There was a long pause as the group collectively assimilated what had been projected before their eyes. While the men were clearly distraught by the way that vampire ended Victoria’s life. They were even disgusted by the outward display of inhumanity, however Breanna was far more subdued.
“That was brutal,” Brett said astonished.
Breanna snorted before countering, “She’s done a lot worse! That was pretty merciful actually.”
“Really?” Brett asked.
“Yeah,” Breanna replied. “Almost a hundred years ago, three seasoned investigators were committed after investigating one of her more creative murders.”
“Bullshit,” the men said in unison.
“It’s true!” Breanna exclaimed. “We were dating at the time—”
“No way!” They exclaimed in unison, which looked like a badly rehearsed comedy skit.
“You mean she’s not—,” Mason inquired.
“Straight?” Breanna asked. “She hates men, and wants nothing to do with them.”
“So what—,” Brett demanded.
“Their relationship… is complicated. It was never physical,” Breanna replied. “Although I’d avoid bringing that up in her company.”
“How did you two cross paths?” Brett asked, snooping around for some gossip.
“She was at the Grand during its construction,” Breanna said as though reliving a dream. “You two sent me there to establish our lab in that region, remember?”
Evelyn had been searching for a model, and conveniently Breanna was bored out of her skull. Establishing an outpost on the site had been a cinch, and would not return on investments until years later.
Breanna concealed a slight smile, as she thought back to her first experience in human sexuality. Evelyn may have been a vampire, but was more than adept at teaching her the ins and outs. To this day, no one could even hope to approximate that woman’s skill.
“Attentive, determined, and utterly sensual. Is there a better combination for a lover?” Breanna asked herself.
“A small reward for allowing me capture your beauty in stone,” Evelyn whispered that day in bed, after a particularly vigorous session.
“What’s with you and women at the Grand?” Mason asked. When Breanna did not register what was alluded to, he added, “The girl with hundreds of past lives?”
Breanna’s eyes narrowed a moment before they exploded in a bright glow. It was obvious to the others that memories of that brief interlude had also been memorable.
“Hey!” Breanna exclaimed. “She came onto me and didn’t care that my appearance was artificial, or that my hips were well-suited for childbearing. Besides, the experiences gained from having lived a hundred lifetimes… helped us to consolidate centuries of human history.”
“Did you two bond over the beating heart research?” Brett asked.
Breanna glared at Brett, and for a moment looked as though she were about to gouge his eyes out. The opportunity to study and dissect an immortal, should have been her ticket out of here. Unfortunately, someone managed to steal that beating heart in a jar, which invalidated all associated research. To this day, these two knuckleheads never failed to rub salt in the wound.
“Did Anna Hunter tell you that?” Breanna asked Brett to dredge up another experiment that went sideways for the group.
While Breanna maintained her composure, Brett reacted violently. He slammed the surface of his workstation, which caused a display element to shift; a virtual dial changed from a dark green, to a deep red.
“Just because you two look like the descendants of apes,” Mason said. “It doesn’t mean that you have to fling shit at each other!”
Breanna and Brett looked down to avoid the gaze of the expedition’s senior scientist. While Mason was stuck here like the rest, they both knew he had the authority to make things worse, all in the name of research.
“So what now?” Mason asked to get these two back on track.
“We—We are roughly two minutes away from exploiting the alternate path,” Breanna said.
“The tachyon generators are primed, capacitors charged and waveform generators are set for optimal insertion,” Brett said.
Mason knew the rest. They would target the area in space, and time where the differing paths began. They had no choice, since Evelyn’s current choice did not align with their goals.
“One minute to divergent path,” Breanna said.
By targeting just the right point, they were able to shift the probability of Evelyn making a choice they favoured. Using this method, they could alter coin tosses, or shift the tides of war.
“Thirty seconds…” Breanna announced.
Breanna pulled out her mobile device, something the others never embraced. While the men avoided human contact, and the pleasures that came with such interactions, she saw it as a way to better integrate and disappear into the crowd.
“Twenty seconds,” Breanna said.
She checked for notifications, but they were none. A tinge of disappointment overcame her, but realised that it was late, and that people needed to sleep. Well so did she, but they had ways to push themselves beyond the limits of human endurance.
“Ten seconds,” Breanna said with a hint of excitement.
All they needed was a well-timed nudge, fortunately the precise set of calculations made that part easy.
“Five… four… three… two… one… now!” Breanna exclaimed.
Brett tapped a button on his virtual interface. For a second the lights flickered, and dimmed before going out entirely. The trio were frozen like deer caught in the headlights, silent witnesses to every piece of equipment in their lab powering down.
“What’s going on,” Mason asked while visibly annoyed, or at least he would be, if the lights were on. “We have enough power generating capacity to power half the continent.”
Before anyone could reply, a large wave of energy originating from the centre of the building passed right through them. Mason could not help but wonder if this phenomenon was linked to their equipment failure.
“Oops,” Brett said to break the silence.
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!