Renowned geneticist Dr. Bob Archer makes a discovery while doing research on the Human Genome Project that will cost him his life.
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In Project 314 Bill Burgett has combined suspense, romance, faith, science, and old-fashioned sleuthing to bring the reader an exciting story that defies interruption. The Human Genome Project is providing scientists a basis for improving the human condition, but what Dr. Bob Archer discovers is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. In his enthusiasm to develop his discovery, Dr. Archer violates accepted protocol and plunges himself, his associate Dr. Bev Hudson, his wife Judy Archer, and others in an adventure that will have readers gripping their chairs and challenging their assumptions about life itself.
“It’s a bullhead,” he said as he gently grabbed it behind its head, being careful not to stick himself with the sharp fins.
“It’s a catfish,” the older boy argued, laying his pole on the deck of the pier to help his brother.
“Anyone can see it’s a bullhead. Look at the tail. It’s round. Catfish tails are pointed.”
“Who cares, anyway?”
It was a cloudy May morning and the river was swollen from spring rains. The boys had packed potato chips and cokes and brought their fishing poles to the pier. There was an hour to fish before their Dad was to pick them up for Little League, and they intended to catch something before he arrived. Not that they would bring the fish home. No one in their family liked to clean fish, especially their mother, so the bluegills, bullheads, and catfish would be thrown back after sufficient bragging time.
“There’s sure a lot of stuff in the river,” said the older boy. He was in the eighth grade, about to start high school. “Must be over its banks upriver to pick up so many branches and stuff.” He could see that the water was halfway up the boat ramp.
The younger boy was in the sixth grade and would be going to middle school. He was busy trying to get his hook out of the bullhead. The fish had swallowed the hook. With only two in his box, the boy wanted to save the hook, but didn’t want to gut the fish. He decided in favor of the hook and gave a sharp pull on the line. Out came the hook and stringy pieces of fish gut. Blood dripped on the boy’s pants. “What should I do with it?” he asked. “I think I’ve killed it.”
“Throw it back. Something’ll eat it.” The older boy was busy putting a fresh worm on his hook. Neither boy saw the hand bobbing up and down in rhythm with the current. It was sticking out from between branches under the short pier next to the boat ramp. They were seated on worn wooden benches on top of the pier. A waist-high railing ran the length of the pier. Notches had been cut in the top rail to keep fishing poles from sliding away.
The older brother raised his pole overhead and gently cast bobber, sinker, and hook about ten feet away from the pier. The sinker pulled the wiggling worm under the water and immediately the whole rig was carried in the direction of the current. The bobber kept everything off the bottom. The boy’s eyes were glued to the bobber.
The younger boy sent the disemboweled bullhead into the current with a twinge of guilt. He hated to hold worms, but he knew that his older brother would call him names if he didn’t, so he reached into the cardboard container and pulled a worm out of the clump, then threaded his hook through it. He cast his rig over the rail and the current pulled it under the pier. He felt an instant tug. “I’ve got another one!” he called out. “It’s huge! Get the net.”
The older boy reeled in his rig and went for the net. “Let out some line before the fish breaks it,” he yelled. While his brother held the pole, the older boy went behind the pier and got down on his knees and tried to reach the line. Instead he grabbed what felt like a rag. He pulled on it until he could see what he had in his hands. His hands sprang open as if he had grabbed a hot coal. “It’s a leg!” he screamed. “It’s somebody’s leg!”