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Aberrant: 2011 - All That Glitters ... [Complete]

Evan-Happy Scientist

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… Is sometimes the poison in the bottom of the cup.


Evan’s brain burned with a different flame. Instead of being good at some-thing like most of his colleagues, Evan’s saw the best way for people to work together and the best way to get projects done. It was decidedly unglamorous. It also had just gotten him into a world of trouble.

Evan was staring face to face with a massive amount of embezzlement inside of Project Genesis. It all came back to some outside contracting Utopia was forced to do in order to keep Genesis on schedule and a great deal of it was fraud. It had been surprisingly easy, once he knew what to look for, to track the fraud back to one minor elite agency and one Regional Project Manager, Mrs. Jacqueline Coissesse.

Since it was Mrs. Coissesse, and he was in the area anyway, Evan had taken his data to her. After all, he thought, there must be a good explanation for this. Instead, he first got threatened, and when that didn’t work, tempted with a bribe. When that didn’t work, she begged him to give her a week to make it right. Sadly, Evan turned down this request. He told her that he was going to take this to his boss’s boss in Venice. Mrs. Coissesse had no doubt that this boy’s word to the Director would crucifier her, so she hatched a plan to save her hide and give her time to clean up this mess. The second Evan left her office she was on the phone to her partner in crime – the nova head of the elite agency.

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She approached the car as the other man pulled himself to his feet. A few feet of silvery chain rolled out of her grey trench coat pocket. She began to spin it back and forth, the streetlights playing off the links. Evan didn’t know what she was doing. He didn’t even know a chain could be used as a weapon, but a weapon this most assuredly was.

The man readied himself for her. He had a cut on his left cheek. It was the only sign that he had been in a wreck that had killed his companion. A nimbus of power grew around his right clenched fist. He looked to be angry and far more menacing, but the lady’s calm demeanor was the more frightening to the nova in need of rescue. The man roared and came at her. They were only a few meters apart and he let loose with another quantum-fueled bolt of light even as he started to close.

Evan could hear the chain whirring now. He saw her agilely step aside as the bolt passed over her left shoulder. Even as she did this, the chain whipped out and lashed the man across his thigh and knee. The man fell. The chain kept twirling. Again it lashed out. This time it impacted with the back of the man’s head like a whip, driving the man’s face into the asphalt. The woman circled the man as he slowly tried to rise on unsteady legs. Once more he lashed out with a nimbus of light and again he missed her. The chain came down on his extended arm. The elbow shattered with a sickening, smacking sound and the man screamed. The man howled out. The woman whipped the chain around his throat. It lashed once, twice, three times around his throat, choking him then she pulled back. The man was pulled off the ground. He spun around horizontal with the wet black top. When he fell back to earth, Evan knew the man was dead.

While Evan couldn’t say he would mourn the dead nova, this did leave him here with the mysterious, deadly woman.

“Are you okay?” he asked dumbly. He could have slapped himself for asking such an inane thing.

The woman nodded. As almost an afterthought she coiled the chain back into her pocket. The hand remained in the pocket with the chain.

“Are you okay, Dr. Sigmar?” she asked in return.

“Umm … yes. I think so.”

He looked past her to the dead man.

“They are both dead aren’t they?”

“That’s not a concern right now,” she responded. “What I need to know is what you plan to do next?”

“I have … there’s this problem with my work … I can’t really talk about it.”

She smiled at that. Evan stood up uneasily, wiping the grit from the road off his hands.

“You don’t need to do that anymore,” she said after a pregnant pause. “The matter is being dealt with. What I need for you to do is … go home and wait for me there.”

“I can’t do that,” Evan said with a gulp of fear. “This is important.”

“Important for you?”

Evan was offended on a personal level and it showed. “No,” he said flatly. He wanted to say more, but this was Utopian business and he would keep his head about him.

Evan had no idea just how far his savior was going out on a limb for him. No idea.

“I’m with the Project too, Dr. Sigmar. I’m telling you that this matter … this misappropriation of funds and resources … is being dealt with.”

Evan also had no poker face, or at least not a good one.

“How … how did you know? I’ve kept this matter pretty much to myself.”

“What matters is that other people inside the project have become aware of this and are dealing with it. What is needed now, for the good of the Project, is for you to go back to your office in Venice and wait for us to clear you in this matter.”

“How long? How long should I wait?”

“Twenty-four hours, and tell no one anything about what you found out, or what happened here tonight.”

Evan nodded.

“Come on now,” she beckoned. The hand with the chain came out of the pocket empty. She took him by his elbow and led him to her car.

“I’ll drop you close to another rental place. Get yourself another car and go home.”

“I got that part of the plan,” Evan said with some bitterness.

So, it was surprising to him to find out how attractive the female nova was once they were inside her car and driving down the road in silence.

“Thank you,” Evan said with his second revelation in as many minutes. “You saved my life tonight.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” she said half-jokingly. “This isn’t exactly standard procedure.”

Evan looked at her, confusion on his face then his lips formed a small ‘o’.

“You were supposed to kill them, not necessarily save me, is that it?”

