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The Thesis
Chapter 1: Death of a Rising Star

By Eva Chan

Crowds cheered and cameras flashed as Celina Davis got out of the limosine. She smiled brightly at the crowed and waved casually and gracefully walked up the stairs of Universal Technological Advanced Chemical, otherwise known UTAC. The president a tall, good-looking middle aged man greeted her warmly.
“Welcome to UTAC Miss Davis. It’s a pleasure to have you here and might I say that my family and I are all big fans of your movies. To my right, is Richard UTAC’s vice president; and this is Henry, our chief engineer ” as he gestured towards a stout balding man. “If you’ll step this way, we’ll begin with a tour of the plant.”
Celina smiled coolly and said “Thank you Mr. Carter I see you do quite a lot in this plant.”

Two hours, later they found themselves in front of the main lab “To my right is where we do the testing for new synthetic fibers and fabrics. At this moment, they are developing a material somewhat related to the silk of spiders.”
Henry Jones paused for a breath and continued “Now to my left, is our newest product. Here, take a sip of this Miss. Davis, I’m sure you’ll be surprised. This product is the latest in technological advances in the food and agriculture industry. Why, within a year or so, we could just about solve the problem of world famine!”
“Oh? And how is that possible?” Celina Davis inquired.
“Ahh…that’s the secret of this product. What you have just tasted has actually been developed in this lab, for a total of 48 days. At this rate, we could bring the technology world wide and solve the problem of world hunger.”
“I see. That sounds wonderful. Now if you’ll excuse my rudeness, I must be going. I wish you all the best and thank you for having me here.”Celina said as they walked out to the foyer.
“No, not at all Miss Davis. It was UTAC’s pleasure.”
She smiled, and walked back towards the limo once again, to the applause of fans pressed against the police and rope railings.

Samantha Peters stood on the sidewalk next to the dormitory. “Where is she?” she muttered to herself.
She flipped her long dark hair over her shoulder and glanced at her watch again. She squinted in the bright Californian sun and glanced up the path. Presently, a streak of blonde hair popped up and tore down the path. Sam giggled to herself as she saw the mass of blonde hair slow down and paused for a gulp of air before blurting out "Hey Sam, I know we agreed to meet before class but I just got stuck and I know I’ve said it a million times before but I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry!!”
Sam grinned and said, “Well, you know the deal. Keep me waiting for more than 20 minutes and you buy me lunch! Although I think we should make a new deal saying if you make me wait for more than half an hour, no, 40 minutes to be exact, you buy me dinner as well!”
Amy laughed “Well, I’m just thankful that you didn’t think of that before we made plans.”
“Yeah? Well you’d better be happy that I’m not professor Collins. He’s not as merciful as I am. Come on. We’re late for class and I don’t want to face the wrath of Professor Collins!”
They walked across the street towards the journalism lecture hall just as a sleek black jaguar pulled up inches in front of them. The window rolled down to reveal the handsome face of Matthew McCormick.
“Helloooo ladies. Off to class?”
Amy smiled flirtatiously “Of course, care to take us in your fancy toy?”
Matt grinned “Tell you what. I’ll take you if you give me a kiss”
Sam gagged “As if Matt. Get a life. It’s not like every girl would fall for overgrown boys in their overgrown toys”
Mattclutched his chest and said “Why Sam! I’m hurt. Amy, I’ve got a boo boo right here” as he pointed to his heart.
Sam groaned “Puh-lez spare me the details of your cheesy lines. Aimes, I’ll see you after class all right?” with a flourish, she spun around on her heels and walked off.
“What is it with her anyway? I mean. It’s not like I did anything did I?” Matt asked as he ran his fingers through his dark hair.
Amy bit her lip “Sammy’s always been the odd one. Absolutely brilliant, creative, athletic and pretty just to say the least. But even her best friend can’t understand her sometimes. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s not like she holds anything against you.” She smiled again and said “ Anyway, I’ll see you in class. Bye!”

