The stranger standing in the front office of the Morgan Cattle Company was dressed in a fine-tailored brown suit. He had a monocle over one eye and carried a simple suitcase in one hand as he asked to speak to Mrs. Morgan.
The secretary looked up from his desk with a welcoming smile and asked, “Who is calling?”
“My name is Louis Pasteur. I’m afraid I must insist on an audience, for I have traveled through great difficulty to find her.”
A blonde woman peered out of a door in the back. “Did you say Louis Pasteur? From France?”
The woman stepped quickly into the room and extended her hand. “I’m Lillian Morgan. I’ve been expecting you since your telegram.”
The scientist brought her hand to his lips. “Charmed.”
She dismissed her secretary with a wave as she led her visitor towards the rear office.“Your telegram suggested that you have some further ideas on improving the breed,” she said.
“As I wrote your late husband, I know something of animal husbandry, but I am a chemist with a strong interest in biology. I have been studying methods to prevent disease, but I zink by applying my techniques we can stimulate exponential growth while inhibiting disease and malformation. I am anxious to consult with your people on zis breed of cattle you’ve cultivated. By all accounts, it is rare indeed. I’d like ze opportunity to combine my ideas with zeirs and, well I am forgetting my humilité –”
“Oh, Dr. Pasteur, I am certain you are being much too modest. As soon as the brains received your telegram, the whole place was buzzing with excitement. My people have told me over and over how lucky we are to have a man of your expertise to assist us.”
“When your husband asked me to come, I rushed to Ghost Creek, but discovered little more than a terrible wasteland. It took me some time to discover your new location. I am terribly sorry for your loss.”
“Yes, thank you. Circumstances forced us to move our operations rather unexpectedly,” Lillian said. “I am so sorry for the inconvenience, but there was no method of contacting you. I will most certainly compensate you.”
“Ne sois pas ridicule,” the scientist said, stroking his carefully groomed beard. “I can only hope zat I have not jumped to illogical conclusions regarding your work. We have been using a special type of light to help purify milk from certain diseases. I have studied some of ze chemical properties of ghost rock and am anxious to see firsthand the interaction between ze chemical and ze biological elements.”
Lillian said, “If your ideas work then I am certain we will make a great fortune together.”
“Financial recompense is of little consequence,” Pasteur said. “Ze goal must be to accomplish great zings. We have ze opportunity to discover a solution to hunger. Perhaps a rare breed zat will be of such size and substance –”
“Exactly what I was thinking,” Lillian said. “Let’s head to the ranch and get started on that rare breed.”