Adventures in Research

“I appreciate all of you helping me with this experiment,” Kami began.  “As you know, I’ve been attempting to create a method of transmitting airborne chemicals designed to cause dizziness, drowsiness, or even unconsciousness.  This will allow us to incapacitate enemies or intruders without harming them, thus allowing us to interrogate them at a later point in time.”

Kami surveyed the twelve people seated before him, some of whom looked rather bored.  “You will each be given an injection.  Half of you will receive what I hope will be an antidote to the sleeping gas, while the other half will receive something which will neither harm you nor aid you in combating the gas.  Some of you will be gassed with the sleeping gas, while others will be gassed with something inert and completely harmless.  I won’t even know what you’ll be given until I check the labels afterward.  I will be observing you carefully, and I’d like you to tell me exactly how you’re feeling.”

The Doctor had done a lot to teach Kami about proper methodology, including what he called double-blind studies.  He had stressed to Kami that “informed consent” was crucial, but Kami was beginning to wonder whether the volunteers really needed to hear the speech each time.  “Is there anyone who would like to withdraw participation from the experiment?”  A few shook their heads, while others merely stayed silent.  While they weren’t exactly enthusiastic, they wanted to repay Kami’s help in taking care of them and their various ailments.  “Very well.  Let’s begin.”

The first subject entered the room and sat on the ground where Kami indicated.  He dubiously looked around at the pillows surrounding him, clearly wondering what he had gotten himself into.  Kami gave him a shot with the letter ‘A’ on a piece of paper completely covering another label.  Later, Kami would remove the ‘A’ to determine whether the man had received the antidote or what the Doctor called a “placebo”.  He took a small canister with a ‘1’ covering another label, pulled the pin, and tossed it near the man.  The man immediately slumped over and landed on the pillows.

“Interesting,” Kami thought as he bent to write the results.  “It seems apparent that… er… he clearly…” Kami yawned, and his vision swam slightly.  He couldn’t quite follow his own thoughts well enough to notate what had just happened.  “Ohhh!” he said out loud, struggling to force his mind to cooperate.  “Perhaps I should have… given myself the… uh… that thingy I was testing…”

Several minutes later, the next volunteer poked her head in, only to discover both the subject and the researcher deep in slumber.

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