"I think I've figured it out!" Jason looked up from his table excitedly, a "eureka" sort of expression taking over his whole body. "Cara, Alex, check this out!"
Cara, who was knee-deep in bioengineering a slow, undetectable poison that would take ten or fifteen years to kill the target, and Alex, who was trying to come up with the truly irresistible scent, looked up at Jason impatiently. It was Liam, the team's handler, who came over to Jason's workstation.
"What is it, Jay?"
"I've gotten them to have retractable thorns!" He held up the length of rose stem, showing how, when he ran his hand over it, the thorns slid into the stem. "See: pet it the right way, no prickers. Pet it the wrong way;" he put on a glove and repeated it. "Bleeding all over the place." The inch-long prickers ripped into the leather of his glove and held onto it; he pulled his hand out and let the roses keep the glove.
"Why not just make them prickerless?" Liam shook his head. Jason had a brilliant mint - one time out of ten. It was just a matter of directing him.
"Anyone can make a rose without thorns. Mine, mine only prick people who don't know their secret. See?" He pointed to the tall hedge of them, growing around an arbor in his controlled space, the flowers a melange of rainbow colors.
Liam stared. "Jay, those are the fanciest colors I have ever seen on a rose."
"I know," the scientist sighed. "That, and sometimes they bite people. I haven't figured out how to deal with that yet."
"Forget the biting," Liam commanded. "Once they're cut, they won't be biting, and those colors - we can finance another base with that. Jason, you're... oW! Your flowers stung me!" He swayed a bit. "Jason, what's.."
"They don't like talking about being cut, Liam. And, ah, they're a little bit venomous, too, but I don't think it's fatal. You should be okay in an hour or two." Jason helped his boss into a chair. "I'm going to go plant these on my island now."
The mad scientist smiled crookedly. "Well, it's going to be my island, at least."
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