Prologue

“It’s not getting any better, if anything, it’s continuing to get worse…”

 

Sat in her office, absentmindedly gazing out of her large transparent window overlooking the night cityscape, Madame Eve contemplated her thoughts but quickly resigned and came back to the reality she’s forced to be in. September loomed around the corner as she thought about the new academic year and what it will bring. She spun around and slid herself under her desk. 

She clasped her hands together almost in prayer attempting to rid herself of the frustration and pressure that mount her. 

This has to work. She thought.

Breaking her out of her trance, Viola, her personal assistant’s voice echoed the office filling the room.

“Incoming call Madame Eve.” - 

Madame Eve slowly looked up to a large blue holographic projection coming from the middle of her spacious glass desk. With dread, she’s tempted to decline the call and answer when she has more of the strength to have the conversation but she knows better than to ignore a call from one of them.

“Answer.” said Madame Eve. 

Blue particles shifted and formed the face of her colleague, Professor Windsor. His facial expression looked almost despondent.

“It’s not your fault Eve, nobody could have foreseen the anomaly,” said Professor Windsor.

“I am aware that it is not my fault.” said Madame Eve icily. The irony is not lost on her.

You will not blame me, she thought.

“In any case, you must get on with the project, our ‘friends’ are getting more agitated by the day when they cannot get any closer to the mission.” 

“Windsor, if I am not granted the full access I need in order for this process to go smoothly, then you will continue to get the same inadequate results.

“You can always change and alter the parameters of the research. Potentially, this could yield the results we need in order to move forward with the --”

With a swift motion, Madame Eve quickly stands up from her office chair, almost knocking over her snake plant as she strides across the room with annoyance. At this point, she felt as though she was talking with a brick wall. 

“I shall stop you right there. Firstly, the research gathered so far has already proved to be useful in understanding the broader concept of what our “they” want. Secondly, the problem that they don’t seem to quite grasp is they are not letting me take full control of this research. How on Earth do you want to change the future without risk?! Do you expect me to work with the abysmal resources you provide for me and expect the best of the best? Windsor, for the sake of our mutual respect we have for one another, I shall make this crystal clear. Until I get what I want, they will continue to struggle. Is that clear?!” 

The conversation started to rile the emotions inside of her. 

Must this happen now!?

“Eve… we have discussed this many times, you know we must do everything above board for legal purposes or else this could prove to be a huge disaster that could compromise all of us, including you.” said Professor Windsor in a low, clipped voice. 

 

Madame Eve moved closer to the window stroking the purple velvet curtains, looking out into the vast night city. Slowly, the tingling feeling that she knows all too well started to course through her veins and into her finger tips like the rushing of the cold waves from a waterfall. She gently closed her eyes and exercised her breaths waiting for the feeling to pass her by. 

Not again, she thought.

“They know how important and vital you are to the success of this project so I think I can make something work in your favor. Hold the call, Eve”. 

The projection call beeped rhythmically with Windsor disappearing into a blur of pixels. 

Once the feeling subsided a little, she struggled to walk, trying her hardest to get to the bar across the room. She tapped the side of her wrist twice.

“Baaku and Mmienu, office now!”

No later than 5 seconds, a faint knock on the door is heard. 

“Enter.” 

Baaku and Mmienu silently stepped in and survey the room - as well trained German shepherds - they look at their Master waiting for their next instruction.

“Baaku, make the drink please. Mmienu, help me to sit down on the sofa.” whispered Madame Eve in a strained voice. Just when she thought the feeling was leaving her, the tingling started to shoot through her spine now as though fireworks are exploding and racking through her body. 

The men moved swiftly with grace and ease like ballet dancers at the address of her requests. Baaku quickly  shifted behind the bar to find the ingredients to concoct the drink as Mmienu guided Madame Eve by her arm and moved her weight onto him as he gently placed her on the cream leather sofa on the opposite side of the office. Adding the finishing touches, Baaku quickly finished making the drink and pours the blue substance into a tall frosted glass. 

He placed the drink into Madame Eve’s hand as she took her time sipping the substance. 

Within an instant, she felt her body regain more control. 

“That is all.”

Both men glided towards the entrance, taking up positions by the large office door - looking straight ahead - hands behind their back. 

Madame Eve breathed a sigh of relief as the drink worked its way through her system and enveloped her in a warm embrace.

The beeping sound of the projection call stopped and Windsor appeared once more.

“Eve, are you there?”

“Yes, I am here.”

“Good, I have discussed with them what you have told me and again I was met with some resistance. However, with a democratic vote, we have been able to come up with a solution that would be pleasing for you to hear.

Madame Eve’s ears pricked at the word solution. Looks like they have finally seen sense, she thought.

“They have granted you the access required to run the research program how you see fit.”

A small smile crept across her lips. 

“I do appreciate the gesture.” smirked Madame Eve.

“However, I must warn you, there is a catch…” 

Madame Eve reclined against the sofa and rolled her eyes into her head. Letting out a quiet groan, she faced the holographic Windsor. 

“I am going to assume they are going to threaten me and say they can find someone else to do the job, correct?” As if they could find any other person with my expertise and skills to continue to do this project. Perish the thought.  Madame Eve smiled.

“If this research program were to fail again, you will come into the headquarters for a debrief.”

 

Madame Eve's smirk vanished from her face and immediately sat upright from the position on the sofa to look at the holographic projection with horror.

 

They can not be serious. She thought. 

 

“It shall not fail.” Madame Eve whispered.

“Excellent, we will be in touch.” smiled Professor Windsor.

 

The projection call ended. 

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