Genetic Impulse

by Peppi Vecchio


What if a genetic scientist unlocks the keys to change mankind’s future only to find her assistant murdered and a hidden enemy training their sights on her?

Motivated by a tragic accident two decades ago that killed her sister; Genetic Scientist Susan Chang uses a novel approach to unraveling the fabric of our ancestral DNA to better understand our genetic impulses. Her research breaks the powerful computer system that is the backbone of a ruthless business leviathan, ruining his plans to siphon untold riches from the U.S. Gov’t. The CEO is also a product of the original accident. His father caused the calamity and the Chang family vilified them into homelessness. When he learns that she is behind his latest problem, his fury is unleashed using every asset he has to erase her and her research. But a secret international cabal lends Susan help to further their efforts of bringing down the corporate monster. Now she faces the ultimate hurdle to complete her work – survival.

Excerpt from Genetic Impulse:

Chapter 1


The alarm screamed in three-second intervals. A bright blue beacon pulsed in rhythm with every sonic blast. Susan Chang clutched the sides of her laptop. A breach occurred in one of the other labs. Her training dictated that she must evacuate immediately to the safe room across the hall. No, no, no. There wasn’t time for this. A three-million year old fossil was about to reveal its secrets.

A light bronze hand grabbed the sleeve of her lab coat and tugged her toward the exit. She spun her head toward her assistant Maneesh. His eyes were wide with fear and a small drop of sweat rolled down the side of his face.

“Susan! We have to get out of here now! Come on, let’s go!”

She tugged back. “No. We’ll be fine. The negative air pressure in this room and gas-tight seal on the door should be enough. I’m at a critical stage with this DNA sample. I need to finish.”

“Should be enough? Do you hear yourself? Are you willing to risk your life for this?” He pulled her arm again.

She had never been asked that last question. She never thought she’d face such a scenario. Would she actually risk her life for her work?

She raised her chin about an inch. “Yes.”

He wrapped his gangly arms around her torso and began forcing her toward the door.

“Protocol dictates we all move to the safe room.” He held her so tight he was practically shouting in her ear. “I’m not going to let you risk your life for this. There are many days ahead.”

He dragged her toward the door, but her eyes shot to the open freezer as they passed. The freezer contained DNA she’d extracted from some of the rarest archeological finds concerning pre-human fossils. If they were compromised in any way….she reached out with a foot and kicked the door closed. She scanned the room for anything else that she could do to save her research.

The alarm continued to throb at a very high volume. The blue light reflected off the glass door she was getting pulled towards. There would be many days ahead. There must be for her to finish her work. She finally relented and moved with him across the hall.

The large chamber was buzzing with a bunch of nervous men in lab coats. Some were pacing. Others were feverishly rubbing the sides of their temples. A Bio-Safety Level 4 laboratory contained pathogens to which there was no known anti-dote. If one of them was loose in the air they were breathing….

Maneesh looked at his black watch. “Two minutes and we seal the submarine door. We may be here a while.”

She glanced at the door behind them. The big round wheel on the door would be spun to clamp the door shut. Just like on a submarine.

She turned back around to the crowd and could see a few people counting heads. Surely no one else was as stubborn as her. She recognized the faces but didn’t remember their names. The only geneticist she knew by name was Kendra, the only other female on this floor. She worked in the lab two doors down.

But she didn’t see Kendra in the crowd. Her spongy brown hair springing out from behind a bright colored hair band should have been easy to spot.

“Kendra!” Susan yelled. “Kendra!”

A few people looked around and shrugged their shoulders. Great. A room full of men and no balls.

“I’ll go get her.” Susan said loud enough for everyone within a few meters to hear. And with that she yanked open the submarine door and rushed down the hall.

She could hear Maneesh yelling from behind her. “Hurry back! They’re going to seal the door!”

The alarm hammered at her senses. It was much louder in the hall. The tone was nauseating. Perhaps the ugliness of the sound was meant to drive people out.

She reached Kendra’s door and pulled hard against the bio-seal. It opened. Kendra was already stumbling her way. Susan caught her in mid-flop and hugged her tight.

“Kendra! Are you OK? What happened?”

Kendra’s bushy hair tilted back and two glazed eyes looked up at her. “The alarm startled me. I tripped and hit my head on the table. Thanks for coming.” The last words were slurred. Her head drooped.

Susan re-gripped her hands around Kendra’s limp body. She was lucky Kendra was almost as petite as her own size. She hoisted her up a little higher and started pulling her to the door. The damn bio-seal required a swift kick once she pulled the latch with her hand. She tried to keep Kendra upright. If she collapsed, Susan would never be able to lift her from the floor.

