets were real.
Kliueva, Roskin and Vasili Parin. Brilliant, innovative research
scientists. Kliueva and Roskin pioneered biological drug treatments to
shrink tumours. They'd seemed invulnerable. State funds poured into
their research institute. Kliueva was awarded a Stalin Prize.
The charges brought against them were that they'd betrayed Soviet scientific
research secrets, which belonged to the State. Either they'd been tricked
by the Americans into disclosure, or there was a more sinister explanation.
But everyone knew it was inconceivable that they'd made these contacts
with the Americans without permission. No scientist travelled to the USA
without a full and thoroughly understood set of instructions. Whispers
said that everything was done on clear State orders. Policy had changed
overnight, as it did so often, and the scientists paid the price. Parin, who'd
actually handed over the research material, was sentenced to twenty-five
years as a spy for the Americans. Somehow, by the skin of their teeth, Roskin
and Kliueva survived their Court of Honour, their severe reprimand and the
barrage of claims that they too were spies, hoodwinked by the Americans.
They'd been unbelievably lucky; Parin not so. The warning was there.
Don't think, however eminent and crowned with prizes you may be,
that you can't be destroyed. Don't think that the scientific or medical
community can expect any special favours because of its particular
expertise. The same stringent standards apply to everyone. Scientists can
be spies; doctors can be anti-patriotic saboteurs. Anybody can go out of
favour in the blink of an eye. The State is tire less in exercising the utmost
vigilance over scientists and doctors who present themselves as 'dogooders',
thinking only of the needs of humanity and of their patients.
Lena is watching him. She'll know exactly what he's thinking. Everyone
saw Court of Honour. She glances around her again, and says very
quietly, 'I know it's not quite the same thing, but it'll turn out the same
way, believe me. They believed that they were acting in good faith and
so they would be all right. All they were thinking about was the cure.
That was their mistake.'
He nods. Not for the first time, he's amazed by Lena's trust in him. 'I
understand what you're saying, Lena,' he answers.
'Do you? I hope so. You've got too much faith in people, but to me all
this smells wrong. Did he tell you what's wrong with the boy?'
'Not yet. What do you know, Lena?'
'Not a lot. No one's been allowed near him except Russov. He's had
X-rays done already, did he tell you that?'
A wave of anger courses through Andrei. How can that be possible?
To have X-rays done, but not to tell him! Was Andrei supposed to order
more X-rays and so give the patient a double dose of radiation?
Oldest romance writer in the world dies aged 105. Books #124 and #125 to be published next year(Dec 10 2013) Ida Pollock, author of more than 120 books, and believed to be the world's oldest romantic novelist, has died at the age of 105.