“Remember. Nothing is exactly true in journalism. Learn to be critical readers. Don’t take everything at surface value. Even statistics can me manipulated and stop a journalist from finding the actual truth. When you’re reading an article, it’s critical that you understand the reporter’s viewpoint and identify the slant. Think about the opposition side. Are all the facts present? Or are some facts just being slightly suppressed?” Professor Jason Collins put his hands into his navy sports jacket and paced across the stage. “Try to identify the facts instead of their surroundings.”
Sam scribbled furiously in her binder, absorbing the lecture. “Try to come up with your own point of view” Professor Collins’ continued. “To prove my point, for our next class I’m assigning you a paper ” as the class groaned, Professor Collins smirked “Well don’t get all excited now. I want you to find an article in the newspaper. Find all the facts and write your own article on it. Try to identify the slant” He closed his briefcase which always signaled the end of class, as students stood up gathering belongings.
Sam stood up, looking for Amy. After spotting her by the door, she ran up saying “Any ideas for the paper?” Amy groaned “Oh don’t remind me. I have a hard enough time just getting to his classes on time!” Sam laughed as they headed out of the building.
As they walked they heard “Sam! Amy! Wait up!” Sam and Amy turned around to see Christina Blake run towards them. “Going to lunch?” Christina asked.
“Yeah. We’re going to grab something before Sam buries herself in her room with the new journalism assignment” Amy snickered.
“Really! Well speaking of news, do you guys know what happened to that new movie star Celina Davis?”
“Oh, you mean the brunette in the new summer thriller? Of course, who doesn’t know her?” Sam replied.
Christina grinned mysteriously “Well the late, great Celina Davis that is. She got really sick or something and passed away yesterday!”
“WHAT??” Amy and Sam gasped. “Sure. It’s out in the papers everywhere. Right after this photo shoot, she passed out and died like two days later. They’re not sure exactly what happened yet but I think it has something to do with this chemical company or something like that” Christina replied. “Well anyway, I’m off. See ya later!”
“Wow. Can you believe that?” Amy said after Christina left.
Sam grinned. “Actually, this gives me an idea. Aimes, I’m really sorry but I’ve gotta go. I’ll see you back at home tonight okay?” Sam said over her shoulder as she took off towards their dorm.
Hours later, Sam sat in the middle of their dorm room with piles of the latest newspapers, a pack of 6 cans of diet cola and her notebook.
“Hm..” she read on. “Recent reports have not identified the death of the late Celina Davis, the new rising star in Paramount’s summer thriller. Autopsy reports have not been released and scientists have yet to determine the actual cause of her death or the reason why such large douses of H9M2 was found in her bloodstream”
“H9M2?” Sam pondered. “I wonder what’s that.” She went over to her laptop and connected to the Internet.
Subsequently, she heard a loud knock on her door and the voice of Amy said “Sam?”
Sam rubbed her tired eyes and cracked open another can of cola. “Yeah?” she called back. “How long have you been up?” Amy asked.
Sam checked her watch “Wow. All night actually, I’ve really gotten into this article.”
“Sam you can’t do this to yourself” a new voice rang out.
“Karen?” Sam called. “Hey girl. Yeah it’s me, Alvin and Dan are here as well come on. Let’s go grab something to eat.” “In a minute” Sam called back. “I’ve got to get this done”
“Aren’t you tired?” Alvin asked.
Sam laughed “Actually, I think I’ve found my second wind. Or rather seventh should I say. I won’t be done for a while. You guys just go on ahead I’ll see you later today all right?”
“Come on Sam, you’re going to kill yourself!” Dan yelled.
Sam laughed again “Go. I’ll be done in an hour or so.”
Amy sighed “Oh fine. We’ll be back though!”
Sam looked at her paper proudly. She had taken this class a lot more seriously than others. She checked her watch and sure enough, there came a knock on the door. “Right on time” she murmured.
“Hey guys” She greeted her friends. “I’m really sorry, but I think I’ll just go to sleep. But before I go, may I present my article ‘Death of a Rising Star..Accident? Or not’?” Sam said as she proudly presented the portfolio. “Oh yeah, and can you take this to Professor Collins?” she asked. “Sure”
Amy said eagerly. “I’ll do it. I’m her best friend” “Wait a minute. We want to see too!” the group complained. “She’s been working on this all night, it’s got to be good”
Sam laughed “tell you what. You can all take it, but no looking!” She said to the group of disappointed faces. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to catch some Z’s.” and Sam closed the door before they could protest.