She didn’t answer. She had no intentions of going over her mission profile with this ‘squint’. Still, he was a cute squint and … she let that thought trail off. Maybe meeting men with hopes of a relationship was supposed to be impossible in her profession.

She left him near an open car rental center and began transmitting her report to her support team. Two bodies and two cars needed to be arranged to look like an accident. She pondered telling of her full involvement Doctor Sigmar as well, but she was skeptical as to his survival if she did. Something about the man spoke volumes about his honesty and loyalty to the Project – something she found refreshing. Instead, she began to make a contingency for dealing with him herself.

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  • 1 month later...

Waiting was the worst part. The attempt on his life had passed so fast, only a few minutes. Waiting a whole day was much, much worse, or so he thought. Still, Evan had given his word. He had gotten another rental car and gone home. He had been expecting a call from the police about his wrecked car, but no such call came. He was beginning to think that the whole event had been a dream.

The dream ended abruptly at dinner time. He was suffering the company LAN when one article grabbed his attention. Project Manager Coissesse was dead. The prime suspect was a nova who ran a small African security firm and the man was on the run. Well, she had said things would be handled and handled they were. It was a clever, backhanded way of handling things, but the bad people had been punished and the Project’s good name protected.

It surprised him, a doctor, how little this death bothered him. It was less of a surprise how relieved he was that the Project had been protected. Honor and loyalty meant something. Evan had been tested and made the right choice.

Or so he hoped.

The door bell’s ring gave Evan a start. He accessed the doors camera and saw the girl from last night. She was dressed in different hues, but kept the same style. There was little doubt in his mind that she had numerous weapons on her body either. He opened the door with little preamble.

“You’re late,” he joked. That brought a smile to her lips. It took some balls to joke with your assassin. She walked into the room as he stepped aside.

“Wine,” Evan offered?

“Sure. What are you drinking?”

“Lombardi White – it’s a good domestic vintage.” Good for the Venice area anyway.

The girl nodded. She also looked around the company provided apartment. It was pretty Spartan without too many knickknacks.

“Did you call anyone?” she asked.

Evan looked at her before responding.

“Its not like you haven’t monitored my cell and land line usage, but no. I called my manager this morning to call of for the day, but that’s been it.”

“Smart too,” she responded. She started studying him now. This Dr. Sigmar was a curious item. He was indeed smart – nova level smart. He was also very dedicated to the Project. It wasn’t like he needed the money, nor the opportunities elsewhere. It wasn’t even like he had some agenda to dive into. He went were he was told to go happily. He had only one black mark on his record. The Blackburn affair he had gone to was a problem to mull over, but not damning. If anything, he had seen the Enemy and walked away.

Sadly, there was a reason to have he ‘cleaned’ or ‘removed’. If he was going to be ‘removed’ she would take care of it. Nothing in any of his profiles indicated combative ability. She could make it quick and painless.

Evan handed her a glass of wine. She took a whiff, swirled the yellowish liquid, and took a taste.

“Good,” he asked?

“Fine,” she responded. “Do you know why I’m here?”

“I’m a loose end,” he answered calmly. “You have to decide whether I’m to be trusted to keep a secret, or taken care of.”

He grinned again. “By taken care of, I’m hoping that means a telepath will remove my memories and I’ll go along with my life blissfully unaware.”

She nodded. Next came a drink and a deep breath. She walked over to the sofa and sat down. Evan followed her and sat at the other end of the sofa.

“I like you,” she began. “You are right about why I’m here, but there is more to it than that.”

She hesitated. “I’m going out on a limb here, but something about you makes me want to trust you.”

Evan arched an eyebrow. He wasn’t one of those kinds of novas.

“I think you are a decent person, Dr. Sigmar. Just as important, you are a decent and loyal Utopian. You’ve earned my trust.”

Evan ruminated on that for a moment.

“Thank you. Thank you very much.”

“Don’t be so grateful,” she chided with a smile. “I’ll still be keeping an eye on you. From time to time I might even stop by.”

Evan took a drink from his wine before saying, “I think I’d like that.”

Evan didn’t know were to go from there. He was still a virgin, and his miniscule dating attempts had always ended up as disasters. He didn’t know what else to say so he kept to the truth.

“You have me at a disadvantage. I’m sure you know a great deal about me and I know nothing about you. I don’t even know your name.”

“Well”, she said with a stunningly seductive grin. “I know you aren’t much good with women. Zero girlfriends going aback to junior high. You’re not much for mindless socializing. Sure, you to all the right functions the Project hosts, but you always show up too early and leave early … and alone.”

Evan sighed at the emptiness of his sex life revealed.

“My name is Elise.”

“It’s a beautiful name.”

She – Elise – studied Evan for a long moment. He had no idea that she was imagining what it would be like to kiss this inexperienced boy. Instead, she steadied herself and stood up. She handed him the wine glass. Evan stood up as well.

“I’ll be seeing you,” Elise told him as she slid passed his body.

Evan struggled for the right words. He followed her to the door. She gave him a look over her shoulder as she walked out on him. There was a promise there to meet again. Evan shut the door, feeling a new lease on life and a sudden urge to make more of what he had been give.

Christmas was coming, and with it a resolution to do more and live without fear.

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