The History midterm was over and Victoria was walking towards her locker to get another pair of pencils before her next class. Her friend Grace was walking next to her, chatting happily.
“That was awesome, you totally owned that jerk. How dare he act like you were cheating, I mean why would you even bother? You’re a total genius, everyone knows that.”
“Thanks Grace.” Victoria shook her head, “I don’t know about ‘genius’ but I appreciate the sentiment.” She opened her locker and saw a small gift wrapped box sitting on top of her neatly stacked textbooks. Opening it, she saw a cleverly fashioned charm bracelet with a series of microchips and circuit boards instead of the traditional charms one would expect.
“What I want to know is how did you remember what page it was on? That was epic!” Grace laughed out loud with delight, “Seriously, the look on his face was priceless.”
“I dunno, just lucky I guess.” She said, pocketing the bracelet. Shit, why couldn’t she remember to keep her mouth shut? Victoria tried to change the subject. “So are you ready for the Bio midterm? Jackson can be a real pain in the ass.”
“Luck? There’s just no way V.” Grace was being uncharacteristically serious. “You knew what page it was. I could hear it in your voice, you were certain. It wasn’t luck and it wasn’t an accident, I just want to know how you did it. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
Victoria paused outside the door to the Biology room and sighed. “I have started to remember everything, I mean literally everything, over the last few weeks. It’s actually unnerving and a little weird.”
“So you have total recall?” Victoria could see her friend’s imagination running away on her again. “Wild, do you think it’s from when you were in that coma? I mean they did some brain surgery on you or something right?”
“Yeah, something like that. I suppose I’ve heard of people getting hit on the head and remembering stuff from their childhood.” Just thinking of her childhood brought back memories she didn’t even know she had. Victoria shook her head attempting to clear it.
“So tell me this, if you remember everything how many cars were parked in front of the school this morning when we walked in?” Grace said.
Victoria answered without hesitation, “Seven.”
“Ha! You don’t remember everything after all, there were ten!” Grace said, smiling.
“No, there were seven for sure; two Fords, an Audi, three Hondas, and a Cadillac.” Victoria stopped herself before she recited the models of the cars and the license plate numbers.
“There were three others too; I think one was Derek’s.” Said Grace. “I remember because I was pissed about that stupid lifted F350 of his. Who drives something like that in town?”
“Oh, you said cars. Those three are trucks.”
“What? Wow, I don’t remember you being that serious and literal before.”
“Yeah, now that you mention it I don’t either.” Victoria shrugged uncomfortably, “Huh, that’s weird. See what I mean about weird?”
“That is a little weird. Are you OK? You could always call that hottie of a doctor, some girls have all the luck!” She gave Victoria a jealous glance, “That guy is so damn fine.”
“Eugene? Well I suppose he’s OK looking for a nerd.” Victoria said with a grin. “You’re probably just focusing on his car.”
“Nerd? Are you kidding me?” Grace asked, “That boy’s too hot to touch… sure driving James Bond’s wheels doesn’t hurt but if you don’t think he’s gorgeous then I think you need your eyes checked.”
“He’s just so damn intense, I guess maybe it distracts me from his hotness. There’s this look he gets when he’s focusing on something like driving that’s captivating though.” The bell rang, interrupting her train of thought.
“Well, good luck on your Bio midterm V. Not that you’ll need it you lucky bitch.” Grace said.
“Thanks Grace, you too.”
Eugene turned his phone to silent and looked at the young woman who sat on the other side of his desk, “Sorry about that. What company did you say you represented again?”
“I am here with an offer from Oneida Medical Technology. Dr. Arlington, we have seen your work and think it’s truly amazing. The offer my company has put together for you is quite generous.” She leaned forward to slide a folder across the table to him, showing a tantalizing amount of cleavage.
“Is it different from the last one?” He asked, picking the folder off the table as though it were a week dead fish.
“Dr. I assure you we have not approached you before.” Her large brown eyes widened theatrically in protest.
Eugene was browsing the document with a highlighter in his hand. “Oneida may not have, but I happen to know they are owned by Summit Health.” Summit was owned by the Italian Mafia. Dmitri had warned him about it.
“Sell to them and I will be forced to undo all my father’s sunk costs in your little venture.” Dmitri had said, allowing the implication to hang in the air. A promise, not a threat. “Another thing, just to let you know. I have a man inside the anti-cybernetics group who says they are planning some large protest. Do not worry though; I still have my man watching her. She will be safe.”
Eugene shuddered involuntarily and glanced at the young woman again. “Ms. Murray, I appreciate what you have put together here, I really do; but there are a few points which would need to be addressed. First, the clause about turning all my notes and research materials over with the sale of the patent is just plain silly that will never happen. Second, turning over all hardware is completely unacceptable as my only current working model is deployed and removal of it would certainly end the life of the young woman it inhabits.”
She artfully raised an eyebrow and Eugene winced internally. ‘Inhabits’ might not have been the best choice of words. He continued as though he hadn’t noticed anything. “Third, five hundred million dollars is not even enough to cover R&D of this project. If Oneida is really serious about this they need to offer at least four times that number. Finally, and most importantly, I’ve told every company that stops by the exact same thing. I am not interested in selling the patent.”
“But Dr. Arlington, surely we could come to some sort of arrangement?” She said, “Make us a counter offer, at least give me something that shows you’re willing to work with us.
He gave her a wolfish grin, “I’d gladly take you to lunch if you want, but I’m not signing any paperwork.” She was slightly taken aback but quickly recovered.
“Lunch? Perhaps another time Doctor.” She said, standing abruptly and offering her hand for him to shake. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”
He let out a slow breath as the door closed behind her. That. Was a very good looking woman. Of course he wasn’t the type to allow something like that to distract him, or at least not to the point where he would slip up. It wasn’t a bad ploy though. They were either getting smarter or more desperate.