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The laureates of the Dr. Marie Maynard Daly Prize convened on a snowy evening in February. From sculpture to martial arts to dance and poetry, the prizes represented the best in each recipient and inspired onlookers. For the prizes in medicine and business, only one name arose above all others: Trevor Lesane. As far as mathematics were concerned, the central figure in the Daly Prize committee’s selection process had to be Saffron Lesane. “For her extraordinary work in educating students,” Saffron was said to be “the chief developer in building the mathematical minds of tomorrow.” At least that is what the placard read. It could hardly describe the exemplary efforts of Dr. Saffron Lesane. This pair accepted the honor of receiving prizes as the first husband and wife to claim the Daly Prize in the same year. The Lesanes also received the notice via a videophone message that they had been selected for the prizes. Each laureate acquired the invitation to the ceremony in December. A feat this year, Lesane’s dual laurels represented what was possible when excellence was applied to every endeavor.
The men wore black tuxedos with white ties and tails. The women adorned themselves in exquisite evening gowns of all colors and jewelry befitting of royalty. But this was not some aristocratic gathering. No. These prizes meant merit. These prizes meant that toil and focus and mastery put toward a specific activity could garner greatness. For his development of Drug Addiction Counteractive Agent and his superior skills as the CEO of Lesane Laboratories, The Daly Prize Committee conferred upon Lesane their award for, “Introducing into the marketplace a drug which would wipe out addiction and grant the user reprieve permanently from his or her affliction.” The business prize recognized Lesane’s “keen ability to provide valuable services and products that consumers didn’t even know that they needed.”
Saffron was decked out in a salmon gown with diamonds on her neck. The couple brought Preston and Symphony along with Pappy. This couple shared this moment together as a sweet reminder that their bond became stronger. Despite all of the nights that Lesane labored in his laboratory, Saffron knew full well that her business trips also impacted their relationship. Even with the strains of both of their high-profile professions, both man and wife sought to reconnect through this momentous occasion.
As the Goulding weaved through the Terrace Highways, Lesane clasped his thick palm in Saffron’s delicate hand. Lesane squeezed it.
“I want to thank you for all those times... for the countless nights...” Saffron shushed him.
“Say no more, darling. My travels have brought me away from you as well.”
The two grinned. As the vehicle approached the front gates of the grand theater in Wilmington Delaware, they prepared for the blast of cold wind. The Goulding issued a protective shield which blocked the bitter gusts. Their arrival signaled the appearance of paparazzi and journalists. The bright flashes of the cameras illuminated their faces. All of the politicians and dignitaries and laureates all filled the enormous room. Cherubs and baskets full of harvest produce decorated the walls. African violets greeted the occupants of the hall. Each laureate broke from their respective families to meet on the dais. Large lights beamed down upon the special collective. A man dressed like the award recipients walked across the stage and then stopped. He bowed to the governor, the senators, and then to the men and women who would soon hold onto the Daly Prize. A gem of master craftsmanship, the platinum medal with diamonds encrusted in the face bore the image of Dr. Daly. Also, the prize came with a plaque and ten million dollars. Chords filled the space from the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Strings sent a vibrant, triumphant air through the room. The brass section stirred up a sense of achievement. Woodwinds stirred up a sensation of respect for the growing mind. And the timpani drove home the portentous, deep understanding of the evening’s proceedings.
To uproarious applause, the president and executive director of the prize committee, glided across the stage. Clad in a lime green gown with fur along the neckline, Ramisha Smithee commanded the room with a quiet yet firm grace and poise.
“Dignitaries, heads of state, laureates, friends, and family, welcome to the Daly prizes. We are delighted to present to you the examples of excellence who have committed to themselves the task of making better worlds for themselves.” Applause. “Now, the first presented in the field of mathematics, New Sweden University professor and architect of the Great Transition, Milo Kiln.” He approached the lectern and addressed the audience.
“School children often wonder when they will ever use advanced mathematics in everyday life. But the crux of the matter is how they will use their minds. From basic arithmetic to calculus, the functions of the reasoning mind take center stage and show us the powers of human thought. In the past year, no one has exemplified this great feat more than Dr. Saffron Lesane.” Just as Saffron removed herself from her seat, she spied from the corner of her eye a masked male figure moving as if on soft shoes on ice. It moved quickly but with an ugly inelegance and offensiveness that could only be a streaker. The crowd gasped as the figure just slid across the stage and then out of view. With the streaker out of sight and the attention focused on the dais, five stun grenades detonated. Lesane leapt to protect Saffron, who was seated only a few chairs from him. He pushed his wife to the deck to cover her from the fire that sparked following the last grenade blast. Lesane grasped Saffron’s hand and led her to the sanctuary of the hallway adjacent to the theater.
“Are you okay?” Lesane asked Saffron.
“Yeah, I need to see my children.”
The couple then headed toward the exit doors and dialed Pappy’s phone. With no video, no audio, and no text, the two of them waited in the winter cold to ensure that Pappy and their children were safe. The phone just rang and rang.
TO BE CONTINUED