She dragged her down the hall to the door and waved her hand in front of the small window.

“Hey! Open up! Let’s go!”

But the door did not open. She wondered if they had passed the time limit. She kicked as hard as she could against the door to make sure they could hear her.

“Open up!”

The door still did not open. Maneesh’s words rang in her head. There are many days ahead. Damn right. This was not going to happen to her.

She squeezed Kendra’s body tight with one arm, put her hand on the outside handle and put one foot up against the wall. Using her leg as leverage she pulled as hard as she could. The door started giving way slowly. Then it burst open.

Maneesh, with a frantic look on his face, reached toward her and Kendra. A few of the lab coats fell back in the opposite direction.

She stepped in with Maneesh’s help. The door was quickly closed behind them and the wheel spun shut.

A few men rushed up and eased Kendra to the ground. They checked her pupils and took her pulse. Kendra’s eyes opened and she was able to sit up on her own accord. That was a good sign.

Susan turned back to Maneesh. “Thank you. I didn’t realize the timing was so close.”

“It was too close. About five seconds.” He closed his eyes and took in a few slow, deep breaths.

Susan put her finger to her chin. “The men falling backward. I’m assuming they wanted to seal the door and you gave me a few extra seconds to get in. Thanks for always looking out for me. I know I have a tendency to…”

“Five seconds.” Maneesh interrupted. “You were five seconds past the time. I had to push them away from the wheel.” He opened his eyes again and looked at her.  “They will not be happy with you or me. We were five seconds over and now we’ll all be quarantined. As far as protocol is concerned, we are contaminated. There’ll be hell to pay.”

Susan took a deep breath and leaned back against the wall. The alarm wasn’t as nasty in here as it was in the hall. The LED monitor on the far side was popping up communications between the floors making sure everyone was safe. The footer on the screen was scrolling directions to follow.

Just as quickly as the alarm had shattered the work day, it stopped. The blue beacons also stopped flashing. They were supposed to go to orange when the containment team was satisfied. Then they were supposed to sit tight for another thirty minutes while the ventilation systems did their job. But for some unknown reason it just stopped.

“What happened?” Asked one of the men huddled in front of the LED screen.

“Must have been a faulty air pressure sensor,” said another.

A lab coat with full grey hair read from the screen. “Sit tight while we confirm our findings. But it appears to be a false alarm. We’ll flash a message when you’re allowed to move freely through the building. Regards, safety support team.”

The group murmured amongst themselves. Susan could see Maneesh let out a big sigh. She was relieved too. Now she could get back to work. She turned back toward the wheel and spun it quickly.

Inside her lab she had a DNA sample of Australopithecus afarensis, an extinct early human species, ready to feed into the analyzer. Big “A”, little “a” as Maneesh had nicknamed it. She hoped its quality hadn’t been compromised. There was only one authenticated fossil that she had been able to dissolve into soft tissue so she could extract its precious DNA.

Big “A”, little “a” was a pre-human species that roamed earth four times longer than any other species, including modern man. It was the rarest sample she’d ever worked with. It could be a three-million year old key to fixing countless lives in the future.

If only it could save one from the past. She twirled the silver charm on her necklace. Her research had to succeed. Memory of her long lost sister had commanded it. And as she had recently admitted to herself, she would even die for it.




The alarm in the building stopped. The lab personnel were still corralled in their safe rooms. But no matter. His job was done. The program on his USB stick had been entered into the system. It was getting more and more difficult to break into secure networks like this and slip in his employers program. This time he had to actually fake a containment issue and have everyone scatter about in fear for their lives so he could get in and do this job.

He walked down the hall swinging a fake ID by the lanyard. He approached a side exit door, swiped the card through the magnetic stripe reader and waited for the door to click open. When it did he pushed hard against the thick steel and exited the center. Warm spring Atlanta air rushed up to meet him.

He stepped out with his head down in case the external security cameras were already back online. The birth mark below his right eye was distinguishable but unfortunately it was also recognizable. He was practiced at keeping it from a camera’s view.

His employer would be pleased. Getting into a Bio-Safety Level 4 lab was near impossible. Post 9/11 security measures made sure of that.

But people were always part of any security system. And people were the weakness. Learn to manipulate them and you could get anything you want.

He nodded. His employer would spare nothing to exploit this opportunity. This was more important than the one in Prague a few years ago. Or even the ones in China or Romania. This opportunity could change everything.

For the first time in months he relaxed enough to form a slight grin.