The next day, just as Sam and Amy were heading out of their dorm, Christina burst in. “Hi sorry to intrude, but I was just over in the journalism building, and Professor Collins asked me to tell Sam to see him right away. I think it’s important. Anyway, good luck I’m outtie!”
“I wonder what that’s all about” Amy asked.
“Don’t know. Maybe it has to do with my paper? Anyway, I’ll see you after class. I better go now” Sam replied. She gathered her books and hurried towards Professor Collins’ office.
Jason Collins sat in his office when Samantha knocked on the door. “You wanted to see me Professor Collins?” she asked. “Oh yes; come in, come in” he replied as he ushered her into the office. “Now Samantha. I’ve been going through your paper and I think you’ve hit a mark. In fact, I’ve recommended it to one of my friends Catherine Jones who’s a reporter at the chronicle. Now, with your permission of course, I’d like to publish it in the newspapers. Would that be all right?”
Sam was ecstatic. This could be her big break! “Of course it’d be all right sir!” She replied just as Matt McCormick walked in. Sam was more then surprised. Matt never stuck her as the serious type. To her, he was nothing more than another meat head. But Professor Collins’ voice interrupted thoughts and brought her back to reality. “Oh Matt. I’m glad you’re here” Professor Collins said.
“You wanted to see me sir?” Matt asked.
“Yes” He continued “I’ve read both your assignments and I think you’re onto something. Matt, you take the view of a sabotaged visit to the chemical plant, whereas you Samantha, take the view of the possibility of a default product accidentally being absorbed by Miss. Davis. Either way, it’s possible since her the reason of her death has not been confirmed. And both arguments are well supported. So as I mentioned before to Samantha, I would like both of your articles to be published in the Chronicle.”
Sam fumed angrily. Why should she share her big break with the biggest flirt on campus? As if the idiot could write a decent article even if his life depended on it.
“Thank you Professor Collins” Matt replied standing up “I’m sure I speak for both of us when I say we appreciate the opportunity.”
Sam smiled coolly as they walked out. Once out of the office, Matt said “So. Guess we’re in this together. Surprising Sam I didn’t think it was your type”
Sam retorted , “And journalism is your type? You don’t even know me so don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.”
Matt grit his teeth in annoyance. What was it about this girl anyway? She wasn’t like anything he’d ever dealt with before “Look, I’m just trying to do the assignment. Was it my fault that I got chosen?”
Sam started to walk away but turned around and said over her shoulder “We’ll see McCormick. May the best journalist win.”
Professor Jason Collins climbed into his Toyota and started the engine. The warm Californian night enfolded the white car as he pulled out of the parking lot of St. Paul’s Hospital. He took no notice of the beautiful scenery, as he drove towards the rocky location of his home. Instead he tightened his vice like grip on the steering wheel and grit his teeth angrily. Questions tumbled through his mind as he raced off the highway and onto route 102.
“Who would do something like this? And for that matter WHY? Who would want to break into his old school mate Catherine Jones’ house? And for that matter what kind of jerk breaks in and puts a defenseless woman into coma?” Jason thought. It had only been two days since he last saw her. That was when he delivered his two student’s papers. It had been wonderful to see Catherine again after all these years, they never grew even one inch apart and now this tragedy happened.
“I’d really love to get my hands on the jerk that did this” he thought “And why would anyone do this? Catherine had always been the same sweet girl he’d known all his life she didn’t have any enemies so who would do such a terrible thing?”
All these thoughts were going through Jason’s mind as he drove up the side of the cliff. He braked on a sharp turn. The machine didn’t respond. Again he floored the brakes and yet the Toyota lurched forward.
“Oh no.” he thought. “The brake wires have been cut!” Jason opened his eyes wide in terror as the edge of the cliff rushed towards him. He felt his body plunge forward despite the pitiful attempts of the seat belt to restrain him. He closed his eyes as the car swerved and opened them just in time to see the wind shield shatter from the impact of the crash. He saw a mass of red, and felt an excruciating pain shoot up his body, as he fought to for consciousness. Then, it all went black.

….. To be continued

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