Nine-year-old Artemis Fowl was bored.
In thirty seconds he had finished and double-checked three math sheets. Simply multiplication and division. They called these exams? He had seen harder problems written on alley walls in Dubai!
He leaned his pale face on his hand and looked around. Only one other student was finished; the others were drooling over their sheets, wondering how to borrow.
Ophelia Meyer was a genius; like him, her IQ had yet to be determined. She had the darkest and deepest of brown eyes and the most silky and lusterous of chestnut-brown hair. Right now she was leaning delicately on her olive-colored hand–as he was–and staring out the window. Artemis thought that he would rather she stared at him and immidiately blushed.
But there was a problem.
Ophelia Meyer had OI.
Of course, Artemis read up on OI as soon as he heard Ophelia had it. He hadn’t thought of it much before, but he had the details memorized.
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI and sometimes known as Brittle Bone Disease, or “Lobstein syndrome”) is a genetic bone disorder. People with OI are born with defective connective tissue, or without the ability to make it, usually because of a deficiency of type-one collagen. This deficiency arises from an amino acid substitution of glycine to bulkier amino acids in the collagen triple helix structure. The larger amino acid side-chains create steric hindrance that creates a “bulge” in the collagen complex, which in turn influences both the molecular nanomechanics as well as the interaction between molecules, which are both compromised. As a result, the body may respond by hydrolyzing the improper collagen structure. If the body does not destroy the improper collagen, the relationship between the collagen fibrils and hydroxyapatite crystals to form bone is altered, causing brittleness. Another suggested disease mechanism is that the stress state within collagen fibrils is altered at the locations of mutations, where locally larger shear forces lead to rapid failure of fibrils even at moderate loads as the homogeneous stress state found in healthy collagen fibrils is lost. These recent works suggest that OI must be understood as a multi-scale phenomenon, which involves mechanisms at the genetic, nano-, micro- and macro-level of tissues.
It was a complication, not one Artemis was willing to deal with. So he let the thought of Ophelia Meyer go. But he couldn’t get her out of his head…
Just then he heard a crash, a horrible splintering. Ophelia had fallen from her chair. The teacher ran to her side, and children crowded around her.
“…this one’s got OI…”
“…we lost her.”
So Ophelia was gone. And so was the first love interest of a raven-haired heir.