Part 3, Chapters 25 Summary
Gladney examines the small, white Dylar tablet before giving it to Winnie Richards, a young, brilliant research neurochemist. Richards examines the tablet for several minutes before licking it and shrugging, saying it does not have much taste. She tells Gladney to check back with her in 48 hours, but he cannot find her anywhere on campus for the entire rest of the week.
Denise is careful not to ask Gladney anything about the Dylar and does not even give him a look that might convey any meaning; however, every look Babette gives now seems to have some kind of meaning. In the middle of conversations, she turns her attention to other things and appears to be in serious contemplation of them. These private reveries estrange her from her family, and Gladney talks to her about them one day after the children leave for school.
He tells Babette she is somehow different, looking at things and reacting to things differently than she used to; when she does not say anything meaningful in response, Gladney tells her he found the Dylar. As Denise predicted, Babette claims she does not remember taping anything to the radiator cover and avoids any further conversation by inviting Gladney to the bedroom.
Gladney finally sees Richards trying to walk across campus unnoticed and follows her. He has to trot to keep up with the tall, awkward young woman, his robe flying behind him. He finally catches her in the hallway of the science building but is too winded to speak. When he has sufficiently recovered, he asks Richards if she has been avoiding him as she has not answered his notes or phone messages. She claims she has not been hiding from anyone in particular, although the twentieth century is a time when “people go into hiding even when no one is looking for them.”
She tells him that Dylar is a “drug delivery system” that precisely releases the drug contained inside it at “specified rates for extended periods.” This eliminates the risk of inconsistent dosage as well as any uncomfortable side effects of improper dosage.
All she knows about the chemical inside the pill is that it is a psychopharmaceutical of some kind, probably “designed to interact with a distant part of the human cortex.” The trillions of neurons in the brain each have ten thousand tiny dendrites, and the complex communication system between them all is awe inspiring to Richards. It makes her proud to be an American because the brain develops in response to stimuli, something at which America leads the world.
Richards does confirm that this drug is not on the public market; she does not know what it is, but it does not contain the ingredients of any known brain-receptor drug.